Category Archives: A Dabble of Fiction

Visions of Zarua Blog Tour | Review & Interview

Happy Thursday everyone 🙂

Hope everyone’s been having a wonderful week! Today, it is my privilege and honour to host Suzanne Rogerson on Day 4 of her Visions of Zarua blog tour!

Today, I have an interview with Suzanne as well as a review of her novel to share! So sit back and enjoy!


First, let me introduce Suzanne to you all:

2015 author photo 2015.jpgSuzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book

….

And now a little about her novel…

Visions of Zarua Book Cover.jpgBLURB:

Two wizards, 350 years apart.

Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.

Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

INTERVIEW:

1. What first inspired you to start writing?

I remember a particular English lesson in junior school when I was about 8 years old. The teacher read the class a scene from a book and asked us to write what could happen next. That really opened up my imagination and from that moment I think I was hooked.

2. You were 12 when you wrote your first novel! What can you tell us about it?

I remember the characters of my first book vividly.

It was about a 15 year old girl who has the shock of her life when her parents tell her they’re relocating to America. She refuses to leave her best friend, her boyfriend and her beloved Alsatian behind. Events spark out of control, and feeling unloved and unwanted, she runs away with her best friend (whose parents are going through divorce).

It deals with many issues still relevant today; love and jealousy, sexual harassment at work (she worked part time at a vets), underage sex, teen pregnancy, sleeping rough, drugs, a tragic death and coming to terms with loss. 

Thinking about it now makes me want to dig out those scribbled notebooks.

3. Was there a particular scene in the novel that you were afraid to write? Excited to write? Surprised by? Tell us about it/them.

I know I was afraid to write the climatic scenes at the end of Visions of Zarua. My beta readers kept pushing me to build up the tension and the drama. The scenes with Morrin, the assassin, were the ones I looked forward to writing most. I loved the complex situation Morrin was forced into and how his story progressed. And I was most surprised by Jago’s scenes; they flowed so naturally they almost wrote themselves.

4. Paddren, Leyoch and Varnia — our three heroes — are such unique characters. Who did you find the hardest to write? The easiest? The most fun? Why?

I found it hardest to write Paddren because he is a very private character and it’s sometimes difficult to get his motivations across. I had to work hardest on him to make him likeable. I love Paddren of course, but it took time for him to grow on my beta readers. 

Varnia is a strong character and just runs around and does what she pleases, whereas Leyoch was the most fun to write. He goes off and has his own adventures and gets to act the hero. He always tries to be the light hearted one and make the best of things. He’s someone I’d want around in a crisis.

5. Do you plan on returning to the land of Paltria in the future?

I wanted to write Visions of Zarua as a single volume. Sometimes I think the fantasy genre needs a break from so many long, drawn out series. It felt right that my debut book would be a standalone.

6. What does your ideal writing session look like?

An ideal writing session is one when I can barely sit still at the computer. I have to keep jumping up and pacing the room because the writing is getting so intense. When I need to keep tearing myself away to gather my nerves, that’s a good days writing!

7. What is your next big aspiration?

My next big aspiration is to finish my next book and publish it ASAP. Then maybe I’ll think about approaching agents. I still want to try publishing from the other side, even if it means I lose the freedom self-publishing has given me.

8. What advice can you share with fellow writers, both new to the craft and old?

Every serious writer should consider giving self-publishing a try. It’s really not as hard as you think. Use professionals where it counts though – editing, proofreading and the front cover. Make your book the best it can be and start working on your social media presence today.

9. Is there a particular castle that you feel drawn to? Inspired by? 

Picking my favourite castle is tricky. I love Warwick Castle with its re-enactments and its ability to show you what life was like back then, but I also love visiting the ruins of castles like Bodiam in East Sussex. To touch the weathered, broken stones and image the past for myself is inspiring.

One thing I hate about castles though are the steep, narrow and winding staircases, they make me very nervous.

10. If you could travel to and live in any time period, where would you go? Why?

I’m drawn to the medieval period of history. There is a romantic notion of living the simple life with heroes, love and death going hand in hand. However, I don’t think I’m cut out for that kind of life, I certainly wouldn’t last very long.

11. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which would it be? Why?

If I could only read one book for the rest of my life I’d have to cheat and pick a trilogy. I love David Gemmell’s Troy trilogy – the last books he wrote. He was a true master storyteller and created characters that came alive to the reader and stayed with you long after you’d finished reading about them. I always loved how Gemmell took history and retold it in his fantastical way. As soon as I get the time, I shall be revisiting those Troy books.

Thank you Suzanne for taking the time to answer my questions! Your answers are insightful and inspiring 🙂

REVIEW:

Told through four unique perspectives, Visions of Zarua is an epic fantasy that follows three friends as they struggle to fight demons of the past threatening their homeland of Paltria. Moving between the past and present, the narrative unfolds at a brisk speed, never losing momentum, introducing an intricate world full of magic, intrigue and danger.

In Suzanne’s deft hands, the premise transcends the normal stereotypes of fantasy. Her characters are flawed human beings whose sense of duty does not make them infallible to error. Paddren’s visions of the past are core to the plot and, while disjointed in his scenes, are more clearly brought to the fore in those chapters that unfold in the past through Jago’s POV. These are meant to assist Paddren in his quest, marking him as the ultimate hero.

And yet, Paddren is useless without his friends. Leyoch and Varnia share a past with him and their bond is a necessity to the success of their mission. Each comes with dark baggage that threatens their sanity and morality. Their growth throughout the narrative is part of what enhances the story as they struggle not only with an outside threat, but their own inner demons as well.

One of the most interesting and memorable characters is a minor one: Morrin. I don’t want to say too much for risk of spoilers, but his role in the story was one of the highlights for me.

Another refreshing fact: this is a standalone fantasy novel. While the ending does leave the sense that there is more story, the plot of this specific novel  reaches its conclusion satisfyingly.

Intriguing characters, strong structure, high stakes, memorable world. The Visions of Zarua packs a punch in delivering all of these. A superb story that fantasy readers will definitely enjoy!

RATING:    quills

Interested yet in buying your own copy of Visions of Zarua, take a look here:

Amazon UK OR Amazon US OR Smashwords OR Kobo

Want to connect with the amazing Suzanne, what are you waiting for?

Website OR Twitter OR Facebook OR Goodreads


Have a question for Suzanne? Leave a comment! And thanks as ever for stopping by 🙂

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

Rise of the Sparrow – Sarina Langer | Interview & Giveaway!

Hi Everyone!

Today is an exciting day! Today is an exciting week!

It marks the debut of my good friend Sarina Langer’s novel: Rise of the Sparrows!

I am fortunate enough to be hosting her today on the first day of her blog tour. I’ve also had the pleasure to beta read her novel and I assure you it is a superb fantasy novel. I hope the following interview can convince you of the same 🙂

And don’t forget, at the bottom of the page is the chance to win 1 of 5 copies of Sarina’s book!

(note: formatting is weird for some reason, still trying to fix that…)

Now, without further ado, may I present Sarina and her novel Rise of the Sparrows!

dfw-sl-rots-cover-large

Growing up homeless and orphaned in a town that hates her, Rachael must assassinate the king of Rifarne to become queen to a people who once wanted her dead.

Rifarne is a country opposed to magic. When its people demand harsh action, King Aeric sees himself with no other choice but to outlaw those with the gift. Rachael, who possesses the rare gift of a Seer, soon finds herself with visions of her own violent death. When her escape goes wrong and she ends up in the clutches of a vicious Mist Woman lusting for her blood, she finds she is the only person who can stop the war against people like her – and assassinating the king to take his throne may well be the only way to do just that.

Hi Sarina. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I studied Photography at university, and to the great disappointment of my tutors I work part time in my university’s library now, while writing my books the rest of the time. I have a huge addiction to stationery, and am a momma to one cat – my Sellybean, who has become the mascot to my blog and my writing.
I read a lot of fantasy across all sub genres, but I’m trying to bring in some scifi, too. Besides writing, I play video games of the same genres, I read psychology books for fun, and I neglect my garden a lot more than I should.
 
You also have a blog. Tell us a bit about what you do there.
 
My blog is all about my writing. I do have a schedule, but I expect it’ll change a little soon to leave more time for writing.
I share writing prompts and my interpretations, word counts, progress I’ve made (or failed to make), insights into what I do such as my research, my experience with my beta readers, and more recently I’ve also started offering guest posts and interviews.
Rise of the Sparrows is a fantasy novel. Are there any authors in the fantasy genre who particularly influenced your writing?
 
There are! I’ve been drawn to writing since I was very young, and I’ve always been drawn to books, too. I read a lot of thrillers or mystery novels in my teens, but then stopped reading for a while – say, a year or two. When I finally missed it enough to go looking for a new book to read I found the Godspeaker series by Karen Miller. I loved the cover and I liked that it was a series (more to read if I enjoy it!), so I read the first chapter and was hooked after the first paragraph. I bought the whole series, and it made me want to write.
I’m sure it would have happened sooner or later anyway, but it was her books that made me want to try writing again.
Since then I’ve discovered many amazing fantasy writers, but to list them all would take a while. As a basic rule, I admire all writers whose characters make me feel something, or who inspire me to write.
This is your debut as a published author. Congratulations! How long have you been pursuing this goal for? How does it feel to have achieved it?

Hard to say. My Mum would tell you that I’ve always wanted to write since before I knew the alphabet, but I don’t remember that. She showed me the scribbles I made on the walls when I was a toddler, but I don’t think I can count those 🙂 Which toddler doesn’t try to improve the wallpaper that way?

The first time I took writing seriously I was nine years old, I think (or as seriously as you can when you’re as young as I was). Give or take one, two years. I wrote the whole thing in a notebook, and it was about a girl who had to travel to a magical country (through the base of this huge tree in her garden, naturally) to save her sister from… something. I don’t think I thought that far ahead, but I did go to a lot of effort otherwise. I invented an alphabet – I knew my Mum was very impressed that Tolkien had done it, but she merely smiled (and probably thought ‘aww, there there!’) when I proudly showed her mine – and made sure to describe the garden in great detail for when Hollywood bought it for a huge amount of money. That’s the first time I remember taking it seriously, but I didn’t put much thought into writing for several years after that. I did write a bit here and there, and tried writing thrillers for a while but they never progressed past the first page.

I tried again years later. I was very proud of my first draft, too, but naive kid that I was I thought the first draft was perfect. Apologies to the two agencies who have probably black-listed me. Rest assured, I  burnt it. (Okay, so I didn’t burn it, but I have no idea what I’ve done with the thing.)

I was somewhat disheartened after that, and it took a couple of years before I started writing Rise of the Sparrows. I had to set it aside for a while because I was studying for my degree at the time, but I came back to it and now I’m here! 🙂

So, I guess, this is my third attempt. The amount I’ve learnt since the first try is insane, and I’m not backing down this time.

 
If you had to define Rise of the Sparrows as a this story meets that one, what would you say? 
 
I’m terribly bad at these things! You were a beta reader, Faith – what do you think? 🙂
Faith: I’m equally terrible at these things, but I know that Rachael always reminded me of Katniss from Hunger Games — fierce, brave and independent!
What first inspired you to write Rise of the Sparrows?
 
I don’t know 🙂 When I started writing it I was reading a lot of books where magic was a central, integrated part of people’s lives. I think I wanted to write a book where the opposite was the case – a world where magic is feared, and people who have the gift are outlawed. Originally magic was to be hated and hunted everywhere, but once I came back to it and started writing again I realised that this wouldn’t make any sense. It’s a big world, and it seemed only natural that there would be some corners of the world where magic was accepted, even embraced. My main character had the misfortune of being born in a country where the gifted are hated, but not all countries think that way. To the South, for example, magic has been accepted for a long time, and to the West there are some places where magic is a different thing entirely. But of course it’s not as clear-cut as that. Not everyone in Rifarne hates magic. Many do, but there are always exceptions. Equally, not everyone in the South loves it. It’s complicated 🙂
So, as you can see, my original idea has changed a lot since I first had it, but I’d like to think that it’s still in there somewhere.
 
Tell us a bit about the process of writing it.
 
It was definitely a learning curve. It was the first book I wanted to take seriously and do right, but getting into a habit took a while. Writing the first draft was one of my favourite parts, and then the edit was enjoyable and frustrating in equal measures. I wasn’t sure how to feel about the edit – a lot of writers will tell you that they loathe it, so I went in with mixed feelings. Editing was harder than writing the first draft but it’s where the magic happens. It’s where you turn an okay draft into a good one.
I brought in my betas once the words no longer made sense. I know I have a habit of over-editing, and didn’t want to make that mistake here. My betas – you included! – really went to town on it, and changed it in so many wonderful ways. Your own edit turns your draft into something good, but with the right betas you can turn it into something wonderful. I still added chapters to it this late in the process, and I’m really glad I did. My betas had fantastic ideas!
 
There are so many amazing characters in Rise of the Sparrows. Who is your favourite? Tell us more about them.
 
Oh, a mother shouldn’t… Kiana and Kaida! Neither have had many appearances in the first book – especially Kaida, who we only get a glimpse of at the very end – but I adore them both a lot. Neither were originally in the book but they’ve forced their way in part-way through. Who doesn’t love a kickass redhead female character? Well, I give you two! 😉
 
Without running the risk of spoilers, tell us about a scene that you really enjoyed writing and what makes it special to you.
 
I knew for a while that one of my characters would be afflicted by a certain curse (I really want to tell you more… But I don’t want to spoil it!), and I knew exactly how it would happen. It’s a scene which is late in the book, so I was dying to write it for a while and once I got to it I couldn’t stop. It was so much fun, and the feedback from my betas tells me that I did well. I’m quite proud of that scene, and the way it ended the chapter.
There’s another scene I added in a later edit. Rachael goes to the market in the capital city for the first time, and – having been a homeless orphan her entire life – she’s overwhelmed by the colours, scents and sights. It’s a very vibrant scene, and I love how it turned out.
 
Rise of the Sparrows is the first in a planned series. Can you tease anything of what to expect in the following books?
 
More demons, more cliffhangers, and new sights 🙂 Things really turn dark in the sequel, and I’m almost certain that it won’t end on a happy note.
 
With Rise of the Sparrows done, what are you working on at the moment?
 
I’ve been focusing on the sequel, but I’ve also taken notes for Book 3 and a prequel. I love prequels, and I think Relics of Ar’Zac has the perfect set-up for one. Plotting it happened naturally while I wrote Rise of the Sparrows, and it gives me the chance to give you some answers I can’t give you in the trilogy.
I’ve also been working on a scifi novel. I’ve always been drawn to that genre, but for some reason I’ve never written it. When I play video games I love the genre – often more than fantasy – and I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to try it. I’ve never read many sci-fi books, though, so for all I know I’ve been doing this all wrong! There are several sci-fi novels on my bookshelf now, and I’m looking forward to them.
 
What tips/advice do you have for those of us still working towards our writing dreams?
 
Keep writing. Whether you get great feedback or disheartening feedback, keep writing – you won’t improve if you don’t. And please, pleasedon’t think that you can edit this on your own. You can’t. You’ve written it, which means that the cliffhangers no longer work for you, the secrets aren’t secrets any more, and the characters say and do all the right things in your head – but do they do the same thing on paper? You simply won’t know unless you bring in other people. I can’t stress that enough. Beta readers are a blessing! The writing community is awesome (I can’t stress that enough, either) and we love to help a fellow writer out!
Oh, and keep a list of all the feedback that made your day. It can make your day again when you get a negative review.
 
What is your next great goal for the future?
 
Well, I wasn’t going to say anything yet, but since you’ve asked so nicely I’ll tell you first 😉 Over the next three years, I’ll push to make writing my full-time job. I can’t leave my day job just yet (I’m fortunate to work in a place I love, with people I love) but I’ll work my butt off to be able to afford a living as a full time writer. There’s one other thing I’d like to try, too – I admit, it’s not something I’ve ever tried before – not to this extend, that is – but I think I’d enjoy it and I think I could be good at it. Between that and writing I hope that I’d be able to pay the bills.
I don’t know if three years is realistic or not – it’s not like I’ve ever done this before – but it’s a good goal to start with. I’ll adjust as I go 🙂
Thanks Sarina for taking the time to answer these questions and congratulations again on your debut novel! You’ve been an inspiration for me!

Why not connect with Sarina on her blog, or on Twitter, or even on Facebook!

And you can find Rise of the Sparrows on Amazon or here on Goodreads!


NOW TO THE GIVEAWAY!

It’s being hosted on Rafflecopter, but I can’t post the actual widget here, so you’ll find all the instructions over HERE! 

The giveaway ends Saturday so be quick about you and may the force be with you… er, the odds be ever in your favour… er, best of luck 😉

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

Tuesday Troubles | A Small Update

Hi everyone,

I’ve been far too silent on this blog lately. Sorry about that 😛

I haven’t been feeling extremely well lately and today my throat decided to flame up like the Human Torch. So it’s a sick day for me. Despite the grogginess, I figured it would be a good idea to let you all know that I’m still alive and what I’ve been up to.

After submitting to #FicFest, I was introduced to an amazing group of people and even though I didn’t get chosen as a mentee, I gained new insight on publication and attracting an agent that I know will be extremely helpful in the long run.

So I’ve been busy making some additional edits of Pirate Eyes. I have one final chapter to edit today and then I’m FINALLY passing it onto my sister for her approval. I haven’t forgotten about everyone who has offered to beta-read for me. I’ll be coming for you soon too 😉

In the meantime, I’m considering entering #QueryKombat which is a similar contest to #FicFest. I figured I might as well keep putting myself out there and something will happen eventually!

There was a time when I refused to enter contests because I was always certain that it would be a waste of time. There was no way I could win.

Then, about three years back, I had an epiphany. I was always worried about why it couldn’t be me that I had never stopped to ask myself, Well why shouldn’t it be me? Someone has to win. Why shouldn’t that someone be me. Ever since, I’ve decided to always try if I feel that a contest or any other opportunity might be beneficial in the long run. If I don’t believe in myself, than I fail myself. I can’t lose if I enter and don’t make it.

I hope that makes sense to you. If you’ll take away anything from this, it should be: believe in yourself and don’t doubt that you are amazing. Enough people can do that for you. It’s your story and it’s beautiful because it is yours. So take a chance on it and on yourself ❤

That’s really it for me. I’ll be back tomorrow with my usual WWW Wednesday and hopefully a few short stories will follow in turn 🙂

Here’s a very tiny snippet from Pirate Eyes from something I was editing yesterday.

Keira rose and hurried to his side. She took the man’s hand in hers. He glanced up and their eyes met. She sought not to see through his, only to show him that there was nothing but compassion for him in her own. “I was worried you would see me as a monster for what I did.”

Lyn shook his head. “Nay, lass.” He chuckled softly and squeezed the hand that held his own. “Ye are pure in me eyes.”

And here’s a question: have you ever entered or considered entering a writing contest? If you did, was it worth it? If you didn’t, what held you back?

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith    quill-ink

© Faith Rivens. 2016.

Thursday Tag Catch-Up | Writer’s Bucket List

Hi all!

I’ve fallen so far behind on these tags, it’s ridiculous. So here’s me trying to catch up 😛

Holly tagged me in this one a while back. Won’t even say how far it goes.  (here’s a link to hers) You should also take a look around her BLOG! Now especially because she has exciting news concerning her new book series that you all need to discover right now! She’s a talented writer & a beautiful person. You’re bound to be inspired.

Now, onto the tag 🙂


Let’s work our way up to my number one goal. We’ll keep it at six. Cause my real bucket list is closer to one hundred 😉

6 ⁄

    WRITE / COMPOSE A BROADWAY MUSICAL:

This has been something I’ve been working on since I was 17. It’s grown a bit since then, the concept is solid. I have some lyrics written. It would be amazing to realize this goal one day. But I’m also a realist, and a broadway musical is no easy feat. We’ll see where this goes.

5 ⁄

    WRITE AN ANIMATED MUSICAL FEATURE FILM:

This is another one that I’ve been working on. There’s a trend so far isn’t there! I love Disney movies (Beauty and the Beast & The Lion King are among my top 25 favourite movies of all time!) and want to create something that can touch hearts like those have touched mine. I have the idea for this one with a female protagonist and some song titles, though not the lyrics yet. It’s still an idea, but one I hope to accomplish — I think it’ll be an easier achievement than number 5 at any rate.

4 ⁄

    DIRECT ONE OF MY SCREENPLAYS:

Here’s a fun fact I’m not sure I’ve mentioned before. I’ve written and directed a short film with my sister. It was a week’s experience that was enlightening and inspiring. And while I don’t have the directing bug per se, I do hope to one day direct one of my screenplays. I have a few that I’m writing at the moment, and I’ll be shipping them off soon in hope of representation, but there’s an idea I have for a High Fantasy film that I would kind of love to film one day. But again, we’ll see.

3 ⁄

    START A LITERACY PROGRAM FOR YOUTH:

I was fortunate. I was born to a family in a country where I could learn to read and write at a young age, where my creativity was fostered and encouraged, where I was allowed to cultivate my imagination and pursue my bliss.

I want to bring the possibility to more people. I want to be able to create safe places where youth can gather and express their creativity. Books are powerful because they broaden our horizons, because they impart knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Everyone should be able to read. That is what drives me towards this goal. It’s a doozy, yes. But it’s also of the utmost importance to me!

2 ⁄

    OPEN UP A PRODUCTION/PUBLICATION COMPANY:

Yep, this is a big one! It’s one my sister and I have been playing with for some time. We know how hard it is for writers to be published and we hope to start a company that can facilitate the spread of more unique novels & movies that are silenced too often. It’s a large dream, but it’s also one that’s very strong in our hearts. We want to embrace voices with stories to tell and not silence them. Hopefully, this one won’t be too long in the making. We’re just waiting for our goose with the golden eggs.

1 ⁄

    FINISH WRITING & PUBLISH MY FIRST FANTASY SERIES:

I was tempted not to include this on the list, because I’m close to publishing the first one. When I say close, I mean I could publish it easily before the end of the year if I wasn’t looking for a literary agent. And I’m considering it. I really am. But I want to see what the reaction is by the industry. If I get enough nos, I’ll say thank you, find a good editor and publish it independent style. In any case, Pirate Eyes marks not only the start of The Cerastone Quartet, but the start of a larger series I’m calling The Shiliarthan Chronicles. I have quite a few novels planned & outlined in this universe. It’s a large undertaking. There’s a lot of mythology to deal with, but I love this world that I’ve created and I hope that people may one day be able to escape to it too!


I know most people have already made their Writer’s Bucket List, but if you haven’t yet, please do and please feel free to share it here. Also, make sure to post it on Twitter if you have an account and include #writersbucketlist in the tweet.

Have a most beautiful day and never stop pursuing your dreams. I believe in you! Why not believe in yourself!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

Sins of the Mother | Sunday Short

Happy Sunday

I haven’t posted a short in a while, so I decided to sit down and just write and see what happened. The following is basically the outcome.

Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Also, keep your eyes on this blog. Some big news is coming this week…


The waters below beckon but I resist the call to let go. Death is too easy. I deserve to suffer for my sins.

I stride away from the cliff, towards the town that was my birthplace, that has forbidden me to ever return on pain of death. How can I refuse such an offer?

My brothers are the first to see me and they curse my foolishness. They hate me for what I did but they love me too. They don’t want me to die. They convinced the Council to exile me, saved me from execution the first time. I feel a moment’s remorse, but it is not enough to halt my march.

Arman sees me next and his eyes express amazement then glee. He makes for me but my brothers block his way.

“She has returned. Now she must die.”

“She hasn’t crossed the boundary yet,” Jacob, my elder brother, declares.

“Turn back, Rebecca,” my younger brother, Esau, warns me.

I step over the town line, defiant. Arman cheers and calls out: “The Murderess has returned. To death! To death!”

The villagers come. Once friends, once neighbours, they thirst for my blood. I cannot blame them. Two corpses rot beneath the earth because of me. And by no accidental happening. I would be clamouring for blood too.

My brother cannot stop them all and, at last, Arman breaks through. He seizes my wrist and yanks me towards him. “My brother will now be avenged. And my nephew. Bitch.”

I hold my tongue. They will be avenged and my life will end. It will be painful, but then it will be done. And perhaps I will be able to see my husband and son again and beg for their forgiveness. If I had not killed him, the Onslars would have. At least they died quickly. Mine will be a slow death, a necessary punishment.

The first stone hits my head and blood drips from my brow. It will not be the last cast. And they will throw more than stones.

I am dragged to the center of town. Blood oozes from my bands and feet. Somewhere along the way, I lose my robe. Bared naked, my body bears the marks of their hatred.

It takes near four hours. But then it is done.

When I awake next, I am lying in a bed with my husband. He looks to me and smiles.

“Good morning. Good dreams?”

“I can’t remember,” I lie and rise up. Six times, this dream has burdened my mind.

I rush from our room to the nursery. The sight of my sleeping son calms my racing heart. He is less than a year old, but I love him with an infinite depth that cannot be measured in years.

I watch him for a long time to reassure myself that he is not dead, that he is unharmed. I don’t know why I dream as I do, but I know with the greatest dread that something bad is coming.

And I have to stop it.

FIN

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

©Faith Rivens. 2016.

 

Galadryn | A Short Fiction

Hi everyone,

I really can’t remember the last time I posted a short story here, which is terrible. So here’s something I threw together just now. I used the Ides of March too inspire a starting point and then let inspiration carry me.

This is the result.

Hope you enjoy it 🙂


Galadryn fingered the dagger hidden beneath her billowing robes and felt another tremor of nerves rush through her body.

It was a warm day, hotter than the norm for this time of year. Chills rippled through her, nonetheless, her body drenched in sweat for a reason other than the weather.

The marketplace was marked by a lull, most vendors sitting at their stalls, a bored look in their eyes. Customers had dried up like the lake outside the town. The drought had chased away the normal visitors that would fill this space with a buzzing excitement. Now, the only sound of buzzing came from a surplus of flies bombarding the arid land.

Voices called out for her to stop and take a moment to appreciate the wares being sold. She kept her gaze down, refusing to connect with any of them, ignoring their pleas, lest they recognize her.

Galadryn passed without further hindrance down a deserted alley. After a few steps, she paused before a nondescript door. Throwing a furtive glance to her left and right, she assured herself that no one was watching and pressed a hand to the door.

Gold threads escaped from her fingterips and the door swung open at her command.

She scurried inside and was greeted by a dark chamber lit only by a single light.

A Shadow waited for her there. It raised its head as she entered, its face no more distinguishable than the obscure recesses of the room. It was better that way. She did not want to see. If there had been any other option, she would not have summoned it to help. But Death alone could end death.

A single table stood between her and the Shadow. It gestured at it and she approached, drawing the blade then from the folds of her robe.

The Shadow waved its hand again and a human child, a young girl still in her first decade of life, with curly golden locks, appeared upon the table. Her emerald eyes glimmeredwith fear.

“Do not be afraid,” Galadryn whispered in comfort.

The child eyed the dagger in her hand. “Are you going to kill me?” she asked.

Galadryn shook her head. “No.” The rush of nerves was almost too much to bear, but it was too late to retract her promise. She had sworn to protect her homeland from any danger to whatever end. She had to honour that vow.

The door opened then to reveal another woman dressed in sweeping violet robes. Her grey eyes shone with anxiety.

“You cannot do this.”

“You cannot stop me,” Galadryn commanded her, frustrated by this interruption. She had been careful to leave unnoticed. She should have known that Ollyra would have been a step ahead. “I have made my choice. The land is dying. Soon our people will too.”

“Princess — “

“No more, Ollyra. This is my choice. This is the child we hoped for. She can bring life again. But first, there must be death.”

She raised the dagger and said a final prayer to the gods for this sacrifice to end the suffering of her people.

The blade descended.

Silver tendrils ensnared her wrist, halting her action before the blade could pierce her skin.

“You will steal my conviction,” Galadryn accused her.

“Then it will be well,” Ollyra protested. “I cannot let you die. I did not train you for this.”

“You trained me to protect my people. Why must you stop me?”

“You know why.”

The little girl had been silent until this moment. She spoke up then, her voice a hush. “You wish to end the drought.”

Ollyra and Galadryn turned to her. The Shadow lingered behind, an unmoved observer.

“I had a dream of this land,” the girl continued. “That the waters would flow red first. Because I bid them to.”

Galadryn felt a ripple along her spine. “You will make them run.” She looked back to Ollyra. “But first, blood must spill.” A soft sigh escaped her lips. “This girl must be guarded and trained. Will you do it for me?”

Ollyra, defeated, gave a nod. “I did not mean to train you so well.”

“I am glad that you did. And I am glad that you are here. At my ending.”

The silver tendrils released her then. She feared death no more. This was the right decision. The girl would bring the land back to life. And Ollyra would train her.

“I will tell them of your sacrifice. And I will never forget.”

“Nor shall I.” She drew to mind the memory of their love and then raised the dagger once more.

It fell without obstruction this time.

The magic leapt from her as it pierced her heart, her life passing into the little girl. She became one with her then: Ananephy.

She knew then that the girl had come from a different land, from a different time, so far away, so far  ahead. The Shadow had drawn her here. It was good that Ollyra would take care of her, protect her.

As their essences mingled through the Shadow’s efforts, Galadryn lost all sense of who she had been. Now she knew only that she was Ananephy.

She was afraid to have been taken from her home, to have been brought to this strange place. But she would be brave. For weeks she had had the same dream about a desert land in need of water. This was to be her purpose. She would accept it.

The Shadow behind her vanished, its work done. She knew it was not the last she would see of it.

The woman with grey eyes offered her hand and helped her to descend.

“What is your name, young one?”

“Ananephy,” the girl replied. “But everyone calls me Nephy.”

“I am Ollyra.” The woman did not release her hand. “Come. It is time that the waters flow.”

“She is still here,” Nephy whispered before following her out the door. “I feel her love for you.”

A single tear dripped from her eye, but Ollyra spoke not a word.

Nephy would remember it as the first drop of water to fall on the day she restored the water, on the day death made way for new life.

FIN

Faith  quill-ink

© 2016. Faith Rivens.

 

 

Wordly Wise Wednesday | Zwieback

Hi everyone,

It’s evening here! I didn’t mean to be late but it’s been one of those weeks. Long hours at the office means little time for anything but reading and vegging when I get home. I’m hoping to do some writing before I head to bed tonight, but we’ll see how that pans out.

In the meantime, here’s a small WWW. I didn’t want another week to go by without doing a proper one.


ZWIEBACK

n. (SWEE – back)

  1. a usually sweetened bread enriched with eggs that is baked and then sliced and toasted until dry and crisp

Etymology

In ages past, keeping food fresh for any length of time required a lot of ingenuity, especially when one needed to carry comestibles on a long journey. One of the solutions people came up with for keeping bread edible for traveling was to bake it twice, thereby drying it and slowing the spoiling process. The etymology of zwieback reflects this baker’s trick; it was borrowed from a German word that literally means “twice baked.” Nowadays, zwieback is not just used as a foodstuff—the texture of the dried bread makes zwieback a suitable teething device for infants. Incidentally, other twice-baked goods whose origins reflect that fact include biscuit and biscotti, both of which come from phrases meaning “twice-cooked bread.”


The first day without Greta was the hardest.

She had always known what I needed before I even realized that I needed anything at all. Whether it was packing an extra pair of boots the morning after the Rains, knowing that mine would be worn out before the day’s end or preparing an extra batch of zwieback to last me on a week-long journey to the next county’s market. 

I had never fully appreciated how dependent I was on her love and care until the morning I woke up and realized that I would need to care for myself.

And so I went through the day, without my sister, without my twin, and understood for the first time, what it was to feel empty inside.

The first night was harder still. There was no voice to lull me to sleep, no one to soothe me when the nightmare of our parents’ death crept through my sleeping mind. 

I daren’t close my eyes and face the darkness alone and so I paced through the house. I searched through every nook that I could uncover for no better reason than to distract my distraught mind.

In a cabinet in the kitchen, I found pack of zwieback, enough to last me fourteen days. 

Greta had always known what I would need without me ever needing to ask. But somehow, she had not realized that the thing I needed most was her.

FIN

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

© 2016. Faith Rivens.

 

Faith’s Fiction | Snippets of Existence

Hi everyone,

This is just a little experiment. I’m not sure what inspired it. It just came to me and I let it flow.

I hope you enjoy it 🙂


I stand before the shattered pieces of my existence, the scattered remains of who I was before I became what I am now. And I am more frightened than I have ever been before.

I kneel on the ground and pick them up, one by one. And pause to peer into the past, to remember before I forget forever.

***

I am four. I am young. I am naïve. I am the happiest I will ever be.

I am swinging, grubby fingers clinging to cold iron handles. I am reaching for the sky and when I am high enough, I let go.

I fly for a moment, and then I fall.

And the pain comes.

***

I am ten. I am in the wheelchair I have been confined to for six years.

I watch from my seat of imprisonment as my friends skate across an icy landscape. Their laughter rings in my ears, taunting.

I close my eyes, imagine my feet gliding across the frozen lake.

Screams erupt, replace the peals of giggles.

My eyes open. My friends are gone. In the middle of the ice is a gaping hole.

My scream echoes alone.

***

I am still ten. Five coffins are laid out before me.

Ten pairs of eyes bore into the back of my head. They blame me, charge me with surviving. I will not tell them that I wish I were dead too.

***

I am twenty-two. Living in my mother’s house. I have not seen my father in five years. He abandoned us for a slimmer woman with a daughter who could actually walk.

I freelance edit from home, changing words with a wish that I could amend my life as easily.

I have never been kissed. I have never been loved. I am existing. I am not living.

***

I am thirty. I am going to die soon because I cannot live this way anymore. My mother was the last person in the world who cared about me. Now she is dead.

There are people offering me their condolences. I cannot hear them. I can only hear the fury pounding in my ears, the injustice.

Tonight, when they are gone, I will end the pain of being alone.

***

I am still thirty. I am an invalid, but worse than that, I am a coward. I did not think I could be afraid to die, but staring at a full bottle of pills turned my stomach upside down. I am afraid that there could be something worse waiting beyond my final breath. I want something better.

Then she comes, a figure cloaked in grey. Her pale eyes are almost translucent. Her dark lips could be coated in ebony ink.

She offers me something better, but I will have to forget my life. She promises that I can walk, that I will be happy, that I will live.

I ask what the catch is, and she just smiles. She will not tell me if there is one, so I know that there is. But I accept her deal nonetheless. Perhaps when I forget, I won’t remember that I was a coward.

***

That is the last piece of my life. I lower my hand, and rise again on two feet.

“What now?”

She smiles and blinks once, long lashes flickering over those pale eyes.  It is the last thing I see before darkness entombs me.

***

I am four. I am young. I am naïve. I have never been happier.

I am swinging, grubby fingers clinging to cold iron handles. I am reaching for the sky and when I am high enough, I let go.

I fly for a moment, and then I fall.

I land on two feet and beam triumphantly.

A lady bends down beside me. Her pale eyes are almost translucent. Her dark lips could be coated in ebony ink.

She pats my shoulder. “I have something to show you.”

She offers me her hand and I take it. She has a very pretty smile. I follow her away.

FIN

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

© 2016. Faith Rivens.

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day | Love Found

Happy Valentine’s Day one and all!

Love comes in many different forms. Today’s a good time as any to remind ourselves of that. It’s also the perfect time for me to say that I love posting on this blog & I love the friends that I have made through it. You all mean so much to me and I am forever grateful for your support & encouragement.

Whether alone, surrounded by family, curled up with a partner, partying with friends, remember to be kind to yourself, and love yourself. That is of the utmost importance 🙂

Here’s a small gift of words to you all! It’s super corny. Forgive me. But I couldn’t let the day go by without giving a little something.

 

 


I went looking for love. Searching high and low. I climbed the tallest tree. I plumbed the deepest depths. But love wasn’t there.

I walked miles far and wide. I crossed scorching desert sands. I strode through verdant meadow paths. But love wasn’t there. 

I swam the turquoise seas. I flew through cerulean skies. I covered every inch of the world. But love wasn’t there.

I came home and you were waiting. You had been there all along. You knew I would come back. And suddenly love was found.

FIN

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

© 2016. Faith Rivens.

 

WIP Saturday | Character Tag

Hello one & all!

Holly Evans has tagged me again 🙂 It’s such a delight to read about her projects. She has a lot of talent and you should… nay, must… check out her blog here 🙂

I have to apologize again for being rather lax on my posts. This revision of the Divided Draft is taking more out of me than I expected. I need to devote more time to it if I want to hit my publication deadline of this year. My goal is to post at least once  a week on my blog and to keep up to date with those blogs that I follow. I can keep to that at least.

Excuses out of the way, let’s get to some WIP sharing, shall we?


Give us the rundown of some of your main characters. 

There are two main characters in Divided Draft:

Keira – our story’s protagonist. An 18 year old girl who has been raised by parents since first orphaned ten years before. She has a strong heart and a stubborn attitude. She longs for freedom to make her own choices and live her own life and to be viewed for the strength she possesses, to not be taken for granted.

Sean – the captain of the Diamond Heart. He is Keira’s guardian and knows more about her fate than he lets on. He wants to protect her, but his stubborness often leads him to clash with her. His own past is dark one, marked by tragedy and loss.

 Who’s your favourite and why? 

It’s always going to be Keira, because she was the first character I really created that I connected to. She is everything I wish I could be, with a few of my flaws. She often takes me by surprise and I love moments when she takes action that even I wasn’t expecting.

Who’s the most difficult to write and why?

I think Sean’s the most difficult to write, only because getting into his head is getting into a whole big mess that I sometimes feel is bigger than myself. He has a lot of baggage and a lot of knowledge. It takes a lot more effort to delve into his mind than Keira’s.

If you could choose one to spend the day with in real life, who would you choose and why?

Keira because I feel that we would be great friends and that she could teach me a lot about becoming stronger and tougher and facing down my fears.

Pick one and answer the following:

What’s their basic description? Physical appearance, job, etc.

Keira stands at about 5’5 with curly chestnut hair and purple eyes. She is a pirate by trade, though she’s often blocked from taking as much action as she wants by Sean.

What are their views on love?

Nothing really significant. For her early life, she knew she was loved by her parents, but after their death, she lost any real contact with the motion. She cares for people and know they care about her. But she’s never known love in any other sense.

What are their religious views?

The land where she lives is ruled by one god, but she does not believe in him. She believes in freedom and creating her own destiny.

How do they feel about death?

Keira doesn’t often consider death. She’s still young and sees a long life for herself. That changes when she discovers that she must stop the threat over her ocean home. Suddenly Death is a constant shadow that she must escaoe.

What’s their approach to food and cooking?

It’s not much of an important matter for Keira. She eats what’s available. Fish is a necessity.

What’s their place in the world?

At first, she is inferior to many, living aboard a ship with men who see her as a child and so treat her as such. Her real place is far more complicated. She is of the utmost importance to the world’s existence.

What’s their big dream?

Keira’s only dream is to be free, to live life according to her own rules, to sail the Oceans Six without any one to hinder her.

How did they come about?

I’ve mentioned it before, but Keira began as part of the idea for that short story I had to write in school. Fun Fact: her name in the first draft was Leia. Then I stumled across the name Keira and realized it suited her much better 🙂

If you were to ship them with another character, yours or someone else’s, who and why?

Oooh, tough question. I’d actually have to say that I would ship her with Tom. He’s a minor character on the ship who acts like an older brother. If things were different, I would have shipped them together because they have such great chemistry. But things are the way they are 🙂

Finally, if you can, share some lines or a snippet focused on this character!

I’ve shared a few lines about Keira already, but never dialogue. Here’s her first conversation with Sean:

“I was expecting you sooner.”

Sean took a deep breath to suppress his bristling anger as he came to tower over the chestnut-haired girl. He despised her ability to touch upon his nerves, but he could not fault her for it. Ten-and-eight, she had more spirit than many women twice her age. It was a product of the unorthodox lifestyle she had been raised into, a lifestyle she had not chosen to embrace, a lifestyle she had learned to adore.

“If you expect to be found, Keira, why do you even bother leaving?”

A shrug deformed her shoulders. She uncrossed her legs, her boots hovering inches above the water. “Because I like to see you cringe.”


 

Well, I guess that’s it for now 🙂

If you want to answer these questions for yourself, please do 🙂 And don’t forget to let me know if you do 🙂

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

© 2016. Faith Rivens.