I believe I owe you all an excerpt from my work-in-progress, Dagger of the Sun (or DotS as I affectionate like to call it).
Without further delay…here it is:
The night air was causing gooseflesh to spread over her arms and legs and the flimsy pale blue tunic wasn’t doing much to protect the rest of her either. Delphyne cursed whatever gods had brought the prince back from the barracks tonight of all nights. She judged the distance from her vantage point to the throne room’s entrance to be less than a minute, but the trick would be crossing the crowded floor without being stopped by someone interesting in hearing about a hunter’s tale.
Or I could jump from the balcony.
It honestly didn’t look that high. If she bent her knees on the landing, she would be fine. She leaned over the railing, letting her fingers encircle the cool stone.
“I would advise against it.”
Delphyne swivelled, heart nearly popping out of her chest. “Don’t scare me…I thought you were —”
Apollo raised an eyebrow.
“Nevermind,” Delphyne amended. “Where have you been?”
She had lost track of Apollo seconds after the feast had started. Apollo had noticed a poet friend of his in the crowd and wandered off. After that, it had been difficult to catch sight of him for more than a minute as he flitted around the room like a butterfly.
“Making the rounds,” Apollo said. “But I’m more interested in knowing why you’re standing here peeping at the statues?”
In the moonlight, the statues in the garden behind her looked even more lewd. Not to mention the occasional moans that drifted up from the shadowed maze.
“I was…” She paused. How could she phrase her words so that she didn’t sound like either a coward or a pervert? “I was getting some fresh air.” She finished rather lamely.
“It has gotten rather stuffy.” A pause. “More so now that the prince has arrived.”
“Asclepius told me.” Apollo looked at her, a small smile forming on his lips. “Did the prince really ask you to marry him…by telling you that you’d be a good breeder?”
Delphyne gave him a look that implied she would not be discussing this at length.
“And did you really punch him in response?”
Clearly, her look got lost in translation. “I didn’t have my sword with me, so punching him was my only recourse.”
Since this is a work in progress, I am very open to criticism and feedback…any thing that will help me improve. So please, please, leave a comment or suggestion below.
Now it’s back to the writing board!
–Rika Ashton (aka Book Hermit)
Fellow writer and critique partner, June Hur, nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award and I graciously accept the invitation to participate in the blog tour and share seven interesting facts about my life.
- Share 7 Lovely Facts about yourself.
- Link to 15 blogs (or as many as possible) that you enjoy reading…I just picked my top five favourite blogs to visit that haven’t already been nominated…I hope.
- Nominate the authors of those 15 (or however many you chose) blogs to participate and do the same, linking back to the blog that nominated you – which would be this blog.
My nominees will be further down in the post – but first, for my seven hour long acceptance speech:
A-hem…I feel quite blessed to receive this great badge of honour and I would like to thanks the universe for finally recognizing my genius, my family and friends – including my mom and dad, my several aunts and uncles, my grandparents on both sides, my cousins, my neighbour’s cat…here’s to you Patrick…the lady who works at the Dynamite store in the mall who always brings me my size –
CHAOS: Stop! This is all wrong.
APOLLO: *making a rare appearance off the pages of my manuscript* I agree, you’ll bore them to tears. Have you never heard of keeping it short and sweet?
DELPHYNE: *also jumping off my manuscript and smirking* Yeah, like Apollo’s c–
APOLLO: *glaring at Delphyne* Don’t say it!
DELPHYNE: *shrugging with a grin* I was going to say cat.
CHAOS: I’m a cat!
APOLLO and DELPHYNE: We know.
CHAOS: Oh…well, I just wanted to say that the speech was all wrong.
ME: How do you mean?
CHAOS: I should have been the first person you mentioned…not, not PATRICK!
APOLLO and DELPHYNE: *eyeroll*
CHAOS: Am not!
APOLLO, DELPHYNE and ME: Are too!
CHAOS: *saunters off*
Well, thanks to that untimely interruption I’ve lost my train of thought – anyone who was not mentioned in the acceptance speech will just have to blame Chaos.
But now for seven curious facts about my life:
1. I am a chronic binge-watcher of anime series. I’ve watched everything from Skip Beat (with English subtitles) to Dragonball Z (a childhood favourite) and Death Note.
2. I’ve had three near death experiences…two by nearly drowning.
Sad fact is that I still don’t know how to swim, and I probably never will. The whole “your natural survival instincts will kick in to save you thing” never really happened…I just got tall enough to stand up in the pool.
3. My childhood (and current) dream is to fly.
You can probably blame this on that fact that I read way too many paranormal romance novels with angels, etc. Plus then I could be a crime fighting superhero who wears heels…because I’d never have to walk again!
4. My favourite Greek myth is the one about Narcissus…I could really relate to how he fell in love with himself, lol.
5. If I could go back in time, I would…and then I’d kill the guy who invented Math.
And it wouldn’t be a pansy-ass assassination either, but real hard core and one that would require elaborate planning, costumes, and theme music.
6. I have a LOVE for gaudy nail paint colours.
Bright blue, neon pink, highlighter yellow…BRING IT ON!
7. I once appeared on a TV new cast, but I missed it.
I’ve been trying to recapture my 15 seconds of fame ever since.
And here are my nominees:
1. Priscilla Shay
She is fascinated with all things historical and the only way she can explain it is by claiming she was – clearly – born in the wrong century. (Although, she has been dabbling in the Paranormal and Young Adult.) She currently lives in NY and holds a B.A. in English: Creative Writing, Honors and a M.A. in History. She is also a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America). When not writing she can be found in a corner crafting, drawing, or baking.
2. Ki Pha
I’m a reader! Plus an artist. I also write and am a habitual daydreamer, with out of the world crazy imaginings that I can never write down quick enough onto paper. I’m a hoarder of print books and need a new bookshelf. Plus having a Kindle is not helping in my book binge.
3. Wicked Scribes
(A very mysterious book blogger with an interest in paranormal romance and fantasy novels, but no official bio.)
4. Rakes and Rascals
I’m a young-at-heart 67 year old retiree living in the small town of Penarth, South Wales, UK…I love Historical Romances but I do occasionally read Contemporary and Erotic Romances. Although I don’t read Paranormal Romances, I make an exception for J. R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
5. Noelle Pierce
My world is convoluted, random, and sometimes confusing, but it only matches all my roles in life: mother, student, teacher, artist, wife, daughter, writer. I love to laugh, believe in destiny, and try to see the silver lining around every cloud. Watching thunderstorms is a favored pastime of mine and I love living in a big city with lots to do. I don’t ever get to do any of it, but I like knowing it’s there.
Have fun! And don’t forget to visit Ms. Hur’s blog and check out her answers!
(aka “I should start writing down my acceptance speech for when Oprah contacts me to appear on her show.”)
As most of you might already know DOTS (aka Dagger of the Sun) is undergoing some changes. The more time I spend in my fictionalized version of Ancient Greece, the more the world expands – in particular, the Underworld. The Underworld in DOTS is actually a world within a world, and in my version it existed long before Hades claimed it for the dead. And unlike the surface world of mortal Greece, which with the exception of supernatural elements, is mostly true to history – the Underworld is almost 99% a fictionalized landscape. I’m having loads of fun naming places and coming up with groups of people who inhabit the different landscapes of the Underworld.
Best of all, I actually get to stretch my creative muscles a bit and create a map of the Underworld. I actually get to draw! (Or at least I like to call all the chicken scratch I’m throwing on paper “drawing.”)
Of course, not all of the terrain with be revealed in the first book, so I don’t get to draw a complete map…otherwise that would be some major spoilage for book two, but what I do get to include is very detailed.
But I have to say: PLEASE, DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH from this map – I am NOT an artist and therefore, it’s going to be a very amateurish attempt at drawing a map.
However, despite the fact that it will be a very embarrassing attempt, I will still swallow my pride and share on the blog.
And for those of you still not deterred and unafraid of having your eyes bleed, I do have a very bad rough draft.
To make up for my bad mapping skills, I’ll share a teaser from DOTS. This is a scene that happens way later in the novel, and features Bae and Kael. The gentlemen are discussing Bae’s rigorous training schedule for Delphyne.
Ben Hill, my inspiration for Bae.
“Do you think I’m being too hard on her?” Bae asked.
Kael thought about the still-healing cut that he had seen running down the length of Delphyne’s right arm. The fabric of the bandage she’d hastily wrapped around the wound had been soaked through. He had been ready to drive his fist though Bae’s face last night, but had been halted by the words Delphyne had whispered to him in the flickering candlelight of their bedchamber.
“I’m still alive, aren’t I?” She had shrugged, not without flinching. “And as incredible as this may seem at the moment, I do plan to stay that way.”
“I think it’s good for her,” Bae continued, dunking his hands into a basin full of water. He splashed a handful of the water on his face, using the clear liquid to rub away the dirt and sweat of the day’s training session. “But I figured if you’re itching to slit my throat, you might as well get it over with so we can both move on.”
A river of fire. That’s how Delphyne’s wound had looked the night before. A vermilion streak over sun-kissed skin. This morning it had been the finest white line. It was healing. Fast.
So much faster than before.
“No,” said Kael. “I don’t want to slit your throat for hurting my wife.”
Bae looked at him in surprise.
“I want you to keep training her…until she’s strong enough to slit your throat on her own.”
And there you have it! I had to cut out some parts from the scene – because some things that Kael says are spoilers – but I felt relatively safe uploading this.
Hopefully you enjoyed the little snippet, and now I have to get back to writing! 😀
(aka The Mapmaker)
Writing some new scenes into Dagger of the Sun and while none of my characters can be clearly defined as heroes or villains, some are truly bad until they have a moment (albeit small) of redemption. And, although Delphyne, Kael and Apollo are the main characters, none of them are selfless enough to be anyone’s hero – at least not for very long.
But the character flaws are fun to play with and their corruption makes the political games more interesting throughout the novel – especially when the Warlords come into play. (These were some of my favourite scenes to write, and I can’t till I have a rewritten snippet to share on the blog.)
I’m currently playing around with a action sequence starring Delphyne, Apollo and Lykos – a professional killer employed by Kael and sent for item retrieval. It’s a key scene in the novel, so I’m trying really, really hard to get it right. Luckily, the music gods were listening to my prayers and sent me a neat piece of inspiration for the scene – Tegan and Sara’s “I’m Not Your Hero:”
The lyrics of the song are a perfect fit for Delphyne’s personality and inner feelings. I love finding music that I can write to…even better if it’s music that inspires me to write. 😀
What are some of your favourite pieces of writing music?
(aka The Anti-Hero Writer)
I’m going to try and keep this post short…mostly because I have to get back to writing, but I thought it might be time for a new teaser from Dagger of the Sun. (And this one will be slightly longer than one line, I promise!)
But first I need to give a special shout out to my critique partners, June Hur and Priscilla Shay, for keeping me motivated through the new draft. I have really high expectations for this novel, but sometimes they don’t always translate well on paper. Yet the advice these ladies have given me makes me want to keep writing…even when I feel like tearing my hair out because none of my characters will do what I want.
It seems silly to say this, because aren’t they just characters? But I dare you to write a novel featuring both Apollo (aka Arrogant Sun God) and Delphyne (aka Madame Huntress Extraordinaire) and see how far you get before you want to throw your computer out the window.
The most surprising part is that Kael, my anti-hero, is the only one doing what he’s told…I think he just really wants me to get this novel published so he can share his magnificence with the world. 😉
And he’s not the only one. I also want to get this novel out there as soon as possible so that I can start on the next one. I even have a title: Throne of the Sun…and yes, the acronym is TOTS because I am awesome. But the acronym for the third novel won’t be as fun – Empire of the Sun…EOTS just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Of course, these are just working titles and might change, but for now I like them and I want to get on with these stories…
But I just remember my promise to keep this post short, so no more ranting today.
If anyone has actually read this far, it’s only because they finally want me to get to the teaser, so here it is:
“Isadora talks to me,” Asclepius had said a moment later, mentioning the Spartan war widow who owned
The late Andy Whitfield, my inspiration for Asclepius.
one of the farms near their home.
“Isadora also talks to her plants.”
But he’d shrugged. “She said it helps them grow.”
Delphyne had slanted her head and narrowed her gaze at him. Then she’d smiled and said, “You like her.”
Although he had reminded himself that grown men didn’t blush, he’d felt heat creeping into his cheeks. “No, I don’t,” he remembered saying.
Delphyne had given him that look – the one with a slow smile and narrow-eyed determination. It was the look she got whenever her mind was running through a series of schemes that were likely to spell trouble for him. He had been intimately acquainted with that look since Delphyne had been ten summers old and had begun smiling again.
The above teaser, completely unedited, is from chapter four in DOTS…the one chapter that was giving me the most trouble, but I’m done with the new draft and I’ll be sending the chapter to my critique partners soon.
(aka The Very Grateful)
It’s back to writing and revamping Dagger of the Sun (DOTS) – yes, I also feel like I do this A LOT!
I felt like I had to revamp my story before submissions for a few very important reasons:
1. Delphyne had no real motive to be involved in any of the action. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to give her a motive. (i.e: She’s Apollo’s friend so she cares, dammit!) But in the end, this wasn’t enough – in Booklandia, friendship can only take a character so far.
2. I HATED the ending. So for obvious reasons this had to change.
3. I jumped into the action too fast. Great for plot development, not so great for character development – hence, I needed to find the book’s Zen balance.
4. My cousin – aka Book Critique #1 – told me the first chapter was too bloody, so if someone was reading it and eating at the same time…well, you get the picture.
5. My other cousin – aka Self-Proclaimed Book Critique #2 – told me the title was too funky. (But I’m not changing this…NOT again. Besides it’s a working title and I don’t have time to agonize over it yet.)
So what’s up with the new DOTS?
Well, in addition to the above changes, I also have to move around all the chapter so they would fit with the new life story I gave Delphyne. (I ended up completely overhauling her life, but I’m satisfied with the new story – it feels right.) Apollo gets a later introduction, but his sons arrive earlier. Delphyne also has a new mentor. Some minor changes included switching the spelling of Lord Kaelus’ name from “Kale” to “Kael.”
I also upgraded some of the armour and weapons in the book. (I was inspired by Kellan Lutz’s upcoming film, The Legend of Hercules.)
Finally, after much agony and torment, I decided on a new first line for the novel – which is actually today’s teaser:
Delphyne woke to the metallic taste of blood in her mouth and the suffocating scent of death.
So are you tempted to read more?
And now it’s back to the drawing board – although, I don’t really get to draw anything. *sigh*
(aka The “Writer”)
For the past week, I’ve been revelling in my newfound freedom from school – sleeping in, surfing the net, playing Candy Crush, and writing till my fingers cramp! YES!!! I’m living the dream – well, my dream anyway.
Except when my dream is broken by periodic boats of depression where I brood about deep philosophical concepts like, “Why does this level only have 50 moves? How am I supposed to crush all the candy AND the jelly in only 50 moves?!”
Tamaki, from Ouran High School Host Club, imitating my depression mode! 😛
But the other day I was rescued from my depression by the most unexpected person – BARBIE!
I was browsing the net after I lost all five lives in Candy Crush and had to wait an entire half hour before I got more and found some EPIC pictures of Barbie from the Around the World collection – Ancient Greek edition to be exact!
Well, you can just imagine my fangirling and squealing when I discovered that Delphyne – yes, MY Delphyne, the psycho-heroine of Dagger of the Sun – had a Barbie counterpart. Not only Delphyne, but Aphrodite, Athena, and Persephone as well.
Check them out!
Here’s Delphyne – she wears a dress similar to this one in a seen from DOTS, although Delphyne’s hair is loose.
And the gorgeous Aphrodite – although, my Aphrodite is blonde.
Persephone – although I imagined her with less unruly hair!
And finally, we have two versions of Athena – and I totally stole the armour from the second for one of Delphyne’s costumes in DOTS!
Athena with armour
I’ve never been a Barbie fan before, but these ladies were too gorgeous to resist!
(aka The New Ancient Greek Barbie Fan)
P.S: I really need to find a male Ken version of Apollo and Kale! 😉
I’ve finally got some time to write yesterday, so I thought why not post another short teaser from DOTS?
The city center, marketplace and all, was burning – flames ravenously engulfing the landscape. The agora itself was a pit of bright, orange fire. Smoke, that hadn’t been visible from within the alley, was rising into the air like a dark cloud.
And there were more reptilian creatures.
Behind her, Delphyne heard the clatter of a sword being tossed aside, which prompted her to action.
She had to find Apollo; if anyone knew what was going on, it would be him.
Unfortunately it was easier said than done.
More of the smoke was beginning to rise, mixing with the summer heat, making her eyes water as she ran blindly towards where she had seen Apollo land earlier.
As always, feel free to make predictions about what you think will happen next by leaving a comment below?
(aka “I’m so happy to be writing again!”)
P. S: I found a picture of Delphyne the Gorgon – this comes from the Marvel comic book, Incredible Hercules.
Personally, I’m looking forward to sleeping on Saturday – university forces me to wake up way to early the rest of the week. 😦
To celebrate the awesomeness of Friday and the end of the week – a very BUSY week at that – I thought I would post a teaser from Dagger of the Sun (DOTS). I like posting teasers, because it forces me to edit my writing, which I don’t always want to do. I am a very lazy person, as most of you probably know after reading a previous post, so getting down to editing something takes a lot of effort for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE writing! But the first draft is always the best for me – it’s when I get to discover the nuances of the story for the first time. The journey is fresh and new and I want to finish just so I know how everything ends. I like the part of the editing process that allows me to rejuggle the story, but I hate the part about grammer/spelling – mostly because I’m awful at these aspects.
But, now, without further ado – THE TEASER!
Taking advantage of her temporarily stunned state, her captor aimed another kick to her sword hand, crushing her fingers until she was forced to drop her sword. Delphyne felt a hand clamp over her mouth and nose, preventing any hope of breathing.
In less than second, Delphyne knew she would be unconscious and defenseless. Survival instincts kicking in, she aimed her knee high between her captor’s legs – swinging hard enough that it should have brought whoever had manhandled her to their knees in screaming agony.
Only it didn’t.
I always look forward to reader predictions…so go ahead and speculate about what you think is going to happen in the comments!
(aka High on Friday!)
Music is a huge inspiration for me, especially when it comes to my writing, so it’s no suprise to me when I develop a playlist for a novel I’m working on. For DOTS, I have about 10 different songs I listen to on repeat when trying to get into character.
1. “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake
- This one totally defines Delphyne and Apollo’s relationship – although, probably not in the way you think. (Plus, I’m syched that JT released a new album and releasing another in September 2013).
2. “One of Us” from The Lion King: Simba’s Pride soundtrack
- I often listen to Disney soundtracks – I’m a Disney junkie whose probably seen every movie the comany ever made – while writing and this one was an obvious choice sine exile is a HUGE theme in the novel. I also loved the dark tone of the song and lyrics since it fit so well with the tone of the novel.
3. “Main Theme” from the Game of Thrones soundtrack
- Instrumental music is perfect for me because I sometimes get distracted by the lyrics of a song and the Game of Thrones theme song has the perfect pacing to write with.
4. “Burn it Down” by Linkin Park
- This song just thematically fit since a LOT of things burn down in DOTS!
5. “Perfect” by Hedley
- No one in DOTS is perfect – villain or hero – so this song was another natural fit.
6. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
- Pretty much the only song I listened to when writing the “Kale and Delphyne” scenes in my novel.
7. “Romantic Flight” from the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack
- Dragons, dragons, dragons! One of the best parts of any fantasy novel are the mythical creatures and the relationship between the hero and his/her creature. This is one of the “lighter” songs that I listened to while writing DOTS, and the melody of this song was good for the less intense scenes.
8. “If I Lose Myself” by OneRepublic
- I think this song defines friendships with unconditional loyalty and trust and for a while some of the characters had such relationships in DOTS.
9. “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia
- This song was written for Apollo! No, seriously, just listen to the lyrics!
10. “Grenade” by Bruno Mars
- Because everyone should think about grenades while writing ancient Greek fantasy novels. 🙂
And that concludes my musical list for DOTS!
I’m always on the lookout for good writing music, so if you would like to make a recommendation just leave a comment below. Thanks.
(aka The Musical)