#NaNoWriMo Final Count

It’s about 3 am November 30th. I’m tired. I wrote a lot of words today. So I’ll just let this speak for itself:

NaNoWriMo_2013_Winner

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#NaNoWriMo Day 28, a.k.a. Thanksgiving

Hi there! It’s Thanksgiving, or something!

So this has been a rough week. I didn’t write anything on my novel Monday or Tuesday, and Tuesday night I legit almost cried from the stress. Now, I DID write about 6000 words on other projects for school and stuff, but my novel was sorely neglected.

So I made up for it by writing nearly 13,000 words on Wednesday. By the end of Wednesday I was extremely brain dead and it was 4:00 in the morning. Then today I had two turkey dinners (one at my dad’s house and one at my friend Chris’s) and a few Smirnoffs. So I’m barely functioning right now from the combination lack of sleep plus too much food plus alcohol.

I did, however, do some writing today. About 1000 words. In between turkey times. And since I haven’t shared an excerpt, here’s a little something. It involves, Maria, the star of the short story, “Radiance.” Now, my original plan was for Maria to enter the main novel series in Book Two . . . but I also planned for Book One to kinda end where Book Two now ends. But “Manifestation” ran longer than expected, and when I was only halfway through the planned story, I was at over 120,000 words. I also built up to a really nice climax at around that 120,000, and decided that was the perfect place to end “Manifestation.” But as a result, the second half of that “arc” ended up being Book Two, “Contamination” (which also ran longer than expected). As a result, Maria’s time to enter the story doesn’t arrive until Book Three, “Collapse.”

But here’s a little glimpse of her. Naked. (By the way, there’s major spoilers below. Sexy spoilers):

            The girl that stood before them had a body that seemed to be made out of ice. Glimmering crystals covered her flesh, and when she moved her head, her hair crunched like footsteps in the snow. She was also completely naked. Her crystalline body was like a translucent ice sculpture, carved by the hand of God himself. Gabby found her eyes drawn to the girl’s more sensual curves, and her face grew warm.

            Callia caught Gabby staring at the exotic stranger and smacked her on the arm. Hard. “Oww!” Gabby said. She rubbed her arm and tore her eyes away from the beautiful creature of ice to look at Callia. Callia crossed her arms beneath her breasts and gave Gabby a look. Gabby blushed deeper and lowered her eyes to the ground. “Sorry.”

            “Gabby?” the ice girl said. She stepped closer, then flinched when she crossed into Gabby’s aura. Gabby backed away, trying not to look directly at the very attractive, very naked ice girl. “Gabby Palladino?”

            Gabby looked up at the girl, catching another glare from Callia as she did so. She forced herself to keep her eyes on the girl’s face. She looked familiar, though it was hard tell with the way the light almost passed through the girl’s translucent face. “Maria?” she asked. “Maria Vasquez?”

            Callia leaned over towards Gabby and asked, “You know this girl?” The look in her girlfriend’s eyes wasn’t a pleasant one.

            “Yeah,” Gabby said. “She went to my school. But . . .” Gabby looked between Callia and Maria. “Maria, you weren’t at the school when the fire happened, were you? I thought you dropped out senior year?”

            “My mother was ill,” Maria said. Her crystalline eyes roamed the air around Gabby, tracing along the edges of her invisible aura. “She is preserved now.” Maria’s eyes seemed out of focus. Something about her eyes reminded Gabby of Minori. Like her mind was someplace else, just as Minori’s seemed to be when she spoke about Mithriel.

            Gabby frowned at the word “preserved,” and exchanged a look with Callia. “But what are you doing out here now?” she asked. “And why are you naked?”

            Maria looked down at herself. She ran her fingers down her skin and a sound like ice skating drifted through the air. “Cloth doesn’t stay anymore,” she said. “My new skin is too cold, and too sharp.”

            Gabby looked at Maria’s skin, and got another sharp look from Callia. She wasn’t looking at the ice girl’s curves, however, and instead studied her skin itself. It was hard to get a good look from the distance, since she couldn’t move closer without overloading Maria. It looked, though, as if Maria’s skin was covered in razor sharp crystals of ice. It looked almost like diamonds.

            Maria stepped over to a nearby Mimosa tree and scraped the back of her arm down the smooth bark. She left shallow gashes down the length of it, along with a layer of frost. “I have to be careful what I touch,” Maria said. She stepped away from the tree, leaving frosted footprints that turned the grass to icicles. “It’s not safe to be around me.”

            Gabby felt a swelling in her heart. “I know what you mean,” she said. “It’s not safe for me to be near people with powers.” She looked at Callia with a questioning glance. Callia arched an eyebrow and gave a small shake of her head. Gabby turned back to Maria. “You should come with us.”

            Callia glowered, then turned away and looked down at the ground. Maria arched an eyebrow and asked, “Come with you where?”

            “We’ve been gathering people with powers and taking refuge,” Gabby said. “The government is after us. All of us. It’s not safe, especially for you to be out here alone.”

            Maria turned and looked to the west. She stared for a long moment, then nodded. The motion brought the sound of crunching snow. She turned back to Gabby and Callia and said, “I’ve been avoiding people so I won’t hurt them. But if you understand this,” she held up her hand and turned it before her face, watching the light stream through her translucent skin, “then maybe you can help me.”

            Gabby nodded. “We can help,” she said. She looked to Callia, who still wasn’t meeting her eyes. She touched Callia on the arm. “Right?”

            Callia looked up and gave her a forced smile. “Right,” she said.

Gabby and Callia’s stories won’t be seen until “Manifestation” releases next year. But if Maria intrigues you, I’ve published a short story about her origins. It’s 3000 words and serves as a stand-alone story in the “Arcana Revived” world, and shows you how Maria got to be the way you see her above. The ebook also has a poem written by none other than Gabby Palladino, as well as an excerpt from “Manifestation.”

Mythology: Helen’s Guardians

Mythology Banner

So I have a friend named Helen Boswell (@HelenBozz). A lot of the people who read my blog probably know her. She’s a totally sweet and awesome writer person. She’s also a SCIENTIST:

She also, unfortunately, has been diagnosed with lymphoma. So some other awesome friends of mine made a facebook page for her to raise some support. I’d like to help spread the word. Go check her out and maybe look at her books. Or tweet at her and see how awesome and supportive and kind she is. And if you’re really cool maybe you’ll spread some of these links around too. Cause that would be epic.

#NaNoWriMo Day 21

Today’s post will be a bit short, since I’m low on time due to homework, Graduate Assistant work, and wanting to get back into writing “Collapse” as soon as possible.

I broke 100,000 words for #NaNoWriMo. I hit that mark just behind my arch nemesis, Kelley (@nanogeekette on Twitter). I’ve been racing to catch up to her word count for a couple of weeks now, and we have a friendly wager going for who will have the highest by November 30th (if I win, she has to write a short story for my blog). I’m currently just 1009 words ahead of her, after she’s been ahead of me ALL MONTH (she’s also writing right now while I’ve been busy doing other things, so I suspect she’s passed me again already).

Meanwhile, my plot line is coming along nicely. Remember the other day when I said I let the characters chat and discuss their situation? Well, the ideas that spawned from that conversation have given me a lot to work with. I’m currently in the middle of some big action scenes. Here’s a glimpse of Bad Ass Gabby and Jeremiah (The Booster and The Paladin):

            She glanced back at them. They watched her with doubt and fear building in their eyes. She looked back at the soldiers with the guns and sighed. I guess I should show them all what being a super-powered teenager is all about.

            She stepped closer to Jeremiah and let her aura wash over him. “Don’t hurt them,” she said. He glanced at her over his shoulder and nodded. His eyes glowed with a silvery light.

            “He’s one of them!” one of the soldiers shouted. “Call some of the Awakened soldiers!” Both of the men squeezed the triggers on their machine guns and opened fire.

            Jeremiah flexed his arms and crossed them in front of him. Silvery-white light erupted from him as the hail of gunfire reached him. The light crystallized in the air and formed into a hemispherical shield. The bullets pelted the shield and sent crystal shards flying through the air. The shards evaporated moments after they broke free from the shield, turning back into light and rising into the air in elegant wisps. Hundreds of bullets poured from the guns, and Jeremiah’s shield cracked under the onslaught. Gabby let out a breath and opened her mind, letting more mana flow. The energy poured into Jeremiah without effort; holding the energy back was always the hard part. His shield strengthened and grew, the crystal now replenishing faster than the gunfire could tear it down. Gabby’s head ached from the torrents of energy passing through her mind, but she held steady and just let it flow. Bullet shells flew off the backs of the trucks, and more rounds fed up into the guns from belts dangling from their sides. Eventually the belts ran dry and the guns clicked, empty and useless.

            “Holy fuck,” one of the soldiers said.

            Gabby cupped her hands to her mouth and shouted, “You might both want to duck!”

            The soldiers looked at each other, then turned and jumped off the trucks, one running right, the other left. Jeremiah unleashed the force from his shield the moment they were clear. Crystal shards flew at the vehicles and burst against them in a massive wave of force. Both guns were ripped from their mounts and torn to shreds. The vehicles were shoved backwards by the force, and their armor plating dented and ripped. Their tires blew out and steam poured from their dented front grills.

And that’s all for now. Hopefully by the next blog post this Sunday, I’ll be over 120,000 words for the month!

Random D&D Quiz

I stumbled across this site online, which has an extensive series of questions that judges what type of D&D character you are. This nailed me pretty damn well.

I Am A: Chaotic Neutral Elf Wizard (4th Level)

Ability Scores:

Strength-14

Dexterity-14

Constitution-13

Intelligence-17

Wisdom-11

Charisma-13

Alignment:
Chaotic Neutral A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it. Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society’s restrictions and a do-gooder’s zeal. However, chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.

Race:
Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard’s strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

#NaNoWriMo Day 19

I’ve got a few things to discuss today, so let’s tackle them one at a time.

"Radiance" Short Story
“Radiance” Short Story

First, I’ve gotten some feedback from people saying that they’re interested in my writing based on the excerpts and such that I’ve been sharing. That always feels rather good. While there’s only about 100 people or so who visit this blog every month, my hope is that all of them are people who enjoy my writing and want to see more.

In that vein, I figured the middle of #NaNoWriMo is a good time to pitch my self-published short story, “Radiance.” If you haven’t seen me talking about it on the blog before, “Radiance” is set in the same world as my three novels, “Manifestation” (currently in revisions and planned for release early 2014), “Contamination” (which I just finished writing last week), and “Collapse” (which I just barely started). This is one of many short stories to be released in this series. See, there is a LOT of potential for development in the world I’m building, and a lot of stuff that won’t fit in the main novels. So I’ve written short stories that show different things outside the main story, following different characters. A couple of the stories I’ve written take minor characters from the novels and give them a chance for their own time in the spotlight. Others, like “Radiance,” show characters that haven’t yet appeared in the novels (but might in the future). These characters’ stories show the way the main events of the story impact others throughout the world.

“Radiance” is actually set at the same time as the main climax of “Manifestation.” The climax (which I won’t describe because SPOILERS!) is an event with far-reaching consequences that affects many lives. But, of course, the novel naturally remains focused on the main characters, not the others affected. “Radiance” and the other upcoming short stories let us see the scope of events beyond what we see in the main novel.

My goal is to release multiple short stories alongside the novels until I have a full set, then publish them later as a compilation. In the meantime, this story serves as a preview of what’s to come.

(And it’s only 99 cents on Kindle!)

Okay, enough self-promotion, right? I did promise there were multiple things to discuss today. The second is Writer’s Block.

Now, I don’t usually suffer from writer’s block. I used to, when I was younger, but then I figured out a technique that works quite well for me. It might not work for all kinds of blocks, since sometimes a block can be due to stress or other emotional issues where you feel like you just can’t write anything. One type of writer’s block, however, is just not knowing where the story itself is going next, and that’s where this technique comes in.

I tried to write quite a few novels when I was younger. One made it to 30 pages before I quit. One to around 50. One, my best early effort, made it to about 150 pages before I reached a point where I was like, “Okay . . . what happens next?”

See, I didn’t have a clear goal what I was writing towards. In that story, I started with the (overused) idea of random threats attacking people in a small town, so that the main characters had to track down the source (this is basically the opening plot of Lord of the Rings with the Ringwraiths, Wheel of Time with the Myddraal, and several other big fantasy novels). The problem was that when I first sat down to write, I had NO idea 1) Who sent these enemies, 2) Why they had been sent, or 3) What the characters would do about it.

I was, essentially, doing it backwards. Nowadays, I figure out who the enemy is BEFORE they attack. Think of it like writing a mystery. You don’t sit down and write about a murder and drop clues (a handkerchief, a footprint, and a pipe), and THEN ask yourself “Okay, now what do those clues mean?” Instead, you should figure out whodunnit, where, and with what, and then drop clues that hint at the real culprit.

Likewise, in my current works, I had a LOT of important details figured out before I began. I knew how the main characters’ magic would work, I knew how magic as a whole worked, and I knew what the consequences of magic’s revival would be. There were some specific details that changed as I went along, but all the way through books one and two, I had a specific goal I was working towards. I reached that goal with the climax of book two, and while it happened a little bit different than the original plan, it worked quite well.

Then I started book three, with only a half-formed plan. Without going into spoileriffic details, my basic plan for the plot of book three is “dealing with the consequences of the climax of book two.” I wrote about the first ten thousand words while focused on getting the characters out of the chaos they’d wrought at the end of book two and into a stable position to launch them into book three’s main plot. I may end up trimming some of that in revisions, since a lot of it was me exploring the crazy situation they found themselves in (though a lot of it is good, action-packed stuff involving clowders of demon cats). But then I reached a point where I had to sit back and ask myself, “Now what?”

And that brings me to the anti-writer’s-block-technique I mentioned earlier. I had all the pieces in place. I have plenty of conflict all around the characters’ lives. But I needed the story that would stem from that chaos, and I needed it before I went any further, so that I could write knowing where I was heading and knowing what clues to start dropping about where things were going next. I had some ideas, ideas involving armies of super-soldiers and the consequences thereof, but no clear idea how Gabby Palladino would be a key player as she had been up to this point.

So I did what I’ve learned to always do in this situation: I had the characters sit down and talk.

See, I, as the author, had something in common with my characters. They had no idea what they were going to do next. I mean, think about it: You just got through a crazy situation involving super-powered soldiers, golem-building terrorists, a fallen angel, and a huge conflict you barely escaped from. You got away, but the danger is still out there, much bigger than you, as an eighteen year old girl who didn’t finish high school (due to extenuating circumstances (remember, magic is changing the world)) can possibly do about it. You’d feel lost. You’d be confused. You wouldn’t know WHAT to do next.

So I figured, if I don’t know what Gabby is going to do next, and Gabby doesn’t know what Gabby is going to do next, the best technique is to write out her confusion. I wrote a long scene of her and the other main characters discussing their situation and planning what to do. Their conversation was essentially me, as the author, thinking out loud and figuring out what I wanted to do. By the end of the scene, several important plot points emerged, and I figured out exactly where the entire rest of the book is headed. I now had the big goal, and I know what the basic idea of the climax (100,000 words from now) will be.

So my advice (which has worked for me in several previous writing projects as well), is that if you’re ever stuck and not sure what to do, try just writing your characters in a scene where THEY are stuck and not sure what to do. If you’re writing a romance, have the main character call her best friend/mother/sibling to get advice. If you’re writing a mystery, have the detective talk things out with his partner. If you’re writing an action story, have the cop/army captain/starship commander call a meeting with his top men. Have them discuss the issue and see what ideas emerge.

I may end up cutting part of the resulting scene during revisions, since it rambled on a bit. But that’s fine. Right now, it’s writing time. Getting the ideas flowing is the most important part. Get them out, get them on the page, then decide during revisions how much of it goes and stays. You might end up cutting the entire scene, but so what? If that scene tells YOU what you need to know, it’s served its purpose. It got you moving to the rest of the plot, and that stops you from being paralyzed by the question of “What happens next?”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I know what happens next in “Collapse,” and I need to get writing.

#NaNoWriMo Day 17

Hello blog-reading people(s)!

I’m exhausted. I’m always exhausted on Sundays. See, since I haven’t found a new job yet, I work 11 hour shifts back to back each day Fri/Sat/Sun. My “weekends” are just endless work. On top of all that, I spend them writing. Today, I wrote about 4000 words while at work.

“But Jason,” you say, “didn’t you finish ‘Contamination’ already? How can you be writing?”

I’m glad you asked.

As I may have already mentioned, “Contamination” was part two in a minimum three part series, “Arcana Revived.” The first book, “Manifestation,” was written for #NaNoWriMo 2012. It’s currently in revisions (which are on pause until after NaNo, since NaNo is about WRITING, not revising). After “Manifestation” and “Contamination” comes my third book and current new WIP, “Collapse.”

As you can see on the side bar (all the way over there ————–>)
I’ve added a new word counter for “Collapse.” The “Contamination” counter is still not at 100%, because I’ve got a few little scenes to add in here and there to fix some plot holes. Today I wrote about 1000 words in one of those scenes, tying together some loose threads rather nicely. The rest of what I worked on was Chapter Two of “Collapse” (I wrote Chapter One yesterday).

My new goal is to complete “Collapse” by the end of NaNoWriMo. I wrote 80,000 words in the first two weeks of November. I want to write another 80,000 by the end (and then maybe use the first week of December for the last 40,000, unless I can squeeze it in to November still). That’d make a grand total of 160,000 words for NaNo, about double my original goal. Can I do it?

CAN I!?!?!?

*Ahem* Anyway, here’s an excerpt. I won’t share anything from the climax of “Contamination” because OMG SPOILERS!, but here’s a glimpse of the beginning of “Collapse” (which may also have SOME spoilers, so read on at your own risk (there may also be kissing (and clowders of demon cats))) :

Excerpt 1 (action):

            The cats emerged from beyond the tree line. There were half a dozen of them, and they were larger than any great cat Gabby had ever seen in the zoo. Their massive bodies would have dwarfed a tiger. “My God,” the man on Gabby’s left said. “They’re monsters! How did they get so big?”

            “The mana mutates them,” Gabby said. “Changes their bodies. Makes them grow.” One of the approaching cats let out a fierce roar and unleashed a gout of flame from its mouth. “And infuses them with arcana,” she added.

            “There’s a whole pack of them,” Colin said. His hands shook as he aimed his hunting rifle at them.

            “A clowder,” Callia said. Her hands were steady as she aimed her rifle at the approaching monsters. “A group of cats is called a clowder.”

            “They’re fire-breathing demon cats,” Gabby said. “And you think we should call them a ‘clowder’?” Callia just smirked and shook her head.

            “Cut the chatter,” Jeremiah ordered. He aimed his assault rifle, the only military-grade weapon they had, at the approaching clowder of demon cats. “Focus!”

            The demon cats ran down the street towards the school. “Fire when they reach the edge of the field,” Jeremiah said, sighting down the barrel of his rifle. “That’s about a hundred yards. You won’t hit them further out than that, so don’t waste bullets.” Most of the militia had little experience with rifles. A few had hunting experience, and with a decent rifle might be able to take down a target at two hundred yards fairly easily. The inexperienced militia members, however, would be wasting their shots at that range.

            Gabby stood up and aimed her bow into the air. “Gabby, wait!” Jeremiah said. “They’re still out of range, especially for a bow!”

            “Not for me,” Gabby said.

Excerpt 2 (because I promised someone a kissy scene today):

Callia stepped over and slipped her hands around Gabby’s waist. “I’ve never seen you so . . .” she said, ” . . . authoritative. It’s kinda sexy.”

            Gabby’s face turned red. She put her arms around Callia and said, “I couldn’t say no. It’ll give us something to do, and maybe next time there’s an attack, we’ll have a few more people with powers to help fight it off.”

            Callia’s fingers played with the hem of Gabby’s shirt and tickled the skin underneath. “And what do you want me to do to help with training,” she asked. “Captain Gabby?”

            Gabby scrunched her face and said, “Please don’t call me ‘Captain.’ That sounds so dumb.” She thought about it for a moment, though she was distracted by what Callia’s fingers were doing under her shirt. She pursed her lips and said, “How about, ‘Commander Palladino.'”

            “Ooh, I like that,” Callia said. She reached up and brushed a stand of hair off Gabby’s face. “Commander.

            The look in Callia’s eyes took Gabby’s breath away. Callia leaned closer and her lips touched Gabby’s. She pulled Callia closer and parted her lips to invite Callia’s tongue inside. They held each other close and kissed as if the world weren’t falling to pieces around them. Then Callia pulled back, her teeth tugging Gabby’s plump lower lip for a moment before releasing it. Gabby trembled, weak in the knees and clinging to her girlfriend. Her aura throbbed, and she had to take a few deep breaths to compose herself.

And that’s all for now!

“Contamination” Draft 1– Complete! (Technically)

Yes, that’s right. “Contamination,” Book Two of the Arcana Revived series is complete.

Technically.

What does “technically” mean? Well, first let’s go over the basic situation. The manuscript (backed up in three separate locations) stands at 117,747 words. Not far off from my 120,000 estimate. Of those words, 79152 were written during #NaNoWriMo.

I wrote the last line just a few minutes ago, and I think it’s a pretty damn good one if I do say so myself (no, I won’t tell you what it is). I’m fairly giddy, and feel like dancing or something.

But first I need to explain the “technically” part.

There are more words to write, which are still considered part of Draft One. But those words are to fill in some earlier gaps. There are a couple of scenes that, when I was deep into the story, I realized were incomplete. One needs substantial expansion. A couple of others need some minor (but plot-critical) details added. And there are a few small scenes I had planned to write but didn’t, because I was so focused on wrapping up the main plot that I didn’t finish off a couple of sub-plots. Of course, I have extensive notes about all of the scenes that need to be added, and that’s what I’ll be working on next. However, not one single word will be added on to the end of the story; most of what I’m going back to add will be back in the first 75% of the manuscript.

Then, of course, there will be revisions at some point. But the scenes I just mentioned will make Draft One be “officially” complete.

I expect those scenes to take, at most, a few days and a few thousand more words.

What will happen after that? I’m glad you asked. See, “Contamination” is part two in a series that will be a minimum of three, if not four or more books. The ending of this story completes the current tale and wraps things up very nicely, but also leaves me a good launching-point for the next book, “Collapse.” I MIGHT (depending on how things go) get started on “Collapse” during the remainder of #NaNoWriMo. We’re only at the halfway point of NaNo, and in theory, I could churn out the first 80,000 words of “Collapse” by November 30th.

Or I could, y’know, get some sleep and catch up on homework at Rowan. We’ll see.

#NaNoWriMo Day 12

It’s been a slow couple of days.

Yesterday, I had to spend most of my day getting caught up on a combination of school work, assignments for my Graduate Assistantship at Rowan University, and some other general errands. Today was fairly similar, with the addition of a career seminar I attended (as part of the “I’m quitting my job” plan and progress). As a result, I’ve only written 1800 words since my last blog post.

Fortunately, I’m still on target. My goal is to write 90,000 words by the end of November. Based on how far I am and the fact that there’s 18 days left, I only need to write about 2000 words a day to hit that, and that’s easy.

I’m also making some interesting progress in the course of the plot. I had some ideas recently that are helping me figure out how to tie the climax together. It’s all very exciting. Of course, I don’t want to spoil anything (though minor spoilers may be below), since one day I plan to publish this book like I already have with “Radiance.” But, I CAN share another little excerpt. And since last time I shared an awkward romantic scene, this time I can throw a little action in there:

            The jeep slowed, then stopped. The gas made it impossible to see, and hard to breathe. Gabby took off her seat belt and grabbed Callia’s hand. She tugged on her friend’s hand and until Callia followed and they climbed out of the jeep, with Gabby’s bow clutched in her other hand. Together, they stumbled into the woods. It didn’t take long to get away from the gas, but between the dark and the burning in her eyes, Gabby couldn’t see a thing. She stumbled through bushes and bumped into trees. Branches smacked her in the face. Light burned through her closed eyelids and bathed everything in red, and she knew the helicopter was still right above her, shining the searchlight down onto her. She sensed the men above her, and moments later felt them getting closer. Four mana signatures dropped down and surrounded her, and then the world erupted into chaos.

            “Get back!” she screamed. She tried to open her eyes, but all she could see was a blur and flashes of light. Energy poured from her mind into all four soldiers, and they cried out in pain. “I can’t turn it off! You have to get back!” To her right, she felt a wave of heat, and through blurred vision she saw the soldier there catch on fire. To her left the wind picked up and leaves were strewn about. She was nearly knocked down as a whirlwind buffeted her. She felt a shaking coming from behind her, and sparks of electricity flashed just ahead.

            She grit her teeth and tried to focus. She tried to find some calm center so she could stop the flow, just like when she’d closed the dam before. She couldn’t concentrate, however, and every time she coughed she felt a stronger surge of energy flow from her mind through her aura and into the men. Unable to stop it, she rushed to her left, pulling Callia with her. She shoved the soldier there aside, and he seemed too distracted by what was happening with his power to stop her. When her body collided with his the mana flow magnified a hundredfold, and the roaring winds escalated to gale force levels. She was thrown back and lost her grip on Callia’s hand. She landed in a thick bush and briars cut into her skin. Screams sounded in the night, and from above she heard the sharp metallic whine of the helicopter as it struggled to fight the winds.

            “Callia!” she shouted. Her friend didn’t answer.

Dun dun DUN?

#NaNoWriMo Day 10

So, it’s Sunday.

Yes, yes, I know what you’re going to say. “But Jason,” you say, “it’s after midnight, so that makes it Monday!”

Well, I say, poppycock! (Who says “poppycock” anymore, honestly?) It’s not Monday until the sun comes up. I’ve had enough of this “the new day starts in the middle of the night” crap!

What? Oh, right, #NaNoWriMo. That’s what I’m supposed to be talking about.

Well, let’s see where we’re at:

NaNoWriMo_Day_10What’s that? Yup! That’s 52,140 words! Wooo! VICTORY IS MINE!

Except, not “victory” since my overall goal is 90k for the month. But, still, at this pace I’m on track to write 150k in the month (if there’s that much story left in “Contamination,” which there isn’t. I’m closing in on the climax now).

So, if you’ve been reading all of my #NaNoWriMo posts, you’re probably asking, “Where’s Gabby? You keep promising a Gabby excerpt!” (Okay, I know there’s probably no one asking that, but you’re getting one anyway). I should probably also mention how anything you see here COULD constitute major spoilers. Just FYI:

Callia took out a bow and quiver and handed them to Gabby. “Here,” she said. “It’s easy.” She grabbed another set of bow and arrows for herself, along with a couple of the paper targets, and some funny looking pieces of leather. Then she led Gabby around to the front of the haystacks and pinned the targets to them with tacks. Once that was done, she led Gabby across the field. They stopped when they were just past a little flag that stuck up out of the ground by their feet.

“This is a hundred feet,” Callia said.

“A hundred?” Gabby asked. “Can’t we start off a little bit closer?” The targets looked a long way off to her. “I’ll never hit anything from here!”

Callia shook her head and said, “There you go again with, ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.’ How many times have I told you that you need to be more positive, and believe in yourself.”

“Give me your hand,” Callia said. The leather thing turned out to be an armband, and she strapped it over Gabby’s left wrist. “This is to protect your arm when the bowstring snaps.”

Gabby strapped the quiver over her shoulder and picked up the bow in her right hand. Callia sighed and shook her head. “Hold it with your left hand,” she said.

“But I’m right handed,” Gabby said.

“So you hold the arrow in your right hand,” Callia said. “Here, let me show you.”

She handed Gabby an arrow, then stepped around behind her. “Keep your back straight,” she said. She reached around Gabby from behind and pulled her close. Gabby stood very still when she felt Callia’s breasts pressed against her back. “Nock the arrow like this.” She guided Gabby’s trembling fingers and helped her set the arrow on the bow string.

Callia guided Gabby’s hands and aimed at the target. “Just relax, and take your time. Focus on the target.” In that moment, Gabby couldn’t focus on anything but the way Callia’s warm breath tickled her neck. “And… release.”

They let the arrow go and it flew across the field, then sank into the target, just a bit off-center. “See?” Callia whispered in Gabby’s ear. “Easy.”

Gabby just nodded. Then Callia stepped away and said, “Now you try.” Gabby bit her lip and tried to hide her disappointment when Callia moved to the side.

Awkward archery lesson is awkward!