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.”