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  1. Welcome to August. Wow, I can't believe we've already made it here. Summer in the northern hemisphere is in full bore, but we can see the end in sight. Change is in the air, and what better way celebrate that than with a tale about personal change? And sports! Football!! Yes it's American football, people, but this is the month for it. Plus, don't forget to congratulate MozLover21 on being a member of GA for a year on August 16th!! Electricity by @MozLover21 Length: 74,284 Description: NFL quarterback Andrew Thompson is tired of being blasted in the press for his notorious playboy lifestyle and wild reputation. But just as he's trying to make changes in his life and become a better man, a brand new article by respected journalist Aubrey Miller, goes viral. The author berates Andrew for perpetuating a negative image of gay men in the media and questions his dedication to the community. Initially, the quarterback is furious with Miller, but a chance encounter with the handsome writer leaves him rather conflicted about his feelings. A Reader Said: Easily one of my favorite stories. To see how the characters mature was awesome. Definitely looking forward to more stories from Moz. ~Wesley8890 Don't forget to come back to comment on the discussion day on Monday, August 31st.
  2. Cia

    Chapter 39

    “You need sleep.” Londe had come before it was his turn. “You’ve been taking most of the night watches.” It’d only been three nights since we’d finally defeated Balasamar, and since Wenn had given his life to save him. I still wrestled with the guilt, and it didn’t help that I refused to allow Londe to carry Wenn’s lifeless form. The one we placed so carefully at the end of each trek so he could face the sky, his palms touching the earth of his birth. Tinn spoke words over him as we knelt. He’d been so brave, so willing to give of himself. Perhaps the specter of his sacrifice clung close, because we’d faced no danger from the wraiths, and no other evil had dogged our path. “You all need more than I do.” It was a lie. I was exhausted. But sleep came fitfully even when I tried, and I couldn’t get comfortable. “Just lean against me,” Londe said. I did, letting his body take the weight of my larger one. He was warm and quiet, letting silence taken over the moment. Te rhythmic movement of his ribs and he inhaled and exhaled soothed me and gradually I relaxed enough to lay my head across his withers and close my eyes to sleep. On the fourth and last day of our journey to their home, Tinn began to ask questions. Ones I had few answers to. “Where will you go after this?” Londe looked over his withers to where I brought up the rear. We hadn’t really discussed it. “I don’t know,” I heard him tell Tinn. “You don’t plan to return to the unicorn lands?” I thought for sure Londe would say yes, but he stayed quiet. ‘You don’t want to go back?’ After all, I was a unicorn again. We could. ‘They didn’t support you when you needed it. If we go back, what will they do? Expect you to say all is forgiven? Take back up your former duties? Put yourself at risk again? Or will they still ostrasize you?’ He glanced at the foals trotting near him. ‘Us?’ Of course I knew his life in the herd hadn’t been easy after I’d left, but I’d hoped. “Perhaps we will find a new home,” I said aloud. “One where we can live together safely.” I’d traveled a lot. There were places the foals would be safer. Tinn nodded slowly. We were quiet for a time, our hoofbeats the only sound beyond the calls of birds and small animals. Then he began to tell tales. Stories of Wenn’s life, his childhood, his family. “He lost them, you see.” Tinn looked over his shoulder toward me. I tilted my head. “He did? Was it like with Tinn’il? Did someone take them?” I clenched my jaw. I missed the little guy who’d always snuggled close to me. I hoped he was recovering as well as my foals from his abduction. “No, though that is always a worry. A flood, from the lake, filled their tunnel. The mud was too thick, and his mate had just given birth to a litter of twins.” “Oh, how sad,” Colette said. She sniffed. “Yes, he has been sad for some time. He used to smile, tell jokes, always getting into trouble. Wenn lost a lot of joy that day.” “Maybe he’s with them now.” Colette swished her tail. “And he’s happy again.” Tinn gave her a gentle smile. “We like to believe that, as well. That when a locus crosses, especially when they are acting as a conduit, they journey straight to those they have loved and lost. That way, they are lost no longer and can live in joy. It is why we release them to the elements, so there will be no doubt their bodies will hold them to this world and this life.” “I never thought of death like that before,” Marces said, trotting in a circle around Colette and moving closer to Londe. “That is for those who are older who seek to shelter those younger or in need of protection. The young rarely think of death. And why should you?” Tinn looped one small hand into Londe’s mane and then reached down and patted Marces. “You have your whole life to worry about other things.” “As long as he doesn’t scare me and his pater to death with his tricks.” I joined in the conversation, casting a stern look at my irrepressible son. “Like hiding in the weeds at the pond last night.” “We were playing a game!” he said in exasperation. “Games are only fun when everyone knows they are playing.” Londe nipped him. “So no more games just you know are happening.” He’d been frantic when Marces decided we should seek him last night in the last rays of the setting sun. Then again, it was reassuring the misadventures the foal had been through had not been enough to dampen his spirit. Mist was a sure sign we were nearly upon the lake where the locus were magically protected. With Tinn with us, it was no trouble to make it through the wards the witches had set and soon we were approaching the sparkling waters. The sun beamed down gently, the grass swayed, and the burden on my back felt like a crushing weight. The locus clan all startled at the sharp whistle Tinn let out, but then his family came running. The rest soon followed. Voices clamored, and they all spoke over each other. Tinn gestured to me. “As you can see, many things were changed upon our journey, but Wenn chose to allow his form to become a conduit and save Chasen.” An old locus, his fur white-tipped and standing out in a ruff around his tiny face, leaned on a short stick. When he approached I knelt. He touched one hand to Wenn, then one hand to my cheek before smiling. “He is at peace, finally. We will release his body tonight.”
  3. Well, did we make it through another month and another story for the CSR? How did you like I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside by Ivor Slipper? Don't forget to share your comments below, but first, I gave a detailed interview that you just can't miss Ivor's replies to! Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? I'll eat most of the traditional vegetables, but I don't eat much fruit other than the summer strawberries, raspberries and apricots. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I read a lot and in the right months of the year I like to spend time in my garden. What's your favorite room in your house? Do you plot or write there? My favorite room is the lounge where I can relax, read and watch sport on TV. Writing is done using my laptop which resides on the dining table. What’s the best part of being an author? Can I say two things? One is being able to express and share thoughts and ideas. The other is the friends I have made as a result of my writing. If you could give advice to yourself when you first started writing, what would it be? To somehow discover the skill to write better dialogue. Something I still consider a weakness. What do you think makes I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside stand out compared to other “similar” stories? Perhaps the fact that I was familiar with the location at about the time the story was set. Do you resonate better with one character over the other, Chris versus Billy? Why or why not? Great question. Chris started off as Billy's life raft, but both were dependant on George providing the lifeboat. Chris's character is more mine; Billy's what I would have liked mine to be! Did the characters or the plot of this story come first? The story was originally written in response to a Picture Challenge on the Iomfats site and was just what is now the first chapter. But having created the characters, I wanted to know more of how their lives unfolded which led to the other chapters being written later. So Chris was very much inspired by the picture and from that came the plot. Is there a scene that either really flowed or was super difficult to write? The first chapter flowed easily and indeed the whole story didn't present many problems. Maybe it was easy to write about that era. Would you like to share anything about your current or upcoming works with readers? I've struggled to write anything in recent months, but hopefully the muse may be returning.
  4. Cia

    Chapter 38

    Wenn’s touch was soft, and I could feel it, but I’d lost control over my body. It was like I was slowly draining away, and someone—Balasamar—was taking it. He was inside me, he was me, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. ‘No!’ I screamed in my head. ‘Londe!’ But my mate didn’t respond. Could he even hear me? I couldn’t say anything, I couldn’t reach out mentally. It was all I could focus on. My family. I kept trying, over and over, but I kept failing. Why did I keep failing? That tailspin had me consumed until another wail of no joined the cries in my head. Our eyes were locked onto Wenn, and he was grimly focused on us. His hand still touched us softly, but his expression held none of the weariness and pain that showed in the lines grooving his mouth and bracketing his eyes. I read nothing but intent. Anger. “And the endless betrayer will finally get what he deserves,” Wenn hissed. That was not his voice either. No, the locus was a conduit, I suddenly realized. Not just for Balasamar, but for the wizard who’d tried to use his magic on us but failed when Wenn stopped him. When Balasamar abandoned him to die in favor of another plan. The shriek in my head rose to a fever pitch as mine faded, but then Wenn’s hand began to shake. He gasped and drips of dark blood began to leak from the corners of his eyes, not bright like fresh, but dark and thick, like old blood that had oozed from a wound and sat for hours to darken with the body’s decay. Our tiny tableau was nearly upset when Tinn sank beside us. “Stop, Wenn, stop! You can’t do this.” Wenn didn’t look away. “I must,” he said in his own voice, strain evident. “He won’t let it happen any other way.” I couldn’t speak, couldn’t ask what they meant, but I was afraid I knew. Increment by tiny increment, I gained a foothold within my body, my soul sinking into my frame where it’d been pushed out. The invader was leaving or being removed. I tried to step away when Wenn choked and more blood pooled from his lips to drip down his chin and stain his fluffy fur. His fingers dug in. “Don’t. Stay.” He gazed into my eyes, and I met his look. Just me. Almost alone. “It has to end,” he said, garbled. There was a rip from inside me, a final, faded scream, and then a lightening, like a burden I hadn’t realized was weighing me down was cast aside. Wenn’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he dropped to the ground. The blood poured out of him, black, dark, like that magical shadowed ooze, but all too real this time. He gasped, claws digging into the ground as his body seized, and then he went still. Tinn cried out, weeping, rocking in a ball beside his friend as I knelt beside them. Shock held me for a moment, but then my mate and foals rushed to my side, nuzzling me. Londe’s voice was back in my head, his love and devotion bright and clear. The foals both butted up against me, rubbing their cheeks and chin against my withers. But I could not celebrate my escape from living death. I couldn’t celebrate the defeat of Balasamar and his wizard. After all, I hadn’t defeated them. They’d nearly taken me. Wenn had faced them both down and won, but he lost his life to do so. To save me. “He was protecting us all,” Tinn said, his voice broken with his sobs. “He is a hero.” Maybe in time I could see how he was saving everyone; a unicorn with a soul as dark as Balasamar’s loose on the world would have been a catastrophe. But it felt like a much greater sacrifice for a smaller reward—my freedom and life with my family. “He honored me,” was all I could say. Hours later, Tinn agreed to move from the hollow. It wasn’t a place we wanted to stay with darkness coming soon, not with all the spirits and conduit powers used that could draw Beings from far and wide. I knelt in the dirt again, and Tinn and I carefully maneuvered Wenn’s limp body onto my back. Tinn rode on Londe, and the foals stayed between us, exhaustion wearing us all down into silence. How could I repay what Wenn had done? The price the locus had paid using his gift to save me? I wasn’t sure, but I would come up with something. My honor demanded it. As long as the skies above brightened our path, we walked. Never fast, never rushing, but we put distance between us and that place of death—both the tree and our original battle site. The foals were stumbling and quickly began to snore the moment I indicated they should lay down in the center of a wide meadow. I wanted visibility. There was nowhere near to hide, so the best I could come up with was a lot of distance to see anyone stalking us. Tinn helped me with Wenn. “I wish we had something to cover him,” I said. My old cloak would have sufficed, even. Not that I had that anymore. “He will go back to the elements with a ceremony among our people. Why close him away from those now?” I flicked my tail, thinking it over. “I-I don’t know. A human notion I picked up, I guess.” Or more like his bloody face and open, staring eyes freaked me out and would keep me from sleeping. “I’ll take first watch.” Maybe it was a good thing.
  5. Did you catch Monday's blog featuring this month's Classic Author story? You can download a copy of the banner if you want to share your love for Dabeagle's story. Or, if you haven't read it yet, here's an excerpt to catch your attention. What are you waiting for? I chose this excerpt as a undeniable lure of drama, intrigue, and action. Just what is the relationship between these two? Why are they running? Who are they actually running from? Will they escape? Want to read more? Click here
  6. This month's feature is a very popular, recent story posted by Dabeagle. A teen coming of age story, this one kept readers enthralled from start to finish--not easy to do with this genre that sees a lot of stories. What made it so popular? Well, check it out! Length: 67,281 Description: Ethan has a plan. No dating, nose down and get good grades so he can go to college on a scholarship and get away from his drugged zombie mother, criminal father and what's left of his siblings. He's going to drag his best friend Mason along with him because someone has to look out for the moron. The best laid plans are broken up by his greedy father, and someone who cares enough to defend Ethan. A Reader Said: What can I add? Probably one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES !!! Just perfect. Thank you again Dabeagle for a wonderful ride. ~ KayDeeMac If you want to spread the word about Dabeagle's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature! Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!
  7. Cia

    Chapter 37

    We herded the foals between us. It was strange being back in my body, but at the same time, I’d lived most of my life as a unicorn. It should feel natural. Why didn’t it? Maybe it was shock. My mind couldn’t quite catch up, and my horn ached. I had to think about the placement of each hoof as I trotted behind my family, keeping them all in view as I swept the forest for threats at the same time. Dizzy spells swept over me, and I blinked rapidly trying to keep the forest in focus when the trees wavered. I’d gotten too used to how slow my two-legged form had traveled, though, because I almost missed the signs of the place where we’d left Tinn and Wenn when we returned to their hollowed out tree. It was harder to move the limbs I’d used to disguise their hollow without hands. I nudged them apart with my horn and kicked at them until I could stick my head inside the dim space. “Tinn? He and Wenn were curled up together. Tinn raised his head, and Wenn opened his eyes. “You are here,” Tinn said. “We told you we’d be back.” I eyed them both. “Can you crawl out? If Londe and I kneel down, maybe you can climb onto our backs?” Maybe having a human shape had come in handy. Then again, it wasn’t like unicorns were routinely going around letting other Beings ride on their backs. Tinn helped Wenn who was still weak. Wenn was swaying on his hands and knees, but he was awake. “Thank you, Wenn, for what you did for me.” I hadn’t had the chance to tell him before. Pleasure swamped me that I could do it now. I let Tinn move past me toward Londe, but I stayed close to Wenn. “You are a pure soul, Chasen. You deserve to live a happy life with your family.” He slumped to the ground. “Hold on. Just… give me a moment.” “Are you okay, Wenn?” Concern colored my voice, and I almost called Tinn back. He’d said Wenn would be better. Why wasn’t he better yet? If being a conduit was something their kind could do, their inherent magic, should it drain a locus like Wenn was? “I will be soon.” Wenn rolled onto his side and gestured for me to come closer. “I know,” he whispered. “What?” I wasn’t sure what he said. He knew? I must have misheard him. I knelt, another wave of dizziness and the not-quite-right sense swamping me. Four legs were harder to get used to again than two. That was all. “I know,” he repeated. “I can sense you. I know you’re there. I know what your pet did, why you ran, even the little bauble you dropped that Tinn didn’t sense. I wasn’t quite unconscious when we left to find the foals.” “What?” I reared my head back, tilting it to stare at him. He wasn’t making any sense. Was he delirious? Dreaming? “I don’t underst—” “You used magic to lure the foals after you, then made it so easy for Chasen to get what he wanted, didn’t you? His soul returned, his unicorn form… his horn.” Wenn coughed, closing his eyes briefly. They shone when he reopened them. “Of course he’d use that to kill you instead of a human blade.” My mouth was open, my nostrils flaring, and if every hair in my mane didn’t already stand erect, they would be quivering in shock and fear. He was talking about what happened with Balasamar. How could he know all that? “What are you saying?” “I’m still connected to him, Chasen. The warlock. And through the magic to Balasamar and you.” “Balasamar’s dead.” “His body is dead. His soul? No, that’s still with you. You freed it, triggered the final spell he’d had the warlock put on his aging body so he could find a new one.” “What?” My heart pounded and my ears laid back, but I couldn’t stop hearing his words. Not if… not if they were true. “He’s there, inside you, waiting to take control. All it will take is one final step, one last trigger, to end the spell.” “No! I can’t lose him. I thought… it was over!” Londe cried out. I’d been so focused on Wenn I hadn’t realized my family could also hear him. The scent of their fear and panic swamped the small grove of trees. “Papa?” “Stay back.” They couldn’t touch me. That was it. The feeling of wrongness, the sense of not being quite right. It wasn’t my form. I was polluted. Harboring a murderous human bent on power and destruction. What would that do to me? To my family? I looked at them over my shoulder. Tears stained Colette’s cheeks, and Marces was trembling. Both foals were leaning hard against their pater, but my mate looked ready to break. “What is the trigger?” I asked desperately. Maybe I could avoid it. Maybe I could just go away. From them, from everyone. It would be worth it, to keep them safe. Wenn reached out one tiny hand to my nose. “Me,” he said, right as his palm touched my head. Darkness rose around us, and maniacal laughter rent the air. Wenn was all I could see, but I could feel immense satisfaction, gloating pleasure, and a glee that was completely foreign. They weren’t my emotions, even as I felt them. “Thank you, locus, for freeing me to start anew,” I said in a voice also not my own. “I said I was still connected to your warlock, you piece of scum.” Wenn was panting, his fingers cramping and spasming, digging into my sensitive nose. “And he’s pissed you left him to die.”
  8. I love this word! LOL I use it on the kiddos who try to use their vocabulary skills at the elementary. They love it.
  9. No, no, we love our lives revolving around their needs!!
  10. Cia

    Chapter 36

    “Stay with your pater,” I said quietly to the foals. “And no wandering off on your own again!” Colette looked chagrined, but Marces just looked stubborn. Londe herded them both back, and I took the lead. Balasamar had almost reached the top of the hill. Not that he was going to get away. Not this time. Reaching down into my boot, I pulled out the knife I kept there. It was perfectly balanced; I’d made it myself. I took aim, holding it in the tips of my fingers, then flicked them deftly. The air sang as the knife spun in a perfect throw. “Ahh,” Balasamar cried out, going down with the blade sunk to the hilt in the back of his knee. He scrabbled at tufts of grasses but couldn’t stop his tumble down the hill. Right to me. The sight of the human who had tormented my family, who’d broken my horn, stole my soul, destroyed my place in the herd and nearly took my bond with my mate, and then dared to endanger my foals lit the fury that fueled me. For this, I needed my horn. I reached into the sheath behind me to pull it free. The moment my hand touched the spirals, I gasped. White shadows crawled across my vision and my body shivered. I hadn’t intended to transform. “Chasen!” Londe cried out, but I couldn’t answer him. My pained shout turned morphed with my body as two legs became four, blond hair became a white mane, and I came down on forelegs after they beat the air in silent protest of the unanticipated shift. But…. how…? My nostrils flared, and I bared my teeth, pawing the ground. My hoof struck and dug a deep furrow. I was a unicorn again. For so long, I’d lost this. Then I’d had that vision, or dream, or whatever it was when Tinn had used his ability on the helm to restore my soul. I thought it hadn’t worked, but it had. Somehow, I was a unicorn again. Did I? I lowered my head, staring straight at the human filth still mewling in the dirt. He was trying to crawl away, dragging the leg with the dagger behind him. My horn glinted in the sun, and I whinnied in triumph. “You thought to steal my soul, my family, my life. Now you will pay with yours!” I cried. “No! You can’t do—” In a move I’d practiced thousands upon thousands of times, I lunged, bending at my front knees to bring all the force of my considerable body to bear and skewered Balasamar right in the chest, cutting off his protest. He scrabbled at my face, scratching and trying to push me away, but the only reason I pulled my horn away from the broken ribs and gushing wound was to stab again, this time in his throat to halt his screams. He gurgled on the blood as it gushed out of him. Balasamar’s body spasmed on the ground, and he fought death with all the frantic grasping he’d used to try for power in life… but that helped him just as little as all his machinations in the end. Because, after everything, I stood and watched the withered, pathetic man’s body gasp its last as the light faded from his eyes and Balasamar died the death he’d so richly deserved. I’d protected my family, my people. I could feel Londe’s pride in me, our bond a rich, golden cable shining between us again. It was so strong, I couldn’t imagine ever thinking it would fail, no matter what happened to either of us. Not even death could break that chain. What would my foals think of me? I had just murdered a man in front of them. He deserved it, but still. And what would they feel about my form? I had been banished shortly after they’d dropped, and they were not used to anything but a human shaped father. “Wow! You look amazing,” Marces said. “Why is your mane short? Can my mane be short?” I snorted. Londe smiled and shook his head. He must have been listening in through our bond to the thoughts flitting through my mind almost too fast for me to think and then hold on to them. “My hair as a human was short. This a good thing, though. Unicorn manes can be difficult to keep clean.” Mine was short, just a stiff ruff standing up from my neck, not all that different from my past grooming as a battle unicorn. My tail was left to stream free, the color as pure white as my coat. I swished it just because I could. Colette stayed tucked against Londe. I eased toward her, nuzzling her cheek and draping my neck over hers. “Are you okay?” I said softly. “He’s dead.” “Yes, he is.” Was she worried he wasn’t? “He can’t hurt you or anyone else ever again,” I assured her. “He could have hurt you. Or had that other human hurt you. We… we wanted to stop him.” She shifted nervously. “We didn’t think about him hurting us. We’re sorry.” She said the last in a whisper. She tucked her head against my chest, her hot tears soaking in. “Oh, dear one. I know you would never have gone after Balasamar if you didn’t think you were trying to help. Just, wait until you’re grown up some more. Please?” I eyed her and Marces, waiting for them both to agree. “Good. Because you have some time yet before that happens,” Londe announced. “Longer if you keep making decisions like this. We can talk about what you should have done on our way back to where we hid Tinn and Wenn.” Marces groaned. “Are they okay?” Colette asked. “They will be.” Londe sighed. “We hope.”
  11. Well, we made it halfway through 2020. Kicking and screaming, fighting the world, or maybe just resigned to the reality that is facing us. Honestly, I really liked the title of this story, which is what initially caught my eye. "How true!" I thought. "But can it be that lighthearted of a tale?" Then I wanted to know more. How about you? So while you're facing whatever your reality is, how about escaping into this story instead.... I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside by @Ivor Slipper Length: 54,627 Description: England in the mid 1960s. Chris Atkins suffering an unhappy home life, decides that as soon as he is 15 and entitled to leave school, he will also leave home. A Reader said: I can heartily recommend Ivor's story for its' character interaction and development and a storyline that deals with whatever good can come from being broken. ~ Bard Simpson Don't forget to come back to comment on the discussion day on Monday, July 27th.
  12. Writing Tips From Fellow Writers Passive Voice: Avoid word choices using 'to be' and the conjugations 'is, am, were, was, are, has been, have been, will be, being' as much as possible to keep action immediate and reduce the passive voice when writing. It lacks precision and clarity. Use search to find those keywords that indicate passive voice and consider each to see if your sentence needs a re-write. Plot Arc: The 'hook' is what intrigues readers in your story. The climax is the point the book wouldn't exist without; the whole reason for your character and plot to exist. Hooks should be point A, climax point Z, of course. Between you have all the other letters of the alphabet. This is the journey your reader makes from the hook to the climax. Make sure that each point builds on the last and that they all further the story to that climax! Self-Marketing for Authors: Authors just write a story and sit back and wait for reader's acclaim. A book on the shelf, an online story on a site full of online stories will not stand out unless you make it. A good story will keep readers coming back for more, but to get them, you need to network. The best way to do that is to get involved in author discussions, use status updates, signatures, reviews, etc. A blog is also a great way to feature your writing! Speech Tags: Speech tags are to be avoided; they're like evil little speedbumps for readers. Use them occasionally but try to stick to said or asked. Instead, use actions or thoughts from characters to show the reader what is going on in the scene instead. Create the emotion or action through a visual cue, like slamming a door after shouted dialogue, or wiping away tears after a cry of loss. Don't Edit Alone: GET HELP! We can't stress this point enough. Get a beta reader and/or editor or two, or three even! Fresh eyes on your work catch things you invariably miss. If you want to have a great story, you have to do the work to make it the best it can be! Editing For Content: Ask yourself who, what, when, where, why, and how when reading for content. Does the story answer all the questions you think it should? Highlight all the lines/places in the story that best answer those questions so you know if the story follows the logical order. Sometimes something the author just knows doesn't quite make it into the story, making vital plot points confusing to readers. Editing Tip: Make editing, for yourself or others, a priority and always try to learn the rules as best you can. Try researching grammar rules at least thirty minutes a month. Editing Tip: Listen to music or chew gum. Something that will keep you from being bored, but won't really distract you. Let's face it, writing something new can be fun; checking for errors is not, but it is a necessary evil. If editing your own work, make a list of what to watch for when you write/edit next of common mistakes you keep making. Four Editing Tips: 1. Try printing out your story/chapter and editing by hand. 2. Read backwards, covering the extra text with a paper if necessary to not get caught up in the flow of the story. 3. Point to the words one at a time if you find you tend to skip words that are missing or extra words added, especially. 4. Try to get at least one night of sleep between writing and editing. Writing Names in Fantasy Fiction: In fantasy, if you want to have an Arabian tone to the story, you should use names similar to original names, but make sure you change some of the letters around. Keep that consistent and change names of people and locations the same way. If you give your new words meaning, eg: Bairela means 'star jewel' and ela means jewel, don't use that same syllable in a name that shouldn't evoke the jewel meaning as well. Writing Names in Contemporary Fiction: Names create perceptions in reader's minds. Harsh consonant sounds tend to give the perception of short-tempered harsh people, or places. Soft sounding names tend to imply more beautiful people or locations. If you've set your story on Earth, make sure the names chosen are correct for the region. For example, the Inuptian (an Iniut dialect) word for river is kuuk where the Hawaiian word for river is wai. 1st Person Point of View: With this the author uses I, me, my, and mine as the pronouns. The helpful aspect of this is that we get to see the immediate thoughts and emotions of the character. What writers have to remember is that you can ONLY use the point of view of your character. 2nd Person Point of View: With this the author uses you, or your as the pronouns. This isn't telling the story to the reader so much as almost making the reader the character in the story. 3rd Person Point of View: In 3rd use he or she, her or him, hers or his as the pronouns. Includes: 3rd person omniscient—shows the thoughts of every character or 3rd person limited—shows the thoughts of one character. Some authors do third person limited, but vary the character POV they choose to showcase in sections. Not as common in published literature, it's more common in online fiction. Narrative Voice: Narrative voice is the person or point of view used when writing, eg: a character, you as the author, or a variety of characters. The story could change depending on what viewpoint character in the story is chosen. This includes: Third Person Subjective, Third Person Dramatic/Objective, Third Person Omniscient, Stream of Consciousness, or Universal Omniscient narrative styles. Sentence Tips: 1) Don’t start sentences with the same word repetitively. 2) Vary the length of sentences (and paragraphs) to break up the text in a natural ‘flow’ pattern to mimic speech. 2) Eliminate unnecessary words such as: that, just, really, pretty, very, some, a little, probably, a bit. Show, Don’t Tell: This means to let your characters live their story. Tell: Mike and Gary drove Mike’s car to the store for ice. Show: “Hey, let’s go grab some more ice at the store, Gary.” Mike unlocked his car. Beating Writer’s Block: 1) Write every day to form the habit. 2) End your writing when you still know what comes next in the scene so you have a starting place next time. 3) Try a prompt or quick writing challenge if you’re blocked on existing work. Write Badly: Seriously. A first draft is supposed to be the ‘rough draft’, and striving for perfection before you write ‘The End’ will only slow you down. Once you know the entire shape of the storyline, you can go through and refine it through the editing process—but first you must finish it!
  13. Cia

    Chapter 35

    I hefted Tinn onto Londe’s back, biting back the groan that wanted to erupt as the skin in my hands split further. He wasn’t the most steady, but he still helped balance Wenn in front of him. “You don’t have to hold on long, just until we can get you to a safer place,” I told him. He nodded, his expression grim but determined. I checked the cloths I’d wrapped around each one roughly, tying off the knot with the help of my teeth as my fingers trembled with pain. They weren’t bleeding through yet. We needed to go, and I couldn’t take the time to rebandage them. “I’ll go easy,” Londe said. Fortunately, no one could trot as smoothly as a unicorn. I took the lead to track Balasamar and the twins. Fortunately it was easy to see their prints on the dirt of the forest floor. I didn’t even consider stopping, though my body ached. Those two… what were they thinking? Didn’t they know what we had gone through to get them back? Marces, I could see him follow Balasamar. He was me all over again, heady and stubborn, always willing to rush forward into danger with a protective instinct a league wide. But his sister? Colette had suffered during their captivity. She was a gentle soul. She embodied the purity of the unicorn race. Quiet, peaceful, never seeking to harm another Being, or even human for that matter. Colette shied away from violence and I’d found it hard to be close to her. As a battle unicorn, maybe my soul had already been tainted. Maybe that was why I was still in this form. Maybe it had rejected me. Branches rustled as the wind picked up, cooling the sweat beading on my brow. I swept my gaze from side to side, frequently checking behind me. Londe easily kept up, but his passengers were drooping more than when we began. We should be able to find them a safe place to hide. I searched more diligently, but there wasn’t much to see. Trees, bushes, dirt and grass. The tracks led me along in the forest, a straight line away from where we’d met Balasamar and his warlock, but I didn’t want to risk losing them. ‘There!’ Londe said. “What? Where?” I said aloud. I’d gotten farther ahead of him than I should, so I circled back. Londe had stopped by a tree with a dark hollow underneath. It was far enough off the path to not be noticed unless someone was looking for it. They’d be comfortable there, and hopefully safe. “Tinn?” He jerked his head up and gasped, listing to the side. I reached up and steadied him. “We found a place.” I gestured to the tree. “Is this okay?” Peering over my shoulder, Tinn nodded wearily. “Yes.” He was able to steady himself, clutching Londe’s mane while I slid Wenn’s limp body off first. I cradled him across my forearms and then maneuvered him into the hollow. Tinn was able to limp in himself after I got him down. Casting a quick glance around, I found some loose branches. Piling them closer to the entrance, I disguised the hollow. “Head back to the tracks, Londe.” He left. “We’ll come back for you as soon as we get the foals,” I assured Tinn. We wouldn’t abandon the locus after all both of them had done to help us. Tinn’s eyes glowed softly in the darkness. “Be safe. Good luck.” “Thank you.” Without the need to carry Tinn and Wenn, Londe insisted I climb on. We’d avoided this, for the most part, but I knew we needed to make up as much time as possible. I swung up on his back and held on with my legs, rocking with him as he loped. Periodically I leaned forward, scanning the ground, when the trail grew harder to track. Once we had to backtrack and turn. How had they gotten so far ahead of us? It hadn’t been that long from the the short battle and when we’d discovered them missing. Or it hadn’t seemed that long. My nerves jangled, and I stroked my palm over the hilt of my blade. With no wizard by his side, Balasamar would be vulnerable. Finally. The man was a menace. Wanted by many, he’d been scheming for power his whole life. Taking it from others, by deadly force when it suited him, he’d earned the death coming for him. If he’d hurt our foals any more than he’d already harmed them, I’d obliterate him in the most painful way possible. At least three kingdoms wanted him. They wouldn’t get him. I would. The tracks were changing. “They’re moving slower.” Londe didn’t slow his pace, but we switched over to our mental bond. We floated over the land, silent in the way only a unicorn could be, flitting through the thick stands of trees. ‘There!’ I spotted a flash of white. It was one of the foal’s tails. Londe redoubled his efforts, agilely weaving in and out of the trunks to catch up. Then I spotted another flash of white. ‘I see them both,’ I said. ‘Me too.’ ‘Do you see Balasamar?’ ‘No. Let’s just catch up to them.’ Trying to catch our fleet-footed foals while not making a sound to alert the quarry they seemed to be hunted was a daunting task, but Londe was fast and smart. He was able to sneak up on Marces, coming at him from an angle, and cut him off. I leapt off his back and lunged at Marces, clamping my hand over his soft nose to muffle his sound of startlement. Colette, always quiet, froze when she caught sight of us. But all of that paled because I could see the human who’d tortured our family. He was struggling up a hill, bent nearly double, and his body had visibly aged. No wonder they’d slowed.
  14. Cia

    Chapter 34

    Right? The helm did disappear, and so did his 'vision' or whatever it was. So what happened to him? Of course, now he has NO time to figure that out with the foals missing yet again. *sighs* Poor Chasen! 😈 You're right, thank you!!
  15. Did you read Caz Pedroso's story, Here Kitty, Kitty? What did you think of it? Make sure you share your thoughts below in the comments, but first! Enjoy this interview with questions Caz graciously answered for me so you get the skinny on her! Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? Not much point making my bed. When my daughter and husband are home, my bed is my office. If you were an animal, what would you be? A house cat, my food would be delivered to me, I’d get to curl up in the sun, and I could demand all the attention I wanted. If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? Um…Read!!! What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story? I’m torn between Egypt in the real world, or Discworld in the book world. If you had to only work on one project for the next year... what would it be? My medieval fantasy series that I am still trying to find time to devote to. I think the first book stands at roughly 20,000 words at the moment and has done for most of this current year so far. Was it harder to stay inspired writing 1k each week for this story versus longer chapters? Yes…In between chapters I would work on other projects and sometimes I wouldn’t want to put them down to write the weeks chapter on the current flash. Which do you prefer, vampires or shifters? Hmmm, depends are they single and straight? Joking aside I like both the same and try to include them both whenever I can in my writing. Was it hard to write a gender-neutral character like Angel? Yes. I had to do a fir bit of research and read others who have written similar characters. It is why they had only a small part this time, so I could ease into it slowly. Do you have a favorite part of Here, Kitty Kitty? As gruesome as it was, the part I liked was when Tristan stood up to his father and killed him. I like to think his father had a split moment to regret his actions and wish he’d runaway instead, before he died. Would you like to share anything about your current or upcoming work with readers? I’m afraid my readers are as much in the dark as me. I’m waiting to see what characters speak to me to see what unfinished story gets finished and posted next.
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