Writing Prompt

I hope the frenzy of this holiday season is still leaving some good writing time.

I’m an early morning person and often I’ll do my “stream of consciousness” writings first thing in the morning when all is quiet and everyone else is still asleep. Of course, for night people, it could be the opposite end of the day, after everyone has gone to bed.

Either way, take a break, empty your mind of holiday noise and holiday to-do lists, and free flow your way to a quiet corner with this six-word prompt with a bit of a holiday flavor to it. Just go where the words take you.

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she was but an ornamental distraction…

6-Word Writing Prompt

I’m on a winter and holiday kick so I’m sharing prompts usunandtree-6108sing words inspired by the time of year.

I like taking pictures of sunlight and mist. I like playing with aperture and speed, and a variety of different settings on my cameras. I also shoot in RAW as opposed to jpg format, providing more depth of color to work with in final processing. I like to work with a broad range of colors and light when taking photos, just as I like to work with a broad range of words and crafting sentences when I write. The more tools you have, the more you want to play and experiment.

I can get a bit creative with taking photos, just like when I write stories. I take a lot of liberties in both. Take Silver and the Humanotica series, or Nightingale, and spinning things on their head. I love to do that.

One of the reasons I enjoy writing the 6-word prompts is because it’s a finite set of words to invoke an image and/or emotional response. It challenges me, just as writing short blurbs for my stories challenges me to be succinct and evocative.

Moving on, here’s the latest 6-word prompt.

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porcelain skin, white as bleached fear…

Have at it. 🙂

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Writing Prompt To the Darker Side

129MP_starling top of pine in october 2015I enjoy writing from prompts and creating them as “stream of consciousness” writings to work with and mold later.  I do this type of writing using many different mediums as inspiration – photographs, words, tarot cards, song titles, movie titles, etc. I then, at a later date take these “sparks” that end up being about 250 words each and flesh them out into more fully-developed outlines, and eventually into fully-realized stories, either short stories or novel-length.

Sometimes these “stream of consciousness” writings bring me a fuller understanding of a story I’m already working on, perhaps giving me some character insight or world insight. Or they could evolve into fresh story ideas.  I’ve developed this “stream of consciousness” writing into a ritual that I do each morning. I look at it as “warm-up” exercises to get my brain engaged in the creative writing mode for any given day. And if it’s going to be a busy day, perhaps it being the only writing I get done that day,  it is something more than nothing. And as we know, we can’t edit a blank page, thus at least 250 words is something to work with later.

I’ve begun to  create several of my 6-word prompts each week. I’m afraid they’re all a bit dark, but I like writing dark. Anyway, I like prompts, they spark ideas for stories, and I like designing and working with images for them. I do a lot of photography myself, so I’m starting to use less stock images, and more of my own images. But that also gives me a different eye to viewing when I’m out photographing, as I consider what images I might photograph and refine to use with these prompts.

I have enough prompts now to start thinking about creating a collection of prompts. So, I’ve started designing them with that in mind as I move forward. I thought I’d share this one. I’ll try to share one or two a week just to throw out some inspiration and something different to work with that others might enjoy as well.

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Maybe this will spark something intriguing for you, or maybe it will be another one that I post. Right-click and “save as” if you would like.

 

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Haevyn and Emotional Cost

 

Haevyn_smIn Quentopolis women have been relegated to secondary status in many cases. Women of the working class society, lead very difficult lives. The Elite are treated more as pampered dolls, cosseted and spoiled, to be seen but not heard, with some similarity to that experienced in the 19th century. Yet, as with any society, there are some who do not tow the line, who break from this suffocating sort of bondage.

There are women–some surviving by their wits and intelligence, some by courage and an adventurous spirit–these are women who strive to break free. Some, like Silver from the first book in this series, end up paying a high price, including human and personal freedom. For some, such as the courtesan madam, Violette Goldswan, they wield their power through different, more shadowy avenues. And some, like Haevyn Breina, will attempt to rise through the more public ranks, clawing their way to a position where they have a chance of gaining societal acceptance as an equal, and gaining respect in the more demanding arena of this male-dominated society. None of this is accomplished without emotional cost. None of these women face and accept the challenges of this rather brutal society in quite the same way. For Haevyn, the rewards are worth the steep price. She does not back down from doing what must be done.

In Quentopolis, sexual relations and sexuality are very open and accepted parts of this society. For some it is about pleasure, for some it is a tool to rise through the ranks. Sex is used for negotiation; it is also a shared bond between friends. And it is also an art form, highly prized by a nobility class known as the Dominatae.

Haevyn Breina is of the Moondown Water District working class. Her parents were killed in a factory fire, leaving the care of her younger brother, Bhrett, in her hands. Responsibility came to her at a young age and she accepted it, along with every hardship and payment that security demanded. She gave up her virginity to a higher purpose and though it left her bruised and battered, she has never regretted her choices. When a brand new arm of the Regulate opens up to females, she jumps at the chance, even though strictly speaking the Compsociate Branch is considered by many to be simply a finely labeled government sanctioned army of courtesans in service to the upper Regulate officers. Haevyn accepts the challenge determined to rise within the ranks, but it is not without additional damage to her psyche.

Her lover and friend, Grisha, has served as her anchor, her “calm, safe haven” throughout her life. A simple fisherman, he is far distanced from the machinations of the political arena. But Grisha, more wise than Haevyn realizes, knows there is more that his lovely, wounded lover needs than the warmth and healing of his loving embrace. He knows very well how close to the edge she really is. But so is his other lover, an expatriate Orictan warrior by the name of Entreus.

In any world an emotional cost must attach, though all creatures deal with trauma differently. Some will splinter, some will rise to meet the challenge of adversity and fashion it into their strength. Some bear an anger or rage–they try to ignore or funnel through some other channel. Entreus funnels his rage and frustration through the illegal Cockrage events. Haevyn tries to bury her anger beneath a veneer of tightly-held control. Grisha knows this about each of them and has a sense of their needs.

How these three people adapt, grow, and hopefully heal is at the emotional core of this story. The journey is complicated by a very dangerous and deadly enemy to the city-state whom they must battle.

This is the world of Humanotica. Read an excerpt from “Haevyn,” the second book in the Humanotica series…

Read an excerpt from Silver, the first book in the Humanotica series.

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Haevyn buy links:

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078C51G5Z
Smashwords Buy Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/816536
Books2Read Universal Link (B&N, Kobo, etc.): https://www.books2read.com/u/4DowAQ

 

 

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Silver buy links:

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074PB91BV
Books2Read Universal Link (B&N, Kobo, etc.): https://www.books2read.com/u/mvjP6X
Smashwords Buy Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/772872

 

Tracking Backstory for My Soul He Seeks

Tracking Backstory for My Soul He Seeks

MySoulHeSeeks_smBrainstorming for this story started with word association. No, back up, it didn’t start there. It began with the image of a man. Hispanic, gypsy. What did he do? What’s in his soul? And so I dug deeper. Music is in his soul. What kind of music? There was no other answer. Flamenco. In researching, one line resonated with me, and with Ravol. Flamenco is at the very heart of the gitano culture with strong roots in Andalusia. And thus Ravol Nova was born.

Ravol possesses a dark and mysterious history. Rumors about his relationship, and the murder of his lover, Francesco, haunt him unceasingly. For me, this past came to life through a video on Youtube. Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=Y6slgaVCSxM. A duel of guitars in a sense. But for my story the duel started between a young Flamenco guitarist and a Flamenco dancer. What better inspiration could I find for the dancer than this Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXBctPuGIfU. Joaquim Cortes. Wow. Perfect. I had the passion and the pain of my backstory.

The foundation of Ravol’s dark haunting, is the murder of his passionate lover, Francesco, that has colored his life so deeply. But there was more, a lot more, because as I got into writing the story, I realized Ravol actually was a descendant of a lost gypsy tribe, the Zhalazti, which has its roots in Babylonian origins. (My story, “Run to Ground”, provides the foundation for the Zhalazti in more detail.)  And thus there is magic– a special magic he must harness and use in an effort to bring peace to his life. And he will use any means to find that peace. To that end, he acquires a special musical instrument. Enter, the young, auction house researcher, Byron Shepley, who has a very dark and somewhat disturbing history with the mansion Ravol now lives in. And it is on a dark and stormy night these two men will finally meet.

These fictional facts represent the foundation of “My Soul He Seeks,” as both Ravol and Byron, in seeking resolution to their past histories, may discover a light of love shining through the darkness shading each of their souls, even though there is nothing remotely simple about the attraction they soon share.

“My Soul He Seeks” is a story of redemption and resolution in many ways. It is also about sacrifice and revenge.

One last little tidbit about this story. I needed to name my town…something special. Ternekill wasn’t just something I pulled from my black hat and pasted into the story. I starting researching names. I thought about the town and the story and the people.  The word “terne” I discovered is a Delaware Native American word for…wolf. What better name could I choose? Especially with Ravol’s history as descending from the werewolf clan, the Zhalazti? Having grown up in central New York near the Catskills, I finished off the name of the town with the word, “kill.” Two meanings, one the obvious–to murder, or kill. The other goes back to the roots of the area, and the early settlers of New York – the Dutch. Kill refers to a river or a creek. Kille, meaning riverbed or channel. Thus, the town’s name of Ternekill. There is reference in the story to a dark spot in Ternekill history regarding the Ternekill Creek.

Did I mention I love creating backstory?

Read the excerpt I posted last month for “My Soul He Seeks.”  Discover where this all leads in the sequel, “My Fate, My Destiny,” releasing June 26, and currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

 

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New Year, New Content, New Site. Now Live

I heard about the #Patreon site several weeks ago and decided to explore it.  Adventure and research is part of the game when it comes to writing.

I have been contemplating over the last few months the best way to share a lot of what I do creatively. I had some ideas, but couldn’t quite get to the point I needed to get to and then a writing friend of mine pointed me in the direction of #Patreon.

There are so many changes in the publishing world these days, I’ve lost my three main publishers, and things are in flux. How do I proceed? I want to share what I write, but what might be the best way to do that in an organized fashion?

Perhaps today it isn’t just about creating and sharing the final product, but in sharing the process, and the life, and digging into the brain and environment of a writer. Perhaps, especially when a lot of worldbuilding is involved which allows for the creating of involved backstory, character development, mapmaking, language development, and so much more.  There’s story writing, there’s writing craft, there’s the writer’s journey. Being someone who outlines and storyboards, there are writing templates I use, processes I’ve developed for character creation, for worldbuilding. And then there’s the whole experimental writing I like to do, mixing genres, worlds, etc. I like to play with words, with experiences, with environments, with what-ifs.

So many people see writing as foremost a business. But that’s not where I originate from. For me, writing is not strictly something I do, writing is who I am, and a storyteller is what I have been from as far back as I can remember.  There isn’t a separation. The business of writing is a necessary part of that, but the writing comes first.

This technology age that we are currently in is now allowing writers to share so much more of themselves and their writing. It’s no longer just selling a book, it’s selling a world, an environment, a place of being and becoming.  Making choices in this dizzying social world of how to be available, how to share, how to take the writing journey into the world of a business endeavor is a tricky journey.

We make many stops along the way in a writer’s journey, some end up being vacation spots, temporary living quarters, an exploration of possibility.  Being on that journey has taken me to #Patreon and a slightly different way of share my world and my stories.  I hope you get a chance to stop by and check it out. The journey starts here: https://www.patreon.com/darcyabriel

Run To Ground now available on Amazon and a #kindleunlimited selection.

Tallin Undine was once human, but is now a wuv-beast, a creature of the Zhalazti clan, ruled by the moon, and made through moon-madness and savagery. With his human family slaughtered, Tallin continually struggles to hold on to some bit of his humanity. After being scarred by a former lover, Tallin has clawed his way to some measure of standing. But now, hRunToGround_medis clan chief has been killed, and the security of his adoptive nation is at risk. His mission is to bring back the man who must battle to claim his position as rightful chief. Yet there’s one problem—Emmanuel Grimshaw is the very man Tallin does not want to see again, who savagely mated him so long ago, then left him to pick up the pieces of his life.

When he was too young to fully control his inner-beast, Emmanuel Grimshaw claimed—and maimed—a man he loved. After fleeing his clan, he’d gone in search of his humanity, and a way to tame the wuv within. But when Tallin unexpectedly arrives, any peace Emmanuel thought he’d found with a human companion vanishes. And it isn’t long before Emmanuel’s inner-beast rises and he reclaims Tallin, binding him once again.

Now, Emmanuel will do his duty, but not without Tallin at his side. A battle for survival and love is about to begin. Who will triumph?

Interesting Development

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

 

As a scifi and futuristic writer, this article from the New York Times caught my eye yesterday. Human Gene Editing Receives Science Panel’s Support. As with many scientific and technological advances, this begins with a higher moral purpose of combating genetic and hereditary “imperfections.” But as a writer, of course, and the state of the world being what it is in a broader sense, one can only wonder and imagine how the possibilities might become warped and criminalized in a future, or even a present day, of imaginings. Although that has certainly been addressed in numerous movies and books beginning at a time when this wasn’t even a glimmer in the eye.

Going back, one of my favorite horror movie themes and book is, of course, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, when we talk about modification to the human condition. Currently, I’ m reading an interesting take on evolution,  The Red Queen, Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley.

Writing spark twists are firing up. Time to start mapping some what-ifs. Slot this right in there with cloning and the like for research and follow-up. Slipping in the possibilities of corporations patenting manufactured DNA strings, etc., etc. It’s a good thing I love research and relish spinning the what-ifs.