The Bloodgate Warrior Snippet

Since today’s my birthday and Stephanie asked for more Tecun, I’m posting a snippet from the fountain scene.  Please remember this is first draft only, unedited, and subject to several revisions later.  Enjoy!

He reached down to his calf and pulled a slim but wicked looking knife out of his boot. “If her magic is concealing it, you may be the only one who can free it.”

“Free what? What are you talking about and why…”

Calmly, he drew the knife across the tip of his finger, and my words stumbled to a halt. I’d never seen anyone deliberately cut themselves like that, or not yelp at the welling blood. He made a low sound more a moan than anything I’d ever heard from him before, drawing my eyes up to his face.

Eyes closed, head tilted back, his body stance braced, he looked like he was in the throes of some really good head, not bleeding.

“Are you okay?” I asked softly, edging closer, as drawn irresistibly to him as the moon draws the tides.

“I’d forgotten.” His voice vibrated and hummed, low and bass.

“Forgotten what?”

He shook himself out of the daze enough to give me that cocky warrior smile that made me want to punch him.  Or drag him off to my room. Holding his finger out above the fountain, he dripped blood into the water. Uh-oh. I was starting to realize exactly what he was doing.

“Are you opening the gate again?”

“Precisely. Not a traveling gate, though. I believe she hid the spear here in this garden. Do you see anything in the water?”

I couldn’t tell if the fountain was original to the palacio or not, but it was gorgeous. The bottom circular tier contained flood lights beneath the water. A smaller, higher tier spilled into the lower, providing a beautiful water feature for the garden. Perfectly trimmed hedges combined with palm trees and lush growth, a semi-private oasis in the midst of Antigua.

“No.  You think the spear that killed you is hidden here? Why do you even want it?”

“Any weapon that bears my blood is a powerful tool in the hands of my enemies. The spear that took my mortal life will possess a destructive force greater than any weapon your technology could create. In the hands of a demon, who knows what it could accomplish? In my hands, I could hold back all the powers of Xibalba.”

“The woman who built this hotel was Alvarado’s daughter.” I hesitated, wondering if he’d really thought about my heritage. I was a very distant descendant of his greatest enemy. “I guess it’s possible that she might have inherited his spear and hidden it here.”

“Did you ever wonder why a Tlaxcalan princess came to be with Alvarado, a man all Maya despised?”

I couldn’t help but wince at his choice of words. Turning my attention to the fountain so I wouldn’t have to see his reaction, I trailed my fingers in the water. Still warm from the day’s sunlight, the water felt uncomfortably alive, clinging to my skin like a glove. “I assumed she was tribute, given to him to save her people.”

“She was given to their enemy to save her people, yes. But she possessed a secret that Alvarado never knew, which allowed her to protect and save as many people as possible.”

I could feel his gaze on me, heavy and intent. His nearness made me think about our conversation earlier about fighting, but I didn’t really want to challenge him that way. But tormenting him sounded like a pretty good idea. My cheeks and neck felt too hot, like I’d blushed fiery red, so I splashed a little water on me.

He sucked in a breath, encouraging me to keep teasing him. “How did Luisa save people? She didn’t write about it in her journal.”

“She was a powerful sorceress specializing in a particular kind of magic.”

I sat on the edge of the fountain and scooped more water to splash the tops of my thighs bared by my dress.

“You do realize my blood is in that water?”

I reached for him, threading my fingers through the belt loops of his jeans to bring him closer. “I don’t care. It’s just a drop or two.”

“My blood carries magic.” His voice thickened, rough and low, doing terrible things to my insides. I felt shaken, stirred, and more than ready to be guzzled down. “Mixed with her magic in the water, you’re playing with a veritable explosion.”

I smiled up at him as I inched my fingers over to his zipper. “I’m counting on it.”

His hands closed over mine. “You’re not worried about being seen?”

I glanced up at the hotel surrounding us on all sides. The place had gone still and quiet after the zombie attack. According to Jose, there hadn’t been many visitors to the area thanks to earthquakes and the viral scare down at Lake Atitlan. If anyone was still here other than Natalie, I’d be shocked.

I tugged at my fingers, but his grip didn’t lessen. My sultry smile slipped, my eyes narrowing. “There’s hardly anyone here and the trees are thick and tall enough that no one would see anything.”

Soothingly, he rubbed his thumbs on my palms, even though he didn’t release me. “You’re affected by the magic of this place, whether you know it or not. I cannot take advantage of what you’re unaware of.”

“I’m not…”

“So you often play in fountains?”

Without even realizing it, I’d slipped back deeper into the water. The lower half of my dress was soaked, my rump decidedly soggy. And I didn’t even feel it.

Or maybe I had felt it, because warm, molten heat flowed between my thighs. The more I looked up into his the harsh angles of his face, the more I ached.

Gently, he pulled me up out of the water. I clung to him, pressing against him even though I was soaked. His erection thudded against me and I groaned out loud. “I had some decidedly wicked things I want to do to you.”

“And you may still do those wicked things. Later. Right now, we need to free the spear. Alas, your magic is the key, Cassie. My own cannot free it.”

“I don’t have any magic.”

His big palms settled on my hips and turned me away from him. I nearly sobbed at the loss, until he pressed against my back, keeping me flush against him. Now this I could definitely get used to.

“You have great magic, especially in this place.” His voice had crossed over to feral growl territory, making me burn hotter. “Especially here, at this fountain, where your ancestor’s magic dances in the water, fed by my blood.”

He lifted me to kneel on the lower tier and then leaned against me, hard enough to push me forward. I gripped the upper tier to keep my balance. He covered me. Not holding me down in any way, but he was so big, so powerful, I’d have no chance of escape. Without exerting himself one iota, he’d be able to dominate me completely. My pulse skyrocketed, my heart thundered. Exactly the way I like it.

“Sexual magic,” he growled against my ear. “She had the power to bring a man to his knees. Even a man like Alvarado. As do you.”

MayNoWriMo’s Good News Monday

The MayNoWriMo edition!

  • I took Friday off from the Evil Day Job and we drove down to Joplin to eat at Conn’s (and my!) favorite restaurant, Mythos.  So yummy!  The kids were mad that we went without them, so we promised a lunch trip after they’re out of school.
  • I finished Victor’s galleys!  I just need to send the corrections back in.  (I thought they were due 5/6 but realized it said 5/16 instead.  So I’m early, yay!)
  • That Man’s boss let him off early enough Sunday that he was able to join us at church.  We ended up having a nice day out with the monsters.  Bonus:  I had a helper with the laundry and didn’t have to fold it all by myself!
  • The monsters got me a new coffee pot for Mother’s Day, which I sorely needed!  My old one was leaking everywhere.  I’m going to have to get the instruction manual out, though, because I couldn’t figure out how to program it last night for Dark & Early advance brewing.
  • Dark and Early this morning:  after a few days off working on Victor, it was hard to get back to Tecun.  However, I broke 30K this morning!  Woot!

What’s your good news?  Has May been a productive month for you?

Edited to add a Snippet from The Bloodgate Warrior:

“The dark creatures of the underworld will sacrifice the innocent without thought, and thereby gain power from their fear and pain, but that is not where my power lies.  My sacrifice must be willing.”

MayNoWriMo Update

Whew boy has it been crazy around here. 

Princess Monster practically burned the house down yesterday in the five minutes I was gone to pick up her sisters in the rain at the bus stop.  Even though we’ve been over the “don’t cook while Mom isn’t home” rule a dozen (million) times, she tried to make some hot tea, somehow “tripped” (that’s her story and she’s sticking to it) and dropped a full bag of Splenda blend (the 50-50 sugar mix) on the hot burner.  The plastic bag melted and dumped a pound of sugar out on the GLASS TOP STOVE.  Needless to say, she now has the record for creating the worst mess (other than bodily functions) I’ve ever had to clean.  Luckily no monsters were harmed and the burnt sugar smell has now faded.

The Evil Day Job continues to be very busy right now, consuming my brain enough during the day that I don’t feel like writing much at night.  However, I am still getting up D&E, so I’m clearing about 1K a day.  I need more, but I’ll take what I can get until things settle down a bit.

I didn’t allow myself to come make an update here until I finished a promised interview that was a couple of days late.  Mea culpa.  Tomorrow, I can’t post an update until I complete the final read-thru of Hurt Me So Good before Victor goes to print.  Wheeeee!

Total word count:  28,846

I posted on Twitter this morning that I finished a tough scene, and the next one is THE DREAM SCENE.  The one I originally dreamed about that gave me the entire story in a lightning bolt of inspiration.  Yes, my friends, the pyramid sacrifice!  Whew.  It might take me a week to get through it, but afterwards, the plot will unfold super quickly.  I hope!

Snippet:

I imagined him standing on top of pyramid with a bloody heart in his hand, and my stomach heaved.

He laughed, but it was a harsh, wry sound that made my eyes burn.  “Exactly.  Although the kind of sacrifice I require would not involve pulling your still-beating heart from your chest, noyollotl.”

Fast Draft Becomes MayNoWriMo

Well, I didn’t finish the novella like I hoped — but I’ll take my 26K+ and build on it next month.  I’m 10-15K from finishing, a very doable task the first week or two of May. 

A few things slowed me down these last few days.  I had a major commitment at the Evil Day Job come to a head this past week, and the stress carried over into my writing time.  I just couldn’t get as much done as I hoped – my brain wouldn’t cooperate.  This weekend so far, I’ve spent all my time catching up on laundry (never got last week’s done because the dryer quit) and helping Princess with her science fair project.  I edited her papers, summaries, etc. and then helped her print out all the documents.  Also used her raw data to create a cool line chart.

You wouldn’t believe her project:  Poop to Us, Food for Plants.  She took three kinds of manure from Papa’s farm — quail, horse, and cow — and compared the growth rates to Miracle-Gro and regular potting soil.  I was shocked that horse poop outgrew everything.  The quail poop never sprouted.  Papa warned that it was a “hot” manure and would work best if composted for awhile first. 

I’ll be glad to get our spare table back and all those smelly pots outside.

I need a serious mental health day after all the craziness lately — maybe a whole bottle of wine, sigh, which I don’t have.  It’d totally screw up my diet anyway.  (Happy to report I’ve lost 30 pounds!!)  I’ll spend tomorrow getting the MayNoWriMo list up and running, organizing my goals, etc.  Ideally, I’ll get into BGW too and set myself up well for Monday, but I’m not going to stress myself out if I don’t get that far.  My other goals for May will be to finalize the plot for Phantom — including a rough synopsis — and to get a first-draft plot outline for Lord Regret’s Price.  I had some interesting realizations this week that I need to jot down before I forget.

P.S. I’ve heard from my editor at Drollerie Press that the formatting for Return to Shanhasson is DONE!  We’re waiting on cover art now, but we should *crosses fingers, throws salt, etc.* be able to release in May!

MayNoWriMo 2011

So it looks like several of you would like to jump into May and write your fannies off!  As last year, you do NOT have to write 50K in May.  You can define any measurable goal you’d like to attempt in May.  Revise a story, work on one already in progress, write a short story, plot a novel…  It’s totally up to you.  If you’re interested and not already a member of last year’s group, you can sign up here.

If you can’t commit to MayNoWriMo next month but would like to offer a free download of a book, etc. drop me a note at joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com, and thank you very much!  Prizes always make goals easier to achieve!

MayNoWriMo Finale

I hope you’ve enjoyed the MayNoWriMo guest posts and the interesting panels at Coyote Con (the transcripts will remain up all year).   I met so many new people this month, and it was incredible to watch them reach their goals or learn something new about themselves and their writing process.  I’m working with Deena to possibly set up some new group functionality that will allow all the Coyote Con people to remain connected until next May.  (Once we finalize a few details, I’ll post the writing group link here so you can join if you’re interested.)

As for me:  I didn’t finish my synopsis.

However.

I expanded characterization for Quinn and Tara, wrote up backstory for them, and sent both through the Emotional Toolbox.  I have my major turning points outlined with supporting notecards.  Plus, I do have 1754 words toward the synopsis — it’s just not *finished*. 

All in all, I’m pleased with the story and the plotting effort so far and I shouldn’t have any problem wrapping things up and getting it to Alissa in June.  Also in June, I’m going to try and write  30K holiday novella.  *dies*

No rest for the weary!

Plotting with Notecards

My only MayNoWriMo goal this year was to get a synopsis written for Maya #2.  The only catch:  I haven’t written the book yet.

While I haven’t had as much time to work on detailed plotting as I hoped, I have made some interesting discoveries.  The main color scheme for this book has been purple and blue (every book has a color scheme–The Bloodgate Guardian was orange and green).  No theme song yet.

I spent a lot of time developing Quinn and Tara.  I researched more about Ix Chel and Yum Cimil.  I had several scenes from an earlier draft of BGG, but I wasn’t sure if I could still use them.

The more cards I wrote up for the beginning sections, the more confused I got.  I couldn’t figure out how the new stuff I’d developed still fit with the old things I really wanted to keep.  I was getting bogged down in details, little scenes at the beginning that hid the main path.

The trick (this time) was concentrating only on the hero’s journey.  I wrote up the main event cards for each character without worrying about the other’s hero journey — and then I was finally able to figure out how they fit together.  I made cards for the key turning points/journey events in their own color — and then filled the character-specific stuff around them.  MUCH EASIER!

Tonight, I sat down with hot pink notecards and did the same general thing for the romance journey.  Instead of inciting incident — I have first meet.  I still need to work on these cards a bit more, but it’s really helping me figure out the arcs.

When I’m all finished, I’ll take a few pictures.