This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Friday, May 28, 2010

101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire - Sample

Here's a special sample of 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire!  You can get the full copy at Amazon Kindle for $.99 or at smashwords - where you can set your own price!


101 tips for traveling with a vampire


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Who am I? Well, who are you? Who are any of us? Whoa. That sounded all creepy philosophical, didn’t it? Ugh. I think I’m going to start over.
So, who am I? My name’s Katelina and, no, you may not call me Kately. It’s a stupid pet name my mother used when I was a kid and I hate it! Worse, she’s still determined to use it, even though I can see my thirtieth birthday looming on the horizon. (Well its, not THAT close, but its close enough.) So, what makes me interesting enough to think anyone will ever read this? How about that I spend way too much time with vampires? That got your attention, huh? The word vampire tends to do that. Even better, I’m kind of dating one. Sort of. I think.
It’s complicated.
Speaking of vampires, the more I look around, the more I see that the vampire “trend” is waning. Only a couple of years ago, vampires were everywhere, but now its zombies. I wonder what’s with all the zombie hype?  I mean, zombies? Please! That’s just stupid! Everyone knows there’s no such thing as zombies, right? Unless it’s something to do with vampires. Maybe zombies come from a botched turning attempt or something. You know, that might actually make sense. Vampires are popular, so everyone goes out to find a vampire and get “inducted” and then, say they botch the turning process and – boom – person is now an undead vampire with a rotting mortal body who is desperately sucking the blood out of people’s brains. I think I might be on to something, here. I need to ask Jorick about that. (In case you don’t know, Jorick is the vampire I’m - um, well, it’s complicated.)

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101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire


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1. Vampires don’t sparkle in the sun; they burn to a crisp. And putting sun block on them won’t help.

2. But, just because your vampire friend doesn’t need sunlight, doesn’t mean that you don’t. You should try to get a little sunlight every day, even if it just means sticking your head outside.

3. If you’re into trip photography then you need to invest in a camera with a bright flash, a tripod and/or a good night lens. Otherwise, when you show off your vacation snaps, it’s going to be even more boring than usual.




4. If your photos do come back indistinguishable, don’t force people to look at them anyway. Regular vacation photos are boring enough, but blurry, black ones are even worse. Yes, even if you play the “guess what it is” game.

5. Vampires don’t go into “blood lust” and turn into a beast every time they feed, anymore than you turn into a ravenous animal at every meal. The whole thing is really boring to watch and you’re better off staying behind at the motel and watching TV.

6. Like a reptile, vampires who haven’t fed are only as warm as their surroundings. Do not attempt to snuggle one in extreme cold. You will be sorry.

7. Make sure that you get away from your vampire and their creepy, undead world frequently.  You need to keep in contact with normal living people, otherwise you’re going to end up being weird and scary.  Do you really want to find yourself saying, “Yeah, this stuff is way overpriced. Someone should find the manager and rip his heart out”?

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LODGING







8. Hopefully, your vampire isn’t too cheap to spring for motels, but, if money is tight, you can save cash by staying with his friends. If you have to sleep in a coffin, try to go for the old wooden style ones. They’re least likely to be airtight. You don’t want to suffocate, after all.

9. Depending on the season, you might be able to save money by camping. But, remember, it’s pretty hard to get a coffin in a tent.

10. Motels will not give you a discount because your friend is “dead”, so don’t ask.





 
11. If you’re in the middle of a vampire war, as opposed to traveling for fun, it’s best to find motels with individual, outdoor entrances to the rooms. This can make for a faster getaway and, besides, it’s a little hard to explain to management why there’s an attacking horde in the hallway, after all.

12. Before you snuggle down in that motel bed, do a mental check to see where the sunlight is going to be come morning. After all, who wants to wake up to a bed of ashes? Your vampire should be smart enough to handle this, but it never hurts to double check.

13. If you have money to spare, a room with two beds can be a safer bet because the second bed in a double room is farther from the window than the single room’s bed. Remember, sunlight is bad.

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PACKING & HYGIENE




14. When you’re preparing for your trip, remember to pack light. You never know when you might have to run from an attack by enemy vampires, and it’s easier to run without bulky luggage.

15. When packing, use a duffle bag instead of a suitcase; a duffle bag can double as a pillow, but a suitcase is very uncomfortable to sleep on.

16. If your trip is for leisure, then be sure to take along some paperback books – or a laptop -  for those sunny moments while you’re waiting for your friend to wake up.

17. If you, or your vampire, happen to be in the middle of a coven war, then it might not hurt to invest in a folding shovel. Contrary to popular belief, vampires don’t turn to dust when you kill them, and you don’t really want to leave a string of unburied bodies behind, do you?




18. Always pack an extra pair of shoes. For some reason shoes seem to disappear easily and are hard to come by.

19. Always dress for the weather. Vampires seem to be impervious to hot and cold, and have no trouble dragging you through extreme temperatures.

20. Yeah, your vampire friend may not sweat, but they still need to shower. However, if they forget this, don’t try to remind them by suggesting they “smell like something dead”. 

21. So, what do you do when you’re in a motel shower and – surprise – they’re too cheap to provide you with those little bars of soap? If you happened to pack shampoo you can always use that like body soap. However, conditioner doesn’t work so well.



22. If you forgot the shampoo, and the motel isn’t too cheap, you can always use bar soap on your hair. Doing that a lot will dry it out and make it look like straw, though.

23. Vampires don’t need TP – but you do! Keep a roll on hand, or even a travel pack of Kleenexes, for emergencies.

24. A container of wet wipes can also be very handy; you can use it to freshen up after sleeping in an abandoned barn, or to dab that splattered blood off of your face. On the plus side, there’s a fresh clean scent for you to enjoy!


25. Bottled water isn’t only good to drink, it’s handy for cleaning up messes; everything from left over carnage to those melted junior mints you accidentally sat on.



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You can get the full copy at Amazon Kindle for $.99 or at smashwords - where you can set your own price!





Random Photos from the Park



photos


These are from earlier in the month, at the ducky pond.

textures

Spiderman duck - lol

it's like spiderman duck

feather

Sunset version of the swan:

firey sunset swan

Night version (yeah, the moon should be rippled more - I know)

night swan

This wasn’t supposed to be this dark, but I like it and am kinda thinking wallpaper…

another accident - i did some enhancing here though

Squirrel

cute squirrel

I’m sure this is the entrance to a gnome’s home:

the entrance to a gnome's home




 



 

 

 

And last, but not least, can you see the face?

can you see the face


The Dragon's maid - Part V

I’ve been running a fairytale story for the last four weeks, and am continuing it this week. If you’ve missed previous portions, you can always go catch up:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

If you want to skip them, here’s a mini synopsis: Fenrick is a farm boy who has headed the call to slay a neighboring kingdom’s dragon. When he arrives, he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Telanja, who promises to marry him. Elated, he heads off to slay the dragon, but when the beast is nearly dead, he tells Fenrick that he has hidden his soul in a maiden and cannot be killed so long as she lives, and that the woman has just arrived, Fenrick turns around, sword in hand, to discover his bride to be and, in a fit of despair and exhaustion, collapses to the floor….



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It took Fenrick some moments to recover from the shock of seeing his beloved Telanja standing in the dragon’s cave. The beast’s words rang through his ears, “The dragon’s maid, farm boy. So long as she lives I cannot be killed.” But how could he kill any maiden, let alone this one who had only last night promised to be his wife?

“Telanja!” he finally choked out as he let his eyes find her stricken face. “I don’t understand-“

“And so you know one another!” The dragon’s voice rang with delight. “Well, well.”

“I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you.” Telanja threw herself to her knees and caught his injured arm. Slowly, she turned it over, examining the blistered skin of his hands. “But how could I? If my father knew…” she trailed off and cried a fresh shower of tears. “It is through no fault of my own. The dragon did this against my will, and now I have no choice but to serve him and to protect his wretched life so long as I live.” Suddenly, she clasped Fenrick’s hand to her breast and stared into his eyes, her expression earnest. “If you slay me, Fenrick, then-“

The young man jerked his hand away, a dark scowl on his face. “How can you say such a thing? How can you ask such a thing of me? How?” he demanded fiercely. “To ask me to slay one whom I love - how dare you! Do you think I have a heart of stone?”

Telanja bowed her head and cried hard. “But what choice is there? If you let me live then the dragon lives! True, it will take many months for him to recover his strength, but eventually he will. And what then? And what will you tell my father when you return to the castle? How will you explain to him why you failed?”

“Your father?” Fenrick echoed, his voice barely more than a lump in his throat.

“Yes,” she answered bitterly. “I am the youngest daughter of the King. That’s why the dragon chose me.”

If Fenrick hadn’t been splattered on the ground already, he’d have surely fallen with this pronouncement. Not only was his beloved Telanja tied to the dragon, but now she was a princess! He groaned aloud at the revelations; his neat and tidy world turned topsy turvey.

The dragon coughed and wheezed behind them. “It’s a grand arrangement, is it not? To save his kingdom he must sacrifice his daughter, or to save his daughter he must sacrifice his kingdom.” The dragon’s laugh turned into a wracking cough. “Such is my revenge on a King who ordered the slaying of my own child.” The dragon’s eyes burned and snapped like angry flames. “Pity his hero of the hour is now unavailable for such vengeance, as well. However, it seems that you’ll do nicely in his stead, farm boy.” The dragon coughed again. “Go now, and I will let you live. Though I wish with all my heart that I could see the face of the King when you tell him what has transpired.” A wicked grin spread across his face. “Perhaps he will dash out her brains himself?”

“Shut your mouth, you disgusting creature!” Fenrick shouted. His head hurt too much to think properly, and he was too tired to fight anymore. What little energy had been left him had drained when he’d seen her standing there, jewel like tears on her cheeks. “Come, Telanja. We’ll go back to the castle and decide a course of action.”

She helped him to stumble out of the cave, all the while apologizing over and over, until he asked to stop, for as she’d said, it was none of her fault. She led him down the winding path until they reached the old man who’d served as his guide, and the horses, patiently tethered and waiting. The old man looked from one to other, and something in his eyes said that he knew; he knew Fenrick had failed, and he knew why. But, he said nothing, only helped Fenrick onto his horse, and set the princess on behind him.

The ride back to the castle was a blur of pain and torment for Fenrick. He had a vague impression of people cheering as they entered the castle gates, and of the king standing on the steps of his palace with an elated grin on his face. Fenrick stumbled forward to meet him, but tripped and fell. He heard someone say that he was sorely wounded, and then the world went black.



Fenrick woke from a dream, a single word on his lips, “Telanja!’

But she wasn’t there, and, as the world came into focus, Fenrick found himself in the chambers of the court physician, his feet and arms on pillows, and much of his body bandaged. The old man puttered around, checking this and that, and looked truly delighted to see his charge awake.

“Welcome to the world of the living, young man!” he chirruped. “I admit, for a few moments I wasn’t sure you’d remain here with us, but it seems that you have. “

Fenrick muttered something, but the words were only a slur of sounds.

“There, there.” The physician patted his arm. “You’ll be restored soon, within the week, I should say, thanks in no small part to my knowledge of poultices and the quick treatment of your wounds. And that could not be better, for it will just be in time for your celebration banquet. I dare say, there’s rumor from above that you may even find yourself the possessor of a certain princess but, of course,” he tapped the side of his nose with a finger. “You didn’t hear such things from me.”

Fenrick could only groan.



The physician knew his business, and in a week Fenrick was back on his feet. That wasn’t to say that he was completely healed, but he could walk and attend the god forsaken celebration ball. The very thought of it filled Fenrick with dread, for how could he stand before the elite nobles of the kingdom and tell them that he’d failed and that Telanja was… No, the whole idea sent shudder through his frame and turned his stomach.

Despite his terror, the ball came just the same, and Fenrick found himself bathed, dressed, and nearly dragged to the gala by three able bodied servants. There was a dinner first, where Fenrick found himself seated at the King’s table, only a few people down from Telanja. She looked lovelier than ever, save for the sorrow around her eyes. The very fact that there was a celebration told Fenrick that she hadn’t revealed the truth yet, and he could only assume the guilt was what ringed her eyes so.

When the meal was finished, the king stood and clapped his hands loudly, and then he proceeded to begin a long winded speech. He described the coming of the dragon, the monster’s terrible attacks, and then, the hero who had come from seemingly nowhere to save them. At this point he called for Fenrick, who was shuffled from his seat and practically thrust to the floor before the monarch.

“And by his valiant efforts, this young lad has saved our kingdom!” the king held out a hand to his steward. “Sword!”

Fenrick cringed inwardly. He had to tell them! He had to. But, even as he agonized over it, the sword dipped over his shoulders and then the king boomed loudly, “Arise, Sir Fenrick of Learly! Here now are your papers of title and deed.”

The young man stood and took the parchments in trembling hands, while the king continued, oblivious to Fenrick’s horror.

“And, should you wish it, as I have come to understand you very well might, the hand of my youngest daughter, Telanja, shall be yours!” He gestured for the girl to come join them, which she did. In a blur, Fenrick found her hand in his, and the other guests cheering loudly and wishing them much happiness.

Music started, and though Fenrick was still in a state of shock, he was driven to the dance floor, and was soon caught in the middle of a dance with his bride to be. As they swept around in broad circles, other couples begin to join, until the ballroom was awash in fluttering silk garments, like brightly colored butterflies moving in some fantastic flight.

Slowly, the reality of the situation settled on Fenrick, and he stared down at the girl in his arms, then over to the parchments left on the corner of the table. Land! A title! A beautiful princess who loved him! What more could any man desire? And surely the dragon would take many months to heal. Hadn’t Telanja said so? Perhaps, just perhaps…..

With much effort, Fenrick swallowed the lump of conscious that formed in his throat.

To be continued…

Through the Glass of Time

If you've never been to the Spirit Wild Chronicles over on DJ Myke's blog, i will take a moment to explain them to you. every week, a poet chooses a photo from Nyla's- aka Spirit Wild - photo albums, one that inspires them, and then they write a poem to go with it. They also send a question to Nyla, but if you want to read that then you need to go see the full posting on dj Myke's blog!

CLICK HERE

in the meantime, here's my contribution to this week's blog!


Jo - spirit wild chronicles


Be sure to check out the full blog- and many thanks to both Nyla and Myke for the opportunity to participate in this!


song playing at the moment - "If you're gone"- Matchbox 20




Friday, May 21, 2010

The Dragon's Maid - Part IV

In case you’ve missed it, here is:

Part I
Part II
Part III

If you wanna take a chance with my synopsis then here it is: Fenrick, a farm boy, sets out to slay the dragon that plagues a neighboring kingdom in order to gain both land and title. Once in the kingdom, he meets Telanja, and they fall in love.  She tried to dissuade him from his quest, but he will have none of it, so she promises to marry him should he return. The next morning an old man leads him to the dragon’s cave and gives him a grim lecture, that leaves Fenrick uneasy….


The cave was broad and tall; many stories tall, like some kind of natural cathedral. Long stalactites dripped down, but the actual ceiling was lost to darkness.

Darkness.

A strange thought occurred to Fenrick; he had no torch, so what was illuminating the cave? But he had his answer when he rounded a corner and found the terrible dragon laying on his stereotypical pile of glittering gold. The dragon’s scales gleamed like firelight and light seemed to emanate from them, flickering and throwing long, twisted shadows on the stone walls.

 The dragon made a low noise in his throat that rumbled through the cave like thunder. Fenrick gripped his sword tightly and locked his shaking knees. The beat was far larger than he’d expected, and his eyes - those green golden eyes seemed to see right through him and pierce his very soul. Fear lanced his heart and rendered him immobile so that suddenly a land and title didn’t seem so very important.

Except that if he was defeated, he’d have nothing to offer Telanja.  

“So,” the dragon said suddenly. “You are the newest hero?” he gave a hollow laugh and moved one of his arms towards a large pile of bones and discarded armor in the corner. “I have no need for another to add to my collection. Turn around and go back to your village, farm boy.”

Fenrick had no idea how the dragon knew his humble origin, but those words were enough to steal his resolve. He was more than just some lowly born, bumbling farm boy.  And once he’d slaughtered this creature, the world would have no choice but to agree.

With a fierce cry, Fenrick set upon the dragon, his sword flashing. The dragon, though fast, was taken by surprise, and the sword nicked his underbelly as he dodged. The cut was small, but he’d drawn first blood, and just then that counted for everything to our would-be hero.

The dragon roared in fury and knocked Fenrick to the ground. Before he could stand, the creature let loose with a blast of fire, but Fenrick raised the shield in time to deflect most of it. And then, he was on his feet again, his attack renewed.

And so the battle went; Fenrick slashing and hacking, the dragon roaring and sputtering flames. To give Fenrick his due, he was handy with a sword. In fact, of the heroes the dragon had faced thus far, he was certainly the superior. The dragon bled more than once, and from multiple wounds, until Fenrick was covered in the hot, sticky orange stuff. It burned him where it touched him, so that his skin swelled up into blisters, but still he fought on. He had to win and return to the lady waiting for him in the garden.

He could never say how long the battle lasted. It might have been hours or days as far as Fenrick was concerned. But, at last, he struck what would be the deciding blow - not to the dragon, but instead to the mighty stone stalactite that hung suspended above them. With a crack and a shudder, it fell, piercing the dragon clear through and pinning him to the cave floor.

Blood spread from the creature in a boiling, hissing pool of molten orange. The light from his scales flickered and waned, but then was renewed, only to wane again. The dragon coughed and a small flame flickered out fo his mouth, but he was too weak to even make a decent fireball. Fenrick stood back watching and waiting, so tired that he could barely stand and had to lean upon his sword, gripping it in his blistered hand. But he could last a little longer, for surely the monster would expire any moment.

But he didn’t. Finally, the dragon gave a dry, hollow laugh. “And so you lose, farm boy.”

Fenrick blinked at the massive animal. “Excuse me? Lose? Perhaps my senses have been addled, but it seems to me that you’re the one who is mortally injured.”

“Mortally?” the dragon repeated with a wheeze. “Wounded, yes, but mortally no. Do you imagine that a dragon is so easy to kill? There’s something you didn’t count on, young hero, and that is our magic.”

“Magic?” Fenrick repeated mockingly. “Do not try to fool me. There is no such thing as magic.”

“Ah, but there is.” The dragon coughed again and tried to draw his wounded bulk up, only to fail and land back where he’d been. “Do you think I would not have my life protected? That all dragons would not have their lives protected?”

Fenrick rolled his eyes impatiently. What energy he had was fast deserting him; he was wounded in more than one place himself, and he suspected that some of his ribs were even broken.  He didn’t have time for this, or he’d collapse and join the dragon in death. “Since you refuse to die as you are, I can only assume that the great rock missed your heart.” He mustered all of his strength and forced his feet to take him to the great beast.

The dragon gave another wheezing laugh. “It will do you no good, farm boy. Not unless you kill her in whom my soul resides.”

Fenrick paused for a moment, and took the opportunity to lean on his sword again and gasp for breath. “What?”

“You are as ignorant as you look.” The dragon sniffed disdainfully. “The dragon’s maid, farm boy. So long as she lives I cannot be killed, no matter what efforts you make. You may slash, burn, chop and hack. Yes, I will be wounded, but rest assured that I will, in time, heal fully, and be back to wreak my vengeance upon your pitiful kingdom.”

“You’re saying that you’ve hidden your soul in a maid and that, in order to slay you, I must slay her?” Fenrick asked.  He started to scoff, but then he remembered the old man’s words at the entrance.  “face yourself and the deed you must do”.  What could be more vile, more hideous than to kill a -

“And here she is now,” the dragon said suddenly, his amusement almost a tangible object. “For you see, farm boy, she must come when I call her. Do you think you can kill her?”

Fenrick closed his eyes and leaned heavily on his sword. Over his ragged breathing he could just hear the soft, faltering footsteps of what was undoubtedly a woman.  As she drew closer, he told himself that he must do this; he must kill her not only for his own future, but for the Kingdom as well.  Though it was a deed that might put his very soul in jeopardy of hell’s fires, it was a deed that must be done. That was what the old man had been trying to tell him; this was the part of the ordeal that would take all of his strength.  If he allowed her to live; an innocent used by the cunning monster, then the dragon would live, and he would go on slaying and killing until there was nothing left for him to kill.

The steps stopped, very near to him, and Fenrick murmured softly, “Either thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead, for both cannot live.” Then, with a final prayer for forgiveness, he spun around. A cry rang from his lips and his sword slashed through the air towards the cloaked, hooded form before him. 

Then, she dropped her hood.

And with a strangled cry of horror, Fenrick came to a sudden, horrified halt and hero and sword both crumpled to the ground with an agonized cry.

“I’m sorry,” Telanja whispered, tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

The dragon only laughed.


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More next week

In the mean time, please enjoy the segment I like to call “Random Things from My Hard Drives”, in this case it’s a ….








Hubby and I are sitting in lawn chairs in the side yard, staring at a tree and waiting for the lizard - who is hiding in the tree - to come back out. Of course, while we’re there. Every neighbor in the apartment building has to come outside to stare and then go back inside….


Monday, May 17, 2010

Spiffy Old Artwork - Bloody Angel

It's time again for that blog where I post something you may not have seen before - in other words some spiffy old stuff. If you're interested, there's even a table of contents for this. (weird, I know)

so, this week it's time for some...

artwork by you.

WARNING: contains "mature content". (insert eye roll)


This was done using art media in paint shop pro (this is the function that turned into correl painter, I believe) where the on screen "media" behaves like various traditional art mediums. I always go for the oil paint, personally. I got really into this for awhile because I could finally paint, however, it takes well over a month to do a single image - or it took me that long, anyway, and so it soon got to be too time consuming to continue.

This was before I was snatching colors from photographs, so it was originally done grayscale with red blood, then "color to target" to make a fully colored version.

someone may remember that i once had this as my myspace wallpaper (and I think it's the wallpaper on my twitter, in fact, LOL!)




Pretty spiffy, huh?

for fun here it is black n white:






Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Dragon's maid - Part III


I’ve been running a fairytale story for the last two weeks, making this week installment three. If you’ve missed the old ones you can always catch up:

Part I
Part II

Or you can wing it with this mini synopsis:

Fenrick, a poor farmer boy, has undertaken the mission to save a neighboring kingdom from a dragon to gain both land and title, both of which he plans to share with Telanya, a maiden he’s met while in the walls of the castle. The young lady accepted his marriage proposal, should eh survive, and so he headed back to the inn for what might well have been his final night…

*****

Fenrick rose early the next morning and readied his horse. The dragon’s lair was less than an hour away, but the king had thought it best to send him in the company of a guide, and so he was soon waiting in the dusty village square for person who would lead him to victory.

It was a large, brutish man who first approached him. He looked Fenrick up and down with an amused sneer and then shook his head. “You’re the dragon slayer, lad? Ye ain’t got a chance in all of hell.”

A dark scowl settled on Fenrick’s face, and a nasty retort on his tongue, but before he could utter a word, someone else called, “Leave him be, and get back to your work, lest loose tongues betray your absence and you lose your pay.

The large man growled, but stepped away and stormed off in the other direction, leaving Fenrick to turn towards his unknown defender.  The man who hobbled towards him was withered and bent, like an old tree branch, but his eyes twinkled.  He came to a stop in front of the would be hero and clapped a wrinkled hand on his shoulder. ”Though he doesn’t know it, that brute is correct.”

Fenrick turned his aggravation towards the old man, “And why do you say that? If you doubt my skill then perhaps I should demonstrate it.”

“No, no, young lad, calm thee self.” The old man held up a placating hand. “I meant thee no offence.”

“Then what did you mean?”

A shadow of sorrow passed behind the old man’s eyes. “I’ve slain more dragons than I care to remember. But you’ll find out for yourself very soon what it is I mean. And when you have, you’ll wish you hadn’t.”

With that mysterious comment, he started for the gate and motioned Fenrick to follow him. They walked silently , Fenrick leading the laden horse, and the old, bent man just in front, his eyes on the path ahead. In that way, they left the castle and made for the coast, down a winding road that grew narrower and narrower, until it turned into little more than a rocky track that disappeared into the black cliffs ahead.

The old man came to a stop and pointed to a flat, platform like portion of the rocks ahead. “The entrance to the beast’s cave is there. But be careful lad, there’s nothing on the sides of that platform ‘cept the sea. Many a man has fallen straight over the edge and been lost forever, even ‘afore the dragon appeared.”

Fenrick nodded and grasped his blade firmly in his white knuckled hands. The ocean breeze blew to them, but instead of the smell of the sea, it brought the foul reek of the beast.

Fenrick took a tentative step forward, and the old man laid a hand on his shoulder to stop him. “You must listen to what I have to say now, lad. For though it seems the aged have nothing to offer to youth, our gift is our wisdom. What you will face inside that cave will not be merely a dragon; though fight the beats you must. No, the gravest portion of your mission is to face yourself and the deed you must do. When the moment comes, do not look for strength around you; not in the memory of your family, or your friends, or even your betrothed, should you have one. Your resolve must come from within, for you are the one who must carry the burden of your deed. Remember, son, those who live, live off the dead.”

Fenrick stared with open confusion and horror, but the old man only shook his head and stepped away. Though he spoke of sharing knowledge, it seemed he was determined to keep all further counsel to himself. With no more to go on than that terrible speech, Fenrick checked his armor and weapons again, summed up his courage, and marched towards the dragon’s lair, his heart in his throat.

At last, he stood on the flat landing before the cave. He could hear the waves crashing into the cliffs below, and couldn’t stop himself from peering over the edge. Dark, jagged rocks pressed close on all sides, guarding the cliff from the water. There was nowhere to go except into the cave or back down the path he’d come from.

And so he went into the cave.

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Yeah, I guess the dragon battle comes next week.  Fun fun!

In the meantime, it’s time for the segment I like to call “Random Things from my Hard Drives”  here is some….

artwork by you.


And I have two more book covers finished - a third is awaiting approval and a fourth is waiting for me to start it.  Yay!

These are sci-fi/fantasy books btw and should be out in September, the author has said :)





Monday, May 10, 2010

The Leaf - Spiffy Old Stuff


It's that time of the week when I post something that you many have missed back in the mists of time. It's generally some pretty spiffy stuff, so it's worth a revisit. Even spiffier, is the cool Table of Contents that goes with it.

Been busy with Mother's Day, but here, anyway, from 2008 here is a...

flash fiction by you.


The Leaf

Cotton candy clouds floated above the landscape, thick and colored gray like something dead. Beneath them trees clawed the sky; naked branches were bony fingers stripped of flesh. A cold wind shook loose the last of the leaves and sent them swirling through the air to mingle with the driving rain.

She stared through the window, watching the heavy drops drip down the glass; each one a tear she couldn’t shed.  Thunder pounded relentlessly and lightning cut through the haze in glowing streaks that left a brilliant gash in her vision like a scar; only it faded much faster.

She lifted a hand to touch the window, but stopped just before her palm made contact. The rain was outside and she was in. Its closeness was only an illusion, like so many others. So many people she thought she was close to, only to discover that chasms separated them when she needed them and now she had nothing.

Her throat felt thick and she dropped her hand uselessly to her lap, eyes dropping to the empty wine goblet on the sill. The faintest trace of burgundy liquid remained in the bottom in a tiny, sticky pool. It reminded her at once of blood, thick, red and congealing, like the blood slowly running down her arms.

Her eyes flicked once more to the window, watching the gathering darkness. She wondered one more time where he was. Was he in the arms of another? Was he alive? Dead? Was he happy? God, how she hoped he was happy. She hoped her pain had bought something for someone, she hoped her destruction had been for something.

The glass rattled in the frame and a cold wet leaf slapped against it; plastered flat with its edges fluttering. She traced the intricate lines of the leaf’s underside with her eyes. Each miniscule vein that had once given it life, now empty of its chlorophyll; brown, withered and useless.

But even dead the leaf was beautiful: a rich orange with a patina of golden brown. It hung, seemingly suspended in air, dead and yet miraculous. How many times in her life had the sight of dead leaves blowing cheered her? The drifts of bright colors signaled the end of heat and the beginning of the frozen winter when white snow would fall to blanket the world in its cleansing purity.

She lifted her tingling arm and looked at the bleeding gash. She was like this leaf, though she still clung to the tree of life by a sender stem, waiting only for the final wind to shake her loose. When it did she would drift away and leave behind a corpse, paving the way for the next step when she would go to the great beyond. There her soul would be bathed clean of everything and reborn once more; whole and pure and cleansed; white like the untouched snow.

A soft smile flitted across her face at the thought and she lay her hand against the window, numb fingers splayed to mach the leaf’s shape, her eyes no longer filled with tears as she slowly closed them. And though she knew she would be reborn, and that the pure white snow would once again be tainted by the touch of man, trampled by children’s thoughtlessness, the peace and tranquility ruined by the noise of the rabble, it didn’t matter. Everything had its season and its place and right now she was ready to start the next one – right now she was the leaf.


********************

spiffy huh?

fav songs of the moment - "Hurricane" & "One Night of the Hunter" - 30 Seconds to Mars

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Dragon's Maid Part II

short story by you.


PART I

A very import part of Fenrick’s agreement with the King was that he’d set out to slay the dragon in four days time. The reason he sighted for the delay was that he needed to gather certain supplies, however the truth was that he wanted desperately to find the young lady he’d met by the gate. However, she was nowhere to be seen. He reasoned it was just as well, as he needed his rest, then headed to the inn for the night.

The next day brought him much better success. It was not yet mid morning when he found her walking in what appeared to be a private garden, complete with fences and what was left of some scraggy flowering trees. Despite the woeful appearance of the place, the maid was as beautiful as he remembered, if not more so, and he hopped the fence and dropped down at her feet.

“Milady,” he began, his eyes properly averted. “I am but a humble and lowly creature, still I must beg of you to grace my ears with your name.”

Her silvery laughter drew his eyes upwards and, instead of scorn, he found true mirth on her face.
“My good sir, there is no need for you to bend down into the dust. Come, stand up.”

He tried to hide his smile. “I’m afraid I can not, my fair lady, until you have done me the honor of hearing your name.”

She nearly giggled this time. “I’m afraid that is truly impossible, sir. For, you see, I don’t yet know your name, and it would hardly befit a lady to go around discussing such intimate matters with a complete stranger.”

Without a thought, Fenrick hopped to his feet, then bowed low at the waist. “My name is Fenrick, and I am but the son of a farmer who has come to this land to make my fortune.”

The young lady looked suddenly serious. “To make your fortune here would indeed be a remarkable task.” She opened her mouth to say more, but at that exact moment a loud roar tore through the peaceful atmosphere.

The lady’s face went ashen and she suddenly clutched at Fenrick’s arm. “It’s the dragon! We must hurry to shelter!”

The fantastic roar sounded again and the would be warrior looked to see the people in the streets beyond running towards the blackened stone keep. With a quick nod of agreement, he grabbed the lady’s hand and started to run in that direction himself, but they weren’t fast enough. They had barley reached the marketplace when the beast swooped down upon them, blowing plumes of smoke and flame.

Fenrick thought fast, and half tackled, half flung the young woman behind one of the sturdier vegetable stands.  For a split second he found himself on top of her, staring into a startled pair of green eyes, but he quickly pulled away to crouch in front of her, his sword drawn and ready.

The dragon was either unaware of them, or completely unconcerned, as he circled overhead, blasting fire towards a stray herd of panicked sheep. Fenrick’s nose wrinkled involuntarily at the smell of scorched wool, and he found himself asking, “I thought the dragon only came in the afternoon?”

“Except on the morning before the full moon,” The young woman explained as she slowly pulled herself into a kneeling position behind him. “It is said that the moon drives him crazy and he can not help himself on such days.”

A true warrior would have used such knowledge to his advantage, but Fenrick did not. It is true enough that our hero was strong, brave and able, but alas he had something on his mind at that particular moment other than dragon slaying, and that was courtship. And so, instead of rushing out to defeat the terrible dragon immediately, he stayed hidden with the young woman, his sword ever ready, but unused.

When the monster had at last retreated, Fenrick turned to her and, with a jovial smile commented, “And so now you not only know my name, but I have done no less than save you from the same fate suffered by those poor sheep. Certainly you can call me stranger no longer?”

Almost unbelievably, the woman smiled; even as cottages and sheep still smoldered all around them.  “Yes, good sir, I believe you are correct. You may know me as Telanja.” (Tel-on-ya)

And so Fenrick returned the lovely Telanja to her garden, and managed to get permission to call again - which he did that very same afternoon. Much to his delight, the young lady seemed happy, rather than annoyed, at seeing him again so soon.  In the next three days he saw much of her, between dragon attacks, and by the fourth night - the evening before he must leave to slay the dragon- he had decided to ask her to marry him.

He met her in the private garden, and led her around the track between the stunted, withered trees. She walked beside him, her every motion betraying her anxious heart. Finally, as the waning gibbous moon shone down on them, Fenrick stopped walking and dropped to one knee before.

“My dearest Telanja, tomorrow I leave to kill the dragon, and my heart would travel lighter if I had from you a pledge to be my bride.”

Her eyes grew wide with horror, and for a moment Fenrick was deeply concerned, but then she cleared the matter up. “To slay the dragon? Fenrick! No! You mustn’t! There is a hero already, come from a distant land-“  But she cut herself off as she realized the circulating stories must refer to the very man before her. “Oh. I see.”

Fenrick nodded quickly. “Yes, I am that hero, though I do not as of yet deserve such a title. But once the deed is done I will return to you. Will you then be my wife?”

Telanja opened and closed her mouth several times, no doubt debating what to say. Finally, she answered him with a simple, “Yes, should you return, I will marry you.”

 “Should I return?” he echoed, a smile on his face. “Of course I’ll return. How can I not when I have something such as my beautiful Telanja waiting for me?”

Her voice was soft and serious as she gave vent to some of the warnings she’d refrained from a moment ago, “So you say, my love, but how can that protect you from the fury of the dragon? You’ve seen him these last three days when he flies over, disgorging flames and bringing death and destruction. There’s no need for you to die for a country you have no kin in. Come, let us leave tonight.”

But Fenrick shook his head. “How can I turn from a task when I’ve sworn to complete it? Besides, I have nothing to offer you as I am now. Only the scratching of a poor farm, many days away. But, once I’ve defeated the dragon, the king will grant to me land and a title and-”

In a fit of passion, Telanja grabbed his hands in hers and entreated to him, “It matters not. I will take scratching on a farm over weeping at your funeral. There is no hope for any man to defeat that creature! Come, we must leave tonight!”

But Fenrick wouldn’t hear of it, and after they bid a passionate, if not tear filled farewell, he headed to the inn for his last night - his last night before he became a man of title.


TO BE CONTINUED………


And for the segment I like to call “Random Things from my Hard Drives”, here’s some more….


artwork by you.




Okay, it’s another cover. But I have some random art work waiting for me to finish it someday.


I have a random video coming as soon as I get it uploaded, maybe next blog.


Fav sing of the moment - "Hurricane" - 30 Seconds to Mars

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Newsletter

(trying the "post the newsletter in the blog" again - so far it's been a big pain in the butt....)


So, April. "April come she will. When streams are ripe and swelled with rain; May, she will stay, resting in my arms again..." Can you identify those lyrics without using Google. (No, it's not mine). Special mention as a music guru in the next issue if you can....


So, what did I do in April? You mean besides finish the eBook 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire.


101 tips for traveling with a vampire


There isn't a lot of resources for humans running with the “undead”; No Facebook groups, no forums, not even a decent book of tips – until now. 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire is just that – 101 tips for everything from boat travel to the classic Road trip. Sometimes funny and sometimes serious, these tips will prepare you for that vacation with your vampire friend.

Want more fang for your buck? 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire features a special bonus “25 Tips for Dealing with a Vampire” and an exciting sneak peek at Legacy of Ghosts, book 2 in the Amaranthine series.


available through Amazon Kindle for $.99 or Smashwords where you can set your own price and pay only what it's worth to you!

Want to see more? Then watch the spiffy cool trailer on YouTube! And feel free to leave a comment!






Of course, if you've missed Shades of Gray, you can still get it through Amazon/CreateSpace for $11.00 , Amazon Kindle for $1.50 and Smashwords for $1.50.


I'm also still posting my series on How to Get a Cheap Cover at the Self Published Authors’ Lounge on wordpress. But, there's a lot more going on there, other than just me, so please stop by and say hello!

And if you're in the market for a book cover, or book cover art, you might want to check out Coverart.JoleeneNaylor.com and see what I have to offer. This last month I updated the FAQ and also finished three book covers:




Fiji Rising



room to romp


Into Her Own



Now, let's get on to the


Random Fun



The Interesting link: The Internet Archive. Ever wonder what Google looked like 1in 1999? Or want to relive yahoo.com from June 2000? Now you can! This site has archived way, way too many sites from various dates, in some cases ranging clear back to 1997! They have over 150 billion pages archived, so what are you waiting for? Enter a website url into the wayback machine text box to relive web 1.0 and have a good laugh, or indulge in some nostalgia! (note - the site design looks a little spammy, but if you actually read the content you will see it's not.)


The Lots-O-Fun link: Weebl's Stuff The animator of "Magical Trevor" has a website full of equally insane flash cartoons for your personal enjoyment. Why would you want to spend hours watching silly flash cartoons about pork, or Kenya or Weebli and Bob? Well I only say, why not?


The Read of the month: Jim's Life by Jason Mathews (from his site) "What if you could see the human light fields: the auras and chakras? And what if you could help these lights flow better to heal others? Would the world see you as a miracle healer?" (you can read excerpts of the book on the site.)

The Music of the month: Unsigned Band Web.com I know I usually do a band in this slot, but I found a very cool site chalk full of free tunes - from unsigned bands in a LOT of categories - everything from a cappella, to trance (what ever that is!) to blues. I downloaded a few celtic, folk and acoustic and did not need a user name or account. If you don't want to commit to downloads, there is also a large listing of unsigned band radio stations. I could live here for several months and be happy.

The Video of the month: Huge Dork by James @ War An ode to dorkiness and dorks everywhere. Everything from Ducktales to Tolkien to Star Trek gets a mention, and keep an eye out for the Princess Bride references.


(if you have suggestions for the links of the month please email them to me at joleene@joleenenaylor.com – you will be credited by whatever name you choose.)



My Updates



WANTED


I am currently looking for some Affiliates to trade links with. If you have a website and would be interested please let me know!

Looking for Reader Reviews! Have you read the book? Did you like it? Did you hate it? Well write a blurb and let the world know what you think! Please send all reviews to joleene@joleenenaylor.com and I'll post them on the site!



The Terrible Turtle Conspiracy:



The Terrible Turtle Conspiracy is a weekly manga/comic written by Jonathan Harvey and illustrated by Joleene Naylor that tells the story of the giant turtle attack in Tuttlesville and the interconnected aftermath.
 

In March we continued Chapter Four: Let There be Dragons, in which the disgruntled characters from Day & Dark Comics seek refuge at the more professional Ruby Lightning, only to be told they must return to those lunatics at Day and Dark....

Read Chapter Four!

Check out the Table of Contents for past chapters

Can't access MySpace, but you want to get in on the Turtle Action? I am now posting the comics on Blogspot as well. So, if MySpace won't work for you, then check it out there!




Website Updates


I have added a few new things this month to the Ramblings from the Darkness website at www.joleenenaylor.com.

This month I finaly caught up and added two new Reader Reviews for Shades of Gray; one from Jase Gill and the other from Jonathan Harvey. Both are well written and fun, so take a peek!

I've added two new poems to the Poetry Section of the site. "Remember" - which was featured in the spring issue of target Audience magazine - and Cycles.


I've also added 9 new photos. Here’s a sneak peak at a couple of them:




fun angle on dogwood


Hole in the sky



Flickr Updates


In the last month I added the following albums to my Flickr account. All of my photography is licensed under Creative Commons license unless otherwise noted. You do not need a Flickr account to view these. Clicking on the links will take you to a photo album with thumbnails.

Spring 2010
80 photos of flowers and greenery, including dogwood, moss, dandelions and more.

Dead Flowers
10 photos of some very cool dead flowers that looked like fairy wings to me.

April Misc
26 random photos, including the "hole in the sky" series, a couple of funny photos, some nice textures, and more.

Dad's Visit
16 photos of dad's visit; mainly at the shooting range, but also a couple of a bar-b-que and dad opening his christmas presents late - again!




Blog Updates:

Some Random Photos..
Phtos of early spring, including rain drops and sprouting plants.


Adventures In Indie Publishing: The Back Cover
..
Continuation on the Self Publishing blog series. Tips and advice on how to create the back cover for your POD book.

Be What You Are
..
A mini tirade on the copy cat phenomenon as well as some very cool links and a Random Video.

Loree Harrel is a Part of the Terrible Turtle Conspiracy
..
Jonathan and I expose the terrible turth about the Artistic Environmentalist and her plot to help the evil turtles. Includes a link to a special promo comic.

More Random Pics
..
Photos of flowers, a dog in a hat and more.


101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire
..
The info on the new eBook.

Spiffy Old Stuff: Rainy April..
Rainy photos from 2007

A Fairytale - Part I
..
Part one of a serial fairytale about fenrick and his quest to gain land and title by slaying a terrible dragon.


COMING NEXT MONTH:


Projects I (still) hope to finish in May are

Book Covers for a couple of people
Help Bonnie get her poetry books formatted for Smashwords
More pages for "The Judge"
Finish "Heavenwards" a picture I started work on started in January
I wouldn't mind finishing up some other misc artwork, but we'll see about that


If you have ideas or suggestions on what could make this newsletter better, or just want to give me your opinion on something, drop me a line at Joleene@joleenenaylor.com.


If you would like to unsubscribe from this mailing, please send a mail to Joleene@joleenenaylor.com with the subject UNSUBSCRIBE.

Have a great month and get ready for summer!