Monday, January 30, 2012

C is for Cunning

So this one is the farthest in the past to date, as far as my time line is concerned. (About 21 years before Sword's Call) This character is a strong secondary in my book. He is the father of my hero, Jorrin, and he's very close to my heart.

Hope you enjoy! (I am really liking the comments guys, makes me feel great)
             Braedon ducked as the arrow whizzed past his head. That one was too close. He plastered himself to Roan, urging his stallion faster. The horse’s muscles rippled along his spine as his powerful legs kicked up even more dirt and he fell into an all out run. At least they hadn’t thrown a spell at him.
            How the hell had they caught up so fast? He’d lost them for almost three sevendays this time. Braedon muttered his most reliable masking spell. Hopefully it would take effect at top speed. He’d never tried it before.
            Roan dove into the woods, leaving the paved road. Braedon’s thighs clenched as he tried to adjust to the bumpier terrain. He gave the stallion some head to lead them where he would. Roan would be more sure of his footing that way, and he had never steered them wrong in the past.
            “Where did the bastard go?” The shout made him freeze for a moment, and Braedon muttered the words to his spell again. His concentration was complete this time, so there was no doubt that it would work. They would now be virtually invisible.
            Even if they had a mage among them, usually the mercenaries that were sent after him weren’t the brightest apples in the barrel. Overgrown meat was much more likely. Usually to Braedon’s advantage.
            He slowed Roan to a walk, patting his beloved horse on the neck. The stallion was sweaty, a condition Braedon was sharing. He would love to run into a descent body of water for a bath. They could both use a long drink as well.
Finding an inn tonight would be out of the question. Braedon sighed. They ducked between two trees and remained still; the only noise was their breathing. He cocked his head to the side to listen, sending a prayer to the Blessed Spirit that his spell would hold.
            He missed Vanora. And Jorrin. It would be beneficial to forget them, or at least forget how much time had elapsed since he’d been forced to leave them. But no, his mind clung to them, and their memories. His infant son in his arms, that sweet, clean baby scent in his nose as he held the child close to his chest. His beautiful elfin lifemate, her sapphire eyes looking up at him, filled with love he saw as well as absorbed with his empathic magic. How she felt in his arms, how her flaxen hair felt against his fingertips, her long, elegant tapered ears. Her full lips against his as they kissed. Her body beneath his as they moved together.
            “Stop. You’re just pathetic,” he whispered to himself. Roan’s ears twitched and Braedon smirked. The horse would probably agree if he could get into his head.
            How long had it been anyway? Two turns, four months, three sevendays, and oh, five days. Did he know the hours? Would he admit it even to himself? Braedon shook his head, then froze. They were coming.
            Small branches snapping, the shifting of leaves and underbrush. All of that noise was too much disturbance to be an animal. At least not one that knew anything about being in the woods.
             Voices, muttering, cursing, and then shouting as they coordinated.
            “Where is the bastard?”
            “We should have brought Conroy.”
            “That damn mage is a fraud.”
            There was some more disagreement before an annoyed growl cut them off.
            “Shut it, you two, before I shut it for you. Just find the arse before I make you explain things to the boss.” The voice was heavily accented. The man was from the far north, like Braedon himself.
            He leaned down, closer to Roan. The horse’s thick mane tickled his chin. Braedon couldn’t see them yet, but the heavy hooves of their horses told him there were more in the party than the three voices he heard. His stallion’s ears twitched again and his nostrils flared. Roan smelled them coming closer. He shifted where he stood.
            “Shhh lad, we’re invisible.” Braedon patted the horse’s neck and held steady, praying his words were true.
            The stench of the mercenaries hit his nose before he saw them. Braedon made a face and took a breath he held for a moment. He amended his worry about his own body odor. There was no way he smelled as badly as the bastards chasing him.
            Bickering voices matched the ugly rough hewn faces as two of the men passed him. He swallowed hard, one hand on Roan’s reins and the other on the hilt of his sword. Both hands showed the white of his knuckles.
He had a spell on the tip of his tongue that would expel the bastards away from him and give them a head start if his masking spell failed.
            His breath exited on a whoosh and he flexed his shoulders as two more rode past them with no reaction. They could not see him or his stallion. He made a fist and stopped himself from pumping it in the air in victory. He wasn’t all that proud that he’d finally succeeded in an idiot proof masking spell. The real test would come if and when he ran into other magic. Braedon would really have only succeeded if the spell was magic proof, too.
            He waited quite a while in the woods, between those same two trees. The men were probably long gone, but he’d not wanted to tempt fate.
            What was fate anyway? Was this his fate? Always Running. Away from his family? The woman he’d never considered he even deserved and the child that hadn’t been but a few months old when he’d fled? Vanora didn’t deserve this. He’d left her to raise their child on her own. His son didn’t deserve to grow up without his father.
            Roan’s neigh brought him from his pained thoughts, and Braedon patted his neck. “Thank you, my friend. I needed a distraction.”
He pressed his knees to the stallion’s sides, and Roan bolted forward. Soon they were out of the woods and back on the paved road, but Braedon didn’t stop looking over his shoulder for a few hours. And he said his masking spell again...just in case.

 All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

B is for Book

This one is about Avery, who is a secondary character in Sword's Call. Once again, I'm writing about when one of my characters is a child (or close to it Cera is 15 in "A is for Ash"). No reason for that,except that it's so darn fun. Avery is about ten here, so it would place this short about 7 years before the book.

(I don't want to steer anyone wrong. Cera is an adult in Sword's Call and it's not a YA book. It's just how both the shorts so far came out of my head. Not all of them are this way, promise. As a reminder, there is a blurb for Sword's Call two posts below this one)                           
             Avery didn’t have a brave bone in his body. He was forever getting beaten up by the other children, unless his cousin Cera was visiting from Greenwald. And Cera was a girl. How pathetic was it that a girl had to save him all the time? Even though she was older than him.
            The other boys didn’t even care that Avery’s father was the Duke of Tarvis. But as soon as he trained his magic up, he was going to show them all.
            “Avery, concentrate.” He winced as his knuckles smarted from the rap they received along with his mother’s admonition. He met her gray eyes and one corner of her mouth lifted.
            “Sorry, Mother.” Her nod of acknowledgment was only a slight tilt of her head, but he took a deep breath and flashed a half-smile.
            “Say the spell again. This time slower. Annunciate, love.”
            He followed her instructions, concentrating so hard his brow wrinkled as the words exited his mouth, but the small book didn’t start to lift from the table and float in the air until his mother entwined her fingers with his and started to chant the spell, too.
            “Oh…I want to do it by myself!” The book crashed to the table top and several pieces of parchment scattered. One floated to the floor.
            “Avery.” His mother’s voice was calm. “That will come. You need to concentrate completely. Shouting will get you nowhere, my son.”
            “But Ma…you don’t need my help to lift the book, light the fire, get a vision…anything.” He pulled his hand out of hers and crossed his small arms over his chest. His mother laughed and he scowled.
            “Love, I have been at this much longer than you. Since I was your age, actually.”
            “You have to start somewhere. Magic doesn’t just appear. You have to train your gifts.”
            “I want to.”
            “You have to work harder than this.” Her smile was kind but Avery sighed. “You’re frustrated. Perhaps we should stop for today.”
            “No.” His mother smiled again. He never had been able to ruffle her. She had tons of patience.
            “Then relax, and we shall try again.”
            Avery nodded and took a deep breath. He placed his smaller hand in his mother’s as she reached for him, and together they began to chant the spell words.
            He grinned as the book rose, but it wavered and his mother squeezed his hand in warning. He reordered his focus.
            Sweat broke out on his forehead as he formed the picture of the book rising higher in his mind. It wiggled in the air as his mother pulled her hand free of his but Avery willed it to remain there, hovering about a foot above the table in his school room.
            The book held steady. Until he tried to open it with his mind.
            “Ohhhh…” he complained as it crashed to the hard surface again.
            “What happened?”
            “I tried to open it.” His mother’s chuckle turned his frown into a small smile.
            “Too much too soon, my love.” She patted his forearm, then brushed an errant curl from his forehead. “But you did a fantastic job.”
            “I did?”
            “You lifted the book higher all on your own and held it steady. That is progress.”
            “When can I light a fire?” His mother laughed again, reaching for the book they’d been working with.
            “When I’m confident you won’t burn the castle down.” Avery made a face but accepted the book when she handed it to him.
            “What now?” he asked, catching her gaze.
            “Now you read that book.”
            “It’s a spell book, sweeting. Memorize some of the more basic ones and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
            “We’ve been working for several hours, love. You might not realize it now, but magic can exhaust you. You need to rest.” She pushed her chair back from the table as elegantly as a duchess should and ruffled his curls, but that didn’t cheer him up.
            Avery loved to read, but he wanted to try more magic. He looked down at the small book with its golden decorative scrollwork border on the cover. There was no title, nor was there one on the spine. He frowned.
            His head reared up when he opened the book. The elegant handwriting was feminine and very neat. He had no trouble recognizing it, although it was a bit different than how she wrote now. It was his mother’s handwriting.
            “Mother?” He met her gaze. Somehow her smile made her look much younger.
            “Please take care of that book, love.”
            “Is it yours?”
            “It was.”
            Her meaning was clear. The little book was now his. He caressed the cover before opening it again, his fingers dancing over the spell inked on the first page. Suddenly, he wanted to memorize all the spells in the book. He flashed his mother a grin.
            “I will care for the book.”
            “Thank you, Mother.” The slight tilt of her head was all the answer she gave, and then she was gone, but Avery didn’t miss the mistiness of her gray eyes.
            The little book meant alot to his mother, and it would mean the same to him. He read the first spell twice.
            That night, when his father tucked him into bed, a part of their nighttime ritual, he cradled the small book to his chest when the duke suggested placing it on the table next to his bed. Avery wouldn’t let the book out of his sight. His father just smiled and ruffled his hair.
            He put the book on his pillow when he was alone, staring at it before giving into a yawn and closing his eyes.
That night, he dreamt of lighting a fire…under the rear ends of the boys who always beat him up.
All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A is for Ash

So....if you're like "huh?" when you read this, check out the post below called "Alphabet Game..." And I forgot to mention, these are NOT excerpts from my book(s). These are all original little ditties. I figured it may help me show things I wasn't able to in the books, or intro subplot characters!

This short takes place about 6 years (turns in my world) before Sword's Call. Cera is the heroine of my first book, and she is very very close to my heart. Please enjoy! Comments are encouraged!

            Cera stared. She just couldn’t tear her eyes away as her father’s best horse trainer worked the feisty young stallion. Her stallion.
            The young white wolf at her side whined, but her eyes remained locked onto the horse. The day she’d witnessed his birth just over a turn ago, she’d named him Ash. His shiny coat was as black as night, but before he’d been properly cleansed his coloring had been marred, making him appear the exact hue of cooling embers.
            Her bond, Trikser, by her side also about a turn now, pawed her breech-clad leg. Cera sighed.
            “What is it? I’m not ignoring you. Honestly.” His amber gaze held innocence as their eyes locked and she couldn’t help the smile that formed. She buried her hand in the soft fur between his ears, giving him a scratch. He groaned. “You’re getting so big, Trik,” she mused as he scooted closer to her. Soon he was against her leg, leaning hard and Cera laughed. “Okay, okay.”
            She widened her stance so he wouldn’t knock her over. Trik was jealous of Ash. What would her bond think when she was astride the magnificent animal? Cera couldn’t wait for that moment.
            “Cera? What are you doing down here? You should be studying.” The censure in her father’s tone caused heat to creep up her neck.
            Lord Falor Ryhan’s wide stride brought him to her side in seconds. She fidgeted, but didn’t look away as the duke gave her a once over, his hazel eyes dancing. Her breath exited on a whoosh. Her father wasn’t actually angry with her for sneaking off.
           “I just wanted to see him, Father. I couldn’t wait.”
            He smiled and threw his arm around her shoulders. Trikser yipped as they were separated and Cera leaned into her tall father, smiling back at him.
            Oh hush, you. She thought-sent to her bond, and he reseated himself on her other side.
            “I’m sure your mother didn’t see you before you left. She wouldn’t let you out of the castle in breeches.” There was amusement in his tone at the age old argument, but Cera still blushed.
            “But I did complete my studies before I left, Father.”
            “Glad to hear it, but that will not protect you from your mother’s wrath. You’d better go back in through the servants’ entrance.” Her father squeezed her against his side and flashed her a conspiratorial grin that took turns off his handsome bearded face. Cera giggled.
            Ash’s whinny snapped her attention back to her mount. He was challenging the trainer, hoofing the dirt in the training circle. Cera leaned into the fence, staring. He was going to charge. More like a bull than a horse.
            “Malcolm, watch yourself, lad.” The duke’s order was a boom that had Cera clutching the fence with white knuckles.
            Malcolm didn’t budge, holding his ground well. Ash’s nostrils flared. His powerful chest heaved, his muscles catching the sun is they rippled down his legs and across his back.  
            “He’s the finest stallion my stables have ever birthed,” her father whispered, awe in his tone.
            “Thank you for giving him to me.”
            Trikser growled low in his throat. Ash’s head swung around, his dark gaze locking with the wolf’s amber one. Cera stiffened.
            “Whoa, Ash.” Malcolm’s tone was calm as Cera’s gaze settled on him. But just as he made a go for the stallion’s bridle, Ash jerked away.
            “Trikser,” she admonished, but the horse was already galloping across the training circle.
            “Cera, move back,” her father ordered. He reached for her, but she scooted toward her bond, moving him back before it was too late.
            The stallion was powerful enough to jump the fence. He could trample her wolf.
            A strong hand landed on her arm and she was yanked back as her father shielded her with his body. “Cera, go. Now.”
            Trikser, stop. Stay right there. Cera thought-sent, ignoring her father’s command. She slid around him with a glance at her wolf. He was glowering, but obedient, sitting not far from the training circle.
            She climbed a few rungs up the fence and leaned over, arm extended and palm up. “Ash, come to me.” Her rapid heartbeat belied her calm tone.
            The stallion halted, his chest muscles rippling as dirt settled and his ears twitched. He wasn’t close enough to touch, yet, but he looked at her.
            “Ash, my beautiful boy, come to me.”
            Her smile bloomed as he took one step, then two. Her fingers connected with the softness of his nose, pushing the small touch into a full caress as he came against the fence.
Ash snorted as her father stepped next to her, rearing his head up.
            “Shhh, boy. It’s fine. I’m here,” Cera soothed, running her hand up his wide forehead.
            She made eye contact with her father.
            “Father, I…” His brows were drawn tight, his mouth a hard line.
Ash nudged her hand for another caress. “He likes you.” She grinned at her father’s amazed tone. His face relaxed and his chest heaved with a sigh.
            “I’m sorry, my lord. He’s willful, this one,” Malcolm called.
            “It’s all right, but you should stay where you are. She’s got him calm.”
            “You’re for me, Ash. All for me,” Cera murmured, resting her forehead against the stallion’s much wider one.
            Her father’s chuckle made her glance at him. When their gazes met, he shook his head.
            “You never cease to amaze me, lass.”
            “Is that a bad thing, Father?”
            “This time?”
            “No, lass. Not this time.” Cera flashed an impish grin and her father laughed again.
            She caressed her horse, looking into his brown eyes for a moment. He nickered and she offered him a carrot she’d stowed in her pocket. As he munched, she motioned for Trikser to come to her side. Her bond wasted no time, plastering himself to her leg.
            One hand on her horse, the other on her wolf, Cera smiled.
 All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.

The Alphabet Game (Writer Alphabet Soup?)

Okay, so this so sooooo not original. I am going to do something I stole from an author I love, L.J. McDonald and I think she found it somewhere else on the web. Anyways, it should be fun. (the link will take you to her blog and you can check our HER Alphabet Game...her books are AWESOME, btw.)

I know I'm not published yet, but I have all these things in my head about my characters and my world, and I thought I could share them with you.

I will also post the blurb for the first book in my series, Sword's Call so those of you who know NOTHING about it won't be lost. ;)  but, I will have a little description before each short, as well. And as you know, there is an excerpt of my 3rd book, Dragon's Call on my "Pieces of Me" page here. (aka THE HOTMESS at the moment. ;) )

I am excited. I have the first one done (entitled "A is for Ash"), and it really got my juices flowing. I have been a bit stifled lately as far as writing is concerned.

I will post it shortly. I am contemplating "B" right now. :)

Blurb for Sword's Call:

For generations, the Ryhans, ruling family of the Province of Greenwald have been keepers of a sword that is rumored to possess enough magic to defeat kings. Lord Varthan, a former archduke and betrayer of the king, covets the sword and invades Greenwald.

Lady Ceralda Ryhan, daughter of the murdered duke, gains the sword and flees, trusting only her white wolf, Trikser—magically bonded to her—and needs nothing more to aid in her fight.

Jorrin Aldern, half elfin and half human, left his home in the mountains of Aramour to find his human father who disappeared twenty turns before, but finds Cera with Varthan and his shades on her tail instead. His dual heritage and empathic magic will tempt Cera in ways she never thought she’d desire. Convincing Cera to trust him and show her love is better than redemption will put more than just their hearts on the line.
Hope you enjoy the teaser of Sword's Call and my little shorts to come!
All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dependence On Technology

So, I suppose I, like many other people, are much too dependant on technology. Why do I say this?

Well, unfortuntaely I had a death in the family, of the internet router variety. And I learned something about myself: I AM ADDICTED to the internet! And, it was a case of "You don't know how much you need it, until it's gone."

Also, at the same time, my DVR died. (The Cable TV gods HATE me)

*sigh* It's been a few rough days.

I called my service provider AFTER having followed the *helpful* information on the blue screen of death I got on my TV as the *helpful* information suggested.

What did the Customer Service rep do? DISREGARD everything I told her regarding said *helpful* information on the blue screen of death, therefore extending our PAINFUL conversation almost an hour.


"I'm sorry Ms. Szarek (heavily accented) but it appears you need a new DVR and a new modem."


I thought there was supposed to be some SERVICE in Customer Service.


Well, I could only thank her and move on with life.

Hopefully my new equipment will arrive soon (they are mailing it) and I will get it all hooked up before the DTs hit me.

On the upside, I have PLENTY of time to write! NO distractions. (yeah, yeah)

Happy Friday!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Silk Roses

So, when I got out to my car this morning, Shane, wonderful hubby that he can be sometimes, had left this cute lil sign and some silk roses in my car. It was really sweet. Made me smile.

But the best part was the email he sent me of a txt he had sent to his friend about his Walmart experience. (which is where he got the roses).

Check it out below, it's really funny!

Husband's txt to his friend:  

I went to Walmart tonight, I decided that I wanted to do something sweet for Chrissy. I wanted to leave her some roses in her car on the steering wheel and a note saying "have a happy Friday" So I came toWalmart. I went in to buy a fabric rose from the craft Department. I found one that has 7 roses on it, cost 94 cents. I walk to the front of the store and after waiting forever to check out the cashier gets to me. 

I hand her the 94 cent roses and she looks right at me and says "ah, are you going to propose to someone?" I just stared for a second....and just had to the economy that bad and has romance died so much that someone would spend a whopping 94 cents to PROPOSE?? 

I said, "uh, no. I just wanted to do something sweet for my wife." Crazy.

So now I'm sitting way in the back of the parking lot typing this out and I'm driving the security guard nuts, he's trying to figure out what I'm doing way out here!
Anywho, if someone used 94 cent flowers to propose, they deserve to be told no!!!!


I was highly amused. :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Texas Two Step Conference

Soooo.... NTRWA, my writers' group is having an AWESOME conference in March.

Here are the highlights:

Bestselling Author Mari Mancusi, Social Media Expert Kristen Lamb, Samhain
Publishing's Lindsey Faber, L Perkins Agency's Louise Fury, and The Nelson
Literary Agency's Sara Megibow will be our spotlight guests at the 2012
North Texas Two Step Conference.

Editor Lindsey Faber and Agent Louise Fury have offered to host a critique
session during the conference. With this offering, you will have a choice
between a traditional pitch session or a critique. The critique will be set
up in a way that you'll send 10 pages in a month before the conference and
then during the conference you'll go into a group critique session with your
industry professional. This is a great chance for you to get in front of an
agent/editor even if your story isn't ready to pitch and submit.

Kristen Lamb will be doing a small session on Social Media. Limited in size,
this will be a small group session where you will get a more personalized
chance to sit with Kristen and ask any Social Media Questions you have.

Friday night will be a book signing, open to the public, with a percentage
of proceeds going to support Children's Literacy. If you're a published
author interested in participating, please contact Nikki. You can
participate with indie-published print books, but you must be registered for
the conference.

The registration form
and tentative list of workshops and panels can be found on the Two Step Conference Website

The conference will take place at the Hilton Garden Las Colinas conveniently located near the DFW airport and many shops and restaurants.
We have negotiated a special room rate of $89, but you must be registered
for the conference to use it.

The conference will kick off Friday evening with a book signing where we'll
auction off Saturday lunches with our editors, agents and features speakers.
A percentage of book sale proceeds will go to benefit Children's Literacy.

We hope to see you there. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate
to contact NT's Program Director and contest coordinator Nikki Duncan.

Samhain Publishing and Entangled Publishing have both generously offered
sponsorship help to pull off this conference. 

Spread the news and let's make this conference a huge success.

I am going! Hope to see everyone there. :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Resolutions... ?

Well, maybe this is a bit late, considering it's very early on Jan 7th, but I decided a few things...

in 2012 I resolve to do a whole buncha stuff, none of which is horribly difficult. Well, maybe one...or two...hehehehe

1). STOP cussing. Sometimes I feel like a sailor, or a truck driver, and honestly, it's UNNECESSARY. (I should point out that I have already broken this resolution about 1000 times since Jan 1...same as last year)

2). Lose Weight. (This one has been on the list, oh, about 20 years)

3. CEASE with being the LAZIEST WRITER in the UNIVERSE.
Included in this is, work. Just plain WORK on writing EVERY day. Even if it's only a paragraph.
I feel so guilty when I am not writing. Don't worry, it's not too much self-imposed pressure, but when I am at work all I am thinking about is writing, and then when I am home, or free, I DON'T. It's point blank UNACCEPTABLE for me as a person.
Also a part of this, is that I would like to be more of a Plotter than the Panster I SOOO am. I would like to do more than short notes to myself and short character sketches. I don't outline, I need to. I think it would help me organize my thoughts and make me a better writer all around.

I think that's about it. Finishing my 2nd and 3rd books in my Call series as well as work on the wolf-shifters and the other things floating around in my head all fall into #3 Resolution so I think I'm good.

Nothing a little determination won't solve! I CAN DO IT! :)

What about you guys? What did you resolve to make of your 2012?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Graphic

Festival, New year | Forward this Picture

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's a toast to 2012! Hoping everyone had a lovely and safe adventure of bringing in the new year.

Hope you stick to your resolutions and achieve all your goals, may they be personal or professional!