NaNoWriMo Excerpt #5

It’s that time already?

I can’t believe NaNo is almost over! Between international travel and not feeling my best, I didn’t get as much done this past week as I would have liked, but I long since passed 50,000 words, which was my goal for the month. Ergo, I am happy.

This week’s excerpt is a bit different. It comes near the book’s midpoint, and is a piece of a tale about two sisters, a long time ago, whose lives have shaped the fate of everyone who came after them.

Without further ado…

One day, shortly before Mirelin turned sixteen and Lora fifteen, their father pulled his younger daughter aside.

“I know that your heart is set on the forest,” he said, “but I have a hard thing to ask of you, Lora, my brave youngest. You have spent your life looking after Mirelin, and I would ask that you continue. Become her advisor, and calm her when need be, and help her rule well. Help her see the good of the people as higher than her own, and not waste her time in frivolty and weeping.”

Lora’s heart fluttered in her chest, and she felt the clang of bars closing around her, but she squared her shoulders and said, “I will do as you ask, Papa.”

He pulled her into his arms, and kissed her forehead and hair, and told her what a wonderful daughter she was, and how proud he was to have her. They both knew that Lora’s life would not be easy. She would have most of the responsibilities of a Queen, with none of the recognition. Still, she believed that as long as she could steal moments in the forest, she would be happy.

Lora did not ask for recognition. Let Mirelin draw all eyes; let Mirelin be beautiful and charming, and let the people credit her for wise judgments. Lora did not mind. It was her role in life, caring for Mirelin. Through it she tried to atone for the death of their mother, for which she had always felt guilty, as though it were a crime that had rested on her head since birth.

So the sisters grew, and their magic grew with them.

When Mirelin was seventeen, her father sought a match for her, so that she might have an heir when the time came, and would not have to ascend to the throne without a King Consort.

It came as no surprise that it was Lora, in the end, who found a husband for her sister.

NaNoWriMo Excerpt #3

This has been a rough week. I’m heading back to the States soon, which means not seeing my sister or her family for a very long time (likely 2+ years). My sister and I are two halves of the same soul, and my sister’s husband is the best big brother ever, and their children are smart and funny and kind. I’ve had to say the long goodbye to them many times before, but it never gets easier.

I have kept writing, though, because writing is cathartic for me. It helps, even if just a little.

So without further ado, here is my third excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel.

Darkfall: Excerpt #3

“Look at her feet,” said a woman’s voice. “My gods, what happened?”

Ada jerked awake with her heart already hammering. She tried to crawl away, but strong hands settled on her arm, holding her in place. “Settle, child, settle,” a man said. “Let us look at you.”

Ada tried to open her eyes, but she was so tired, and cold had shivered its way into her bones. Through her cracked-open eyelids, she saw nothing but dark.

The woman gasped. “Finnal, look.” She touched Ada’s belly, running her hand lightly along the swell.

Both were silent for a moment. Then the man said, “What happened to you, child? From where have you come?”

Ada fought her eyes open and looked up to see two shadowed faces leaning over her. “I’ve come,” she said. Her voice sounded weak and distant. “From my village… A long way.”

“Did you chase down every creature that bit or burned in the entire forest?” The woman asked.

“Kee, don’t make fun,” said the man. “Look at her. She’s had such a bad time.”

“Well then,” the woman said, “let us carry her home, and see what can be done.”

Ada lost herself for a time, when they lifted her. She closed eyes that felt swollen and heavy, and when she opened them, she was inside a warm dimly-lit house. A beautiful woman leaned over Ada, wiping her face with a damp cloth. The woman’s black hair shone in the lamplight.

“Hello,” said the woman. “I am Kee. What gave you these cuts?”

Ada licked lips that felt as dry as the anciet paper in one of Tanneth’s books. “Which ones?”

Kee smiled and trailed her fingers along the side of Ada’s face. “These,” she said. “Like claws, ripping.”

“Thorns,” said Ada. She had not known the gashes were so visible. She had not thought of them in days.

Kee shook her head. “And your feet? Did you boil them for soup? You are lucky they did not fall off.”

Ada felt ill. She had tried not to think of the raw lumps at the ends of her ankles.

“Water,” she said. “A lake. I tried to cross, but the water…”

Kee hissed through her teeth. “Forest water? Your feet were immersed in it? Child, you should be dead.”

“But I am not,” Ada said, the words leaping from her lips. Weak defiance, as fragile as leaves, but alive and growing. She had made it this far. So far. At such cost.

“So I see.” Kee was smiling again.

The man came in, carrying a bucket of water. He plunked it down on the floor and came to sit at Ada’s other side.

“Is she awake? Are you tormenting her with rude questions?”

“Ignore Finnal,” said Kee. “He does not appreciate honesty.”

Ada laughed, just a little, and it set off a cough that rattled her bones. Finnal brought water, and lifted Ada’s head just high enough that she could drink. Her teeth rattled against the rim of the cup.

“She is chilled,” said Finnal. He touched Ada’s hand. “Her skin is cold.”

“Not her face,” Kee said. “Her face burns with fever.”

They traded a worried look.

Other participants in the AbsoluteWrite NaNoWriMo blog chain:

orion_mk3 | robjvargas | AshleyEpidemic | vertigo78 | bdwilson | meowzbark | wittyblather | RhondaParrish | skunkmelon | sunflowerrei

In the land of rice and lava

I recently made a stressful international trip with an ulcer, and actually survived. I couldn’t eat any of the airplane or airport food, but I’d found one brand of apple cereal bars that I could eat without excruciating pain, so I brought enough for the entire trip.

On the ulcer front: I’ve started treatment for h. pylori. Day three, and I’m not sure yet whether or not it’s helping. Also not sure what I’ll do if it doesn’t help. It’s been almost six weeks since I was able to eat much. I’ve probably lost close to twenty pounds.

Enough whining. Let’s talk about Indonesia, specifically the island of Java. I love the people, the food (it’s hard not being able to eat it at the moment), and the landscape with its towering volcanos and terraced rice fields. Due to my illness, I haven’t gotten a chance to get out and take a lot of photos yet. Here are a few from around the house.

ImageBanana tree, complete with giant blossom. Bananas in the tropics taste amazing.

ImageCicak, a kind of small gecko. They are cute, and useful, since they
eat bugs. There’s also an adorable children’s song about them.

Image
Traditional hand broom.

It’s not a coincidence that Lili, the main character in my first novel, has a mother who’s Javanese (Lili’s father, like me, is a white Texan). I’ll be living here in Java for four months, learning and absorbing everything I can. I believe this experience will be greatly helpful when it comes to writing a character who is half-Javanese.

Speaking of the novel, it’s coming along. Still much longer than I had planned–30,000 words through 6 chapters. There are 21 chapters in my outline, which puts me on pace for 105,000 words. Yikes. Something tells me I’ll have to do plenty of cutting in the editing phase. Still, I’m pleased I’ve been able to keep up the pace, despite illness and travel.

Hello!

I’m Amalie, and I am a writer. When I was five, I discovered the magic of words on pages, and that was that. I wrote my first story that year. It was about a baby fox who almost fell off a cliff and had to be rescued by his mother. I still have the story. A literary masterpiece, let me tell you.

A few other things: I am in my mid-20s. I grew up in remote wooded hills in the Southern United States, and I still breathe best beneath a wild, open sky. I love to learn and discover. I have so many interests that I don’t know what to do with them all. I also have a small horde of wonderful nieces and nephews.

My first novel-in-progress, tentatively titled The Mirror Veil, is for them. It is my love letter to courage and kindness, and magic and wilderness, and people who do the right thing even when the world is unfair.

Someday I might even finish writing it.