NaNoWriMo2016 Spare Thoughts


Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets, Working on my Craft | Posted on 12-12-2016

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner_congratsI wrapped up NaNoWriMo 2016 with just over an hour to spare. I’m happy with what I have to work with now. I believe it’s a good story for book 4 in my Naldo series. I ended with at least two extra friends. They will be the protagonists for book 5 in the series. One of the things that helps me with my writing are the conversations I have with my characters. When I get stuck, either not know how to continue or how to describe something, I turn to them. Many times I find the conversation goes into the story with very few change. Usually these changes are in the pronouns and matching verbs.

I took a break from 50k word count and took the challenge of a story of 15k words. I will submit this to the Writers Digest Short Short Story contest.

Now I go back to work on book 2 in the series and “Misty’s Magical Shed. I like variety in my writing and my characters.

Misty’s Magical Shed 19


Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets, Story Snippets | Posted on 19-05-2016

“Ah Pearl, this time we are going to do more than scare. It’s time to take our existence back.” Swirl patted her friend’s smooth frontal lobe.

“Even better.” The spider rubbed the tips of two front legs together. “How do we begin?”

“First, we must find out what their plans are and how many of them fight against us.” Swirl motioned for the spider to follow as she turned to the side wall. “Oh yes. I will need this.” She gathered a vile with dark viscous liquid and continued her movement to the shiny reflective surface of the wall at the far end of the table.

“But you need someone inside, for this to work.”

“Yes. And I have someone in mind. Cyandre is small enough and won’t even be noticed.”

“My daughter?”

Before Swirl could answer a small replica of Pearl floated from above to land on Pearl’s back.

“Yes?” A squeak of a voice chimed in. “Can I be of assistance?” The small arachnid closed the book she’d been reading and folded the tiny spectacles that had rested over her eyes. A slender thread left from her descent, glistened bright purple.

“Come to Mama.” From the midsection of her body Pearl held out two of her longest arms., the tips also glowed purple. She gathered her baby close and turned her bulging eyes to Swirl. “I’m not sure she can handle it.”

“Yes I can. Yes I can.” Cyandre’s voice took on a disconcerting maturity. Strong and deep, but still she could not keep the squeak from it. “Tell me how.” She pushed glasses with multi-prism lenses back over her beady eyes.

“Very well. Do you remember the fire fountain?” asked Swirl.

“Oh yes.” The squeak returned and betrayed excitement. “Um. Yes. I mean of course.”

Swirl laughed. “I’m sure you will do very well. Now, let’s work out a plan to get you into their good graces.” Swirl took her hand and dipped it into the dark liquid, then smeared it against the wall. The surface glowed through forming a mirror-like image. The forms and figures of Finny and his cohorts took shape.

Misty’s Magical Shed 18


Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 15-05-2016

Now, to get on with the plan, she thought. To begin with, I need to strengthen powers I already have. With the container of web cradled in her right arm, Swirl made her way through cold stone hallways that twisted and turned deep into the center of her prison fortress. At the end, a solid wooden door stretched from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. In the center, a long brass chain dangled from a gargoyle’s mouth. Carved into the surface, creatures, human, amphibian and other reached to her, pleading. Swirl grabbed a massive link and jerked. The door swung in to another hallway that grew increasingly smaller and smaller until another door, barely as tall as she, added another blockade. A soft tap of her left thumb and it opened to her laboratory. A sizzle wrapped around for identification, stretched to the ceiling, then settled gently to her shoulders when the spell she kept in place recognized her.

A protection spell locked the one refuge they hadn’t been able to take. This and everything in her power kept it under her control. On a high bench, several beakers overflowed with vapor. Two large crystal containers glowed, one crimson and one yellow. Popping sparkles ran over the top of a third and sizzled when they touched leaving more marks on the already scarred surface of the table. A sweet floral fragrance filled the air from the candles in the wall sconces.

Swirl coughed and forced herself to draw in slow steady breaths, but that did little good, so she picked up the beaker and threw it against the wall. Chunks of light disintegrated, and dark flooded in. “Now calm down, she said. Hatred burned deep, but uncontrolled it would do her no good. It’s time… Pointing at the wall where the beaker had shattered, she twisted her fingers around, from palm down to palm up. The shards of glass gathered and reformed into the original container. Right hand extended, she aimed and a stream of popping light flowed out to refill it. Illumination grew. Brighter than before, it hurt eyes that had grown used to the dark. Swirl sighed. Pain calmed anger that twisted in her belly.

Memory triggered another plan. Swirl chuckled. Something she’d used in the past to rob Finny of a good night’s sleep would help now. With the cup returned to its place on the table, Swirl held out both hands. “Come to me, sweetness,” she called with a voice as silken as the thread produced by this friend. She used the pointer finger on her right hand to add a gesture to her request. With her left, she tapped out a rhythm on the table. The tune she longed to sing wouldn’t come out of her mouth, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy it until… “Ha ha.” Again, she laughed and stared into the depths of the ceiling above.

A solid form descended and a graceful shadow grew on the wall.

Swirl fought to contain her glee. If she moved too fast, her friend would retreat back to her lair. It would take much longer to coax her out, time Swirl didn’t have.

The shadow grew and grew, until in full form, a massive green spider, with limbs twice as long as Swirl’s fingers, settled on the furthest corner of the table from the popping light. Fur covered, one leg reached to touch Swirl’s left hand. “It’s been a long while since you’ve needed my assistance,” said a silky feminine voice.  “Who are we going to terrify now?” Devious enjoyment caressed the words.

Misty’s Magical Shed 17


Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 26-04-2016

The window frame swung out and an image shimmered, then sharpened. Swirl stretched her arms toward the stronghold that had been her family home. “No!” The proceedings grew dismal.

Strands of silk retreated through Papa Hal’s cavern and out into the dark sky. The fine trail spread to twinkling lights in the wide expanse. Spirals of stars and intergalactic dust gobbled all traces.

Swirl clenched her fists and quivered from head to toe. Unable to prevent what happened from her vantage point, she continued to stare with fixated horror. Inside a black hole that allowed no light to escape, her hideaway offered a sanctuary that. More prison than home, it Swirl gave the only protection she could depend on.

The remaining silk inside the oval container glowed with a mind of its own, but it could do nothing to change what happened. To prevent it from going to the rescue, she replaced and secured the lid. A glow protested, but it would be there again when she needed it, and need it she would.

Long black strands of hair fell into her face. As usual, she brushed them back, but could not brush away the darkness that overwhelmed her. She needed to get herself under control, so she scrubbed the wall and a shiny surface grew. Her reflection frowned back. Deep lines etched worry and anger around crystal blue eyes. “This has to stop. I’m still beautiful.” Despite that, no one wanted anything to do with her. That’s fine, she thought. I’ll show them. When I can use my siren call once more, I won’t have to worry about being alone ever again. She opened her mouth as if the song she longed for would spill out and surround her. Like so many times before, all that happened was a pitiful croak.

“Min! You did this to me,” Swirl screamed, but no one was there to hear, least of all her sister Minerva. A twinkle of an idea intensified. “Ah,” she laughed. I’ll get even with Min and all the others. First she would have to defeat her nephew. It had been fun building a fear of spiders in him when he was a baby. Maybe she could use that now. Next time I’ll be stronger. I’ll take back my birthright. She flicked her hand at the image on the wall and it vanished.

Misty’s Magical Shed 16


Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 08-04-2016

He did know what to do. But did he have enough of the magic the others depended on? Only one way to find out. He lifted both arms high overhead, then jerked them down into his body. With the right one, Finny reached to catch an unlit torch that flew from a sconce high in the wall.

What good will that do? a shrill voice screamed so only he could hear.

Wow, even before the thought shouted in his mind, Finny  pictured the heat and fire of the molten fountain. His thumb and third finger snapped together.

The torch ignited with a fiery red flame.

When Finny brought it against the long slender arm of spider web attached to the hand at his throat, it shriveled and turned black. He jerked back and and touched the flame to the delicate lace. It shattered into a pile of dust. Another tendril reached out. Finny grabbed and wrapped his fist around it.

“Let go,” the voice that had screamed in his mind shouted out loud.

Strange, despite the evil it carried, it reminded him of Mama’s.

Other tendrils stretched out to Finny and one wrapped around the hand that held the torch.

No! He squeezed the handle to keep from dropping it. This has to stop. Closer and closer he brought the flame. Heat grew, but before it could scorched his face the web disintegrated.

The tendril around his ankle cut into the flesh, so Finny aimed the torch lower.and lower. Before the flame made contact it released and retreated before distruction made its mark and destroyed it. The rest of the delicate web followed close behind.

“Yes.” Finny chortled. He raised his hands in a wave motion and brought them down in front of his chest.

More torches flew out to stand at attention.

He snapped his fingers and and they lit with the rich smell of the matches Dad had used to light campfires on their family trips. After that, each moved to take its place in a sconce. That is all but one, and it hovered before Finny. It wobbled as it followed him out into the cavern. “Go. Now.” He stretched his left hand out and pointed.

Sizzle, pop, steam hissed.

The strands retreated more.

“You have won the battle, but the war continues.” The voice echoed through the chamber.

The air cleared. Molten rock, no longer black, dripped again and formed a protecting sheet and replaced the chill.

I knew you could do it. Raskee rubbed against Finny’s leg.

Well done, my boy. Papa Hal pulled Finny inside the strong stone walls and shut the door, before he gathered him into his arms and squeezed. But this is only the first lesson.