J.F. Posthumus

J.F. Posthumus

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Virginia, United States
A computer tech and artist that thrives on writing fantasy to escape the harshness of reality.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Me & My Co-Writer

Since I talk about him enough, I figured I'd post a picture. To put a face with the name. :D

This is me and Mark taken at my cousin's funeral home when my grandfather passed away. For some reason, funerals and weddings are more like family get-togethers than anything else. At least at the "receiving" part. Yes, we are a very weird family. Which explains a lot about my writing....

Teaser Tuesday - Gifts of the Gods

Ok, so this is a scene from "Gifts of the Gods".  Aeryn, the daughter of Shamazu (the Goddess of Fire and Lust) has just met Baudin and they've gone out for a day/night of fun.  So, they go to a nice little restaurant to eat where a former patron of the Orexis where Aeryn works as a hostess, decides to intrude.  A fight breaks out involving Baudin, Grunk (a half-orgre) and a bunch other patrons.  Baudin tells Aeryn to scram, which she does reluctantly.  The following is what happens after Aeryn leaves the restaurant.


She had taken only a dozen short steps from the restaurant when a high-pitched, arrogant female voice demanded, "Where d'ya think to be going, ya trallop?"
"Trallop?"  Aeryn asked in amusement, "There's a name I haven't been called before."
"Think yer boy can start a mess with my beloved Grunk an' win, do ya?"  The petite blond, dressed in a faux silk white top and dark blue breeches, walked around to face her.  "Well, he fights for my honor, ya trollop, and will win in my name!"
Aeryn raised a brow, "Actually, if you desire to place blame, place it upon the lout that interrupted our dinner."  She sighed extravagantly, much as she had heard her mother do before Shamazu unleashed her terror upon a mortal or fellow deity.  "Thank you for that information.  Since your beloved Grunk is now fighting the entire restaurant for your supposed 'honor,' you should be quite happy."
"Oh, he's goin' to walk out of there, tall and proud!"  The smaller woman declared.  "Gonna be holding your handsome friend's head for a souvenir!  How der ya like that?"
"Shall we stand here and wait for that, then?"  Aeryn answered sardonically.  "Perhaps there is a nearby tavern we can grab a drink while we wait for the glorious return of Grunk?"
The blonde began to smile, then her expression became sour again.
"Ya'r mocking me an' my Grunk, aren't ya?"  She demanded accusingly.  "I knew ya needed to have the smart knocked out of ya- that's why I'm here!"
Why do they always want to fight?  Aeryn sighed inwardly.  They always claim it is for 'honor', but most wouldn't know what it was if it stabbed them in the heart.
"We aren't waiting for Grunk to emerge to fight, once again, for your 'honor?'  Can you be sure that he'd want that?"  Aeryn quizzed, keeping her smirk carefully concealed.
The woman looked confused, but this expression was also fleeting, replaced by the sour expression.
"Are you fighting for your Grunk's 'honor,' then?"  Aeryn's voice sounded mischievous to her own ears.  But she could not help it; this fool practically begged for a lesson in reality.
"Don't mock us!"  The woman screamed in a shrill voice, and charged.
Aeryn bent her knees, pivoted her torso, and waited.  When the woman's arms were about to grab Aeryn's hair, Aeryn threw her right fist in between the woman's breasts.  Impacting fully against her adversary's sternum, Aeryn knocked the woman two steps back from her.  Gasping, the woman's arms crossed her chest, as if she could gather breath into her lungs.
"That's just a taste, fool."  Aeryn warned.  "Now, go sit down and wait for your pet."
Still gasping, the woman stumbled towards the restaurant.  Aeryn waited, not taking her eyes off the petite blonde.  Her adversary stopped after a few uneven steps, and bent over, facing away from Aeryn.
When the blonde woman straightened back up, she turned, face red and still trying for normal breath.  She held a long dagger in her right hand, and was making her uneasy way back to Aeryn.
"I don't want to know where you kept that hidden."  Aeryn observed.  The woman swung the blade before she was close enough to even have a chance of using it against Aeryn.
Aeryn stepped in, catching the woman's weapon arm easily with her left hand.  She struck with her right, breaking the cartilage at the woman's elbow viciously.  The arm bent unnaturally outward; the dagger fell from limp fingers and a high, piercing scream cut the air, nearly deafening Aeryn.  She silenced the woman with a punch to the throat.  Stepping back, she removed her hands, and watched the blonde adversary crumple to the ground, choking.
The front of the restaurant exploded; glass and wood flew around Aeryn.  As the debris settled, the form of the half-ogre could be seen, carrying two thin humans that Aeryn did not recognize.  Grunk, who was cut, bruised and bleeding, wobbled precariously on his legs.  He was nearly blind; his left eye was swollen shut and blood from a scalp wound poured into his right.  A few steps behind him walked Baudin.  He was a little scuffed, a little dirty, but he walked upright and was smiling.  He brushed dirt from his sleeves as he spotted Aeryn.
The half ogre bellowed in rage.  He was looking at the petite blonde, who had passed out.  Her throat was swollen, but she was alive.  Grunk dropped the two men he had been carrying.  Aeryn presumed they were servers from the restaurant, due to the clothing they wore.  Grunk turned and looked at Aeryn, his unreasoning rage focused on her.
Aeryn sighed, and drew upon the mystical energy around her.  Holding both hands in front of her, she unleashed a wall of fire, roasting the half ogre from throat to knees.  The smell of roasting meat filled her nostrils, but she still poured on the flame.
When she ceased, the half ogre's corpse was still standing, although all muscle and flesh had been burned to bone from his thighs to his breastbone.   Grunk's body finally collapsed, falling away from the petite blonde.  Bone and spine snapped loudly at his hit the ground.  The woman began to stir; her hair burned in places, and one eyebrow singed away.
Aeryn looked quickly to Baudin, afraid of what his reaction might be.  He was, she saw with relief, smiling and nodding appreciatively to her.  She smiled nervously back at him before walking over to the fried corpse.
It took two of the strongest kicks she could muster, and a great deal of pulling with her arms, but Aeryn managed to free the half-ogre's head from the rest of his body.  She dropped it, unceremoniously, into the lap of the waking woman.  The woman blinked, trying to comprehend what was in her lap.
"Something for you to curl up with at night, while you dream your fantasies of honor," Aeryn spat.
Saturday, September 26, 2009

Artwork in Fair - Cherub

Well, the other two I did I had to take photos of, and of course they are at home still on the camera. However, this is the digital art I did and entered. Opinions are, of course, welcome! :D

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - A Quiet Scene...

As requested, here's a quiet scene.  Xandra has been cajoled into going with her brother to a political event, a dinner party.  Since Xandra hates anything to do with politics or being 'proper', she typically keeps away from them for fear of damaging her brother's career...something about being an assassin... anyways, after the whole fiasco with Segav's foot being turned into a treestump and her angering Xantos, she accepts her brother's offer.  She's pretty bored until another politician approaches her and starts up a conversation.  He suggests a walk in the garden, and she accepts... She suspects there's more to this politician who's probably older than her parents than what he's telling/showing, but she likes him anyway.

So, here's the scene, with them in the garden after they talk about her brother a bit.


        “You are most fortunate to have parents as well as grandparents who love you enough to ensure you receive the fullest education possible.”  Eronous stated, as Xandra bent slightly to sniff a single white rose.  Respectfully, she kept eye contact with Eronous as their conversation continued.
        “Great-Father is our only other living relative in Deltheya, unless you include our gods-parents and adopted uncle.  We have aunts and uncles in Faedale, though, who are Mother’s brothers and sisters.”  Xandra replied calmly, though it was a task to keep her voice calm and steady. 

        She turned towards Eronous and tilted her head to the side.  “What we are most fortunate for is the fact that not our mother, father, or great-grandfather have attempted to tell us which career path we should take.  We have been given that choice freely, unlike many children who are forced to follow in their parents’ footsteps.”  She turned and added, “Or forced to follow in the path another deems fit.”
        The fierceness which Xandra spoke must have caught Eronous off guard, for she sensed his whole body stiffen.  It was a long moment before he spoke. 

“Your brother chose the political arena.  What arena have you chosen, Alixandra?”  Eronous said softly, but his voice carried to her ears easily.
        When she glanced up from examining the soft petals of a lavender rose, she was startled to find Eronous standing behind her, looking over her head at the soft flower in her hand.  She had not heard his steps and she had been trained early to listen and hear what most could not.
         He stated calmly, “The beauty of the flower will never match the beauty that will one day be yours.”

           Suddenly feeling flustered and uncertain, she responded to his former question, quickly dropping her hand away from the base of the bloom.  “I haven’t yet chosen a path to follow.” 

            She wasn’t about to tell this stranger that she wanted to be an assassin.  That she wanted to learn from Great-Father and he encouraged her training at the guild.  It was something she loved.  But tell this high elf of stature that she was training at a guild for assassins?  And chance damaging her brother’s chosen career?  Never.

            She moved away from Eronous, in an attempt to distance herself.  However, he moved with a silence that she only hoped to accomplish.  Not even his voluminous robes made a whisper as he moved.  She could only sense his presence, nothing more.  It was, undoubtedly, unnerving. 

           “Ah, you are but in the start of becoming an adult.  Had I not rebelled against my family and left to carve my name out on my own and become that which I am today, I believe I would have chosen the path of a rogue; a thief, perhaps.”  He replied, as he pulled a blood-red rose towards him and inhaled the fragrance.

            Xandra looked up at the blue-gray eyes and smiled slightly, “The laws that govern the thieves are as dangerous to the unwary as the laws which rule those who desire to be in politics.  The only difference being death comes quicker to the unwary thief than it does to the powerful politician.”

            “Unless one becomes the target of an assassin; in which case, no matter the chosen profession, the unwary becomes a corpse quickly and without another thought.”  Eronous added softly.
         “What do you know of assassins?”  Xandra snapped, immediately regretting her tone.
         “The same as everyone, my dear.  Even I have been a target of the occasional assassin.  Everyone with power is always prone to the whimsy desires of those beneath them who desire to usurp their position through their target’s death.”

           Xandra thought to the story of her maternal grandfather’s death.  He had been victim to an assassination.  Her mother had been forced to assassinate her father’s mother as a child by none less than Xantos at the tender age of ten.  She, herself, was training to become an assassin.  It was in her blood; her inheritance from her family.  Her thoughts were mirrored on her face and she felt a hand on her shoulder.

           She looked up to see an expression of compassion and understanding on Eronous’s face.  It was an expression seldom seen from her great-grandfather but seen often on her parents’ faces. 

            “You have felt the pain inflicted caused by one who has perished at an assassin’s hands?”

            Xandra shook her head slowly, “No, but I know of some who have and they still feel the pain of those deaths even now, despite the years, decades, that have passed.”

           The hand squeezed her shoulder slightly, before slipping beneath her arm until her hand rested, once more, on his forearm.  “That pain never dies, it only lessens; unless one is cold-hearted and cares for none but themselves.  Assassins are, in my humble opinion, cold-hearted bastards who care for none but themselves.  They would have to be jaded, else they would fall victim to their demons invoked by their deeds.”

           Xandra thought of Alden and found it difficult to believe he was jaded but then, he did work for Great-Father and if truth be told, he was not always kind and gentle. 

           She shrugged lightly, “You speak as though assassins are close to your heart.”

            Eronous laughed softly, “No, dear lady, they are not.  But I have lived long and have seen those assassins who have been taken by those who enforce laws.  They are hardened criminals who appear to care for nothing but their own skin.  Unlike you, I have had someone taken from me by an assassin’s blade; it is not something I would wish upon anyone.”

            Xandra chuckled ruefully, “You were right; most here would be very much appalled by our conversation.”  She glanced up into his eyes and noticed they were very clear yet hid his thoughts perfectly.  She opened her mouth to continue, but was instead broken off by the voice of her brother.
Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Here's the recipe.  You can tweak it however you want.  I usually leave out the mushrooms and water chestnuts, though I might add 'em in this year... maybe.  Anywhos, hope you enjoy it!!! 

Disclaimer: this is not MY recipe, I got it from one of my mother's old cookbooks. 

Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 small to medium pumpkin

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons veg. Oil

1 ½ to 2 lbs ground beef

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 (4-oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained

1 (10 ¾ oz) can cream-of-chicken-soup

1 ½ cups cooked rice

1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained

cut off top of pumpkin and thoroughly clean out seeds and pulp. Pain on an appropriate face on front of pumpkin with permanent marker or acrylic pen. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large skillet, sauté onion in oil until tender. Add meat and brown. Drain drippings from skillet. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, and soup. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked rice and water chestnuts. Spoon mixture into the cleaned pumpkin shell. Replace pumpkin top and place entire pumpkin, with filling, on a baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until inside meat of the pumpkin is tender. Put pumpkin on a plate. Remove pumpkin lid and serve meal.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teaser Tuesday Retake

Ok, since I've been told I posted the other scene prior, I'll post this one.... another scene with Xantos, but with Xandra and Segav. This is after the Budtrizz debacle. Xandra has just broken into Segav's room to rid herself of her 'boredom'. Xantos, watching, decides to pay the pair a visit and terrify them both. (Just FYI: Xantos killed off Aly's suitors prior to Aly meeting Xolyn... Aly and Xolyn are Xandra's parents.) Since I'm lazy, I'm going to post what we use for our query, since it's a pretty good one for the background:

Alixandra Dredbourne is not a typical apprentice. Unlike most at the assassins guild, she excels at not only her lessons, but at breaking the rules. Alixandra believes that her greatest challenges are to escape the shadows of her famous royal bloodline, garner the attention of a young man she fancies, and try to keep boredom at bay while completing her training. Her pension for mischief and mayhem changes when someone starts assassinating the Royal Family. Frustrated by what she sees as a lack of concern or action, Alixandra decides that her budding knowledge of Necromancy may be the salvation of her family.

As her mother’s siblings are picked off one-by-one, Alixandra searches for a way to help. When her mother, a ranger of legends with considerable skills and power, is attacked, Alixandra realizes she is no match for a trained, professional assassin. Worse yet, the assassin will be targeting her brother next. In desperation, Alixandra makes a deal with a demon, but the price may cost Alixandra not only her soul, but also the lives of her family. Will she be able to save her family from not only a professional assassin, but the demon as well? Nothing ever comes without a price and Alixandra soon realizes the price is often more than you intended to pay.

The Scene:

Cautiously, Xandra raised her hand and brushed it along his cheek and into his hair, her eyes moving from his to the hair her hand was entwining itself into. She found herself moving towards Segav, and was elated to see that he was doing the same: Moving in for the second kiss.

Gods, the earth is moving… Xandra thought dreamily, feeling her whole body trembling. In Segav’s eyes, she saw the same things she was feeling: Excitement, desire, anticipation… fear? His eyes were growing far too wide, and the next realization hit her like a Dwarven war hammer. The earth shouldn’t be moving this much!

The whole room was trembling, and for all she knew, the entire school might be shaking. Small items; an inkwell, scraps of parchment, discarded clothing and such, fell from Segav’s desk and dresser. It was becoming more and more difficult to remain standing, and Xandra felt Segav grab her protectively, trying to keep her upright even as he fought to stand. His eyes were staring at something behind her, in the direction of the window. Xandra turned to look.

A sphere of hellish fire was hovering at mid-level in front of the window, within the room. It was already three feet in diameter and growing; from Segav’s reaction, Xandra surmised that it had appeared when the tremors first started, and grew larger as the tremors increased. Stunned and unsure what to do, the young couple watched the sphere grow to over six feet. This made the flames touch the bed linens and the wooden walls, but nothing charred or caught fire.

Magic fire, Xandra realized. The kind most used for a portal…but who could it be?

A pair of eyes became distinguishable within the swirling orange, red and green flames. They were orange eyes, angry eyes, and yes, familiar eyes.

This is going to be very, very bad, Xandra thought before the sphere exploded, sending the multi-colored flames to each corner of the room and washing over Segav and Xandra. Her eyes snapped shut instinctually, to prevent the glare from the explosion from blinding her eyes.

The explosion was accompanied by a single “pop” of noise that would not draw attention to the room. If the rest of the dormitories had shaken as Segav’s room had, no one would be in a position to notice a sound that registered no louder than a beaker shattering.

Xandra’s eyes opened with that sound. What she saw garnered mixed emotions: Great-Father, Xantos, was standing where the sphere had been; wisps of green and orange smoke wafting up from his body and long hair. His orange eyes were blazing at her. The room appeared to have suffered no further damage.

She looked away and found Segav glaring at her great-grandfather. She wondered at his courage, and then looked back to Xantos. The tone she knew would be there, casual and non-threatening, came from her great-grandfather’s lips.

“I don’t recall allowing you leave from my house, Xandra. I am certain the guild’s laws still forbid young girls breaking into the boys’ dormitory, no matter if the offenders are familiar with each other.”

“The laws be damned.” Segav spoke before Xandra could begin to answer. “Xandra is welcome at my quarters whenever she wishes, as she well knows.”

No, I didn’t know that! Xandra’s surprised mind exclaimed. Unfortunately, her face expressed this thought, and she fought to remove all traces from her features before her great-grandfather could discern what she was thinking.

“That changes nothing,” Xantos said dryly, “as you do not make the rules of the Guild. As for disciplinary action for such behavior, I don’t think the Guild will punish you properly. It falls to me, then. Are you prepared?”

“We can’t break the rules of the Guild, but you can alter them any time you wish?” Xandra barked at her relative. Her temper was getting the better of her, and she was not sure if it was because she had been caught, or because Segav was with her.

“When you have risen to the level of power that I have, darling child,” Xantos said with some small measure of impatience, “you may bend the rules of what you claim some ownership to.”

Xandra had no retort for that and when Segav did not comment, she was grateful. Xandra was beginning to suspect that any reply would have dire consequences at this point. The imposing figure of her great-grandfather held his right hand out to her.

“Come, Xandra. I will escort you back to your quarters at my estate. We will discuss any further punishment there.”

Xandra sighed heavily and began to step forward. Segav leapt in front of her, shielding her body from Xantos with his own.

“Any punishment to be given will be laid at my feet, not hers!” Segav yelled. “I shall not let you take her if she wishes to stay!”

Before Xandra could object or try to comprehend this unexpected, heroic gesture from Segav, she watched Xantos gesture, very subtly, with his left hand. The sound of snapping timber drew her eyes to the floor, where large tree roots were springing up from the floor boards. Grabbing Segav at the shoulders, she tried to pull her friend back. Before she could urge his body back more than an inch, the roots wrapped around his left foot.

Segav gasped, and then his teeth snapped together in pain. Within seconds, his left leg had become a part of the roots. It looked, in fact, as if his left leg had transformed into a tiny tree from the hip down. Segav uselessly tried to move back; he was, quite literally, rooted to the spot.

“Great-Father!” Xandra screamed, staring at him in fear and angst. “No! How could you?”

“The boy must learn that courage is useless until tempered with wisdom, and an understanding of one’s adversary.” Xantos explained in the same relaxed tone he had used while torturing and humiliating her now former teacher, Budtrizz.

Blind with anger and ashamed with what she had brought upon Segav, Xandra strode over to her great-grandfather and drove a hand beneath the elder’s robes. She pulled out the same obsidian dagger that Xantos had severed Budtrizz’s left hand with and walked back to Segav.

Falling to her knees in front of the polymorphed left leg, Xandra raised the dagger, preparing to strike down.

Teaser Tuesday - Heiress snippet

Quick recap on what's going on in my life: Mark has a job at Spirit, a Halloween store, and, well... it's pretty awesome. The kids have colds and my sinuses hate me. all in all, a typical Fall. I've managed to do some actual art (not by the computer, either!) and it's going in the State Fair. We're dropping it off this Saturday. I'll keep ya'll updated and will probably upload pics of what I entered AFTER judging is over. On to the teaser! This is a snippet from Heiress, and one of my most favorite scenes. Mostly because it's Xantos and he's doing what Xantos does best: torturing some poor idiot. :D Xantos is Xandra's great-grandfather and owner/founder of the assassins' guild she learns at. The back story is pretty simple: Budtrizz has spent every day harassing Xandra and she hasn't done anything towards him in retribution. Xantos disapproves of her inaction and her attitude towards the class. So, Xantos teaches her how to properly pick a pocket and tells her to tend to the 'problem' or he will. And if he does it, she's gonna be in trouble with HIM. Not a good thing since Xantos is a powerful magic-user (necromancer) and warlord. So, Xandra has managed to pick Budtrizz's pocket, replace his pocket's contents with caltrops, and get written up for her audacity. She then set his robes on fire before having his beloved plants attempt to strangle him. That's when Xantos entered the classroom and, basically, took over. Without further ado, the scene: “One teaches first by example. A student that surpasses expectation is a prize rarely seen by those that instruct. A foolish tongue cannot aid its mewling owner after it has been torn from the mouth it calls home. Perhaps you, oh great scholar, have heard these pillars of truth?” Budtrizz nodded nervously once before attempting to stiffen his spine further and hold his head a little higher in defiance. Xantos’s smile widened. “Let us take the rest of today’s lesson to concentrate on those first two truths. The third may be presented in today’s instruction.” “This is my classroom-” Budtrizz began. “Perfect,” hissed Xantos, his left hand rising suddenly and sliding in the air above the teacher’s splayed fingers. “We begin.” Budtrizz yelped in pain. His right hand attempted to clutch his left, and then flew away in reflex. The man looked at the scorched areas on the right hand palm: Areas that were precisely spaced and sized to the rings adorning the left hand fingers of their teacher. The metal of each ring on both hands was now glowing. The smell of burning flesh, strong and pungent, filled the room, sinking into everyone’s nostrils immediately following the glow of the metal. Xantos knew from experience it would stay with them for days. Xantos remained unaffected by the smell and throbbing heat emanating from the myriad rings that decorated Budtrizz’s fingers. The docelfar sprang from the desk, holding his arms wide as if preparing to embrace each child, his voice the boom of a vengeful tyrant. “Today’s example, good students: How one’s vanity and pride may be turned against him! See how a simple application of heat transforms petty decoration into a useful instrument of torture.” He turned back to observe the teacher’s “progress.” Tendrils of greasy smoke drifted from each finger. Budtrizz had thrown his hands wide apart in front of him. His head was tilted back, screams from his open mouth cutting the air. Xantos leaned towards Segav, who was too fixated on the spectacle to notice. Grabbing the boy at one shoulder, Xantos pulled him closer to the writhing, crying figure behind the desk. He held the boy in place, and spoke to him in the calm, instructive tone of a teacher. “What do you say, boy? Do you feel educated by this man’s example?” Segav nodded, making a choking sound deep in his throat. Xantos knew at this closer distance, the smell of cooking skin was worse, pouring down the boy’s throat and threatening his breakfast with promises of an early dismissal. “Excellent. What enlightenment can you share with the class?” Xantos prompted, still talking in the same, calm voice. “Do… do not display your weaknesses to others. An enemy more powerful than you will turn them into weapons against you!” Segav choked out. Gods be damned, Xantos mused, I could learn to tolerate this boy.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Teaser from Prize of the Providers

Well, this comes later in the novel, towards the end. It doesn't give anything away but was one of my favorite scenes. Ilario, Akiela, Lembec, and Giada are on their way to eliminate one of the problems in the realm (no, not gonna tell who or why, either, lol). Regardless, it's still an amusing scene that comes before some... uh... creepiness. :-D ******

A rustling of wings caught her attention and Akiela jerked her head towards the sound. She laughed softly as a crow landed on the horn of her saddle. The smell of old blood and fresh soap and a hint of some sort of cologne teased her nose. She couldn’t help but smile and run a hand down the bird’s head and shoulders, between his wings to his tail. The bird stretched languidly, before ruffling his feathers and cawing at her in what she perceived as a fairly warm fashion.

Shaking her head a little, she found it amusing that Gardev would choose to appear in such a form. She also wondered why he had appeared, knowing that he wasn’t the ruler of the Strigoi. Though, he was heir to the throne and title.

“Who is that?” Giada all but demanded.

Akiela glanced at Ilario and Lembec, uncertain if she should reply. “A, um, friend.”

“Your ‘um, friend’ might look very tasty roasting over a fire.” Lembec warned. “If you value that person’s life, perhaps you should suggest they come forward in a proper manner.”

“I didn’t invite him!” Akiela exclaimed. “I didn’t even know he was following us, let alone joining us.” She turned her annoyance onto the feathered creature. “You heard them. Best turn yourself and explain why you’re here. I’m certainly not going to be foolish enough to argue with either Lembec or Giada!”

Instead of flying ahead of them, or even onto the ground beside them, the bird swiftly grew and blurred until Gardev was sitting casually on the horn before her, as though it were nothing more than a fence.

“Gardev!” She squeaked, her face burning as she scooted back to put some distance between them, without falling off her mount. “Oh, you have no idea how tempted I am to shove you off your perch!”

“I have better methods in mind,” growled Lembec.

Akiela turned to Lembec, surprised and yet delighted at his words. “No bloodshed, please. At least not while he’s on my horse! And why my horse? Why not Ilario’s?” She directed the last questions to the vampire who was smiling angelically at her.

“That would deny me the delight of your expression and reply.” Gardev replied smoothly; his voice honey-sweet and slow. “I could not pass that up.”

Eyes wide and cheeks burning, Akiela stared at him in complete surprise. Was he... flirting with her?! No, no, that was impossible! Why in the hells would he be flirting with her in front of the three men who could easily kill him?

“Because it is deliciously reckless,” Gardev answered her. She jumped, almost demanding to know how he knew what she was thinking.

Giving Ilario a pleading look, she turned back to Gardev. “So, why are you here? Not enough to protect me, so you thought you’d join in the fun?”

“Oh, I’m bored.” Gardev sighed. “This little travoy of shape-shifters looked like a party of troublemakers and I thought ‘there could be a fun group to follow!’ And so I did.”

“I’m sure,” she replied dryly. “Somehow I find that very difficult to believe, especially since Ilario’s estate is empty, save for Ria.”

“Oh, she is obsessed with getting married, now.” Gardev rolled his eyes. “All she wants to do is talk about your wedding, what you ‘should’ wear, what you ‘must’ have for flowers and music... and then she starts in, inevitably, on what kind of a wedding she and I might have. Really, how long must I tolerate that before seeking some true fun?”

“My, you must really not wish to marry her. Perhaps I should express my concerns to her the next time we talk,” Akiela countered sweetly. “I might forget what you said, if you tell me why you’re truly here. I do know where we’re heading and I’m wondering what part you wish to play in it.”

“He wants what he always wants.” Ilario cut in. “To be where the most attention is being given, and to try and cousin up to the focal point of that attention.”

“Posh,” sniffed Gardev. “You simply covet my silver tongue and god-like physique.” He ran his hands over his well-muscled, lean torso. “Afraid I’ll lure your beloved into some truly exciting night life?”

“More afraid that I’ll wind up carrying your head on a pike before us, should you raise my ire any further,” warned Ilario.

This made Gardev laugh merrily as he rocked back and forth on the tiny saddle horn. His balance was uncanny and superior to an elf. Lunging forward suddenly, he snatched up the blanket that had been rolled up and placed behind Akiela. She had thought he was coming forward to kiss her, and she only relaxed when the smug but charming vampire sat back against the horn and wrapped the blanket around him.

“There. Is this less... intimidating?” Gardev teased.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fun, Exciting, GOOD News!!!

YAY!!!! The ad that I did for my workplace was approved and will be used in the booklet/magazine for the conference my workplace is sponsering! This is, to be perfectly honest, the first piece of work that I've done NOT connected in any way shape or form to anything my beloved has done. Ok, well, maybe not the FIRST. I did do the picture for Jammerz, but it wasn't a paid commission or anything. Even if it was very much appreciated and loved by them. :-) It's always awesome to see your artwork on display in a busy store. :-D Anywhos, it was approved by the superiors here at my job and was also approved by the marketing people at the conference. AND, here's the best part (at least for me!): everyone here LOVED it! I might also get lucky enough to be able to do MORE stuff for my workplace. Yes, it's bragging, and it's not anything to do with writing, but it's something awesome and fun. And very, very close to my heart. Just like writing. (It also helped spark my creative muse yet again.) Anywhos, that's my good news... at least the good news I'm willing to broadcast out across the internet, lol. The other good news is more boring or more of the iffy/maybe kind in reference to the current state of my querying. Posting your stats, in my opinion, is begging the Fates to come after me with their Harpies. Oh, and I have also been promised a copy of the booklet/magazine with the ad I did in it. :-)
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teaser Tuesday Teaser

I've decided to go with the introduction of the main storyline. And yeah, this one is going to end up being a true muder-mystery. (the next time I EVER decide to do a murder mystery, I hope someone will just kill me...) anywhos.... What's come before: Shyndra has arrived in Valpoor to kill off the High Priest of a temple dedicated to light and knowledge. A good temple in an evil city. After completing her contract (she's an assassin, obviously), she bumps into Alyn, a renowned/infamous mercenary known to be a ladies' man. They go to a tavern for a drink (Alyn, btw, knows who Shyndra is due to his being the childhood friend of the current Guildmistress). There, Shyndra's two cousins and their childhood friends drop in to annoy her. All four men are human and treat Shyndra as though she's a little sister. That's the general gist of what's come before. So here's the teaser: Shyndra laughed at Arden, enjoying the familiar feeling of being with her family. Or, more truthfully, the only family she ever loved. Turning to Crau, who was still behind her, she asked, "What injustice brought you four here? I know I won't get anything from those three. They're always forgetting I can take care of myself." "We... did not presume you wanted to discuss it here," Arden said, with obvious reluctance. He glanced briefly at Alyn. "It is something of a... family matter, after all." Shyndra's brows furrowed as she turned around to her cousin. "What? Alyn knows about the bounty on my head. Gods, I think everyone at the Guild knows about it by now." She paused, tilting her head to the side. "Have you four been following me? Is that why you're here?" "The bounty?" Crau leaned forward. "We aren't here for that, although we'd happily volunteer to execute your former betrothed and his mother. No, we are here about your uncle's murder. Isn't that why you are in Valpoor?" "I was here to complete a contract," Shyndra replied, shaking her head before correcting the Brethren, "It was my mother who placed the bounty on my head. It was in return for leaving Rafis before the priest, taking my dowry, and returning to Fellhaven and my guild." "Oh, very well done!" Aldryn said, coming more out of his stupor. "That must have been quite a haul." Turning, her hand sweeping up as though she were going to slap him or pat his cheek, a dagger instead made itself known beneath his chin. She hoped her bluff would not be called as she demanded, "Tell me which uncle before I lose my temper." "Your uncle Clytus. This is unknown to you?" Crau had lowered his voice further, perhaps to prevent others from hearing their conversation, or to try and calm her. If it were the later, he had failed. The hand holding the dagger dropped as she turned around, facing Crau completely. "Uncle Clytus? But... but... he was a priest for Dridean," she whispered. She drew a deep breath, returning her dagger to its sheath. "Tell me how and tell me what you have planned." "We will be infiltrating the temple here in Valpoor, just after the morning meal." Arden began. "He was slain two weeks ago just outside his Rectory. You are truly unaware of these details? You say you have been to the temple? You were not there to take his killer, or seek answers?" Shyndra sighed and slumped back in her chair. "All four of you know my profession. I was there for the High Priest. I didn't know anything about Uncle Clytus. You four are the only family I've spoken to since leaving Bakaar." "It seems the Fates have brought you all to this place," observed Alyn. "Shyndra? You will, of course, want to join your, ah, 'family' in pursuit of the parties responsible for your uncle's death?" "Yes, yes I will. I know the temple and I remember everything my uncle ever told me about Dridean and their way of life," Shyndra replied wryly. She slid her hand across to Alyn, grabbing his hand and squeezing lightly. Ignoring the other four men around them, she asked softly, "Stay with me tonight?" He gripped her hand and nodded. Sitting back, still holding her hand, he glanced at the men around them. "So... what drink do you favor? Do you have a name for your merry band?" "We all take rum for business like this," Arden replied. "We are just the Brethren, nothing more glorious than that." "We tend to keep things simple," Crau amended. "A more memorable title raises our visibility. We depend on being mostly forgettable when we leave an area." "The better in case your true natures are borne out." Alyn nodded again. "It's quite good; your little ruse." Shyndra shoved Aldryn lightly. She refused to give in to her grief, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to use it to her benefit. "Switch seats with me, cousin. I want to sit next to Alyn." Aldryn shook his head, and Shyndra thought she might have an argument coming. Aldryn stood up, however, making Shyndra realize that he was still trying to clear his head since regaining consciousness. He switched seats with her, and aside from a scowl from Borin, there were no objections. Any objections?" Shyndra asked, raising her brow at the Brethren. She deliberately left the question open to interpretation; curious as to if they would object to her relationship with Alyn. "I'm waiting to see if the revered Alyn Kysis is buying rum for the table." Crau commented. "He is," rejoined Alyn. "No objections," replied Arden, Crau, and Aldryn in unison. Borin just shrugged and shook his head, once. Chuckling, Shyndra leaned against Alyn, knowing it would annoy Borin that much more. She knew that they would raise their objections and complaints the next day, if they had any. Not that it mattered to her. Especially since each of them was far worse than her.