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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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No Teaser This Week...

No teaser this week, so instead, I did a New Blog Layout!!! WOOT!  I discovered a nifty program called "Artisteer" that I downloaded and played around with and decided it was worth the investment.  Mostly 'cause I hate plodding along in Dreamweaver and LOVE programs that let me take my art and turn it into something awesome.  :-D  It took a little smacking around to make it do what I want it, but it finally surrendered.

The trip to Short Pump was a lot of fun, even if it was FREEZING.  I got a nice (VERY NICE) pair of Giani Bini shoes that were on sale, a corset-type blouse from Hot Topic, toys for the tiny terrors, and a shirt for our eldest.  Mark also got a t-shirt (Rob Zombie, lol), a cd (Rob Zombie to go with the shirt), and a cool bag (one of those shoulder thingys similar to a tote bag).    Maggiano's, as always, was AMAZING with service and food (for what it's worth, I do not have a love for beef and Italian is no exception, as Mark discovered).  The little IMP also decided that chicken fingers and the beef dish wasn't to her liking, but Mommy's Rigatoni D WAS.  She also decided that Mommy's raspberry lemonade was MUCH better than her drink, too.  No need to guess what SHE will be getting next time we go! LOL!  And, of course, I can't forget the fact I got to see a friend who joined us for lunch. :)

All in all, it was a great weekend and I hated it having to end.  Ah, well.  There will always be a next time.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday... Banshee's Daughter, again.

Ok, so the kids are happy, Mark's got a toothache, and I've FINALLY gotten over strep.  What a fun time it's been.  On the good side, bills have paid, fun stuff has been bought (mostly required stuff), and a trip to Short Pump has been planned for this weekend.  YAY!!!!  Build-a-bear for the two tiny terrors is a must. (Our little IMP is going to get a sheep... maybe she'll stop wanting the puppet from the library if we can con her into getting one...)  And, of course, Maggiano's, cause it's THE BEST Italian restaurant.  And I'm gonna go searching for a strappy, sexy pair of silver stilettos... time to break away from the plain old black. :)

Anywhos, hopefully we'll remember the camera (hopefully).  If not, we've got our phones. :)

And, on to the teaser!!!

p.s. the novel is done at just under 85,000 words!  YAY!!!!

“If I enjoyed the boredom inherent to mixing up my concoctions, I’d have a wealthy life with little excitement. However, I don’t; which is why I’m a hired retriever of inanimate objects”

Something about that statement made Xantos chuckle.

“Yes... such as we cannot confine ourselves to a single outlet of one’s personality, can we?”

“My mother always chastised me for growing bored too quickly; she always claimed I’d find trouble. I suppose she, and you, are right.” She chuckled and gestured towards the flowers around them. “Most of these are indigenous to your world, aren’t they? Do they have any specific use other than beauty?”

“Most within my private garden are for beauty’s sake.” Xantos agreed. “But as you are aware; many of these flowers and bulbs have a use other than looking beautiful or swooning a heart.”

Iliana slid her fingers away from the petals, startled. “This is your private garden?” That certainly changed things a bit. A very big bit. “What uses do they have? Or is it a trade secret?”

“Look about, and tell me what you would use any of the specimens for,” he challenged. “Surely, you have already noticed a few that you would use.”

“It doesn’t work quite that way,” Iliana replied, blushing. “The lavender and red clovers could be easily used to make a mixture for ‘ensuring’ a prosperous, passionate marriage. I could concoct an unlimited amount of mixtures from the herbs and flowers of my world. Those from your world? I could only follow my instinct and hope something comes out of it other than a pretty flame.”

“How do you know that you didn’t produce something more than a ‘pretty flame?’ You often mix ingredients blindly, ignorant of possible outcomes?”

She plucked the blossom of the yellow rose, the strange hyacinth cactus combo, and the leaves of another unusual bush laden with deep, blood red blooms with black centers that reminded her of tiny daggers.

“I follow my instincts. Most of my combinations come from allowing my sixth sense, if you will, to take control and tell me how much of each to use.” As Iliana spoke, she placed the blossoms and leaves in a pile in her hand and breathed upon them.

The ingredients began to twist into a funnel shape; growing in speed and intensity until a tiny tornado traveled upon the palm of her hand. The tornado twisted faster and faster, until a sextuplet of tiny black points, like black arrowheads or the tips of daggers, flew from the tornado. Wherever these projectiles hit, frost spread rapidly in a radius of six feet. The tornado blew out on her hand.

“That certainly wasn’t expected,” Iliana commented, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. “Perhaps I should not create any other mixtures here.”

She looked at Xantos, who was looking at the frost damaged bushes and flowers with a mixture of anger and shock. Finally, he glanced at her and steadied his expression. He seemed to gather himself before stretching his hands out before him. Magic surged in the very air around her, forcing her eyes shut. When she could open them again, all signs of the damage her little experiment had caused were erased. Xantos was smiling at her.

“Why don’t you explain to me how you did that?” He requested pleasantly.

“I didn’t know what the combination would produce, otherwise I wouldn’t have attempted it,” Iliana quickly stated. She considered the flowers and what she had felt from them. “The rose created the base, the kindling for the tornado. The blossom from the hyacinth-like flower gave it the power and also is the cause for the frost. It was the third that created the projectiles and kept the frost contained until it touched a surface.”

Iliana shrugged helplessly, clasping her hands tightly together. She didn’t trust the pleasantness of his voice; it was far too similar to what he used with the captain. Her mother always said, the first reaction was the true reaction, especially when dealing with ethereal and magical beings. It was often the same with words; what was first spoken was often what the person meant, not what they wanted you to hear.

“I’ll refrain from any other mixtures, I swear,” Iliana promised.

“I would simply prefer such experiments were conducted in a less fragile environment.” Xantos commented. He walked away from her, towards where the projectiles had done their now deleted damage. He inhaled sharply, and smiled back at her. His hands spread wide in a gesture of offering; but she noticed his fingers fluttered slightly as they grew apart.

“It would bring me pleasure to provide a private room to conduct such experiments... that would appeal to you, yes?”

She felt a tingling of unexpected desire; accompanied by an upsurge in some flower’s scent. She had to swallow and gather herself before answering: Her first impulse was to tell him she wanted to please him, and a private room would be perfect!

“I’ve no doubt it would,” she replied uneasily, looking towards the flowers, trying to figure out which one was the culprit. “Perhaps we can discuss that possibility at a later time. After I’m no longer a target for assassins, would be most ideal.”

Xantos tilted his head and pursed his lips.

Damned if he doesn’t look like the late Michael Landon playing the Anti-Christ when he does that. She observed. She was startled when he spoke again in the pleasant tone.

“As you like. Shall we continue the tour?”

As long as you don’t try to seduce me again, she thought as she crossed to him. Aloud, she agreed, “Certainly.” 
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - Xantos shows his bad side...

Another Teaser Tuesday snippet. A bit longer than usual, but well worth it, I think. Up till now, Xantos has shown his "nice" side... sooooo... here's the true side of Xantos. :) ENJOY!!!!

oh, and it's not quite as gory or graphic as some we've written.... ;)

backstory for those just dropping in:  Iliana is a retriever of all-things non-living.  Magical and not, she finds it and returns it to whoever has the highest bid.  After being hired to rescue Dante from a crazy docelfar witch, she becomes the target of assassins.  She immediatly suspects Xantos, someone who's famous for pulling such acts.  So, visiting him in nothing but her extra-large nightshirt, she discovers it's not him.  So, after a little magic and having Xantos show up unannounced, they head off towards Xantos's gardens.  This is what happens next.


Her musings kept herself from worrying about everything that had happened prior and what was sure to come when she returned to her home. Or, in the very least, her home world.

Xantos kept a slow pace, allowing her to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the architecture, paintings, and statues that lined the hallways and corridors. All were beautiful and breathtaking.

As they turned a corner, she noticed another being with snow-white skin and hair dressed like a warrior moving towards them. She couldn’t suppress a shiver as evil rolled off him like the air from an opened freezer. Perhaps it was the glee mingled in it that caused her to glance sharply at Xantos, imminently thankful for his presence and the robe.

Even were it not for the fact the newcomer’s eyes were the same glowing orange as Xantos and had pointed ears, Iliana would have known he was a docelfar. Xantos, however, didn’t seem to share the other elf’s delight. Instead, his expression darkened and she felt the same sense of evil wavering around her host as she did from the warrior.

Somehow, she got the idea that being here wasn’t such a bright idea, anymore.

A slightly smaller male, dressed in similar garb, stepped in from behind the first. Both men bowed to Xantos.

“Captain, Sergeant... report.” Xantos acknowledged and commanded.

“My eminence,” the shorter male replied. “The village stands no more. No one will question the wisdom of giving you the proper tithing from profits... especially those who have reaped a life from your generosity.”

Iliana took a step back, her eyes widening in shock. She shivered again, pulling the cloak tighter about her. Dearest gods. Xantos ordered such an attack? Alright, she’d happily admit he was an evil son-of-a-bitch. All for money. Why was she not surprised? Even if she was disgusted.

“Yes... it is so very disheartening when I choose a village to grow something, and even though I only require thirty percent of all profits, and the rest go to the people... they still feel they have the right to expect the rest,” said Xantos.

The captain smiled wolfishly. “None shall be foolish enough to attempt such blasphemy... not after tales of our deeds have spread.”

The whole village, though? She wondered. Did that also include the children and innocents? The women? Wasn’t there an unwritten law that said women and children were to be left alive?

Iliana slid back another step. There had to be a way to sneak out of here. Her room, she decided, had plenty of mirrors. She’d go to Alex; he wouldn’t turn her away.

“Perhaps you plan to spend the remainder of your days going to every tavern within a three day ride, spreading the tales yourself?” Xantos said with a pleasant tone. “You did not, after all, leave any survivors. This is contrary to my orders... and to my doctrine.”

The dark, bitter tang of anger wafted to Iliana from Xantos and she wondered if the pair could sense it as well as she could. She doubted it, since she could just barely notice it. Still, Iliana took another couple tiny steps away from the trio, she didn’t really want to be in the middle of what was to come. She’d rather be another dimension away.

“Your doctrine of not slaying anyone who does not attack.” the sergeant offered. “Children, women, any males who do not offer resistance while we weed out the guilty.”


“Well... the men became...” the captain began.

“The men followed your orders; which were, as stated, contrary to mine. I was observing you,” declared Xantos. His voice had not waived from the calm, pleasant tone.

Iliana glanced at Xantos. Okay, so he wasn’t a totally heartless bastard. Xantos had a code of honor... sort of.

“Still; this way of thinking that you present intrigues me, captain.” Xantos continued. “After all... I have never killed indiscriminately... only acting upon an urge to kill... no regard for what usefulness a being may represent; save the satisfaction of ending a nuisance or imbecile.”

“My...my eminence...” the captain said, and he looked decidedly sweaty to Iliana.

“I must try this... to discover if I have been foolishly following a useless code. That would be to my benefit; would you not agree?” Xantos said, looking from the captain to the sergeant.

Despite Iliana’s overly curious nature, she slid back yet another few steps. Maybe if Xantos was too preoccupied with the pair, she could sneak away?

“Of course... of course!” The captain agreed eagerly, obviously trying to please Xantos. Xantos made a minute nod towards the sergeant. The sergeant moved swiftly to block Iliana from making further progress.

Damn it. Why did she always end up involved these stupid power games? She doubted Xantos would use her, but did he have to insist on keeping her there to witness his next move?

“I am so glad we agree!” Xantos nearly cried. His left hand flew up, fingers splayed and palm towards the ceiling.

The captain cramped up in pain, and started to scream. Green fire flew from every orafice for two horrific heartbeats, and then the captain was consumed in an explosion of green light.

“My apologies for impeding you from exiting this ugly scene,” Xantos said as he brushed a fine soot from the front of his lavish robes. “But there are many dangers to be found along this hallway, and I did not want you to fall prey to them while trying to avoid the role of witness.”

Despite the sergeant, Iliana stumbled backwards, her eyes wide as fear and shock swept across her features. Okay, if Xantos thought she’d sleep after this, he was insane. She kept her back to the wall, with Xantos in full sight. The only weapon she had at hand was her magic, and she suddenly doubted she’d be powerful enough to counter anything this docelfar did.

“I... I...” she stuttered before drawing a deep breath, and immediately regretting it due to the pungent odor of burned flesh. “Perhaps the beauty of your garden will supplant the ugliness of this scene? If you still wish to take me there. If not, I completely understand.”

Not bloody well likely, she added silently, but she sure as hell wasn’t going to tell Xantos that.

“I was thinking that the garden’s beauty would help suppress the memory of this.” Xantos said with a patronly smile. He looked to the sergeant. “Captain, you will gather your crew and inform them of the change of command. See the lord of arms for your rank insignia. I shall talk with you and yours after the afternoon meal.”