Friday, December 25, 2009

Centaurs - From DRUID DERRICK - Unpublished

The Æ‘Tallo, Chonkin and three other centaurs sat down with them. While the supper was being prepared and during the meal, Derrick learned quite a bit about them, the largest amount of information came from merely watching them; they were fascinating creatures to watch.

In form, their human half was human in shape far less than he had originally thought. Their ribcage was shorter than a human's was, and if the layering of muscle attached to them was any indication, the bones were quite heavy. Since they weren't there to protect a heart and lungs or even the structure of a diaphragm, their only purpose was to support the muscle and bone structure of their arms and shoulders.

Their arms looked like a foreshortened version of their front legs with a more versatile joint structure. Their hands looked like a cross between human hands an a horse's hoof. They were heavy and wide with only three fingers instead of four, the middle finger being heaver than the other two and nearly as heavy as the thumb. The thumb was more centered on the wrist than a human's; it opposed the middle finger directly across a surprisingly small palm. This structure prevented the hand from lying flat on a surface but then a human's hands are built to take a human's weight from time to time whereas centaurs almost never used their hands in that manner. Their fingernails were likely the most human thing about their hands aside from the fact that they were very thick.

Their human waist was surprisingly narrow but no narrower than a horse's neck and their human neck was rather thick topped by a very human head though the eyes looked like horse's eyes. The nose was heavier than the normal human nose but it was something Derrick noticed only because he was expressly looking for similarities and differences.

Now the ears. The elven ear was a lot like a bat's ear; it was indeed pointed but much of its structure was built directly into the head; the end result was that it lay very close to the skull. The centaur's ears were very horsey though smaller than the average horse's ears might be. They swiveled freely and independently, and Derrick had seen first hand how they could be pulled back to protect them during an attack. Chonkin's ears had been almost unnoticeable during their entire conversation the night before.

The entire human half of their structure was longer than the normal horse's neck. This structure was lengthened to accommodate the ribcage and shoulder structure adding a foot or more to the length of the spine. The backbone was different from a horse's too. The arc of a horse's back continued its curve up into the human body to support that part upright rather than forward like a horse's head and neck.

The horse part of their body had differences too though they were harder to spot. The lifestyle that included a good deal of hunting had made for a very broad chest between the front legs of the horse half and yet their horse's waist was quite trim on the average, making them look something like a greyhound dog though not quite so sucked up as that. Thickening happened there from age or pregnancy. This was likely a direct result of being omnivores rather than pure grazers.

Derrick couldn't spot much else that was obviously different aside. from the possibility that they were more flexible as they seemed to be more graceful in their everyday movements than the average horse was.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blog Tag!

There is a fun game being played lately in the blogosphere.  It's a type of 'Tag!  You're it!’  I've been tagged, so now it's time to answer some writing related questions.  I hope you're not too bored with my answers.  At the end of the questions I will tag three more bloggers, so be sure to check them out, too.  Thanks, TK for tagging me.
1. What's the last thing you wrote?  What's the first thing you wrote that you still have? 
My latest project is a book I’m calling Druid Derrick.  It is about a Dungeons & Dragons Druid who is also a 20th century American boy.  I’m having a lot of fun melding the two worlds together.  It’s roughly half done. 

The oldest of my unpublished stories is called To Reclaim the Throne.  It’s about a prince who was raised by an evil regent bent on making him the most hated prince in history.  When, as a young man, he learns the truth, he must work to undo it all and wrest his throne and his betrothed back from the regent. 
2. Write poetry? 
Though I like to read some poetry, I can’t write it.  Me and poetry just don’t get along. 
3. Angsty poetry? 
Na – my efforts at poetry are truly frightening. 
4. Favorite genre of writing? 
My writing is all over the place under the big heading of fiction.  I have touched on space travel, time travel, medieval, sword and sorcery, and magic. 
5. Most annoying character you've ever created? 
I’m not sure that any of my characters quite qualify as annoying but I’ve definitely had some difficult characters.  One who cannot speak is hard. 
6. Best plot you've ever created? 
I think my best plot is by coincidence my longest story - The Making of a Mage-King.  The story takes an average American boy and dumps him in a world where magic is common.  While there, he must learn his own magic, unravel an ancient prophecy, and decipher the dreams that drive him. 
7. Coolest plot twist you've ever created? 
That’s a hard one, because I am always trying to twist things somewhat.  I think The Making of a Mage-King qualifies for the coolest twist because it’s full of them. 
8. How often do you get writer's block? 
Ah, it happens, but when it does, I just turn to another idea or back up and read through some of what has already been written.  If that doesn’t work, I sleep on it. 
9. Write fan fiction? 
Not fan fiction.  I think the closest I’ve gotten to such a thing is using the rules and spells from a computer game my husband was playing at the time.  However, the story does not resemble the game in any other ways. 
10.Do you type or write by hand? 
My first book started out being hand written.  Back then I didn’t have a computer and the ribbon on my typewriter was faded.  It was just a ‘fill my empty time’ thing.  It was never going to be anything more.  Then my son gave me an old laptop.  That changed everything. 
11. Do you save everything you write? 
Oh yes.  I have copies on discs and on storage sticks.  The fun part is keeping them updated. 
12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it? 
No idea is ever abandoned, merely shelved for a while. 
13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written? 
My favorite I think is The Making of a Mage-King, but that’s completed now so I think Druid Derrick is my new fav. 
14. What's everyone else's favorite story you've written? 
Having only one out there makes this question very hard to answer, but so far, all my reviews have been good ones. 
15. Ever written romance or angsty teen? 
I don’t even know what one writes for an angsty teen but I have dabbled in romance.  Romance is everywhere to a certain degree. 
16. What's your favorite setting for your characters? 
I love warhorses, swords and magic so if I can put my characters in the middle of all that, I’m happy.  Then again, I also like the mysteries of outer space so that’s a cool setting too.  Try a staff fight in a weightless environment. 
17. How many writing projects are you working on now? 
Right now my current writing project, Druid Derrick, has been shelved in favor of a little polishing on my other works.  It’s been a while and I’ve learned a lot since I’ve had internet. 
18. Have you ever won an award for your writing? 
Nope, not even.  I never even dreamed of being a writer.  I always thought I’d raise horses and teach kids how to ride.  Then I moved to the wilderness of Alaska where horses are bear-bait. 
19. What are your five favorite words? 
I know you’re talking about what words I use most, but I really think I like to hear “I just bought your book” the best.  It always sends a thrill up my spine. 
20. What character have you created that is most like yourself? 
Almost all of my characters have a piece of me in them, but then they get a life of their own and all resemblance ends there. 
21. Where do you get your ideas for your characters? 
He, he, he, he – read on. 
22. Do you ever write based on your dreams? 
As a matter of fact, most of my writing comes from dreams.  It’s usually a scene or a germ of an idea if not the whole thing.  When I get one, I sit down at the computer and type like mad for – however long it takes to get that scene or idea down.  Then I think of the characters and wrap the rest of the story around it.  The story The Making of a Mage-King is riddled with dreams and 99% of them were dreams I had while writing the story.  This one really took over my life at the time. 
23. Do you favor happy endings? 
Yeah, I like happy endings or at least proper culminations, but at least one of my books ends with tears. 
24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write? 
Thanks to that nice little thing computers do with the squiggly green and red lines, I pay attention to the spelling and grammar.  It was my first learning tool when it came to writing. 
25. Does music help you write? 
I don’t mind music so much, so long as it’s not something loud and obnoxious, but mostly I prefer quiet.  I’ve been known to get up at 3 in the morning, write for about 4 hours and then crash until noon (or until it gets light out – about 10am).  After that, life has many distractions and in the afternoon, my husband must have the TV on *sigh* 
26. Quote something you've written.  Whatever pops in your head. 
“When they were all seated, Sean laid his hands on the table and drew all of their magic to the center, lighting the crystal like a light bulb, thus lighting the room brightly, but not so brightly that it couldn’t be closely studied as everyone did now.  With the light lit, if anyone in the room used magic for any reason, all of them would feel it and know exactly who it was and what they were trying to do with it.  No magical slight of hand could happen within this room.”  (Near the end of The Making of a Mage-King)

And now the three blogs I will tag are: (be sure to visit their blogs, too)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Legend of the Candy Cane

Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me
White is for my Savior
Who's sinless and Pure!
"J" is for Jeasus, My Lord, that's for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!

Many years ago, a candy maker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus. He began with a stick of pure white hard candy; white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; hard to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church; firmness to represent the promise of God. The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd, with which he reached down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stainded it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life. Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane - a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the true meaning is still there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Author Unknown

Sunday, December 13, 2009


When was the last time you told someone how much you loved them?
(Princess Anella is faced with the need to marry in order to seal a treaty that would garner military aid to bolster her country's defenses, but the decision is breaking her heart)

Anella took a sip of wine and considered what she should tell him. "Paul, you don't understand. I now I am strong and I can make the decisions asked of me quickly, and I believe, well. But inside, I am still that little princess, my father's youngest daughter, the one no one ever noticed or spoke to very much. I am still that little girl who, at the age of six, looked into the most wonderful blue eyes she had ever seen. The ceremony and all of the ritualistic things over the years were all boring and distant to me, but you and your eyes were always there in my heart. You have always been my foundation and I need you. I don't need a general or a diplomat. I don't need anything they offer me: my country could use some of what they offer, but I don't. I need you, and I need you close. If I marry one of them - it won't matter which one - you will be gone, whether you actually leave or not. I couldn't.... I love you and I need you. You are what keeps me, me." She hadn't intended to pour all of her feelings out like this. She never thought about her connection to him very much, but as the words colored the air, she found every one of them true.

Paul leaned back in his chair, his wine forgotten, and studied her face for a long moment. He gripped the arm of his chair with a hard hand, trying desperately to hide his reeling senses. "I could never leave," he whispered, his eyes intense. "The first thing I remembered was your face in my room and you saying my name. Your voice did something, and it felt like huge massive walls of stone and ice inside my soul were cracking. I cried that first night before I fell back asleep. I didn't remember that until much later. And that other time, when my face hurt so much and you came, you were angry: you were quiet, but you were so angry. I think I learned from you that I could be angry too, and if I could be angry, I didn't have to hide anymore. Norlan talked to me non-stop out in the stables. He talked about the horses and your horse, Devil; he talked about you too. While he talked, my walls crumbled into dust. I had to come find you; I needed you to make me whole. I could never leave you, no matter whether, or if, you married anyone else. As long as you were near...." He rose and came around the table and laid a hand on her shoulder, gently restraining her from rising as well. If she rose now, he would fold her in his arms, and if he did that, he knew it would lead to things he knew nothing about, and he couldn't let it start, not now. "You need to clear things up with these men," he continued. "You should choose one of them without further delay, it's what they expect. If you don't marry one of them soon, you run the risk of insulting all of them and that may be grounds for war."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Custom - from DRUID DERRICK - incomplete

For the full moon of December, Derrick decided it was his turn to go visiting, bearing gifts, though he wouldn't take anything like the colorful bobbles Mariah had brought last year. For Mariah, he made an apothecary cabinet with twenty-five small drawers, and for Pat, he made a jewelry box with a lift-out shelf. The shelf had four spaces, and under it, the bottom of the box was divided into three spaces, the third, and largest, held another little box with a lid. He took another piece of wood and formed it out as thin as parchment, which he then wrapped around the presents, melding the folds back together since he had no other way to hold them closed. He turned his cloak into a carrying sack for the trip to Pat's house.

He didn't know what he expected, but he didn't expect to see the house all lit up with colored lights. When he was invited inside, he saw a small tree in the corner all clothed in lights, glitter and color. Though it was quite lovely, it was difficult for him to look at. The ten, maybe fifteen, year old life had been cut short in order to display this festoon of gaudy glory. It was all he could do to hide his mourning since both Mariah and her mother seemed to be quite gay.

Their happiness had two and now three reasons. The first was that Sam and all of his men had left several days ago. The second was the Christmas season, something Derrick didn't know enough about to understand. And now the third reason was that someone had come bringing gifts.

Over the course of the day, Derrick got the impression that the actual day of celebration was several days away yet, but Derrick's arrival warranted that it happen today, since he refused to stay past sundown.

He grit his teeth when his presents went under that poor tree, but they didn't stay there long when it was decided that they would be opened while Derrick was here. Mariah was completely thrilled with her present, especially when Derrick explained what it was for. Pat too liked her present and immediately went to retrieve her jewelry from their several random locations. She'd never had a jewelry box, not much jewelry either, but what she had was draped on the mirror in the bathroom or tucked into a safe corner with her underwear. There were other such random places like the back of the sink both in the bathroom and in the kitchen, and a necklace with a broken chain had been on a windowsill for two years. Now it was all in one box and Derrick had fixed the broken chain.

After the presents were open, Pat went into the kitchen to prepare what she could for a big dinner. Mariah went to help and even Derrick got involved, though all he did was 'find' things that seemed to become misplaced, that along with whatever slicing and dicing they would let him do under careful supervision. In general, things were sliced and diced much quicker when he wasn't being watched - things tended to multiply then too. Nonetheless, Derrick had no idea what it took to put together a meal that wasn't some sort of stew, so he was pleasantly surprised when they finally sat down to a meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, beets and salad with biscuits on the side. The drink was sweet coolaid poured into wine glasses - Pat's idea. According to Pat, it wasn't a proper Christmas dinner but Derrick thought it was the best he'd had, rivaling the meals he'd had at Kristin's table.

Derrick left at dark, carrying several changes of her dead husband's clothes. He'd kept those he had in one piece but they were still showing the wear.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


There came a day when everyone's eyes were turned to the sky, to the exclusion of all else. Those who couldn't see with their naked eyes turned to their televisions, their computers or even their radios. They watched in helpless, disbelieving horror as an asteroid half the size of the moon approached with agonizing slowness and ground its bulk into the only orbiting body of this Earth. They watched as the two bodies fought for supremacy of the sky, and they watched them both lose. Then no one watched anymore; they just ran.

Every major and minor fault line around the world began cracking and shifting. Volcanoes, old and new, spewed their ash and toxic gases into the atmosphere. What the earthquakes didn't shake to the ground, the rain of rock smashed. And the people ran.

When the tidal waves came, they were so large that they reached far inland, trying their best to pull down the highest peaks and wash away all evidence of the great civilization of man.

The nuclear power plants that dotted the world were not exempt from the destruction, and the radiation man's arrogance had tried to harness escaped to mingle with the volcanic gases, ash and dust, to make a devastating soup that would affect all the generations to come.

When the rocks stopped falling from the sky, when much of the dust had settled, millions of people around the world found themselves still among the living. It was a mere pittance compared to the billions who had crawled across its surface before an asteroid wandered into their skies. But now they were faced with a far grimmer problem than they had ever faced before. Cities were leveled, farmlands were pulverized and roads were broken. Many people had no food or shelter and only a few were knowledgeable enough to improvise. But if mere survival were their only problem, they would have fourished again with scarcely a pause. What they faced with their meager skills was a type of nuclear winter, and millions more died of starvation and sickness before they figured out how to cope.

Winter came, and then winter stayed. Glaciers grew as the Earth struggled to wash the ash and dust from her skies, and within a few years, a new ice age was well underway. The people were reduced to living in hide tents because caves, if they could find them, were unstable due to the earthquakes that still shook the world as it strove to find a new balance within itself that did not include a moon.

The hurricane winds that swept the surface diluted and distributed the nuclear waste to the farthest corners, but it remained enough of a problem that, though there were deaths at first, they were relatively few and the people failed to make the connection. Only where the nuclear fallout was concentrated the most did the people see the danger and flee, but it still had an effect on every living thing, and mutations began to show up with each successive generation.

Ten thousand generations later, the mutations were no longer mutations; they were a fact of life. Some people could move objects, and at first, they used their skill to increase their success with the hunt by whatever means they could devise. Some people became sensitive to the noise in other people's minds, and they used it liberally to tell when people were lying. Some of the more drastic cases of mutation could change the shape and appearance of their bodies, learning to mimic other people, or even animals, down to the last hair.

As these effects became increasingly pronounced, the nomadic lifestyle of the people permitted them to segregate. Those who could read minds remained on the coast. Seeking refuge from the mental noise, they built boats and sought out islands far away from their fellows,where they continued to change. Those who could shape the bones and cells of their bodies sought out the heat far away from the forever snows, since they were also much more susceptible to arthritis and osteoporosis. There, they continued to follow a nomadic life, which allowed them to seek a middle ground between the heat their bones craved and the grasslands that could support their livestock.

Those who could move objects quickly learned to make good and valuable use of their skill. Causing death - even for food - was too frightening for the people to accept; the dangers of their lives were already numerous, so they learned to move injured flesh and bone instead, placing them in the right place to heal with the least amount of scarring or laming. Eventually they learned how to tell the difference between cells that belonged to the wounded person and matter that did not, and they learned to move the foreign matter out, thereby reducing infection. They became the healers, and since they did not seek segregation, they could be found in almost any group.

The greatest majority of the people remained normal. The self-segregation of the shape-shifters and the mind-readers, however, ultimately caused knowledge of them and the genes that produced their skills to fade from the rest of the population. And over the next ten thousand years, their cultures evolved along separate paths. The healers, however, so much needed by every group, were spread among them all and revered by everyone. Everyone respected a family who could claim a healer among their number.

All of the people, in their struggle to survive, did their best to preserve what they could of what they once were. Legends and tales were handed down, along with the skill for reading and writing. Old names were handed down too as one way of remembering the past. Someday there would be libraries again, and someday the people would reclaim their former greatness, if they could just remember enough. But life was hard. The machines of man's civilization had long since been reduced to dust and their great cities had been smashed to rubble. When the choice came between carrying food or carrying artifacts from the past, food won every time. Eventually, all they were left with were stories that had lost their meaning and the skill to write, though all they had to write on was leather, which, in times of hardship, was also left behind. More writings would be created in times of plenty.

For over a million years, the people struggled and the Earth groaned under its weight of ice. But life is a circle, be it large or small, and all things come to an end, or perhaps a new beginning.

As the forever snows began to recede before the warmth of the sun, societies began to grow. Men settled down and tilled the ground, raise livestock or fish the rivers and seas. Leaders built fortresses, and as is inevitable with the race of man, skirmishes ensued, and kingdoms were carved out. But all in all, these skirmishes were few and far between; the population was still sparse, no one was stepping anyone's toes too hard - yet.