Alycia Christine

Enchanting Tales, Intriguing Art

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 2)

The Beautiful Pains of Love

“Adorned In White” – Tap image for more information.


Today on SCRAWLS, I chose to highlight a section of writing about love—specifically the love between two couples in the Sylvan Cycle book series. The love forged between these couples has been hard-won thus far, and I doubt it will get any easier as the series progresses. Katja and Felan have many obstacles to overcome including racial and cultural differences. Likewise, Lauraisha and Daya’lyn must also overcome differences in race, culture, and age. What makes me proudest in writing these characters is the fact that they are each willing to commit themselves to one another even though their lives and circumstances offer no real security.

In a world that seems to be teetering more and more on the edge of uncertainty, I think we all can use a little more faith in those we love and who love us. I would never have made it this far without the committed support of my loved ones. Likewise, I doubt those I love would have gotten as far without my help in return.

No matter how big they are, shared burdens are always easier to bear just as shared joys are always richer to celebrate.

Through the shared shouldering of our joy and our pain, my husband and I are a constant encouragement to one another. My husband and I are not perfect, but we are perfect for each other. I wanted a part of our love and faithfulness toward one another to be on display through these characters.

~

Katja shook her head. “No, how to spend eternity is the choice of every being. Every being ever confronted by a vampire must make the choice to either exist in a cursed half-life or to die pure and free.” Katja wiped a paw across her grimy, tear-streaked face. “And I must live with the fact that when a vampire’s fangs found my neck, I nearly chose to be cursed.”

Manasa look at her aghast. “What stopped you?”

“In the last moment of Turning, I begged the Creator to save me and he sent his dragon to help heal me. Verdagon is the reason that I am still alive, and although I may be scarred, I am yet Unturned.” Katja stared off into the distance. “Well, the dragon and the werewolf, of course.”

“Felan?”

She nodded.

“What did Felan do?”

“I heard his plea in my mind even as Daeryn’s shadow consumed it. Felan begged me to come back to him. To this day, I don’t know if I imagined it or if he really said it. Felan was gravely injured at the time.”

Manasa looked thoughtful at that. “You truly love him don’t you?”

“I do. It’s just I have no idea how I would be a proper mate to him.”

“Because of the difference in your races?”

Katja bowed her head and sighed. “Our races and our cultures. I have nothing to offer his clan in the way of strength, power, riches, or anything else. I am an orphan and I am a werecat. If Felan and I became lifemates, I could give him no offspring who would be able to carry on the family line and lineage. Instead they would be sterile half-breeds—outcasts all the days of their lives.”

Manasa nodded. “Lauraisha would face many of the same consequences if she married Daya’lyn.”

“Then would you allow the marriage?”

She frowned. “I am not nearly as dogmatic about racial purity as my late husband was. That being said, such a mixed marriage would be very difficult. If their union proved more of a benefit to each of them rather than a detriment, then, yes, I would give them my blessing. I think they are far stronger together than they are separate, but my opinion shouldn’t be the one weighed most heavily in this situation. The question that they must answer—and that you and Felan must answer for yourselves—is whether or not love is worth risking your personal safety and security. If it is, what are you willing to give up to remain together?”

Katja started to speak and then stopped when Manasa shook her head. “I don’t want or need an answer from you. This is a question that you must settle for yourself.”

Katja nodded and then stopped to look at the older female. “What would you do if you were in my situation?”

Manasa smiled sadly. “I married for love a long time ago and it cost me everything. The second time I married for safety and security, and instead I gained neither. Do not look to me for an example of love, my experience can offer you only a meager shadow of what love should be.”

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. I welcome your comments on what I’ve shared with you today.

As always, SCRAWLS is designed to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

“Look Deep Into the Water…”

“Windswept Beauty” – Tap image for more information.

Today on SCRAWLS, we’ll pick up where we left off with Katja and Queen Manasa in the Wraith Realm and finally able to use the Scrying Pools. What secrets will these strange pools hold?

~

“My sisters,” Damya said as the group watched the firesprites flit from leaf to leaf among the trees—touching each one with a lit hand.

“What are they doing?” Katja asked.

“They are nourishing the trees,” the firesprite said. “Here in my realm, fire acts a little differently than it does in yours. In the Erde Realm, fire always destroys, but the ashes that come from it are still good for the land. However, in this realm, fire can heal and nurture as well as destroy. At least it heals and nurtures the Pyrekin and the Erdeken wraiths. The Drosskin are, of course, an entirely different matter, which is why the fiery river that is Edgewater causes such harm to them. Come…”

Damya led them across a narrow path of flat, round stones which meandered between the ponds toward the center-most pool.

“Katja, Manasa, I need both of you to join hands and minds, and then look deep into the water,” Damya instructed. “When you can no longer see the bottom of the pool, call out Caleb’s name.”

They did as instructed. At first, all Katja could see was the fine, white sand beneath the clear blue waves. Then a single spark of multi-hued light illuminated the pool’s depths and widened into a round ring that reminded her of the mage rings that she and her packmates had trained inside while they were pupils at the Mage Citadel on the Isle of Summons. Within the depths of the ring, she saw another world—hers—waft into view.

The Erde Realm was dark compared to the Wraith Realm now surrounding her. It was night there and the whole of the Sylvan Continent was blanketed in slumbering shadow. Despite the darkness, she could see the whole continent stretched out from the jagged cliffs around Castle Summersted in Tyglesea to the Suuthe and Ten Fang Marshes in the South to the Este’lyn Forest and Hippopan Plains far to the east of the Nyghe sol Dyvesé Mountains. The height was dizzying and she suddenly felt like she was riding on the dragon Verdagon’s great back as they soared high above the tallest mountains.

“Call to him,” the firesprite reminded her.

Katja shook herself and together she and Manasa spoke in unison. “Caleb, hear us!”

The waters rippled and the females found themselves falling through space and time at a speed that Katja could barely fathom. Their shared vision surged toward a small, white mountain nestled in the valley of much larger mountains near the Reithrgar Pass. As much as it looked like a mountain, the structure was actually a stone fortress that had been crafted by magic and masonry to look like the peaks surrounding it. As she was contemplating this, Katja’s awareness hurtled through the fortress’s roof and she and Manasa found themselves staring at the red-carpeted room where the werecat had first discovered the Ott vre Caerwyn—the youngest of the vampires’ three bloodstone mirrors. It was disconcerting for Katja to view the room while looking out through the mirror. It felt almost as if she and Manasa were trapped inside it.

“Caleb?” She called again as the mirror’s pulsing light lit the room in eerie hues.

The door to the room opened and Katja found herself staring at a dark-gray-skinned being who walked upright on her hind legs like a human, but resembled a scorpion far more than she did any other creature. The werecat wraithwalker cocked her head to one side. “Aria?”

“Katja?” The girtab stared at the mirror in disbelief.

“Aria, we must speak to Caleb immediately.”

“Katja, I can see you, but I cannot hear you. Speak louder!”

“I need to speak with Caleb! It is urgent!”

Arya just shook her head. “I still cannot understand what you are saying! If you can hear me, wait there and let me find Caleb! He will know what to do!”

Katja nodded in relief as the girtab disappeared beyond the lacquered, double doors in search of Daya’lyn’s father. As Katja waited for her to return, the wraithwalker shifted her gaze away from the pool and once more surveyed the strange wood around her. It was then that a strange scent like burning sulfur wafted into her nose. The stench filled her with the deepest loathing, and she growled in spite of herself as crimson shapes clawed at the edges of her vision.

“What’s wrong,” Damya asked. When her gaze followed the werecat’s, Damya’s eyes widened in panic. “They’ve broken through,” she said. “Dear Creator, keep us! The Drosskin have broken through the enchantments! Sisters, to me!”

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. We’ll pick up where we left off next week. In the meantime, I welcome your comments on what I’ve shared with you today.

As always, SCRAWLS is designed to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Into The Woods…

“Calla Lily Flame” – Tap image for more information.

Today on SCRAWLS, we’ll pick up where we left off with Katja and Queen Manasa journeying through the Wraith Realm in search of the Scrying Pools. Along the way, they meet unexpected creatures and visit an enchanted wood that holds far more secrets than they first assumed.

~

Again Kumos shook his lion-like head. “We cannot abandon this post. If we do and the enemy attacks, it will sever communication through the Tyglesean Wraithwalking Altar and your souls will be trapped here for eternity.”

Katja shuddered. “Faht’s warning…”

“Yes, our father warned you not to come here, but you did not listen. Now we are all in danger.”

“Kumos, I didn’t mean to—”

The werecat wraith held up his paw. “What is done is done. You are here now, so you must try to do what you came here to do.” He looked over his should at Sandor, who was still holding his crying mother. “Sandrie, will you go with them?”

The human wraith nodded and saluted Katja’s brother with his sunsilver saber. “Gladly, Kumos.”

“I will as well, Kumos,” a griffin said as he moved through the ranks.

Kumos smiled and bowed before turning back to his sister. “Katja, this is the legendary warrior Nach, who fought beside Queen Mother Ella and King Canuche during the Second War of Ages.”

Katja smiled and bowed with both of her paws raised to show her absolute loyalty. “And fought with Daya’lyn to defend this realm against invasion when his soul was sent here. I am honored, my sir.”

The corners of Nach’s beak turned up in what passed for griffins as a grin. “As am I, my madam, as am I. News has reached us here of so many of your exploits. I’ve been told that you even know the location of my former king’s soul!”

Katja smiled. “No doubt Daya’lyn told you that. It is true. I have met King Canuche and the experience was one of the great honors of my life.” Her expression grew serious then. “I hope to find a way to free him, if I can.”

Nach nodded as the five beings moved away from the group so that the griffin could spread out his eagle-like wings. “I feel quite certain that if anyone has the ability to free an imprisoned soul, it is you. Come now, climb on my back and let us be off. Madam Damya, will you please help keep watch for enemies?”

When the firesprite nodded, the werecat and two humans scrambled up the griffin’s tawny-furred foreleg and settled themselves between his wings. The griffin leaped into the air and, with several flaps of his magnificent feathered wings, pushed them into the vibrant sky.

Katja remembered the old stories of how Nach had lost his wings during the Battle of Eppon Gue—the first great skirmish of the Second War of Ages. He had fought valiantly without his wings throughout that war. Now in death, the griffin’s wings had been restored, and he used them to great effect transporting his charges across the mottled sky to their destination. Once aloft, they followed Edgewater as the great river curved away from the grasslands and on into rolling hills. A magnificent forest boasting trees of every size and kind grew up in the shelter of those hills.

Nach dropped from the sky to land at the beginning of the trees and then the group followed Damya into the forest—winding their way around trunks the size of boulders. Unlike the shadowed forests of Katja’s world, the Wraith Realm forest was thick with undergrowth and yet still seemed perfectly lit. Katja looked closer and discovered that light actually emanated from the plant leaves themselves. The luminescence made the whole wood feel even more enchanted than the perfectly pruned gardens and forests cultivated by the dryads on Mount Sol’ece. Katja wondered in awe if this was where the Creator had first walked in the Wraith Realm and if the path they now followed was the trail where His robe had first touched the leaves and given birth to sproutsinging magic. How she wished that Zahra could see this place!

The wraithwalker heard the sound of trickling water before she saw it. When the trees finally gave way to the Scrying Pools, Katja’s breath caught in her throat. The pools held the same luminescent beauty as the forest around them. The waters were is pure blue as any she had ever seen. Here and there, firesprites flitted over the water—their kindled bodies adding bright hues to the pools’ undulating surfaces.

“My sisters,” Damya said as the group watched the firesprites flit from leaf to leaf among the trees—touching each one with a lit hand.

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. We’ll pick up where we left off next week. In the meantime, I welcome your comments on what I’ve shared with you today.

As always, SCRAWLS is designed to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

“You Will Need a Guide if You Are to Survive This Night…”

“A Squirrel’s Gaze” – Tap image for more information.

Today on SCRAWLS, we’ll pick up where we left off last week with Katja and Queen Manasa trying to contact Master Caleb through the Ott vre Caerwyn mirror and its shards. In today’s reading, Katja and Manasa make it to the Wraith Realm to seek out the Scrying Pools that share a magical connection to the mirror, but this enchanted realm may prove a far more dangerous destination than they ever expected.

~

A twinkle of silver lit the room, and then a small, silver tree grew out of the offering basin at the altar’s center. Its entwined trunks untwisted to form a translucent oval and the sylph Cyrena greeted them from within its frame. “Creator keep you, my madams. Queen Manasa, I know that you both seek a way to contact the Reformed Mirror and its keeper. The shards alone will not give you enough strength as you have likely guessed. The power you seek is in the Wraith Realm itself, but finding it is more dangerous than you know. You will need a guide if the pair of you are to survive this night,” she said.

“I will be that guide,” Damya said as she wafted out of the center of the Sapphire Keystone hanging from the werecat’s neck.

Cyrena nodded. “You will need the blood mirror shards with you. Keep their necklaces fastened and touch the altar with their tips.”

Obediently, the females stood on side of the altar, and then bowed to touch the spearheads against the altar’s offering basin as Cyrena indicated. With a flash of crimson and silver, all three beings stretched through the ethereal tree’s oval and then appeared in a place as different from the dank dungeon as daylight is to darkness. Grasses eddied and flowed like the waves of a great ocean around them—each curving leaf infused with green hues far richer and varied than any Katja had ever seen in her own world. The wraithwalker smiled at the breathtaking beauty of the Wraith Realm now around her, but her joy evaporated when she saw what lay just beyond the vibrant green.

The great boundary river of Edgewater snaked its way along the edge of the grasslands—a contrast to their beauty in every way. As ugly and deadly as it was, Katja knew that the river’s boiling black eddies were the only barrier keeping the inhabitants of the ruined land beyond the river’s shores from infecting the perfect land her dead family members now called home with their pestilence.

Except now the river’s winding length could no longer hold back the danger. Three new sandy breaches had now bridged the river and encroached into the pristine meadow—spreading their sickness into the yellowing grasses at Edgewater’s banks. Katja’s ears lay flat against her head and she hissed when she saw them.

“Be on your guard,” Damya said. “Dangers now abound in this land.”

A loud screech met them then, and Katja and Manasa both turned to see a gnarled, black creature flying toward them on tattered membrane wings.

“Get down!” the firesprite screamed as twin fireballs erupted in her tiny, blue hands. She launched both of them at the creature, who dodged the first but not the second. With a screech of pain and anger, it veered away from the small group and flapped back toward the river where more of its fellows readied their attack.

“Damya!”

“We are here, Kumos!” she screamed.

“Make your way to us! Hurry!” the werecat wraith yelled.

That was all of the encouragement that Katja needed. Grabbing Manasa by the hand, the werecat wraithwalker scrambled through the high grass toward her dead brother and his fellow wraiths.

“Lytzsibba, you are not dead, but you may very well die while you are here. What possessed you to return here?” Kumos said as he hugged his younger sister.

Before Katja could answer, Queen Manasa spoke. “Forgive me, my sir, but I am the reason we are here. Katja and I combined our wraithwalking and dreamdrifting talents tonight to dreamwalk between the Realms of Reality. Since time and space have different values here, going through the Wraith Realm was the only way that I could hope to traverse the distance of the Sylvan Continent to contact Master Caleb. We are in dire need of his aid in finding the Keystones that are still hidden across the continent. Without them, we cannot hope to destroy the deadwalkers…”

As Manasa was speaking, a human youth stepped forward from the gathered wraiths and Katja’s ears drooped when she saw him.

“Mother?” Sandor asked in a voice shrill with surprise and confusion.

“Sandrie!” Manasa ran to embrace him.

The last time Katja and Manasa had seen Prince Sandor had been when Daeryn had held him hostage while trying to bargain for three of the Keystones. When Lauraisha refused to exchange the Keystones for her brother’s life, the vampire bit open his neck and left him to die in front of her. Now Katja and Lauraisha shared a common grief for dead siblings just as they shared everything else.

“Mother, are you dead now too? Did Daeryn kill you as well?”

The hands that held him began to shake. “No, son. I am alive. We are both alive, Katja and I…”
“Kumos,” Katja said, interrupting her, “it is urgent that we contact Caleb. How do we do that here?”

He shook his head. “The only way I know of is to use the Scrying Pools at Edgewater’s Bend, but it is nearly overrun with Drosskin now. Since you last walked in the Wraith Realm, sibba, four new breaches have opened up along the rivers’ banks. Our enemies are massing for a full-scale invasion of the Sacred Grasslands. If they succeed in overtaking this place, it will cut off our communication to you through the Tyglesean Wraithwalking Altar.”

“Still we have to try. Can you take us to the Scrying Pools?” Katja asked.

Again Kumos shook his lion-like head. “We cannot abandon this post. If we do and the enemy attacks, it will sever communication through the Tyglesean Wraithwalking Altar, and your souls will be trapped here for eternity.”

Katja shuddered. “Faht’s warning…”

“Yes, our father warned you not to come here, but you did not listen. Now we are all in danger.”

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. We’ll pick up with more of this scene next week. In the meantime, I welcome your comments on what I’ve shared with you today.

As always, SCRAWLS is designed to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Will Her Magic Be Strong Enough To Reach Across A Continent, Or Will Her Desperate Entreaties Go Unanswered?

In progress artwork. Please comment about the way you want me to color it.

Today on SCRAWLS, Katja and her allies seek the help of Lauraisha’s mother Queen Manasa to try to contact Daya’lyn’s father Caleb using the Ott vre Caerwyn mirror’s magic shards. While not as well-trained of a mage as her daughter Lauraisha, Manasa is nonetheless a powerful dreamdrifter mage. Her determination to find any way she can to help her daughter may give her the strength she needs to communicate across the Sylvan Continent and find the answers they need.

~

That night as Katja curled underneath the scratchy woolen blankets that humans used instead of proper sleeping furs, she couldn’t help but be nervous about Lauraisha’s mother’s attempt to contact Caleb. When Katja and her packmates were journeying to the kingdom of Tyglesea in the first place, the werecat had shared brief dreams with Manasa. The dreamdrifter’s mind was a powerful one, and yet the distance that she would have to traverse to reach Caleb was so much longer than it had been when she had called to Katja. Even with the Ott vre Caerwyn mirror shards’ added strength and Katja’s aid, how could Manasa’s thoughts possibly reach across a continent?

Katja fell asleep still wondering about the possibility, and soon discovered her answer in her dreams. As her mind drifted away from the reality of her scratchy blankets and too-soft bed, Katja found herself walking down the castle’s corridors and out along the narrow beach just below Summersted. In the distance, she saw a human walking along the waves toward her—the female’s long, dark hair and indigo skirts tossed by the same billowing breeze that ruffled the werecat’s golden fur.

Katja stopped before her with an unspoken question perched upon her lips.

“It is as I’ve feared; I cannot use the mirror shards alone,” Manasa said in answer to the wraithwalker’s thought. “Come Katja. Come dreamwalk with me between the folds of reality tonight. Let us see if your strength can be the difference between victory and defeat.”

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. We’ll pick up with more of this scene next week. In the meantime, I welcome your comments about how to color my in-progress piece of artwork that I’ve shared with you today.

As always, SCRAWLS is designed to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Will Sparks Fly When Mages Dabble in Politics? Find Out Now on the SCRAWLS Fiction Diary!

A lady bug sits among the myriad blooms of Queen Anne’s Lace. Tap for more details.

Today on SCRAWLS, we’re going to mix a little magic and politics. Today’s post finds three characters from my in-progress book Fireforger vying for the Tyglesean throne. This should be interesting!

~

Ashomocos groaned. “Not only do Tygleseans need a wise king to rule them, they need one who can unite them as well. We cannot afford to be divided, especially with the war against the deadwalkers well underway.”

The others nodded.

“Well, what do you suggest?” Felan asked.

Ashomocos just shook his head and looked at Tryntin, who shrugged.

Vraelth looked down the table at the Tygleseans. “Trynt, I may have a solution. My aid in rebuilding so much of the war-torn wharf and merchant districts these past two months has given me quite an outstanding reputation among your merchants. I think they might listen to my recommendations in this dispute and then help convince others of my case.”

Tryntin nodded. “Likely, but how could you make any decision that would be beyond reproof?”

The deep-purple-skinned elf stood and motioned for Katja to do the same. “There is an incantation—very ancient—that I as a charmchanter and Katja as a wraithwalker can do together. It’s called the Bond of Truth and it lays bare every deception within its intended target. If the three of you who are in line for the throne were willing to submit yourselves to this test, we can use it to determine who would make the best king. Then we can build our case from there.”

“It shows every lie?” Saldis asked.

The charmchanter mage nodded.

Saldis shuddered. “Then I formally declare my abstention from the throne. Forgive me, but I’m a far better spy than I am a politician.”

Tryntin smirked at him. “On the contrary, I think your lies make you an excellent politician.”

Saldis rolled his eyes even as he chuckled. “That may well be true, but you didn’t have to say it.”

Tryntin’s grin grew even wider. “The truth hurts, I’m afraid.”

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry from the SCRAWLS Diary. As its name implies, this is meant to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing sketches. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to build my fiction worlds allows you to truly walk the creative writing journey with me through all of its ups and downs. Please email me your thoughts!

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: One Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

The SCRAWLS Fiction Diary: “I Am Coming For You…”

A dragon wraps her neck
and wing around her precious egg.

After six months of working at a job in that occupies ten to twelve hours of my time every day, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I can write fiction books or I can write a nonfiction blog, but I don’t really have the time to create both. I could crawl into my warm, dark writing cave and simply work on a book as I have for most of this year, but that doesn’t serve you as my readers any better than me writing a blog without writing the books that you all love to read. After all, you deserve to know what’s happening and to be at least somewhat entertained while I’m working. With that in mind, I’m turning this blog into a fiction diary with artwork sprinkled around the edges. The writing will essentially be my thoughts on paper in the order that they occur to me. I’ll bring you new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, epic world-building. You’ll also see some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding and stitches that I use to build my fiction worlds. Fair warning, the writing might not make much contextual sense and, at times, may not be well-edited. However, I want to show you some of the work-in-progress before presenting the final polished book so that you understand how difficult and fascinating the journey of writing really is. By practicing in public, I will also be held accountable to get my work done every week. I can accomplish so much more with all of you readers cheering me on than I ever can alone.

Without further ado, here is this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS fiction diary. It is a scene from my in-progress book Fireforger, which is the third book in the Sylvan Cycle series. This scene is from the villain Daeryn’s perspective and begins right where the last book Dreamdrifter stopped. Right now, this is serving as Fireforger’s prologue. We’ll see if it stays as that or if I make changes to it before final publication. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it!

*

“I am coming for you.”

Daeryn bolted upright on the silken sheets of his bed—his crimson eyes whipping around his chamber in terror. He was alone, but that did not comfort him. The vampire shade had heard Katja’s words echo throughout the depths of his dreams just as Princess Lauraisha had. The overwhelming power of the wraithwalker’s voice had caused cold beads of sweat to trace their way down the pale length of his spine.

Daeryn and Lauraisha answered Katja in the same moment: “I know.”

The werecat had caused him to feel many things, but fear had never been one of them—not until now. He felt his heart pound in his chest even as he opened his shrouded mind wide to embrace this newest sensation radiating from her bright awareness.

And then their minds’ link was severed before the shade could reestablish their bond, leaving him truly alone once again. Daeryn screamed. “No! No, please…!”

He licked the salty moisture off of his lips and hid his face behind pale, shaking hands as a new fear gripped him. The shade pushed his mind toward the trail left in the wake of the wraithwalker’s awareness—grasping at the power that had so easily displaced his dark desires. He searched every corner of his mind for the warm tendril of her vibrant thoughts, but it was gone. She was gone.

“Please, Katja, come back to me…” Daeryn whispered to the empty room even as he felt the heavy rhythm of his rock-hard heart slow and then cease to beat altogether. He put a clawed hand over the scar adorning his chest where the lump from her spear shard had once nestled inside his flesh. For a brief moment, he had felt alive again. He had felt as he once had when her mind was irrevocably linked to his and nothing could separate him from every beautiful and terrible emotion she experienced. It had been a full moon’s cycle since she had stolen the spear shard and shattered their bond. It had been a full month since he had felt any impression from her at all. For one brief moment, Daeryn had allowed himself hope that she had returned to him, even in the depths of this new fear she had instilled in him. Now, she was gone and he felt numb once again.

“No, not again…”

With a snarled string of curses, the vampire rose from his bed and donned his clothes—intent on visiting the slave pens. He was not particularly hungry just now, but he would feed nonetheless. After the encounter he had just endured, Daeryn was desperate to experience the comforting rush of warm blood through his icy veins.

“I shall drain only one this time,” he promised himself. After the flogging Luther had given him over his last overzealous feeding, taking a single slave’s life seemed a far better strategy even if it could no longer satisfy his Thirst.

Daeryn’s pale, membrane wings unfurled from his back and hurled him off of his bedchamber’s balcony into the moonlit night. He circled high above the black spires of Blaecthull before diving toward the entrance of the cavern holding the slaves.

With Princess Lauraisha imprisoned in the water dungeon far beneath the vampires’ fortress, Katja and Daya’lyn would have no choice but to come to the Northern Continent if they wanted her freed. And Daeryn would greet them when they came.

They were dangerous now, so deliciously dangerous. As a full manticore and wraithwalker mage, Katja was now death to the undead and Daeryn cherished her all the more for it. His final conquest of her would be all the more satisfying now. Whatever else happened, he must be strong enough to withstand her when she came for him.

The vampire smiled to himself even as his yellow fangs lengthened in anticipation of the hunt. “Yes, only one slave this time…”

*

Please email me your thoughts! Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Finally, that marathon I promised you…

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything because my new day job confiscated my life during the month of January. I’ve been stealing scraps of time to write my newest pirate novella, but haven’t been able to do much else. Consequently, I had to postpone the book reading marathon that was scheduled for January. That being said, I’m excited to announce that we are finally starting The Dryad’s Sacrifice reading marathon on Facebook today. We’ll be reading and discussing the Prologue and Chapter 1 if you want to join us. If you’ve ever wanted to know how a book was created–or at least how this book was created–now is your chance. For the next 10 days, we will have daily inspirational quotes, author insights, a lot of crazy Q&A, and, of course, daily prizes. I can’t wait to see what you have to say! Come join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1695736057307543/!

Warmly,
Alycia

P.S.-If you helped support author Brandon Barr in December and January, thank you so much! His fight with cancer is ongoing thanks in part to stem cell transplants. For updates on his ongoing fight, check out his YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaQbFWrJcQD1VKG_Zeb-TXQ.

Dreamdrifter Release Day!

dreamdrifter_quote_beast_monster
I am so excited that my book Dreamdrifter is now available to purchase! For one last week, the ebook will be on sale for $0.99. After that, the price goes up to $3.99, so I highly encourage you to take advantage of the low price if you haven’t already.

Buy Dreamdrifter at:
Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Read Dreamdrifter’s first three chapters free!

For those of you who are interested, a plan of epic proportions is being hatched to read Dreamdrifter together over in the Sylvan Scribes group on Facebook. The group had a wonderful time reading and discussing Skinshifter this month, so we’re going to continue the fun with Dreamdrifter beginning on October 10. I’ll be popping in and out of the group sharing different prizes, author insights, games, quotes, and other interesting tidbits along the way. The group link is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1695736057307543/. We’re open to all ages, so please join us!

For those of you who haven’t gotten into the Sylvan Cycle series yet, there is no better time to try it. I will hold the $0.99 prices for Skinshifter and Dreamdrifter for one more week, then we go back to the regular prices!

Buy Skinshifter at:
Print | Amazon Kindle | Apple | B&N Nook | Kobo | Smashwords

Read Skinshifter’s first three chapters free!

A final note for my intrepid crew of beta readers: you can now review Dreamdrifter and tell the world what you think. I can’t wait to read your comments! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. I could not do this without you!

Review Dreamdrifter at:
Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Again, thank you all! Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

The Skinshifter Reading Marathon is almost here!

Reading_Marathon_SkinshifterIn case you didn’t see my last note, we are about to start the awesome Skinshifter Reading Marathon over in the Sylvan Scribes Community on Facebook! We’re reading and discussing a chapter a day until we finish the book. All of the fun, fantasy, and freebies starts tomorrow, so contact me on Facebook if you want to join! I can’t wait to see you there!

Thanks,
Alycia

P.S.-Here is a excerpt from my upcoming book Dreamdrifter for your reading enjoyment.

~
An Excerpt From Chapter I: Shade Shifting, Part 1

“Felan, Dayalan, do something!” Lauraisha said as she pulled on her waist-length auburn hair in agitation. The chemise-garbed human edged toward the group. “Katja’s gone mad!”

Felan just continued to stare. “I didn’t think it possible for her even to become a lioness—not yet, at least! She has never skinshifted into erdeling form so fully before. Until her mind gains control over her new bestial instincts, she’s very dangerous.”

“Really? We hadn’t noticed,” exclaimed Zahra. The dryad’s jade-hued lips curled with her sarcasm even as her fingers wrapped more firmly around her sunsilver sickle.

“I suggest we make a slow, steady retreat,” Dayalan murmured, nudging the two females protectively behind him as he raised his sunsilver staff into a defensive position.

Katja had begun to tear at the cumbersome clothing entrapping her transformed body, her curved claws and fangs shredding both linen and leather with uncanny ease. Malevolent eyes turned back toward the odd cluster of beings slowly retreating through the servants’ door as she kicked off the last offending rag. Tail thumping the floor in warning, she stalked the intruders.
She smelled their foul stench all around this strange den. How dare they invade her territory! The lioness focused on the pale elf with long black head-fur. Instinct demanded that she deal with the one called Dayalan first. The breeze from the room’s open window blowing the Erdeken pack’s scents more strongly toward her keen nose. Katja stopped in sudden confusion, testing the new aromas. Horse blood and wolf fur as well as vegetation tickled her awareness. The scents were familiar, almost comforting, but strange to associate with the beings standing before her.

“Lauraisha, now might be a good time to use that uncanny talent of yours,” said Felan. He was larger than the other male and smelled more of wolves than of humans.

How odd, the lioness thought.

“I tried!” Lauraisha whimpered.

Dayalan gripped his blood-scented staff harder even as he and the others retreated through the door. “Try again.”

Katja’s maw curled in a silent snarl at Dayalan’s challenge and then relaxed slightly in confusion as emotions not her own brushed the edge of her awareness. Thoughts of kinship and affection floated through her thoughts in contrast to her own raw rage and frustration. The skinshifted lioness’s mind dredged up a new well of memories more complex and intense than her bestial instincts could dominate.

Katja stared at Lauraisha and cocked her head, remembering the Tyglesean Princess smiling as she offered the skinshifter a fish, and then showing her the curious contraption of string and stick that she had used to catch it. She turned her gaze toward Zahra, and remembered her red hair looking almost aflame with the setting sun’s rays as she strode toward Katja in the royal linen garb of her odd feminine race. Of the tallest human saturated with wolf scents, she remembered another full moon’s night when Felan had comforted her after she had skinshifted beside an artificial water spring…a fountain, it was called. But the half-human who reeked of horse blood only brought forth memories of vile red eyes and crimson-streaked fangs. Flashes assaulted her mind of Dayalan’s face contorted in gleeful lust as he drank his fill of blood from a horse. The lioness crouched in sudden hate and fear, her guttural growl forming a single snarled word: “Víchí!”

She roared and launched herself at the vampire fiend before he could close the door against her.

“Katja! No!”

Princess Lauraisha flung herself in front of Dayalan, a hand raised against the lioness. A blast of scarlet flame burst from her delicate fingertips, searing the lioness’s golden fur. Katja felt the terrible heat even as her claws sliced skin.

“Lauraisha!” the Víchí and dryad screamed in unison.

“I’m bleeding…” the human fireforger murmured. She stared in dumb fascination at her tattered arm and chest before crumbling to the floor…

Pre-order Dreamdrifter:
Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords
~

Check back next week for Part 2! Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better.

Alycia

~

The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with vivid fiction, deep love, and epic art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits | FREE STUFF

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

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