Monthly Archives: April 2012

Snippet Sunday: The Forge

      Today’s excerpt comes from an old ‘character sketch’. There is more to her story, and perhaps at some point, I will edit the whole thing and see what comes out. For the moment, I just thought I’d share ‘The Forge’.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      Her earliest memory was of the Forge.
      Distant, metallic clanking grating on her sensitive ears. Searing heat in the darkness. The hiss of a red-hot blade thrust into a cooling pan and the eerie bloody glow of the forge. The gaping maw of that same forge, horrible with flaming breath and the sour-sweet scent of ebonmoss burning to maintain the fire.
      She was aware that she was not alone, curled like a kicked puppy in the corner, her long, coltish legs drawn up to her chest and arms wrapped around her shins. There was the monster at the anvil, beating the spirit of the metal out of it as he bent raw elements to his will. He bellowed at the apprentince boy, one tenth his size and no more than ten years of age, and raged at the metal to assert himself as its master. There was another like her, though despite her keen vision she could not see very well through the dim, smoky, cavern, and she did know who it might be.
      Vaguely, in the farthest reaches of her half-dead mind, she recalled a handsome woman with hair like a hearthfire, all golden orange and gleaming in candlelight, who had held her to breast and stroked her own hair to comfort her. Those days were gone, why and how, she was not sure. With dim recognition she found herself fingercombing her own filthy mane of firegold locks, so dingy and caked with grime as to be more gray-black than orange-yellow.
      “Brat!” The monsterman at the forge growled. When the other did not stir and she felt the burning cold of the monster’s black eyes upon her. She leapt to her feet and nearly spilled to the floor again, weak from hunger and faint with exhaustion. Timidly she half-crawled half-walked, her fingers brushing the ash laden floor to ensure that she did not tumble forward, toward the massive iron anvil. He barked something in some rough tongue and the apprentice, who was nearly as anxious in the monsterman’s presence as she, stepped forward and braced himself, taking hold of her. Immediately, she was overcome with terror and though she had no idea what was coming, her arms flailed and she kicked for all her young body was worth.
      The monsterman spat a curse and threw his tools down furiously. In an instant he was upon her, her nostrils filled with the thick, rank stench of man sweat, sulfur, and whatever half-rotten meal he’d eaten that day. His hands were enormous, each as large as her head, and when those iron-hard fingers closed around her thin arms, she was sure that he would kill her. He would shatter her bones in his bare grip and then dash her skull against the wall and let the red and grey bits slip down until they made a splut on the rough stone floor.
      He slammed his fist into her chin, snapping her head back on her and then tossed her, barely conscious with a mouthful of blood, to the floor. She was crushed beneath the thick, filthy sole of his boot, her cheek mashed to the stone, his heel digging into her spine so hard she was sure it would snap. And then he was howling at the apprentice boy, who returned to thrust a tool into the burning mouth of the Forge. Her tears and screams fell upon deaf ears as the monsterman yelled impatiently and the apprentice cowered, whimpering.
      From the corner of her eye she caught sight of the other like her, a vicious scar marring a proud, handsome face. One elongated elven ear was cruelly sliced from its head and the left eye had been put-out by the same blade that left its mark across its face. There was a glimmer of recognition as one fine curl of glimmering firegold slipped down, hanging limply before the terrified hazel eyes. Mother! And the memories flooded her being in that single moment. Home, safety, warmth, love. The stern gaze of her father as he showed her how to hold a wooden sword and the comforting embrace he gave when she skinned a knee in her feverish climbing of trees. The handsome face that was all things to a child, a mother’s smile and tender ministrations. She knew only a heartbeat of anguish as she saw what the butchers had done to ravage her mother’s face, and recalled in the blink of an eye the chaotic destruction the Raiders had brought upon the tiny village in the trees. Young eyes had seen her father gutted like a pig for the spit, her elder sister raped and then her throat slit and her dead body abused still further. She had watched them dash her infant brother’s brains against the Heartwood, the clan’s sacred tree.
      But in the next moment her young body was lanced through with agony. The scent of burning flesh pushed past the monsterman’s foul odor to filled her head. Her vision burst into a field of white, as hot and searing as the branding iron he ground into her shoulder. The pain was such that she could not even cry out, that the tears dried in her eyes and her struggling went still.
      Only after the monsterman yanked the iron away, leaving a hideous, red mark in her flesh, did blessed oblivion finally take her.
      When she awoke, there was no memory left in her head of the tender home she had once known, nor the brutal destruction of it. The loving visage of parents and siblings was torn from her mind by the excruciating heat of the branding iron and whatever hope may have bubbled forth from one so young was smashed beneath the weight of the thick iron slave’s collar that coiled around her neck when she awoke.
      They had stolen everything from her; home, family, freedom. The girl had nothing to cling to in the steaming, fetid hell they had thrust her into… Nothing except for the name given to her at birth.
      Calithiewren.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Ambient Sounds

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      So, in a fit of “holy-crap-what-can-I-blog-about-regularly-for-like-months-on-end” I decided to try a second ‘weekly’ guaranteed post. Thus, the series of “Tuesday’s Tunes” was born. And I prepared several posts ahead of time, talking about the goaty-but-amazing Beth Hart, and the hauntingly beautiful stylings of Meghan Tonjes. There are two others in the pipeline, but they’re not complete yet (oops! Admitting to blogger-secret #3, pre-prepped blog posts is potential cause for expulsion from the l33t blogger groups).
      This leaves me in a bit of a conundrum today because I have nothing prepared and I have been editing in silence lately (because I have been doing it while working my day job). I do not like silence (mostly). In my world, there is always some background noise: other people talking on the phone at work, with their fingers clacking keyboards; soft music, loud music; a television program on low volume so I don’t feel quite so alone… Working from home, which has been both a blessing and a curse that I will post about another day, means I do have the freedom to turn on some music if I want (so long as I can mute it fast enough when a call comes in) or listen to a TV show on Netflix or Hulu. But I am not just trying to survive my work day here, I’m trying to EDIT.
      That mystical, magical word. Did you hear the angelic chorus when you read it?
      No?
      Damn.
      Well anyway – I am finding it hard enough to switch gears fast enough from being mid-sentence tweak in my Scrivener file (and I am going to be writing about Scrivener shortly, too) to twist my chair to the work and take that call. I say ‘um’ a lot more than I ought these days. Because my writer’s mind is still coiled around Incandescence and it does not want to try to remember fixes for stupid, broken-ass programs that should really just be taken out into a field and busted apart with a baseball bat. Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.

      Adding another step of stopping the music or television or other ambient noise before picking up that bloody phone would only be more detrimental to my performance so I’ve chosen to avoid it lately.
      Which means I don’t have much in the way of a soundtrack at the moment.
      And my music taste, while amazing and eclectic, is also dusty as hell. There are many reasons/excuses for this, but it boils down to being a) too lazy to go out in search of new music when I have music I like already and b) spending money on music is fairly low on my list of priorities (which is not to say I condone pirating music or anything – just that, if I have 20 bucks to spend, there’s a whole list of things that come first…books, movies, video games, gaming stuff…).

      And then, par for the freakin’ course, I was interrupted by four hours of non-stop crappy people calling and lost my train of thought on this post entirely.
      Hmm.
      Anyway – because I’ve been trying to edit (and work), I’ve been listening to ambient noise. The natural sounds of an apartment building. Luckily, its a quiet one. I hear lots of wind, lawn mowers, rain, birds, people talking quietly outside, appliances inside, my keyboard clicking, my computer humming, the sounds of my own thoughts… Its lovely and romantic except – its not. Its hard to get lost (even momentarily) in the world and the words, when there is no music.
      I need music like I need air.
      So yes, there will be more Tuesday’s Tunes posts in the future. Probably loaded with YouTube links and whatnot. But today – as in my apartment – we have only the sound of silence.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Summer Reruns & Sex Tapes

Summer Reruns & Sex Tapes

      Its almost May, which means its season finale season (er…redundancy for the win) in the land of the Magical Moving Picture Box. Within a few weeks, as the temperatures rise and the layers of clothing are shed, the powers that be will begin regurgitating their, frankly, already primarily regurgitated programs. And for whatever reason, we will watch.
      But that’s not going to be happening here on PP.net! Eff no!
      Instead, because I’m cool like that, we’re going to be (hopefully!) bringing in some incredible guest bloggers as part of a Virtual Blog Tour (though, to be honest – aren’t all blog tours pretty much virtual? Hmm?). Celebrate good times, come on!
      Yeah. That was pretty lame. But I am excited. I’ll get to share my crazy-nuttiness with some other writer’s readership in hopes of sparking my own fanbase and … some other poor schmuck will post here hoping to do the same. Too bad my audience numbers approximately…two. Well, hits-wise its somewhat larger, but only two people comment with any regularity. Myself and Raymond, that is.
      As I said last week, I’m not going to stress over my numbers (or lack thereof) or comments or Re-Tweets. I’m saving all my stress and freak-outs for the actual novel.
      I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in any previous posts, but my current WIP, Incandescence is not my normal cup o’ tea. I’ve dipped my toes into a sub-genre that is sort of tangential to my favored type. Modern-Day Fantasy. Mages in America (or wherever). With all the differences in tone, in voice, in setting, et cetera – this book is a pretty big departure for me and so I do feel a little more stress about it than normal.
      That, plus I am intending to actually let people read it. I haven’t always done that in the past. In fact…
      Thinking…
      Thinking….
      Thinking…..
      I have not really done that since High School. Probably because my confidence was built-up fairly high about that novel and I, with my perpetual fear of failing, was too damned afraid of not living up to the previous heights that I just stopped sharing.
      Plus, most of my novels are unfinished. They’re sitting around in various states of undress, waiting to be ravished and have their dirty sex tapes posted on the internet for everyone to view.
      Wait – what?
      You know what I mean. Don’t you?
      Speaking of sex tapes – I was doing some research on Youtube last night (no, really!) and came across a song that I had never listened to but had heard about – Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass”. (My thoughts: Catchy. Awesome make-up. Awful wigs. Sexy build.) I just happened to glance down at the comments and noticed that the newest one said that Nicki Minaj had just released a sex tape.
      I don’t know if that rumor has any truth to it. But it made me pretty glad that I don’t have young daughters, because I know many little girls who LOVE Nicki Minaj and until last night (sex tape aside) I didn’t realize how super-freaking-inappropriate her music is for young ones.
      What does ‘beez in the trap’ really mean, any way? And why are all the other girls ‘stupid, stupid hoes’?
      Sorry – that was an off-topic rant, wasn’t it?
      To summarize: There will be no re-runs this summer on PP.net!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Snippet Sunday: Memory Lane

      Today’s excerpt comes from a series of short stories I wrote some time ago as a ‘character sketch’. Jazira, an orphaned half-elf assassin, was ‘adopted’ as child labor by a caravan-driver, trained in combat by the mercenaries the merchant paid to guard him, and eventually fulfilled her genetic destiny by becoming a talented assassin (just like her father and his line). Then, emerging from the Underdark to ply her trade in a frontier town, she met a barrister/sorceress called Sissy. Her life was never the same.
      Here, after a tumultuous few years that saw them fighting for their lives against unknowable evil, confronting their inner demons and terrible pasts to become better people, and bearing a pair of children through magical means, is the final chapter I wrote from her POV.
      (Postscript: Yes, I know its almost painfully choppy, but first person is not my forté and this is a rough, unedited first draft.)

– – – – – – – – – – –
      I do not often return to Waldontown anymore, and never alone. We have everything we need in the house Sissy created; it is an insulated little world. It is never dull, with the antics of two growing children, but sometimes I wonder if it is enough. She would worry that I did not love her anymore, if she knew my doubts, so I keep them to myself. Still, as I walk through the heavy wooden gates, I think perhaps we should talk. The children are nearly four and old enough to be left alone with Betty. Xas, I tell myself, nodding to a familiar Rider, I will speak with her. We are not too old for adventure yet…
      The day is clear and bright, though snow falls sporadically, and I am surprised to see such bustle on the streets. The town has been so quiet in recent years but now, it teems with merchants and children and adventurers and, as one would expect, even more Riders. I wander aimlessly, drifting in and out of the shops. I feel alive, with this humming throng of humanity around me.
      I weave in and out of the small crowd of people who are trying to enter Sutter’s wagon and heave a sigh, straightening my tunic. A man approaches me and I offer him greeting. He introduces himself as Gamaliel and he seems friendly enough. Several moments later he is joined by a scarred elven man whom he calls Ruinathil.
      The conversation flows quickly, the talk of dueling techniques and Gamaliel’s training. Ruinathil is his instructor and moves with the purposeful grace of an experienced fighter. I am challenged to a friendly duel and my blood sings; there is an excitement that I cannot place. I have not used my blade in a true test of skill for years and I smile at the men, leading them North and out of town for Usst would have my head for dinner if I broke the laws of Waldontown and drew weapon within its walls.
      I caress the hilt of my blade, which even now hangs at my waist, tenderly as it were her delicate flesh. My steps are lighter than they have been in ages and as we prepare for battle I feel my heart racing in my chest. Playful banter spills from my lips and I maintain a cool exterior but inwardly, I am trembling. Will my sword arm be quick after so many years of disuse? Can I still move as agilely as I once did? Will Usst strike me dead if I return with so much as a scratch?
      The teacher threatens to disown his pupil if he loses the duel, but there is a wink to his eyes which, despite his ferocious appearance, twinkle with humor. I will begin the fight, and I lift my blade, twisting to the side and striking Gamaliel with more force than intended. The battle will end quickly, I know it immediately. With a grunt, I send him sprawling on his back in the snowy grass.
      He has skill, of this there is no doubt, but I have bested him and my confidence soars. Before his pupil has even caught his breath, the master has drawn his weapon and asked politely if he may have a chance at me. With a smile that I am certain must have appeared somewhat devious, I accept.
      The master has scored me, and I catch myself lamenting the scratch for a moment before I lunge at him again. In moments, he too is on his back and yields to my blade. It has been too long, I tell myself, sheathing my rapier, it has been far too long.
      Some hours of conversation and a tankard of ale later, I leave the Drunken Goose troubled and head for home. He, the man called Gamaliel, has expressed my feelings without knowing it. I do love my family more than I love life, and would give mine for them. Still, I know that I long for the old days.
      Heaving a sigh, I rub my sore shoulder. The wound has closed but it still painful and I shake my head, wondering what Sissy will say when she finds that I have been fighting. A slow smile spreads across my lips. No matter the fight that ensues, it will be followed by passionate making up and when her desire leaves scratches upon my flesh – those marks I will not rue.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Should I bother working on my first person voice? I’ve never done much using that POV, but it certainly has its uses. I miss Sissy & Jazira, the sorceress and the assassin. Once upon a time, I intended to write a novel about them with Jack. It isn’t even on the ‘back burner’ anymore. At least… For now. Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Under Pressure

Under Pressure

      Get more followers! Get more comments! More views! More Re-Tweets! More! More! More! EAT ALL THE CAKE!
      Oops. I slipped into a little meme there at the end. Sorry about that.
      I am a writer. I’m not a natural self-seller. I’m not a born publicist, promoter, pimper-out-of-myself. (Pimper-out? Whaaa? Moving on.) I’m just a chick with words on a page and I don’t look good in hats.
      Unfortunately, I’m forced to wear them. Lots of different ones.
      Well, I should not say forced, but let’s be frank here, shall we? The likelyhood of getting a publishing contract with one of the big boys is – in this modern, digital era – pretty freakin’ slim. Smaller houses, even, are going for proven self-pubs or self-promoted authors who already have an internet identity to build-on. So in addition to writing the novel and making it the best, most lovely book it can be – we independent writers must be editors, publicists, agents, cover artists, and so on.
      Its a lot of pressure.
      Or at least it is for me.
      Thus, I am going a really low-key route. I’ve started a blog and its (mostly) about my work and process and whatnot. I’ve joined a few helpful writer’s groups. And I’m learning all the time about – new approaches, what works, what doesn’t, how to develop my ‘craft’ (which sounds SO pretentious, doesn’t it?), how to self-edit, better ways to compose, how to promote and sell the thing once its ready. But what I’m not doing (*cough*anymore*cough*) is letting myself get overwhelmed by all the other hats I will have to wear when any of these WIPs are ‘done’.
      Its too easy to become paralyzed by all the responsibilities, possibilities, choices, decisions… by all the WORK. And I cannot afford to let myself be bogged down by that stuff. First and foremost, I am a writer.
      I write for my own bat-shit crazy reasons; to clear my head, to placate the voices in my brain, to tell the stories of the characters I’ve discovered… All the rest, all those hats which are just going to give me static-y, frizzy hair anyway, can wait.
      Writing – the actual WRITING – is what is most important now.
      I mean, why have a blog about your writing if you don’t … actually … write…?

Tuesday’s Tunes: Meghan Tonjes

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      This week’s TT post features a songstress who is beautiful inside and out. She’s a YouTube sensation famous for covers of pop songs, but also a talented song-writer and musician. I fell in love with Meghan’s haunting voice the first time I saw video #2 below. Subsequently, I clicked through her catalog and subscribed to her future posts and eventually bought her releases…I’m a big fan of her original stuff.
      “This Year” was one of the first of her original songs I heard and it resonated with me in a dozen different ways. 2011 may have been HER “This Year” but 2012 is mine and this song has sort of become one of my anthems for the year of the Tangerine Tango.
      Check out the rest of her videos – you won’t be sorry.

~P.P.

The One About the Bullrat & the Raisinette

The One About the Bullrat & the Raisinette

      Are you one of those people who dreams amazing, twisted, high-def dreams and then just lets them fade into the foggy brain-soup never to be thought about again?
      I’m not.
      I keep a notebook by my side of the bed at all times. This is separate and in addition to the notebooks I keep in my purse, in my gaming bag, by my computer, in the bathroom (yes, there too) because you never know when inspiration is going to strike. And in my experience, its fleeting and easily forgotten. So I make an effort to SNATCH that stuff right out of the air when it appears to me, wrangle it onto the page, and pray I’ll be able to read my own handwriting when the time comes.
      Its funny that I though I do scribble (SO often) the lingering images and plots of my dreams (and nightmares) into various journals, diarys, notebooks, pizza delivery receipts…*cough* They do not seem to make it into my work very often.
      Maybe that’s because there is not much of a market for books about a sentient raisin and her raisin family running in terror from a common rat who just happens to have fake bullhorns tied onto his head as he chases the raisin family from their Barbie Doll dream mansion, across the dining room table, and then off the ‘cliff’ where they plummet to their horrific splattery deaths.
      *ahem*
      Yes, that’s a recurring nightmare I had frequently in my preteen years. Its scribbled out in pathetically earnest detail several times in old diaries. Also – one I used to have often but which has not resurfaced since 2006 – involves running away from something horrific and evil only to come face-to-face with what can only be described as ‘worse’. That one, with some tweaking, could one day make an awesome horror/thriller. But I’m afraid to focus on it long enough to draw out the details, lest it come back.
      One summer-into-autumn I had that damned nightmare almost every night and got approximately 9 hours of sleep in the course of a month. It was one of the worst periods of my, admittedly ‘not terrible’ existence. I shudder to relive it.
      Some day.
      Just not, right now.
      I’ve got too many other projects in the pipe anyway.
      So – my point.
      Dreams, no matter how vivid or fascinating at the time, rarely make their way into my actual novels. And I’m wondering if that is weird. Especially given that I do record them so fervently. Maybe, rather than recording potential material for future novels, I write them down to keep a chronicle of what my brain is filled with – or to purge the bad stuff and remember the lovely ones. More likely, it is a hold over from my teenage obsession with all things occult, including dream analysis.
      Then again, I stopped paying attention to dream definitions after several sources revealed that my recurring (and awful) dreams about my teeth falling out indicated that either I was concerned about my appearance or powerlessness in some aspect of my life. I remember thinking ‘No Duh!’ and slamming the book shut (yes, I am ancient and this was in the day before the internet was ubiquitous). I was a fat teenaged female. Of course I was worried about my appearance AND felt powerless. Sheesh.
      Also, I have big, deep-seated issues with my teeth.
      Yeah.
      So – do you dream in color? Black & white? Both?
      Do you record your dreams?
      If so, do you think they make their way into your writing?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

P.S. This makes me want to write a whole OTHER rambling post about how the things we see/do/write/read end up IN OUR DREAMS… but who really wants to hear about the (many) times I dreamed that I was my Neverwinter Nights character running through the forests of Faerûn?

Snippet Sunday: Satiating the Appetites

      Welcome to Snippet Sunday on PP.net! Today’s excerpt comes from the project alternately referred to as Rudabet and Queendom, neither of which are titles so much as identifiers. Anyhoo – this is from a chapter deep into Part One featuring one my favorite characters, Abeterus. He’s a naughty man. There are adult themes in the following snippet. Consider yourself warned.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      A pair of exquisite young women, one with brilliant red hair and a second with hair as dark as jet, busied themselves at his table, setting out a feast for his supper. The delectable scents of roast duck and spicy tomato bisque wafted across the table to him and he sighed in pleasure.
      A fruitful day had given way to what he hoped would be a fruitful night. There was food enough for two or three; fresh, dark bread with herbed butter, a wedge of horrible-smelling but delicious soft cheese, a mix of roasted winter vegetables, cubed and salted, the piping hot soup and of course, the duck. Abeterus was tempted to call the red-head back, to connect the freckles upon her flesh with his tongue and to spend himself, tangled in that vivid mane. He refrained and instead, dug into the food with relish.
      He had been called to a war council at noon and been privy to all manner of preparations for the coming attack upon Baidra. Despite his status, General Abeterus had remained mostly silent during the long discussion. He had endured tedious objections from old, done men who lacked the spine to return to the battlefield; worse than them were the young men who should have been eager to grab glory but instead, whined about leaving their wives’ beds or the distance or the weather. Who waged a war in Winter, anyway, they had cried, bleating like sheep, the Campaign could wait until Spring or Summer. To his surprise, the Emperor had been most insistant that they conquer Baidra as soon as possible. He had mentioned the possibility of naming his bastard son, Iaokobas, as a governor once the island belong to the Empire. No one objected, least of all Abeterus who had suggested the idea to Lelivia, but from the expressions upon some of the other generals, not all of them appreciated the idea. After the debacle that Laravor’s eldest bastard had caused a decade ago, the thought of any of the Emperor’s bastards with any sort of power was worrisome.
      Arescovar was dead now, but he was only first of seven known bastards. Oriola, the simpering, spineless beauty, had been the second born and was her father’s spitting image. Lelivia had kept the girl close when she was young, but married her off as soon as she flowered. Iaokobas was mere months older than Laravor’s eldest legitimate son, and seemed a decent sort, but he had only been granted short visits at court by his sickly, over-protective mother. There was another girl after Iaokobas, Giaoxa, who was black-eyed and comely, but she and Alektos had been caught in a compromising position two years ago, and she had been married off immediately. Abeterus was not convinced that Giaoxa’s toddler, Fuarius, was sired by her sudden husband and not by her half-brother, but he supposed it mattered little. Neither Giaoxa, nor her son, would ever sit the Imperial throne.
      A fourth bastard was called Palinos, and was Giaoxa’s full sibling. He was a handsome youth, but callow. Fifth was another girl, too young to marry, and last, a young boy whose mother had given him the preposterously presumptuous name of Laravon, as if he were a legitimate child who deserved the familial moniker.
      Abeterus chewed thoughtfully on a greasy mouthful of duck, wiping a dribble from his chin, and concluded that his plans were in motion and for all intents and purposes, managing quite well. His eyes flickered toward the door. Soon, Laravor would be abroad again with a long, perilous campaign ahead of him. There would be no lack of opportunities for an assassin’s blade to find his back, for a drop of poison in his wine, to smother him with one of the fine, silk-covered pillows on his featherbed. For one blissful moment, Abeterus imagined he were the one holding that downy violet pillow, the fringe spilling through his fingers as he gripped it in fists gone white from the exertion. Then he took another bite of his supper and sat back in his chair, licking his fingertips.
      He would have to resign himself to allowing a cat’s paw to relish the actual deed, instead spending the next twenty years of his life ravishing the Emperor’s beautiful blonde widow. It was a worthwhile trade-off.
      With a frown, Abeterus cast a gaze at the window and watched the setting sun linger in the western sky. It was getting late and his expected guest was increasingly tardy. Suddenly the dinner he had so eagerly devoured turned to a brick in his belly and Abeterus pushed his chair away from the table. What could be the delay? Had they been discovered? Was the conspiracy over before it even began?
      A soft knock sounded on the door and the General motioned for the meek little slave boy to open the door. A tall figure stepped through the door, enveloped by a plain brown cloak of roughspun. Abeterus took immediate note of the silver-shot leather boots and loose-fitting red silk trousers peeking out from beneath the cape and shook his head.
      “You’ve a lot to learn, boy.”
– – – – – – – – – – –
      Whew! Who has a lot to learn? A co-conspirator is about to be revealed! I’m actually very excited to get back to work on this piece. The full outline is complete and more than half of the first draft is done as well. So, what do you think? Comments, questions, suggestions, requests? Let me hear it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Smutporn and other Keywords

Smutporn and other Keywords

      A friend-slash-fellow writer, Raymond Frazee recently noted that ‘smutporn’ was a popular search term to reach his blog. This is not (not by a long shot!) the strangest combination of words that have directed people to his blog, but it did get me thinking.
      Keywords and search terms, all the back-end bits of blogging, are really important for driving up traffic and building a following. I get that. And there are tons of plug-ins and whatnot to help me optimize those options. I get that, as well. But I am not sure (exactly) the sort of things I should be promoting.
      Its easy enough for people with well-established ‘brands’, or with really well-defined genres/intended audiences/et cetera. Or at least, I imagine it is easier. Smutporn, while awesome, is not necessarily what I would expect people to associate with PP.net or any of my novels. And while Incandescence is fantasy, it is a large deviation from my more typical fantasy. It may turn out to be a Young Adult novel, but most of my work (especially that in combination with Jack) is absolutely intended for mature audiences. So do I focus on more – YA centric audiences (for now) and change as my future works become available? What if Incandescence turns out to be non-YA? Then have I misdirected a whole slew of readers? Am I guilty of false advertising? AAH! The pressure!
      Can you tell that I am not great with decisions?
      I waiver.
      Maybe, for the moment, it does not matter overmuch. My first ‘to be released’ novel is still being heavily edited/re-written and though I have a bunch on the horizon (and many in the drawer, begging to be revitalized and released in the future), until I am closer to a publication date, I think I will just continue to row my little boat and test the waters of the interwebs. Wow – that’s a mixed metaphor/cliché/whatever.
      Now – since I have no smut or porn to offer just now – I hope that keyword isn’t the one that brought you to PP.net. If so – let me direct you back to Raymond’s page. Or maybe Jack’s. Either of those boys have more than enough twisted imagination to enthrall you.
      I’ll stick to magic-flinging siblings, war, and violence.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Beth Hart

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      A break from the typical blah blah blah of my writing blog, I am going to take a break every Tuesday to give you a peek at the eclectic (okay, WEIRD) soundtrack that fuels my novels. Hopefully, this sort of feature doesn’t detract from the focus of the blog – but I figure that since music is integral to my work, why not share it?

      Enough of that. Moving on…
      This week, the premiere post, features Beth Hart. She is definitely not for everyone, between the slightly ‘goat-like’ quality some people ascribe to her voice and the subject matter of her songs. Thankfully, she is absolutely for me. My best friend introduced me to her back in 2005 when her DVD “Live at the Paradiso!” came out (which I immediately ran out and bought) and she’s been in my playlist ever since.
      There is a raw, passionate, intensity about her performances. She is the type of singer who truly deserves the title “artist”. She is not just making pretty sounds to some pre-recorded pop-cloned-tune. Beth is the music. When she is playing the piano, she and the instrument seem to become one undulating beast of emotion. Cannot help but write well with this degree of talent and energy behind you!

~P.P.