335 II Age Day 4 Contract: North Wockeal Woods
I was awoke by Ralir Dunia this morning and was told to come downstairs with haste. The woman from last night, or perhaps more appropriately, girl, was now awake.
As I came downstairs, I immediately noticed the barkeep, nervous and shaking, holding a club and watching the female.
As she ate and drank rather panicky, looking back towards the door, she told us of her dealings with a man that promised her money in exchange for her reading a scroll she had been given at the site of the ruins. She stated that after doing this, a voice told her to approach the sheer mountain side and recite the last passage of the scroll. She said that after following the commands of the man, she was trapped and unable to control herself as she witnessed herself chanting and dancing about the woods night after night.
It was then she would black out, waking up with dead animals near her and blood all over her face. She said she had been at the inn for a short while but that she had been asked to leave. The voice in her head began again and she saw a visible blackness, surrounded by the bones of dead animals emerge from the woods and descend on the woods. She was trapped in a mountain cave for the last few days. She did not know how she got there but felt that it was the entity that controlled her at night. Two nights ago, she managed to get free of the cave by following an underground river.
She attempted to leave the area but began to feel extremely sick upon walking away from the woods. She managed to make it to the inn and then she woke up with Ralir above her.
For now, I have convinced the Barkeep to allow her to say. I assured her that she will have no more trouble from the girl. We are soon to leave for her to show us the cave.
After making our way down the mountain side and to the waterfall coming from the mountain, the woman, named Halyn, took us into the caves. It was the normal sights for a cave. Following through a narrow entry way with knee deep water rushing below us and out down the mountain, opened up to a larger room with a large pool in it. The Elf used his staff to light our way and we made it to some old stone steps that led up into the mountain.
Pass an entry way of stone that arched over our path and was guarded by two grotesque statues, we made it to a room lit by four fiery altars that stood in the corners. There were stone statues in the center of the room. The figures bore a resemblance to the creature that Ralir and I chased and killed the other night. We also noticed one of the statues was crumbled.
Halyn then showed us where she had been trapped. It was three sided prison cell of sorts with a large sheer wall on the far end. She explained that she was able to stay warm with Silverleaf and until she was able to figure out that the wall leading into the caves was a secret passage, she feared she was not going to be able to get out. She was not able to recall how she got the silverleaf in the cell.
I hear shouting downstairs in the inn.
It seems the man I spoke to when I first arrived did not approve of Halyn and the girl has now fled back into the woods. The man has also left and Ralir has pursued him. It is nearing dusk now and the night I have been seeking has come.
Hunter's blade and secret way,
path is followed, name forbade.
Seek it now, my humble one,
cast forth now what light does shun.
The time has came and passed. At last now, I have put down the cause of the haunting.
I proceeded this night into the woods and was in wait alone amongst the trees. I began to hear shouting in an ancient tongue and noted the voice of my friend, the Elf. I made my way towards the sounds and found him surrounded by the demons that him and I had faced before. There was a but a single parry of my blade that saved his life and he summoned a force within himself casting a wave of light towards the beings of darkness. There was a blast of cold air and wisps’ of dust and stones; the demonic creatures formed into a single shadow and fled towards the sheer mountain side.
We pursued them and found the side of the mountain alight just as my dream had seen and a doorway that led into the caves where Halyn had been trapped. We found ourselves in the altar room where the strange man that had originally told me of the girl, and that she was, "not worth the time to pursue unless I sought a quick death."
There also was the girl, Halyn, whom was in a struggle with the man. My knife flew true, striking the man in the hand just as he slapped the woman to the ground.
Ralir Dunia, the Elf, was beside me as I moved in to further deal with the man. The man turned towards us and from him came a shroud of blackness in formed the many demons from before. My sword I drew, slicing the head of the nearest one and I heard a sound of rock shattering behind us. The statues of the beings in the center of the room were somehow connected to the demons before us. The Elf had a silver blade that he cut into the stony dark bodies of the demons.
The man was approaching the girl again, I noticed he was now garbed in a dark blue robe instead of the simple brown cloak I had seen him in before. He shouted to her of "failure" and his "plan". That he needed her just to unlock the chamber and work as a "puppet to the beasts" to reincarnate their forms. He boasted of his "power" he had gained now and that she would pay for giving his secret away.
I had locked my blade in the stony arm of the demon and it grew red as the demon held it. I shouted to Ralir, and with his staff shining with a bright light, he managed to force the demon holding my sword back. He then struck down two more beings with the resounding sound of rocks shattering; more statues crumbled.
I made my way from the demons and attempted to cut down the man who now held Halyn by the neck. He furled his robe and a bright blue fire flew from his right hand just missing my head. I heard a cry and watched as the Elf, dropping his staff, fell to his knees. The blue fire had struck him in his chest.
The Elf, in a last effort of will, held aloft his gem which he had told me of before. The remaining forms of shadowy demons become as smoke and swirled around the Elf. As he did this he shouted words that I did not understand and a ball of light erupted from his hand striking the remaining statues, shattering them. He then fell dead.
In the events I just wrote, Halyn was dropped and the man was on his knees screaming and holding his head. As I approached him, he attempted to summon the fire as before but was unable too. In a manic rush he attempted to assault me and I ended his life with a single strike.
(If your just now reading read Part 1 and Part 2 first!)
335 II Age Day 3 Contract: North Wockeal Woods
I had a strange dream last night. There I was standing in the inn with a warm fire and a small helping of bread, when the door of the inn swung open. I reached for my knife and had only touched its hilt, when I was thrown against the wall. A blotch of darkness in the air, a mist of night as it were, held me against a wall. I then saw myself traveling out of the inn and being dragged up to the grouping of hills. Whatever was pulling me paused for a moment. I still was unable to see what dragged me away. Again as before, it continued, I was pulled further north to a cave in the mountain side. On the sheer stone, I saw markings, much like the markings near the ruins. I then awoke.
It should be obvious of my travels for the day. I have one more night until the dark moon rises. Perhaps this mystery will be solved.
I followed the path to the grouping of hills and then further up the mountain side with no success in finding the markings nor the cave I had so vividly seen in my dream.
Why were they not as I saw them? This question may be answered later. I also noticed an excessive amount of Silverleaf plant near the sheer stone, although, none of the plant was growing nearby.
I also spoke with the Elf again. Ralir Dunia is his name. Although it was unfortunate that I did not speak to him last night. He told me that while reciting and incantation of sorts near the ruins, he was overwhelmed with a presence of shadowy energy. He stated that a form appeared to him and began to taunt him. He began to attempt to use some gem of sorts to capture the entity but was unsuccessful.
I told him of my dream and he told me that old doorways of the Ancient ones would be marked with symbols of the night, but could only be witnessed on certain nights. He plans to come with me tonight.
What at first seemed uneventful, became all too eventful rather suddenly. Ralir and I, were just approaching the stone road to the grouping of hills, when a screech scream was heard in the trees. My blades were drawn and Ralir, brought forth a staff that grew with a blue glow as he held it above him. We were covered in a orange dome that looked as the flashing blades of lightning during a storm just before a volley of blue and red fire struck the dome that covered us.
The Elf spotted a creature of sorts running from the hills. We pursed the beast and noticed it to be no more than three feet tall with long arms and a stubby nose. It was holding a glowing stick and laughed a cruel laugh just before my sword bore into his throat, spilling his blood upon the ground.
It was then we heard screaming from the inn and we made our way back as fast as our feet would carry us. The Elf of course made it their first and was chanting something in his language above a young female that lay on the ground in the inn.
From what we were told by the Barkeep, the woman opened the door with a slam and then fell upon the floor shaking uncontrollably. Ralir is with her now and has said he has given her an herb to calm her and bring her out of the deep sleep she is in. I shall speak with her then.
335 II Age Day 2 of Contract: North Wockeal Woods
I have finished a morning survey of the area. Directly north of the inn I discovered a rocky grotto, old ruins of the ancient ones I presume. I know that both dwarves and elves inhabited these lands before so that is no surprise. Directly west of that a small pond with tiny sunfish is at the center of a half circle of giant Elm trees. I also noticed, as I circled further around the western part of the inn, a small garden where it seems the farmer has been having a bit of trouble with some gophers. (Or he just loves digging up his own Silverleaf Plants. Quite a shame, Silverleaf is a good way to stay warm during these increasingly cold nights.)
South of the inn, a road leading into the valley can be found. And to the east, sheer cliffs drop downwards towards the mountain pines and a river that flows off the face of the mountain. But to the Northeast, up a stone path and into a grouping of hills, there are burnt areas that I was not able to see in the pale moonlight of last night. It was a few paces past there I found bones of a rat that had been separated and placed in a line. The significance of this is yet to be seen. Tonight, that area will be the focus of my watch.
In a happening chance I met an elf earlier that passed about a bit of knowledge. He told me of his travels to the ruins nearby and his noting of scratches and disfigurement of statues that he admired when he was last in this region around two years ago. When I suggested the possibility of criminal activity or otherwise weathering of the stone. He was not convinced. He came this way with great haste due to a dream of a growing doom in these regions. He is the first of his kind that I was told are to be coming if the need arises. A likely ally perhaps. But my contract is mine alone. Any additional help will be judged appropriately and dealt with as needed.
The second night I noted an increased presence of fairies buzzing about the trees and a warming sensation in the air around the grouping of hills. My elf acquaintance from earlier today moved with a certain quickness about the ruins to the west. I expect his kind have their own ways of subterfuge and guile but his activity had me concerned. We certainly will not find the source of this haunting with him jumping about wildly.
335 II Age Day 1 of Contract: North Wockeal Woods
I have arrived at a small inn. After a few gold pieces and a friendly smile from the barmaid, I proceed upstairs and found the sleeping quarters quaint enough for a short stay. My contract states I must rid the area of what the haunting presence in the woods. I will attempt to learn more of this being. The barkeep came upstairs earlier offering me food and drink whenever I was ready. Perhaps I will accept her offer.
This place is dark. My candle lit on the nearby table offers a little warmth from the draft sweeping in from above through the rafters. It may snow soon. Enough of these matters, I think a good drink is a warming idea. I will attempt to gain more knowledge of my task.
Whispering cold within the night,
the howls of fate, lost to sight.
A solemn toast, unbeknownst,
for deeds done by curse not want.
I have further learned after a stout brew and morsels of bread and fruit, that the being of the woods appeared sometime after a traveler came into the inn. The odd accent and dress of this person was not at first strange to the inn keeper but it became obvious the person was different.
There were complaints from patrons of strange smells and sounds in the middle of the night and twice it was found that the woman traveler left the inn in a strange trance of sorts. It was soon after her third incident with dead animals being found near her room, she was asked to leave. It was then the haunting of the woods began.
A man there told me also that he believed her to be some kind of evil.
"Not worth the time to pursue unless you seek a quick death." The man then left, throwing his brown cloak over his head and slamming the door.
Not quite something such a man should say to a stranger such as myself..
He was strange.
I will go out tonight and attempt to observe what I’ve been told of “chanting” as well as red and blue fires floating through the air. According to what I have learned the haunting being is only known to emerge from the woods on the darkest cycle of the moon. I've gotten contrary reports of some saying it is an entity, dark and gloomy. It presence cold and overwhelming. Others insist that it is small, the size of a child, with a grotesque face and disfigured body. I have two nights until then. For now I will see what I may learn.
Nothing. I found nothing to hint of the haunting of this place. Every shadow that crept beneath the moon, every sound of chirping in the trees or rustling in the undergrowth could be explained. It seemed, at least tonight, all is well and in good order.... Except of course the buffoons of drunks that fell from the doorway of the inn as I made my way back. But, for a place of alcohol and stale bread, I would say this is normal. I will go tomorrow during the early light to see what else may be found.
Good morning all,
Following this blog post, I will begin a blog series of short fiction. I will be posting the links on Twitter as well, however, you can sign up for the RSS feed and get the story as it is posted. The story, "Hunter's Reckoning", was an experimental story idea told in essentially journal entries recounting the events. There is also poetic foreshadowing of a larger story, but at this time this story has not fully materialized. I am seeking reviews so if you like what you read (or the opposite) please leave a comment or email me!
I hope to hear from you soon!
READ NOW HERE: http://authorjtwilliams.weebly.com/1/post/2014/04/hunters-reckoningshort-works-part-1.html
Questions for Indie Authors
So, I am seeking some answers!
Aside from random posts on Twitter and what editing I have begun on "Winemaker 2", I have continued to debate if I should publish a collection of short stories I have. The total word count comes out to around 10,000 words, or 40 traditionally printed pages. I also have a single work of around the same length that while not as near publication as the collection, would work as a stand alone story on Amazon.
Here are my questions:
If you are an author, have you found that publication of your short stories (in a collection) as a successful strategy to furthering your brand and exposure? If you haven't done so, are you looking to do this yourself or do you have your own opinion on selling short stories and/ or micro-fiction. What success (or lack of success) have you had?
Feel free to comment below as well as post links to your own work as it relates to the questions above.
I have finally finished my revised scene map for my second book in the Winemaker of the North series. In case you're wondering, I'm calling it Winemaker 2.
I know, very imaginative. (and surely to change!)
I believe I've also found an editor for Winemaker of the North and after receiving word from my beta reader, it seems the overall story is liked and now time for fine tuning! I cannot believe the little things that can be found. Even after I've read through it multiple times... I'm frequently asking myself:"How the heck did I miss that?".
This goes to prove the fact that writers need an editor no matter how many times we go over something or how perfect we think it is, it isn't.
Considering above I mentioned the Winemaker stories are a series, I will tell you that books one, two, and three have been written. Second round editing is well underway for Winemaker 2 and well book three, very much a first draft.
At this same time I'm still working to improve my short story collection as well as crafting sparks of poetic ramblings on Twitter.
Revised Scene Map Issues
So following a lengthy time of avoidance, I am well into the editing for currently titled "Winemaker 2". I've completed nearly all of the scene map, which is you are unfamiliar with this term, it is basically 3-4 sentences of each Chapter summarizing and hitting the major plot points within it.
In doing so I've ended up with more questions. Having two random characters turn into "mer-men" and dive into the sea when I had forgotten they had any such powers is a simple problem to fix. A cult of wolves having differing names and origins than what I wrote in the third book, more problematic, but still fixable. The primary issue I've seen is the showing of particular flaws in my characters, specifically ones that come into the plot near the last 2/3 of Winemaker 1.. This book has an entire plotline separate but still very much related to the overall story arc. Careful not to get into backstory, it provides a backdrop for introduction of many new characters and further plots that tie up this book and prepare for the third one. Plot wise, I think it is good. Getting the information down in a presentable and entertaining way, I'm working on it!
I'm awaiting a beta read of Winemaker 1 to be finished and then will move towards the freelance editing phase sometime afterwards. I am working on the short stories I wish to publish and have found I want to add another story into the mix. I am thinking a macabre story against a more fantasy themed plot. This differs from the bulk of my shorter works considering most are set in our time with supernatural or horror themes.... odd considering my novels are sword and sorcery in nature. I find the ability to write outside of my novel's genre releasing, especially when I write three books within a year. I will make a later post about that!
Does anyone else write short stories, or other forms of writing, that differ in genre to your novels?
If you haven't gotten a chance to read the pitch for Winemaker of the North, read it now!
Twitter, thus far.
With my new Twitter account I have found my self tied to 140 characters and cranking out haiku, micro fiction, and random verses of poetry like its the newest form of writing and the absolute best thing in the world.
Truthfully, it is easier than editing my second novel at the moment and provides a nice distraction where I can go "Hey look, I wrote something." and while true, not the exact "writing something" I need to be aiming for.
I've actually given thought to writing a series of verses that link together to form a story. So instead of random tidbits of verse and differing genres, I would post a four to five stanza "story" over a few days and then provide a link to the completed work here in its entirety once done.
I have enjoyed the randomness of Twitter for the most part. The freedom it offers and the chance to meet other writers and (more importantly in some ways) readers, is second to none. That being said, I really should get to editing this second novel. It is writing after all. If your a writer and anything like me, editing can seem like the most useful thing to procrastinate about that also will never complete itself. Head over to this blog here for a good post on editing in general. I might need to reread it myself. Goodbye for now.
Pricing and Ebook word counts
So recently I have been attempting to decide if I should test the indie author waters with short stories. Although I love novel length works, I have a a few (okay, more than just a few) short stories that I essentially write, edit, and then leave alone to die miserable deaths on some cold desktop or flash drive.
But if I am to publish a short story, how should it be priced?
A general rule is if you have something under 5000 words you should not be asking $2..99. If full length novels are sold for that (and less) why should a short story be priced at that level?
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America denote word counts for their Nebula Awards as follows:
Novel: 40'000 words and Up
Novella: Between 17,500 and 40,000
Novelette 7,500 and 17,500
Short Story: 7,500 and less
Furthermore, short shorts, or Flash Fiction can be as little as a paragraph... or even less.
I do not believe any author should be giving away their writing unless they write for the pure enjoyment of the craft. If that is your reasoning, do what makes you happy!
If most of your short stories are 2000 words or less and have a similar subject matter, the general advice is to combine them into one sellable collection. That way, you maximize value and produce a more appropriate wordcount in the 3000 to 8000 word range. I still would be wary of pricing this above $1..99 but then there are some that feel that throwing a $.99 cent price tag on anything devalues it immediately. Trial and error, at its best.
I have plans to price my first short story of around 3000 words for $.99 cents. Included, I want to provide a sample of an upcoming collection which I will price higher but also provide a significantly higher word count. I will experiment with word counts and prices and will place progress here as I hope to help others price their work appropriately.
So after starting my own Twitter page and publishing this website live, I have been surprised the amount views I have received! Thank you to those that have taken the time to visit!
Given my experiences of late, I am looking to publish a short story as well as a short story collection within the next few months. I plan to do this in advance of my novel and genre wise the short stories will be quite different. Of somewhat a morbid tone, both the single story and collection have death as a center theme. This was not intentional theme in every story but through twists of plot, it is what happened!
I look forward to sharing them with you in the coming months. If you are reading and haven't sent me an email to add you to my update lists, please do! I want to hear from you!
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