A fun thing I made – welcoming new tourists to my book-world f0r Asteroids Made of Dragons.
A fun thing I made – welcoming new tourists to my book-world f0r Asteroids Made of Dragons.
My very first interview about the book!
Fun Things to Do While You’re Waiting is a lifestyle blog specializing in clever recipes, life-hacks and general wit. It’s lovely, charming and useful — basically the polar opposite of my site. I adore that my first official interview is right next to a dynamite recipe for Avocado and Chicken Salad.
It’s also the first interview not conducted by the cat who lives with me, Aragorn.
Leigh asks some great questions, and actually manages to get me to give a description of the book that I’m satisfied with. In response to the question:
6. If you had to describe spell/sword as a meal, how would that go?
You take a sip of your cherry limeade. The condensation slides down the side of the Mason jar, drops falling unnoticed on your favorite pair of slacks.
You know the ones. The ones that make you look good. The ones that are always comfortable. The ones that you wear when you feel like the Main Character of your world.
An extremely attractive person brings you a sandwich. Not just any sandwich. The Sandwich. It glistens with all the promise that Dagwood ever salivated over in four color glory. It looks like a TV Sandwich, like a fever dream of a Sandwich, like a Sandwich crafted in the Kitchen of Hephaestus then stolen by Zeus to stuff in his brown paper bag for a big day of philandering.
You take a bite. It’s not what you expect. It doesn’t have your favorite condiment, it’s some weird European thing. You consider putting the Sandwich down, but the lettuce is so crisp, the cheese so tart. You take another nibble, and realize that the bottom slice of bread is a little burnt.
Another bite. There’s really too much meat in this sandwich. Unless you’re a vegetarian, then there’s too much avocado. And why is the tomato slice blue? Who ever heard of a blue tomato?
You set the Sandwich down. Wait, holy shit. There are hot peppers on the Sandwich, tart and alive. And someone put your favorite chips on the plate. You smile and cram them under the top slice of bread for some extra crunch. You take another bite, another, another.
One bite left. You are sweating. Not with exertion, with emotion. This Sandwich means something, it means something to you. To your life, to the mistakes, the that song you keep trying to remember the second verse to, to the combination on your bike lock. You take a long swallow of cherry limeade and try to collect yourself.
The attractive person returns. They want to hang out later. But you know, only if you’re not busy. They have an old VHS of the ‘Deadly Mantis’ episode of MST3K and they think they can get their player to work if they jiggle the cable just right.
You smile, and go to take the last bite.
But it’s gone. You ate it and don’t remember. It’s gone and you don’t remember finishing.
It’s gone. You eat the last chip and sprout wings. Feathered wings, dragon wings, wings of steel and guitar wire. The attractive person is really impressed and immediately begins to paint your portrait on the side of a 1978 Chevy Astro Van.
Here’s the link to the rest of the interview. Thanks so much to Leigh for the signal boost! Please wander over to their site, leave some comments, share their links — just generally make a mess. Please reward them attempting a serious discussion about a silly book.
My left arm is moving. Every time I blink, it inches forward. I do not have the strength to kill this evil.
I must speak faster.
Days passed, and weeks. I slept and ate and healed and learned to speak the strange tongue of Jalyx
and his people. He was my savior, my first friend on Aufero – and I swore that his kindness would be repaid tenfold.
My left hand…it moves.
So much that happened, so many years. Must speak faster. We found the survivors of the crash and the wreckage. Both my parents were dead. I found myself made Captain of a shattered craft.
Must speak faster.
With time and skill we repaired the music hall in our ship, and called the fleet to the planet. We faced many dangers and complications, but I was determined to make Jalyx’s home a paradise — a place where we could share our knowledge with any who desired it. I should have guarded our knowledge more carefully, there were many who sought to abuse it. But the years were golden, and the songs we sang knew nothing of doubt.
Inside me the flower of evil slowly bloomed.
That was the curse, the horror of it all. I can see it now. The shining cities, the bridges of purest white, the towers of glass rose again — but everything we built, everything I built had in it a flaw. A shadow. Twisted lines carefully placed by my left hand. Note by note we sang, but each verse hid a darker chord.
And then my greatest achievement. The Machine. My left hand’s glory.
As I grew in power and fame, my people began to look to me for wisdom. In their grief the Lost could find no satisfaction in the things we built here, nor in the friends we gained. I tried to show them the wonder of our new home, but they would not listen. Their hearts grew hollow and sere — and they begged me. My own people begged me. ‘Oh, Teon – First Singer! Use your skill to take us back Home.”
‘But I cannot. The Dark One waits there, covering an entire galaxy with his malice.’
‘Then build us a weapon. A weapon of Light that can strike him down!’
I knew it was folly, but my hand itched to build it. A colossus, a pure warrior of light. I could not see…
I fell asleep. How long have I been asleep? My hand.
No. No. It is gone. My left hand is gone.
The blue flower blooms.
It isn’t over.
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
Jalyx, I’m sorry.
What can I tell you about Home? I have tried many times to describe it to the people of this world, but something is always lost in the telling. Home is a feeling, a knowledge — and no matter how many times I described the towers of glass, the river bank where I learned to swim, the smell of my grandmother’s library — I could not catch it.
It was a place not much different than this world. The sun rose, the wind blew. We only had one moon instead of the three that dance in this world’s sky. Such a greedy world, this Aufero, how could it have less than three moons?
I wander. It is what I do, in speech as well as deed. Even now, even as I wait for the end. There is something to that. Something mundane and comforting.
Our world shone. That is all I can say. It gleamed more brightly in the heavens than any other star, every one of the Lost can point to it in their sleep — even though it shines no more. It was our Home, and we knew as we left it that we would never return. And we knew that we would never stop grieving the loss of it.
The Dark swallowed it whole, and we fled. The entirety of my race crammed on half-a-hundred silver ships, flung into the sea of stars. But that is not the true beginning of my story.
My story begins with falling.
The fastest ships were chosen, to seek out a place to land – a place to begin again. My father was the captain and he slept not at all as our ship plunged ever forward into the dark. The far-singers hummed as we approached barren planets and balls of molten fire — every one was discordant. Ugly noise and static.
We flew on and on, day after day. Hoping to find a place that the Dark had not touched. A whole universe of empty rock and death. In desperation we returned to the fleet and found the same answer in the weary faces of the other captains.
I remember how my father took my mother’s hands and laid his forehead on hers. They looked into each other’s eyes and she nodded. They knew what must be done, and the risks. The other ships would wait, and ours would risk Beyond.
My mother sang the Song of Away.
The universe grew thin and we slipped through the walls as she sang. I stood next to my father and listened hard for the tune of another place, any place that we could go.
I think I heard it before my father, but maybe a heartbeat before. I still remember the joy in his eyes when he heard the faint melody.
And then the melody was a march — Aufero, the greedy – Aufero, the thief — reached out and pulled us in.
We erupted into that universe like a comet being born. The silver ship bucked and spun, the songs of my people becoming screams. Through the windows I caught my first glimpse of the planet.
It was blue. I fell in love.
Then the glass shattered, and I fell towards the greedy planet.
My story had begun.
My name is Teon.
There was a time, and there was a place where and when that name meant something. A bright name, a fell name. East of the Sun, and West of the Moon in the place we once called home. A place that is lost, a time that will never come again.
Now my name is rubble. My name is a relic. Here in the shattered foundations of Kythera it echoes and lingers, the voices
of my people scream out my name in pain and despair. I want to tell them that it wasn’t me, that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t bring the Machine.
It was my left hand.
It lies quiet now, folded on my stomach. Black blood whimpers out of a dozen small wounds, inflicted by the sharp instrument I hold in my right hand. It is a delicate instrument, best suited for aligning tiny wires or adjusting the fine components on a word-board. It served this purpose ably, plunging again and again into my skin. There was pain, but distant — not my pain. My left hand mimics true feeling but it is always false, the pain is no different.
I will die soon. At least, that is my hope. I fear that if I fall unconscious before my heart ceases to beat, that my left hand will rise and repair my wounds. I must stay awake until the Dark One comes. I have fled him all my life, running further and faster than any others of my kin. But now I welcome him as my boon companion.
To stay awake, I will tell my story. This sound crystal is fully powered, it shall last longer than I will. I will speak the story of my name. How we, who the people of this world call the Lost, came here trying to escape the dark, on our silver ships made of song and steel.
But we brought it with us.
I brought it with us.
Light help me, I brought it with us.
The Ritual of Tears
Druid-born and wild-blood meet
In roots of stone beneath the feet
of Six-Branch tree and seal the pact
made in love at Eld World wrack.
Last of all, a true-hearted knight
Breaks sword of green, ends winter’s blight.
Now weep and wail, and keep the Word
Sorrow-song forgotten, but always heard.
[ Some flavor-text from my current Pathfinder campaign, Titan’s Wake. I’ll try to do some more substantive blogging soon — but, I’m editing, intrinsically lazy, and tearing my way through Homestuck…so….yeah…. and it’s National Poetry Day!]
Well, bang a gong, y’all.
Lodestar is finished. Preposterously, absurdly finished.
The idle seed of a bored work-day two years ago, now grown into a titanic million word wunder-tree.
[That is not hyperbole. That is a low estimate of the amount that me and the gang have written.]
I’m still more than a little shell-shocked. Not only from the bizarre notion that I actually finished something — but just the pangs of psychic vacuum as several areas of my brain whir to a halt. I’ve had Lodestar running in the background [and foreground] of my mind for two years – what am I going to do with all these system resources?
I told a lot of stories, and hopefully helped the players tell theirs. There’s literally so much, that there are sections I can barely remember.
You’ll notice that I’m posting the epilogue for Lodestar in bits and pieces over the next week or so, just a little buffer while I grieve, and GEAR THE FUCK UP.
For what, you ask.
Time to start editing the book, the Spell/Sword for Beta Draft reading! I’m making a Blog Promise that my Beta Draft will be ready before Halloween. This may be over-bold, but hey — I just helped write a million-word internet epic, nothing is impossible.
Once the Lodestar stuff peters out, the plan is to do more regular blogging and short stories for here — I clearly are going to have some energy to redirect.
Also expect some navel-gazing — WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, MAN????
Haskeer stepped through the steel door, and onto cracked linoleum. Red blaze of neon filtered through glass windows onto a crowded diner. The booths were crammed with humans laughing and talking. A long glass display case bisected the room, filled to the brim with faded toys and garish errata – twin rows of wide black booths down either side, with a long counter in the very back of the diner. A tall stool with a red-leather seat at the counter seemed to beckon, and the paladin moved towards it.
The humans seated at the booths were dressed strangely, somehow too simple and too elaborate — as if they were dressed both for work in the fields, and a journey across the tundra of the Northlands.. They paid little attention to his passing, or his gleaming silver armor.
A blonde man with a square jaw, sat with a baby in his lap – their eyes both wide and blue. A blonde woman at his side wiped the child’s face with a damp napkin and a certain elan. On the opposite side another couple, a man with a preposterous mustache fork-deep into a plate of fried potatoes and a dark-haired woman with a beautiful smile. The dark-haired woman was pregnant, and the man and his mustache nearly vibrated with concern and pride, each motion of his hands a prayer.
Two young men sat hip to hip in a booth, poring over a stack of brightly colored pages. They argued bitterly jabbing the page with pointed fingers, and gesticulating wildly as their argument crested into a familiar plateau. Across from them a woman rolled her eyes with exasperation, spreading cream cheese on a grilled bagel.
In the corner of the diner was a jukebox, glowing green and yellow. A man with glasses and a ponytail leaned against it, making a selection – his head bobbing unconsciously to the song already spooling through the air.
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a brighter summer day
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?
Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?
Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?
Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
A tall, gangly man stumbled through the door behind Haskeer, and moved to the jukebox — hands already spread in mute apology.
In a back booth, three men sat hunched close together. A pile of tiny figures were arrayed on the table before them – small soldiers, goblins, knights, even a fierce looking black dragon. The tallest and shortest examined each figure with animated fixation, while the third stared at something glowing in his hand with boredom. A large man with a fierce tattoo of a squid-demon stumped over and flopped down a large sketchbook. Haskeer caught a glimpse of men and women holding swords of fire.
There were others in the diner, every seat was full. A curly-haired man stuffing lemon after lemon into his water, a thin man with his hands steepled, a balding man laughing and pointing across the restaurant. The faces began to run together as the paladin moved forward, his steel boots clanking on the floor.
Haskeer sat down at the counter, his back to the rest of the diner patrons. A warm fog of steam billowed out of the kitchen, accompanied by the wonderful smells of fried potato and seared meat. A man approached, pulling a well-worn jotter out of his pocket and the nub of a pencil. He wore thick spectacles, and a thick mop of hair pushed up into a white paper cap.
The man greeted the paladin, barely looking up from his notepad.
“Sup, Big Green. What’ll you have?”
So, I know I’ve been pretty lazy on the blog — well, I’m going to DragonCon this weekend — so you can safely expect that to continue.
I’m going to be taking pictures of my adventures and posting them up on my Tumblr –feel free to check in on the shenanigans. I won’t get to the ‘Con until late Friday evening [EST] so don’t expect much before then, unless you’re into Chrono Trigger fanart.
[AND WHO ISN’T???]
I play and she dances.
That is how it works. That is it.
The heat of her day, and the hat on her head, and the crease of her waist and the slight boredom in her green-green eyes.
I thump down on the strings and an eruption of trees – pines today. Green like her eyes, but I place them outside her reach with petty twangs. She spins faster, catching the rhythm. A few coins clatter. It’s hot.
I throw gold notes at her feet, but her steps erase them – Nena the Cruel, the Cat Dancing. Give her a heart, and she will return a hard-scrabble scrap rat-tat-rattling around your rib cage.
She makes the devil jealous. The sun weep.
I fill the plaza with water, my fingers on the strings. She steps onto the waves like a birthright, her hem dry.
The crowds pass, but they do not see. This marble and stone corner of the world full of spite and spiders — full of amaranth and ambrosia. At the end of the day I will slide my hand under her elbow, and she will jerk it away. My desire-sweat drips, and she kills me again with green-green daggers.
I bring a spirit of fire into the forest, I build a wall of earth — it is never enough to hold her. A snake winds around the base of my spine and I want her and want her. I scream down into my hands, and the strings do their best to answer.
My hands move. Nena dances.
I play and she dances.
That is how it works.
[Story on Demand for N.E. White]