Drakeshelm Snippets

just another time i'm caught inside
every open eye
holding on tightly to the sides
never quite learning why

I recently did this new-to-me thing called "word warring," in which you connect with one+ people online, block out a certain amount of time, and then write as much as you can in that time period.  Whoever writes the most...wins?  Being an insular writer, I always thought I was slow and stupid when it came to the mechanical process of writing.  Turns out, I'm comparatively quick.  (But it's so stressful and I avoid stress as much as possible. O_o)

But this exercise has got me through some of the sticky parts of Drakeshelm and I am definitely farther along than I would otherwise have been.  The manuscript is now roughly 43,160+ words; I guess when you consider how late in the year I started it and how much I've had to deal with in the latter half of 2015, that's not too shabby a showing.

the electric charge
of a change in the weather
you were touching my arm
you were holding a feather
and then i opened my eyes

CHVRCHES, Shearwater, Rachel Platten.  My music list for this novel is small, and frequently the songs have very little* to do with the plot itself.  I think it's more the spirit of the thing which agrees with me.  I need a kind of militant energy and a strong undertone within the music to help me construct my writing.

Welcome to the outer Hebrides.  It isn't usually until I'm well into the plot before I can give my readers a rough summary of what I'm writing.  You know I tend to feel my way as I go.  In Plenilune you were thrown headlong into the heart of the Honours' world; now in Drakeshelm you're perched on the windy outer rim with little civilization, where people live with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.  Our characters don't have much in common save their pride and their struggle for survival.

I am not a devil,” she said, “although I prove myself to no one.”

It was a mess, and some doing was needed to tidy it,” she curtailed her story. “It was decided that being finely dressed and looking pretty was a luxury I could lay aside for the time being. I took my legate year in Capys and took up the Green Branch shortly after.” She jerked her shoulders. “And here you find me.”

Insane creature! Malamour outranks Touchlight, she must know that.”

In a voice of almost demonic depth, Drakeshelm shouted: “Where is the captain of the Beacon tower?
Carrilus took a step back, stunned.
With a scream of rage, she bounded for the next stone, but at the same instant Destrian was on her. The leap swept her up into his arms; he pitched backward, hauling her writhing body after him. He was a tall, spare man, and she gave him a wretched fight of it. Alwin watched her twist and reach, pulling, jabbing, every motion at once calculated and desperate. He saw her pitch round in Destrian’s arms, her mouth open in a snarl—then she saw who held her, and of a sudden the fight went out of her like a candle blown out in the wind.

With a sigh she shoved her thumb and first finger up under the captain’s throat, into the soft of his jaw. The skin was thick, rough with stubble, gritty with blowback dust from the explosion. Under it all beat the throb-throb scarlet of his pulse. In her own chest, her heart felt like a ring of golden light as the thrill of it passed through her nerves.

If there is a world made out of pain and fire and darkness—hell, perhaps? I must have been there. I saw nothing. But I remember a woman’s voice like the archangel yelling across the vault to find me. I don’t know who she was or where to find her. I don’t know why she called for me. But I got out somehow. I don’t know how. I don’t know. I smelled something strange…”
“Aye, something strange in the kindling,” [she murmured]. “Lucky you are to be alive and altogether,” she added, “and not blown to pieces. You’re a rummy one. Hush, now. Sleep. Sleep without dreams. It will be better that way.” She put her hand across his brow and when she drew it away, his breathing was falling soft and heavy, the quick lashing behind his eyelids had ceased.

With his tattered wadmal hauled roughshod over his lobsterstail, his face beneath its rim scored with rime and care, the orderly jerked up his chin at the Sluice door, as if it had any bearing on his words.
“Malamour is without.”

"Whatever you think of Krichirin, he bears you no affection.” The word came torn at the edges by his teeth. “He will give you no quarter, not even if you manage to deliver the consul to him.”

Quietly, the orderly mused, “Sometimes I am not sure which is the more dangerous, the consul or the Higu-Carmarthens.”
Alwin laughed. “Oh, the consul, for sure.” 

*katie hates it when I use "very" and "little." they're crutch words. XD

Now You See Me

It occurs to me that I haven't really updated about myself in awhile, especially for those who might be new to me.  Should we get started?  Okay, here we go.

How to pronounce my last name.  "Fry-tahg."  For those who do not know, it's German for "Friday."  A little trivia for you.  This is my married name; my maiden name is "Hartman."  I'm partly German myself, but I'm also partly Scotch-English and Sicilian, so at this point nothing really matters anymore, it's all a hodgepodge.

I married my childhood sweetheart.  Awwww, how cute is that?  What you don't know is that I all but literally hunted him down.  He was okay with this, though.  He said that when he really thought about it (age twelve), he realized he couldn't see his future without me in it, so that was that.  Actually it was a really rough road, with lots of tears and struggles and drama, but we pulled through.  And here we all, happily married for going-on seven years. 

I'm currently twenty-five years old.  Just had a birthday last November!  Quarter of a century here, folks!

I have a thirteen-month-old daughter named Filigree Marguerite.  She is a doll and a real firecracker.  I love her to bits.  I always worried that I wouldn't connect with my child because I often don't like other people's children, and I was especially worried that I wouldn't bond with my daughter because I don't get on well with little girls, so I was not prepared for how heels-over-head in love I was when they put my little alien baby on my chest after she was born.  It's only increased since.

My favourite beverage is Twinings English Breakfast.  Does anything more need to be said?  I am not a morning person, and I'm not myself until I've had my tea.

I am not politically active so you won't be seeing political opinions/links on my Facebook page.  It's not that I don't care, it's just that...I don't care.  But you will see me posting tongue-in-cheek updates and dialogues with my friends that turn out to be wildly amusing - especially out of context.  Taking things out of context is the best.

I am on Instagram!  I do really love Instagram, even though my pictures are often messy or only so-so.  There are a lot of pictures of my daughter, some pictures of me, often pictures of pretty stuff around me that I have deliberately arranged in order to take a good Instagram shot.  Keepin' it honest.

Skincare is my hobby.  I've never suffered from really bad skin problems, like cystic acne, but I've struggled enough that I really do care about my skin.  I recently saw a random makeup tutorial in which the woman started out bare-faced - quite a bad face of skin, acne-ridden and unevenly textured - and she began simply spackling over with foundation.  I nearly leapt out of my chair screaming at her to stop, to wash her face, to treat it and give it moisture.  Her poor skin didn't stand a chance with all that foundation piling up on top.  She was just making the situation worse, which would necessitate more foundation to cover the issues.  Stop.  Properly clean your face, give it special treatment for its issues, and make sure you moisturize it to keep it supple and healthy!  Your makeup will apply so much better if you do, trust me.

Oh, right, I'm also on Pinterest.  Because who doesn't love pretty pictures and scrolling through endless hours of one's life gathering items which take up absolutely no space?  Want to see my Plenilunar boards?  Check it out!

My favourite colours are monochrome.  My wardrobe looks like black, white, grey, gold and paaaaale pink.  I like this set-up: it's sophisticated and flattering.  Honestly, I now have only a handful of items, but I love them and don't mind wearing them over and over again.  Hopefully gone are the horrible days of putting on an outfit, taking it off, trying another, trying a third, finally settling on a fourth.  Ugh.

I am a sushi lover.  It's really a problem.  I start thinking about sushi and I. really. want. sushi.  And now I want sushi.  When I am having a really bad day, I have sushi and sushi makes me happy.  Want to get me something I'll love?  Sushi.  Valentine's Day?  Sushi.  Anniversary?  Sushi.  Birthday?  Sushi.  Weekday? Sushi.  Weekend?  Sushi.  Am I alive?  Sushi.

And that's me, in a nutshell.  Maybe this time next year I'll do another personal update and see if I've changed at all.  Stay tuned!

The Best Parts of Ourselves


I was just going to sit down to write a general update post, when I saw there was a Beautiful People link-up that was mostly applicable to me this month, so here I am - that's my excuse.  Ready? Let me get my tea...

1. What were your writing achievements last year?
I finished the first draft of Talldogs!  I don't even remember now how long it took me.  Time is irrelevant to me and I've never been good at keeping track of it.  I finished it, and that's what counts.  I was also able to write little stories for a friend to get her through the grueling last days of a college semester, and the fact that I brought her some joy and something to look forward to at the end of the day also made me happy.

2.  Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year.
Currently in the works is my Plenilunar novel Drakeshelm.  I'm really excited about this one, it's really going well and I'm loving the characters.  I have to say, the setting is not what I'm used to, so I feel out of my depth.  But if I were to only write what I'm used to, I would be a lame excuse for a writer, right?  Actually, I'm not sure I even know how to do that...

3.  List [an area] you'd like to work at the hardest to improve this year.
I'd like to not be so much of a perfectionist that I can't practice.  "Almost isn't good enough."  But I have to practice to get to good enough.

4.  What's your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
Really it's just Mirriam and my husband.  Most people are simply super busy, also I don't write at a consistent pace to give them eyeball fodder.  With the exception of my husband, most people don't see the first draft of my novels.  I like to get the mess on paper first, go back and fix the major structural problems, do a preliminary grammatical edit, and then show the draft to people.  In short, I like to make sure it's washed, clothed, and has some makeup on before it goes out in public.

5.   Pick one character you want to get to know better.  How are you going to achieve this?
I'm going to go with Philip Cheval of Ampersand.  He is so much that I am not and I love him.  I can't wait to tackle his story and get down to business.  (There are no Huns involved.)

I'm not going to bore you with the questions I left out because they didn't apply to me and that, as an answer, would have been lame.  Okay, update time.

What are you reading?  I'm currently reading The Witches: Salem, 1692.  Not a quick read, but I am at least halfway through now.  Yay me!  I'm actually super intimidated by large books and I rarely pick them up.  I'm a slow reader and I get discouraged when it takes me a long time to accomplish a book.  It's lame, but that's my confession.

What are you watching?  My husband and I are watching the Korean drama "My Love From Another Star" (murder! intrigue! humour! glamour!) and "The Worst Cooks in America" (very embarrassing and entertaining at the same time).

What are you listening to?  My favourite songs right now are "Stand By You" by Rachel Platten, and "Make Them Gold" by CHVRCHES.

What are you writing?  This is not always obvious, given the way I can flop from story to story.  I'm working on Drakeshelm, I swear!  I'm over 42,000 words on the main document.

when you can't rise, well, i'll crawl with you on hands and knees
'cause i'm gonna stand by you

I have to confess, December was a tough month for me and I don't feel like I'm out of the woods yet.  I've had some difficult, circumstantial depression to slog through.  Writing has fallen by the wayside because of that - not because I wanted it to, but because it's hard to breathe when depressed, let alone buckle down and dredge up creativity.  On occasion I have made myself do it, just to have accomplished something.  Sometimes I felt nothing afterward except disappointment at what I had created ("Almost isn't good enough"), but other times I really loved what I had made and I was genuinely happy.

we will take the best parts of ourselves and make them gold

To those of you who are enthusiastic about my work and let me know that you have read my blog for a long time, who always look forward to my updates and my snippets, thank you.  You give me something to look forward to.  You give me a reason to do this.  When you can't walk, you crawl - and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you.

here's to you