Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Life Imprisonment - July QQ Part 2


The second scene I wrote for this month's QQ.  Since I had written Johari/Alejan, I simply had to write Johari/Lirios, too.  :)


    Flip over.
    Twist again.

    Johari growled softly to herself.  Why can't I sleep?  She reviewed her day.  I haven't had mentha or coffee in hours, and no tea, either.  I didn't have much sugar this afternoon, and I accomplished most of what was on my to-do list.  There is no logical reason for me to be awake.
    She made a face as Raydah's words from three months ago came back to her. ‘Legend says when you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream.’
    Who is dreaming about me?
    Alejan, she was certain, was fast asleep.  Most of the Laddies had taken sleeping pills before bed tonight because of the erratic sleep hours of the past week and the fact that all of them had extra training drills on the morrow.
    Besides, idiot, your dream was a freak thing.  It's not like Alejan actually dreams about you.  Ok, this is just weird.  I'm going to stop thinking about it.
    She growled again.  Maybe I should take a sleeping pill.  A glance at her bedside clock told her it was too late for that.  I have to be up in three hours.

    Cold.  Dark.  Open space all around him.
    Where am I?  Lirios looked around trying to make sense of his surroundings.  There was light ahead and he walked toward it.  It illuminated a bench behind which sat several black-robed figures.
    It’s a court of justice.  And someone is on trial.
    He sucked in his breath and froze in place, recognizing the accused.  That’s not just any old 'someone'.  That’s Johari.
    The Chief Justice banged his gavel for silence.  “You are sentenced to life imprisonment.”
    Fire blazed in Johari’s eyes.  “What authority do you have to pass sentence on me?”
    “I have the authority of the people of Denzli.”
    For a moment, her eyes still flamed defiantly.  Then she bowed her head.  “Yes, Your Honor.”
    Four men in red escorted her from the room; down the long aisle and through the massive, stone, double doors at the end of the court.
    The ground shook when the doors closed on the lone figure of his best friend.  The men in red took up guard positions outside the doors.
    The jury rose to leave.  He had to act now if he wanted to act at all.
    “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury!”
    They turned, seeking the source of the voice.  Lirios stepped out of the shadows and walked to the floor in front of the bench.
    “Who are you that you come before the Supreme Court?” the Chief Justice asked.
    The Supreme Court?!
    “I’m Johari’s best friend, Your Honor.”  The words sounded small, lost in the echoing of the vast room.  “Why is she imprisoned?”
    “It is the will of Dio.”
    “You’re a court, Your Honor, not a church.”
    The Chief Justice looked solemnly at him for a moment.  “It is also the will of the people.  She is a princess.  The people decide her fate.  So it has always been.”
    “Your Honor, I beg permission to join her in her imprisonment.”
    “Because I am her friend.”
    The silence in the room stretched on and on as the jury drew together in a knot and conferred.  Where is the room in which they usually confer?  This isn’t like a normal court session.
    The huddle of Judges broke apart and faced him again.
    “Lirios, you are granted permission to join Johari in her exile,” the Chief Justice banged his gavel and two of the guards in red started down the aisle to escort Lirios to Johari.
    When the great stone doors swung closed behind him, Lirios stood still, searching the dark room for his friend.
    “Johari?” he called tentatively, heart racing as no one answered him.
    Where is she?  She was taken here.
    Then she was there in front of him, but a far cry from the Johari he knew.  This woman was gaunt and pale, as if she’d been imprisoned for weeks.
    “Johari?” he reached out to hug her but she backed away.
    “What are you doing here?”  Her voice was hoarse, but carried the steadiness he was used to hearing.
    “I came to stay with you.”
    “How can you?  I must stay here for the rest of my life.”
    He drew near then, putting his hands on her shoulders.  “Just because you have to stay here doesn’t mean no one can stay with you and share your pain.”
    She looked at him, eyes dull and then her proud stance broke and she leaned into him.  “Oh, Lirios, I’ve missed you so much.”
    He hugged her tightly, burying his face in her hair.  “I’m here now, Johari.  I’ll always be here.”
    Her arms went around him in return and she lifted her face to his….

    An alarm shrilled in his ear and he automatically reached to shut it off.  Lying back, he blinked and then sat bolt upright.
    Johari!  Prison.  Wait, was it just a dream?
    He flung himself back on the bed, frowning at the clock, since it had interrupted the dream at the most interesting part.
    He reached for his CHATU and pulled up a text blank.  Normally, he tried not to presume on his former relationship with Johari and kept texts to a minimum and to reasonable hours, but this morning, with the memory of the dream strongly upon him, he had typed and sent the text before he had a chance to reconsider.

    Johari had spent the last half hour alternately glaring at the ceiling and reading a historical novel.  Her CHATU screen lit up, startling her so she dropped the book, automatically reaching for the CHATU and opening the message.
    Why is Lirios texting me at this hour?
        I hope you’re sleeping right now.  I’m getting up to study, but I’m thinking of you.
    An idea made her giggle softly and she texted him back. 
        How about a video chat while you study?
        Do you honestly think I’d pass up that offer?

    Johari smirked, reaching for a robe with one hand and setting up a video call with her other hand.  She would catch it from Qithera later for not trying to go back to sleep, but video chatting with Lirios was worth a scolding.
    A sudden thought made her pause.  If he just woke up… I wonder if he was the one doing the dreaming tonight?  Her face broke into an hundred lights, eyes dancing and lips curving in a broad smile.

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, July 27, 2015

July QQ: The Sun Is Dead

Part one of my July QQ.  I have at least one other scene cooking....


    Curse the void, why could he not sleep?
    Alejan rolled over onto his back and stared at the ceiling.  A glance to either side of him showed the other Laddies sound asleep.
    Why was he the only one who couldn't sleep?
    It's not as if I've had a quiet day, he snorted softly.  What one of the Crown Princess's Companions ever has a quiet day?  Johari had been inspecting new police stations in and around Qatana and they'd been gone most of the day.  Then she’d had a conference with certain members of the Nobles Council, which left her so annoyed that she had gone to the gym and sparred with two of her Lassies.
    It had definitely been a tiring day, and he hadn't had much sleep the previous night because he'd been up late reviewing security options for the next day.
    So why couldn’t he sleep?  He was tired, he felt it in every muscle of his body, yet his eyes refused to stay closed and give him the blessed sleep he needed.

    The sun was falling.  Not setting, it was falling, in slow motion, leaving a fiery orange blaze behind it.
    The world is coming to an end.  Why am I not more upset about it?  Johari felt detached, as if she were watching it from within her body and also through another pair of eyes not her own.
    The sun continued to burn a trail through the heavens until it fell beyond the horizon.  Darkness settled around her at the same time a pair of arms wrapped around her from behind.
    “The world is coming to an end,” she raised one hand and motioned to the midnight closing in on them.
    “Why do you say that?” the voice was male; smooth, warm and comforting.
    “The sun is gone,” Johari’s eyes clung to the fading orange trail in the blackness.
    “That does not mean the world is also gone.  We are still here,” the voice reminded her.
    “The world will lose all heat and die,” her own voice was quiet and she marveled again at her calm.
    “Heat can be manufactured.”
    “There is no light.  We cannot live without light.”
    “Light can also be created, but there will be no need of that.  Look,” the man turned her gently to face the east.  A huge golden moon rose in the sky.
    “It’s a harvest moon,” she said wonderingly.  “And something’s not right about it.  It rises too fast.”
    “It must.  The sun is dead, Luno; the moon must rise to take her place.”
    “It is too soon for a harvest moon.”
    “Yet it is a full harvest moon, which means too early or not, it’s just right for this time.”
    Johari had no more arguments to make but a shiver ran over her body, as if she could physically feel the earth losing the heat of the sun.
    The arms around her tightened and she closed her eyes for a moment, reveling in the peace and feeling of safety surrounding her.
    Lirios is such a comfort.
    She tilted her head to smile into his eyes and froze.
    It was not Lirios.
    Shock crashed through her as she realized that she should have known all along.  He didn’t call me Johari or Hari.  He said Luno.
    How could I have missed that?

    She opened her mouth to demand what he thought he was doing but the words died on her lips as Alejan’s eyes caught and held hers.

    Johari’s eyes snapped open.  What in the wormhole?!  Where did that dream come from?  She grabbed for her clock.  It was only a little past two-thirty in the morning.  I have to go back to sleep. 
    Sleep was a long time coming.
    At the breakfast table the following morning Johari only half listened to the conversations swirling around her.  By the time she had finally managed to go back to sleep, she only slept for two hours before the morning alarms rang.
    “It’s because I was dreaming about you,” Rabnita was saying.
    “Yiy, why did you do that?” Raydah scolded teasingly.  “I wanted sleep, not to be in your dream!”
    Dream?  Johari picked up an english muffin and began spreading it with raspberry jam, listening closely now.
    “What does her dreaming have to do with it?” Fanli asked.
    “It’s the legend,” Raydah said.
    “Legend?” Fanli still looked puzzled.
    “The Legend of the Dream Link,” Raydah explained.  “It’s a folk legend that says when you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream.”
    “Is there any truth to it?” Darila asked.
    Raydah pointed across the table at Rabnita, “There is!  Just ask her.  I couldn’t sleep last night and now I know why.  She was dreaming about me and I was awake in her dream,” she stuck her tongue out at her best friend and both of them laughed.
    Johari tuned out the rest of their teasing.  Is it true?  The dream from the night before nagged at her, less for its parallels to the social structure of the Throne of Denzli than for its shocking end.
    She set the english muffin down on her plate and wiped her fingers mechanically.  Inexorably, her eyes were drawn to her Chief Laddi where he stood near the doorway, discussing something with Taruba.
    His eyes were fixed on her, not the Lassi at his side, and instead of the usual half-smiling look he always had for her, one eyebrow was slightly quirked, curiosity lighting his eyes.  The eyes that radiated the same safety she’d felt so vividly last night.
    She looked away from the knowledge those brown eyes held.
    So he was awake last night.

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hello Again, Blogging World

I've been out of regular blogging for so long that I'm not sure how or where to start getting back into it.  For now, I'm just going to try weekly updates.

Here's what I was up to this week:

The second draft of Oath of Loyalty
The first draft of Pearl of Loyalty
The first draft of Ebony and Aubergine
Character profiles and plotting on the Lion and Rose series

{snippet of the week}
    She was taller than Alejan had expected.
    While in training, the Laddies had been given the exact height of the princess they would be sworn to, and had practiced for hours with security officers her exact height, but now, meeting her, she seemed taller than her stated height.  It wasn’t her shoes- she wore flats.  It was something else, something intangible.
    She had enormous presence.  Alejan rolled over on his bed and crossed his arms behind his head.  The moment when he had first looked his princess in the eye played over and over in his mind.  There had been a connection there.  Had each of the Laddies felt it when they looked at her?  He had sworn loyalty to her when he advanced to the final round of training, but for the first time he’d met the abstract to which he’d sworn that loyalty.
    She was no longer abstract.  She was flesh and blood to him now.  The woman he would personally face on the morrow and pledge his life to protect.

It could have been an interesting book, but I found it quite boring.

Again, could have been interesting, but was boring and I felt it didn't capture the spirit of Conan Doyle's original characters.

Re-reading Marking Time by April White.  One of my favorite time travel books.  (I don't normally read this kind of book, because if has paranormal elements, but I really love this one.)
{book quote of the week}
"I didn't go to church for a year when I was a kid.  We'd studied the Spanish Inquisition and I was horrified by the torture done by the Catholic priests.  But as I got older I realized that the horrors are all done by men, twisting the word of God to suit their own desires for power."
~ Bishop Cleary, Marking Time

Kpop, of course.  Always Kpop.  Super Junior, Kim Hyun-joong, Infinite and Girls Generation, to name a few in particular.
Michael Learns to Rock - a Danish pop/ rock band
Trading songs with my MuseTwin - songs that make us ache for the characters we write.

{song of the week}

Korean dramas, as usual. :)  Specifically:
You're Beautiful - with Mom and sister Butterfly
Hidden Identity
The Time I Loved You

{drama quote of the week}
Having spent a lot of time together… it’s not about how much we know each other, but knowing how big the empty spot is whenever we are by ourselves.
~ Oh Ha Na, The Time I Loved You

That a relationship with God is not as complicated as some of us humans like to think it is.

Two new stories I've been privileged to hear about from their author.
Watching more of a thriller kdrama with the friend who persuaded me to watch it, and saying the same thing at the same time about what's happening onscreen.

That one could really travel in time and go back and see once more some of the people that are no longer with us.

A family that makes you take a day off when you really aren't feeling the greatest.
Having wonderful friends who stay up late and chat at all hours of the night and squeal over stories and characters and watch dramas and send me kpop gifs and memes and hugs when I'm feeling down.  F5, I love you girls!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Half-Blood: Book Review

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

My Review:
Not having read any of the Ilyon books, I opened Half-Blood curiously, not knowing what to expect.  This book both satisfied that curiosity and aroused more curiosity about Jace's future.  I look forward to reading the Ilyon Chronicles and learning more about Jace, and what his future holds.

Jace's character was well-written.  I could feel the rage he felt every time his ryrik blood surged.  I also felt his despair at his situation and the see-saw of emotions every time he entered a gladiatorial arena.

Rayad was easily my favorite secondary character.  (I liked him as much as I did Jace.)

The writing style is clear and easily understood.  The horror and almost unimaginable hardships of slavery were accurately portrayed as well as how important just one kind word or act can be.  Jace's friendship with animals, who didn't care who or what he was, helped not only to bring home the pain he lived through day after day, but also showed what kind of a person he was deep inside, underneath the beatings, the fights and the scorn.

The most important message in this book is hope.  Hope that no matter how dark someone's life is or has been, there is still a God who cares.

I recommend Half-Blood if you're looking for clean Christian fantasy or adventure and anyone looking for stories that portray hope even in the darkest of times.   I don't recommend this book for anyone under 16 or for anyone with an aversion to reading about gladiatorial fighting and killing, slavery or violence in general.

I was given a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Miss Melody Muffin

Half-Blood Release and Author Interview with Jaye L. Knight

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . . .

Available on Amazon!
Discover Ilyon in Resistance and The King’s Scrolls.

I had a chance to interview Jaye about her newest book.

Welcome to The Splendor Falls, Jaye!
What was the hardest part about writing Half-Blood?
Half-Blood actually wasn’t as difficult to write as some of the other books in the series because it, thankfully, flowed really well. I had it written in just a couple of weeks. I think the hardest part was making sure all of the facts and scenes fit together chronologically and were accurate to what I mentioned about Jace’s past in Resistance and The King’s Scrolls.

Who was your favorite minor character in Half-Blood?
Well, there are very few good characters in the story until you get near the end, so there aren’t many to choose from, but I’d say Kalli. It was incredibly fun to get to write more about her and Aldor and their first meeting with Jace. That was my favorite part of writing the story.

Out of all the characters you've written, who is your least favorite character?
This is the second time I’ve been asked this for the tour. It’s hard to choose, because even villains are interesting to write in their own ways. My answer before was from one of my old pirate books, but I’ll do something a little different for this one. How about something of a sneak peek? One of my least favorite characters I’ve written is a man named Ruis from book four of Ilyon Chronicles. He’s just a nasty dude and causes certain characters quite a lot of trouble and discomfort.

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Etsy, and on her new fiction forum where you can interact with other readers of the series.

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Half-Blood, a blue feather bookmark hand crafted by Jaye, a bronze sword pendant, and a $5 Amazon gift card! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Read all the posts in the Half Blood Tour! (Trust me, you really do want to go read them.)

Come back later today for my review of Half-Blood!

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Quote Queste: July 2015


Already a week into July and I'm only just now posting the QQ.  *sigh*  This summer has been crazy.

Thank you to all who participated in June's QQ!  I'll try to do better this month about reading your scenes.

I started to write two different scenes for the June Quote Queste but didn't finish either one of them.  June kind of went wild on me.

Are you ready for the July QQ?

1. Take the quote below and write a short scene based on it.  It can be a scene for a story you're currently writing, one you plan on writing in the future, or you can make up characters solely for this challenge.
2.  Post your scene on your blog, with the banner from the top of my post and a link to my blog.
3. Come back to this post and leave a link to your post in the comments so the other participants and I can read your scene.
4. Have fun!


Miss Melody Muffin