Category Archives: locust eaten years

the moms of vengeance is mine

I originally planned this post for Mother’s Day, but things got hectic and I’ve been writing too much to concentrate on this blog (even though it’s a writing blog).  But I thought it was still a good idea, so today I’m going to be sharing a little bit about the mothers in Vengeance Is Mine, as well as some snippets.  Each mother is the mom of one of my main characters (although I didn’t plan it that way).  I have roughly four main characters – Aaron, Nathan, Lily, and Dylan – but Dylan’s mom isn’t alive (I don’t think I ever even mention her), so she won’t be on this list.  And now…to the list!

1. Becca

[I don’t have a character casting for this mom, since she just appears in the prologue of book 1]

Rebecca, or Becca as she’s commonly called, is Nathan’s mother.  She only has a part in the first book’s prologue, as I mentioned above, and I can’t even say that she made an impact on her child’s life, since Nathan never knew her.  However, she does drive the plot because, really, if Nathan hadn’t been born, there would’ve been no book, right?  Becca’s words are the first sentence in the trilogy (although, by the time I’m done editing, that might not be the case) and I found her point-of-view very easy to write.  It might have been because I was in the first fervour of NaNoWriMo where everything seemed fresh and new, but I was able to connect with both her fear and her faith on a personal level, and she’s one of my favorite minor characters.  Five pages into book 1, and I was already crying, because page 5 was when Nathan was born and I was completely overwhelmed by the scope this trilogy would take on.  And Becca started it.

Jase’s eyes widened and he nodded. He made as if to duck outside, making sure to check that no one was anywhere near when he did so, but he came back inside. “If you want me to take you back to the city, and your family until the baby comes, I can do that.”
Gratefulness welled up inside her, and even some hope, but she shook her head. “The journey would be too dangerous, and, besides, I want you with me. And they think we’re dead.” She had said and thought such a thing too often for it to have much effect on her anymore, but the thought still hurt her heart, no matter how little. To succeed in their mission, they had given up everything, even more than a normal Existent did. Their home, their families, their very identities. It was only in the privacy of their own little dwelling did they call each other Jase and Becca. To the rest of the world they were Ethan and Jannara.
“Still, we should have someone. A-a midwife, or something.”
“Jase, women have been doing this by themselves since time began,” she said with a faint smile on her face. “As long as I have you with me, I can manage. Truly.”
He hesitated, then gave a quick nod, as if assuring himself of the truth of her statement. “Well, then, I’ll be off.” She raised her hand a little in farewell, and then he left.

Reading over this snippet, I confess that I knew very little about my story world back then.  And I wrote this in a flood of NaNo inspired words, so if it’s garbage, blame the 30 day writing challenge.  It was the only passable snippet concerning her that I could find.

2. Laii

i feel like this could be laii.

Okay, so I figured out that I couldn’t share who Lily’s mother is, because that would be a pretty big spoiler, so I’m going to share with you some things about Nathan’s other mom – Laii.  She isn’t really his mom, of course, but she’s as close to it as anyone could get.  She loves him and scolds him and makes sure he’s safe (no small task).  And she has a mysterious past.  Which isn’t really relevant to this post, but that’s always cool, right?  Laii made some big mistakes when she was younger, and taking care of Nathan and the other boys under her charge in the facility is one way that she tries to atone for those mistakes.  Laii is hard to write at times, because she’s flawed and I still don’t think I have all her motives and dreams down.  She’s both strong and broken, all at the same time.

“Sneakers?” Laii asked, her voice filled with incredulity. “That’s what this was all about?”  He nodded halfheartedly, much as Dylan had done. “Why?” she asked.
“He’s a bully,” Nathan said, and decided to leave it at that. He wouldn’t tell her the details, especially about the time Dylan had sneered at him and said that he didn’t really belong here at the facility. He was afraid that Laii would admit that Dylan was right, and that he would have to go. He had waited all his life for this day, and it would not be spoiled by a fight with Dylan. He wouldn’t allow it.
She nodded slowly, at least that’s what Nathan thought she did. The hood made it difficult to read head motions, and he suddenly wished that she didn’t wear that everlasting hood and cloak so he could read her eyes and facial expressions and body language as he did with the other boys. It would make everything so much easier.
She gave a frustrated sigh. “You’re too angry, Nathan. You let anger wipe away all your good sense far too often. Why?” Her tone of voice showed she genuinely wanted to know, but Nathan wasn’t about to give her what he knew was the reason. It was because at times he felt like he didn’t belong, that he was an outcast, and so he became angry and violent if anyone questioned his position here. Or even if he thought they had. He just shook his head.
She huffed again. “Go and apologize to Dylan right now.”
“What?” Nathan said, all anger and sullenness gone, replaced by amazement. That was all? No punishment, no- Then he realized exactly what she had said. Apologize to Dylan? Impossible. He would rather take a week without food than apologize to that low-down rat. Why wasn’t she giving him a proper punishment?
“Right now.” Her voice was firm, and devoid of emotion once again. “Or you will not go through the ceremony today. You will have to wait another year, and then be behind all the other boys.”

Again, I didn’t really have all that firm of a grasp on my story at this point, but I’ve always liked this little scene, mainly because I had no idea how things were going to play out.  I was just discovering that Nathan wasn’t going to be a perfect hero, struggling against circumstances.  I had no idea how important Dylan would be in the future (although the sympathetic way in which I handled the scene right after this might have told me something), and I knew nothing about Laii’s past.  Of course, I’m still learning things about my characters (I doubt I’ll ever stop) but it’s fun to look back at some of my earlier writings.

3. Callie

Callie is one of my favorite characters ever.  She’s Aaron’s mom, and she’s just plain wonderful.  Besides her great skills as a mom, she always sticks behind her husband, David, through both the good times and the bad (and, believe me, sometimes it gets bad).  She holds the Nonexistent’s community together when David is away (which is often) with the help of Matthew, an old family friend, and she welcomes her wayward son back into the family and their life, despite what he did earlier (*cue dramatic music*).  I’m not done No Greater Love yet (the only book, so far, that she shows up in), but as the story continues, she’s going to be called upon to be even stronger than she has been before.  There’s going to be a lot of stress and strain, but I know she can pull through it.

Monday’s early morning light brought him to the entrance of the community. He stared out across the landscape in front of him, Callie at his side. The ground looked as though it had been chewed up. There were cracks and lines everywhere, all over the ground. Already, he feared for his men’s safety.
“Feeling tired?” Callie asked.
David shook his head.
She put her arm into the crook of his arm and rested her head against his shoulder. “I would’ve thought you’d be exhausted. I don’t think you slept all last night.” She sighed. “It’s been a frightening time for all of us.”
“Looks like the outside got it worse than in here,” David commented, pointing his chin at the scene in front of them. “But we’ll rebuild in there, too. We always have. And the accident seems to be pulling everyone together better than any of my messages ever could.” He closed his eyes for a moment as the sun’s early glare hit him right on. “I should go.”
Her arm slipped out of his gently.
“Be safe,” she said.
He nodded. “I’ll see if we can get some supplies back to here.”
Callie smiled then. “That would be good.”

So there you have it!  The mom’s (some of them, at least) of Vengeance Is Mine.  Do you have any mothers in your book(s)?  What are they like?




I have a huge amount of writing news to cram into this one post.  And all of it is big.  Really big.


All in all, it’s been a great past few days for me.  LEY ended up being about 25K words less than I Will Repay, but I can live with that.  I’ll probably be mercilessly chopping both books down before I deem them ready to be ‘hard edited’.  My plan for editing the trilogy is this: I’ll cut down all the un-needed scenes/points of view, get everything down to a manageable level, and then start fixing plot holes and strengthening characters.  All the stuff I delete will be dumped in a ‘delete file’, in case I need to use it again (a little trick I learned from one of the numerous writing books I’ve read).  Now, I’d already written a plot outline for NGL (because I didn’t want to get to book 3 and be completely stuck), but I wasn’t happy with it.  One character’s death, in particular, seemed really contrived and just…dumb (it was Aaron, btw).  Also, I didn’t think I had enough material to do a third book, so I’d just be filling in the word count with fluff.  Then Something Happened.  I was washing dishes (which, according to Agatha Christie is the best place to get writing inspiration), when I realized I’d been doing everything wrong.  See, I have a main character for each of the three books, even though the whole thing is really about Nathan’s journey.  Aaron was the main character for book 3.  Not anymore.  Dylan got quite a lot of ‘screen time’ to book 2, and I’ve realized he needs his own book.  So he’s the new main character.  Aaron will still be a big subplot (particularly his unrequited love for Lily), but everything is working out so much better now that Dylan is the focus.  There’s still a death, but it has meaning now.  And a real purpose.

I entered Blood & Rubies into my library’s March Break short story contest.  I hate writing short stories (mostly because the few I’ve written besides this one are terrible), and there were so many limitations to what I had to write (it had to be a mystery, it had to start with ‘The old woman turned and smiled…’, it could be only two pages long, and the font had to be 12 pt. or bigger).  But there was something about the whole thing that captured my interest, so I brainstormed with my sister and decided to try it.  I wrote it, sent it off to beta-readers, revised it, proofread, took it to the library, waited for two weeks and THEN I WON.  I was going to post it on this blog, but my mom already did it on hers, so I’ll just direct you there (it’s at the bottom of the post).

Last thing…the adorable scene in Betrayal.  I wrote out the plot thingy for book 3 of VIM, and I’m not going to start it for a bit, but I still had to write.  So I pulled up the document that I’m writing random scenes from Betrayal in and started writing.  I meant for the scene to be Samuel (the hero) telling Alexia (the heroine) all about his brother, Matt, who had died a long time ago.  And he did that (a bit), but then this ridiculously cute/melt-worthy thing happened that I totally didn’t plan.  I hadn’t meant for their relationship to go so far so soon, but it did.  And I’m perfectly fine with it.

“Matt showed me the textures and colours of music. How to completely immerse yourself in the tune and just play whatever comes to mind. As for painting, he taught me to look beyond the outward appearance of the subject and capture the spirit.”

His face glows as he relives those memories.

I feel as though I’m intruding on something personal and private.

But there is one question I have to ask.

“That-” I begin.

He looks at me, the spell broken.


“That day you sketched me. Did you, you know, look beyond me?”

He holds out a sheet of paper, face down. “You never saw the sketch, did you?” he asks, extending the paper even more.

A flush of red comes up my face, remembering the day I snuck into his studio, hoping to get a peek at it, frustrated that he wasn’t showing it to me. But Annie had discovered me, and I’d left without once getting a look at the sketch lying face down on his messy desk.

I accept the paper, hesitating just a moment before turning it over.

What if he hasn’t captured me?

It’s not a vain question.

If he has, I’ll know that for a brief moment, there was a small something.

If he hasn’t-

I turn it over and gasp, covering my hand with my mouth.

Tears come to my eyes.

“You-how could you do this?”

The sketch shows him and me, dancing on a rainy summer day.

I’m laughing, he’s grinning.

And in that one moment, us is perfect.

It’s only a sketch, but I feel like I’m living that moment.

“We-we never danced in the rain,” I say, my voice shaky. “We never danced.”

“I know,” he says, laying a warm hand on mine. “But I imagined it.” His voice cracks ever so slightly. “Oh, Alexia, I’ve imagined it so many times. Do you think I gave the moment justice? If you don’t, I’ll burn it and make a new one.”

“It’s perfect,” I say. “It’s beautiful.”

“Do you-?” He clears his throat. “Do you want to make it a reality?”




P.S. They do make it a reality.  But this post is long enough.


an update on DOOM and other things

No.  I’ve not died.  I’ve just been very absent lately, for a number of reasons.  I got sick, I was at my grandparents house for a week (and not really able to write at all), and, frankly, I’ve been slacking off about writing.  That might sound ridiculous, especially since we’re now into March and DOOM has been going on for eight days.  I’ve been home for a couple of those days, and I have been writing.  For three reasons – I want to win DOOM, I want to get book two of Vengeance Is Mine into the hands of my beta-readers, and I’m a writer.  But I’m only a writer if I write, so….yeah.  I have to write.  I have 53.5K words in Locust Eaten Years and it’s coming along quite well, even though my writing’s terrible at the moment.

Lily and her mom have reunited, so my inner squee is going off.  Buuuut at pretty much the exact same time, it’s gotten depressing because the capture of the Existents is going to start any time which means A Certain Character Who Is One Of My Favorites will die soon.  So that’s sad.  I’m actually kind of pleased that I’ve kept the death count down (some authors I know of/am friends with kill huge amounts of characters).  All in all, I think only five characters, or so, will die through the three books (I don’t think I could handle more) and only one of them is really major.  Moving on before I give away spoilers…

I don’t usually work on more than one project than once, but for DOOM I am.  Locust Eaten Years, Betrayal, and a new project called (for now) Marshfield Court.  That one calls for a little explanation.  I was riding home on public transit with my grandmother and one of the stops that was called out was ‘Marshfield Court’.  I thought that was an odd name for a street, and then my brain instantly gave me a story idea where all the bus passengers are thrown into a type of time vortex and go back to medieval times where they have to work together to defeat an evil king who lives in a palace called Marshfield Court.  Thrown in some mother/daughter reconciliation and a heartbreaking love triangle, and we’re all set.  I’m working off that premise, and I have the prologue written so far.  Along with several important scenes in Betrayal.

What have you been working on?



new snippets

I’ve reached 33K in Locust Eaten Years and things are looking up (compared to my last post, at least).  I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed at the sheer scope of the story, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  There’s so much I have to weave in and develop over the next 60,000 words or so and it’s daunting to say the least.  In book one, I didn’t kill any main characters or main minor characters (well, one did die, but he was only in about four chapters, so…) but in book two, at least one will die and possibly two.  Which will be hard, of course.  Then, there’s also backstory, subplots, characterization, and all the other things that go with writing a novel.  I still haven’t quite gotten used to writing a sequel, but I’m comfortable enough to do my 1K or 2K a day.  Anyway, I thought I’d share some snippets and see what all of you think.  There’ll be one or two from each chapter.

“What?” she said defensively. “Haven’t you ever seen a woman?”
One of them gulped a little and said, “Um…no.”
The leader smacked him on the shoulder. “Of course we have, idiot. Who do you think the people are that run the facility?” The boy lapsed into shamefaced silence, and the leader smiled at Raya. His teeth were white and even, and stood out in the darkness. “You aren’t supposed to be down here, you know,” he said, touching her arm.
Another shiver went through her. A delightful shiver, at that. Then she realized what he said. “What do you mean I can’t be down here? This is my house. Why are you in here?”
“Work detail,” he said casually. “To clean up, you know.”
“No. I don’t know. Anyway, my house is clean already and whatever isn’t my maid can take care of. You don’t need to come back here.” Even as she said the words, she found herself hoping that they would come back. It was boring up here, being waited on hand and foot, having everything she wanted given to her as she asked for it, and talking with these boys – and particularly the leader – had certainly livened things up.
“We have to. It’s orders.” His voice was firm and decided.
“Oh, then, very well,” she said. “Have it your way.”
He smiled again. “Thank you.”
She flushed and looked down, flustered. “I’ll be going now.”
“Oh. Sure.”
“Will you be coming again tomorrow?”
“Yep. You’ll be here?”
She hesitated, and then nodded. “I will.” ~Prologue

Lily felt Mara’s expert hands do up her hair in a complicated twist of blonde braids and curls. She felt pins being inserted into her hair and knew that they were exquisite diamond ones that the woman had picked out. She looked down at her gown as she sat there, waiting for Mara to finish. It was not exactly form fitting, but close enough, at any rate.
She had gained a few pounds – enough to make her just the right slimness, and not terribly thin. A simple diamond bracelet was clasped around her right arm, with a matching choker necklace and tiny earrings that had twinkled in the sunlight when she put them on. Her dress was turquoise silk and Mara said it brought out the green in her eyes well. Her shoes matched the dress perfectly.
“Done,” Mara announced.
“Can I look now?” Lily asked, excitement tinging her voice.
“Yes,” Mara said, a smile in her voice.
Lily pushed back the chair she was sitting on, ran over to the full length mirror, and turned it back the right way. She gasped. A stranger stared back at her. The stranger smiled when she smiled, frowned when she frowned, and looked puzzled when she did, but other than that, she could see no resemblance. Her hair and eyes were the same, of course, but with diamond pins, and the dress bringing out the green in a rather startling way, they looked different.
But the biggest difference was that she was beautiful. The makeup Mara had applied skillfully had done wonders, but it felt completely natural to her, not stifling at all. She turned around and hugged Mara. “Thank you,” she whispered, her arms still around the older woman. “If only Nathan could see me,” she thought, but squelched the idea immediately. She would most likely never see him again. ~Chapter 1

“I thought perhaps we could build a life together someday,” he said, his voice choked with anger and perhaps a few tears. “But I can never feel anything for a dirty, double-crossing liar.” Nathan steadied his bow hand and drew back.
She closed her eyes, waiting for the arrow to rip into her body.
But nothing came.
There was a strange silence in the room.
She opened her eyes. His bow was wavering in his hand. What was going on?
“You can live this time,” he said. “But I don’t want to see you again. The next time I do, you’re dead. I promise you that. Understand?”
She nodded, covering her face with both hands and sobbing, mostly with relief.
He ran out of the room.
Why had he done it? ~Chapter 1

“Don’t worry about saying anything. It doesn’t matter. Now you know my story and we can go on from here.”
“But it does matter,” Esther said. Her voice was passionate with what could only be termed anger and hurt and Lily knew that this conversation was not one of queen to subject, but equal to equal. Or perhaps not even that, because Esther was certainly on higher moral ground than she. “Was it necessary?” she asked.
“The war. The fighting. The bloodshed.”
Lily felt defensiveness rising in her. “I had good reasons. I needed to help my family.”
Esther shook her head. “That’s not-you can’t-I thought you were different from the others. You seemed to be sincere about wanting to discover the Truth. Not like Nathan, or the other people I’ve met on missions. I was wrong.” She shook her head again and stood up.
Lily stood up as well. She laid her hand on Esther’s arm. The arm stiffened, as if Esther would shrug the hand off, but she didn’t. “I’ve done some bad things, Esther,” she said. “It’s-it’s cost me everything, really.” She wouldn’t cry. She was determined not to cry. “But I feel like this is my destiny. I need to be queen. I need to make a change in the world, and the only way I can do that is by keeping this position.”
Esther didn’t say anything, didn’t move.
“I already regret what I did,” Lily said. “Nathan can never forgive me. I don’t think I can forgive myself. And I’m not asking you to. But would you please stay? So I can show you I’m still the same…in a way?” She was pleading for Esther to stay. As queen, she could order her to stay, and have her imprisoned if she didn’t, but if Esther wanted to leave, she would do nothing to stop her.
Esther shifted a little and then said, “I’ll stay-”
Lily breathed a sigh of relief.
“But, Lily, please promise me you’ll never do anything like that again.” Esther’s voice was gentle – but very firm – and her eyes held a quiet fire in them. “And, I’m very sorry, but I don’t think that we can be friends.” She dropped her head into her hands. “I shouldn’t say that,” she said, her voice muffled, “but just thinking of-of what happened. I can’t-”
Lily swallowed an unpleasant lump in her throat and guilt and shame surged through her. “I understand,” she finally said. “And thank you for staying.” ~Chapter 2

Aaron leaned forward a little, chin resting on his right hand, deep in thought. He had a distant, faraway look in his eyes and Nathan tried to replicate that and think deeply as well. It didn’t work. All he could think about was what a mess he’d made of everything, and how exhausted and thirsty he was. In other words, pouting, only it was on the inside. He took a deep breath and bit back all those thoughts. They weren’t getting anybody anywhere.
“Wasn’t there someone you mentioned once-?” Aaron said, speaking in a slow, thoughtful tone, “-someone who had a rebel band of his own? You said some of your men were defecting to him. Maybe we could join his band.” When Nathan didn’t respond, he added. “Just a thought.”
It was a good thought, and one that Nathan was grateful for. “Ryder,” he said. “That was his name.” He gave a short laugh, the bitter kind. “And it wasn’t ‘some’ of my men. It was almost all of them. And now the rest are in prison.” He scowled at the ground. It was a perfect example of what his leadership skills had been. He had no right to be uncomfortable asking Aaron for his opinion and advice.
“Do you know how to find him?” Aaron asked, after a moment’s pause.
Nathan took a small twig and started scratching meaningless designs in the dirt. After a moment, he broke the twig and threw the two pieces away. Then he stood up, dusting his hands off on his pants. “No, I don’t,” he finally said. “But it doesn’t matter. He’ll find us. All we have to do is keep walking, and I’m sure one of his spies will report about us soon – if they haven’t already.”
“He’s that good?” Aaron asked, visibly impressed.
Nathan nodded. ~Chapter 3

“I need to talk to you,” he said as quietly as possible.
“Why?” Dylan said, not looking at him.
Aaron felt himself at a loss for words. What could he say? Just wanted to catch up on the Nonexistent news? Wanted to hear about the family he’d deserted? How many Existents had sacrificed their lives for the Faith since he had left? He shook his head inwardly. Nothing like that would do. “Just…because.”
Dylan gave a derisive snort. “Great reason.”
“Please,” Aaron said. “I need this.”
Dylan whirled on him, jaw hard. “Five minutes. That’s it.”
Aaron breathed an inward sigh of relief. “Thank you.”
“Come with me.”
They ducked into an alley.
“So, what is it?” Dylan said. He crossed his arms in front of him.
“How are my-how’s everyone doing back home?”
“You mean you want to know how everyone reacted to your letter, right?”
Aaron conceded with a nod.
“They discovered your letter that morning,” Dylan said. “Your dad was furious.”
Aaron winced. “And mom?”
“She read it and went right back inside. I haven’t seen her since.” ~Chapter 3

“What do you mean ‘you don’t have any medicine’?” Laii asked sharply.
The doctor standing in front of her shook her head again. “What I said – I don’t have any. None at all. My waiting room is full, as you can see, and I don’t know how I’m going to take care of everyone. I really can’t give anything to you. I’m sorry.” The doctor did look genuinely sorry, her brown eyes full of worry and sympathy. “I’ve asked for more supplies, of course, but it’ll be a few days, at the least, until they get here.”
Laii frowned. “It’s just-I have someone at my facility who’s extremely sick. They need medicine as soon as possible.”
“I’m sorry,” the woman repeated. “But as soon as possible will be in a few days. No sooner.” She flipped through a few folders in front of her and then frowned. However, she made no comment, and both woman stewed in silence. “What are his symptoms?” the doctor finally asked.
“Fever. Stomach pains. A headache.”
The woman looked up, her eyes narrowed. “How strange,” she said slowly. “Almost all of my patients recently have complained of such things, most of them all at once. If it had been separate symptoms – you know, just a fever, or headache – it wouldn’t be so worrying, but all three together make for something serious. And the stomach pains are more than usual. I don’t like it.”
“What are you saying?” Laii asked.
“I’m not sure,” the doctor said. “I don’t want to say ‘plague’ or ‘contagion’ right now, since that causes unnecessary panic far too often, but I’m afraid it could turn into that. It seems to be spreading at a terrible rate. I need supplies.” ~Chapter 4

Something inside Aaron snapped.
“You need to stop thinking about your own needs and focus on others,” he said angrily. Nathan’s face showed surprise – even shock – but he pressed on. Too much had been bottled up inside for too long. He had put up with Nathan’s moods, mainly because he shared the same pensiveness and lack of purpose, but now that he had a purpose, he wanted Nathan to snap out of his angry illusion as well. “You’ve been wanting a purpose? Well, now you have one, if you’ll just take it.”
“It’s not that simple,” Nathan said.
“I think it is.” Aaron felt as thought something inside him were changing, and he wasn’t sure he liked it. It was as though he was becoming Nathan, and even though he was very close to his friend, he didn’t admire every character trait about him. Hardly. But sometimes the only way to make someone like that understand was to use their own tactics and Aaron felt the fight build up in him.
“You mope around all day because you don’t have anything to do, and when something does come up, you brush it aside because it’s ‘too dangerous’ and it won’t help your precious cause. Just people. Ordinary people.” He knew that was the main reason for Nathan’s disinterest, and seeing his friend bite his lip made him know he was right. “We can go to whatever place you want, even the Capitol if you’re so inclined, but we are going. End of story.”
Nathan looked at him, really looked at him for what seemed to be the first time. Aaron kept himself calm under the hard, though not entirely unfriendly gaze for what seemed like hours. Then, Nathan’s expression relaxed into neutrality. “We’ll go, then.” ~Chapter 5

Nathan sank against the reassuring firmness of a stone building.
He and Aaron were both panting for breath, desperate for air after the chase.
“I knew we shouldn’t have done anything in the day,” he gasped, sucking in air.
Aaron shrugged, grinning. “I don’t know,” he said. “That was more exciting than-”
“It was dangerous,” Nathan said sharply.
Aaron sobered. It was dangerous. However, the exhilaration of shaking of their pursuers brought a relief and happiness that wouldn’t have been there quite fully if it had been easy. “But you’ve got to admit that giving those Warrior Women a slip was-”
“-fortunate. I’ve seen what they can do. You don’t want to play around when it comes to them. I don’t want anyone else to get hurt, so just shut up and keep still while I think of something else to do.”
Aaron bit his lip. Nathan was pushing himself too hard, too much, and it was going to catch up to him. He didn’t allow himself a moment for levity. It was all work, work, work; push, push, push, and something was going to snap soon. He tried to be more casual about things, if there was a way to make light of a situation, but it was proving nearly impossible on this journey. ~Chapter 6

Aaron shrugged. “I went to the palace, but there was no need of my help. Queen Lilith has everything under control. I’m really surprised that the queen, of all people, would care so much for the needs of others, but she does. Food and shelter and medical care. Anyway-”
“Did you see her?” Nathan asked abruptly. He didn’t know why he was asking, but even after all this time, he still wanted to hear about her. How she looked, if she was in good health, if she was happy.
“Um…no,” Aaron said, looking puzzled at Nathan’s question. “I didn’t. Not surprising, really, because she’s probably really busy.”  He thought for a moment and then nodded, as if he’d just re-confirmed his words in his head. “But everyone was talking about what amazing work she’d done, so it wasn’t hard to figure things out.” He smiled. “Perhaps there’s hope yet.”
“For what?” Nathan asked absently. He was still mulling Aaron’s words over in his head and trying to fit them with his mental picture of Lily – both outwardly and externally.  The Lily he knew was self-serving. Someone who used people to get ahead, although she certainly hid her motives well. He should know. He’d been subject to her machinations one too many times and it had scarred him for life. Was Lily using the people to fulfil some desire of hers? How would that work?
Face it, he told himself. You just don’t want to admit she could do something good for a change. And why should I? he asked fiercely. Because people change. You should know that more than anyone. You’ve changed. He shook his head inwardly. It was as though two separate things were warring in his mind.
I know I have. But she’s different.
Is she?
How is she different from you?
She uses people. I don’t.
True, but you’ve done things in your life that she hasn’t.
Like what?
You’ve killed people. Several.
Don’t you think I wish I could take that back?
I know you do. Don’t you think she wishes she could take back what she’s done? ~Chapter 6



quickie update

I’ve been neglecting this blog lately, mostly because of the holidays – I’ve only just gotten back into my writing routine.  Well, actually, I didn’t write anything today, because I’ve come down with a fever which saps any wish to write.  However…I have 16,000 words in book 2, Locust Eaten Years so far and I’m quite happy with how it’s coming along.  It feels weird, in a way to be writing a sequel, since I’ve never done that before, but I’m having lots of fun exploring Lily’s character (she’s the focus charrie of book 2) and the next blog post will probably be by her.  I find character posts to be extremely helpful for helping me know the character better and, frankly, they’re tons of fun.

It’s kind of ironic that I’ve gotten sick at this particular point in the book, because I’m going to be writing about a plague soon – of course, it’ll be much worse than a simple fever, but still…and even though I have no desire to write anything right now, my subconscious has decided to give me tons of ideas for new plot twists, and ways I can edit and change the books to make them better.  I’ve contented myself with writing them all down in my binder for the VIM project and leave it at that.  I’m really loving the way I seem to get inspiration from every place possible – it’s extremely invigorating.  Anyway, I’m going to leave you with a snippet of Aaron’s point of view (his character is developing beautifully – when I wrote book 1, I wasn’t sure that I was bringing everything across about him that I wanted to, but book 2 is turning out to be so much better in that regard).

He was going to overthrow the corrupt government system, he had a good friend for a travelling companion, and he had the Bible with him. He had been planning on taking one, but had somehow forgotten. By the time he got outside, it was too late to go back in, so finding Nathan’s abandoned one was like an act of Providence, and he treated it as such.
The strange thing was, he had not read it once since joining Nathan.
Why? he asked himself now. The thought surprised him. He’d always been conscientious about Bible reading, both at home and on missions – although he’d done it more secretly then – so why stop the habit now. Then, he knew the answer, but he shook his head against it, refusing to let it have full sway over his other thoughts.
He didn’t want to think about it, but the thought kept coming back, persistent. Perhaps it was God speaking to him, and how does one fight against the thoughts God puts in the mind? The thought was simple, but it opened up frightening doors that he didn’t want to go through.
He was afraid.
Afraid that this fight was not God’s Will, and afraid to read the Bible in case that thought was proven right. But it was His Will. It had to be. Rebellion was the only way that God’s people would be safe again, and be able to come out of hiding. Didn’t the Bible itself say that there was a time for peace, and a time for war. Surely this was one of those times.
Gathering up a few more twigs, he hurried back to where Nathan was waiting. ~Chapter 3