Beyond the Wall Prologue & Cover

BeyondTheWallBeyond the Wall started its life without a prologue, bu I’m not sure  the start of chapter one is a strong enough hook, and I wanted to bridge the gap between What Lies Within and Beyond the Wall.

I originally intended this yo be a short story in its own right, but it came out way too short for that. So, a prologue it became.

It’s also a bit of a risk, because I gave Heart a point f view and there’s a decent chance people will find him annoying. I also couldn’t get him to work in anything other than 1st person present tense while Ash balks at everything that isn’t 3rd person past tense. You gotta love when characters dictate stuff. Right?

Anyway, enough rambling. Here’s Beyond the Wall’s Prologue

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Into the Dark

The moment that overgrown immobile termite took her last breath, Bo—Ash waltzed out of the house without so much as a by your leave, abandoning us…again. It really is what he does best, I guess. And though I have to admit that he did look more than a little worse for wear, I hate him for it; with a passion that has little to do with me being raw emotion. He can leave, have a life, while Brains and I are stuck here in this empty shell of a house.
I kick the wall, or try to at least. My foot goes straight through, vanishing into the disgusting goo, coating the sorry excuse for walls, without disturbing it, which, in hindsight, is good. Not like I’ve got spare clothes to change into, or the ability to wash stuff off. Times like these, the whole manifestation thing sucks.
“Come on, let’s at least get out of here,” I say, sick of hanging around my enemies—former, mind you—home while, upstairs, the last hours of my existence ticks by.
No answer.
“Brains?” I turn slowly, afraid of what I’ll find. Maybe he’s left, too, but no he’s just standing there staring at her corpse as if he wants to dissect the thing. “Hell, no!” I stomp over to him, finally able to vent some of that pent up anger, and swing my arm through his midsection—the closest thing to touching we’ll ever get. He jumps and pins me with a glare.
“What?”
“Out of here. Now.”
He hesitates, eyes drifting back to the corpse. I don’t like it. He may be older in body, but I existed first, and before Ash came back, I used to be the boss. It’s going to be that way again, and he better get used to it right quick. “Move it.”
And still he doesn’t comply. “But I—”
“No.” I hover my hands near my hips and tap my foot against the ground. My toes dip out of sight, and I can almost feel the cold slime soak them, but I don’t care; it’s that or stomp my foot like a child. Sometimes, I regret choosing a form this young. It came with all the emotional pitfalls of puberty and some childish urges on top.
“I…” He moves his hands, looking at them as if he’d never seen them before. He’s caving—I hope. If he isn’t, I’ll have to force my will on him. I can do that, but I’d rather not. It’s exhilarating and feels so wrong. “You want to be down here when they start tearing us to shreds? Get no warning?”
He does. I can tell from the way he’s looking everywhere but at me. He’s scared, same as me. “I don’t, and I don’t want to be alone either. Please?” It’s a bit low, I admit, but it does the trick. Brains casts one last longing look at the corpse—he really does want to cut her open—then nods. “Okay.”
We’re late when we leave the hive. The sun is up, casting mockingly cheerful patterns on the broken floor. “Could have warned me.” How long since Ash buzzed off? Too long, I figure.
Instead of defending himself, Brains stops and says, “Fade.”
At first, I think it’s just a trick, so he can run back into the hive, but then I see them, too. A good dozen people crawling all over our lawn, and huge machines, the likes of which I’ve never seen before, rolling up the slope. One of them carries a massive hammer thing.
I move to the window, driven by morbid curiosity, a desire to face my foes, or just plain old stupidity…probably all of the above. Despite everything happening outside, I can’t tear my eyes from the hammer. I know what that one does.
Though we can’t see each other anymore, I can feel Brains close behind. “You think we’re actually going to die?” I ask, using our mental connection, Ash somehow no longer shares.
Brains shifts beside me before answering in the same manner. “I don’t know.” He might as well have said yes for all the reassurance his quavery voice offers.
Hammer guy walks around the lawn, stopping occasionally to stare in our direction. He has a sketchpad tucked into his breast pocket, which he keeps flipping through as he mutters to himself. “Why aren’t they starting?”
“Taking m—”
Pain shoots through every fiber of my being, drowning out whatever Brains was going to say. They’re tearing me apart atom by atom. One of us is screaming. I think it’s Brains, but I feel it’s me, maybe it’s both of us. The world goes dark, but my consciousness doesn’t fade just yet. Instead, I’m falling or floating.
“Well, well, what do we have here?”
Something brushes against me, and I know no more.

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Well, That Didn’t Work

It’s about 9:00 am the day after I started my “vacation.” Since then I’ve cleaned out two cupboards, watched four episodes of NCIS, plaid several rounds of Binding of Isaac, finished the Book Thief, swept the floor repeatedly, and started Way of Kings. In short I’m bored.There’s no way,I can keep this up for another two days. I don’t have enough rooms to clean for that, and this time of year, going outside here is like wading into a horde of zombies. Everyone’s in a holiday craze. Not that there’s anywhere here I’d actually want to go. All my favorite cafes are on winter breaks. And most of all, I miss writing. even if I’m about to go into a revision phase. Guess that means I’m in for the long haul?

So yeah. I’m calling off my time off. Less than 24 hours after it began. I guess that’s better than extending it into 2017 because I can’t find my groove again after…

New years resolution: Learn to appreciate time off.

It’s Done

At roughly 18k words the first draft of Beyond the Wall is finished. It cane out a touch shorter and more dependent on What Lies Within than I anticipated, but it’s done and ready for next year’s revision.

For now, I’m going to take my first migraine free day off since April 2014. Three of them to be exact. My goal was to get the 1st draft done in December. I’d say I achieved that and I’m well on track for my release goal in late January.

Now that I’ve said that, Beyond the Wall will probably take its predecessor as a role model and give me a mountain of  trouble during revision, but I’ve got  books to read and future projects to think about.

Like whether to go for Ash Manor Book 3 first and wrap up the storyline, I started in What Lies Within or go for a standalone novel, I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks, first

For the Sake of Research

I spent an hour watching babies crawl on Youtube to figure out whether right hand right foot, or right hand left foot was more common. I still don’t really know, but I’m a little floored at just how many different variations there are. I also  gotta say that those innocent eyes “charging” toward a camera at that angle are rather creepy.  And all that for a single paragraph in one scene. It’ll never come up after.

I also bought The Way of Kings. I loved Words of Radiance, so yeah. I plan on buying all his books over time. They’re big and he brings them out slow enough that I might just catch up.

When Sequels Demand to be Written

When I released What Lies Within, I hated the story and wanted nothing further to do with it. Yet, within a week, I started thinking of a sequel to it, and it kept intruding into everything else I tried to write. I struggled on for a bit until my dear muse gave me a more solid idea of what it was to be about, then I gave in and started writing it.

I’m about 11k into Beyond the Wall, and Ash is about to realize his world is far more dangerous than he thought.  Of course, this is bad for The Upper City, which I haven’t touched since. And to make matters worse or weirder, I still have no idea what genre What Lies Within really is. It’s got elements of many, but not enough to actually fit into any. Only thing I know is that it’s not the epic fantasy, I always saw myself writing. Makes Amazon categorizing a pain.

I’m hoping for a January release date around the time What Lies Within’s Select term renews, so I can run a free promo on that then.

 

Music Woes & the Long Nap

Yesterday, I figured I’d take a nap around 4:00 PM before getting started on my evening session. I woke up three hours later and made coffee, because I always need coffee no matter the time. It has long ceased to do anything on the keeping me awake front, but I still need it to wake up. While my coffee was brewing, I started to wonder why I’m not loopy at all. Normally after a nap, I can’t walk straight for quite some time.

I got my answer a short time later, when the sun came up. I slept nearly fifteen hours straight. This has never happened before, and I wasn’t even that tired when I lay down.My previous personal best was twelve, and then I was dizzy and seeing double by the tome I finally got to lie down.

Fast forward to today. There’s been quiet music running next doors for a few hours now, but since it was quiet and I was fiddling with Gimp anyway, I didn’t mind. Literally within minutes of m switching over to my text processor, the volume increased–by a lot. This is a problem on many levels.

I’m not a big fan of music in the first place–especially not modern “music”–but I hate loud music on a rage inducing level. Unfortunately for me, my loud starts at a level that’s considered normal by the majority of the population. I’ll make a great “old bat” one day.

I also tend to write in rhythm whenever I have to force myself to write through music. Even month later, I can still tell where the song changed, because my entire sentence structure changes along with it. It’s a pain to sort that out during revision.

I won’t complain, though, because it’s hardly their fault, I’m so easily annoyed, but it means further delay on my writing.