Sunday, August 24, 2014

just a note

ha! i wish...

Just a note to say (if you haven't already guessed) that I'm postponing the next few posts a few days, in order to install an entirely different kind of post: metal t-posts to be exact.
  'You've got to make hay while the sun shines', as the saying goes, only this time for us it's fence repair. whee - nope.
 Sorry guys! Will be back soon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

in which i DO eventually reveal SKYRIAN

(hm, yes, well... this was actually supposed to have published last friday, but it seems i checked the wrong box on the calendar... derp!)

I would love to introduce my dearest story with great pomp and a spectacular, scrolling name, but the fact of the matter is it... doesn't have one. Yes, the story I have been scribbling in odd notebooks since I was thirteen still has a working title. #awkwardauthormoment
 Jenny once posted that you're no type of author if you can't come up with a decent name for your creations. I must admit this knocked me for a loop until I was reminded that opinions (even from such admired and esteemed wordcrafters like Jenny) are not necessarily fact. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed (and not entirely out of self-pity, either - ha). Different people are talented in different ways (have you seen Jenny's titles? Katelyn's? I drool, I drool!). Some people can pluck award winning titles like berries on a bush, others - like me - have to wait (and wait) for them to spring out of said bush, a bit like a rabid squirrel: at once sudden and alarming, but also excitedly anticipated.
 Basically, you should assume that all of my titles are working titles (or in some cases placeholders for Pinterest board names), with the exception of Winterkiln. By some miracle that squirrel leaped quite early on.
I think that's far enough down that rabbit trail...

Summary of So Far-
Skyrian is a tale that unfolds in the land of Ithreal. A country renowned for it's horses and horsemen but divided by feuds, its history has been anything but peaceful pastures.
 Civil war is again brimming on the horizon between an oppressed north country and the affluent Crown Loyalist counties to the south. But Cilla could hardly care less about the future of a land that cared not for her when her own was at stake. At nearly fifteen, she, Tyrel, and Emy are nearing the end of their lives unless they can escape the Master.
 When an escape plan goes awry in the northern seaport town of Daryn, Cilla has little hope of seeing the next dawn, let alone her birthday.
 Yet lilies grow in the midst of mire.
 With the sudden eruption of civil war, a Keltish horseman, and a black stallion, Cilla is given a second chance. But the price of freedom may prove too heavy...

Cast of Characters-
dark brownish-black hair (contrary to the above picture), blue eyes
At this point, Cilla is kind of hard for me to summarize since I know her better post-big change, and it's that version of her that talks loudest in my mind. But here it goes...
Like Tyrel and Emy, she has grown up under the Master's hand, scrounging, stealing, and playing card tricks in dirty ale houses and inns up and down the country to appease his wont of money.
Cilla is streetsmart, light-fingered, and a good judge of people. She has a sharp tongue, and can be cruel with it. She cares for little besides Emy and her own skin. She doesn't get into trouble without having a quick way out of it.

red hair, hazel eyes, freckles
Tyrel and Cilla, while close, often butt heads. He often takes unnecessary risks. Quietly, Cilla resents that instead of acting like an older brother he dodges any responsibility toward the girls, and will even hide behind them if a scheme goes particularly badly. 
But he's not all bad. He's clever and charming, wickedly gifted at expunging coin from even the most tight-fisted widows. Think of a young, moralless Flynn Rider with lying eyes and you'll be close.

light blond hair, blue eyes
Cilla describes her as 'angelic'. She is not stupid or naive but has, despite her surroundings and experiences, maintained an air of innocence. She is the only religious one in the band, owing to a monk's kindness to her as an orphan before she was taken by the Master. Right away Cilla began looking after her, and continues to try and shelter her from the worst. But sometimes - in Cilla's opinion - Emy's virtue goes too far. Emy stubbornly refuses to steal, though the penalties of not bringing in enough money are high. Instead she does grotty jobs for strangers, washing or mending clothes, cleaning filthy inn rooms, and often being rewarded with less money than she was promised.
She has but one earthly good, and that is a small metal cross set with a red stone.

The Master
Here's a real pice of work; Skyrian's first villain. A palm reader once told him he would die at the hand of a child turning grown. (In Ithreal, the age at which one begins adulthood is 15.) rarely travels to the southern counties, were he is wanted for warcrimes committed during the Rebellion. Carries an old military dagger on a leather cord around his neck.
Still tweaking the finer points of his motivation.

The Keltish horseman, Aidan
(just imagine him a good 15 years older)
The Kells, where Aidan is from is a huge high plain stretching between the western mountains and the sea. If you need a mental image, you can think of it as Wales only... flatter, higher, and surrounded by mountains, and prime horse country. Technically it's all Ithreal, but if you were to ask a Kelt or a Northman, they would tell you to go boil your head (Northmen are more likely to identify with their clans). The Kelts are semi-nomadic, grazing their herds of horses far and wide over the plains. They have few 'cities'. By Ithreal's standards of stone, brick, and mortar, they're more wooden outposts and shantytowns, and ruins of castles whose names and purposes have long been forgotten.

The black stallion

The Northcountry, Port of Daryn
& its peoples
The Northcounrty is a rough place to live. It's cold, it's damp, and if you don't like fish or mutton, you're going to starve. They're a breed of their own up there, with volatile alliances and long memories.
 I'm using primarily pictures of vikings to give you an idea of these people, but please note: they are fishermen - not marauders.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it! I will continue to write updates as I steam along (albeit rather slowly), and can't wait to write up the next installment of this little blog series!
 If you would like to see more about Skyrian, here is the link to its pinboard.

disclaimer: all images via

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

introducing old friends with new faces

Very soon I am going to begin a short series of posts reintroducing everyone to the novels and series that I am writing and living in. They have all changes so dramatically since I last wrote here about them, I thought this would be a good way to 'reset'.
 I've planned just three posts for now (one for each book), but if interest is piqued, than I will happily churn out more. Once I get started talking about my stories I get excited all over again and captive audiences find it difficult to shut me up...
 Anyway, there will be summaries of the bits I've actually penned so far (I've forbade myself from leaping ahead to the up-coming but yet unwritten events, in hopes of creating more incentive to do so).
 There will also be character profiles, glimpses into their lands and cultures, perhaps a bit of writerly advice (learned from hard experience), and pins. Lots and lots and lots of pins. You will get to see what these characters and places look like in my mind. Oh Pinterest, what would I do without you?
These are the stories you will be hearing from:

Two Feathers
(historical fiction)


Are you excited? I am!

disclaimer: please note that i do not own any of these images, all were found via

Sunday, August 3, 2014

blazing saddles

 It's hot as blazes here, so what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than baking on the front porch with a bottle of foaming saddle soap in one hand and a polishing cloth in the other? (p.s. I love this Leather New Foam stuff - wax on, wax off & ta daa!)
I will be the first to admit that I rarely (read: never) clean my saddle, besides the occasional dust off after a particularly dusty arena. The truth is it's probably better for it if you don't deep clean unless a) you're showing  b) it's filthy, or  c) it got wet in the rain because that hag of a lead mare wouldn't come home.
 Conditioning on the other hand can be very important, if, for example, your saddle got scuffed up by a cinderblock. (please don't ask. I'm an ambitious multitasking idiot, is all. shame.)
I had to condition the raw leather that had been scuffed, and that was all I was planning to do, but... once I got started and saw that cow hide start to gleam in this mid summer sun, I kinda couldn't stop... 
Foaming leather conditioner for the win!
 Scratches and scuff marks all resealed & taken care of.
 My saddle horn once had a medallion where you see that patch of hardened glue atop it, but I never saw it. It was long gone before I ever sat behind it, and when I think about it, that uneven patch of yellow amber stuff annoys the heck out of me. I really should find a concho to go over top of it and save myself some unconscious frustration...
I ride a Barrel Racer style saddle, designed with a deep seat and small horn made for hangin' on and sticking with your horse in those tight turns. Or if you're me, sticking with your less-than mentally balanced critter in the presence of a rogue plastic bag.

all photos are straight out of camera (SOOC) taken by my Canon Rebel T3, 18 - 55mm lens, f4.5 - 8, CPR filter