A Wild Extract Appears (Again)!

Yes, a little under four years later, and another wild extract appears.

This time, it’s an extract from The Advent of Shadows, which is the sequel to my debut novel. 

I’m doing my best to make as much progress on it as I can, and to any and all who have and will read the first entry in the series, thank you very much. I promise you the sequel will blow that one out of the water though. At least, I certainly think it will.

I won’t say much more, but naturally, there will be spoilers for the first book in this chapter. So if you haven’t read the first book, and you’re the type who hates spoilers, I highly recommend you don’t read this. 

For those of you who are curious about what is in store for you, I already posted the synopsis for the sequel earlier, and below is the entirety of chapter three.

Yes, three.

I put the first chapter at the end of book one as a preview for this book. And for readers of the first book, I think chapter three will be a good tease, as it shows my first time writing from the perspective of a character who never got any POV chapters in book one. Also, chapter two would put out too much plot information that I think would be better experienced in the actual book, rather than months before.

I also have some other book two stuff I plan on posting today, but I’ll leave that for later. 

Till then, enjoy.


A PREVIEW OF THE ADVENT OF SHADOWS
(Everything below is subject to change)

Useful

When she was first ordered to be part of this assignment, Meilin hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect. Being commanded by a Senior to join an operation to the mainland was not something she expected to happen anytime soon, and perhaps if not for her decent display of knifework, it may have not ever happened.

But it did, and so here she was.

Meilin bopped across the bridge that led into the large fortress where the squads headed by Senior Rin had just fought.

She gazed around at the landscape. It was not exactly like she had imagined. Actually, it was nothing like she imagined. Her studies led her to believe the mainland was this lush land full of an abundance of life, albeit the Lenria side of her studies ensured to emphasize how this all masked the darker and more broken side of life on these lands. Yet these fields were all brown and dull-looking.

Regardless, Meilin had yet to meet any humans, and so until then she’d reserve full judgment. But there was so much to take in. So much going on every which way she looked. Even the small town that was beside this fortress was remarkable to her.

The way the buildings were all a similar design, all so neatly placed beside one another, and how the road snaked through, outlining a path from the modest town to the grand fortress.

But what really got to her, was the fact this was nothing next to everything else that was out there.

A human city must be a mad sight, is what she thought. Definitely got to see one of those soon!

“Meilin!”

Meilin jumped. She looked up ahead to see a face not unlike her own staring back at her.

“Hurry up,” Meihui snapped. “I don’t have all day to wait on you.” She stood in the massive doorway that led inside the fort, arms folded, and brows dipped.

“Sorry!” Meilin said before hurrying over.

As she entered the fort with her twin, she took in the large walls and the posh-looking furniture that was in some of the rooms. She would have thought that a fortress would have been much plainer, just a lot of stone and steel or something like that.

As she followed Meihui through the Fort, she realized she hadn’t the slightest idea where she was going. So, she asked.

“Where are we going, sis?” She spoke the words with enthusiasm.

Meihui glared at her. “Do not talk so loud. It’s not necessary.” She led Meilin through a door and onto an unnervingly dark stairwell. “The only reason you are even here is because you wouldn’t shut up about it. So, the least you can do is shut up now.”

Meilin smirked, holding back the hurt she all too deeply felt. This was how her relationship with Meihui had always been. Despite the fact they were twins, Meihui acted as though she were above Meilin, and it often appeared as if she was embarrassed by the fact they were related, especially in such a blatant manner.

Twin Lenria were a very rare occurrence, but there was no significance to their existence. There was only one other pair of twins in the Order presently, and they were much older than Meilin and Meihui. Historically, there had only been one other pair of Lenrian twins, and they both perished in the civil war.

As such rarities, Meilin often felt it was only right they looked out for each other and enjoy one another’s company as proper blood relatives. Meihui on the other hand, seemed to think such a notion was nonsense. She didn’t view herself as a twin. To her, it wasn’t Meihui & Meilin, it was just Meihui.

Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, Meilin entered what appeared to be a dungeon. It might have been more intimidating if not for all lamps and Lenria present in the room.

High-Archivists, High-Paladins and even some High-Artisans were scouring the space as though investigating something. A couple of them were scrutinizing sheets of paper, whilst others were discussing the structure or observing the massive map on the wall. Two women were inspecting some kind of hole that was in one of the cell walls.

One grey-haired lady hunched over the table glanced up as Meilin and Meihui entered. Her shoulder-length locks rested nicely on her white tunic. For whatever reason, she was not wearing her navy robe, but her brands were on display just as well, and from those Meilin identified her as one of Senior rank, specifically a Senior-Archivist.

“High-Archivist Meihui,” she addressed, raising her right three fingers in salute.

The twins saluted back before the Senior eyed Meilin.

“Is this a family outing?” asked the Senior.

Meilin made a playful face. “Aren’t we all family, Senior?”

“Be quiet,” Meihui murmured.

The Senior didn’t give a proper smile, but there was a little tug of something at the corner of her lips. Meilin was satisfied with that.

“She is merely here to observe, Senior,” Meihui explained.

The Senior seemed to be looking at Meilin’s brands. “She is a Paladin. Should a High-Paladin not be accompanying her?”

“Naturally, Senior. I just–”

“You have a habit of taking things into your own hands, High-Archivist.” The Senior’s tone was harsher now, her eyes a tad more piercing. “Only those of High and Senior ranks are permitted to be down here. Bringing one of your lesser experienced sulira with you was not only foolhardy, but a blatant disregard for proper protocol.”

“Forgive me, Senior. I can escort her back upstairs.”

“No. You have wasted enough time. Paladin, you may see yourself out.”

Meilin looked at Meihui, but of course, Meihui just glared at her, as if it were Meilin’s fault that she was down here. It partially was but it was also partially Meihui’s fault for allowing it.

It’s not like I knew I wasn’t allowed down here.

Meilin just saluted the Senior and her twin before heading back upstairs.

She returned outside and just sat on the grass, uncertain of what exactly she was supposed to be doing. She only wanted to go with Meihui because she was bored, and because she was being nosy. She had a chance to go inside the fort and have a peek around, of course she was going to take it!

Bunch of good that did her. She still ended up being left out in the cold, literally.

Surely there was a purpose for her in all of this. She was friends with the Luxia, the bringer of light and all that good stuff. How was it that still nobody treated her special in some way? In all honestly, nobody really treated anyone particularly special in the Order, that was how the culture was. Still, it would be nice if for once she was a bit more acknowledged.

She never really put much thought into it, but Auria only managed to get down to the mainland because Meilin helped her. Well, it was Meihui’s plan, but Meihui only gave them that plan because Meilin had pleaded for her help to rescue Marria.

But Marria died anyway.

If she hadn’t given Auria that way to the mainland, perhaps that would have never happened. Perhaps Marria would still be living. But maybe then the Umbrisa would still be living too.

Meilin sighed loudly, resting her head on her hand as she watched the setting sun. Night would soon come. Night on the mainland. She’d never seen that before. Maybe it would cheer her up a little. She hoped so.

Meilin just watched the other Lenria who were busy doing things around the outside of the fort and in the nearby town. She saw a few flying back and forth, carrying things to and from the fortress.

She kept her eye on the large doorway to the fort, waiting for Meihui to come back out.

But she could only stave off the boredom for so long. Once she no longer could, she began walking around.

She headed into the little town, looking around for Auria, or even Parax or Senior Rin. But she didn’t see them. She reckoned it would be nice to have some friends to talk to right now, so upon seeing one girl she recognized carrying a bucket of water, Meilin approached her.

The girl was only a Varlet, but Meilin knew her face, and felt comfortable talking to her. She knew the bucket of water was likely to wash the clothes of a Lenria or two, and she remembered how annoying that task was, and how further annoying it was when someone interrupted you when doing it.

“Erm,” she started. “Sorry to bother you. I know you’re busy. I was just wondering if you knew where Auria is?”

The girl frowned. “She’s on the Isles,” she said, as if it were obvious. “She’s sick or something, I heard.”

“Sick?” Meilin repeated with a frown of her own. “How could she be sick? You sure about that?”

The Varlet shrugged. “Just what I heard.”

Meilin could see the girl urgently wanted to press on. “Alright. Well, thanks anyway.”

The girl just nodded and waddled off, forgetting to salute her superior. Or perhaps it was just because both her hands were full. Still, Meilin couldn’t shake the feeling it was a tad rude of the child.

She made her way back near the bridge to the fort. She was certain she was meant to be doing something right now. Everyone else was. Even that varlet. Yet here she was, doing absolutely nothing.

Usually that would be a good thing, a great thing even. But right now, it just made her feel useless.

Just then, she noticed Meihui coming out of the fort and heading towards her.

“Well, what happened?” she asked her. “Anything interesting?”

“What did the Luxia tell you of the dark mirror she found in the mountains?”

Meilin was thrown off by the sudden query. “Err… I-I don’t really remember.”

Meihui sighed. “So useless.”

The words were like a kick to Meilin’s heart, but she firmed it. “Well… I remember a little bit about it.”

Meihui narrowed her eyes. “A little bit being what?”

“How she destroyed it.”

“Everyone knows that.”

“Well… also what she said it felt like. And how the Umbrisa came walking out of it, and that when she destroyed it, the Umbrisa had not been destroyed with it.”

Meihui perked up. “Destroyed with it? What do you mean?”

“I don’t really know. I just know she said that.”

Meihui seemed to be in thought. “I think there is another one of those mirrors. Senior Odile thinks the same.”

Senior Odile? Is that who that woman was?

“If that is true,” Meihui continued. “That will most likely be an issue. I just heard that Auria is in the infirmary back on the Isles and Parax is with her. Whatever is going on with her may also be a problem. So, you’re the only person close enough to her who is nearby. They could simply question Auria, but Senior Odile said it would be best not to do so for the moment, and since I know you may know something, I suggested we simply get your input until it is a suitable time to get the Auria’s.”

Meilin rose her brows. “Wait, so you want me to help?”

“I have told Senior Odile that we need more information,” Meihui explained. “You may have some that nobody else present possesses. That is all.”

Meilin made a smug face. “So… you want me to help?”

Meihui glared at her for a moment before rolling her eyes. Then, with an audible groan, she walked away and back towards the inside of the fort.

Meilin grinned.

Finally, she had something to do. Something only she could help out with. Maybe now she might actually be useful in some way, and maybe she would actually be recognized for it.

The Aspiring Goddess

A/N:

I cannot tell you anything about this short story, except this: it’s related to my flagship series. Perhaps one day you’ll appreciate it in a new way, perhaps not. Either way, you should be able to appreciate it on it’s own.


“If I were a Goddess,” Child One begins, “I would make everyone think like me.”

Child Two laughs at this. “Like you?” she teases. “That would be boring. Nobody would ever smile.” Her legs dangle off the edge of the cliff, she swings them back and forth and pays no mind to the waves that come crashing beneath them.

Child One never smiles because there is nothing to smile at. Smiling is illogical. “That is why I must become a Goddess,” she says. “Because people allow senseless things like boredom to get in the way of what you all claim to desire.”

“And what do we claim to desire then?” Child Two challenges.

Child One spares no second with her response. “World peace. You all say you want it, but you are not willing to give up the only thing that stops you from getting it. Illogical.”

Child Two stops swinging her legs, cocks her head, and frowns. “We should give up all our emotions if we want peace?” She shakes her head. “That does not make sense.”

“It makes perfect sense,” Child One says speedily. “You, like all others, are too emotional, too illogical, too human, to understand. You think loving someone to the point of wanting to sacrifice yourself is logical? You think hating someone based on ignorance, rather than personal experience, is logical?”

“Hold on,” Child Two makes a forestalling gesture. “Who said ignorance is logical?”

“You all live it,” Child One says unfeelingly. “Maybe you have not yet. But the moment your family is in danger, the moment you are in danger, you will cease to care for anything or anybody beyond your inner circle… if even them. Your emotions will take control, and even if others can help you, even if the situation is not as dire as you believe, you will not care. You will shut all others out, just because of your fear. Fear bred from ignorance.”

The children sit in silence as time turns for many moments. Child One inspects the sky. A veil of red-velvet was beginning to be laid overhead by the Goddess’ hands. Child One knew that would soon be her hands, and soon, she would determine the colour of the sky.

Finally, Child Two spoke again. “How will we ever appreciate a peaceful world without emotions like happiness and joy? And how do you even plan on becoming a Goddess anyway?”

Child One looked out over the sunset-struck sea. “You do not need to appreciate peace,” she began. “You need only live it. To your second question: I will kill Her. I will kill the Goddess, and take everything from her.”

Child Two laughs again.

“What?” Child One asks.

“Didn’t you notice?” Child Two’s smirk becomes a grin. “You’re smiling.”

Child One feels her face, feeling the curve of her lips, the curve that forms smiles. “Yes,” she says, feeling no cheer or surprise. “I am.”


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Listen To Me Pitching To Literary Agents!

After all those weeks of promising and delays, it’s finally done. I swear, writing captions for your video is a damn chore, especially when it’s difficult to sometimes hear what’s being said and there’s a lot of false starts and stuttering.

I realise that I kind of discussed different aspects of the story that I wanted feedback on, with each of the agents. So, it’s not a rehearsed pitch being said three times. I wouldn’t say this is the ideal way of pitching, but honestly, it wasn’t in the most ideal of conditions. My ideal condition would just be more time.

 

I’m sure this goes for most people. But, trying to explain a story that is as complex as mine is really difficult. One of the most rewarding aspects of this however, was that I can always listen back to it and hear where I was messing up. The parts that make me cringe, are the same parts that I need to pay the closest attention to, so that in the future, I can present them in a more polished manner (or not at all).

Were the agents people that I would give my book to? No, because they don’t handle my genre. I knew that. That’s also a reason why I was happy to go. Initially it annoyed me, but I realised the advantage in it. I could practise my pitching in an arena where there was no real losing.
I already knew no deal could arise from this, so I went in only expecting to learn how well my pitching skills were (by having this audio) and also learning how professionals within the industry would respond to it.
At the end of it all, I’m glad to have had the chance to do this and for FREE at that. It was a good experience.
I think my intro at the start says enough about the video, so I won’t say much else.
If you have any questions feel free to ask them!

 


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Setting Goals & Timeframes

The ninth episode of my podcast it out!

In it, I explain how understanding yourself, what goals you have
and the timeframes you have to reach them, can be the determining factor in whether or not you manage to finish your projects.

One thing I forgot to mention, is that if you don’t meet your timeframes, that’s okay. You don’t have to cry about it, you can just set a new one, and aspire to meet that one instead. Hopefully, the original timeframe allowed you to get a decent amount of work done though.

If this sounds interesting, then you should listen to the full episode!

Enjoy!


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Anime List: https://hummingbird.me/users/NGN (where I get a fair amount of my inspiration)

Emotive Writing/The Rule of Cool

Emotion is important, perhaps even more important than logic. In this episode, I delve into how emotion in your writing is an understated aspect of what creates memorable stories.

What I realised by the end of this episode, is that this topic is larger for me than I initially realised. I never got to speak about how much connection factors into emotion, but I believe the ‘Rule of Cool’ was handled rather well. But I’d love to really talk about just exactly how significant I believe emotive writing to be.

Perhaps I’ll do another part to this episode, and revisit it at a later date. I just want you to be aware that this episode doesn’t contain everything I have to say about the topic.

Hopefully it is still helpful for you despite all that.

Enjoy!


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Anime List: https://hummingbird.me/users/NGN (where I get a fair amount of my inspiration)

The Light Within Tears – Prologue

A/N: This is the prologue to the novel I’ve been working on. The revision for the full story will be done soon, and then it will be in BETA, meaning anyone that wants to read it, can. It’s a short thing, as I believe the best prologues often are. I will post again to remind everyone when the book is available for beta readers. Until then, enjoy this.

Please let me know what you think of it through whatever channels you wish.

And yes, I’m aware I’ve not been posting for two weeks. But don’t worry, there’s a lot of content on the way!

Enjoy! 


Prologue
The Start of The End

“We never foresaw this. We never meant for this to happen. Especially not her. Of all people… especially not her.”

~ Unknown

“This is not your story,” the talking book says to me.

I look at the golden face embossed into its leathery-black cover. Its mouth remains nothing more than a thin line as it speaks.

“I know that,” I say sharply. “But I want to know what happened.”

I’m sitting in a field of brown within a place ruled by darkness. Dark creatures roam the land, some are as small as me, others are much, much larger. Big or small, they don’t bother me. There are thousands of these creatures, but there are no people. All the towns and cities I’ve seen are empty, dirty, dark, broken.

I frown as I glare down at the book. It’s laying on the earthy ground, somehow watching me with its ever-closed eyes.

“You know everything,” I tell it. It likes being flattered, being told how smart it is. “You say you know everything about the past. So, tell me then. Tell me about the past.”

“Indeed, I do know of the past,” the book proudly affirms in its matronly voice. I stifle a smirk; I know the thing too well. “And it is your right to know, Mistress. But to know how the present came to be, I must tell you about the journey of the ones instrumental in its creation. The False Herald, The Misguided Prodigy, and The Aspiring Goddess. I shall tell you the story in three installments, each a year apart.”

“What?” I exclaim. “Why do I have to wait three years to know? I’ll be fifteen by the time I’ve heard the whole story! What’s the point in that?”

“There are some things, Mistress, some stories, that must be experienced in their entirety. Sometimes, that means more than simply knowing the story itself. Sometimes, we must take time out to consider, to understand, to wonder.”

“And…” I narrow my eyes at the damned tome. “Why would I want to do that?”

“Because whilst this is not your story, it is one you ought to know, one you deserve to know, and if you dare to venture into the world beyond the darkness, then it is one you must know.”

“Then tell me it all now!” I demand. “Tell me so I can get out of this cursed place!”

“No, Mistress.”

“No?”

“No. There are many things you may demand of me, but assisting in your death is not one of them. This world hates you. The force that governs it hates you. To face it appropriately you must first be prepared. I shall inform you of the power of your adversaries and teach you about your own. I shall instruct you on how to use me, and when to use me. I shall tell you the story of the past so you may understand the present, and know how to confront the future. And then, and only then, shall you be ready.”

I consider the book’s words. They sound clever and wise, but this blasted book always sounds clever and wise. “And it will take three years?”

“Yes.”

“Fine,” I sigh. “It’s not like I’ve got much better things to do.”

“I must forewarn you, Mistress,” the book says solemnly. “This is a story of tragedy. Indeed, there will be light and joy. Indeed, you may grow attached to these people and their stories. Indeed, you may yearn to return to such times when the sky was a calm blue. But remember, Mistress, this story’s end has been set, and you now live the aftermath of it.”

“I know,” I say, suddenly afraid. Why am I afraid? Like the book says, I know the ending. But then I realise that I don’t. I don’t know the ending, I just know what the world looks like after it. I don’t know why the sky is red, why it screams thunder and spits acid. Or why there are dark creatures everywhere and abandoned cities. But the book tells me I cannot leave here until I do know. I want to see the world outside of this darkness. If knowing this can grant me that, then I am willing to know it all, however long it must take.

So, to the book I say, “Tell me.”

And to me, the book says, “Very well, Mistress. I shall tell you the first story, the story of the light within tears. It begins as many stories do, with a chosen youth with a grand, undeniable Fate. And this youth is a girl of white hair and blue eyes.”


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Science-Fantasy

I have been waiting a while to talk about this! Finally, in episode 7 of the From Zero Podcast, I do. I suppose, in the context of my YouTube channel and content, it’s not been that long. But for me personally, I have wanted to talk about this for quite some time.

Science-fantasy is a genre I have a lot of passion and love for. It’s stupidly underappreciated, and I have abolsutely no idea why. People don’t make stories in science-fantasy settings very often, and I find it mind-boggling.

In this episode, I give my own definition of science-fantasy, as I understand it, and how I feel such a setting can be best created.

If you know of any science-fantasy stories, be sure to recommend them to me. BUT, listen to the whole podcast before you do. You may find my idea of science-fantasy is not exactly the same as yours.

Enjoy!


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Realism in Fantasy Stories

The podcast originally released as normal, but the accompanying blog post somehow… was not.

For whatever reason, this post was published with no text whatsoever. Even though I’m very sure I spent about 10 minutes typing the whole bloody thing out!

Whatever.

Basically, this is the sixth episode of my podcast. I wanted to discuss the matter of ‘realism’ in fantasy stories. I feel like sometimes we get ‘too caught up in the fantasy’ and essentially put some of the realistic elements on the back-burner.

I talk in the video about why this can sometimes happen, why it’s a bit of a problem, and how to resolve it.

Take a listen!


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Three Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

The most typical of all writing topics.

I have wanted to make some shorter videos on various typical topics that writer’s often talk about. Finally, after weeks of putting it off, I did.

In these videos, I will be give my views on these subjects, whilst providing some insight into what has helped me with them in the past.

This is the crucial part of these videos: they’re purely from my own experience. No videos on writing topics that I have never had to deal with. Those topics will be done in separate videos that I will title as ‘Musings’. But more on that when the time comes.

I usually have an odd way of thinking about things, but the first two bits of advice are rather standard. The third isn’t that weird, but it’s something you may have not heard as advice before, and it’s rather useful.

Hope you enjoy the video!


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Anime-Inspired Stories

The fifth episode of the From Zero Podcast has arrived!

This is one of the topics that led to me making this podcast to begin with. One thing I knew would set the podcast apart from others, was my eagerness to talk about ideas and topics that nearly nobody speaks on.

There seems to be a trend among young writers to draw inspiration from anime, to create what is being dubbed by some as ‘anime-inspired stories’.

Anime is something I have rarely heard authors bring up in regards to writing, and in the podcast I reference some of the few times I have heard it.

I also give my thoughts on this peculiar subgenre of storytelling, and how I think it can be done well.

If you’re someone who loves anime and writing, or maybe just one of those things, why not take a listen? And trust me, you can expect more content on this theme in the future.

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/from-zero-podcast/id1204112738?mt=2