The Prince of Fallen Kingdoms

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Dark Thoughts by David Seguin

“With maddening perseverance, he waves not a flag for allies nor brandishes weapons upon his enemies heads, but uses a mastery of magic – nay, a skill possessively shared only by the alchemist – dare say it’s quite possibly the prophetess – a surety unshakable, a knowledge un-divinable, as immoveable as a Gargoyle at rest (thicker of stone, I assure you), have you not already guessed?

“He believes it.  Aye, it’s quite true, that is all it really is.  He believes he will best them all, that he’s best of all, that he’ll never fall, and for that, he never has.

“‘Tis not merely the ego of a man, though, do not be fooled – takes more than self-preservation, lack of compassion and simple ambition would never do.  He’s a recipe for destruction, a precariously formulated design, haphazardly construed.  Would it come to mind clearly, had you ever seen him, the Gods know they never do.  He’s never the same for any of them, really.  Far too many tiny, shiny pieces making up that beast – the handsome demon, too cocky to feign morality, they say he’s one without integrity.

“But I have seen some of the tricky, selfish, utterly horrific things he’s prone to do, and so a confession, if I may; His smile is always genuine, if it’s the last thing you see.  Be he singing with drink, philandering, instigating – he breaks the soft and maims the tough, and I guarantee no grin will be sincerer, the day he obliterates this entire kingdom to dust!”

Just a bit of random thoughts pertaining to my beloved Prince, Devin di’Laiv.  I had to note here how happy I was to find the above picture, for Laivgon’s crest is the white dove!  Now… back to writing!  ~ A.C.M.

 

The One

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I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with some interesting people over at About.me.  I think it’s a wonderful place to connect with so many talented and creative minds; humanitarians and musicians, artists and authors, journalists and fashion designers, photographers and travelers, the list goes on and on.  I was recently asked a ‘deep-thinking’ kind of question by one of those individuals that got me wondering about “The One.”

No, not ‘the one’ true love.  Not ‘the one’ that got away or even ‘the one’ time of regret….

The One project we all have that seems to mean more to us than any other.  As a writer, I’m proud and protective of all of my works, I love each and every one of my characters; hero or villain.  But, I do have one story that goes deep.  I started writing it when I was only 18 years old and since then it has changed drastically, it has evolved, grown like a child to incorporate immeasurable veins, characters, back stories, sub-stories, agendas, plot twists… I can’t even describe how full this story is now and that it spans generations gives you somewhat of an idea.  Completed, it would be about six or seven full-length novels.

The thing is that I don’t feel confident in my ability to write it.  Yes, I just said that.  I know that it’s my baby, that it was spawned from the mysterious inner workings of my own questionable psyche, but the story itself (in my 100% biased opinion) is Epic Fantasy worthy.  Unfortunately, I’m hardly the Grand Master of that genre.  I write plotted porn for crying aloud – Oh, sorry, it’s called Erotica… and while I don’t have any insecurities regarding my ability to weave an epic tale, I know I’m a far cry from Tolkien, Zimmer-Bradley, Lackey or Brooks.

The question posed to me was “What would you chance, if you knew you would not fall?”

I would chance finishing that series and submitting it to a publisher, because I believe in the story.  I believe in the characters having a chance to be heard and loved and hated by people other than myself.  But I can fall.  I can fail and it’s not the publishing part that scares me.  I’m afraid of it getting published without being at its fullest potential.  I’m afraid of failing the story and those beloved characters with my inability to put to paper the words necessary to do them the proper justice.

Interview With a Vampesque Type Being

So, the Daily Prompters are asking us to commit plagiarism today and then call it flattery.  I’m not sure how blurred the lines are between imitation and copyright infringement, so I’m going to do a little “Borrowing.”  One of my favorite authors (as I’ve mentioned at least 1,000,000 times already), is the uncontested Queen of Fiction, Anne Rice, and the very first book I ever read of hers is the one I mangled in the title of my blog.  De (pour) rendre hommage, as we would say in one of Mrs. Rice’s favorite languages, I will now conduct my own interview with one of my vamp-like characters, Damascus.  Children under the age of 18, shoo…go play somewhere else.

A.C. Melody’s First Attempt At A Character Interview

AC: Welcome to my blog.  Today we have special guest, Damascus Redford, star of Blood & Brimstone and the art piece titled Dmitri.  Damascus, thank you for taking time out of your busy torturing, strip-club managing, whoring around schedule to be with us this evening.

DR: My pleasure. :grins slow and dark:

I can already feel my blood chilling…

AC: Let’s begin with clarifying exactly what kind of supernatural being you are.  I called you vamp-like for our readers’ sake, but could you elaborate on that?

DR: :grimaces: We’re not vampires, but we stopped arguing that point thousands of years ago.  We are – were – the Elementals of nature, until someone decided to trap us in physical form. Now we need regular replenishment, depending on how much energy we use.  For example, my element is Fire, and being the glutton that I am, I’ve been slowly feeding off of your body heat this entire time. 

AC: :clears throat: Huh, I hadn’t noticed.  So, then it’s safe to say that Water, Air and Earth Elementals all do the same thing?  Use humans as natural resources?

DR: Spilling secrets of an unknown supernatural species… sure, that should be safe.  You’re correct.  But, we’ve learned how to take a little from a lot, rather than explain body counts.   Walking through large crowds can be quite efficient. Owning the hottest erotic dance club on The Strip doesn’t hurt much either. 

AC: [mutters under breath: Certainly explains the strip pole mounted in your living room.]  You are actually bonded to a Water El.  How does that work, exactly?

DR: It doesn’t, and I wouldn’t call it a bond as much as a curse.  We were enemies, so The Winds Clan Council decreed that we would be eternally linked as punishment for our part in the Territory Wars.  Linked, as in, we only get the full experience when we’re together, if you know what I mean… Did you want to try the pole?

AC: Focus, Dmitri, geesh, one track mind much?  The Winds Clan Council.  Is that the same as the Air Elemental Clan?

DR: Hell, no.  They’re… well, ever read The Odyssey?

AC: Oh, those winds.

DR: Trust me.  You only ever want to meet Aeolus never… once, if never is unavoidable, and he’s the only one out of the lot with any kind of a conscience. 

Claims the Inquisitor with a St. Andrew’s Cross built into each of his homes…

AC: So if your bond – sorry, curse – with Berlin is permanent, yet your Elementals clash, how exactly do you go about continuing your man whoring ways?

DR: :Grinning again: Cleverly.  Berlin and I can share neutral lovers, like Air or Earth Els, but in order for us to have sex with one of our own clan – without the added help, yet all of the pleasure – we have to ‘loan’ some of our Elemental to the other, and take some in return.  Not exactly the most pleasant experience unless you’re into receiving excruciating pain.

AC: :blinks at Damascus with a bland expression, before continuing on: Why not just go for humans?  I mean there’s a lot of attractive humans out there.

DR: :Busts out laughing: I said we were avoiding body counts!  Do you know what an Elemental would do to a human at the height of passion?  I’d rather not have my favorite appendage inside of a frozen or jerky-fied corpse, thank you very much.  Besides, humans can’t handle the kind of pain I like to dish out – and that’s just the foreplay.  :wiggles eyebrows:

AC: Sooooooo… it sounds like what you and Berlin really need is like a hybrid.  Half Fire, Half Water-

DR: :Lurches forward in his seat: Don’t tease me, woman! You know that’s impossible!  A Fire and Water El can’t actually fuck each other.

AC: No, no… you’re right… I guess I’m just an author, with the meek little powers of ‘I can do whatever the hell I want,’ but what do I know?  I’m just a breakable, drainable human. 

DR: I love you.

AC: Awe…Suck up.   And that concludes our interview for tonight, dear readers.  Next time, I’ll try to invite someone a little more well rounded.

DR: At least I come by my issues naturally… Good night, everyone, Happy Whoring – and remember if you’re ever in Vegas… you’re fair game. 

AC: Nice. :shake my head:

DR: What?

AC: I think you need another visit with Aeolus. 

DR: Oh, now who’s the sadist?!

 

Chapter VII: Vestiges

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There is no need, and yet we began to walk.  It seems appropriate after such a heavy debate, to move while the mind tries to resettle.  Only, for each step that I take, the canvas around us fills with those echoes of my past lives, painted in bleeding watercolors that fade quickly in our wake.  Their voices as subtle as a light breeze.  I can’t sort out the way in which the compilation of new discoveries have shaken me.  And my companion’s choice words, seems too scientific an approach, too detached to believe that some ‘thing’ had simply imagined us into existence.

“It’s the root of every creation theory,” He remarks.  “Can gods be classified as human?  Every pantheon claims to have gods wielding the same kind of power, drawing on nothing more than their ability to create in order to bring whatever they desire or need into existence. What is so scientific about that?”

“I keep seeing the end of the movie, Men in Black, when the aliens are playing a round of Boss Out and our galaxy is nothing more than the space contained inside of a single marble.  Small.  Insignificant and completely at the mercy of a game that is thirty-percent skill and seventy-percent chance!  Expendable,” I try to explain, no longer crying with tears, but with the devastating fear of it being possible.  “It’s too horrible.”

My companion shakes his head.  “You’ve misunderstood it.”

Yet, he doesn’t elaborate.  At least, not then.

The emptiness before us takes on shapes, colors and a lot of depth.  The unexpected change causes us to stop, and our next expulsions of breath emerge as white puffs of steam in the freezing, night air that cannot touch us.  We’re on the shoulder of a wide, muddy road running horizontally across our path to disappear around a sharp corner to the left.  To the right, it vanishes in a switchback too distant to see.  Car and truck tracks.  Wheels, horses and possibly caribou have made the crisscrossing patterns of ruts where the slush ices over dank mud too wet to be fertile, too black to be just earth.

All behind us, a small village spreads far and wide to the main crossroads, where a wolf killed a boy once out of self-defense and another boy began to see the underlying hypocrisies of humanity.  But my eyes have remained fixated ahead.  I stare, like a child come face-to-face with the monster under her bed, into the intensely dark shadows of the ancient forest resting along the snowy embankment lining the opposite side of the road.  I can almost hear the faint, deep whispers of growls, see the lingering glint of reflective eyes.

Suddenly, I shake my head and take a step back, crunching snow, our surroundings becoming too real.  “We can’t be here!”

“You brought us here,” My companion points out soberly.  “The questions is, why?”

“I don’t know.  I don’t even know how it’s possible, but this isn’t a place for life!” I stammer, peering all around now.  “For contemplating miraculous creation!  This is the birthplace of fairytales so dark they would make Jacob and Wilhelm piss their pants.  This is her territory.”

“Baba yaga.”

“Don’t say her name!” I choke on the freezing air, my gaze whirling, almost expecting to see the nightmarish woman emerging from the dark silence.  “There’s a reason why she was never included to begin with.”

“There should be wolves,” My companion notes calmly, and for the first time I wonder if he is the product of any kind of heaven at all, or from some kind of hell, plucking the knowledge from my thoughts to taunt me with.

“They’re gone,” I whisper.  “The house is empty.  Even the Brownies have left.”

My thoughts provide the proof, transporting us into the depths of a thousand year old forest, before the abandoned house with its tempting charm.  The windows have gone dark, edged in frost.  No smoke rises from the chimney to beckon the innocent passerby.  It’s just an old French cottage stuck in the Slavic wilderness now, with no hope of escaping.

“You’re still looking for the path you feel is right,” My companion comments.  “Are you trying to get to where you gathered all of the gods together?”

“No,” I answer softly, thinking on that place with the kind of love that almost feels obligated to murder it, because of it, as if that’s some kind of mercy.  “I don’t know why we’re here.  This was one of my darkest creations.  These warped tales of myths, lore and histories better left alone.”

“The Red still waits inside.”

Turning, I use my hands to hide my eyes from these vestiges of things clinging too tightly to my bones.  These things from a life that had just ended, or had yet to end, or was still waiting to begin.  I knew nothing anymore.  I was beginning to wonder if I ever had.  Yet these things born from my own blood and brains only seemed to add weight to my companion’s theories.  That things created remain in existence until everything finally ends.

“Created with purpose,” And his words carry through a Russia that is not any actual Russia, but a lifeless country immortalized only because it had been so horribly painful, exhausting and terrifying to write.

“I never should have created this place.  Or the place the Red waits to take its next victim,” I state passionately.  “Maybe, we never should have been created, either.  Not to this end.  Not to be the incessant ghosts haunting our creator for all eternity.”

Afterglow

He-he… Okay, that was a naughty play on words, but sex isn’t the only thing that brings you that feeling of utter relaxation and mindless bliss.  Sometimes, it’s just the release of all the stress and frantic running that grinds us down during the holidays, making the day after feel so….ahhhhhhhh.  There’s no more rushing, the kids are content with their new gifts (for now), there’s no large feast to prepare and plenty of delicious leftovers to make you smile.  I’m personally looking forward to a piece of the Dutch Apple Pie I was too full to attempt yesterday.

I’m also feeling pretty darn good about how much I’ve accomplished over the Winter Break so far.  34 Character Bios!  That’s quite a bit, right?  I’ve completed all of the bios for the book I’m working on, and have moved on to a few other books.  What classifies a sub-character for other writers?  I found myself wondering this, as I was filling out the fifteenth sub bio sheet and shaking my head over how little information I had on that particular character.

To me, there are “filler” characters (the teen waitress at the sandwich shop during a scene who has one or two lines) and then there are Sub-Characters.  Filler characters are not getting a Bio Sheet, I’m not that meticulous – in fact, if you’ve been reading my posts this long, you already know that getting me to do any kind of character bio is like a Christmas miracle!  In my humble opinion (stop laughing) Sub-characters play a more significant role in the story that can range from mildly involved/somewhat present to the Main Character’s constant companion/friend/sidekick.  It’s no different than a movie with a full cast of sub-characters surrounding the Main people, and all of the “extras” roaming around to make everything feel more authentic.

Then there are the “absentee” characters.  What in the hell is that, you ask?  The absentee character is talked about, mentioned, suspected, given a characteristic rundown by all of the other characters in the book, yet will never make a personal appearance.  I don’t know who else might do this, or why it happens to me, but it does.  I have a very big “absentee” character in my book, The Zen Lounge, (because I had to cut out the only scene he was ever in just to make the word count limit for my publisher).  It wasn’t until I was doing these character bios, that I realized I had done it again with a much smaller absentee in the book I’m working on.  Is that common?  Is it viewed as good or bad?

Authors & Readers: What are your opinions regarding absentee characters?  What makes a character fall under your idea of Sub-characters vs Filler characters? Do you bother making bio sheets for characters outside of your main protagonist?

Structured Chaos

In an attempt to be more structured in my writing, or perhaps just a teensy bit more organized, I’m trying to create an all-in-one, generic form for Character Bios.  I’ve seen a few other author-created templates floating about online, but none of them meet the criteria I need.  Some are so in-depth, they even ask how the character would act in a given situation.  Pfft.  My hat’s off to any whose characters are that damn cooperative, because mine sure in the hell aren’t.

My characters grow, learn and evolve (usually) as the story moves along, so I have no idea how they’re going to react until they’re ‘in the moment’ – which, to me, feels more realistic.  I do know when I’ve forced them to react in a way unbefitting their personality, though.  In those cases, I definitely pick the scene apart and make the necessary adjustments.  So, here’s the problem: I have numerous supernatural creatures, each unique to their series (i.e. not all of my ‘vampires’ are the same) and therefore, the information collected for one, might not be enough or is too much for the other.

Here is what I’ve managed to plot out thus far:

Basic Information:

  • Series / Book
  • Full Name / Nickname
  • Age / Gender / Orientation (yes, it varies)
  • Hair / Eye / Height / Build
  • Relationship Status
  • Born / Resides
  • Job / Occupation / Title
  • Other Titles / Honorifics / Roles
  • Species / Race / Subspecies (if any)
  • Clan / Tribe / Brood / Coven / Pack
  • Affiliations (if any)
  • Lineage (if known)

Characteristics:

  • Emotional / Physical (i.e. scars or birthmarks) / Mental
  • Habits / Hobbies / Activities
  • Talents / Skills / Specialties
  • Natural Powers
  • Friends / Associates
  • Enemies
  • Important Background Info
  • Role and Future in book and/or series
  • Notes

It seems like a lot, but that list has already grown since I started.  I fear I might have to scrap the idea of one generic form and actually create different ones that better fit each series.  It’s bad enough I can’t seem to choose a genre! Ha – Ah, well, back to work.  I’m totally open to suggestions or advice from anyone who has it!

Inspired Questions

The Instigator asked me once if I’d ever written a character that scared the hell out of me.  Like, shaking, stomach-turning-because-you-didn’t-know-you-had-it-in-you-and-now-you’re-questioning-your-own-sanity kind of frightened.  That has to be one of the most interesting questions anyone’s ever asked me about my writing.  Can you guess what my answer was?  Ha!

Of course!  My guys might go out of their way not to be upstanding citizens and enjoy gallivanting around on the dark side all of the time, but even they have lines they won’t cross!  Warped and blurred as they may be – sometimes, they have enemies that are just plain evil.  It happens.  Is it easy to write?  Hell, no.  Writing from the head of the plot’s main enemy can be anywhere from draining, to downright nauseating.  So, why do it?  Because, readers are both highly intelligent and highly critical over details.  They are not, for one second, going to be fooled by or happy with a standoff where the (ahem) hero is far more intimidating than the villain – or at least more morally corrupt.

Since these matters are really subject to personal taste, however, I’m rather inspired to turn these questions onto all of the other writers and readers out there:

  • Have you ever created a character that made you scared, sick, or unsure of your own sanity?
  • Who was the most frightening character you’ve ever read in a fictional book?
  • Outside of characters, have you ever written or read about a fictional scenario/place that bordered on excessive disgust and made you not even want to finish reading or writing the story?

And lastly….

  • Either as a writer or reader, do you think that seriously depraved, frightening villains make stories better?

Thanks in advance to all who take time to answer these, who may find them even fun to answer, or at least a tad bit inspiring for their own pondering.  I can’t wait to see what you all have to say!