Friday, August 23, 2013

The Willow Playlist

Go fill your ears with the auditory equivalent of Willow. This is a small, condensed version of what I listened to while writing it. Be glad it's not the massive version (though I could totally set you up with that if you wanted).
Check it out here!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Soldier Who Did Not Kill

He was a typical soldier, he supposed. Well, anyone would suppose such a thing, really. He went in right out of school, with his mother tutting nervously while his father sat back proudly. He went to training and he learned everything he was meant to, and perhaps a bit more than he’d thought he would. He was, for the first time in a long time, exhausted to the point where happiness didn’t even matter.
He did everything a training soldier was meant to do, and he did it well. He learned so much, so quickly. He and his newfound brothers learned to shoot guns, clean guns, maintain guns. They learned how to kill.
It wasn’t until his unit was deployed that anyone learned how to die.
It was sand and heat and far too much sun sparkling on the sand and rippling in the heat. So much, always, all the time. It was constant and horrible and eventually, it was so, so red. Seeping into sand and boots and cracks in hands. It was everywhere. The coppery hotness under his tongue was everything.
Sprays of red stars and grey matter and shattered hearts shone in the sun like nebulas spinning together and screaming apart. The soft rush of air before a hot bullet slipped through the air was so quiet, but hideously, viciously loud in the hush before someone fell.
It was the most heinously unfair thing, he thought, that he had been taught so many things and that he hadn’t ever properly known what death was until he saw it in the blazing deserts and sand and red red red glitter of life forcibly expelled.
His finger was always on the trigger, as any good soldier’s would be, but he was something strange and wonderful and terrible.
He was the soldier who would not kill.
Never did a bullet explode from the muzzle of his gun. Never did he drive existence out of the body of, God, anyone, friend or foe.
And then.
And then.
Heat and pain and his accidental brothers yelling and he was being lifted off the ground on which he had collapsed. It felt like the end. It felt like the last few words of the novel of his life.
It felt like void.
He woke up two days later, and went home a month after that. He’d just been shot in the leg, and was, ultimately, fine. He limped for a while, but eventually, he was able to go back to work. He was never put on the front lines again, but he was still that strange and wonderful and terrible thing.

Over thirty years at that job, and he was still, always and forever, the soldier who did not kill.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

For a Change, We Dance

So I kind of thought I'd start posting little snippets from The Willow Queen, because I'd like to be presented with a very good reason as to why I shouldn't.
That's right, you totally can't.
All that aside, here are a few paragraphs from Chapter Five. I hope you enjoy!

Life drags on, no matter how awful everything gets. It keeps going, on and on, constant and full and so thick and heavy that I can hardly breathe. But I am the same. I am constant and ongoing. I keep my ladies distracted, especially if they have sweethearts in the army. I help Charlotte prepare for her wedding. I strategize with Mel and Beaufort. I slowly read my way through the library.
When the day comes, things feel almost bright. Most of the people in the church are either female, children, too old for the military, or simply uninterested in war games. There are so few people here. Yet every single face wears a smile. The music makes us thrive. Charlotte and Alec are bursting with light.
For a change, we dance. Just like the coronation, we dance defiantly. In the wake of horror and war and death, we dance.
I fall asleep feeling slightly uneasy, full to the brim with an uncertain mixture of utter joy and inexpressible dread. The dread is such a constant thing that I’ve almost grown accustomed to it. I’m unused to happiness. How strange. It’s been three months and already happiness feels unfamiliar. This is what war does. It drains you of everything good and leaves you empty. Anything that fills you up again feels strange and, I don’t know, wrong. It ruins and scars you.
Mel hugs me in his sleep, and suddenly, I know that I’m wrong. The war may wound me, but its damage will not be permanent. As long as I have this little moment, and moments like it, I know that I’ll survive.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Let Me Just Say

While summaries will be the death of me and synopses merely an unfortunate bout of the flu, query letters might just resurrect me for the sake of killing me again.
And to think, people do this with only hope spurring them on.