In which Kaine searches for peanut butter.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on the writing of Chosen for approximately all of recorded time – or, more accurately, fifteen or sixteen years, since I was a Dragonlance-obsessed teenager longing desperately to write my own fantasy opus. The story has gone through dozens of different incarnations, though always with Nicholas and Kaine (and their relationship, be it BFF or something more) at the heart of it.

This morning, friends, I came across a version of Chosen that I would very much like to share, as it has given me great amusement on this otherwise irritating morning.

I call it: Kaine Searches For Peanut Butter

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Okay, not really. But that’s the general gist of this two-page start to a story that never got off the ground. Rather than setting the story in an alternate fantasy world, Past Me decided to play around with the idea of Nicholas and Kaine living in the modern world. More specifically, in Chicago.

Here is the result:

Continue reading

In which my curse takes the weekend off.

First, some news: I’ve officially finished the second draft of Chosen!

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The Scene That Wouldn’t End finally gave in and ended today, and after that, it was a simple matter of making a few changes to the last chapter and then BAM, I had myself a finished draft. Only took fifteen years, to-ho-ho.

Now, of course, we enter into the editing phase, wherein I read through the book eight or nine thousand times making little edits (and sometimes big, annoying edits) in an attempt to make it Not Awful.

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Which should be fun.

Actual, totally real photograph of the vicious bee-monster that attacked me on Labor Day.

In non-writing-related news, you’ll be relieved to know that I have not yet perished from my bee-related wound, and in fact said wound is healing nicely (though still itches like the itchiest of itchy things).

The bee sting, unfortunately, was only the beginning of what I’ve been calling The Curse of September, as something terrible has befallen me every single day of September thus far.

Today, September 6th, has been suspiciously free of misfortune and/or bee attacks, making me wonder if (a) the curse has finally lifted, (b) the curse will strike when I least expect it, possibly at 11:59 PM, or (c) the curse has decided to take the weekends off so as not to get overworked.

More information on this as it becomes available.

As I head off to bed with hopes that no jet engines crash, Donnie Darko style, into my bedroom, I leave you with this gif of The Almost Hug from Merlin, because it never ceases to entertain me. And in my delicate, post-bee-trauma state, I need desperately to be entertained.

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/still blaming it on the bee venom

The bees, man. The freakin’ bees.

Shortly after my previous entry, the weather cleared up as if by magic – due largely, I’m sure, to my proclamation that it was going to rain all day. So, after spending only half the day writing (rather than all day, as per my original rainy day plan), I ventured out into the world to run some errands like a responsible adult.

And a bee stung me.

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A few important facts:

1. The last time I got stung by a bee, I was 2 years old, and thus don’t retain much memory of it aside from the fact that walking through a field of flowers barefoot was apparently a bad idea.

2. I did nothing to provoke the bee’s vicious Labor Day assault except dare to walk past it while carrying a bag of frozen blueberries.

3. The day prior to The Stinging (as it shall henceforth be known), I was musing on how rare it is that bees attack humans for no apparent reason whatsoever, and how I thus have no reason to be afraid of them when they happen to fly by.

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Yeah. I really should know by now that the universe loves some good old-fashioned ironic foreshadowing.

Regarding the details of the incident:

The bee cleverly centered its attack on my foot, sensing with its keen bee instincts that I was still six blocks from home and would thus be unable to reach safety when my foot was throbbing like, to use the most accurate and technical of medical language, a motherfucker.

Nevertheless, I swatted away my bee assailant and hobbled towards home as quickly as I could, thoughts of potential bee sting allergies and swelling airways dancing cheerily through my head. I decided to swing by the Walgreens pharmacy to ask what they recommended for bee stings (and/or imminent death by airway swelling), but arrived just five minutes after they closed up for the evening, because of course I did.

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I had some vague memory of my grandmother putting baking soda on a bee sting once, so I grabbed some from the baking goods aisle and made my limping, swearing-under-my-breath way up to the cash register, where the cashier gave me a bright smile and asked how I was doing.

I was sweaty and in pain, my blueberries were thawing, my airways may or may not have been about to swell shut, and my foot looked like the Eye of Sauron. I replied in the only way I could: “Fine.”

Finally, I was able to take my baking soda and head back to my apartment, where I spent the rest of the evening trying a variety of home remedy treatments and, in an attempt to take my mind off the inevitable death by bee sting allergy that was sure to occur, watching Spongebob episodes on YouTube.

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We all cope in our own ways.

I must’ve done something right with my multitude of remedies, in any case, because when I woke up this morning, the swelling and redness had mostly disappeared, leaving behind nothing but a dull pain and continuous, maddening itch.

So, in conclusion:

I curse that bee. I curse his bee mother, his bee father, and his little bee sister who’s still in bee diapers. I curse his bee ancestors and his bee friends and his bee geometry teacher, but most of all, I curse the fact that I left my house at all yesterday. That’s the true moral of the story, I feel.

STAY AT HOME. There are bees out there.

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/still delirious from bee venom

Stars. Can’t do it. Not today.

Labor Day has arrived, and as it’s rainy and miserable outside, I can’t possibly go out and do all the many dull and important errands I was planning to do today.

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So, yes, woe of woes, horror of horrors, I guess I have no choice but to just stay inside and write all day.

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I’ve hit a slight snag, however, in that I’m sleep-deprived and having trouble English-ing, so I’ve remedied that in the only way I can think of.

With cake.

This will result in a glorious sugar high that should last for approximately fifteen minutes, after which I’ll crash down to earth and spend the rest of the day in a haze of sugar withdrawal and regret.

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So, yeah, this should be a productive day.

In other news, the gods of art have gifted me with yet another lovely piece of Chosen artwork!

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This sketch, done by my very talented writer/artist friend Emily, is about as perfect an artistic rendering of Silas as I can imagine being done. She’s perfectly captured Silas’ bored rich girl attitude, and even got her hair and school uniform right. (When you spend your off hours terrorizing and attacking young magic users, it’s so important to have a manageable hairstyle. Emily understands this.)

Really, I’m so grateful to the folks who have put their artistic talents to the task of drawing my characters – not only has it brought me a lot of joy, but it’s also gotten me excited about this book again, which is a pretty spiffy place to be as an author.

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So, with the temporary power of cake, I’ll dive back into the writing/editing of Chosen and hopefully get The Scene That Doesn’t Want To End finished today. After which, all I’ll have to do is clean up some things in the last chapter, and then I’ll be done. DONE!

Until the next round of edits and the realization that there are several thousand things I need to change.

But for now, HUZZAH!

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[More on Chosen here. More on having your art featured on this blog here. And here’s Mark Hamill being awesome with his Jedi Beard here. <–One of these things is not like the others, but you should still click on it.]