vg_ford: (Default)
( Nov. 13th, 2012 11:53 pm)

I am still doing NaNo, and I’m going to be doing daily updates from now on.  Today, my total stands at 8363 words – I’m about 14k behind, but I’m trying to catch up.  I refuse to give up!

I also received my edits for Last Rites this past weekend, so I have to start working on those.  But I really, really need to get my NaNo done, as it’s the Advent Story I’m going to begin posting on December 1st.  Yes, Schrodinger and Molly are coming back for another season!

Also, I’ve been asked about their first adventure.  I think I will be collecting the first Advent Story into ebook form (and possibly offering it on Lulu as well, for those who want a hard copy) and putting it up for sale for a small amount.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to get it done for December 1st, but I’ll try to have it available before Christmas.

So many things are happening right now.  I’m overwhelmed, and excited, and exhausted.  It’s a great time.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

It's over. After almost 7 years (I started NYFH in October of 2004), the Apocalypse Cycle is done. Nikki's story is over.

Starting Count: 106465
Ending Count: 112193
Net Gain: +5728
Current Word MTD count: 13585

Starting line:

“He was gone too long! Any time he left, I was alone!” Madness advanced on the slim girl, towering over her. Nikki stood, her chest heaving, trying to catch her breath and plan her next move.

Ending line:



She reached, not out, but into herself, into the darkness where Death had resided for the past six months, deep within her own soul, and found herself standing naked in a small pond of water, looking at flowers that floated on the surface of the pool. A pale lavender orchid grew near her; Nikki touched it, and Francesca’s warmth flowed through her fingertips. A scarlet water lily bumped her thigh, and Nikki tasted blood in her mouth. Nearby, she saw two roses intertwining, one deep pink and one a pale green. Above them hung an enormous morning glory, nearly incandescent in the dim light. And beyond that, rising from the center of the pool…

A single white bloom. Nikki stepped forward and inhaled the scent of moonflowers. As her fingers brushed it, a chill swept through her and she understood.

Without another thought, Nikki stood in the center of the pool and spread her arms wide. Her bare skin brushed each of the blooms as she let herself fall into their embrace, and she breathed in their essence, binding herself to each of her siblings.
Really! Almost half a Lowell! (which is 10k in a day) For being exhausted, that's damn fine. If I didn't have to be up at 4:30 am tomorrow, I'd write more, but well, yeah.

Time for bed for me.

Starting Count: 101887
Ending Count: 106465
Net Gain: +4578
Current Word MTD count: 7857

Starting line:

Alex growled something from behind his gag, but Nikki ignored him. She looked at all of them. “Then go, and know that no matter what, we are one. We are the Horsemen. We are together.”

Ending line:

“We gave you every opportunity to be together,” Lyla told her. “Every relationship must have some sacrifice. He was not gone long.”


“The very first thing I will do is skin that Horse,” Madness said, her voice cool. “And use it for a rug.”

An image sprang up in front of him, framed in more of her webbing: Malattia’s flayed hide, head still intact, spread out before a fireplace, a grotesque mockery of a bear rug. Her eyes, though, weren’t glass: they were filled with pain and anguish, and he realized in that moment that Madness would keep the Horse alive, trapped in her own skin, tormented for eternity.
Starting Count: 99951
Ending Count: 101,432
Net Gain: +1481
Current Word MTD count: 12467

Starting line:
Chrys was unsurprised to hear footsteps behind her on the snowy path; she hadn’t been able to hide the flash of defiance when he’d set her his task. Knowing that Father Michael, the real Father Michael, had died because of her, and this…thing, this creature, had taken his place made swallowing the orders given to her that much harder. Almost harder than accepting the demon in her own head.

Ending line:
Lucifer’s smile matched hers. “Indeed we shall.” He raised his voice. “Sound the call. Everyone must pray!” He moved to Lyla’s side. “And you, child, must come into the safety of the inner chapel. We cannot risk you.”

An automation had more emotion than the shell of the man that waited for her, snow falling on him like a shroud.


Have finished Chapter 29. Chapter 30 starts the final battle.

Oh wow. Today, we slogged. Three chapters. Lots of words. The end is coming.

Starting Count: 94284
Ending Count: 99417
Net Gain: +5133
Current Word YTD count: 9116

Starting line:
Power flowed into her, into the gaping maw of Famine coiled deep within her, and Cleo felt her Horseman start to rise. The problem was, there seemed to be no limit to the Chaos stretching across the road, and unless she and Rick could break it, the ambulance was going to crash right into it. And then the gods only knew where it would end up.

Ending line:
“But, Father, she’s not near her time,” Chrys said. “It’s barely the beginning of the third trimester – the child will not survive a birth here, now.”

Then Thom and Lucifer were there, side by side, both on tall horses that shrilled challenges. Beside her, Strijd screamed in response as Rick took aim at Lucifer. Cleo didn’t even think: vines of Power rippled from her, twining around the false Horse that her twin rode.

Lucifer didn’t move, even as Rick’s shotgun blast ripped a chunk from his shoulder. He just raised his other arm, which held a long sword, and waited for the ambulance bearing down on him.

But Cleo’s vines slithered up around Thom’s mount, dragging it bodily off the road even as it fought against her. Thom grabbed one of the vines and Cleo shrieked as cold, icy Power flowed back up into her, burning into her. Spiders with long legs scuttled up along his arms and across the rope, dragging Madness’ webs behind them, their eyes fixed on her. She poured more Power against his, fire to his ice, life to his death, and the onrush of spiders faltered as huge leaves opened on the vines, Venus flytrap-like leaves that crushed the arachnids as they moved towards her. But it only slowed them. She looked up to see Thom’s dead eyes, dulled by cobwebs that rippled in their depths, staring fixedly at her.

You cannot resist. His thoughts oozed into her mind, coated with an overtone of coppery bile that hung heavy in her throat. You cannot win. Join us, Cleo, and live. Join us and you can have whatever you want…
Starting Count: 93360
Ending Count: 94284
Net Gain: + 924
Current Word YTD count: 3983

Starting line:
That was no Lord, no beast. That cry came from a human throat. She looked and saw a young man, his shirt torn and bloody, fighting desperately for his life. Sylvia locked eyes with him, saw the determination rising in him, and knew what she had to do.

Ending line:
After all, she could sate the hunger inside her with Chaos as easily as with Balance magic.

Is this a choice you wish to make? Chaos looked at her, and Sylvia suddenly realized where Madness’ chosen form came from. The rainbows that shimmered back at her were anything but pale, however: they were bold, brilliant colors that intertwined like snakes in pools of midnight ink.

Done with Chapter 26. On to Chapter 27. Holy shit, I only have 33 chapters and an epilogue in this book.

This might be doable after all. We start tomorrow morning at 8:30 am.
There always seems to be a battle, somewhere. Even if it's an internal one. This one is, and yet is not.

Yoda I am tonight.

Also, I screwed up my metrics the other day, I realized. The counts were off. I've fixed them in my spreadsheet.

Starting Count: 95007
Ending Count: 95703
Net Gain: +696
Current Word YTD count: 3059

Starting line:
But why was she here now? And where were the others? There was only one Horse on the knoll.

Ending line:
The question stopped Sylvia, and she blinked. How could she stop them? There was Power here, of course, but she needed to direct it, and there was nothing that sprang immediately to mind. As she stood there, her arms raised and her brow wrinkled in confusion, a cry went up, distracting her.

Sunlight flared and then died, plunged into a dark night illuminated by a blood-red moon that hung, bloated, over the scene.
While I'm fuming at my class, I'll post my counts for today and then head to bed. Because if I don't, I'm going to write something both the professor and I will regret, and I, at least, am going to try and be a professional about this.

Starting Count: 94610
Ending Count: 96318
Net Gain: +1708
Current Word YTD count: 3674

Starting line:
He ground his teeth together. “No,” he admitted. “Not really.”

Ending line:
There was a hard edge to Nikki now: she was honed, like a fine blade, and Sylvia had no doubt the young Horseman was just as deadly.

Madness had an army; Sylvia had known that, subconsciously, but she’d never really seen an army before, and the sheer size of the mass roiling on the lawn awed and scared her. It wasn’t even just the numbers of creatures. It was the Power leaching off of them, stirring the air like a major storm. Like the night of All Hallows’ Eve.
I know, shocking, huh? :p

Not only did I get words done on Last Rites, but I also got some of the plot summary done for Tales. In fact, the only must-do on my to-do list that didn't get done was taking down the Christmas tree. I call that a win.


Starting Count: 93291
Ending Count: 93980
Net Gain: +689
Current Word YTD count: 1256
Val’s Tea Fund: $9
Worldbuilding words: 567

Starting line:
“Okay, everyone, time to fly.”

Ending line:
His form shimmered as they came up to the Gate, a faint blue glow surrounding him. Justin frowned, but the glow lifted up from Kith and swarmed the large padlock, forming an insubstantial key. A soft snick echoed through the silence, and then the gate swung open.

Kith led them down a long, winding path through a dark evergreen forest, far different from the dead trees that seem to coat so much of the Shadow Lands. Moss thudded under Cerberus’ hooves, and the dry, dusty scent of pine filled Justin’s nostrils. Somewhere in the distance, a crow cawed, and Justin’s skin crawled again, this time with foreboding. Who knew what they would find in Madness’ realm?
starting count: 22315
Ending count: 25954
Words added: +3639

Starting line:
Cleo's eyes blurred, just for a moment, and then everything sharpened, edged in black and gold.

Ending line:
Harp music drifted up from somewhere; after a moment, Amy saw the harpist near the fireplace, playing with a dreamy look on her face.

Amy turned on the steps and looked at her. Nikki just looked back, Shadowy flames dancing in her dark blue eyes, and Amy's jaw tightened. "Don't tempt fate, Ms. Jeffries. We have ways of dealing with powerful Spirits."

"Really? Do tell." Nikki crossed her arms over her chest, clearly enjoying herself. "Because unless I let you slap some of those dampening cuffs on me, I don't see an Earth Mage, even one of your caliber, taking me." Her voice deepened just a bit, taking on a smokiness that ached Power. "And the jury is still out on whether those cuffs would hold me."

"They've held Elemental Lords," Amy said.

"Good. They might be a challenge, then." When Amy continued to stare coldly at her, Nikki laughed. "Really, Lieutenant, do you think I'm still just another odd Spirit you've never run into before? I am Death. I am a Horseman of the Balance. If I decide to leave, and take your soul with me, there's really nothing you could do to stop me."

The secret to high wordcounts is 15-minute sprints. Now you know.
Starting Count: 21345
Ending Count: 22295
Net Gain: +950

Starting line:
Alex whipped around, looking in the same direction she was.

Ending line:
You are right, little one, the Spirit said, and Cleo trembled at bit at the Power suddenly presented her. We are one, not two. You are a Horseman, and I am only a piece of your soul. It is time we remind my brother of that.

“You’ve become a coward, sister. Obviously, putting you into mortal clay was a mistake. You enjoyed my fire once.” He spread his arms and the flames roared up again, battering against her, breaking through her blanket. The wooden beams caught fire and he laughed. “Let this be the first of many burnings we enjoy on this ride!”


War is not a nice character. Just sayin'.
starting count: 19347
ending count: 21345
new words: +1998

starting line:
Nikki couldn’t argue with that. “He hasn’t said anything, though, and I think he would. He knows he has to help us. If he doesn’t, he dies.”

ending line:
Then she heard a horrific scream and felt her Horseman react - that hunger deep within her opened up, calling to its siblings. Nikki was beyond reach within her Circle and she could only vaguely feel Thom, but there was now a third, an angry, bloodthirsty Power that could only belong to War, and it was seeking prey.

The web above her was covered in small blood droplets, garnets nestled among the milky pearls on the thin strands.

Wordcount goal met and destroyed for today! Now, onto the website designing!
Starting Count: 18260
Ending Count: 18832
Net Gain: +572

Starting line:
We need to get away from here, but where? Father Michael would send Chrys after him as soon as the guards were found.

Ending line:
“He’s an asshole, and assholes keep things to themselves.” Cleo shook her head. “Especially things that can give them power over other people.”

Not yet, but there might be later tonight.

And yes, it's about to get good. Thom is cranky. Nikki is cranky. Rick is cranky.

This should be frigging EXPLOSIVE.
Not a lot of them, but considering I'm medicated (yay, vicodan!), I'm impressed that I got anything.

Starting Count: 17624
Ending Count: 18260
Net Gain: +636

Starting line:
Finally, the flow slowed, then ceased. Thom lay there, the rough fibers from the braided rug scratching against his unshaven cheek, feeling as if he’d been beaten with a stick. His head throbbed, full of information that he had no way of processing.

Ending line:
Once again, she didn’t answer. He wasn’t expecting one. Thom drew in one last deep breath, wiped his tears from his face, opened the door and stepped over the bodies.

It was too easy. That dark whisper deep within him was all too willing to reach out from the depths of his soul, flowing through the wood of the door and into the guards’ feeble flesh. He felt the magic begin, changing them, infecting them. Blood curdled, twisted, streamed from every orifice, and Thom wept, again, as the guards slid down the other side of the door, dying.

Chapter 5 is done. Onwards and upwards!
Starting Count: 16826
Ending Count: 17624
Net Gain: +798

Starting line:
He was lost. Lost in his own mind, a fate he’d always feared, especially after watching his mother slip into madness. And yet, the world moved around him, somehow incorporating his delusions into itself, molding reality to his own warped senses. The doctor within was quietly amused at the hubris of the patient.

Ending line:
But she didn’t stop. Image after image pounded into his head, until Thom was curled up on the floor, weeping in pain, his brain alight with more information than he could process.

That intrigued him. Despite himself, Thom went into the bedroom and pulled aside the dark curtains. Outside, silhouetted against the falling snowflakes, stood…

A horse. A tall, grey horse that shook its mane and then dropped its head to lip at the snow on the ground.

“Um, yeah. You’re a horse?”

Yes, I’m a Horse. He could hear the capital letter when she said it, and her head came back up to look down at him. So?

“So I’m talking to a Horse, in my head, and you think that’s going to convince me that I’m not crazy?” He laughed. “Yeah, right.”


Mental note to self: torturing characters gets you words. Especially when the character is practically begging to be tortured.
starting count: 16252
ending count: 17295
new words: 1134

starting line:
Lucifer raised an eyebrow at her question. "I wasn't aware we had anything to discuss." The feeling of the Balance was stronger than it had been only two days ago, and that bothered him. Why was that Spirit's presence stronger? Had they delayed too long already?

ending line:
Then he turned back to Chrys. "Let's go."

She laughed at him. "I am stopping you, Lucifer. You know what happens when We interfere directly. There are all sorts of forces aligning against you and Madness, and not all of them belong to me." She leaned towards him, like a child with a secret. "Did you truly think you got Horsemen by accident?"


Words! I got words today!!!
Starting Count: 15622
Ending Count: 15797
Net Gain: +175

Starting line:
As always, the atmosphere inside the cottage reeked of the Balance, and the taste of it made him faintly nauseous.

Ending line:
She turned towards him, pale green eyes faintly amused. “Are we really going to engage in this banal small talk? Or should I get straight to the point?”

Nope. Not a one. :(

I suppose it's better than nothing. At least I wrote something, yes?
Starting count: 14661
Ending count: 15622
Words added: 961

Starting Sentence:
“Do you think she’ll agree?”

Ending Sentence:
It was proving to be very, very useful.

“With my life,” he promised her, daring to pull her into a tight embrace, feeling her mold herself to him. The kiss they shared made time stop: the gazebo was silent, suspended in a moment of sheer ecstasy, as their essence mingled, twining around one another until it was impossible to see where one Elemental Lord began and the other ended. Only a kiss, but when it finally broke and he lifted his lips from hers, Lucifer could still feel her within him, the breath of her magic flowing through his veins. “I shall not fail you, amarae.”


Seriously, this is a twisted love story.
Starting Count: 13502
Ending Count: 14480
Net Gain: +978

Starting line:
“I’m a scientist. We’re kin to philosophers. Deep thinking is part of our makeup.” She rested her hands on the dark leather and looked up at him. “What can I do for you, my Lord?”

Ending line:
He nodded. “One of the Three Spirits needed to cast the Cleansing. Now do you understand why we need to keep you safe?”

Madness’ deft fingers reached into the tapestry, pulling out a small portion. “This loom is very old,” she said, spreading the piece she’d taken out so Sylvia could see it. “Almost as old as time itself. There’s always been a weaver to keep the threads straight, but the loom itself is the one who creates the fabric. Some legends say the loom is the embodiment of the creative spirit of the universe itself. We’re all here, Chosen. Every one of us has a part to play in this dance, and the loom keeps it all intact. Look here.”


I will get this book written. I will.
I forgot to post these.

Starting Count: 11008
Ending Count: 13502
Net Gain: +2494

Starting line:
That depends on how you define endings.

Ending line:
“No matter.” He stepped into the garden and craned his head to look at the cover of the book she held in her lap. “Carcassone’s Theories? Deep thinking indeed, Chosen.”

Alex shrugged his shoulders. He was seated in one of the armchairs in Edgar’s library, a large book of spells open on his lap, looking like a country gentleman. They hadn’t had a chance to go out for clothing for him yet, and since they were in the Shadow Lands, he’d simply plundered the armoire in his room. Nikki had to admit he looked handsome in the ancient clothes. And dangerous. There was a rakish air to him that reminded her of Errol Flynn, for some reason. The heart of gold? Somehow, she doubted Alex had that much altruism in him.


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