Inside the mind of a fantasy writer

Daily rambling

Starlight Masquerade

Monster Writing Prompt: If you could put on a mask that lets you feel like you’re in a dream world (like a virtual reality), what would your daydream look like?

I got the idea for this prompt from the music video for “Monster”, a song by my favorite band, Starset. I had a lot of fun doing it. Though, like always, it reads like an excerpt from a book, but that’s okay. I like how it turned out.

I’m a huge fan of masquerades, so I used it as the main theme. Also, this story has a hint of adventure and darkness. I love dark tales, probably why I write so many 😉

Okay, now onto the story….


“Starlight Masquerade” 

It’s dark here, the lanterns turned down so that only a small flicker of light is alive inside. Shadows rein in the minimal light and come alive as they dance on the wall to a silent beat. In the darkness, every sound is magnified, like the night gives one a shrewder sense of hearing.

I walk down the long hall, my hand gliding down the thick rail of the balcony. The balustrade’s made of stone, slick and cool to the touch. I can hear the whisper of music, the sound getting louder with each step.

My ballgown is heavy, thick crinoline under the skirt. As I advance, it sways gently, the soft rustle of fabric tickling my ears. Inlaid in the black gown are small crystals that shine like twinkling stars under the lamplight. The bodice is tight, restricting my movements and forcing the stance of a lady.

I turn my gaze downward at the party below. The light is muted, darkness hanging like a light shroud among the crowd, making the intimacy of this gathering grow.

Like the fire in the lanterns, the ballroom teemed with life. The guests wore masquerade attire similar to mine, their faces hidden by masks. I don’t recognize a soul—if there was even any there. It was like stumbling upon a den of vampires. From a distance, they were alluring, but as you get closer, the fear grows in your chest. You know there’s a chance these beautiful creatures could bare their fangs and attack at any moment.

The murmur of pleasant chatter and laughter was muted by soft music. A small ensemble is set up in the corner, the sharp sound of a violin solo ringing through the room. The violinist slowly slides his bow over the strings, a twitter in his fingers as he manipulates the sound.

With gritted teeth, he bites something back, but what it is, I can only guess. What does he see behind those closed eyes that ignites such passion? He’s given the music a pulse. His expression is pained as if each note that escapes from under his fingertips is like his own blood pumping from a fatal wound.

Above the ballroom is a domed ceiling. As I scan the heavens, my long lashes scrape the holes cut in my mask, the light touch like the kiss of a butterfly.

The thick veins of the dome were made of dark metal, dull and aged. Years before they may have been shining, but not now. Green has grown like a disease, eating the shimmer, and stealing the beauty that had been there before. Between each vein are painted panels. Chubby angels are depicted in a renaissance style there, the palette of intense reds and blues giving the scene drama.

Giant chandeliers hang from the beams, diamonds dripping from them like crystalized rain. Candles are set inside them, throwing light upon the paintings. The flames quiver, giving life to the figures and making the scene seem to breathe. My eyes lock with a cherub’s, his eyes following me as he keeps his arrow at the ready. Pulling my lips inward, I bite my bottom lip as I gaze into those cold, unblinking eyes. Even the flick of a twinkle in his eyes doesn’t make him feel any friendlier.

I face forward again, drumming the banister as I walk down the stairs. The staircase is a grand structure, it’s girth wide, and its stance sturdy like it could survive hundreds of years and still be as strong as the day it was made. At the foot of the stairs, stands two stone guardians—a pair of angels carved by a master’s hand. Their eyes are downcast, their faces covered by oversize hoods. Darkness has settled in the folds of their cloaks showing their age.

I join the crowd, the heat of the bodies taking away the chill in the air. As if lost, I turn in a circle and take in the crowd. The walls are lined with mirrors, and in them, I catch my reflection. My pale cheeks are reddened, my dark hair falling in long curls down my shoulders and back. As if adorned with stars, my hair sparkles, a delicate silver netting hiding in my locks.

Everyone’s curious eyes turn to me. My fingers grip the dark silk of my gown, white-knuckled and shaking. Suddenly, I feel dizzy, as my gaze bounces off their faces.

When given a second look, I see some masks are grotesque, with crooked grins and sharp teeth. I turn from inhuman yellow eyes, as well as the common blue, not lingering to meet the monsters who initiate me.

Instead, I shy away, and I walk toward the exit. I leave the main room and walk down the desolate hall. Now, all I can hear are the sound of my heels clicking on the tile as the music fades to a mere whisper again.

I stop at a set of double doors. Their surface is painted to look like the night sky. Taking hold of both handles, I open the doors.

Though it is dark, the ceiling and walls were alive. Millions of twinkling stars hide in here, a fabricated space cast by, what seemed like, magic. This net of gems captures the night, and they hold it hostage here. I walk further inside, then spin slowly as I take in the sky.

It feels warmer here and the room seems to hold in more heat. I take a step forward and bump into a railing. It stops me from advancing.

With one hand on the rail, I reach out with the other to see if I can feel the wall. A hand grabs mine from behind. The surface of their gloves is cold, and it makes me shiver. Startled, I look back. My eyes settle on a shadowy figure that I am unable to make out. Before I could study them further, the doors shut, all the outside light snuffed out.

Advertisements

August Updates

“Would you like to hear a story?”

“Yes.” Slowly, she was calming down, her eyes still shut tightly. She tried to concentrate on the steady bounce of Christian’s steps.

“High in a tower, lives my lady fair. Protected from the beasts that walk the earth, and placed on a pedestal that makes her a goddess among all living things. But my love is encased in a fragile frame of flesh and blood.

So, I shall be her knight, and forever in my arms she will lie, safe and free from all harm. Sustained by the liquid nectar of our kisses, she will never age. Her sparkle shall never tarnish, and she will shine brighter than any diamond. This will be our story….always. I’ll never let you fall from your throne.”

– From Christian’s Mate

 

Christian’s Mate, book #2 in the Christian’s Kisses series has an official release date of September 25th. There will be two versions released, one with just book #2 and one a special edition that will contain the prequel (Christian’s Promise) and Christian’s Mate.

Right now, I’m working on book 3, 4 and 5 in the series. I am shortening the series by a book, which, in the long run, I think will make it better. I was hoping to be further along in editing #3 than I am, but it’s going slower than I expected.

I’ve been asked these questions by readers, so I’ll address them here just in case anyone else was wondering.

  • Nightwalkers: I’ve started Kiss of the Moon, but just barely. I’m hoping to finish all the books in the Christian’s Kisses series before working on that project. I have a few new projects that I may work on too.

  • House of Lies series: I’m still peeved about the whole mess with this series and its previous contract issues, so I’ll be squatting on it for a bit.

  • I am still doing a giveaway. I have one planned in celebration of Christain’s Promise‘s release.

  • Sport’s Romances: I have a short story awaiting editing in this genre, but I haven’t had time to work on it. If I get close to releasing it, I’ll let you all know.

  • Book Signings: I’m not doing one yet. The thought of it still makes me a little nauseous lol. If you’d like a signed copy of one of my books, just let me know and I’ll send you one. And if you have any questions for me, just shoot me a message on FB, twitter or by email. I’m usually pretty fast to respond. Ha ha, probably because I’m on my pc a lot 🙂

On a lighter note, I started using Twitter again, so if you want to follow me, check me out there. @hnsieverding. I used to hate it, and I only made an account because we had to sign up for all that social media stuff when I signed with SCP. I hate doing promotion, so I hardly ever posted anything. I gave it another try and will be using it more for everyday things as well as writing stuff. It’s kinda fun, actually.

Besides that, I’ve been working on graphic projects and enjoying the summer. We took a trip to “the path of totality” to see the eclipse earlier this week. It was awesome. Totally worth the drive. 🙂


Music Monday: Starset Demonstration

Here is a LINK to a video from Starset’s FB page with footage from the demonstration I went to. 🙂

I finally saw Starset in concert on Saturday, and they were stellar (that was a cheesy pun, by the way. Ha ha, come on, give me one). They sound awesome live and I was extremely impressed. They put on a great show (ahem, demonstration. I’ll get that right soon, I promise).

I found them on youtube last year. Because of my profession, I’m on my computer a lot and I like to put on youtube playlists while I work.  One of their songs popped up on the list. I think it was “My Demons”, but I don’t really remember. After that, I checked out the rest of their music, and followed them a bit closer.

Though I’m a fan of the band, I never knew much about them until just recently. I don’t get into all that background stuff with bands I like unless there’s a reason to. I usually just follow when albums or new songs come out.

I did some more research, and the lead singer (and songwriter), Dustin Bates, is very educated and has an interesting background. Not only is he musically talented, he has his masters in electrical engineering, which makes all the special effects make sense, and was in the Air Force. Wow. Awesome, right?

Starset also has a background story for the band/songs, that, as a writer, I think is really cool. I’m all for that kind of stuff. They have a graphic novel out, as well, I think. You’ll have to look them up, they’re pretty fascinating. I’ll make fans out of you, too, I know it 😉


Onto the concert review…

They had a nice stage setup, with tons of special effects to go along with their demonstration that enhanced the performance. They had a box set up in center stage where the drummer disappeared at times, which was a neat effect.

There were smoke and screens, and some of the band members wore space suits. Those enhanced the “space theme”. I was VERY excited to see they were wearing them because I love the suits. I heard their big demonstrations include a lot more effects, which would be awesome to see. Though, I doubt I’ll ever get to see one. :/ They played while it was still light out, so I didn’t get to see the special effects in all their glory.

The space suits looked hot. They looked wicked awesome in them, though. I’m guessing the smoke cooled them off and that’s why they jumped into when it went off. I think they had little fans inside their helmets, as well. Pretty ingenious design, huh? Maybe there’s more little features like that, but I didn’t catch anything beyond that. Would I be weird if I googled it? Ha ha, after what I’ve done for book research, it wouldn’t be that bad. If I met them for reals, I would ask. I’m fascinated by stuff like that.

One of the members had a really cool guitar, which I might stick into a book because I REALLY liked it. He’s the guy to the left in the photo, not the one on the big screen.

They said they might come back, so I hope they will. I will definitely go see them. I’m glad I got the chance to go, so if you get the opportunity, go check them out 😉


Updates 7.27.17

I forgot my WIP Wednesday post. Whoopsies. So, I’ll call this an update.

CK#2 is almost done. I’m sending an ARC copy of it to a beta for a final read-through today. I want to release it in two forms, one with just the second book, and another with both book #1 and #2. I thought it might be a good option for new readers. I need to do that for Blood Kisses (Nightwalkers) and Beginnings, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. And I’m still avoiding finalizing the blurb for CK#2, so…I need to do that, too. I hate writing blurbs….


WIP Wednesday

I think I’m taking the week off from editing/writing starting today. Like, a forced break. I’m burnt and it’s making me grumpy. I’ll be online doing updates and the like, so if you have a question for me about book related stuff, or just want to stop by and say “hi”, I’ll be available to chat on FB messenger and through email. 🙂

Here is my email and FB:

email: sieverding007@gmail.com

FB messenger: https://www.facebook.com/HnSieverding/


I’m an Author….

I read a FB post from an author the other day and it really bothered me. I won’t use a name, but it was a fellow SCP author (my former publisher), so I know the author well.

This author was talking about being out somewhere, and, in casual conversation with a stranger, the subject of “where do you work” came up. The author, of course, said, “I’m an author” because, it’s true, that’s their job. The other person laughed at the answer and said, “What’s your real job”?

Whether you’re an author, musician, artist, etc (anyone in a creative-type career path), you can probably relate to this kind of thing happening.

Has anyone else had an experience like this? And how did you handle it?

 

 


July Updates

nightwalkersbanner2016

It’s been awhile since I’ve done an update, so I apologize. I’m doing well with my promise to blog more, which I hope I can keep up with.

My current projects and book updates….

ck1fabricatedbeautyI’m focusing on Christian’s Kisses edits/rewrites. I’m debating whether or not to take huge chunks out of books #3 and #4 and make them one book, or tweak it and add a bunch to both books. Book #2 is ready to go, I just haven’t committed to a release date, yet.

CK is a big project, so I haven’t had time to work on much else. I’m getting a little burnt out from editing, but I’m trying to take a little break here and there so I stick with it. CK is something I’m doing on my own, so I have to make my own deadlines. It’s easy to slack when you get to do that. Thanks to the readers that have been nudging me to finish the next book, it helps give me the drive to trudge through edits. Besides that, I really don’t have any writing/editing goals.

A little side event….

One of my cover designs (not for my books, one I did for a publisher I work for) was in a cover art competition. Sexy men or something. It was an awesome design, but it didn’t win 😦 I think there’s another one of my covers in a competition coming up, too, but I can’t remember what. If I find out, I’ll mention it.

When I do a cover commission, I don’t always get to see where it goes after I hand it over to the author (or publisher), so it’s always nice when the authors keep in touch with me to tell me things like that. I’ve had a few of my designs win competitions, and one was even used in a convention as an example of great cover art (that was cool). These are my warm fuzzy moments hee hee.

Outside of writing…..

It’s summer time, so I’ve been busier. Last month, we went on vacation to upper Wisconsin and spent some time at the lake. I love the state of Wisconsin. If I could choose to move somewhere, it would be Wisconsin. Though…it’s only a few miles from where I live, so I go there a lot, anyway, so there’s probably no need too lol.

I picked my own strawberries this year, too, something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do. And yes, they were yummy. Strawberries are my favorite food, by the way 😉

My boys are getting bigger every day, little Tank is going to be two already next month. How crazy! My oldest, Kyle, turned eight last month.

Also, it’s butterfly season, which means Kyle is looking for caterpillars. It’s a big thing around our house lol. Last year, we raised a few monarchs and released them.

It was a neat thing to see and I learned A LOT about monarchs. I’d encourage anyone to do it with their children. It helps keep the population up, which I hear is going down a bit.

You’re supposed to be able to get these tags to put on them to track where they go, which we may do this year. It would be neat to see where they go after you release them.

I’m going to a Starset concert on the 29th, which I am REALLY excited about. They are my favorite band so having them come here is frickin’ awesome. Hinder and Pop Evil are going to be there, too, and they’re okay, but…seeing Starset is the ONLY reason I’m going 🙂

I hope the rest of you are enjoying your summer and doing lots of fun things, as well.