Inside the mind of a fantasy writer

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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.

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Tuesday Teaser: Sunlight (from Nightwalkers)

Here’s a quote from my Nightwalkers series. Check out the series on Amazon if you haven’t read it 😉


Quote from CK#3: The Sun

I know it’s Wednesday, but I forgot my #teasertuesday. Whoopsies. This is from my current WIP, CK#3. I’m changing the title I had set for it, so it’s untitled right now. I pulled the whole thing apart, so it’s a little disjointed right now. Nothing that won’t look pretty with a little polish 😉

Embedded


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. 🙂


Tuesday Teaser: Fabricated Beauty (CK#1)

This is one of my favorite quotes from Christian’s Promise, which is out on Amazon right now, by the way. It’s a novella (the prequel to the CK series), so I made it part of Unlimited. Chrisitan’s Mate, the first “novel” in the series releases next month 😉


Tuesday Teaser: Happiness Quote (The Last Hero)

This quote comes from The Last Hero. Check out the book HERE


Tuesday Teaser: The Last Hero

I picked an excerpt from The Last Hero. There’s two books I’ve written that are VERY dear to me, this being one of them. Maybe newer fans don’t know my attachment to this book. It’s actually the first book I EVER queried to publishers, one of the last books I ever signed (to SCP, they had almost all my books at one time), and it was the first book I had a hard cover of. That’s a HUGE milestone for an author. It made me feel like my dream was real—that I could call myself “an author”.

The Last Hero, in my opinion, is one of my best books, but because it’s fantasy, it never sold very many books, which is unfortunate. I’ve never had any luck with my fantasy novels unless they have a vampire in them. If you haven’t read it, you should 😉


Cole breathed rapidly, his teeth clenched tightly. Thick smoke filled the bullet-strewn hallways. His lungs drew in the tainted air. He could hear the screams of his comrades echoing throughout the tight space. The ceiling was crumpling, and the drywall fell upon his head like a fine snow.

The structure was heavily damaged, the fighting inside leaving it unstable. Even though Sebastian had already retreated, Cole didn’t turn back. He had to save the rest of his team.

Hearing cries from a nearby tunnel, Cole followed the sound to its source. The heavy buckles on his boots bounced steadily as he ran. Before entering the room, he stopped and rested against the wall. He surveyed the area cautiously, making sure to stay perfectly still.

Shadowing his slow gaze with a readied weapon, he was prepared to shoot anything that moved. This mission was anything but routine, and he had been out of his element since he had arrived. This new enemy seemed unstoppable, and Cole had watched helplessly as his friends had been slaughtered.

Swallowing hard, he tried to calm his racing heart. Through his scope, he could see a large mound of bodies. There were hundreds of them, piled up like discarded garbage. These were the men he had grown up with. The horrid sight ignited rage within him.

A greenish smoke rose from the corpses, the room filling with the metallic stench of death. He was about to do another scan of the room, but a low growl made his back stiffen. It was a beast-like sound, definitely not human.

Spinning quickly, Cole unsheathed the sword on his back. He quickly aimed it at the new threat. It was more subtle than his gun, and he hoped not to draw any attention to himself by firing a shot.

But then, he saw the man’s face and recognized his own uniform. Cole’s expression softened. A deep pain filled his chest that felt like a dead weight crushing his every breath.

“Richard?” Taking a swipe at the empty air, Cole’s features hardened. He then readied himself to attack. “What’s wrong with you? Why are you attacking me? It’s me, Cole!”

Richard released a barrage of bullets, but Cole artfully dodged them.

Cole tried to reach out to him one last time. “Get a hold of yourself! Stop this madness right now! Don‘t let it control your mind! Fight it, Richard! Please! Stop!”

But Richard didn’t respond. At this distance, Cole could see the green light reflected in his comrade’s eyes. He knew what he had to do, even though his heart was against it. The virus had contaminated Richard. His friend was gone.

“Cole,” Richard hissed, as a few soldiers came and backed him up. Cole’s eyes quickly darted over their faces. Each one had that hellish green light residing in their eyes. “It’s your turn to die.”

Charging forward, Cole halted Richard’s words with a quick slash of his sword. He fought until they all lay lifeless at his feet.

Wiping his nose roughly, Cole sniffled. Disbelieving, he studied the bodies of his friends. A few seconds of silence passed, as he tried to grasp what was going on. But he didn’t have much time to think. The soldiers he thought he had killed were rising up and preparing to attack him again.

This was impossible. Some were missing limbs. Others pawed at the floor as they dragged their bodies along it. Terror flashed in Cole’s ice blue eyes, his breath quick. He had never seen anything like this before and had no idea how to fight back.

“Nero.”

Turning abruptly in the direction of the voice, Cole glared at the man standing behind him. His enemy wore a long, green robe. The flames that ravaged the building illuminated his face. A black dragon cradled his left eye, a dark tattoo that intensified his sparkling blue eyes. He wore a twisted smile, an unnatural expression that bathed his features in an evil light.

“So, you have finally arrived.”

“Who are you?” Cole’s weapon shook in his hands, but he swallowed his fear as he followed the man’s advance through the scope.

“You don’t remember me?” The man’s eyes narrowed on Cole. There was fury seething through his every word. His hands were fisted and trembled slightly.

Cole’s gaze scanned the Virus soldiers that stood behind the man. None of them were attacking him. “You…” He paused, his gun making a quick pass around him. When he saw no one, he pointed it at the man once again. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?” He took a few cautious steps backward.