Tag Archives: Snippet

Raises Head From Under Water

I’ve been fighting not getting sick lately, so there’s cause for the radio silence. Yes, I’ve posted fanficcy things. Brain’s not all the way there, but I’ve got to be actually gone in order to not be able to do a decent bit of fic. Original fic? Yeah, right. Reading? Can’t concentrate well unless I’m hanging on a heavy knowledge of canon’s scaffolding. Proofreading? Considering asking for an extension and this is a paid job. Poetry even? Yeah, no dice. Crossposting even aforementioned fanfic properly? Hah.

En brief, that’s where I’ve been.

The inspiration’s cranked, just not the execution. I’ve been nibbling at several major projects to see which one will actually let me bite. Haven’t made it far, though I’m in love with the ideas for sure. I’d like to wrap up Son o’ de Guild too. That would get a lot of pressure off for all the abandoned fics, just too scared I’ll throw myself out of the decent Clint/Natasha vibe I’ve got going before I wrap up some other much shorter pieces that I’d like to.

I wonder if I’m a story commitment phobe. Probably not. I just lack that delightful ability to stay focused on a story after I’ve mentally figured it out. Go figure.

Have a snippet:

One moment, Alaine was wrapped in the blinding white light of a gleaming apartment light, begging the child beneath her hand not to die. She was pouring life into an empty hole, feeling it slip through her fingers and out of the body that needed it so badly. The next moment, the entire room was swathed in black darkness except for Devon’s meagre flashlight shining over her hands.

It startled the little boy and startled Alaine, cutting their connection.

“D—!” she swore. Don’t die, don’t die, don’t die. Trust me! “Who turned out the lights?” Alaine demanded aloud, but she didn’t have much spare room for the question or the faint murmuring of Devon’s answer against the blur of sliding into the slippery mind of her charge—playing catch in the tiny sparsely grassed backyard, picking up his father’s gun… She lost herself in the child, holding with a touch that had no fingers or hands, only the pounding, blending of a healer merging her body’s resources with his.

She felt something shoving heavily against her.

Breathe. She breathed, in and out, into the child. Fingers gripped painfully into her shoulder, yanking against the connection. Don’t die on me. Breathe!

Abruptly, Alaine fell away, connection broken as Devon’s voice came clear in her ears, shouting at a volume that made hearing his words impossible. She barely glanced at him, then scrambled away and threw up on the floor beside her. She gagged and retched for what felt like long minutes, and even after she stopped, her entire body trembled. Someone had opened a couple of lantern lights. The yellow glow made her eyes ache, and medical sirens wailed too close to not hurt her ears in her weakened state.

Devon pushed her up gently and put a bottle to her lips.

She wanted water. It wasn’t water. It was the horrible nutrient-rich formula they gave to healers after they nearly passed out. She sucked in a few mouthfuls, ignoring the way it dribbled down her chin.

Devon’s mouth was a grim line again. The emergency medic had tried in vain to keep her from overdoing it ever since she’d been assigned to work with him last year.

She rolled her head slightly to one side, and it nearly sent her heaving again, but she breathed steady, shallow breaths and forced her vision to focus on the little boy she had tried to save. He was breathing—barely, but he was breathing.


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Here, Have a Snippet

I've got a handful of stories that are on the table right now:

  • belated Yuletide gifts (1 or 2 will do, she's not picky)
  • the collaboration (she's patient, which is good because I'm deep in revision/formatting wonderland)
  • Splintered Gates (which is my learning how to write on a tablet book)
  • Collateral Damage (the follow-up to Dowse and Bleed)

I've had an 4100+ word opening to Collateral Damage from before that phrase appeared in Dowse and Bleed, but I didn't know which direction to turn after that because it starts out from the perspective of Andre and Shift instead of a direct head-on with Rachelle. Which meant I hadn't the foggiest idea whose story it was and why. I only knew what was going on: the crisis.

Today, I went for the dubious option of just pick one. Here's the snippet:

Breathe. This was not supposed to happen now, not so soon, and not like this.

It was an effort to breathe, to shift gears from the world as Rachelle had always known it. Cycling was survival. She had to move the flood of genetic entries through her vascular system and into archive as soon as possible, or the backup would overwhelm her veins, which could only handle so much. But this day had been coming a long time, and it hit her hard when she incorporated one more entry into her own permanent genetic makeup and then felt that harsh inability to breathe that it was the archive out of space.

Don't cycle. Don't cycle. Back up, spin the paddles, find a shield and stop her own genetic flow. How can you deny your very bones?

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Been Doing that Scribbling Thing Again

Yesterday, I actually got a lot of various scenes written. Now just to get the books and stories pulled together, huh? :rolls eyes at self:

Lovemark the Seasons

I wanted to love you because that's what you wanted, but... "I don't really do in love."

Words don't always make sense, and your stormy eyes told me these ones hadn't.

Exasperated, I sighed and tried again. "I love my brother, but I'm not in love with him."

"Yes..." You still weren't getting it.

"I can love you without falling in love with you." Moments ticked between us. Wrestling angels of understanding, and I knew I wasn't helping, but. "You're not my brother."

Everything is Blood

Russian snow—she still had to snap Niko out of the Red Room in his mind whenever they worked on Russian snow—outside on the ground and more of it falling from a stone-grey sky. Her leg was propped up on a chair, her crossbow completing her arm at one side. The other hand filled out paperwork. She'd been hunting this trail for weeks now. This wasn't a simple job, put an arrow in an enemy or a terrorist and stop the bad guy in his or her tracks. She preferred the simple jobs. You're just a girl with a bow. This wasn't what she'd signed up for.

Mother and daughter traveling on the train, in cars, over the national borders, seeking asylum, refuge, what? It didn't matter. One of them was Collie's target and the only complication was which.

The Rothnen Cycle: Blood

"Thinking on what might have beens?" Kyrieh asked gently.

Casaia shrugged, brought the analytical gleam back into her eye. "Not really. Renaiven and I could never have been."

Kyrieh's eyebrows came up and Casaia realized her friend had never know the exact relationship that hadn't occurred.


No team is family as a group. One bond leads to another and to another. This one would do anything for that one and the links form a chain which eventually circles the entire Department. Whisper called Shift called Thought called Vision called name after name and operative after operative with the word that now was the time they had all been waiting for from forever ago when they were children and swore one day this would be over.  Tracers moved into computer files their admins had never known they hacked. Voluntary teams turned involuntary and used every. single. privilege, every single access point into the systems designed to control these living weapons. Trip wires and triggers promised certain retribution should certain things be done. Law books were opened, loopholes exploited, implants deactivated or interfered with in whatever fashion wouldn't kill the one who wore them.

This was the biggest mission of the teams' collective lives. They hadn't been taught how to fail.

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Scribbling on illicit fiction...

Not all stories ask permission nicely to impinge upon my inspiration. No, they barge in and take over! We're at 2000+ words and counting.

Have a snippet:


He is just coming out of the conference room and glances down at her before they fall into step on the way to their team area in the underground military facility. They don't speak until they're on home turf, out of the way where it's safe, and Storm discharges enough electrical energy into the security system to kill any tracking or monitoring.

Whisper shows him the file. Code 48. The Department's way of cutting its losses and abandoning a compromised operative to their own fate.

Storm's jaw clenches. Alpha Wolf doesn't deserve this. "You know what you're asking?" he demands of her. Countering direct Department orders always results in punishment, and Storm has always deliberately made sure he took the heat for all of them. It is the way of the third ranking, which Storm now occupies. He has always had the temperament for it.

But Whisper shifts her head slightly to one side in a negative, bigger picture in mind than what he's implying. "Storm," she says softly, sotto voice, and his eyes darken as he listens. "I'm not asking."

Compromised operatives do not have family. They were stolen as children and have never been a liability for their knowledge, only the physical evidence of genetic manipulation and government illegal activities their bodies represent. Human weapons. Red Wolf, her lover whom she calls Alpha, has a family. He knows everything there is to know about too much classified information.

"I lost the Christian," she whispers.

The first man she had ever loved died while infiltrating a terrorist cell. Storm held her through that storm, anchored her grief after she had wiped out every person related to the Christian's death. He hears what she has not said outright. They're going to kill him.

She didn't ask Storm before she took on an entire terrorist organization and became known as the first ranked assassin in the Department. She isn't asking now if they can save their leader.

"Do you know what you're saying?" Storm raises his eyebrows, incredulous, because he does. This will require more than just defying orders and intercepting the kill team. They can't just extract him. They have to keep him alive and either out of the reach of the Department and their handlers or of his family who is now rushing to his side.

Whisper nods. "Shift owes me."

They're going to have to burn the Department to the ground.

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Keeping the Head Above Water

This entry is part 36 of 52 in the series 365 Challenge

It's been a while since I started the 365 Challenge, wherein I write a piece of fiction or poetry for each day of the year. You will note on the challenge page that longer works of fiction/poetry count as multiple pieces. This was to preserve my sanity and keep life realistic.

Then I got a job. At first that was too hectic and crazy to write at all. Then there was the story from inferno, a short that went long and is now threatening book status. The muse and I are in negotiations. Then there were seven or so finished stories that I marked "unfinished" because I wasn't happy with them yet. And needless to say, the story count does not reflect the number of days that have passed.

But on the bright note, I foresee catching up. If I write 2 count every workday, I'll be caught up by the end of the year and can even keep my weekends free. In a manner of speaking. I tend to write more than I can post during the week, so on weekends, I tend to post all the stories hanging around waiting.

And I'm writing a novel. An AU novel. An experimental novel. One I shouldn't be touching with a ten-foot pole. The muse and I are still negotiating.

Have a snippet:

Teaching autumn gave way at last to winter and blew me with a snowy gale back into my favorite coffee shop where ice melt dripped from coats thrown over the backs of wooden chairs onto the coffee-brown matte floor. Three weeks ago from those crisp autumn days and slowly but surely, my open books on the lower counter gradually shifted to thick, already damp rags on the upper bar.

The day you stepped inside the glass was fogged and bitter cold. Black coffee burbled in the makers on the back wall, and girls’ laughter tumbled about with the rich aroma of roasting grounds.

I wiped down the long counter, wet with coffee drips and damp jackets, as I watched your group of young men gather around table five. You lay down your netbook computers, notebooks, and pencils with a small, talkative clatter, filled the chairs with your presence, the shop with the friendly ambience of your laughter.

You were the blonde one, clearly a brother in arms or fact to the dark-haired one at the head of the table. A few glances around at the others, your friends—questions, answers—and then you came up to the counter and leaned against it, tall enough to bring you closer to me than I liked.

“What can I get for you?” I asked, keeping my voice pleasant and laying aside the rag.

Most people would have smiled, but you didn’t. Something intense burned behind your eyes but all you said was, “You’re the barista?”

Coffee beans became rich, black beverage behind me where the other girls poured out cups of espresso, macchiato, latte; yet, you asked. Crazy you, I raised an eyebrow at the question.

Then you smiled, dimpling on one side and not the other. You rattled off a list of eight drinks and then said, “And one for me. Got any suggestions?”

How about you? Any illicit projects thrown in by the muse?

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First Lines Meme, Revised

So there's a couple of memes that I decided to edit into this: I'm going to post the first lines of all my WIP that have a complete draft but not a revision I like yet. Now to just get some edited!

Seven Days. Waiting to Wake

"You have seven days. Live them."

Breath. [ Jaguar's story ]

Jaguar kneels over the small sleeping form of her young brother.

Breath. [ Ivallyn's story ]

The Collector, Mavren, looked up from the counter when the tiny brass bell tinkled over his opening door.

Breath. The Great Cat and His Soul

Here in the land of the five cities, long before the king and the princes, the queen and the princesses, there was an emperor and empress and a little empressina.

Breath. Artisan's Breath

Alya carefully creased speckless cream linen over the perfect white parchment of her letter—the way her mother taught her.

Kingdoms and Thorn. Dowse and Bleed

Rachelle waited until the restless aches dancing through her upper body were outright pain before she finally forced herself to quit making endless cups of coffee and fished a mottled green star out of the embossed pink tin she kept on the granite kitchen countertop.

Vardin. Lifetaker

Kirana pressed her hand tightly to the young boy's chest, her own chest feeling squeezed as life wrung out from between her fingers and into his body.

Kingdoms and Thorn. [ Teller's Story ]

Word came at dawn of the newly outfitted military station in Westerfields, that vast uninhabited territory between Glaston and Edyll, both kingdoms cities.

Faeology. Edge of Salvation, Edge of Fear (expanded)

Markus and Shellayne hated each other, but as the only arcana-keeper interns available, they were stuck closing the Library of All Knowledge.

Got any first lines to share?

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And so it grows...

Snippeting because the monstrosity that is "Dowse and Bleed" is not yet done. I swear this story hates me. It's a bleeding mess with a protag who refuses to tell it any other way. Ah, well. We're at 4000 words and counting.

"Hang on a sec," she muttered, drawing sharp glances from the rest of the Unit. "Running a normal."

None of them had seen her do it, assumed there was nothing valuable in a regular human type genetic pattern for her to run, just query, but he gave, he gave, and she hated him for it as much as for anything he took.

She settled indian-style on the ground, bent her head to knees, and tangled hands in the lengths of her hair. He'd always liked her hair. "This won't be pretty."

It wasn't. It was a mess of color, sensation, memories gained from every time she read him with a hundred different gifts, every time he touched her when she was cycling—she hated that his was the only touch that could actually make her feel better. Harshness melted into self-loathing, crisscrossed with a moral standard far too high for all the things they'd done, the sharp taste of blood and violence bleeding into tender, brutal intuition—intuition that ran in the family. She grasped for it with another processor's power, one she rarely pulled, and there. She had it. It was hers.

She threw back her hair and stood, clenched hands, clenched teeth to hold onto a pattern that could only last but seconds, and there it was, the tension hanging in the air. "It's not a shield," she said. "Jarod, get me labeling from under the window."

He settled down beside her and ran through the data he'd been tracking from each one of them, moving back to Rachelle's chip when they were checking the exit point. "What am I looking for?"

"You're not." She peered over his shoulder. "Does this pull my identification methods?"

"If you speak guanine, adenine, thymine, cytosine."

"Lucky for you, I do." She glanced over the long list of every residual scrap of genetic material that bit of sidewalk had on it, comparing it to the stuff she had right here. Two and a half matches. This could get dicey.

Prompted by pygmymuse

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The Promised Snippet of an Accidental Monster

Some short stories are not polite. They plant their roots and spread and grow like weeds to take over far more space than they were ever alotted. "Dowse and Bleed" is one of those stories.

Killinger was the oldest of them, well into her late thirties and clearly resigned to her chosen deal, her chosen work. She stepped out into the middle of the room without hesitation and half-shut her eyes, immersing once more into the emotional layout of the room, meticulously checking for intensity and time-induced fade.

Mira and Rachelle uncurled slowly, pulling hands out of pockets, from under arms, reaching to brush with unwilling fingers, passing a bare hand inches away from the detritus in the room. Rachelle had the advantage: she didn't have to touch an object physically to get a read on it. Mira had the advantage: she didn't have to cover her skin to avoid a read.

Rachelle checked the door, pulled in a new entry and compared the time-fade from one to the other. "Might have exited through here." She shrugged.

Mira followed her and wrapped her hand around the handle. She held on for several moments, then shook her head. "I should feel something."

"Unless Weller was unconscious and our man is too cold to leave traces," Rachelle pointed out.

Killinger glanced at Jarod, but he was focused on reading the inputs from their chips.

"Well," Mira resigned herself with a single clipped syllable. She pulled her purse over her head and handed it to Jarod, who took it absently and slung it over one shoulder. Mira buttoned up her coat to keep it out of the way and flexed her fingers. Then she delicately touched one finger to the door handle and started walking, tracing that one finger around wall, furniture, cabinets, counter—circling the entire apartment before she stopped on the bathroom door. She wrapped her hand around the handle and grimaced. "Here."

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Bookish Traditions: Reading and Writing

Written Work of the Day

The muse has kept her promise, though she must keep on with keeping it, and here is a snippet of genuine new material within this mishmash of sketch that's coming together.

Philip was glad to see Josh. It was good to see Josh. He was justly surprised at how many others held his time.

“Enough women?” he asked after the last bag was unpacked, their parents were in bed, and the hostess complimented.

Josh chuckled. “There's men too, but in Vardin, women are responsible for people.”

“And you're people?” skeptical.

“Got it in one. The men...” Josh's face closed. “They have their work.”

Philip prodded. “Which is?”


“English, Josh.”

“There isn't English. Not for that.”

The sketch is moving forward oddly and the word count is doubtless thoroughly incorrect, but here it is anyway.

41158/120000 words. 34.3% done.

Vardin Word of the Day

ivrat. householder: household (law, culture, tradition, or customs)

Rec of the Day

Rabia Gale is offering a giveaway on her gorgeous new book coming out, Mourning Cloak. Please go check it out!

Mourning Cloak by Rabia Gale

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NaNo Day 8: Jaguar Lives

She was a smaller child than Monkey when first her people left her alone beneath those leaves and ordered her to bring home meat. A tiny thing, she was fearful of the dark, for her eyes were black and human, prey not predator.

Yellow eyes startled her out of the night. The jaguar shifted forward from the undergrowth and picked his way on great paws to breathe against her shoulder in a voice she should not have been able to understand. "What is this soul and skin you wear?"

That was when she knew she was Jaguar, when she lifted her small hands to his great shoulders and embraced the beast, breathing back, when she learned how the jaguar hunt.

— from "Breath from a Stone"

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