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Turning a Wrong into a Right July 21, 2013

Posted by techtigger in interview, writing.
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I was recently asked to submit a quick recap to a serial community I’ve supported for years. They needed content for a podcast, and while I didn’t have much time for it, I tossed something together anyway. I have always enjoyed promoting serials wherever I find them on the web. I did it for years on The Penny Dreadful because I simply love the format. Serials are fabulous.

I have to say, when I hit the send button I wasn’t expecting to get kicked in the teeth. It was patently obvious from their comments that they had never bothered to actually read my serial. It’s hard to hear someone who knows nothing about your work putting it down. I trusted them, I supported them, and I paid for it.

There are a lot of things I could have done. But let’s face it, this sort of thing happens all the time in the writing and entertainment biz. You can’t let it get to you. So I have decided to take my bad experience and turn it into something good.

You see, I have missed doing the weekly interviews on The Penny Dreadful. We always took the time to learn about the writer, their work, and asked intelligent questions. We treated them with respect. And why? Because we are writers too, and know how hard it is to do what we do.

My day job does not allow me time to do the weekly twitter chats anymore. But there is no reason why I can’t interview a serial author and post it once a month on my blog. I want to get back to doing what I love – reading and supporting serials.

So, starting in September, I will be resurrecting TPD at my new site – http://www.pennydreadfulpress.com. Nothing there yet, but I have scheduled time over the next month to gather up content and roll it out. Watch this space for announcements – and if you write a serial, don’t be surprised if I come knocking at your door, wanting to learn more about that wonderful thing you do 🙂

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Nox and Grimm – Foxy Lady July 20, 2013

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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Loki rode through the cobblestone streets of town, whistling cheerfully all the while. There was a note in his pocket, one of Nox’s paper messenger birds. It said simply, ‘bring dinner for three to the workshop’.  He had a picnic basket tied across the back of his saddle, the smell of warm bread wafted out from it. “Just like old times,” he thought.

It had been a long time since he was last at the workshop, but of all the places they’d been together, it was his favorite. It was where he’d first fallen for Nox. Literally and figuratively. He’d collapsed on her doorstep, wounded, and she’d taken him in without question and healed him.  He could still remember that moment, the surprise when he saw who had saved him. Ice kindreds normally had harsh, chiseled features but Nox was soft and sweet, with those big blue eyes. It was like a finding a rose in the wilderness, where no garden had ever been.

He reined in his horse and dismounted in front of a plain brown stone building, which had a curious door with no doorknob. He took the basket in one hand and pressed the other to a small panel set into the frame. Casting marks lit up and crawled across its metal surface, followed by three loud clunks as the wards disengaged the locks.

“Hey honey, I’m home!  And I brought…dinner?”

Grimm was sprawled out across the couch upstairs, as usual. The hound was arguing with a small, white fox that sat on the coffee table in front of him.   He looked up as the door clanged shut. “Oh, it’s you, fireborn.  Come on upstairs.”

“You should have told me you were bringing a date,” Loki said. “I would have gotten dinner for four.”

Grimm flattened his ears. “Very funny.”

The fox laughed so hard it fell over. “It’s hilarious!”

It was only then that Loki noticed the fox had big blue eyes. “Oh no,” he groaned. “What did you do?!”

The hound heaved a sigh. “We were trying to give me some control over my shape-shifting. Unfortunately Nox changed with me the first time we tried it – ”

“ – and now you can’t change her back,” Loki finished for him. “This is damned inconvenient.”

That’s an understatement. I seem to be stuck this way as well now. I’m almost afraid to see what will happen if we try it a third time.”

“I told you, that casting mark needs to be more curved.”

Grimm growled at the fox. “Air doesn’t work like that.”

Nox tapped a stack of papers with her paw. “I got this from Galen’s notes on the key to Winds. I guarantee you, it does.”

“I should think after two thousand years I know a bit more about Air than you.”

“But you don’t know everything.”

Loki plunked the basket of food down between them. “All right, calm down you two. If I remember right shapeshifting takes a lot out of you. You’ll think better on a full stomach.”

Nox’s ears perked up and her nose twitched, but she gave the basket an uncertain look. “How do I eat like this?”

“Same way I always do,” Grimm replied. “Face first. Oh, but watch the nose. If you get sauce up there you will regret it.”

After several minutes, and a failed attempt by Loki not to laugh at Nox’s efforts, they started dissecting the casting. Loki pointed to the offending mark. “You said this was one of Galen’s making. Are you sure you know what it was meant for?”

“It was from the enchantments he was using to try and reverse the curse put on Grimm.”

“But are you sure that was all it did?” Loki said.  He poured himself another glass of fire wine while he waited for her to mull that over.

It was Grimm that finally answered him. “It would have been very like Galen to try and take the curse on himself, to free me.”

“Oh, crud,” Nox said, her tail twitching fitfully. “You’re right. This would have transferred the enchantments to me. No wonder we’re stuck. Galen would have made sure the enchantments couldn’t snap back to you. I don’t think he counted on you willingly changing shape again though.”

“Or being soul-bound to you. We share our fates.”

“All right, we know what happened now,” Loki said. “Can you fix it?”

Nox and Grimm exchanged a long look.

“Maybe.”   

“Possibly.”

“Well, hurry up and find a way to make that a Yes, luv,” Loki said. “This puts a serious crimp in my amorous intentions toward you. My morals are sketchy at best, but I draw the line at fluffy.”

He hadn’t realized a fox could blush, but somehow Nox managed it. Grimm let out howl of laughter.  “Leave it to a fire kin to think with his hormones.”

“At least I’m honest!” Loki said, with an unrepentant grin.

Nox hopped off the table and scooted downstairs. “All right, let’s try it again. I think I know how to fix this.”

“Wow, you must be in a hurry to get some of those amorous intentions,” Grimm teased.

“Grimm!” she wailed, her cheeks glowing beneath the white fur.

Loki leaned against the railing of the loft and chuckled to himself. “Yep. Just like old times.”


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Nox and Grimm – Trading Spaces July 13, 2013

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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For Grimm, a day spent in Nox’s little workshop in town was like coming home. The hound padded up the stairs to the loft and sprawled out on the old, squashy couch with a happy woof of contentment. “We should have started holding meetings here ages ago. With the mansion’s security so badly compromised, this is probably the safest place in all the northern territories.”

Nox flopped down on the couch next to him, using his side as a backrest. She shoved a few papers off the coffee table with her feet and propped them up on top of it. “I know, this is so much more comfy!” She leaned her head back on his furry shoulder and grinned up at him. “Goodness knows we can’t sit like this at the mansion. Proprieties, milady!” she said, mimicking her chief steward’s stuffy, officious tones. “What would people think, you draped across a Wind knight like that?”

“Scandalous, for certain,” Grimm said, with a rumbling laugh. “Never mind that when I wear this shape, my thoughts are decidedly more doggie. The only thing I want from you, missy, is lunch! ”

Her grin turned to mock horror. “Goodness, you would trust me with cooking for you? My, how things have changed!”

“Loki has been giving you cooking lessons. Or at least, that’s what you claimed you were doing…”

A slight bit of color brightened her cheeks. “Well, yes, we do cook…err..well, heat things.. ahem.  So, what did you want to talk about today?”

The hound let out a few whurfs of laughter. “All right, let us get the business over with early. Then we can go out to eat.”

“Done!” Nox said, looking relieved.

“We need to discuss security at the Convocation,” Grimm said, resting his head on his front paws, and tilting it slightly to look at her. “Loki has Anders to watch his back, but we have not picked anyone to stand guard over you. Brand must stay back and watch over the mansion. Do you have any other candidates in mind? As your chief of security, I will need to brief them in detail.”

Nox tweaked his tail. “Very funny, fuzzball. As if I’d trust anyone but you.”

Grimm flicked his tail out of reach. “I cannot go. Lucien used me too often as a weapon, and I was banned from attending the Convocation a few centuries back.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Nox said. “You’re a person, even if you are fuzzy at the moment. You can change back into a knight long enough to prove that.”

All it will prove is that I am still enchanted, little one. And what good would I do you, if I cannot come within thirty feet without changing back to this?”  He thwapped her playfully with his tail, making her sputter.

“Pfaugh! Dog fur, blech!”  She reached for a book and placed it on the offending tail, knowing he’d never twitch a muscle for fear of bending a page. “All right, you big fuzzy dust mop. You have a point there. But,” she said, leaning forward to snag her satchel off a nearby chair, “I have been thinking about that. Father left me his notes on the casting he used on you.”

Grimm watched in amusement as she rummaged through the satchel, abusing all sorts of official documents by tossing them on the floor.

“Correspondence, reminders, invitations, blah blah blah. Ah, here we are.”  She flattened a small sheaf of paper out on the table. “Unusually sloppy work for him, but I guess he was in a hurry.” She smoothed out the papers, a frown putting a slight line between her eyebrows.

“Lucien has not been the same since we got your mother back from the Shadowkin.”

“No,” Nox said quietly.  “I guess not.”

Serenna still lay as they had found her, in a coma. She was not much more than an empty shell, now that the Shadowkin tossed aside her ‘puppet’.  No one had yet found a way to safely revive Serenna, though Grimm knew Nox and Lucien had both scoured every journal and grimoire of healing in the mansion.

Nox let out a sigh. “That’s a problem for another day, I guess. Let’s deal with this one. I’ve made a number of modifications to the casting marks. Take a look and see what you think.”

Grimm scanned the papers, studying every mark carefully. “That is a lot of Air to move, little one. I agree with your removing the Ice from Lucien’s equations, it slowed things down and nearly drained him. But this is still a large casting to move energy through. Are you sure you can generate enough of the elements to even start this?”

“Who said I was going to do it?” she said, regaining her good humor.  “You’re the one with the key to Winds. I’m just here to facilitate.”  She got up and went to the railing at the edge of the loft, pointing down into the workshop. “My old containment circle is still here and functional. All I need to do is turn it on after you get inside. My only job is to make sure you stay on track while you’re in the middle of the casting.”

“That is remarkably sensible for you,” Grimm said, his ears perking up. “Things really have changed.”

Nox grimaced. “Yes, well, I had a rather abject lesson in what my limits are. I was lucky to only lose my sight for a while.”

And nearly her life, Grimm thought, but there was no need to say it aloud. The important part was that she had stopped trying to do everything herself.  “Well then, we should try this right now before you lose your senses and try something typically madcap again.”

“Hah hah,” she said, and blew a raspberry at him. “After you, big guy.”

“Age before snarky, as is proper,” he said, and scooted downstairs before she could toss a pillow at him.

A quick little Air casting cleared the circle of any dust or other obstructions, and while he did that Nox checked all of the circuits and wiring connected to it. Like everything done with Technomancy, it was a hodge-podge of science, sorcery, and the elements.  It didn’t look like it should work, but Grimm had seen it contain explosions that would have leveled the building.

Nox spread the notes out across a lectern situated just outside the ring. He looked them over one last time and sat in the middle of the circle with his tail wrapped around his paws, to keep it from straying over the line. “I am ready,” he said.

Nox threw a switch and an electric crackle filled the air, along with the sharp metallic smell of ozone.  A wall of glowing energy formed around him, and Grimm checked the barrier one last time before starting the casting.

A low howl set the marks dancing around him, formed of pure air and sound waves. Energy cascaded through them, setting his fur on end. There was no pain like there had been with Lucien’s version of the spell, and he sent a quick thought to Nox. “I think it’s working!”

“It is,” she yelled over the noise, “But watch that last casting mark! You need a sharper bend in the line, like this!”

Their minds merged through their soul-bond and he caught the image of the mark, and corrected it.  BANG!  The casting ended.  Grimm stood in the softly glowing circle, looking down at his hands. Not paws, hands.  “It worked! I honestly didn’t expect it to go through on the first try!”

Nox didn’t reply, but a minute later the barrier shut down.  Grimm looked around the room in confusion. “Nox?  NOX!  Where are you!”

A little yip came from the workbench. A white winter fox, with black fur on the tips of its ears and tail sat with a paw on the switch that controlled the barrier.  Grimm groaned as he realized it had Nox’s dark blue eyes.

The fox lifted one paw and looked at it curiously. Nox’s voice echoed softly in Grimm’s mind. “Huh. I did not expect that…”


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Nox and Grimm – Season 5 Starts This Weekend! July 12, 2013

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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Never pick a fight with your muse. She always wins. (and looks good doing it. it’s those fabby hats, I can never pull them of like she does.)

I had planned to wrap up Gathering Shadows before starting a new Season of Nox and Grimm, but my muse dug in her heels. You see, the events in Gathering Shadows have a direct bearing on the current timeline, and telling that story will give away too much of what is to come. Not to mention, there is no way I could wrap up a story that big in 3 episodes as I had planned.

My muse knew this, and kept tapping her foot impatiently while I tried in vain to wrangle out a way to end Gathering Shadows in such a small space. At least she’s been gracious enough not to say “I told you so” now that I’ve gotten back on track.  One of these days I’ll learn to listen to her. 😉

So, you will not only get the new season of Nox and Grimm starting this weekend, but will also have little interludes with Grimm continuing to explore his past, sprinkled amidst the main story. Woohoo!

Since it been such a while since the last N&G, here’s a quick recap.  (or you can check out the flash fiction section to read up on previous seasons )

————-

The last of the Shadowkin is on the loose. Katya roams the land in the shape of a lovely auburn haired Woods kindred, sowing chaos in her wake through her various cats-paws: The Morning Lord, desperate to reclaim the youth he’s lost and the power he’s never had. Serenna, Nox’s mother, twisted by her own fears and thwarted ambitions, she now lies in a coma, cast aside by her evil mistress now that her role as the spy in the House of Ice has been revealed. The priesthood of the New Dawn cult, who are slowly, unwittingly being molded into the next generation of Shadowkin as they carry out their vile experiments in the name of the Undying Sun.

The forces lined up against them are in disarray. Nox was captured and nearly killed by her mother, and her ability to channel the elements is shattered. Grimm has been freed from the Shadowkin curse but in order to save Nox’s life, he had to make another deal with Death and his future remains uncertain. Loki is the only one to come out of the last battle nominally unscathed, but not unchanged. And Lucien, Nox’s father has ridden off to shore up the defenses around their territories, and left Nox to somehow find a way to rule and defend the House of Ice with not much more than her wits.

We will pick up the action this weekend, with Nox making preparations to represent her House at the Great Convocation, a meeting of the ruling Houses of the elemental kindreds that gathers each season. But can she do it without revealing that she can no longer truly summon Ice?…

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