Thursday, December 20, 2012

The short winter


Thanks to all of you, my readers, and my friends for checking in with me over the last few weeks and asking how progress is coming for the next installment. I’ve been quiet. I injured myself. Slipped, really. On a puddle in the bathroom created by some water bailed out of the tub by my fun-loving toddlers, who through no fault of their own didn’t realize that their dad could slip.
I did.
That unfortunate event almost ruined Super Tuesday (I recorded the election) and had to lay flat on the couch for the entire night and the subsequent five days. I popped back some pills to help manage the pain. Thankfully, my leg didn’t inflate too much but I did get a rather wonderful, large black and blue patch that did spread out from the back of my knee up and over my thigh.
The series of unfortunate events just continued from there. I got sick. I was taking some prerequisites for grad school, some family drama came up, and well, you get the picture.
Lion of the Dark… well, took a nap.
Rest assured I’m working on the next installment and with any luck it’ll be up after the New Year. Leo is about to endure his first test of friendship in the fifth installment, A Long Embrace.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A sneak peek at A Long Embrace, Book 5 in the monthly serial, Lion of the Dark. Enjoy!


In the last installment of Lion of the Dark, Leo wakes up in Wendy’s bedroom, disoriented and ashamed at himself for killing Stanley. He’s just lost his first battle with the bloodmonger, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Meanwhile, after having underestimated Juliet’s trust Alexander gets shoved out of a moving Escalade at high speed right into the nosferatu ambush. Within moments he’s being tossed around like a rag doll. Not long after that his captor drags him underground. Alexander formulates a desperate plan. He doesn’t have a choice. If his borrowed body is destroyed he will be cast out, back to the underworld. Solo, he’s got to shift gears while Leo no longer feeling alone realizes he has friends—supernatural friends. This bond will continue to shape Leo’s epic journey as he steps closer to becoming the Lion of the Dark.
~ ~ ~ ~
I hit the ground running, reaching inside for all the speed I had.
Didn’t matter I had no idea where Wendy was. I just had to get there fast.
Streetlights blurred past me. Giant trees bowed and curved away like giant black squids trailing thorny tentacles. Bushy evergreens looked like they might snap they were bent so far at the center. Cold air bit my skin.
The air on my left stirred. First there was smoke and then there was shimmer.
“Hold up.”
I slowed. Christof slid up alongside me, satin cape rippling.
We both heard Wendy scream again.
“She’s nearby,” I called out, putting on the brakes. The world caught up. “I’ll go this way. You head around that way. Meet in the middle.”
Christof nodded and took off, northbound. He wasn’t through the intersection before we stopped and swung our eyes toward a cry for help.
“The park!” Christof shouted, and burst from his spot. Dark smoke curled away from the length of his back, the backs of his knees, covering me in an odorless cloud.
Within the next heartbeat I stepped into a sprint, quickly gaining on Christof, passing him, racing toward the park and praying Wendy wasn’t in the arms of a vampire. The thought of her like that sent cold shivers down my spine.
My blood bubbled.
And then it happened: fear turned into anger.
The bloodmonger wanted to emerge. It folded upward, stretching, eager, pushing its arms through mine as if my limbs were sleeves, stepping into my feet as though they were shoes. It started to push me aside. What good was I going to be like this?
No…
My fangs dropped.
No! Wendy is my friend—Do you hear that?—My friend!
I turned inward, reaching for every knuckle … organ … bone. I imagined the bloodmonger nowhere near any of them and for the first time since the beast awoke … I consciously pushed back.
Not today!
My head, then, began to pound. My body felt woozy. Wow! Its craving was strong.
But—my will—was stronger. My eyes flew open. A crimson veil lay over the world. The backs of my eyes pumped from the amount of blood now circulating through their nerves.
This is my body. I’m in charge! and threw my arms around my chest, gripping my biceps tightly.
By now I was shaking, the bloodmonger wanted to get out so badly. I doubled over onto the grass.
Right. Left. I rolled around, fighting to gain dominance.
The bloodmonger insisted, thrusting its will into my hands, stretching through them as if they were latex gloves.
My hands burned.
Fingernails elongated into talons.
My fangs cocked.
Squinting, thinking of Wendy I pushed back.
Although we haven’t known each other for very long the connection we have is deeper than any relationship I’ve ever had with someone. We were perfect pairs. Between us there were no awkward moments, no misunderstandings. Our friendship was so easy. I felt lucky to have her in my life. She helped me learn how now to accept things that were beyond my control and take charge of them. From our talks I found hope, and a cause worth fighting for: defending Creston from harm.
I growled.
Wendy lived in Creston.
Leave her alone!
In my mind the bloodmonger flashed fangs, backpedaling as I asserted myself, irritated I hadn’t conceded.
On every previous occasion I was too weak to resist its hunger game but at this moment it was being denied… and that’s when I shut it down, giving it a right hook right between the eyes.
Shocked, it lost its balance, spinning away.
At a mental ledge looking down a deep chasm, I watched the bloodmonger grow smaller as it fell into darkness, howling with frustration.
I suddenly felt a tingling in my chest, a sense of accomplishment. I couldn’t believe it. I did it! But there was no time to celebrate. I had to—
“Leo!” Christof shouted.
Grabbing grass I pulled myself up and pushed off the ground, crossing the final stretch, bounding over the curb and into the park.
There were four of them flapping leathery wings high above Christof. Nightmarish things. Two thin legs each ending in four claws dangled from a pot-bellied torso. Bony hips protruded from a shallow belt of fur there was no point in trimming. Their genitals were out for all to see. Four pairs of skin flaps, jaw to collar bone functioned like fish gills. They had three pink irises, the pupils a darker shade, while four rows of short sharp teeth lined their small mouths. In place of a middle finger they had an extra long digit shaped like a crook. Something the Ancient Egyptians might have used to give a dead person’s brains a quick spin. Their moist skin was purplish gray.
Christof was doing well despite being outnumbered. Wendy lay beside him. She wasn’t moving. Jeepers and Morgan and Creepers faced foes, backs arched, hissing.
If there was one thing my dad taught me to be was unexpected.
A few yards from the fray, I leaped, and using Christof’s shoulder as a springboard, sailed toward the vampire in my trajectory. We collided, punching its face as we plummeted to the ground.
Before it could grab me, I tumbled away.
“Don’t let them envelop you,” Christof shouted, after I was upright. “Underarm glands secret an enzyme that’ll blend you into mashed potatoes.”
Won’t be letting them do that any time soon.
“What are these things?”
~ ~ ~ ~
A Long Embrace is Book Five in the ongoing monthly serial Lion of the Dark.
Copyright K. Anthony Pagano, 2012
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

And so it begins... the Lion of the Dark, on Kindle

Oh, what a feeling.

I'm going through my favorite songs right now because I'm just beaming.

After a burst of inspiration a few weeks back while working on the (nearly finished) first draft of the three-part forthcoming novella series, The Crinkled Foil, through Deepwood Publishing, I got this crazy idea about vampires.

I'm not sure why, honestly. Maybe it was the coffee. Lion Kona usually gets me in an awesome mood. Best coffee I've ever had.

Maybe, it wasn't the coffee?

Perhaps it's because my family is NUTS about all things undead. Hannah, as you know, is a Twihard fan, and Shannon loves her some Zombie and Interview with the Vampire (which she can watch daily, if she was allowed to).

I enjoy the undead too... but in my own way.

Well, maybe it started there. Either way you slice it, I created this character named Leo. He's a dräcul vampire, which, in the mythos I've created, means a vampire didn't turn him by biting him. Being dräcul means he carries the gene for dräculism. And the story just went from there.

The official launch of the serial the Lion of the Dark is tomorrow, Monday, July 9, 2012, and will publish every second Monday of the month, unless for some blast of science fiction I've been recruited for the NASA shuttle program. Doubtful, but that would still be cool.

So, I'm beaming. I pre-released the first installment, Our Other Blood, not expecting it to be approved so quickly by Amazon, since the KDP site says 12 hours for the okay. Well, it got the okay within four hours of being uploaded toAmazon and the official e-mail notice about six hours later.

(In case you're wondering why I care about all these details, I'm journaling this part. A few weeks from now I'm going to forget all this experience as I'll be mind deep in writing the next few installments and working with my graphic artist to design the covers.

What's the story about? Teen angst. Leo hasn't completed his conversion from human to vampire in over a year, and as far as he's concerned the longer it takes the better. But, as he learns, supernatural delay comes with a cost.

Follow Leo monthly as he struggles with his supernatural powers, conflicts between family and friends, and most of all, himself. Should he finally take that plunge and just bite down? This and more to come...

To buy Our Other Blood, follow the link below. Thanks for reading and supporting indie authors.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nearing the end of the first draft

A few weeks back Shan and a few friends kinda suddenly got the same idea. They suggested, rather than update my story progress by a word count, I update my progress with a percentage. Got loads of feedback from that suggestion and it's actually a better way to express my process.

Posting my word count started to sound like I was boasting. Cuz some days I was able to write 3,000 words a night. Right?!? Crazy. Last year at this time if I got in 250 words that was a miracle.

If my math is accurate I've achieved 74 percent of the first draft. Feels good to see that. Real good, because I've written 100 percent two times now, once each for the first draft of the first and second part of the three-part series.

Well, that was before the publisher sent an e-mail telling me they've switched gears and decided to publish the story as a novella.

All by its lonesome, which may include the original short story, Intertwined...

I just about lost it.

To go from a short story to a novella within half a year seems magical all in itself.

With a little structural changes I'll easily be able to combine relevant scenes and turn them into chapters. No big deal. Sounds like a hassle but not really. Again, I write scenes. In fact my story folder has sub-folders, one for Notes, The Pitch (the story summary I queried Deepwood Publishing), Scenes, and WIP.

It paid off in dividends to be a little but organized. If you know me I have to work hard at it. Being organized is not my natural state. I'm a creative person and would rather spend my time, well, you know, creating...

The end of the first draft nears.

I'll take a few days off and then dive right into edits, and then the percent goes back to zero, and then back up to 100 and then it's off to the publisher for alpha reads and formatting. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

In the Eye of the Storm

Wondering where I've been these past few months, since December???

Well, I've been writing.

As fast as my fingers can hit the keys, as often as I can stand to write, as often as I can squeeze in the time to actually write.

What am I writing??? The Crinkled Foil, a three-part series of short stories centered around the same cast of characters introduced in the short story, Intertwined, being published by Deepwood Publishing.

Intertwined was intended as a one-shot with some potential for continuing storylines. From this story grew The Crinkled Foil, which expands on characters in that story, as well as some new faces.

It's been a crazy twist of fate since Deepwood accepted that first short story. I find myself squeezing every minute I can to write, to think, to re-read the drafts I've written so far. I'm having fun.

And that's the point, even as the storm races, screaming, whirling around me as I budget my time to complete my first novella. If I had my druthers, The Crinkled Foil will be the first of many. Only time will tell.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Setting some goals for myself

A shout out to fellow blogger Krista at itakethepen.blogspot.com.

I was reading her blog recently about setting goals and the importance about being flexible, because life has a funny way of distracting writers who are trying to write a story. Like who really wants to go to the grocery store? Or pump gas into the car?  Isn't there an app for that? No? There should be... :)

So, here's to setting some goals.

Goal 1: Writing is fun.

Goal 2: 1,000 words a night.

Phew! Now that I've got my goals etched in pixels, that short story doesn't seem such a daunting task after all!

Now... *taps chin* what adventures should these characters take?

*grins*

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Having trouble developing characters in your story? Try this tip

I hit a stumbling block the other day as I was developing characters for my current WIP. As I started to flesh them out I began to realize something in my process that I hadn't noticed before. Maybe it was subconscious. Maybe it's because I lean toward a specific character type. I don't know why exactly but a light came on.

Most characters we create start out as a concept, in some form or another, and as we mold them with ideas and opinions and dialogue and all the other cultural nuances, they start to develop personalities, and start to make choices. I don't know about you, but I'll write a scene of dialogue for a character to familiarize myself with his or her voice. It helps to read it out loud too. :)

The other night I was crafting my WIP, and like I said, I stumbled onto something. There's no name for it. Just polarities, I suppose. I guess I could call it Four Square, but isn't that taken?

I digress...

Imagine a square split up into four quadrants. Quadrant I, or the upper right hand corner, is the character's Spirituality. To the left, in that upper corner, is the character's Leadership. Below that, in the lower left corner, is the character's Impulse (now opposite the character's Spirituality). And to the right, in that corner, is the character's Destiny (now opposite the character's Leadership). Draw a line between opposites. Cool, huh?

So what does all this have to do with a character in your story? It's just a reminder that whenever your character does something impulsive it pulls him away from his spirituality, and vice versa. The same is true of the character when he moves toward his destiny. He moves away from leadership. Because following one's destiny means following one's own path, not ahead of the path of others, although often a leader is made along the way... Aragorn, for example. It's also important to note that Spirituality and Destiny, share a side, as they face the outside world together. And, also, the same is true, as you move around the square. Spirituality + Leadership; Leadership + Impulse; Impulse + Destiny. See what I mean? You can start to see your character's struggles in these areas; your character's ability to cope or not cope.

Is your character not coping? Perhaps he's trying to lead his impulses. A lot of villains stay in this area if they never leave it. Remember, too, that this isn't some hard and fast categorization. It's just a tool to help you visualize how your character is moving through the story. It also doesn't mean that a character can't jump around between them in a single chapter. It can happen. This tool is just to give you some perspective on where the character might be in a conversation, or in his thoughts. If he's always spiritual, and moving toward his destiny, then he's far from his impulse and leadership. Also, a leader can be leading people toward destiny. But is it a safe voyage? That's all for you, er, the characters to decide.

Hope this helps. :)