Friday, November 2, 2012

Feature Fridays: First look at Asleep

It's day two of NaNoWriMo, and I've got 7,163 words under my belt, so I'm feeling pretty good about that!  My project for this month is Asleep, the second installment in my Fairytale Collection.  Asleep is my reboot of the sleeping beauty tale and, while I was looking forward to writing it, it's proven even more fun than I thought.

Today, I had some struggles with my inner editor, but I managed to beat her into submission.  The rules of NaNoWriMo state that there is to be no editing, so the excerpt I'm posting here is raw, uncut, and likely has a few typos--don't worry, they'll be fixed after NaNoWriMo, when I can edit to my heart's content.  This excerpt is from the very beginning of the book.  I can't guarantee it'll stay like this once I get down to editing, but this should give you a feel for the book.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!


I don’t have time for this.  I have drills to run, that supply issue needs to be resolved…  I wonder if security is tight enough.  I hope my father didn’t entrust it to that buffoon Wynart.  Surely he closed that gap in the north tower by now?

Jessmyn tugged impatiently at her gown.  She had to admit, it was stunningly beautiful, but she’d have preferred to be in her plate at the moment.  It was one of life’s great mysteries how a gown of satins and lace could feel more confining than a sixty pounds of armor.  She’d have to keep that question in mind for the next time her seamstress asked her what sort of gown she would like, so that she could instruct the woman to fashion her something a little less encrusted with pearls and small jewels, one that would allow for greater freedom of movement.

When Jess was truthful with herself, she knew the weight of her gown had nothing to do with the disquiet state of her mind.  It was nerves that were eating her alive.  Though royal protocol was old hat to Jess, she had never before been a part of something so monumentally important to her realm—nor had she ever experienced anything of greater personal importance.

Forcing herself to stand still, Jess closed her eyes and thought of Dev, tried to imagine how he was feeling at this moment, how he looked.  A small smiled played about her lips as she imagined him, though she also felt a sense of exasperation.  No doubt he was handling it all much better than she was.  He was probably busy cracking jokes with his attendants, making them roar with laughter.  At this image, her smiled widened and she opened her eyes, feeling somewhat settled at last.  Dev always had that effect on her.  It was part of what made him so essential to her life.

Still, she knew his jovial exterior likely hid just as many nerves as she felt.  For all Dev looked as if he hadn’t a care in the world, he felt things very deeply, even if others weren’t always aware of this fact.  He could not have captured Jess’s heart as it had were it otherwise.  This was both good and bad.  While Jess had to admit that she enjoyed knowing she understood this hidden part of Dev, it had also caused him some pain due to the blithe unawareness of others.

“Are you ready, your highness?” Lady Lilia Vindar asked.  Shyly, she glanced up at Jess, searching the princess’s face.  Jess could tell from the look in Vindar’s eyes that she was caught up in the romance of the occasion, and it made Jess smile.  Lilia always did love a good fairytale.

“I am,” Jess confirmed.

Lilia and the two other ladies in attendance dropped low curtsies and then took their positions behind the princess.  Jess squared her shoulders, tilted her head slightly back, and began her slow procession out to the main hall.

The crowd was noisy, boisterous and jubilant because of the celebration.  Music and voices competed with one another, creating a blend that somehow still managed to please the ear.  It was impossible to distinguish any conversation from this distance, but Jess could still hear tones that we somewhat unfamiliar to her ear, evidence of the attendance of the mighty and influential of the other realms.  This was the biggest celebration in the history of the Five Realms, and it was this more than anything that made Jess nervous.  Having so many important people in any one place was always an enormous security risk and, despite herself, she found her eyes darting around as she walked, looking for evidence of guards.  It didn’t matter that she had trained most of them herself; she could not help but feel anxious about the possibility of some sort of disturbance.

“There are twenty guards in this hallway alone,” her father said, coming to stand at her side and speaking in a low tones, so only she would be able to hear.  He had been waiting down the opposite corridor, and she had been so distracted, she had noticed neither his approach or the that he was watching her.

Some martial master I am!  I don’t even notice when my own father and his ten attendants approach!

Looking at her with some exasperation, as if he could guess what was going on inside her head, her father shook his head.  “My beloved Jess, can you not relax, just for one day?  This is a day meant for you, and for Dev.”