Saturday Snippet: Growing Pains

On Saturdays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts.  All snippets are copyrighted.  These excerpts from my writing are first draft, unedited words, and may not appear in the final work.

This excerpt was just fun to write—good-natured ribbing directed at a gangly teen still trying to fit in his own skin. And even though he’s embarrassed and relatively inexperienced, Miran is still more dangerously powerful than any of the soldiers riding at his side. He just happens to carry his arsenal in bottles hidden out of sight rather than in weapons strapped to his side.

When the rest of the soldiers had passed them, Algin rifled through his pack and pulled out a tunic of rich brocade. He held it out to Miran, who took the bright blue garment dubiously.

“You are suddenly elevated in rank, lad, the spoiled son of a country nobleman from Viropa, and we, the guards sent to keep you out of trouble. We’re booking passage on a ship to return home,” Algin explained. “You don’t have to say anything, just look the part.”

“Lucky that, since I don’t speak Trader,” Miran said. “I must be really mischievous to require a dozen guards,” he continued drily as he carefully pulled vials and crystals from his robe and set them on the ground. He pulled off the robe and stuffed it into his pack, then collected his magical notions and secreted them on his person in pockets of his breeches and on leather thongs he tucked under his inner tunic. Miran donned the gaudy tunic distastefully and looked up at the two soldiers. Aromir solemnly handed Miran a slender belt to buckle over the tunic while Algin rubbed black powder to cover Miran’s hair and brows.

Aromir grimaced, watching Miran buckle his pack over the crumpled robe. “How long can you keep that tunic clean?”

Miran’s face flushed with embarrassment as he settled in the saddle. He carefully smoothed the tunic and straightened his back. Algin chuckled and squeezed his shoulder. “You’ll outgrow it, lad. One day you’ll wake up and find your arms and legs are the same length as they were the day before.”

Does this scene bring back happy (or terrible) memories of growing up?

Saturday Snippet: Tying Up Loose Ends in the Next Book of a Series

On Saturdays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts.  All snippets are copyrighted.  These excerpts from my writing are first draft, unedited words, and may not appear in the final work.

I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, even though I started the series after Book 4 was released. In the true spirit of making up for lost time, I was one of the folks in line at midnight picking up my copy of each of the next books (between two teenagers and a grandfatherly sort, keeping me from feeling too geeky). The release of Book 5 coincided with my move to Houston, and it was nice to have an old friend available my first night alone in a new city keeping me from getting low. Book 6 was released just after I moved to Baton Rouge, and I’d had “Harry Potter reading day” marked on my calendar for weeks in anticipation of taking the whole Saturday to enjoy the story. My friends and I even attended a Harry Potter block party recreating Diagon Alley in New Orleans when Book 7 was coming out.

One of the most marvelous features of the series was how JK Rowling kept tying up little details from each of the previous books in the new ones. An innocuous detail from Book 1 received an explanation in each of the next books, from Sirius’s flying motorcycle to Harry’s Parselmouth to a brief reference to Neville’s parents that didn’t hit home till Book 5. I bet my fellow Harry Potter fans can provide many more of these little gems that made reading each book such fun—you never saw it coming, but in rereading the series, you find mention of something that turned out to be important later.

I’m certainly not claiming JK Rowling’s storytelling chops, but I do like revealing little secrets as I go along. This one is central to the whole series, and I first introduced it casually in Dark Empire.

“Del, what you did to defeat the crystal magic shouldn’t be possible,” Miran said. “Though, make no mistake, I am grateful,” he added softly, reaching for her hand and sending a quick magical probe through her.


Del looked at him, her eyes momentarily reflecting the mauve of his magic, and squeezed his hand, silently reassuring him that she was whole. She understood his concern and pushed a probe of her own through their clasped hands. Del cared less than Miran did whether their companions saw the glow of their magics and recognized their purpose, but she followed his lead in keeping their exchange private. “Better they take my magic than yours. I just raised a shield between you and the crystals.”


“Your brother speaks truly,” Ruyinaar agreed. “By rights they should have seized your magic in addition to his. Those crystals seek any and all magic.”


Del shook her head, remembering the way the ice blue crystals spread their reach all over her, probing for any weakness to exploit. “They don’t like mine,” she muttered. “In the camp, the magnetic crystals would try to smother me, yet in the same instant repelled me.” She shuddered and her voice dropped to a whisper as she lowered her eyes to stare at a knot in the wooden plank at her feet. “I thought certainly once they found blood it would be over, but their grasping recoiled further. I can’t explain it.”


Del could almost feel the angry heat in Tolemius’s eyes, but she didn’t raise her gaze to meet his. Similarly, she didn’t want to see the anguish her words brought her brother, who had gasped at her revelation.


“I will study this matter, my lady,” Ruyinaar promised. “But I must make haste to Luden with some clever tale for the Emperor.” Before he could take his leave, Miran interrupted him.


“I know why those crystals didn’t want your magic,” Miran said grimly.


What’s your favorite Harry Potter revelation?