Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Close Encounters Prompt #WEP #WEPFF #FlashFiction #Scene #StoryExcerpt #Fantasy

I mentioned in my June IWSG post that I planned to use a scene from an Existence high-fantasy side story (or "frame story" or "story within the story") for the WEPFF prompt this month. In the Existence books, you see Xavier and Wend in an online fantasy roleplaying chat-based game. 

Xavier's character, Monoghan, is an exceptionally massive breed of Great Wolf, and he has been cursed/ gifted with the ability to transform into a human at will. (Though transformation was spontaneous during puberty, he gained control in adulthood.) He also "suffers" from immortality and is now so old that only two people he knew in his big "hero days" are still alive. Monoghan is the last Great Wolf. As thanks for the time ages ago when he helped save the planet, he was gifted the territory known as "The Forest," which outsiders are forbidden to enter. (Accomplished mainly by horror stories spread throughout the realm for generations.)

Candra @JLenniDorner
Wend's character, Candra, is an island wood elf. Her human-equivalent-age would be about twenty-three. This is the early elf-adulthood period when her kind is meant to explore the world beyond their island. She had met Monoghan in his human form prior to this story, though it was brief. 

"The Nomads of Treachery present Phin Fynn." This character is specific to the story. He is not mentioned in the Existence books. The Nomads of Treachery are a small population, consisting mostly of humans, who hail from Treachery — a dangerous territory with a volcanic-like mass with a summit in the upper atmosphere which erupts regularly into space. This is the cause of the planet's rings. The nomads travel to civilizations to collect trash and such, which they sort and sell or feed into the "volcano." It is common to see these nomadic children as young as seven unaccompanied in human towns, usually gathering discarded waste. Neither Candra nor Monoghan has met Phin Fynn before this story.

Monoghan story quote @JLenniDorner

The beginning of the story includes that quest introduction. Monoghan, Candra, and Phin Fynn are the three who must travel together to the Shamlin Ruins (an incredibly dangerous place that is difficult to get to, especially in three days) to claim an unknown inheritance. 

Great Wolf size @JLenniDorner
Size chart of the three main characters for reference, including wolf sizes.

The Repear (not to be confused with a " Grim Reaper") was difficult to describe. If a helicopter were just a round ball, and the blades were more like bat wings and affixed to the middle πŸ›Έ kind of like a flying saucer shape... but that long-neck could come out of the bottom center with a pear-shaped head (which looks more like a snake in this silhouette, because I'm a writer not an artist)... any suggestions about the story description versus my very crude sketch are most especially welcome. 

If you're wondering how to pronounce the title and river name (in English anyway), it's Re-Pear-Grave. 🍐 

Monoghan's makeshift torch is a real-world survival tactic. It only burns for about twenty minutes. The mud and bark are meant to catch falling embers. It only really serves as a signal, or as a safer way to heat something very briefly. πŸ”₯

That's the background information to best enjoy this scene. Full critiques are very welcome, as I plan to turn this story into a book to sell and will include this scene. 

Close Encounters movie poster from WEP site

Close Encounters tie-in: The movie is about land beings (humans) communicating with sky beings (πŸ‘½ space aliens) by using lights and sound. 

Tagline: A fantasy adventuring party of three must cross a river by communicating with a sky creature.

FCA 999 words

Repeargrave River Crossing

By J Lenni Dorner

"What's that sound," Candra asked as she rubbed her elven ears. 

Monoghan broke off some shrubbery. "Here. This foliage will reduce the noise. The Repeargrave River is still a fair trot ahead."

"Why is it so loud if we're not near it?" Candra tucked the thick shrub over her ears. 

"Low wind, flattened land, mighty river. Sound carries well in my forest." Monoghan rotated his wolf ears to protect his ultra-sensitive hearing.

Phin Fynn kicked the ground. "Is it safe to cross such a loud river?"

Monoghan moved a ball of shrubbery toward Phin Fynn's ears. "Not in the slightest. The river keeps the citizens of Mount Siegh from both invading Hiistocra and trespassing into my forest. The sound vibrations will fill you as we draw near to this part of the river. It is a way to ward you off."

Candra flicked Monoghan's tail. "Then we should go a different way. Cross somewhere more shallow."

"The river is the biggest danger on this route, which is our shortest path. I have a plan."

"Oh, well, as long as you have a plan," Candra emphasized the words as she cast her arms toward the sky. "I'll have you know that elves talk, so I am well aware that a river is not the most dangerous threat in this place."

His nuzzle tapped her arm. "You're right. That'd be me. Every other creature you've been cautioned against in my forest obeys my commands. Move along, we're on a tight schedule." 

Phin Fynn laughed as he skipped ahead, touching bushes, boulders, and trees with no regard for safety. Twice Monoghan had to snarl at camouflaged creatures who were one bite away from chewing on the child. At last, the river came into view. 

"Woo, swimming!" Phin Fynn rushed toward the water until Monoghan caught the collar of his coat and dragged him back to the treeline. Candra put her arm around the little one and shook her finger side-to-side in warning. 

Monoghan collected items, putting them beside a rock pile. He split the hardwood trunk of a leg-sized log, then shoved three sticks into it, wedging them all the way to the base of the shaft. Half a dozen pine cones were wedged into the log next. Adding gooey pine resin proved difficult. 

He gnawed and licked his fur, getting every drop off. The river looked so cool and wet. If he could just dip his muzzle in for a moment, this awful taste would be washed away. Just a sip

His paw sunk into the mud of the riverbank. He shook his head, breaking the trance. Repeargrave River hypnotized many creatures, drowning them. Monoghan wrinkled his muzzle as he returned to his task, glad the others didn't notice his near mistake. 

Fibrous bark rolled into a wick, coated with resin, and affixed in the log. He moved large chunks of bark into the hole of the rock pile. Now he needed mud from the riverbank without being lured to the depths. Water splashed at his tail. He shook it off. A daydream of rolling in the river crossed his mind. Wash off the stink of this journey. Leave the frustrating elf and the too-giddy human child. They'd be lost forever, like every other who dared enter. 

No. They were here at his invitation. He chose the route for his traveling companions, he brought them here. This journey and the ones on it were his responsibility. He growled at the water as he completed his task, affixing the torch log into the muddy bark in the rock pile. 

"Fire," he communicated carefully to Candra, knowing she could not hear him over the raging river. He nudged her to the torch. Upon seeing the makeshift wick, she understood. Her small, metal tools flickered a flame to life. 

It would only burn for a few moments. Just enough to signal the Repear. 

A round darkness loomed overhead. The scattered bits of daylight that permeated the canopy were gone. Candra and Phin Fynn pressed against Monoghan, who emitted a howl. The darkness came nearer. Black, flexible membranes connected between sharp talon-tipped fingers to form wings. The wingspan encircled the ball-like, black fur body, flapping up and down slightly, but mostly rotating. Such special wings allowed it to hover in place. A long neck stretched toward them from the underside of the body, a pear-shaped head sticking out of the end. 

"Re re?" it squawked.

Monoghan used a stick to poke around the flame, creating images and gestures with the light and smoke. 

"Re, re, reee, re re?"

He let out a whimper and bowed his head, his tail wagging. 

The Repear's wings spun faster, extinguishing the flame. Monoghan pressed against his companions as darkness and wind overtook them. He felt them grab his legs as they screamed. 

A moment later, they were on the other side of the Repeargrave River. He sniffled and licked them both, checking they were okay. Candra shuddered at being licked, quickly using the sleeve of her gown to wipe herself. Phin Fynn clapped and twirled. Satisfied, Monoghan picked up a branch with green leaves and waved it at the Repear. 

Light filtered down from the sky again, the creature gone, back to the hidden pocket of darkness where none could ever find its kind. 

Monoghan led his party to a creek, an offshoot of the river, where the sound no longer hurt their ears. 

"What was that?" Candra asked him as they watched Phin Fynn try to catch a fish in his little, human hands. 

"That was a Repear. It is suspected that they came here from another world. They communicate with colors and sound, on the rare instance they make themselves known." 

"How can it have spinning wings?"

Monoghan shrugged. "I have only seen them alive, and only while hovering over their river. They can suck a fish out of the water without nearing the spray of the rapids. I've never examined one well enough to fully understand them."

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Stop Writing #IWSG plus News #LGBTQ #WEP #AtoZChallenge #DebutAuthors #Books

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today:

Patrcia Josephine, Diedre Knight, Olga Godim, J Lenni Dorner (Hey, that's me! πŸ˜ƒ), and Cathrina Constantine!

June 7 question -

If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?

If you ever stopped breathing, what would you replace it with? 😡
How can I answer this question? Writing is the purpose of my life. 
🌳🌲🌳🌳🌳🌳 I guess I'd just go survive in the forest. 🌲🌲🌳🌲🌲🌳🌳🌳

Which is actually how I spent several days last month. I usually go for a long weekend in May, but my intended quest was not fruitful, so I made several additional treks. 

While my goal was not met, I did get "the itch" to return to an Existence side story I've been working on for many years. It's based on the RPG in the books, the gaming characters of my characters. In fact, I'm considering tweaking a scene to use for WEPFF later this month. 🐺 Monoghan communicates with a sky creature using light and sound. (That is kind of a spoiler if you haven't seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But it came out in 1977, making it slightly older than myself...)

Please also visit: The Insecure Writer's Support Group Book Club on Goodreads. This month’s reading challenge is: Puppy Love


Philly Pride #Pride celebrations in Philadelphia, PA, USA (my area)

Operation Awesome Happening at
I'm looking for 2023 Debut authors to interview. Please reach out. Twitter DM preferred.

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
Ronel will be our new graphics person for 2024! She hasn't been online much due to technical issues. πŸ’»πŸ’€πŸš« She expects to have that resolved soon, so please leave her some love and congratulatory praise to find upon her return!

WEPFF Close Encounters image Close Encounters Mashed Potatoes June WEP Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Blog hop and writing contest πŸ›Έ
WEP winners will be invited to submit to the WEP Flash Fiction Anthology, an ebook
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is an iconic 1977 Spielberg movie
POST JUNE 21st - 23rd

I use and recommend "calibre 64bit - E-book management" for conversions. 

"On June 20, 2023, we're changing our fees to better align with today's cost to print books"- AMAZON KDP
πŸ“š Print books are going to start costing more. Hopefully, indie authors won't be blamed for the hike! πŸ’Ή

The latest book I read and reviewed: Juliana Lopez is Fu*king Fire (Goodreads Review)

Do you have any news for June? Taking part in the IWSG, WEP, or have any feelings about the change in print book prices? Maybe just thinking about a Devil's Tower worth of mashed potatoes? πŸ₯” Drop a comment below, please!