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Set A Quota, Meet The Quota

setaquotameetthequota

Let’s be honest, I wouldn’t know what to kick start this year of blogging with if not for Zoey’s comment. Aside from my writing journey, Zoey has also asked about my writing process and how my average writing day looks like. Thank you for asking, Zoey! I’m more than happy to answer.

So, let me get right to it. When it comes to book projects, I go by the practice of ‘Set a quota, meet the quota‘. This is how I complete books within a set time frame. How do I go about it exactly? There are two ways.

The first is, A Book In A Month.

When I graduated from university, I spent the first month after graduation writing The Slave Prince. I told myself I would get a job after I was done. I gave myself 20 days to complete the book, and I did so by meeting the quota of one chapter a day.

My chapters for novels are a minimum of 2,500 words (more is welcomed, less is not). Without fail, I sat down in front of my laptop around 10pm every night and wrote until I met the word count. I didn’t go to sleep until I was done. I didn’t give myself an excuse to skip a day (unless it’s the weekend). And there was no such thing as a writer’s block, because I pushed through them. If I had to write a sucky chapter, I did it anyway – I knew I could edit it later. In 20 days, the novel was done.

These days, since having a day job, this isn’t something I can do unless I’m writing something short of a novel. My novellas and novelettes usually follow this A Book In A Month practice because of a shorter word quota, but not my novels. Which brings me to the second route: Two Chapters A Week.

Two Chapters A Week is exactly that. I write two chapters a week, usually on Tuesday and Friday. On Monday, I rough edit the chapter I wrote on the previous Friday. And on Thursday, I rough edit the chapter I wrote on Tuesday. Wednesday is kept empty just in case I haven’t prepped anything for this blog – sort of a last minute thing.

I would set the quota of 2,500 words or more and complete it before I go to bed. This was how I got Trails of the Wind (book one of my work-in-progress trilogy) done. I wrote Trails of the Wind between August to October last year, with a holiday break in Japan in between. Two Chapters A Week gets a novel done in around 3 months.

Again, there’s no such thing as a writer’s block. I MUST write on Tuesdays and Fridays. No excuses – fix horrible chapters later – just keep writing. I know that if I break my pattern, I risk never finishing the book, and that is something I will not do. It’s against my character to start something and not finish it. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t dropped books before – most of the time a result of not having a chapter list.

“What’s a chapter list?” you ask.

As a standard procedure prior to writing any book, no matter which direction I go, I spend a day or two mind-mapping and drafting out a chapter list (a.k.a a skeleton). I create a timeline where I write a few short sentences to describe each chapter. Most of the time, when I start writing, I deviate from the original plan. But I still create a chapter list, because it helps me to keep going. Should I feel lost in the middle of my writing, I can always look back at the chapter list and see if I should incorporate some of the ideas to push the story in the right direction. Since I impose no rule in following the chapter list by heart, it is simply there to keep me accountable – to help me finish the book. And there is no doubt that those short lines have been of great help.

So, there you have it! My writing process and how I go about it.

If you’re curious as to whether I participate in NaNoWriMo, my answer is ‘no’. My writing schedule always happens shortly before or after NaNoWriMo. With all the planning and writing, jumping on board would be too taxing. I also don’t want to hold on to an idea just for the sake of participating in NaNoWriMo. I prefer to write while inspiration is still fresh. Perhaps one day, my schedule will align and I’ll get to participate.

Now how about you? What is writing process like? Is your practice similar or do you have a different procedure? If you don’t have one, feel free to give my ‘Set a quota, meet the quota‘ a shot. It might work for you too :)

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I hope this post has been helpful. If there is something you would like me to write about, leave a comment below or send me an email. I’m not a writing prodigy nor do I have ample of experience, but I’m happy to share whatever niblets I own :)

Thank you for reading dear reader, and have a wonderful weekend. Oh, and to all who celebrates the Chinese (lunar) New Year, 新年快乐!

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in Writing Journey

 

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Chapter 56: Whose Eyes, Whose Ears

clubhouse56

Jodie was the earliest. She sat in the silence thinking about life in prison. How horrid could it be? After days of discussing with Wayne’s recommended lawyer while trying to run a now scandalous publishing house, she found herself oscillating between accepting her fate and fighting for justice. Perhaps it was better to escape the world behind bars. It seemed less stressful.

When she began her imagination of prison food, she heard a series of click clocks. The moment it stopped, there was Guinevere taking a seat across her. They were told to meet in the clubhouse restaurant at 9a.m. Guinevere arriving a minute before the designated time was unusual.

“You’re early,” Jodie said.

“Well, I wanted to get this over with.”

“Whom did you vote for?”

“You.”

“Why?” Jodie asked, failing to hide the horror in her voice.

Of all people, why did Guinevere have to vote for her? She didn’t want to be team captain. And the only reason she showed up was the possibility of discovering something new during the shareholder’s dinner. Being team captain would make it impossible to snoop around.

“Why not? You make a good leader.”

“Thank you. I’m so glad you think so.”

Guinevere shrugged as Matthias and Zach made an appearance. Jodie thought of asking them whom they voted for too, but was afraid they had chosen her as well. So they sat in silence until Richard came strolling in with Ms Leona a few feet behind.

“I’ve tabulated the votes,” Ms Leona said, without joining them at the table. “And surprisingly unanimous, your team captain is Jodie.”

Jodie dropped her gaze and held back a sigh. Ms Leona proceeded to briefing them about the dinner that was happening the following day, before placing four files on the table. The labels read, ‘Security’, ‘Food’, ‘Guests’, and ‘Agenda’.

“The team captain will assign each of you a task. Do it to the best of your ability. As you know, all eyes will be watching,” Ms Leona said. She then turned on her heel and stalked off in a hurry.

“Dibs on security,” Richard immediately said.

“I don’t mind handling the food. I rather not see anyone at the dinner,” Guinevere stated.

“I’m fine with anything,” Zach muttered.

When Matthias didn’t voice his preference, everyone turned to him. He responded to the attention by unfolding a paper napkin and scribbling three words: Let’s meet tonight.

He then pushed the napkin toward Guinevere and offered her the pen. She wrote ‘okay’ and forward the napkin to Zach. He added the alphabet ‘K’, before sliding the napkin to Richard who scribbled ‘Ok’.

Just before it was Jodie’s turn to reply, she nodded and said, ‘Richard can do security, Guinevere the food, Zach the agenda, and Matthias the guests.”

“Great!” Richard snatched his file and flipped it open. He was the only one excited about the event, as the rest sluggishly got to their feet and excused themselves one by one. Jodie left Richard last, returning to her thoughts of orange jumpsuits.

On most Saturdays, Jodie would be in the gym or at the clubhouse taking some time off work. That Saturday, she was at home waiting for night to arrive. There was nothing she needed to do and nothing she wanted to do. So she stared blankly at the television until her stomach signalled dinner time.

Without bothering to change, she headed to a roadside stall for a quick meal before making her way to the abandoned institution. She parked her car at the same spot she did the last time, before strolling toward the haunting school grounds. It was no longer as hair raising of an experience, as she had left her mood to be adventurous at home.

After three flights of steps up the soulless building, Jodie entered the classroom where they had met previously. There, she found the other four.

“We were about to call you,” Zach said.

“Sorry. So-”

“So, we all agree that we’ll use the dinner to scour for information, right? Guinevere interrupted.

“Of course. I’ve contacted a friend of mine who’ll help us,” Richard said.

“What friend?” Matthias asked with an eyebrow raised.

“A friend. He’ll bring his team to set the clubhouse up. Then during dinnertime, we’ll have eyes and ears on every table.”

“That’s a good idea,” Guinevere stated.

“I’m not too sure about that,” Matthias replied.

“Why not?” Zach asked.

“Well, Ms Leona said we’re being watched. And it is extremely suspicious for Richard to still be around, especially after his mother told him to leave,” Matthias said, gesturing to Richard. “In case you forgot, your brother is the new head of Wilhelm Group.”

“And that’s why I’ll do security. I’ll be in the shadows,” Richard assured.

“Let me do security,” Matthias said. “I’ll handle your friends.”

“And how is taking care of the guests any less discreet?”

“I suggest you don’t show tomorrow.”

“And miss out on the fun?”

“Well, this isn’t about fun, Richard,” Guinevere snapped. “None of this is fun.”

“Whoa, just so you know, you’re not the only victim here,” Richard replied.

“Why don’t you tell me what makes you a victim?” Guinevere challenged.

“My life being a lie? Do you think I’d sit around and let the Lee’s pretend I don’t exist?”

“Oh you’re such whiner.”

“Both of you are,” Jodie finally spoke. It was frustrating to see how the two most privileged individuals in their group threw a pity party around themselves. “Of all the victims in this room, you two have the least to worry about it.”

“Whatever,” Guinevere muttered.

“Look, I’m the man for this job. I’ve done it before. And I’m not going to sit out on it,” Richard stated.

“If you aren’t, then take up the guests task. It’s far from discreet but you won’t draw suspicion. Use your presence as a distraction. That will help,” Matthias replied.

Richard said nothing and turned to Jodie. Matthias did the same, while Guinevere sulked and Zach watched. Matthias made a good point. Richard would draw attention no matter what position he’s in. But in the case of letting Matthias take over, could he be trusted? Jodie had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Original Works

 

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3 Words, 1 Story

3words1story

It’s simple.

Give me 3 words – 3 random words – and I’ll work a story around those words.

This is a writing challenge I aim to do at least once a month. It will be a great way for me to practice writing. And you can join me too, if you like :)

To kick start this challenge, leave your 3 words in the comments below. I’ll choose one comment for a short story beginning in February 2016. Once the story is posted, I’ll challenge you to take on the same 3 words and write your own. There are no rules in this challenge. The length doesn’t matter, it could be 100 words or 1000 words. The genre doesn’t matter either, it could be fantasy or fan fiction. Just write to your heart’s desire. That’s what I’ll be doing too.

Feel free to link your own story in the comments as the challenge gains momentum. If I have a favourite, I’ll be sure to feature it. Are you up for this? Let’s have some fun!

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Others

 

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Chapter 55: It’s Dinner Time

clubhouse55

“He… was Gabriel.”

“Richard’s brother?”

“Yes.”

“The new head of Wilhelm Group?”

“Yes.”

And what about the betraying of friends? No, Guinevere didn’t repeat her question. It suddenly felt too intrusive. And yet, Matthias answered her anyway.

“As for the betraying of friends, don’t worry, it wasn’t you.”

“I was just curious,” Guinevere said in defense.

“How much did you hear?” Matthias asked.

“Oh, you know, not much,” Guinevere said, “but if you ask me, I’d suggest you take him up on his offer.”

Matthias furrowed his brows. It was an expected reaction, since supporting the notion of helping the enemy didn’t seem orthodox.

To be fair, she saw it as an opportunity for Matthias to help them. Perhaps behind enemy lines, he’ll be able to dig up more information regarding Wilhelm Group. The only problem with the suggestion was the possibility that Matthias would switch sides instead. Then, they would be in trouble. Then, there was no way of saving Wayne or her family at all.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. You can be our inside man.”

Matthias chuckled.

“We trust you,” Guinevere added.

“That’s good to know.”

“We’re closing in on the end of the clubhouse competition. The only way to save us all is to have someone on the inside.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Matthias-”

Matthias ended the conversation there with a lazy wave of goodbye. As he strolled off, Guinevere heaved a deliberate sigh. She had no intentions of listening in on Matthias’ conversation. In fact, she was surprised she stumbled into him in the first place. Now having heard everything, it was as though she was given hope only to have it taken away from her. Still, she didn’t know Matthias well enough to know why he hesitated. Perhaps there was more to his story than just being the sly lawyer.

Deciding she was done jogging for the day, she headed back to her car. And to her utmost surprise, she found Wayne waiting for her. He wore a serious expression, one that turned her brief joy into worry. What was he doing there? How did he know where to find her?

“Hi,” Guinevere said.

“We need to talk,” Wayne replied.

“About?”

“About my change of plans.”

“What change of plans?”

“I’m stepping down from my post.”

“What? Why?”

“You know why.”

Wayne didn’t seem angry with her, which was a relief. But the thought of him giving up wasn’t. Jodie mentioned Wayne would take care of his own situation, but quitting wasn’t what she had expected.

“I’m playing it safe. And I understand if you want to break off the engagement,” Wayne added.

“No! No, I don’t want to break it off. My family does, but not me.”

“I actually think it’s best if we do break it off. You and your family shouldn’t be entangled in this mess.”

“But we already are,” Guinevere insisted.

Guinevere was afraid – afraid he would end the relationship she worked so hard to built. Yes, the relationship started off in search for power, status, and money, but it became more than that. Like she told her father, she really did like Wayne. If he was stepping down from his position, why did they have to end it? Wilhelm Group will leave him alone, wouldn’t they?

“I’m going to disappear for a while. So I vote we end this here.”

“No!” Guinevere reached for his hand and held on as tight as she could. “No, they only want your position, they don’t want you.”

“I’m afraid that’s not what they’re planning to do. I’m their scapegoat, whether I give up my seat or have them shove me off. Don’t worry, I’ll be back. And then we can talk about us again.”

Wayne pulled his hand free and gave Guinevere a hug.

Guinevere knew she looked like a pathetic puppy, being abandoned by her owner, but she wasn’t going to whine and whimper about it. Still, it took a lot of effort to nod in reply.

“Don’t look for me, Gwen. I’ll be back.”

That evening, Guinevere returned home to find her parents waiting for her in the living room. She solemnly announced she broke off her engagement with Wayne, and ignored the smile that spread across her mother’s face.

“Good,” her father merely said.

“You’re welcome,” Guinevere muttered.

Having lost all appetite, she headed straight to her room. Thankfully, her sister wasn’t there to jab at her open wound. After a long bath, where she tried to stop herself from bursting into tears under the rain shower, she retreated to her bed in hopes to end her day. Unfortunately, before she could switch the lights off, her phone beeped a message. Seeing who it was from, she grunted and tapped it open.

This weekend is the annual Wilhelm Group shareholder’s dinner. We have everything set and ready, but we need a team to oversee the night’s event.

As part of the challenge, you and the other contestants will be in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly. But before anything else, a team needs a captain. Aside from you, who do you think will make a good leader?

At that point of time, did it really matter who took the reigns? Matthias might have dropped out of the challenge by tomorrow, Jodie had more important things to handle, Richard may or may not show up – even if he did, it would be for fun, and Zach was already the doomed winner.

Guinevere had the urge to ignore the message, but then wondered if that would only create suspicion. Thinking about how the shareholder’s dinner might work to their benefit, she decided it best to hit reply. Maybe this was the opportunity they were waiting for? If they could uncover something of value, then Wayne might not need to disappear. But the question still remained: who should be team captain? Guinevere had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in Original Works

 

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To Write 100 Books & Die

towrite100booksanddie

Fellow blogger Zoey told me she is interested in hearing my self-publishing experience. So to start off this new year of blogging, I’ve decided to fill you in on what it’s been like for me. But before I get into my five years in this indie industry, let me share with you my writing goal. It’s pretty straightforward. My goal is to write 100 books and die.

Simply put, I want to write as many books as I can in my lifetime. Whether or not it becomes my full time career, whether or not I become a bestselling author, whether or not the world knows my name, I just want to write. Money and fame are not my goals as an author, they are added bonuses (bonuses I would love to have, of course). But ultimately, writing and writing and writing is my goal. That is why I chose to go indie.

I’ve self-published five titles independently: The Dreamer, Dream World: The Lost Child, Raindrops, Magnum Opus, and Dr. Slubgob’s Letters. Have I ever thought of pitching these books to publishers? Yes. Did I do it? Only once for The Dreamer. Why only once? Because the work that goes into it equals to another book being written. This is a personal statement: I rather spend time writing than looking for a publisher.

Of course, the self-publishing work that comes after writing a book is not easy. There’s editing, designing, publishing, and marketing. Being that I don’t have the finance to fund myself, my books are not given a paperback chance. Having no money to spend on professional editing, I edit my books with the help of beta readers. The cover design of all my books were done by friends who were willing to do it for free (quick tip: be friends with artists/designers). Asking for free help is something I had to do, and being honest about the struggle of being an indie author is something my artsy friends understood. I thank God for having friends who would do book covers for free – these people could charge me for it, but were willing to ‘collaborate’ because I was budget-less.

After all the pre-production work is done, to the best of my ability (note this: I don’t release books I’m not happy with – I’ve ditched some stories too), I export my books into pdf and place them on Gumroad. Gumroad hosts my books online and emails them automatically to buyers. They only take a small percentage out of the sales, much less than Amazon. The reason why I don’t put on Amazon is because of the tedious process (call me lazy) and the low royalty rates. Yes, the book might sell more copies on Amazon, but I prefer to use a platform I have full control over (price, format, and earnings).

Have I made a lot of money from those five titles? No, and it doesn’t matter… because I’m still writing.

I believe the reason why I don’t make much money from my books is because of poor marketing. I had a marketing module in university, but the 4p’s of marketing is a surface level skill. I fail at promotion because the only platforms I have for promotion is here on this blog and on my social networking accounts. Even here/there, I don’t expect great responses. And that’s how it is as an indie author.

I have been doing this for five years, and only a year ago did I attempt to try a new form of publishing: crowd-funded publishing. Last year, I learnt so much from the production of The Battle for Oz through a successful crowd-funded project. I had no idea how tedious the full process of editing was! But just like self-publishing, crowd-funded publishing is not for everyone.

The truth about self-publishing is this: it takes work and you might not earn the money you deserve from all the work. But you have full control and you get to see it come to life. Knowing this, I’m favouring crowd-funded publishing so much more, but that itself is a different ball game.

If you’re wondering which route to take, I suggest you first ask yourself what your writing goal is. Why do you write? And base on your answer, see which route best suits you. I chose self-publishing and going indie because I want to share as many stories with the world. I’m fine dying as an unknown writer, as long as I’ve inspired a few lives with my work. But to some, this is not something they want. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because we all have different writing goals. What’s important is you do what works best for you.

So there you have it, my experience in self-publishing. It’s pretty general as I still have a lot to learn. I’m not sure if I would continue on this self-publishing route or plant myself solely in crowd-funded publishing, but no matter which path I take, I still have a lot to learn. This is the best I can share with you at this point of time, and I hope it helps :)

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If there is something you would like me to share, leave a comment below!

Zoey has also asked about my writing process and if you’re keen about the same topic, let me know. Like I said in my A New Year, A New Journey post, this is going to be a different blogging year. I want to interact with you and I’m hoping to build a community of readers through this blog. Hopefully, the shift in blogging will help me in my authoring career. But even if it doesn’t, I hope it helps you, dear reader, in one way or another.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend ahead!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Writing Journey

 

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A New Year, A New Journey

2015 has been good.

It was a year I self-published my novella, Dr. Slubgob’s Letters, and crowd-published my novel, The Battle for Oz. It was a year I started to earn royalties… for the first time in my authoring career! And a year I pulled through The Clubhouse series. 2015 was also a year I finished the first book of my first trilogy. It’s safe to say, I wrote a lot this year.

So what’s up for 2016?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t know where my authoring career would go in 2016. I don’t know if there would be a 2nd print run of The Battle for Oz. I don’t know if The Slave Prince will be a success on Inkshares. And I don’t know if I should also crowd-fund the first book of my trilogy. But what I do know is the change I want to incorporate on this blog.

Blogging in 2015 was slow. The growth in readership wasn’t large. But that isn’t what’s bothering me. To be honest, the interaction with you is what I’ve missed throughout 2015. So for 2016, I intend to change things up.

Being that The Clubhouse series has to finish (as I don’t like leaving stories hanging), I’ll be posting a new chapter every fortnightly in 2016. In the weeks in between those chapters, I’ll either post short stories, talk about my experiences, voice opinions, and maybe share personal tips and tricks – all under the sun of writing and fiction. I hope that this variety will get you responding again. I won’t deny, it’s been lonely having no one to talk to. And I’ve thoroughly missed you.

Do I sound like a clingy ex? We haven’t broken up yet, have we? Oh, no, we haven’t. If you’re still here, we haven’t. So let’s rekindle this love affair. If you have any topics you’d like me to cover, do let me know. Having a livelier blog is my goal for 2016. Speak up if you have something to say, I’m all ears! If you don’t like commenting, because it’s not your thing, my inbox is always open to emails and I check it everyday.

With that being said, I just want to add a thank you for your faithful following of my blog. I know I didn’t do much in 2015, but I’ll make sure 2016 is better. Thank you for staying on board in this slow current and thank you for the constant support. Please remain seated because the ride isn’t over.

Cheers to a Happy New Year, my dear reader. May your 2016 be filled with lots of adventure and fantastical experiences. I hope it would be a great year for you, as I hope it would also be for me. Let’s have a memorable year together! *cue imaginary fireworks*

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Others

 

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The Majestas Regia

themajestasregia

Seven year-old Thom shuffled up the steps of the tallest turret in the prince’s palace. His goal was the highest window. It overlooked the army training camps in their New Year celebration.

Once at his comfortable spot, he peered down at the bright lights and loud cheers. Everything below looked like a play set, except he couldn’t reach down to join the fun. Thom was still too young to attend the celebration with his family. And he hated it. Missing out on all the songs and games, despite how rowdy they could get, was like missing out on the best birthday party in the kingdom. Yet no matter how much he begged, his mother always said no.

Resting his chin on his crossed arms, Thom imagined growing up. Oh how he couldn’t wait. It seemed wonderful to be an adult. He could even make the climb up the turret without huffing like an angry bull. Sighing, he made a wish for the years to fly by. If only he had magic to speed up time.

“Your highness! I – I found you. You shouldn’t be up here,” his royal maidservant said. She stopped a few steps below in attempts to catch her breath. It looked like some adults never outgrew the panting. “It’s time for bed, Prince Thom. The queen will be back to check on you soon.”

Thom frowned. He thought of picking another turret next year, since the maidservants knew of his special spot.

“Your highness, come down with me, please,” the maidservant pleaded.

“I’m tired,” Thom lied. “Carry me.”

He had grown a lot in the past two years, and despite hating being carried, it was a torture to those who spoilt his fun.

“Ca-carry you?” The maidservant looked aghast at the idea.

“Yes, carry me,” Thom ordered.

He skipped down the few steps toward the maidservant before jumping into her arms. She nearly stumbled backward, but managed to press herself against the wall.

“You’re getting heavier, your highness.”

“I know.”

Thom held on tight as the maidservant huffed and puffed her way down the steps, all the while smirking at what he deemed as justice. When she finally dragged them both into his bedchamber, he climbed off her and waved her away.

“Shall – shall I tuck – tuck you in, your – highness?”

“No. You can go.”

The maidservant gave a bow before shuffling out of the room. When she shut the doors, he heard her inform the guards to keep watch. Grunting, he knew his plan to escape was foiled.

Not yet tired as the night was still young, he climbed onto the windowsill and looked out into the night sky. The stars twinkled across the black canvas while the clouds drifted by the full moon. The music and laughter of the celebration could be heard, but only as a distance whisper carried by the wind. Nothing was out of the ordinary, and it was quite a disappointment to the imaginative little prince.

“Not even a single dragon,” Thom muttered as he heaved a sigh.

“And a good thing, that is,” someone replied.

Turning, he saw his mother walking toward him. He didn’t hear her enter, being occupied in his search for something magical.

“A horrible thing, that is,” Thom corrected.

“Why?” his mother asked. She pulled an armchair near the windowsill and gestured for him to come down.

“It means there’s no magic tonight,” Thom replied. Obediently, he climbed off the hazardous ledge and into the armchair where he planted himself on his mother’s lap.

“Magic comes from within, not from the outside.”

“Then magic is boring.”

His mother laughed as she wrapped her arms around him. She gave him a tight squeeze before poking at his rib.

“Hey!” Thom pushed her hand away, hiding back a childish giggle.

“You know, if you want to find magic, all you have to do is look at the stars.”

“The stars?”

“Look right there,” she added, pointing toward a direction in the sky.

Thom leaned closer to her arm, and aligned his sight with her finger. All he saw were a cluster of twinkling dots and no magic.

“What’s there?”

“You can’t see it?”

“See what?”

“The Majestas Regia. It’s a constellation only royals can see.”

“I can’t see it. Does that mean I’m not a royal?”

“Look carefully.”

“I am. What does it look like?”

“It looks like a crown.” His mother began to draw in the air. When she was done, she asked, “Do you see it now?”

“No.” How she could point it out bewildered him. Knowing it would take too much effort, he stopped trying and turned the other way.

However special the constellation was, it seemed like a waste of time trying to find it. It wasn’t magic. It was just a bunch of stars. And the fact that it could only be seen by royals? Well, he didn’t like that thought either.

“You can’t give up so quickly, dear Thom.”

“There’s a dragon over there, can you see it?” Thom pointed in the opposite direction, hoping to change the subject. There wasn’t a dragon, of course, but he could easily imagine one.

His mother laughed and pulled his hand down. “Just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean you’re not a prince.” It was as though she’d read his mind. But it was to no surprise, as mother’s had that special magic within them.

“Who says I’m not a prince?” Thom snapped. “It’s just a bunch of stupid stars.”

“You see, that’s why magic isn’t on the outside. It’s on the inside.” She gently tapped at his chest. “To see it, you must believe. You’re a prince, little one. A true prince. And one day, you’ll find the Majestas Regia as quickly as you gaze into the sky.”

“I will?”

“You will.”

“What are you doing?” Seanna asked.

Thom turned to her as she exited the farmhouse. He was seated on a log in the open field, and he shifted to make space for her.

“Looking for something,” Thom replied.

“What are you looking for?” Seanna looked at the ground around them, brushing the wet grass with her boot.

“Not down there, up here.” Thom pointed to the stars. “The Majestas Regia.”

“Oh, the royal constellation.”

“Is there anything you don’t know?”

“I don’t think so. Did you find it? They say only royals can see it. I’ve tried looking for it before, but…”

“You didn’t find it?”

“No.”

“I guess the saying is true then. Or it’s just prove that there are things Seanna cannot do,” Thom said with a smug.

“Well, can you?”

Thom pointed to the sky, where his index finger hovered over the tip of the crown. “Over there.”

“You’re lying,” Seanna scoffed.

“It’s really over there,” Thom insisted, connecting the stars with his fingers to draw a crown in the air.

“Whatever. It’s almost dinnertime.” Seanna got to her feet and dusted her pants. “By the way, Reid and Tavia are joining us tonight.”

“Oh, okay. You go ahead, I’ll be right in.”

He turned to the sky once more. And just like his mother had said, he spotted it as quickly as he lifted his gaze. It was there, to the right of the moon, the Majestas Regia.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Merry Christmas (eve) dear reader! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas day, full of love, hope, and good food.

I also hope you liked this short story :) It is actually a teaser for my crowd-funding novel, The Slave Prince. This teaser won’t be shared anywhere else but here. And I know it raises some questions, but that’s the whole idea!

If you’re new to my blog, The Slave Prince is actually in the running to being published as part of the Sword & Laser Collection Contest. If it piques your interest, do give it a look-see. I have until the 15th of January to be in the top 3 books. Then, it’s a guarantee you’ll see it on bookshelves next year! So head over to the project page to read further. The prologue and first 2 chapters are there too, for some light reading this Christmas day :)

The Slave Prince © 2015 – 2016 Jeyna Grace

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2015 in Book Teasers

 

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