Another Sketch

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Here is a bit of Diana:

Sample

James Returns

“Okay. Well, hi,” James said, going back outside and standing on the porch. Diana followed him and shut the front door with a firm click that she hoped conveyed to the young man that he was not coming back inside if she had anything to say about it.

“What did they send you for? What’s your assignment?” Diana asked, folding her arms.

James instantly looked uncomfortable.

“Um, I can’t–” James paused in a very unnatural way, his mouth open and his eyes fluttering in the middle of a blink.

Diana looked around the yard and porch, waiting for a new message to appear, or for an alien to come down and chastise her for not playing by their rules. Nothing happened and in a moment, James restarted.

“Hi. It’s me,” James said. Diana stared at him with a curl of derision in her upper lip. Her ire was directed at the aliens, but James obviously thought she was annoyed at him. “Sorry,” James said, blinking. He seemed to have no memory of already having arrived. “Should we go in?” James asked, grinning and pointing at the house.

“No. We’ll stay out here. Hello,” Diana said, going to the front step and sitting down. Her heart was fizzling and the stress of possibly having just murdered five grown men was starting to settle into Diana’s gut.

She was mostly sure the men weren’t actually dead, but she had no way of finding out at this point. She thought the aliens must have just taken the men back when she’d pulled the trigger, but the thought that she might have really killed them had begun to nag at her.

“So, we decided before that we’d be brother and sister,” James said with a good deal of cheerfulness, joining Diana on the step and grinning at her.

Diana turned a cold eye on James, whose smile faltered.

“Is something wrong?” James asked.

Diana was tempted to tell him that she missed Stuart, which she was mildly frustrated to realize was very true.

“Brother and sister, then. Have you eaten anything? We’ll camp outside,” Diana said, getting up and going to the concentric garden the aliens had made spring up in the yard.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, it is almost Aaron’s turn for a hunting lesson out in the Domasus jungle.

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Philas Sketch

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Here is a sketch of two main characters from my fantasy series that is under revisions. The guy on the right should have darker hair, but hey, it’s a sketch.

Here’s a bit more of what happens to Diana:

Sample

The Note

Diana unfolded the note, which contained a bright purple scrawl in Helvetica.

Breed or kill. You choose.

Diana’s heart was aflame with a mixture of terror and icy rage. She grabbed up the white plastic gun, snapping it free of the yarn with which it was tied, and pointed the weapon at the big man with a handlebar mustache.

“Hey, look guys! She’s got a little toy pistol!” Handlebar guy called to the others with a raucous laugh. Diana squeezed the trigger and the man vanished.

“Yes,” Diana hissed, twisting in the high branches of the tree and shooting the other two who were partway up the trunk. The two men disappeared and Diana shimmied down to thicker branches and pointed the white plastic gun at the first of the remaining two men on the ground below, who were both staring at her with wide eyes and angry mouths. “Bye,” Diana muttered, shooting the first man, who disappeared.

“Well, hang on! Let’s talk, come on!” the final man exclaimed. Diana shot him. Nothing appeared to come out of the gun when she pressed the trigger, but the man vanished as promptly as the others had done, and Diana climbed out of the tree, her arms shaking wildly, and went around the perimeter of the house before entering the front door with caution and combing through every room to see that she was really alone.

When she’d gone everywhere and was heading back downstairs, she heard the front door slam.

Diana growled and lifted up the gun, which disappeared in her hand.

“Hello?” a young voice called.

“Who is it now?” Diana shouted, her chest pounding with stress and her skin seeming to crawl with premonitions of danger.

“Um, it’s James?” the voice called. Diana rolled her eyes and stomped down the stairs, going into the front room and glaring at the young man, who smiled in a hesitant manner. “Hi again,” James said.

“Outside,” Diana said, pointing at the front door.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the hunter is training his apprentice to call big white birds in the jungle.

Dragons Plus Diana

 

 

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Here’s another experimental sketch. This is the scene I just finished editing in my dragon book, which is slowly nearing completion.

I’m working out how I want to use layers with my current drawing program so I don’t end up coloring sky around gaps in the figures, which is, of course, silly.

Here is what happens next with Diana:

Sample

The Gang

“What are you doing here?” Diana shouted as soon as the group of men approached her tree.

“She’s not stuck,” one of the men told the others.

“Hey, kiddo. You wanna come down and say hello?” the big guy with the handlebar mustache asked. Diana had a sick feeling in her gut about all the men, but this largest man made her insides curl with anger.

“I don’t like these companions, guys!” Diana shouted towards the roof of the ice bubble. The men below her laughed, and the big man came to the trunk and started to climb. “I will kick your teeth out, mister,” Diana snarled, poising her foot.

The large man hesitated, a broad grin spreading over his face.

“Oh, really?” he asked. Two of the others went around to the other side of the tree and started to hoist themselves up.

“Get out of my tree!” Diana howled, scrambling to the higher branches and glaring around at the men she could still see.

“Well, we’re to make friends with you, girlie, and we can’t do that while you’re up in a tree,” Handlebar Mustache guy called, climbing up to the first low branch.

“This is my tree, and my domicile, and you have to go live in the backyard with the spare furniture!” Diana shouted, climbing up to the slenderest branches and clinging to them. She was very sure the men wouldn’t be able to get up this far, though she was quite aware they would be able to break or bend her branches to reach her.

“You are our ticket out of here, little miss, and you’re coming down out of the tree,” one of the men in the lower branches said, lifting himself higher with caution. Diana glared around at the house; it was too far to jump to the roof, and even if she made it there would be nowhere to run.

Diana had never been more afraid in her life. There was something rough, ugly, and brash in the men’s voices, and she didn’t like to think of what the aliens might have told them to do to her.

As the three men in the tree climbed, Diana felt a lump appear under her elbow. She gasped and moved back a little. A small white piece of plastic that was unmistakably a gun was tied with a piece of yellow yarn to the tree branches. Diana spotted a paper note attached to the yarn and she snatched it up, her heart pounding.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and I need to find a new gym. Also, in my current novel, the hunter and his dad are digging through bird poop for precious stones.

A Chunk of Cover

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This is a clip from a cover I’m designing right now. There’s Unxolo, who is missing her left arm, and the guy is Vince, who cut off her arm previously and is now very sorry for it. Ah, drama.

Rose the cat had to wear a collar and leash briefly the other day for reasons of safety during transport, and ever since she’s been pretending not to exist in the hope, I believe, that I won’t come and put the collar back on.

Here is some Diana:

Sample

The Newcomers

They were like a biker gang, Diana thought, watching with a furiously beating heart through the branches as five very large, middle-aged men came around the side of the house.

The one in the front had an enormous handlebar mustache and was built like a mountain, with beefy arms and a torso almost as wide around as the trunk of Diana’s tree.

She looked over the others and fought a growing sense of dread all through her gut. They were all big, all at least thirty years older than she was, and they were very loud.

I want Stuart back, Diana thought, and she was tempted to laugh at herself. She’d never imagined the aliens would send an actual group of adults.

“Where’s the girl?” one of the raucous men shouted, and Diana almost fell out of the tree. She climbed higher into the slender branches, clinging to the overgrown foliage with trembling limbs.

She heard the front door to the house slam. Diana was quite sure the men were looking for her in the house, and she looked around at the bubble of ice surrounding her, desperate for any outlet.

“Hey, there she is!” a man shouted from a window on the second story.

Oh, great, Diana thought, clenching her jaw and wrapping her arms more tightly around the small branches supporting her weight. She’d pulled three little branches together in an effort to get farther away from the ground, and her body swayed gently back and forth as the branches bent under her weight.

“Hey, what are you doing up there?” the big man with the handlebar mustache called. Two of the men were leaning out of the window and Diana could see a third peering over their heads.

She didn’t make any answer. The men went back into the house and appeared to have some manner of conference. Handlebar guy came alone to the window.

“Hello there, little girl,” he said.

Diana stared at the roof.

“Can you talk, little lady?” the man called.

Little lady! Diana wanted to say several withering things, but her jaw wouldn’t move and her mouth was dry.

“Well, we aren’t going to hurt you. Are you stuck, kiddo? You climbed up and can’t get down? That must be it,” the big man said, ducking back into the room.

Diana shimmied down to a thicker branch and clung to the trunk, looking around at the lower branches and wondering if she would be able to kick any of the men out of the tree if they came up after her.

I want Stuart back, Diana thought, and she felt her skin vibrating with anger and fear.

The front door to the house opened and all five men spilled out, laughing and joking about homeless kittens trapped in trees.

I am not a homeless kitten, Diana thought, tears prickling at her eyes. She eyed the branches and settled herself in a position from which to kick downwards. At least I can knock one of them down, I hope, she told herself.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the adventurous horticulturist is getting advice about his long term goals.

Today is Monday

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This sketch is just for practice.

Rose the gray cat now has a little felt owl stuffed with catnip, and she is possessive and vicious with it. She tucks the owl in between all four of her paws and sits on it while hunching her shoulders and glaring at people, which is cute.

Here is a bit of Diana.

Sample

The Interim

Two days passed very quietly. Diana explored all the books in the house and was relieved to find an extensive collection of interesting murder mysteries, which she started to read in the main crook of the tree outside.

The concentric garden of eggplant-like vegetables turned out to be much nicer to eat than the boxes of mush, and Diana straightened up the house the first morning and then spent the rest of her time outside.

She was not quite brave enough to sleep in the tree, but she curled up with a pillow and a blanket at the roots of the tree and slept on the ground.

Diana didn’t want to go back into the house. Stuart seemed to be in every room, and she worked hard throughout the two days to keep her mind off him.

On the third morning since the aliens had taken Stuart away, Diana woke up with a buzz of fear in her gut. More companions, the aliens had said. She was expecting at least a boy her age, and possibly a whole horde of teenagers.

Diana got the impression, from the way Tiffany had known her name and talked about her, that she was meant to be a sort of house mother to any humans who came to visit.

Midway through the morning, a loud, raucous noise of several men came from the backyard of the house. Diana moved without thinking, scrambling up the trunk of the tree and into the highest branches that could support her weight.

She heard a splintering sound and a loud bark of male laughter from the backyard, and her whole body seemed to twist into icy terror.

Diana was very glad for the thick foliage the aliens had caused to explode out from every branch of the tree, for she was very well hidden. Diana leaned out on a slender branch and peered through the bright green leaves to see the newcomers, who were stomping around the corner of the house.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, Scarsdale is learning about the birds on Domasus.

Centaur Sketch

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This is a drawing of Ris from my centaur book, which is on pause while I work out issues with the ages of the characters. Combining equine and homo sapiens’ development is a wee bit complicated, since humans marry in their late teens/early twenties and horses are good to go when they’re about four years old.

Here is some more of the Diana story:

Sample

More Changes

“Well, what happened is the aliens sent down a second female body to watch me freak out and fight for you, and since I made friends with her instead, they took her back. We were supposed to have a lot of conflict over Tiffany,” Diana said.

“Why?” Stuart asked, looking down into her eyes.

“I told you, Stu, they want to explore my emotional range. They’re either going to take you away next to make me miss you, or else they’ll send some boy closer to my age and try to get a rivalry going on, a love triangle,” Diana said.

When she mentioned the aliens taking Stuart, he tightened his grip around her body and made the softest sound Diana had ever heard, like an animal marking out a meal.

“Stu, I’m not in love with you,” Diana said.

“I know, baby. That’s good,” Stuart said, but his voice was strained. Diana narrowed her eyes and tried to sit up. Stuart moved back a little to give her room. The faint glow from the window made his bare shoulders look pale against the darkness in the room.

“Why are you being different? Really, why?” Diana asked.

“I like you, baby. Really,” Stuart said. He reached up to brush his fingers against her cheek, but before Stuart’s hand made contact, he vanished.

Diana’s heart started to pound as she stared at the place Stuart had just been. She told herself she should be glad he was gone, but the space over her legs where he’d been sitting on her was disconcerting. She could still feel the warmth of his weight, and the silence of the empty house closed in around her.

Bright pink letters in an italicized script appeared in the air just beside the bed.

Two days, Diana Vassel. Then new companions.

Diana stared at the words as they melted away, leaving the room dark once more.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and I’m doing revisions on my current draft.

Sance the Dragon

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This is a drawing of Sance again, the dragon who used to be a horse. I’m experimenting with color. The castle in the background is the new capitol of Caldhart, after the floods submerged the old city. Our little group of adventurers is having a brief conference on Sance’s back while they go to investigate what’s going on with young king Geoffrey, who has been acting like an ass.

Sample

A Post-Mortem

Stuart, shirtless, pulled Diana into the house and up the stairs to the bedroom they’d started in earlier in the evening. There was a faintly musty smell in the room, though the window was still open, and Diana turned around and tugged Stuart towards a different room.

“No, honey, this is where we’re staying for now,” Stuart said, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her into the room.

“I don’t want to be in here,” Diana said. Stuart scooped her up under the knees and dumped her without any ceremony on the bed.

“What’s your objection, dear?” Stuart asked, his voice a little short.

Diana was not at all willing to explain that it smelled suspiciously like a place Stuart had been doing things in, so she got up and attempted, once more, to leave the room.

“Look, baby,” Stuart said, blocking the door. Diana whirled and made a beeline for the window, but Stuart came after her, picked her up, and dropped her on the bed again. “Look, we’re staying together. I don’t care how you feel about that right now, Di. We’re together and we’re about to cuddle. Unfortunately I no longer have a shirt, so you’re just going to have to make peace with being against my skin. Do you want to be on top of the blankets or underneath?” Stuart asked, standing beside the bed with his hands on his hips.

“You sleep on the floor, then,” Diana said. Stuart rolled his eyes and got on top of her; she yelped and attempted to struggle free. Stuart trapped her arms and legs and gave her a light kiss.

“Shut up about sleeping apart, Di. It’s not happening. I need to be holding you just in case, so get used to it,” Stuart said.

Diana thought about biting him, but decided he would probably kiss her a lot more if she did. She wanted to ask, ‘In case what?’, but she was pretty sure he was referencing the possibility that she would vanish suddenly, or he would.

“Now tell me what just happened with that naked person,” Stuart said, settling his weight more evenly on top of Diana, who was still shocked enough to hardly feel his much larger body all over her.

“Get off, though,” Diana said. Stuart shook his head and kissed her mouth. “No, really,” Diana said against the muffling touch of his lips. Stuart shook his head in a no and kept on kissing her. Diana sighed with a mixture of frustration and annoyance and Stuart laughed, drawing out of the kiss and nuzzling along her cheek. “What are you laughing at, Stu?” Diana asked, trying to still the pounding of her heart, which appeared to have caught up to the fact that Stuart had been kissing her after the fact.

He was still, to Diana’s disgust, very good at kissing, and he was still, to her fury, touching her in a way that somehow made it feel all right. He was acting more like a teddy bear than a boy squashing her. Diana told herself her body was being stupid, and was a little alarmed to find that her flesh was less revolted by his touch than it ever had been before.

Well, that’s annoying, Diana reflected, as she had been relying on her visceral disgust at Stuart lasting for all eternity.

Stuart had gone on rubbing his face against Diana’s jaw, and she drew in a steadying breath.

“Why did you laugh at me, Stu?” Diana asked again. She was appalled to find that she sounded, once again, like a fond girlfriend. What is wrong with me?! Diana demanded in her mind.

“I was just laughing because you’re sweet and fun, and I like you. I was happy,” Stuart mumbled, shifting in a cozy way on top of her and pressing a kiss against her jaw.

“Stop kissing, Stu,” Diana said, blushing. Stuart shook his head in a no and went on with the most benign necking Diana could imagine anyone had ever given anyone else.

He’s protecting me, Diana thought, and her insides went chilly, though Stuart’s body was very warm on top of her.

“Well, um. What happened with Tiffany is–um,” Diana said, shifting a little and turning her face away. Stuart let out a grumble of satisfaction and licked Diana’s neck. “No licking! That tickles!” Diana squealed, trying without any success to shove Stuart off.

“You’re so cute,” Stuart said, looking down into her eyes. Diana was alarmed to see that he was, once again, looking extremely fond of her.

“Well, thanks. What happened with Tiffany–”

“Do you think I’m cute?” Stuart asked, nuzzling back into the curve of Diana’s neck.

“No. I super hate you, Stu,” Diana said, suppressing the quaver of anger, betrayal, and fear that rose up through her throat. Stuart mumbled happily and kissed her skin again, acting as if she’d said something pleasantly romantic. “I said I hate you,” Diana explained, moving her arms a little.

“Good, baby. I like it when you hate me. That’s good for your heart, I think,” Stuart murmured, letting more of his weight fall on her.

Diana was pretty sure she was about to start bawling for a whole lot of reasons. Stuart lifted up just his face and looked down at her with a perky smile.

“Now explain what happened outside,” Stuart said, looking like a romantic hero who had never done anything wrong in his life.

I hate you, Diana thought, and she was greatly relieved to find that she meant it again.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the hunter’s bonus dad is learning proper war band behavior.