(Sometimes I write these short pieces to clear my head, break up--dare I say it--writer's block, or to hang out with a character I can't get a handle on. Not sure what to call them, but here's another one.)


When she pulled the magic, it was like drawing a thread from a spool: slow, steady, friction warming everything. Pippa gripped the spell’s silver coil and grazed her finger over the surface of her own power. Technically, the world could wait for the enchantment. But for how long?

A rustle sounded in a dark corner of the vacant motel room.

“Quiet, you,” she shouted to the nothingness behind her. Her hair bobbed in front of her face, red ringlets corkscrewing into her vision.

She sidestepped to the window and glanced across the parking lot. Rain tossed itself about in waves, falling into shallow cigarette-littered puddles like pennies in a fountain. The candlelight flickered. The storm’s heart wasn’t far off.

The shuffling came again. A deep whispered voice followed by a hush. “What’s she doing?” it said.

Pippa slid her feet along the baseboards, marking the parameters of the dark, empty room, feeling for the creature her eyes couldn’t see. “None of your damn business, that’s what.” Her fingers went to work, toying with the spell coil again. Once she released the fibers a sequence of events would begin. Sorcerers should calm. Warlocks still. Witches would reign supreme.

“Don’t toy with it,” a growl came from the darkness. “Don’t play with us.”

“Shut up.” Pippa tugged her leather jacket around her shoulders and zipped it tight. “I’ll do as I desire.” She inspected the silver shimmer in her palm. The magic called to be used like a dog holding a leash between his teeth. “It doesn’t control me.”

Grating giggles ripped from the corner before twisting into a gravely hiss. “Then do it.” Panting followed rapid footsteps. “Spellcast. Let us out.”

Only because I want to, she thought. Pippa threw the coil into the air and ran from the abandoned room into the downpour. She slammed the door behind her and snatched the knob to keep it closed.

Vibrations shook the entire structure. Flashes of light exploded outward from inside the tiny room. The knob heated.

“No,” she screamed. Her skin pricked with pain as the metal grew orange. “Stay back.”

High laughter stung her ears. A bang knocked her backward. Her fingers slipped. Nursing her hands, Pippa watched the knob turn. The door squealed open. They were free.

New Territory and a New Title

I've done it. The book I've been slaving over for the past two years is nearly out of my hands. In the next few days, I'll submit this precious, powerful, exciting, deep, complex, and magical story to total strangers (aka: agents). To be clear, the road to find an agent is not just bumpy, it's down right uncharted. I know that I'm in it for the long haul and it may take several hundred dozen attempts before the right person comes along for this book. That's fine with me. The point is that I believe in this story, my characters, and my dream to share it with others. Sounds cheesy, yes. But, true is true.

And then it occurred to me: I'm in a brand new territory I've never seen before. I've written many books, but never taken one of them this far before. This is the farthest I've ever been from the Shire. (*If you're a geek and got that reference, pat yourself on the back.)

I want to underline for you how great it feels to push yourself. Challenge yourself daily, weekly, monthly, whatever. But do not let your days bleed into one another. Instead, mark each day with an asterisk. Make them noteworthy in your life and for yourself and/or others around you. (Note the "and/or" there. It's okay to pick you as the only one enriched.) That's what I feel like I've been doing by quietly working on this book while the rest of the world slept. I'm proud of each day I put into it.

That said, I've also played around a lot with the title. Burning Spirit always felt like a placeholder for me, so now, the current working title is The Flame Wars. That's how I'll pitch it from now on and if further down the road it needs changed, then I'll change it again. So there you have it.

* The Flame Wars by Margaret Telsch-Williams *

I rather like it. What do you think?