Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned


Chapter 4: Sweetwater


Reflexively, Akela pushed herself away from the rock as though it had scalded her. Pirates, here at Koapuo? Sacrilege.

Her fingers twisted themselves in a prayer to ward off evil, and her mouth set in a grim line. Whatever they were here for, they weren’t going to get it.

Her heart thudded inside her chest as she kicked, sending herself back to where she’d found the rope. Swiftly, her fingers traced what she could find of it, eyes straining in the dim to help her understand its purpose. It encircled the “beak” of the cave mouth, tied off with clever knots that she didn’t recognize.


Chapter 3: An Unexpected Find


Salty water closed over the back of Akela’s head and she fought back a gasp, saving as much air as she could.

Falling in the ocean while wearing her nicest festival outfit ranked up there with some of the dumber things she’d ever done in her life, and she was glad her sister wasn’t here to see it. 

Her finery was ruined no matter what she did at this point, but the flower chain was so very close. Caught in a gentle current, it drifted out of reach like a feather on the breeze. It would be the work of a few seconds to catch it. She secured her lungful of air and thrust forward, swiping at the twined blossoms.

The current pulled it just out of reach, the delicate orchid petals giving the faintest of teasing brushes against her fingertips. 


Chapter 2: The Dead God


Akela knelt on a stony outcropping only a little larger than herself, a solitary fang jutting from an ocean painted crimson and mango by the setting sun. 

In her lap, a worn travelsack gaped open to spill a riot of delicate blossoms against the rough wool of her trousers. Reverently, she lifted her favorite wreath from her lap — rare yellow orchids with speckled pink hearts against a background of deep magenta freesia. She and Dancer had spent all week gathering the blooms, and the previous day had been lost to weaving unruly stems together. 

It was a fitting gift.

She lifted the wreath over the jagged tip of the outcropping’s highest point, looming just above her head while she knelt. As the flowers drifted down to encircle the stone, the wind picked up the clean scent of the blossoms and swirled it around her.

Quietly, Akela began to sing.


Apologies, Intents, and Understandings


I’m sorry last week’s chapter didn’t go out. I had company and plans every day except Monday, which is the day I wrote the first draft. I need at least a little distance to give it a rough once-over before posting it, so today’s the first day it can go out.

Secondly, I am NOT getting emailed when comments happen that are auto-approved. My settings are such that I should be, but … *shrug*

I will respond to comments when I see them, but until I get that fixed, I can’t promise anything remotely resembling swiftness.

It is my intent to post a chapter every Thursday night (so late that it will feel like Friday to everyone and should go out in the email on Friday morning so folks can all kind of read it at about the same time.)

Writing being what it is, I definitely won’t be able to stick to that 100% of the time, but if I tell YOU what I plan to do, then maybe I’ll be more likely to stick to it, lol.

Expect posts on Fridays.

Last up, I’m rusty as an abandoned well pump as a writer and I know it. Because I’m forcing myself to write weekly, I’ll be putting out stuff that does not meet my normal writing standards, and I would say these two opening chapters meet that description.

I HAVE to push forward, though. Most writers end up rewriting their beginnings when they start a revision, and I expect this will fall in that bucket. It’s got too much exposition, not enough character, dialogue, or action, etc etc.

I know. But I hope they’re still fun to read even with their flaws. <3

Chapter 1: A Bad Idea


This is a bad idea.

Scowling, Akela spread her arms, golden sunlight gleaming against her cocoa skin. “You have a better one?”

Dancer lowered her head and opened her beak, crestfeathers pinned to the back of her head. No, but that fails to change the fact that this is an incredibly bad idea.

Akela rolled her eyes. “You say that about all of my ideas.”

The gryphon gave a low creeling sound and rolled her shoulders, clacking her beak together sharply. I shall stop saying it when it ceases to be true and the sun forgets to shine, sister-of-my-heart.

Based on expression and posture, gryphon language was punctuated by sounds rather than composed of them. There was no real equivalent for the word “sister.” The idea of family-female-sibling would always be accompanied by a quirk of the head or a particular crestfeather angle which could completely change the flavor of its meaning. 


Character Meandering


I’m still here. I’ve got a surprising amount of groundwork done on some things, but the one thing that usually comes first for me is proving elusive.

My main character.

Since her personality and skillsets will drive the story, she is the most important piece for the way I personally write stories, and she just …

… she’s hiding from me.

I have her best friend (a gryphon).

I have a villain, a mentor, a family.

I think she’s angry. I think she is strong-willed and scrappy. She’s observant and clever.

I wanted her to be book-smart (taking Hermione out of her undeserved secondary character status) but I think that might be the piece I just keep jamming in the wrong spot for her. I was trying to avoid making her a jock – the equivalent of a football hero – but maybe that fits her too well for me to avoid.

Just because I identify strongly with Twilight doesn’t mean Dash doesn’t deserve her stories told, too.


There you have it. That kind of thing right there? That’s why I haven’t been doing as many polls as anticipated. By the time I articulate what the poll might be, I already know how I want the voting to go.

As a parting note, I leave you with the following:

Why does “The Princess Bride” seem all well and good, but the moment you say “The Prince Husband” it looks just about as horrible as a title could possibly be?

One Step


What does one step forward look like to you?

When your goals aren’t simple and your dreams aren’t straightforward, it can be so easy to get hung up on parts of your journey you have yet to take.

But from right here, where you are standing now, what does a single step forward look like?

It doesn’t matter what your goal is. Doesn’t matter if you’re trying to clean your kitchen or start a family or write a book.

Because every journey is a collection of steps. Even if some of them are sideways, backwards, or straight into a pit trap — failure is another step on that journey.

For YOU. For YOUR dreams and YOUR journey … what does one step forward look like?

Once upon a time, there lived a young prince who loved cinnamon tea so much that they refused to go to sleep without a steaming mug. Their family despaired, for the kingdom was at war and cinnamon more precious than saffron.

Once upon a time, there lived a dragon who collected books instead of gold, and who cried herself to sleep at night because she herself could not read. A learned wizard stole her favorite book (so dubbed because it contained a great many beautiful illustrations) and in terrible retribution, she set fire to the countryside at regular intervals, decimating the cinnamon farmers nearby.

Once upon a time, there lived a wizard.

Once upon a time.

Poll 2: Of Bats and Wolves


Let’s hammer out a few worldbuilding elements.

I want to preface here that I use the terms “vampire” and “werewolf” sparingly — I may or may not choose to incorporate some very obvious references to either, but I will NOT be rehashing the same old werewolf and vampire power tropes that are commonly available.

In particular, alpha werewolves and irresistibly creepy vampires shall NOT feature.

However, I do like some aspects of both mythos.

Moreso than the poll, I am inviting you to verbalize your hesitations about the use of either trope in the comments — so if you think I might do something akin to “vampire” but you’re so sick of X, Y, and Z aspects of vampire stories, please please please comment and tell me. That way, even if I decide to go “vampire”, I can be a better writer and avoid those things that invoke a facepalming gag reflex in my readers. <3

I like my stories to have ...

  • Both! Both is good. (71%, 5 Votes)
  • A Power/Source relationship. Not entirely unlike vampire, but definitely not your normal emo blood vampire. (14%, 1 Votes)
  • Neither. (14%, 1 Votes)
  • An internal Power relationship. Not entirely unlike werewolves, but definitely not your normal alpha uncontrollable beast werewolves. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Poll 1: The Protagonist’s Experience


Today’s poll will tell us a little about our new protagonist.

Our Protagonist Should Be ...

  • Born and raised within a world totally unlike our own. Familiar with some things and yet still surprised by things both unexpected and strange. (75%, 6 Votes)
  • A fish out of water. Dragged from this world into a wholly new one filled with heretofore unimagined wonders. (25%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

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I’ve got an idea that lends itself to either, but I REALLY want to know if you, as a reader, are so incredibly tired of “modern human finds herself in an unfamiliar setting” style stories, or if maybe you love that trope and want to see more of it.

I haven’t yet decided on the unfamiliar setting itself (stay tuned for upcoming posts!) but I definitely want to know if I’m aiming at someone dragged from our world into another or if you’d rather read about someone already familiar with this “other” world.

I have a way I’m leeeaaaning towards writing, but I’d like to see what your collective thoughts are.


The REAL Question


The end result of all that mental wrangling from the last few posts is this:

I am strongly considering reviving my most successful long writing projects to date (Blue Moon for those who’ve known me a VERY long time, or Choose for more recent friends).

I don’t enjoy writing in a vacuum.

And my youthful enthusiasm towards Getting Discovered And Becoming An Author has dimmed.

It’s hardly as if I dislike my job, after all, so dreams which would have me not doing it tend to feel a little hollow. (But what if I make it BIG, I always ask myself. And yes, if I become the next J.K. Rowling, then sure. But the odds of that are so catastrophically out of my favor that I might as well start buying lotto tickets). (more…)

Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned