Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: Discordant Harmonies

Taking A Break

With the completion of posting of Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale, I’m taking a break from posting this week. It got a bit hairy for me toward the end of the book, with me barely keeping up with my weekly post and scheduling posts of the book. I managed to finish edits on it a few weeks beforehand, but apathy struck, and it was a fight the whole time. Sadly, that apathy about posting here is still with me. I’m hoping that taking a deliberate break from the onus of posting, however brief it may be, will prevent an unanticipated case of full-blown bipolar apathy regarding the site. I’ve done this before, with mixed success. Here’s hoping my blog absence will last only a week.

A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 11

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

Asthané assured the guard—it was always a different one who brought him to his palace chambers—he was capable of stumbling to bed on his own. Following a minute’s hovering hesitation, the woman departed, and he watched her go, waiting until she disappeared around a corner. Good. He could relax now.

This Council meeting hadn’t been so bad. Of course, he’d spent most of it sitting outside the chamber while other business was taken care of, but he still had a head which felt like someone had used it for a drum and knotted guts. He wasn’t sure just how much of the fine supper in the room beyond this front door he’d be able to eat, especially cold—he’d learned long ago, most foods eaten while sick with Gift reaction tended to lack flavor if left cold—and he wasn’t inclined to use his Gifts to heat anything up. It might be best to skip supper altogether.

He turned the handle and forced himself to move into the room. Bless the soul of whoever watched over these chambers, they always left the fore chamber well-lit, the gaslights bright. Maybe someone who understood about Mages was monitoring the use of this apartment. Whoever it was, he wanted to thank them. He shuffled in, edged to the side, and shut the door as he leaned against the wall, tipping his head back as he closed his eyes. Bed was just across the way, in the next room, but he needed a break to register he truly was free for the rest of the evening.

“Thané?”

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 9

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

Géta followed Udé into the dining hall. His friend had announced the kitchen always set out a sideboard in the afternoon, primarily because Mages finishing afternoon practice generally required some sort of sustenance. The sideboard was actually an abbreviated selection of foods set on the counter where meal components were set out, and Udé lifted the lid of the soup tureen at one end of the collection of food, rattling the ladle about.

“Dregs. Who eats the soup before I get here?”

Chuckling over the complaining tone of voice his friend had spoken in, Géta wandered over to the left and collected an orange and a couple sausage rolls. The crusts were a little hard, but that didn’t matter. Udé followed his example, collecting four of the rolls into a hammock made with the bottom of his tunic and selecting three apples instead of oranges. Géta finally found a position with his arm and collection of music which supported the food he’d taken, and the pair headed for the door to the hall leading to the Mages’ and musicians’ quarters, him in the lead.

“So how was this practice?”

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 8

This entry is part 09 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

A while later, another knock came on Géta’s door. He shifted to eye the panel, wary now because of Asthané’s visit. The Mage could have returned. Why, he couldn’t fathom, but he didn’t fancy the idea of opening the door. Still, when the knock came once more, he got up to do so.

Shélan smiled at him. “Hello, Géta.”

Unable to restrain his joy at seeing the Priest, Géta opened the door and beckoned him in. “Hi, Shélan! I didn’t expect to see you again.”

“Why ever not? Did you think I could forget you?”

The tease made him bob his head, cheeks warming. “A little.”

“Well, you made quite an impression upon me, young man. May I sit?”

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 7

This entry is part 08 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

Géta’s stomach kept sending up mouthfuls of lunch as he waited, by turns gazing into the garden in hopes of seeing the Mages and staring out over the field wondering if they’d already passed. It hadn’t been one yet when he’d left for the gate to the Weatherfield, but he was afraid he may have missed meeting them. Pacing a little, he continually swallowed as he hugged his flute to his side. He hadn’t bothered to take it out and put it together and had spent a few minutes in indecision, wondering if he should bring the music he was learning before deciding this couldn’t be counted as an official practice. This was real performance, and it chilled him despite the humid heat of the day.

He turned away from the field and saw four people on the path from the Temple. The woman at the head of the little group wore a tunic with a V-bent arrow through crescent with the points down on the front; an orange, yellow, and blue spiral filled the space between the arrow and bottom of the crescent. The others he could see wore different colors; one with yellow, another with blue, and the last he couldn’t see from where he stood with the others blocking. Géta caught glimpses of red hair, but that was all.

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Extended Writing Downswing

By “extended writing downswing” I mean in regards to getting plot cards and fresh words on projects. Over the past few months, I’ve done little with my writing beyond editing and the new brain dumping stuff. Sadly, I consider “actively writing” primarily to be getting plot cards and new words on my stories.

This has not been a completely dry period for my writing though. I have been scribbling notes for various stories in my journals. In addition to the three stories on my projects page, I started a journal on another story, a fantasy mystery called Return of the Moribund God I: Life After Tavrinia. In this story, the ghost of one of the sleuth’s friends awakens him one night, and he and his roommate go to retrieve her body from the river. This is one of my particular favorite stories, mainly because I just adore the MC I conceived for this series, Pliutius, who is a 48-year-old mage who’s serving his second deity—and is about to stir the interest of a third.

I’ve also started a “general notes” journal. So far, it has only one note, but that probably won’t last. I have intentions of going through all these 200-300 index cards I have notes for various stories written on. Some of these notes are just random ideas that don’t yet have a home that I’ve jotted down. A lot of sorting needs to go on.

Also, I need to go through my scrap paper notes and new Scrivener files to create folders for my World Folder Drawer to put those notes in. There’s a few hundred or so names written down on these index cards and some scrap paper sheets that don’t have a particular home that I need to jot down in my, oh, 30-year-old name notebook. Actually, I think I’m going to switch the name notebook to one of my hardcover journals—I picked up a few more at the office store earlier this week as the current notebook is a literal notebook with a soft cover that’s in danger of tearing from the wire spiral.

Oh, I have plans for these story notebooks, should I ever complete the stories I’m working out in them. A number of my writer friends and people I follow have Patreon accounts, and I’ve decided it would be a cool idea to use my note entries, and, ultimately, the notebooks themselves, as rewards for patrons. There’s a bit of other financial stuff I need to figure out first, though, so we’ll see. And, I also need to complete these stories and series and publish them somehow. If I don’t do the Patreon thing, I’ll more than likely find another way to share the notes to these stories and the notebooks (sets) with interested readers. We’ll see how this stuff develops.

But for now, I’m just working through the dry spell with writing. I can feel stuff working in the back of my mind, and I know my Creative Mind isn’t completely ignoring the writing aspect because I’m able to get notes for my journals. I’m also reading through various incomplete stories of mine, both old and new. And there’s also the editing. The worst writing downswings always make me disinterested in working on my writing in any way. So, I think this year is being just as productive as last year, simply in a different way.

I hope you’re enjoying A Pitch of the Scale. There are two more books (thus far) after this book, but I won’t be posting them here. If you want access to them, sign up for a Wattpad account and visit my profile there. I post updates about what’s happening with the DH series there regularly.

Big Epiphany for DH 4-9

I have had a BIG epiphany for books 4-9 of the Discordant Harmonies series. Yes, the books whose first volume is set to begin posting in June. First, some background.

Way back in 2012, when I started writing book 1, I had my friend Jennifer Amriss help me go through and develop titles for the series. Originally, I had the overall series title, Discordant Harmonies and three subseries titles: The Power of Music for books 1-3, A Life of Note for books 4-6, and Melodies of War for books 7-9. Book 1 was, as it is here, A Pitch of the Scale, a change from the “satisfactory” working title of Unsought Gifts. Book 2 is Severe Notes, book 3 Measure of Resistance, book 4 Antiphons, Book 5 Counterpoints, Book 6 Without Measure, book 7 Echoes, book 8 Cacophony Within, and book 9 To the End. In case you can’t see the theme, we basically opened up the Music Terminology Page at Wikipedia and drew up titles from it, mainly because it involves how music changes the magic on the world of Chraest.

Well, a few months ago, when I contracted for the covers of books 1-3, the artist who I hired to do it expressed some confusion over the titles, and when I explained what they were for, suggested I streamline them all. After some thought, I decided to scrap the subseries titles and just call the books the Discordant Harmonies series. With 9 books planned, I realized I didn’t want to confuse readers as the cover artist had been confused. While I sort of hated to give up the subseries titles, I understood the reasoning behind doing so, and mostly accepted the need, though I will admit to some lingering desire to use them.

This epiphany changed that feeling. I can’t get into details here, ’cause spoilers, but, boy, was it a whammy. It’s going to change things in books 4-9 in some ways quite drastically. This will move what was originally a climax for for the second subseries in book 6 to somewhere into book 8 or 9. It’s going to draw out conflicts for Asthané, allow Géta some time to grow and mature enough to face the challenges he’ll have in latter books, and make the progression of things for both characters more reasonable and much less rushed. Oh, and it’ll more than likely require the reorganization of the titles, and perhaps even the development of new ones.

What else this means is that I need to beef up the conflicts they’ll meet in the interim. Now I know why I’ve been thinking Asthané needs a better External Conflict. It means Géta needs better External Conflicts as well. Much as I’d like to keep the strict delineation of “subseries 2” from “subseries 3″, I honestly don’t think this will turn out to be possible. The original plot progression allowed for this, but I just don’t see how any more.

And this epiphany wouldn’t have been possible if the cover artist hadn’t convinced me to tear off some of the ‘boxes” I’d put around the different parts of my story about Asthané and Géta. So, special thanks to J.A. Marlow!

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