Seventeen year old Orane has been given a mission by her royal parents: to travel to Castle Destare and convince her reclusive uncle to leave his estate to her family. With only her new lady in waiting for companionship, and steadfast Captain Felix and his men for protection, Orane sets out for the northern mountains.
After a harrowing attack on the road, Castle Destare is a welcome sight, but it is nothing like Orane expected. Her uncle and his caretakers are strange and withdrawn, and the great stronghold itself seems to be slowly surrendering to the elements. Worse, Orane can’t help feeling that the decay is creeping into her mind. With unnatural creatures prowling the woods, escape seems impossible, but it might be just as dangerous to stay.
Will Orane be able to open her heart and uncover the terrible secret that haunts the castle, or is it already too late?
Today was a bit of a wash, but here are some cute pictures from my photoshoot. I think Christine at Entwined Portraits did a great job working with my total awkwardness. She was so nice and professional, and she made the whole experience fun. We even worked the pups in there right at the end because we had extra time, and I’m a ridiculous dog person and insufficiently ashamed of it.
I’ve had all the anxiety lately about… Lots of stuff. I get the self critical brain weasels pretty easily. When I let myself get dragged down by all that, it gets pretty hard to feel creative or inspired about anything. Which makes it worse, because then there’s the added fear that my inner muse is just broken. I can work up a pretty paralyzing downward spiral when I get stuck on those thoughts. It’s lots of fun.
So, I was going to stay over at my boyfriend’s place just before my road trip. We had a great night and got ready for sleep. I was totally relaxed for the first time in about a week. I even slept for about an hour. Then I woke up, and my brain was clear, and all the ideas came pouring in. I knew how to fix a plot issue that had been bugging the crap out of me, and that led to a handful of other important details that I could change or fix. I started rearranging dialogue in my head, and I didn’t want to lose any of it.
Normally I would have just written on my phone until it was all down, but that phone had finally given up the ghost after some truly appalling treatment, and I hadn’t been able to replace it yet. I was pretty certain that I would lose things if I just let myself drift back off to sleep. I could stay in the warm cozy bed and take that risk, or I could wake my very tolerant boyfriend up, make my jumbled explanations and rush home to write it down. I did the latter, so it all got saved, but I felt pretty ridiculous about it.
It’s hard to take myself seriously as a writer. It feels awkward as all hell to me, but I did it, and it was fine. I feel really lucky that I’ve got people in my life who are supportive and who give me the space to be who I am and do what’s important to me. And, in the future, I’m gonna be much nicer to my phones so I don’t have to bail on super inspiring snuggles.
I got a Pixel right before leaving, so I’ve got that covered now. It’s pretty cool. It takes nice pictures, which is very important on a road trip. We’ve seen some pretty impressive stuff.
I’m driving down to Palo Alto to visit my family, and the pups are with me. I love these trips. Driving is exactly the right level of stimulation that gives my brain space to work while also keeping me alert, so I usually get good work done, at least in my head. I still have to pull over occasionally and write things down. We’re stopped at the vista point just inside California at the moment. It’s hot, but so pretty.
We stopped at a nice little dog park in Medford this morning and made a friend.
Edit: Upon arrival I enjoyed the traditional California greeting meal.
So, that’s fun. I made this nifty banner, though. I’m fairly proud of those roses and I plan to put them everywhere. The castle kinda looks like a birthday cake to me, although my sister pointed out that maybe I’m looking at it wrong – maybe birthday cakes just look like castles.
I’ve had the most intense urge to play Minecraft the past few days, because my brain is just refusing to kick into gear. I know that that way lies literal mountains and caverns of wasted time, but it’s so tempting. This is the reason I haven’t installed it on my semi-new laptop yet. It would be so very bad. (But so good.)
Building games are totally my favorite, which is weird because I was never that into legos. Playing with physical toys seemed like a lot of effort to very lethargic young me. I did like Age of Empires, though. That shit was the best. I would herd all the deer and boar into pens and get annoyed if my clueless peasants ever shot them for food. Their lives were a sacrifice I was willing to make in order to build a tiny menagerie in the middle of a frozen wasteland with actual hordes of enemies on all sides. I graduated from this to ZooTycoon, which was also an excellent building game. Strangely, I never got into The Sims. They could’ve hooked me if they’d had more Thompson’s gazelles and velociraptors, I think.
I’d like to think all this means I was a creative kid, but I think it mostly means I liked to play god. In fact, now that I think about it, I also loved that game where you play an actual god with a giant monster pet that occasionally stomps your hapless villagers to death.
I dunno. Clearly writing is the career for me, since it is the ultimate license to build anything I can imagine and control all the little characters. Maybe my stories just need more popcorn kiosks and escaped lions.
Oh, I’ll be visiting my family next week, so that’ll be fun. I actually tend to get decent work done on trips, too, so that’s something to look forward to. There’s not much else to do for hours and hours but think, so I always get good ideas on the road. Who knows, maybe next week’s blog post will be on time and have actual content of some sort.
So, I thought I’d pull out my tablet and fiddle with drawing characters to see if that sparked some inspiration. It kinda worked, but it led to like eight solid hours of drawing, which wasn’t really the plan. I forgot to eat. I also forgot to put up a blog post, because I’m a bad person. Anyway, this is Orane, the main character in Somnolence. She likes hunting, so I gave her a nice woodsy background.