This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a snippet from my yet-to-be-completed NaNoWriMo story, Black Ink Plague, a fantasy about inkbloods, people who were left at the roots of a magic tree as babies, and can use charcoal from those trees to write and cast spells.

The main character, an inkblood called Liar, cast a spell to kill the gang leader called Cin, accepted payment from the gang’s second in command, then traveled to a nicer part of town, where she offers her mother some of the money to repay part of her school debts.


Her mother’s brow wrinkled for a moment, and then smoothed as she turned away, straightening a vase on a table, and then fussing with the arrangement. “We spent a great deal of money on your education, Rosalinde. If it weren’t for the unfortunate loss of our son…” She trailed off for a moment, then said, “If there’s nothing else, you can see yourself out?”

“Of course, Mother,” Liar replied dutifully, standing, “I only wanted to give you the money, and see how you and Father were doing. I hope you’re both well?”

“Yes, fine,” her mother kept her eyes fixed on the bric-a-brac on the tables, scanning the room with a faint frown that said she wasn’t quite satisfied with what she saw. “The maids have been neglecting this room, I see that I must have a talk with the housekeeper…”

*    *    *

Black Ink Plague is set in a world similar to ours, with the addition of the Rakau tree, which has magical properties–charcoal or ink from the tree can be used to cast spells. However, only inkbloods, babies who were left overnight at a Rakau tree’s roots on their first full moon, can harvest and use the tree. The price they pay for their magic is that the ink infects them, staining their skin and eventually forming words from the spells they cast on their skin. These words change their lives in unexpected ways.



About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

20 responses »

  1. Gemma Parkes says:

    I’m sure she’s grateful for the money, but she seems cold and distant, lovely writing.

  2. Yeesh. Mommy dearest is cold as ice, isn’t she? Poor Liar. 😦

  3. Money can’t buy you love. You paint a scene with icicles. Wonderful.

  4. Sarah W says:

    Rosalinde . . . interesting.

    I don’t know if money will buy her love, but it might buy her closure.

  5. You do a wonderful job of putting the tension and awkwardness into words. Fabulous snippet.

  6. Frank Fisher says:

    Nice tension-building. Your characters have lots of dimension.

  7. Carrie-Anne says:

    Isn’t it so fun to write unmotherly characters like that? Sometimes the most interesting characters are the ones who aren’t so nice, even if they’re not outright antagonists.

  8. I love imperfect characters. No one in real life is perfect and we have to deal with some pretty unsavory folks at times. Love the realism! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Kate Warren says:

    So how did she go from Rosalinde to Liar? Bet she can’t wait to get back out of the house and away from her mother. I’m wondering why they spent a great deal of money on her education. Intriguing eight, Caitlin!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Liar is the name she chose for herself, something most inkbloods do. Her parents expected her older brother to take care of them in their old age. But he died, so all they have left is Liar.

      And they aren’t too happy about it!

  10. Another terrific snippet. Loved the way the mother was so dismissive, shown so skillfully through the tiny details of the housekeeping flaws taking her attention.

    • caitlinstern says:

      She’s dutiful enough to show up–but not enough to pay much mind to Liar. In the maids’ defense, they’re in the second best sitting room, which doesn’t get much use.

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