Happy Friday! Let's welcome Marie Dry to the LAM Blog today, talking about her book, ALIEN BETRAYED. ********************************
NAKED ALIENS AND CLOTHES DOING DOUBLE DUTY
I thought it was really amusing, doing a blog about my characters clothes. Why? Because mostly I forget to put clothes on them. I literally have to go in afterwards and make sure they’re not running around naked. In the process I learned a lot about the function clothes serves in a story.
The first editor at Black Opal Books who worked on Alien Mine thought the Aliens in the Zyrgin Warriors series walked around naked. I was shocked that she could miss the wonderful description of their uniforms, loaded with weapons that became the size of pennies when placed in their pockets. Then I went searching for the specific paragraph where I described it. It wasn’t there! I had to go in and put clothes on them. I was mortified, this was my first book to be published and I did something so careless. The worst part was that I could see their clothes so clearly and knew the function they served and it only happened in my mind. And I managed to forget to put it down on the manuscript. I knew from the beginning that their clothes were made of some really strong material with some amazing properties, allowing them to simply step out of their shoes without using laces and their uniforms were developed to withstand most weapons. I wanted their clothes to juxtapose their primitive joy in battling with swords. To illustrate that this was a culture with advanced technology even though they come across as rather primitive in their ideas.
After that I went and checked a contemporary I’ve been fiddling with and yip, no clothes. Once again the heroine’s clothes were clear in my mind, but not on the page. She’s a rather frumpy dresser and much more interested in developing her mind than her fashion sense. To make matters worse, her way of looking at herself and what she wear through the book, illustrate her acceptance of herself as a beautiful woman by the end of the book. Or it would have if I’d just taken the time to really describe her clothes. Since I made the changes and ensured that the clothes mirrored her development the story has improved.
What I learned from this was that clothes can illustrate aspects of the character, they can show the technological stage of development of a civilization or poverty or riches, it can illustrate the characters jobs or lack of jobs. In other words, clothes has their own job to do in a story. They can also do absolutely nothing if the author, namely me, don’t use it as a tool.
Mary Buckham wrote an excellent craft book. Active Settings by Mary Buckham. I cannot recommend this enough. She has examples that illustrate what I tried to say above. Here is a link to amazon to her book. A Writer's Guide to Active Setting
Thank you for inviting me to write for your blog. I’m off to make sure my Gargoyle is wearing clothes and not running around Cape Town naked.
More about Marie
All her life Marie Dry has read romances and was fairly young when she decided she would travel the world and write the perfect story that had all the elements she looked for in a romance. In 2007 after living in Morocco for four years and back in South Africa, she shared a pizza with a friend and promised to go all out with her writing and to work at getting published. In 2014 her first book was published by Black Opal Books. Two more books has since been published and a fourth contracted.
There are several wonderful moments in her life that she would never trade for anything. One of them is meeting President Nelson Mandela and the second being published.
In a bleak and apocalyptic future, where the Zyrgin Warriors are getting ready to conquer Earth, Marcie is sent to infiltrate the alien stronghold in the Rocky Mountains, only to be betrayed by her own people. Instead of stealing the alien’s technology and accomplishing her mission of causing mayhem and destruction among them, she is captured by Larz, an arrogant alien, who wreaks havoc with her heart when he insists that she will be his woman. Still, he may no longer want her when he discovers her secrets…ones she doesn’t even know she has.
EXCEPT: CHAPTER 1
Larz clasped the training sword with both hands and swung it in a wide arc around his head, conquering his favourite patch of the Rocky Mountains.This was the closest a Zyrgin warrior came to the human emotion of joy. The sword fit his hand like an extra limb. His body moving with strength and fluidity gifted to him by generations of the strongest blood on Zyrgin. Still swinging, he moved the sword to his left and then his right hand, increasing his speed until his movements became a blur.
Every day after his warrior duties, he came to this rocky patch on the mountain.Practiced to ensure he was worthy and ready for the day the leader of all Zyrgin territories would give him his sword of honor. That was the moment all warriors lived for. When their leader, who they called The Zyrgin, gifted them with a sword that would respond to the touch of a certain warrior only. Warriors from a strong bloodline, and some warriors born stronger,received swords that, with the aid of technology, could be made to shrink to nearly invisible size. To the enemy, it looked as if they disappeared and appeared as if by magic.
Many warriors used their cloaking technology to make it seem as if they had received such a sword from The Zyrgin. Larz knew he’d never have to resort to such measures. He was from The Zyrgin’s bloodline, descended from the strongest Zyrgin that ever ruled.
Larz lunged sideways then stepped back, performing the sequence of the warrior conquering with his sword with ease. Instinctively compensating for the uneven boulder strewn patch he stood on. Though his movements were swift and smooth, as a warrior’s should be, today he performed without his usual fierce concentration.
Worry for his human occupied his mind. Months ago, shortly before his second change, he claimed Marcie as his breeder after they rescued her from a raider camp. Everyone else called her a loud, mean woman with ugly red hair. Not a day went by without one of the warriors offering to kill her or bring him a better human. When he looked at her, he saw his breeder. A woman he’d never give up.
If he claimed her after he went through his third change, it might mean he had to give up his need to do battle in their wars, to serve on the Zyrgin homeland. The friend of Natalie and Julia, Sarah had disappeared more than a year ago and it had taken many months to find her in a raider camp. She had been starved and bruised and told them Marcie was responsible for many of the things that happened to her in that camp. They may have rescued Marcie from a raider camp, but they were certain she was sent to infiltrate them. Her attitude made her very unpopular. Shortly after they brought her to their guesthouse, she’d tried to hurt Sarah and Sarah had been moved to live with Natalie. Larz had to go through his third change soon, or he might not be able to claim her.
From the time the first Zyrgin ruled, millions of centuries ago, Zyrgin warriors were not allowed to claim a breeder before their third change. It was a strange knowing each warrior carried within. Larz turned and decapitated an imaginary enemy behind him. His third change was months away, and he needed to claim Marcie before she got herself killed.
He stumbled and compensated for the uneven rock beneath his boots. Adding challenge to his workout, he closed his eyes. A warrior who owned a foul-mouthed human had to be prepared for anything.
This barren patch of the alien planet he was born on, this little piece of earth, always drew him. On the hard rock, where no trees grew and no reintroduced wildlife ventured, he was reminded of his home planet. Out here, with the exotic earth sun shining down on him, he could think about claiming a strangely compelling woman with a mean mouth and ugly red hair. Make plans for keeping her safe from the consequences of her actions.
Zorlof, his brother, ran up to him, his pre-second change body small, but stronger than that of a human male. Their doctor couldn’t explain why he took so much longer than Larz to go through his second change, but all indications were that he would be very strong once it did happen. Zyrgin warriors were born with the knowledge of battle, with strength in their small bodies. With each change their knowledge and strength grew. In Zorlof’s case, he suspected that strength and knowledge might be much stronger in him than the average warrior. Even taking into account their strong bloodline, Zorlof was taller and stronger than any pre-second change warrior born for centuries.
Zorlof easily leaped over a few boulders and increased his speed until he skidded to a halt in front of Larz.
“Marcie tried to kill Zanr to get to Sarah. She screamed she’d kill Sarah the whole time,” Zorlof said.
The mountain blurred around Larz and noise rang in his ears. Like their ship’s klaxon, instead of danger to the ship, it heralded danger to his human. Larz sank down on his knees and leaned his head on his sword. “That human will drive me to Solarian drink.”
If she had simply gone after Zanr, they would’ve laughed at the idea of a human woman trying to overcome a Zyrgin warrior. No warrior would give an attack from a human woman any serious attention, beyond ensuring she didn’t hurt herself. Threatening the Zyrgin’s breeder? Larz might not be able to save her.
His time was up. He had to choose between Marcie and being a warrior and probably his life. Give up everything that defined him to save that female who had no concept of honor. He didn’t understand her mean nature and why she hated Sarah this much? If she was sent to infiltrate them, wouldn’t it make more sense to befriend them?
Larz closed his eyes and prayed for patience. Would the woman never stop putting herself in danger? When he claimed her, he’d make sure she understood that such behavior would have severe consequences for her. Ever since they rescued Marcie from the raider camps six months ago, she’d angered every human and Zyrgin who came into contact with her.