Amanda Kenney's Notebook This is where my creations and I hang out.

More Chapter One rewrite!

April 23

As promised, here is the rest of Chapter One!


The door of the depot flew open and Irzazenhoy came rushing in. Minkhoy looked up, expecting her sister-in-law to be bringing fresh biscuits, but then she saw how pale and wide-eyed she was. Irza ran straight into Koreni’s arms and held onto him as if her life depended on it.

“What is it, Irza? What’s happening?” Koreni demanded.

She took a shuddering breath. “The Union’s here!”

Minkhoy leapt to her feet.

“Why? What are they doing?” Koreni urged her.

“They’re here to arrest the Skri family for not paying the tax! They’re taking them to a debt farm!”

Just then the door to loading dock opened and Minkhoy’s parents came in.

“Father, the Union—”

“I know, I saw them coming down the street,” he replied, going to the window. They all followed him except for Koreni, for Irza held him back, her hands still shaking.

A full squadron of Union soldiers were gathered around the Skris’ house, facing outward, guns ready. As they looked on, two soldiers each dragged a member of the Skri family out of the house; first the three young boys, then the mother, then the father, and finally the grandmother, bent over nearly double but her frail hands steady on the handle of her cane. Looking at her, Minkhoy knew she wouldn’t last more than a month in the squalid farms.

She gritted her teeth and charged toward the door. With a shout, her mother grabbed her and held her fast. “No, Mink, you can’t go out there!”

“I’m not going to just stand here and watch!”

“There’s nothing else to be done,” her father said in a terribly flat voice.

Her mother’s eyes were wide with fear. “If the Union even sees you—!”

Minkhoy’s fists clenched, but she allowed her mother to drag her back from the door. She watched in silence as the Union soldiers dragged the Skri family away into the back of their transport. The soldiers filed in after them; the doors glided shut, and with a roar of engines, the transport shot into the sky and was out of sight in a matter of seconds.

The townsfolk slowly seeped back into the street now that the danger was passed. They all stared at the sky where the ship had disappeared in solemn silence. Muffled weeping echoed across the square and several women drew their veils over their faces in grief.

“Why do we just let them do this?” D’june asked in a thick voice.

Her father sighed. “Because we can’t stop them.” He placed his large hand on D’june’s shoulder. “I know it’s hard, D’june, but you’ve got to learn to just hunch your shoulder to the wind and carry on. The Union can’t be stopped, so we have to do our best to survive. That’s just the way things are.”

Minkhoy wrenched her wrist out of her mother’s grip and stormed around behind the counter. She pulled out an empty sack.

“What are you doing?” her mother demanded.

“I’m going to Beacon Hill,” she replied shortly. She shoved the folder into the wooden box still open on the counter, and gathered a box of figs and an orange before stuffing all of it into the sack. Pulling out an iron box from under the counter, she punched in a code and opened it. She pulled out a small handgun and stuffed it into her pocket.

“But why—?”

“I’ll be back by midmorning.” She headed toward the door.

“You won’t do anything foolish, will you?” her father asked warily.

She paused, her hand on the doorknob, and smiled bitterly. “No, don’t worry. Like you said, there’s nothing to be done. There’s just nothing to ever be done, except to just keep plodding on.” She opened the door and marched down the street without looking back.

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Chapter One- another rewrite!

April 21

I don’t think I ever let you guys in on it, but I’ve been doing Camp NaNo, and now I have something to show for it!  This is yet another revision of Chapter One; let me know what you think!  (Again, I’ll probably totally rewrite this later.) Oh, and there will be more posted soon!

Chapter One

 With a glance over her shoulder, Minkhoy turned from the lively, bustling marketplace into a shadowed alley. Her sandaled feet picked their way carefully through the prickly weeds poking through the cobblestones; this alley was little used, being too narrow for the carts to make their way through to the marketplace. Some of the weeds tugged at her pants, the taller ones tugging at the edge of her tunic.

The alley turned a corner, and on the other side a man was waiting for her. She stopped short. She had been expecting someone short and stocky, but this man was tall and gaunt with red hair.

“About time you got here, Hoy,” he said as soon as he saw her; his words were thick with a Sennodian accent. “I have better things to do than wait for you in this nothing town.”

She kept her distance. “Who are you? I was expecting Black Ragg.”

“Call me the official representative of his business. The boss has got better things to do then wait in smelly alleys for Udolian rats.”

“And you don’t?”

He scowled. “Do you want the goods or not?”

“Let me see.” She held out her hand.

He recoiled as if from a snake. He stared at the long, red scar slashed from the back of her hand, around the joint of her thumb, and ending in the middle of her palm, leaving her left hand slightly stiff. Inwardly, Minkhoy sighed; she had forgotten to put on a pair of gloves before coming out. Everyone in her town was used to her scar by now, so she had forgotten how other people reacted.

“You’re a rebel?” he asked, his tone somewhere between fear and disgust.

“Not really, but either way it’s not contagious.” He didn’t move. “Really, I swear, you’ll be fine. Just give me what you’re here for and you can go.”

After a moment, he reached into his jacket and pulled out a folder. He handed it to her, careful not to touch her.

Rolling her eyes, she opened it and bit her lip in excitement. It was a blurry but obvious picture of Queen Aidani. She flipped the photograph over; on the back was scrawled the words, ‘third day in the month of Morileal, the year 2233′. She turned it over again and scrutinized the photo. Even with the distortion, the queen was quite obviously pregnant, probably in her third trimester. She looked up at Ragg’s contact again. “Where did you get this?” she demanded. “Where did this photograph come from?”

“Chemyss,” he replied, crossing his arms. “Some old fig farmer had it and was willing to sell it so he could meet the tax this year.”

Minkhoy’s face flushed even as she tried to hide her excitement; if she showed too much eagerness, he would jack the price up. She rummaged further into the folder and pulled out another photograph, this one much clearer than the first. It was the queen again, only she was not pregnant in this picture. Minkhoy once again turned it over, only to find there was no date written at all. “Where does this one come from?”

“From right here, Henkoren. As I was told, the family it belonged to moved from this town to Port Kho-ju’ctar not long after the photo was taken, which was right before the massacre. Eventually they sold the photo to a royal family fanatic, who recently died; his family was anxious to get rid of the thing. And so now it is yours—if you pay, that is.” He held out his hand expectantly— she had to place either money or the folder in it.

“Yes, alright, how much do you want?” Tucking the folder under her arm, she reached for the moneybag on her belt.

“Fifty Kars,” he said without skipping a beat.

She paused and raised both eyebrows in disbelief, but didn’t argue; she pulled out the demanded amount and deposited it into his outstretched hand. He quickly pocketed the money and flitted out of sight down the dark alley, clearly anxious to get away from her. Minkhoy went back the way she had come, the folder clutched close to her chest.

She stepped out of the alley back into the hot market square and dusted herself off, looking around to see if anyone had noticed her return. The hot desert sun had relented some of its noon heat and the market was busy with shoppers. But none of them had noticed her, so she darted through the thick crowd toward her family’s depot.

The market ebbed away as she headed for the edge of town on the northeast side where the depot was located. Her father was unloading one lone freighter in the dock, but otherwise the depot was quiet; most shipments had already come and gone, and most people were at the market.

Heading for the office, she threw the front door wide and called, “Guys, you won’t believe what I have here!”

Korenihoy, to her right by the filing shelves, turned on her like a panther. “Where have you been?” her old brother demanded, his thick, dark eyebrows drawn low in a frown. “You were supposed to be processing that paperwork. In fact, you were supposed to be done with it hours ago.”

“I’ll get to it, Koreni, but my absence was worth it, believe me.” She marched over to the counter and deposited the folder onto it in triumph.

“What is that?” D’junehoy asked, his eyes wide already. He had been dusting the top of the taller bookshelves, but now he hopped down from the ladder and prowled over to the folder.

“This, little brother, is what I have been hunting down for three solid years now. Or fifteen, if you prefer. And this could change everything.”

Ramesahoy looked up from behind the counter where she was patching one of Minkhoy’s festival skirts. “Are you talking about the royal family?”

“There is no royal family,” Koreni said. “They were massacred fifteen years ago, everybody knows that.”

“What have you found, Mink?” D’june asked, ignoring him.

“Photographic evidence that there is one surviving member of the royal family.”


“See for yourself.” She opened the folder and handed him the two photographs.

D’june squinted at them for several moments. Ramesa leaned forward on her stool. “Well, what is it?” she asked eagerly.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Mink, what am I looking at?”

“It’s obvious! Look!” She pointed at the first photograph. “You see the queen? She’s pregnant, right? This photo is only a few weeks before the massacre. Then this photo is taken the day of or before the massacre, and she is not pregnant. Something happened to that child between those two points.” She bit her lip. “Now I just have to find out what.”

“He must have been killed at the massacre with the rest of his family, regardless of whether he was in the queen’s womb or not,” Koreni said.

She turned to him, eyes shining. “No, he wasn’t. If you don’t believe me, believe the Union.”

Koreni frowned. “What do you mean?”

“You remember that newspaper story they printed all across the country?” she asked, going around behind the counter.


She pulled out a wooden box and opened the lid. She shuffled through several layers of papers and then whisked out a yellowed newspaper clipping. “This is the story they ran on the front page about the murder of the royal family and the sacking of Koren Hill. They mention in gory detail how they killed the royal family, listing each name individually; they list only four children, the youngest being Jacini, and she was already four years old. So what happened to this fifth baby, who should be only a few days old at most? If they had killed him, you know they would have been bragging about it.”

“Do you think he’ll come back and kick out the Union?” D’june asked.

“He might not be alive,” Koreni argued. “Anything could have happened to him; he could’ve been stillborn, or was left behind when his mother was arrested and died of starvation, or been hunted down and killed since then.”

Minkhoy nodded. “I know, but there’s still hope. And that’s enough for me.”

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Camp NaNoWriMo update

April 13

I realized I never told you guys that I am in fact doing Camp NaNoWriMo! I’m almost half-way through my word goal of 10,000 words, and hopefully I’ll be able to stay on track! Good luck to any fellow NaNoers!

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Camp NaNoWriMo! April Edition

March 17

Don’t forget Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up!  It’s just around the corner in April!  I highly recommend you try it!


I don’t know if I’m going to do it again this year, what with college and all, but I sure want to!

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Chapter One- a snippet

February 20

As promised, here is a small taste of Chapter One.  Be advised that I will probably change a lot of even this tiny part here, but I hope you enjoy nonetheless.  Post your comments below!


‘Minkhoy ran her finger over the browned map, tracing the distance between Chemyss and Port Kho-Ju’ctar. “Roughly fifty miles,” she muttered to herself, tapping her pencil on her chin. “Let’s see, that would get us there about…oh, an hour before sunset.” She scribbled that onto the pad of paper beside her. “And that would complete our third day of travel. What do you think, Red?”

She looked over at the viper leopard stretched out in a ray of the afternoon sunlight streaming from the window onto the dusty floor of the depot. She and Red were hanging out on the floor in the corner behind the counter. Minkhoy had her back to a mound of paperwork, as if ignoring it meant it wasn’t really there. The ceiling fan above them hummed lazily, the only noise in the empty depot except Red’s muffled purring.

“I said, what do you think, Red?” Minkhoy repeated.

Red squeezed open her deep red eyes and flicked her tail once.

“Why do I get the feeling you don’t really care?”

Red yawned, showing off her long, barbed fangs, and rolled over onto her back, exposing her soft underbelly. Minkhoy smirked and ran her hand through the thick tabby fur a few times.

“You know what I think? I think you don’t care where you are so long as you have a puddle of sunlight to sleep in. Maybe when I finally break out of this place I’ll just leave you behind.” She scratched between the small horns on the top of Red’s head absentmindedly. She frowned as her parents’ words echoed in her head.

‘Around here you’re safe, no one notices you, everyone understands. But out there, you wouldn’t last five minutes.’

‘They would see your scar immediately. And the minute they find out you don’t have parole papers, it’ll really get dangerous.’

‘Do you think they would believe you? They wouldn’t even listen; they would just lock you up forever, at best, and we would probably never see you again.’

‘Like it or not, you have to stay here.’

Heads Up!

February 17

This past weekend I worked out a rough draft of chapter one.  I’ll be polishing it up this week and I’ll post a short clip of it on Friday!  So keep an eye out for it!

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New Beginnings

February 10

So, I don’t know quite how to say this, but I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that my novel-in-the-works, Season of Betrayal, needs a complete rewrite.  Like, blank-page, start-over-new rewrite.  I’ve moved all my files, all the drafts, all the outlines, all the character sheets, and all miscellany into a folder and moved it onto two flash-drives.  This week I will start as fresh as the blank page I’ll be writing on.  I’ll write the whole thing new with absolutely nothing from the old manuscript.  That’s just the way it’s got to be.  I’ve already got some exciting new ideas to hopefully move this book to the next level (whatever that means), and don’t worry, I’ll be sharing every exciting step with you.  February has a lot of significant anniversaries in my writing career, so I am planning to party with those a little bit.  Tally-ho!

An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered, right?

Character Character

January 7

Right off the bat, it’s important to give your character, well, character.  Give them little quirks and habits to make them more realistic.  You know, like pushing their hair behind their ear when they’re nervous, or pushing their glasses up the bridge of their nose, rubbing their hands together, tapping their fingers on the table, etc.  Try not to just arbitrarily assign habits to a character; try to have them make sense with the character’s personality and back-story.  For instance, rubbing their hands together suggests a nervous or anxious-to-please personality, and if your character is more confident, that particular quirk might not fit well.  Or, if they used to be a musical performer, maybe they tap their feet and hum while they work.  You get the idea.

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Your Thoughts?

January 5

According to Saul Bellow, ‘You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.’  Do you agree?  Disagree?  And is it just me, or do the best writing ideas come after you’ve gone to bed and are trying to sleep?

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Happy New Year!

January 1

Happy New Year to you all!  More posts to come…

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