Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Fire

Somehow I manage to write in a scene with fire into everything that I’ve written.  Whether it be something like candles, or a fiery sensation running through my character’s body – there is always some kind of fire.

I attribute this to my fire sign.  I’m an Aries, and last month was my birthday month - woo!  I’m stubborn and tend to be really hot-headed.  I’ve leveled myself out over the years and have become more compassionate than I probably should be.  But if angered, I really am a fireball of fury.

The only tattoo that I have is of the Unitarian Universalist symbol – which is a chalice, and yeah, it has a flame on it.  I’m still considering finishing off the tattoo with a fiery anklet that wraps around the chalice and my ankle. 

And to wrap this whole nonsensical post up, for Christmas, I put a fire pit on my wish list.  That’s a weird thing, right?  Well, my mother-in-law still got me one, which is fantastic!  I don’t own a paper shredder, but I tell you, turning things into ash works just as well – and is much more satisfying.  For environmental reasons, I end up recycling most things… but those pesky credit card checks need to disappear... forever.  ^__^

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Escape

Here is another excerpt from The Unanswerable:

     "Take my hand!"  I narrowed my eyes as I stared into the darkened shaft.  I knew what she was clinging to, hope that we could somehow get our son out.  That he would somehow be okay if we could just stop and resuscitate him.  We couldn't wait any longer.  We had to get further away from the city.  Maybe the cellars had worked for a few days, but as the rubble started to shatter around us, I knew our situation was beyond desperate.  It was hopeless.
       And she didn't want to try without him.   She reached her right arm up, our fingers barely touched.  She coughed and held his body closer to her legs.  He was nuzzled there, like he always did when he was scared.  But he wasn't scared anymore.  He wasn't anything anymore.
        "Diane, you have to let go."
         Mist invaded her green eyes and she looked back down at our son.  "Matthew, I can't."  A loud creak came from inside the mound of rubble.  It was only a matter of time before the last beams gave in.  We were losing time.
         "Diane, please, I can't do this without you."
         "But we're so close... and he might."
         I grit my teeth, ready to cry, but more desperate to survive.  To get us out of there.  "Please, take my hand."
         She stroked her son's hair and sobbed.  She kissed his head and it seemed like she was finally ready to let go.  But then this girl scrambled her way out of a small opening in the rubble.  Her blonde hair was black with ash, and she gasped at the air.  She glanced from my wife, my son, and me in a second.  She grabbed my outstretched arm, and I hoisted her up.
         "Diane!"  I yelled.  The girl was already scurrying off to safety.
         Diane curled her hands around Keegan's head.  "Okay... I'll come up."  The ground rumbled and shook.  I lost my foothold and had to scramble backwards to avoid being sucked down the shaft.  The wood cracked and splintered.  It all happened so fast.  The small hole out of the cellar was there, and then in a moment's hesitation, everything collapsed.  The hole was gone.
         I screamed her name and buried my fingertips in the shards of glass, broken wood, nails, and ash that covered the whole mess.  "Diane!"  My hands bled and mixed with the soot that covered my fingers.  It was a blackened red mess.  She had to still be down there, she couldn't just be gone.  I was just talking to her.  I screamed and pounded my fists into the earth.
         A hand curled around my shoulder.  It was the girl, tears stained through the soot on her face revealing pasty skin.  Her eyes were the color of the sky before it had grown black with pollution.  Her lip trembled when she opened her mouth.  A high-pitched squeak escaped, and then she formed the words, "We still have to get out of the city."  She sounded so far off.  This girl wasn't real.  Everyone was dead.  My wife and I were the last survivors.  This must have been my mind playing tricks.
         But when she pulled on my arm and nearly yanked it out of socket, I snapped back into reality.  The hiss of a bomb sounded in the distance before it hit the earth.  And our feet pounded on the ground.  Away from the chaos, away from the bombs and destruction, away from my wife.  All my instincts kicked in, and they told me to survive.  I had to keep going.  I had to keep going for her.  If Diane couldn't live for us, I had to live for the both of us.  Something had to go right.
         When the bomb hit, the whole earth shook and flames licked towards the sky.  Debris pierced the air with a choking mushroom cloud.  Another building collapsed and more screams echoed in the night.  We might be the only people making it out alive.
         We scrambled over the road blockade that was upturned.  It was the government's last try to keep us inside.  We thought we would be safer towards the outskirts of the city... but they started bombing here first.  But we had no idea how far they were going to go out.  Everyone outside the city thought they were safe, but judging by the smoking ash that choked the air, no one was safe anymore.

G is for Giveaway Hop

A to Z Challenge:  I know, I'm early... but I wanted to submit this Giveaway into the Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop.

Giveaways are awesome, even if I'm cheating a little bit in the A to Z Challenge (though, can you blame me?  Those egg bunnies are adorable)  Starts April 6th at 12:00AM EST and ends April 12th.

I have tons of books (tons and tons of books) to giveaway.  So instead, here's my list of books that you can choose.  (U.S. participants only).

If you win, you can choose one title (click on the book title for more information from goodreads):

YA Books:
Saying it Out Loud by Joan Abelove (hardcover)

Other Books:
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Mystic Warrior by Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman
Happiness Sold Separately by Libby Street
Wormwood by G.P.Taylor (hardcover)
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger

Just enter the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs in this awesome hop - and visit the hosts:  I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Once Upon a Twilight.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Drinking

I will be posting occasional excerpts from my current manuscripts/WIPs, and today is one of those days.

Marc turned to me, breathing hard, blood dripping down his chin. His eyes were blackened with thick circles around them, and red in the direct center. A growl escaped his throat that made all the hairs on my neck stand on end.

The streetlight poured into the alleyway from above us, making the whole scene glow with an eerie euphoria. Marc looked ready to pounce on me.  He was animalistic. Noted: Never interrupt Marc’s feeding. But it didn’t help that my body reacted in a way where I was ready to pounce too. With all my nerves firing at once, I was ready for anything that he might try.  And part of me thought I could beat him.

Marc let out a short grunt and narrowed his eyes at me. I could see him, beyond the instincts, beyond the vampire that stood before me, he was there. I focused on that. I made my body focus on that so I wouldn’t lunge at him. He loosened his grip on the blonde guy. The guy looked perplexed, not scared, worried, or anything that would naturally float through a victim’s head. He didn’t run either. He stayed pinned against the wall, waiting.

Marc closed his eyes and evened his breathing. Then he whispered into the guy’s ear, “You slipped and fell. It hurt, but you’re fine now. And no, you don’t want to see a doctor.” The words drifted from his mouth with red steam. The hot blood particles mixed with the air. I was glad I already ate because my body almost lost it on the sweet coppery smell. 

D is for drinking blood ;)  And no, my MC isn't a vampire - though this passage sure makes him kind of sound like one, huh?  Rioss has been finished recently and is currently in the editing process.  I'm actually really excited about this piece because of how complex the story becomes.  There are layers to it, and things that I didn't even realize would happen.  My characters were so strong that they took me on for a ride, not the other way around.  Rioss is intended to be the first in a trilogy, though I haven't even started outlining the second book.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for ChoreWars

My roommates and I hate chores. Absolutely and incredibly hate chores. My husband will happily do just about anything to make the house clean – he loves everything in its place. Not me, nuh-uh.  I would live in my mess if I could, but I can’t.  (Not filth, but mess - there is a big difference between mess and filth - I like to be chaotic writer-ly disorganized with my thoughts spewing out on every paper I can find).

A few weeks ago, I stumbled onto ChoreWars, this silly website where you get a character (much like D&D), but you level up for doing things around the house. Example: You wash the dishes, you get gold and XP. Since I’m still a hopeless gamer, I instantly fell in love with the concept and made an account. My roommate (and cohort on Adorning Schemes - we are also doing A to Z over there!) and I have been cleaning up the house on a more regular basis. And my husband?  Well, he's kicking all of our butts since he racks up 74 XP every day.

But this sets the fire, “No – you cannot be better than me in ChoreWars! I will win! I will defeat you! Mwahahaha!” It mixes competition into the whole thing, which makes chores finally worth doing.

Digging up the yard to put in a garden isn’t fun – but if you add experience points and gold coins along with it? Yeah, sure, I’ll do just about anything for more XP. I’m obsessed with making my characters better (which is exactly why I'm good at being a gamer).

The inner five year old in me constantly jumps up and down every time I finish something. It’s like a gold star... without spending money on stickers.

I am, and forever will be, easily amused.

Tomorrow I post an excerpt from Rioss.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Boat

This is another excerpt from The Unanswerable.  The cover concept is to the left, but there is no guarantees that this will be the final cover.  I will be posting excerpts from time to time throughout the A to Z Challenge, but most of them will probably be really silly anecdotes and self-reflections.  Here it is:

      She stumbled over the rocks that had fallen across the street.  I caught her by the arm and steadied her.  "You okay?"
      She nodded and yanked her arm away from me.  It seemed like the silent treatment would never wear off.  Teenagers could really hold a grudge.  Though, I couldn't honestly say that I blamed her, after everything I had said.  I was ashamed of myself.  She didn't deserve the blame, there was so many things that happened in one desperate moment.  Alisha wasn't the problem it was me. 
      We walked by another collapsed house.  The grass was littered with ash, it was completely gray.  The whole area was gray, and it smelled of burning hair.  We passed by a few more cars, and I kicked some of the tires.  They were all flat from the shards of the explosions.  It was a miracle that we were still alive.
      Alisha pointed to a boat.  It was perfectly untouched, huge.  Whoever once owned the house that was now a pile of rubble was clearly rich.  How had it stayed so perfect?  It looked so incredibly out of place with everything around it.
       "I always wanted a house boat."
       I never thought I would be so grateful to hear a teenager talk in my whole life.  "Why?"
       She kicked at the soot underneath her shoe and thought about it for awhile.  Our footprints left deep impressions in the inch of ash.  "I wanted to be able to leave whenever I wanted."  She turned back towards the way we had came.  I stopped with her and joined her gaze.
       It was flattened.  The sky looked as gray as the ash from all the smoke and debris that still was caught up in the air.  It probably wouldn't settle until the rains came, and who knew when that was going to be.  It was the middle of a hot summer, and even though the humidity was making the soot stick to our sweaty necks, making the creases black as night.
       "It seems ridiculous now, don't you think?"  She glanced at me, the blues in her eyes still managed to capture the sun through the haze.  "To want to leave it all behind?"  She turned around and took a few steps down the road.  "It's almost like it was supposed to happen."  Alisha clenched her fists and kept going.
        I don't think fate had anything to do with this.  It wasn't destiny for me to lose my wife and son, but I had learned by now that this was just her way to have it make sense.  She couldn't stand to think that her brother, mother, and father had all disappeared in an instant.  Her friends, her future, her life, everything shattered overnight.  Just like mine.
        Fortunately for her, she wasn't in love, not when the bombs dropped.  Fortunately for her, she didn't have a child.  Unfortunately for her, she hadn't even barely lived yet.  When the announcement came on, that was all she thought about:  I still need to live.  I need to keep on living, and I just need to go.
        That was what I thought.  But I thought about my wife too.  As soon as she passed, it went back to me.  All my survival instincts kicked in and I ran with Alisha by my side.  My wife didn't even get a proper burial.
         I caught up to her in a few long strides.  "It wasn't because you thought about escaping.  All of us think about getting out at some point.  I used to ask people if they wanted fries with that.  That summer, I really wanted a way out."  I chuckled.
         She gave me a sideways glance and sighed.  "I thought about running away so many times.  I packed a bag one night.  I was so angry when my mom grounded me for going out with Tom.  It's so silly.  If only she could see me now..."  Alisha got a high pitched tone, "'Now, Alisha, what have I told you about hanging out with older men?  You know they only want one thing!'"  She laughed.  I laughed too.  I thought so many times how I would have "the talk" with my son.  I worried about being a good dad.  "Is it true though?"  She stopped suddenly and grabbed my arm, "Do you all really only want one thing?" 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for All the Money in the World

I'm taking two of my challenges and wrapping them into one post.  It's the A-Z Blogging Challenge and Emlyn Chand's Books that Made Me Love Reading Challenge.  For this month, I read All the Money in the World by Bill Brittain.

What I thought then:
This book captivated me.  Honestly, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  My little mind was enthralled.  It really taught me "be careful what you wish for."  And it made me think long and hard about what I would do with three wishes.  Firstly, I would tell the person who was granted the wishes not to grant it until I said, "Please grant the wish that I just told you about."  This way, I would avoid any stupidities (like in the book).

For my first wish, I would wish for:  A wallet that is indestructible and has magical properties (which I will explain momentarily) where only people related to me can use it - and if it is stolen, or lost, it will always find its way back to the people in my family.  Now, the magical properties would be:  Every time I, or a family member, thought about how much money they needed, it would appear in the wallet.  However, this money would come from places where people forgot about it.  Example:  twenty dollars falls down the drain and never gets picked up again?  It's mine now.  But all money pulled from the wallet will be cleaned, and in perfect condition (so if I end up pulling up old gold coins from somewhere deep in the ocean, I can totally have artifacts - and don't have to deal with stinky swamp money).  In the case that there is no money that people have lost/forgotten about, the wallet will remain empty until there is money/gold/silver that can be found elsewhere.  The money is not to be "stolen" from people that own it.

Yes, this is everything I thought of when I was little.  Because I loved the concept of "all the money in the world" or rather "not having to worry about it again," but saw the flaws in the wish and wanted to make it better.  My kid mind was all about it.  As for my second and third wish?  I would save them, because if the first wish fails in someway, I will definitely need my second wish to fix it.

What I think now:
It was still a fun read, and clearly I'm still thinking about what my three wishes would be.  Though Quentin's story is a lot less interesting the second time around - it was still very amusing.  My biggest problem with the book is no one ever questions why leprechauns exist.  I mean, there's a one-two foot man running around who is green and everyone just accepts it.  "Oh, that's just Flan."  ... That's just a little green man!!! No big deal?!  Really?!

The Concept of All:
A is for All, so I want to take the time to discuss this concept.  All is a pretty selfish term.  I don't think I would ever wish, or want, all of something.  It's too self-centered.  Can you think of anything that you would want all of?  All the oranges, tea, money, trees, land, paperclips?  What's the point in having all of anything if you can't share it?  Who would want all the paperclips in the world anyway?  The only thing that I could think of would be:  I want to see all the beautiful things in the world before I pass.  But that could take a long time, right?  Or maybe just, I want all my thoughts to be positive?  But then - if all your thoughts are positive, all the time, then how would you get negativity in your writing?  Your characters have to go through some kind of emotional turmoil to change?  And knowing everything - all the things in the world - that would be way too intense, right?  I think that I should keep the "alls" to someone else, because I'm "all" set ;)  But if you can think of anything that it would be helpful to have all of - please, start the debate!