Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ender's Game

Note that this review may contain spoilers.

I have often heard people talk about this book, how they liked it, how it inspired them, and that is what I had in mind when I picked it up from the local WaldenBooks. I knew that his simulations were real battles from a blog post I read but I didn't realize all that entailed...

Exposition: The beginning of each chapter starts with a small conversation between two people, just dialogue, no tags. In the beginning you have no idea who these people are, but what they say draws you in. Who are they talking about? What is he being chosen for? What went wrong with the brother, the sister? What are they talking about?

Next, we are introduced to Ender, the main character, as he is getting his monitor taken off. We then learn that Ender is a Third, and picked on for it. Immediately after coming back from getting his monitor removed, a team of boys gangs up on him. He then beats their leader, Stilston, to a pulp, determining the place at the Battle School which his brother, Peter, and sister, Valentine, could not achieve.

Rising Action: At Battle School, Ender is immediately set apart from the other boys by the teachers. On top of that, Bernard, a boy in Ender's launch, is out for revenge on Ender for breaking his arm. Other such problems follow. As soon as Ender gets comfortable something changes: he is moved into an army, he becomes a commander, he is advanced to Command school. All in effort to get him ready to defeat the buggers. The whole time he worries, is he truly like his brother Peter, a killer, a murderer? Conflict is rich throughout this story.

Climax: I was waiting for what happened next. When Ender walked into the simulator for his final exam, and they informed him there was a planet, I knew the end of the war was near. I knew, but Ender didn't. And when he learns that he wiped out the whole bugger race, he feels betrayed, betrayed and worn out emotionally. Wouldn't you be? Yes, you would. That there is what makes him a realistic character.

Falling Action/Resolution: They have decided that Ender is too dangerous to go back to earth, so Valentine convinces him to come with her to colonize one of the now empty bugger planets. While ther, Ender discovers that the buggers left behind a single queen and he swears to find them a few place to live, to reproduce. And I've heard that that is what the sequels are all about.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Nature of Magic

Magic - n. the art which seemingly controls foresight of natural events and forces by means of supernatural agencies. (taken from Webster's Pocket Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language)

Webster was kind enough to share with me what magic meant to him but 'magic is different for everyone'. Which is what this blogfest is all about, showing what magic means to you (or in my case, your character).

My entry explains magic from my character, Cassie's, point of view. She is one of two MCs in The Lullaby. Currently, this segment is not in my manuscript but may be included later. It is 799 words according to Word. I managed to write all of this in one day (give or take for editing). This may not sound like much of an accomplishment but it made me happy because I have been in a bit of a slump lately. I am very grateful to Laura Diamond and Tessa Conte for hosting this blogfest.

          “What is this supposed to be anyway?” Richard leaned in, casually plucking the pendant from her absent-minded fingers.
     Cassie jerked out of her thoughts. She snatched the necklace back, holding it to her chest. The raindrop clanged against the rainbow circling it, the sound of metal-on-metal traveled across the rooftop. She looked at the small painted shapes in her hand, remembering, “It’s happiness.”
     “Okay, I’m confused,” Richard admitted, watching her face.
     “Big surprise there,” Cassie smiled.
     “Hey, play nice,” he shoved her shoulder.
     She laughed, echoes bouncing back from a hundred different buildings, and pushed him back. His eyes shone bright as he grinned at her, then they became serious.
     “Really, though, what does it mean?” He wasn’t letting her squirm away that easy.
     A sigh pressed up against her lips but she suppressed it. She took a second to line up the right words, “I was little when I decided I didn’t want my mother to be my mother. The word ‘mommy’ was forbidden. Her name was Maggie, she yelled every time I tried to use it, emphasized by a slap to the face.”
     Cassie’s breath came fast as the memories resurfaced. Richard remained silent, waiting for her to go on. Her eyes closed but her voice grew stronger.
     “At the age of five, I ran away. All I packed was a patched teddy bear and a candy bar already half-eaten. As you can imagine, it didn’t last long.” Her hand drifted down to her stomach, feeling the old hunger pains.
     “The walk seemed endless. I wanted to stop but even then I was smart enough to know I couldn’t. Maggie would find me, and then she’d scream and her hands, feet would lash out, and it would hurt. But when I sat on a bench to remove a rock lodged in my shoe, I couldn’t help it, I fell asleep.”
     Richard took her hand, his face stony. The expression looked strange on him. He gave a soft squeeze.
     “Rain woke me up. It, and all the hurrying people, confused me. Vision was limited. I scrambled to my feet, soaked. With no idea what to do but get out of the rain, I ran for cover and crouched in a doorway, leaning against the door. It felt nice and sturdy.”
     Cassie laid back against the roof, staring up at the stars, and a small smile seemed to almost appear on her lips, “The world was suddenly upside down when the door opened. He looked at me and I looked at him. He was small, young, younger than me. His mouth opened and I braced for the hurtful words that were sure to come. ‘Are you happy?’ That’s exactly what he said to me. My voice floated upwards before I could stop it, ‘No’.”
     The smile was now certain, stretching her skin in a way that was becoming, “He invited me inside. And I went, because what other choice did I have? At first, I was wary, especially when I met his mother. But she, she was everything a mother should be. She fussed over me like no one ever has. Fed me till I was fit to bursting, let me stay under her roof, found me dry clothes that actually fit.”
     “Sounds nice,” Richard joked, tugging at his baggy pants.
     “Hm, it was,” she sat back up, focused directly on Richard. “While I was there, I learned what happiness is, and that everyone has a right to it. Everyone,” her words were excited now, her face glowing, “me, you, all the people in this club, everyone. That knowledge changed my whole life. It was like I was Harry Potter and someone had just handed me a wand for the first time.”
     “What does the necklace have to do with all this?” Richard asked, feeling the buoyancy of her words.
     She looked down at it again, “He gave it to me, the little boy. His lisp was so cute when he told me what it meant,” her voice changed to imitate him. “To get to the rainbow, you must first go through the rain.” She switched to normal, “I gave him my teddy bear.”
     Her eyes glazed over, her focus shifting again. She drew Richard’s hand closer, playing with his fingers. When she realized what she was doing, she quickly released them. He wished she hadn’t. “I don’t know why I told you all that. It’s not your problem.”
     “I don’t mind. What’s one more?”
     “I need you to look at me.”
     She turned her head without thinking. He was close, so close she could feel his light breath on her face. She couldn’t pull away. His eyes reeled her in, promising summer, spring, warmth.
     “You are my rainbow.”
     His lips pressed down softly on hers.

Prompt #12: Do you know how many times God has wanted to destroy the world? I think we must read the same newspaper.

     Two angels sat on a cloud, their legs dangling over, crossed at the ankles. They didn’t talk or even look at each other. In fact, neither one knew the other was there. They were both too engrossed in their newspapers.
     And it just so happened that they were reading the same one. Today’s article was on 2012, supposedly the end of the world. Of course, all the angels knew that was ridiculous; that wasn’t scheduled until 2102. Humans were, once again, looking too far into things. In a compassionate, humorous way, the writer agreed.
     As the first angel read, he said to himself, This man has truly been gifted. And when he reached the end and saw the advertisement, This must surely be God’s will.
     As the second angel read, he said to himself, This man must have been great on Earth. And when he saw the advertisement, It would be unrighteous not to go.
     They both flew away, one one way, the other another, still without noting each other’s existence.
     But their meeting was meant to be. Later that very day, they bumped into each other just outside the pearly gates. They then took notice of each other for not often did anyone venture beyond.
     “Why are you here?” The first angel asked curiously.
     “Why are you here?” The second wondered aloud.
     “I’m headed to a lecture down on Earth.”
     “Me too. Who are you going to see?”
     “Reil Nodham, the newspaper writer.”
     “Again, me too.”
     “Then it must be God’s will that we should go together.”
     So they went, falling through cloud fluff and chatting all the way. The topics of wing care, harp playing, and nonviolent video games were discussed vigorously until finally the second angel said, “I don’t know how I feel about the location. Coming down here for entertainment feels unrighteous somehow.”
     “I get what you mean. I feel like I’ve lost something, being here with no assignment, no purpose. Nodham must have a good reason. Maybe it has something to do with the mood he wants to portray. Artists are like that,” the first angel mused.
     They came in sight of a city, its tall buildings sprawling up into the sky and its streets congested. The skyline was not unfamiliar to them. God often sent them to that particular piece of countryside. The place definitely needed their help. It was riddled through with poverty, disease, cruelty.
     The angels flew close to the dark and light-colored heads below, eyes peeled for the address. The numbers and street signs whizzed by, but their divine sight caught every character. The four numbers 6336 jumped out and they stopped, hovering inches over the hard concrete.
     The theatres’ front doors were spread wide, the inside dark. As the angels approached, the first, out of habit, knelt and kissed the head of the homeless man sleeping on the side walk. He started to snore.
     The soft shine from their halos lit the hallway as they floated forward. Another set of doors stood open at the opposite end. Inside, their lights joined hundreds, maybe thousands, of others. Every possible place held an angel. All the white was blinding.
     The pair scooted along the edges of the room, ‘excuse me’s and ‘sorry’s following close behind them. They finally found two seats whose cushions weren’t completely degraded by rats. Just as they got their heavenly suspended tushes situated, a voice boomed through the overhead speakers, “Ladies and gentleman, please dim your glows.”
     Halos winked off like burned out stars. All eyes were on the heavy curtains stationed across the stage. They parted ranks and a collective gasp swept through the room.
     Reil Nodham stood there, but he was definitely not an angel, nor was he a man. He had four arms, one set right on top of the other, and each hand possessed six dirt-encrusted nails of extraordinary length and sharpness. Only sparse clothing covered his body, allowing an open view of his scaly, cracked skin and thick, double-kneed legs. His face formed to a snout, teeth poking around and through his lips.
     His most prominent feature however, was his horns. They curled long, in two directions, forming what appeared to be some twisted hairdo gone wrong. The color of oil, they devoured all the light around them.
     He looked like a demon straight from hell. Which he was.
     His smile was terrifying, his skin split and bleeding black. “Ah, it gives me such pleasure to see all your shining faces.”
     The rush for the door was instant; everyone moving like salmon upstream. But they were locked in. Miniature, not-quite-as-terrifying versions of the demon on stage stood in the way, guarding the exit. And the angels could not overpower them for they could not touch their impurity.
     As one, they fell to their knees and prayed, their voices loud in the enclosed area.
     Plead the first angel, “This cannot be your will, oh God. Banish these demons from whence they came.”
     Plead the second angel, “Oh Lord, save us from these unrighteous creatures that would seek to destroy us.”
     Nothing happened. Minutes dragged by. The angelic words became laced with desperation. Jeering and taunting erupted from the demons, adding to the din.
     Reil smiled and turned to a nearby devil, “Do you think he’ll give up the world now?”
I decided to mess around with style again. Instead of being short and choppy like my last experiment, this one is riddled with little details (at least, that's what I was going for). I often like to read stories like this so I thought I might try to give it a shot. I find it's a little hard for me but with effort I can pull it off.

Question: Which styles do you like? Can you write them?

Thursday, March 24, 2011


You're all probably scratching your heads, and not just because of that funny word up there (or maybe you are). Today is Thursday, and such being so, I should have Poetry Peak, yes? But today, and every Thursday until May, there will be no Poetry Peak. You see, for April, I have another poetry venture in mind.

NaPoWriMo stands for National Poetry Writing Month. It is a challenge, inspired by NaNoWriMo, to write a poem a day for a month. So, instead of getting a poem a week, you're going to be seeing a poem here everyday. How does that sound? I thought so too.

This doesn't mean that I won't be posting any other posts. Reviews, short stories, and all etcetera posts will still be posted for your viewing pleasure. I also have something special planned; it's still in the works. Hint: It has to do with the Crusade. But you didn't hear that from me, mkay?

Question: What subjects do you like in poetry?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Madeline & Alberta are Lovely (And so am I!)

Warning: This post may contain an overuse of the word lovely and its variations.

See that? -pokes award- It was given to me by two (yes, two) lovely bloggers: Madeline at Capricious Existence and Alberta at alberta's sefuty chronicles. Isn't that just the loveliest thing?

And another thing that is just as lovely, is the fact that I have to do nothing to receive this award. See, see, see?

  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2.  Pay it forward to fifteen other blogs you have newly discovered.
  3.  Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
Okay, so I do have to do a few things... But! I don't have to list things about myself so henceforth this award requires less brain power! Now, I'm going to use some of that saved brain power to list fifteen (or you know, thirteen) lovely bloggers that deserve this award.
  1. Teralyn @ A Writer's Journey
  2. Anna @ an illustrated writer
  3.  Ella @ Ella's Muse
  4. Tizzy @ Impossible Dreams
  5. Alex @ Kore Averna
  6. Michael @ SLC Kismet
  7. Charity @ My Writer's Journey
  8. Michelle @ Perfecting the craft...
  9. Sari @ Confessions of an Aspiring Author
  10. Izzy @ Virtual Bookshelf
  11. Trisha @ W O R D + S T U F F
  12. Angela @ Whimsy, Writing, and Reading
  13. Michael @ In Time... 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prompt #11: If I keep your secret, what's in it for me?

“Hey, old timer, you here?” the laugh echoed off the dripping cave walls, traveling farther and farther back until it reached the elder’s ears.

    He pressed his wrinkled cheek softly to the rock, squeezing his eyes shut. His feeble hands curled into incomplete fists that looked like dead spiders.

    “I know you’re here,” the voice was harsh, the trespasser becoming impatient.

    The old man pulled himself up, the wall his crutch. His feet slid along the floor, smooth from years of his passage. Stone remained ever cold against his palm.

    “Don’t make me come get you,” the tone spelled out all the hidden meanings clearly. He hadn’t seen the old man yet.

    “I’m,” the hermit wheezed, stopping to cough, “here.”

    The man turned and a dopey smile crossed his face, his good mood returned. He bounced on the balls of his feet, “What do you have for me this time?”

    The cave dweller’s eyes rolled side to side in fear. His meager weight swayed as drops of sweat popped onto his forehead.

    “Are we playing this game again? I won’t fall for it I tell you. I know you remember,” his voice became deep and gruff once more.

    The old man nodded slowly, trying to stall his anger. He motioned to the young man and walked back into the cave, forever leaning against the wall.

    “I knew you hadn’t forgotten me. No one forgets Jeffrey Morris,” the happy babbling pounded into the man’s head, imprinting the words on his brain. “You know, you’ve never taken me back here before. You must have something big in store.”

    “Yes, yes. Very big,” the hermit muttered under his breath, not used to others hearing him.

    “What you say?” Jeffrey’s breath seeped down his neck.

    “Nothing. I said nothing,” he coughed, his throat raspy from lack of use.

    Jeffrey’s eyes narrowed, his temper flipping like a coin through the air, end over end. He continued to follow the man, silent.

    The cave became narrower the farther in they went. The pointed stalactites and stalagmites came together like teeth. Jeffrey grew closer to the old man as it entered into his mind that the tunnel was a giant mouth just waiting to devour him, “I want to go back.”

    His companion shook his grizzled head, “No, no. Can’t go back. Must come with.”

    “I want to go back,” the command was firm, bordering on threatening.

    “You not want payment?” the old man acted confused, tilting his head to both sides. “No pretty stone to keep secret?”

    Jeffrey hesitated then puffed out his chest, “Move on.”

    A fleeting smile slipped across the old man’s face as he turned and continued to hobble forward, listening to the blundering steps of Jeffrey behind him. Those sounds were soon drowned out by his own breathing as it became louder in his ears, his lungs working extra hard. He leaned heavily against the stone, taking strength from it.

    Finally, they reached the very back of the cave. There was almost no light, only a few faint rays of sunshine coming from a hole in the roof through which water poured. The gurgling sounds of the miniature waterfall made it almost impossible to talk but Jeffrey managed to shout over it, “Where is my payment? Give it to me!”

    The man simply pointed, with just enough light for Jeffrey to see that he was indicating the pool beneath the waterfall. Jeffrey didn’t bother to think, he stepped forward greedily, his splashing adding to the water’s never-ending noise.

    The hermit moved to the side, quicker than earlier. He crouched behind one of the stalagmites, picking up a sharpened rock. He cradled it to his chest, cooing softly to it. His knees straightened and he peered around his shield. Jeffery had kneeled in the water, searching.

    The jagged edges dug into his hand as he crept toward the larger man’s back. He began to laugh as he brought his arm back, the hysterical sound covered by the cascading water. Just when he swung, Jeffrey turned, his mouth open to yell a question.

    The point of the weapon sliced straight through his throat, piercing what seemed like hundreds of important veins and arteries, crushing the windpipe, hitting the back of the spine. Blood rained down as Jeffrey tried to scream. All that came out was a hideous red bubble that popped within seconds.

    The old man calmly pushed Jeffrey’s forehead, making him fall down into the pool, his strength depleted from lack of air and loss of blood. He watched as the light in Jeffrey’s blue eyes flickered and died, like an old lightbulb. The water had turned red but it was slowly washing away as it churned. Jeffrey had nothing more to bleed into it.

    “Now you’re just another secret, and for you, I have to pay no one,” the words were ragged and spaced out but they brought a smile across his face.

    Then he turned and trudged back to his resting place, his fingers trailing the wall.
Again, I'm sorry that I'm late, but at least I have it up before Monday. It took me forever to come up with an idea for this one but I do like the one I came up with. I fell short of 1,000 words, my story is only 836, but that's okay, right?

A 92 Word Story - Second Crusader Challenge

The goldfish bowl teetered back and forth as its occupants raced around in panic. The Giant watched them through the glass, giggling at their piteous cries for help, their attempts at escape.

“How many times have I told you not to bring humans into the house?” A shriek and a sharp slap to the head for the Giant. “Take them outside, now! And quit your sniveling.”

The Giant trudged outside with his prize, pouting. Then he unceremoniously flipped the fishbowl upside down and watched as the figures fell, screaming, to the ground.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Prompt #10: Stop reading this before it's too late.

Words, words, words! They swim before my glazed eyes like mad serpents. A headache is growing in my right temple. I slam the English book closed, deciding I’ve had enough of Shakespeare for the night.

Shaking out my legs, I rise from my position on the floor. My arms almost reach the ceiling fan as I stretch them. Muscles all over my body are stiff. A few hours lounging on the couch watching old crime shows sounds about perfect.

The thought pulls my mind from its murky fog and I bounce to the kitchen. Popcorn is popping in the microwave and I’m in the middle of pouring way more pop than necessary when a cold breeze makes me shiver. I shut the kitchen window with a huff. Susie’s always opening windows and forgetting to close them.

I sink down onto the couch amidst my snacks and the fluffiest blanket we own. The room is dark and the TV’s lights pierce my eyes in a nice way. Body after dead body flashes across the screen as episodes begin and end. Hours slip by but it doesn’t matter. No one is home to complain.

The soft voices soothe my mind. The picture starts to melt into flashing colors as my eyes blur over. Sleep takes me just as a piercing scream echoes through the surround-sound speakers.

My eyelids flip open, my eyes rolling over the room wildly, confused. Where am I? Why is it dark? Sense returns to me soon enough.

The TV is still on, the noise hurting my ears in the quiet. That’s not what woke me up though. I grab the remote and jam the volume button until there’s no more sound. My ears strain, listening. For some reason, my heart is about to pump out of my chest. But why? How do I know I even heard anything? What if I’m just freaking over a dream?

I’ve just about convinced myself that I’m an idiot, when there’s a thump from overhead. Everything about me freezes, emotions, thoughts, body. I can feel my eyes so round in m head.

Then it all jumpstarts. I’m standing and fear is making me sick to my stomach. My mind is chasing around in circles trying to find a logical explanation that isn’t absolutely horrifying. Maybe mom and dad are home early, my brain whispers hopefully. Plane doesn’t leave till seven tomorrow, I shoot down my own dreams. Susie got homesick at the sleepover. That must be it, it pleads. But Susie’s been to Jenny’s house hundreds of times. Could she have forgotten something? She would have gotten it earlier. Nothing fits right.

And so I decide the only thing to do to put myself at ease is to go check it out. I’m starting to understand that person in all the horror movies. You know, the one that everyone is always screaming at for their extreme stupidity.

Every shadow spooks me as I walk up the stairs. Shapes mold into horrible demons with long, vicious teeth. Their unreal eyes seem to follow me, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up like soldiers. I send quick glances over my shoulder every other second, but the stairway remains empty.

When I reach the hallway, a frown line creases my forehead. The bathroom light is on. I didn’t leave it on. How do I know? I just do. It’s like knowing I brushed my teeth this morning.

I walk toward the dim light as if entranced, the shuffling of the carpet beneath my feet making me walk faster. I stop at the partially ajar bathroom door, steeling myself. I watch my hand flash out, pushing open the door, ghostly white against brown.

The glow from the harsh lightbulbs surrounds me as I step into the room. For a few seconds, nothing is clear. The light that seemed so shallow from the hallway gleams off every surface, the cream walls, the mirror, the tile, blinding me. My pupils contract in the glare and all the air releases from my lungs in relief. I’m alone.

My eyes pan over the shower and porcelain toilet, the shag rug and face products around the sink. A chuckle is bubbling up my throat when my sight locks onto my reflection. Hair sticks up on one side from sleep and my clothes are wrinkled for the same reason. But I have no idea what the state of my make-up is. A torn-off slip of paper is taped over my face.

The handwriting sprawled across it is tiny and cramped, unfamiliar. A few steps closer and I still have to squint to make out what it says:

If you are reading this, it has chosen you. If it has chosen you, it’s already there.

There’s no where to run.

You are doomed.

Doomed. The last word locks in my brain, echoing over and over. My joints seize as if cold water has been dumped over my head. My mouth gapes open and closed like a fish. Nothing registers but that word.

Another bump jerks me out of my dumbfounded state. This one is so much closer, right on the other side of the wall, in my room. Instincts kick in, telling me to flee, screaming it at me, no matter what the note said.

Feet twist under me, turning me around to face the door. My steps are slow at first as I consider, undecided. Then the hallway walls are flying past me and the stairs are thudding beneath me. I trip on the second-to-last step but catch myself before I fall. The sound of ragged, rasping breath comes behind me, lending speed to my flight.

I crash through the living room, where the TV still flickers, to the front door. A claw snags my shirt, tugging the fabric across my throat. Scrabbling noises grate against my ears as the creature runs across the oak wood of the coffee table, air still rattling in its demon lungs. All that goes silent as I wrench open the door with relief. The note was wrong. I can run.

My mind barely has time to process the wretched, reptilian being before it punches straight through my chest and wraps its twisted fingers possessively around my heart.
Wow, this is late. I'm sorry. I tried to post it yesterday but I ran out of time. See, this week for Spring Break, I'm in Missouri visiting my grandparents. While I'm here I don't have full Internet access. But it's up now, and that's what counts.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Catch Me If You Can!

And why would you want to catch me? That's what I'm here to find out. Yes, me.

This blogfest is centered around whether or not your WIP catches people's attention and makes them want to read more. And why? Or why not?

And this is why you are here (I hope). To tell me what you think works, and what you think doesn't in my first 550 words.

Oh, one more thing before we start. I'll be posting the first 550 words to both of my WIPs (cause I'm a cheater). Feel perfectly free to read just one.

The Lullaby
Chapter One: Gone

“Are you sure you can handle them, Maggie?” Rieta hovered in the doorway, “We could always stay.” Her eyes flicked to the top of the stairs where her four-year-old son had stomped to his room, angered at the thought of a baby sitter.

Her husband rolled his eyes and placed his hand on her shoulder, “They’ll be fine, dear. We’re going to be late.”

Maggie smiled and hoisted Cassie higher on her hip, “Don’t worry, Rieta, I’ll take good care of them. Go have a good time.”

Rieta sighed and gave in, “Okay, but I’m going to call when we get there.”

“That’s fine, love. Now shoo!” Maggie made the motion with her free hand then laughed.

Rieta smiled weakly and let her husband guide her, his hand around her waist, to the car. She glanced back over her shoulder and saw Maggie whispering to Cassie, covering Cassie’s small hand with her big one and waving it in the air. “Bye-bye to you, too, sweetheart,” Rieta said softly as she waved back and stepped down into the car.

Rieta frowned and hit the re-dial button, pressing the phone to her ear. Her fingers drummed on the table and she turned her body away from the rest of the table. “Come on. Answer,” she whispered as the ringing stopped and became her own voice, “Hello, you’ve reached the Marks family. We’re not home-” Click. She hung up, hit re-dial again. Dial tone. “Hello, yo-”

“She’s not answering, Bill!” she whispered frantically to her husband.

Her husband dragged his eyes from the performance on stage, “Relax, I’m sure she’s just busy feeding the kids or putting Cassie down. Give her a minute to call back.”

Rieta took a deep breath. Everything was okay. Bill was right. Maggie was probably just upstairs and couldn’t hear the phone, when she saw the missed call she’d call right back.

She tried to concentrate on the stage, hoping it would distract her but the non-ringing phone clasped in her hand was a constant reminder that Maggie still hadn’t called. She gave in and hit re-dial again and this time there was no ringing, just her voice cheerfully repeating the same message over and over.

“Bill, the phone is off! We need to go home!” A cold, dreadful feeling was threatening to overwhelm her.

He sighed but flagged the waiter to ask for their check. Rieta felt awful doing this to him, she knew he’d been anticipating this night for weeks now. She almost told him never mind, that she was sure everything was fine. But she wasn’t, so she didn’t.

She tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for the valet to bring around their car. The car wasn’t even at a complete stop before she yanked open the door and jumped inside. She could hear Bill apologizing to the man who had been driving the car before he stepped in and took his sweet time buckling up and starting the car.

She stared out the window anxiously, the feeling of horror threatening to overtake her at any second. She consoled herself that when they got there everything would be fine and they would all laugh about it later.

The first thing she noticed when they pulled up was that Maggie’s car wasn’t parked in the (driveway anymore).
 Thinking of You
Chapter One: I'm In

The Enclosure stood solitary and alone. Waving grass went on forever, only broken by the long road connecting the Enclosure to the rest of the world. It was an almost peaceful scene but it left a nasty taste in my mouth. It was going to be extremely difficult to move across without being spotted. And they knew it. Not that I was worried about the sentries placed around the building; they were easy enough to fool. I grinned over at the watchmen closest to us. They smiled back from their Jeep. No, it was the sensors and cameras that I was worried about.

    My gaze drifted back toward the Enclosure. There had to be a way to get inside. I glanced back at the Jeep. [I wonder if…] “Look,” Tass’s voice broke through my concentration.

    My eyes followed her pointing finger. A delivery truck was coming down the road. About the size of a semi, and probably packed with food. The idiots running this place didn’t have the sense to grow their own food. [Or cover their tracks. I wonder if anyone else has ever found them by tracking their food shipments.]

    Ground flying under my feet, I started to run. My body reacted instantly, knowing the plan before I did. That truck was our way in. I needed on it. It was as simple as that.

    My legs stretched; the muscles pulling taunt. It felt wonderful after squatting in the grass for so long, trying to stay hidden. The wind felt cool and free. Dark hairs flew in my face and I shook my head, trying to clear them out of my field of vision.

    The truck sped closer. I could see the driver’s face, every detail down to the pulsing zit on his chin; he was nothing but another young hot shot who took the job to have a car. His eyes were closed as his head bobbed to the music blaring from his speakers. Even so I launched a wave at him. [Look at that jogger. Man, she’s hot.] He peeled his eyes open to stare at me. I waved. I knew exactly how minds like his worked.

    The old engine revved, the vibrations pounding through my feet, as he tried to impress me. His face disappeared from my line of sight as he zoomed down the asphalt. Which was fine by me. It was much simpler without having to deal with his greedy eyes.

    The surface under my feet turned hard as I made it to the road. My footsteps added to the clatter of the truck, making my ears pound. Breathe rasped through my throat as I ran and ran, waiting for my chance. The vehicle slowed, the driver probably craning his neck to find me, and I leaped, my legs propelling me beyond normal human heights.

    My knees fell against the metal container and I resisted the urge to curse, biting my lip. The huge boom was already too much noise. I waited for the second one, but it didn’t come. My neck swiveled, searching. Tass crouched right behind me, her eyes shining from the adrenaline.

    Reassured, I turned my attention to the cab. The music was so loud, I could hear every word, even out there. That meant nothing. The punk-ass kid in (in the front seat might have heard something).

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Prompt #9: Why would you keep doing that? Of all the things you would stick in a bottle...

   I stood by Midas as he performed his ritual. My eyes followed the glass beer bottle as it arched through the air then hit the water. I witnessed it week after week but every time it caught my attention: the sun glinting off the clear surface and the water inside, the sand bouncing from the top of the container to the bottom. My paintings could never capture that essence, not if I painted the scene a million times.

    Midas stared after the bottle long after it had sunk. It was as if he could see through the grimy water to the slowly descending flask as it fell deeper and deeper, hitting the ocean floor with a silent thwump.

    Then he sighed and turned away, returning to the cooler nestled in the sand. He sat on one side, while I flopped down on the other. This was how we sat, every Sunday, with the cooler as a wall between us. Midas flipped open the lid, reached inside without looking, and extracted his second beer. The first was always had before the ritual, for the bottle.

    A crack split the air as the lid came flying off. He flipped his bottle-opener to me as I reached for my first and only drink. The liquid splashed down his chin as he leaned back. It was perfectly silent, the water lapping at the beach a substitute for conversation.

    A breeze swept over us, and around us, bringing the scent of the sea. Midas took a deep breath, “It smells like her.”

    I glanced at him quickly then looked away. Midas never spoke until he was so drunk he couldn’t remember that he wasn’t supposed to speak. It was one of his rules. He had a lot of them when it came to Sundays.

    “The ocean, I mean,” he clarified.

    I nodded, swishing the beer around my teeth. It felt gritty and burned my gums. I swallowed, took another drink.

    “The ocean always reminds me of her,” his face was thoughtful in a way I had never seen, “but, a lot of things remind me of her.”

    My attention was riveted on him now. He didn’t seem to notice, too lost in his memories.

    “She had such rages. Her face would puff up, like a red balloon,” he chuckled. “But she had the most gentle touch. It felt like diving into feathers.” Midas laid back in the sand, spreading his arms. “And, I swear, she cried at everything, at puppies, at homeless people, at little kids playing, at war. She would laugh at herself for being so silly, but she couldn’t help it.”

    I made a noise in my throat to acknowledge his words. I was listening so hard I couldn’t see straight.

    He continued on, a small smile adorning his face, “She loved seeing the world and she was determined to see every inch of it. We climbed a mountain together once, even though heights made her nauseous. I climbed through caves with her, even though tight spaces made my throat tighten. Her favorite place, though, was the beach. She loved the way it seemed endless, the edges of two worlds melting together she called it. Her favorite place to lay was with her feet in the water and her head in the sand. When she would fall asleep, I’d wake her up telling her I couldn’t bare if she got washed away by the tide.”

    My eyes jumped to the waves crashing against the shore. I shivered, imagining their cold hands grabbing me, dragging me down till the breath left my body and I became so much useless trash on the ocean floor. Like the bottle.

    “But of all the beaches we visited, she swore this one was her favorite,” he picked up a handful of sand, letting the grains slide through his fingers. “The sand was softer, more angelic, she declared. The water was cooler and clearer and the most pure, she always assured me, as if I cared. All I ever wanted was to be with her.”

    My head was starting to pound with the sound of his words, each one a metal spike driven through me. I rubbed my sweaty hands down my pant legs, hoping he wouldn’t notice, praying he wouldn’t notice.

    His voice changed suddenly, from light and airy to rough and harsh, “It was a Sunday, sort of like today, when her boat left. My heart broke that morning when she left without me. It wasn’t her fault, I simply couldn’t go. You remember, my father had that heart attack? She offered to stay, but this was a trip she had been looking forward to for months. I refused to let her miss it.”

    A cold feeling washed over me. Midas’s face looked completely drained of color. He looked lifeless, his eyes dull. He droned on anyway.

    “I remember coming to this beach when I got a break from the hospital. I had decided to surprise her. I remember scooping the sand into my hands, trickling it down into the bottle I had emptied. Scrambling around, I found tiny seashell shards, dropped them in with the sand. It was getting dark and the water was cold when I drug my hand through it, adding the last touch to my beach in a bottle. I remember how sure I was that she would love it and how happy I was when I answered the phone.”

    His face contorted as if he was trying not to cry. It didn’t work. A tear slid down the side of his head, dropping down into the sand.

    “The ship, the one she was on, it sunk,” he drew a breath that rattled in his throat. “It sunk, Austin.”

     His shoulders heaved as he sat forward, hiding his face in his hands. My insides went numb. Midas, calculating Midas, who kept all his feelings hidden, was crying.

    His next words were muffled, his hands still over his mouth, “I threw that bottle as hard as I could. It arched high, shining in the sun’s last rays, then it fell down, hitting the water. Ripples spread, but they disappeared soon enough. And it was as if the bottle was never there, swallowed by the sea. Just like her.”

    My arm twitched, wanting to reach out, but I stopped it. Only my eyes were allowed to touch, only my eyes.

    Midas’s head whipped up, “Did you hear that?”

    I shook my head. The only thing I heard was the slapping of the water and the wind.

    He stood up, his eyes scanning the beach. Then his breath caught. I turned then, wondering what it was. Someone was running toward us across the beach. They were shouting something, but I couldn’t catch what it was.

    “Mary,” he said it so softly, I almost didn’t hear him. Then he was shouting, and running, “Marigold!”

    The two people grew closer until finally they hugged. They hugged for what seemed like an eternity, my heart chipping with every second. I lifted my beer as I watched them, just to discover it was empty.

    I reached for my second drink, my hand drifting through the freezing ice, as I watched my ship sink.
This story shouldn't have taken me so long to write. It wasn't hard, I just didn't have the time. But I got it done before Monday, and that's what counts. I like how you have to pay attention to certain parts to get everything that's going on. Did you understand it?

Thursday, March 03, 2011



Door locked
Shades drawn


Sister still 'away'
Daddy who knows where
Mom picking up her pills


He is here
    in the shadows

Makes me scared
    Of being alone
        In this silence

This one is kind of like my character-based poems, but it's not. It's based on (one of) the novels I'm planning to write for NaNoWriMo. It's currently called Shadowman (that could always change, but I like it). The main character's name is Kierra and her life story and the whos and hows and whys have been drifting around in my brain lately (along with things for THE SWITCHERS, THE LAST TEAM, and HEIRS TO ESIO). I'm kind of excited to start writing it even though I have no solid plot events yet. I have no time for it till November however, and that will get here soon enough.

Question: What do you think of the idea? Can you tell what it is from the poem?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

709 Words (Exactly)

I've done it. It only took me almost three hours but I've completed my 709 words for the day. And I must say, it sucks. Majorly. Writing has been hating me lately. I have all the ideas; I know what I want to say. I just can't say it. But at least it's progress. And progress is always good, right? (Right.) And because of this (and the fact I'm evil: Mwhahahaha! -cough-), I'm going to share my mass of crap with you. So here is 709 words (exactly).

The pressed dirt felt smooth against her bare skin. It was the perfect surface for running, not too loose so she’d slide but not hard enough to hurt her feet. She curled her toes, itching to stretch her muscles, but at the same time, knowing she was asleep.

    Cassie’s gaze drifted over the flat landscape. It looked the same in every direction, empty, lifeless. Scattered stalks of green were the only spot of color. She walked up to one of the waist-high plants and ran her hand over the top. It bent easily. The texture was familiar, like grass. But grass didn’t grow this high. At least it didn’t in the city.

    As she stood contemplating the plant, a swift wind sprang up, making the dust dance. It twirled her hair playfully making her laugh. Seeming to giggle, it tugged at her clothes and hair. Come on, she could almost hear it whisper, come on. “All right, all right,” she told it smiling.

    Wind dying down to a breeze, Cassie took quick strides. It felt perfectly normal to be here. It didn’t matter that she was alone. This place just seemed safe. And she was in a dream. What could hurt her?

    Dark blotches appeared in the distance. Cassie squinted, trying to determine their authenticity. They bloomed in her vision as she grew closer. Curiosity spiked, her dreams usually started in the middle of the action. What made this one so different?

    The wind picked up again, trying to urge her to hurry. Its excitement was contagious and she started to run. It felt amazing; her muscles loosened immediately, happy for the exercise. She had missed jogging that day, for Sam. Her hair blew this way and that, making it hard to see. She ran on anyway, only stopping when it became difficult to breathe.

    Her lungs gasped, straining for oxygen. She had pushed herself too hard. The thought made her laugh which made her wheeze. How could you push yourself too hard in a dream? Where you are supposed to be able to do whatever you wanted?

    It wasn’t until after she caught her breathe that she saw her surroundings clearly. The distant spots were buildings, very tall buildings. They towered over her on either side, casting long shadows. They appeared to be ordinary houses, ordinary houses built to extraordinary proportions. She gaped up at them, astonished. Had she shrunk? She felt her body frantically, patting her chest and arms.

    Someone walked by and she stopped immediately, feeling foolish. Another person walked by, and she froze as she looked at them, really looked at them. She looked around at all the people suddenly surrounding her and realized they were all like that, all short and slightly wrinkled with long appendages and facial features. Their translucent skin was the thing that made her stare. It displayed strange colors underneath, bright colors like blue and pink and yellow, colors that shouldn’t be on the inside of a body.

    None of reacted to her; it was like they couldn’t see her, like she didn’t exist. The wind tugged at her, trying to regain her attention. She followed it, still in shock at the tiny beings surrounding her. They were everywhere, all of them busy. What she didn’t understand was why such little creatures needed such gigantic homes.

    Her head was whipped around by her hair, the wind growing tired of her indifference. She stood in front of one of the houses; its walls splashed white. She was shoved towards the steps that led to the open door. Hurry.

    Cassie rolled her eyes, tempted to stay exactly where she was. She climbed up the first step anyway. Might as well finish what she started before someone woke her up. After hauling herself up the huge stairs, she stood in the light streaming from inside and felt incredibly small.

    Through the open door, a woman sat in a chair, motionless. Her eyes were closed and her head leaned back, but Cassie could tell she was not asleep. Puffy red circles showed that she had been crying, a tear still glistened on her cheek. Waves of red hair spilled down the chair back. And upon seeing her, Cassie knew why everything was made so (large.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Bibliophile's POAM (Plan of Action - March)

bibliophile - n. a person who loves or collects books, especially as examples of fine or unusual printing, binding, or the like (I was reading this post when I found this.)

Guess what today is? Do you know what today is (besides Ronald Weasley's birthday)? It's March the first, the first of March. I love the first of March, the first of any month really. It feels like a fresh start (kind of like New Year's twelve times a year), a time to set new goals and think back on others, on what we accomplished and what we need to work on. Hence I have broken this post into three parts.

New Year's Resolutions

Let's go back. Say, about two months. I posted this post. Contained within that post were my resolutions for 2011, all six of them. Since it's been, as I've said, two months, I think it's about time for a progress report. And, it being the first of the month, I think now is the perfect time to do it.
  1. I will write everyday. This one is going okay, I'm not perfect, but I do write something almost every day, whether that be a poem, a blog post, a piece of a blog post (lame), a new sentence for editing, or maybe even new words for The Lullaby. I'm starting to build that habit they so mysteriously speak of. A-
  2. I will write a blog post or in my journal every day. Totally BOMBED. I know I've been blogging but the main point of this resolution was to get me to write in my journal. -checks journal- My last entry was January 5th: a lovely total of nine words. F
  3. I will learn to vlog. This has been going slowly, but then, I didn't expect it to happen overnight. I have posted one video on my YouTube channel but it's a slideshow so technically not a vlog. I do have one planned for when I reach 500 books (only 51 more to go). Until then, I need to learn to speak naturally to my camera. C
  4. I will become more organized with when and what I write (or edit). I've sort-of been working on this. As a matter of fact, this post would go towards that, as well as this one. I have a schedule that I write to every week as well: Tuesday (or Wednesday's if Biggest Loser takes over) is to write my Poetry Peak poem, Wednesday is the day to start my short story (which can take me anywhere from one to five days), any other time is for the WIPs (somehow it seems more detailed in my mind). However, I have yet to set aside specific dates and times for individual WIPs besides short term. B
  5. I will become better at critiquing others work. I think I forgot about this one. Which is definitely not good. This is important. My main career choice is an editor (because I'm realistic) and an editor has to be able to do this! I can fix mechanics all day long, but I need to be able to point out plot holes and flat characters. F
  6. I will not give in to peer pressure or do anything that I don't want to do (excusing homework assignments). So far, I've been lucky enough not to need it. NA
What do you think of my grades? I think this is the worst progress report I've ever gotten. What would you have given me?

February Schedule

We're zooming through time again. Imagine that we're in a little shuttle. You can even make launching noises if you want to. Now, we've landed, right smack dab on February. For February, I didn't really set goals. I gave myself more of a schedule, which I will admit I fell a little behind on. But that's okay, because I let you zoom around in a space ship, right?
  • Week One: Read Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas. This took me two (or was it three?) weeks to finish. It was very informative but it was just a slow read; I didn't really expect anything else.
  • Week Two: Apply changes to Thinking of You to computer document. I think I finished this one on time but my perception of time really sucks so I can't be sure. I fell behind on my goal on a few days but I pulled it together in the end.
  • Week Three: Rewrite scenes written in present tense. I still haven't finished this. I mean, I've finished most of it. I only have three pieces left (which is really just one scene broken up by a few good paragraphs). I've been having issues with my writing, so the beginning was hard to start (excuses, I know, but I feel I must justify myself).
  • Week Four: Plot out everything that happened. I didn't even get to start. I have a feeling though that I might not be doing this for a while.
March Goals

We've returned to the Now. Now you're sitting on the edge of your desk chair (preferably the rollie kind) with bated breath, waiting to see what genius is about to spew forth from my fingertips. Terribly sorry to disappoint. It's just me and my goals here. No genius in sight.
  1. I want will get to 35,000 words on The Lullaby. This will be amazing for me because it means I'm halfway through the rewrite. It also means that I will have surpassed my original rough draft's word count. It shouldn't be that hard. I only need 21,274 words which equals to 709 words a day (today was not included in that calculation). Easy as pie.
  2. I will finish the first round edits for Thinking of You and then I will set it aside until July. Bet you didn't see that one coming. The thing is, I haven't gotten that much work on The Lullaby done in a while, and this first round of edits shouldn't have taken two whole months. I have too many things going on, and I'm not getting any of them done because of it. My brain is overloading and when it does that, I find it's better to put something away and focus on one thing at a time.
  3. I will finish plotting out (as much as I plot out) Royally Burned. I know that I just said I need to put something away and focus on one thing but I want to write the rough draft for Royally Burned in June for WriDaNoJu. I know I've said previously that I would use WriDaNoJu to finish The Lullaby but I don't know if my brain can do something so much like NaNo with an already existing project (it's that OCD thing).
It doesn't seem that hard, I just have to remember to focus, focus, focus (now I sound like Rebbsie XD). Do you have any goals for March? What are they?