Friday, February 24, 2012

Ignoring Them Doesn't Make Them Disappear

Shadows crept across the wall. I tried to ignore them. I failed.

My gaze drifted out the window again and again, but the orange simulated sun stayed pinned to the center of the sky. Its fake warmth faded as the shadows grew longer, making goosebumps pop up on my arms. My holographic classmates seemed unaffected, continuing their chatter.

I grew aware of my heart pounding, pushing blood through the veins in my neck and wrists.

The shadows covered the whiteboard so the bright words were no longer legible. The overhead fluorescent lights didn’t help and the sun dimmed as I watched. Color seeped away, dragged down into the darkness. My peers sat in their desks, tight-lipped with the complexion of corpses. I was alone in a grey cell.

I hugged my legs to my chest and shivered, my teeth clanking together.
The shadows pooled around my desk. There was no longer enough light to see the wall farthest from me.

A mechanical voice filled the room, “You have been disqualified from the program. Your simulation will now end.”

Dry heaves wracked my body.

The shadows touched my foot. They were cold. The seat disappeared from under me as everything faded.
-200 words

Monday, February 20, 2012

YAK Fest - Afterword

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Over the past few months I have mentioned here or there in comments that I would be going to my first author signing soon. Ellen Hopkins would be coming within three hours of me. On Saturday, January 16th, I went to meet her at the Young Adult Keller (YAK) Book Festival.


My business card.

During the signing period of the festival, my mother bought my sister a T-shirt. While she was doing this, she told the shirt vendor about my flash fiction pieces in Campaigner Challenges 2011 (you may have noticed she does this a lot). The saleswoman was a teacher and wanted to know if I would like to speak to her class about writing. She asked if I had a business card. I didn't, but you can bet my mom made sure I got some as soon as possible.

We used Staples. You go online and choose one of their templates. You type in your information. If you don't like the font color, size, style, or simply the placement of the words, change it. When you're happy, you place your order and the cards are delivered to the nearest Staples location.


As mentioned above, while at the festival a teacher asked if I would speak to her class. I don't really know how I feel about this. On one hand, it would be great exposure and marketing. On the other, what am I even marketing? I don't have a book published. I'm just a girl with a blog. What would I even talk about? How would I even speak?

If given the opportunity, should I speak to this teacher's class?


Lizzie's copy of The Mattress Parlor plus note.
As mentioned in Part 3, by the time Alisha went to buy her copy of Colin Gilbert's The Mattress Parlor he had sold out. She ordered one as did Lizzie (though she never paid). Recently, those books came in, along with a free CD of his poetry (which I will eventually steal from Lizzie, shh).

Does anyone else find it hilarious that he thinks Lizzie is the writer?

I hope you've had a fun time reading about my experience at the Young Adult Keller Book Festival. How was your first author signing? What do you think of the authors I have mentioned throughout the series?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Prompt #50: I believe she said something like... "Grant me the serenity to change the things I cannot accept, the courage to accept the things I find acceptable, and the wisdom to know when it's time to kick your butt."

To all my new followers, I promise I don't always just post my writing.

            The two gods met on an open pavilion above the clouds. She appeared from nothing. He was already there.
            His eyebrows raised and his lips curled at the sight of her. “You have changed your mind.”
            She drew herself up so she towered over him. “You sound pretty confident. I wouldn’t be if I were you.”
            “But, Celi, you are not me. Unfortunately.” His grin grew wider as he added, “For you.”
            Rage outlined her features. “I would rather think it was unfortunate for you.”
            “You must think me a fool, if you believe for a second that I do not know why you trapped me here. You want the very thing I have offered you. I do not see why you don’t take it.”
            Celi turned on her heel, strutting to the edge of the pavilion. She stared over the side, but saw nothing. Clouds did not make good windows. She tilted her head back, her arms crossed. “I wish to be able to change those things I desire to change.”
            He clicked his tongue. “You know that is not how it is done, Celi.”
            She looked over her shoulder, a lock of hair falling down into her face. Her eyes latched onto his, her pupils turning into red tunnels. Her voice turned deep and lyrical. “I, Celi, goddess of traps and cages, do agree that Noor, god of yearning and fulfillment, will be released from my snare in exchange for three wishes.”
            “Ah,” Noor exhaled softly. “So this is your plan.”
            Neither one of them moved. Celi waited. Noor thought.
            “I assume I will not be allowed to leave until all three wishes are granted?”
            She nodded, her chin tilting down, never allowing her gaze to drop.
            He brought his fingers together, tip for tip. A hum buzzed around in his throat. It escaped between his lips when they parted. “Since you have altered my first offer of one wish to three, I think it fair that I should be able to alter something as well.”
            He straightened and his face grew solemn. “I, Noor, god of yearning and fulfillment, do agree to the exchange proposed under the condition that if the wishes are not brought forth within the century, Celi, goddess of traps and cages, will forfeit her powers to me and become mortal.”
            Celi smiled and tucked the strand of hair behind her ear. “And so it is done.”
            “And so it is done,” Noor echoed.
He snapped his fingers, the noise unusually loud. “I have given you your first wish.”
Celi finally looked away, glancing down once more at the clouds. “Excellent. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be going.”
She stepped off the edge of the pavilion and dropped through the hole she had created in the clouds.

The worshipers of Celi grew fat as their hunting traps caught animal after animal. Nonbelievers starved as their crops died from lack of rain. And so it was for fifty years.

The pavilion was no longer new. The marble was chipped in many places, accenting the stains of age. A column leaned precariously, as if it was considering dropping the roof. Noor ran his fingers along its ridges and pondered what its greatest desire would be: to stand tall or to crumble.
“Perhaps I should visit more often.”
Noor’s hand slid down the stone and flopped back to his side. He continued to study the cracks before him. “You’re going to have to. Half of your time is already up.”
Her shoes clicked against the floor as she approached. Her shadow fell over him, obscuring the light. “And I bet you’ve been counting every second.”
“As a miser counts coins,” he admitted. “Now, what is your wish?” He turned to face her.
Celi reached out her hand, resting her elbow on his shoulder, and stroked the column. “You like this design don’t you, Noor?”
“No, not especially.”
“Good.” The marble morphed under her fingers, stitching back together. “I didn’t much care for it either.”
She drew her hand back and drifted off, circling the border of the pavilion. Her fingers barely grazed each support and the rock turned whole again. She ended her restoration lap at his side, her hands on her hips as she surveyed her work. “That’s more like it.”
Noor gave the smallest of nods.
“Pity I can’t always keep it this way.” She rocked back and forth, her hands clasped behind her. “Of course, I could keep returning it to its original state, but what a waste of time.”
She peeked at him from the corner of her eye, but his expression remained smooth, slack. His hands hung serenely at his sides. There was not a tense muscle in his body.
Celi sighed. “Fine. I wish for the ability to make things stay the same.”
Noor stomped his foot. The floor vibrated. “Your second wish has been fulfilled.”
“Wonderful.” Celi smiled, stepping away. Just before she jumped over the side, she paused. “I’ll even do you a favor.”
The slabs of limestone writhed, coming back together like lost puzzle pieces. The pavilion looked as it had the first time he laid eyes on it.
“It will now stay like this. You’re welcome.” And she was gone.
Noor sighed. At least when the columns cracked the first time it was something new to look at.

The worshipers of Celi lived in houses that never required repairs. The nonbelievers slept outside, not bothering to build new homes for the fires to consume once again. And this lasted for fifty years.

Celi arrived gasping. Her fingers clawed at her chest, trying to dig out the pain. She fell to her knees, her eyes rolling.
Noor sat cross-legged before her. A small hourglass snuggled in his palm, the last grains trickling to the bottom. He smiled. “Hello, Celi.”
Her tongue twisted in her mouth, but she couldn’t push out the words. The pathways of her body were too small. The pain couldn’t leave through any of them. Bile rushed up her throat, just enough to taste, then slithered back down. She fell onto her hands, coughing.
“You think at your age you would be able to read clocks,” Noor continued. Five grains remained in the top of the timepiece.
One measly word tumbled out. “I…”
And it was over. The final grain tumbled down into the pile. Celi stopped convulsing as the sand settled. Everything was still. A soft breeze swept through.
Celi slowly pushed herself up. Her eyes grew millimeter by millimeter. The world was huge. She drew her hands in, shrinking into herself. Or perhaps she was tiny. Her chest hiccupped as it forced her to breathe. The air burned the inside of her nose and made her head feel light.
Noor set the hourglass aside and gazed at her. She flinched and heat crept up her neck. A frown line creased her forehead and she cleared her throat. “So, you think you’ve won.”
The grin returned to his face. “I know I have.”
He snapped his fingers and the outline of the pavilion wavered. The stone turned spongy under her feet, but it was still there. The smile dripped off his face. “What have you done, Celi?”
“Noor, god of yearning and fulfillment, will be released from my snare in exchange for three wishes.” Celi’s voice was high in her ears, but its effect was still strong. Noor’s face twisted.
She held up a finger. “I wish to be able to change those things I desire to change.”
Noor stood and ran at the edge of the pavilion, but an invisible wall stopped him from going over. He pressed his body against it, his cheek pressed flat.
Celi put up her middle finger. “I wish for the ability to make things stay the same.”
Noor stared at her with one eye, his mouth hanging open.
She stood on her toes and raised three fingers above her head. “I wish for you to forfeit your powers to me.”
Noor’s whole frame shook. “I will not.”
“But you must.” Celi’s limbs went slack. “You agreed to the deal, so you must carry it out.” Her lips rose lazily.
“No, no, no,” he muttered under his breath, but his feet came down in two quick stomps.
He fell to the ground, his back arching. Celi crouched and placed her palm on his chest. She closed her eyes, reveling in the power that tingled in her fingers, then her arms. It took seconds to spread through her body, but several minutes passed before the prickling stopped.
Noor collapsed. Celi stood and walked away. She stopped with her toes hanging in open air to glancee over her shoulder. Noor reached out, his arm just leaving his side. Celi smiled. “Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten.”
She leaned over and kissed the nearest column then she tipped forward into open sky. Above her, the pavilion disappeared.

The worshipers of Celi are building a temple where Noor hit the Earth. There are no nonbelievers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

There Are Better Places for Hooks Than Fish Lips [Hook, Line, and Sinker Blogfest]

My Nana and Papa occasionally take my sister and I fishing. It's fun, but when I get a bite, I feel bad for jerking the hook through the fish's lip. However, as a writer I'll take all the bites I can get without a lick of guilt when I set the hook in my readers. At least, I really hope I set the hook in my readers! And that's what this blogfest is all about.

I want to know if my opening hooks you. You can answer with a simple yes or no, or you could answer any of the questions in the guidelines:
  • Does the character have a personality I can fall into easily? This includes any dialogue exchanged.
  • Is the world around them set up to compliment the character as they're introduced?
  • Are there secondary characters to assist with the hook?
  • Lastly, would I read more?

(502 words)
The Enclosure stood solitary and alone. Waving grass went on forever, broken only by the long road connecting the Enclosure to the rest of the world. A peaceful scene, but it left a nasty taste in my mouth.

"Rebbsie. Look." Tass’s voice broke through my concentration.

Her pointing finger indicated a delivery truck, the size of a small semi, puttering down the road. Most likely a food shipment. They were due for one.

My body reacted instantly, knowing the plan before I did. Ground flew under my feet as I ran. My legs stretched, the muscles pulling taut. It felt wonderful after squatting in the grass for so long. The wind felt cool and free against my skin. Strands of my dark hair flew in my face and I shook my head, trying to clear my field of vision. Without looking, I knew Tass was behind me just as, without me telling her, she knew what I was going to do. We were going to hitch a ride. And we couldn’t exactly ask for it.

The truck sped toward us. I could see the driver’s face, every detail down to the zit on his chin. He was nothing but another young hot shot who took the job to have a car. His eyes hooded, he bobbed his head to the music blaring from his speakers. He hadn’t noticed me yet, but when he did, it was going to be a problem. Might as well solve it sooner rather than later. I launched a wave at him, the pulse of it starting at the base of my skull. I couldn’t hide myself, I wasn't a senses Trol, but I could do the next best thing. [Check out that jogger. Man, she’s built. Must be from running around this huge ass field.] He peeled his eyes all the way open to stare at me. He was drooling too much to even notice Tass, the pig. My hand came up, fingers wiggling. With minds like his, it was easy to fit myself into a situation where I didn’t belong.

The old engine revved, the vibrations pounding against my skin. Before the vehicle passed me and his face disappeared from sight, I caught his smile. Oh, how impressive he thought he was. I didn’t mind. He had done exactly what I wanted him to.

The surface under my feet turned hard and inflexible when I touched concrete. Breath rasped through my throat as I raced across the asphalt after the truck, waiting for my chance. It was all about timing. The vehicle slowed. Perhaps the driver thought that would help him locate me. I leaped, my trained legs propelling me beyond normal human heights.

My knees collided with the top of the metal container and I resisted the urge to curse, biting my lip. The landing was already too much noise. My neck swiveled, searching. Tass crouched beside me, her eyes shining from the adrenaline. We were so in sync, we jumped at the same time.
*Check out the other participants here.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Run! Run Like a Giant [Insert Your Scariest Nightmare Here] is After You!

It's that time again. What time? You don't know? Where have you been for the past two years? Under a rock? Well then, you need to hurry on over to Rachael Harrie's blog and sign up for the Fourth Writers' Platform Building Campaign! You have until the 15th, but you don't really want to wait that long, do you? I knew it!

What's it about? Um, ah... I think Rachael explains it best! And since this is such a short post, you have plenty of time to click on over and read all about it. So hurry, before it's too late!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

NYR Update - 1 Month

February 1st. Already one month into the year. A twelfth of the time I have to fulfill my New Year's Resolutions gone, just like that. And because it was just like that, I realized I have to focus on my goals. I can't get distracted or 2012 will be over before I know it.

So, I decided that at the beginning of each month I will write up a report on how I did the previous month. I will not be grading my progress, only stating what I've been doing toward each respective goal. My hope is that this will keep me working by both serving as a reminder of what I want and making me accountable for my actions.
  1. I will have THINKING OF YOU ready for query. I imported the document to Scrivener and formatted it (mostly) to my liking. I went over my first chapter critiques and revised my first chapter. I noted some changes I need to make later in the novel.
  2. I will have two new first drafts. NA
  3. I will win National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). NA
  4. I will submit at least two short stories to anthologies and/or contests. I made a small list of contests and places to submit. I came up with a basic idea for a story that I will be entering in one such contest.
  5. I will read at least one hundred books. I read nine books. Goodreads tells me that I'm right on track.
  6. I will post at least one vlog a month. I posted my vlog for January. I decided on the vlog idea for February.
  7. I will exercise. I ran twice, once for thirty minutes and once for twenty. I am also making a slight revision to this resolution to make it more specific. I have found this makes it easier to stay on course. I will exercise in some way once a week.
I tried another method to keep myself on track, as well. I made myself a list of goals for each day. It sort of worked, and I liked it. While it reminded me of what I had to do, I thought of it as a flexible outline, keeping away the stress. I still want to play with it, however. Perhaps I'll try a list per week, or a list per three days.

Tell me about your progress, whether it be on your WIP, your New Year's Resolutions, or other goals and projects you might have. What do you do to keep yourself focused?