Thursday, December 18, 2014

Welcome



I've gone back and forth today about whether I should share my first draft of my novel on here or not. Post as I go. Hot off the press. Gung-ho and cation be damned.  But after thinking and gathering some good advice, I've decided not. It's tempting because I would have content to add that would beef up my blog and it would also give me deadlines and help me reach my writing goals. But, first drafts are crap. They are supposed to be crap. I would rather not subject anyone to the crap and waste their time.

However, one thing I have no doubt about is sharing the journey to a complete draft with my friends as well as passing on what I learn along the way. In that spirit, I've invited a few of my writing friends to guest post.  

Alexandre Micati has encouraged me and kept me writing through tough times. He is a stand up guy/college student/writer/translator and I'm lucky to know him! 

Char Tolliver is my writing buddy extraordinaire. I will forever be grateful for the times she has listened to me vent.

Stephen Menzies is another writing friend who I've known for over a year. We met on Fanstory, and continue reviewing for each other. He keeps me writing. 

I look forward to hearing from them at some point this month.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blind Date




     Anne wobbled down the sidewalk on tall spiky black heels. Her feet turned inward, reminding her that of all the women who ever wore heels, she was the most awkward. Every step she took made the balls of her feet hurt. She stopped and leaned against a wall near the door to a small restaurant.“Why did I let Lynn talk me into a blind date?”  
     A passing middle-aged man overheard and raised an eyebrow at her. She shrugged and threw him a lopsided smile. She pulled on her right stiletto to relieve the pinch on her toes. No luck.
      She tugged on the low cut red dress with a grimace. She felt like a clown with the thick gray eye shadow and bright red lipstick. She pushed her long hair over her shoulder. Lynn spent the better part of an hour curling every last tendril of her hair and another hour caking on the makeup. With a loud sigh, Anne pushed off the wall and opened the door. Warm, yeasty air made her mouth water for freshly baked rolls.
      “How many?” The hostess blew a strand of hair out of her face as she poured over the table chart.
      “Just me for now; I’m meeting someone.”
      The blonde hostess smirked. “This way please.”
      Anne wove her way through the tables, hoping John wouldn't see her awkward walk. Thankfully, she didn't see anyone matching his description. The hostess gestured toward a chair across the aisle from a large group of women whose laughter filled the space. Anne smiled her thanks as the hostess handed her a menu. 
     A moment later, a tall muscular man walked up the aisle toward her table, making her stomach flutter. John had finally arrived. She was about to rise up out of her chair to say hi, when a girl from the party squealed. “Isaac! You made it!”
      “Of course I did. You didn't think I'd miss your party, did you?” Isaac's deep male voice contrasted sharply with the women's shrill laughter. He smiled and held out his arms. Anne was not usually a fan of dimples,  but Isaac's smile persuaded her otherwise.  He bent down and kissed a lovely blonde's cheek and drew her into a hug. 
     Anne looked down, suddenly very interested in the menu. She dragged her fingertip down the edge of the menu and then looked up again, drawn back to Isaac-- the calm in the middle of the chaotic party. He ran his hand through his dark brown hair and she imagined her fingers doing the same.  His hazel eyes met hers, making her cheeks flame. She lowered her eyes, but not before she saw his lips curve up into a smile. She intently checked the time on her phone. Where in the world was John?
      "Hi there. How are you doing tonight? My name is Mandy, and I'll be taking care of you. Are you waiting for anyone else?" Mandy pulled a pencil out of her hair, cocking her head to the side.
      "Yes, he should be here any minute."
      "Wonderful. Can I go ahead and get you something? Sweet tea? Or maybe a fountain drink?"
      "Just water for me for now, thanks," Anne said.
      A loud burst of laughter made Mandy wince. "Sorry about the noise, I can try to find you another table if you would like."
      "No, no, that's okay," Anne said in a rush with a glance at Isaac. "I'm just fine here, thanks."
      Mandy shrugged. "I'll go bring out your drink."
      "Thanks, Mandy." Anne flashed a wide smile, pleased with herself for remembering the waitress's name.
      Time dragged by with no sign of John. Mandy had come and gone twice. Time to face facts. She sent a quick text to Lynn. Looks like your boy chickened out. On my way back.

***

     Isaac kept an eye on the woman across the aisle. She had slipped her shoes off and sat in a provocative pose with one long leg extended in front of her while she relaxed back into her chair. She had the type of body many women paid good money to get.
      She gathered up her things to leave before she had any food. Some idiot must have stood her up. Her hips swayed as she made her way through the crowded room, and because he was focused on her, he didn't the dark haired man follow her out. A gun on his belt flashed into view when he adjusted his jacket collar.
      Isaac leaned over and whispered in Tonya’s ear.  "I’m going to go make sure that girl is okay.”
      Tonya rolled her eyes. “Yeah, uh-huh. I saw you undressing her with your eyes. It’s fine. You don’t have to lie, just go get her number already.”
      He laughed. "Was I that obvious?"
      "Only to me, and maybe Shelly... and to Beth."
      "Okay, okay. I get it. Seriously though, I think there may be some trouble, so if I don't send an all clear in ten minutes call in backup."
      Tonya's eyes narrowed. "Please be careful. Don't be a hero."
      He rose with an apologetic smile to Tonya's friends. “I’ll be back, ladies.” Overly exaggerated moans and sighs of disappointment followed Isaac out the door. His only acknowledgement was a quick exhale and a shake of his head.
      He scanned the sidewalk in front of the restaurant and, for a moment, thought he had over-reacted. Then he saw the scruffy looking man stalking the woman in the red dress a short block ahead. She ducked down an alley.
      “Great. Just great, woman. Make yourself an even easier target."
      He sprinted to catch up, and shoved the man from behind. “Hey man! What do you think you're doing?”
      The man turned and glared at Isaac. His cold blue eyes shifted to a group of noisy people coming out of the restaurant. He turned and hurried up the street.
      Isaac looked around for the hot little red dress. Suddenly, someone grabbed him and pushed his back up against a wall. The cold blade of a knife pressed against his throat.
      “Why are you following me?” a distinctly female voice demanded.
      The woman in the red dress. “I thought I was watching out for you but now I see that I’ve fallen for your trick, like an idiot.”
      Confusion crossed her face.  She leaned more of her weight against him as she tried to keep the upper hand.
      “So where is your partner with the gun? If you want to take my wallet, you’ll need him because,” he drew the word out. “Well, you don’t honestly think you can take me with a pocket knife, do you?”       Isaac’s powerful muscles flexed as he pushed off the wall, ignoring the small blade that pressed against him. Her dark brown eyes widened when his six foot four frame loomed over her. But she stood her ground.
      “Don't underestimate the power of my pocket knife,” she drew the sharp point along his tender skin. A small trickle of red blood welled up. His eyes flickered but he did not back down. “Nor should you underestimate me,” she continued.  “I know all about boys and how to handle them.”
      He smirked. “You may know how to handle boys, but I am a man.” He reached up and batted her hand away. “You're lucky that I'm in a generous mood today.” He stalked forward. “I'm celebrating my sister’s graduation and I wouldn't want something as trivial as an attempted mugging to ruin her evening.”
      Her arms fall limply to her side and she took a step back. “I wasn’t trying to mug you. I thought you were the one following me." She studied him, her dark eyes watching warily through silky dark-brown hair. “I was in defense mode and I was scared. I knew, like you said, that I wouldn’t be able to defend myself very well with a pocket knife.” She shrugged.
      Isaac reached up and wiped the blood from his neck before it had a chance to run down and stain his shirt collar.
      She grimaced. “You’re the one that pushed up against the blade and gave it a taste of your blood.”
      “What an odd way to apologize. You at least owe me your name.”
       An impish grin appeared on her face, a glimpse of the true woman under all the makeup. “Hi. I’m Anne. So very nice to meet you, Isaac.” She stuck out her hand.
      “Isaac? How did you know my name? Were you eavesdropping in the restaurant?” He allowed a self satisfied smile at the blush on her face.
      "I, I really must be going," she stammered. "Uh, thanks?" She turned abruptly and stumbled to the street.
      His sister was two seconds from calling 911. Instead of following Anne, he sent the all clear message. By the time he emerged from the alley, she had already managed to hail a taxi. So much for getting her number, or rescuing a damsel in distress. He watched the cab pull away and snorted. He had trouble picturing Anne as a damsel.

Note: This is an excerpt from my novel, Asthore. However, I've edited this chapter to within an inch of its life, so it is pretty much its own story now. The only parts that remain are the names, the line about a damsel, and Anne holding a knife to Isaac's throat. 
Picture from: brinvy.biz

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gone

Am I a psychopath? 
I didn't cry at our wedding. Maybe that's why he left me. I stare at myself in the mirror. Even now, the tears wouldn't fall. I push my hair back. He loved my hair. Insisted I keep it waist-length. I stand at my sink, the usual clutter of lotion and perfume and makeup overwhelming. His sink, always neat, always perfect, was still perfectly neat. Nothing had changed. Everything had changed.
I throw open a drawer. He's gone. The scissors glint dully. He's gone. I knew what I had to do. Yes. My hair would be the first to go. 
Am I psycho? 
Soft, beautifully shiny locks of hair fall to the floor around me. My toes itch as the hair blankets them. So much time and effort had gone into the maintenance of this mane of hair. And all of it had been for him. Only him. 
"Mommy? What are you doing?"
I turn cold psycho eyes onto my five year old girl. "Nothing. Go back to bed."
"But--"
"Go back to bed! NOW!"
The tears came. Oh, they came in loud screaming bursts. But they weren't my own. No. Not mine. Gwen stomped up the stairs. "Where's daddy? I want daddy! You're so mean! I hate you!"
I squeeze my hands closed, nails biting into my palms. I want so badly to go upstairs and show Gwen the definition of mean. That settles it. Anger issues. Inability to empathize. I'm a psychopath. 
I look into the mirror. Hollow and empty. Just... nothing. I never thought of myself as one of those wives who lived only for their husbands, but it turns out he was the dam holding what was me in place. The dam broke and I drained away.
I study my new look. And I thought I looked ragged before. I throw the scissors down."Dumbass, what were you thinking? You don't have time to go to get that fixed tomorrow before his funeral."







Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Photo from: http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Being-Laughed-After-a-Bad-Haircut 
  




Friday, October 24, 2014

Fateful Tea

This is an older work of mine from fanstory.com. 



Strength does not lie in what you have. It lies in what you can give.

"It's way too early in the morning for my tea to be lecturing me."

Christen dumped precisely three spoonfuls of sugar into the tea while she waited for her toast to brown. She ripped the offensive tag off her tea bag. Kelly had given her the 'Yogi' brand tea along with other natural health foods. What a tree hugger.

Ever the creature of habit, she made her way back to her bed with wheat toast slathered in butter and honey. Just like she did every morning. She adjusted her pillows and got ready to flip on the TV. Just like all the other mornings. They all blurred away into nothingness. She absently reached for the tea and sloshed some onto her nightstand.

"Damn it."

The sleeve of her robe would do for clean up. Now that her seventy-nine-year-old bones were settled down in bed, she wouldn't rouse them again for a towel. No real reason to move anymore anyway.

Henry had left last year, only to die in a younger woman's arms. Serves him right, the old bastard. She had given her best years to him, given up her figure to give him children, and what did he give her? Shit. That's what. Pure shit.

Christen sipped the hot tea. At least it tasted good, even if it was preachy. What did the fruitcakes at the tea factory know anyway? She had given everything to Henry. She snorted. The act of giving hadn't made her strong. It left her weak. And old. And alone.

She had nothing--nothing but a couple spoiled brats. The only one that stayed close was a Mother-Earth- worshiping hippie that wanted to sponge off her social security checks. Wasn't Kelly supposed to be the one taking care of her now?

"The moment I become a burden, it's off to the nursing home with me."

She lost her appetite. Stupid tea. Stupid, fateful tea. That's how it always starts.

At least that is how her relationship with Henry started. He had been nice, but nothing more. She shook her head. No, he had been more-- annoying. And those stupid jokes. She rolled her eyes. Always with the goofy jokes. She could've done better. He wasn't that attractive. But she made the mistake of ordering that damn tea.

The waiter placed a hard sweet tea in front of her and with a flourish. He winked and then thunked Henry's beer down in front of him. The waiter stood close, brushing against her. "Is there anything else I can get you while you wait?"

Henry answered for her. "No. Now get the hell away from my date." He glared at the waiter until he retreated.

The awful, fateful tea worked its magic. The alcohol had her laughing at his jokes and the caffeine made her antsy enough to suggest a walk along the river.

Henry wasn't so bad after all. He had a nice jawline. And that mouth, why hadn't she noticed how sexy his mouth was earlier? She watched his lips form words. He was talking about his job as an Aircraft surfaces assembler. Whatever that was.

He was tall--looked to be six-two. She wasn't short at five-seven and required anyone she dated to be at least one or two inches taller. He was beginning to pass her tests.

The effects of the tea wore off. "I'm ready to go home now." She turned, walking in the other direction.

Henry grabbed her wrist and pulled. "I've been watching you at church."

"That's not creepy."

"I've known since the moment I saw you that I wanted to... get to know you better."

Christen looked up into his eyes for the first time and saw flecks of green floating on a sea of dark blue. More than that, she saw sincerity.

He put his hands on her hips and gently pulled her closer, moving slowly to read her reaction. "You're so beautiful. And not just on the outside. You are kind and gentle." His hands skimmed up her sides. "You're the woman I want to marry." His eyes searched her face. One deep, slow breath and he lowered his head.

The world had contracted around them. Just like in the movies. The camera spins around, light shines down from above, and noise fades to the background. Christen's fate was sealed.

She raised a trembling hand to her lips, tingling with phantom sensations. She wiped away a tear. The old, dead bastard. May he forever rotate in his grave. Her tea sat on her nightstand, quietly challenging her. What did she have left to give?

She threw off the blankets and stood. "Let's see where this hippie tea takes me."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hello Blog.

We've met before. Blog and I.

We didn't get along. I could launch into the traditional excuses for when a couple breaks up and do my best to place the blame anywhere but on me. Except running a blog isn't a romantic relationship and the harsh truth is I had nothing of value to say. So Blog and I parted ways.

What has changed? And why am I talking to you like you care? WELL. I'm reading a book called 'How to BLOG A Book' by Nina Amir and endorsed by Writer's Digest. Book is working very hard to breathe life back into my relationship with Blog, not that we ever were exclusive or had a real 'thing'. I'm skeptical. How can blogging a first draft of a novel be a good thing? Especially blogging my first draft which usually resembles something closer to a pile of.... words.

Book assures me that all aspiring authors must have a relationship with Blog if they want to get anywhere. Book also recommends that I make numerous appearances on talk shows in all mediums; internet, radio, and television. And produce my own videos. And post on social media. And have extremely long mailing list. All of that while giving frequent talks to small, medium and large groups. Book is quite confident in my abilities. Thanks, Book. You're sweet.

Book has even more recommendations on how to build an author's platform, but has told me that I'm giving away too many secrets. So I'm sorry, but if you want more of these tips, Book insists that you must go to Writer's Digest Bookstore and take it home. I haven't had time to get to know Book very well yet. We're not in the "I love you so much I'm taking you into the tub with me" phase yet, and I'm not sure we ever will be, but Book isn't without its charms. It did bring me here after all.

My first real post on my blog. About a blog. While reading about how to blog. I keep glancing around, half expecting a blog paradox or a blogpocalypse. I'm not sure what a blogpocalypse would look like. Maybe something like what happens to my first drift when my cat, Fallon, climbs onto my laptop and sits down.

And for the unanswered question: why you should care? I guess you don't and won't... perhaps shouldn't, but that's okay. Blog and I shall just yammer away over here in our own little corner. I'll get to know Blog and learn its quirks, discover its annoying habits, listen to the bad jokes. Maybe, just maybe, I'll find something worth saying.

Healing in Room Twenty

This story is a continuation of Doris Lessing's 'To Room Nineteen'. Lessing's powerful story is about a woman, Susan, who f...