Monday, March 26, 2012

Excerpt from Running on Faith, Book 1 of The Neverearth Prophecies, WIP by Me!

I shiver. My bare feet burn on the bitterly cold ice-covered bridge, but just like with the fiery rock, the pain disappears as each foot leaves the surface and explodes again as it touches back down. It is exactly as fun as it sounds.

We continue walking and I find myself longing for the heat, having quickly forgotten how relieved I had been to leave it behind.

Carson shivers next to me. The ground suddenly feels different beneath my feet and I realize we have left the bridge. Ice and snow cover every surface, and the metallic tang in the air is making my nose itch. I want to tuck my arms inside what's left of my sleeves but I know it won't really make me feel warmer, and it would disable me much like I had done to Carson when we were playing around in the clearing.

I hear a yelp, and see Carson go down out of the corner of my eye. I whirl around, ready to defend against whatever monster has finally found us, only to see that he has slipped on the slick surface. He refuses my hand, grumbling to himself as he gets to his feet.

I see something over his shoulder that I don't quite understand. A massive pile of snow seems to be moving towards us. It's very far away, but getting closer. I grab Carson's arm and nod in the direction of the movement. He squints toward it, and I pull him into a crouch. No sense in being an obvious target if we can help it.

As I continue watching the approaching snow pile, I realize it's not snow.

“Is that...I mean, are those...” Carson trails off.

I don't want to confirm what I know he is thinking.

More than two dozen white creatures of immense size are bearing down on us. With each step that brings them closer to us, they look more and more like pictures I'd seen of Yeti. The Abominable Snowman. Bigfoot's cold weather cousin.

I scan the terrain around us, hoping there is some place to use to our advantage. I don't think hiding is going to do much good, because it's obvious they've already seen us, but if we can get somewhere higher or narrower, it gives us a better vantage point to fight from.

I spot an incline behind us, about a quarter mile away. It seems to be our best hope in this flat, frozen wasteland. I discreetly point towards it, and Carson nods his understanding. Running as fast as we can through the slippery snow, we get there safely. Up close, it's better than I hoped for.

The hill, while small, still gets us about fifteen feet off the ground, and the backside of the hill is a sheet of glare ice that slopes down at a treacherous angle. While it means we have to be careful not to slip down it, it also means the creatures will have a rough time scaling it, so we only have to defend three sides.

I scan the horizon and sure enough, the Yeti-things are still coming straight at us. I know better than to consider the possibility of it being a welcoming committee. We have no weapons, a fact I am not happy to realize. The metallic air isn't responsible for the sour taste in my mouth, and I realize I am tasting fear. We hadn't made much of a dent in the horde we had fought in the fiery pit and we'd had plenty of weapons at our disposal.

I remember the feel of the blade or claw slicing through my shoulder, and I shudder. The only bright spot is that it doesn't appear the snow monsters are carrying any weapons, either.

“So what's our game plan?” Asks Carson.

I want to appear tough and in control, but I can't bear to lie to him. “I don't know.” I say.

He snorts. “OK, that wasn't the response I was hoping for!”

Me neither. “What's your idea then, smarty pants?” I shoot back.

He thinks for a moment. “When you were on the thing's shoulders back there, you were twisting its neck. To break it, right? Like the guy in the alley? How come it didn't work?”

“Because it was made out of rock! Well, it felt like trying to wring out a rock, anyways.”

“Show me how it's done.” He commands.

I look up quickly, and gauge we have several minutes before the herd reaches us. Carson allows me to put him in a choke hold so he can feel where pressure is needed. “Here, and here, then twist, while pulling from the base. Like so.” Obviously I don't break his neck, but I put enough force into it so he gets what needs to happen. “OK, you try.”

He puts his arms around my neck, and I adjust them a fraction. I am reminded of a silly movie I watched one time where the woman is trying to teach her hopelessly clumsy beau to dance. I wish that I was teaching Carson to dance instead of how to rip heads off demonic creatures.

He shows me that he knows what he is doing. Just in time, because the beasts are upon us.

They are close enough that I can see they are covered in long white fur, not pure white, but a combination of white and silver and a creamy, pale blue, a perfect camouflage for the snowy terrain. It's beautiful, and mesmerizing as the fur moves with their undulating gate.

I tear my gaze away from the fur, and notice the rest of the details. They are about ten feet tall, and move with a swift grace. The faces have a feline quality about them, and the eyes-the eyes are large, startlingly blue and framed by long lashes. I am reminded of a white Bengal tiger, if it were standing on two legs.

I hear Carson shout, and I am angry he has disrupted my musings. I want to keep staring at these astonishingly lovely creatures. Their size and alien appearance only adds to their mysterious appeal. I want to touch the fur, sure it will be soft and luxurious. The leader stands in front of me, its blue eyes beckoning to me, giving me permission. I stretch my arm out, wanting to bury my hands in its coat, run my fingers through the silky length.

I am slapped across the side of my face, and sudden awareness hits me.

“Alexa, move!” Carson screams.

I realize it was he who has slapped me out of my reverie, and I look at my outstretched hand, not sure why it hovers in front of me. I look up, and see the creature reaching out for my hand. With its paw. Which ends in five blades, each the length of my arm.

I dodge out of the way just in time to avoid having my arm sliced off by the deadly blades.

Holy crap!

I'd left the vantage point of our hill and had approached the beasts, influenced by some sort of hypnosis. Carson had come after me, and managed to disrupt what would have been a disastrous ending.

“Don't look them in the eye!” He yells at me. I'm not sure how he knows this or why he wasn't caught up in the effect like I was, but I can ask him later. Right now we are going to have to survive another battle.

I race back up the hill and Carson follows up on my heels. The Yeti-tigers gather around the base of our hill, and a mournful keening fills the air. The sound makes me feel sorry for them, these poor creatures. Are they trapped here too?

“Shut up!” Calls Carson, calmly. “You aren't fooling anyone.”

The keening stops, and the one I had tried to touch calls out in a deep yet melodious voice, while pointing at me.

I suddenly know it is mocking me, and my sympathy vanishes. “Not anymore, hairball!” I call back.

I don't know if it understands my words, but my shift in mood is apparent, and I hear the audible sound of sliding metal, like swords being unsheathed, and two dozen sets of blade-claws emerge. Oh good. They all have weapons, and we still have none.

I crouch, and see Carson do the same, ready as we'll ever be. We are angled back to back. The Yeti-tigers begin their approach. Gone are the benign kitty faces, and their sharp teeth glint as they snarl at us.

They converge in unison. I don't have time to watch Carson, as I fight to stay out of the way of at least 120 blades- half have come at me, the other half to Carson. They are fighting uphill, which should give us the advantage, but their height and weapons give them an edge. Also, they are fast. Faster than the fire demons.

But not quite as fast as us. Underneath their fur, their bodies aren't as substantial as I was prepared for. I refuse to be de-focused by the feel of the fur, which is as luxuriously silky as I imagined it would be.

I have already broken a couple arms and two necks before one of them gets a piece of me.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of Wanted: Dead or Undead, by Angela Scott

I was lucky enough to find Angela on twitter a while ago, and so have been hearing about her new novel for awhile. Which means I have been forced to WAIT for its unveiling...but my waiting finally paid off, because Angela gave me an advanced reader copy to check out and review! Woo Hoo! Here are my thoughts...

I should probably preface this review by warning you that I don't care for Westerns, or Zombies. The fascinating thing about this, is that Angela Scott has managed to combine them into a story that I absolutely LOVE! I had so much fun reading this book, and somehow couldn't wait to find out what happens next while hating that each page was bringing me closer to the end of it (is the sequel out yet? when can I read THAT?! Pant, Pant, Pant)

Some of my favorite aspects of Ms. Scott's writing are as follows:

1. Ever read a story and find yourself wondering, Do these people ever eat? Don't they have to go to bathroom? Ugh, wouldn't you STINK after that, and desperately want a bath? Eww, why would you let that go in your mouth?! Wouldn't their clothes be filthy and they'd need fresh ones? So many authors ignore the fact their characters are human, with human needs and issues, but Angela Scott remembers to take care of her character's basic needs, and since I am a stickler for the "unanswered questions" conundrum a reader often faces, I LOVE that she gives us these realistic details, and answers each of the questions I've posed! It makes me better able to identify with the characters and their humanity.

2. These characters are FUNNY. I stopped counting how many times I giggled, chuckled, or snorted throughout this book.

3. Questions are posed, and NOT ALL are answered...yet. Some things are revealed, enough to keep me going "Oh, OF COURSE!" but the story of Red, Trace, Wen, is not finished, so I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. (panting eagerly, again)

4. The originality of the plot- I know it's been said by everyone else too, but c'mon- ZOMBIES and the OLD WEST?! It's genius, complete genius.

5. The Chapter Names. I really like when chapters are named, not just numbered, and the chapter names in this case definitely strike my interest. I think, "Oooh, Lavender? How's Angela going to work that into the story?" And voila, she does!

So buy this book already. You'll laugh, you'll say "Eww" and laugh some more, you'll root for Red and Trace and their blossoming attraction, you will definitely want to know more about zombie infants, and mean Doctors who try to use their patients as science experiments.

Here is the link to purchase your own copy-

Peace and Zombies!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Special Edition Three Word Challenge- Untitled

This story, while still classified as short, is too long to be posted to Facebook. It is for my special Tweep and favorite Fictional Character On Twitter ;>)

~Ejaculate~posthumously~interfrastically~ Words courtesy of Xander Buchan, @CountDracula on (I really want to know what he was thinking with this word selection!)

I watched the man discreetly through my lowered lashes. I had made sure to be in place before our agreed upon meeting time so that I could watch for his arrival.

 He walked towards me with a swagger. His vivid gaze stared straight ahead, as if he wouldn’t deign to meet the eye of anyone nearby, even by accident. He wore an impressively tailored suit, Savile Row if I wasn’t mistaken. He carried a cane, formed out of some exotic wood. The cane was obviously for appearances, as his gait was unhindered by anything other than his demeanor of superiority.

 I made up my mind to dislike him intensely. His handsome face and well formed figure added weight to my opinion that he was an arrogant rogue. No matter; I didn’t have to like him to work with him.

 By this time, he was directly in front of me, and he stopped short when he spotted the garishly patterned scarf around my neck that we had agreed was to be our symbol of recognition.

 Bowing to me, he asked, “May I help you with your troublesome parasol, Milady?”

 “Yes, thank you, Sir, I would appreciate a new one.” I replied, completing our coded greeting.

 I took his arm and caught a whiff of his cologne. I held my silk kerchief up to my nose so as not to be tempted to revel in his scent. We walked a ways, and ducked down a narrow alleyway, then another. Exiting out the other end of the second alley brought us into another world entirely.

 Gone were the neat townhouses with their well-mannered flower boxes and wrought iron gates. Gone, too, was the sparkling cobblestone street, the smell of roses emanating from Haightbury Park, and the bright sunshine overhead. Here, the shambling buildings crowded out the sky, the street was buried beneath inches of muck, and the smell was a vomitous combination of rotten fish, human offal, and only God knew what else.

 My scrap of silk did little to filter out the odours, and I tightened my grip on my consort’s arm without thinking.

 He smirked down at me, aware of my reaction. I deliberately loosened my grip and stepped a few inches further away from him. He tsk’ed and pulled me back to his side, even closer than I had originally been.

 “Let’s deal with this matter interfrastically, shall we?” I responded primly.

 “We’ve arrived.” He announced, ignoring my supercilious tone. We had stopped in front of a tavern. The painted sign barely hanging on over the doorway announced we were at the “Three Wenches.” Excellent.

 A drunken sot of a man came barreling through the doorway, and spat a voluminous stream of foulness that barely missed the tips of my boots.

 “Hey! Watch it!” I cried angrily, dodging the newly formed puddle of oral ejaculate.

 The sot leered, and waggled his eyebrows at me. “You wan’ to get a room, Princess?” He slurred.

 “I should think not, you disgusting creature!” I cried, outraged at his proposition.

 My consort spoke up. “Besides, the lady is with me. Move aside, wrench.” His tone brooked no room for argument, and the inebriated louse scurried away, reeling from one side of the street to the other.

 We entered the tavern, and I shuddered in distaste. The interior was even worse than the exterior. A barmaid sidled up to us, one of the lauded Three, I presumed.

 "Wha’ can I get for ye fine lady and gent’l’man, a pint or a room, hmm?” The toothless grin splitting her pockmarked face was more scary than welcoming.

 “We’re here to see Dunlop. Take us to him.” My consort ordered.

 “Oh! Well, thas’ goin’ to be a problem, see. “ She batted her eyelashes coyly.

 He sighed, and fishing a coin from his pocket, tossed it to her. She caught it with a flash of her hand.

 “Now, can you please?” He prompted when she still didn’t move.

 “Thank ye for the coin, kin’ Sir, but I can no’ take you to Dunlop.”

 “What ever do you mean?” I interrupted the exchange. “Take us to Dunlop, now!”

 She smirked at me. “Dunlop has been dead these pas’ two days.” She announced triumphantly.

 Oh, Good Gracious. We were doomed! My consort asked where he was laid out, and ordered the barmaid to take us to the man, regardless.

 “What on earth for?” I whispered as we followed the serving wench down a wretched hallway.

 “So we can get answers.” He replied calmly.

 “What, posthumously off his body?” I scoffed.

 He grinned mischievously at me, and continued pulling me along. “If necessary.”

 I knew I didn’t like this man with good reason.

My Very Own Stupid Human Trick!

At a place I used to work, the Boss once initiated a contest, just for fun, called "Stupid Human Tricks."
She stated that everyone had a talent, bizarre perhaps, to do something really entertaining that no one else could do, or at least, not very many people. Everyone really got into it. I saw weird dance moves, heard the alphabet being recited backwards, watched someone wiggle their ears in tune with a song, and a few other crazy things. While I was laughing on the outside, I was secretly feeling panicky on the inside. What could I do? What was my Stupid Human Trick? I was pretty sure constantly banging my head on stuff (accidentally) and not being dead yet didn't really count. I started feeling left out. Is it possible that there isn't something out there that I would be really good at? A Jill of Many Trades, but a Master at None? What a horrible feeling!

Then someone sent me a link to a (now defunct site) where people were selling their (G-rated, don't worry) services for all kinds of creative and crazy things they could do. I was like What?! Then I was like, Whoa! Then I was all like, Heeeyyyyyy....Because GUYS, I think I found MY "Stupid Human Trick"!!!!

I threw out my idea on twitter and a handful of people responded. They each gave me three words and I had to write a short story using those three words. I had 24 hours to complete the challenge.

Here are two examples of what I am talking about. Enjoy!

Example One:
~Sector~Floccinauchinihilipilificate~Interlude~ Words courtesy of Lindsay Strachan @QualityLindsay on (Bless her cruel, sadistic little heart)

Cybernetica is much like any other city. There are shopping centers, repair shops, residential neighborhoods, and forms of public transportation. The primary difference between it, and say, London, is the inhabitants. Humans are forbidden from entering Cybernetica, not that any even know it exists. Cybernetica is home to 18,477 retired Automatons, and the numbers continue to grow, slowly but surely.

It is comprised of 20 Sectors, or Districts. Like Humans, Automatons require entertainment. In any world without entertainment, the citizens begin to grow tense and agitated, and strife will begin. Without pleasurable pastimes, the citizens will inevitably turn on one another. In a retirement community, entertainment is especially important.

Our story begins in Sector 19, the Theater District.

 Bernard X47K turns to his partner, Ursa JJ9910P. “My dear, shall we take a turn about the promenade between acts?”

 Ursa sighs. “No, Bernie, I’ve told you before, I really prefer to stay seated and take in the Interlude.”

 Bernard harrumphs. “I don’t understand why. They never feature any real talent during the Interludes. It’s always just a bunch of silly androids, be-bopping across the stage.”

 “Silly androids? For shame, Bernard. Really.” Ursa lets out a puff of steam in exasperation. “You know that the critically acclaimed Grete 88C4 got her start in this very theater, doing an Interlude back in 2084.”

 “Ursa, that is one example, and she was obviously a rarity. It’s been 42 years since then and not one Automaton has followed in her steps.”

 “Oh no, Bernard X? What about Jort*BB? You cannot possibly claim he has not achieved Star Status in his own right!”

 “Oh, he’s achieved Star Status, alright. So noxious, they sent him to the stars!” Bernard pressed the button that imitated the sound of a Human chortling.

 Ursa stood up, her instruction panel flashing red lights. “You can sit here and floccinauchinihilipilificate all by your self then, Bernard X47K, because I will NOT stand for it!” She stomped off, her blocky legs practically denting the theater floor with the force she was using to raise and lower them.

 “Oh Ursa, come back! I was only having a bit of fun!” Groaned Bernard. “Ursa? Honey? Please?”

 Bernard X47K watched his beloved Ursa JJ9910P storm away from him, his evening ruined.

Example 2:

 ~Zombie~flashmob~train Words courtesy of Michael Andrew Patterson, @DyadicEchoes on

Patty was exhausted and couldn't wait to get home to put her feet up, microwave a meal, and pet her cat.
Leaving her office, she realized she had taken the train to work, not her car. Making her way to the station, she heard a whistle. Turning around to look, she saw a sight that made her blood curdle. A large man was coming towards her, but his size wasn’t what terrified her, it was the vacant look in his eyes, the blood dripping down his chin, and his lurching movements.
“Are you KIDDING me?” Patty thought. A zombie in Albany, Ohio? This was ridiculous. Had she already fallen asleep and started a nightmare?
She pinched herself. “Ow.” Not dreaming, then. Crap. Time to run! Thank God she had exchanged her heels for flats before leaving her desk. Spinning around, she began running in the opposite direction of the zombie. Only now there was another one in front of her. A woman, arms outstretched. Patty spun to her right. Another zombie. To her left. More zombies. A sob escaped from her throat. This could not be happening!
She heard another whistle, and suddenly, the zombies stopped. Another whistle, and they moved their arms overhead, as in unison. Frozen in place, Patty heard the opening riff for a famous song come over the train station’s loudspeakers.
Dun Dun Dun dada dun dun. Dun Dun Dun dada dun dun.
There was at least fifty zombies surrounding her. There was no escape. They began moving, but not towards her. They were moving in unison to the beat of the song. Arms jerked, legs extended, hips were popping and locking.
Patty realized she was experiencing, for the first time in history, a dancing zombie flashmob.

So there you have it, folks. Give me 3 words, and I will create a story using them as inspiration. What's YOUR "Stupid Human Trick"?

What Every Man Should Know

This post will have nothing to do with my writing, and everything to do with my life. It's personal to me, and to millions of other women across the world, and if you have a woman in your life, it should be personal to you, too. Please take a moment to read.

The Facts May Depend On Your Point Of View

This message is for all the men out there. Find someone who will read this out loud to you, then get comfy and close your eyes.

 Are you ready? Let’s begin.

 Picture your left testicle. Or your right one, it doesn’t matter. No, I’m not trying to be funny or pervy. Picture your right or left testicle.

 Imagine that once a month, usually every 3rd week, a small cyst erupts on your testicle. Your body views this inflammation as a potential hazard, so white blood cells rush to the site. Then something goes haywire, and the cyst grows. Fast. Very fast.

 It grows to the size of a softball, and is filled with fluid and tissue. It hangs off your testicle like a swollen melon, excruciatingly painful. It hinders movement, and pain radiates down whichever leg that is below your cystic testicle, as well as up and across your abdomen. It is so painful, you become nauseous. You take Ibuprofen, or Tylenol, but the over the counter pills can’t even begin to touch the pain. You get a prescription pain killer from your physician, but even the prescription pain killer, which is just shy of a controlled substance, only takes the pain down about 25%, leaving you with 75% of the agony remaining.

 The painkiller makes you dizzy, and does strange things to your blood sugar and equilibrium. It also gives you a migraine about a third of the time you take it. It makes you feel wired, but not in a nice way; In the kind of way where you are desperate for sleep but lie there for hours, unable to fall into it. You aren’t sure which is worse, the side effects from the painkiller or the burning, nauseating pain from your testicular cyst.

 You have the cyst for a week or so. During that time, it hurts so much that it distracts you from being able to sleep properly. Or sit still at work, or in the car- it’s far, far worse when you are sitting than when you are standing because of the extra pressure in the seated position. Because the cyst is so large, you have difficulty urinating, and your bodily functions that caused the cyst make it difficult to maintain normal bowel movements, so you alternate between constipation and diarrhea for the week the cyst is on your testicle. Forget trying to have sex with your spouse or partner, it is SO not going to happen!

 When the cyst finally begins to drain at the end of the week, you feel such relief, you want to cry. You have about 2 weeks of pain free, normal functioning, and just when you have started to forget how horrible it really was, the third week of the next month arrives. You wake up one morning, ready to take on the world, and realize you feel a burning, stabbing pain. You grit your teeth and want to cry again, because you know, even before you’ve looked down, the cyst is back. Again.

 This will happen to you every month, for the next 30-40 years, maybe longer.

 This is also what happens to millions of women, from age of menstruation, until age of menopause. The normal process of a monthly cyst, caused by ovulation, goes terribly awry, and is a chronic source of de-habilitating agony, frustration, and emotional distress. Guess what would prevent the whole thing? A tiny hormone therapy tablet, taken once a day, at the cost of mere pennies to manufacture.

 Have you had a softball sized cyst grow on either of your testicles recently? Or, in fact, ever? Wouldn’t you take the tiny hormone therapy pill? Wouldn’t you expect your health insurance company, which you likely pay a decent amount to have in the first place, to cough up a few dollars a month for you to avoid this reoccurring, agonizingly painful event?

 Now go ahead and tell me MY Health Insurance Company shouldn’t have to pay a few dollars a month so that I also don’t have to deal with this excruciating medical condition. Or your sister. Or wife. Or girlfriend. Or your mother, daughter, co-worker, neighbor, friend, even the random woman on the bus.

If it was a testicular cyst, there would never be any doubt treatment for it would be covered. Why would you make any woman suffer what you yourself would not?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Liar, Liar, On The Ground, and Other Kinds of Pants

I've recently learned that there are two kinds of writers.

The first kind is called a "Planner." These kinds of writers do things like create outlines of their entire story (probably with bulleted sub-categories), take classes on how to improve their writing (and then implement suggestions), and they set aside specific times of day to write (likely 8 am - 12 pm, then a half hour lunch break, then back to the work in progress from 12:30pm - 4:30pm). The "Planners" are generally an obnoxious breed, always bragging about things like "words per day", meeting deadlines, or well-mannered, orderly children.

I am not that type of writer.

I am what is known as a "Pantser." As in, I write by the seat of mine. I write furiously when I get the inspiration to do so. I let my characters speak to me at their own pace. Often, this means going days without writing, then having a bit of a binge and banging out 8 pages at once. Sometimes it means I stay up until 3 am writing and sleep until 2 pm the following day. The cats like it when I do this; the dog, not so much. It also means that I don't know very far ahead of time exactly what my characters will do, or say, or where they will go, or how long it will take them to get there. I don't write my scenes in order, because I don't always see how they are supposed to be written in a chronological manner. I skip around, then go back and fill in the gaps because suddenly, the puzzle pieces can fit together.

It's really fun being a Pantser. One of the best things about reading a really good story is that anticipation at the end of each chapter, the exquisite torture in the second it takes to turn the page and begin the next sentence. As a Pantser, I get to experience the same pleasure.When I give them a sample, my test readers usually say something about wanting to know what happens next. Me too, guys, me too! I'm dying to know! Gaaah!

Lest you think I'm completely out of control, I DO have the last sentence already written. The very last sentence for my epic trilogy, of which Book One is still being written. I know exactly where my characters will end up, they've already made that VERY clear.

The details leading up to that last sentence...well, what fun would creating a story be if I had to be all organized about it?