Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WEP Dark Places

Happy Halloween!

Time for the Write, Edit, Publish blog-hop, Dark Places.


WEP was started by my friend Denise Covy who is an awesome writer and lives down under in Australia. Yolanda Renee, another terrific writer co-host the challenge. So, when your done reading my creepy story head over and read what others have written. There's still time to join the fun and whip a spooky tail of your own.

To read other stories or join go here.

Unforgiven

I always walked through the tunnel under the highway to get home. Strange, I didn’t remember riding the bus, yet here I was at the tunnel entrance with the bus depot behind me. The tunnel was constructed of cement with lights overhead and benches along the side. It was about three city blocks long and saved more than a dozen blocks walking along a busy street and over the bridge. But, today the lights were all burned out. I peered into darkness.

            Rain pelted my umbrella. Perhaps the rain had shorted out the lights. The tunnel leaked when it rained and there would be puddles of water. Above me, the street light gave off a soft glow and I could see the other light far in the distance. No one joined me. There were usually a dozen or more other commuters. Not today.

            I took a breath and entered alone. My foot stepped into a puddle and splashed against my ankle. The emptiness made me anxious and I bit my lower lip.

            I lived alone. After twenty-seven years in an abusive marriage I didn’t miss his companionship and I had no plans to remarry. I did miss my girls. Both in their twenties, they had busy lives. I tried to keep them safe from their father, but abuse is learned and each of my girls could lay it on like peanut butter on toast. The more you put on, the more you choked with the gooey substance sticking to the roof of your mouth.

            The light up ahead started to flicker. A sudden darkness made me turn. The street light behind me was completely out. When I turned back I counted how many times the light hesitated. One, two, three, four and it was out. I stood in utter darkness.

            My heart began to pound so loud that my ears throbbed. The ground shuddered. I stepped forward and fell. A vast chasm had opened in the tunnel floor. My scream echoed against the rock wall. I didn’t remember dropping the umbrella or my purse.

            I grabbed at the rocks that jutted away from the wall. My fingers bled from the attempt to slow my speed down. An orange glow started to dance off the obsidian boulders. I landed and fell forward. My breath rushed out of my lungs. I sat up, checking for injury. Nothing seemed to be broken. Then a hissing, gurgling noise surrounded me. Glowing eyes advanced. Alarmed, I stood. Turning in a circle, a horde approached. Distorted shapes. Some like wolves and others human with elongated features, arms, legs and fingers.

I put out my hands. “Don’t come near.”

They rushed me. Snarling, cursing, I felt sharp teeth dig into my legs. Hands pulled me down. Eyes bore into mine. Foul smells surrounded me. One of them licked my face. I screamed. They laughed. The dog like creatures sounded like hyenas.

“Be gone!” A voice spoke. Smooth as chocolate syrup.

I sat up. My clothes were torn, my skin bruised and ripped, bleeding.

“Come, come. What did you expect?” A man stood before me. In appearance, he was my younger self’s identical twin, blond and tall.

I stood. “Who are you? Where am I?”

His smile caused his lips to split and distort. His eyebrows lifted a little on the ends and blue eyes turned black. “Let me give you a tour.”

“No,” I said. He took my arm anyway and instantly we stood on a precipice overlooking a burning lake. Something moved in the flames but I couldn’t make out what is was.

“I had to work hard with you.” His grin appeared more like a snake ready to bite. “Your husband wore you down, but still you persisted. Your parents never hugged you or gave the encouragement they lathered on your brother.”

As he spoke visions formed in my mind. I saw first my husband and then my parents followed by my brother’s grin. I felt him pinch me hard as he often did when I was a child.

“But your children.” His words came out as a hiss. “First the oldest.” My Sally appeared before me and I heard her speaking. “Mom, you never loved me. You always…” the rest would get nasty. I turned away.

“But the youngest, well…” With his smile his face transformed even more while I felt shattered to the core of my being. Betsy stood before me. A beer bottle in her hand. “Why did you do that, Mom? Why did you say that, Mom? How could you.” Her accusations continued for more than an hour that day. I knew I had never done the things she was laying out before me. And, I remembered the feeling of total emptiness. I had finally fallen into the depths of dark despair. I fought for weeks and yet couldn’t extract myself from the numbing destruction of my heart. My girls hadn’t called me since and I hadn’t called them.

Horns jutted out of the man’s forehead who looked like a wrinkled evil me. I shivered and then I hovered over my bedroom and saw myself on the bed. A pill bottle lay open next to me.

“But, no more sorrow…” I began to quote the verse from Revelations.

“You committed the unforgiveable sin. You took your own life.” He laughed then, a noise that pierced my eardrum. I felt him pushing me.

Falling, falling. I felt the heat from the fire in the lake and then the flames swallowed me. Licking. Burning. My skin sizzled, turned black and then red and blistered. The pain…no words were left. I screamed.

Others burned beside me. Hundreds, thousands, tears flowing from their eyes to turn to steam on their cheeks. Above me, the devil laughed. And with the sound of his enjoyment sharp blades pierced my heart. I was in hell and couldn’t undo my mistake.


Word Count 982

What did you think?
Nancy

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG Oct. 2017

The 1st Wednesday of October. I’m tempted to talk about time flying but that would be cliché. Instead, I’ll mention that Alex J. Cavanaugh start the group years ago and I’ve lost count on how many years exactly. I really appreciated that because at the time I was going through a hard time and I had read an un-sympatic blog degrading authors who had a little emotional sensitivity. I felt understood. So, thank you Alex.

To read other post go here.

We moved last month which means I’ve gotten almost nothing done. I did manage to finish a chapter in my new WIP to keep my critique partners busy but no editing in book 2. I’ll catch up by the end of Oct. and then off to my editor. Money is always an issue for me, so I have to juggle my writer life around my personal life.

The question of the month is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

This is more complicated than it might seem. I can honestly say that none of my characters in any of my stories are real people. That is deliberate. However, I experience life and along with that, I’ve met a lot of people. In order to bring 3 dimensions to my characters, some of what I feel or have experienced is used. Imagine a person who is so isolated that they never come into contact with the world. Would their stories be interesting? Would you fall in love or on the flip side, hate one of their characters? I don’t think so.

Therefore, the answer to the question is, of course. But what I add is calculated and deliberate. None that sounds positively evil. I promise, it isn’t.
How about you? If you’re a writer do you write about real people? If you’re a reader, would you want to read a book with no emotion?

Nancy


Oct. is spook month. Return on Oct. 18, 2017 for my Dark and Scary story in the WEP bloghop. Here’s the link. You can read about it and sign up to write something. I’d love to see what you share.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG Sept. 2017

Time again for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Time flies. IWSG is the brain child of Alex J. Cavanaugh who started this group of authors way back when in September. Over the years it has grown from a few people posting their insecurities or their encouragement. There’s a FaceBook page were authors can ask questions, a critique group and a whole lot more. So, if you’ve never heard of IWSG before, check it out. To read other post or learn more go here.

September 6 Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??

A short answer from me. No. I write fantasy and at the moment I have more story ideas than I can handle. How about you? I know a lot of writers who dabble in more than one genre.

In other news. We are moving from a one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom apartment in the same apartment complex. It is two buildings over. Move in day is Sept. 26. That means there is another delay in up-dating my book cover, editing book two and formatting. Two reasons for that. Time and money. It will get done before the end of the year though.

I will also publish a short story for free in an effort to draw in more readers. Here is a short excerpt.
Title: The Prince and The Warrior

Water rushed between rocks, rippling and letting off a fine mist. The fresh scent of it mingled with rich soil and new spring leaves and grasses. Sunlight shone down through a cloudless sky. Arnoux squinted, gazing upward. A buzzing noise near his left ear caused him to raise his hand to swat the flies away. He let his hand drop. Swelling distorted his left temple and sticky blood clogged his fingers.
            He couldn’t remember the fall. Attempting to sit, he gasped, falling on river rocks again. He’d broken a rib. Maybe more than one. His breathing was labored and his mind a muddled mess. He clutched his left side and managed to sit. His success was greeted with yet another pain. This one in his left ankle, like a thousand knives pricking his skin, whose swelling tightened the leather of his boot unbearably. He should remove it, but his strength was gone.
            The river might help. He inched over the rocks toward the sandy shore and stuck his swollen left boot in the river. This would ruin the leather, but what choice did he have?
            His mare grazed on tender grass jutting through the river rocks. Arnoux wanted to call her to him but he couldn’t remember her name. Some flower or plant. He whistled instead and she raised her head, nickered, shook her mane and came. Arnoux remembered training her. Odd how one memory came while others remained as veiled as a fox creeping up on a rabbit. He clicked his tongue and the horse knelt beside him. He leaned on her and struggled to open the saddle bag. His breathing came in quick gasps and the heavy weight in his side nearly made him pass out.
            Once his breathing slowed, he undid the saddle bag and pulled out a spare shirt. Unlacing his leather jerkin, he struggled out of it, then out of the ripped and bloody shirt beneath. He pulled his hunting knife out of his right boot and cut the ruined shirt into bandages. His entire left side was covered with black and blue starbursts. Anchoring one end of the strips with a rock, he bandaged his ribs. He had to stop more than once to slow his breathing and shut out the pain. Once finished, he tied the ends. The support lessened his agony.
            Before redressing, he splashed water on his face and scrubbed the dried blood away.
            His mare had wandered off as he worked. He crawled to a large boulder and struggled to lift himself onto it. At his whistle, the mare returned. As she stood before him, Arnoux climbed into the saddle and lay across her back.

            “Go east. I think we go east.” The mare obeyed the gentle nudge of his knee and walked into the forest. 

So my blogging friends, what do you think? And, if you write, do you stay in one genre or have several?
Nancy

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Write, Edit, Published August 2017 challenge. Reunion

Write, Edit, Published bloghop. This blog hop was started by the lovely Denise Covy and joining her is Yolanda Renee. This month the challenge is to write a story with the prompt, Reunion. Sorry I'm late, I won't bore you with the reason. To read other fabulous stories, go here.






Reunion

Timothy reached for the letter he’d set aside three days ago and gazed at the return address. His anger hadn’t subsided from when he first found it in his mail slot. Rather, it had intensified.

Rage had kept him from his family all these years. More than twenty. He nurtured it. Like rain on sandy soil, his irritation flowed in little rivulets, each holding the memories of what had been done to him. The first when he had been fifteen. His father accepted a job in New York City and moved his entire family from the beaches of southern California to the city that never sleeps. A surfer, Timothy had lost his chance to compete in the champion trials, and he’d lost his friends. There wasn’t any place to surf in New York City.

At school, he had to endure name calling and never did make new friends. His grades had plummeted. Who knew what might have happened in southern California. He might have been on the honor roll. In New York he flunked. There was no ivy league school for him. Instead, he attended a small college.

When he’d graduated from that little college, his father didn’t come. Afterwards, in an argument his father let him know that he was a big failure and a disappointment.

He landed a job in California shortly after that and had moved. Every year invitations came for family reunions and Christmas. He threw them all away and never sent a single gift. He ignored news of his sister’s weddings and the birth of their children. He burned the only photos he had of his father.

He jumped in his chair when the phone rang. Timothy lifted his iPhone and recognized the number from New York. He nearly tossed the expensive phone aside, but something made him stop. Who would it be? His father or his mother? Father never called him. But his mother had left one tearful message after another on his Birthday’s and a Christmas. It was probably her. The only bright spot in the list of wrong doing.

His mother had encouraged him through all the problems. If it hadn’t been for her, he never would have gone to college at all.

He swiped the phone and hesitated before saying, “Hello.”

“Timothy.” It was his father. His thumb hovered near the end call button.

“Please come, your mother has cancer. Her only wish is to see you again.”


Word Count: 408

I can't say that this was the most joyful thing I've ever written, but this is what came to me. I hope you enjoyed it.

Nancy

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG Aug. 2017 Pet Peeves and News

Time again for an IWSG post. What is that you say? Insecure Writers Support Group. Started by Alex J. Cavanuagh where we share encouraging news or our insecurities. Lord knows I have a lot of insecurities and sometimes I panic. To read what others have written go here.

IWSG Aug Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?
I spent years learning the craft of writing. Therefore, I don’t have much time for those who are lazy and never bothered to learn. You know immediately when you start to read a book if this is true. Backstory, POV shifts, sometimes in the middle of the sentence, information dump, etc. That being said, I’m willing to help others learn if they are willing to put in the effort.

In other news. If you know me, then you know money is tight. I have saved up enough now to buy ISBN’s, have the paper copy of my book cover done and start a web page by mid-August. In September, I’ll pay for formatting. This may take more than one month to reach all markets. Book 2 will be ready for my editor in September as well. I hope to release it come December. But, ultimately, that will depend on money for my editor and book cover.

This has been a long time coming with multiple delays. Family is first. Sometimes I just have to put food on the table.

How about you? Do you have a pet peeve when reading or editing books? Do you have some exciting news? Do share.


Nancy

I hope you will consider joining me in creating a wonderful story or sharing something that actually happened on Aug. 16, 2017 for the Write, Edit, Publish bloghop titled: Reunions. To sign up go here.