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Sunday, April 22, 2018

It's a Trap - Evolution of a Story

22APR18

Spent a few hours this weekend editing a story. Rewrote the beginning with more specifics, eventually adding another three hundred words or so, bringing the total word count up to 10, 300. 

I do a weird thing when I edit. I always start at the beginning of the story and work my way through to the end, editing as I go. This lets me get immersed in the story, feel my way through. While this makes for stronger openings, it also makes for weaker endings, and right now I can see that in this story. I'll be working on it for a few more weeks before I release the story for sale. I'm thinking that it will be around 20,000 words by the time I'm done. I still love the midpoint action in this story! Every time I read it I am inspired anew to keep writing the stuff I like to read. Here's a snippet [not my favorite part in the story, but pretty close to it. Spoiler alert, someone dies, almost, well, maybe. Let's just say he gets better later. Mostly.]:

**********************
Murg and Black Char fell back, aghast. Between them, Jagged Edge tried to scream, to get away, but he was stuck straight through from his shoulder to the seat of his pants. Blood turned pink as the light from the crystal sword shone through the spurts from his neck. 
Black Char kicked, trying to get away from the killer blade and Jagged Edge's flailing arms and legs. Murg sat back on his rump and watched from inches away as Jagged Edge twitched out his last seconds of life, impaled by the crystal sword they had come to find.
**********************
When you go looking for power, be careful. You may find it!

So now I need to keep editing, working toward getting to the end without any more rewrites. Right now the ending seems a little loose and unfocused. I'm going to tighten it up some, give a bigger role to one of the female secondary characters and make the ending more satisfying. She's due to have a story of her own in the future anyways.

Picture for today: The female secondary character in my story worships the Sun. She is of the People of the Sun. 


Of course, People of the Sun reminds me of something else as well...

People of the Sun


May your days be good and long upon this Earth.






Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Spooky Good Camo!

17 APR 18

I was out working on the tree in the front yard and something moved by my hand. Turned out to be a tiny spider, so well hidden I had a hard time finding him again. As luck would have it, when I came back out later with my camera, he was still in the same area. But I had a heck of a time finding him through the lens. Ended up getting one good shot of him:

Tree Spider

He's over on the right side of the picture, if you have trouble finding him. This pic is also over on my DeviantArt webpage. 

And that, my friends, is the picture for the post. 

The spider made me think of magical and non-magical camouflage. And magical camouflage to disguise magical stuff as plain and mundane. It's almost uncanny how well the spider blends in. Would 'natural' creatures living in a magical world have magical camouflage or just really good natural camouflage? And if they had good natural camouflage, would they be at a disadvantage to magical creatures? Would evolution lead them to develop magical camouflage in order to compete? Who knows. Much to think about. 

A joke for today as well: Why shouldn't you make jokes about unemployed people? They just don't work, that's why! lol. 


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter!

April the First, Two Thousand and Eighteen Years,

Happy Easter everyone! Got some deep Catholic roots, so Easter is a big deal over here. But then again, I'm a writer and I like funny, so yeah, here's a few pictures covering all the bases. Makes me think of what holidays religions have around the world, one of my favorite things to research, btw, and what people would do for these holidays. 

The Ether Bunny! lol. Makes me think of Kripke from The Big Bang Theory. 

 Showing my SoCal roots. Easter Bunny on a board!

Many happy memories of hiding eggs for the kiddies. I probably have pictures somewhere of the eggs we used to make. Will have to find them. 

In writing-related news, the short story I recently posted has been really inspiring me to write more in that shadowy world. I'm thinking of all the different ecologies and interactions that would go on in a place like that. Got the old brain juices flowing for sure.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

An Adumbrance Betwixt the Light and the Dark - A short story

An Adumbrance Betwixt the Light and the Dark

In a ghostly realm where shadows are formidable, and arguing influences of light and dark constantly dance, a beam of brilliance pierced through the ever-present cloud cover and hit the granite ground, which sizzled at the intense touch. The ghoulish patches of cropped grass wilted and burned. Nearby things of black and gray fled, yelping and howling as they galloped, dug, slithered and flew away from the harshness. One wrapped herself in darkness and joined the protective shadow of a nearby outcropping. Gray farseers atop the nearby hills emplaced tinted lenses on their orbs and analyzed this new phenomenon. They witnessed a man striding down the beam, perambulating toward the surface. The stranger was light of everything -clothes, skin, hair, eyes. An alabaster masterpiece. He even glowed slightly, though whether the light was from the man or the beam on which he strode was a matter of debate among the seers. Whichever the case, he was blinding to gaze at.

A sudden eclipse occurred as a large, blind, flying Thing encountered the beam of light and both were extinguished. The man fell the remaining distance to the surface, a tumbling star, as the realm returned to its natural level of twilight.

He pulsed on the ground, looking to all who saw as if he were an immense lightning bug, a beacon winking away in search of a mate. To all who could not see his light, his presence was warm and intriguing. Small points of light floated on a current of air in his direction.

He heard scuttling noises in the dark as he groaned and tried to sit up.

Silvery threads shot out from the surrounding landscape. A pair of large black spiders came into view from inky pools of shadow and crisscrossed hunting webs over his prone form, seeking to wrap him up in their stickiness.

The light stranger struggled to burn the webbing but could not keep up with the threads. He was soon tied up on the hard ground. The nightmarish spiders advanced, their mandibles making audible clacking noises.

Another piece of darkness, about the size of a person, broke away from the blackest shadows of a nearby outcropping of rock. It was a woman, dressed in draping fabrics of gray. She clicked and clacked, drawing the attention of the spiders. She threw up her arms and spread wide her cloak, which expanded to a great size and rippled with lights and darks like the ground under a leafy tree that shakes in the gusts of a hot summer day.

The spiders clicked and clacked. Then they turned and scurried away in search of easier prey.

The dark stranger dropped her cloak and approached the light being from the sky.

He had almost freed himself from the tangle of spiderwebs. His clothes however, were much grayer now with their substance. And his right leg was noticeably dimmer than the rest of him. And when he finally stood, it was easy to see the leg was indeed injured from the fall. He stood awkwardly, looking at her as he tried to remove the remaining webbing. He seemed unafraid, even with everything that had happened.

She held her hand in front of her face. “Dim yourself, sir. There are many here who feed on brilliance, as you almost found out first-hand.”

He concentrated and looked down at his outstretched hands. His light waned. He returned her look. “Who are you?”

“I am called Chia. Chia Ross-curo.”

“I am Epifanio. I have come to learn the secrets of darkness.”

She glanced around at the landscape, feeling many eyes upon the pair of them. She shook her head. He was still too bright.

“I cannot hide you, even within my umbra. You emanate much. Follow me, maybe we can hide in yonder shelter.” She pointed to the left.

He saw nothing and said as much.

“Your light blinds you.”

“The Light is my life! I cannot lower it any further. To do so would be to risk my death!”

“To not is to risk both our lives.” She raised an arm and covered him with a portion of her expansive cloak.

He was astonished at the clarity with which he now saw their surroundings. It was as if everything were outlined in a halo or glow. Their destination was obvious now: a small stone structure at the shore of an inkjet lake. He tried to look closer but the image shook and blurred in and out of focus.

He uncovered himself from the cloak. “Why adumbrate when you can elucidate?” He waved his hand and a blast of light flooded shot forth and illuminated the entire valley.

“NO!” she screamed.


*********************

Another response to the Two Word Tuesday over at Our Write Side. Adumbrate was the word. It means to foreshadow. I ran with it. Hope you enjoy it. This is my wheelhouse right here, the sort of stuff I really like to write. Sort of like Jack of Shadows from Roger Zelazny.

Picture for today: 

Maybe a future scene in the story?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gato the Duck

13 MAR 18

From an Our Wright Side writing prompt, here's a story about a drug-addicted duck. Well, not really. Enjoy. :)

Gato the Duck

I knocked on the front screen door. It was a sturdy metal screen. Some rust here and there, but it would definitely stop someone from entering. I glanced over. The front window too was covered in protective iron bars. I remembered her saying her grandpa was a welder. He probably made both himself. I looked down, wishing I had nicer shoes, and then quickly brushed off the front of my shirt where flakes of Krispy Kreme frosting had wandered off my donut earlier.

Locks unlatched, one by one. This didn't really seem like a bad neighborhood. It definitely was a lot better than mine! The door opened as I had these thoughts and through the mesh of the screen I saw someone tall. 

He looked my age, maybe a little younger. While I had shaved off my peach fuzz before coming over, he was letting his darker face fur grow out. We grunted a mutual "Hey," and he let me in. 

"It's some Gringo!" he said as he turned around and walked away, back into the house. 

"Hi," I said to his back. "I'm Michael."

And then I saw her bounce into view. Elena. That smile was the reason I rode in the bed of my uncle's truck for over an hour in the hot summer sun. 

"Michael!" she said, giving me a hug. "You made it!"

I caught my breath for a moment. "Yeah, I hitched a ride with my uncle. He'll be back to pick me up at five." I turned around and locked the screen and door. The sudden darkness inside was jarring. Outside was sunny and hot. Odd sounds and smells assailed me. An unseen TV was blaring a Spanish channel. Food aromas, pet odors and roses all competed inside my nose. 

I followed Elena through the narrow kitchen. A pan of something delicious-smelling but unidentifiable was on the stove. In the living room Elena introduced me to her grandparents as 'her friend'. Grandpa stopped watching TV long enough to accept my handshake. Grandma, small and fragile-looking, got up slowly and asked me if I wanted something to eat. "No thanks ma'am." 

She went into the kitchen anyways and started making me a plate of food. They seemed very nice. The guy who let me in was nowhere to be seen. "Who opened the front door?"

"Oh that was my younger brother Manny. Come on. Let's go in the back.

Younger? At sixteen I was still growing, but he was a giant! I followed Elena. We went out the back of the house and into a work area filled with odds and ends. A quack and a flash of white crossed my feet as I just missed stepping on a duck! The thought made me laugh loudly. When my dad farts, he always says, "Ooh! Must've stepped on a duck!" 

As I stood there grinning, my head whipping around to find the duck, a cat's tail brushed my thigh. This place was a zoo! "What cute animals you have! What are their names?"

Elena smiled. "Well, the cat's Pato and the duck is Gato. Though, really you can call them whatever you like because they never answer when you call them anyways. They just come and go as they please."

"Uh, Pato and Gato, uh?" My mind tripped over the few words I knew of Spanish.

"Yeah, my grandma named them. My grandpa wanted to call the duck Canard."

"That's a lie!" someone shouted from outside the work area. "Don't listen to her!" Sounded like Manny.

Elena shot back. "No it's true! My grandfather was learning French for a trip to Paris and he said he wanted to name the duck Canard because it means duck in French!"

We joined Manny as we went out into the heat of the backyard. Roses and bougainvillea were everywhere. We sat at a wooden picnic table under a wooden trellis covered in magenta
bougainvillea blooms. Elena's grandma called from inside for Elena. She went into the house and the two of them returned a few moments later with tortillas, lemonade and plates of food. 

We ate, sweating but enjoying ourselves immensely. The lemonade was iced and perfect.

In between bites of rice and beans, Manny spoke. "Did Elena tell you the duck can talk?"

I looked at Elena, then Manny. He was smiling but sounded serious. "Pato can talk?"

Elena slapped her brother on the arm. "Gato. His name is Gato. The cat's name is Pato. And neither one of them can talk! Manny's pulling your leg."

"No it's true!" Manny smiled. "He's a drug-addicted duck from East LA,-"

Elena put her hand on my forearm then and said, "Just like you!"

"Hey!" I protested weakly. "I'm not addicted!"

Manny glared at his sister, "Anyways. The guy we got him from said he should be fine as long as we kept him near the house."

"So, um, Gato is a druggie duck from East LA?"

"Yep." Elena and Manny both smiled at me. 

"No way!"

"Way! Watch, I'll show you." With that, Manny got up and fetched the duck. With the duck in his lap, Manny said, "Hey Gato, what's your poison? What drug are you addicted to?"

"Quack!" Gato the duck said.

We all howled with laughter. 

"What a Canard!"

***********************
Some after-tale comments. You don't need to read further to enjoy the story, but you might get more out of it if you continue reading. 

The writing prompt was to use the word canard and/or the word rumor. Also, for those who don't know, gato is cat and pato is duck in Spanish, so the animals are misnamed in the story, on purpose. Also, the word canard does indeed mean duck in French, but it also means a lie or ruse, like a false story or tall tale. The setting is modeled after the house of my grandparents on my mother's side. My grandfather was indeed a welder, though to my knowledge they never had a duck, of any name. 

Sort of like my one of my other short stories, titled Ghost Garden, this one was written with one of my children in mind. Love you son. 

Picture for today, along with a link:

Gato Pato: A book about Duck Cat, or is it Cat Duck?




Saturday, March 10, 2018

Fistful of Dollars & Spring Break

10MAR18

It's that time again, Spring Break! Woot woot! Those magical seven days when I get a much-deserved respite from my regular-paying job and get to spend time on writing and my other hobbies. 

Today, the first day of Spring Break, my time off is spent editing an old story of mine for sale to the public later this week and getting some inspiration from books and movies. And coincidentally enough, A Fistful of Dollars is on the boob tube today. Clint Eastwood's first starring role in a movie, as The Man With No Name. It's odd to see him so young and slim. A snippet of men laughing in this movie made it into a song by Big Audio Dynamite (B.A.D.) too. Maybe, similarly, something from this movie will turn into a western story of mine in the future. 

Picture for today. Some purty artwork from Van Gogh. An example of 'Great Stuff Made by Troubled Minds.'



Saturday, March 3, 2018

A little Bit of Something for Everyone

03MAR18

First off, I had a really cool story idea today. I don't want to share it but it reminds me of that very memorable scene from Tolkien where Gandalf needs to open an ancient doorway, "Speak Friend and Enter." Still have to figure out where it will go in my stories, but I hope it evokes the same sense of mystery and ancient knowledge put to good use. The idea came to me while I was reading the beginning of The Colour Out of Space by HPL. I don't think I've ever read the whole thing, might do it over Spring Break coming up. 

Second, took some pictures of flowers today. Some came out nice, going to take some more tomorrow. But the picture for today is one of them. Enjoy. Magnolia blossom.


And last but not least, a little bit of writer humor. Should have the caption, "Butt eat past spell Czech!"