fantasy · flash friday · Short Story · Writing

Friday Flash: Dear God

This is a journal type entry for a character from a story I want to write someday (someday being when I’m done with the current WiP). I think this is back story. I’ve written other flashes for this character, here and here, at different ages.

Dear God

What is love?

Her ashes feed the sands and the heavens storm as if too they mourn her loss. But how can they?

How can they when You turned her life into such misery she took the powder to escape?

The priests tell me she is surely happy now, but what do they know? Nothing. Less than nothing. They fed her addiction to powder, used her for their own perverted pleasures. Just like Father.

Priests should know everything there is to know about how to love. But they don’t. They can’t. Or if they do, they know only venal love, carnal love and I cannot believe that is the true face of love. Your true face. But if they are false, why don’t You do anything?

And Father? He stood tonight in his heavy mourning black silks and spoke of his loss, of how the country lost its most loving voice. But all he regrets losing is the use of her during visits. He regrets the loss of so useful a daughter. If that is love, hate would be so much easier to bear.

I wish them all dead. Dead. I dream about it.

I would poison the priests. A long, slow poison. It will turn their limbs to stone and force them to howl in pain. They will die in pain and blood and vomit. They’ll lose the use of their limbs, the use of their mouth. I’ll leave them only with their eyes and ears. All the better to make them suffer when I drown their putrid, pulsing bodies. They’ll know why they die. Oh, yes, they will know.

Did they hear her screams when they used her, I wonder? But how could they be deaf to her pain? I don’t know. Monsters. They deserve a grave in the deep depths of the ocean. They will never see sunlight again.

I watched enough times to know the knife’s edge of helplessness. Her screams still haunt my dreams.

I want to crush Father’s skull, cut off his groin, bury him in the sands. No pyre, no ashes, no ceremony, just a shallow grave in the deep desert. The animals will tear apart his body better than I ever could.

And . . . and still I hold her treasure in my arms. He weighs less than a fistful of sand, yet his eyes hold such mysteries. I don’t know if this is love, what I feel when he grasps my ears, my nose. If it is, why do these tears fall? Perhaps all I feel is grief for my sister.

He looks like her, in the shape of his mouth, his eyes. Or perhaps those are Father’s eyes, Father’s mouth.

He’ll never know. I don’t know.

I do know I’ll never speak to anyone of his sire. I cannot. Such a burden might crush the poor babe.

Love seems an idea as hard to keep as water. Impossible to grasp and if you do manage, you find only brackish water. This is a corrupt world and no one is more corrupt than Your people.

I don’t know if I can love him. Help me love him. Please.


Plus, for your entertainment (in case the story bores you silly) here is my current favorite song: How To Love by Lil’ Wayne

General · reading

What is the Nonfiction Novel?

In litchat the other day, someone posted a link to the Times list of best nonfiction One of the categories is the nonfiction novel.

That strikes me as very very odd. I mean, by definition, a novel is fiction. How can it be nonfiction? I don’t get it.

But wiki has an article about it and so does the New York Times. Britannica defines it as: “story of actual people and actual events told with the dramatic techniques of a novel.”

I know you can tell a nonfiction story like you would tell a fiction story, but I thought that was narrative nonfiction. If that’s not it, what is narrative nonfiction? Or maybe creative nonfiction – I think narrative nonfiction and creative nonfiction are the same thing.

This is so confusing! Also, contradictory, because I never imagined anything could be described as both nonfiction and a novel. That’s just weird.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is supposed to have invented the genre and in the New York Times interview he says he wrote it because he a literary theory about the nonfiction novel. Something about “. . . a narrative form that employed all the techniques of fictional art but was nevertheless immaculately factual . . .“.

I am not entirely sure I understand his theory, but it sounds a lot like narrative nonfiction. Is it the same thing? I am still not sure.

Book Review · reading

Book Review: Vampire Instinct by Joey W. Hill

Amazon Summery: As servant to vampire mistress Lady Daniela, Elisa is unwaveringly devoted-but she recoils at one shocking request: destroy the untamed, undead children entrusted to her care. There is one desperate option: Malachi, a Native American vampire who is a legend for his work with rehabilitating feline predators. And as Malachi struggles to control the young ones’ impulses, he opens himself up to those of Elisa-and the passion they share for the night could seal their fates forever.

I read this awhile back and I really liked it. It’s very emotional, very intense and hot. This is a Joey W. Hill book; you know you can count on the heat factor. But it’s possibly more emotional than any other book in this series and that’s not an easy thing to do.

Malachi isn’t like other vampires. He lives away from other vampires because he doesn’t care for vampire society. Instead he stays on his island and rehabilitates large cats for release into the wild. That’s why he’s given wild, damaged vampire fledglings and asked to make them ready to live in the vampire world.

Elisa was badly traumatized in a previous book, but still tries to help the made vampire fledglings. The vampire fledglings are not children, really, in terms of years, but they are stuck in children’s bodies, in a child’s brain and always will be. It’s tragic. Despite all that, Elisa thinks of them as her children. It’s why she comes with them to Malachi’s island. They are her reason for living after her trauma.

In fact, the most intense scene involves one of the vampire children. It would be, right? Children (even if they are out-of-control, blood-sucking vampires) always tug at the heartstrings.

The oldest of them gets loose – they are kept in this enclosure, like one of those especially made habitats for dangerous predators in zoos – and rapes one of the other fledglings, a girl. Jeremiah, the second oldest boy, kills him dead. Then he wants to know if Malachi is going to kill them. It’s pretty heart-breaking.

Malachi doesn’t, but in order to introduce them to vampire society, he needs to go out into it himself. He takes Elisa with him as his servant.

That’s where I had trouble with this book. Despite being a servant all her life, Elisa has never participated in any of the sexual games vampires play. It’s odd. Malachi has to teach her, and yeah, she performs beautifully but still . . . It’s was just an odd note in an otherwise wonderful book.

Also the romance . . .yeah, this is a romance and I need at least a paragraph about the romance. The romance is strong from page 1.

It develops through the children, through Malachi helping her with her trauma, through Elisa helping him through his. Yes, he has trauma in his past, too. There are reasons why he lives on an island with no other vampires. It’s slow and pretty damn believable. They need each other.

It develops through the sex, too, but they are probably the least important element in this novel. The sex scenes are hot and kinky and all that. They certainly contribute to the story, but despite them, I would have to call this more romance than erotica.

If you take out all the sex scenes, you still have a very solid story. This is not true for other Joey W. Hill novels. Vampire Trinity, for example. In that one, if you take out the sex scenes, you lose a large chunk of the story.

General · reading · science fiction · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: 1984

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Reading this for Banned Book Week!

My Teasers: 

He had given a quick glance up and down the street and then had slipping inside and bought the book for two dollars fifty. At the time he was not conscious of wanting it for any particular purpose. He had carried it guiltily home in his brief case. Even with nothing written in it, it was a compromising possession.

– 1984 by George Orwell

Interesting Links
Book Review — 1984 by George Orwell (caffeinesymposium)

George Orwell’s manuscript for 1984 (thefictiondesk)

Short Story · Writing

Succinctly Yours: Fall Cleanup

Succinctly Yours is a weekly meme by grandma. Of this meme she says:

How low can you go?

Use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters OR 140 words. It doesn’t have to be exactly 140, just not more. This one is 139 characters.

Distracted by the sound of her kids laughing, she looked out the window. They were playing, throwing leaves around. “Bag them,” she called.


Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week starts today and goes on until October 1, 2011.

I decided I should honor it by reading one. There are probably some in my TBR list anyway and I won’t have to break my rule of no more books until the TBR list is in single digits.

I started by looking up lists of banned books and discovered the American Library Association (ALA) has some excellent lists. They keep track of this stuff.

For 2010 the top banned/challenged books are:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
    Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

I’ve not read Revolutionary Voices or And Tango Makes Three, but they were banned/challenged because of homosexuality. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I mean, there was a recent furor over agents rejecting books because of gay characters. In this day and age, when people are still trying ban/challenge books because of  homosexuality, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

I’ve only read three of these books: Brave New World, The Hunger Games and Twilight.

I can kind of understand of Brave New World and The Hunger Games. I don’t agree with it, but I can kind of understand it. A little. Brave New World’s use of science is pretty scary, not that it’s cited as a reason, but I imagine that’s why someone would ban/challenge it. The Hunger Games are pretty violent, but it fits the book and I am not sure I agree it’s “unsuited to age group”.

But Twilight? Seriously? What’s there to object to in Twilight? I don’t like Twilight, mind, but what about the religious viewpoint and violence? It’s not even that violent. And the religious viewpoint thing is pretty out there. I don’t get it. I really don’t get it. Maybe someone can explain it to me?

Also, for this past decade, from 2000-2009, the top banned/challenged book is the Harry Potter series. I look at that and laugh. It makes less sense than objecting to Twilight (which at least has vampires. Even if they are sparkly.) Harry Potter has the classic fantasy quest thing going on, some of the best world building around, great characters. How can anyone object to it?

Also, I still haven’t decided on a banned book to read, but 1984 appears on the ALA’s list of banned and challenged classics. Should be good.

fantasy · flash friday · Short Story · Writing

Friday Flash & Second Campaigner Challenge: synchronicity miasma lacuna oscitate imago

I am using the second campaigner challenge for my Friday flash. Please like me, I am number 38 on the list.

The idea is to write something 200 words long; use the word “imago” in the title; use these words in the text: synchronicity, miasma, lacuna and oscitate.

I had to look up some words:

Imago: The fully developed adult stage of an insect; an idealized mental image of someone, esp. a parent, that influences a person’s behavior.

Lacuna: An unfilled space or interval; a gap; a missing portion in a book or manuscript; a cavity or depression, esp. in bone

Oscitate: (Oscitation) A yawn (from the Middle English yanen, an alteration of yonen or yenen, which in turn comes from the Old English geonian ), is a reflex of simultaneous inhalation of air and stretching of the eardrums, followed by exhalation of breath.

Small baskets of eggs sat on the desk in front of him. The test was to hatch an egg and grow it into an insect.

He’d failed last year. This year was no different.

“Begin!” the instructor demanded.

Prace wiped sweaty palms on his uniform pants and said the words. “Imago miasma lacuna oscitate synchronicity.”

A tiny crack appeared in one basket. A small sickly-white larva crawled out.

Behind him, his classmates snickered.

The instructor sighed and pinched the larva off. “Again, Prace.”

Prace knew this wasn’t going to work. But he took a deep breath and centered himself. Magic was a deep pool inside his head or so the instructor said. The right language could release it. Only he never got the language right and he couldn’t leave school until he failed again.

“Synchronicity lacuna miasma oscitate imago.”

Another basket cracked up and a brown-wrapped bundle flopped out.

The instructor deposited it into a bag. “Better. Once more.”

As if all he needed was one more chance. But he said the words again.

“Synchronicity miasma lacuna oscitate imago.”

This time a beautiful black and blue butterfly came out and flew into his palm.

Prace stared in disbelief. “It tickles.”


I’ve been Tagged & Versatile Blogger Award

Yeah, I am doing two or maybe three things in one blog post.

Pamela V. Mason tagged me for Ten Fascinating Facts about Me Meme! Mari and Rance gave me the Versatile Blogger Award. Mari gave it to me a long time ago and I am very, very sorry it took me so long to do this but I didn’t know what to say (still don’t!) or who to give it to. I still don’t, but I am ad-libbing as I go.

You are supposed to write down seven things about yourself for the Versatile Blogger Award, but I figure I will do ten. It can serve two purposes at once (which is the best way to write a scene, isn’t it?)

Ten random, fascinating things about me:

  1. I like spicy food.
  2. I love love love nail polish. Reds, pinks, purples, blues, black, blues – I think I have every shade ever created. My nails are a lovely sparkly pink at present.
  3. I missed this season’s Dancing with the Stars first episode.
  4. I have a new rule where I am not going to get any new books until the TBR list down to single digits. I made up this rule last week when I discovered my TBR list had about 40 books in it. So far, so good. But reading 31 books (9 is a single digit!) could take months. Months!!! 😦
  5. I dislike summer heat. I dislike winter cold. Spring is too rainy. Fall is the only season I like.
  6. I loved mysteries as a child. Not fantasy, not science fiction, but mysteries. It is odd since I now write mostly fantasy.
  7. I dislike cooking, but like watching cooking shows. Odd, huh?
  8. I am always listening to music. On my iPod, on the computer, on the TV. The music is on somewhere.
  9. I don’t know if I am going to do NaNo. It’s kind of scary.
  10. And, because, I am running out of things to say: My favorite color is red.

People from Writer Campaign I am tagging: Cristina Dos SantosLindy and Claire. Pam only picked three people so I think I am stopping here.

Some people pick 15 for the Versatile Blogger Award, others pick 4. I am going with five: Tony Noland, Helen, DanniTimMr. FAR.







reading · science fiction · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Afterlife

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

“The Cities of the Dead are gone,” I answered in my best monotone. Nobody needed cemeteries anymore. The empty carcasses left over after resurrection were just piled into incinerators and toasted.

– Afterlife (Resurrection Chronicles 01) by Merrie Destefano

Book Review

Book Review: Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh

Goodreads Summery: The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…

Archangel’s Blade is Dimitri and Honor’s book. I am kind of disappointed it’s not another episode in Elena and Raphael’s life (the couple in the last three books). But not too disappointed. Come on, this is Dimitri, Elena’s nemesis. Plus, just look at that cover.

I have to say, in past books, I didn’t really like Dimitri. Part of that is probably because Elena is the main character in the other books and she doesn’t like him. He doesn’t like her, either. He hurts her; he constantly winds her up. (Winding someone up is a phrase I found in books by British authors. I quite like it.) Anyway, he’s a jerk in past books. In this book, he’s a sympathy hero. The way she does that, transforming him from a jerk to a likeable hero, well, I am just amazed.

There are hints in the other books about Dimitri’s painful past. Nothing explicit, it’s all just kind of in the background and I still dismissed him as an ass. This book explains it all. It explains in a way that is not sentimental or overdone, but just right. I am amazed. He has to kill his own child – and I didn’t even know he had a child, let alone two. Painful. All his past memories, they range from sweet to bittersweet to painful. He’s never forgiven himself. (Yes, that is a lot like other troubled, painful-past heroes, but Dimitri is better written than a lot of them, including the bulk of Dark Hunters, even though that sounds sacrilegious.)

Honor is the heroine; she is a hunter, but her skills are primarily academic. As a child, she bounces from foster home to foster home and later she’s kidnapped by vampires for months. She’s a mess when they get her back. With Dimitri, she begins to regain confidence. It’s fast, but not hard to believe. Of course, it’s just as easy to believe that if Dimitri hadn’t come into her life, she wouldn’t have regained her confidence.

Minus points – the summary talks about murder, headless bodies and distinctive tattoos. All that is there, but it seems almost a secondary plot in the book. Capturing the vampires who tortured Honor is more important and the two have nothing to do with each other. Except as a means to bring Honor and Dimitri together.

The romance between the two is really great. In the end she agrees to become a vampire – that isn’t such a surprise, is it? It’s hardly a HEA ending if you know your SO won’t survive your death a second time (yes, a second time!!!!! The first time was centuries in the past. He barely survived his own grief).

Grade: A-