Monday, August 30, 2010

Fight, Fight, Fight Blogfest!

So I got carried away with the fairy tale :P This one is shorter. I promise. And It's a rewrite of a scene from Silver Mask! Still rough though >.< So whatever commentary you have is more than welcome. I want to thank JC Martin the Fighter Writer for hosting this one :D I love reading action scenes, but I always feel mine are forced :( So I posted on facebook "Help Me!" And Ariane Broome, got me in touch with Casey Michael Parcell, a martial artist kind enough to give me some ideas. Best yet, we worked out various this is my first time doing "non-book" research (it feels like experimental archaeology, but for writing instead of "how did people do this?" :P)

So here you go:

First, Ethirin stopped by the kitchens. The cook listened to his whispered command and made the apple-bread. She held off from the sweets for so long, that those who knew nothing thought there was a celebration. Those who know ate their bread in tiny, somber bites.
After the bread found its way to their hands, the rebels moved. First they overran and defeated, the overseers. Next, they marched toward the factories.
By the time Ethirin reached the slave market, the battle began in earnest. At first, he stayed to the shadows, out of site. The Imperial soldiers appeared in the square. They wore gray leather sewn with black thread. A crown of ice embroidered at their breast. While Ethirin's men encouraged a pseudo-riot, the soldiers marched into square in formation. Then, the slaves, brought to Imperial Kordic from all over the globe, dropped sticks and rocks.
Silence. And from the barrels, strapped bellow benches, tucked away in tidy corners, each man and woman found a weapon. Then, they fell into their own sort of formation, with the Imperial Soldiers trapped in the center. So few compared to Ethirin's many.
He pulled two swords from the undercarriage of a hay wagon, and when he stood, he called: “Thea!” Home. What they fought for.
Ethirin moved forward. His steps in sync with his men. The imperial soldiers fell into a defensive circle, standing shoulder to shoulder. The first to engage Ethirin raised his sword a bit high. Ethirin dodged below swiping one blade across the man's wrist, severing the artery. Etherin's opponent dropped his sword, clamping his left hand around his right wrist to staunch the bleeding. But he still advanced. Ethirin rolled under the man's reach as the soldier tried to lift the heavy sword in his left hand. Ethirin jabbed his right sword through the man's left foot and pinned him to the ground. He swiped his second sword to the right and sliced the larger soldier's right thigh. The man crumpled, and two men fell on him as they squeezed in to prevent the slaves' advance.
Ethirin didn't try to block. He was short, and raised to fight monsters these soldiers had never seen. He raised his right sword to meet the blow, but moved with it. He carried the lunge into the second foe. The two soldiers stared at each other in surprise. But the soldiers' arm was still extended, his blade embedded in his fellow's lung. Ethirin pierced his left sword into the man's armpit, and heaved through. The tip nicked chain mail on the top of the shoulder. Both men fell over together.
Ethirin pulled his swords clean. He looked from side to side, but only his men stood. Fewer. So many fewer. But this was only one fight in the larger battle.
“To Castle Koarv,” he told Darrim when the man met his eye.
“To Castle Koarv.”

Fairy Tale Blogfest!

Thank you Emily White for hosting the Fairy Tale blogfest! I got a bit carried away :( But! No fantasy elements...which I thought would be difficult. The Fairy Tale I found is The Bronze Ring, an Arabic Fairy Tale. While I set the story in a contemporary (American) setting (cuz that's what I know)I chose Arabic names in order to refer to the original tale. Tell me what you think? Sorry 'bout the length.

Malik didn't return to the mansion until a month after his mother's funeral. She had lived in the large home with a few housekeepers and a cook. The gardener had passed years before, and while the hamdyman nurtured the garden to the best of his ability, the roses withered and the trees drooped. His daughter was about to start High School, so it was time for a change anyway.
Malik, his wife, Yafiya, and daughter Zahrah, moved into the great mansion two weeks before school started. They left their estate outside town, for the smaller surrounds of the city home. The family settled in while their servants cleaned and ordered the mansion. But the garden remained wilted and brown.
Zahrah sat on a rusting metal bench, despairing. Her father found her there.
“I know how you loved the gardens in the country,” he said, resting a comforting hand on his daughter's shoulder.
“Grandma taught me to,” she said. “How could she let it get so bad?”
“Do you want to revive the garden?”
She shook her head, her eyes tearing. “I will be too busy with school. Dad, would you hire a gardener?”
He squeezed her shoulder. “Certainly.”
“And not just any gardener,” she cautioned, “one who's family has been in the business for generations. So we can trust that they really know what they're doing.”
“I promise, Zahrah.”
“Thank you, Dad.”
A week later he had a gardener. The gardener had a son. Together they dug out the weeds, they replanted roses and jasmine.
Zahrah and her mother returned, laden with bags of clothes and school supplies. Her father greeted her at the door.
“I found a gardener,” he said.
Zahrah dropped the bags just inside the door and ran to the garden. Her father's chuckle echoed through the cavernous room and followed through the halls. She shouldered open the garden door, and hastened down the short stair into the garden. The gardener's son looked up from trowel and dirt.
“Oh, thank you! Thank you!” She called to the gardener and his son.
The gardener nodded, but his son beamed.
“The garden must mean a lot to you, miss,” said the Gardener.
“It was my Grandma's. I'd help, but school starts next week...”
“Where are you going?” asked the son.
“The one over on D'Oro Ave.”
“So am I!”
Zahrah grinned. “What's your name?”
“I'm Zahrah. See you in class, and thanks again!” She waved and returned to her rooms, where the servants sorted her school clothes.
By the time Zahrah and Harith plunged into finals, ending the academic year, the garden bloomed. Zahrah would find bouquets of fresh flowers around the house, and she knew it was Harith. He left them at her favorite garden bench, at on the table in the breakfast nook where she studied, and in a vase next to her bedroom door. He continued to pass her flowers into their sophomore year and junior year, though they barely had a chance to talk at school. Occasionally, in the gardens they swapped stories of gardening, of their days at school, teachers and exams.
Meanwhile, Makil tended the district office of Imad Corp., as his father had before him. The company was in the midst of expansion, and CEO had come to town three months before Zahrah's prom. Makil invited the CEO, Kadar, and his family to dinner.
Kadar had one son, Sami, who was about Zahrah's age. Over a dinner of Hummus, olive bread, and lamb, Sami watched Zahrah. She blushed and tried to keep her head tucked down, with the bouquet of lavender, geraniums and daisies between them. Malik noticed and aproved, letting his daughter know it with a quirk of his lip.
Zahrah felt a stone settle in stomach. Sami's chiseled features and dark complexion were certainly appealing, but she wasn't interested.
The next week, Sami transferred to her school. He shared several classes with her, and found his way into conversations. Harith glowered at a distance. Then prom neared.
Sami asked her out before Harith could. She weedled out of the conversation, and fled home as soon as the school bell rang.
“Should I?” she asked her father over dinner.
“But why?”
“Sami has wealth and position, should it work,” he shrugged, “You will at least maintain quality of life.”
“But I love Harith!” she blurted. Her hand flew to her mouth, as if by covering her lips she could stuff the words back behind her teeth.
“What?!” her father thundered.
“Please, Dad. Please.”
“All right, if you claim Harith is the better man, let's devise a contest.”
When the gardener and his son returned to tend the flowers, Makil called Harith to meet him. Sami was already there. The two boys scowled at each other, but sat respectfully before Makil.
“It is my understanding that both of you wish to take my daughter to the prom.”
“Yes,” they said, in unison, then swapped glares.
“You will go on a treasure hunt around town, and whoever returns with more items, shall win.”
Both boys agreed, and marched to the front door. Zahrah hid in the shadows of the porch,sitting still. When she saw Harith, she stood. He turned upon hearing the creak of the bench swing.
Sami had already climbed into his fancy ferrari, and already sped down the street.
“I have something for you,” Zahrah told Harith, “Here,” she pressed a plastic square into his hand.
“Your credit card?”
“There's a note on the back. If you don't exceed the number there...all will be well.”
“I love you. Go. Win this so I don't have to see that annoying Sami again. He's got a head start already!”
Harith said nothing. He tucked the card into his wallet even as he hurried to his old truck. It spluttered groaned as he started it up. Zahrah watched from the doorway.

Sami hit a red light at the intersection. He pounded the wheel with an open palm.
“Could you gimme a ride?” asked an old homeless woman on the island.
Sami recoiled in the seat. “No way!” He rolled up his window and raced forward as soon as the light changed.

Harith hit a red light at the intersection. He sighed, and swiped a calloused hand through his dark hair.
“Could you gimme a ride?” asked the old homeless woman.
“Where to?” asked Harith.
“The local YMCA.”
“Hop in,” said Harith, opening the door. “I think I can make the time.”
Her pockets rattled with pills. Her clothes reeked, but not as bad as the manure he hauled for his father. She stuffed plastic bags at her feet, full of empty soda cans and glass bottles.

Sami sped to the first place on the list. But when he glanced down to review the address, he missed the light. An Escalade rammed his ferrari on the passenger-side. He spun. The SUV squealed to a halt. Sami couldn't think straight. Was that a concussion? There was someone shouting at him. Then, sirens. He lay flat on his back, a swirl of faces around him.
Somewhere near by, a woman wailed. “It was green! It was green!”
Doors closed all sound out. The sirens just grew louder.

Harith and the woman arrived at the YMCA. She convinced him to help her inside, to find a cot. They checked in at the main gate, before winding through the halls toward the beds. As they passed the basketball court, they heard shouting.
“Help! Help!”
The guide held up a finger, as if to say, “One moment.”
Harith and the old woman followed.
“It's the Governor!” Someone called.
Harith looked around, sure enough, a whole camera crew and security detail milled about the room. The media people shifted, or stood helpless, loaded down with their heavy equipment. The security men were on their knees with a woman in a thin skirt and blazer. She must have been the reporter conducting the interview.
“Here,” the old woman pressed pills into his hand. “Give it to him.”
Harith handed over the pills. The security guard nodded, and called for water. Harith, knelt to the side, waiting. When he looked up to find the old woman, she was gone. He presumed she vanished in pursuit of a cot.
When the EMT arrived, he unpacked the kit. The Governor lifted his head. “I'm okay, I'm okay.”
The EMT shook his head in befuddlement. “What happened?”
“We were given a pill, from him.” Said a security guard.
“And you administered it?!” responded the EMT.
“Yes,” said the security guard, sheepishly. “It looked exactly like his medications at home.”
“What are you taking?” asked the EMT of the Governor.
The Governor rattled off latin titles that Harith could not understand.
The EMT's shoulders drooped in relief, then he looked over at Harith. “It looks like you saved his life.”
“I've got to thank him properly!” said the governor. “What were you doing today...?”
“Halith,” he said.
“Halith! What are your plans today?” the Governor picked himself up.
Halith wet his lips. “I have these things to find, sir.” He handed the Governor Makil's list.

Sami woke in the hospital. The nurse told him they were only holding him for a few hours, but his car had been towed. It was sitting in a shop on Broadway. They had the address.
Sami nodded. “How soon can I leave?”
“We'll let you know,” said the nurse.

The Governor, driver, and the whole media crew helped Halith find the items Makil marked. The Governer added a few items of his own, clothing Halith for his prom. His story was to make the evening news. Then on the steps of the state capitol, he was bestowed with a brass ring, with the state seal fixed into the band. The photographers took pictures of Halith shaking hands with the Governor.

Sami stumbled into his clothes as soon as they let him go. He called for a taxi and they met him in front of the hospital. He passed the address of the shop to the driver, and climbed out as soon as the driver stopped. The taxi sped off, the wheels kicking up excess sprinkler-water filling the gutter. Sami cursed and lifted his arm to guard his face. Still, his entire right side was covered in splattering drops.
“My car?” he asked the mechanic on his coffee break.
“Which one?”
“The ferrari.”
The mechanic guffawed. “Two weeks. At least.”
Sami grumbled. The mechanic saluted him. On his way out of the shop, he slipped in grease, and landed on his left side.
He had to call a new taxi to ferry him from place to place. The taxi driver did him no favors. Sami landed in mud, trudged through an alleway to find a back entrance to a shop where he stepped in dog feces. On his way from the shop, he hid from some thugs in the alley, and when he stood he was mired in dirt.
By the time he returned to Makil's home, he was ragged and dirty. But he still beat Halith. Makil was displeased by the state of him, but grateful that it was Sami and not Halith. A servant saw to Sami's bath, rinsed and dried his clothes. When he was as clean as his tattered jeans and shirt allowed, he sat with the family.
Makil and Sami made plans for Zahrah's prom. She, meanwhile, sat dejected and silent. Her head hung over her hands.
Then there was a knock on the door. Halith entered with all the items requested, clad in his tux. Zahrah's eyes lit, her shoulders straightened.
“What is your story?” Makil asked, evaluating Halith.
After Halith told him, and allowed: “Zahrah and I have even been promised to be interviewed on the day of the prom. I promise, it will give you and your company a lot of positive press.”
Zahrah swallowed a giggle, poorly. Her father relented, dismissing Sami. On the night of the prom, Zahrah and Halith danced till midnight. For once, they didn't have to hide.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Word Paint Blogfest!

Thank you Dawn Embers for hosting the Word Paint Blogfest! Not only does this fellow blogger have an awesome name, it's Dawn! My middle name :P (My mother called me Andrea (on-dree--uh) Dawn half the time growing up, but when I was 13 and started going by Drea (Dray-uh)the pattern fell away. Besides, Drea Dawn just doesn't sound right...I think it could do as a dinosaur name, though :P Thankfully, didn't figure this out until after 20...otherwise my little brother would likely have had even more fun at expense than he did.

So onto another bit from Silver Mask (or not). I don't count myself a master of description. I think it's one of my weakest areas :( So that's why I signed up! Exercise is good.


Kyr recognized her instantly. Not who she was, but her title: Taeverai. She crossed under the marble lintel while the servants held wide the bronze doors and he knew. Her long green skirts adorned in ivory and golden embroidery proclaimed her family standing. She was the younger child of Old Ones. The taeree, an apron-like garment few Rextian women still wore, told him she followed the traditions. Her young face belied the age her outfit led him to assume, and then lamplight glinted on her hand. A ring. He didn't need to see it to know what it looked like. All Taeverai had one. A ruby set in gold, etched with one phrase: “Re zath chem.” I know and I listen.
But what was she doing here?
She wore her braids in a tight knot on her head. She was unwed, only two thin braids fell from the bun and down her back. Two jeweled pins glinted in her brown locks. She had stuffed them deep, likely to hide the tarnish. Mothers passed rare items to their daughters, and no Rextian was wealthy enough to buy such pieces new. All Rextian jewelry remaining in the frozen north had been crafted before their ancestors fled the falling kingdom across the seas. Centuries old.
Why here? Why Now?
She curtsied in the Kordic way, reminding him he sat on his throne in Castle Ednin. His hall, where he answered only to the Emperor. He shouldn't know what she was. A Taeverai must have no meaning to him. Her position as the keeper of Rextian knowledge and tradition could not be recognized here. He could not defer to her with the respect her station deserved. No matter what he thought, really thought. More disguise, more lies.
He forced his mouth into the familiar thin line, and pretended he couldn't read the Rextian codes etched into her attire. Only another Rextian would be trained to read those things. She couldn't know. He couldn't let anyone else know.
For Jira, he thought, and assumed the cold, dispassionate posture an outsider would expect of the imposing Lord Kyr Ednin.

All right...there might be one solid paragraph or two of description. Do I need more? What else would you like top "see"?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rainy Day Blogfest

I am back to the blogfest rounds! Whoohoo! I want to thank Christine H. blogging at The Writer's Hole for hosting this. In my early drafts I usually have an issue with time. I tend not to give enough weather cues to help recognize the passage of months, years, whatnot. It's something I'm working on :P So this exercise was particularly valuable in stretching those writer-ly muscles :D Hope you enjoy!

# # # #

Shayla paused mid-swipe with her dust cloth. The first of the autumn rain tapped the window, distracting her from her task. She folded the cloth as she moved toward the rocking chair. Ah, she thoughts as she sat, here is why Omae-Hehriya loves this spot so. Looking down on the town, she could see almost every corner, every street. But in Gellayna's empty room all was safe. There were no entanglements with the guards winding their way into the merchant's square with their hoods were lifted against the rain, and shoulders hunched against the wind. Or the smugglers doing their best to avoid the guards, dragging a heavy box through the mud of a street running parallel. So much life, and from the room of Omae's absent daughter.

There's something sad about that, Shayla thought. The message was made even more poignant in the rain. Death and life seemed so close together, and the world...felt silent. She could sit and watch the children race through the streets and dodge about the guards stomping through the mud, but the steady streams of water made the world feel muted. It was distant. Like looking at everything through a gauze curtain.
Does Omae feel this way all the time? Both her children gone to who knows where? And Ehjin...

Shayla stood as soon as her thoughts strayed back to her husband. He had work to do, she shouldn't be worried. But fear of potential dangers nagged her, no matter how she wished it away. So she dusted. She cared for Gellayna's parents, because Gellayna was no longer there to do so.
Now, as she glided into the hall, to get away from the rain, one image haunted her thoughts. Ehjin, on a farmer's mount, traveling from village to village, spreading word. Planning an evacuation no one wanted. Plotting resistance in the rain and mud. While Gellayna remained in the cold Ednin castle to the north, and Teshen did whatever he did...

Who's life? Who's death? And would the rain prolong it, or just grant the illusion of distance?

“Ah!” Omae Hehriya called as Shayla made her way down the stair. “I made soup! Perfect for today, yes?” The old woman beamed at her, but Shayla was beginning to develop an idea of what pains she hid. She hid them well. I must learn to hide my fears so skillfully.

“Soup!” Khirisse called, trailing her toddling sister as she rushed in from the outdoors.

“Children!” Shayla and Omae said at once.

“Mud,” Shayla reminded in a softer tone. Khirisse looked down at her self and winced. “Ays' fault.”

“I'm sure,” Shayla said, “But get out of those clothes first.”

“All right.” Khirisse heaved a sigh. When her daughter was on the stair, Shayla rolled her eyes.

Omae laughed. “I'm sure you were every bit as over dramatic as they.”

“It's entirely possible.”

“Now, how about that soup?”

“Perfect, Omae.” But in the kitchen, spoon in hand, she heard the rain again and thought of her absent loved ones. All over again, she worried how they fared.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Old Books

About a week ago, my guy finished Sanderson's Warbreaker and comes to me asking "What should I read next?"

Naturally, I have a lot of books. At one point I had read all that I have on my shelves, but a few years ago my collection surpassed my ability to keep up. and I have become very picky about new books. I find myself going to the bookstore and browsing, just browsing. I'm completely indecisive! Some little voice says: But you haven't finished X yet, you really should. And my budget and eye-strain prompt me to hold'll still be there next year, and if not...well, it'll be online.

So I didn't have a new book to share. I puzzled through my bookshelves, thinking: "He likes adventure, the high fantasy stuff...Goodkind, Keyes, Sanderson...and there, I found a book I'd nearly forgotten about. Aurian, by Maggie Furey. Yes, you can find it on Amazon. I read the book in 96/97 when I was 13. I loved it. I remember that I was enrolled in a private Independent Study School that year, and my mother had fits trying to get me to do my homework. I distinctly remember Aurian stashed atop a large bookcase to prevent me from reading rather than studying. I pulled a chair over, snatched the book, and returned it to it's supposed captivity before my parents returned home from work.

But now as my guy mentions snippets of plot I realize I have forgotten so much...I think it might be time to reread my most formative books. My favorite books, most of which were published from 94-2000. Since then, I've just gotten picky...and I think anthro readings have inspired me to look at world building a bit differently :P

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Slow Progress

I've a lot of things on my plate right now :(

1) Job hunt continues! I've had some recent success with careerbuilder. Meaning, I'm actually getting calls! Yay!

2) Event planning and promotion of Leafkin Anthology release. Via mediabistro e-newsletters, I've certainly been piecing together some plans...which I'll start implementing next week...

3) Non-profit forms for SWS. Something else I'm getting back to next week :P

4) New project with my mother which we've been working on for two weeks :D This is the best bet for income, and when the website goes live, I'll post an explanation, Till then we're kinda keeping the whole thing under wraps. But! I have been writing for it. Non-fiction...but still...writing!

5) I'm inching into the Silver Mask rewrite. It's brief, so far, but I feel like this a great start :D

6) The boyfriend's education. He went part time to community college so I could get my degree. But with the economy so poor, and the market inundated with college degrees, life just hasn't gone according to plan. So now we're chasing after Financial Aid, Grants and Loans, so he can get out of IT and focus on Biology. The sooner he can do that, the less stress for the both of us :P

Transitional phases suck. I think that sentence sums up the last year and a half.