Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bickering Blogfest – Steam Palace

Bickering Blogfest – Steam Palace

Thanks to Kristen Yard for hosting The Bickering Blogfest! (My characters? Bicker???) Check out the other entries!

So this isn’t an actual scene from my novel, but I realized it would be a perfect time for some bickering between Sophia (the milkmaid-turned-burleque-pianist-turned-undercover-agent-turned-cavalier-turned-fugitive) and Viola (the Bad Girl who is Sophia’s long-lost twin sister, although technically Sophia is Viola’s long-lost twin sister, but I digress).

There’s a body, and I’m not saying whose. But it’s kind of a problem.

0-bloody-moni-b666 Sophia shoved the heavy body but it clung to her frame. “A little assistance please.”

Viola hovered, her dark features dripping with the dead man’s blood. She placed her hands on the man’s torso, and together, they rolled him off the bed. He thumped the floor with a sick thud.

Sophia looked at her waist. “His blood is everywhere! I’m soaked!”

Viola smirked. “Would you rather I waited for a more convenient  moment?”

Sophia leaned over and looked at the dripping corpse. “We can’t leave him there. What if someone calls on him?”

Viola crossed her arms. “We must return him to bed. Then if someone calls, we will act as if he were in the throes of passion.”

“He’s dead! You want us to lay with him? I do not wish to even touch him.” Sophia shivered.

Viola wiped her hands on her corset. “Maybe we can shove him under the bed.”

Sophia swallowed the rising bile. “Look at that puddle. How much blood can one man have? It’s crawling along the cracks in the floor board. We cannot leave him here. And this bedding is ruined. Not to mention that we both appear slightly guilty in the matter.”

Viola turned and walked away. “Good point. I shall escape by the window.”

Sophia reached out. “No! We can’t leave, it will bring suspicion.”

“I think the body will bring suspicion.”

Sophia glanced down at the man, still pouring his lifeblood onto the floor. “What about the tub? We’ll just say he slipped and fell.”

Viola laughed, blood shimmering in the light. “Dear sister. How does one slip and fall into a dozen stab wounds?”

“I don’t know!” Tears formed in her eyes. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Viola’s eyes narrowed. “And I’ve never had to sit and watch the body stiffen. Do you think I enjoy this? We should be miles away by now.”

Sophia breathed, forcing her trembling limbs to quiet. “Okay, to the bathroom then. We shall lock him in, explain that he consumed some rotten whalemeat. You know what that does to one’s digestion.”

Sophia slid out of bed and waved Viola over. They each grabbed a leg. “Okay, ready?” She yanked on the foot, but her feet slipped on the oozing blood and the floor smacked her butt. Viola hovered over her, shaking her head.

Sophia placed her fists on her temples. “This is impossible! What can we do?”

“Back on the bed then.”

The two maneuvered around and grabbed the slick body, but its dead weight would not budge.

Sophia stood and stomped her foot. “This is all your fault. We were well hidden in that cave, but you insisted on revealing yourself.”

Viola frowned. “And you could have had everything with him. You made your choice, I made mine.”

Sophia sighed and looked at the corpse, then at the bed. “Okay, here’s what we do. Tie a bed sheet around him, then drape the sheet over our shoulders and pull him like a donkey would.”

“I am not a donkey!”

“Viola, please. Mechohorse then. How is that?”

Viola sniffed. “I am no beast of burden. I had to do the killing, and now you want me to perform heavy labor? Did you ever consider that I might be a bit distraught at this moment? Do you think killing is an easy thing?”

Sophia slapped her thighs. “And I had to endure his assault. Viola, this bickering is getting us nowhere. Now unless you have a better suggestion, I would like to remove his body as soon as possible.”

“Throw him out the window? Ooh...the fireplace. Burn him.” Her eyes glowed.

“You want to either toss him out the window in plain view of a thousand infantrymen or burn him in the fireplace so a thousand men can smell our crime?”

Viola threw up her hands. “I usually want people to find the body, to send a message. Hmm. Throw a rug over him?”

Sophia had an impulse to strangle her sister. “No.”

The corpse groaned. Sophia squealed. “He’s still alive! Viola, he’s still alive!” She jumped across the bed and huddled on the other side.

Viola looked at her and laughed. “You really are new to this. Corpses make all sorts of noises. See?” She stood on the body and jumped up and down. Each jump resulted in a small groan.

“Viola, stop! Please! You are making me gag!”

A knock rapped on the door. The women looked at each other. “Just a minute,” called Viola. “Come, help me push him.” 

Sophia sprang over, slipping and sliding, and together, they shoved the body under the bed. Viola dragged a carpet over the blood while Sophia made the bed and blew out some candles.

Viola pointed down. “Okay Sophia, hide with him.”

“What? Under the bed?”

“It’s the only way. Hurry.”

Sophia crawled next to the corpse.

“Come in,” called Viola from under the sheets.

A young man entered. “I have a message for ______”  He waved an envelope.

“He’s taken quite ill, I’m afraid,” said Viola. “He’ll be unavailable for a while.”

Just at that moment, the corpse groaned again. Sophia almost screamed but bit her finger.

“Yes, I can hear,” said the man. “Sounds like he’s on death’s door. Okay, make sure he receives it. We need his response right away.”

“Will do, as soon as he’s able. Just leave it over there,” said Viola from under the covers.

Sophia crawled back out after the man left. Viola smiled, reached out her arms, and wiped the blood off her shoulders and back. “You see? We’ll get through this.”

Sophia shuddered. “As long as the blood doesn’t start dripping through the floor.”

Viola picked her feet up as if that made a difference. “Shoot. I hadn’t thought about that.”

“Yes, you did not think about any of this, did you?”

And the bickering continues….

Secret Blogfest – Steam Palace

“Secret” Blogfest – Steam Palace

Thanks to Tara Fouts for hosting the “Secret” Blogfest. Go check out the other entries!

Okay, I was going to use this for the Cognitive Dissonance Blogfest that was cancelled, but it works here too. Sophia has just read a hand-written note from Viola who has fled the country. I hope this doesn’t reveal too much. It’s a little over a third of the way into the novel. Sophia has been wrestling with the fact that she and Viola look almost identical although they grew up on opposite sides of society.

letter0004 Sophia sat at the kitchen table chewing a slice of rich, dark bread, studying the last line over and over again. “Your true sister.” Double underlined? A hand clenched her heart and the bread fell from her mouth. For a week she had lain in bed in Beatrice’s residence, hiding ugly bruises from the world, sulking in misery at the injustices of life. This morning, a courier delivered the note.

“Beatrice,” she said. No response. “Beatrice!” Her constricting throat cracked her voice.

The woman rumbled down the stairs. “Yes, yes, Sophia, what is it?”

Sophia passed the note to Beatrice.

Beatrice’s eyes went wide; her hand found her mouth. “Viola has fled the country. I feared it would come to this someday.”

“That’s not what I find most upsetting. Read the last line.”

Beatrice swallowed. “Well, she thinks of you as her sister.”

Beatrice would not meet Sophia’s gaze. Why? ”What are you hiding from me? What does she underline ‘true’ twice? What is she trying to tell me?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know.” Her downcast eyes and shaking head betrayed her.

“Beatrice Harwinton. Is Viola Willamante my actual sister? Answer me!” Sophia stood up and faced the shivering woman.

Beatrice turned, ran upstairs, and slammed her bedroom door shut.

Sophia pursued and pounded on the oak door. “Open this door at once! I demand to know the truth!”

“You don’t want the truth,” she cried, “you don’t want it!”

“I do! Please, Beatrice. By your actions I can only assume that Viola is my actual sister.” And if Viola is my sister—how could such a thing be possible? Scenarios churned her mind. Had Viola been stolen as a child? Then why hadn’t Shelby or Mother ever told her? Sophia pounded on the door again.

“WHO IS VIOLA WILLAMANTE!” Sophia’s throat convulsed into choking coughs, and she fell to her knees, gagging.

The door unlatched. Tears flooded Beatrice’s eyes.

“Please,” rasped Sophia. “How did Mother or Shelby not know I had a sister? Or my father? But you knew, didn’t you? That’s why you took her in. She must have been stolen from us. Tell me, please.”

Beatrice slumped to the floor next to Sophia, her hands pressed to eyes. A sob escaped her throat. “They never knew. I am so ashamed. You never needed to know. But the truth is…” The woman paused, her chest shaking. “…the truth is that Viola is not the stolen child…you are.”

The “cognitive dissonance” part comes right after this as Sophia needs to deal with the fact that she’s been “adopted”…illegally.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Revision Indecision

Revision Indecision

ThelmaLouisejump Well, I powered my way through to the end of Act II of Steam Palace. Here’s the thing. I can plot ‘til the cows come home but as soon as I touch pen to paper (type the first letter) it all goes runs off the road like the car above because my characters are unpredictable. They will do something unexpected, and I’ll go, “well that’s much kewler than what I had plotted…let’s run with it.” Sigh.

In Draft One, I knew what my main character Sophia (called Prudencia back then) wanted. Her family was in chaos, and she figured if she married into a good house, then—like magic—all that would be fixed, so the story was about her drive to become Duchess despite all the crap that she had to endure to achieve this goal. Nice, clean, focused.

Now onto Draft Two. Same beginning, same idea, same goals. Except this new character Viola pops up. And like the proverbial monkey wrench into the gears, Sophia’s lofty goals have been destroyed. Viola’s mean. She’s slutty. She’s psychotically dangerous. And she’s Sophia’s twin sister. What? Suddenly the whole novel has shifted from the story of Sophia restoring her family status to her bond with this woman who represents everything Sophia does not. Yes, I’ll say it and fuck me for writing it: Viola is Sophia’s Evil Twin.

The thing is, Sophia hasn’t changed between drafts. Her real true goal, the restoration of her family, remains intact. The world of my story has changed. Her family is not just her older sister and her mom. It’s now this other person. And then when Sophia finds out she’s adopted (well…stolen), her whole family concept is thrown into chaos. What the hell is her family? Who is she? She cannot become Duchess now. It’s like Draft One was a perfect dream of hers which now lays in ruins.

So what happened? How did I completely ruin a perfectly good plot and now sit here wondering how the fuck am I going to finish this story? Sophia’s association with Viola has completely corrupted her to the point where at the beginning of Act III, they are both on the lam ala Thelma & Louise, running for their lives. Miss Prim and Proper Sophia Stratton…a fugitive. My plot has completely run off the rails. I’ve been sorely tempted to put my foot down and stop writing until my characters behave. I’ve even threatened to end the book right here. But it’s my own fault. I listened to some writing advice about adding “conflict” and “tension” and “fix the sagging middle” to the story, and now it’s an irresolvable mess.

I guess the thing I need to do is figure out what the hell Sophia wants at this point.  She wants some semblance of normality to her life. She has to find a way to make this all right. Her country is about to be invaded by two neighbors fighting for control. Her sister Viola is being hunted for murder (which she did commit), her friend Thomas is suffering the aftereffects of a leg amputation, the Duke wants them dead for messing his plans up, and she herself is wanted for committing terrorist acts (which she did do as well…no “innocent parties” here.). She has to fix all this. Everything she’s grown to care about is being threatened. And it’s kinda her own fault.

And what the hell happened to my Original Idea? That this would be some kind of love triangle story between Sophia, the Duke, and Thomas? She’s thrown all that out because of Viola, and now it’s a buddy story. Poor Thomas, he’s really getting the short end of the stick here. There is a cute scene where he spends a day with Viola convinced she’s Sophia suffering some kind of brain ailment. She tries to tell him she’s not Sophia but he won’t listen. But I digress. Thomas is now relegated to the side, poor guy.

What is this book about? Where is it going? What is the resolution? I have no idea how Sophia’s going to navigate through all this. But the thing is, I will figure all this out, and the result is going to be incredible. At last count I had 25 threads (or story promises) left dangling. I probably can’t close all of them, but I am going to try. And I realize I am going to have to do this before I start edits because I don’t know what’s going to have to change to make the ending work.

Wish me (and Sophia) luck. We’re going to need it. Otherwise I think me and her will be sharing that car up above.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bad Boy Blogfest – William

Bad Boy Blogfest – William

Thanks to Tina Lynn for hosting the Bad Boy Blogfest! Click to look at the other entries!

So despite having a plethora of Bad Girls, I don’t really have many Bad Boys. Then I remembered I started writing a story that is a documentary (working title is “Bio”) about a man written ten years after his death. The concept is that William starts as a street punk, grows into some kind of terrorist/bad guy, then has some kind of revelation and tries to atone for his sins and is killed for those beliefs. I have about 14K written but I don’t know if it will ever be completed. Note this is rough first-draft material, and it’s told in retrospect.

bad boy 1 William nestled himself down into the homeroom class chair, scanning the other faces in the room with hostile intent. Little did he know how much this day would affect the rest of his life. Most of the students kept their distance from him. Few dared to talk directly to him. Only the deadbeats and junkies would approach him. The aged and faded teacher brought the class to attention.

“Listen up! Today we have new student from Kansas. Her name is Kendra. I hope you all can assist Kendra in her way around school today.”

William had been staring blankly at his knuckles, calculating which terrifying phrase he should engrave. When he lifted his head to glare at the newcomer, his breath caught in his throat. Up to this moment in his life, women were simply something more to be hated. All his eyes saw up to now were wicked, greedy, selfish women. But here was a very flower, a beautiful lily in a sea of seaweed. Her hair grew short and light, her features small but clean, her eyes as bright at a bullet, her mouth a tasty treat. She shyly waved to the class before casting her eyes nervously on her neatly covered and labeled schoolbooks.

While the Principal and other school officials read off boring announcements and pronouncements, William locked his gaze on the girl’s small figure. Her apparel spoke of a wealthy upbringing, with the latest wireless gadgets and fancy computer controlled hair net garnishing her scalp. Part of William’s soul raged at what she symbolized: wealth, power, “good upbringing”, health. He imagined how “good” and proper she was. All throughout the class he glared at her profile. So clean and unmarked, in contrast to his piercings and body alterations. Her eager demeanor infuriated him. His mind filled with hateful images, of blood and strangulation, knives and nails. She represented everything he was not, she had everything he didn’t and her short flirtatious glances at the football guy did not escape his keen scrutiny. His lip involuntarily curled into a sneer. His rage consumed him and burned his heart black.

The moment the bell rang to dismiss the class, he rushed to the girl’s side, ready to find some immediate cruel way of welcoming her to his class. As he drew close to her, something stayed his hand. Something indescribable, something he had never felt before. Suddenly he stumbled for words.

“Hi,” he said to her meekly.

“Hi,” she replied, a friendly smile on her face. But that smile slowly faded as she took in the sight of the unkempt rebel. Numerous loops and studs pierced his facial features, and several tattoos littered his visage, including hate symbols. His clothes, mostly leather in various stages of disrepair and filth. An aura of cigarette and worse fumes arose from his body. One eye bore the mark of a recent struggle, pouting with black and green stains. Kendra slowly backed away from him, her friendly smile replaced with a curt, worried one.

“Need help finding a class,” he ventured.

“No, thanks,” she said. “I gotta run.” And run she did.

William’s face turned red upon hearing the mocking laughs of his class mates, but inside a terrible churning ripped through him. He clenched his fists in suppressed rage and stomped down the hall, determined to make this humiliation right.

My idea for Kendra is that she becomes his nemesis/mentor in later years and is the catalyst for his eventual reformation.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Breaking the Rules Blogfest – WTF?

Breaking the Rules Blogfest – WTF?

Thanks to Elizabeth Mueller for hosting the Breaking The Rules Blogfest! The idea is to highlight your crappiest writing from your past, showing how you used to break the “rules” of writing.

Well, I searched around for some crappy writing but it’s really hard to find docs I wrote some 20+ years ago, but then I remember I had written a small prologue (ding!) that is quite purple (ding!) with a strange typo (ding!) and makes little sense (ding!). At the time, I thought it was some of my best writing. I’ll let you judge. I believe this dates back to December 1988 although I might have edited more in the following years.

glacier The blasted desolation of the North American Glacier crouched frozen in time, mute testimony to the psychotic destruction of dead ages past. A torrent of years swept across the huddled land, thrusting great glaciers skyward, a massive enematic[SIC] force. Pitiful, hopeless in comparison was the microscopic infestation which presumed to multiply in and upon the surface of the barren wasteland. The lethal climate beat upon this infection mercilessly, expending all its efforts upon destruction. Yet the miserable particles survived.

Deep below the layers of ice and dirt and bitter remains, a whispery, elusive force lay dormant, its forgotten glory like battered rags on its slumped shoulders. The infestation had danced and sang to its almighty song until it thrilled with ecstasy, never hearing the black dirge of death and destruction the tiny motes chorused. Not until now, when the only song brought to its withering consciousness was the fearsome wind, screaming across the barren wasteland in a fit of mockery. But it watched, and waited, while the hated radiation beat upon its infertile soil, while the last remnants of its finest achievement pleaded to survive one more day, one more hour, in a desperate struggle for life. The force waited, steeped in sorrow and shame, for the day when Spring would return, to try a new experiment in creation, correct the horrid errors of its past. But its last experiment still survived, and had no intention of being hurled back into creation's bleak mixing pot.

I have no idea what the heck all that means.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Character Interview Blogfest – Sophia Responds

Character Interview Blogfest – Sophia Responds

So after yesterday’s post, Sophia has been relentlessly hounding me for a response, so I conducted another interview. Sophia is the main character of Steam Palace.

tr-01black ANDREW: Hello, Sophia. What’s so urgent that I must make another post?

SOPHIA: Thank you very much for your indulgence in my petition, Mr. Rosenberg. I shall drive straight to the point. I am quite upset at your portrayal of Miss Viola as an Evil Villain. Nothing could be further from the truth.


SOPHIA: It is true that she is quite challenged, but I believe her to be good. She performs many heroic acts.

ANDREW: I know she’s your lost twin sister, and you feel you must defend her, but at some point you must open your eyes.

SOPHIA: No, it is you with eyes shut. You are always seeing the worst in people.

ANDREW: Sophia, in the last scene I wrote yesterday, Viola is holding a knife to your throat as you sleep. You are in denial about her true nature. You are an inherently good, loving person, and you refuse to see what is right in front of your face. Evil.

SOPHIA. Nonsense. Did she kill me? No. You want me to believe she is beyond repair, broken, a fractured soul. I do not—I cannot believe that. She can change. She can be redeemed.

ANDREW: Do you understand that this is what makes you the Hero? You would lay your life down for Viola, wouldn’t you.

SOPHIA: Not only would I, I nearly did if you recall.

ANDREW: Would she do the same for you?



SOPHIA: Of course she would. We have had our differences, yes, but there is love and compassion in her heart. And I know deep inside she wants to change, to better herself. You could do this. You have the power to fix her, to set things right. Please, good sir, please have compassion for one of your characters and help set her on a better road.

ANDREW: You know I can’t do that. Viola is who she is. You need to accept that.

SOPHIA: And you need to accept that I will never stop fighting for her. No matter how evil you write her, how vicious and mean she becomes, I will always be there for her.

ANDREW: Even if she kills your aunt, your sister, or your mother?

SOPHIA: You would not write such things. Tell me you would not do that. Please, please, kind sir, do not do this to Viola. Even you are not so cruel. If you set her to such tasks, I will refuse to participate in this novel. I will simply sit and do nothing—I shall go on strike.

ANDREW: Are you beginning to understand what you’re up against?

SOPHIA: Yes, the most evil creature ever devised. The most hideous, despicable, and utterly gutless character in the entire Universe. The Author. I will fight you with every means at my disposal. In the words, on the pages, across the hard disk. You will not win this fight, Mr. Rosenberg. Viola will have her redemption, I promise you. And now that I see your thoughts, I will act to prevent such occurrences. Now I must be off. Good day.

ANDREW: Okay, Sophia, take care. And watch your back.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Character Interview Blogfest – Viola

Character Interview Blogfest – Viola

Thanks to Sangu Mandanna for hosting the Character Interview Blogfest. Follow the link to read all the other entries!

You might remember Miss Viola Willimante from other blogfests such as the Let’s Talk and Bad Girl Blogfests. So I decided to sit down with her and here’s the edited transcript of that conversation (I removed some of her more saucier language).

fgm-dollyl ANDREW: Hello, readers. Today we’re going to interview Miss Viola Willamante, a character from my latest WIP Steam Palace. Viola, could you tell my readers a little about yourself?


ANDREW: Uh, hold on, readers. Viola, what’s up?

VIOLA: I’m a tad perturbed at how you are conducted the writing of your novel, so I respectfully decline.

ANDREW: Viola, you’re an important part of the story, and our gentle readers want to learn more about you.

VIOLA: So you can continue to portray me as some low-born gutter prowler? I think not.

ANDREW: You’re a huge part of the story. You make Steam Palace what it is.

VIOLA: Why not interview precious Sophia?

ANDREW: Oh, boy. Let me explain to the readers. Sophia is the main character, Viola’s twin sister in fact. Steam Palace is a chronicle of Sophia's adventures as she navigates the strange alternate history of North America.

VIOLA: You failed to answer my question. Because deep inside, you consider me to be the main character, not Sophia.

ANDREW: No, I just think the readers—

VIOLA: You invest vast amounts of energy on my character,  providing me with grand flaws and ribald passion. I bring the book alive. I suffer the most. I sacrifice the most. By all rights, I should be the Hero.

ANDREW: Yes, you are very flawed, but I—

VIOLA: You have challenged me with steep mountains and great challenges. What has Sophia ever achieved? Ever lost? Why does she even appear in the book?

ANDREW: Viola, I don't know how else to say this, but you're not the Hero. In fact—

VIOLA: Well, I should be. What does Sophia have that I do not? You said yourself that we are identical.

ANDREW Viola! You need to face facts. You are not the Hero. You’re—well—you’re the Villain. You are Sophia’s greatest challenge.

VIOLA: Ha ha ha ha. Snarf. Oh, I understand. It is that “Evil Twin” meme, is it not? How many posts have you crafted railing against it, how you despise and loathe Evil Twin as a cheap gimmick? So, I am Sophia’s Evil Twin. Excellent. She is good where I am bad. She is sweet where I am cross. She loves where I hate. Predictable. Well, it reeks of foul putrefaction. I am not the Villain. The true Villains are the Duke and the Fuhrer. I save the day. I am the Hero. I would wager more readers care about my story than hers.

ANDREW: Okay, name one way you’ve changed during the course of the book.

VIOLA: Change? For heaven's sake, why would I do that?

ANDREW: Because that's what Heroes do. Yes, you are the most interesting character by far. You outplay Sophia from time to time. But she has the capacity to transcend things, to forgive, to change her way of thinking, to rise above the muck.

VIOLA: Sophia is a one-dimensional caricature. “Ooh, poor me, I am but a lowly milkmaid seeking more. I shall ‘Mary-Sue’ my way to becoming Queen.” It shares the redeeming qualities of rat urine. You know why I do not alter my outlook? Because I know who I am—a top-tier temptress and a vengeful adversary. I take what is mine and I care not whom I hurt. I do not care who dies.

ANDREW: Does that include Charlotte?



VIOLA: That was a cruel blow. She did not have to die. And now I must carry on as if it never occurred? I intend to make the rest of your manuscript writing a living hell. Everything that Sophia does, everywhere she goes, I will be there to ruin it. Do you comprehend my position? You gave me hope, and then yanked it away. I hate you, you [redacted]. This interview is over. Good fortune finishing the revision, [redacted].

ANDREW: Viola, wait! Damn. Well, readers, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed our little chat. Now I need to run off and calm Viola down before she does some serious damage…like deleting every chapter Sophia appears in or changing Sophia’s name back to Prudencia or over to Hortense. Thank you for listening.

NEW! Sophia responds to this interview!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Title Blogfest – Steam Dawn’s Singularity Palace Rise Matrix

The Next Top Title Blogfest

startling-1955-longest-title Thanks to Slushpile Slut (love that name) for hosting The Next Top Title Blogfest! Follow the link to view all the other entries.

The rules are: No background, no log lines, no information. Just 3-5 titles. Okay, maybe I’ll explain in the comments. Well, here we go.

Steam Palace


Pride, Prejudice, and Goggles

Sophia Stratton and the Fury Lords

The Stratton Chronicles. Book One: The Fury Lords

Okay, after I posted this, I thought the last couple sounded too YA so I had to add a really raunchy one:

The History of Steam Sluts of the Early 20th Century

Well? Well?

Suggested by Valerie:
Sense, Sensibility, and Steam Sluts

More Ideas:


Sophia Stratton and the Search for the Sea Key

Tea, Corsets, and Brass Goggles

Steam Twins


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dream Scene/Beach Scene Blogfests – Dawn’s Rise

Dream Scene/Beach Scene Blogfests – Dawn’s Rise

Thanks to the great Amalia T. and the powerful Rachel Batemen for hosting the Dream Sequence and the Beach Scene blogfests. I have a scene that (hopefully) satisfies both!

Turns out that Steam Palace has neither beaches NOR dreams (what’s wrong with me?). So I had to go back a couple WIPs to Dawn’s Rise. Here, our heroine has just fallen and hit her head, and she wakes up to experience some weird dreams, one of which occurs on the beach!

 swaying-treesWhere am I?

Towering fir trees menaced her, extending up to the sky. A mat of soft moss tickled her fingers.

Great, I’m dead.

Dawn gesticulated and then poked her skull. “Location. Map me. Call Rose.” Her implants remained silent and blank.

“Come on!”

A chilling breeze rustled the trees, prickling her skin and showering Dawn with needles. She rubbed her arms and stood, studying the verdant forest for signs of civilization.

I’m not dead. Trees bent and branches snapped from a sudden gale. I’ve seen this before. A tree splintered in a loud crack and slammed the ground mere feet from Dawn. Wind rumbled and moaned.

Dawn scrambled among the swaying trunks. A gap under downed tree beckoned. Dawn huddled, shivering in the freezing air. “Come on, this is enough!” Her breath blew clouds of steam as she panted.

The wind snatched her words away. Trees bent and creaked, snapped and fell. A tremendous rush of air tugged her, clawed her, and then yanked her up into the sky. Trees scattered like twigs blasted by a leaf blower. A hail of snow whited out the world, clinging to her with numbing cold.

A vast cityscape appeared. The slush coating her limbs slid off. Yet Dawn flew, suspended in the air. Her heart pounded and her arms swam through the sky, seeking anything to grasp.

What’s happening to me? It’s a dream, it must be. Or a premonition. She gasped for air as the city sat far below. It’s happening again. The night monsters. The violent days are coming, days of disaster and death. She swallowed. Her medplants had kept the terrors at bay for years. No. Not coming. The truth of it slammed her bones. Those days are here.

She covered her eyes, but the vision remained. The murmur of normal city life bubbled up, cars and planes and construction. Picturesque skyscrapers soared above the nearby clouds. Her gut clenched. Those days are here. “Nonononono. Please! I don’t want to see it!”

The spires swayed, shudders rippling along their flanks. The glass blew out in a haze of white, and then the concrete exploded into clouds of dust. Spires toppled sideways; others sank into the streets in boiling cauldrons of death. Dawn reached out as if she could grasp the towers and pull them back. Screams and cries shivered Dawn’s soul as the city disintegrated into dust in a massive quake. “No, no! Stooooppp!”

Dawn twisted and wriggled but nothing ended the destruction. She plummeted.

parasailingBurning sand seared her skin. Dawn jumped to her feet and hotfooted it to the shade of a palm tree, blowing on her blistered hands. A turquoise ocean lapped against a white sandy beach, but Dawn recalled this scene from the blanket-tearing dreams of her childhood. The sun blazed overhead. It’s here. It’s here. Nothing can be done. The low hum of a motorboat pulled her gaze to the ocean where a parasailor practiced, his rainbow-printed chute billowing out behind him. She studied the figure, an element she had never dreamed of before. The smell of salt wafted on the light breeze. Dread crept up her spine. The parasailor’s chute snapped and he plunged.

“No!” Dawn raced down the beach, ignoring the blistering of her feet. This is a sign, a signal. He must be rescued. She plunged into the waves, the warm waters supporting her body. The waves grew in size and force, until she battled boiling waters. A vast curling wave collapsed, driving her down into the depths. Where is he? Where is he? Burning liquid consumed her lungs as her breath escaped.

Dawn convulsed, seawater pouring out of her mouth. She dripped with liquid and coughed up more. An ugly landscape surrounded her. Smoldering ruins lay crumpled on the ground, nothing but empty skeletons of buildings and vehicles in all directions. A murmur arose. Huddled figures approached her. “Dawn,” they cried. “Dawn, Dawn, save us.”

They sported terrible injuries, weeping sores and matted blood, with only primitive wrappings to protect them. Their ribs protruded through their tight skin, and their eyes sunk into their skulls. They approached Dawn, their hands reaching towards her. Dawn jumped and backed away. Her legs shook and her breath wheezed and gurgled.

“Please, stop. Stay away from me, I can’t help you. This isn’t real. None of this is real.” But it is. This is all real. Their hands grasped her clothes and the stench of unwashed bodies and infected wounds sickened her.

Blinding light swept the sky. Pure heat slammed the ruined city. The supplicants’ flesh ignited, burning them to skeletons. Dawn’s own hands flamed to bone and dust, yet she continued to witness the scene.

The ground shook and an ocean half a mile high tumbled across the landscape. It washed over the city, covering it in black waters, and then receded, leaving nothing but an empty plain of mud in its wake. It has come. It has come. All this has come. The Days are here.

Dawn screamed.

My Favorite Ken Griffey Jr. Moment

My Favorite Ken Griffey Jr. Moment

ken-griffey-jr-mariners We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important post.

Yesterday, Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement. He’s the greatest baseball player I’ve ever seen, and I was privileged to witness in person most of his greatest moments, including The Double, where he scored the winning run against the hated Yankees. (see picture below)

But my favorite moment came a few years later. The night of April 30, 1999 was my bachelor party. As a Seattle Mariners Season Ticket Holder (as I still am today), the night would not be complete without a trip to the Kingdome to see the Mariners take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Of course, as these things go, we didn’t arrive until the bottom of the eight inning. We got some cheap seats in the outfield. By the time we made it to our seats, up stepped Ken Griffey to the plate as if on cue. Friday night, bases loaded, one out, down by two runs, and all thirty thousand fans were up on their feet screaming.

First pitch swinging and it was get out the rye bread and the mustard grandma, it’s grand salami time! (It was a grand slam).

I consider that Ken Griffey Jr’s wedding present to me. The next five batters were retired in order and the game was over, but the bachelor party continued.

Thank you for everything you’ve done, and I can’t wait for your Hall of Fame Induction!