The Mysteries of Waking

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The dry rasp of his eyes opening dispelled the dust that had accumulated in the grooves of his skin.  His sudden indrawn breath created motes in the dim light of the early dawn.

His body jerked violently upward and a wretched cry burst from his lips as gravity pulled him to the dry, rotted floorboards.  Thin slivers of wood punctured his skin while he lay there panting.

It was a matter of moments before he pieced together that the slick wetness his hands and head lay in glittered with a crimson sheen.  The surface of the pool was broken as he struggled to push himself away from it.

Wildness radiated from his large eyes as his hands searched his body for the source of the blood.  Streaks of it ran up the walls and glistened against the filthy popcorn ceiling.  Horror ruled the curves of his face as he spied the body draped unceremoniously over the small chest in the corner.

Tears cut runnels through the scarlet splashed across his face as his body shook, “How long have I been here?  How many days?  How many months?  Each morning it’s the same.  More blood on my hands and a new body somewhere in here.”

His eyes lit upon the long piece of cool metal that rested forlornly under the saggy and broken bed frame.  Greedily, his fingers reached for it.  It was cold to the touch, much colder than the room would allow.

“Why is this happening?” he cursed against the four walls of his prison.  “How many times have I tried to leave and yet I always find myself here,” his eyes lit upon the form on the chest, “with only the company of a corpse.”

The slide of the M1911 pulled back to frame an empty chamber before it slipped back with a violent click.  The magazine clattered against the floor, but he could tell from the sound that it was empty.

The pistol fell loosely from his grip before he looked skyward, “Why is it always a different body?  Where do they come from?  Where do they go?”  His bloodied hands clutched at the skin stretched over his skull, “Am I going mad?”

A woman watched as he pulled himself under the bed from the tiny monitor bolted to the desk.  Her lips curled of their own accord as she grabbed the handset of the old rotary phone and her long, painted nail dialed 0, 1, and 0.

The buzz and click sounded loud in the confines of the security station, but she remained languid until the voice came through.  “Yes sir, I believe this one is almost ready.  Only another day or two.  Thank you, sir.”

The phone clacked against the ancient plastic of its body.  Her fingers steepled as she continued to watch him through the monitor, “Only another day or two…”

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Collaborating with another Writer Pt.2

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Progress!  It feels good!

I haven’t written anything fantasy based in a very long time, but it’s one of those genres that I have enjoyed many times throughout my life.

Where am I going with this?  Well, this collaboration is going to be in the fantasy genre!

And I got bit hard by the idea bug.  Ideas flowed like water and we were able to hash out a more descriptive world and the main city in which the story will take place (at least the beginning of it).   Maybe I’ll draw a map!

We’ve got a finger on the pulse of the races that would populate this world and what their abilities would be.  We’ve even got the semblance of a series of magic systems and how they would interplay in the world and with each other.

Even a semblance of the religions of this planet has been cobbled together!  I think we also got a touch of the mythology of the world in place too!

We’re still throwing the pitches back and forth to see what stays, what changes and what new things are added, but man, I am so excited!

My Search for a Book Cover Pt. 2

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Finding the right information can be difficult, sometimes even a gamble.

I think (huge word right there) I’ve got a handle on Licensing Agreements and Limited Use Agreements.  I also think (whoa, again?) I have a solid grasp on formatting for Kindle, Apple ITunes, and the Nook.  So I should be good to go, right?  Right?

After having learned that the cost of having my own cover made for me was expensively prohibitive, I looked into some of those sites where a designer will whip something up for you on the cheap.  It was a long day going through the designers, but I did pick a few out that I liked.

I read a lot of positive reviews and then started coming across… Dun!  Dun!  Dun!  Licensing Agreement lawsuits…

There were also stories about designers essentially stealing another designer’s work and hosting it as theirs.  I did some random checks on some of the example covers I liked and found the same ones under other designers.  Now, who was the original designer and who was taking it?

Now these weren’t for the designers I had chosen, but I was concerned.  Do I have the time to research a digital entity to see who the true owner is?  Is it back to the drawing board?

Only Time will tell…

Lost on the Dark Streets

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I was alone in the alley and it was dingy.  Pools of gray water were trapped in pits by the edges of the buildings.  Pieces of garbage floated by in some while in others they had sunken beneath their miniscule waves.  There was a smell to the place that could be said to be indescribable only in the sense that a person wouldn’t want to bother with the time and research it would take to find out to do so.

Shadows were everywhere; some layered deeply enough to become impenetrable by any light.  Others were just on the edge of the cone of brightness from the bulb above.  There was little of interest here, so why had I agreed to meet here?

In a fit of boredom and the need for a sense of control, I opened the case and pulled out the six string.  Two string sets in double octaves that created a richer tone.  The wood of the instrument fairly glowed under the poor street lamp.

Warily, I placed my hand against the strings and felt the roughness of the bound wire.  My fingers curled into position and I strummed the strings ever so lightly.  Melancholy filled the air and burgeoning light began to filter through one of the walls that enclosed the alley.  An ancient song came to mind and the words fluttered to my lips.  I played alone in that place for what felt like eternity yet must have only been a fleeting moment.

A voice spoke quietly from the edge of darkness, “Yes, my friend, I was right.  This is a place for magic, where the walls between the universes are so very thin.”

His pointed teeth glittered like starlight from the blackest of the shadows as the strings under my fingers continued to vibrate their tones in this shabby space between buildings… between worlds.

(Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/street-urban-japan-brasil-50859/)

Collaborating with another Writer Pt.1

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I mentioned this somewhat briefly a while ago, but this is not dead!

Let’s see.  We’ve got a premise and a couple main characters.  We are working out the world for these two and it’s been an interesting experience.

Why interesting you say?  Well, we come at the story creation process differently.  Some things that I just take for granted on how I do things are exactly not the way he does things.  And vice versa.

We are in the process of having to come up with a communication style that works for the both of us and right now that’s all about finding where the holes in our thoughts are.

It’s been an interesting learning experience.

My Search for a Book Cover Pt. 1

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There’s that word again…

I am beginning to think that once I know what I think I am doing, I should just shrug my shoulders and accept that I don’t.  Every new step forward seriously feels like it leads to one hundred steps back.

So, there I am and I think I’ve got my book cover all figured out.  It took me forever, but I finally know what I want.  I am really happy with my plan and I’ve narrowed my choices down to a few artists.  Then the other shoe drops and I come to learn (!) that I what I want will be prohibitively expensive.

And I understand, boy do I.  An artist has to make a living and pouring your heart and soul into something and getting little back for it is tough.

Now, most of this is due to my lack of knowledge.  This means more reading of Copyright Laws, Limited Use Agreements.  And I’m sure as soon as I dive down that rabbit hole; there will be even more that I barely have a clue about.  So it’s back to research what can be done and come up with a new game plan.

But you know what?  At least I know what I want now.  And that is worth quite a lot on its own.

Took a Break and Missed the Things

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After NanoWrimo was a bust this year and knowing full well that my story was failing, I decided to sit back and recalibrate myself for a while.

What better time than December, I thought?  I can catch up on some reading.  I can lock down some more ideas on the all-important what, where, when and how so the fourth story moves forward.  Since I’ve been relatively incommunicado for the past long stretch of months, I figured I’d do some friend time too.

Did I succeed? Well…

I finished The Nun with a Gun!  I really liked writing her.  I am pretty sure I will do another at some point.  I even wrote a little about another character that popped in my head. I have a couple other characters I want to write more about as well.  Not to mention the other ones that crowded my mind on my trip!

I actually did get some friend time locked in, too.  It’s always good that people are willing to accept that you may disappear for months and still say “hey” like it’s only been a day or two.

I even fleshed out some pieces of the story that fit the narrative that I had cut out earlier because they didn’t seem to fit.  I’ve also got an idea that I need to alter through the existing story where it will fit better for the last one.

Did I catch up on any reading?  Eh… not really.  Did I get as much done as I wanted?  As I hoped?  As I expected?  Sadly, no.

But, were the Holidays an easier time?  Why, yes they were.  And I am looking at this shiny New Year as a time to get that fourth one done, the third one rewritten until I am actually happy with it and even get the story out there.

So, yay for the future!