Saturday, January 21, 2017

Chasing Shadow: Young Adult Dark Fantasy

Chasing Shadow: Shadow Puppeteer Book 1 First Segment: CLICK HERE for more sample chapters


Shadows writhed an unnatural dance in my peripheral vision. When I turned to look at them head on, they disappeared, replaced by the solid images of the Ravers on the dance floor. The music and the laser lights only added to my paranoia.

I squeezed my fingers into my thighs to keep them from shaking. No matter how big the crowd or how loud the situation, fears and unwanted memories found me. I sank further into the beanbag, determined to ward off the oncoming depression as I waited for the two tiny pills I swallowed to take effect.

The only high I felt, so far, was a contact high from the many people crammed into the tin walls of the junkyard warehouse, enjoying the rave. The dancers shimmered through glitter and glow sticks. I wanted to be more like them, not just the way they dressed, but their attitudes. They looked so liberated with their bright makeup and dyed hair. I bet they didn’t fear World Congress or maybe it was the island that encouraged them.

Xyla was run by convicts and anarchists. The island was ungoverned. Unlike the rest of the world, they were free to drink, smoke, do drugs and party. I craved this freedom, but I didn’t see future happiness on an island surrounded by electric fences built to keep people trapped.

Starr bounced onto the side of the beanbag, jolting me. “Belen, why are you pouting in the corner? I’ll buy you a drink.”

“It’s getting late.” I wanted to add that we were taking a huge risk staying this long on the island, but the words barely formed on my numb lips.

“Are you training to be an agent for World Congress? Until I see a badge, Miss McKnight, I’m not going anywhere with you just yet!” she said. 

I yelled after her. “I’m serious.”

She was already mingling within the crowd. I had to go after her. It took a great deal of energy to lift myself from the beanbag. My hands sank, giving me no solid surface to balance my unsteady body. Once up, I started through the crowd, stepping on toes and fending off elbow jabs.

One group stood so close, it was impossible to weasel in, but time was slipping away. The longer we stayed on the island, the greater our chance the boat running illegally between the islands would stop for the night. I didn’t want to touch anyone, but I didn’t have a choice.

I tapped the shoulder of the young man ahead of me and he turned disarming any qualms I had about the group. His eyes were stunning; flame yellow with a black slit down the middle. He took me in with a promising smile.

He was taller than me and a few years older, which I liked. His hair was as black as mine; cut short and spiked. Unlike most inhabitants of either island, his skin had a bronze tint, but it was his eyes that had my heart fluttering.

One touch and I could push my influence onto him. I knew my wants were selfish and the power of persuasion I possessed often blew up in my face, but my desire was strong. It worked both ways. I could sense people’s feelings and knew when to avoid a potentially violent moment, but sometimes their ambiance lingered on me like smoke clinging to clothes. Strong emotions were the hardest to get rid of. I could carry someone’s anger or remorse for days.

A hand on his shoulder drew his attention to an elegant woman with feathery wings. She had a great costume. I couldn’t tell where the wings were connected, but with both their attention diverted, I felt awkward standing around like a third wheel, so I pushed on through and headed towards the bar. The sooner we got back to our home island, the better. The penalty for getting caught crossing between the islands without a permit was steep. I couldn’t afford reform school with only two years left under the watchful eye of World Congress in their foster program. I saved my lunch money for years so I could afford the permit off Ardent to the mainland.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

HillBilly Wine Glasses, Famous in the Men's Bathroom and Writing

I came home and Emory was watching this interview on a famous musician from his youth. I think Emory and I listen to a lot of the same music, but this is one person that has completely eluded me. The musician mentioned what it was like being famous. He listed a few positives on the topic, but it all went out the window for him when a man would stop him in the bathroom asking for a picture.

I turned to Emory: "I'm going to do that to Wentworth Milller when I meet him."

(because right now, I have a 100% pure obsession with him. "Pure" meaning that as a writer I love all the fine details he places on his characters, how these characters convey so much without words...)

Emory: "First off, WHY would you be in the men's bathroom?"

Me: *shrug* "You know me. I always end up in the men's bathroom."

Emory: "It's because you've usually been drinking when it happens."

Me: "Wait! There was that one time, hadn't been drinking when it happened."

Emory: "I thought it was the guy in the woman's bathroom that time."

Me: *thinks about it for a second. New thought comes to mind* "I'm going to make my lemon vegan pasta when he comes over!"
(In my fantasy, all my favorite movie stars are vegetarians and/or vegans. My fantasy! I can do what I want!)

Emory: "We're still talking about someone you have never met and might never meet, right?"

Me: "You know, I think a red wine would go good with that pasta... But who am I kidding? I don't know how to pair wine. Now, Sigourney Weaver I think, would be more for a white wine."

Emory: *chuckles* "Okay. I see you're some place else right now."

Talking about being someplace else. I haven't felt good for a few weeks, but this is the worse. It hurts to stand. The physical therapist said the pain wasn't in my bone, but more likely tendons and nerves or a number of other things. Still, it feels bone deep and hurts to put my weight down. I feel inadequate when I have to skip out of obligations, (like today) but I really didn't want to start acting out on the pain in public. Some behaviors are very hard to smile through.

We have a performance next weekend. I've been trying to keep everything scheduled, but I'm not doing so well on that. I went to the commune last weekend and brought all my materials with me so I could make tea while hanging out with members.

John and Ann came over last Monday and John brought a really great bottle of wine and veggie pizza. Ann and I still had practice for the demo team, so dinner was after our meeting. Would I do this again? Absolutely!

John's B-Day Surprise Wine!!  ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY

John brought his wine over and shared with us!! (These are called Hillbilly wine glasses)

Ann thinks we can make more Hillbilly wine glasses. I think I bought her some when I went to Jerome, one of our favorite spots out here to do wine tastings, though I love Sedona too. Ann usually mentions that there is something she wants to create and I get the joy of helping her search for these said items needed. So I have a feeling we'll be looking for candlestick holders.

OMG!!! One of my favorite people on this planet is getting married. I should totally make these wine glasses for her. So cute! So happy for her. I'm not into Hallmark, but occasionally I like a good love story. 

Writing Update:

I posted the next chapter on HKT, which makes me feel like I should watch more Batman movies. I use to be so obsessed with everything Batman, then I decided I really, really, really wanted to write for DC, then... boy this story is going to get long. Never mind! But I posted the next chapter and though I usually feel a mixture of feelings towards the end of a project, I'm actually feeling relieved this is almost done since I haven't been able to give my readers a constant update like I would've in the past.

I wrote a one-shot 5,000+ word story with two of my favorite characters and posted it. It hasn't been a full week yet and I'm already doing great on the "kudos" the "favorites" and the number of times the document has been opened and read. So happy.

HBA: I'm towards the end of this, but I'm going to need to reread and edit, which feels like a long couple of months ahead of me. I'm glad the characters are so loud right now. For a while, it felt like I'd lost all the voices, you know those voices! They're louder than Hitchens and Hitchen's is a jungle baby. She doesn't have an indoor voice, which is funny because I don't either.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Manic High, Acting and Writing

Things are looking up... but that might be because I feel super charged. (Or I'm on a manic high, which is also a very big possibility) There are so many goals to achieve for 2017. I'd like to add to my art collection. I'm trying to fight my hording instincts and downsize on all the itty-bitty things, be more proactive with my goals and needs, etc.

The surprise birthday party last Sunday was so much fun. We had to help the commune, which felt crazy. I forgot what it was like when everyone was rushed to get things ready, but it's a really great team. Nurse Nadine had all the food ready. Emory and I had to stuff the balloons and tidbit extras into my car. That morning, Emory and I bought a bottle of wine for John. The fun thing about that man, is that he shops for wine like I do. If the label catches my eye, I want to drink the stuff inside it.

Emory and I are going to start reading scripts and practice our cold reading skills in front of the camera. It was fun getting a few things together for this. I think my excitement for the future is rubbing off on him because he's really in the thinking process too right now.

Writer Update:

Finished a very small 5,000+ word piece. I didn't think it'd be that long, but I rewrote it and I like the placement of all the words and the flow of the action. I'll be posting it soon.

KNT: this tiny project that ended up being not so tiny as it became novel length, is now finished. I have two chapters to edit, but the third one I'd been working on is ready to go. I will be posting all these chapters very soon.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Anonymous Profile Pictures and My Mom

It is very clear that my mom doesn't watch the same movies that I do, nor does she have any interest at all in these darker shows. I kind of wonder now. When I was a child, one of my favorite memories is going to the movies with her, super early in the morning. We were the only people in the theater. I was still in elementary (not that my imagination still doesn't run away with me) so being fairly alone in a dark theater with a somber movie was a little scary.

We watched Batman Returns together. The opening credits alone are a little freaky even today, though I'm old enough to shrug it off.

My point is this: My mom is now downsizing her house and she uses Letgo as her outlet for selling. Like all websites, you have the option of positing a picture either of yourself or something to sort of represent that "self" you don't want to actually expose to the internet. My mom used a real picture of herself but EVERYONE contacting her has not.

She still hasn't learned. She'll show me a picture and say, "I can't meet them! It says in his profile they go to church, but... I mean, look at him! He goes to church looking like that?" In which I have to reply, "Mom... Seriously? Haven't you seen ANY of the commercials for Suicide Squad? That's the Joker."

A week later, she is concerned again. "You should see these people who follow me. Do they really dress like this? It's so strange! They want to do a trade, but I'm trying to get rid of things, not bring something new into the house." I look at the picture and frown. "This picture is from the picnic in Sweeney Todd. It's a movie." At her confusion I add, "This is Johnny Depp and Helena Carter." She looks vastly relieved. "Phew... Could you imagine?" Yes, I could and it would be awesome if people actually walked around dressed like this!

Let's not forget the time we were driving back from dance practice and she handed me her phone so I could see her Letgo account. "Look at them! They're following me. They look like they just robbed a bank." She hands me the phone and I look at the picture, immediately recognizing the way they are dressed. My brother had a small stint in high school when he loved the Insane Clown Posse lyrics, but he never dressed like them so my mom is probably not familiar with it. I explained to her that these people were just in love with the ICP band.

Long story short... my mom doesn't understand the anonymous side of the internet. It's funny and cute. I spent most of the night laughing about the Suicide Squad photo, since Batman is one of my favorite DC heroes. You would think she'd at least recognize the Joker, if not anyone else in the long line of villains.

My mom and I are so much alike. Maybe that's why when we get together, we find ourselves giggling a lot about such random things. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year!

I love staying busy, but yesterday was nuts! I spent the morning with a quick visit to the commune, which was a great idea! I helped put away some of the items that came back from the caravan trip to California. I wasn't in a position where I could go this time, though I miss California so freaking much!

A long time friend gave Ann some cooking oils from Germany and Italy to give to Emory and me. Such a cool gift. I can't wait to cook with them. She also had a box with a bunch of holistic medicine for me.

I borrowed one of the gifts given to the commune kid's. It's this maze game that changes routes while you play. I kept getting stuck until Ann showed me how you play it. It's pretty funny so I borrowed it so Emory could check it out. I'll bring it back next week, or sooner if I go visit.

My whole reason for visiting in the first place was to clean a pair of gloves and this gorgeous "peace sign" print scarf I recently bought at a rummage sale. The commune has a large, silver soak bowl and great conversation. It was very much worth the visit.

There were fireworks like mad last night! It seemed like everyone had them. It was a very fun, very wild night! Hope everyone is safe!