Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Challenge

Hello, my loves.

If you’re anything like me, you struggle sitting down to write every day.  Whether it’s writer’s block, life getting in the way, work, kids, pets, lethargy, or the dreaded fear, there’s something keeping you from your keyboard.  It’s an awful feeling to know that you want to write. You love to write.  But you’re  just not writing.

I’m here to save the day.  Kind of.

Tomorrow is May 1st, spring is in the air, and for once, the bleak, depressing darkness of winter is peeling away.  The perfect time for a new beginning (and we all need one now and then, that’s for sure).

My proposal?

Sit down and commit yourself to at least ten minutes of writing every single day.  Just ten minutes.  Sit down, set a kitchen timer, and work on one of your current writing projects.  It doesn’t have to be one single project, you can break it up over anything you happen to be working on, even if that means starting a new piece of flash fiction.  This exercise is about progress, passion, and putting forth the effort even when you’re not feeling your best.

If you feel like doing more (or simply just want to make use of available time)? FANTASTIC!  Write as much as you can for as long as you can!  Feed on the creative flow!

The rules?

  • You have to put in a minimum of 10 minutes per day for the entire 31 days of May.  If you have to break it up into five minutes here and five minutes there, go for it!  The point is, you’re getting your ten minutes done!
  • ‘Progress’ doesn’t just mean ‘writing.’  If your novel is in dire need of character sheets and an outline, work it for ten minutes!  If you haven’t started an outline for your novels and just want to brainstorm, try cluster mapping, listing, or just scribbling ideas.  Free-writing your ideas opens you up to a lot of possibilities that might not have been there if you over think it.
  • Don’t limit yourself.  If you have the time and creative flow to work more than ten minutes, keep going.  What’s stopping you?  Laziness is not allowed for those ten minutes, and getting on a roll can only help your work!

The rules are pretty simple and flexible.  Make this project your project.  It’s no NaNoWriMo, but in that stagnant place between Novembers, it’ll keep you moving.  =P

Optional fun?

  • Create a log of your work.  I plan on writing down what progress I made (even if I missed the 10-minute-mark.  Nobody’s perfect) in each 10-minute interval, and posting a weekly progress report on my blog.  Join me?  =]
  • Recruit friends.  I know it’s short notice, but starting late won’t kill anyone.  And it’s not against the rules.  =P
  • Share bits of what you’ve worked on.  Show us your progress!  Photos of your cluster maps, writing space, hand-scrawled pages! Don’t be shy.  This could also be a fun way to add to your blog. =P
  • Link me to any posts you make about this challenge!  I’d love to showcase your work in my posts if it’s okay by the authors!

Bottom line, just have fun with this!  We write because we love it.  What’s holding you back?

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Filed under May Challenge, Writing

LfBH – 7: The Cure

I know it’s been awhile.  I wanted to write something a little less unpleasant with this piece.  I like Felix and he deserved a break.  So, not as action-packed, probably boring, but Felix needed this moment.  He was making me sad.  Enjoy.

————————-

Silas drew a breath, deep and soothing, the scent of the fire flooding his lungs. The fact he’d even managed to purloin some wood was a miracle in itself. Rain pelted the tin roof, the sound an odd cross between a ring and a roar, making sleep no more than wishful thinking, and warmth even further from attainability. The fire was absolutely a blessing. Silas pitied those in the barracks without it. It would be a long, cold night.

A sharp cough broke the trance the flames had lulled him into, and he pushed the brazier lightly with a cloth-clad foot. The fresh meat they brought in on that wagon was in the bed beside Silas, on his side and looking more like an eggplant than a person. It didn’t stop him from stirring, though. How he could even move was beyond Silas. That man was beaten to a pulp before he was dumped just inside the door, left unattended in a heap. No one bothered with a name, or to take care of him. What did they care if he died? Silas tugged him onto his bed, and tried to keep him warm and stanch the bleeding from medley of head wounds. Whether he would live still remained to be seen, but it looked grim.

Silas’ patient’s arms flew up suddenly, blocking invisible blows in the stillness of the cabin. The other occupants stared at him for a moment, but all went back to what they were doing without another glance. Silas settled on the bed beside him, and grabbed his wrists lightly, trying to still him.

“Hey! Hey, it’s alright! It’s alright…” he pressed, letting him go gently, and grabbing the rag from the basin of rainwater he’d been collecting and started gently mopping up any new blood that made have dried on his face. “Just hold still, you’re real banged up.”

“The hell am I?” he asked hoarsely, trying to focus his right eye on him, the only one that wasn’t swelled completely shut.

“Blackford Hill,” answered Silas, setting the rag aside, and using the cover of the blanket to dry his face as gently as he could. “What’s your name?”

“Oh. That… right… I remember.” He sighed, and tried to sit up, but only grimaced as he gave in and lay back.

“Broke a few ribs. You didn’t answer me though.”

Felix looked at him sidelong, wondering how he wound up in this person’s care. “Felix. Count… Felix Malrais.”

Silas lofted a brow. “I guess money can’t buy you out of this hellhole anymore.” He sighed, and glanced around at the six others sharing a tiny room with three beds. “Looks like you outrank us.” He joked.

“Ha ha.” Felix muttered dryly. “Lot of good that’s doing me, isn’t it?” He pushed himself up, this time fighting the agony in his ribs, and leaned back against the wall. “What sort of detention camp is this?”

Silas scooted back on the wall, laying perpendicular on the bed. “Bunters, pedophiles, mandrakes, rapists… even adulterers. Can’t get away with nothing these days.”

Mandrakes?”

“Yeah. You lie with your own ilk, you’re like to get tossed in here, anyone finds out about it. Got the girls, too. More men than women, though.”

“Fuck.” Felix knocked his already aching head back against the wall and closed his eyes with a hiss of pain.

“That’s you, then, huh? Me, too. That one there,” he pointed across the room at a dark, bearded fellow. “Got a ten year old wife. That one? Fucking his half-sister. And that one there had a roll in the hay with his father’s goat.”

“Fuck off, Silas,” was the weak response he got from the man who had lain with his sister. The rest seemed to ignore him. Silas had a loud mouth, and they were all growing tired of reacting to it.

“Can you believe it? We fuck a few men here and there, and we get lumped in with that lot. Piss poor situation, yeah?” Silas shook his head and glanced to Felix, feeling genuinely bad for him. The only ones who ever got beat up so bad were the ones who rebelled or the ones who panicked. Silas would put money on Felix being the latter. “Anyway, they bring you here to cure you of your ‘maladies’.”

Felix shook his head. “Fantastic, but I’m not sick.” He snapped.

“Me, neither. But you just gotta let them do their thing. Try to be good. I never seen them let anyone out, but it’s the only hope we got.”

“So, we pretend to be ‘getting better’ so they can keep us here and make us miserable? I don’t think so.” Felix touched his face, and grimaced. He must have looked like an elephant went through a meat grinder.

“Stop poking at it.” Silas smacked his hand, and Felix attempted a glare, but the swelling wouldn’t let his face do much of anything.

“I murdered a temple full of priests and burnt it to the ground. I shouldn’t even be here,” he noted and closed his eyes. “I’d rather face the noose.”

Silas’ jaw dropped. “What the fuck? Why would you do that?”

“They murdered someone important to me. For a stupid reason…. I wanted to marry him and I went to the priests to request it be allowed. They said no. Didn’t shout or act angry….. Next thing I know, my servants village is being raided and they drag Dacien out, injuring many of my servants in the process. We found him in the pond behind the temple.” He shook his head, his voice suddenly very solemn. “I suppose I just snapped.”

Silence filled the room, and Silas just stared, stunned. “Unbelievable. They deserved it. Fuck them, you were completely justified.”

Felix cracked a weak smile. “Thank you. Doesn’t bring Dacien back, though.”

“No… I guess it doesn’t.”

“Thank you…” Felix muttered.

“What for?”

“It was you, wasn’t it? Who put me here? Made sure I didn’t drown in my own blood? I know it was you, because we’ve been talking for at least twenty minutes now, and not one of those men have bothered to interject. They don’t seem the type to rise against authority.”

“I do?” Silas laughed.

“You do.”

“Well. You’re welcome. Now I’m going to sleep. Don’t die tonight. I don’t know if I want to wake up in the same bed as a corpse.” He jostled himself into a horizontal position at the other end of the bed, his feet up by Felix’s head.

“You’re fucking charming, you know that.” Felix slid back down and ducked under the blanket, miserable, but at least there wasn’t a gun in his face.


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Filed under Letters from Blackford Hill, Writing

6:30am does nothing for my mental state…

SO. At 6:30am, I woke up with a bug in my shirt, ripped my clothes off, beat it into submission with a phone book, and flushed it down the toilet.

I was very displeased by these events.

Also, LfBH: Part 7 is going to be super late, because a virus ate my computer. Any advice on how to get rid of XP Home Security 2011 would be more than appreciated.

AND. As I’m FINALLY winding down from the bug incident and settling back into bed, I get this smashing idea for a fantasy/sci fi race.

Unfortunately, it came to me in bullet points, and I haven’t made much progress since. Also, I’m still working on the reproductive anatomy…. so I assume Google and Wikipedia are in my future. Also, this new fantasy race may be the perfect excuse for me to write more boy-slash without having to justify it socially within the story. Earth is stupid, and I refuse to write about it.

Just kidding. I still love all my human friends.

<3
Kit

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LfBH: Detention

I know I’m super late, but here it is! <3  Part 6.   I apologize for the quality.

~+~+~+~


“What the hell do you mean?” snapped Felix, dark eyes narrowed at the guard who blocked the early-dawn light streaming through his doorway. Somehow, that made the light even more difficult to bear.

“Your father went to great lengths, Count Malrais. He aims to ensure your safety, and this was the best way he knew to–”

“To what?” Felix flew up from the pallet that served as his prison bed, and began dressing, unabashedly naked in front of the guard. “To spare himself the humiliation? Where does he plan to send me, exactly? We both know he won’t be accepting me back into the family household.”

The guard shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t have the details of your new location–”

The young count snorted in mock amusement, arms folding over his chest as he glared at the guard. “Get out. I’ll be out when I’ve eaten breakfast.”

“You’ll eat in the wagon,” stated the guard, his patience for Felix’s spoiled attitude wearing thin. “I’ll bind you if I have to, Count Malrais. You’re on our time, now.”

Felix shoved his feet into his boots, his face furiously red as he fought the urge to speak. This was growing tiresome. “I’d rather face the gallows.” He muttered, grunting in shock as he was seized by the back of his collar and yanked to his feet, all but flailing like a child against the sudden tug. Set down again, the guard shoved him, palm to his back, toward the door.

“Out.”

“Fine,” he snapped, and trudged in a miniature tantrum out the door. Sure enough, there was a wagon waiting, the back doors open only feet from the door. “There… there are bars on this wagon.”

“Yes.”

Felix’s stomach sank, and, hesitating, he hoisted himself into the back. A wagon with bars; his father sent a message that he was to be spared death, but in favor of what?

The gallows didn’t seem like such a terrible idea all of a sudden.

~+~+~+~

Three days in the back of that wagon, thrown scraps of whatever the guards were eating, Felix was beginning to wonder if his father’s compassion wasn’t actually a ploy to make an example of him. Maybe drag him out to the highway and have him strung up to be pecked at by the birds and boiled in the sun. Lying on that floor, unbound, but still a prisoner, the gallows were a welcoming thought, almost warming.

All at once, the wagon lurched to a stop and the double doors were thrown open, sunlight streaming in as Felix all but curled in on himself, shielding his eyes from the light.

“Out,” snapped the guard standing at the mouth of the wagon, tapping Felix’s cheek with the muzzle of his rifle to drive the point home.

Shoving himself to his feet, the Count groaned as every muscle in his body gave protest. As his eyes adjusted, they settled on the gun, and he heaved a sigh. Outstanding, he thought, stretching as he fought to gain feeling back in his legs.

“I’m not certain that’s necessary,” he muttered, eying the weapon irritably.

“We’re doing your father a favor, Count Malrais,” the guard all but barked. “If you get out of hand, it is within our power to gun you down.”

Felix stiffened, and his gaze faltered, dropping momentarily. “Of course it is….” He grimaced, and stepped out of the wagon, taken by the arms as he hopped to the ground. “Now, what is this ‘favor’ you’re doing my father? Sparing my life? Yes, that’s wonderful. Take me away from the gallows, throw me into a wagon, and dump me in a fenced off mud pit.” He motioned to the vast expanse of land before him as the gates, wound in knots of barbed wire, were pulled open to accept them inside.

“Welcome to Blackford Hill.” The guard lifted his gun, and struck Felix in the center of the back, giving his backside a kick at the same time. Gasping, Felix grunted and stumbled forward, heading through the gates, looking around as the panic rose inside him. That hollow, nervous feeling only grew as his steps became a trudge, the realization slowly welling in him.

“A detention camp…” he whispered, a cold pit forming in his stomach.

“Walk!” That gun struck him once again, and he toppled onto his hands and knees, mud splattering as he hit the ground.

This is my father’s idea of sparing me?” He snapped, pulling himself from the sludge and shaking his arms off. “Has he lost his mind?” He laughed in shock, hands lifting, pressing to his temples as he fought back the hysteria building in him.

The guard once again marched forward, lifting his gun. “I said–”

WALK! YES, I HEARD YOU!” Felix shouted at him, and the rifle caught him across the face. He didn’t recall falling, but as the explosion of stars behind his eyes cleared a moment later, he was staring up at the sky. Turning onto his side, he pushed himself into a sitting position, looking out over the rows of wooden huts, dozens of people, men and women, all peeking out at the ruckus. All dressed in rags. Filthy. Starving. Some bandaged or splinted. He tried to push himself to his feet, looking stunned.

“Now. Walk.” The guard muttered, a bit more calmly this time.
Felix did as he was told, his eye flowering into a bruise, blood leaking from the corner of his lips. Why hadn’t his father just let him be executed? Anything was better than a detention camp. Death was better than a detention camp. Turning around, Felix looked at the guard with the gun, and the other two that had been following along came around the sides of him.

“Why this place?” he asked, trying to look around while his head was still spinning.

“Strip.”

Felix grunted incredulously, and glared at the guard.

“Undress him,” snapped the guard and the other two closed in on the Count, even as he tried to back away. They seized his arms, and managed to strip him bare in seconds, discarding the rags they made of his clothing a moment later.

Shielding himself, Felix ducked his head as two boys approached with buckets of water, and before he could react, he gasped as the frigid water was splashed on him, washing the mud away. Thrown a threadbare towel, he cringed and dried himself, shaking violently as his body tried to adjust to the cold. Brought up onto a deck, he was given clothes, and forced to dress in the same drab rags everyone else seemed to be wearing. Humiliated and freezing, he turned to the guards, refusing to be beaten down… he lifted his chin.

“I’m writing a letter to my father. He can’t possibly have approved of this,” he snapped, but even the tone of his voice was a bit more subdued. The butt of that rifle hurt like hell.

“Your father demanded we bring you here!” The guard snapped, and gave him a shove. “Enough insolence. You belong to us now.”

Felix glared harder. “And if I refuse to take your asinine orders?”

He knew the answer to that. Sure enough, that rifle came down across his face, and as the stars exploded behind his eyes once again, Felix found himself wishing it had been a bullet.

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Filed under Letters from Blackford Hill, Writing

I’m a Slacker

I know, I know. I’m over two weeks late with part 6 of Letters from Blackford Hill, but I’m doing my best. I’m typing up the sixth installment as we speak, and it should be posted by dinner time (or at least, set to post for midnight by dinner time).

Also, within the next few months, I’ll be toying with starting a fiction e-zine, so TONS of my time is going to go into that. Hopefully within the month, I’ll have a Kickstarter page started for it.  Right now, I’m working on the basics: a name, ‘what we’re looking for’, ‘submissions guidelines’, etc. Once I get the Kickstarter page up and running, I’ll link it here! <3 (And for those of you wondering: yes, I will be paying authors for accepted submissions.)

Fantastic, yes?

For updates on Letters from Blackford Hill and my currently nameless e-zine, follow me on Twitter! @GogglesandLace

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