Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Crow Came and Sat at My Window

This week’s writing exercise isn’t flashy or complicated.  It’s not even the best I’ve ever thrown on here.  But it’s going to get your juices flowing.  Trust me.

This week’s exercise is more of a prompt. 

I want you to write a (minimum) 200 word narrative centered around “a crow came and sat at my window.”  You don’t have to include that phrase in the piece, by the way.  Just let the image of a crow coming to sit at your window drive your mini-story.

Once again, if you’d like G&L to link your piece in this post for the week, send me what you’ve written!

+  Visit Jessi’s entry over at A BA in BS!

+  Check out Erin’s contribution at A Long Song!

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Reminder! Special Offer to Subscribers!

Remember on the 18th, when I posted this:

I’m currently working on a small compilation of short stories, both from the G&L archives and fresh from my brain, to put together into an e-book.  This very spiffy e-book will be offered to all new subscribers between today and October 31st.  BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!  My current subscribers still have the opportunity to receive my spiffy (as-yet-incomplete) e-book as well!  All you have to do is refer a friend to G&L, have them sign up for email subscription to the blog, and message me with their email address.  =]  You can use any of the media listed on my Contact Page to do this.  I’m hoping to have the e-book completed within the month.  I’ll keep tabs on everyone who subscribes between now and then, and email the e-book out as soon as it’s finished.

WELL!  The first three stories have been chosen for the e-book, and I have three more in the works.  I’m hoping to have a total of eight flash fiction pieces in total.  The book will be in ePub format, and I’ll be sending it out as an email attachment before June 18th.

***ANOTHER NOTE:  I will never, ever share your email address or send you unwanted messages or spam.  I will use the email address that WordPress provides to send your e-book, and that’s it.  After that, they’ll just be automated messages letting you know when I post content.  You ABSOLUTELY have my word.***

Once again, if there’s specific content you’d like to see in the exclusive (more fantasy, sci fi, slash, etc), feel free to contact me!

Also,chapters 1 – 3 of Ossuarium are going to be removed from G&L on June 1st, so if you have any desire to read it, better get it in now.  ^^  Head on over to the Fiction page before it’s too late!

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LfBH 9.3 – Trials: Tully

Author’s Note:  It’s short.  I’m incredibly dissatisfied with this installment.  9.4 will be better, I hope.  Blah.

~~~~

I wanted to blame her.

So intensely, I wanted to push all of the blame for our capture onto Phae; for bringing us to the capital, for booking a single room with a single bed, for not knowing of this threat in the first place. I’m selfish. I know that. All of those things, she did for me without even having to be asked. I could have died, and it’s because of Phae that I didn’t.

Now, standing naked in the center of the compound, I could only focus on this hardship. The waves of freezing cold water hit me over and over, and the girls around me created a chorus of high-pitched squeals and yelps with very bucket thrown. I was screaming, hugging myself against the cold, my skin pale and tight as gooseflesh raised along every inch of me. All this suffering…. and yet I felt detached, a ghost outside my body as they tortured it.

Never-ending torrents of water pelted us, and we were not permitted to move from where we stood. I watched a woman crouch to the ground, curling in on herself, only to be yanked up by the hair by one of the guards. She screamed and I could do nothing.

Phaedra would have done something.

Perhaps that’s the reason I feel such animosity toward my best friend, my love…. She takes action where I step back in fear. I don’t know where that part of me went, but I do remember there were days once when I could stand up for what I loved or be willing to die making my point.

I miss that part of me.

And in that field of filth and mud-spatter, I missed Phae.

They had tied her up when they took me; shackled her to the bed frame, and with much incredible effort, at that. Phaedra terrified me with her strength and will to fight, impressing me constantly since we arrived. The woman I had met in the bakery had been so docile and kind, caring for me in the darkest days of that sickness. The Phaedra I knew here, in this awful detention camp, was filled with fury and willfulness. When others bowed and cowered, she stood in defiance—and was always beaten for it, but never before she got her shots in on a few of the guards. They were growing weary of her, and that was oddly satisfying to me.

It seemed like forever until the water stopped, and a guard pointed back to our barracks. Aching and shivering, we hobbled along to each of our bunk houses. It was becoming routine, with these sessions always serving as my time to contemplate… always feeling just outside myself enough to link my thoughts together.

Once inside, I knelt beside Phae and let out a sob, her free arm coming to slide around me and pull me into her warmth without a word. She may have been shackled to the bed, but her affection was far from lacking.

How could I have ever blamed her…?

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Cancelled

I apologize for the lack of a writing exercise today.  I had a minor medical procedure done this morning, and I am…. completely non-functioning on these pain meds.  (I hate these damn things, but they insisted ibuprofen wasn’t strong enough.  Ugh.)

I’m going to work on Talion tomorrow, presuming I feel good enough to skip a freakin’ pill.  I’m really hoping I get it up on time.  If not, then Sunday.  Promise. <3

See you kids when the meds wear off~ <3

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New Stories, Offers, and Love for My Loves!

Salut!

For starters, everyone loves a new beginning, am I right?  Well, Goggles & Lace is premiering a new weekly series this Saturday called Talion.  Check out the synopsis on the new Talion page!  It’s heading into a weird sci-fi/fantasy cross, as far as I’ve planned it, so enjoy.  =]

Now.  I want to show my readers that I love them.  (Not like you kids didn’t know, yeah? =])  So, I’m currently working on a small compilation of short stories, both from the G&L archives and fresh from my brain, to put together into an e-book.  This very spiffy e-book will be offered to all new subscribers between today and October 31st.  BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!  My current subscribers still have the opportunity to receive my spiffy (as-yet-incomplete) e-book as well!  All you have to do is refer a friend to G&L, have them sign up for email subscription to the blog, and message me with their email address.  =]  You can use any of the media listed on my Contact Page to do this.  I’m hoping to have the e-book completed within the month.  I’ll keep tabs on everyone who subscribes between now and then, and email the e-book out as soon as it’s finished.

***NOTE:  I will never, ever share your email address or send you unwanted messages or spam.  I will use the email address that WordPress provides to send your e-book, and that’s it.  After that, they’ll just be automated messages letting you know when I post content.  You ABSOLUTELY have my word.***

If there are any suggestions you have for content that should be included in the book, don’t be shy about suggesting!

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LfBH 9.2 – Trials: Felix

I deserved it. Everything they did. I wanted it; the beatings, the water torture, the shackles…. It reminded me of Dacian. Every time they came to take me, I could hear Silas fighting, our bunk-mates struggling to keep him back. Each time was worse than the last, yet I remembered less and less. Silas nursed my wounds, though I could never fathom why. All my life, I lacked in true friends… it was ironic that I would find one here. He fought hard for me, and every time they came, I let them have me.

“Dacian is dead, Felix,” muttered Silas one evening as he set my broken forearm with a heart-stopping crack.

A howl burst from my throat, thunking my forehead against the table with a sob.

“G-Go to hell….”

“Not saying it won’t make it less true.” His words mirrored the ache in my arm, though he was oddly tender as he wrapped and splinted my swollen limb. “I understand that you loved him—”

Love him, Silas. Just because he’s dead doesn’t mean my love died with him.”

“Fine. But it’s beside the fucking point.” His eyes burned, even as I worked not to look at him. I knew he was locked on me. “Dying here won’t bring him back.”

I knew that. But wasn’t it my greed for a formal marriage that got him killed? At least before I sought that formality we had each other.

“We deserved it.” I tried to clear the hoarseness from my throat, but the screaming had all but done it in. As it cracked around those words, I wondered if it really was hoarse, or if it was tears. My face had been beaten numb, so it really could have been either.

“Fuck off! You didn’t deserve any of this shit!” Silas snapped, snatching our tin rain-collecting cup and hurling it against the wall.

I cringed.

“I meant a wedding, jackass… We deserved a wedding,” I muttered after the shock of his outburst wore off. Rubbing my eyes with my good hand, I slumped back on the bed and cradled my arm.

“Oh.” Silas blinked owlishly at me, settling back on his crate. “Well. Right. Yes. You did deserve that. S’what I was telling you before. But really, though, Felix… Fight back a little.”

“No.”

“You fight when they come for me.

“You’re different.”

“Bullshit.” He plopped on the bed and laid beside me, both of us sideways, our legs hanging over the edge. “Your face is bleeding a little.”

“It always seems to be lately.” Glancing over, I watched him. Silas, an uncultured orphan from the streets of my father’s city. My only friend in the world now.

“They’ll be back tomorrow. Promise me you won’t just let them do whatever they want to you….”

I wanted to curse at him and go to sleep like I always did. Who was he to be making demands of me? It wasn’t that long ago that my fate had been the gallows, and I welcomed it. I could see no reason my life should be spared in favor of this hell.

“Believe it or not, you stupid bastard, people actually give a shit what happens to you.”

People? Or you?”

He rolled his eyes and rolled himself to his feet, crossing the room without a word. Effective means of dodging the question. Silas had as many bruises and bandages as I did, it was baffling how he could move so easily.

“Fine, you win. I’ll fight while they’re beating me next time. Because we all know how far protesting gets you.” I tossed a bread crust from the table at him, bouncing it off the top of his head.

Unfazed, he turned toward me, eyes dark and hollow, more somber than I’d ever seen him. “Just do me this and pretend, for once, that you want to be alive….”

My mouth dropped open, I could feel it as I stared dumbly at him. I could only nod. In the short few weeks I’d been here, Silas had tended my wounds, coaxed me to laugh, and stayed beside me in the dark. Selfish, spoiled man that I am, I felt all this time that he was doing it for me. In that moment, I felt stupid and cruel. I wasn’t the only one in the dark.

“I do want to live.” Using my good arm, I shoved myself up, every bruise and muscle screaming in agony. “I let the helplessness control me. I’m sorry.” I still don’t know if I actually was sorry. I just knew that Silas needed to hear it. Taking his hand, I gave it a weak squeeze.

“I don’t want to die here, Felix…” He let his head drop back against the window, rattling the pane.

“You won’t. We won’t. You’re as stubborn as a gods be damned goat, Silas. You’ll live through this whether you want to or not.” Nudging him with my elbow, I was pleased to earn a small smile.

“That so?” He lifted his head and gave a laugh, tears running down his cheeks.

“That is so. You need to be alive to help me crush my father and take his estate.” Those words left me and I hadn’t the faintest idea where they came from.

“What?” Silas stared, and I grinned at his surprise.

“You’ll help me, won’t you? We’ll split the profit.” The idea hadn’t even come to me until just then, after it left my lips. But it was brilliant.

“You’re going to get yourself killed.” He glared, but only for a moment. My grin must have been infectious, because in seconds, I watched the same one grow on Silas’ face.

“Well?” I asked, squeezing his hand one more time.

Glancing down to our clasped hands, his eyes flickered once again to mine.

“I’m in.”

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Writing Exercise: The Hero’s Journey

Salut!  Before we get to the writing exercise, I have some things I’d like to address.

First, HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY TO MY BABY SISTER!  She’s been through a slew of unpleasantness this week, and she really deserves a great birthday.  Also, unless you’re excited about being able to rent a car at 25, Sam, 21 is the Last Great Birthday.  From now on you’re just “getting old.”  =P   Enjoy that thought.  I love you, and happy birthday. <3

NEXT!  Happy Friday the 13th to everyone else!  No special notes.  Just “happy Friday the 13th.”  Is anyone planning some spiffy Friday-the-13th-themed fiction for today?

Now, drum roll, please….

Writing Exercise: The Hero’s Journey

I hear a lot of criticism about “The Hero’s Journey”.  Everyone’s always taking the elitist road and trying to avoid it like the plague.  WELL.  This week, kiddos, I challenge you to take a good, long look at your current novel.  I want you to read these steps, and do your best to apply your current novel to this formula.  Good news!  The steps don’t have to happen in order.  Number them to keep them straight for us, but show us how your “I don’t subscribe to The Hero’s Journey” novel applies to The Hero’s Journey.  =P

Just for fun.  <3  Link:  The Hero’s Journey.

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LfBH 9.1 – Trials: Fiona

I was afraid when the treatment started.

They came for me in the small hours of morning, the haze of twilight still fighting against the sun. That was always my favorite time of day….

“Time for your treatment,” the guard shouted, rousing us from our sleep the moment he burst through the door, three others in tow. It felt like we had only just arrived, sleeping a shoddy excuse for a bed instead of the filthy wagon floor. “Girls, sixteen to twenty. Line up.”

My blood froze. Flicking a glance toward my new friends, I must have given away my terror; Phaedra was on her feet in a heartbeat, her finger thrust a hairsbreadth from the guard’s nose.

“I don’t know what ‘treatment’ you plan to give these girls, but so help me, if any of them return harmed, I will bury you.” there was a growl behind her words, a threat that made me quiver.

The guard leaned forward, pushing Phae’s hand aside, nose to nose with her. “We have bitches put down,” he seethed, though Phae didn’t even flinch. The hair on my neck prickled at the silence that followed, tension so thick it was visible. Phaedra didn’t move an inch, her dark eyes locked on him, glaring into that bastard’s face.

He reminded me of my husband. A shudder ran through me, and I had to look away.

“Phae!” Tully had Phaedra by the shoulders, tugging her back. Finally, she relented and went back to the bed they shared. Tully slid behind her, arms lacing around her shoulders to keep her on the bed.

“March them out.” The guard flicked the muzzle of his rifle from us to the door, and the three he’d brought with him closed around us. Myself and five other girls, quaking and crying, were led from the bunk house.

++++

It’s hard to tell what we were faced with. The doors opened into a large barn, the stalls having been converted and swept out. Restraints hung from the rafters and into each stall like tentacles made of chain and leather. Our marching stopped as we caught our first glimpse into this medieval hell, balking at any notion of entry. Who would cross this threshold?

“Move!” One of our captors shoved a pair of girls with his rifle, knocking them into the rest of us to force us inside. I held still, only to feel that same shove, toppling onto my hands and knees. One of the other girls pulled me to my feet just in time to draw my face out of the path of a guard’s boot.

I mouthed a silent ‘thank you’. She only looked away.

My wrist was the first to be seized and I screamed. It was futile. I knew no one would help me, but I screamed and screamed as the man dragged me through the barn, the soles of my shoes skidding until they caught on a floorboard and I toppled onto my face.

He lost his grip. My heart leapt, and so did I. Bolting for the door, I thought I could make it. I don’t know why I thought that….

Pain wrenched me from my optimism, and before I knew it, my feet were over my head, and I was on the floor, a meaty hand tangled in my hair, jerking me backward. Sobbing and screaming, I couldn’t hear anything but my own voice; I couldn’t feel anything but the force of the guard’s hand in my hair, soon forcing my hands over my head. I was shackled.

Shackled.

I fought… I really did. Being strung up like a side of beef leeched any fight I had left in me, and I just dangled there, sobbing, head hung… Shameful. I valued my life, and I wanted to live it. Why couldn’t I free myself? How did I even get here?

I cried as they left me there. Terrified. Alone. Five other girls in the stalls around me, all too terrified to speak. For hours we were left there, or it felt like hours. My shoulders and elbows ached as my own weight stretched them from the ceiling shackles. It hurt to cry. It hurt to breathe.

“Your new life begins now.” A booming voice silenced the sobbing as we all strained to lift our heads and see the man that was now pacing the central walkway between the stalls. “No more filth. No more blasphemy. No more willful ignorance.” He cracked a riding crop against my stall door. “We will begin with gentle coaxing. You don’t want to be the way you are. No one wants to be different. Or shunned. Or cast out. How many of you pretty ladies are married? Raise your hand?”

He laughed . Sick sense of humor…. That didn’t bode well. I suddenly found myself praying to Satreas to just let me go home. I could sneak around under my husband’s eye…. I didn’t want to be tied up anymore.

“Gentle coaxing… You’ll be here like this until morning. Tomorrow, you get a bath from where you hang. Then you go back to your barracks.” He looked into my stall and grinned. “You, though… have to be taught that escape attempts won’t put you in our good graces.”

My stomach churned, and tears welled again, leaking down my cheeks. I hoped Phae meant what she said to that guard. This was a different man, shorter, with spectacles and slicked back blond hair, but the thought of someone being punished gave me solace.

“Unbutton the back of her shirt.”

A sob slid out of me against my will, and one of the guards began to obey the command, the buttons on the back of the murky gray shirt I was issued, same as all the others, were released from their holes. As long as my front stayed covered—

He had no interest in my front. Rolling up his sleeves, that spectacled bastard came around behind me, tugging leather gloves off finger by finger. I only saw his shadow, lifting the riding crop–

My voice felt detached as it echoed through the barn in hysterical screams, as if they weren’t my own, stopping only when the pain became an inflamed and swollen numbness. I saw him come around me again, pulling his gloves back on, the crop tucked under his arm.

“Rest well, ladies,” he said as he retreated, the guards following. I heard the padlock snap shut, and let out a shuddering sigh… and began to weep.

“F-Fiona…?” one of the girls asked, a girl called Sophie, I think. “Are you alright?”

Mustering my voice, I croaked out a weak ‘no’… and silence fell over the barn.

The treatment center.

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More Updates!

G&L is now on Facebook!  That’s right, we have a fan page, kiddos. <3  (Not that I’m shamelessly plugging or anything.)  So, “like” it if you like it.  =P

Also, Jess over at A BA in BS submitted one of her pieces from the May Challenge.  Check out  The Fragrance of Dark Coffee.

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May Challenge Update… and other stuff, too.

Alrighty.  I realize it’s LfBH day, but I’m posting today’s entry tomorrow because I’m a day behind in everything at the moment. Lol.  I apologize.  For today, I just wanted to brief everyone on what I have planned for Goggles & Lace over the next few months.

First of all, I’m hoping to overhaul the entire page.  I hate the layout.  I’m not satisfied with my images.  It looks shoddy, and I need to fix it.  I’m working on that.  No telling how many changes this site is going to go through until then, so bear with me.  =P

Next, I’ve plotted out LfBH all the way to July 18th.  I’m also looking for feedback on that storyline.  Where would you like to see the story go?  Is there a character or pairing you want to see more of?  A certain obstacle you want them to face?  I’m all ears.  I’m writing this one just to keep myself writing when my novel makes me want to beat my head against a wall, so any suggestions are welcome.  =]

Number three?  Plotting a new series to be posted on… a day.  I haven’t decided which one yet.  I’m not sure when installment one will be uploaded, I’m still developing my protagonist and her struggle.  I need to stop writing about women, though. I just feel that there aren’t enough strong, self-sufficient women in fiction that don’t come off as frigid pains in the ass, or wind up “opening up” and finding they can rely on a man.  I like writing female characters who can survive on their own without being bitched up or dumbed down.  So…. this will be another one.

Is anyone else still doing the May Challenge I posted earlier this month?  Since I started, I’ve done a lot more plotting and trying to log my time, but I’ve missed a few days on recording.  I’ve worked myself brain dead with new characters, plots, and twists for my two big projects.  I have pages and pages of character reference sheets (you know, so I don’t forget a character’s eye color or some stupid thing) and lineage garbage for my race of Venduri.   What have you done so far?  Is the challenge helping?

So yes, LfBH will be updated tomorrow with part 9.1.  Spoiler: Fiona.

Hope everyone’s Mother’s Day was lovely. And for those of you with children, I hope your hellspawn treated you fantastically. <3

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