Quote of the Moment

Quote of the Moment: Oh, Shiny!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Am I Reading? Acorna

Sorry for the delayed post again. I haven't had much time to blog lately OR read. October needs to be renamed Month of Crazy. I am still hip deep in Month of Crazy, so this post will be brief, as I'm only 17 pages into Acorna. That allows me to take a look at first impressions, though. And that's always important in a novel--you have to hook the reader in those first few pages or they won't keep reading!

Acorna, written by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball, is another older novel. It recently landed on my To Read pile because of an urban fantasy series I had in mind where the protagonist is somewhat of a unicorn (at least her grandmother claimed she is). My protagonist is an avid reader who devoured anything "unicorn" as a child, and Acorna came to mind.

I read more fantasy and horror than I do science fiction, so it took my brain a couple pages to adjust. In a good way, though. And then it made me think, as usual. This time about the introduction of an alien species.

In some instances, like in the movie Alien, the writer wants to make the new species so foreign that it's horrifying, create it into something that is completely different than anything we know. But what if we want to make an alien species likeable? Or even relatable?

We give it human characteristics, of course!

Those human characteristics, things we recognize, help us adjust to the added differences of the creature. Near the beginning of Acorna, some asteroid miners find a pod with a little girl in it. The first description we get doesn't center on her differences, but makes it sound like she could be any human child. "They all admitted to that impression of the little creature which lay on her side, one hand curled into a fist and thrust against her mouth in a fairly common gesture of solace. A fluff of silvery hair curled down her forehead and coiled down to her shoulder blades, half obscuring the pale, delicate face" (8). It isn't until after that description that they notice the bump on her forehead and how her fingers and toes are formed differently.

But physical description isn't always enough, is it? Actions and responses that seem more human also help to endear us to something "other". Clearly an alien can look sweet and humanoid, then open its eyes and devour your face. Am I right?

Little Acorna doesn't do this, though. She does something very human, and it's hard not to feel for her. "'Avvvi, avvvi!' the youngling demanded, louder. Her eyes looked strange--almost changing shape--but she didn't cry." One man questions what avvvi could mean, and another responds, "...'Whatever the language,' [Gill] said, '"avvi" has to be her word for "Mama"'" (9).

How can you not feel for a child crying for her mother? Or at least see that though alien, the child is very human-like, and easy to accept as a likeable character.

What other ways have you seen something alien come alive on the page with the intention of liking the alien species?

McCaffrey, Anne and Margaret Ball. Acorna. New York: HarperPrism, 1997.

NEXT UP: A poem

Saturday, October 04, 2014

What Am I Writing? 10/4/14 Snippet - Dead As Dreams

Below is a snippet of something I am currently working on. Be warned, it will usually be rough draft material. Please let me know if you like what you read! It'll encourage me to keep going. ♥

As Lazarus struggled for a retort, he caught a stirring from the bed, as if wind ruffled the sheets. Then they rose up, a form growing under them. Or a body.

"Aysa, you mind getting us out of here before we talk about this?" He licked his lips and attempted to control his voice, feeling the panic reach into his throat. "The Nexus would be great right about now."

I can't.

"What do you mean you can't?" He wanted to shake her and scream that she better get them out of here before the thing in the bed crawled out.

I have no control in nightmares, only dreams. As if to confirm her statement, her crook vanished. She frowned. That's why it took so long to reach you. I'm stuck here, just as well as you. She glanced toward the bed, and her eyes widened.

It softened Lazarus to hear that even though it took her a while, she came to help him knowing that she would be stuck with whatever horror he was facing, with no power to stop it. But there were more pressing things to consider at the moment.

The sheet slipped off of the growing bulge in the bed, revealing not the Karu-corpse, but the corpse of the chief from Hambrea. His slit throat oozed pus as he sat up and stared right at Lazarus and Aysa.

"How do we get out of here?" Lazarus asked, sure by now the fear had seeped into his voice.

There was also a quaver of fear in Aysa's response, even if she only spoke into his mind. I don't know.

From Dead As Dreams, Chapter 14 (novel currently in the revision process)

About Dead As Dreams:

Dreams are in danger and souls are chained to the earth. Aysa, the Shepherd of Dreams, and Lazarus, a spirit seeker, join forces to restore the balance between dreams and nightmares and life and death. They face a rogue spirit seeker and a manipulator of nightmares--both intent on unhinging the world, but there is yet another pulling the strings.

NEXT UP: What Am I Reading?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lavender Legacy - Chapter 3: The Heart Wants

The Lavender Legacy series follows the Lavender family from the Sims 3: Supernatural game. Lila Lavender is the progenitor. Who knows what crazy things will happen in the lives of the Lavenders!

You can find previous chapters and the current chapter on Wattpad.

The Heart Wants

Lila has a good cry over her lost plants--she wishes there was something to chase off the zombies, but she knows it's not possible.

Her bad luck continues to bleed into the next day, unfortunately. She's furious, and she realizes her attitude can easily effect things around her, but she can't help herself. So, she grudgingly eats her unevenly cooked breakfast, and then curses the shower when it breaks on her as she's showering....

Enough of this. She suffers through work, then comes home and buys herself a fairy castle. It's time for some rest and relaxation, fairy style! She's already decided she's going to play hookie from work tomorrow. She sips her pollen punch, determined to stick to her guns.

At least she's able to revive two of her apple trees. And fix the damned shower.

The next day, she sticks to her decision and blows off work. Instead she finds some special seeds, sells some produce, paints, and plants. To end the day she has some fun at the Red Velvet Lounge, making friends, dancing, and enjoying herself. What a relaxing day, though the fear of getting fired lingers in the back of her mind.

Of course the fun doesn't last. She has the next day off of work, but she starts it off with her toilet breaking. This time, she's not going to let it get her down. She helps her friend Belinda by repairing her TV, paints another picture, and then has herself a fairy house party! You can't say fairies don't know how to party.

To keep things rolling along, she heads out to the Red Velvet Lounge and makes friends with Chauncey Grimm. Well, she's hoping their relationship can grow to more than friends. He rebuffs all of her flirtatious advances, though. True, he's in a relationship, but the heart wants what the heart wants!

Lila heads home, depressed over her relationship status. Can't she find someone to be happy with? Or at least someone to have some fun with? This fairy doesn't want to be alone forever. And life in Moonlight Falls would be so much better with a partner by her side.

The following day, she hears of a new neighbor that's moved into town. Supposedly a handsome, vampire neighbor. Her heart pounds in her throat as she makes the decision to visit him and welcome him to Moonlight Falls.

Will this new mystery man be the vampire of her dreams? Or will he spurn her like every other man she's fallen for?

Are there some things you'd be interested in seeing Lila do? Any particular tortures you'd like to see inflicted on her? Feel free to make some suggestions, and if they're interesting enough, I may just use them!

NEXT UP: What Am I Writing?