Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dream of the Dead - A Poem

Dream of the Dead

Dream of the dead on Samhain

Touch the thinning veil
Shadow of the other side
Where souls wait
To be reborn

Dream of the dead on Samhain

Faces lost
But not forgotten
Outlines in the fog
Memory blurs at the edges

Dream of the dead on Samhain

* * * * *

NEXT UP: NaNoWriMo 2014

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?