Saturday, December 17, 2011

Taking Stock

First things first: my youngest son's latest surgery was incredibly successful. It went so much better this time, and his recovery was immensely easier. He's a tough little two-year-old. Hopefully we'll find out in January if it worked completely this time. My little stormtrooper has been through a lot.

While writing my latest WIP, set in Antarctica mind you, I just noticed how strong an aroma our Christmas tree is still emitting. We've had it for a little over two weeks now, and it is still going strong. Don't get me wrong, I love the smell, but usually it has either gone or weakened to the point of becoming unnoticeable. I think this is a good omen for the coming year, what with all the bad juju in 2011. We've always gotten real trees (I can't say live because technically they're severed and dead plants which can absorb water) and we'll continue to, even if I have to volunteer my boys into putting if up for me when I'm too old.

My prediction for 2012: everything will be jolly good with nothing going wrong. If only it were that simple. Seriously though, I can only look up and pray for better fortunes. It does not do to dwell in gloom, despite the mounting adversity. Wait, that sounds like a general synopsis for many books. Well, I guess if the shoe fits...

I'll be praying for every one of you as well!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another Nearly Gone

I don't know about the rest of you, but this year streaked by for me. It's been a fairly productive year mired with many speed bump, but I've spent a lot of time on my two bigger WIPs as well as some much shorter ideas. While I'm still working toward completion on my projects, I've noticed the satisfaction of accomplishing much more in writing than I did in the many years leading to now. And yes, the full measure of satisfaction will be met when I'm published, but it's kind of like growing: once you're matured to a certain point in life you realize the knowledge and enlightenment you've earned. But the fundamental fact remains that none of us is truly done growing. What I'm trying to say is that in an infinite universe there are an infinite amount of lessons to be learned. I've learned some more, for my part. How about the rest of you?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Progress and Memories

Work on the novella turned novel has been progressing much faster than I'd anticipated! Plus, I think I'm close to naming it. I've several possibilities, and I have some more kicking to test the 'durability'. Try before you buy, right?

Watching my sons interact with one another has also aided in my great leap of progress. It reminded me of growing up and how I miraculously coped with my one older brother. Now, my boys aren't there yet, but I literally hated this brother. We fought constantly, particularly since it was easy to kick my ass. That is, until I had discovered the miracle of outrunning him. It pissed him off to no end, but I outran him like a gazelle evades a lion. Survival of the fittest in all. After years of running I faced him finally, to my defeat. But something happened that day, he began to respect me because I stood up to him, although he still liked to torture me, brotherly love you know. Now, we're closer than ever, and my boys remind me of us. They can get along and coexist quite harmoniously, whilst duking it out like mortal enemies. The fighting, the torture, those were the days. Anyway, they inspired me to change the relationship between several characters in my latest WIP. I've been writing a lot differently lately which is out of my normal comfort zone, but it feels so right the way it just spills onto the page. So, as long as they clash, I believe my writing will be growing to incorporate new and different styles that I never felt I would before. How about you?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Return

I'm back, again, and this time I hope for much longer. Better news for my son has me jumping for joy (figuratively, of course) though I am still wary and cautious to not get my hopes up too high. We have a very strong feeling that his recovery could be a lot sooner than we'd originally feared, which is awesome! We still have some waiting to endure though as the coming tests cannot be rushed. Poop! But my tough little stormtrooper has endured his  condition much better than I, as I have the neurotic  problem of worrying a lot. That coupled with my own condition has not helped, and quite honestly, almost killed me.

For the past two months I've suffered from increasingly severe abdominal pains that doctors were unable to explain for weeks. Two ER visits with no answers, being unable to stand and sit upright, and a wife with a whip (figurative, of course) prompted me to consult a GI who got the ball rolling. Well, after a scheduled Iodine CT scan went horribly awry in which I had a rather terrific allergic reaction to the iodine resulting in hives the consistency of toad skin, shortness of breath, vomiting, the runs, and a high fever. I actually argued with my wife about going to work, and my boss won: I had to call off. This perfect storm of symptoms drove my wife and her proverbial whip (slowly manifesting into cruel physical form) to haul my ass back to the ER in which everything fell into place. This new doctor and surgeon were guffawed that previous docs couldn't see my lovely marble-sized gallstone had inflamed and infected my gallbladder to the point that it had to come out NOW, or else... Needless to say the surgery went well, I'm slowly on the mend, though sore as hell, now my full attention is refocused on my youngest son. This is the first I've been able to sit upright for extended periods of time and actually write, which has been MADDENING!

I wanted to let you all know that I'm still alive and will be frequenting your pages as well as my own  as originally intended. So please remember me and come back, because I'm still here! God bless you all!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

When It Rains, It Pours

Weeks of doctors' appointments have brought us even closer to a final answer on what's causing my son's condition. Last week a close family member suffered a stroke, and now she's on the long road to recovery. And now I'm waiting for my own appointment to find out what's going on with me. When it rains, it pours. Luckily, I have an amazing wife and children to keep me focused.

Now to business; I have a rather sneaky suspicion that the novella is turning into a novel. Darn! Just kidding, that's great, because now I have much more to play with! Isn't imagination fun? I had hoped to pen a novella, but it's cresting to a greater vastness that is, the novel. No worries, I have many more ideas in the works. It will be some time until I begin weaving those tapestries, as I'm having an incredible amount of fun with this morphing novella. It's a type of fiction I never really thought I'd write, but it's fun as hell.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Of Substance and Originality

While we are still awaiting the results of my son's biopsy and MRI, I have been slowly easing back into the groove of writing. I've been gearing back up to the point of full capacity. Work on the novella is progressing well while the novel is being carefully maintained. I am also formulating several other ideas into story lines that I think are real winners, particularly because they're things I've noticed my wife has taken an interest in. Stay tuned for more info!

Another thing that's been on my mind lately is the apprehension of genres that are being used on a constant basis. While I love science-fiction, fantasy, political thriller, horror, poetry, even the abstract, I've noticed that a lot of them have been played again and again. I love new and creative ideas, but lately there haven't been many. There have been remakes, re-imaginings, and expansion on existing genres. A lot of them aren't executed well. Let's take the latest vampire craze; I do enjoy a good horror story, or even suspense/mystery with vampires, the idea has been beaten into the ground with oodles of films done as either empty gore-fests, or teeny-bopper flicks that fill up space. Anymore, they don't have the good substance that makes for an incredible story. They're either mindless monsters or love-crazed youngins. What happened to the Dracula story, or even the eerie story of I Am Legend, including its various film adaptations? The concept of the vampire, for the most part has been turned from a gothic/horror tale into a soap opera genre.

I've been working on a fantasy story for over a decade, mainly because I'm trying to wait for a 'dry spell'. By that I mean when I did finish it years ago, the Lord of the Rings films were coming out. I felt like my originality would be questioned. So I spent the past decade reworking the original concept to ease away from sounding too similar to the Tolkien works and various period pieces being dished out every year.

Enough of my venting. What do you all think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good News

My youngest son's surgery went well, though it'll be another week until we get the rest of the results back. OO-RAH! It was rough, waiting without word for hours, but the time finally came when it was all over with. But the most difficult part was watching him being put under general anesthesia. He took it like a trooper. Before he succumbed he kept saying "Daddy, Daddy". That was the hardest thing I ever had to endure as a parent. I felt like I was abandoning him when I had to leave the operating room. Fortunately it all went well. The procedure was a success, and he awoke normally, aside from the soreness and moodiness from the anesthesia. The doctors and nurses were all very impressed with his recovery, especially for being only two. Now is the time to relax and regain some much lost sleep! Keep on keepin' on!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Liebster Award!

I've received the Liebster from new and rising author Nadja Notariani, check out her blog, her recently published book, Claiming the Prize, and her other thoughts on writing, as well as an upcoming novella, Her Dark Baron.

Now the official rules state that I should follow the person who gave it to me. Then I should link back to their blog. Mission accomplished. The next step is to recommend that I pass along the award to five other writers. The only thing is that most of my other bloggers have already been awarded this, so I think I'm the last in line, as usual. But I highly recommend visiting Nadja's blog, it won't disappoint! 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day of Remembrance

Today as we remember this day of infamy, we also remember our men and women in uniform. This, for me, meant a day at the 911th Tactical Refueling Wing base for the annual air show. And it was spectacular! There's a reason America's military is #1, and they just showed us a slice of it. While we enjoyed the gigantic cargo and tanker planes opened for civilians to climb aboard and check out, the acrobatics of planes, old and new, showed us just what Amercian airpower could do. From old biplanes, to swift attack helicopters, to Cold War era jets, to modern aircraft it was a reassuring reminder of good old American know-how and ingenuity. The power and maneuverability of the massive C-17 to us is an awesome and inspiring sight, while to our enemies it is the hammerstroke that deals justice round the world. I am a fiercely proud patriot, and staunch supporter of our men and women in the armed services. The fact that I have several family members currently serving just swells my pride in my family, my country, and all that we hold dear. If you know, or see a member of our armed services, please take the time to thank them and show how they have our full support, at home and abroad!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hello, It's Me!

I'm new-ish, and back from a weekend trip to Lake Erie for Labor Day weekend. The past two days have been spent readjusting to the daily grind. It was a fun-filled time even though it had rained a lot of the time, but we were still able to enjoy many of the sites. My personal favorite was the Maritime Museum, even though the brig, Niagra wasn't there. I loved the historical artifacts from the original brig, and it's sister brig, the Wolverine/Michigan and various other sloops and schooners in Perry's fleet. My kids posed for pictures with the assorted cannons, shouting warnings to imagined Royal Navy adversaries before blasting them with a full broadside. But alas, while we spent the last day on a tour boat of Presque Isle Bay and part of the open lake itself, what did pass us? Why it was the brig itself, well the reproduction actually. Yep, the Niagra was heading for the channel with a crew of students to learn how to put her under full sail on open water. And we got to cruise alongside, about thirty yards away. It was an awe-inspiring sight while it flew the United States flag, the flag of Pennsylvania, and the jack bearing the ship's motto: Don't give up the ship! While I was wowed, I wanted to board and commandeer her, with the mindset to not give up the ship. But reality set in and I was returned to the daily grind. It was difficult being unable to write all weekend, particularly since I had so much in mind. But now I'm back, and ready to go!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome, to the Arena!

After a rather enjoyable weekend of family fun and time spent watching the recent UFC match between Silva and Okami, I've pondered an idea of gladiatorial proportions. Quite literally, gladiatorial. I've loved the story of the gladiator, both tragic and epic. From the pride and downfall of Spartacus to the redemption and prominent rise of Pomponius Hylas, gladiators have served as the typical and proto-athlete of modern sports. I know the Greek Olympics were the beginnings of friendli-ish competition in the arena, but it is the gladiator that gave rise to sports as we know it today. There were popular and unpopular gladiators, some were used to advertise brothels, whilst others served as a warning to those unhappy with the affairs of State. Nevertheless, the story of the gladiator has been tried and tested over the years in both print and film. Some stories were executed well, whilst many were shallow attempts. I am hoping to add my name to the short list of those who succussfully told stories worthy of audience of gladiators. Sooooooooooooo, this is all leading to a novella of original grid iron athletes. So hold on tight and stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Parallel Path

I've had much progress in writing the novella, whilst the novel is still tinkered with at a slower pace. I like really like how the premise morphed from what I'd initially conceived to how it's spilling onto the page. I don't know why, but it feels right. So, I'm going with it. It made me think about all the planning that many other authors go through to create a story. I've even done it at times. But when it comes down to it, I feel compelled to write it a way other than I thought I would. It made me wonder if other authors went through this as well. All I can say is that I am most pleased with its progress thus far, and promise to post more snippets and excerpts to verify its course.

There are times I wonder if the reader will understand the thought, feeling, mood, or setting I'm trying to convey. At the same time it's kind of exhilerating because it sparks a new idea for another story about flow-walking, or a parallel universe. Do any of you share this syndrome of partially changing your story midway?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A New Story

I've decided to share the first chapter of my as yet untitled novella ©. I hope the suspense is as powerful as I hope to have conveyed it. Let me know what you think.


Arrival



They were led down several wide corridors with lower ceilings than those common in structures much north of here. Bare concrete floors were not only seamless, but did not have a single crack which puzzled Alexander Hoffman as he lugged two sea bags of his belongings. His wiry form, concealed beneath layers of heavily insulated clothing boasted the physique of an Olympian primed compete for pride and nation. He preferred to stay in shape mainly because he had the time to do so, being an unmarried professor of archeology.

Dark eyes scanned the nominally bare walls and as the corridors lacked any real attention at Station 11. Alexander, or Hoff as his friends dubbed him, didn’t expect much entertainment while in Antarctica, and by extension, came to realize the few inhabitants here were equally as dull. That’s life, and I’m here on business, he thought to himself. Thing is, he had no idea what that business was other than his expert opinion and knowledge was highly sought.

The temperature was a near steady sixty-eight degrees inside the compound, and he appreciated it immensely. He wasn’t sure if it was gas, oil, coal, electric, or even nuclear energy which effectively heated this place, and he didn’t care at all. The purpose was being served, and that suited him.

Every now and then someone would page someone else to call this number or go to that place. It was very dry, mood-wise. Hopefully he wouldn’t be here long. He wasn’t sure why an archeologist would be requested to Antarctica.

His mind wandered while he meandered through the hallways of Station 11, wondering what it was that brought him here. An archeologist in Antarctica; there’s nothing here but snow and ice.

Then again, they must have found something here to bring him half way round the world to look at or offer an opinion on. Whatever it was intrigued him and sent his mind racing wildly as to what it was. He was too distracted to notice the cold anymore. He felt just like a kid trying to guess what he was getting for Christmas.

After a while his rational mind took over, slowing his excitement. It might be just some frozen bone sticking out of the ice that might belong to a horse or something outrageous like that.

 Regardless, it had to be something significant to someone willing to pay him to come from the University of Chicago to Antarctica, no expense spared. His trip to South America was first-class aboard a Learjet 85 with several other members of this team assembled swiftly and at some times, compelled. The boat ride to Antarctica was even more extravagant, as it featured individual cabins for everyone ‘contracted’ for the team. The plane from McMurdo to Station 11 wasn’t half-bad either, a privately-owned cargo hauler equipped with the comforts of home on a communal level.

Whoever this is, he or she expected results. Even though Hoffman was offered a quarter of a million dollars to just ‘examine’ some items and ‘offer a professional opinion’ he knew there was a stipulation. There always was.

Just have to wait and see. Maybe I’ll strike it rich down here. He took his career seriously, though from time-to-time he did enjoy a little sarcasm on it. Others certainly enjoyed it.

“Here we are,” said the man in the flannel, whose name Hoffman forgot. He wore a dark flannel tucked into jeans with layers of clothes beneath to combat the occasional cold spot in the station. He led the team of twenty from the garage to the station’s gymnasium which wasn’t all that impressive: it housed an assortment of weight machines, free-weights, blue mats, and a single basketball hoop. The room measured about thirty feet by sixty long with a twenty foot ceiling to accommodate the basketball hoop. “Take a seat, no particular order.”

They broke off into smaller groups as they were on the plane, each sticking with those they knew, even for a short time.

Typical, Hoffman mused to himself. He’d befriended several of the others, but not many. There were at least three other professors in this team, one of which he already knew: Doctor Kevin Sherwood, a professor of archeology at the University with Hoffman. An older gentleman, Sherwood was more of a role model to him and an inspiration. He was usually quiet and something of a loner, except when it came to Hoffman or several select faculty members who shared a common interest in the ‘early world’ as he dubbed it. They would spend hours talking about arcane and lost civilizations, debating the circumstances which led to their declines, and how they might have avoided it. Usually it would end with the older professors poking fun at him about how he being a young man didn’t have a life. He welcomed it though, respecting their intelligence and their time.

Grabbing hold of a chair next to Sherwood, Hoffman plopped down, dropping his bags on either side.

“Well hello again!” Sherwood responded in a low voice with a surprised look that the younger man knew was fake.

“Fancy seeing you here,” Hoffman joked back. Removing the last hat on his head, he revealed severely matted dark hair, though it wasn’t that long to begin with. “I hope this doesn’t take long, I’m starving.”

“You should’ve eaten before we left McMurdo, Hoff. I told you you’d regret it.” Sherwood shook his head, “Young folks don’t listen anymore.”

“Well, it’s kind of hard when you are older than the Incan civilization I just taught my class. I didn’t think mummification worked on the living.”

“Watch it! You’ll be old one day.”

“Yeah, well you got about eight centuries on me.”

Sherwood laughed. “Just you wait.”

The rest of the team seated and waited patiently, while several chattered amongst themselves. They didn’t really notice the big guy in front of them. He wore loose-fitting jeans with a short-sleeved polo, bearing the Station 11 insignia. His bald, shiny head gleamed in the fluorescent light, with small light-colored eyes and a sharp nose giving him the guise of a shrewd bastard.

“Welcome all,” the man broke into their conversations. “Welcome to Station 11, I’m Dan Cooper, director of this facility. This will be your base of operations until you are sent into the field. Your home away from home, if you will. You are free to wander the station at will. You will not leave the station unless accompanied by station personnel or qualified team members. Stupid can get you killed at Station 11, so drop it real quick, because we don’t have any vaccines. Don’t be stupid, and you’ll stay alive. Antarctica is a dangerous continent.”

They all knew that pretty well. It was cold at McMurdo, and Station 11 was further south.

“Having made that clear, I want to welcome you again. I have no idea how long you’ll be here, but hope your contracts are everything and more. There isn’t much else down here.”

“Can you tell us what is down here?” Colin Staniewski asked. He was a chemist from California, and that was all Hoffman could remember. “I mean what it is that brought us here?”

Now Dan drew a troubled breath. “You will be briefed after chow as to why you are all here. I want to enjoy what accommodations we have here at 11, and just do what you do best.”

“What do you mean you can’t tell us now?” Joseph Russell spat. “You brought us here! Now what’s the story?”

Dan’s face remained neutral, while his tone was irritated. “Now let me set you straight, young fellow: I did not bring you here. I know why you are here, but I am forbidden to discuss that with you. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t have brought you here. All I am required to do is allow you to utilize this station, and keep you from freezing to death. That’s it, end of story, goodbye. Now does anyone else have a more intelligent question?”

Hoffman raised his hand, “When do we eat?”

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



“I like our room,” Hoffman said as he shoved another spoonful of oatmeal in his mouth. He consumed three previous bowls already, hoping they would help to bring his innards back to normal human temperature. Besides, he loved oatmeal, and it sickened Joe Russell who sipped his coffee.

“How can you stand eating that? It looks like puke.” The geologist from Colorado seemed to gag as he watched Hoffman indulge.

“It’s much better for you than that coffee.”

“Play nice, boys,” Sherwood sipped at his own coffee, having just finished his steak and potatoes. “I like our room too. It’s like being back in the Army. Good times.”

Gulping another glass of iced tea, Hoffman smiled at his old friend. “It’s not that bad.”

“Oh, I’m not complaining, just reminiscing.” Sherwood glanced at the younger man inquisitively. “You really like oatmeal?”

“It’s food, and it’s warm. I think coffee is watered down tar.” Smiling broadly, Hoffman savored the last spoonful before releasing a deep sigh of satisfaction. “I’m good for a few hours now.”

“Seriously,” said Colin, “you’re gonna get sick from eating all that.”

“That’s nothing,” Hoffman stood to return his bowl. “My brother can eat twice what I just did. Besides, it’s what we ate a lot of living on a farm.”

Laughing wholly, Sherwood sipped his black, unsweetened beverage.

“I mean it, he’s gonna get sick.” Colin made a repulsive face as he staved off mental images of people regurgitating. “So you two know each other?”

“I’ve known him most of his life. We also teach together at the University of Chicago. I suspect he’ll be taking my place when I retire. He’s earned it.” Smiling warmly as he sipped his coffee again with a slight slurp, Sherwood glanced for his friend.

Nodding, Colin seemed approve of the older man’s answer. “He’s highly intelligent. He answered every question I had beyond what I’d expected on the boat and plane. He seems very passionate about archeology. I respect that, not many people are anymore.”

“Do what you love and love what you do.”

“Welcome back, farmboy,” Joe poked while Hoffman returned to his seat with another large glass of iced tea.

Nodding at the jibe, Hoffman settled himself again. “Now what do think is down here? My mind’s been racing to come up with a logical explanation to all of this.”

“I know. I gave up trying to solve that mystery a while ago, because we’re going to find out sometime soon.” Always cool and infected with an unnatural amount of patience, Sherwood remained a true rock of logic and simplicity to Hoffman through his years of arriving to this point in his life. He was immensely helpful in the younger man’s transition from impulsive youth living in the now to a more mature adult who still possessed his good-humored adolescent charm.

“But what do you think it is?” Face relaxing to a serious countenance, Hoffman propped himself with both elbows on the table, presenting himself as businesslike. “Do you realize the money spent on just the manpower? How many others have been brought here previous to our arrival? Something is up, and whatever it may be, is huge.”

“Yes, it has struck me as odd.”

“Odd?” Joe gulped his last shot of coffee, glancing into the mug with disappointment as it was empty. “Doctor Hoffman is right! Something huge is going on here, and we’ve been brought into it!”

“But what?” Colin leaned forward like they were discussing something top secret that they didn’t want anyone else to hear. “Think about it: archeologists, chemists, geologists, and who knows what those other men specialized in. Why would someone amass a group of composed of these kinds of people?”

“Look, we’re all paid to be here, we’re not prisoners. We’ll find out who, what, where, when, how, why, and whatever else there may be to be learnt. It’ll just take time. Patience is our only certainty.”

Hoffman shook his head. “I can’t believe this: you seem disinterested.”

“Quite the contrary, I’m excited with a slight bit of apprehension. I won’t worry myself into a stomach ulcer trying to decipher some dark secret awaiting us here at the end of the world.” Sherwood stared into his mug, his mind wandering.

“I tell you what,” Colin leaned closer to them, his voice dropping to a whisper. “These other guys seem like professionals. Like soldiers or something.”

“Soldiers are great survivalists,” Sherwood spoke in a hushed tone.

“You’re just shooting down everyone’s good time.” Smiling playfully to his good friend, Hoffman raised his glass. “Here’s to you, party-pooper.”

“Now that you mention it, they do kinda look like soldiers.” Joe’s eyes conspicuously wandered about the cafeteria, observing the others with a skeptical look, like he had them figured.

“They do seem to be on edge around here,” said the older man, allowing his eyes to wander briefly. “I’m sure Doctor Neary will enlighten us soon enough.”

“Hello there,” said an unfamiliar voice from behind Joe. A tall man with silvery hair streaked with black approached with a broad smile through a thick beard. He wore octagonal glasses over narrow blue eyes which appeared to be monocles connected with a bridge. Wearing a heavy green sweater with cargo khaki pants, he appeared different from the rest of the Station 11 personnel. “I’m Brian Neary; it’s good to meet you. Please sit.” He shook their hands in turn before taking a seat between Joe and Sherwood.

“Colin Staniewski, nice to meet you Doctor Neary.”

“Nice to meet you Colin. Just call me Neary.”

“Joe Russell. Glad to meet you.”

“I’m Alexander Hoffman. It’s a pleasure, Neary.”

“Kevin Sherwood, at your service.”

“I’m so happy to meet you all, you’ve come highly recommended. I look forward to working with you all in the field. Well, the mountains actually.”

“What did you find in the mountains?” Hoffman posed as nonchalantly as he could, his expression neutral.

“Well it’s interesting, you see. We couldn’t believe it when we first found it, and have run numerous tests to confirm the data.” Neary spoke excitedly, slowly realizing what he’d said. Then leaning forward slightly he continued, “The main lab has just about everything you’ll need. It’s this way.”

Rising from his chair, Neary beckoned them to follow, departing as swiftly as he’d arrived. And like seasoned scientists, they followed, their curiosities peaked. They didn’t have far to walk this time as the lab was just across the hallway, with most of the lights dimmed.

No one else was inside as they entered, maneuvering between tables, chemical trays, and other pieces of equipment they were vaguely familiar with. The lab was about the size of the gymnasium, though filled with numerous precision devices for measuring, gauging, observing, and problem solving.

Neary led them to a wide set of doors obscured by what appeared to be a large lathe at the back end of the lab. He swiped a card through a thin slit in the wall that appeared to be nothing more than a joint between two wall panels. A small man-door clicked open their way and Neary led them through, speaking to someone just inside. “These four are with me, they’re the last.”

As they crossed the thresh, they saw a pair of guards, each clad in body armor and armed with AR-15s, pistols at their hips. They were not military, but they were definitely not standard station security either. They were something more, like a private security force. What in the world are they here for?  

“Whoa! What’s this?” Joe panicked. The others shared his obvious apprehension and stopped in their tracks, baffled more than surprised.

“Calm down, gentlemen. You’re in no danger. You’ll see soon enough why we must take these precautionary measures.” Neary directed them to follow him further down a well-lit stairwell.

“I think I’ve seen quite enough,” Colin spat. None of them moved to follow even as their host descended a few more steps. Their eyes demanded an explanation. Faces covered with looks of accusation, they refused to take another step until he convinced them otherwise.

“Too late to back out now, I’m afraid.” Neary chuckled. “Trust me, it’s not what you think, whatever that may be. You’re going to love this, trust me.”

“Did you find gold down here?” Joe mocked more than asked. He was the most frightened of them all, shakily backing toward the closed doors.

“Of a sort, yes.” Neary’s smile seemed to dispel any fear the four of them had, though they refused to budge. “Look, it’s better if you see it all.”

“I don’t know, with this kind of security, I think we’d be better off remaining in the dark.” Sherwood took a cautious step forward. “Something isn’t right here, I can feel it. Why don’t you just try explaining?”

“Because words could not do it all justice. Trust me.” He beckoned them on as he continued his descent. Reluctantly, and curiously, they followed him into the depths of Station 11 toward the main lab.

They came to a set of doors guarded by a pair of sentries armed just as the pair upstairs. Recognizing Neary, they allowed him, with his guests to pass, unhindered. When the doors opened, they reluctantly entered the bright interior of the immense lab filled with more equipment and people than the one upstairs.

The smooth walls were bright white with shelves over several tables along them. The floors were polished black, almost like Spanish marble, but solid in color. The drop ceiling consisted of staggered fluorescent lights which illumined the enormous space.

The focal point of the room seemed to be along the far wall where seven people gathered about something unseen. Other smaller groups were scattered about various stations throughout the lab, unaware and uncaring about the arrival of newcomers. 

Neary led them on his own winding path through the lab, focused on the group of seven. The four behind him couldn’t help but steal glances at the curious artifacts that others seemed to gape and marvel at. Though they were sure of what they’d seen, they were hesitant to believe their own eyes. There were bits of chiseled stone and fashioned metal that didn’t appear quite right.

“You may illuminate us at any time, Neary.” Sherwood’s voice was heavy with frustration and curiosity. He looked at Hoffman with a twinkly in his eye, who nodded in understanding.

“Hi there, Neary!” One of the seven noticed him before they arrived. “They’re here?”

“Yes, they’re here.” Neary answered as the other six turned to greet them, creating a gap wide enough for them to see the table behind.

All four newcomers stopped cold as they saw it.

“Who is that?!” Colin yelped in disbelief. ©

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Keepin' On

While I've been busy the past couple of weeks living my 'day job', I've been moonlighting with my fantasy WIP, my sci-fi novella, and beta-reading an incredible story. Claiming the Prize, by Nadja Notariani is a genre I'm pretty unfamiliar with, but highly recommend with its edge of your seat tension. It's action-packed and rooted with a deep and moving story. Filled with characters of a wide variety, it's the first piece of fiction I've read in a long time in which every character was real and believable! While I've got a deadline to keep in reading it, I'm enjoying it too much to consider it work. Please check out her page and read excerpts of both pieces she's writing: Claiming the Prize and Her Dark Baron. If you're searching for down to earth fiction that's just as real as life itself, swing by her page to see how you can claim the prize!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Progress

I am happy to say that the novella is coming along, maybe a little slower than I want, but I know that I'm being careful. My fantasy WIP is slower, as I'm spending more time with the novella. My rationale is that absence makes the heart grow fonder. By that I mean that the creative batteries need to cool down and regroup to resume the steady flow I'm more comfortable with whilst writing.

The first chapter of the novella is aboutish a quarter of the way written. But I am committed, until the novel draws more of my attention for a time to recuperate the creative process for the novella. So I will become a flip-flopper. And that's the only time I will, because I can't stand indecision.

Anyway, I'm taking my time to write, because years of rushing headlong into stories hadn't worked out too well for me. So, wish me luck, because I've wished for you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Time Has Come

After ironing out the details of the novella I've pondered and planned for the last few weeks, I have just arrived to the point of actually writing it. Whew! I know for me, I'm the hardest one to work with when it comes to writing. I'll spend hours arguing back and forth on certain details, characters, settings what have you until one of two things happens: I become frustrated to the point of working on another project, or I'll have to just turn the switch off and just do what I do and see what happens afterward.


I'm sure to stump or confound myself down the road, but I believe I'm reaching the point of just writing like I work: just do it, it'll turn out however it turns out. Now I still adhere to my usual regimented structure of doing things, but I'll only write like walking a path: wherever it takes me, or rather, where I write it to take me.

I hope others can relate to this quandry, because honestly, I'm sick of myself. So now that I've reconciled with myself over my own nit-picking and trying to fine tune or polish things, I feel fit for duty to continue forward.

Until next time, get to know yourself better, otherwise you'll make yourself crazy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ancient Song

Time forgot from whence they came,

And even they forgot the same.

Arrived at first on our young Earth,

And then they caused the great Life birth.

Created birds and beasts on sand,

And then at last, created Man.

For eons long, they ruled as gods,

Commanding all with lightning rods.

Man became their fear of bane,

And so they spawned all Hell’s dark fame.

Though Hell’s own monsters drove their fear,

Man reached out for life, so dear.

Time was late, and Man spread wide,

They fought, and strived, and many died.

Then long at last did Man prevail,

And banished gods in icy veil,

Where long they wait to sleep and dream,

Await return to primal theme.

Man, it seems, shall reign until,

He decides their dreams fulfill. ©

Opening lyric to new, untitled novella. Hope it conveys the mystery to what lies ahead.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tagged

Having been recently tagged by fellow blogger and author, L. G. Smith at http://bardsandprophets.blogspot.com/, I am now taking part in the hit and run that has now passed to me. So hold on.

TAGGED: Being tagged requires that I answer these short questions.
Do you think you're hot?
Not at all, it's a coolish 70 degrees here with not quite so high humidity.

*Upload a picture or wallpaper you are using.
I admire Fredrick the Great for his not just his strength as a leader, but his love of the fine arts.


When was the last time you ate chicken?
A few hours ago. Not a very interesting question.

What were you thinking while doing this?
Chew the food, then swallow, then drink.

What song/songs have you listened to recently?
Tales of Brave Ulysses, by Cream, In the Court of the Crimson King, by King Crimson, and In the Year 2525, by Zager and Evans.

Do you have any nicknames? What are they?
I'm sometimes called by my nicknames, but not often. Usually Funky, or U-boat Captain, because I'm mostly of German descent.

Tag 5 Blogger friends.

 Nadja Notariani at http://nadjanotariani.blogspot.com/

 Gabrielle Bisset at http://gbisset.blogspot.com/

Jeff King at http://authorsunion.blogspot.com/

Heidi Ruby Miller at http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com/

Rory Grant at http://thescottishscribbler.blogspot.com/

Tag! Your're it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Plans of Something New

After spending the last several days reviewing some of my favorite Lovecraft stories, I believe I know the route I want to take with my sci-fi/horror. Planning has taking several directions, but now I know which direction I am going! And honestly, the last confirmation of it took place about an hour ago, while trying to do zumba with my wife. I am not good at it, so that's that. My biggest inspiration for this new piece was my favorite short story by Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness. Mine isn't going to be as dark though. The basic premise is somewhat similar with a little fantasy mixed in: Atlantis is discovered beneath the mountains and ice of Antarctica and its inhabitants (ancient, yet advanced), human beings from protohistory are found to be the guardians of ancient creatures and horrors of myth and legend.

I am most anxious to begin writing, though I must remain patient and polish my ideas before committing. I hate to re-edit while writing because I become my own worst enemy. While I'll still be maintaining my untitled WIP, I will flip-flop from one to the other to keep the ideas fresh and the epiphanies that much more august.

So stay tuned in for more, particularly you fans of the genre! Happy writings!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Summer Wind

With the end of school days away, and my daughter's dance classes culminated to an incredible recital, I am pleased to say that summer will be full of work on the novel, short stories, and some good old-fashioned family fun sprinkled in. I'll be doubling my efforts this summer while enjoying time with my family and visiting my sister later this month. This is going to be a great summer! Keep eyes pealed for new excerpts to appear soon, very soon!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Start of Something New

While I've got several stories swirling about in my head, one in particular seemed to snare me more, for now. I can't decide whether to make it a short story, or a novel though. It's a sci-fi inspired by Dune and 'In the Year 2525' with some Andromeda Strain tones to it. I've got a lot of brain work to do, because I have a sneaky suspicion that it may turn into a novel. Let's watch, as the plot thickens.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Ideas

And so it is, I have decided to begin working on a series of short stories related to my WIP. On one hand they'll serve to alleviate extras that would distract from the novel, but on the other they will also assist in my writing to sort through which details should go where and why. Some will have to do with my Theogony, but many to the myths and legends so often alluded to it. I will, however, branch off to my favorite genre: science-fiction! Yay! I developed an idea for it watching River Monsters: the episode which has Jeremy Wade searching for the Goonch catfish in the Kali River. I know it sounds like a strange source of inspiration for sci-fi, but hey: different strokes for different folks!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Obstacle Overcome

Have recently completed a troubling scene which taunted me for several weeks now. Hah! Two enter, one leaves. I didn't quite know how to execute the scene with the forceful impact I had intended to convey. After a long while it came to me. Funny thing though, I dreamt it. I've incorporated a lot from my dreams into my characters and settings, but have never written a scene from them.

Another plus is that the stage is set for the second half to play out with a more defined beginning. It was a merciless torment being unable to make it work the way I felt it should. I tried a half dozen ways to write it, but none of them felt right. I'm sure many of you can identify with that: certain scenes need to have that feel. Alas, it is done, and I am content. For now anyway. Now to trudge ahead to the next part, through the mud and mire. Good luck to all, and happy writing!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Theogony

Writing a version of theogony similar to but not copying Hesiod's is not only challenging, but fun as hell! I love the grand metamorphosis of darkness, chaos, and nothingness to the world we see and know- in the land of make believe. My particular version, however, incorporates many of the creation myths rolled up into one with a whole new flavor: similar dissimilarity. What I mean is the starting point, or singularity if you will, is the same dark emptiness which is then 'sparked' by the primordeal deities spontaneously springing into existence. These entities being the basic forms, beings, and states of nature. Step two being the joining of these deities and at times the parthenogenesis of others to constitute the 'catalyst' deities through which the 'third generation' of gods will come into being and take power, thus finalizing the creation of the world.

The basic premise is undoubtedly Greek, with the world-forming aspect being strictly Nordic, and the the nitty-gritty being a combo of Greco-Roman, Nordic, Celtic, and several Oriental mythos being the real meat and potatoes of it all.

Then comes the creation of mankind and all other manner of creatures, beasts, monsters, animals, and all the fun stuff like that. It's that dirt underneath the fingernails kind of writing work that I love to do: creating entirely new worlds from the underworld to the heavens. The smallest most pathetic soul trapped in eternal torment to the highest and most powerful gods dwelling in paradise, makes for exhilarating writing!

One more thing, please check out my Prologue under A Bit More at the top of my page, and tell me what you think. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Keeping Track

I've been scaling back on the number of my main characters, my goal, for now, being half of what I already have. Wish me luck. Other stories I've written have had even more than what's in my WIP. How do I keep track of them? Simple: I keep a mini biography on all main, major, and particular minor characters from who and what they are, physical descriptions, and whether or not they survive the tale. Being an obsessive compulsive makes it even easier, because I work in patterns. First, I divide them into two groups: good and bad. Second, I divide each group into two more groups: the elite and the pawns. Third, as you might guess, I divide those groups into smaller and more detailed groups. It all works out into my own system to keep track of my details in a way that I understand. It's a good reference for me to rely upon should I need to recall a particular bit of information crucial to my writing. It's kind of funny; my preferred method of keeping track of info as easily as I can is an intricate web. Oh well, Jedem das Seine! Or Suum cuique, whichever you prefer.

Check out my Prologue under A Bit More at the top of my page. Let me know what you think, and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How many is too many?

Is it possible to have too many main characters? There are a good bit that will be killed off later in my WIP, but I'm wondering if some need to be axed soon or scaled down to a background 'supporting' role. If it came down to it I know how to 'downstaff' my dramatis personae, but playing Trump isn't always fun. I love every character I've created and dislike having to reduce or eliminate them entirely to streamline my story. But if for the greater good, then I must. I know they would eventually be killed off later in the story, but it was the way it flowed.

Trying to downstaff my cast of characters has caused me to combine some and to multiply others. It's great and fruitful, but an overabundance can be counterproductive. I guess my executive self will have to make that hard decision no matter how my subordinate self feels, weeding out the weakest links. I'll reduce as many as I can, but feel that others will be eliminated totally. Another day in the life...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Parents Cover Contest!

Easter: "Vote for your favorite kids in the Parents Cover Contest! One Reader's Choice Winner will be a finalist at the Professional Cover Shoot! Enter your own child today!

Please vote for a dear friend of mine! Her Children are in a contest to be on the cover of a very popular Parents magazine. Have your friends vote also!!

http://photos.parents.com/category/vote/photo/832586

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's in a Name?

What is in a name? An interesting question for sure. How does one ponder it? Is a name chosen for some special or significant meaning? Or is it just made up? For me, I utilize many methods by which to name people, places, and events. Sometimes, and rarely I make names up just out of the blue. Most times I use ancient and obscure names of people gone by and locations no longer around. Sometimes I use anagrams of names to set a tone and common theme. But my favorite method is to utilize foreign words, usually for a deeper meaning. My favorite language to pick through are German, Latin, French, Russian, Greek, Celtic, and even Old English to split some hairs. That's another avenue I go as well, the older forms of modern languages. I figure, as a writer, that I will utilize as much language as I can to tell my story in the entertaining language of Imagination. Writing is my chosen media. English is the best language to tell stories in, as was Middle and Old English, and by extension German, because they convey the delivery of details in such a way as to paint the image in the reader's mind that others cannot. True, as Fredrick the Great felt about it, French is a very beautiful language to speak, hear, and to read; but it does not convey details quite like English/German. The beauty about English is that it also borrows many words from many other languages as well. Base English is a German dialect, but Latin, Greek, and French influences are by far the biggest contributors to what it is now. So really it's an amalgamation language. My biggest naming challenge still: my title. I guess it will come to me as I keep on writing.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eureka!

Just had an excellent idea for a new set of creatures/characters for my story. I'm going to use this one instead of a classical mythical creature, just to add a different twist to this drink called 'my story'.  I think it's a great new flavor, and adds a new facet to my lineup of antagonists. I had originally used Cyclops as a brawny brute, but have just decided to utilize something equally brutish and vastly more intelligent: Triclops. They have three eyes with a brain to match unlike the typical Cyclops often guilty of cannibalism.

I think I'll even change one of my main villains to a Triclops to give them more credibility as apex sentients with a nasty side to them. I usually utilize mythical creatures and beasts to broaden the spectrum of typical nasties to serve as bad guys in most media lately.

I also came up with another twist to my story that I never thought I'd take. It's so funny to see how different my original concept was when compared to what it is now. So many characters, events, and places have changes in the years I've been working on this. I still retain names and characters that I've just got to keep, salvaging bits from other story ideas I've had to make what it is now.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hop to it!!




The Question:
Who has been most supportive of your writing?

I would say that hands down my wife has been most supportive in my writings. That, and she has helped me with all of the wonders of using the computer to write. Thanks, Babycakes! I'd also say that my big sister, Becky has also been a huge supporter, ever since I began writing at the age of ten. She's extremely intelligent and I highly value her input, ideas, and criticism.

The rules
1) Follow this blog.
2) Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the host of this hop
3) Follow the featured author of the week.
4) Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5) Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6) Answer the question
7) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite! This post serves as a perfect place for you to say hello!
8) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Rise of the Anagonist

Keeping track of characters and events is the easy part. Having them do what you want is even easier. It's kind of like a perfect world. Everything goes the way you want. Then there arrives a point in which you're almost 'forced' into making a decision you had not intended. But then again, it's surprisingly fun.

A good story usually has parts to it that you don't like because the course events may take that leave you telepathically screaming 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!' That makes a story more believable because it mirrors life in that 'the cookie doesn't always crumble the way you want it'. While we all want everything to go well, the good guy to win, and for the world in our stories to go on as perfectly and smooth as it could be, that would be incredibly dull and boring. Adversity adds flavor, creating interest which lures in those who may wonder: What happens next? That one little thought generates curiousity which is  satisfied by exploring the story, usually from beginning to end.

Another facet of that little wrench in the works, adversity, is the antagonist. Everyone loves to love the bad guy. Some may be utterly evil, invoking a shudder of extreme revulsion at their very being. Others are masked beneath a thin veil of smiles, popularity, approval, and good intentions. Others still have become the bad guy, usually through a series of unfortunate events. But they all have one thing in common: they're fun to write, usually more than the hero. I love to write them, particularly when trying to write the baddest of them all. I look at it like Alexander the Great on his deathbed naming a successor from among his generals: Kratisto, To the strongest.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekend Enjoyment

After an Easter weekend of enjoyment with my family, I feel a little guilty having neglected my writings. It was an excellent trade-off: fun with the kids, outstanding food prepared by my wife who is the ONLY one in her family that can cook! And finally an exciting morning for our kids seeing that the Easter Bunny had visited, leaving all manner of colored footprints about their rooms.

But I feel compelled to return to my writings, especially having received loads of inpiration from my wife and children. I feel the dam is about to burst, and I can't wait to spill my ideas all over the page- er, well type on the computer. I will still enjoy the rest of my holiday weekend before the work must resume. I feel so good about this all, and can't wait for the end to finally be written.

But, I will be patient. And in the words of Marcus Tullius Cicero- Dum Spiro spero.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Blog Hop



For Elizabeth Sharp one of the most useful tool in my writing arsenal is Urban dictionary. What is your most referred to website for your writing?

I google everything, getting info mainly from wikipedia. Any other info I may need to know I get from my collection of dictionaries (English, Latin, German, French) to add to my more diversified style.


1) Follow this blog.
2) Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the host of this hop
3) Follow the featured author of the week.
4) Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5) Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6) Answer the question
7) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite! This post serves as a perfect place for you to say hello!
8) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Research

I love researching either what I'm writing about, or comparing too. I love learning, and that goes hand-in-hand with writing. Most of my research consists of history, language, and geography. I get as lost in my research as I do in my writing. It's swimming in an eternal ocean. There is so much to learn, and as a writer, infinitely more to expand on. Writing stories set in this world is a fun exploration, a kind of Socratic journey. But it's magnified when an entirely new world is created either by sheer inspiration for something new, or a parallel to something real.

Often times my kids inspire me to make certain adjustments or add new elements to create a unique environment or character. Many of my characters are inspired by them, adding a 'new set of eyes' to the creative process for elaboration.

I've gained an insane amount of knowledge researching for my works, and it was well worth it. How much research is too much? To me, the answer is that there is 'no too much'.  What do you think?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It is what it is

I've often wondered how descript or graphic to get when describing a scene of horror, war, or suffering. And each time I come back to the same conclusion: it is what it is. Now I'm no fan of the slasher gore-fests that so many have become accustomed to in today's media, but I am one for making it as real as possible.

A believable story is one that immerses you in what you're reading. I hate stories that you really have to try and think about what the author is trying to say. But the ones that tell you what is going on to whom that you can just feel it, those are the stories that make for excellent entertainment.

That is what sorts the exceptional writers from the mediocre.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Writer's Follow Friday Blog Hop!



This week's question is Shakespeare asked What's in a name? But we all know better. So let's talk about names, specifically our blog's name. How did you come up with yours?

My blog is my pen name, that I combined from two historical figures I admire immensely: Julius Caesar as a determined general of antiquity, and Marcus Tullius Cicero as a staunch supporter of the Roman Republic and the Optimates, who oddly enough was an enemy of Caesar. I chose this name out of several others because I felt it had that epic sound and feel.

The rules
1) Follow this blog.
2) Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3) Follow the featured author of the week.
4) Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5) Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6) Answer the question
7) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Writer’s Follow Friday Blog Hop!



This is the blog hop for the writing community. Every Friday writers who blog come together and hop!

This week’s question:
Inspired by the spectacular melt down of Jacqueline Howett on Big Al’s Book Blog, how do you deal with a bad review?

How would I deal with a bad review? I haven't been published yet, but I've received many reviews over the years. I'm proud of the work that I do, but am fully accepting in any and all criticism. After all if my work is no good, then it's my fault. Having said that, I would not accept a bad review from someone who would just like to make waves and not offer any real substance. So it really depends on the situation.



The rules
1) Follow this blog.
2) Click the quill photo and follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop.
3) Follow the featured author of the week, Nichole Chase
4) Copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5) Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6) Answer the question
7) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Order of Things

I find that writing in order can be somewhat counter-productive. Now that isn't necessarily true all of the time, but it is most of the time for me. I've found that writing in order, from beginning to end, can be slow to the creative process as you tend to forget details or scenes important to your story. So often I'll jump around and write out of order, rather frequently to keep the high and low parts flowing as well as the fast and slow. It's much easier to connect the dots than to struggle to keep facts straight just plowing right through. At least that's how it works well for me.

It's just as entertaining trying to piece all of the parts together to form the whole. At times new or different ideas may come to mind to improve or better 'season' it. Now typically I'm very regimented in nearly everything that I do, so writing out of order seems a dreadful step from my norm. Fortunately, it works! For me anyway. 

It's kind of similar to how movies are filmed, with all of the similar scenes and characters done together and out of order. That way there is less hassle to run back and forth from this location to that eighteen hundred million times. I know it sounds rather disorganized, but it really isn't. Having kids really helps you to function effectively with organized chaos. 

Or maybe it's better to liken it to building a bridge: you start with the supports and then connect them with the actual bridge itself. 

A lot of times I come up with new or better ideas than before to more proficiently accomplish the same result.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Encouragement

Hearing criticism, for me is empowering. Both positive and negative fuel my drive for excellence. Being competetive helps too. It helps to shape and form my work into a much better image than just blind creation without any outside influence. True, art is just that to the artist, but it is also inspired by those who view or read it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another Sliver

Gazing out over the broad field known in ancient times as Mhalak, Tiberius released a deep breath of anticipation as he scanned the barren flat for the waiting enemy. Clad in a breastplate of polished electrum with chiseled muscles with an unbound eagle in the center, the sacred eagle clasped a sword in its talons and arrows in its beak with a laurel crown overhead, the young Consul rested a hand on the pommel of the sword at his left hip. An emerald cloak clasped to the armor adorned with the golden lion's warhide across his shoulders signified him as having total imperium over the army. He assumed a wide stance atop the ridge overlooking Mhalak, right hand holding his helmet to his breast. 
"The Vith are moving, Consul," said the regent to his right. "Your troops are lagging in mobility." 
Allowing the corner of his mouth to crook up slightly, Tiberius released a snort. "Well ordered troops bring a swifter victory, King of Lorica. Charging into a wild fray invites doom. I'm sure your Emperor is familiar to it." 
Ignoring his insult as purely jest, Aresthenes chuckled instead to his dismay. "I am unaware of what the Emperor is familiar to, as I am king of my country. I defend my people ferociously, Consul." 
Looking at the king with his icy gaze, Tiberius admired his grizzled face. Covered with numerous scars which criss-crossed his visage in savage patterns, it appeared as though his head had been chewed on and spat out by some beast which found him distasteful. The old king's right eye was a dark green while the left appeared a milky blue-green, possibly affected from the scar which passed from his eyebrow and across the bridge of his nose. He had to have warred his whole life, Tiberius thought. "I am aware by your countenance, King. Know that we are allies on good terms and for a common goal."
"I am aware, Consul. I pray the gods to smile favorably on this day, for my kingdom, and your republic." Aresthenes wore his battle-scarred breastplate of steel, marked by the many foes he smite in years before. His short dark beard streaked with white extended to his long mane tamed into several warrior braids about his head with the rest hanging to the middle of his shoulder blades. His build was sturdy and heavily muscled with scars splayed across his exposed skin on arms and thighs.
Tiberius nodded in agreement to the king's humility and reverence of the gods. "I have prayed as well, my friend. The gods have blessed us, for the time."
"Then let us commence and further our march."
Just then the Margrave of the Ring approached, his eyes downcast and sunken. "The Imperial Knights are on the move. Consul, King, the armies await."
Aresthenes set his helmet in place, pulling down the visor of a lifeless face over his own. He retrieved his spear and pounded his knuckles forcefully against his breastplate. "And so it begins."
"And so it shall," Tiberius replaced his helmet, the transversal crest adorned with emerald dyed horse hair, and nodded to his captain who in turn barked orders to his men in a harshly disciplined voice.
The trumpets sounded and the vanguard legions began their advance. ©

Excerpt from my as yet untitled book, 28-MAR-11
Julius

Friday, March 25, 2011

Histories

I've found that writing history for a fantasy novel is exciting as the creative bounds are endless, so long as you keep your facts straight. It's easier when you keep telling yourself that it really happened, in your imagination. It's like making your own mythology to support your story. It can be a little difficult at times on days I'm just drained and the creative juices are running a tad low, but  usually inspiration comes from a bit of meditation, and voila!