March 2014 AW Blog Chain

This month’s prompt: Lions and Lambs

Once again participating in AW’s monthly Blog Chain. I love this topic, it was just as fun as last month’s prompt. Choosing the pairing was a blast. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Strong language

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“For real, kiss my ass. I can’t believe you roped me into babysitting that mousy little bitch for you,” I fume.

Like I don’t have better shit to do.

Elijah rolls his eyes and leans his hands on my desk. “Deal with it and shut the hell up, Arryn. She’s going to be here any minute and I have to go…For the record asshole, you’re not babysitting anyone, you’re training her so she can be what you need her to be. Try and remember that.”

“Whatever, I’m babysitting one of your little punch bunnies because she’s too damn weak to take care of herself. It’s a waste of my fucking time.”

“Do you think it would kill you to stop being a self-centered bitch?” Elijah asks and slides my Kaniga dagger into the slot hidden in his sleeve.

“It might, I’d rather not test the theory.”

“Shocking. I’ll be back later.” He teleports away before I can respond.

Prick. I turn my attention back to the grimoire I’m skimming and try to focus on my task.

A few minutes later, there’s a quiet tap on the study door and I fight the urge to twitch. Fuck, even her knock annoys me. I don’t bother turning around, I can feel her standing–cowering is probably a more accurate word–in the doorway. Her power–or rather, the power she could have if she’d just put her big girl panties on–pulses inside her.

My heart speeds up and my naturally hot blood begins to boil. My fingertips start to warm. The fire in me reaches out to touch the ice in her and it takes all my will to pull it back.

She sighs as my power retreats from hers. In a voice I can barely hear, Felice says, “Um–Arryn?” 

“What?” I snap and continue looking through the grimoire. I know the damn spell Hesandra needs is in here somewhere, I just can’t remember where.

“I…well, Elijah said…”

I wait, but she doesn’t continue. I toss the grimoire onto the desk and turn toward her. “Elijah said what? That you had to come here so I can watch you because–as we all know–you can’t do it your damn self?”

Felice’s eyes become moist and her lower lip trembles, “I’m sorry, Arryn.” She hangs her head as if she’s ashamed of herself.

She damn well should be ashamed. “Yeah, yeah, you’re always sorry. Haven’t we been over this before?”

She nods her head but doesn’t look up at me. I hear a sniffle and I want to whip one of my knives at her head.

“For the love of all that is unholy will you stop fucking crying? And sit down, you’re getting on my nerves standing over there.” Grudgingly I add, “Besides, the closer you are, the better. It’s less effort for me to pull back the fire.”

“Thank you for doing this,” she says, quiet as ever. I wonder if she knows how to speak above a whisper.

“You haven’t given me much of a choice, neither has Elijah for that matter.”

“I know,” she looks down at her lap. After a moment, “I wish I wasn’t a disappointment to you Arryn.”

I snort, “You and me both.  Felice, look at me.”

She lifts her head and the excitement in her eyes is undeniable. Hell, I’m excited too.

As our eyes meet, our powers collide and begin to wrap around each other. Ah Lords of Hell, if I could feel like this forever, I’d be satisfied. Best fucking high ever! The fire in me cools a little, but I can feel the strength of my power increase.

I pull my fire back so quickly Felice flinches. “Do you have any idea at all how bad it pisses me off that my counterpart–the one person in the world I’m supposed to be able to depend on to survive– is a spineless coward?”

“I…Arryn…” she takes a few deep breaths. “I’m not–”

“Shut up, I’m tired of hearing your excuses. Have you been using your ice every day like I told you?”

She nods her head fast, her eyes wide. “Elijah says I’m much better at controlling it.”

I snort laughter, “Elijah doesn’t know shit about our magic Felice, or your potential power, it doesn’t matter what he says.”

Her jaw clenches at my last comment, but she nods and just sits there staring at me as I stand and walk toward the balcony doors.

“Well, get off your ass and show me already.”

She jumps and squeaks, “Oh, right.”

Outside, we stand at opposite ends of the balcony. The night grows colder within seconds and frost covers the stone like a web of diamonds. Even my skin begins to cool and I allow the fire to creep toward the surface a little to warm me.

“If you’re really better at controlling it, then you should be able to do it anytime you want.”

She nods her head, but doesn’t say anything. Her face is a study in concentration.

“Do it without thinking about it, just like walking or talking.” Fire erupts from my fingertips and dances through the air as I continue, “You should be able to stand here talking to me and turn this entire place into an ice fortress.”

She pants cold breath, “I can’t–it’s too hard.”

I roll my eyes and send a lick of flame in her direction. She squeals, but freezes the fire before it touches her.

I shake my head. “You’re killing me, I hope you know that. I can feel you holding it back. You’re doing the opposite of what I need you to do. Let it go.” This time I send a handful of flames at her. She freezes all but one.

“I don’t know how to control it,” she whines.

Sweet Lucifer, that voice is like a knife in my skull.

I lunge across the balcony to her side, pulling one of my daggers out of the band on my bicep as I go. I place the tip of the dagger just under her earlobe. “Do it now or I’ll have myself a nice little carving party. It’ll be like Halloween.”

“Arryn, please…”

“I wonder how Elijah will feel about your pretty little face when I’m through with you.” Flame snakes from the tip of my finger, down the blade of the dagger, and sizzles against her skin.

Icy tears streak her face and her cold breath hitches with a sob.

“Last chance,” I say, and press the blade into the side of her neck until a trickle of blood flows down to her collarbone and crystallizes.

She whimpers and releases her power. I have to work hard to keep the fire in check as the air turns remarkably colder.

I remove the dagger from her neck and look at her. Streaks of white and blue highlight her hair, her nails look like icicles, and frost blooms on her fingertips. She extends her arm to the side, toward the balustrade framing the balcony, and a trail of ice spreads with her movement.

“That’s the kind of shit I want to see,” I laugh.

Felice’s hands shake, but I see excitement in her eyes again. There may be hope for her yet.

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Check out the other participants of the March 2014 AW Blog Chain.

Participants:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com (link to post)
Angyl78 – http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Sweetwheat – http://gomezkarla.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Sneaky Devil – https://fantasywriterwannabe.wordpress.com/ (you are here)
Sixpence – http://orlawritesthings.com/ (link to post)
airship wreck – http://thedarlinggraveyard.wordpress.com/ (link to post)

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A Character’s Voice: Hesandra

Last month there was a post in which Arryn had free reign around here for a day and I was thinking I should let Hesandra loose this time. (This may become a recurring theme.) Truth be told, I’m a little nervous. I hope I don’t regret this later.

If I do, live and learn.

P.S. Strong language ahead.

♥ ~ Audra ~

Audra says jump and I’m supposed to ask how high? Under normal circumstances, I’d tell her to fuck off.  I’ll indulge her this time. Hope this bitch doesn’t get any ideas in her head that I’ll be doing this often. I’d really hate to sick Gosi on her.

Actually, I lied, I’d LOVE to sick Gosi on her…….But, this isn’t about Audra. As much as she’d like me to wax poetic about her mad writing skillz, it’s not gonna happen. Kick rocks bitch, this is my show.

A little about me: Name is Hesandra, I’m a Reborn, a Dark Arts witch (this time around), forever in a love/hate relationship with the nastiest vampire in existence, Gosi (he’s killed me three times already–more on that later), and the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet.

Ok, so that last part is a load of shit. I’m not sweet; I creep into the territory of somewhat decent once in a while, but not often. It’s just the way I am. You don’t like it? I don’t really give a fuck.

A little history lesson: The Reborn are a handful of people with the ability to be reborn into any form we wish when we die. We have a limited number of times–five–we can choose the form. The sixth life we live is chosen by some higher power we know shit about and it’s permanent. You die the sixth time, you’re fucked.

I was originally born a mortal girl–won’t EVER make that fucked up choice again. I met Gosi when I was a teenager. As I said, I was only a mortal, but because of being a Reborn I had a sort of sixth sense for supernatural beings. I knew right away he was a vampire–a nasty one. I could tell you horror stories, but it would take a while–he’s over two thousand years old and I’ve known him nearly as long. Suffice it to say, he let me live–knowing what he was–until I came after him. Once he realized I meant to kill him, he made quick work of me.

So, I came back as a werewolf. I knew he’d fucking HATE IT, and I was right.–As a Reborn, he has the ability to sense me when I make my choice. That shit pisses me off like you wouldn’t fucking believe.–Gosi has a deep loathing for werewolves that the majority of vampires do not. My pack helped to protect me for a while, but when Gosi wants something that badly, he gets it. He killed me again. Why? Easy, he hated the choice I made and refused to let me live like that. Frankly, I was relieved. Being a werewolf has its perks, but it’s barely a step up from being a mortal. Fuck. That.

I came back as a mortal and vampire-to-be. Gosi turned me when I was twenty-three.–He first came to me when I was a small child and watched over me until my change. Reborns are hunted by many supernatural beings trying to steal our ability to reincarnate. It’s happened before and I’m sure the shit will happen again.–I managed to keep myself alive for over three centuries before Gosi killed me that time. We had the best fucking time ever! We wreaked havoc all over the world for three hundred fifteen years, causing death and chaos everywhere we went. That time, he offed me because we were under attack and both of us weren’t going to get out alive. He ripped my heart of of my chest and snapped my head right off my neck. No coming back from that kind of death as a vamp.

My third, and most recent, choice was a Dark Arts witch. This has been my longest life and I’m sure the only reason he hasn’t tried to kill me yet is due to the choice I made. He loves the smell of a witch, the taste of our blood.–Oh yes, he feeds off me….quite often.–I’m convinced his bitch ass was waiting for me to make this particular choice. I could have chosen to be a White Arts witch, but they are far too goody-goody for my tastes. I’m much happier being able to do whatever the fuck I want and not worrying about the consequences. Even if he wanted to kill me, he couldn’t. Dark Arts witches are extremely powerful and, like vamps and a few other supernatural beings, we get stronger the longer we live. 

I’m now five hundred and sixty-eight years old as a witch. I was able to cast a spell that keeps me from aging a long time ago.–Haha, bitches!–Love little perks like that, they’re so handy. Right now Gosi and I are in one of our love to hate each other stages.–We go through different phases quite often. We’re immortal, forever means a lot more to us than it does to a mortal couple.–I’m in it for the sex, plain and simple. In this particular phase, we have the hottest, craziest sex. I recommend having a vamp sink his/her teeth into you when you orgasm. For the love of all that is unholy, I swear to you it’s the best orgasm you’re ever going to have in your life.

You’re probably sitting there going, “Oh my god, you dumb bitch. Why haven’t you killed him yet?” Back off asshole, it’s not like I haven’t tried. Let me say this again, HE’S OVER TWO THOUSAND YEARS OLD. Have you ever tried to kill a vamp that old? The shit isn’t easy, I’ll tell you that. There is a way to do it, I just haven’t found it yet. And while I will miss the wild, totally fucking HOT and crazy sex we have, I’ll gladly kill him when I finally figure it out. He’s only on his second choice so I have no qualms about ending his too long existence. I’ve gone after him more times than I can count. The fact that he’s only killed me a few times means I’m doing something right, so back the fuck off.

For those of you that know Arryn, I taught the little witch everything she knows. She’s not a Reborn, but she is a kick ass Dark Arts witch. Gosi knows better than to fuck with her. Not only because of her power, but because he’d have to deal with me after that. He rather enjoys being attached to his dick, so he leaves her alone. He wouldn’t ever admit it, but he would take care of her if I needed him to. He may be a beast, but there are a few beings in his long life that have wormed their way into his rotten heart.

That’s enough, I have shit to do.

You’re Turning Me Off

Disclaimer: Strong language and adult content to follow. Consider yourself warned.

Riddle me this – what the fuck is going on with epub/self-pub stories these days? With the majority of my recent acquisitions, the writing has turned me off within a few pages and left me worrying about the current, and future, standards for these publishing venues.

You don’t have to tell me it’s my decision to read these stories, I know that. It doesn’t mean I have to like the way they’re written. Sometimes, I can’t stop myself from reading them; oddly, I’m compelled by the horror of it all. I want to see how many times an author can make me roll my eyes or go, “Gimme a fuckin’ break!”. (I’ve actually kept track of this on a few different books ‘cus I’m weird like that.)

Nor does it mean that this practice of publishing shit and calling it a finished story should be acceptable. Frankly, I feel it gives writers who work hard a bad name. We  should all be held to the same standards, regardless of how our stories are published.

Thousands of people want to write a story. A large number of them shouldn’t be writing. If you want to write a story for the love of it and/or because you hope that somebody else will love it as well, the end result will reflect that. The impression I’m getting from epubbed/self-pubbed books these days, is that their authors are trying to be the next big thing and are writing anything that comes into their heads. That’s not bad, BUT they publish the story without sending it to a beta or two, without any editing being done (or not enough editing), and then wonder why they get no sales and/or bad reviews. (That’s when I have to refrain from using shouty caps and saying, “Um, because you’re an asshat that doesn’t realize their shit sucks.”)

It’s not a big mystery people. You need to put time and effort into the story so it can be as good as possible. Then you need to send it out, let people trash the shit out of it, and then rework it to make it even better than it was before.

When we do revisions, we learn from the mistakes we made the first (or fiftieth) time. If you’re publishing without doing revisions, and thinking that you have written the best novel in the world and legions of fans will be falling at your feet and begging you to write more, you’re sadly mistaken. Mark my words, you will suffer from it. Don’t turn around and get all butthurt because people are giving you bad reviews. Writers need to be able to take criticism and learn from it where they can. If you’re not willing to do this, you’re never going to be a good writer.

That’s where–I hope–I can be of some assistance.

I’ve included some tips for writers who are considering publication of their work. Take the advice or don’t, it’s your choice.

Please note: Nobody wants to listen to (or read) your whiny ass complaining when you’re confused about why your story isn’t doing as well as you thought. When you don’t put the work into it that you should, that’s what happens.

Oh, and some of the following are probably going to be a personal preference of mine. Feel free to ignore everything I have to say if you wish to do so, I won’t be offended.

Good writing this does not make:

Scenario 1: Person A telling Person B “No”, Person B persists……. and then Person A is all “Give it to me baby!” a millisecond after saying no.

Scenario 2: Person A continuing to come toward/touch/penetrate Person B after they’ve said no…….repeatedly.

You see where I’m going with this? Characters playing hard to get are sexy. It builds anticipation and all that jazz, right? Right. What I don’t get is the complete 180 in no time at all. It’s even worse when there’s inner dialogue from a character about how he/she doesn’t want anything to happen; there’s not a single hint of attraction to the other person.

If the scene is written as a type of fearful excitement, I can understand. Person A is kind of nervous and worried, but at the same time ready to rip Person B’s clothes off. That’s what I want to read. Not something that makes me feel like Person A is being forced into an act or one where said person changes their mind for no apparent reason and in less time than it takes for a hummingbird to flap its wings. You expect me to swallow that and just move right along with the story? It’s not gonna happen.

Scenario 3: “Oh my stars and garters! I just met the sexiest man/woman alive and I’m totally in love with him/her and I’m going to die if I can’t be with him/her!”

Excuse me, I’m going to need you to move off the rug so you don’t ruin it with the love juices oozing from every orifice in your body. Please and thanks. Maybe I’m jaded, but shit like that doesn’t happen and it doesn’t appeal to me. Instant physical attraction, a strong need/desire to be around somebody and get to know them, even get downright dirty with them, these things I understand. I don’t get the whole “love at first sight” concept and I don’t enjoy it in my books.

Scenario 4: Perfect body (god-like good looks on a man OR woman), with a huge dick, and the best lover in the world where every single touch brings out an orgasm in the recipient.

The hell you say. Be realistic please. I’m bored with the image of a perfect body on a man or woman in any story, but especially Erotica and Romance. Yeah, yeah, god-like good looks sell because it’s the fantasy of every man/woman out there. Whatever. Personally, the “perfect” body image gives me the beginnings of The Ew…..trust me, it’s not good (The Ew is worse than the Ick Factor). Never an awkward moment during sexual encounters, both people getting off at the same time with the most amazing orgasm they’ve ever had in their lives……every time they have sex. Shoot me now please. It’s possible to create a story where people have sex/sexual interactions, and don’t have simultaneous mind-blowing orgasms. Crazy concept, I know.

Scenario 5: A line of dialogue, then a new paragraph with the same person doing an action, followed by more dialogue within that paragraph by said person.

Example–

“Hey, what’s up,” Hilbert says as he walks in the room.

He plants his flat ass on my couch. “This is the bullshit I’m talking about. Is this really the proper way to write dialogue in a story?”

I shake my head in shame, “No, Hilbert, it’s not.

What–who–why, all I want to know is why.–Nevermind the shitty writing for a moment, you get the point.–I’m begging people to stop writing like this or I swear I’ll start burning books on the lawn. Easy rule to learn and follow boys and girls: A new paragraph in dialogue indicates another speaker.

Scenario 6: We’ve met, gone through –insert tragedy/comedy/whatever– together (or nothing at all), and now we’re going to live happily ever after and our children will be perfect and there will be sunshine and rainbows every day. I’m never going to want to stab him in the eye for not putting his dirty clothes in a basket and he’s never going to want to choke me because I snore too loud.

My ass. Unless you’re writing a fairy tale, this type of ending just doesn’t work for me (even then, I still don’t like it). Happy for now? That’s acceptable. Happily ever after when the characters haven’t spent more than a couple of nights together–if that–and are now going to live in bliss and never have a problem with anything the other one does? Unacceptable. Why? Because it’s not realistic. People aren’t perfect and even if you get along famously, you’re going to have some bumps in the road during your relationship.A bit of realism in stories is a good thing, regardless of genre.

**Note: the following is vital information that you must have and use for the sake of the sanity of your future readers**

Scenario 7: Referring to a character’s genitalia as “down there” or something equally juvenile.

*bangs head against wall* This one, obviously, is geared more toward Erotica and Romance stories. I’ll say it again because it bears repeating: for the sake of our sanity, please pay attention to and follow this piece of advice. Phrases like the one above make me think of teenage girls giggling behind their hands when they say the words penis or vagina. This is not cool people, not cool at all.–It sure as hell isn’t sexy.–If I wanted to read an erotic story written by a teenager, I would have gone looking for one. Oddly enough, and call me crazy for this, that’s not what I want. I want an erotic story written by an adult that doesn’t say “down there”, and instead says something at least resembling the word vagina. Hell, I’d be happier with a cheesy euphemism that’s been used a million times by bodice-ripping writers the world over. Example– “his throbbing member penetrates her love tunnel” and not “he plunges into her down there”.

There are exceptions to every rule up there (I suppose…….maybe), but please at least consider the fact that because you choose to publish in a non-traditional way, that doesn’t mean the story has to be trash. There are self-pubbed/e-pubbed writers out there that take the time to do everything necessary to create a good novel. They care deeply about what they’re doing. If you’re throwing some words together in hopes of being the “next big thing”, the fans you could’ve had will be nonexistent because your work won’t be of the quality it needs to attract readers.

Am I operating under the delusion that I’m a top-notch novelist? No. Do I think I don’t need to improve? Hell no. (You see how wordy this damn post is? -around 1900 words give or take- I know at least 10 people right off the top of my head that could say the same thing with a far lower word count. *stands up from chair* My name is Audra, I’m long-winded and use craptastic punctuation and grammar when I write.) Do I think you should listen to everything I say because, if you don’t, you won’t ever be published? Not a chance. You may or may not benefit from what I’ve said here, that’s up to you.

I know I need to work on several areas of my craft, and I’m ok with that. It takes a lot of work to be a successful writer and I’m more than willing to put in the time. I learn something new every day in regards to writing. I take what advice and lessons I feel are best for me and I apply them to my craft from that moment on. At least, I try to. Sometimes I forget things or fall back into old habits, but I take the time to fix the mistakes before I deem the work finished.

So tell me, darling followers (even though I don’t technically know you, you are darling to me), what’s your opinion on self-pubbed/epubbed work? How do you feel about writers who aren’t willing to perfect their craft?

This Madness Must End

Disclaimer: I understand I am contributing to the problem by publishing this post.

If I read one more “50 shades” of anything, I’m going to rip my hair out. Ok, not literally, but I want to. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the books, but I am tired of hearing a 50 reference every time I turn around.

–It’s only been worse with the movie coming out. Sadly, the choices they’re making are turning me off watching the movie. A huge disappointment there; I was looking forward to seeing Christian brought to life but it seems they’re not doing it the proper way with their “tamer version“. (That’s another post altogether I think.)–

Go to your bff of search engines, (Google, duh) and type in “50 Shades” and watch how much nonsense pops up. Once you get past the obvious sites dedicated to the author, books, and movies, you get into the real goodies. A few examples: a parody cookbook, countless musicals, and my personal favorite, the Fifty Shades Generator. (This site kills me. Too funny!) Even budding authors aren’t immune to the craze. I was checking out some books for my Kindle one day and I saw one titled almost the same, only the color was different. –insert “Alrighty then” meme– Talk about authors being original. (Homework: Google the images for “anti 50 shades of grey meme”, you’ll get a giggle or two out of it.)

MadnessPost

I get the popularity is off the wall and all that jazz. I just don’t think it’s necessary to shove 50 down our throats at every turn. (Shut. Up. with your jokes about bad puns and/or references to loving the idea of 50 down your throat.) There’s this erotica story name generator, something like that anyway, that is a spawn of the craze and it’s one of the most ridiculous sites I’ve seen. (Don’t judge what I Google when I’m bored.)

The big problem? It’s not going away anytime soon. The first movie has yet to come out, plus we have (possibly) two more to follow. I’m praying to the movie gods that they don’t go all bat shit crazy and decide to, unnecessarily, split the third book in half and make two movies like they seem to be doing with everything else these days. (I’m sorry, but splitting up Mockingjay–just like Breaking Dawn–is plain stupid. It’s not needed.) I could go on forever about this, so I’ll just stop there.

Enough already, please, I’m begging for it to stop. At this rate, I won’t be missing the movie because of how they’re making it, I’ll be missing it because I’m going to be so tired of 50 by the time it comes out I’ll want to stab Christian Grey on sight.

I have a love/hate relationship with the 50 books themselves, but as I said earlier, I’m so ready for this madness to die down. I’m aware this isn’t the first, or last, time a craze like this is going to happen. People are going to keep going nuts over 50 until something else comes along. That’s just the way it is…

/rant

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.