Weekend Writing Warriors: We require a profession of penitence

angel, stone
Image courtesy Flickr cc: Pawel, “angel”

Happy June, everybody 🙂 I love this time of year! Summer’s flowers are blooming and I’ve finally shed that waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop feeling that the warmth is only temporary because the cold will be back in a day or two. But on to the next excerpt for the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop! Participants share 8 – 10 sentences from one of their own works then visit each other’s blogs to comment and generally support each other. I don’t have to ask people for book recommendations anymore, I find my reading material right there 🙂

You may remember that in my excerpt last week, the angel Nanshi berated Kazimir for some recent mysterious behavior. (You can find previous snippets here.) Continuing with the scene for just a bit, this part hints at how seriously these angels take breaking a vow.

Nanshi drifted toward the hall and called Kazimir. He came into the doorway eating an apple. 

“I will leave you in place as Devorah’s mentor,” she said, “unless there is another breach of trust. Should that occur, you will be sent to Ninti.”

He shrugged and bit into the apple with a resounding crunch. That was no exceptionally crisp fruit; his tense body language told me he swallowed a retort along with the apple.

“Also,” she continued, “we require a profession of penitence. Now–and I remind you that Devorah and I are not your only witnesses.”

There’s no one else in the room so who else is listening? Hint: Nanshi is an angel, Kazimir and Devorah are servants of the God of Light. 😉 And where is Ninti? I think I’ll keep that secret for now–but it’s clear Kazimir is not happy with the prospect of being sent there.

I’m vacillating over whether or not to include a prologue for this story. The piece I have in mind explains why and how Devorah’s dad got involved with the people who eventually killed him, and since solving his death is what propels her throughout the story, it seems like it might be a good fit. But I know a lot of people don’t read prologues. How about you? Always skip, never skip, sometimes? How come?

And thanks for stopping in. I like having visitors to my little blog home!

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Weekend Writing Warriors: You spent time in hell

balmy palms
Photo courtesy Flickr cc; Marc Cooper, Balmy Palms

Hello again, friends and followers. It’s time for another post for Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers share up to 10 sentences from an original work of theirs then hop around to visit and comment on each other’s excerpts. Fun? You bet! Fantasy to historical to romance to sci fi, we’ve got it!

Background for this snippet: Devorah and Kazimir have gone back to their apartment after capturing a high-ranking demon at the angels’ request. Kazimir engaged in some, well, behavior during the capture that wasn’t agreed upon . He and Devorah are visited by a “supervisor” angel who reads Kaz the riot act. He says he had a perfectly good reason for what he did, and was planning to explain. The angel called Nanshi is the first speaker here. You can find previous excerpts here.

“Seeking permission after the fact has never been acceptable. Nor has allowing personal revenge to take precedence over Crosser directives, which you clearly have been planning to do for some time. You spent time incarcerated in hell because of misdirected personal motives, is that correct?”

I could hear the clock ticking from my bedroom down the hall. Finally Kazimir said, “I wouldn’t exactly call it that.”

“You have the capacity to learn from your mistakes, which does not seem to be occurring. We placed great trust and confidence in you, Mr. Barsukov. While you have served well, you have also made a series of decisions, capped by these most recent, that lead us to question your integrity.”

Ooops! These angels get pissed. Hopefully Devorah will also learn something from this . . . ya think? –Nah, where’s the fun in that?

Treated myself to a hot fudge sundae Saturday evening, because 85 degrees; that’s about 30 for those of you who do Celsius/centigrade. I will never complain about heat or humidity again, no sir, not after two record-breaking winters. I love summer anyway -smile-

I write in Word with each chapter in a separate file. I recently compiled them all into one file and the word total came out to a little under 83k. Not too shabby for a first novel, particularly since I’m still tweaking it. I’m purposely leaving some room because I’m sure there are places where more worldbuilding needs to happen. I used to think I had a fair sense of what was necessary in my stories and what could be left out, but have realized that’s so not true. In a broad sense, yes, I can tell which plot points need to be fully shown and which can be condensed, or that some scenes have too much dialog. But pinpointing exactly which sentences should be deleted, or which should be expanded on, is actually not an easy thing when you have a whole novel to think about. There are so many nuances affected by what a writer leaves in or takes out. I’ll be glad to get other eyes on this thing!

If you’re in the U.S. and celebrating Memorial Day, be safe. This weekend tends to bring out the “firecracker crazies.” And spend a few minutes contemplating what our military service people have given up because they went out to do what you and I couldn’t–fight real battles, face real bullets and bombs, conquering their own fear in the process. My father served in World War II. He refused to talk about his experiences except to say he saw horrible things. It must have given him the dark edge we saw from time to time. How different would he, and so many others, have been if war had never happened? Worth thinking about.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate it.

Weekend Writing Warriors: What the hell was that?

Well friends, I hope whatever your current season is that it’s treating you better than spring in Western New York. Outlying areas may see a freeze tonight. *sigh* Today was rainy, gusty, and chilly–but on the upbeat side, I’ve spent the afternoon editing/revising additional chapters of my novel-in-progress, Night Shift, from which I present 8 more sentences. Oh dark fantasy’s not really your thing? That’s cool, visit Weekend Writing Warriors for excerpts from the whole range of genres. A bunch of us share snippets and comments every week. Seriously, other than writing, it’s the most fun I have in the week!

Skipping ahead a bit, Devorah and Kazimir are returning to their apartment. It’s late at night. Being humans who are also demons has disadvantages: you never know who or what might be lurking in the shadows, waiting to spring with weapons conventional or otherwise.

When we turned onto our street, I scanned the nearby porches, knowing Kazimir would be keeping an eye on the spaces between the parked cars we passed. He’d taught me a few tricks in case anybody tried to grab me but it was best to avoid trouble. Human thugs weren’t all we needed to look out for; rival demon groups had been known to attack each other.

My gaze was drawn to a porch across the street. Something lay on one of the steps, a deeper black than the surrounding shadow. It oozed up onto the porch floor and disappeared.

My eyes popped wide open. “What the hell was that?”

Probably something unconventional! Maybe don’t cross the street, ya think?

I expect to have 27 chapters once I’m done with this draft, and I’m on chapter 21 today. I’m still focusing on the plot rather than the prose, because it’s annoying to craft gripping or soaring prose only to cut those scenes because the plot has to be changed. Wish me luck! Thanks for visiting today, your comments always make me smile 🙂

Weekend Writing Warriors: He makes me want to be with him

treble & bass clef heart

Hello folks, it’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors again, my favorite time of the week! It’s the blog hop where writers share up to 10 sentences of their own work, peeps like you read and comment, then they visit your blog where they read and comment. It’s pretty cool exchange, and you’re liable to find your next favorite writer this way 🙂

Okay. Here in the U.S., May 8, 2016 is Mother’s Day. Because my current WIP Night Shift is kind of at variance with the overall theme of Mother’s Day, I’m going to post something completely different. It’s from a sort of monologue one of my characters shared with me, something I didn’t expect her to do but it’s helpful to get insight into the mind of any character. The character is Sophie, the novel-in-progress she appears in is called Street Glass. Some of you may remember that I posted bits of that a couple years ago, although I don’t think I introduced Sophie back then.

In this excerpt, Sophie is talking about her boyfriend, Sandy. Both of them are rock musicians in separate bands. It’s the old story of two people who had a fling then fell in love. These two fall so hard they eventually marry. That not only surprised both of them, I didn’t see it coming either 🙂

What I love about Sandy is that I can cry to him about my troubles, just looking for sympathy, and he gives me what I need. He doesn’t try to automatically fix everything, he seems to know when I need to let it out and when I really need help.

And he doesn’t compete. He’s not insecure because he’s got a solid career of his own. He knows what he’s good at. My other boyfriends have complained, “what have you got two careers for anyway? You always put that ahead of me.” Sandy’s not like that–he’ll tell me “I’ll miss you every night that you’re not with me, and I hope you can join me sometimes.”

It’s a whole different world with him. He makes me want to be with him more and maybe doing some other things less.

Aw 🙂 Sophie can be stubborn and too ambitious for her own good, but she knows a good thing when she finds herself in the middle of it.

Happy Mother’s Day, whether your children have two feet or four, are covered in skin or fur or feathers! Or scales, I don’t want to leave out peeps who have pet reptiles! Pets are an awful lot like human children–they need love and attention, food, good housing, trips to the doctor, they put things in their mouths that they’re not supposed to, they get home schooling, some pets wear clothes! And many pets do talk back, take my word for it! I hope all of you have just the kind of day you want. And thanks for visiting my blog, I surely appreciate it.

Weekend Writing Warriors: using Dark energy to heal

Well friends, sorry I missed posting last week. I’m back though to pick up sharing bits of my novel-in-progress (working title Night Shift) for Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers share up to 10 sentences of their work for you, dear readers, to enjoy. Some is published, some not; some is romance or fantasy, others are historical or contemporary. But they’re all pretty darn good!

You can find previous snippets of Night Shift here. Devorah and Kazimir have left the synagogue which is now on fire, sadly 😦 She slugs him for something he did while they were still inside the building. This has the desired effect of making him collapse, but also has the undesired effect of making her hand feel like bones have cracked. Kazimir needs a minute or two to recover, as you might expect; they talk a bit, he notices she’s favoring her hand so he offers to help.

“This the one you hit me with? I can fix it.”

He cradled my hand in both of his. That alone was marvelously warm, but then it got way warmer. A red glow with a pins-and-needles sensation spread over my hand on both sides. The prickling grew sharper and hotter as it sank below the surface. It creeped me out but the pain lessened. Just as I was about to pull myself free, the prickling and the glow quit.

He released my hand, smiling. “I get a kick out of using Dark energy to heal people.”

Neat trick, that–but it doesn’t come free. There might be more about that in a future excerpt.

April in my neck of the woods has not been overwhelmingly springlike so I flipped the calendar to May a day early 🙂 I’m just going to pretend I’m on a tropical beach! How is spring shaping up where you are? And who else is watching playoff hockey??

Weekend Writing Warriors: His bellowing echoed in my head

sun, NYC, Central Pk
Photo by sylvain.collet, Flickr cc

Who had a beautiful bright warm sunny day on Saturday? I did I did! 😀 Our warmest day this month. Insects are starting to wake up, birds are deliriously happy, daffodils are screaming their yellow heads off–ah, spring!

It was so nice out today I couldn’t even come inside to put together another Weekend Writing Warriors excerpt until evening. But here it is! You may recall that previously, Devorah and her mentor Kazimir were asked to trap the demon known as Thaumiel. They set up said trap in the basement of a synagogue. Last week, something unexpected happened. This week, I’m skipping ahead a little.

You can find previous excerpts here. Today’s excerpt has been modified to follow the rules. And please remember to go back to the WeWriWa home page to find links to wonderful excerpts from a wide variety of stories! If you can’t find something here to love reading, you’re too picky 🙂

Cracks opened in the floor; the continuous shaking threw me down. Rumbling and the sounds of things falling got louder. Somebody lifted me, but rather than feel my feet on solid ground, I kept moving upward, fast enough to make me light-headed. An awful crashing went on below as my feet dangled into nothingness. The swaying was worse than the boat trip I’d taken when we got caught in a storm. Cold wind raked across me, making it hard to get enough air into my lungs and making my whole head burn.

I thumped onto the ground, snow flying into my face. I gulped air and my skin tingled painfully as it began to warm. Thaumiel’s terrible bellowing echoed in my head, his blazing eyes seemed to hover in front of me. I rubbed my eyes then looked around—close by, Kazimir struggled to rise to one knee.

Want to know what went on when Thaumiel was caught? You’ll either have to wait till the book is published or volunteer to be a beta reader! 😉 I’m adding worldbuilding details but it can be hard to work that in without it looking like it’s worked in, you know? Plus trying to avoid the “as you know, Bob” syndrome. Non-writers think writing is easy; heck, I used to think that too. What a rude awakening, LOL!

Weekend Writing Warriors: Unexpected shadows

What are you reading? I’ve just started re-reading The Witches of Karres, by James H. Schmitz. I read the book closer to 30 years ago; picked it up on a whim at my local library. I adored this book when I first read it, lost track of it and spent time since then trying to figure out who wrote it or what the title was. It’s delicious to rediscover a book you’ve been looking for literally for decades! 

Anyway it’s time once again for Weekend Writing Warriors! Peeps who sign our linky list before 12 midnight Saturdays Eastern time visit each other’s blogs for samples of their writing, published or not. 8 to 10 sentences is not much but you’d be surprised at the cool things our writers can get into that little framework.

So in the previous excerpt of my novel-in-progress (working title Night Shift) Kazimir and Devorah, along with Kaz’s friends Vishram and Kwame, set up the basement of the synagogue with a trap for the high-ranking demon known as Thaumiel. In the full version of the chapter, it’s explained that the centerpiece of the trap, an earthenware bowl called a demon bowl, will hum and vibrate when Thaumiel is nearby. The group has had a few minutes to wait, walking in nervous circles or idly playing with whips made of whichever element they’re aligned with. You can find previous excerpts here.

A loud humming filled the room. Covering my ears, I grimaced as the high-pitched sound drove into my brain. It stopped when two or three dozen writhing shadows dropped onto the bowl. They were shaped like humans but smaller. All but a couple slithered off. 

“What the fuck?” Kazimir shouted. 

Vishram snapped his fire whip at some of the shadows moving in his direction. “You said he didn’t use tarashim anymore!” 

“He hasn’t used them in two hundred years!” 

Oops. Well that doesn’t sound good! These are not your typical shadows, as you might expect. I’ll share a bit more from that chapter before moving on.

Thanks for visiting my little blog today 🙂 I appreciate all your comments, even if it’s to suggest a change or two. After all, different eyes see different things, and our work wouldn’t improve without new perspectives. I’m looking forward to tying up the current draft so I can look for some critiquers willing to read the whole thing. I’m sure there could be more worldbuilding and some repetitive words knocked out. It’s hard to find all the things that need improving when it’s your own word-baby!