Monthly Archives: September 2011

Searching

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Since starting this blog only a few months ago (really, it’s only been 3 months?) on WordPress I’ve noticed a little widget in the lower corner of my stat’s page. It was interesting seeing how people were finding my blog. And also kinda funny.I was inspired by Amanda McNeil from Opinions of a Wolf posting on her’s last Friday.

I’m actually quite proud of the fact that so many find my blog by actually seraching for it’s name or my name. Though it also seems that there are a lot of people stumbling over here looking for things to do with their hair which is a little odd. And a few people that can’t spell. And one person searching for Avocado Writing Techniques, which *I* will now go look up because I’m intrigued. Anyway, here’s the list of all the ways people have searched and found by blog, either by happy accident or on purpose.

outlandish avocado 11
to much hair 6
avocado 4
outlandish avocado blog 3
crystal cipriani 3
the outlandish avocado 2
blindsight (kindle single) 1
“the genre trap” 1
“white birds” 1
angry eyes flicker 1
the electrifying exploits of the english three 1
bus 1
saintcrow 1
c. m. cipriani twitter 1
can anyone put their ebook on barnes and noble?’ 1
faylinn chronicle 1
outlandish avacado 1
outlandisj avocado 1
dandelion art 1
avocado writing techniques 1
“my hair off” 1

Not the Marrying Kind ~Dice Games week 4

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Here is my Flash Fiction prompt for week four of Dice Games

 4 – Make a deal with the Devil

 

Not The Marrying Kind

The years alone hurt. The solitude of the ancient house created a dull buzz over her senses. Meredity poised in front of the full length mirror examining her choices. Red was so obvious. The black made her feel obtuse. What did one wear to an audience with the Devil? Inspiration struck, she ran up the rickety steps -skipping the creaking fifteenth- and tore up the hidden staircase into the attic. A few dusty minutes later she emerged with a wide grin on her face and the perfect solution draped over her arm. Yes, this will do nicely.

The basement was still cold, damp and dreary, there wasn’t much to do about it, honestly a Witch had to keep up some sense of propriety. Image was everything. No, it would never do to take those that saught her service down into a basement of pastel drapery and frilly embroidered pillows no matter how much she wanted to spruce up the place. Clients had certain expectations. When she crossed the threshold her nose perked up, sure she could still detect a faint tinge of singe on the air.

Careful not to marr her poufed skirt, Meredity drew a circle on the pounded earth floor, worn hard as granite over decades of frequent use. She brushed her hands together admiring her handy work. He’d do well to be impressed with that, every line and arch was perfect. She lit black candles for mischeif, red for seduction, a purple to gather the spirits around her. Twigs of rowan burned around the stench of hemlock and lemongrass.

A deep pulse sounded from above followed by eleven others; the witching hour. Meredity’s voice filled the cavernous space as she chanted the spell she had created. The light dimmed, thick shadows skittered up the walls, inside her circle a form took  shape. Excitement trilled through her. With the last note of her spell, the form was solid, the lights regained their luminescence.

“This had better be good.” The words rolled from a taut mouth. Meredity sucked in her breath as she looked at her future. He was so tall, with wide shoulders, a thick mane of black hair all shrouded in a devil-may-care attitude. She giggled at that, covering her mouth with her hand. “What’s so funny?”

“Oh, nothing.” She replied. Meredity smoothed her skirt as she sat down.

“Well, what do you want? If it’s something stupid so help your God, you’ll be dead by sunrise.” She could see he was uncomfortable in the circle, his long spiked tail kept getting zapped against the confines of her spell sending blue-white sparks shooting off behind him. It had to have stung but he seemed not to notice.

“It’s not my God, my lord, but my Goddess and I’m fairly certain I don’t have to worry about that. Once you hear my idea I can let you out of the circle but I think it’s best we play this with caution. Don’t you agree?” His narrow eyes narrowed further and lines creased between them as he studied her. He focused on her dress and she beamed. “Do you like it? I picked it out specially for you.”

“It’s…different.” He begrudgingly acknowleged. It was that moment, that one right there, that she knew she had the upper hand and it made up for the nearly unbearable itchiness of the miles of crenoline housed under the pink embroidered dress. It had been her mother’s very special party dress in the human world.

“Now I think it’s time we got down to business, yes? Then we can get you out of that horrid circle. I have tea ready in the parlor upstairs. I’d hate to think it’d get cold because you won’t listen to reason.” The scowl returned bringing with it puckered lips. He crossed his arms over his chest. “Alright then. I am lonely-”

“Ah, so you want me to make the man you want love you? I’m not a matchmaker, I’m the Devil.”

“No. That’s not it at all. Now, if you’d please be quiet.” He opened his mouth but she held up her hand to silence him. “I am lonely and, after many proven hypothesis’ have determined you are as well. I’m a practical sort of Witch and I’ve concluded, after many successful tests, that there is no reason for both of us to continue-”

“What tests?”

“This is going to be a very long night if you consistently interrupt me. But, if you I must know, I have interviewed several of your closest confidantes and servants. And I have…sturdied myself for your, um…preferences.” Meredity cursed herself -though she didn’t really because that would be counterproductive- for stumbling. She had this all planned out., there was no reason for her embarassment now. It showed weakness when she could ill afford it. “Anyway, as I was saying, I think we should get married.”

“Who?”

“Don’t be dense. Me. You. Us. I think it’s only logical, a mighty fair trade, you get a lovely little bride and I get a husband that can actually keep up with me. It’s not easy, you know, being the Daughter of Blood. I break so many of them.”

He laughed. He laughed so hard he held his sides in pain, tears streamed down his red-tinged skin. “Oh, little Witch,” he said between gulping breaths as he regained his composure. “I haven’t been this amused in longer than I can recall. What makes you think that I would marry you? I’m the Devil, my dear, not the marrying kind.”

“Well. If that is how you feel, my lord, I suppose I’ll have to progress to Plan B. I’m afraid you won’t like this very much but I think you’ll thank me once you come to your senses.” The air tingled, the lights dimmed and the invisible forcefield sparkled. “You’ll have a little time to think about your future, I’ll be back in a few weeks to see if you’ve changed your mind. Toodles for now, the tea is getting cold.”

Meredity sipped her tea with a small smile on her lips. The screaming would die down eventually, soon he’d see the error of his ways. Maybe she’d keep him like a pet, visit him when she was feeling maudlin. Perhaps this was for the best. Oh, yes, it could be quite fun to have the Devil in her basement.

Faylinn’s Chronicles ~ Sunday, September 25, 2318

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Sunday, September 25, 2318

I do not like the new tests. My shoulder burns where they extracted a dermal sample. “All for the best.” Grifkin answers me, “To be sure.” He replies. But for what they will not answer no matter how I try and threaten or how ever angry I become. And I am angry.

I slump back to my cell each day, has it really only been three days? Exhaustion weighs heavy on me, the long days filled with physical tests; running, lifting. There is a room somewhere where tiny vials filled with all parts of me lay, megabites of data float inside computers each with my name. It is unsettling.

The guards have returned, my modicum of freedom has ended. They escort me where I need to go, the door no longer opens for me. My eyes are already closed when my body crashed to the bed at the end of each day. I don’t have time to miss the Library, or his books. I don’t have time to even realize that I still feel safe in this room and to question the sanity in that.

But tonight, as I lay already deep in sleep I was awoken.

“Come, Faylinn.” He whispered. And I went.

We took a door I had never noticed before, to the far left of my own hallway. The guards were gone, everything dark and silent though I felt that it must be nearing morning. We entered an elevator and Tybal pressed a series of buttons, inserted a card and the backlit numbers changed from red to green, the door closed with a ding. It was as if I were flying, we zoomed so high so quickly my ears popped. I had no idea the place was this large.

The room was bright and it took my eyes a long moment to adjust and when they did it took me more minutes to catch my breath. My body tingled. It was a huge room, washed in white lights that hung from the tall ceiling. The air here was thick, hot, scented with a million thousand flowers that were blooming all around us. Every color I had ever imagined spotted brilliantly over lush fields of green, hung from enormous pots, trailed up support beams and threatened the lights, overtaking the room. I had never seen anything so… alive. 

Do you like it?” At those words I remembered Tybal. I rushed back over to him, throwing my arms around his neck.

“I love it.” He hugged me back and for a moment I forgot about the room.

“Let me show you something else.” He took my hand and led me through a semi-clear path towards the far wall. I saw it instantly. It sat, alone, inside a little clay pot on a ledge. “It’s yours.” The flower had already gone to seed, a white puff delicately held together on the stem head. I mourned the loss of the yellow, remembering how desperately I had wanted it. How much it had meant to me then.

“Did you put it there? That night? So I would leave?” I cradled the little pot in my hands.

“No, Faylinn. This is yours, you found this one.”

“Then how did you know?” He looked pained as though there was a fight going on inside of him. I waited as he started, stopped and started again.

“We were monitoring the entire perimiter, as soon as you left I felt it, I knew where you were going.”

“And the note? What was the reason for that?” He pulled something white from his pocket. Why did he still have that scrap of paper? He turned, brushing away a thick leaf on the wall to reveal a display. Music sounded, filling the room, an orchestral piece not frequently heard in the City. So different from their penchant for eletronic mixes.

“Dance with me. Please.” He took the pot from my hands, placing it back on it’s home on the ledge and wrapped my arms around his neck. We swayed to the music before I felt the hush of his breath on my ear. “We must be careful. They listen everywhere, follow our movements. Faylinn, please listen to me.  Right now they are pushing you around, telling you where to go and what to do. They keep you like a prisoner, like a pet. But you have to realize that dosen’t have to be the way.”

“I don’t understand.” I whispered, finding his ear.

“And they don’t want you to. Not until they have what they want, not until their tests confirm what they already know. You are Chosen. It will be you they all turn to but they are too blind to see it that way right now. All they want is to control you, they don’t understand that they need to be accepted by you.”

“You’re not making any sense.”

“We don’t have a lot of time. There is so much more I want to tell you but I just can’t right now. I’m not important, Faylinn, I’m no one. Not yet, anyway. If they know I’m telling you these things you’ll wake up one day with a different Consort. One that is on their side, one that won’t look at you and see the things I see. You have to accept me. I know I’ve made mistakes, like with the note but it was the only thing I could think of. The only way to get you to make the choice to go to the Domes. We couldn’t extract you from the Private Sector. The City is too heavily guarded, it’s why your father never left.”

“Did you have to use his words? Did you have to use them against me like that?” I wasn’t nearly as angry as I should have been. To use the dying words of my father to manipulate me had been wrong. And he knew it. But I still couldn’t be mad, not now, not as I swayed in his arms listening to his desperate words. I didn’t even need the apology he gave over and over again.

“What do I need to do?” Before he could answer the music was drowned out by a harsh whir of machinery. I broke away from Tybal, turning to the large outer walls. Slowly, the whitewashed walls rose exposing thick black glass. Higher and higher, until enormous panes reflected the room back to us. We stood silently as I watched my first sunrise. Pinks and orange shot up from behind the black masses of nearby mountains. We were up so high I couldn’t see the ground below. The colors shifted into red, yellow as the sun ascended, aided it seemed by the lure of the music still playing. My entire body vibrated with the sun, the plants, the thick air, the colors. I felt connected to them all. As if I could reach out and tell the plants to grow bigger, force the sun to rise higher, make the air hold more moisture.  I felt Tybal next to me, I could feel his warmth, his solidity but where I felt power over these other things I felt none of that with him. Though looking back there was something there, some connection not made, a break in circuit, something I couldn’t quite place my finger on but it was dim and overpowered by the sensation of everything else.

The spell was broken as the door to my room closed behind me. When I realized he had never answered my question, I rushed back to the door only to find it locked once again. I took off my night clothes to get ready for the day. My reflection caught in the mirror. I turned, fingertips feeling their way to the place on the back of my shoulder where they had removed the square inch of skin.

It had already healed.

A Round of Words 4

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In July I signed up for my first ever ROW80. You might have seen me posting about my progress during that time. Round three ended yesterday and the new one starts up October 3rd.

This is my official sign up for round four. Over the next week I’ll be figuring out my personal goals for these 80 days, which will most likely be more than just writing goals. Dedicating myself to this wonderful group of people for 80 days has really turned my writing around. Where before I wrote in solitude, I now write with friends. I enjoy sharing my writing now instead of hiding it, embarassed, worried no one would like it. The support I’ve gathered has been phenomenal. Not to mention myriad of tools which help me be a better writer.

So, October 3rd the new round will start and I’ll post my new goals to get done before the new year.

Faylinn’s Chronicles ~ Thursday, September 22, 2318

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Thursday, September 22, 2318

Grifkin is the kind of man that people initially overlook. The round, quiet older man that sits in the corner, unobtrusive. His graying hair and soft appearance, endearing. While you think he is idle and unconcerned, he is in fact biding his time. I could cut myself on the sharpness of his mind which I found out nearly by accident.

I had become a habit, a routine, something predictable. Each day was the same, how easy it was for me to fall into a dance, especially when I felt safe. That is no longer true. In the course of a single day my entire world collapsed yet again.

I am beginning to wonder just how many times I can have this happen before I break.

The freedom they had given me, the ability to roam the halls was a farce. Every corridor, every door, every entrance was blocked or locked besides a select few they chose to leave access to. The library was one, my room, the cafeteria and the testing rooms. Other than that I was trapped like a rat in a cage. Which is exactly how I felt meandering through the dark, solid walls. Until yesterday.

I think my mind worked like it had in the Dome, detecting and devising while I focused on other things like reading the books my father had wrote. Oh! And what vividly stimulating books they were, filled with all the things he told me of and so much more. There was an entire series dedicated to the study of his research with molecules and nanotechnology, injecting small machines into the living tissue of plants and animals. So far his experiements were failures. But I imagine my father, in a long white coat, hunched over these very books, the ink flowing freely under his intense gaze. I run my finger over the indented markings, the overstuffed chair molding around me and the scent of dust and paper filling my nose and feel close to him. But I digress, this isn’t the time for nostalgia.

On that morning I had a stomach ache and stayed in my room longer than usual. How easy, it seems, for others to fall into the same steps I dance. They didn’t think to look for me or monitor me, so predictable I had been, so on this day I rose later than usual and headed toward the kitchen. Fifteen steps before I reached that door another lay. My eyes caught the sight before I realized what I saw. A fissure in the door, a line of light seeping through, for whatever reason it hadn’t fully shut. I stopped, listened for sound and heard nothing, felt no one. My fingertips gingerly eased it open.

The flexible foam shoes were soundless, I am sure I stopped breathing. The sound of my pounding heart would surely give me away. I could hear voices, loud, arguing, coming from further down the hallway. I pressed my back against the cold wall just outside the open doorway. I couldn’t see in and didn’t dare peek but I knew who was in there without needing to look.

“You have to tell her!” I heard feet pounding against the floor and imagined Tybal pacing as he yelled, his blue eyes flashing.

“She isn’t ready. You see how she is, burying herself in Monroe’s books. We need to wait.” Came Grifkin’s easy reply.

“I waited long enough for her. She needs to know. If you won’t tell her I will.”

“No. You won’t.” A razor edge entered Grifkin’s voice. I pictured him sitting, relaxing in an overlarge chair as he did talking to me that night. But where there was comfort in his voice then, it was stripped away now. “She didn’t grow up knowing, like you. She didn’t have the years of acceptance or training. Monroe did what he could trapped in the city but it wasn’t nearly enough. You saw the test results.”

“She’s fine. She’s perfect. Let me tell her. Let me have her now.” Tybal sounded almost petulent. My heart squeezed in my chest. My mind grasped for something, something it felt it knew but couldn’t access or remember. I ignored it, focusing on their words and listening for footsteps in the hall.

“I won’t let you distrupt this project with your pettiness. It has taken us centuries to get to this far and as far as I’m concerned it can wait a few more decades until she is ready. You know it won’t matter in the end but for this to succeed you will follow my directions. Do you understand me, Tybal? She is the important piece, you, my son, are expendable. Don’t forget you’re not the only one in line, just the first.” Tybal growled, his footsteps grew closer, my eyes darted around for a place to hide but there was no where. I took a deep breath, relaxed and as he turned the corner smiled at him as if I stood here every day.

His eyes widened nearly imperceptably but he didn’t say anything just grabbed my elbow, pulling me along beside him, never even missing the beat of a step. As the hallway door shut behind us -Tybal giving it an extra push just to make certain- and the smell of dinner bloomed in the air, he finally spoke.

“How much did you hear?”

“I heard nothing.” He smiled at that.

“Oh, now, don’t be like that. I know you heard us…bickering.”

“Well, maybe I heard a little but I don’t understand. Tybal, please tell me, explain. It was me you were talking about wasn’t it?” I placed my hands on his chest beseechingly. I felt the warmth through his dark shirt. I felt awkward and unsure and slightly nauseous though from his nearness or the information I overheard I still am uncertain. His hands came up to my shoulders as he looked down at me.

“I can’t.” I could see the pain shooting through the clear sky of his eyes. And then I saw it, as vividly as if I was witnessing it before me. I saw a star, a silver speck in the blackness, flame and move, streaking across the night sky. I knew the names of these things as I watched them, the burning white trail; the coma, the white-hot head; the nucleus though I had never seen them in anything more than pictures. Now they moved in slow motion across the empty canvas of the Universe.

And then I felt it, a tingling that had nothing to do with Tybal. I felt a pull like nothing I had ever felt before, so different that words escape me how to describe it but I know it was a calling. When my vision cleared and the tingling subsided Tybal was smiling down on me. I opened my mouth to explain but closed it again. There was nothing I could tell him. He already knew.

“I will come get you in a few days. I have to make some arrangements first, but there is something I want you to see.” I nodded dumbly, still recoving from my vision and he left.

“Faylinn,” Grifkin’s voice sounded behind me. I froze, half opening the cafeteria door. I pasted on a smile and tried to look innocently. I didn’t want him to know I over heard. I wasn’t ready to piece together what I had learned. I know I didn’t want him to know of the vision. Instinct told me that would be bad. He wasn’t who I thought he was. This place wasn’t safe anymore than the Domes or the City. And I was trapped. He smilied in return, the viper I heard only moments before was now hidden behind a teddy bear. “Make sure you’re up early tomorrow. There are a few more tests we need to do.” I swallowed hard, afraid this time, of these new tests. Tybal was expendable.  What did that mean? I wondered if he could read my guilt and fear on my face but I schooled myself as much as I could and nodded.

When he left he took my appetite with him.

What is Flash Fiction and Why do I write it

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What it is…

To be completely honest, I just learned what flash fiction is a few months ago. I kept seeing the hashtag on Twitter and -as most of my journeys start- was curious. To summarize, it is a short story based on certain criteria. The rules for Flash Fiction are considerably different depending on who is hosting the challenge. Word count limits, prompts, frequency, well, you get the point.

So far I have be challenged with photos, dialogue prompts, scenario prompts, have had 200 word limits and no word limits and everything in between. Right now I’m participating in Dice Games which is a weekly prompt for September. I’ve also done the first challenge for Writer’s Campaign which was the shortest at 200 words, this month.

 Why I write it…

Other than the fact that it is just plain fun to meet these writing challenges the reason I continue writing them is to stretch my writing muscles. Flash Fiction is a wonderful tool for writing.

This month I was challenged with writing Sci-fi, which is a genre very unfamiliar to me. I really had a nail-biting time with it to the point that it almost became un-fun. It gave me the ability to look at the piece, realize why I was having a hard time with it and change my approach so that it wasn’t so frustrating. Writing should be fun and that challenge helped me to discover that, even out of my comfort zone.

I also made personal challenges such as writing completely from a male perspective, something I do not really ever do. I’ve also been allowed to play around with imagery, descriptions, and voices without having to commit to a large project. I find myself snatching pieces of my flash fiction for use in my novels. Or learning to turn a phrase successfully -or more likely Un-successfully- without fear of ruining a three thousand word chapter.

It’s given me an opportunity to put into practice some of the writing techniques I’ve been learning and I hope that even these shorter pieces show progression of my craft. I can tell that while I’m writing, the delete key comes into play quite often as I realize that I am making novice mistakes. It’s also given me the challenge to be concise. Wordiness can bog a reader down. I’ve come to see where my writing needs to be cut, be able to do those cuts, when I have limited words available.

I also hope that I entertain those that stumble across my blog with these easily, and quickly, digestable stories.

 

ROW80 goals

This is the last week for round three of ROW80. I have been writing more than I had before I joined and plan to participate in the next round. I have learned so much over the course of these weeks that I couldn’t have duplicated had I been on my own. Finding Flash Fiction challenges was only one small piece. The journey to becoming a successful writer is long and there is no real set goal for completion. Every day is another day to practice, to learn, to write. To make connections with others that are on the same path even though they’re on seperate journeys.

Thanks to all the ROW80 fellows that have visited my blog through this round. I hope to see you next time.

Dice Games week 3

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Go here if you’re completely confused as to what this flash fiction challenge is. This is my prompt for this week (and it’s also my birthday today!) This is soo hard for me because I do not write Sci-Fi. I’ve been procrastinating this piece for much of two weeks. I hope you enjoy me stepping out of my comfort zone 🙂

5 – So they finally discovered life on Mars, and now the Aliens are mighty pissed off.

 

Even Aliens have losers

It was all over the news. Every channel was playing it. The monumental moment when a white clad human encountered a living, breathing Alien. The entire city was breathless, waiting for the consequences, the fall out. The decades of speculation were over, now they all knew. There were no backseys this time.

How could  he have been so stupid?

Everyone knew that Mortimer Plinkston was a drunk, a louse, a no good member of society but now his name and face were plastered everywhere like a celebrity. Up and down the streets people were discussing, arguing, contemplating everything Mortimer. His fifteen-minutes of fame were burning hard and fast like a meteorite streaking across the sky. It didn’t help that I was his only living relative. Every minute of every day someone was bugging me, asking about Mortimer. The question on everyone’s lips was “Why?”

 “If the humans ever let him go, I guess we can ask him then.” I replied and then shut myself up in my house and wished them all away. Fifteen minutes can be a really, really long time.

Once the shock died down, once it was realized that the humans wouldn’t be bringing Mortimer back, the usual pitiful distain that accompanied that waste of a being, turned into a seething rage. It didn’t matter any more that Mortimer had once stolen a Berestbinger and smashed it into the Mayor’s house. Or that he was semi-respectfully “removed” from the opening of the History museum by armed guards for pissing on an irreplacable painting. Or that he had been out on bail when the humans landed for something completely unrelated.

It only mattered that Mortimer Ubeki Plinkston, son of the Bitch that he was, had been stolen. Galhem only knew what those barbarians were doing to the poor, poor soul now.

And Galhem help those infantile humans for their stupidity because when the People of the Republic of Mars got angry, bodies hit the floor.

I watched the fighter pods launch from my second story window. The dome above us opened to show the studded veil of black universe beyond. There was a reason we didn’t want to be found. As non-confrontational as we were, there were lines that didn’t get crossed.

I watched the news, the reports came in fast and unapologetic. I felt a sad kind of pity for the humans as I watched their planet be systematically distroyed. I wondered how they’d feel if they knew it was all because Mortimer was a loser that couldn’t hold his liquor.