NaNoWriMo 11/6 Excuses

Okay, so I didn’t get a chance to write on my camping trip, but we had a wonderful time.

As for Monday and Tuesday…well, very little writing got done as I tried to clean the house– including getting my son’s room straight. Soon, it will be time to sell it so I can get my own house and land.

Today I go to court to get the executor-ship turned over to my brother and I. Please revise your wills once the minors on it reach age. I’m 37 and my brother is 35. I am actually the only child listed by name in the wills. In fact, the appointed executor in the will stopped practicing law 7 years ago… in his late 60’s. It has made things a bit difficult in trying to sell things and pay bills. At least that will be fixed today.

So, as far as writing is concerned–

I WILL write today, and hopefully catch up a bit. My actual goal for this year’s NaNoWriMo is to get back to writing everyday. If I can get 50K done, awesome. I just want to fall back into the habit of writing again. That is the most important thing to me.

So, how are you doing with NaNoWriMo?

What are the challenges you have to push through?

What do you hope to get out of this year’s November?

Always,

Dawn

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NaNoWriMo 11/2

okay, today’s total is a bit better. 2077 words.

Unfortunately I can’t update this again until Monday, or maybe, possibly Sunday night. We are going camping and leaving in just a little bit. It is a Cub Scout thing with my son. We should have a great time, but it may put a crimp in my writing since I will have to write everything by hand!

Good writing to all my fellow NaNoWriMo guys and girls. And if you aren’t doing NaNo, find someone who is and give them a pep talk!

Always,

Dawn

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NaNoWriMo from 11/1 and my Dad

Okay, so yesterday wasn’t too good for writing. I only got 979 words in. However I was also an emotional mess.

Over and over again yesterday I kept thinking about my father. I kept remembering how I found him slumped over in his chair, tongue protruding and eyes closed. I remember the football game was on the TV and his portable fire was on as well. He was comfortable when he tried to kill himself.

As I was on the phone with 911 he started drooling and i knew I had found him right after he fell unconscious.

The EMTs came and it was then I realized it wasn’t a stroke, but a suicide attempt. I didn’t find the empty pill bottle until I left the hospital that night.

We live about 6 minutes from the closest hospital. Dad stopped breathing on the way there.

When the doctors checked his blood work they told me he had the highest Tylenol level they had ever seen. Yes, Tylenol. by the way, don’t do that. it will kill you slowly. Very slowly. The problem for my dad was that he took the PM variant in a large enough dose that the diphenhydramine stopped his breathing.

I was so angry.

Even more so when I found out that he had been asking people for a gun. My brother, two of my neighbors. And no one told me. I didn’t realize he was that ready to kill himself.

It took me a long time to get over being angry, and sometimes I still get angry.

He killed himself on my watch, even though I blocked his actual attempt. Guilt is bad. And comes back to haunt you at the most inopportune times.

Like when you are trying to write for NaNoWriMo.

Thanks for letting me spill my guts.

Always,

Dawn

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NaNoWriMo is here! And some other things.

Well, it sure has been awhile. Thank you for everyone who has stuck with me. This summer was the worst one in my life.

My mother died after spending 55 days in the hospital. Through a chain of circumstances, she died of blood poisoning, on August 14th.

My father could not deal with losing her and attempted suicide on Labor Day. I found him right after he fell unconscious (I have been living with my parents for about a year while dealing with a divorce). I got him to a hospital where he was saved. For a minute. He refused to eat or drink and came home on hospice. he died in our home with both my brother and I present on September 17th.

Their funerals were exactly a month apart. August 24 and September 24.

Now, NaNoWriMo is here and I am finally going to sit down and write. This will be the first time I have done this since my father’s funeral, and very little was done over the summer to begin with as I watched my mother get sick, get better, have a set back, then get better and finally fail.

I will be posting daily updates on word count as I begin to write WHITE DARKNESS, a standalone horror novel based, in part, on my time working at Toys R Us.

Fort those of you who are interested, my mother’s and father’s obituaries are link to the post.

Carol Mayo

Bill Mayo

Always,

Dawn

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Monday already? ACK! Chapter 1 of PROPHECY

Okay, I have to say, Marathon is going well so far. I posted my first chapter of PROPHECY in the past tense and it went over really well. I had 7 votes and 6 of them were ‘yes’, so I get to move on to my next chapter. I am goign to post the chapter as it was written for marathon here, and later this week will put up my revised version. Tell me what you think!

Chapter 1

The whispers were quiet as I slipped out the back door. For once, I didn’t have to worry about the siren call from the woods behind our house.

Momma was in the kitchen doing the dishes and humming her favorite song: Ode to Joy. She always claimed it made her feel like she was doing something exciting and dramatic instead of the mundane chore of cleaning up after Daddy and me.

I skipped over to Amos’ pen, thrilled to have a few minutes alone with the black and white hound. He jumped against the fence as I opened the lock with a clank. He bounded out of the kennel and knocked me to the ground, licking my face. His wet tongue tickled my face even as the fresh cut grass prickled my bare arms and legs. I giggled, but tried to be quiet. Momma didn’t like it when I went outside by myself. She always worried about something or other and made me feel nervous and awkward.

Her protective hovering made me feel like some impending doom was lurking nearby. It also made me feel like a freak. Other kids never had to suffer the over protectiveness of my Momma. After all, why should I have to hold her hand when I was just in the backyard?

But today, I was free, if only for a few minutes. Free to play with my dog and feel normal for a change.

Pushing Amos’ happy face to the side, I looked up at the beautiful white puffy clouds the floated through the sky. I smiled with pure joy at the day, the freedom, and the silence that came from the woods.

I struggled for a moment to get Amos off me, even though I knew my young body couldn’t hope to push the forty-pound dog to the side. Wagging his log, whip-like tail he backed off anyway. He was a good dog who always knew what I wanted even if I didn’t say a word.

“You’re a good boy, Amos.” I hugged him around his middle smelling the sun and his unique doggie scent. He never acted as if I was anything other than a seven-year old. He never treated me with kid gloves, nor as if I was about to do something a seven-year old shouldn’t.

He bounced away from me, acting like a puppy instead of an old dog, and I chased him around the yard.

Like a crash of thunder washing over me, the whispers began. The strange murmur from the trees just beyond the yard filled my senses.

Amos’ reacted instantly. He jumped in front of me and glared into the woods. His growling overwhelmed the whispers, but then they rose in volume and pitch. My dog’s ears pressed back tightly to his head and his body shook in anger or fear. He was the only one who ever heard the voices other than me. I tried to calm him by placing my hand on his back and murmuring nonsense words into his ear. Normally, that was enough to calm him down. This time he only tensed more and pressed his body back against me, causing me to stumble to my knees behind him.

I looked to the woods, trying to see why he refused to calm down, but they looked the same as they always did when the whispers began. Shadows under the trees grew longer despite the sunlight and moved in sensuous dances without benefit of the wind. The wooded area took on a dark menace.

Then the light dimmed and blackness crowded the puffy clouds from the blue sky. The yard darkened and a cold wind began to blow from the woods. My skin tingled with gooseflesh and I held tight to Amos, getting a small comfort from his warmth despite the racing of my heart.

My confused thoughts swept over me. I wanted to go to the trees, to follow the sounds to their source, but even more, I wanted to run back to the house and shut the noises out. The chaos in my mind froze my limbs and locked my mouth shut so I couldn’t even call for Momma, or to the woods, though I wanted to do both.

Words began to creep through the wind, words I heard not only with my ears but also with something deep inside of me. They touched my fear, yet they promised an approval I have never felt before. Absolute acceptance.

“Scottie, come to us.”

“It is your destiny.”

“We are as you are.”

“You will be treasured among us.”

“You are the child we have been waiting for.”

The words scared me but also intrigued me. They seemed to know how much I wanted to feel normal, to not be the freak my parents feared. The uniqueness, the intelligence, the almost adult in a child’s body, that worried my Momma and that my Daddy denied, felt cherished. And wanted. The feeling behind the words promised a future far greater than anyone would believe. It promised that I was different for a reason.

My muscles unlocked and I moved toward the calls.

Amos slid from my arms and threw himself on top of me, hurling me to the ground. Pain flared in my cheek where I landed but my eyes never left the woods. Amos’ growls and barks vibrated through me as I tried to shove him off me. His weight shifted slightly, brining his full weight down on my legs. With a surge of power, I pushed him hard and he fell off me with a whine. He struggled to his feet, but moved with a deliberate slowness that showed I had injured him in my escape. I wanted to comfort him, but I stumbled forward towards the woods instead. My stiff body fought against me, but step by step, I moved to the call.

With a painful sound Amos jumped at me again, teeth sinking into my shirt. He pulled me back, but I shrugged hard and felt my shirt rip, leaving only shreds in his teeth.

I broke into a shambling run, screaming inside to stop. I didn’t want to go into the dark woods, but my body refused to obey me. Amos limped in front of me again, but I threw him to the side, hearing a crack as he broke a rib when he landed. I looked at him; stride breaking as I rebelled at myself for causing him pain. I longed to go to him, to apologize to him, to help my faithful friend, but I couldn’t stop my legs from running faster to the trees and the voices that called me. I choked out a scream, partly for Amos, and partly for me.

Warm, familiar arms swept me up from behind. Entranced by the woods, I never heard Momma running for me. Amos’ attempts to slow me down gave her enough time to catch me. My own shout had alerted her that something was very wrong in the yard. The spell of the woods eased slightly as I smelled her perfume and felt her embrace, yet still I tried to pull away from her.

“Scottie, where do you think you are going? If I hadn’t heard you scream and Amos bark, I wouldn’t have known where you were!” Her voice strained to almost a shrillness that shocked me into looking at her. She clutched me close to her chest, and turned her body toward the house as I peered back at the woods. She jolted as she stepped into a small hole or something. The movement forced me to break eye contact with the calling words. Their power over me weakened further and I could breathe again.

“Momma, let me down. I want to go to the woods,” Words not my own escaped my lips as I looked into her beautiful chocolate brown eyes. Fighting her embrace, and myself, I turned myself so I could see the trees. Their powerful call washed over me again, filling me with unbelievable yearning.

Momma’s face clouded over, darker than the skies above as she looked deep into my eyes. “Why Scottie? Why would you leave me and go into the woods?” She tightened her grip around me so I felt like I was being crushed by a bear. Stumbling in her haste, she took several steps away from the trees and toward the backdoor.

“The trees, Momma they call to me. I want to go into them; I need to go into them.” The words forced themselves through my clenched teeth, lying and telling the truth in the same moment. The woods petrified me, but I wanted to be in them more than anything else in the world.

“Cherie, Scottie? Are you two out back?”

Momma’s breath whooshed out of her at the sound of my father’s voice. Her body started relaxing immediately and I could breathe again. I pushed against her, but only with half my strength. I didn’t want her to let me go, even though I wanted to be free.

“Jackson, we are back here!” Her stressed voice cracked, yet there was a measure of relief in it.

Daddy hurried around the corner of the house, his face set as though preparing for a fight. His golden hair shone in the sunlight and he looked like some avenging angel intent on protecting the poor mortals: Momma and me. Seeing no apparent danger, he slowed his pace but scanned the yard with eyes that missed nothing.

I wriggled and finally escaped from Momma, but instead of the woods, I ran to my Daddy. He could protect me. He could keep me from doing the thing I longed and hated to do.

Amos stopped growling when Daddy picked me up, but he didn’t stop looking at the trees.

“What are my two favorite people in the world doing this afternoon?” Daddy’s voice, warm as honey, did not show any anxiety, but he gently touched the rip in my shirt made by Amos’ teeth. His mouth tightened and he asked silent questions to Momma with a lifting of an eyebrow.

The whispers grabbed me with their power and I pushed hard away from Daddy who gave a surprised grunt, but didn’t let me go. From the corner of my eye, I saw him look down at me, though I focused my attention on the woods. The call from the trees all but overwhelmed me.

“So, little man, what have you been doing?” His false tone betrayed his anxiety, as did the tightening of his arms around me. “You and Amos been playing?”

Amos struggled to rise from the ground, whining softly. His eyes stared at the trees and he barked a sharp staccato sound then ended with a howl of pain. My heart felt like it broke. I did that to him. I hurt my dog.

I buried my face against Daddy’s chest, tears overflowing. Daddy lifted my chin with a finger.

“What’s been happening, son?” His serious tone forced words from my throat, words that sounded false even in my own ears.

“Daddy, Amos and I were playing, but I think I hurt him. I didn’t mean to, I was listening to the woods.” I cocked my head to the side, realizing that the calls had faded away. “They are quiet now, but Amos didn’t like them. He tried to keep me away from them.”

“And you hurt him?”

“Daddy, it was an accident. I didn’t mean to. He just wouldn’t let me go into the woods. Can you fix him up?”

Daddy frowned. “Well, I’m a doctor right? I’ll do what I can tonight and take him to the vet tomorrow. But why were you going in there?”

“The woods called to me. I wanted to walk under the green trees, smell the soil, and talk to the wind.”

A soft murmur arose from the trees again. I looked toward them and leaned away from Daddy’s body, transfixed by the music that tugged at my heart.

“Scottie, Scottie. SCOTTIE!” The sharpness in Daddy’s voice awakens me from my trance. I slowly looked up into his eyes, still half enthralled. He stared down at me, his forehead a severe line. I reached up a single hand and tried to smooth it away. He opened his mouth to speak, but I interrupted him before he could begin.

“Daddy, don’t look so upset. I would be okay. The woods want me there.” I glanced back at the woods, and the siren call of the trees settled over me once again. “I would be fine.” I tried to climb down out of Daddy’s arms, wriggling and pushing with all my might. “I will be fine.” His arms tightened around me more as I reached toward the music. “I will be fine.”

He will never let me go. He and Momma don’t understand. I don’t understand. What is wrong with me? I want to stay with my parents. How can I want to run to the woods as well? The woods, they call me…call me…

Daddy looked over my head at Momma, where they exchanged a look they didn’t think I could see. I wished I could see inside their minds to know what they were thinking. Daddy’s arms shook with effort as he tried to keep me contained. Or maybe there was another reason, perhaps some hidden emotion. I stopped wriggling to get down, accepting I couldn’t get away, but still my voice whispered, “I will be okay.”

“That’s not the point, Scottie,” Momma said. “It’s not safe in the woods. Not safe at all. Especially not for a little boy.” Her voice trembled and sounded distant as though lost in a memory; one that scared her more than anything in her life.

Questions swirled through my mind.

What did she know about the woods? How could she think that I would be hurt there? Could she possibly hear the voices that called me? Did she know that I really belonged there and simply wanted to keep me to herself? Why would she keep me from my destiny? Is it really my destiny?

My parents were keeping something from me. They appeared too nervous, too scared about me going into the woods. Something must have been in there that they didn’t want me to see. Something they thought would hurt me, even though I knew better.

The question spilled out of my mouth.

“What do you mean? I know the woods will not hurt me. They told me so.”

“Okay, let’s go inside,” Daddy’s voice was hard and strained. The frown on his face would have made the fiercest animal run. It had the same effect on me.

“Let me down, Daddy, I can walk.” Although willing to go with my parents in order to learn what they knew, I couldn’t help but look back to the woods as the calls from them slowly faded into non-existence.

“Scottie, stop squirming!”

I stopped moving, but cowered as Daddy carried me into the house. What would he do with me once we were in there? He never raised his voice at me before, but this time…

“You will never go into those woods, Scottie. Never.” Momma’s voice cracked with fear as she choked back tears. I looked at her, afraid of her as well. Something was terribly, terribly wrong, and soon I would know how wrong things could actually be.

She was right, though. I would never go into the woods, not of my own will,

But would my determination be enough to keep me away?

Always,

Dawn

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Where have I been? What have I been doing?

Well, life has a tendency to get in my way, and, unfortunately, the blog is the first thing that gets slighted.

I have been working quite a bit at Babies R Us and may be in line for a promotion.

I have been writing, and rewriting, and editing.

INFECTED us getting rewritten from the beginning now that I know a bit more about writing than I used to. This time it is in 1st person past. I have chapter 1 fully outlined in my new formula of writing and it should be written by Wed night.

PROPHECY is also getting a do-over, switching to past tense. Seven full chapters are completed.

A QUESTION OF CHANGE is in the researching part of writing as I learn more about zoology and a specific park that is near me. Although under a different name, Maymont Park in Richmond, VA is the setting in the novel, with some small modifications.

WHITE DARKNESS also known by the name RAFTER MONSTER is still in the brain storming stage.

June 1st begins the Speculative Fiction Marathon where INFECTED and PROPHECY will be undergoing critiques. For 12 weeks, one chapter a week will be critiqued by other spec-fic members. It is a thrilling and exhausting time.

I am also a contributing blogger for dragons and aliens and wraiths oh my a blog for speculative fiction authors, by speculative fiction authors. My first post is live.

After Marathon I will be publishing serials from authors I know. A chapter a week is the goal right now. Hopefully my fellow spec-fic members come through like they said they would! Thanks for already having segments done TJ!

So I will be better on letting you guys know where everything stands in the future. At least things are getting back under control.

Always,

Dawn

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Road’s End- William Kosh

Time for our second place entry! I’ll let him tell you about himself.

I have previously written for newspapers such as the New Indian Express and the Waukesha Observer as well as magazines like Alternative Revolt and Blistering. My film reviews for www.gamevolution.co.uk can be found here, and the first novel of my science fiction quartet can be purchased here. I plan to serialize the second book online. Currently, I have short stories accepted to be published by Black Petals Fiction and Grit City Publications.”

Road’s End

The police shepherd people around us, saying in Bengali, Hindi, and finally English, that there is nothing to see.

What there is to see is me. My wife and I lie in the street, about ten feet apart. Our respective pools of lifeblood bridge the gap between us, meeting and intermingling before flowing down the road and towards a drain. I try to look over to her, but I can barely draw breath. No matter. She is long gone that woman. I give up and close my eyes. I listen to the curtain from our room, three stories above, flutter as a few final bits of broken glass tinkle to the ground around us. A child screams and cries. We must look a sight. 

I didn’t go to comfort her where she sat, huddled in the corner with my jacket draped over her shoulders. I just let her rock back and forth, bracing herself, coming to terms.

 “What will you do if they take me?” she asked urgently.

 “Kill you.” I immediately replied. A fascinating combination of relief and panic spread across her face.         

 “Do you…” she whispered. I couldn’t quite hear the end.

 “Do I what?”

 “Do you promise?”

I wrung my hands around the handle of the switchblade in my hands.

 “Oh yeah.” I said. I promise. I breathed on the knife and wiped the blade on my shirt, soaked through with sweat and half unbuttoned. She was filthy too, from running for days, not sleeping, and having been, like me, soaked in flop sweat for the better part of two days. Crouching, I inched towards the window. It was a standard Kolkata afternoon outside. People, dogs, and the occasional autorikshaw passed by the building. No one deviated from the norm.

 “The bastards.” I said. “Those… Fucks…”

 “Don’t.” She said, shaking her head. “Don’t.” I sat back down against the wall, taking deep breaths. I pulled the train tickets out of my pocket and began ripping them up. I began with the overnight from Hospet, then moved on to the sleeper from Bangalore. I crushed the express train from Delhi into a little ball in my hand and let it roll to the floor.

 “We could try a flight.” I said. She made a squeaky sound and the corners of her lips twitched.

 “You don’t think they’re watching airports?” she muttered. “They hear us on the phone. They see when we use credit cards.”

 “Then let’s just try. It’s the only chance we’ve got.”

 “No.” She shook her head violently. “No. No.” She pulled her legs up to her chest.

 “Maybe they won’t hurt us.” I suddenly felt overwhelmingly tired. I struggled to keep my eyes open.

 “Don’t start in on that.” I slurred. “I’d rather die than have what they did to Desmond done to me. We can’t let them catch us.”

Silence filled the room. Fatigue and fear kept my mouth clamped closed. The silence expanded down the hall and out to the street. There was no sound from traffic or chattering neighbors. An unseasonably cold blast of wind passed through the cracked  window.

 “Oh, God.” She said, laying her head down in her arms. “Oh, God.”

I closed my eyes to listen and heard it immediately. Their footsteps sounded clipped and clean, like God was walking down the hallway. I heard the machine-they brought the machine-crackle and hiss as they turned that black knob.

Then I felt it.

Oh, God, to describe the feeling is nearly impossible. Think of your mind as a clenched and cloistered thing, something that you keep hidden inside you, then think of a hand, one with long and slender fingers, entering it. I screamed, breaking the silence, trying to fight it, but feeling myself lose control simultaneously. They were trying to close my eyes–that’s the first thing they always do–and my arms were jerkily flailing at random. I forced myself to stand and looked across the room at her. She was crying and screaming in rage, but she had already lost. Casually her body rose to its feet.

I could still use my hands. I reached for my knife and flicked the blade open. Pressing it against my chest, I spoke to myself through gritted teeth and foaming drool.

 “Push.” I said. “Push!”

The door to our room opened. They didn’t enter. They just stood, watching us lose the last semblance of everything we were with cool expressions on their waxy faces. Her weeping slowed as she stood at attention to them. One held the “wand” portion of the machine, like a little steel rolling pin, aloft and made her do a few choreographed “test moves.” He checked the “box” portion of the machine and turned to the other one.

 “She is fine.” The other looked at me.

 “What about him?” The wand was waved at me.

 “Needs work.” He sighed and walked over to where I stood, struggling. His expression looked almost neutral, but I read subtle emotions as they played across his face. Frustration first. Then Pity.

He pulled his hands out of his black trench coat and placed his long, slender fingertips on the brim of the black hat on his head.

 “It’s not so bad.” He said. He removed the hat. Steel nodes protruded from each of his temples, like little silver pottu marks. “Trust me.” I looked over to her and tried to call out. Something inside me roared. My throat heaved, and frothy spittle, spiked with bile, leaked from the corners of my mouth. There was fear and there was rage, but there was something else indescribable.

 “I don’t want this.” I managed to croak. My arms flailed erratically. I could actually feel my eyes bulging from their sockets.

 “I don’t want this.”

Agonizingly, I broke free. I closed my eyes and headed for Jessica.

I dove to her, and she accepted me into her arms. When we fell, we fell together.

Great job Will!

Always,

Dawn

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