I have two short stories for free this weekend.
The Mirror, a tales from the crypt style story.
The Costume Shop, an R.L. Stein inspired novella.
Pick them up today and give yourself a short read to take up a night. Enjoy.
We finally saw the Joker today. I say today, but it’s the first time in a long time that we’ve gone to a movie within the first week of it coming out.
I’m going to tell you my thoughts about the movie in general, without spoiling anything, then go a little more in depth with it from behind a cut, so if you haven’t seen it yet, and you don’t want spoilers, don’t click the link for more.
The basic overview is, I liked it. It’s a slow burn movie that slowly amps up the drama and action as it goes until you’re in the thick of things and you didn’t even realize it.
This movie is not a “super hero movie”. There are no super powers, no amazing acts that couldn’t be explained, no huge fight scenes nothing like that. Just a man, and the slow decent into madness. And certainly no heroes.
But parts of the movie are rather brutal, and at times the imagery is unsettling. The way Joaquin Phoenix moves his body, and laughs for no reason, just set your nerves rattling. He is absolutely the star of this movie, able to do something so absolutely horrifying by just being there.
Is it worth seeing in theaters? Yes, if you don’t want spoilers because there are bound to be some online. There are no super amazing FX shots, or grand beautiful sets to watch. On the contrary it’s visceral, dirty, and dingy throughout. But sitting in a dark theater with others around you wall you watch this mans life turn into a beautiful train wreck….there’s something amazing about it.
Lastly, before the spoilers, The Joker is more thought provoking than most super hero flicks. There is no true moral, no clear path through the plot line. There are more questions at the end then answer, and it is all an amazing thing to watch, and may draw you in to see it again.
Now for the spoilers.
Yesterday I finished writing Costume Shop, which I’ve been working on for a couple years. It’s a Halloween story, so I always worked on it in the fall. I’d write a few paragraphs then Halloween would be over and I’d move on to something else.
This year I had the beautiful art done by my daughter to spur me on. I really wanted to get it done, and out, so that everyone could see it. So I finally finished it.
Which brings us to the next part; editing. And I only have one more day to do that before we get in a car for a week long journey to LA, and twitchcon.
I’ve already done a bunch of editing, so it’s only a matter of going back over it once or twice and cleaning it up, but still…. I have to actually do it.
If I manage it Costume Shop will be available this weekend. It is an RL Stein style chapter book for younger readers. I might even do a few more in this style…. We will see.
For now I am mostly packed for twitchcon. Gregg has a few finishing touches to do tomorrow, and then we start driving. Well I start driving. I’m sure he’ll take the wheel after a much needed nap.
I’ve been working on the new cover for the first book in “The Half Blood Sorceress” series. Book one, Dragon’s Flame, is finished. Well, the first draft is. I have a few things to clean up before sending it off to the editor, but I am hoping to have it out soon (in relitive terms).
The back of the book:
A tragedy. A secret. A journey to find the truth.
Sybel watched as her mother burned on a funeral pyre, but she never expected her father to push her into the flames. When Sybel survives the pyre without a single burn she’s banished from the village for reasons she doesn’t understand.
With more questions than answers, Sybil’s only hope is to make a treacherous journey to find the wise mages of Kemoor. As she ventures out beyond the edges of her village she finds a world filled with dangers; massive creatures, vindictive humans, and an ice cold wind blowing from the north. A wind that is far more sinister than anyone suspects.
Now the girl who would not burn must trust in unlikely allies to save her life, and discover the truth…
And the best part is I’ve already written most of book two. I’m hoping to have books one and two out this year, with the third one next year some time. I have at least a five book arc for this series.
The Half Blood Sorceress is not part of the same world as my Witch’s Trilogy. In the Witch’s Trilogy there are many sentient creatures created by the elements. In The Half Blood Sorceress series there are three races; humans, dragons, and ifrits. The world building of these two series was so completely different. Peyllen (the world of Witch’s Trilogy) took years to flesh out. But because of all that world building the mythos of Peyllen is an entire series of it’s own that I’m still writing.
The Half Blood Sorceress is different in a lot of ways, and so is the experience of creating the world, and writing the stories. I honestly can’t wait to get it out and hear what others have to say about it.
I’ve been really busy the last few weeks plotting and writing the first few chapters of my new series: “The Half-Blood Sorceress.”
I am so excited about this series! I first got the idea back at NorWesCon in the art gallery. I found an artist that had absolutely magnificent work. I mean he does paintings for several of the big publishers, he was that good. And at the bottom of his display was one loan painting. I overheard him talking to someone else about how he just had to paint that one night, even if it hadn’t found a home yet, be he was sure that the right author would come along to give it a story.
“You could write that, you know,” Gregg said.
“No, that covers too awesome for me,” I said, and kept walking.
Three feet down the hall and I looked up at him and said “You suck!”
“See,” he said, “told you that you had a story for that picture.”
Not a story, as it turns out. A whole SERIES! All based on this one painting, or rather the girl depicted there.
Of course, I asked the artist how much it would cost for me to use that as the cover… As it turns out, WAY more than I can afford at the moment. However, this painting is the one I need for book six, so there is still a chance I could do it. I just have to get writing, and see how things work out.
So what is this story about? A half-blood sorceress? What does that even mean?
Well that’s coming, but today I’m going to tell you a little bit about the world. First: a map. I’ve been working on it on and off for a while, but the world has no name yet. I would absolutely love my readers to name this world for me. And no, I won’t be naming it Mappy McMapface, sorry.
What should you know about this world? Here there be dragons! Four of them, in fact.
Nyasama – Earth dragon
Anulaer – Air dragon
Ningirsu – Water dragon
Alshadu – Fire dragon
Together, the four dragons created the world, then slept in various places around the new planet. Every now and then the dragons wake and travel about the planet they created in human form, interacting, causing mischief, or doing something extraordinary.
This book isn’t about the dragons, though they do have an influence on the world at large. No, the first book is about Sybel. She finds herself in an awful place in time, watching the mother she loved waste away, and then learning a horrible secret that thrusts her out into a world filled with magic and darkness that she did not know existed.
I am currently seeing how the first book goes. I’m already 14k into the initial writing, and loving the way it’s going. I want to write one book a month, with a month for editing, formatting, etc. I just have to see how I can handle it since I’ve never pushed myself to do something this massive before. I’m only looking at 50k words per book, but I haven’t even gotten a third of the way into this one so I have no idea if that estimate will fly right out the window.
All I know is, I love this world. I love the characters. And I love the story. I’m more passionate about this story than I have been about anything in a couple of years. I want to see it live, and I want others to love it too.
So look for more snippets about the world, and maybe some snippets from the actual novel soon.
I’ve always enjoyed building maps, and world building in general. I have a few dozen of them stashed among the pages of old hand written story ideas, their edges smudged over time, and words sometimes faded out till it’s illegible. But the concept, the idea of the map is still there.
The journey of Peyllen started with a young girl leaving home for the first time. That was the first book that I wrote in the series, the first book I finished in the series. But it won’t be released for a long time. There are many stories that come before that one, and it will have to be rewritten in its entirety before it ever sees the light of day. But the idea behind it, the world and the magic, remain. You might have already taken a peak at it. It is the same world that my Witch’s Trilogy came from.
I scanned and copied it into Gimp and started adding outlines, colors, adjusting the land masses, and giving it more definition. I added “The Sea of Tears” since it did not appear on the original maps (though the idea was always there).
I’m getting to the end of book three in the trilogy. I think I’ll take a short break from Peyllan after that to work on a few other projects, but eventually I’ll be back. There are ten more novels in this world waiting to be told. And I bet by the time I’ve finished some of them I’ll find more stories lurking in the world. Maybe some from areas yet uncharted on the far side of the world.
As I’m getting close to finishing “Witch’s Curse” (the sequel to Witch’s Sacrifice) I thought I should put up the first chapter in one convenient spot so anyone could read it. This is a bit of a prolog showing how Brother Hawk and Alistir met. You might also want to follow me on Google Plus where I will be adding short snippets from the rest of the book most Saturdays till release.
*** Chapter One ***
Blood. Sweat. Pain. Hunger.
Each new hurt layered on top of another until Brother Hawk had nothing left in his mind but anger to feed him. How long had he been trapped in the cage? Days? Weeks? Months? After centuries his perception of time was clouded, and with no window to the outside world he had nothing to go on. He only knew that he hadn’t been fed since being locked in. His feathers were dull and grimy, dragging his skin down with layers of dirt. His tongue rasped along the dry roof of his mouth, trying to find saliva and failing.
“You, fetch water,” a voice demanded outside the gray bars.
More torture, Brother Hawk thought. Not a new torture, either. Dangle the water, or the choice bit of flesh just outside the bars. Get the bird to scramble, clawing for it. Then take it away. Old. The only time he reacted to it now was when he could not claw down the savage hunger burning in his throat.
Today he could. Today he lay listless on the floor, his tongue rolling in dust. His wings spread out as far as they could in the cramped cell. Today they would find no reaction. Not until they brought the pokers, and knives.
The grating of metal on metal roused him enough to look, still moving nothing but his eyes. The door creaked open, the sound tearing into his ears. The door hadn’t been open in so long, but he was too tired to try to do anything about it. Not that a mad dash to freedom would have ended well. The curse saw to that.
A white robed figure stepped through the door, a blurry shape against the dark background, a blob of brown swinging at his side. The smell of good, clean water, not the festering miasma of rotting slime the acolytes usually brought, made his nostrils flare, but still Brother Hawk would not succumb to the torture. He fought down the urge to drink. The urge to lunge for the pail.
The white shape knelt beside Brother Hawk and slowly lifted the brown blob closer. Water sloshed inside, the sound assaulting his ears with hope.
“Drink, Brother Hawk,” the man said. “You will not be denied this time.”
Brother Hawk blinked, the figuring getting a little less blurry. A mat of thick red hair. A bushy beard. Piercing black eyes. Were they black? They seemed black in his addled state.
Brother Hawk sucked in a deeper breath, his beak clacking together as the chains rattled around him.
“Get these chains off him,” the voice said, harsh and forceful.
“But, sir,” a plaintive voice called. Halbend. The jailer. Putrid slime that he was, Halbend didn’t ever want to let Brother Hawk free. Not as long as he lived.
“What did I say?” the white robe asked, his voice hard as steel.
Another figure entered the room. Keys rattled. Chains moved. The heavy weight lifted from him, then another chain slammed down on his back, a small squawk of surprise exiting his beak.
A sudden rush of movement, and a large weight slammed against the far side of the cell. Brother Hawk blinked again, clearing the fog enough to see the white robe towering over the prone form of Halbend.
“I have been sent to be keeper and master of Brother Hawk, and if any of you filthy swine so much as lay a hand on him or damage a single feather I will make sure that your last days are spent in the same cell he once occupied, carrying the same chains. Do I make myself clear?”
“Y-yes, sir,” Halbend cried, scrambling back against the bars.
“Now get a stretcher in here, and food. Fresh meat, not that filth you swine eat.”
Halbend scrambled up, bowing and scraping as he exited the chamber leaving the white robe all alone.
Brother Hawk could have attacked then. Tortured and broken he might be, but there was still some kick left in him. The curse saw to that. Never dying, yet always wishing for death.
Something about this young white robe told Brother Hawk to use caution. He wasn’t like the jailers, or even the high priest. Not prone to beat first and ask questions later. How long would that last?
Curiosity more than anything kept Brother Hawk from attacking. He wanted to know what this white robe would do.
“I was chosen to care for you,” the man said as he knelt beside Brother Hawk’s beak. “I mean to do it.”
The man began ladling water from the bucket over Brother Hawks beak. Pure water. No taint, or piss, or foul dead thing to be found. Just water. His tongue lapped at the rivulets. He wanted to dive into the bucket. Suck it down.
“Not too quickly,” the man said. “I’m sure it’s been some times since you’ve had decent food and water, but take it slow. You’ll make yourself sick. The curse can only protect you so much.”
Brother Hawk squawked, his beak clacking together as the water was taken away, but it returned, slowly dribbling down his parched throat. He stilled, sucking down the life giving water.
Something touched Brother Hawk’s head and he flinched before stealing his nerves. It was never good to flinch in front of the enemy. His moment of weakness could be his undoing. But the pressure returned, stroking his head, accompanied by soothing words and trills.
“You’ve been poorly treated, Brother Hawk,” the voice said. “I’m sorry. They have no excuse for the cruelties leveled on you. Now that I’ve been tasked with your care that will change.”
Boots tromped down the stairs. The water was taken away only to be replaced with rough hands lifting Brother Hawk onto thick canvas. A stretcher. He was hoisted up, then carried out of the jail cell under the watchful eye of the white robed acolyte. The disdain of the men carrying the stretcher radiated out from them. It ran deeper then blood, but their fear of the white robed man ran deeper.
The stretcher bounced and jostled, carrying Brother Hawk up the long flight of stairs. The same stairs that once brought him to his prison, a journey he scarcely remembered after years of being locked in the dark. The ride through the darkness gave the curse time to work on his body, using the water he’d been given to hydrate dry muscles, and lubricate joints. His eyesight started to improve giving him a clearer view of his captors. Figures swam into focus, their angry faces studiously focused ahead while the white robe led the way.
Did the journey down the stairwell seem like such a long walk? He couldn’t remember. Time played tricks with his mind, faded some memories while making other things sharp. He could still recall the dull echoes of boot heels on stone steps, their faint shuffling pinging from every surface around them, just as they did now. Still smell the blood of his jailers, ripped apart by beak and talon as they tried to subdue him.
At the top of the stairwell the large wooden door lay open. The faint scent of fresh sea air made his nostrils flair. Dim sunlight cut like a knife through the doorway, dust falling through the still air in little white streams.
As they carried Brother Hawk out of the stairwell and into the upper chambers the air seemed to lighten around him. A weight being lifted. The air lost the staleness that he had come to find normal. The feted rotten odors that assaulted his senses however long he’d been down there were gone.
The white robe did not stop in the antechambers as Brother Hawk thought he might. He kept going, into the courtyard where sunlight brightened the earth, and summer winds danced through tree limbs. Brother Hawk could see it through the windows. Smell the leaves, grass, and flowers. Taste the salt in the air. And while he wanted that, wanted the sun on his body and the warmth of the earth around him, wanted freedom, part of him balked. It was so open beyond the door. So vibrant.
The acolytes carried Brother Hawk across the threshold into the courtyard. Sunlight assaulted his great orbs, the pain lancing through his skull. He screeched, and flailed on the tiny canvas stretcher, causing the men to drop him to the ground.
“You idiot!” the white robe called. “Be more careful with him. It’s a bird not a demon.”
“They’re one in the same, ain’t they?” one of the acolytes asked.
There was a thump and Brother Hawk blinked, adjusting to the light, only to see one of the acolytes sprawled on the floor, his hand pressed to a growing bruise on his face.
“Go get him some ice,” he said to one of the men nearby, then turned to another acolyte, jabbing at him with a large meaty finger. “You start feeding him. Slowly.”
“But sir,” a plump acolyte cried, “the bird’s dangerous.”
“No more so then I am. Now see to your brother. Go, bring hot water.”
They scrambled off in different directions, leaving the hurt acolyte to crawl to his feet and wander off on his own.
The white robed acolyte came closer, kneeling beside Brother Hawk to look him in the eye.
“I’ve been told something of you, Brother Hawk. They say you’ve been bound by the blood of the kraken. That you’re a man trapped in a birds form. I think we can be of service to one another. As you see, I have some standing among the brothers.”
The acolyte withdrew a leather thong with a single green stone on it.
“As you can see, I hold your bond. The high priest left you to my charge. He’s lost all interest in your plight, but I still think you can be useful. However, I am not a cruel man. No creature deserves to be caged and tortured for years on end. Especially a creature with a gift of the kraken. Like you, Brother Hawk.”
The acolytes returned burdened with heavy buckets of hot water, towels, soap and smaller pails of fresh meats cut into small cubes.
Brother Hawk lost sense of time long ago in the deep dark of the dungeon. Now the sun slowly crossed the sky while the white robed priest washed each of his feathers in between handfuls of raw meat. Minutes stretched into hours during his careful ministrations.
Brother Hawk stretched, his wings snapping and straining against long in use. Each joint cracked as he moved, his muscles burning as the curse brought them back to health. Lighter without the years of grime and muck. Bright black feathers, glistening in the last of the sunlight. All the while he could feel the curse working to restore his withered body.
The curse. Any other creature would have died, lost and forgotten in the pitch black of a dungeon. While Brother Hawk felt the gnawing hunger, and his body slowly shut itself down over time, the curse would not allow him the mercy of death. He kept lingering, the hunger gnawing at his bones, unable to move. Unable to seek freedom.
Once clean and fed the white robe sent the acolytes away again, then sat beside Brother Hawk. They contemplated each other, black orbs of the hawk reflecting back from the dark brown eyes of the acolyte.
“We are not so different, you and I,” the acolyte said.
Brother Hawk snorted, but did not move.
“It’s true,” he protested. “We are both bound to the acolytes, bound to serve the kraken. We are both forced to do the will of the high priest, whatever he may ask. It’s true that your curse leaves you no option, but my only option is death if I fail to serve.”
Brother Hawk tilted his head to the side, blinking at the acolyte, unable to disagree, but unable to comment with more than a squawk.
“You wonder why I bother with you?”
Brother Hawk nodded.
“I think we can help one another. I think that there is much we could learn from each other. High Priest Nagiz is old, his time grows short, and no one knows who will take his place just yet. But any change in the head leaves an opening for the body to shift, yes? There are things about the brotherhood that even the most diehard adherents cannot stomach, like torturing defenseless birds pleasure. Perhaps, together, we could change at least some of that.”
Brother Hawk blinked.
The white robed man chuckled. “It is difficult to have a conversation with a bird. Perhaps it is time for us to change that. Brother Hawk, it’s time that you were set free from your prison. Be a man.”
The change grabbed a hold of him before he had time to prepare, rippling through his body like fire ants on the hunt. Muscles spasmed, pulling tight as feathers faded away. Wings shrank into fingers and arms. Legs grew, thickening and lengthening. The beak shriveled back into his skull replaced by soft skin, pale white and threaded with bright lines where he’d been inflicted with cuts and welts by his captors.
Laying on the ground, panting and shiver, the naked man that was once a hawk, gasped for breath.
“Be careful now,” the white robe said as he knelt beside Brother Hawk. “You’ve been locked in the hawks form for almost thirty years now. Take some time to find your legs again before straining yourself.”
“Thirty?” Brother Hawks voice sounded rusted and dry even to his own ears.
“Yes, thirty years. I only found out about you five years ago. It’s taken me this long to get enough seniority to take you into my care. As far as High Priest Nagiz is concerned you are my charge from now till the end of time.”
Brother Hawk looked up at him blinking with two brown eyes larger than any man had a right to have. Being cursed to be a hawk had marred his body in more ways than he knew over the centuries.
“Who…who are you?” the man, once hawk, gasped out.
The white robe smiled as he helped Brother Hawk to his feet, steadying him as he wobbled.
“My name is Alistir.”
Sonata’s hands danced across the keys, her soul reaching out through her fingertips. Ebony and ivory, a harmony that responded to her touch, and hers alone.
Whenever she sat down to play the piano she couldn’t help remembering the first time. Caressing the keys. Tentatively pressing a few notes. And each note came out pure and strong even though she, just a girl of eight, had no idea how to actually play the giant instrument.
Her grandfather pulled her up in his lap and she would watch as his hands moved along the keyboard playing chopsticks, Mary had a little lamb and the wheels on the bus. When she showed so much interest in the music he started moving into more intricate pieces. Fur Elise. Barber of Seville. Blue Danube.
Each song played a story in her mind. The notes moved upward in sharp angles, and she saw dragons fighting across a red sky. Soft keys flowing out in a slow rhythm were like swans lazily swimming across an icy pool of water. Each key. Each score. An image and a story that laid itself out just for her.
The memories made her melancholy, longing for her grandfather, long since passed, and all the quiet moments they spent together making music.
The melancholy worked its way into the music. Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. The quiet rhythms of the thousand year old piece slowly playing out across the dark night.
Her thoughts moved to the room, the darkness closing in around her. The piano still sat in the same room overlooking the river far below. On still nights you could see the moonlight glittering off the subtle waves. A fitting companion to her music. She matched her tempo to the rippling light, softer then faster, and softer again. Experimentation.
The home, built by her great grand father shortly before the civil war, was her second love. It had housed the sick and injured during the war, been home to a speakeasy during Prohibition, held wild and sometimes disastrous parties, all before she’d ever been born. The history was written into every piece of wood. Names carved into balusters. Graffiti stenciled on bathroom walls. Holes cut into certain walls, then repaired over and over again.
Her mother once told her the house was haunted. A laughable thing, surely. Sonata didn’t believe in heaven, or hell, demons or angels. Why, then, would she believe in something as insubstantial as a ghost?
She giggled at her own pun as she set into Presto Agitato, her fingers fairly flying across the keys. Over and over she pounded out the notes, faster and harder with each slide up the scale.
Like a frolicking gazelle, she played the notes, feeling the joy and wonder of her home around her, swaddled in the moonlit night. Happy and content. Locked together just as the notes of the song were locked together.
She glanced up to the left of the piano. Her grandfather use to stand there watching over her as she played, and even now she felt she could feel his presence there. Watching. Waiting.
If her grandfather watched over her then she would give him the best concert of his entire life, or death, she thought as she tripped across the ivory keys.
Piece after piece she played. Chopin. Lebrun. Bach. Tchaikovsky. Each one with their own virtues and difficulties. She had practiced for years, learning piece after piece to add to her repertoire. Learning the inscrutable differences between the frenetic work of Mozart, or the melancholy scores of Schubert . And she played them all with the utmost precision.
Precision wasn’t enough to be a great pianist. Being female had it’s own drawbacks. Men did not think highly of women who pursued places in the arts. Painters, sculptures, musicians. All of the truly greats in all areas were men. Sonata always maintained that she, as a woman, had just as much right to play professionally as any man, but it didn’t matter. You couldn’t sell tickets to a womans concert.
Instead she spent the long days whiling away her time in front of the piano. With her inheritance she lived comfortably, never wanting for anything, and throwing the occasional party where she would play for her guests who watched in rapt adoration as she played.
From the shadows she heard a scrape on the wood, like shoes walking toward her. She glanced up to find ghostly images walking down the corridor toward her. Faint white glimmers on the landscape that shimmered into view then blinked out of existence.
There were no such things as ghosts, she told herself again, her fingers never stopping on the keys. It was the night playing tricks on her. Old memories surfacing from the past. But the night was coming to a close. The sun would rise, and she would still be safe in her mansion. All alone.
For hours she played, song after song echoing up through the old wooden house. Memories circled through her thoughts. Her father on his death bed wishing her happiness. Her music teacher praising her for her marvelous playing. A cousin stopping in to see why she never answered her telegrams.
And always the music soothed away the troubled memories.
Then the sky grew lighter, sunlight spilling over the horizon. The warm glow splashed across the side of the piano and Sonata smiled, enjoying the warmth washing over the room as she started playing another complicated piece.
The sun rose higher, as though each note she picked along the keyboard was a signal for the world to spin, the sun rising in the west at her bidding. She watched it creeping up the side of the piano, playing faster and faster, as though trying to capture every possible note she could before the sunlight touched her skin.
Something about the suns progress across the hard wood floor sent a shiver through her. The sun was supposed to bring cheer and good will, but all she felt was panic.
Sun. Son. Was that why? Was it the reminder of the child she would never have?
At one time there had been many suiters calling for her hand. They would come to the great mansion at the top of the hill and gaze over the land with hungry eyes. And some part of her hardened. If she could not be the concert pianist that she dreamed of then she would not give into their demands. Would not give them the key to their desires.
Selfish? Perhaps. Her mother once begged her for the gift of grandchildren. But it was already too late. As the consumption ate away at her mother’s body she had no comfort of tiny feet racing across the floors, only the sound of the piano. The endless music reminding her that she failed her daughter.
Once her mother started to scream, begging that the music end. Only her fathers threats of destroyed the piano stilled the keys. Sonata would stare longly from the doorway, her fingers moving to the staccato beat across the counter, waiting, yearning for the day she could play again.
And the day came when her mother passed away, and they laid her in the ground in the small cemetery out back. She lay beside her own mother and father, and many family members from before Sonata’s birth. Men and women who lived, and loved, and died in the walls of the mansion.
And music once again filled the walls.
Light touched the keys and Sonata cringed away from it. Why? It was only light she told herself.
The keys glowed white as the sunlight spread.
Sonata played on, dancing across the keys, her eyes closed as they flew up the scale…
The sunlight burned. Like putting her hand into a vat of acid, the light spilled around her finger tips, burning away her flesh, the pain searing up her arm and into every nerve of her body.
She backed away from the piano, and the light flooding over it, cradling her hand to her chest. How was it even possible? How could the sun keep her from the piano. Music was her life. She had to have it or she would fade away.
The light slipped across the floor as the sun rose in the sky, a pool of it edging closer to her feet.
She took a step back, stretching her hand out toward the piano, needing the music. Feeling herself growing dimmer as the notes faded from the room.
But something was wrong with her hand. She held it up before her. There were no burn marks from the sunlight, but her hand began to twist in on itself. She tried stretching out her fingers, as though playing the scales, but they barely moved, the tendons tightening and pulling even harder.
“No!” she cried, looking down at her hands as they curled up into claws right in front of her eyes. “No! You can’t do this to me! No!”
The music long since silent, her cries echoed through the room, vibrating off the empty walls, and flooding up the stairs.
And then the full force of the sun spilled across her feet, and up her body.
With one final agonizing scream Sonata blinked out of existence.
“Did you hear that?” Janet asked, sitting up on the couch.
“What? The piano?”
“Yes, it sounded like a piano. Is there a radio on or something?”
“No, it just plays sometimes. Ever since Sonata Everson died you can hear it on moonlit night. I think it’s Beethoven.”
“Beethoven? You have a ghost that plays Beethoven?”
“I didn’t say I had a ghost,” he said, before taking a sip of coffee. “I have a home with an interesting past. Sometimes happy, a lot of times quite sad. Ms. Everson was no exception. And now you hear the piano on moonlit nights. That doesn’t mean its haunted.”
“She killed herself, didn’t she?” Janet said, settling back against the overstuffed cushions.
Anthony’s arms snaked up around her to enjoy the sunrise through the grand balcony overlooking the river below. His thumb rubbed back and forth across the bare skin of her arm.
“Yes. Her hands started turning in on themselves. Some think she had a severe form of carpal tunnel, but they didn’t have diagnosis for that back then.”
“Carpal tunnel? You mean from repetitive motion, like playing the piano?”
“Ironic, isn’t it? A simple surgery would have fixed it, but they didn’t know about it back then. Once she couldn’t play the piano anymore she didn’t want to live. Quite tragic, really.”
“And you bought the old house anyway?”
“It’s a beautiful house with great bones, and an incredible view of the water. If I have to share it with a ghost that finally gets to play the piano again, I’m alright with that.”
Janet looked out across the sun deck. There was a darker patch on the hard wood floor. Perhaps it wasn’t as faded as the rest, and it was vaguely in the shape of a grand piano. The sunlight streaming in through the window settled on the spot like a cat stretching from a long nap. Something about it made her shiver.
“Well, I hope you’re right,” she said. “If Ms. Everson is still here I hope she’s happily playing the piano still.”
So today I did my Vlog about frustrations of finishing, and publishing, SOMETHING. Anything. Well, especially my trilogy that I’ve been working on for all of 2014.
Well, it’s 2015, and I guess I needed a break. My boyfriend gave me a little pep talk (Crissy, you need to write, stop making excuses.) and I sat down to do so. But I couldn’t face my trilogy again. Not after all that time spent on it. So I switched to another project, the one that I was actually going to work on once this trilogy was finished. And what do you know, in 15 minutes I’d already written 500 words.
Sometimes you need to take a break. Sometimes you need to mope for a few minutes and get your frustrations out. And sometimes you just need to shelf the project for a little while and work on something else. So that’s what I’m doing. Mermaid’s Curse won’t be shelved forever, but it will probably be a week or two before I get back to it. A month at most. Till then I have to work on something. So I’m working on Eternal Tapestry book 1. (You know, the book that comes before Forgotten Ones. Can I never write anything in order?)
(BTW, I finished with 750 for the night since it’s already midnight and I have work tomorrow. But that’s way better then zero.)
Today marks the first day of “Footprints” being FREE. The story of a man who travels to his families cabin after his fathers death to deal with his loose. But there’s something out there in the woods. Find out what happens. It’s a quick read, and it’s free for this weekend.
And as a reminder you can get news updates every couple of weeks, and a free gift if you sign up for my newsletter here.
Now for the links for things going on around the web:
Give customers what they want. (A long, but really interesting article from Hugh Howey.)
Gumroad iPhone app that lets authors sell direct. (Droid is in the works!)
R.L. Stine wrote 420 books… I need to write more.