Apocalyptic Catastrophe!

Run for the hills, the end is nigh!

The world as you know, shall be no more! Shutter your windows, barricade your doors. Store those cans of food and be ready to fight to the very end! Be ready to survive!

Well no, not really. The world outside the window is probably the same as it was yesterday – though there may be some minor/major changes. Though, I’m not sure I can say everything is just peachy here.

Last months genre challenge – Post Apocalyptic Sci Fi, was a major fail on two levels. Firstly, that genre should never have been that month – it wasn’t even on the challenge list. It should have been Steampunk Fantasy. So it was a fail before we even began. However, I did attempt it, and fairly liked where those 500 odd words were going – but then I hit a wall.

Well, not a wall exactly, but a one year old Border Collie that we’d agreed to dog sit – with her being in the house nothing was done. The wall started adding bricks all by itself and before I knew it the month was over and nothing else was added. On the upside, there is the benefit of a new puppy to look forward to. More on him later – he’s way too young to have right now.

See, talk puppies and I’m off track again. Let’s get this ship back on course and to the point. Here’s the massive short fall of last months challenge attempt. Be critical, be brutal – tell me how bad it is!

FullSizeRender

“Keep moving, keep it steady. The sooner we’re in, the faster we can leave.” Tom dished out his orders without looking over his shoulder. He knew time was against him and his crew. Darkness fell fast these days. Buildings were no longer safe. The city lay in ruins, and various conflicts could be heard ringing out all through the day. “Today’s the day we survive; let’s make this a smooth extraction lads. Everyone comes home. No one is left behind. You hear me?”

“Yes, Sir,” his crew answered in unison.

Tom raised his left arm, and everyone halted. Lowering his hand until it was horizontal with the ground, he signalled for them to kneel. He then tugged his ear lobe, asking them to listen. Distant screams could just be heard over and above the buzz of their enemy. “Drones nearby, everyone move with caution. Jones, I want you up there,” he said, pointing towards the vacant window of a ruined tower block. “You’re my scout. I trust you to keep us as far away from those things as possible. You will signal if they near our position and you will avoid drawing attention to yourself. David, I need you in that building, lower window on the far left. You’re my ears. Stay sharp out there.” He pointed to a building two blocks down from the tower block, making sure there was enough distance between them should trouble befall them.

He brushed the stubble on his chin and scanned the area ahead of him. He waited until he was sure there were no immediate threats before nodding to his men to get in position. Once they were in place he gave off more instructions. “Scott, Adam, you take up my flank. Nothing gets past you that shouldn’t. Callen, Matthew, you’re in behind them. You four are my lead team. Don’t let me down.”

Tom cast his eyes across the path they’d just walked, then turned his gaze to the remaining four members of his crew “Jordan, Dresden, Luke and Nathaniel, you’ll follow us in but you’ll hang back. Once inside you’ll split from us and take the south stairwell heading down. Scan each room, and floor that remains stable. We’ll take the upper floors in our sweep.” He locked his gaze with each man and gave a solid nod. “Keep the lines tight, your eyes sharp, and your footsteps light. Remember, we all make it back, or no one does. Move out!”

No one argued or refused to follow through with their instructions. Tom knew his part well, having been on several extraction missions since the Drones arrived with swarms of monsters and corrupted humans. Those devoid souls, whose numbers had been low when cities remained whole, grew in number as the months passed. With their growth, numbers of true survivors fell, and cities were destroyed as power changed hands. Now they’d be lucky to enter a block that didn’t have masonry crushing cars, or covering the streets.

Dust swirled about their feet, and clung to their boots, as they clambered over metal beams, careful not to cause too much noise. They didn’t speak as they picked up their pace crossing the road, hoping to avoid being caught out in the open. Shattered glass glistened in the sun like hidden rivers, dazzling yet dangerous. One slip the wrong way could spell the end for the unfortunate soul.

Well, there you have it. I hang my head in shame. Join us next month for Steampunk Fantasy and more puppy news!

Until then, happy writing!

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Informative

A Shard of Sun

As March 14th looms, I’m delighted to bring you a little news on the highly anticipated third book in the Summer King Chronicles. Well, not so much news, as a review of the book ahead of the launch. If you haven’t started this series, then what are you waiting for? You need to get in on this trail and follow the adventure.

As a kickstarter backer for this series, I was thrilled to be offered an arc copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Where does one begin but at the end? And what a cliff-hanger of an ending it was!

Hold up, what am I saying? The end, of course it isn’t the end. But it is the beginning to an end, and if the last book holds up as much as the previous three have then we’re in for a treat!

24663877
A Shard of Sun, follows on from Skyfire with Shard carrying the heavy burden of trying to find a solution to the rising problems back home in the Silver Isles. Friendships grow and are pushed to the limit, new bonds are formed and old friends are reunited in this action packed novel aimed at all you gryfon admirers out there. Don’t worry, there’s something here for those of you who are in the wolf pack, or see yourself as being more flighty like the eagles. There is room for everyone.

What I loved most about this book was the right amount of tension and suspense to keep you turning through those pages just waiting to see what happened next. Jess E. Owen, has mastered, and developed this skill very well. You can see the progression as the series continues, all building for one epic conclusion. I can’t wait!

You’ll be hard pressed to find disappointment within these pages as Jess paints such beautiful scenes, with strong, dependant characters, whom need each other as well as their own heads to grow. Many of the characters we met back in Song of the Summer King, have grown from strength to strength – they truly have come to life.

Bring on book 4!

1 Comment

Filed under Informative

Dystopia: The Outcome

Dystopia; a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression,disease, and overcrowding.

Paints a picture, doesn’t it? But how easy is it to write to that theme when you usually write in a different style? Truth is, it was as challenging for me as turning my hand to Utopia last month. A challenge, yes, but far more productive.

This month was shorter, cutting two/three days down from the writing time-scale, then you’ve got to take into account the week of no writing due to being beyond ill, but words were written and progress made. By the end of the challenge month, I found myself with an unfinished story, with room to move. I am excited to explore it further and see where it takes me. I’m not sure a full novel will come from it, but if you’re lucky, I’ll post regular updates here.

FullSizeRender

For now, here is the 4,800 words that were managed over February.
N.B – What you are about to see has no title, and is unedited. Please don’t hold that against me.

Those of us that survived the war, and the epidemic that spread like wild fire when nuclear reactors failed, were herded like cattle, and housed in barns. The army told us it was the only form of isolation they could provide, and all our needs would be catered for while we remained lodged here. They then informed us that only when we should show no trace of having the deadly Raxi virus would we be permitted to leave.

One of the soldiers monitoring our situation and progress had let it slip that Raxi was meant to be a weapon of war. It was genetically modified in some laboratory tucked away in the middle of nowhere. He said his source claimed it was a modified version of Anthrax that had deliberately been mixed with Smallpox, and stated it was virtually unstoppable. He was a jittery fellow, our guard, always twitching and looking over his shoulder as though he’d said too much, which we soon found out he had done just that. One afternoon he was telling us that Raxi wasn’t supposed to have been housed in the reactors, and that it was still being tested. Needless to say he was overheard disclosing this information and soon after he was called away by a senior official, and never returned.

When our tests came back negative, and they were certain we showed no signs of being carriers, or being infected were we allowed to re-enter the world. Not the version we had known, for most of it had been destroyed, but a more controlled version of it. We were boarded in sterile accommodations, where everything was either a form of brushed metal or it was strengthened glass. It was clean, but not all that warm. You shouldn’t shake that cold feeling from all the hard surfaces.

They even had observation stations with no obvious access bar the underground paths they keep secret, yet naturally we all know about. Like clockwork two of our caring guards would appear at the top of the tower, on the hour every hour. They always dress in the same white jump-suits and hazard masks. Brandishing clipboards and pens, our every move is recorded. If we linger too long in one place, or groups consisting of four or more people form unexpectedly, they sound off instructions to disperse. A second warning sounds if action isn’t taken. That only ever happened once, and caused the death of one of our own.

Our true names are never used, not even among ourselves. The soldiers, our watchers, insisted on issuing us with serial numbers based on our initials and the dates we were declared virus free. They added other numbers to them but I could only ever assume it referred to how many of us there are. We were also under the assumption life here would be better, would be paradise, and we’d want for nothing. Promises of it being safe for us, and others, were thrown around from the day we arrived at the barns. They lied.

They thought the war had ended when the Raxi virus swept across the globe. They were wrong. The war was only just beginning.

You can call me DK, short for DK-01-10-21-393. Before that, I was known as Daniel Kazarian. I held a respectable position within reasonable job, had loving wife and two beautiful children. That is, until theoretical disaster became reality, before a simple but deadly blunder stole everything from me. Mary, she… she was the first to be hit by Raxi. It raced through her system faster than a Tsunami hitting land, targeting her inferior heart valve. She was one of the lucky ones, showing no symptoms, and going in her sleep. The virus didn’t attack her like it attacked healthy victims. Once it has sussed out her weakness, it homed in and set to work. There wasn’t any time for it to hit any other part of her; her heart was already strained. The children… they weren’t so fortunate….

I was pronounced clear of all signs of Raxi on the 1st of October 2021. I had been housed in their barns for almost a year. In that time I bore witness to so many broken souls that lost all hope, refusing to believe life could go on. We were told when we arrived our clearing process could take some time, that we should get used to our surroundings. They wanted to be absolutely certain we were clean. They weren’t taking any chances. Though there was many times where we all thought they’d be better off just churning us out to fend for ourselves. I’m sure it’s what they wanted to do, but they didn’t. The soldiers at our doors obeyed the orders given to them, and kept us healthy. If any of us grew ill, or weak, they’d take us out and move us elsewhere. Some came back, but others didn’t return.

Sometimes, I miss the easy days back in the barns. Back when I knew where everything was, and what the schedule would be. Other times, you couldn’t put enough distance between me and those wooden sheds. To this day, I still have nightmares, and a singular hatred for the dark.   No amount of distance would ever remove those torrential screams of mothers grieving for their children. Nothing can remove the images of silent tears streaming down the most resilient of faces. We didn’t speak of our losses back then, and we still don’t. We use that pain, and hold on to it. It feeds us as the days go on. It keeps us strong, and gives us reason to fight on. We may be silent, but it won’t last forever.

Sometimes I imagine I’m back at home, with the children skittering around the garden, their high pitched squeals and laughter filling the air. “DK-01-10-21-393,” the guard’s voice crackles over the speakers snapping my attention back to reality. Hearing my name echoing overheard fills me with dread. “Please return to your quarters. This is your first warning for loitering.” Every time those speakers sound, I startle. This is no exception. I must have been lingering longer than I thought. I don’t want to be standing here when they come back in five minutes. I’d rather like to keep my life for a little while longer.

I slip around the corner and bump into SM-11-11-21-567. He’s a simple man, hardworking, but just as desperate to gain his freedom as I am. We nod in a silent agreement but he’s on the edge, wanting action before the time is right. He cocks his head to the left and arches a brow. He moves to speak. I shake my head, stopping him from carrying on. “Not here, not yet, we must bide our time if we want to succeed. Patience, I’m on your side.”

“But, DK, we need to –” I cover his mouth with my hand, and lean in closer to whisper in his ear.

“Now isn’t the time, okay? Didn’t you hear them call me out? I can’t be seen standing here. Just leave it for tonight, okay?” I pull back and glance over my shoulder, scanning the outer rim of the observation station. The guards haven’t come back out yet, but I can see them hovering near the window. Watching, waiting, and probably taking notes as always. If I can see them, then they can sure as hell see me. Blood rushes to my ears, and my chest grows tighter. I turn back to SM and bow my head. Brushing past him I waste no time and head straight for our quarters.

We had rooms to ourselves, with space to move – just not enough. Not what we had grown used to before it all changed. Individual quarters were a little close for my liking, but I was grateful for the small amount of privacy they gave us. Not like it was back in the barns. There, we had no privacy, with at least 20 to 30 of us housed in each one. The only space we had was the rickety camping beds they gave us.  Having our own space was a step up, it was a touch more freedom, but it still wasn’t adequate.

I could never shake the feeling of being hemmed in like an animal, a savage. Caged, and out of harm’s way.  Being locked in each night after sunset certainly didn’t ease that thought.  Yes, we had everything we could need for the night – a wash basin, bathroom facilities, food, and bedding – but nothing to read, and TV’s were long gone.  We were given an hour maybe two at most, each night to unwind, eat our evening meal, and wash before they killed the lights, plunging us into an oppressive darkness.

I hate that room, and the nightmares that would wake as the lights went out. As I turn the corner and see the door to my quarters at the far end of the long, narrow corridor, I pause. The hairs on the back of my neck rise as I swallow down the urge to be sick. My hands tremble and a cold sheen of sweat clings to my skin. I swipe away the pearls dappling my forehead, and brush the stray drops away from my eyes. My hair clings like a nervous child to my scalp. I don’t want to face the haunting memories behind that door, or the long drawn out nights where the only thoughts crossing my mind are of my children and their bedtime routines. How I would give anything to have one more night where I’d read to them as they fall asleep in my arms. Just one more night where I could kiss them on their tiny little foreheads and tuck them in, and watch them sleep, as their small chests rose and fell while they entered the land of dreams.

I didn’t want to go in, didn’t want to face another long night on my own, but I didn’t have a choice.  Standing at the entrance of my quarters, I shudder. I push the door open and flinch as it connects with the steel stopper on the floor. I stare in to the never ending darkness. Fighting the urge to turn and face the guards for disobedience, I stand and wait for the lights to come on. I hear the hum as they come to life, and watch as the blinds are drawn back from the small, singular window in the room.

I recoil, and take a step back. The sight before me is not what I expected. It isn’t good, either. I knew something was adrift when the order sounded, but I couldn’t fathom what. Now I know. I swallow hard and avert my gaze, offering my respect as I hesitate on the threshold.

“You may enter, DK-01-10-21-393.”

I take a deep breath and sway on my heels, clasping my hands as I massage my left palm with my right thumb. I can’t refuse him, but I don’t have to move straight away. Given an option I’d never enter the mouth of hell without warning, though this isn’t hell, but a warning would have been nice none the less.

His patience is wearing out. I can hear him growing restless, pacing the narrow width of the room. “DK-01-10-21-393, you were told to enter. Do not refuse me or you will soon regret that course of action. You will enter, and you will sit. You will keep your gaze down unless I tell you otherwise.” I watch his shadow moving across the floor as he steps aside.

I tilt my head forwards slightly as a mark of respect and enter. I move to sit and he moves towards the door, closing it behind me, trapping me inside. I fight the urge to be sick once more, and wipe my hands across the stone cotton of my trousers. My heart beats faster, trying to break free of my chest. I run over the events of today in my head, searching for what I’ve done to warrant his time. I come up with nothing, not even a small trace of wrong doing. I find no reason for his visit, or his coldness towards me, though I’m sure he finds some pleasure from it.

I resist the urge to look him over, to lock eyes with him. Instead, I do as I’m ordered and keep my head down. Watching his restless feet tap and scuff the cement floor tells me this is more than a courtesy call. I have to wait, to stay silent, and just pray it’s nothing serious.

He clears his throat and I startle. My back straightens automatically. We’d grown used to how they wanted us to be. Straight and respecting, yet submissive enough to keep under control. He moves beyond my line of sight, but his tapping continues. “Do you know why you’ve been ordered back to your room?” His question gives nothing away, leaving me to take a guess. It must be a game for him, to watch us worry under his gaze like a mouse preparing to run from a cat. Some of the others here have been known to say it’s akin to torture, but more subtle, and just as terrifying.

“For loitering too long, I’d imagine, Sir.” I can’t think of any other reason for it. Though, come to think of it, even at this hour it’s beyond strange.  “I-I got lost in thought, Sir. I’m sorry. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again. You have my word.” The light flickers. My heart leaps into my throat. I swallow hard, and fight to remain still. I clench my fists and then relax them, imagining the tension leaving my body as I stretch out my hands. Shadows linger just out of sight, waiting for me. A cold chill races up my spine. I shudder. Images flash before my eyes like old photographs. Memories consume me. I lurch forwards, clutching my stomach, and hit the floor hard.

It takes me a moment to register his hands wrapping around my arms, hoisting me back up. It requires every ounce of my self-control not to pull out of his grip. The warmth of his fingers tugs me back to reality, and away from the silent screaming faces within my waking nightmares. I need to get out of here, to put as much distance between the past and those cold, draughty barns.  He releases his grip of my left arm and uses his hand to prod the side of my neck. A minute later his hands fall away. I slump forwards, resting my elbows on my thighs. I brush my hands through my hair, not caring for the rules while he’s here. Maybe I should.

I barely hear the crackle of his radio, and his hushed words with someone on the other end. The blood rushing in my ears distorts it beyond comprehension. All I want to do is lie down, but not here. Not this room. Not anywhere near this place. I want to be at home, with those I’ve lost. I need their company more than anything, but I can’t have it. Those days are long gone.

The distinctive clicking noise of the door closing draws my awareness to the presence of another person in my personal space. The hushed sounds of conversation fill the small room with ease. Most of it remains inaudible while small fragments of it catch my attention, “…stress, or fear… emotional breakdown… relocate… check….”

I’d heard enough to know I didn’t agree with, nor like, what I was hearing. “No.” My voice cracked, scratching my throat, and barely registered above a whisper. I’m sure they didn’t hear me, but I could feel their gazes falling upon me.

Keys rattled and heavy boots scrapped across the floor. The conversation stopped, and I could only just hear the door give as it opened, before closing again.

“Dk-01-10-21-393,” I startled, not recognising the voice it came from. It sounded distant, and yet so near. I wanted to look up, but the repercussions far outweighed the urge. “Can you sit up straight for me?” This definitely wasn’t the same person. His query didn’t come with the voice of authority behind it. His tone was far warmer. “Don’t worry, it’s just us. The commander has stepped out for a few moments. He called me to come and sit with you, said you shouldn’t be on your own right now. What do you think?”

A softer, more familiar voice weaves in behind his. The air grows warmer, and a light breeze tousles my hair. “Daniel….” I freeze. No one calls me that anymore. “Lift your head, sweetheart. Don’t hide away. You need to be strong now.”

A shiver ripples through me. I lift my head and realisation hits home. I’m not in my room, the cold metal and glass has been replaced with my old furnishings. Paintings hang on the walls, and fresh drawings are scattered on the small coffee table. Coloured pencils lay askew upon the illustrations, and broken crayons cast aside are left discarded on the carpet. Some were smudged on the fabric, trampled into pieces, now unusable.

Mucky fingerprints made with paint trail up the stairs towards the bedrooms. A light echoing laugher fills the air. A smile creeps across my face as I trace the small trail with my fingers. The stairs creak under my weight. I was supposed to have them fixed, but never got to them.

A faint hint of rose perfume catches my attention. My heart rate quickens as more laughter, and chatter drift towards me, pulling me further up the stairs. Whispers and hushes, a game of hide and seek; only I’m the seeker now.

“Here comes Daddy, ready or not.” I move slower, taking each step lightly. Their laughter quietens into little squeals. They can’t help themselves. I know exactly where they are hiding, but I don’t go straight towards them. That would ruin it for them. “I know…you’re hiding behind the door,” I say, calling aloud and sweeping the door wide open.

“Huh, you moved, you sneaky little things. Hmm, are you…under the bed?” I kneel down and lift the covers up, listening to their squeals as they wait for me to find them. “Oh dear, I can’t find my children. Perhaps Mummy knows where to look?” That sets them off again, bringing a bigger smile to my face. “Now, where can they be? They aren’t behind the door, and they aren’t under the bed. Oh I know…” I move towards the wardrobe, making as much noise as I can. “Found you…” I say, but they aren’t there either.

I leave their room, taking care not to step on the wooden train or the dolls. Closing the door behind me, I turn and make my way towards our master bedroom, listening to their whispers of delight as I near the door. My hand skims across the silver door handle and I pause. A lump grows in my throat. I try to shake it off, but it refuses to leave. My legs tremble beneath me. I turn the handle and ease the door open slowly. The whispers have gone. Only silence remains.

I see her, Mary, under the covers and facing our private bathroom. She doesn’t move, doesn’t stir to the sound of my footsteps. “Mary, sweetheart, it’s time to wake up. It’s gone noon now.” I nudge her foot lightly and await her usual protesting moans, but they don’t come. I give her a moment and move to open the windows, hoping the cold breeze would rouse her. It doesn’t. “Come on, Mary, the kids want their mum. They need you. You’ve got to wake up.”

I kneel by the bed, waiting for her to turn over and push me away. I nudge her shoulder, watching her head rock slightly, but still no response. “Please…please, wake up.” What was it the news reported this morning? What was it they said about people falling asleep? I can’t remember. This can’t be happening. Not to Mary, not to us. “Wake up, love. It’s a beautiful day out there, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. They sing for you love, come on, wake up.” I nudge her a little harder. But there’s still no response. I watch her chest, hoping for that magical rise and fall, but it’s not there. Panic floods me. Strength evades me. I collapse against the side dresser, burying my head in my hands, allowing the tears to fall.

Time passes and I’ve yet to move. I can’t bear to move away from her. In desperation I rise and remember I never checked for a pulse. I feel for the pressure point on her neck and pray hard. Not even a flutter makes it to my fingers. I clamber over her and wrap my arms around her, whispering to her. “You can’t leave me, not like this. Please, come back to me. Our beautiful children need you. It shouldn’t be you. It was never meant to be you.”

I bury my head against her neck, and hold her tight. “It should have been me, why wasn’t it me? It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It should have been me….”

I barely register a light tap to my shoulder. The tap is followed by a small white light being shone into my eyes. It takes a moment for me to realise where I am. Clutching my pillow tightly I use it catch the stray tears on my cheeks. Somehow, I’d ended up in the foetal position on the bed.  “DK-01-10-21-393, what just happened there? What wasn’t supposed to be what way?”

Just hearing my name like that makes me bolt upright, shoving the pillow back where it belongs. I keep my head low and avoid all eye contact. I can’t decide whether to answer the question or not, and opt for saying nothing.

“It’s just us here, like I said, the Commander has stepped out for now. You aren’t obliged to follow the code of conduct while I’m here. You can look at me, DK-O1-10-21-393.  You can talk to me and have the assurance nothing will go beyond this room.”

Do I risk it, or do I not? For all I know, it could be another cruel test they’ve drawn up. One that was designed to draw out the weak and inferior among us, I wouldn’t put it past them. The commander could be right outside that door, waiting for a code-word, or a crackle on the radio. He’d love that.

If I told him, if I spoke out about what happened, he’d probably hold it against me. He’d never let me live it down that I fell apart in his presence. Any moment now that door will open and I’ll be removed from here like so many before me. I’ll be removed and no one will ever see me again. I’m certain of it.

I watch his boots and his shadow as he moves in front of me. He pauses by the window then paces back. He stops before me, and kneels down. His trousers aren’t the black of the Commanders; instead his is more of an off white with a hint of blue. The bottoms of his trousers are tucked inside his high laced boots. I drop my head a little lower, making sure I can’t see his face. I’m still not certain I can take him for face value. Trust isn’t something I’m willing to give out so lightly, especially not in this place.

“What’s got you so rattled, DK-01-10-21-393?”

“Daniel,” I say, testing the waters, unable to hold back any longer.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”

I shake my head slightly, and clench my fists until I can see the whites of my knuckles. “My name…is…Daniel. I’m not a serial number. I’m not just another statistic in your sadistic game of cat and mouse. I’m a person, and my name is Daniel. If you want me to believe that he’s not outside the door, then I’d like to you show me the respect I deserve.”

He inhales sharply then clears his throat. “You know I can’t call you that.” He stands up and moves towards the door. “I swear to you he isn’t there, but I can’t take the risk of reverting to old, forbidden names.”

I rub the inside of my left wrist with my right thumb, feeling the nail graze across the skin. It’s almost soothing, but it draws an itch that only deepens further.

“I can prove to you he isn’t there, if only you talk with me. It doesn’t have to be a conversation here, we can go somewhere more open, but it will still be just the two of us. If that helps, we’ll do it. What do you say?” I hear the handle of the door click has he holds it, waiting for an answer.

What can I say? I could say no, then sit here in insufferable silence to await the dreams I’d rather avoid. Or I could agree to what he wants. I could give him the nod, the door would open, and then what? Would it be a sign of weakness if I show longing to leave this room, or would it show compliance for an easy life? If I go, I may never return. I would be lost to this place, but who’s to say where I’d end up.  I could be discarded like an unwanted toy, thrown out like a piece of trash.

Trust him, Daniel.  Those soft, silky words cause me to snap my head to the right, following the voice I know so well. My heart sinks even before I allow an ounce of hope to rise. She’s gone. Her voice is a mere memory now, and yet, it was so close, so real.

Trust him, how can I? Being locked in at night like criminals, trapped in cells for all eternity, offers little in the way of trust.  I shake my head. “I don’t think I can, my love.” My response to her distant voice slips past me before I realise what I’ve done.

“Pardon?” he says, letting the door handle go.

“Nothing,” I say, staring at the window.

The radio crackles. I startle, and shudder. My shoulders tense, and my back straightens instantly. I wait expectantly for the door to open, and for the Commander to return. But when the door doesn’t open, and no orders sound from his radio, I relax into myself.

“It’s rather clear he has some effect over you, DK….” He clears his throat. “Daniel,” he whispers, after pausing. “Come with me, leave this room. At least leave it for one night. I’m going to open this door okay? I’m opening the door and I’m stepping out into the corridor. If you want some relief from whatever haunts you in here, you’ll follow.” I listen as his hand brushes across the handle, followed by the soft snick as the door opens.

The hair on the back of my neck bristles. Goosebumps race up my arms. My chest tightens, and my vision blurs at the edges. “No…wait,” I say, stretching one arm out towards him without looking. “What if… he….”

“You still think he’s standing outside?”

I shake my head slowly, and swallow hard. “It’s not that.” I clear my throat, finding the courage within I raise my head. I still don’t look his way. “What happens if he comes back, and I’m not here? What happens if he sees me out of my room after being ordered to return? What then?”

A muffled chuckle erupts from his direction. “Relax, that’s all covered. Do you trust me?”

“No, I don’t trust you.” I shift my weight on the thin bed, and turn towards him, breaking almost every rule in the book. I cast my eyes over him and frown. He’s wearing a light tunic to match the off white of his trousers. A small badge is clipped to the pocket on his chest. A silver chord hangs around his neck, with an ID card attached to it.  He’s younger than I expected, almost the same age as me, perhaps a little younger. His hair is raven black, kept short and tidy. His eyes tilt upwards as he smiles at me. “Who are you? I’ve not seen you around here.” I say, fighting the urge to drop my gaze.  He pulls his left hand up towards his chin. The light glints off a thick banded silver ring, catching my attention. My curious nature gets the best of me. “Are you married?” I ask, focusing on the ring, and automatically reaching for my own.

My apologies for the rather long post. Please don’t be afraid to tell me what worked, and what doesn’t. How did you fair this past month in your writing?

IMG_1448
March is – Post Apocalyptic Sci-Fi. Let the imagination unfold.

Until next time, happy writing!

Leave a comment

Filed under Informative

My Regards

Battle lines have been drawn, penmanship has been thrown down, and the pitiful cries of surrender have sounded at dawn.

Well, that’s not quite true, but it’s close.

68383_297742373675990_1948772720_n

Those challenge posts you were expecting to see? Yeah…

One day, I’ll be caught up – health and weather permitting. I’ve had a pretty rough time of it lately and it’s knocked everything back. I’ve missed two challenge posts, but I’ll get them up and out to you as soon as I can.

The monthly writing challenge, is still a go, and you’ll see the results of the Dystopia theme on Saturday!

Until then, happy writing!

1 Comment

Filed under Informative

Utopia – The False Perfection.

We all know Utopian novels are based around the ‘perfect world’. However, it’s not all fluffy bunnies and blue skies. Perfection is as far from perfect as we could ever become. Or at least, your perfect doesn’t match my perfect. It’s this means that I’ve come to see the Utopia genre as an ideal, but never a reality. It seems it’s all about these perfect worlds that are as far from ideal as they could ever become.

Not at all easy to write either. Which brings me to this posting. Over the past month, myself and a few others have taken it upon ourselves to push, and challenge us as writers, by exploring different genre’s and trying to work a story around that genre. Sounds fairly easy, right? Wrong! While I thought I had a story covered with a sound base to fit the Utopian theme of January, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It soon became apparent that the idea, and the characters, were rebelling on me. Turning my ‘Utopian’ short story into something so non-utopian, that it didn’t even fall within a short story boundary any more. None the less, I continued on with the challenge, and the writing of the story that came about during the initial workings of the task at hand.

You’ll soon see why it would never have worked for the theme, or how it will not fit within the 5k limit placed upon the story. So much so, that I struggled to get anything started on it, but now it sits at a little over 2k. It’s unfinished. It’s messy. It’s drafted, and unedited – scandalous I know!

Hey! We aren’t all super human writing machines! Trying to work in your writing time with a full time job that can’t keep your hours as they should be, is rather difficult and draining. But let’s forget my woes and return to the whole story thing. I’m going to add my progress for this month to this post, then I’ll be tucking it away until I have more time to work on it. February however, will see the start of a new genre, and a new story in the making. More on that later.

I’ve held you back long enough. Here’s what I’ve been working on. I’m going to run away and hide while you read it over. IF you read it over that is. This is the part I truly dread. I’ve probably messed it up somewhere along the writing line, or mixed up the tenses, or the flow – but it’s a draft.

FullSizeRender

Untitled:

“You can’t be serious! You can’t go out there!” Seamus’ voice trembled and rose in shock, and what I’d call a little distaste. He paced back and forth, the heels of his boots scuffing across the stone floor. I kept my head low, focusing on my hands.

That’s the response I get every time I tell him of the thoughts that cross my mind. But he doesn’t understand. He can’t. He doesn’t bare the marks upon his skin of a time left forgotten. He doesn’t have flashes of a time that doesn’t exist. How can he understand my needs, or the calling I feel?

“Don’t shrug those shoulders as if this was nothing. Look at me when I’m talking to you.”

I’m reluctant to meet his eyes. To meet the hurt, and confusion, I’ll see within them. He mean’s well, but he’ll never know the pain I feel. No one can. I can see his expressions without looking at him. He’ll be standing there with his hands on his hips, all dominant and commanding. You’d think he was my father the way he acts, but he isn’t. He’s gone. I don’t remember him, what he looked like, or what his voice sounded like. Some say I was too young to remember him. Others say the trauma was enough to put a block on the memories. Who truly knows which version is right, because I don’t?

“Maya, look at me.” The rough calloused skin of his cold hand startles me. He catches my chin and tilts my head up. Lowering himself down, he hovers his knees so our eyes are level. “You don’t know what’s out there. Where you are now is safe. Out there, you’ll never have that safety. These walls that surround us were built to protect us, to protect you.”

“To protect us, or ensnare us? We’re all hemmed up with no place to go but up to the green rooms, or the narrow, bland streets. How is that any better than all that space out there?”

I hear him take a sharp breath. His voice fails him, or I just can’t hear him. His lips are moving but no sound comes out. I can’t hear anything now, bar the loud hissing in my ears. I know I’ve overstepped the mark and try desperately to apologise. But he’s no longer standing in front of me.

A flash of light in the corner of my eye draws my attention. My breathing slows, catching in the back of my throat. The scars on my arms come alive and burn with a vehement heat. The office I’m in fades in and out of focus. It’s fighting with an old room with crumbling walls. Even that flickers out of sight, swirling in a nauseating mass of confusion, and conflict.

Muscles in my legs contort and spasm. A new war erupts. Pain and tears are the only victors. I drop to the floor as a shockwave shoots up my spine. I can’t take this. It’s unbearable. Slowly, the spinning eases and darkness falls. It brings welcomed relief, and repels the agony plaguing me. Normality returns, and the spasms ease.

I try to rise. His firm, cold hand stops me. “Maya, are you okay? You didn’t hurt yourself did you?”

“I-uh….” I frown, pinching my lower lip between my teeth. What did just happen? “I’m fine; I just…needed to lie down.”

“You just needed to lie down.” Seamus’ lips twitch forming a slight smile. A short laugh escapes him. “More like fall down, Maya. One moment you were sitting there,” he says, nodding to where I had been, “the next you seemed to just crumple up and hit the deck. Are you sure you didn’t hurt yourself? You landed pretty hard.”
I shake my head and brush away his hand. “I’m fine. There are no cuts, or bruises, no ever-lasting mark of trauma. Can I get up now?”

His fingers wrap around my wrist but he doesn’t help me up. His eyes narrow, his face fills with a look of consternation. “No, I’d rather you didn’t. Not just yet. I’d rather be safe than sorry.” He gestures towards the door and I hear it click open but I don’t pay attention. “What happened, Maya? What are you not telling me?” A quick look to his watch tells me we’re either short on time or he knows something I don’t.

“Nothing happened, and there’s nothing to tell,” I say, pulling back my wrist, but his grip doesn’t give. “Are you going to help me up? Or are you just going to stay there holding my wrist while looking like you desperately need to go to the bathroom?”

He loosens his grip and watches me carefully. “Don’t lie to me, Maya. It doesn’t become you. I –” His hand falls away, the sound of the door opening catches his attention. “Ah, finally,” he says, rising to his feet. “I’m glad you could come, Matt, and on such short notice, too.”

Matt runs his left hand through his dark, shaggy hair, sweeping it backwards. His azure blue eyes flit between myself and Seamus. My cheeks flush with embarrassment. I can feel the heat rising, and advert my gaze. “You know how it is, Seamus. When word comes my way that I’m needed, and I’m not busy, then I make that need my first port of call. So, what I can I do for you today?”

Seamus takes a step back and leans against his dark, wooden desk. It’s small in comparison to the room, and littered with scraps of paper. He had been ruffling through them before the room decided to spin. “I need you to keep an eye on Maya overnight. She took a tumble off the chair and I’m sure she’s hit her head pretty hard but denies it.”

“I did no such thing –” He holds his hand up to silence my protests. Arguing with him would be futile. Instead I cross my arms over my chest and glare at him. Not that he’s paying any attention to it.

“See what I mean? She needs checking over, and monitoring. Just to be on the safe side. You can either watch over her in her lodgings, or take her to the recovery rooms.” Seamus bowed his head and refused to look my way. But I could see the satisfied smirk forming on his lips.

“Might I ask the nature of what caused your fall, Maya?” Matt’s lilting voice catches me off guard. I turn to look at him only to find he’s already towering above me, holding out a hand to help me up. I refuse to take it and insist on standing when I’m ready.

Seamus chuckles briefly before crossing his arms in front of him. “Maya, you will comply with any and all questions Matt may ask you. You will surrender to any tests he feels is necessary and you will not leave his watch under any circumstances.” He pushes himself off the edge of his desk and turns to lift a piece of paper. He quickly scans its contents then holds it out towards Matt. “You will record any and all answers she gives you, and you will return the results to me. If she doesn’t talk, or give you any answers then you will note this also.”

Matt’s brow furrows as he takes the paper and looks down at it. “This isn’t standard protocol, Seamus. It isn’t even what we do as a last resort. Is there something going on here that I should know?” He lifts his head and studies Seamus’ now blank expression before turning his attention towards me. “Maya, what’s going on between you two?”

I shake my head. “I’m just as confused as you are, Matt. Honestly, I never hit my head, and I sure as hell don’t need watching –”

“On the contrary, you have a racing pulse, you crumpled up and hit the floor, and you refuse to tell me the truth.” Seamus spins around and steps towards me then hoists me up onto my feet so our eyes were level. “That, in my eyes, is more than enough evidence to say you aren’t as fine as you make out to be.”

I shrug away from him, and ball my hands into fists. “Don’t do this, Seamus. Not like this. Follow through and you’ll still know nothing.” Heat rises to my face and I turn my head from him, hiding the tears now welling in my eyes. A lump forms in my throat making it hard to swallow. Clearing it, I brush my eyes and face the only way out of this room. “You can’t just trust me, can you? After everything, you still have to keep pushing. I’m done with this, I’m out of here.” Moving towards the door I find my path blocked by Matt’s outstretched arm. I flash him an accusing glare and he responds with an apologetic shrug.

“I’m sorry, I can’t let you do that,” he says. “You know I’ve got to follow orders. I can’t let you leave my sight.” His eyes plead deeply with me, showing no signs of being false. I can’t fault him for only doing his job, but at the same time, I can’t agree with their reasoning.

The soft lighting turns his pupils into gold instead of hazel. His raven black hair only makes them more startling. I drop my gaze, taking my attention away from his breath-taking eyes. “Matt, please? There’s nothing wrong with me. Surely there’s a rule somewhere in this perfect little world that says I can object?” He wraps his free arm around me, preventing me from going anywhere.

He swallows hard, and I know I’m not going to like what he’s going to tell me. Muscles twitch in his neck before he shakes his head. “Technically, no, there’s nothing that gives you the right to refuse examination if the orders are placed by a Chancellor.” His head tilts slightly towards Seamus. Arching a brow he nods once. He casts me a weak smile, with a shrug, as if it’d make everything better. It doesn’t. “I really am sorry, Maya. If there was any other way, I’d help you. He’s given the command and I can’t deny it. I must follow it through.”

“No, there has to be something I can do?” I shake my head in denial and grip his arm, tugging at his sleeve. “There has to be!”

Seamus clears his throat and my body tenses. I’m already rejecting what he has to say before it’s been said. “Actually, there is one thing, Maya.” My stomach churns with the thought of what he’s about to say. The wait seems endless. No-one moves. I keep my eyes on the silver door handle and brush my foot across the floor in sweeping arcs. “You’re not going to ask what it is?” he says, and I shake my head. “I’m disappointed, Maya. I thought you’d be jumping at the bit at the slightest chance. It’s rather simple really; all I need is for you to tell me what you saw during the time of you falling from the chair until you landed on the floor.”

“Oh well, that’s easy, Seamus, truth is –”
“The truth is?”

I pinch my lips tight together, growing frustrated with his attitude, and his interrupting arrogance. “Truth is I didn’t see a thing. The room started spinning and that’s all I know. No can I go now? You can dismiss Matt now that you have the truth and I can retreat to my lodgings.” I pray he believes me, and reach out for the door, my hand outstretched. My fingers only just brush against the cold silver when Seamus starts up again.

“I’m not satisfied by your answer. We’ll reconvene this conversation another night. For now, I want to make sure you’re perfectly healthy.” I spin around quickly, almost losing my balance, only to see an amused grin spreading across his face. I move to speak but he raises his hand and cuts me off.

Throw your thoughts at me. Give me everything you have. I can handle it. I can take it. I will learn from it. Be as critically brutal as you need to be, and point out my weaknesses. I may cry. I may breakdown and say I’m never writing again, but I’ll brush it off – eventually – and I’ll get right back on the writing road.

Utopia: The bane of my existence, how you’ve tortured me so! You punished me, and pulverised me until I was weak and under pressure. You broke me down until there was nothing left but tears, and fire. Through that I fought on, and fought valiantly, but I still tumbled at the last stop. Be ye not be so harsh on me in the future. Perhaps upon our second outing we will be more friendly towards each other – maybe then I can work a story in your favour.

Now that you’ve read mine, why not go and take a look at my writing partner’s take on this theme.

Until next time, happy writing!

1 Comment

Filed under Writing Update

World-building Challenge

Check out how my writing partner took to the challenge we set ourselves.

Dominique Goodall

Once again, I’ve gone on to another challenge, another sauntering look at what I can do to make myself a better writer.

Last week’s challenge was a little bit of let-down, to coin a phrase. I was hoping someone would comment on it, take part – anything. Instead…it went unnoticed. That was upsetting. I wanted people to be able to join in, to explore what can be done. To find new ways to teach themselves as writers. However, this journey isn’t just about others, it’s about me. That leads me on to the next part – this week’s challenge!

This week, the challenge is again from Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. Jennifer Don chose this week’s challenge, which was to do with Worldbuilding – something which every author should work on – especially if you write any type of fantasy or science fiction. This is something so…

View original post 373 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Informative

World Building – The Challenge

Last week we looked at characterization and how to describe a person using only animal attributes. Did you try it? If so, how did you get on with it? Was it easy? Did you struggle? What did you learn from it?

Myself, I found it rather challenging, but interesting at the same time. It made you look at a person in a new way and then describe them carefully so that you could still see the person through the detail, and yet be able to see the animal being depicted in their persona. It definitely took some thinking over it.

Now on to this weeks challenge.

This week we decided to try a little world building exercise, again it comes from Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creative Imaginative Fiction. My writing partner and I have both agreed that we’re going to work through these challenges in a random order, as and when the need arises, but we will be using other topics as time goes on.

25yumpj

The challenge we decided upon comes from page 222. The picture you can see to the left of here, and the details that went with it are as follows: Take a close look at Aeron Alfrey’s flying city (2009). Several questions might occur to you . Is the setting fantastical but realistic – or is it surreal? What kind of cause-and-effect might exist here? What are the creatures lying dead on the ground? Is the city fleeing? Is it in the midst of being destroyed?

Construct a reasonable rationale for the setting of this image that might lead to a story, even if it uses the logic of dream.

Having thought about how I’d like to approach this task, an image came to mind about how it came to be. Though I’ve side-stepped the challenge in a round-a-bout way, there were no rules to say we couldn’t explore in our own ways. What I’ve come to realise is that while my drafts, like all others, are ridden with errors, they still show some hope of forming a story in the long run. What you’re going to see next is my outcome of the challenge. I kept it to two paragraphs and left it open to work on in the future, and also kept to to less than 250 words.

The end of days all started with a single ball of fire falling from the sky. We didn’t think much of it at first, but then more fell. With each new collision, plumes of rock and dust were sent into the atmosphere. Though few fell at first the numbers increased, some hit harder than others. The pace they were falling increased and earth trembled with each collision. As even more collided we witnessed our worst nightmares coming true. Earth was crumbling, we were in danger, and our home would never be the same again. Then one massive boom sounded, our ears rang, and a plume of dust to match an atomic bomb going off erupted miles away.

We dropped everything and hugged our loved ones, saying out last goodbyes. But the end never came. Not truly. The dust thinned out enough for us to see what had changed. We couldn’t believe our eyes.  We were looking out onto a new dawn of time. The earth’s gravity had been changed forever. Small towns and cities were no longer assessable by land; no you’d need a good strong rope and anchor. Or if you were fortunate enough to have it, then access to a helicopter or small plane would open the doors for you. Yes, that’s right, these places were no longer attached to the earth’s crust, but were floating like some magic trick sent to deceive you.

It’s definitely different from what I’d normally work on, but it has potential, don’t you think so? If you’re taking up this challenge, how are you going to approach it? Will you just use the image as a guide? Or will you stick to the challenge given and then use what you’ve come up with to produce a story at a later date?

I’m interested in seeing what you, if any of you, dare to come up with.

Until the next time, happy writing!

3 Comments

Filed under Writing Update

The Write Journal

I know, I know, I’m not supposed to be on here. I’m supposed to be working on that Utopian short story as the challenge deadline looms. Truth is, Utopia doesn’t like me very much. It has turned it’s back to me and cast me off into distant lands to fend for myself – the story that has been started seems to have drifted that way also. However, I will make more process with it.

Though, that update isn’t really why I’ve turned to writing this. I need to write, and it seems this is a good way to warm up the fingers. Aren’t you lucky?

Hey! I saw that eye-roll. Yes, I’m talking about you, sitting back there. Yes, you can shake your head but it’s true. You see, I’ve been lacking in the writing front the past year, and it’s taking a very long time to get back into the swing of things. Lesson here being: Don’t take breaks thinking you’ll get right back into it tomorrow, and never do. Always aim to write each day. Even if it’s only a sentence or two. I’ve heard this helps. Therefore, I’m putting it through it’s paces with great interest.

The biggest issue I’ve had has FullSizeRender(1)been the lack of writing space, despite buying a new desk last summer. It didn’t go up until mid October – all ready for NaNoWriMo – that was a big must. But then disaster loomed, and struck swiftly as November trickled to an end. You see, we had a leak, and that leak wasn’t going anywhere – no, it decided it’s take the ceiling above the desk and bring the two much closer together. Needless to say, that left the desk out of bounds for some time. But, I’ve reclaimed that space! Yes, the desk is back in use, and so the muse is being called to the forefront of word battles.

But, that isn’t the reason for this post. No. The real reason is finding the right journal to write in, to keep ideas in, and to hold all the challenge paragraphs written over the year. I’ve heard this is another way to help encourage the creative flow. So we’re putting this to the test. Or rather, I am. But the biggest challenge for this, naturally, is finding the right journal for your needs. We writers tend to have an addiction to them, but most of the time they sit and make the place look pretty. FullSizeRenderObviously those are the ones we’re to scared to mess up. Which means more journals needed buying, yes some were still wrong for the need being sought, but I still bought them. Those moleskine journals are wonderful for every writers needs. It took a while, but I eventually found the one to fit my need. Yes, the hard-cover ones are fantastic, but they are nothing compared to the flexible soft cover ones. Acid free, and no margins – the perfect implement for experimenting with creating a writers journal. They grant the writer room to breath, to make use of the whole page, and to just be creatively free when writing.

Having found one that worked for my needs, it was time to put it to good use. So far, it’s working out pretty well. So well, in fact, that I went back and ordered another two journals from the same person so that I had more for when they are needed. These will cater for research tools, and idea libraries as the months progress. For now the journal is but new, but I’ve made use of it, and for now it seems to be agreeing with the muse. He seems to like the idea – next step: bring the characters closer and make them both work together.

I’ll just peel off one of those sticky post-its, and stick it to the front of the journal being used. May it be the constant reminder that no excuse of not writing is acceptable. That nothing else is allowed to be done until at least something is written. That said something also needs to be more than two sentences long for it to truly count.

IMG_1448What I want to know is, do you have a set system that keeps you writing?

Do you track your progress in a journal?

Do you have another way to keep the muse at peace, and keep the characters close?

I’m rather interested to know the other processes out there. It’s always interesting to see, and learn, how other writers keep writing.

Until next time. happy writing!

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing Update

Stepping Forward

Another year has passed us by in the blink of an eye. A year, that for me, seemed rather uneventful and the result was an absence from mainstream contributions. It’s a sin, it really is. I should have done more, worked more, written more. It didn’t happen. I’m sorry.

So let us step forward, away from what should have been, and step into the now. The future is here, and changes are happening. 2015 will be the year of great change on my behalf – and you are invited to come and step up with me. This year will see more posts, and more writing being done. It has to happen.

If I want to be serious about being a writer then I truly have to up my game, and push myself further. Last year was pitiful to say the least, it’s time for change. Part of that change comes the journey of writer challenges. My writing partner and I have put our heads together and worked out a plan of attack for the year ahead. Each Wednesday we have vowed to sit and work on a challenge from one of several writing books we have on our shelves. Along with this, we aim to have at least one short story written a month to a different genre.

I’m sad to say that this months story challenge has fallen through, and while the idea is there, the words aren’t being written. I aim to resolve this, but the story may not be done in time for posting. I’ll keep you updated on that. So, moving on. Wednesday just gone, we witnessed the first of the years writing challenges and both agreed to work on a character driven challenge from Wonderbook: The illustrative Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. From here, we turned to page 191 of the book, and read over the challenge. This is what it gave us: Write a Paragraph describing someone you know well using only attributes of one particular animal.

At first we made the very wrong assumption that the task at hand would be a breeze. Oh how wrong we were. Never make assumptions people, never. You may be thinking, but that’s easy – believe me it isn’t. It took some careful thinking. I had to go through everyone I knew, and work out who I knew really well. Then I had to visual them using the attributes of one animal. The resulting paragraph is rather rough, but the challenge was completed. You can pass your own judgements on it.

The paragraph is as follows:
He would always hang back, surveying the crowd ahead of him. He’d look one way, and then the next. You could see his eyes narrowing, filling with focus, his body on high alert. His shoulder would twitch with agitation in an unfamiliar situation. If there was even the slightest hint that something could go wrong, his body would tense and he’d drop back further. His shoulders would roll, and his jowls would curl up, revealing the slightest hint of a snarl.

As you can see, it could use some work, but the point of the task is to just let the words flow. Why don’t you give it a go and see what you come up with? Share your paragraphs with us, or keep them to yourselves, but if you do try it then know you are welcome to leave a comment on how you got on.

Hopefully you’ll see more posts coming up within the next few months. You can walk this journey with me, or you can keep on keeping on.

Until next time, happy writing!

6 Comments

Filed under Writing Update

Revealing: The Snake Pit!

When we hear of bullying we think the playgrounds of childhood, and think about what could have been done to prevent it from happening. We also think about why there was no intervention when it happened to us, as victims, and we question to this very day why there still isn’t enough being done about it. But hold on up there, hope is not lost. Voices are being raised and attention is being drawn to this very subject. Just take a look at this book I’m sharing with you today!

The Snake Pit: Jr High Can be Torture is an important piece of work because of its content and subject matter. It’s not an easy, fun read, but is a book that every student, teacher and child advocate should read. Donna is very passionate to do what she can to stop bullying in the school system and MKSP has joined her in her quest.

Donna Dillon published her first book in October 2010. When Master Koda Select Publishing approached her with a publishing contract, she took the opportunity in hopes to expand her reach and build her brand.

Here’s the synopsis for The Snake Pit: Jr. High Can Be Torture;

Cinda doesn’t look like other twelve-year-old girls. A facial defect, and the surgery to correct it has left her face scarred and disfigured. When she walks into Hargrove Junior High for the first time, Cinda knows the other kids won’t see how smart she is, or what a good friend she could be. The other kids will see her as a monster, and her life will be torture.

The school cafeteria, or The Snake Pit, as the kids call it, is the prime location for bullying. One pretty girl in particular takes an instant dislike to Cinda. Day after day she is pushed, tripped, and laughed at. Not all the other kids bully her, but only one tries to help.

Charlene Carsten is Cinda’s only friend. She tries to stop the bullying, but the other kids won’t listen. She tries to tell the Principal, but he only sees what he wants to. She tries to tell the teachers, but they all say the same thing, “kids will be kids.”

When Cinda falls victim to a vicious prank at a school dance, it sets off a series of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

10706323_809218095767596_962651733_n

When we asked Donna why she wrote this book, she answered with:
Cinda, the character in my book, The Snake Pit, was born with a cleft palate, and so was I. The things that happen in the book are fiction, but how she felt was exactly how I felt growing up. Being bullied for something you can’t possibly help, or change, is horrible. I chose to turn it into something positive, but many bullied children do not. I’m 47 years old now. I can still hear the bullies voice in my head. But, the thing I remember the most, the thing that bothers me the most: the silence from those who just stood by and let it happen, and did nothing to stop it. That is why I wrote this book.

10705109_809218002434272_1082441885_nAuthor Bio:

Hello everyone! I am Donna Dillon: Author, Illustrator, and M&M connoisseur. I am the author of 5 and 1/4 books thus far. I have been writing in the young adult genre with The Snake Pit and Return to the Snake Pit which both deal with bullying in the public schools, and the children’s genre with Why Did It Have to Rain Today? And My Special Christmas Child. My new book is a leap into the thriller/suspense genre so I’m anxious to finish and see how that goes. All of my books, with the exception of the Christmas book will be discounted for this event, which I will be hosting for an hour on Saturday starting at 3 pm central time. I look forward to seeing you all there!!

If you’re interest in reading The Snake Pit, then just click on the title and it will take you straight on over to Amazon where you can find out more, and hopefully help raise the voice of such a worthy nature. It should open in a new tab for you!

5 Comments

Filed under Informative