Just Let It Burn

Diesel, darling. It burns slower and hotter. Gas goes up in a flash and hardly makes an impact.

 …said one of my closest friends and fellow writer, RC Murphy, when describing how I should feed the flames of my writing prowess. I’m not exactly sure where I’m supposed to find this metaphorical accelerant and I’m definitely not sure if I should pour it all over my carefully laid plans. One thing I am sure of is that R.C. Murphy is a damn genius and there hasn’t been a single piece of advice that she’s extended to me that hasn’t made me a better writer or person in the process. That being said, I took her advice to heart this past week and the results have been utterly amazing. Not finished book amazing, but more like powering through five chapters in as many days amazing.

From the prospective  of a new-ish writer and someone who has yet to finish a single novel, I can admit that it can be extremely disheartening to try and write a book, only to continue running into obstacles that prevent you from progressing, rather it be writers block or just plain ole laziness.

I have been working on my first novel, Bound, since Feb 2011 and I must say there have been times when I just wanted to close my Microsoft Word document, delete all my saved files and simply forget that I was ever foolish enough to think that I was talented enough to write my own novel. I mean, really, I legit deleted my entire manuscript, threw away all my notes and tried to forget that there was even two men in my head screaming to be heard. That turned out to be the best thing I could have done.

You see, my very first manuscript (all twenty something pages of it) was complete shit. Yeah, I can admit it. That thing was shit. And not just regular shit, but the kind of shit you have after a whole lot of Mexican food and sriracha. I had completely gone against everything I had been taught by my amazing writing group (shout out to R.C Murphy and Sandi Bischoff!) and almost destroyed an amazing tale of betrayal, love and redemption.

This is where I believe that bit about diesel and gasoline comes in.

You see, when I first began writing what would become Bound, I was going through Basic Military Training. I was sneaking to writer here and there on corners of napkins and in secret notebooks, but I wasn’t giving my boys the time and attention they need to share their story with me. In all honesty, I think my motivations to simply write a but to say I did was where I went wrong. I was, in essence, pouring gasoline on a fire and hoping it would burn forever, and what I got was a big explosion of shit.

After much internal debate, some guilt tripping and tough love from R.C Murphy and finally escaping BMT to get back to freedom, I decided to pick things up and give it another go with my boys. The right way. And what do ya know, those two little jokers got to jaw jacking like two Mean Girls at a debutante. That when the chapters just started basically writing themselves, the stories falling in line like good little duckies. I believe it was at this point that my writer’s mind figured out what worked for it (which accelerant, that it).

Long story short, we all write at our own pace and it is simply bad practice to judge you progress based on the progression of others. I made the mistake of trying to apply someone else’s methods to my own works and it blew up in my face, but thankfully I have a great circle of writers who are not afraid to tell me when something is shit or when I need to get my head out of my ass. Hopefully you all have that or will some day. In the meantime, find your accelerant, and let that bitch burn.

-QuamaineB

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Update: 3 April 15

 Good Afternoon and Happy Friday! I hope everyone’s Friday is absolute as fabulous and sunny as mine is! Another long week has come and gone, and thank God, because the exercise I just participated in was absolutely draining! But, another day, another dollar, right?

You all may have noticed the lack of new material this week. This is intentional, not a mistake. I’m hard at work on Bound so that I may pass it off for its first round of edits. Finally! There will, however, be new material next week for sure. In the interim, be sure to check out Don’t Throw That Away! and have a safe weekend!

-QuamaineB

Late Night Phone Call.

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.

The female rolled her face into a well-used pillow, pulling the soft, white down alternative duvet over her head in hopes of drowning out the source of that obnoxious noise. It could be her annoying teammates playing a prank or her alarm malfunction. It could be a million and one things, but her half-sleep brain couldn’t be sure. The one thing she knew for certain was that anyone bothering to call her after eleven pm and before six am knew damned well not to expect an answer.

Not before she could shower and brush her teeth, and certainly not before First Cup. Anyone stupid enough to approach her before the sweetness of chamomile tea touched her lips invited serious scorn.

She rolled over with a sigh of relief, her room divinely silent once again.

“Thank Go-.“

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.

The phone. That goddamn cellular phone. The same goddamn phone she constantly reminded her handler she neither wanted nor needed. Telepathy made technological solutions like cell phones obsolete for people like her.

Throwing the covers off her head with a curse, the female snatched the infernal device off the nightstand, “This is Talat.”

“Layla, it’s Yaya.I need your help.”

Layla Talat shot up in the bed, the fear in the voice on the other end of the line snapping her to razor sharp alertness even as her heart constricted in unease. Not just from the fear that was almost tangible to Layla’s empathic senses, even though the phone, but because she and Atiya Talat had not spoken in nearly four years.

Ever since Layla’s younger sister began dating that cheating dog of a man.

“Yaya, slow down, take a breath,” Words spoken in a calm rooted in a well of serenity deep inside that required constant maintenance achieved through hours of mediation every morning. Today that pool of tranquility rippled, the storm of Atiya emotions an undeniable force. “What’s wrong? Has something happened to mom?”

She hated asking that, wished she hadn’t needed to, but worry was as a part of her as an arm or leg, and when it concerned her family, it was downright irrational.

She should have never left home, not with her siblings scattered to the winds, her mother left to pick up all the broken pieces left behind. Regret a lump in her throat, Layla forced herself to allow her sister to speak.

“No, mom is fine,” A hurried, almost impatient response. Unsurprising considering Atiya’s strained relationship with their mother. “It’s John-Paul.”

Layla’s fingers tightened on the small device in her hand, her lip curling even as she resisted the urge to hurl it across the room in frustration. Of course she’d called about that no good bastard. Why else would her little sister contact her after four years of the cold shoulder, of shutting out Layla’s every attempt to reconcile their differences? God forbid Atiya be an adult and actually address the real issues. Layla loved her sister but, for all her patience, the urge to choke her mother’s youngest child remained tempting.

Wanting the best for you baby sister wasn’t a crime. Being as stubborn as a mule just to avoid being wrong should be.

Layla kept her tone neutral, managed to keep the distaste she felt simply talking about the bastard from coloring her attitude. Atiya was no empath, but she possessed a degree of sensitivity, could hear the minutest shift in emotional nuances in the voices of others. “What has he done now?”

“It’s not his fault, it’s mine.”

Layla rolled her eyes as her sister did what she did best. No self-appreciating woman would ever make excuses for a man. Let alone a man who continually and blatantly stepped out on her multiple times. More importantly, no man worth claiming would allow his woman to take blame belonging solely to him. “Tell me.”

“I’m pregnant, khahar.”

The phone dropped unceremoniously from Layla’s hold. Sitting there in the tangle of white linens in only a t-shirt clearly meant for a man far larger than she, her long, ebony hair a wild mane, Layla stared blankly into space, her mind attempting to make sense of the declaration. Joy and love, anger and annoyance, a firestorm of emotions devastating the calm she’d managed to hold thus far.

God, she wanted to scream, to cry. It was a cruel irony that Atiya would receive the one thing Layla ever wanted and yet always denied.

“I’m happy for you, Yaya,” Empty, forced words as Layla returned the phone to her ear. And she was, truly. Jealous? Yes, positively, but happy nonetheless. If she couldn’t have children of her own, she would at least have a niece or nephew to spoil. “But what does that have to do with John-Paul?”

Silence from her sister, a thousand things going unspoken.

Here it comes, Layla thought bitterly. I was right, he screwed up again.

And wasn’t that absolutely fucked up? That she wanted to be right, to hope that John-Paul stupid ass finally showed Atiya the dog he really is? The betrayal would break Atiya’s tender heart, destroy her sweet innocence, but rather sooner than later. Before the child was born, before it was too late for Atiya to start over and still find love with a real man.

“John-Paul wants…” A sharp exhale, the sound of sniffling, of tears. “He doesn’t want the baby. He says he already has enough on his plate, that he can’t afford more children. Layla, he has a family.”

Fury an incandescent flame in her veins, Layla switched on the visual for the comm device and waited for Atiya to accept the request. The distressed face that appeared a moment later splashed winter cold water on her temper, a worried big sister left in its wake, helplessness a heavy weight on her chest.

“He’s a man, Yaya. A stupid fucking man.” Unforgiving truth swathed in a velvet soft tone, because, while Atiya put on a good front, she didn’t take reprimand, or any form of rejection, very well. And the next words she spoke came from a place of sorrow and regret, a place another woman once faced the same problem, though she’d been given no choice.

“What do you want, Atiya?” The question a courtesy no one extended to Layla in her younger years, one she would allow no one to take from her baby sister.

“I..I think..”

Layla cut her off harshly, her tone unforgiving even as her empathic instincts reached out, ached to soothe, to comfort. “No, the time for indecision has come and gone. You are pregnant by a dog that calls himself a man, and you need to do what is best for that child you are carrying.”

Atiya bit her lower lip, a nervous habit that’d carried from childhood. Good, Layla thought, her sister should be nervous. Motherhood wasn’t all smiles and giggles and baby’s first step. Sacrifice and more sacrifice- that was the cost of being parenthood. That experience evaded Layla, but Atiya stood on the cusp, needed to be ready.

Finally, she said, “I want to keep the baby, but I know it will be so hard.” A pause, contemplation heavy in the air between them. “Will you help me? I can’t do it alone.”

Layla released a heavy breath she hadn’t been aware of holding, soothing waters of calm washing over her mind, bubbles of joy in her veins at the prospect of seeing his baby sister again. “Yes,” Immeasurable excitement in that single word. “I will be there every step of the way, Atiya. I promise.”

Update: 13 March 15

Good Afternoon! How’s everyone’s day going? It shouldn’t be anything less than amazing considering it’s Friday and a beautiful, sunny day out today. At least, that’s what it’s looking like here in Northern California!

I’ve not forgotten my promise to my small circle of readers- I will have some fresh reads for you nexxt week. Who would have thought the military would demand so much time that I wouldn’t be able to right full time? Oh wait, I did! And no you all do as well.

The upcoming post will feature a short piece from the POV of Field Agent Layla Talat that will be another leg in a series of shorts I’m calling the Descendants. You may remember briefly meeting Agent Talat in my previous post on New Years Eve. If you don’t remember her, either I need to step my game up, or you need a refresher! Either way, be sure to read both a King’s Christmas and One Last Hurrah! before the end of next week!

In the meantime, have a safe weekend!

-QuamaineB

Valentines? Pah!…What Is Love?

THE EDITOR'S JOURNAL

what is love?

Love means different things to different people.

It can be kind, life affirming and caring or it can be heart breaking, suffocating and used as a battering ram.

Folks say pets don’t love. Yet whatever that voo-doo that they-do, it is often sweeter, truer and more agender-free than the forced thing masquerading as love that blights so many relationships.

So many marriages where ‘love’ turns to bile-filled hate in court.
Surely real, true love never dies…or cheats? Or keeps the kids away from (a loving) dad?

Maybe we’ve all been had and it really is just a fairy tale construct invented to sell things the way diamonds and champagne were cleverly marketed.

Maybe love today is really just physical tingly bits mistaken for love, or it’s ‘you’ll do for now…until something better comes along.’

But I’m just a dumb editor.

SCHOOOOL ME!

Folks…(poignant stare at screen)… WHAT…

View original post 4 more words

In the Wake of Valentine’s Day…

I would like you all to keep this in mind.

If you find yourself always anxiously awaiting Valentine’s Day (or your birthday or anniversary) because you get treated like a king or queen for twenty-four hours, it likely means your significant other isn’t adequately appreciating you all the other 364 days of the year.

Now think about that.

Why Did You Have to Break It?

August rolled his eyes as Jourdan moved to pour another nightcap. It was the five in as many minutes and, though Jourdan could no more get drunk any more than August could stop killing, the other man strength continued to diminish from lack of proper feeding.

Jourdan would never confess anything to that affect, what remained of the male’ pride a crucial part of his identity, but August had remained at his side for thousands of years, knew the cadence of Jourdan’s every breath.

There was nothing about Jourdan that escaped August ‘s notice.

As the thought crossed his mind, another realization struck. His obstinate concubine hadn’t fed in three weeks, his eyes sunken and dark, and his skin the color of aged chocolate. The simple fact that Jourdan could still function on any level was proof to the sheer strength of his will, as well as confirmation that he’d once again been defiling his magnificent body with the blood of human filth.

August’s wanted to snarl in violent repudiation, the mere thought of Jourdan’s lips at another’s vein set his blood aflame. He kept his irritation leashed; the small rational part of him acknowledging that it was he who forced the lilim to sink so low. It took an incredible amount of control, but then he was an expert in that regard, his darker half having been with him longer than most realized.

So soon after a feeding, however, the delicate balance between sanity and mindless rage was a tightrope. Only years of practice kept him from slipping his leash. The blood high seemed to only feed his darker half, a testament to his tainted blood, allowing it a solid foothold in his mind that never boded well for anyone.

Especially the man before him.

August could be brutally violent at times, there was no question about it, but he by no means enjoyed all the depraved things he had done. Especially when it caused him to hurt the only being in the universe that made him feel more than blinding anger and furious hate. He’d never speak a word of how he really felt to Jourdan, however; the male would only use it to hurt him again.

Another glass of vodka disappeared down Jourdan’s throat.

Augustine snatched the crystal decanter before Jourdan could take another drink, ignoring the male’s sound of protest.

Gifted to him by Jourdan centuries, the small, delicate glass container remained the single vestige from Jourdan’s old life on Lemurya. It represented a time when thing had been good, when August had been…better. True to his callous nature, August broke the damn thing when presented with it, offended that Jourdan thought him even remotely capable of appreciating something so fragile and easily broken.

The thing had shattered into a thousand obsidian pieces, and Jourdan had never said a word about it. Not even when that very same decanter had been back in one piece the next day, but August knew the gift hadn’t been the only thing he’d broken that day.

“Slow down, pet, all that poison will impair your ability to think clearly.”

Jourdan lifted his eyes lazily and what August saw in that glossy gaze made him want to smack some sense in the other man. But more than that, he wanted to hunt down that fucking witch and kill him for daring to upset Jourdan. It was illogical, of course; the witch’s concern for Jourdan seemed genuine, but that didn’t salve August’s need to hurt someone.

Then again, who was he kidding? He was incapable of clarity of mind when it came to his male.

“That’s the whole point.”

August shadowed as Jourdan placed his empty glass down on the black marble bar and headed for the bathroom, wondering just how much the male truly had drank. He took note of the short, choppy steps the other man took, the way he favored the right leg. Moreover, the edges of August’s own vision were beginning to blur, Jourdan’s weakness bleeding through their bond. August couldn’t afford to be in a weakened state.

Not now, not ever.

His enemies were legion, the line of those out there who would love nothing more than to catch him defenseless endless. Many would gladly sacrifice their own young if it meant just one moment of torturing him. Though he cared nothing for his own life, he could not fathom Jourdan’s death because of him.

August’s temper snapped before he could catch himself. “Stop being a fucking brat!” He mentally cursed himself, taking a long, deep breath before he spoke again. Jourdan never reacted to anger, would simply ignore reality and withdraw into himself further. “We don’t have that luxury- you know there are those out there that would hurt you to get to me! That goddamn witch-“

“Nahuel.” Jourdan volunteered without looking up from the sink he’d braced himself heavily on. “That witch’s name is Nahuel, and he is my oldest friend. You have no right to treat him as you did.”

August paused, for once considering his actions and how he had torn into Nahuel the moment he’d sensed what he was. It wasn’t his fault he didn’t like witches; they’d caused the bad blood, not him. And sure, maybe it was juvenile to hold on to petty grudges, but a witch had once stolen something very important from him.

His concubine may consider a witch friend material, but August had no such delusions.

Witches were treacherous wolves in sheep’s clothing, no better than the demonkyn they opposed. They waved the high and mighty flag in the public eye, but under the cover of the Moon they summoned the darkest of magick to carry out their own evil wills.

In all his centuries of walking the earth, August hadn’t met a single one worthy of his trust. Personally, they could all rot in Annwyn for all he cared, but for Jourdan’s wellbeing he thought grudgingly, he would stomach this one. The matter of another male in his territory, however, was an entirely different animal to skin.

“Another male was in my domain in my absence. What was I to think?” Irritation in every word.

He stalked around the bathroom as Jourdan reached into the glass ensconced shower to turn on the water, nearly falling in as he did so. August was at his side in a burst of speed, wrapping a single arm around Jourdan’s lean waist to steady him.

Jourdan clumsily shrugged August’s hold off, falling haphazardly into the wall behind him. A well-placed hand on the wall the only thing preventing him from face planting. “You will think what you will, Augustine. Nothing I say or do will change that.”

“Everything you say affects me.” August confessed absentmindedly, but his words were lost in the storm of shower water before they reached Jourdan’s ear.

August stood there as Jourdan stripped naked, exposing a well-muscled body rife with healing wounds, wounds put there by August’s own cruelty, and fumbled his way into the shower. He ached to join him, to remain and ensure Jourdan didn’t succumb to weakness, but he had no right. It was a most foolish thing to think- Jourdan did not want his help, would refuse it as he’d done just a moment ago.

Without a word August turned on his heels and headed out, intent on verifying Nahuel’s vision. He was no wounded dog to lie at his master’s feet and be kicked. If Jourdan did not want him there, than he’d be damned if he were going to sit around and wait like an eager pup.