This is just a bad dream…


*!* DISCLAIMER*!* This is not one of my happy light hearted stories. Read this chapter with the knowledge that it is meant to be a horror/thriller and there are some gory details that you may not like. If you have no interest in these types of stories, please to not read. For all of you that have just read this and are now going to continue reading it because of my disclaimer, remember, I did warn you.

I was awake, but my eyes wouldn’t open. My ears were ringing so loud that I couldn’t hear my own thoughts. My head was pounding to the point of vomiting. Slowly things began to clear and I wish the pain and ringing had taken me. I became aware of the low moans and cries from around me, the sounds were both close and far away, and I couldn’t pin them down to their distance. The deep drum beats inside my head were slowing and becoming quieter and the ringing subsided enough for me to notice the warm, slow moving, dampness creeping down my face from my scalp.  To this day I still wish I wouldn’t have opened my eyes, that I would have stayed still and waited for them to move past me, but I know now that they wouldn’t have, they would have sensed the life still in me, and then I wouldn’t be alive, nor would I be dead.

I opened my eyes and saw how they work, how they spread and how they change. I opened my eyes and saw a necromancer for the first time. She was beautiful. She was what men say they dream of. Long flowing blonde hair, green eyes that shined with color, maybe more than I realized, and her figure was what I’ve seen men drool for and woman start a gym membership for. She was wearing regular jeans and a red button up short sleeved shirt, nothing fancy, I remember liking her brown leather boots and how the cuffs of her pants were tucked into them. She was casually stylish. As my head cleared a little more I realized how odd this made her. She wasn’t even scratched and here I was, lying on the ground bleeding from my head in the middle of a battlefield, my friends and soldiers around me, dead or dying, or just… screaming.

When people thought of a necromancer, we all had imagined this crazy bastard running around a grave waving some magical stick in the air chanting something unknown. Undead shambling zombies rising from the grave, completely incoherent except for what the master ordered it to do, usually involving an overpowering need for tasty, tasty, brains. We were very wrong. In fact, that would have been wonderful. I would have liked those crazy fucks so much more.

The beautiful woman crouched down to a body of a man whom I could tell from my twelve feet away, was certainly dead. He sat up, facing away from me, the back of his brown hair spattered with congealing blood. He had died after propping himself up against a propeller that had secured itself firmly into the ground when our plane had crashed.

I had just survived a plane crash… The memory flooded me at once in a dizzy blur.

I blinked, trying to get myself to focus as I watched the woman stare where the dead man’s eyes should be. Her head started to tip from side to side, and reminded me immediately of a snake, a cobra with its neck flared wide and its smile promising the most painful of poisons. Her brilliant red lips parted slightly as she paused in the center of her dance and it was as if the legs of a never ending spider pried her mouth open from the inside. Her perfectly formed jaw unhinged as the legs from her mouth entrapped the dead’s face. From my distance I couldn’t say for sure if it was true or my imagination running away with what I thought was already impossible but I thought I could see the dead’s throat drink something in. I simply blinked again and the twenty spindly legs were just… gone, but she wasn’t done. She tilted her head and I watched in horror as the dead man moved his head to mimic her. But then she paused, almost moved back from him, her eyes narrowed and then she hissed, mouth wide and voice harsh and pitched. He threw his head back in a dominant scream as something slithered out from under his skin at the base of his throat, at that soft spot just before the collar bones meet. It didn’t take the creature inside him very long to split open the skin and slither it’s tendrils out in a guttural hiss.

I hadn’t noticed that I had been rising to my feet and by the time I did notice I was already running, or scrambling as fast as I could manage. The necromancer stayed put, only absently watching me run, as if she didn’t give a shit whether I stayed or shot at her. But the fact that her freshly dead and extra limbed minion came rushing right up to his dead feet and frantic heavy footfalls came barreling behind me told me that she had cared, oh, she had cared a lot.

It was impossible to run silently, or run without sliding on the gravel, so I just pushed my legs as fast as I could. I’m not a runner, and I should mention that I hate to run, but it’s surprising how quickly your legs will move and your lungs will take in air when you’re terrified. I was gaining ground quickly, thankfully the undead take a little while to get their stiff limbs up to speed right away.

I made a sharp turn around a storage container, conveniently slamming into a solid steel wall and pushing off it to propel my feet to run even faster. I had to find another sharp corner before he rounded around the last one if I had any chance at losing him. At the end of the storage container I made another sharp turn and found that on the other side was a narrow slip between it and another container. I made it around and stopped in the corner and took as deep a breath as I could and then held my breath. Not so surprising that this was ridiculously hard given all my heart wanted to do in response was suck in more air.

He came barreling around the corner and stopped so fast I almost thought he had run into some kind of invisible wall. He turned and looked straight at me, his eyes grey and fogged over, the eyes of the dead. His throat flared open as he exhaled from the run, tendrils hiding behind the skin. I tried to back up instinctively but realized that I had already shoved myself as far into the crack between the containers as possible. The only way out was toward him. He came up on me faster than I could run past him and he grabbed me from behind by the back of my neck, his fingers stretching to curl around my throat like claws. He pulled me into him, my back pressed against his cold chest and he secured me there with his other arm, his strength forcing down on me as if to crush me.

Apparently hiding behind this particular container was a bad idea, in many more ways than just the one I chose. He pushed us forward toward the doors to the container. I tried to drag my feet but when I did I nearly choked from the vice grip he had around my throat.  He threw me against the ground then, so hard I swear I bounced off the stone earth. He kicked at the lock to the container as if it was merely bothersome and it crumbled apart, the doors swinging open. There was a table and chairs, a hanging bare light bulb from the ceiling, and a generator near the back and that was all I had time to take in from the ground before I was in the air, hoisted up by my own shirt and set on my feet. My balance still escaped me so when he pushed my shoulder to force me inside I landed on my hands and knees. I could feel something crumbling beneath my hands and when I turned my palms up crumbles of dried blood and long dead mold imbedded in my skin as if I had fallen on sand. I sat down, my back to a metal wall and wiped the crust from my hands on my jeans.

“We’re going to offer you your life.” His voice came out dry and rasping. I looked up to meet his eyes and stared into the death inside them. He didn’t feel anything, he only followed orders. “Who’s WE?” I asked sharply. “Looks to me like it’s just you and me, dead man.” I expressed myself by throwing up my arms and waving them around. He didn’t even blink at me.

“You might want to cool your tone, wee lamb.” She sounded Irish. The necromancer strutted in as cool as could be. “Oh! Hi there. I was afraid that we’d lost you back there.” I smiled my best cheerleader grin and she slapped me, hard, so hard it felt like slow motion to pull my head back around. “Okay. Ow.” I expressed before adding my own blood and spit to the metal and crap that scattered around me. “So,” I coughed up more blood and spat again, “What was the corpse saying about my life, and letting me keep it?” She smiled, all lips, and circled her no longer human pet, “That’s such a terrible way to talk about your friend. Wasn’t his name Jason, before he died?” I looked up at her and couldn’t keep myself from looking back at the dead man standing in front of me. I swallowed hard to keep myself screaming as I started to recognise him. His hair was dusty but still the dark slightly wavy mess that he usually kept it in. Behind the grey death in his eyes I could see the slightest hint of that light blue that they once held. She slipped her hands through his hair and wiggled the dirt from his hair and it came out in a dusty cloud. “Not enough, lass?” She whispered in his ear and it was like Jason was becoming more alive, he skin darkened and his eyes came back to their crystal blue. “ Isn’t he just perfect?” She giggled and Jason’s eyes lit up and his deep throated laugh that had always been full of life and that sarcastic humor he always had made me want to melt into the metal wall, push through it and maybe not even stop with the ground below the container. I wanted to scream and cry, but more than that I wanted to set them both on fire. Instead, I laughed with them, my fake glee carrying over them both. They stopped before I did, and I stopped when I was slapped again. “ Don’t press your luck, lass.” I wiped the blood from my lips this time with the back of my hand and nodded a childish wiggle of my head. “Alright. So, talk to me instead of trying to traumatize me. If Jason were still Jason he would know that’s not so easy.” She rolled her eyes and gave the, newly alive looking, dead Jason a pat on the shoulder. “ I’ll leave it to you, luv. There is much cleaning up to do on the field.” She winked at me and her boots clicked as she walked out the door.

I woke up shaking. My heart pounding and sweat dampened my hair to a thick mess on the top of my head. I look around me to see that my room is still dark and my husband is still fast asleep. Two out of my three cats lay looking up at me from the end of the bed. I reach up to wipe at my eyes and realize my hands are shaking and weak and I couldn’t help looking for the crumbled blood and moss on my skin. Deep breaths… Deep breaths…

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Filed under Kindnapped by Imagination, Short Stories

The Phoenix Comic Convention


The second I open the door I am greeted by a massive wave of people. I bite the tip of my tongue to escape the shock and glance very briefly back to my group. My husband met my eyes but quickly looked away. “You can handle this.” the look told me and I turn toward the crowd and take my first steps. 

Wading through this on my own would have been easy. I’m small and very quick and I have no problem weaving in and through tight groups of people if it means I will progress further and closer to my destination. However, I was with family. If I were to zig and zag through these people I would surely lose them and luck wouldn’t be what would bring us back together. Desperate searching would and that would waste the precious time we had all planned. 

My husband obviously sensed this in me as he shouldered next to me and we walked quickly and with the expressions of people with intent and serious purpose and the wave split. Convention goers moved out of our way like the parting of the red sea. People dressed in all manner of costumes fluttered about and it was only those whom hadn’t looked behind them that unintentionally blocked our way past but they were easily avoided. 

We made it to the vendor’s hall and paused. The booths of nerd heaven ascended before us and one couldn’t possibly see through the river of costumed geekery that danced and squealed throughout the main hall. We had arrived  We survived the treacherous roads that led us to the end of our quest and now our costly prize was ours to patron. 

The Phoenix Comic Convention this year was beyond packed! We were there both Saturday and Sunday and not only did we all get to meet and greet our favorite authors and artists but by the end of Saturday we even went to a book release party where we were fortunate enough to even hang out with some of these creators of imagination.

*Please click on the images to go to these author’s/artist’s websites.

Image

Jessica Feinberg, a Tucson local artist and good friend of mine was very generous and gave my husband and I passes to the convention and in return we were there to help her out in any way possible. Drinks, food, deliveries to other people at the convention, whatever. Jessica is a FANTASTIC artist! She pretty much draws and paints anything. Check out her website and see what I mean!

ImageI met Janni Lee Simner earlier this year at the Tucson Festival of Books, turns out we have a mutual friend, small world. She is the fabulous author of the highly recommended Bones of the Faire series and she just released her new book Faire After, the final book in this series. We were fortunate enough to attend her book release party where my sister Lindsey won Simner’s entire collection AND tickets to next year’s comic convention!

ImageI also met Jeff Marriotte at this years Tucson Festival of Books. He is one of the few authors that can relate with his fan’s different interests. My husband, whom is a complete science geek loves his books and Marriotte is one of the few authors that my husband will actually sit down and read the entire book in two days. I have a great interest in the psychology within his books and may have shared this fascination with my Mom. I highly recommend his book The Slab and Season of The Wolf.

ImageRob Osborne (the Absolute Tyrant) and I met a few years back at the 2008 Phoenix Comic Convention where he was gracious enough to work a commision for me of Gwen Stacey. We became friends on the classic website MySpace (I know, super dead) but lost touch shortly after we both forgot  our passwords or just lost interest in MySpace all together. He writes and illustrates his own comics and I highly recommend reading his Zango series about a supervillain striving to take over the world whilst in his pajamas.

ImageFrank Beddor is the author of the Looking Glass Wars series. I met Frank Beddor at the 2008 Phoenix Comic Con when he was publicizing his first book. I had been walking by nearly missing him when he captured my attention by pulling us over and bursting into his story. He fascinated me with his excitement for his story and the passion he shared with his potential readers. I bought his first novel then and there and have been hooked ever since. Definitely a Must Read!

While I love staying with family here in Phoenix I just can’t wait to get home and start reading all of the wonderful books and comics I purchased from the above authors. Tomorrow is most definitely going to be a pajamas and a book day. I love this weekend!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Family Adventures, Self Ramblings

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss


The name of the wind

I just want to take this small opportunity to say that this review was VERY difficult to write without the luxury of spoilers. Enjoy!

By chapter 17 I was so surprised when I realized that I really adored Kvothe. By the end of the chapter I just want to give the kid a hug and some fresh cookies… even if that may put him into a strange state of shock, the poor ragged thing. This is what one will come to understand when I say that Patrick Rothfuss knows the way to make someone really invest in his characters. By the time I reached this point, I wanted nothing more than to be there, in this world listening to Kvothe’s story with Bast and Chronicler.

I was quickly immersed into the story in a way I’m not normally involved. I felt panic the first time Kvothe called the wind when he was a young boy with Ben. I held back tears when Ben decided to leave the troupe, even though I knew it was for the best. When the priests came for Scarpy I was honestly afraid of them, but curious about the church and it’s going-on’s. And I actually cried when Kvothe had to say goodbye to Travis, that dear man who gave up everything to care for unwanted children.

The lore behind the Chandrian is beyond fascinating. I want to study them and pick through every story of them like a drug addict to crack. How did this happen? Mr. Rothfuss strings me along, giving subtle hints throughout the book, enough to feed one’s interests but not enough to figure them out on their own. I have my theories, but so little is given that I dare not commit to them. I know these things won’t be explained in just one book, which already tells you that I’m picking up the 2nd book as you read this.

By chapter 40 or so I can’t help but LOVE to HATE Denna. Exactly how it’s explained to Kvothe, men swarm over her and women loathe her. She’s clever and full of wonder and mystery. Exactly how I wish I was when I was 15, minus the money grumbling and what I have to see as trickery. Also, I want Ambrose to die a horrible death. I hate bullies and I absolutely hate how he gets away with everything. But the pure fact that I can read a book and feel that pure hatred for some fictional character tells you enough.

Just when I think it’s time for a new girl in Kvothe’s life he saves one. FROM A BURNING DEATH CLOUD BUILDING! YEEEEAAAAHHHH! Not to give too much away but this scene is CLASSIC. Who doesn’t like a little Die Hard action?

In short, I adore this book. The author has created such a fleshed out world and characters that you want to run when they run, fight when they fight and all the while you’re cheering them on and hoping they succeed in everything they do. I cried when things were terrible and laughed when things were hilarious and worried when the situations were dire.

This book gets five stars!

If anyone would like to join my book club and get in on our more in depth discussions join us here: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/99698-fictional-intrigue

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Book Review of Honor Among Thieves by Elaine Cunningham


I had the opportunity last month to have a chat with and take advice from some of the best writers out there. One of the most prominent things they all told me was “Write every day, if you can’t write, read, and read often and consistently.” I’m now on my third book since this advise was given. I took this advise very seriously, since I myself dream of being a real writer and sharing my stories in paper form with the world, and I have come to the decision that I will start writing full reviews of these books. In an attempt to expand my writing skills and hopefully get back on board with what you all expect from me, and what I expect from myself.

Unfortunately, my first review was a true dumbfounding experience. I can honestly say I may have lost something of myself by finishing this book. Which is such a disappointment, Elaine Cunningham, a very successful fantasy author actually wrote this book. I even suspect that she may have really written this book when she was 15 and only just decided to share it, claiming she wrote it much later on in life. Oh Elaine, I wish you hadn’t.

ImageI didn’t enjoy much of this book. The story is confusing and a lot of the time I found myself turning back to previous chapters to re-read something, for clarification and it was still unclear.

This book felt like an unfinished manuscript. Words were duplicated, jumbled, or incorrect all together, misspellings, and incoherent verbiage made this a difficult read, at best.

Did Vishni throw the dagger into the ocean? Because I read that she did, and yet it’s with them in the end. At what point did you find out the big geared secret about Honor, because I must have missed this startling realization until Fox is explaining it to the others. It is no doubt why these books are e-read only, they’re unfinished and rushed and the plot was not fully thought through.

I can tell there were some worthy ideas in there but they were not implemented. It is almost as if she had an idea, a brilliant idea of cons, mischief, and cleverness, and then forgot it half way through.

Ernest Hemmingway once said “The first draft of anything is shit”, and I do believe he was spot-on, but maybe even the final product, unedited, is still shit.

I really desired to be proficient in writing a much more intelligent review, a more fleshed-out review, but in fact I have nothing else to say.

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Rain


I’m outside on the porch to our cabin. The rain is pouring down on the forest around me and my collection rain jars are overfilling, the sound echoing the waterfalls further north of me. The scented steam from my freshly brewed hot chai tea latte is lifting into the cool air, filling the musky scent from the wet wood and earth with hints of spice. I’m bundled up with a homemade quilt and laptop secured firmly on my legs in the swinging bench, my fingers clicking away on my latest imaginative chronicle. Frogs croak in the rain, unburying themselves from the soft earth to sing to the sky that drips life back into their skin, a smile crosses my face as my heart fills with wonderment and my mind sparks with imagination. I take a moment, as a bird starts singing, to take a sip of my chai tea and allow myself the time to feel the warmth fill me.

Over the rain drops and light twittering of birds there comes a shrill voice, “Hey, Alexis? Can you come help me over here?” I lean back in my office chair, the corroded thing squeals it’s protest, how dare I even think to move. My co-worker beckons me to her and I remove my headphones, making sure to press pause on my galaxy S3 phone application so I’m sure not to miss a raindrop. The day continues in reality once more.

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Remember


Every 1st draft is shit. -Hemingway.

Hi readers! I would like to announce that I am about to post a new short story but would also like to notify you that it’s not my typical post. It’s still in editing, which I suspect it will be in that position for a little bit, even though it’s only 2 pages but when I’m done it will be worth it.

xoxo,
Lex

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Writing and people falling from the sky


The good news is that I was able to get a few chapters complete. The bad news is that it was not on the story I previously wanted to work on. Have you ever had a story just run away with you? No matter what I did I couldn’t get the scenes out of my head and the characters wrote themselves. I have no idea what I’m going to do with the plot, but so far it seems to have come up with it’s own story. I’ve seen famous writers talk about this in regards to a few of their books but I honestly didn’t take them seriously. I find it absolutely hilarious that the story that I’ve been working on for a long time is stuck, while this new story is screaming to be noticed.

 

On another completely separate topic…

Dear people who live in the apartment above mine. I understand that you are overweight… and in comparison to myself a bit on the tall side, but please stop jumping up and down in your upstairs apartment. I’m tired of fixing my picture frames and I’m pretty sure that thing that just fell off the ceiling was a paint chip. If you fall through the floor due to your own lack of prep and fall on my awesome stone coffee table… it’s not my fault. ❤

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