I skipped the last couple of months of the AW Blog Chain, and my creative juices were starving as a result. So, on the last day of February, I bring you a quick story inspired by this month’s prompt. Thank you dclary, who chose “Road Trip” for me. Please check out the other members participating in this month’s prompt at the bottom of this post.
*Disclaimer: This prompt has not been edited.
This month’s prompt:
We have so many good prompt ideas that don’t get used, so it’s now time to mix it up. Posters get to suggest a prompt for the next blogger in line! I’ll step in and sort things out if the prompts are too arcane or obscure. Be sure to list the prompt and credit the suggester in your post.
Road Trip by Lizzy Lessard
Slipping my hand from hers, I hook my hand around the gear shift. The road beneath the tires is stone and sand. The jeep crawls like a spider between boulders and around crevices large enough to pinch a tire. These sections drive the sweat from my pores, however it is the upcoming cliffs that cause her to grip me as tight as the jeans around her waist. Her right arm hangs from the bar above her window; her knuckles two shades lighter than normal. It’s a wide-eyed adventure that I know we’ll laugh about when it’s over, but now all I hear from her are curses.
The jeep teeters between the next obstacle. Metal screams as an outstretched piece of granite grinds off paint on a fender. The left tire drops off a boulder; the jeep dips dangerously low on its left side and I know before I see that the rubber side wall of the tire is punctured.With barely a gallon of water and freeze dried snacks, we weren’t prepared to spend more than a few hours in the Sonora Desert. I have promised her lunch at the top of the hills in a small town that saw more ATVs than cars. It’s unlikely that we’d be able to handle another tricky spot on a flat. I remember the spare hugging my back door, but I’m not convinced I can stomach changing it. Not on the uneven ground with inches of leeway on either side of the path. It’s her eyes, wide and childish, that force my hand to open the door and snake around to the back. I can’t be craven with my woman present.
My body slithers next to the heat of the jeep. The vehicle groans as it sways with impatience on a jack designed for tar and gravel. The looming pressure of metal against my body with the wind tickling my back like the feet of insects, reminding me with an insistent itch and chill that there’s nothing but my own balance protecting me from a body dive over the edge.
One look over the edge and I know I’d rather body dive then strap myself into the seat of a car. A hundred feet decline at a slope fit for skis. I’d have a fighting chance of surviving if one of my limbs struck a thick bush or Saguaro cactus. Either one could slow my fall or cut it off completely. The jeep would slash through shrubbery like fingers through the wings of a butterfly.
With the rubber off the ground, I lock the lug wrench around a nut. It takes a swift stomp of the foot to relax its death-grip on the rim; the others are more willing to part after the first. Like sheep, I corral them in a small rocky dip next to my ankle. The tire breaks away from the car and I sense a yearning to take its last roll down the cliff. If not for the pricey rim in its midsection, I’d give in to that last request. I’m almost apologetic as I dump it into my trunk. I know its destined for a lifetime in the dump when we return to civilization.
The spare is less cooperative. It’s will to fly nearly sends me tumbling. It bounces once, twice. My boots dig into sand and my fingers tear into the grooves of the tire. It has spines like a cactus, but harmless and it’s only my grip that pains me. I hear my woman calling my name. A shot of fear travels through my spine like an epidural, paralyzing all but my mouth.
“Stay in the car, Shay. I’m almost done.” My voice is deceptively calm. A river of fear and worry churning travels within the crevices of the words I utter. My hazel eyes lock on her door. It remains closed, but her brown curls dip out from the open window. She’s watching me.
I tap into the stupid side of bravery. With my heart tucked into her hands, my focus shifts from balance and safety into fooling her. My shirt has wide damp circles beneath each pit. The sweat pumps from me even as I force myself to feign control. I wrap my arms around the birth of the spare tire while I balance on my knees and thrust it into its temporary home. My right boot drags from sand into stone. I reach for a nut to find them moved. I lean my head back and the words slip out loud and uncensored.
“What’s wrong, baby?” She asks.
I shoot my gaze back to her door. It’s still even with the rest of the frame. “Nothing. It’s nothing. Stay in the car.”
“Heard you the first time,” she mutters.
I know she did, yet I’m still not convinced she’ll listen. It takes all my willpower to break my eyes from that vertical crack in the jeep where her door would first open. I shift my weight from limb to limb, searching for those metal nuts. When I lift my right boot, I find two beneath the toe. I grab both and fixture them on opposite spots of the wheel. They’re tight enough to grip the wheel and let me crawl around for the missing three. One more has snuck into the sand. I inch closer to the hill’s edge and find the fourth. The fifth remains elusive.
I screw on the fourth and lock them with the wrench. The void on the fifth’s spot gnarls at me. Common sense tells me that I can continue with only four. But there’s nothing common about that black spot. I can’t afford to have the tire pop off on this trail.
“Stay in the car, Shay,” I hear myself say again. I should have said nothing at all.
Participants and posts:
- orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com(link to post)Yuppies Who Hate the Family Business
- ConnieBDowell - http://bookechoes.com/(link to post)Unexpected Library Encounter
- bmadsen - http://hospitaloflife.wordpress.com/(link to post)Cupcake Disaster
- MsLaylaCakes - http://www.taraquan.com/(link to post)Unfortunate Sports
- HistorySleuth - http://historysleuth.blogspot.com/(link to post)Less-than-fortunate Foods
- writingismypassion - http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/(link to post)Blind Date with a Ventriloquist
- katci13 - http://www.krystalsquared.net/(link to post)Evil Cupid
- KitCat - http://twilightasylum.wordpress.com/(link to post)Hunting with Hounds
- Angyl78 - http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/(link to post)A Ghost’s Bad Day
- randi.lee - http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/(link to post)The Wrong Bar
- Lady Cat - http://carolsrandomness.blogspot.ca/(link to post)Visitors
- pyrosama - http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/(link to post)What the Leprechaun Said
- Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/(link to post)Under the Bed
- dclary - http://www.hardhobbittobreak.com/(link to post)Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty, Evil Ball of Fur
- meowzbark - http://www.lizzylessard.com/ (link to post) Road Trip
- SRHowen - http://srhowen1.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic
- Amanda R. - http://www.twoamericansinchina.com/ (link to post) Topic
- Briony-zisaya - http://fantasywriterwannabe.wordpress.com/ (link to post) Topic
- CatherineHall - http://theelephantinthetemple.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic
A Noob’s experience at a Writer’s Conference.
Today, I attended a YA Writing Conference. As a virgin to writer’s conferences, I was surprised how effective it has been in fixing some major problems in my Work In Progress (WIP). If you’re an amateur writer as well, I strongly recommend that you attend one of these.
Before today I had a very good idea of my plot and scene sequence. After today, I think I have much more solid characters developed. One of the many things that I changed in my WIP was my supporting character went from Odessa (female) into Matty (male). I can keep my scenes relatively the same, but now I have a motive for everything that this character does (jealousy).
HEROES VS. VILLAINS:
My first class of the day was taught by Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities), Cecil Castellucci (Year of the Beasts) and James A. Owen (Dragons of Winter). Cecil, in particular, was fantastic with her information and the writing activities she assigned. There’s a great formula for creating convincing heroes and villains, but I’m not able to post my main character’s answers due to major plot spoilers.
ESSENTIALS OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY:
My second class of the day was taught by Suzanne Young (A Want So Wicked) and Suzanne Lazear (Innocent Darkness) aka Team Suzanne. I think that the most important point they made was “Stick to Your Rules”. It doesn’t matter what laws govern the physics of the world you create, but what does matter is that you remain consistent.
Team Suzanne (and one of the other speakers, James Blasingame) also recommended a book for background research for my story. Despite the large amount of books that detail all the glorious side of Christianity, I was having trouble finding information about Demonology and the darker side of Christianity. This book is called Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer. Here’s the blurb:
First written in 1486 by zealous Inquisitors of the Catholic Church, “The Witch Hammer” came to be the witch-hunting handbook of the fifteenth century. Its main purpose was to refute doubts of the existence of witchcraft, though it proceeds to prove women more susceptible than men, as well as to outline procedures that allowed law enforcers to discover and convict witches. Because of the papal bull acknowledging the validity of this previously pagan belief, the persecution of alleged witches became widespread and brutal with the printing of “Malleus Maleficarum” on the recently invented printing press. Though some of the claims in this work are perhaps humorous to the modern reader, countless individuals lost their lives due to the prevalence of this book throughout late Medieval Europe, and today it can serve as a both a collection of superstitious folklore and a warning against mass hysteria and ignorance.
My final class of the day was taught by C. J. Hill/Janette Rallison (Erasing Time and My Unfair Godmother) and Amy Fellner Dominy (Audition & Subtraction). Out of all the authors today, unfortunately these are two I probably won’t read. I’m not that interested in contemporary novels. Their advice, however, was priceless in advancing my novel. I outlined the 8 characters in my story that have a big input on the plot by writing out these elements for each character: Name, problem, goal, obstacles, antagonist, and consequence. Again, I can’t reveal the details for my main characters due to spoilers. However, I’ll show you the details for the main villain. This character was hard to flesh out, since she abuses her own child. I didn’t want to make her entirely sympathetic, but I did want there to be a solid motivation for her actions.
Name: Bethany (Relationship: Mother of Adriana. Adriana is one of two POV characters in the book)
Problem: Despite all the enhancements she’s done to her body over the years, Bethany can’t seem to keep her husband in her life full time. He disappears for months at a time and this makes her extremely depressed, lonely, and angry. She both regrets wasting her life on this man and yearns for the day he returns.
Goal (how she overcome the problem): She self medicates. Not wanting her daughter to make the same mistakes, she is also overly critical of her daughter.
Obstacles: She’s quick to reprimand her daughter for mistakes, but due to her self-medicating, Bethany goes over-board with the disciplined. Her lack of restraint eventually gets CPS involved. Once CPS is involved, Bethany has to figure out how to cover up the abuse that her daughter suffered at her hands.
Antagonist: Her daughter, Adriana.
Consequence (what happens if she fails): If Adriana speaks out about the abuse, Bethany will receive jail time for child abuse and loses custody of her daughter permanently.
I’ll definitely be attending more of these in the future! Thank you to all the authors and to the awesome people at Changing Hands Bookstore, who organized this event.Read More
Review requests are now open!
I have a ton of books that have been read but the review isn’t posted yet, so that’s what you’ll see primarily over the next few weeks. Requests accepted now will be for March.
I’m not accepting tour requests, and won’t until I’m 100% caught up.
We had planned on moving the 26th of December, but when my husband found a job locally last minute we cancelled our plans to move across country and scrambled to find a home locally to rent. With less than two weeks until the closing date of our old home, which is when the new home owners will start moving in, I think we finally found a new home. Won’t know until Tuesday if we got approved. I’ll be so happy when I’m no longer living out of boxes!
This is a little late, but here are my blogging New Years resolutions.
Less tours: Many of the blog tours have policies requiring a promo instead of a negative review. I feel like I sacrificed the integrity of myself and this blog by promoting books I don’t like. I don’t review books because of money. I review books because I like reading books. I don’t want to promote crap books. I want to promote books that I like. One of the tours I signed up for (and I dropped for this reason) required no less than 4 star reviews! In 2013, I will no longer be hosting for several book tours. I’m not going to “out” any blog tour organizers, because I have discovered a fair amount of awesome authors over the last 8 months thanks to them.
More reviews from author requests: My favorite part of blogging and reviewing is having direct contact with the authors. I plan on hosting more guest blogs and reviewing more books that originate from requests. All of the books that I weren’t reviewed as planned in 2012 (5 in total) will be reviewed in 2013.
Introducing interviews: I’m compiling a list of interview questions that will be much darker and more exposing than the typical “Who was your favorite author?” They will be chosen at random, so I need quite a few to pick from. I think it will be fun!
More giveaways: I love giveaways and finances are suppose to pick up in 2013, so expect more of these! Amazon is going to start charging me sales tax (9.1%), which is a bummer. I’ll probably deactivating my prime account this year, because I’d rather promote my local indie bookstore than a mega online store if the price is the same.
More memes: I want to start participating in more, especially the Feature and Follow one by Parajunkee. All of my personal memes will continue, since I have so much fun writing them.
More commenting: I need to show my appreciation more of my fellow bloggers whose sites I follow and adore. Since I do most of my blog reading from my phone, sometimes it is a pain to comment (especially with those crazy captchas).
Personal updates: I’m editing my book and hoping to finish this full round of edits by June. I’ll post little tidbits about characters, plot, or whatever on the blog, but I promise not to spam ya’ll with updates.Read More
Current Word Count: 50,126 – I guess this means I won?
This is my second year doing NaNoWriMo and my second year hitting 50,000 words in one month, but I don’t feel like a winner. There’s so much work that I still need to do to this novel (chapters to write, editing to do) before it’s coherent enough for another set of eyes. Last year, I made the mistake of letting the novel sit and I ended up not writing a word for 6 months. So, even though I hit my word goal yesterday, tonight I printed out the novel in full. I read each scene and split the book into POVs (ended up with 3) and days (novel spans 11 days).
There are quite a few discrepancies, not enough supernatural to make me satisfied, and a whole lot of “she didn’t know that” phrases cluttering up the novel, however I’m happy that I am I continuing to work on the novel instead of letting it sit. Perhaps in 6 months time, I might be ready for the next step…publication. ;)
If you also participated in NaNoWriMo this year, let me know how you did!Read More
I’ve been watching vlogs on other book review blogs in pure envy today. I could never do one, and here’s my confession explaining why:
I have a problem with my speech. A lot of people I met casually can’t tell, because I limit my answers to one or two words. I speak slowly and as little as possible. I’m cursed to be “shy” because I can’t talk properly. Whenever I engage in heavy conversation that requires more than one or two word answers, I mix up the words…horribly. I can read out loud with little problem – provided that I take it slow and focus on the words not the sentences. But I have to reread the passage I spoke to understand what happened because I put such an huge emphasis on saying the words correctly in the correct order than I don’t have any brain power left over for reading comprehension.
This “problem” in turn has caused me to listen more than talk. I also hate talking on the phone or in front of people because I have to think about what I’m saying before I talk and sometimes I have trouble following a conversation because I’m focusing on the next words out of my mouth instead of listening to the other person. I believe that this “problem” has made me more keen on writing and recognizing accurate dialogue in stories, so there may be an upside.
I don’t feel this pressure when I’m communicating through writing and I have zero problem reading. I can respond as fast or faster to texts, emails, or instant messaging than I can to talking. I also can form complete thoughts and ideas in my writing.
I’m incapable of doing that in casual verbal conversation. My toddler is still learning how to talk so at the moment using one or two words to communicate with him isn’t a problem. It’s not too bad reading Dr. Suess to him, but I’m dreading answering the question that’s eventually going to come, “Mommy, why do you talk funny sometimes?”
And that is why you’ll never see a vlog by me on Lizzy’s Dark Fiction.Read More