Passing a Milestone

Woohoo! It’s time to celebrate!

I just passed two milestones in the novel I’m currently working on: I finished chapter three and officially passed ten thousand words. (Current word count is 10,232 words.)

To celebrate, I’m posting the prologue here on this blog. Enjoy! And please let me know what you think in the comments below. Look for more soon!

———-

The man stepped outside the huge double doors at the end of the darkened hallway. The doors were nearly completely cloaked in darkness, and he could barely make out the two guards blocking the doors. Their black uniforms provided excellent camouflage, and their presence was only revealed by the slight bit of light glinting off their rifles.

“State your business,” one of the guards demanded roughly.

The visitor could feel their eyes boring holes into him. His hands shook as he began his rehearsed statement. “I am here to meet with Leader Menger, ruler of our prestigious regime and general or our undefeatable armed forces.” Even in his fear he nearly laughed at the irony of the last statement.

The other guard snorted in derision. “I think we figured out that much,” he snapped sarcastically.

The first guard ignored his partner. “Unless you give me a good reason right now, you shall be thrown into either the streets or the prison.

The man gulped. “I have been sent by Captain Hensley. You should have record of an appointment,” he added.

The first guard pulled a small electronic device out of his pocket, tapped the screen several times, and looked up at the man. “I see the appointment. You were supposed to come yesterday.”

“I was detained,” the visitor said snippily, surprising himself with his own audacity. The first guard shrugged and helped the other guard open the doors.

The visitor stepped into a surprisingly small and empty room. The only furniture was a chair much like a throne that stood opposite the doors. The chair was almost completely in the shadows of the already-dark room, but the man could make out an imposing figure sitting erect in it.

“What do you want?” The harsh, cold voice sent a shiver of fear down the man’s spine. He wiped his sweaty palms on the sides of his dark brown uniform.

“Leader Menger,” the man began, trying to keep his voice from squeaking. “I have been sent by Captain Hensley on some political matters.” He gave a nervous little bow.

There was a long moment of silence. “Begin!” the voice demanded impatiently, beginning to sound exasperated.

The visitor gave another nervous little bow. “He believes that we should make some policy changes, concerning the way we treat our soldiers and the people whose lands we conquer. He thinks our current actions will not please the World Peace Organization.”

“Oh, curse the WPO!” the voice said harshly. “They can’t do anything to stop me. They are completely unprepared. Go back and tell your ‘honorable captain’ that we shall make no changes.”

The man gasped. “But if we don’t do anything, we shall have IDIA agents crawling all over us!” he blurted before he could stop himself.

The figure rose in his chair. “Guard!” he called. He spoke to the messenger once again. “I do not care about IDIA. They have no power over me, and they shall not get in my way. I have no fear!” he cried as a guard entered the room. “Take him to the prison and make sure he attends the extermination tomorrow.” The guard gave a curt nod and grabbed the messenger’s sleeve. The figure stepped into the light, revealing himself to the messenger for the first time. “I do not care for peace. I did not come all of this way to have my plans ruined by thoughts of peace.”

“America has changed,” the messenger said, his eyes still wide as he looked at the figure.

“We are no longer America!” the man exclaimed. “I, Raltan Menger, am now the Leader of the United Lands of Raltan!”

Advertisements

Paralyzed Dreams: A Novella

This is an excerpt (the first part of the chapter) from my (currently) longest completed story, which I wrote for my mom for her birthday a while back. Once again, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

CHAPTER ONE (not the full chapter)

“Mine!” Pam Wilson yelled as she dove for the volleyball. Her body slammed into the sand as her arms connected with the ball, which flew high in the air. Lauren Cosden, her best friend and fellow teammate spiked the ball over the net. Pam rolled over to her feet and watched as the ball thudded into the sand. She exchanged a high-five with Lauren.

“Nice job, Lauren, Pam,” Coach Pennington called. “Take five, everybody. We’ll start the next round of practice games in a minute.”

“Nice dive,” Lauren told her, impressed. “You sure aren’t afraid to get dirty anymore.”

Pam saw the teasing glint in Lauren’s eyes. “Yeah. That was a nice spike, too. You sure aren’t afraid to jump anymore.”

Lauren laughed. “When was I ever afraid to jump?”

It was true. Lauren had always been the brave and adventurous one, climbing trees, jumping out of them, and rolling around in the dirt with her brothers. She’d broken her arm more times than Pam could remember, and she was always getting into trouble.

Pam, on the other hand, was more of an indoors person. She liked to stay in her room and read, or cook, or paint. She and Lauren had different interests, but they still had a few things in common, like their love for writing. They both went to the same school, same church, and were in the same grade. And they both had the same love for volleyball.

Coach Pennington came over to the water fountain where they were standing. “Girls, you’re going to be on B court next. You’re going to practice against the twins.”

“Okay, Coach,” Lauren agreed. Pam held in her sigh until the coach had headed back to the courts.

“Great,” she muttered.

“We’ll beat them this time,” Lauren assured her.

Pam rolled her blue eyes. “No way,” she told Lauren. “They’ve got that mental telepathy thing going on.” The twins could figure out what the other was thinking, and they had beaten Pam and Lauren every time they’d played. They were really good.

Lauren hooked her arm through Pam’s elbow. “Come on, don’t be so negative. You want to play in the Olympics, right?”

Pam rolled her eyes. “You know that,” she reminded Lauren.

Lauren laughed. “I know. But you’ve got to have a positive mindset. Isn’t that one of the things that Coach Pennington has been lecturing us about?”

“Yeah,” Pam agreed reluctantly.

“Then…” Lauren prompted, her brown eyes sparkling.

“Let’s go beat them!” Pam declared, acting enthusiastic, although her hopes really weren’t that high.

Lauren grinned. “That’s my Pam.” The two girls strolled arm-in-arm over to the B court. The twins were there waiting. Cheri and Chelsea looked up as the other pair entered. They nodded at their opponents, their dark brown eyes confident but bored. Pam could tell that they thought that the win would be easy. Her blood started boiling.

Lauren sensed Pam’s anger and pulled her over to the bench. She made Pam sit down on the bench next to her. “So,” she started casually, leaning back. “I’ve been working on this theory, you see. If we stay calm and don’t get overly upset over them, then we may have a chance.” She glanced over at Pam, brushing her long blond bangs out of her hair. “Remember your grandpa’s saying: kill them with kindness.”

Pam grinned, then grew serious. “So, let’s just be really nice.”

“And Christ-like,” Lauren added, nudging her. The makeshift judge stepped onto his platform, and the girls stood up. Pam stretched, brushing her dark brown hair out of her eyes. She and Lauren walked up to the net and shook hands with the twins.

Cheri grinned cockily at Pam and turned to her sister. “I figure my coffee won’t have time to get cold before this is over.”

Pam smiled cheerfully. Well, with forced cheerfulness. “Good luck!” she told her.

Cheri raised an eyebrow. “We won’t need luck,” she scoffed.

The Answer

“Please wake up, Betsy,” Alice whispered.

Alice gripped her sister’s hand as she listened to the heart monitor beep. She hadn’t slept in days while her sister was in the hospital, and her face was pale and drawn. Her sister’s white face looked so small on the pillow. Alice bowed her head in silent prayer.

“God, please, heal my sister,” she pleaded silently. “I need her so much. My parents told me when I was young that you listen to every prayer, and that you’ll answer. I know I haven’t been the most faithful,” she gulped back tears, “but I need you to heal Betsy.” Alice laid her head on the hospital bed, struggling to hold back tears. She drifted off to sleep, not noticing when the heart monitor’s beeping slowed and then, finally, stopped.

“Miss Alice?” a nurse asked softly, gently shaking Alice awake. Alice sat up, struggling to hold back a yawn. She looked down at her sister’s still figure. The hand she was still grasping was icy cold.

“I’m sorry, Miss Alice,” the nurse whispered sympathetically. “She-she died only a few minutes ago.

Later that day, Alice dragged her feet in through the autumn leaves that had fallen and covered the sidewalk. She looked up at the gray cloud-covered sky. A single raindrop fell and landed on the end of her nose. She wiped it away harshly.

“God, why didn’t you answer me? I asked you to heal Betsy, but you didn’t,” she whispered angrily.

A voice deep inside her soul whispered to her. I did answer. But I have something better in mind for both of you. Just trust Me.

With No Hope Left

Hi, everyone! I loved writing this little story. Almost made me cry. I hope reading this will start a fire of passion withing you, and inspire you to do something. Please reblog it and share it so others can feel that passion to do something, too! 😀 God bless!

The wind.

It’s such a beautiful noise, at night when you can’t fall asleep and you hear it howling through the trees.

Unless you’re the homeless man on the corner.

You know the one. You pass by him every day on the way to work or school. His thin clothes offer no protection from the cold. His head rests on his knees as he sleeps, his few belongings clutched to his chest.

He’s not a bad man, he’s just fallen on bad times. He had a wife, and two cute little girls. Had. He tried so hard to earn money, doing odd jobs here and there. His only joy had been coming home to his wife. And his two daughters, so little, such cute curls. Then the sickness had come.

He didn’t know why he didn’t die. Somehow he overcame the sickness. But those two little girls and his wife. They weren’t so lucky.

He lost his job. He lost his wife. He lost his daughters. He lost his house. He lost hope.

He was in an unfamiliar town, lost, with no way to go anywhere. So he stands by the road holding a cardboard sign. He doesn’t hope. No one stops for him. They find themselves purposefully avoiding his eyes, looking anywhere but where he is. You do the same. The two of you are in different worlds. After all, that homeless shelter a couple blocks away should be the one taking care of him. He could just go there if he wanted.

But he doesn’t know. You do.

The wind blows through the trees, and the homeless man’s toes and fingers grow numb in the dark of night. With no hope left.

Book Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Westing-Game-Cover

This book was amazing.

If you like mysteries, Sherlock Holmes, and (I quote from the dedication) “puzzle-mysteries”, then you should read this book. It was first published in 1978, so it’s kind of old. And it’s wonderful. It makes me think of a huge game of Clue, except… different. Very different. And funnier.

I was taking notes during the story, trying to figure it out before the characters did, but, although I did on a little of it, I didn’t get all of it. There were so many amazing “Aha!” moments while I was reading. The characters are wonderful, and I really liked how we got to step into the minds of so many different characters. There weren’t so many characters that you got lost, but there were enough to keep things interesting.

And the funniness. Yes. There were so many things that were simply implied that just made you laugh. Here’s one of my favorite funny moments and quotes *NOT A SPOILER*:

“…the same male nurse who chased Otis Amer out of the hospital for sneaking up on a nurse’s aide carrying a speciment tray and shouting, ‘Boom!'”

Ah, yes. Just think about that for a while. You’ll get it.

All in all, I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a great mystery, whether you like murder or not, and it’s really, really intriguing. I had a lot of trouble putting it down, and it took me less than a day to read. 😉 So read it, it’s awesome. If I could write mysteries like that… *sigh*

Read it!

Treasure

Treasure

A poker chip. A pair of dice. A screwdriver. A rock. All hidden in an old, rotten box shoved in an old, rotten tree.

The collection wasn’t much. Just a boy’s favorite treasures, dirty and smudged. The woman traced the A. H. carved on the lid of the box. A tear slipped down her cheek as she fondled each f her son’s precious memoirs.

“Goodbye, Alex,” she whispered softly, stroking the smooth rock. “I’ll take care of your treasures, and I’ll see you again in heaven someday.”

The little girl next to her looked down into the box.” I hope he’s got better treasures in heaven than he left us down here.”

———-

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Matthew 6:19-20

Friday Fiction Challenge: 6-27-14

A challenge to help you write, get you thinking, and spark some creativity! Add a link to your response in the comments below and link back to this post. If you just decide to answer the question, and it’s not a full length post, feel free to just comment with your answer. Be creative!

The Question

Which one of the Avengers superheroes, or non-Avengers superhero, would you be? (Mixed answers are okay.)

The Challenge

Write a story feature you the Avenger. Be creative! No word limit, just keep it from getting too long.

The World Of The Writer’s First Award

Thanks so much to Aul at Montairyus  for nominating this blog for the Liebster Award! The rules are: Present 11 facts about yourself. Answer 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you. Create your own 11 questions and present these to … Continue reading

Rate this:

Singing Lessons: A Novella

This is an excerpt (the entire first part) of a novella I wrote for a friend for her birthday. It was the first longer-than-a-short-story project that I finished completely. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments below.

PART ONE

“Mo-o-om!” Emily Noble insisted. “You know that I don’t like singing in front of people!”

Her mother looked up from her newspaper. “But, Emily, you have such a beautiful voice. You should share it! Why don’t you try out for choir?”

“I don’t like singing, or being in front of a whole bunch of people.” Emily sighed.

“You could take singing lessons,” her mom suggested.

Emily groaned. “Please, Mom, don’t make me,” she begged.

Her mom sighed, too. “All right, it’s your decision.”

Emily nodded and smiled gratefully at her mom. She knew that her mom wished that her daughter was interested in performing, but she hated being in front of people. Her mom realized that, though, so she allowed Emily to be herself, although she still encouraged Emily to perform, especially as a singer.

“Do you have any homework to work on?” her mom asked her meaningfully as Emily reached for the television remote. She looked up at her mom guiltily.

“Yeah,” she admitted.

Her mother gave her a fake stern look. “Homework first,” she ordered.

Emily grinned at her mom and headed upstairs to her room. She plopped down in her desk chair, flipping on her purple desk lamp. She didn’t have much homework left since she’d finished most of it in study hall.

“Write an essay about your siblings, or another close family member if you are an only child…” Emily muttered as she read over the homework assignment for her English class. She sighed. She only had one sibling, her older brother, Adrian, and she hadn’t seen him since his college graduation. How was she supposed to write an essay about the brother that she hadn’t seen in two years? She checked her notes. The essay wasn’t due until Monday, so she had five days. Emily didn’t normally procrastinate, especially with English since it was her favorite subject, but she really wasn’t looking forward to writing an essay about her brother.

~~~

Emily finally finished her homework and leaned back in her chair. She flipped the switch on her boom box, turning on the radio. Upbeat Christian music swelled and filled the room as she adjusted the volume, turning it down so she wouldn’t bother her parents. She stood up, grabbing one of her many novels, and flopped down on the bed on her stomach. She flipped a couple of pages distractedly, and then set the book down. She closed her eyes and rested her chin on the bed, soaking in the music. The DJ came on and started talking. She tuned him out, thinking about her essay that she had to work on. What was she going to do?

“… and here’s one of Manafest’s hits!” the DJ announced. Emily rolled over onto her back. The familiar beat made her close her eyes and bite back tears. Her brother had been one of Manafest’s biggest fans. He’d listened to their music all of the time, so she knew all of their songs by heart. The two of them used to sing along with the songs at the top of their lungs. Emily hadn’t listened to Manafest since Adrian had left. Now the memories of all of their good times came flooding back, and Emily could barely hold back the tears.

She wanted her brother back.

~~~

Emily slid into her chair at the dining room table. The dining room was one of her favorite rooms, other than her own. She loved the wooden furniture and the paintings hanging on the wall that her mother had painted while she was in college. Her dad came in and smiled at her, plopping down into his chair.

“How was your day, sweetheart?” he asked.

“Good,” Emily replied. She traced the edge of the lacy table cloth with her finger.

Her mom swept into the dining room with a dish in her arms. “Dinner’s ready!” she announced brightly as she set the dish down on the table.

“Ooh, chicken spaghetti casserole!” Emily’s dad exclaimed, licking his lips. The family bent their heads to pray over the meal.

Adrian’s favorite, Emily thought, but she didn’t mention it out loud. It was her favorite, too. She wished that he was with them now. She made up her mind then and there: she was going to find Adrian.

Interview From The Writer’s Desk: Haven Agnelli

Haven Agnelli is a character I’ve been working on for a new five book series I’ve started working on. I found this really helpful for learning about her. And Bri is technically me with a name change. Hope you enjoy! 🙂 Note: If you follow my other blog, you may have noticed that I’ve changed this character’s name. Mostly the same character, just a different name.

———-

I sigh, crumple up another sheet of paper, and toss it on the ever growing stack. I grab another sheet, and a sting of pain grabs my finger. Paper cut. I hear a knock at my door. “Yes? Come in.”

My secretary pokes his head into my office. “Haven Agnelli is here, Bri.”

I smile. Finally. “Let her in, Benedict.” He nods and steps out. I prepare a sheet of paper and a pencil and put a small bandage on my finger. Maybe this interview will be helpful. I need to get the juices flowing.

A fairly tall teenage girl steps hesitantly into my office. Her smooth blond hair falls below her shoulders; it’s loose, no ponytail or anything. She has short bangs, just on the right, and her hair is parted to the right. She looks sweet and shy with her golden-brown eyes and soft face. Something about her face makes her look young, around fourteen, rather than her actual age of seventeen. She looks nervous, so I offer her an encouraging smile and motion her to the chair in front of my desk before scribbling down notes on her appearance.

I finish the notes with a flourish and turn to her. “I’m glad you could make it,” I tell her. “I think this interview will help me out a lot.”

She nods a little nervously. “No problem. I love helping others out.” Her voice is soft and somewhat musical.

I smile. “So I’ve heard,” I say, jotting down another note on my paper. I look up. “Well, let’s get started. Can you tell me about your family?”

Her face reddens slightly. “Not very much to tell, I’m afraid,” she says quietly. “My dad left when I was five, and my mom died when I was eight. I never had any siblings,” she adds. I nod as I start on another sheet of paper. “My aunt and uncle took care of me while their son was at boarding school, but after he came back, I took the back seat. I felt lonely, rejected, and alone. I was also often bored, so I started working on developing my Gift. When I turned thirteen, I left them to get my own job and so I could work on my Gift more. I still keep in touch with them, though.”

“What did you do after you left?” I ask, writing furiously.

Haven smiles. “I found a job at a bakery in a small town. The owner let me have a room at his house to live in, staying with him and his wife, and I was allowed to keep any leftover baked goods that didn’t sell. I gave those to the poor people that I served with my Gift. The poor people were my closest friends.”

“And what is your Gift?” I ask as I finish writing down her back story.

“I have the Gift of healing,” she replies. “I can’t bring people back from the dead, but I can heal injuries, wounds, sickness – even little things like headaches or nausea.”

“Remind me to call you next time I stub my toe.” I grin. She laughs, a soft, sweet sound, and I make a note of that before checking my question list. “All right, now we’re going to get to some of the harder questions. How would you honestly describe your personality?”

Haven frowns, thinking. “Well, I would say I’m definitely an introvert. I don’t do much voluntary socializing, and I don’t talk very much. I’m the kind of person who finds a quiet spot in a social setting to watch all the action from. So, basically, I’m shy and quiet, although friendly, kind people who take the time to talk to me can pull me out of my shell. But I must admit that I’m still quiet after that; it just becomes more of a, uh, thoughtful quiet, rather than a shy quiet, I guess.” Her brow wrinkles as she thinks. “Most people treat me like I’m fragile, and they worry about me, but I’m really fairly strong, emotionally and mentally, at least.”

“Are you a hard worker?” I ask.

She nods. “If someone sets me at a task, or if I see something that needs to be done, I’ll work hard at it. I’m not much of a leader, so I’d rather be following someone else’s instructions about what to do than telling others what to do.”

I smile. “I understand. Okay, now, here’s a pretty hard one. What are some of your faults, or bad habits?”

Haven makes a face. “Well, how many faults do you want? For one thing, I struggle with seeing myself as I really am. I’m getting better at it, but I still have trouble with focusing on my good characteristics instead of my bad ones. Sometimes, well, a lot of the time, I struggle with speaking up and sharing my thoughts or opinions with others. I feel unwanted and useless sometimes. And I have a fear of people disliking me or making fun of me. I’ve been working on taking my focus off of what others think of me, but it’s hard. Most of my faults are insecurities.”

I nod. “I think we all struggle with that. Anything else?”

“I’m sure there’s plenty more, but I can’t think of any right now,” Haven says.

I smile and add a note on my sheet. Humble. “Okay, what are some of your strengths and good points?”

She thinks for a minute. “Well,” she begins slowly, “I’ve learned a lot about human nature and motives and things like that. There’s not really that many,” she admits.

I laugh. “It’s okay, tell me all.” I underline the word humble.

Haven sighs. “Well, people sometimes say I’m generous and kind and compassionate. I have a heart for serving others, and I always try to be loyal and not hurt anyone’s feelings.”

I check the next question on my list. “Okay, last one. What is your Name, the one the King assigned to you?”

She smiles. “The Healer.”

I nod and write it down. “Thank you so much for the interview, Haven. It’s been very helpful, and it was so nice to get to know you.”

Haven smiles her shy smile. “You’re welcome. I’m so glad I could help you.” She reaches over and touches the bandage on my finger where I got the paper cut earlier, and then she leaves. I pull off the bandage and smile at my healed finger.