The Boy Who Cried…

I’m still working on Chapter 24 but I’ve decided to post an excerpt from the book. This is from early in the book and is the first appearance of the main protagonist. Comments are always welcome.

A key hung from a shoestring, and the shoestring hung loosely from the neck of a small boy. He fiddled with it, struggling to pull it from underneath his shirt and place it into the front door. He was sniveling; remnants of tears could be seen along either side of his face, along with a large welt stained across his right cheek, it would turn dark purple by tomorrow. A school yard fight, with a school yard bully was the source behind his unusually frantic disposition. He was usually a happy and joyful child, but this had been his first fight, ever. He was eight.
            He knew his mother would be upset that he had been fighting, but truthfully it wasn’t his fault. Nick Abernathy had followed him half-way home from school, teasing him about his father. He was dead. But Nick said he was probably just a “dead beat” who ran out on him and his mother, and she probably just made up the story about him being dead because it was better than admitting he and abandoned them. He tried explaining to Nick – along with the small group that had gathered to watch his persecution – that his father was a hero who had died bravely as a U.S. soldier. A hero who had died protecting everyone and everything that he loved. A hero like in his comic books, a hero like Powerman, or the Olympian. Nick and the other kids laughed at this explanation, then Nick pushed him… so he punched Nick, and our small boy fought for the first time, and he lost.
            The key served its purpose, there was a catch and a loud click as the door unlocked, and the sobbing young fighter made his way inside.
            “Mom!” he called out, but received no response. The house was dark, the curtains drawn over the windows, blocking out the afternoon sun. He darted to the bathroom, making a futile attempt to clean himself up. He splashed water on his face, ran a cold towel across his eyes and took a deep breath, all in the hopes the he could wipe away the smell, look and shaky nerves of a fresh fight. None of it worked, not even in the slightest.
            He crept slowly into his mother’s room, opting to get a jump on explaining himself first, before she found out what happened by some other ‘unscrupulous’ means. Her room was just as dark as the rest of the house, perhaps even more so.
            “Mom?” he called out again, his voice already prepped for pity. She still didn’t answer. She lay in her bed, her back to him, apparently sound asleep. It was odd, she never slept during the middle of the day, and her room – which usually carried the delicately sweet scent of roses and wildflowers – filled his small nose with the strong and pungent odor of what he thought to be rotten eggs, in actuality it was sulfur; specifically it was brimstone. He stepped forward, and at that moment a bright yellow butterfly fluttered from his mother’s bed, landed on his open, awaiting hand then floated silently out of the room. His heart sank and immediately he knew something was wrong. He ran to his mother’s side.
            “Mom? Mom wake up!” she didn’t respond.
            “Mom!” he shook her shoulder. “Mom wake up please!”
            Nothing.
            “Mom you have to wake up now! Please mom, wake up!” Hot, wet tears began to streak down his face once again. “Mom please wake up! Don’t – please I’m sorry, don’t leave me!” by now he was screaming his face wet with tears, his nose runny and red; he struggled to catch his breath between pleas of desperation.
            “Mom please, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m… so, so sorry.” He buried his face into her chest and neck, she was still warm, she stilled smelled of roses and wildflowers. He inhaled the sweet aroma, taking in long lungfuls, desperate to breathe in as much of her as he could before the rotten stench of sulfur and pain pushed her out of his memories.
            “Mom?” he called out again, this time more gently, less hysterically as if his overactive emotions were what kept her quite. But still she didn’t reply, she simply lay motionless, lifeless, her beautiful brown face frozen in the last expression she would ever wear, a peaceful and serene smile, now stained with his tears and phlegm.
            Nate,” whispered a hushed little voice from out of the darkness of the room. It sounded slightly like a small child, probably no older than the boy himself.Nate can you hear me?
            “Wh-Who is that, who’s there?” he sobbed.
           It’s ok, I’m a friend.”The voice replied.
            “Why can’t I see you?! Where are you?”
           There’s no need for you to see me, at least not right now, but I’m here, I’m with you now, that’s all that matter.
            “Well if you’re a friend then help me, my mom is hurt, o-o-or she’s sick, she needs to go to the hospital.”
           No Nate… she doesn’t, I’m sorry but it’s too late. She’s gone.
            “NO! You’re lying! She’s not gone, she’s not! She wouldn’t leave me here, she wouldn’t leave alone like this, she wouldn’t  I know she wouldn’t ..” Nate clenched tightly to his mother, crying frantically into her shoulder.
            Nate I’m sorry, it’s true. But you don’t have to be afraid, you’re not alone, you’ll never be alone. I’m here –
            “Shut up! Get away from me! Leave me alone! I don’t need you! I don’t need anybody… WE don’t need anybody, get away… get away.” Nate held on, sobbing and panting, determined not to let anyone pull him away.
            Nate… you have to leave… it’s time – it’s time for us to go.
            “No!” he sobbed.
           It’s too late, I’m sorry… we’re already gone… its already over… besides, you have a job interview in 3 hours.
            “What?!”
            Nate awoke covered in a cold damp sweat. Sunlight peered in through his bedroom window. He checked his alarm clock. 6:58 a.m. It was scheduled to go off in 2 minutes. He had his first job interview since graduating college at 10 a.m.
            “It’s going to be a long f***ing day.” He mumbled to himself, no one replied.
***

Fear is an Illusion

Fear is an illusion, a fancy trick crafted by the mind in an attempt to protect you from a failure that could never exist if you eliminate those fears and go forward.

Fear is an illusion, a psychological side effect of one’s most basic and primal instinct for survival. It  is a means to an end, a metaphorical trigger to a very simple two part FIGHT or FLIGHT response system, and since we all know men do not fly, you are now left with but one option.

Fear is an illusion. It is not a sign of weakness. It is not a sign of cowardice. It is not a sign of anything. It is a nonexistent apparition in a realm of make-believe. It is a dream, non-contextual, without merit, and often forgotten before it can even be truly understood. Fear is not real, it is an impulse. It is the action taken afterwards that is real. The action or the inaction, the victory or the surrender, the awe inspiring, death defying, dream commanding, illusion shattering leap that follows, or the long silent walk home that is real.

But the Fear is just an illusion, a means to an end, a trick of the mind, an impulse, a dream. The Fear is not real. You are.

Back from The Land of No Return.

I’M ALIIIIIIIIIIVE!
And i’m a horrible blogger! Yes, I have been missing for forever and no I haven’t did anything I said I would do up to this point. Thank you for reminding me.

But do you know what? I’m not going to make excuses, but I will apologize.

I’m sorry.

There. You happy? Well good. Now wipe that smug look off of your face and let’s get back to work. We have a book to finish.

Chapter 23 is done, we’re moving on to chapter 24!

Let’s do it,

Lefty

A Writer’s Greatest Foe

Self-doubt is the greatest enemy of any writer, greater than any critic, any naysayer, any editor, any nit-picky reader, any grammar fanatic, any Nazi spellchecker, any publisher, literary agent, or pessimistic friend. Self-doubt will crush an author before an author can even become an author.

Self-doubt is the mind-killer. Self-doubt is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my Self-doubt. I will permit it to pass over and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the self-doubt has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Okay so that last part is actually “The Litany against Fear” from Dune. I just took out the word fear and replaced it with the word Self-doubt. I stole it, so what. My point remains.

The biggest thing for any writer to overcome are his/her own doubts, fears and self imposed limitations. I know for me personally this hindrance has at times seemed insurmountable. “What you’re writing is no good, your plot is weak (full of holes) and your characters flat (not to mention dumb), you’d be better off stopping now and saving what little dignity you have left.” And yep I know what you’re thinking, my voice of doubt is a real dick, and your right, but that’s how Self-doubt rolls. It gets under your skin and its hard to shake, but you have to shake it, because the truth of the matter is you have nothing to lose.

Self-doubt is a defense mechanism, intended to save you from embarrassment or rejection or whatever you’re afraid will or won’t happen once you’re done, but what you have to realize, and what I have to constantly remind myself  is that no matter what happens once you’ve written the last word or punctuated the last mark, the sun is still going to come up the next day. The world is not going to end. Time is not going to stop. You are not going to die if you don’t get published.

Worst case scenario is you don’t get published, you don’t get the hundred thousand dollar book deal, you don’t get picked up by some big shot Hollywood producer, and you never get that million dollar movie deal. So what, in the end, IF the worst case scenario does happen, you’re no worse off than you are now, but at least you can say you wrote a book.

So keep writing, show self-doubt who’s boss!

Till next time,

Lefty

Look what the cat blew in…

Well, well, well.
Look what the cat blew in…

Yep yep its me, and yes I did go missing for the entire month of February without a single post. But alas all is well and I have a doctor’s note, so no points will be deducted.

Anyway, Big news! I’ve been holding out on you guys but now the time has arrived for me to announce, I’m having a baby! Yes sir a bouncing baby boy, due in about three months. Cuban cigars for everyone!

Now that’s what’s written on my doctor’s excuse, but that’s not what’s has kept me from blogging, no the culprit is SWTOR, that’s (Star War: The Old Republic for those of you who don’t speak Geek) I’m a level 23 Sith Warrior Juggernaut on The Ebon Hawk server, in case anyone plays.

Alright now that I’ve thoroughly humiliated myself, back to business.

The writing is coming along, slowly but surely. Timeline has been pushed back, so I won’t finish in April as originally planned, and I hate that, but I don’t want to rush and lower the quality of the writing, while in the same breath I can’t let the project stretch out into forever, so I’m extending the deadline to May 29th.

Yeah, that works, May 29th, a date with Destiny…

Til next time,

Lefty

P.S.
About the title, the other night me and my wife argued for about 15 minutes about the old proverb
“You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”
My wife was convinced that it was “you can catch more bees with honey”, primarily because she didn’t understand why anyone would want to catch flies, but my point was bees make honey, so why would they want yours if they have their own, and besides if no one wants flies I’m sure they don’t want bees either, heck, flies buzz, but bees buzz and sting. Most people would take a random fly in the house over a rouge bee any day of the week. When you see a fly, you just cover your food when you see a bee, you take cover.
Anyway, it goes without saying that I lost that argument, but still I thought the incorrect phrasing of “Look what the cat blew in”(should be Look what the cat dragged in, or Look what the wind blew in) would be a nice inside joke.

Congratulations, you’re inside.

Now catch that bee before it kills us all.

Lefty. Out.

UMWP #1 Planet of the Apes- New World Order

Its January and it’s time for me to drop my first Unique Monthly Writing Project, for the blog. Now these will be monthly post that contain a short story, a portion of a short story or perhaps just a writing project idea. Totally open to critiquing and feedback.  This is basically an exercise to keep my writing sharp and allow you to follow along as my writing style develops and advances.

 This first UMWP is I guess what you would consider fan fic, or more precisely it’s spin off fiction. It’s set in the Planet of the Apes Universe, only a few thousand generations apart from any of the movies. Bottom line is I’m a big POA fan and decided to drop a character of my own into the world just to see how either of us would fare. Read it, enjoy it and let’s say if I get enough request via the comments, I’ll write and release Episode 2.

Enjoy!

Lefty

POA- New World Order

Episode 1: Sweat, Blood and Tears

I woke up with the distinctively irritating feeling of sand in my mouth. Sand and blood, the two formed a horrible combination when mixed, and also an overwhelming feeling of nausea when you had no idea where either of them had come from. I managed to pull myself up to my feet. At a complete lost for where I was, or how I had gotten there, I did the only thing I could think to do, and begin to walk toward the setting sun.

From the inside all deserts look the same. My mind scrambled trying to remember or recall, which one I currently in. The Sahara, the Mojave, the Gobi; was I dropped out of a plane, did I escape from some remote facility, did I just randomly pop out of the sand? I had no history, no memories, nothing. Amnesia in the truest sense, and it sucked. Then again I couldn’t even faithfully call it amnesia, as far as I knew 20 minutes ago I didn’t even exist. To have amnesia you have to at least have a past, you just don’t remember what it is, but when you’ve just popped up out of the sand, you don’t have a past. You’re just there.

I checked my person for equipment or even clues as to my identity. Heavy duty standard issue work pants, made from a chemically treated fabric, a cotton polyester blend, tough enough to offer me ample protection from the elements without stifling or restricting my movement. They were apparently designed for such conditions. How I knew this, I had no idea. Perhaps I was a tailor in a past life, either way the pockets were empty and I was still, in a word, clueless. I was wearing a matching jacket made from the same technologically advanced material, and though the heat beamed, I zipped up the jacket. Protection from the sun and sand was more important than a little sweat.

My feet sank deep into the shifting sand with every step. I stumbled, I’m not afraid to admit, over dune after dune with no particular destination in mind.

After walking for what seemed like hours, I could see, what I assumed to be, a group of crudely constructed buildings in the far distance. My excitement grew as the buildings turned out to be actual solid objects and not simply symptoms of my oncoming madness from the extended exposure to the sweltering heat and complete lack of water. I picked up my speed and by the time the falling sun begin to touch the horizon; I was closing in on what looked to be some type of abandoned village in the middle of nowhere. The collision of the Sun and Earth turned the world a brilliant color orange, setting the tone for the ominous showdown that was about to in sue.

By the time I hit the empty village the unbearable heat had done a complete 180 degree turn and had suddenly become mind numbingly cold, the only feeling of consistency was my unwavering thirst, that, and the translucent orange tint that covered everything visible to the naked eye as the sun sank deeper behind the strange planet’s distant curving peak. I entered the ghost town in a frenzy. I stumbled clumsily through the dirt and grit of the small plot of civilization that someone, at some point in time, had probably considered a town. The scene was indeed desolate, to say the least. The air smelled heavily of abandonment, the buildings and city structures showed multiple signs of neglect. It seemed to not have been populated by a living soul in years, perhaps decades, there was no real way for me to know, but in my current state, It was safe to say I didn’t care. Banging on the first door I came across, I began frantically calling out for help and begging some unseen Samaritan for water. Though in my heart, I knew I truly expected no one to answer my call. More than anything I believe I was screaming only to say, once I died, that I did indeed fight desperately for my own survival. Sad I know.

I reached for the door handle of a small shabby hovel of wood and stone, only to find it tightly locked. This surprised me, and against my better judgment a small glimmer of hope sparked from deep within my stomach. If someone thought to lock the door than that meant that that same someone had to be inside. I pressed my face against the smooth wood, it was warm! I heard the sound of shuffling feet on the other side, someone was there!

“Hey!” My voice cracked and trembled as my throat screamed for some type of moisture. “Is anybody there?! I-I was out in the desert; I just need some water, maybe something to eat! I-I-I can pay! Please, I have money!” I lied. I reached into my pockets to find nothing but lint, my main goal was to get that door open, the details, I figured, could be worked out after I avoided dying of thirst, hunger or hypothermia.

I begin to bang even harder. My life depended on it. “Hey! Open this door, are you going to let me freaking die out here! I’m asking you for help”

“Please,” a soft whimper came from the other side of the closed door. “Please go away, we can’t help you.”

“Is someone there?” the sound of another voice calmed by frantic pounding and yelling, it wasn’t until hearing the comfort of another sentient life form that I realized how lonely and afraid I had been, and now, how absolutely crazy I must have sounded. “Please, please, please I understand. I just need some water. I woke up in the desert alone, I’ve been walking for hours, just some water please that’s all I ask then I’ll leave you alone.”

The voice on the other side went quite, the shuffling stopped. Perhaps a few seconds passed without a single sound from the other side of the door. I begin to wonder if I had imagined the shuffling, imagined the voice, I begin to panic, the feeling of dread and loneliness begin to set back in. The only thing worst then dying of thirst and starvation in the middle of nowhere is going insane before dying of thirst and starvation in the middle of nowhere. I began beating on the door again, determined to make the phantom voice appear once again. “Hey! Hey!” I screamed as loud as my voice would allow. “Are you still in there?”

“Please,” the phantom voice returned even softer than before “You have to be quiet, if I give you water do you promise to leave”

“Yes” I responded without hesitation. Hell, at that point I would have agreed to anything, anything for the promise of water and to keep the voice from disappearing again. “I’ll leave, I promise just please, please give me some water.”

“Sister, no!” another voice from behind emerged.

“Be quiet, if he keeps banging and screaming he’ll attract them for sure, this is the only way.”

It wasn’t until I heard the other voice, which sounded distinctly like that of a young boy, that I was able to fully appreciate the gentleness and femininity of the phantom voice. It was a soothing and mellow sound, and for a moment I allowed its rhythmic melody to dance in my mind, focusing more on its beauty, as oppose to the actual words. As it turns out I should have been a lot more focused on the “them” and finding out exactly why they were so hell bent on not “attracting” their attention. Regretfully now I admit, I did not.

Once again the shuffling stopped. The locks on the door began to unlatch themselves, slowly the door crept open, I breathed a sigh of relief, followed quickly and swiftly by a gasp of complete and utter horror.

The door opened slightly only to reveal an Ape standing behind it, slightly peeking out from around the edge of the door. And then, right before I could even let out a girlish scream of absolute terror, it spoke.

“Well, what are you waiting for come in!” She spoke in a horsed whisper. She? It was her, the phantom voice was the ape girl. The room began to spin, maybe it was the sudden drop in temperature, the lack of water, whatever extenuating circumstance that brought me to the twilight zone, but my fragile mind had reached its breaking point, and right before my mind passed into absolute oblivion, I managed to choke out the words

“You’re a monkey.” And with that I begin a face first descent into the hard cold wooden floor of the doorway, and passed out before I hit the ground.

To Be Continued…

It’s a New Day! 2012

It’s a new year, which means new opportunities , new goals and a whole heap of work to do, both new and old.

Personally I’m excited about it. I have my current project to finish, and then I have two more waiting in the wings to get started, not to mention the long hard road of publishing my currently un finished project.

Whew! Even just thinking about the task ahead is overwhelming, but nothing worth accomplishing is ever easy. (what would be the fun in that.) Nope, it won’t be the easy route for me this year, setting some ambitious goals for myself.

First up, finish my current writing project (currently on chapter 19 of a projected 32) by April, and then move into the publishing phase.

Second, immediately upon finishing project 1, start project 2 and finish it by December 2012, (before the world ends) and then submit that to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Writers Competition.

Third, maintain and grow this blog by posting a unique writing short at least once a month. Aside from that I have a life outside of writing to maintain, like a wife, a job, something else that I have still yet to mention in specifics (Mhuahahahahahahaha) and a lot of Call of Duty Mordern Warfare 3 to play (I’m prestige 1 1, class 25) All in all, it’s looking like a good year ahead!

Till next time,

Lefty

P.S. what are some of your writing goals for 2012? Feel free to post them in the comment section.