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Archive for the ‘Short Story’ Category
Posted in Comics, For Sale, Freelancing, Future, Micro Fiction, Novel, Short Story, Tax, Thoughts, Video Games, tagged Ascendant, comic books, dreams, For Sale, freelance, graphic novels, perfection, projects, reviewing video games, sale, video game reviews, Video Games, writing on January 27, 2008| Leave a Comment »
It’s been awhile since I’ve done anything with my WordPress blog. I’ve been so busy lately that my time on the computer is really only limited to working on projects and responding to email. I haven’t even gotten around to doing some of the things I’ve been meaning to do.Freelance Work
On Monday, I purchased the first game I’m reviewing and spent the last week playing through it, taking notes, and everything else needed to review it. I’m pretty satisfied with my review process but, like everything else, I’ll revise my method as I continue.
I spent a lot of my time this time around just taking notes on anything that popped up. I’ll revise that into a different approach for next time and note things in steps: Controls/Interface first, Story next, Graphics/Sound/Overall Polish last. Doing it this way will give me time to focus on the first thing you’ll notice when you play (besides graphics, which is how it plays), so on and so forth. We’ll see how that method works and revise it accordingly.
I feared that I wouldn’t have any time when I started doing freelance work but I find that there are more hours in my day than before. I think it’s mainly because I cut out all of the fat and stay focused on my projects, instead of drifting off and doing random things. I may be able to take on a few more freelance projects as I get further into freelancing as a career.
I’ve also been hard at work on my comic book series. I don’t know whether to say they’re comics or graphic novels or what have you but… visual storybook is too cumbersome. Whatever you want to call them, I’ve been devoting at least a far chunk of my time to writing.
Awhile back I decided to abandon writing out the panels and focus strictly on the dialogue. Once the dialogue is done, I’ll go back and do the panels. Thus far, Chapter 1 is complete and I’m taking a short break to let it mature. I’ll come back to it and revise what I’ve written and start fleshing out the panels the rest of the way.
This is definitely a story I’ll have to do in chunks, though, because of how large it is. I’d like to do 2 chapters per book (if it’s a graphic novel), as the first chapter in the arc will be the “gear up” and the second will be the climax. Either way, nothing will be set in stone or decided until I snag an artist interested in drawing for me… and that won’t happen until at least the second chapter is finished and ready to be paneled.
At the moment, I’m waiting on responses on “Ascendant Dream”, my first Crystalline Beauty novel. Until then, I’m not doing anything major with the series. Jen Lightfoot is working on Randel Gaylin’s portrait and I’m excited to see how that turns out. I might make some Emeraldwind wallpapers or icons.
I have a few short stories that I’m interested in writing and now that I’m done with the first chapter of the E.N.T.I.T.Y.O.X1 series, I’ll finish two of those before working on anything else. I’m pretty excited about them and I’m considering submitting them to magazines and podcasts, in the hopes of making a small bit of cash and getting some exposure. Of course, sharing the story is the ultimate ambition, but who wants to talk about that when FAME and FORTUNE are in the picture?
Other Real Life Matters
Taxes, taxes, taxes. I’m probably not getting as much back as I’d like to this year, unfortunately. I wasn’t really letting Uncle Sam have anymore than I’d let him take from me. I needed that money, and it helped us out a lot. I am excited about the rebate though. If it comes early enough, I might be able to start working on my office with some of the money.
I need to get around to actually selling this stuff that’s sitting in my storage area. I already photographed it and researched some of it… I just haven’t had any time to actually set up a craigslist listing for any of it. Not enough hours in the day and too many people/things that want my full attention for hours at a time. Maybe sometime this week I can whittle this list down without adding anything else to it.
Other than that, there’s not much else going on. Just trying to stay as productive as possible and not lose my mind. Well, I’m off to work on my review.
This was a story I revised for a contest. I wrote it circa 2000. Nothing has been changed since I revised it for the contest.
His breathing was clipped and slightly ragged as he recovered from the exhaustion of passion. Sweat trickled down the side of his face. The soft sheets beneath him drank it with thirst. His eyes gazed at the wrinkled body lying next to him. Her wrinkles matched nearly all of his own. His lips curled into a boyish smile, though his outer-layer betrayed his true age. He felt her pale hands against his chest, her fingers running over the gray silken hair curled together lay there. Her hands were a stark contrast against his skin; his dark wrinkles made her pale hands seem to glow in the darkness. He felt her warmth, her spirit, her love as they moved closer together underneath the single sheet.
His thumb brushed the white hair back from her eyes, stroking her cheek gently. He felt the sweat on her too, a pure sweat from passion, lust, and love. Her storm cloud colored eyes gazed up at him. Her spirit flared brightly inside them. His heart leapt in his chest when he saw it, when her aura combined with his own. All of their years together had brought them closer as lovers and friends. The fire in her eyes reminded him of the first time he had seen her. The very thought twitched the corners of his mouth into a tight smile.
Moonlight pulled itself over the windowsill, poking its head into the room, and watched the two. Her back was to it, but his face was revealed in the light. He pulled her close, his arms wrapping around her, her own clinging to him. Their legs intertwined with the passion of the experience. Their love had been shared in the most intimate of ways, shared in the way they chosen never to share with another. They were together, for all time, and no one could take that from them.
She trembled. He knew why. All of the obstacles they had overcome, the hatred, the separations, the misunderstandings, all of them had been obstacles that should have torn them apart. But they endured. They fought. They lived, loved, and learned. They stood side by side against the staunchest opponents, never once flinching or faltering. And in the end they had won. He rubbed her back, thinking of the first time that he had comforted her. She cried, he soothed. And there had been many times his tears stained her shoulder and her hands relieved his burdens. Their devotion kept them strong. They truly were truly bonded.
Life had been full of challenges. Yet their love moved them through any obstacle. He combed his fingers through her hair, watching her with his dark eyes. She sighed in content, pressing harder against him, the moonlight tickling her face with its fingers. Their hearts beat in sync, the echo of emotion permeating throughout the room.
“I love you.” Her voice was small and sweet, filled with a hint of soft summer breezes. Her eyes watched him. Silvery tears glistened at the corners. He pulled her closer, feeling her warmth and love wrap tenderly around him.
“I love you too, angel.” She put her head to his chest and he combed his dark fingers through her hair. The moonlight’s gentle fingers entwined them in its loving grasp and the breeze blew through the open window, enveloping the room in a refreshing coolness.
They had endeavored their entire lives to do all the things that they had set out to do: raise a happy, loving family and acquire the key to happiness. They had completed both. Even in their twilight years happiness was theirs. Even in peaceful bliss of each others arms after a passionate night. Even then they accomplished all they set out to do.
He watched her glistening eyes and kissed her brow as she smiled. He waited for so many years, through untold hardships to be one with her. And she had done the same, enduring everything with equal ferocity and determination as he. And now they were one, a singular vessel of finality.
Watching her, he smiled and told her again of his love before his eyes closed. He knew hers had as well. The last thing he saw, the last image in his mind as he lay with her in his arms and he in her arms, was her eyes, with the ever-present beautiful soul burning in them. And then they drifted off to sleep as one, lying snuggled together under a single sheet with the moon throwing its luminescent fingers hands their bodies.
Their daughter came to visit them in the morning and unlocked the door. Nothing was cooking and the television wasn’t on. She went to the kitchen and called for them, opening up some of the windows to let fresh air into the house. She checked the coffee pot. Nothing was in it. Her father, though having not drank coffee for most of his life, had just recently needed the caffeine boost to wake him up in the morning. And if the coffee wasn’t brewed, it meant they were still asleep. She half laughed to herself. Her mother and father never slept passed 11 o’clock. She headed to the bedroom.
When her amber eyes took them in, she gasped. She gasped, not out of disgust, not out of the vulgar display, but out of fear. She knew. She choked back a sob. She knew. Railing against her self-control, tears rolled down her cheeks. They lay together, naked, with only a white sheet over them. Their eyes were closed and they faced each other, cradled in one another’s arms. Sleeping peacefully, she knew.
She had been raised to understand sacrifice, to comprehend an archaic gesture that it was said only the greatest of men could make. She had seen it in her parents. The way their eyes looked at each other and their mouths whispered each other’s names. She remembered vividly the way her father watched her mother reading to her when she was only five. She remembered the way her mother smiled when her father tried to teach her how to play guitar. She remembered the way her father would take her into his studio, show her how everything worked, and let her listen to what he was working on. She remembered fondly how her mother would take her into her lap as she worked on the computer, telling her all about the stories she wrote.
She always marveled at the way her father was able to give her mother something new every week and how her mother was always taken by honest surprise and wonder. She fantasized about her own husband doing the things her father had done for her mother and the joy that would fill her own heart.
But she remembered most of all how they felt about one another. How her father would whisper and say the sweetest things to her mother and how her mother would make special knick-knacks for the sake of giving them to her father. And how her father treasured those special heart-given things.
She knew this was the way they would pass; resting in each other’s arms for all time. The tears fell away but not in sadness. There was only the happy clarity of understanding as she watched them lying cuddled together in the center of the vast bed. She smiled and slowly walked to the side of the bed. And she leaned over first kissing her mother’s forehead and then her father’s. She pulled the sheet up to their shoulders and smiled sweetly at both of them.
“I love you mom and dad. You two get some sleep now.” And then she walked out slowly, closing the door behind her, leaving them to sleep in each other’s arms for all time.
I really hate being sick. I don’t feel like I can do anything when I am. I haven’t been able to work on my comics or my novels in the last couple of days because I can’t actually function. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow. In the meantime, I decided to throw up an excerpt from my first novel Ascendant Dream. I posted this once before, on my Livejournal account, but it was the unedited version. This is the version sent along to agents.
His ears swiveled as he lifted his head from his paws. It was a distinct whistle, with a trace of magic that made his fur stand on end and the back of his neck tremble with anticipation. He could feel the warm body beside him, sleeping a deep contented sleep. His eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness. There were eleven other little bodies, all in various positions, lying about, all sleeping. His paws tingled as he lifted himself to his feet and swayed. He dug his claws into the rock floor and arced his back in a stretch. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a tiny head lift and stare in his direction. Two eyes watched him, one blue and one violet. It was the youngest of all the children.”Daddy?” Her voice was tiny and meek. She was the runt, his baby. And yet still, her brothers and sisters treated her with such warmth and respect, that she was never regarded as the runt.”Go back to sleep, Lilianne,” he replied, padding to the entrance of their cavern home. From his vantage point, he could see the rocky slopes. Distant dark spots moved on a trail far beneath them. Gonthuns. Already the sun was high in the sky and the day was moving ahead briskly.”Do you have to leave again?” The little one came forward to stand with her father at the entrance of the cave, her tiny frame dwarfed by his massive build. “Did she call for you?”
“She did.” The traces of magic were still tingling up and down his spine. “You must go back to sleep, little one. It’s not time for you to wake yet.”
“I don’t want you to go, daddy. I don’t want you to answer her this time.” Lilianne frowned up at her father. She nuzzled his leg with her cold nose. “She always takes you away from us.”
He sat back on his haunches and stared at the world. It was his home, the place he would fight to protect. His eyes traveled to the little girl seated next to him. If need be, he would even die for his family. His heart was heavy at the prospect of leaving them, but he knew the bond would carry him to her side. It was part of the vow. He spoke softly, so he wouldn’t wake the others. “I know you do not understand it now but one day you will. I answer her because she has lost nearly everything and yet she fights to preserve what little she has. She fights to protect our way of life and our family. She fights so that we may be happy.”
“So you answer her because you want to help?”
He smiled a little smile that he saved only for the youngest and she giggled and pushed her head against him.
Lilianne sighed against him. It was obvious she had enjoyed the time with him since he had been back. But now that the call had come across the link, he was destined to answer it. In resignation, she headed back to her bed but not before turning around one last time. “Come back to me, daddy. I miss you when you’re gone.”
“I miss you too, little one.” He sent kisses back to her and watched as she curled up next to one of her bigger brothers and closed her beautiful multi-colored eyes. He faced the world again. The bond was making him tremble. Wind Phoenix took a deep breath and dashed out into the day with the wind whipping passed him and the bond urging him forward.
In that eternity with her I stayed and like no other time that my mind could remember, I was happy. I was whole. I was one. We spun in that field for hours, not saying a word, letting the music surround us, lost in its beauty, its majesty. And as the moon set, her light fading behind the tops of the trees, our dance ended and we parted. With a kiss to her fingers, she pressed the ends to my lips, stepping away from me, into the trees. The sun rose, letting soft glowing fingers creep along the field, the tree tops, me. And I watched where she had disappeared. And then I turned, and stepped back where I had been…
My eyes opened and I sat up to look around my dark room. There was nothing but the slitted light coming from partly opened shades on the window. But there was a feeling there now that had not been there before. A craving. A yearning. Something I had not felt in years. Something, I knew, that was my true center. And I pulled it, twisted it, caressed it. Wanting to know, I came fully awake, reaching for my notebook. And I let the ink spill from my pen, and I let my thoughts spill from my mind. And, I knew, what I had found. I had found the truth of what I am. And I let it free, let it transcribe between the hollow blue lines on the paper. And when I finished, I looked at what had become. And I came to find it was more than I had truly known before. It was my center, my all, my everything. And when I looked outside my window, between the slits, she stared down at me from the moon. And she smiled. I had returned to her… and she was always inside of me.
Note: This was originally submitted for a contest. It hasn’t been edited beyond what was submitted. Originally inspired by a Coheed and Cambria song. Later re-written to take out all references to said song.
Randall walked the road in silence. His violet eyes stared intently at the horizon spreading before him but he still couldn’t see the great armies that he knew had amassed just beyond his sight. Their numbers were said to drench the very land itself with black bodies. Such implications filled his mind with the most horrible images he could conjuror. He swallowed and released a heavy breath. There was still time. By the light, he still had time.
Frightened eyes watched him from behind the towering gates of the great city, the last bastion of majesty in the fallen kingdom. His heart sank in his chest like a great weight. Every pair of eyes stared at him with hope. They had offered solemn prayers, tokens of thanks, and kind words on his journey. They had steeled his will to an act he knew would either liberate or damn them. It hadn’t mattered that because of him they had found themselves in the terrifying situation his people now faced. It hadn’t mattered that he had unknowingly released a plague that had taken most of the kingdom’s populace while they slept. He was their savior. Their eyes echoed that sentiment.
Randall found his eyes darting amongst the faces in search of the one that buoyed his spirits. There she stood near the front in all her youthful wonder with her arms stretching toward him and her bottom lip tucked squarely between her teeth. Tears glistened at the corners of her eyes. He sucked in sharply. If there was anything that gave his noble mission pause, it was the thought of her. It was because of her that he had taken all the chances he had, hoping desperately to prevent her death as she lay wasting away in his arms. He had succeeded, of course, but at what cost? Randall smiled. She returned it in kind. At the cost of her beautiful smile; his sweet little Annalina. With iron resolve hammering in his chest, Randall turned to the tower of Fal’thorn spiraling above him, the very tower from which all of their problems had begun and from which he hoped to end them.
Randall pulled the door to the temple open and ascended the stairs inside to the top. As he passed a stained glass window, he heard distant quaking. When the circling staircase afforded him a look at the horizon, he saw the rumors were indeed true. The armies marched across rolling hills, blackening the ground as if it were a living mass coming to trample his people. Roaring flames erupted from the mass, demonic magic hungry for blood. Randall stood transfixed with terror. It had been he who called them into being with his selfishness. He faced the stairs. He had to hurry; for his people and the little girl that called him father.
He took the stairs two at a time, never again pausing to look out the windows. He had lost too much time staring at what faced him. The armies came.
Randall reached the summit and turned to the horizon. With the mountains far to the south enclosing the kingdom, he finally saw the full extent of the army. There was no unsoiled ground beneath its withering mass, moving as one slow being towards them. He swallowed a shiver back down his spine. Before turning away, he stared into the distant mountains where the daemon lords would be patiently waiting as their armies marched. It was there he would direct his anger.
Regret sat in his throat. He had meant to save her, to save his people from a fate worst than mere mortal death, but had instead doomed them to walk as nothing more than ghostly after images of their earthly selves. Even after he had found a way to pull the plague from the lands, he had delivered them into the hands of a menace they had banished thousands of years before; now those exiled lords sought to reclaim what had once been theirs. The tower of Fal’thorn stood as the symbol of that past struggle.
People in the city stared up at him. His eyes danced around in search of Annalina, whom he spotted with her arms outstretched reaching up to him. She mouthed his name. For her he would succeed.
Randall turned to the center of the tower and held his arms aloft. Soft white light pulsated between his palms as his fingers wove around it, growing it as its soft colors turned his purple robes lavender. Staring out at the black armies closing in on them, Randall lifted his arms into the air and sent the ball into the heavens. The ring of steel and murderous chants of daemons finally graced his ears. They were close.
There was only one way he knew to rid his lands of the daemons that now encroached on his people. Not a trace of apprehension pounded with his heart. For her, he would succeed.
Randall’s eyes turned to the heavens as he watched them open. Clouds swirled around silken white light that fell from their midst and bathed the tower. In that light, free of fear, hatred, guilt, and apprehension, he felt only love. He poured that love into the heavens. The people below gasped and held their collective breath in wonderment. Randall’s feet left the ground and he held out his arms as the light pulled him closer. In that moment, Randall gave his ultimate sacrifice.
The light erupted into flames. Randall’s bliss turned into deadly vengeance. The heavens shuddered with a crash. Snaking tendrils of righteous justice seized his heart. In its wake the tower beneath him shuddered violently. The stained glass windows shattered with a roar and each brick moaned and crumbled with the fury of heaven’s blast.
The living flames consumed Randall. Shaking, he splayed his hands out to his sides and screamed before the roar of the fire drowned him out. “Annalina, watch over me!”
The tower exploded in a flash of glory. Chunks of stone skittered across the ground. He felt the fires changing him, reforming his body into their living messenger. He shivered, calling out to Annalina again. “Annalina, watch over me!”
Randall gestured, his unabated hatred directed at the dark mass below him. “I have come as only the heavens are able to give, reformed!”
He pointed. A long tendril of flame and smoke followed his burning arm’s movements. His voice thundered with anger. He could think only of little Annalina behind the gates and the murderous deeds the daemons would have done to her. “For the deeds you have done, Heaven’s message is clear.” He screamed. “I will kill you all!”
Randall rushed to the ground towards the army with the righteous fire of heaven behind him, scorching the ground for miles in either direction. He had but one thought: death. As he struck the front of the army, he heard the howls. He need not look to see them fall. For miles they dropped from the wall of heavenly vengeance sweeping out behind him, smoking, still. He drove further into the heart of the army, felling everything across the field. He knew what they would have done to his people. His sacrifice would be salvation.
Randall screamed as he roared passed the hills and valleys that held the army, into the encampment of daemon lords. All five stood watching, resolutely challenging him with lifeless eyes. They spread their black wings in contention. Randall didn’t wait for them to prepare. He plummeted into them, twisted their already crooked forms with his fire, and cleaved their hearts, pushing their souls back into the nether abyss from which they had come. The thought of Annalina encompassed him.
Randall raced back towards the city, watching his fires consume what remained of the armies. The heavens again opened with their light as he neared the smoking rubble of what once signified the sacred tower. They extinguished the fury undulating his body and wrapped him in a white shroud. The light pulled him closer to the heavens from which he had beseeched help and guidance. In his sacrifice, he had given everything he had: his life.
As he rose, he looked into the city and saw Annalina standing with her arms outstretched pleading for him. Randall answered her with his own. He watched as Annalina’s feet left the ground and her tiny body began floating towards him. She wiggled free from those trying to grasp her and ascended towards him. Randall encircled her with his arms and held her against his breast. Annalina smiled at him and gave him a kiss on his cheek. Her tiny voice whispered a word of thanks to him. Randall smiled into the light as it bathed the two of them before they disappeared through the clouds.