Category Archives: Writing

November

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The co-hosts today are: Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

Click on the link above for the IWSG to get more information about the group and what is the latest goings on.

Each month on Wednesday you can join in and there is an optional question prompt provided. The question for November:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I have not participated in NaNoWriMo which, for those who may not know, is where people participate in a challenge to write an entire novel in a month. Knowing myself, this is something I would not want to do. Good luck to all the members of IWSG who are participating.

That leaves us wondering what are we going to do with the month of November if we are not choosing to spend it writing a novel. Well life goes on and I will be celebrating my first grandson’s 1st  birthday. I will get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. This includes making a turkey dinner. I will continue to read some good books and watch some good movies. November begins with Samhain which has been thought of as the beginning of the dark months of winter in Celtic history. Winter is a time to draw in and conserve energy. I am drawn to slowing down. And there is the next WEP December Challenge coming up soon enough.

A flashback? A new start? A cascading change? A branching off point? An end and a beginning? Celebrate year’s end with us!


Featured image ‘Autumn’ by KreativeHexnkueche on Pixabay.com

The Prophesy

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” Frank Lloyd Wright

The scientists called their experiment Juvenis. It was to prolong youth and delay aging by altering the genes with help of a virus. It resulted in damage to the germ line that was passed on to future generations and doomed their people to a shortened lifespan. All efforts to reverse the Juvenis Effect had failed. The Olders had been brought through the portal from Earth because they were believed to be genetic descendants.  The scientists were hopeful that the short life span of 30 years could be extended with gene splicing using the Erde DNA. They did not realize there could be more natural ways for the DNA to combine.

“How could I be pregnant at my age?” Sarah asked Nephele, the Council leader. “I was 55 and I had already gone through menopause when I came through the portal from Earth.”

“A plant blooms every Spring on Ortus called the Torrach. It releases a chemical into the air that promotes fertility.  Many women become pregnant during the Spring Festival,” Nephele answered.

“I would never have casual sex with a stranger but the ceremonial wine had a powerful effect. It has clouded much of my memory of that night,” Sarah added as she remembered the face of the young Ortusun male.

“The wine contained a herb that we use during our Spring Festival celebration to heighten our senses. We did not realize it is would affect you in this way. It caused you to become intoxicated and to lose control. You had already mated before we realized what happened.”

Will my child be affected by the damaged genes?” asked Sarah.

“Our tests show that your fetuses do not have the defective gene, ” Nephele replied.

“Fetuses, you said fetuses.”

“You are carrying twins, Sarah.”

Sarah sat in stunned silence. Twins?

Sarah had never had children and never thought she wanted any. She noticed she did feel differently since finding herself pregnant. She felt curious about the unborn child. She had started creating sculptures of children. Sarah knew this was her way of imagining what her child would look like. But now it was not one child, but two. Twins.

“These children are very special to us. Their birth was prophesied in our legends and they show us that your DNA can reverse the Juvenis Effect.”

“What is the prophesy ?” Sarah asked.

“There is an ancient prophecy that foretold of an Erde woman who would give birth, in her later years, to twins who would become great leaders. These twins would have unusual powers. Their arrival would be heralded by the appearance of a twin nebula in our night sky. As you know the twin nebula has recently been sighted.”

“What kind of powers?” Sarah asked.

“That information has been lost in the long ago times,” Nephele replied.

The news of the twins conception was not welcomed by everyone. There were those who denounced the blending of Ortusun and Erde DNA. They did not believe that the Olders could be genetically related to Ortusuns as the rulers claimed.

Sarah went into labor on the night of the full moon of Coerulus Magnus, the larger of the two moons of Ortus.  Sarah knew what she wanted to name the twins. She would call them Alexander and Merial.

planet-fantasy-2 public doman.net

Nephele was one of Sarah’s first visitors. “I am happy to see you and the twins doing well, Sarah. I want you to know that you and the children will be protected. We have taken the precaution of implanting security chips in both of them in case of any attempts are made to abduct them”.

“You think they could be in danger?”

“We want to diminish any risk of militia aggression.”

“What militia?” Sarah asked, her anxiety building.

“The militia call themselves The Praesidium. They claim to be defenders of our racial purity. We have been aware of them for some time. Do not be alarmed. You and the twins will be closely guarded until we are able to eliminate the threat,” Nephele reassured Sarah.

“We must destroy these half-breeds before their seed has a chance to pollute our world. What information do you have for me?” Marcen said to the group that had gathered at the compound.

“We have been watching the Erde woman and she is guarded commander. We have found some guards who are willing to cooperate under threat to their families. We will kill the half-breeds tomorrow night.” Ferox replied.

“Excellent! Victory to The Praesidium! ” Marcen shouted.

“Victory!” shouted the men.

The twins were very fussy. Sarah and Alexia, her android, struggled to settle them.

“I don’t know what could be bothering them, Alexia. They are usually very relaxed after their evening bath.”

Sarah decided to let the twins settle down in their bed by themselves for a while. They often found their own company entertaining enough. “Be calm my darlings. I will come back and check on you in a few minutes,” Sarah cooed to them as she lay them down. She sensed that they understood every word.

The twins were playing with the lighted orbs of the mobile that was suspended over their crib when suddenly they both became still as they listened to the sounds outside. They had been able to read each others thoughts since birth.

“The killer men are here, Merial.”

Ferox and his partner Quint quickly climbed through the nursery window. Quint had the hypospray that contained the deadly toxin.  Ferox held down Alexander.

“Give it to this one first,” Ferox told Quint.

Quint held the injector over Alexander and was ready to follow orders when he heard Merial make a strange sound and looked over at the little girl twin. As he looked into her eyes his body was no longer under his control. Quint looked on in horror as his hand holding the hypospray moved toward his accomplice. Ferox was frozen in place, his eyes wide with terror.

Sarah could hear the twins giggling as she entered the nursery. “What are you two up to in here?” The answer was laying on the floor, their mouths oozing green foam.

 

 

 

 


Happy Halloween!

Word Count: 1025

Critique: Full

#WEPFF October 2017  

Quote about ageing via Senior Planet. 🙂 Skull image via publicdomainpictures.net was altered by me. Featured image of Twin Nebula via NASA altered with insertion of Twins image (altered) from Pixabay.com

Something extra:

As for “Write what you know,” I was regularly told this as a beginner. I think it’s a very good rule and have always obeyed it. I write about imaginary countries, alien societies on other planets, dragons, wizards, the Napa Valley in 22002. I know these things. I know them better than anybody else possibly could, so it’s my duty to testify about them. I got my knowledge of them, as I got whatever knowledge I have of the hearts and minds of human beings, through imagination working on observation. Like any other novelist. All this rule needs is a good definition of “know.”-Ursela Le Guin


 

Creating Characters

This is the first Wednesday of October and time for my post for the IWSG or Insecure Writers Support Group.

October 4 question – Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

My characters are completely imaginary but I like to be able to figure out what makes them tick. So when I am writing about them I will explore what is going on with them (at least in my head). I like to add background, a past, or what they are thinking. I really love it when other authors do this with their characters because I find it makes their books so interesting and gives them more depth.  I do not include personal information into my characters but I do not discount doing this if it would add to the story.

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The Insecure Writer

Surprised

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

 

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
September 6 Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??
The awesome co-hosts for the September 6 posting of the IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!
Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?
I did not expect to be able to write very short flash fiction and some longer pieces. It has been heartening to find that I could do it and receive positive feedback. I have written some longer pieces in fantasy and science fiction genres, and have enjoyed it. There are times when I will write something for a blog post or stream of consciousness and struggle with it a bit and think it is not that good. Then, it is surprising when others say they really liked the post. Should we write things because we think others will like it? Or write what we want to say? 
Does anyone else do this? → If I am writing a story that I plan to submit to a writing community blog or even if I am working on a new story which I am not ready to share, I do not want to read other people’s stories from the community until mine is finished. I don’t want to compare my story with anyone’s writing because I worry it will influence what I am writing or make me doubt myself. I have started writing some science fiction and I noticed that The Hugo Award went to all women this year. ( Yay! Actually, I saw it on Art Fix Friday National Museum for Women in the Arts Blog). I did not want to read excerpts from their stories yet because I do not want it to show up in my story in some way.
This rings true for me, how about you?→”If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in, the chances are very high that you will interest other people as well.”-Rachel Carson

No Wasted Words

“No writing is wasted: the words you can’t put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.”-Erin Bow

“No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you can’t put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.”
Erin Bow

I was born and grew up part the way in San Francisco. You could buy fresh San Francisco sourdough bread all over The City.  I really love dark crust sourdough bread with some dry Italian salami and a good cheese, a semi-soft cheese like teleme or Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Station, Ca. Seems like the only place you can get the original sourdough dark crust bread by Boudin Bakery is at Tadish Grill Restaurant. Both Boudin and Tadish Grill have been around since SF Gold Rush days (1849).

 

 


One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image of San Francisco sourdough bread and beer by Jon Sullivan on wikimedia, Image of Red Hawk cheese by Frank Schulenburg on wikimedia, Image of Columbus salami by Kent Wang on Flickr. Had to throw in the Image of Humboldt Fog cheese via Sharona Gott on Flickr.

weds

 

High Low

I was feeling very high when I found out I won the WEP June Challenge for my fiction piece “The Final Transition.” A wonderful surprise and the fantastic high you get from receiving recognition for something you wrote. I was not expecting to win first place. It is hard for me to judge my own writing. Many times I have written something and thought it mediocre and then gotten positive feedback. This has encouraged me to take the risk and put my ideas out there. Other times my writing is not given much notice. But you never know if someone is reading and enjoying a post. I have had a few people tell me how they have liked my writing and I did not know it. So as in life, with writing, we have to expect to experience the highs and the lows. Just don’t let the lows get you down.

Here is a great cartoon from one of favorites, Introvert Doodles by Marzi. It was originally posted on Facebook by Quiet Revolution on Thursday, August 3, 2017

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I think I could check off several things on that list and add a few more. A good way to survive the lows is to realize we are not alone, other people feel the same way.  🙂


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is “high/low.” Featured image of City Coaster by Henry Burrows on Flickr.

 

Realm of Dreams by publicdomainpictures.net

The Homecoming

Sarah regained consciousness on the other side of the portal. She was lying on the ground. It took a few minutes for the buzzing in her ears to stop and her vision to clear. She looked up to see the woman stranger looking down at her.

“Welcome to your new home,” the woman said smiling. “Let me help you up,” she said as she reached for Sarah’s hand.

Sarah held the offered hand and stood up shakily. Several other Olders stood around in groups looking dazed. Sarah noticed they were standing on an open plain. As she gazed up to the sky she saw it was azure blue and there were two moons. The sun was as bright as Earths and felt just as hot on her skin.

“What do you call this place?”, she asked.

“This is Ortus.”

“What is your name?”

” I am Nephele. We need to get you all moving. It is will be a long walk to get our city.”

“Why did we land here out in this barren land?”

” We found it was too disruptive for our citizens when Outworlders arrived in the city.”

Sarah and the other Olders walked along with their Ortusun guides. Sarah noticed she did not feel tired. It is probably all the adrenalin pulsing through my system she thought.

After what seemed like an hour she saw some tall structures in the distance. As they came closer she noticed the sleek outline of a towering building.

“This is the Central Ministry. You will be processed here,” said Nephele.

The Olders were led into the main entrance. They stood in a large hall looking up at the interior of this vast structure. Circular balconies reached up as far as they could see with several doors on each level. In the center was a large chamber with clear walls. Their guides took them to it and, after they were all inside, it began to rise rapidly up several levels. They exited onto a balcony high inside the building and were taken into a spacious hall.

“This is the intake center where you will receive your identification chips and have your health scan.  Once we have determined you are all healthy you will be assigned to your reorientation families.”

“What if some of us aren’t healthy?” a man asked.

“Our medical care can cure Earth illnesses and will have some rejuvenating effects as well.”

“What about the reorientation families?” asked Sarah.

“You will be sent to live with some of our citizens who have volunteered to help you adjust to our society. We see it as a learning opportunity for both the Olders and the Ortusuns. After the reorientation period you will be assigned to your permanent living spaces. You will be matched with a young citizen who shares your talents and you will mentor them. There will be a welcoming ceremony once you complete the reorientation and are ready to be matched. We call it The Homecoming. It will coincide with our Spring Festival.”

Time passed quickly for Sarah as she adjusted to this new world and culture. The Ortusuns did not work as Earth people did. All the work needed to keep the society functioning was performed by machines. They devoted their time to pursuing individual interests, travel, exploration, science, and the arts. It sounded like an ideal life but for the short lifespan of 30 years.

Sarah made friends with another Older that lived near her orientation home. James was an artist that lived in the same section of the city as Sarah. They discovered that they both enjoyed being out in nature and meeting other artists in the community. Sarah found it very easy to talk to James and their friendship developed quickly.

It was time for Spring Festival and The Homecoming. The Olders gathered on the plain where they had first arrived. The ceremony was to take place on the night of the first Full Moon of Coerulus, the largest moon.

A circle of statues enclosed the ceremonial site. They were crowned by flaming urns, and carved with strange animal faces whose eyes seem to glow from an internal fire.

In the center was an ornately decorated dais. The night sky was full of stars. Music was playing with a steady beat that Sarah felt pulsating through her core like the beat of a human heart. Nephele stood to address them.

Mozart_magic_flute painting of stage set by Karl Friedrick Schinkel via Wikimedia

“This is the night of our ancient Spring Festival when we celebrate fertility on our world. This year we are welcoming the Olders back to their place of origin. They bring us the promise of long life.”

Nephele addressed the Olders,” You are welcomed back to the home world of your ancestors, the place of your origin. You are bringing the gift of our genetic seed back to us.”

Some Ortusuns entered the circle and offered each of the Olders a goblet of ceremonial wine. Sarah found the drink pleasant tasting but soon felt the ground swaying, like a boat riding a swell. She looked around and to see James walking off with a young Ortusun woman. Sarah turned her gaze back to the young man who was standing in front of her.  She took his hand and they went out into the night.

It had been four months since The Homecoming and Sarah’s memory of that night was still clouded. As she entered her studio she felt an odd flutter in her belly. There was a knock on the door.

“Your student is here,” announced Alexia her android.

Sarah remembered she had scheduled a meeting with the young sculptor she had agreed to mentor. “Have the student come in here,” she replied.

Sarah could hear Alexia directing the student to the studio. She looked up as he entered the room. She realized she had seen this young man before. It was on the night of the Spring Festival. ” It’s you!” she said as the heat rose in her body.


This post is my contribution to the WEP August Challenge Reunions 

The WEP challenge is hosted by Denise Covey, Yolanda Renee, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim.

WEP CHALLENGE FOR AUGUST, REUNIONS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured image ‘Realm of Dreams’ via publicdomainpictures.net, Ministry building is via Foundry on Pixabay.com, Statue is a Cham pedestal from Museum of Cham sculpture( image altered) via wikimedia, Image of ceremony is Painting of stage set for The Magic Flute by artist Karl Friedrich Schinkel (image cropped).

Word Count: 991

Full Critique