Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Z is for Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
   Somewhere after Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, but before Richard Peck (Blossum Culp Series) and S.E.Hinton, I found a favorite in Zilpha Keatley Snyder.  Maybe some of you will remember the covers below...

Although, I found a great deal of entertainment in Cleary as a child and a pre-teen connection to many of the relevant coming of age tales of Blume, Snyder was the one to set my imagination on the trail it follows even to this day.  Yes, it was great to read about the trials and tribulations of kids my age, but what really got me, was the world set outside of age and the day to day.  Zilpha gave me that.
Mrs. Snyder's works were some of the first stories I tried to emulate as a middle-schooler.  I guess you could call them my first fan fictions.  *smile*  I wanted my stories to send those chills up my spine.  I wanted to be the creator of the big mystery that kept all guessing.  I was (and still am) enthralled by the possibility of the extraordinary, just being one step over a neglected back ally wall or through a thorny suburban hedge.  I believe there is more to our world than what we see in our daily passing.  Finding Mrs. Snyders and later Mr. Pecks works was like finding something familiar.  Far more familiar to me than the sweet tales of Cleary or the coming of age tales of Blume.  
Now don't get me started on movies and directors who I identified with back then.  Spielberg anyone?
It's been a blast A to Zers.  I hope to see some of you again at next Wednesdays post for The Insecure Writers Support Group but if not, it's been real.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for...

Y is for...
y in the road picture | The Secret Place
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for X Men

X is for X-Men.

    I was a teen, and one of the rare girls to be found in a comic book store, back home.  So I remember taking a sort of pride in stepping through that old and dingy, poster covered front door to collect up that next addition of the X-Men.   
Although I no longer collect, I am still a diehard fan of stories involving superhero's, heroic underdogs, morality tales and impossible odds.   To me, the X-Men were just the same as anyone else who felt singled out, ridiculed and beaten down because of their differnces.  Differences they could not help, because it was who they were born to be.  And I think its the same insight shared by many of this brands following and a undeniable connection most beginning fans make to these characters.    
To this day, I keep the X-Men in my inspirational toolbox.  Those stories sit beside my love of the supernatural and abnormal, big adventure and perilous danger.  The comics also taught me the importance of getting as much emotion into a very small scene, to make the reader hungry for more.  Good comics use an economy of well placed dialogue and just the right pose of a image to get the emotion of a scene.  I try the same with my writing.  Show and not tell.
And then there's what I take away from my mutant muses.  My respect for flawed people doing the right thing, when the world keeps giving them excuses not to.  My affection for human kindness and the way in which we all connect to one another, one unique character to another.  All aspects of the human condition can be found in the pages of these stories about more human than human superhero's.  These X-Men.
See ya in the funnies, A to Zers!
X-Men in the beginning.

And as I remember them in the 90's.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Writers Write Worlds!

W is for Writers Write Worlds

We do and its amazing!!!!!

Type at ya later A to Zers.

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Variety

V is for Variety.

    And if some of the colors weren't for you?  Well, at least ya gave them a try and can at least appreciate that shade.  This goes for art, food, literature, faith, fashion, politic, social set...the list goes on. 

The point is, to do justice to society, you need variety.  Melting pot or mosaic, man needs to empty out the box and color away.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Universal Truths

U is for Universal Truths.


of, pertaining to, or characteristic of all or the whole: universal experience.

"The forces which move the cosmos are -no different from those which move the human soul."  ~ Lama Anagarika Govinda
    William Faulkner once said, "the best literature is about the old universal truths, such as love, honor, pride, compassion and sacrifice".  
I am of the firm belief, that if you write about universal truths, you will find a limitless audience with the world.  It will not matter that your character is black and the audience is white.  It will not matter if your character is rich, when much of the public is not.   Nor will it matter how farfetched your story be, if that story and its characters live in a world of universal truths.
Type at ya later, A to Zers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Touched

T is for Touched

One of my very first WIPs, Touched.  The MC came to me many, many years ago and the story is never far from my imagining's.  I hope maybe someday it will no longer be a WIP.

 “So what am I thinking now?” The bulky blond challenged, crossing his arms over his uniformed chest in a mildly childish stance.

Honestly, Logan had expected Mike to ask him to levitate a table or prick a finger and heal it. He’d already been witness to Logan’s strength and endurance. But the mind reading?

Quirking a dark brow at his pragmatic friend, Logan pushed off the window sill and stood before the young deputy, holding his friends unremitting stare. “Looking for proof, Sheriff?” Mike nodded. Logan simply shook his head, this moment bordering on a childhood dare. “Okay.”

Taking another step closer to Mike, Logan felt his friend flinch, but hold his spot at the center of the old hardwood floor. “You’re sure?”

“Do it.” Mike swallowed hard.

Logan smirked then shook his head once more. He’d never been in the position where the person he was reading asked for it.

Taking in a deep breath, Logan raised his hand between them, palm out to Mike’s chest. He could feel the hum of life within his friend’s body—strong and steady like the lapping of warm ocean waves. Slowly his hand hovered to the side of Mike’s curly headed skull and began to see the shades of images sharpen and sounds become words. It was no surprise to Logan that his friend’s thoughts came to him as straightforward as the man who had them—with little hesitancy and no doubt.

“So-so what do ya see?” Mike blurted out.

Logan grinned, his eyes still closed. “I see a pretty brave guy for letting his ‘alien’ friend have his way with his brain.” Logan felt Mike’s entire body go ridged and smiled in spite of himself. “Kidding, buddy. Kidding.”

Logan lowered his hand and opened his eyes. He saw a lot inside the stalwart man before him; more than what he was comfortable revealing to the other man if he wanted to keep him as a friend. Things like how Mike had secretly envied Logan when they were children or the extent of Mike’s present fears—that he would not be able to keep the people of this island safe during the coming storm. No, what needed to be said now had nothing to do with the things he saw within his friends mind, but the reason why his friend had let him see them at all.

“You trust me.” His eyes steady on his friend. “You think I’m a little fucked up and you’re uncomfortable when Anne and I are alone” Logan knowingly smirked when his friend’s eyes fell to his boots “but you trust me.”

Mike raised his head again and silently nodded.

“And that same trust does not extend to my family.” Logan continued.

“I’m sorry, Logan…”

“Don’t be. You are right not to.” Logan turned from his friend and walked back to his view of the mounting snow fall. Hell, he didn’t trust his own family. He was intimately aware of what his family was capable of and viewed mistrust as a survival skill when dealing with anything of his kin.

“And Anne?” Logan felt Mike’s brotherly concern before he spoke it. A pregnant silence fell between the men.

“I’d never hurt her, Mike. Believe that.” Logan just wished he could believe it too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Suspense

S is for Suspense.

    I know I cant get enough of it!  From Shyamalan to Hitchcock, King, Deaver, Crichton or Abrams. How about some Spielberg and then far back to Stoker.  I love all these storytellers and many more.  A common thread among them...they know how to do suspense.  Something I hope to perfect in my writing one day.

Seventeen Years and Counting, a short story I did for a writing group a few years back.  My shot at the "Global Warming/Global Catastrophe" genre.

‘It can’t be…’ It took all of Lt. Col. John Doran’s Marine training to maintain the level of calm it took to sign for the package and not drop it on delivery.

“We don’t get many of these down at the Post Office.  Post dated 17 years past.” The elder mailman nodded to the package.  “Family or something?”  The old letter carrier continued, but received no response from the obdurate looking Marine.  Looked like the girls back in sorting weren’t going to get their answer on this one.  “Well, you have a good day now, Lt. or at least it will be till that storm comes through.” 

The lieutenant didn’t hear the Mailman or the following creak of the back gate before the delivery truck pulled away.  He held a ghost in his hands and for the first time since he was twenty-three, he was hoping beyond all hope it was just his big brother Jack saying ‘boo’ one last time.

‘Feels too damn heavy to be just a ‘boo’.’  John sat down on the back porch stoop where he stood.  The slightly yellowed U.S Mail first class was smaller than a bread box, but bigger than John’s entire world.  At least it was now. 

‘Big brother always wanted the last word.’ A sardonic smirk holding no mirth lifted his lip, and then was gone.

Holding his breath he tore the seal.  A thick manila envelope and a smaller white letter slid from their seventeen year long slumber and into his lap.  John picked up the letter first and flicked open his knife with a practiced hand, slitting it open and pulling out its contents... 

“So little brother, I guess I’m dead.  I’d say it could be worse, but it is.  I failed…” 

John dropped his hands and the letter into his lap then closed his eyes tight.  His chest pulling tight so much so he could not breathe.  This could not be, but it could.  It had always been a possibility Dr. Jack Doran, famed and unflappable astrophysicist, had not succeeded on his mission to save the world, but said world had happily let that thought pass from their mind when Jack’s last radio message from space was “Mission accomplished.”   

The world had let those nail-biting hours of history seventeen years ago, become just that—history and moved on.  But John never forgot.  How did you forget your big brother died a hero, flying an experimental air craft into the depths of space in order to save the world from a future in a microwave?   His brother was the brains behind the ‘big save’ of mankind.  The man who put sunscreen on Earths thinning ozone.  He was a brilliant scientist with no rival.  He was a visionary.  He was a…      

The wind around him began to pull at the paper in his hand and dance the chimes hanging from the porch roof above.  Eyes snapping open to a troubled midday sky, something clicked inside John’s memory.   

This was the third lightning storm expected this week, the tenth so far in this abnormally hot month of May, and it was expected to be severe.  ‘Just been one of those sort of seasons’, or so the weathermen preached this year, but it was one of those sort of seasons last year and the year before.  Maybe John and the next guy down the street had noticed, but let it pass for the daily strains and responsibilities of day to day.  Or maybe they’d been afraid to see evidence that ‘the big save’ wasn’t a save at all.  Mission not accomplished, not by a long shot. 

“Son of a Bitch!” John growled, the letter crumpling in his grasp.  “My brother, the self-righteous son of a bitch.”  A moment of incredulous silence passed before John began to read again. 

“I’m sorry I was not able to bring you this message in person, though I believe you would have reacted the same.  If I had died during my mission, I’m certain it was after the deployment of the payload into the Earths outer atmosphere and its failure to disband...” 

“Why not tell us there was a possibility then?” John yelled at the writer of the letter in his hand.  “Why send me a letter now?”   

“I didn’t tell Mission command, my dear Sally or you this could come to pass for this reason and this reason alone.  I wanted to give all of you seventeen more years.   

I knew if I had failed and did not return, this letter would come to you after the Sun’s first noticeable ill affects on Earth.  By now climate changes have begun to become more severe and the governments of Earth are running low on excuses to give.  When I left you little brother, you were a MIT grad contemplating the life of a jarhead.  Something I hope you had not decided…” Doran snorted then shook his head.  “Maybe you are now one of those keepers of secrets from the many, like I once was.  However it may be, this secret will not be kept for long and the world will once again be placed in a similar if not worse turmoil we saw seventeen years before, leading to man’s inexorable end of days.  

Therefore I have given the gift of ignorance; for there was nothing else anyone could have done after the failure of my mission, or can be done to save our world as we know it.  I have given seventeen years of ignorant bliss to the world, to my sweet and patient Sally and to you dear brother.  Seventeen years I hope spent in fruitful and happy endeavor.  Seventeen years to not have hang over you all like a death shroud—a heavy weight of knowing that mankind has an end and you will be there to see it…” 

‘Damn him.  Damn him for deciding.  Damn him for presuming his big damn brain knew it all...’  John jumped up from the stoop and tossed the contents in his lap at the screen door.  ‘Damn him for not giving us a chance…’  The letter blew back to his feet in the wind and he grudgingly picked it back up with a trembling fist. 

“The large envelope in this package contains protocols to be put in place during the end of days.  Please get this to Dr. Stillwater.  You remember old Froggie, I’m sure.  But if my old lab partner is no longer among you, Dr. Jane Patrick shall do.  They will understand and know how to proceed…” 

“Oh great, an ‘End-of-Days for Dummies’ how-to.” John scoffed at the catalogue sized package on its side against the back door.  “Ladies and Gentleman, my brother the control freak…” 

“If I know you, brother I hope you will forgive my keeping this knowledge from you.  Always the optimists to my pessimist, you would have wasted what was left of your life looking for what wasn’t there.  Believe me—believe my enclosed calculations.  What I say is true.  Nothing could have fixed this…” 

“That’s where you are wrong big brother.  WRONG!”  John jumped up the back steps, picking up the rest of the package along the way.  Maybe the great and late Dr. Jack Doran’s big brain and ego wrote off man’s future seventeen years earlier, but in the now Lt. Col. John Doran, doctorate drop out and jarhead, was damned if mankind didn’t go down without a fight.   

Grabbing his car keys and cover off the kitchen counter, John jumped back down the steps and sprinted to his Jeep, the increasing winds hurrying his every step.  He had some scientists to corral, a government to get the attention of and the impossible to accomplish.  John Doran was going to try to prove his big brother wrong. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Repetition

R is for Repetition.

    Heard this before?  Well, I will repeat.  Long-term repetition of a desired behavior will create a good habit, but only if you repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat rep....

I think you got the idea.  I was hoping and now believing this A to Z challenge to be just such a habit forming boost to my writing process.  I am glad I did this and happy to have met some of you.

See ya tomorrow, A to Zers!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quotes.

Q is for Quotes.

    Quotes.  I've got a million of them, as I am sure you do too.  I keep them around for inspiration, vindication and food for thought.  Quotes can be a window into another's way of thinking or a echo of your own.  A quote can be a summary of a grand thought or a creative way to express a simple one. 

For all the reasons above and more, I collect quotes like butterflies and pin them into my little world for safe keeping.  Over 30 years worth of them at this point.  Here are just a few...

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.' Benjamin Franklin, 'Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor,' November 11, 1755."
"For every evil under the sun, there is a remedy, or there is none. If there be one, seek till you find it; If there be none, never mind it.
~~~M. Goose
"Fiction writers, present company included, don't understand very much about what they do-"not why it works when it's good, not why it doesn't when it's bad."

~Stephen King.On Writing.

R.I.P., Elmore Leonard

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense."

Tom Clancy

i cannot stress enough how true this is.  i step into the real world and instantly begin searching for inspiration.  everything you do, say, wear, read, etc, will be filed away in my mind for future reference.  so be careful.  you have been warned.
“I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

~Abraham Lincoln

writing quotes by writers | Writing Wednesday: Quotes For Writers | Obscured DreamerThe wise words of Raylan Givens from Justified.. . . . - and by doing so, they do nothing to stop evil...paraphrase next:  Evil succeeds because of good people who stand by and do nothing....
"The forces which move the cosmos are -no different from those which move the human soul."  ~ Lama Anagarika Govinda

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nighthawks

N is for Nighthawks.

Nighthawks, 1942.  Edward Hopper.
    I remember seeing this painting while in middle school.  Where I do not remember.  And I felt drawn to the quiet nighttime setting.  It looked peaceful to me and I liked the mood set by the colors the artist chose.  I had felt kindred towards the other nighthawks, subject in the scene, because I was a nighthawk even then. 

Later on as an adult, I would take on a job that saw many midnights and those nights I had off, was spent on the town with my friends at various establishments.  As an adult, I truly understood Nighthawks.  The intimacy of a dark, near empty bar at closing time with a few select friends, talking of things you would tell no other at any other time of day.  Or the alien like serenity of florescent lights in a late-night restaurant, alone with your thoughts just before heading into a late shift.

Although my husband and I bar hopping days are at a close and my midnight job is now tending to a fussy toddler, my preference of night lingers to this day.  Its when I am me.  Its when I like to create or at least when I like to end a work for the day--when that day has already crept into the next.  The nighthawk hours.

Later A to Zers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Motherhood and Make-believe

is for Motherhood and Make-believe.

I don't think you have to be brilliant or even subpar at the world of make-believe, to be the best mom.  The ability and application of love, patience and responsible behavior help with that.  But it sure is fun when you have a little one and being creative is your wheelhouse. 

So with each day he grows, so will our creative adventure...

James.  Age 2 1/2.  I think I'll frame it.  ;-)
First complete art project.  Almost 3.

The artist in his art space.
Future art space...

What I believe.

A very good beginning of his journey.
A lesson I live by.  Be yourself.  Be creative.  Be unique.

And be brave my little lion.
Oh, and have fun!


Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for a Love Poem

L is for a Love Poem.
"When the universe was young, and the stars were barely new, when the oceans began to crash upon the shores of worlds unknown, and the suns began to rise on the new ground they watched over, a story began. When the world was light and hope and joy and love and creation, remembering,remembering, remembering.
                                                    This was their time."
                                                                           by C.M. Williams

    My muse for love stories is fed by many things, but hope is what drives them home to me. So when I wax poetic about love, its as much about hope.  Hope that is stronger than the ocean waves and just a tireless. Hope that can be trampled, distorted and buried but still can be seen glimmering silently--waiting for the chance to grow again and conquer.

When we fall in love, hope is what we carry, like a torch (maybe a pocket lighter at first...depends) But we carry hope that this new thing we have found that fills us, distracts us and rearranges our lives will not leave us and drop us back to where we had already been. Love changes us, and I have met few who do not hope for that to some degree.

I don't care if you are a cynic or a saint, we all want to be something more and for some of us that is being someone better. I believe love does that or at least I hope...


Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Kitty Cats

K is for Kitty Cats.

    I have three furry kitty kids, here at the Murray homestead, with whom I share a close bond.  I love their various personalities, their beauty and grace.  I love the comedy that comes from their curiosity and folly.  And I even love the fact they have been proven the most skilled of hunters in the animal kingdom.  Frankly, I would have had more if not for my husband and child.  So yes, I am a potential crazy cat lady, for sure.  ;-)

Call it the Hemingway syndrome.  How about you, A to Zers?

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for James

J is for James.

  He is often one of the reasons I don't get to my writing these days, besides poor planning on my part.   But he is also one of the biggest reasons I need to continue what I start.  Children learn by example and that's what I need to be for him...and for myself.

Who are you an example too, A to Zers?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Invitation and Invictus.

I is for Invitation and Invictus.
"Invitation" by Shel Silverstein and "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley.  Both poems I came upon in my preteen years.  Both poems continue to be dear to me. 
"Invitation" has always touched the dreamer and artist in me and to this day makes me smile.  "Invictus" helped me through a tough time when I was very young and is the voice of the realist I have always been.  And yes, a dreamer and a realist can live in the same creature.  That creature would be a writer. 
Later, A to Z pals.
Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Hero

H is for Hero. 
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.

~~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I do not believe we need larger than life hero's to save us from our hard times. We need everyday people with immense hearts and even larger volumes of courage. I like the quote above for that reason.

Heroes can be the guy who sells insurance down the street or the granny who smiles at you every morning at the Circle K. All of us hold a possible hero within us. All we need to do is hang on just a little while longer...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Ghost Mountain

G is for Ghost Mountain.

A excerpt from the prologue of one of my works in progress, Ghost Mountain.

‘Now Boy, let me tell you about that mountain…’

The old voice warbled and faded out into the world of waking dreams, when the smell of smoke woke him from  his troubled sleep, sending one foot out of his bed and his heart beating out of his chest.  He felt cheated and relieved because it was just another dream.  Another memory the universe had decided to put on replay in his mind these last few weeks.
The dark young man fisted at his damp dark eyes and then ran both hands over a marine standard close crop.  Picking up his watch from the night stand, he groaned.  He’d only got in a couple hours sleep since ending his shift and he needed to be up to greet the day in another two hours time.  Stretching long arms out and up, well used joints popped and old and lengthy scars elongated along the lean lines of his form.  Placing his other foot to the hardwood he stood and remembered smelling the smoke.
He made short work of his jeans and shirt before making it out into the long hall.  The smoke smelled thicker now, he could taste the acrid stench.  Picking up at a run he made it down the back steps and out the kitchen door into the night. 
And then he saw flames...
Out over the rolling hillside further into the valley an orange glow leapt up out of the trees casting an eerie glow into the star strewn sky.  From the property where he stood it was clear whose house was up in flames and knowing only confused him more.  For the house had already succumbed to fire nearly a year ago the month before. 
“It can’t be.  The house is gone.  There’s nothing left…”
‘Because you were late.’ 
The young man jerked around to look for the source of the cold whisper, towards the blackened woods around the far side of the house. 
‘Because you’re a do nothing and do nothings do nothing right…’  Cruel and even, the familiar voice mocked from somewhere in the shadows, slithering out and hitting the startled young man soundly in the heart like a south bound freight.
“No-NO!  This is a dream!  You are not here!  He is not here!  The house-the house isn’t burning.  I-It’s gone…” 
Stepping back up onto the kitchen stoop, trying to grab onto what he knew to be true, he felt his taut body begin to shake.
‘Ya couldn’t do a goddamn thing, could ya kid.  I told ya how you were gonna turn out.  Useless—a ‘do nothing’...’   

Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Fan fiction.

F is for Fan fiction.

   I am a recovering fanfiction writer.  There, I said it.  Some see it as a waste of time, but I saw it as practice and if I'm to be honest, a ego boost or at least as time went on.  I no longer dabble in this world, but I am happy I did.  To work, entertain and be entertained and critiqued by others of like interest was a blast.  But I must say, creating my own characters and worlds is far, far more  fulfilling.

below is a short Stargate SG-1 fan fiction, from many, many moons ago.

Vala’s Question

“You don’t expect to survive your job, do you?”

Vala had meant the question as just another joke at Daniels expense. It would be just another off hand comment from Vala aimed to elicit some reaction, any reaction from Daniel. And she got one.

She laughed away his trademark scowl and then laughed even harder when a very drunk Mitchell reminded everyone who would listen that Daniel had in fact not survived three times before and had become a pro at the procedure of dying.

Everyone but Sam and Tealc laughed at this bit of SGC trivia. Daniel only gave them a tight grin that never met his averted gaze. By the time her and the others laughter had died down, the subject was changed and Vala’s question was pushed aside like a stale party joke. But something in Vala did not let her forget the question.

Vala’s gaze fell back on the Doctor. He stood a small distance from his guests now. She watched him unconsciously brush his hand across the fabric of one of his chairs and then quietly finish the rest of his drink in one swallow. Before she could look away his tired somber gaze met hers and her earlier question was not so much a joke, but a brief moment of truth. She saw a piece of Dr. Daniel Jackson she didn’t think existed and in that same moment she wished she didn’t have an answer to her question.

Type at ya later fellow A to Zers!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Evening.

E is for Evening.

Reflections by Marcel Rieder

    Evening is my favorite time of day.  There is this energy just before the night glides in.  Much like the crackle in the air during autumn, just before the dark of winter falls.  

Evening speaks of comfort and magic.  Evenings remind me of back porch conversations after supper, when I was a child.  I can still hear the sporadic hum of traffic out on 170 and the rustle of cornstalks close by.  Evenings remind me of the quiet lap of waves under a gorgeous sunset, just off of Ali"i drive.  I can still smell the warm salt air and feel the sand and lava rock under my feet.  And on clear evenings, I remember the feel of a crisp breeze across my cheek, while waiting for the heavens to darken, watching fireflies on a grassy astronomy field with my husband, in the middle of nowhere.

Evenings failing light is warm-golden, as are my memories.

Evening is also when I feel most creative.  From the days failing light till past the witching hour of midnight, I love to write and create.  I have been this way since I was a child.  I am happy, not to have grown out of this love.

Good Evening A to Zers.

Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Dreams.

D is for Dreams.

photo by me.
   And I'm not talking about my goals here.  I'm talking about that moving picture show that warms up and plays in my noggin once the rest of me passed out from a long day.  Dreams.

I very often remember my dreams.  My earliest when I was less than 2 years old.  I smell things and feel things in my dreams, these amalgams of my day to day, past and future.  Although some dreams are just images, emotions or small scenes of much debate, some of my dreams have felt epic in scale and detail, and have repeated over the years.  And when I wake, its as if days or months have passed.

As of yet, I have not used any of my dreams for fiction, but I have had my fiction visit me.  Usually when I am neglecting that particular story, or when Ive had a long run of good writing. 

One night, in my 20s, I remember waking up to the feel of a hand on my foot, and found my MC Logan (shelved WIP Touched) at the end of my bed, is eyes glowing a serene azure.  I thought I was awake and then I did wake and he was gone.

Has this happened to any of you, or should I be going back to my old profession as a client...

Type at ya tomorrow A to Zers.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Characters.

C is for Characters.


I read stories for the characters.  I watch TV shows and movies for the same reason.  And one of my favorite things about writing, are the characters I help shape and who shape my stories. 

I believe the characters are the most important part of a story.  They are the heart of story, and why we stick with some stories, even when the plot lines goes astray.   Close second important story ingredients....everything else.

Below is a short fan fiction I wrote for the tv show Fringe, many moons ago, showcasing the relationship between Walter and Peter Bishop.  Dr. Walter Bishop, to this day, still resides in my top 20 favorite fictional characters.  Gotta love mad scientists.

“A Laundromat—really, son!  I have work to be done. We should have Astrix do this chore.” 

 A grim smirk passed across Peter Bishop’s lips while he watched his grumbling father shuffle past and through the door of Quickie Cleans Laundro-rama.  This was going to be a trying public outing—he could already tell.  Of course any outing outside of the lab proved bizarre at best with his brilliant and yet broken father, the uncanny Dr. Walter Bishop, once institutionalized mad scientist and present doctor of the odd and barely explained. 

“It’s Astrid, Walter and no we will not.  She’s a Bureau Agent and your lab assistant, not our personal maid.  No matter how many exploded watermelons and Gerbils you make her clean up in the lab.”  Peter added, watching his father throw his rucksack of dirty cloths onto one of the chairs by the window and begin to fiddle with the vending machines, giving them an agitated whack when nothing came from his button pushing.  Peter knew the old man had already stopped listening.

Peter rolled his eyes and began to prepare the closest two washers for their laundry, never allowing his father too far outside his peripherals and for good reason.  Walter had already found interest in the bottom side of one of the old Spin Dry’s at the end of the long room and was now on his knees beside an elderly woman’s legs.  The woman’s eyes were rounding wider and wider by the minute and Walter was now nearly on his back beneath her paisley print skirt.

“Walter, come on.  We’re using the washers right now.  Stop inspecting the dryers and the nice ladies support hose.  Sorry ma’am.”  Peter nodded to the slightly startled granny who let out a quick huff and moved to the other side of the near empty Laundromat.  

“Don’t be absurd.”  The elder Bishop stood, dusting off his knees.  “I was merely looking to see if these machines are in working order.  Washer temperatures must meet 33.888 Centigrade and dryers must not exceed 79.444 Centigrade.  My underwear must be properly sanitized of any incidental bowel or urine deposit before their next wearing and I will simply not tolerate shrinkage of my socks or underwear...”

“Good to know, Walter.” Peter groaned while Walter continued without pause.
“They are cotton Son.  Cotton shrinks.  And you know my feet and my crotch area must breathe!”  Walter indignantly reprimanded, as if this was all common and needed knowledge his son should have known.  Of course Peter did know.  Walter had given the same boisterous speech in the middle of Wal-Mart no more than a week before.

"Terrific Walter.  Fan—tastic.”  Peter placed his hands on the rim of the washer and hung his head before meeting his father’s stubborn stare.  “Now how about getting over here and helping me.  If you do I’ll give you some quarters for the vending machines.”

Peter watched his fathers eyes light up as he snatched up the laundry bag and shuffled speedily to his side. 

“I would simply love a Ho Ho and a Root Beer.  The combination is absolutely marvelous” 

In spite of himself, Peter could not help but smile when his father’s voice was that of an excited child’s.  He took his fathers cloths from him and deposited a handful of quarters in the old man’s expectant palms.  It wasn’t long before Walter had a large assortment of treats to sustain a lengthy sugar rush and Peter a few moments of peace.

It was funny. For a man who was best at taking care of number one—himself, taking care of his father had come surprisingly easy to the young man.  As a child, he’d idolized his father only to later fear and then despise him for leaving him and his mother.  By the time his father was put away at the Mental Institute, the young genius had learned to take care of himself, only trusting himself while never being himself in the chameleon-like nomadic existence he’d taken on to survive. 

But now-now he was his father’s keeper.  After a two decade estrangement he had grudgingly agreed to help Olivia and the FBI by becoming Walter’s legal guardian—rescuing him from St. Claire’s to allow his father do what he did best for the government and reality—bending it.  Peter had said yes because Olivia had needed him to at the time.  He’d done it for the girl.  But as time went on Peter found he was doing it more and more for himself.   

Besides, Walter did need him and he was his father.  The old man had grown to depend on him like a child would a parent, like Peter could not depend on Walter when he was a child.  The irony was never lost on the young man.  And aside from underwear and snack preferences, Peter was actually getting to know his father—every frightening, maddening and often amazing bit on him.

Peter closed the lid on the laundry detergent and then sat down two chairs from Walter, politely refusing the Red Vine his father enthusiastically offered.  Picking up his own bag, he pulled out a Sudoku book and an attached pen for Walter, flipping it into gnarled but ready hands.  And then he pulled out a case file Olivia had asked him to review—the preliminaries to yet another rollercoaster ride that was the Fringe division.   Peter placed the manila envelope upon his chest and leaned his head back against the window glass behind him, slowly breathing out.
If Peter was more honest—and he was getting to be—he’d admit that getting to know his Dad again was also allowing him see himself more clearly.  This last year had challenged him—made more of him.  It had allowed him to become someone he hadn’t been for a very long time—himself.   

The young mans ever present smirk became more wistful.  Funny, the kind of perspective one gets when starting to give a damn.                                             

See ya tomorrow A to Z blog buddies! 


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