An adjustment

Dear reader,

With all the madness going on lately I have decided that, despite my best efforts, my writerly aspirations for this year were a tad bit ambitious.

Whilst I do still wish to write every week, I am no longer going to put a label on what I am going to write. Instead of a micro fiction every week and a short story every fortnight, I am simply going to work on one piece a week, regardless of length.

This takes a little bit of pressure of, while still allowing for some play outside my novel projects.

Hopefully you, dear reader, still enjoy what comes of each weeks word play.

Sincerley,

The Jade Writer Girl

A Scrapped Idea

Dear Reader,

I was hoping to get some proper content out this weekend, but instead I was sucked into editing Extinguish and didn’t get around to my short story plans.

What I did do, however, was stumble across this brief idea I’d had around about draft 6 of Extinguish, when I’d planned to rewrite the entire first half with a completely different setting (well, I did that anyway, but not in this particular direction).

Since I’m kind of fond of parts of this scene but will be unlikely to reuse it, I thought I’d share it with you. It is completely unedited, and a little rough, but I like the idea of seeing how stories can evolve.

Even as the writer, sometimes it’s fun to see how differently a story could have turned out.

So here it is: A Scrapped idea (Extinguish)

There are three rules to surviving daily life at North Camp.

  1. Keep your head down.
  2. Stick to the hierarchy.
  3. Never talk back.

Three simple rules.

Most people managed to obey these rules without thinking. They didn’t complain when people cut in line, or correct others when they were called by the wrong name. Anonymity was a blessing. It means no one cares who you are, and that’s good.

So, the rules were obeyed. Without needing to be explained. Without needing to be broadcasted. It was common sense, and those of us left had only survived because of common sense.

Most of us, anyway.

I was only alive because of my twin brother, Freddie. He kept me safe. He was always there to keep me from getting trampled or lost whenever the threat of an outbreak loomed close and everyone lost their minds.

He navigated this strange new world we lived in with ease. Somehow getting his hands on high valued trading items, buying us safety and a room big enough for three.

I never asked how he did got the items. Or where he sold them. He wouldn’t have told me even if I’d asked. Freddie kept me alive, though, and so I never asked questions I knew he couldn’t answer.

How he stayed alive was a different matter. Freddie broke the three rules every day. He and Tim (our best friend) had copt more beatings than anyone else and yet still they lived on. They fought and snarled and scratched their way through the rules and the barriers that stood between them and whatever it was they had their minds set on that day.

Today, it happened to be basic training.

The use of the gym was in high demand and reserved mostly for soldiers and people who volunteered for the military. Tim did the odd job here and there when he was allowed (at sixteen we were all still underage), but even he had trouble reserving time at the gym. He got it, though. He had a certain ability to get what he wanted. It wasn’t charm or charisma, he just talked a good talk. He was blunt and honest and fierce. There wasn’t much Tim said he would do that you wouldn’t believe he’d do.

It was an air he held, something almost wild and … and ancient. Whatever it was that gave Tim his talents, he was the first one they’d ask if they needed an extra hand when no one of age was available. Freddie was the second. The two of them were a volatile mix and no one could deny that they were an effective team.

Where did that leave me? Well, I was the little sister. I was the girl. The small thing that needed protecting.

Not that it stopped Freddie or Tim from beating me up themselves.

Which again led to today’s purpose in the training room. The training room, by popular request of the soldiers who protected North Camp, was one of three rooms given some of the limited power supply to run air conditioning. Despite that, a sheen of sweat covered my skin.

Every cell in my body was sweating fear. My hands were slick around the stick I held in front of me like a shield. It wouldn’t stop him, and we both knew it.

Freddie took a step to the left, and I matched the movement, sliding my feet to the right. He grinned, lips quirking up just so, in a tense excitement. He was excited because he liked training. He liked the adrenaline and the sweat and the movement and the energy it consumed. It was something to do that he was good at.

He was tense because his opponent was me. It wouldn’t stop him from beating the living hell out of me, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

His foot shifted, the toe shuffling an inch to the left. I threw myself sideways at the same time he lunged forward. For a moment he was completely open. Over his back, leaning against the wall watching us, I saw Tim straighten.

His dark eyes locked on mine and he gave a firm nod. Do it, those eyes told me.

My grip tightened on the stick. I took a step. Tim’s face fell. I kept moving around, guiding myself away from Freddie into a defensive stance. Freddie whirled around to face me, his face going hard.

‘You shoulda hit me,’ he said, his fists clenched.

I swallowed hard but said nothing. Anything I could say would just make him angry. He didn’t understand why I couldn’t fight back. Why all I could do was defend. It didn’t matter that I defended well.

Freddie threw himself towards me again. I shuffled back, keeping my stick between us at all times. If he’d had a stick of his own I might’ve been in trouble, but then, Freddie didn’t need a weapon to inflict pain.

My reluctance to strike left me open, and in a whirl of moment Freddie kicked at the stick, flicking it easily out of my hands. I turned, hoping to scramble after it, but Freddie’s solid chest slammed into me and we tumbled to the ground.

My defence was gone, but that didn’t mean I was helpless. I was small, and as Freddie and Tim constantly told me, that was an advantage over any opponent I would have. I twisted, fighting against his hold. He dug in with his hands. I’d known he would. He was always rougher when I didn’t fight back, trying to provoke me into lashing out.

We struggled, and Freddie kept pushing at me even after the bell went off, signalling the end of our time there.

‘Do something,’ he hissed at me. ‘Just hit me for Christ’s sake.’

‘I can’t!’ I said.

Though I tried to stop them, the tears sprang up in my eyes, betraying my weakness. I wasn’t hurt, not really. Freddie never struck hard enough to really hurt me. He didn’t have it in him to.

‘It hurts doens’t it?’ he said, leaning over me even as others started to call out for him to ‘Hurry the fuck up!’

I could say nothing.

‘Just hit back. Fight, Genie!’

‘Freddie,’ I heard Tim’s voice from somewhere above us. ‘Time’s up.’

‘I don’t care,’ Freddie snarled, his gaze darting to the side.

I used that moment to get free. Freddie’s distraction cost him his grip on me and I rolled away, scrambling to my feet and diving for my stick. I grabbed at in, falling to my knees and spinning so that the blunt end of the stick faced Freddie.

He stopped short in his chase. Grey eyes darkened and he reached out to grab the end of the stick, pushing it against my grip.

‘Never give your enemy something to fight you with,’ he said.

‘I haven’t.’

He pushed on the stick again, and the pointy end—the end I held—slipped free and jabbed softly into my stomach. I dropped my gaze to my hands, and let my hands slide away from the stick. Freddie tossed it aside, sighing.

He hauled me up to my feet, leading me away from the soft flooring so others could take our place. Tim trailed along behind, hands shoved into his pockets, gaze roaming about the hall watching the other fights going on. The slap of skin on skin, the knock of wood, the echoing twang of metal rang throughout the room and my ears now that my own fight was over.

‘Are you hurt?’ Freddie asked.

‘No,’ I said.

He stopped, reached out and grabbed my chin, tilting it this way and that so he could determine for himself how much damage he’d done.

Grey eyes became cloudy and a brooding look settled over his face. Apparently, he’d gotten in a few good hits. No doubt in a few hours I’d start to feel the throb of pain, but for now they didn’t hurt.

Not as much as disappointing him did.

A Series of Short Stories

Dear Reader,

This three part short story (called Somewhat Serendipitous) began as a simple micro fiction way back when. I wrote parts of this months ago, back before I changed the name of my novel to Extinguish and cut several characters.

Ant and Tim, though, have remained, and their relationship is one of my more enjoyable moments within Extinguish. I like the nuances that come from someone as mild and patient as Ant, when combined with someone as rough and wild as Tim.

If you’ve noticed a lot of Tim lately, that’s because he’s a beloved character. I am often drawn to him, and to his friendship with Ant, whenever I’m feeling stuck or out of ideas. There’s just something extra there that I don’t get to explore in Extinguish, that I love to get the chance to explore with my short stories and micro fictions.

I love this character exploration so much, the story turned into this giant series. If you’ve ever read fan-fiction, this would be a series of thirteen “one shots”. Each of these moments could be complete on their own as their own, but when put together, tell an overarching story.

I had a lot of fun with the layout and the structure, and weaving in little details and easter eggs. Whether or not it works is up to you, the reader, but regardless, I had fun.

So if you have time – each part is about 4,000 words long – I’d love for you to give them a read and let me know what you think.

Somewhat Serendipitous Part 1

Somewhat Serendipitous Part 2

Somewhat Serendipitous Part 3

Also, if you missed my update of micro fictions over the weekend, you can find them here in the month of May.

Sincerely,

The Jade Writer Girl.

A Slew of Micro Fictions

Dear Reader,

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s been rather quiet around the Writer Girl blog lately. Aside from falling behind on my Writerly Aspirations due to my wedding and honeymoon, there has been quite a bit of Renovation Madness going on at my house.

With every weekend taken up with demolitions and rebuilds (along with the various injuries that come with renovating your house on your own), I’ve struggled to not only find time to write, but to find the energy.

Thankfully, whatever Muse keeps me company has also kept me in good quantity of Big Magic (if you haven’t heard of me talk about Big Magic before you can read about it here), and ideas are never too far away when I reach for them.

Sometimes they’re unexpected ideas, and they come from way out in left field (despite my concentrating my creative thought on something else). Sometimes they’re play – background fodder for current novel projects that give me more insight into my characters. Either way, I’m happy that I’m beginning to catch up again, and that I seem to be making progress.

So, here are the micro fictions for May. I’m quite happy with them, though some were a bit rushed.

Black Root Lane – Background character fodder for my WIP Riverwood / this idea came to me when playing x-box. I’ve gotten into the thriller genre in gaming lately, and I love that chill that creeps into you when they combine children’s nursery rhymes with creepy background music.

The Sandpit A prompt from a close friend asking me to write about an Angel and a Mermaid who meet as toddlers.

Strangers Meet – An old idea that I’d love to put more work into one day.

The Implant This one came from a workshop I did regarding…well, adult content. I did the workshop in an attempt to get out of my comfort zone and write outside my usual genre. While this micro fiction isn’t explicit, it is about contraception and does imply adult content. Regardless, I enjoyed the work and the idea, and I hope you do to.

Let me know what you think and which one is your favourite for this month; and be sure to keep an eye out for the next few short stories coming out soon.

Sincerely,

The Jade Writer Girl.

A Pronouncement

Dear Reader,

Today I want to tell you a bit about me: I am a daydreamer, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a niece. I am eccentric. I am shy and introverted; and yet loud and obnoxious. I am passionate about many things, and I am overly emotional.

Most importantly, however, I am a storyteller. This is who I am at my core, and though I work a permanent part time job, in reality I am a full time writer. Full time.

I say this because if I don’t, then my writing takes precedence to everyone and everything else, and that is not acceptable to me. 

However, being a full-time writer on top of a part time job means I sometimes have to get work done in peculiar places. 

In carparks. In elevators. At traffic lights as I wait to cross the road. Waiting for my food order to be prepared. At dinner and at parties. In the passenger seat. In the back seat. In fact, I give up driving rights as much as I can, in order to write on the way to wherever we are going. At midnight, or two am, or four am, when a solution to a problems wakes me from a dead sleep, and I sit at the end of the bed, with the brightness way down so as not to wake my husband.

Aside from work, my laptop comes with me just about everywhere I go. Without it, I write on my phone, on my ipad, in a notebook, on scrap paper, and yes even once or twice on a napkin.

Recently it has come to my attention that some of my writing habbits could be misconstrued as “rude”. This does not sit well with me.

This is my work. This is my dream. And while it may seem like I am being anti-social, I can assure you, I am working very hard.

For example, at the moment I am behind on my Writerly Aspirations by two short stories and a micro-fixtion. I have half of three shorts written right now, which I intend to get to work on as soon as I get home. I also have a web serial novella I began a few weeks ago, a new paranormal novel series, and the sequel to my first novel all vying for my attention and creative thought. Incidentally, I am aslo in the middle of editing Extinguish (my 90,000 word YA/sci-fi novel), in the hopes of actually salvaging some chance of getting published this year.

Yes, perhaps my scribbling down some thoughts, or trying to fix a problem I’ve been having with a story in the middle of a dinner may be a little inconsiderate. However, I trust that those closest to me understand my goal and my dream and the urge at the very core of me to be a storyteller. Those people understand.

When I speak to other creatives, they understand and I know I am not alone in my struggles.

In fact, I would expect no less from anyone else pursuing their dreams. I encourage it. You have to work hard. Harder than anything else you have ever worked for. For me, this is only natural. Dreams and goals don’t always come easilly, but that just makes then all the sweeter. You have to live and breathe your passions if you want them to become fruitful, and that is what I intend to do. I intend to fight for my write to a creatve life.

This is who I am, and if working on this dream whenever and wherever possible, is unacceptable…well, I’m afraid that says more about you, than it does about me.

Sincerley, 

The Jade Writer Girl.

A Micro Fiction: The Curious Case of the Cookie Jar

His suspect sat in an oversized wooden chair that made him seem as small and insignificant as the pet fish. The suspect’s arms were tied down with a thick tie, bound tight around the small, puny wrists.Detective Tim Holt smirked, leaning in to give the suspect a fierce, knowing look. ‘You are the thief, aren’t you Mr Hart?’

Suspect Frederick Hart blinked back at him from his restraints. A tough one, eh. Well, Detective Holt would just have to up his game.

He lunged forward, grasping the suspect’s shirt and yanked him forward in his seat.

‘Did you steal from the Dark Queen?!’

Behind him, a faint giggle echoed out. ‘Dark Queen?’

Detective Holt whirled, glaring at his partner who flushed crimson from her porcelain seat, clipboard in hand.

‘Sorry,’ she muttered, and shrugged apologetically at his suspect.

‘No fraternisation Miss Hart, or I’ll have you thrown off this case!’

‘Yes, Tim. Er, detective.’

Detective Holt turned back to the suspect, his eyes narrowed. ‘Only a fiendish scoundrel would corrupt my most loyal agent. Who knows what else you’re capable of. Now tell me, fiend, where did you hide the booty?!’

‘Isn’t booty for pirates?’

‘Sh!’

The suspect remained silent in his restraints, staring at Detective Holt as if it were he who was crazy, and not the other way around.

‘Listen here, you uncut…that’s not right…’

‘Uncouth,’ supplied his loyal partner.

‘Yes! You uncouth…fiend. I will discover how you did it, and how you hid the evidence. We’ll catch you, with or without your confession, but let me tell you this: your consequences will be dire if you do not reveal the truth now. Now, once and for all, are you the thief?’

The suspect rose an eyebrow, and looked pointedly down at his tied up hands.

‘Uh, Tim—oh, I mean detective! Fred— um, the suspect can’t speak. Remember?’

Detective Holt paused. ‘Oh,’ he said, and fought the flush of embarrassment. ‘Well. I will release only one hand!’

The suspect rolled his eyes.

As Detective Holt began to untie one arm, the door to their dark interrogation room creaked open and the Dark Queen entered!

‘What on Earth? Timothy Holt, what are you doing?!’

‘Mum! You’re ruining my interrogation!’

‘Interrogation my foot, untie Freddie right now!’

‘But Muuum, he’s our main suspect! He stole from the Cookie Jar!’ he yelled dramatically, pointing at the suspect just like he’d watched the detective do in all the cop shows his mother—uh, the Dark Queen watched. ‘And I will get a confession.’

‘Well you can take your interrogation into the backyard and out of my bathroom! Are those my father’s silk ties?!’

‘We better go,’ Tim muttered to his suspect, quickly untying the rest of Freddie’s restraints and diving for the safety of the hallway, the twins hot on his heels.

‘Tim,’ said his most loyal partner, Miss Hart. ‘Is now a good time to remind you that you ate the last cookie from the cookie Jar?’

‘What? I never—oh wait…’

A Micro Fiction: Lighthouse

Why did we have to take our shoes off? Even halfway up the stairs, my calves burning, and the tingle of fear scratching at my spine (don’t look down, don’t look down), each step made me wonder.

The wooden steps were smooth and polished—maybe by hand, maybe by the countless tread of barefooted people traipsing up to the balcony above.

Above an elderly couple panted above me. Their feet slapped against the steps in slow, heavy footfalls—a stark contrast to my own light, steady trot.

I didn’t allow myself to match their steps. To slow down would be to surrender. The burn would creep in, taking away all my energy, and bringing my progress to a screeching halt. And so I kept on.

The sign on the little gate guarding the lighthouse had claimed it was one of the tallest in the world. I had peered up at it as the wiry Frenchman had come to take our tickets, insisting “no shoes, no shoes” and pointing to the other pair of unclaimed shoes by the gate.

Inside it was cool, and quiet. Hushed in a way that made you speak in whispers. I began my climb, keeping my steps light, and only occasionally peering through the protective netting lining the inside of the spiral staircase.

At the top, I groaned. More stairs led through a hatchway to a second platform. In there, I paused, looking up at the large bulb fixed into the centre of the room. It’s warning clear to all below. “Beware, land here!”

To the side of the bulb was another staircase leading to a metal door that stared at me. Questioning whether or not I really wanted to step out onto that high balcony.

The door was heavy, and I struggled to push it open. Then, as if someone had taken hold of the other side, it was yanked open.

Wind buffeted me from all directions, grabbing hold of my hair and my hat and threatening to sweep it all away. It took my breath and cast it aside, while at the same time pulling me toward the rail. Encouraging me to stare out at the vastness of the island below. It looked so small, so tiny, up there on the lighthouse balcony. Sweat cooled rapidly in the wind, yet, the clear blue water below still looked deliciously inviting.

I felt big and breathless and weightless all at once. Light and free. Like I could take flight from this great height, and join the birds in their twirls and spirals on the gusting wind. I took a deep breath, letting my lungs fill with the pureness of the air up there.

Wind tickled at my toes, biting them with cold. But the sun had warmed the rough wood beneath my feet, and I closed my eyes as I leaned out onto the railing.

‘No shoes,’ I grinned, wriggling my toes as wonder swept through my chest, filling it with light, delicious air.

A Chapter Novella.

Dear Reader,

A Chapter Novella (or a Serial Novel/Novella as they’re more properly known) is a story that is released in sections. Sometimes with one chapter, sometimes with many. Stephen King’s novel The Green Mile, was originally released as a Serial Novel.

This Chapter Novella follows the life of a young fighter pilot, and his mission to reveal the truth about Starship Heart technology.

Rescued as a young boy from his burning Space City, Asher Dow dreams of one day returning to the Cruiser Lullaby. Whispers in his dreams call to him, urging him to follow whatever path necessary to lead him back into contact with the strange girl that spoke not to him, but within him, during his short stay on the ship.

Asher is kind, charitable and makes friends wherever he goes, accelling through Flight School to become one of the top twenty highest recommended Fighter Pilots in within the Star Collective.

Yet when Asher finally makes it back aboard the Lullaby, fate begins to turn on him. Anomolies surround him on the ship, from malfunctioning Transporter Beam’s to Organic Link Up’s to the ship’s mainframe. Nightmares and migraines plague him the closer he comes to the truth. What – or who – is the Lullaby? And will she ever let him leave the ship alive?

Part One: Rescue

A Few Short Stories

Dear Reader,

In a desperate bid to complete my self-appointed writing challenge, I am playing catch up.

So far this weekend I have completed two micro fictions, one short story, and begun a short Novella; and while that did impact negatively on my Camp NaNo progress, I am quite happy with my progress.

NaNo has been a bit hit and miss this year so far regardless of my Blog updates, so really, I’m just happy to be getting something done.

In case you’ve missed my updates, you can check out my Micro Fictions here, and you can find my latest short story below.

Sunrise

“There is a moment before the dawn when everything is quiet. A hush falls over the world, the wind is cold and soft and the whole world waits.

Then the first hint of orange spills over the horizon, and the world awakens with dappled shades of orange, red, pink and yellow. Warm, soft, and mellow. The world breathes out its breath in misty clouds and cool drops of dew and all is beautiful as the day begins.”

 As for the Novella I’ve begun, keep an eye out. It will be called Flight, and (if all goes according to plan) I’ll be releasing it in four parts – Rescue, Pilot, Anomaly, and Home.

This Novella is a little out of my comfort zone. Where I normally lean toward Fantasy, this story will definitely hinge toward Science Fiction; it will be based around a Fighter Pilot on a Star Ship called (for the moment, anyway) The Lullaby. I dreamt about half the story last night, and I’m pretty excited about it; but as I’m also attempting to complete the first draft of Riverwood, I didn’t want to let Flight distract me too much – hence why I am limiting it to Novella size.

Please keep an eye out, and let me know what you think of each Part of Flight as it comes out.

Sincerely,

The Jade Writer Girl.

A Micro Fiction: The Drive-Through Exchange

He sits tall in the back, happy to be invited, not left behind. His pink tongue lolls out the side of his mouth. The window is down, and occasionally the flash of pink disappears so he can sniff at the air rushing through.

Then it is back, and he grins, long and wide. Normally so serious, so stoic, he sits in the back like a king and grins a goofy grin.

Until we reach the drive-through.

The first time, I don’t notice until the flurry of sniffs that come my way when I accept my crinkly, brown paper bag—except I’m expecting those. The girl in the window grins at me.

‘Cute dog.’

The second time, I see him watching. His tongue is gone, tucked away in the face of seriousness. We are at the window, and as I hand over my card, he pokes his nose over the shoulder of my seat and has a good sniff. I try not to giggle as his breath tickles at my ear, and take my card back. The boy in the window is trying to hide his smile.

The third time I’m on the look out for it. I see him watching from the back seat, his head perked forward in intensity, his eyes focused on our hands as we exchange the card, his head cocked to one side.

The fourth time, I don’t even make it. I’m looking for my handbag.

‘You ready to go?’ I call absentmindedly.

But he doesn’t answer. There’s no patter of claws on the wooden floors. No scurry of movement as I invite him along. At first, I’m too distracted. Where is my card? And why was my wallet on the ground instead of in my handbag?

‘Jasper!’ I call, deciding that my card must be in a pair of jeans or shorts—lucky I have cash.

But he never comes.

First I check the yard. Then I run the street, calling his name. I’m not panicking. I’m not freaking out. I grab my keys and jump into my car, my tires squealing only a little as I skid out of the driveway a little too fast. The streets seem unbearably empty, but I find one person, and pull over.

‘Black dog? Yeah, I saw one. Collie looking thing.’

‘He’s a Kelpie.’

‘Yeah, might’ve been him. Down that way. Near the drive-through.’

For some reason, his words stick with me. The drive-through?

An inkling, an idea of where he might have gone.

As I pull into the car park, there’s a commotion. People are getting out of their cars, standing around, pointing and laughing. Someone has their camera out, filming.

And there, in the middle of the driveway, beneath the serving window, is a black dog. He sits there, one ear perked up and the other swivelling about—listening. He stares up at the girl in the window, who appears quite baffled.

In his mouth, is my missing credit card.