Sunday, May 26, 2013

Beginnings - Fear Itself

Okay... new blog title... Check.  New attitude...?  Working on it.  New theme of things to get posted...

Well, that starts here.  Today and for the coming Sundays I'm going to post the beginnings of my books - in the order they were written (as close as I can remember it - it's been 9 years, people).  I hope it'll be a kind of journey through my career thus far.

Anyway, without further lip-flapping, here's the beginning of my first book: Fear Itself (aka Spectacle).  It was written from January to August 2004.  Eight months for a first draft?  :shudder:  I edited it for a month and then sent it off into the world.  :double-shudder:  I've edited it a bit since then, but this is it... unless I decide to edit again.

Chapter 1
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge.”
– Daniel Boorstin
 “We’re on in two.” 
Scanning the copy for tonight’s broadcast, Alex McKenzie couldn’t bring herself to believe what she was reading, not that any of it was new.  The world she once thought was so constant—so stable—was falling apart. 
She reported on the same types of things for the past two months, but she still couldn’t shake the feeling something wasn’t right about it all.  As if the action would erase her unease, she ran a trembling hand through her hair.
Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a flash of movement; a monitor just off the set showed a woman’s profile.  Her long black hair was perfectly coiffed, but hung limp around her pale face.  Her slender fingers quivered over the papers in front of her.  The corner of her mouth twitched as though she held back a tide of tears. 
At the edge of her consciousness, Alex heard the lead-in, but she couldn’t seem to focus her thoughts.  The camera in front of her indicated she was now on-air.  The woman on the monitor straightening to speak.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” said a familiar voice, “and welcome to GBC News.  It’s Friday, May 1st, and I’m Alexandra McKenzie standing in for Craig Jamison.” 
The woman sat rigidly behind the news desk and looked, for that brief moment, as if she would rather be doing anything else than reporting the news.  It took a moment for Alex to realize the woman was herself.  Shaking away the detachment she now realized was visible on her face, she replaced her harried expression with the steely gaze of the hardened reporter she used to be.  She looked directly into the hearts of her audience and began.  “What would normally be a day of celebration for the coming of spring is instead a day of trepidation.  This time of year we should all be thinking of beaches and bikinis, cookouts and ball games,  but instead our thoughts are of Fenrir and its rapid descent toward Earth.” 
Her face twisted as she fought against the pain coursing through her chest.  She had no hope to offer about its course and no new reports of anyone who could divert the catastrophe headed their way.
She looked at the text in front of her.  It couldn’t be true.  If she didn’t read the words, it wouldn’t be true.  But it was her job.  “Tonight, Paris is in flames.” 
The whole world was a gigantic jigsaw puzzle being dismantled bit by bit; one more piece taken out and tossed into the jumbled pile that once made a picture and now only made a mess.  “Over the past few days, a mob has moved across the city leaving death and destruction in its wake.  This morning, we showed footage of their attempt to destroy the Eiffel Tower.  As of late this afternoon, that same mob focused their anger on the Louvre.  Beginning with the glass pyramid that has become as familiar a part of Paris as the gallery itself, a full frontal assault on the historic structures ensued.  We have reports several of the mob’s members were trampled in the crush to escape the pyramid’s falling shards.  At least two have been pronounced dead from their injuries.”  She stopped, swallowing hard while the director looked on, horrified.  Motioning nervously, he tried to get her to resume, but she sat battling against a twisted urge to burst into hysterical laughter. 

Yeah, yeah.  I took a lot of heat from a writing community I joined over that MC seeing herself on camera and describing herself there, but I seriously wasn't using the whole mirror image thing for that reason.  My thought was to show some level of the detachment she's feeling at this point.  :shrug:

As I said, this is my first book.  So no shredding apart of my maiden voyage. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Name Change

I was laying in bed last night thinking... yeah, it happens sometimes... and it occurred to me that the previous title of this blog (Tabula Rasa) might come off as a tad pretentious.  Since those who know me know I am not in any way a pretentious person, Tabula Rasa wasn't really representing who I am.

And if you've ever watched Steel Magnolias, then you know that an ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.  So...

I'll wait....

Okay, got it?  Manure = bullshit = BS = my initials. 

So, here we are at A Pound of B.S.

Nothing else has really changed.  The writing's still the same.  The person doing the writing hasn't changed.  The quote hasn't changed.  The only change is the face this particular blog presents to the world.

I hope you stop by often and see what crazy things have come out of my head.  =o)

(And yeah, I outed my first name.  I figure since my husband is no longer a public person, I can now be more public than I used to be.  I'd still prefer being called B.E. around the webs, though.  I've been B.E. for nine years and it's just my thing.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Just Because... More Djinnocide

I haven't posted here in a while, so I thought I'd give you a bit more of Djinnocide - because it's fun and I love it.  (This piece from the beginning of the book takes up where I left off on this post.)

The small box, wrapped in brown paper tied with twine, sat on the foyer table—waiting for me when I returned from a late lunch with friends. They left with promises to return later and ruin the party for me. Such good friends I had then. The quicker they raided Evangeline’s special plans, the quicker I could start my new life.
I called out to tell her I was home, but she was either soaking her brain in absinthe or sleeping off an earlier drunk. Servants scurried around the place, preparing. Somewhere deeper in the apartment, duck and pheasant and veal waited to be consumed. My stomach rumbled. Too bad for it my curiosity overwhelmed my appetite.
Grabbing Reggie’s gift, I raced up the grand staircase to my room. I kicked off my Mary Janes and flopped onto the impossibly-girly canopy bed my mother thought proper for a female child. Unconcerned with any black smudges the box left, I pushed it across the silk bedspread Reggie sent from the Orient as last year’s gift and wrestled the twine free. The paper tore away to lay forgotten on a goose-down pillow. Packing material tumbled from the upended box along with a beige envelope.
Reggie’s bold strokes graced the front: To my dearest Daughter. I pushed it aside. Time enough later for his birthday wishes. I took comfort in the certainty his note only contained professions of a father’s love—perhaps along with when he would be home again. I knew he loved me. Whether he actually made it home according to his schedule was a crapshoot.
My eyes centered again on the package’s contents. Peeking hesitantly from the remaining shreds of paper, lay a rosewood box. I didn’t have Reggie’s knowledge of antiques, but I knew a prized piece when I saw it. The carvings were intricate, if a little primitive. The inlays centered in each delicate flower had to be ivory.
I lay there devouring every nook and cranny of its beauty. My fingers itched to trace the designs, but I held back, savoring the visual meal before allowing myself to dive in. I held onto the delicious delay as long as I could, teasing my innate impatience until I couldn’t stand myself anymore. I reached out, caressing the silky wood the way a loving hand might slip tenderly over its lady’s cheek.
A gentle breeze ruffled the bangs across my forehead as I lifted the lid. I stifled my disappointment when I realized the box itself had been my only present. Not that it wasn’t a really lovely gift, I’d just hoped to find at least a necklace nestled in a velvet interior.
“Expecting baubles perhaps, my young Master?” said a voice from behind me. No sooner had the words hit my ears then the box filled with a rainbow’s worth of light and color. I flung the possessed thing away, scattering gems of every size and shape across my bed. A single emerald the size of a walnut teetered on the edge for a second and then dropped, clattering on the floor below.
For an instant I felt torn between lunging for the jewel and seeing who’d entered my bedroom without permission. Self-preservation won out, but it was close. When I eased myself around, a gorgeous boy sat on top of my dressing table. He wasn’t even as old as the boys I played at romancing, so he couldn’t have been a guest—even if the dusky-skinned Mediterranean could’ve made it past my mother’s prejudices.
I narrowed my eyes. “Is this some sort of prank?”
His dark hair fell across his forehead. His darker eyes twinkled in amusement. “Not any I would know of,” he said. Except for a braided vest, he sat before me unclothed from the waist up, giving lie to my earlier impression. He was nothing if not a man. Ebony hair graced muscles I’d only ever read about in dimestore tawdries.
“What are you doing here if this isn’t a joke?”
“I am the surprise you were hoping for when you opened your gift.” He snapped his fingers. All at once my room turned from Victorian virgin to Art Deco dream. “A palace more suited to a woman such as yourself, is it not?”
I scrubbed at my eyes as I wondered whether that scoundrel Wally slipped something into my drink at lunch. The chubby-cheeked bastard fancied himself a regular W.C. Fields. Lord knew he had the girth and the nose for it, but he never was very funny. The more I thought about it, though, the more that I realized, other than these odd hallucinations, I felt fine. Carefully I opened one eye. Everything appeared unchanged.
“Who… What are you?”
His mouth spread into a smile, each tooth an ivory example of perfection. “At least you have brains enough under your silly haircut to ask the right questions.”

Have a gorgeous day, wherever you are.  =o)