Nothing more and nothing less

cupIt’s been a while since I’ve posted some snippets, and as I’ve been writing constantly I have quite a few more to share. I hope you enjoy reading them – I’m nearing the end of This Mortal Coil (it will probably round out at about 200 pages, and once I add in scenes/edit it will be a bit lengthier; it isn’t intended to be a terribly long book) and I’ve left everyone hanging in Acceso, for which I apologize. When I’m spurred on one certain project, I can’t write in anything else. In any case, I’m having the time of my (writing) life. Read on.  

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            She grins and motions for me to follow her, glancing both ways before running with delicate, hopping steps across the street. “Come on,” she calls again, “there’s something I want to show you!”

            I smile and break into a jog behind her.

            I see lights spill across the street, hear the screech of tires tearing around the corner. I glance over my shoulder to look.

            Leila screams as the front of the truck slams into my body and everything turns red.   – Acceso

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 “Uh – I’m Mercury.”

            “You are?” His eyes squinted, looking me up and down.

            Oh, right. Every proto was given knowledge, like a computer hard drive. “Not the planet,” I said. “I was just named after it.”

            “Can I be a planet?” He was like an eager puppy, leaning forward out of his box, his eyes bright.

            I bit back a laugh. I hadn’t named him yet – I hadn’t even thought of them. “Sure, why not. What planet do you want to be?”

            He scratched his head. “Jupiter,” he said.

            I couldn’t help but be surprised. “Why Jupiter?”

            He recited, “It’s the third brightest planet in the sky, and it’s the biggest planet in the solar system. Oh,” he added, “and it has a red spot.” He pointed his finger at the air, as if the red spot were hovering somewhere in front of his face.

– The Care and Keeping of Jupiter

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 Ezra’s grand entrance wasn’t all that different from anyone else’s, except no one was expecting him. So when he showed up at homeroom, all lanky limbs and dark hair swept across his forehead, everyone noticed. I’m pretty sure even a few of the teachers gave him a second glance – and probably a third, considering the same day he arrived, all he did was stand around and stare at everyone with a little smile below narrowed eyes, like he was sizing us all up. I only knew one thing about him – he was twenty years old, and for some reason he was still a senior.  – Daring Ezra

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“I have seen the storm in the hunter’s eyes, and trust me when I say you may think you’ve won; you may think your queen has the king in checkmate; you may think you’ve grown so powerful not even God himself can stop you.” – This Mortal Coil

I broke an icicle off the mailbox. “I just don’t know what I want to do with myself yet.”

            “What do you like to do?”

            He was better than a boyfriend, I thought with a wry smile. Maybe Amie wasn’t as off-track as I’d thought. “I like to do everything, really.”

            “What do I like to do?”

            I stared at him. “I don’t know. You’ll have to figure it out yourself.”

            “How?”

            This was ridiculous. “By doing stuff. You know.” I waved my hand at everywhere in general. “Try everything and see.”

            “Stuff,” he repeated solemnly. “Okay.”

            “Sweet vanilla, is this how mom felt when I was a kid?”

            I hadn’t meant to ask that out loud – it was more a philosophical, probing question since I was quickly beginning to admire my mother more than I previously had – but Jupiter responded, “I don’t know. Do you want me to find out?”

            I pulled a wadded-up beanie out of my pocket and jammed it over my head. “Never mind.”

            We walked around the block. It wasn’t a long walk, but it was enough to get my blood flowing. Jupiter never stopped asking talking. “You get a lot of snow.” “Wow, an airplane! I’ve never seen an airplane before!” “Have you ever been on an airplane, Mercury?”

            Even Rin wasn’t this talkative. Or maybe Amie had just figured out a way to shut him up. Not that I hated the talking – I wasn’t a very talkative person myself, so I repeated over and over in my head with every crunching footstep, It’ll be good for me. It’ll be good for me. It’ll be good for me.  – The Care and Keeping of Jupiter

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Angel laughed; a faint, breathy sound with more desperation in it than mirth. “I’m going to die,” he said in the syrup-slow voice of someone who had had too much to drink, “but thank you for coming.”

            Skata glared at the wisps floating around. “Looks like these things eat more than just your power,” he grunted, “they’re eating your sanity, too.” – This Mortal Coil

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“Well, well. It’s been at least forty-eight hours since you darkened my door. I was beginning to think you’d forgotten about me.” – This Mortal Coil

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Was the vampire deliberately ignoring him? Skata called Angel several unflattering names and stepped back to see if any of the windows on the floors above were open.

            Cupping his hands over his mouth, he shouted, “Get your hide down here.”

            A loud whinny from his horse made him turn around. Chaville had appeared seemingly from nowhere, stroking the animal’s muzzle with long, comforting strokes. “Throwin’ your voice at the window won’t bring him out,” she said. “He’s not here.”

            Skata walked down the front steps toward her. “Then where is he?”

            “I don’t know, but I’ve not seen so much as a hair on his head for a few days, at least. You think he’s in some kind of mischief?”

            Skata yanked the leather strap from his hair and tied it back to keep it from blowing across his face.  “I don’t think he can breathe without getting into some kind of trouble,” he muttered.  – This Mortal Coil

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Confessions of a poptimistic writer

nightGrowing up, my favorite fairytales were, of course, the ones that ended with, “and they lived Happily Ever After.” Happy stories, ones where the prince and the princess got married after defeating the evil villain and birds and mice cheered, and everything was perfect. The older I get, however, the more I prefer a bittersweet ending, an ending that leaves you a little sad; mournful for those who died, or fell away, and a little happy for those who survived and did get happy endings. A satisfying ending, but one we can relate to. In real life – even if I’m reading a fairytale – complete happy endings where justice is served to everyone we dislike and everyone we love gets to live out the rest of their days without trouble don’t happen. The only true Happy Ending hasn’t come yet, and so until then, we all have our own endings (or beginnings, however you want to look at it) and not all of them are happy.

‘The point, gentlemen, is that they lived.’

I like to call myself a poptimist because- a pessimist + an optimist = a poptimist. I love to show things for how they are; the shadows for their darkness and the light for its brightness, the brokenness for what it is and the joy for all it can be. I began to think about all this about half an hour ago, because I was writing in Acceso and I realized that, while Acceso’s main character has the most struggles, the most personal demons, the most difficult personality to deal with, Acceso also probably has the happiest ending of any of my novels. I knew it would from the time I began to write it. A difficult book needs a happier ending. Contrariwise, my happier novels – The Meaning of Always, The Care and Keeping of Jupiter – have very bittersweet endings. I’ve discovered through my years of writing that people’s souls connect with truth more than they do with an idealized ending, my own soul included. It’s easier to believe in a poptimist ending than a happily ever after – for now. But we can never forget that at the end of time, the world will have such a Happily Ever After that even the mountains will sing of it. Until then, we give people hope, we help them feel, and we create broken, beautiful things because we live in a broken, beautiful world and we should give people a glimpse of heaven amid the fragments.

Snippets and a surprise

I realized it’s been months since I’ve done a Snippets post! I’ve been working on so many things and been so busy with graduation and Summit, etc. that it plumb slipped my mind. (Fun fact: I’ve always wanted to use ‘plumb’ in a sentence. Amelia Bedelia taught me well.) But before I get on to the snippets, I want to announce a little bit of blog expanding! I have now created a Tumblr as a companion to {Wishful Thinking} – I’m not on pinterest, but on Pretty Wit & Shiny Things you’ll get to see what inspires and makes me happy. I hope you enjoy looking; it probably won’t be as regular as this blog, but I’m excited to show it to you.

~ Pretty Wit & Shiny Things ~

And now, on to Snippets – though I really should start calling them ‘sections’ as they’re too long to be proper snippets. I’ll give you one of each, since they’re lengthier than average.

I realize with a jump that the timer’s going off. I grab the oven mitts and pull out the last bunch of cupcakes. “The last herd’s out.”

            “The last what?”

            I pull the oven mitts off. Pink isn’t my color. “The herd. Flock. Group. Whatever you call a bunch of baked stuff.”

            Her face is turning the color of the mitts I just took off. “Batch,” she says through her teeth. I wonder when the laugh is going to burst through her stoic attempt at holding it back.

            “Fine,” I say. “That’s the last batch, then.”

– Acceso

 

I followed him as we climbed onto the bucket and pulled the door closed. I eyed it with suspicion. “Is that really supposed to keep us from falling out? I mean, the wheel in London was like a glass room, not…this.”

            “We’ll be fine, as long as nobody does this,” he said, and swung his legs. The bucket rocked backwards and my hands shot out, grabbing the side.

            “Don’t do that!” I shrieked, my heart hammering.

            “We aren’t off the ground yet,” he said, staring at me with an amused grin on his face.

            “Stop grinning before I punch your face,” I said, letting my hands slide off the side. “Seriously, I’m not good with…unsteady heights.”

            “I bet you are.” He leaned back, the picture of comfort. “I’m probably the one who’ll end up in your lap, screaming like a girl.”

            I gave him a sly sideways glance. “You’re just trying to end up in my lap, aren’t you?”

            “Chivalrous knights never take advantage of gracious fair maidens,” he answered. He leaned forward and I tensed, but he was not rocking the bucket, only looking at the door.

            I leaned forward, trying to balance my weight to prevent my headfirst topple, and read the words scratched into the plastic. A crude heart encircled the words H lovs S always.

            “I’m glad we got this seat,” he said, touching the words with the tip of his finger before relaxing again. “We can pretend that’s us.”

            “They misspelled ‘loves,’” I pointed out.

            “All the more for uniqueness.”

            “They probably aren’t even together anymore.”

            “They did say ‘always,’” he answered.

– The Meaning of Always

 

“For an American, you clean up rather well.”

            Skata looked in the mirror and sighed. Angel crossed the room behind him, eyeing the brown leather coat and hat strewn across the bed with distaste. “You aren’t going to wear those, are you?”

            “What, you don’t think they go with my suit?” Skata was wearing a suit for the first time in years, and felt distinctly uncomfortable. The gray fabric was hard to move in; every seam and stitch seemed designed to keep him from freedom of movement.

            “You might say that.”

            “I’m wearing them.” Skata lifted a blackwood stake, a vial of coriander, and a small pouch of salt from the dresser and watched as Angel inched away out of caution. He tucked them into his waistcoat and pulled the jacket on.

            “I hope you aren’t planning on wearing them inside,” said Angel with distaste. The vampire had arrived at Skata’s apartment to make certain the hunter didn’t attend the party ‘looking like a beggar.’

            “I’ll take them off in the foyer, same as everybody else.” Skata shrugged the coat on and set the hat on his head. At least with those two items, he felt a bit more like himself and less like the fashionable vampire.

            “I suppose you’ll have to do,” said Angel critically.

            “You look like a fop,” said Skata.

            Angel expertly tugged the lace around his wrists into position. “Is that supposed to offend me?”

            “You’d better get going,” said Skata. “We can’t have the host being late for his own party.”

            “How thoughtful of you.” Angel turned to the door, the tails of his long coat swishing about his ankles. “I would invite you to join me in the carriage, but as I know you’ll refuse I’ll simply say stay dry, and don’t be late.”

            “Can’t help it if it rains,” said Skata, “and I won’t be.”

– This Mortal Coil

“Okay, sooo.” Talking aloud, I clicked onto the ProtoTypes Lab website. Just glancing at the prices on the side was enough to make my bank account scream for mercy. $250,000 for a used proto with only three weeks left? Who on earth spent half a million dollars on a proto and then gave it away before its time ran out?

            I clicked the tab that said Customize Your Order. A new page opened and images spilled across the screen – eyes, lips, noses, arms, hair, skin color.

            I opened my media player and turned on some music. This was going to take a while.

– The Care and Keeping of Jupiter