Category Archives: Snippets

Snippet Sunday: Geese Genocide

Snippet Sunday: Geese Genocide

      Wow – it has been AGES since our last Snippet Sunday. Yikes!
      This week, the excerpt is a scene from “Inferno”. It is a first draft and it is insane. A bit… Poor Alexander… So without first ado…

– – – – – – – – – – –
      Maybe there was a little barbarian in everyone, certainly he had seen atrocities since the Fall; things other people probably knew for certain that they were not capable of either.
      But not me. It shouldn’t have happened to me. I’m better than them, those fucking weakling peasants.
      And now he would have to find a new prize for his harem. A replacement for the ginger witch whose love he would never earn and whose power he was loathe to test again. But not today. Because today was the first ever ‘Empire Day’ and Isaac had plans for it.
      “Well the fat bastard is welcome to ‘em. I’m not sticking around to watch them all lick his arse.”
      Alexander supposed the area had been pretty enough, before. He hovered above the shore, watching out over the water, pensively. It was technically the Pacific, but it was not like it was in the movies, with golden sand, palm trees, and bikinis as far as they eye could see. But, it was nice. Tall, lush evergreens, open fields (which, admittedly, would need a lot of work to be farmable come spring, but which would probably benefit from all the loamy mud), rocky beaches with kelp and driftwood.
      Winds swept around him, whipping his hair about his face as he soared south. Miles flew past in a blur and he rejoiced in the surge of energy pulsating within each vein and vessel in his body. The birds were confused, their polar navigation all kinds of screwed up thanks to the blast in the east and the smaller eruption down at Rainier. He nearly collided with a flock of geese, honking bitchily at him when his flight path disrupted their perfect V formation.
      “Noisy, filthy bastards,” he said to himself, casting a glance of his shoulder at the birds. “Good thing you’re so fucking tasty, or I’d make it my personal business to eradicate the whole lot of you.”
      Geese genocide. Spectacular. But dear old Mum would never forgive me if she had to ever forgo her precious Christmas goose.
      Then again, he decided, even if she had survived this collapse of civilization — and who knew what was going on in Britain — chances are there would not be many Christmases left for anyone. Not if Isaac had his druthers. Empire Day? What a fucking joke.
      He was well and truly into a mental tirade when he realized he had stopped moving. Puzzled, he furrowed his brow and focused his energies to push himself forward. Alexander did not budge.
      “What the bloody…” he said, murmuring to himself. Casting a quick look about the vicinity, Alexander could see nothing or no one to be blocking his momentum. Anger burbled up within him, hastily replacing the minor panic which had begun to rise in his belly. Backward? No. Up? No. Down? Shit! Concentration lost, Alexander tumbled toward the ground in a whirl of flailing limbs. He landed with a hideous squelching crunch, his teeth snapping shut on his tongue. His mouth filled with the metallic tang of blood and as the abyss swallowed him, Alexander wondered if anyone would even notice he was gone.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

FFF: Intoxicating

FFF: Intoxicating

      I was originally going to post a 1000 word short I wrote after reading this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds. By the by, I love his lists and have all of his writing-related books, but somehow I’ve never managed to snag his actual novels. Does that make me a bad person?
      Anyway, I was going to post my piece inspired by his random 3s, but alas, I got distracted preparing from tomorrow’s new game and I ended up writing a little big of background for my character. I know, I know. I said I was going to start playing more fellas, but my original version of this character was a dude and I think it’ll work better as a female. Plus, I just wanted to do it. So there.
      Without further ado, the origin story for Kava of Clan Thunderthroat.
—————————–
      “Then we are agreed?”
      Sixteen voices answered in practiced unison. “We are.”
      “Nay,” said the seventeeth. “We are not.”
      Shifting voluminous robes of glittering gold cloth edged in ermine, the Sagamore cast a disapproving look at the naysayer. “We are agreed, Penosius. Your objection has been noted and overruled. Clan Thunderthroat is hereby anathematized.”
      “Fools!” roared the seventeeth. “You cannot do this. Such a decision will not stand.”
      “Silence, Penosius. It is done.” The Sagamore lifted a taloned finger in warning. “Clan Thunderthroat is denounced. They shall have no votes upon the council, receive no assistance from the allied clans and are prohibited from participation in The Games. Nevermore shall the dead of Clan Thunderthroat be permitted to be interred beneath Mount Valir. So decree the Council of Clan Elders, so decrees the Sagamore.”
      A snap of his bejeweled fingers set his anxious assistant into action. The skinny little man scurried to the seventeeth and yanked the pendant from around his neck.
      “It is done. The council is dismissed.”
      With this pronouncement, the Sagamore levered himself to his feet and lumbered out of the chamber, followed by sixteen sheep in dragonborn clothing and a scattering of toadies.
      “Forgive me! Forgive me!” cried the accused. Skeletal and bleeding from a thousand half-healed gashes, the prisoner flung himself against the limits of his restraints, sobbing. “Forgive me! Please, for the love of Bahamut, forgive me!”
      “Abraxas,” Penosious said, advancing upon the cowering man. “Abraxas, my brother, shut your mouth or I shall do it for you. Permanently. Would that I had slain you in the womb as a stronger twin ought, rather than let you grow and live to betray us all.”
      Groaning, Abraxas dropped to knees, gripping his brother’s pant leg. “Say anything but that, Pen. Anything but that. I am so sorry. Please, can you not find any glimmer of forgiveness in your heart for me? Your only brother?”
      “None.”
      He began to weep freely, burying his face in clawed hands. Penosious felt his loyalty to his twin squeezing his heart, but he stood fast and did not move to comfort him. The crimes he had committed against his people and his clan were unforgivable. For his lust and greed and cowardice, the entirety of Clan Thunderthroat would pay the price.
      “When am I to be executed?”
      Penosious answered by sliding his blade from its sheath. The distinctive sound caused Abraxas’ eyes to widen and he shook his head.
      “No! Not you, my brother, please!”
      “It has been decided,” Penosious said, running a fingertip along the edge of his khopesh. It gleamed with a cold, merciless light; he honed it nightly with the exquisitely deft touch of a lover. “But had the Sagamore not ordered it, I would have volunteered. Perhaps with this one small act I can begin to redeem our Clan. Now bare your throat and meet your death with some modicum of dignity.”
      Abraxas hesitated, casting his eyes about the chamber. Pairs of guards waited at either exit, silent and unemotional. He could see movement in the shadows, but could not discern who else bore witness to his final moments. Mistakes, he had made many, but his brother’s words rung in his ears. Straightening his shoulders, Abraxas rose up on his knees and lifted his chin.
      Their eyes met and an understanding passed between them. Penosious lay his palm upon his brother’s shoulder. “Until we meet again in the next life, my brother, seek redemption.”
      “Make it quick.”
      The words had but left his lips when the razored edge of the heavy blade parted his head from his neck. Consciousness lingered as life poured from his body in torrents of red and the last thing Abraxas saw before his spirit departed was a small figure emerging from the shadows. Had he been able, he would have cried out to her.
      He died.
      Penosious moved to her side, wiping Abraxas’ blood from his blade with a square of honey-colored silk. He offered it to her, going to one knee beside her.
      “Do you understand what has happened here today?”
      The girl clutched the damp cloth to her chest and nodded once.
      “Tell me.”
      “You killed the traitor,” she said. “Killed him dead.”
      Penosious touched her shoulder, the same gesture he had made to his brother at the end. “So it was ordered, so it was done. Abraxas was my brother, and I loved him, but his foolishness has cost Clan Thunderthroat immeasurably. No more will his name be spoken, not even in secret, not even between you and I.”
      “No more.”
      “Good girl. You shall come home with me and be as my own daughter. That is my duty as his brother. It is your duty, as his offspring, to remove the taint from our Clan name. But come, let us not tarry here. Say goodbye to your Father and we will be off.”
      Kava tucked the silk into her belt and met her uncle’s gaze fiercely. “I have no father.”
—————————–
      And I’m in before midnight!
      So that’s this week Flash Fiction. It counts as flash fiction, doesn’t it? Its a character sketch-slash-origin-story-slash-flash-fiction piece. So I have decreed, so it is hereby deemed. Muahaha. Sorry for the über-dramatic speech patterns. These are Dragonborn elders, after all.
      What did you think?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

FFF: Challenge On!

FFF: Challenge On!

This is not a real post, but I am making a declaration that I *will* post a FFF piece tonight by midnight! It will happen!

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!

*ahem*

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Snippet Sunday: Before & After II

Snippet Sunday: Before & After II

      No, guys, I wasn’t kicked off the VBT. In fact, you can see an Author Spotlight on little ol’ me over at MasterKoda.com. But since my scheduled guest is experiencing some personal turmoil and had to leave the tour (sending much love & good mojo!) I decided to revert to a Sunday Snippet. Yay!
      So, today’s excerpt is a scene from “Incandescence”. Its another before-&-after-style post where I show off how important editing can be for me. Making a first draft really…sing! I use that phrase too much, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. So without first ado…

– – – – – – – – – – –


Before


      They assembled before her in borrowed clothing. Hannah had donned a pair of jeans that were both too long and too big around the waist; she had rolled the hem of the trousers up so that they brushed the top of the hiking boots she had stolen from the owners of the Cozy Coach and cinched the waist with a belt so long she had to tie the leather in a knot well past the last hole. She also wore a flannel shirt tied to reveal her midriff and her brother’s denim jacket over it. Michael was in a pair of clean Wranglers, dark and stiff with starch and a grey hoodie that featured a large, roaring brown bear. He had covered his floppy dark hair with a baseball cap and Hannah wore a black straw Stetson. Poor little Jeremy had drawn the short shrift, they had dressed him in a t-shirt that was probably Hannah’s size and made an improvised diaper out of a kitchen towel and some yarn. OLDLADYNAME was impressed by their resourcefulness; she had resorted to keeping one of Hannah’s old shirts wrapped around his little hiney all the previous day.
      “Thank you for breakfast, dafuzina,” she began, speaking slowly, giving herself time to compose the proper words. “I think we should stay here.”
      “Here? But-”
      “Humor me, damorsi. Please. I need to recouperate here – not just for the day. No, no. Hush. Let me finish. Before we leave this place, we need information and supplies. It is better if we wait here awhile.”
      The two exchanged a look that OLDLADYNAME could not define. Then Hannah nodded, crossing her arms before her thin chest.
      “Alright, OLDLADYNAME. Are you going to be okay, this morning at least, if Mike and I go exploring the place? The power still works so someone must live here, and they may be back. Better we find out the type of people they are now than after the fact.”
      Michael adjusted his cap. “And we have to see if there is a working radio or TV here, because the ones in the living room are just static. I’m still going to try to find some fuel too, in case we have to leave abruptly. Okay?”
      She nodded, a wan smile upon her wrinkled lips. “Yes.”
      Jeremy was trying to climb up onto the bed again and OLDLADYNAME looked up at Michael, imploring him silently to help the child up. Hannah removed the empty tray and came back into the room a few minutes later with a pitcher of iced tea and a pristine glass tumbler. Each of the kids kissed her forehead and murmured something about being careful, then they vanished in a whirl of denim and flannel.
      “Skib-Mommy,” Jeremy giggled, crawling over her legs, his chubby little hands grabbing at one of the lovely embroidered roses. He made his way to her torso and used her chest to pull himself to his unsteady feet. The little boy placed his hands on either side of her face with surprising tenderness and looked up at her. His deep brown eyes were velvety as a doe’s and the expression within them was so much older and wiser than belonged in the eyes of a child so young.
      “Skib-Mommy,” he repeated, patting her cheeks again. Then he wrapped his arms around her thin neck and buried his face in the crook of her shoulder. “Skib-Mommy.”
      Her heart fluttering in her chest, OLDLADYNAME hugged him back; her tears wet upon his silken black locks.
– – – – – – – – – – –

After


      They assembled before her in borrowed clothing. Hannah had donned a pair of jeans that were both too long and too big around the waist; she had rolled the hem of the trousers up so that they hung parallel with the top of her stolen hiking boots and cinched the pants with a belt so long she had to tie it in a knot. She also wore a flannel shirt tied just above her waist with Michael’s denim jacket over it. Michael was in a pair of clean Wranglers, dark and stiff with starch, and a grey hoodie bearing the image of a large, roaring brown bear. He had covered his floppy brown hair with a baseball cap. Hannah wore a black, straw Stetson.
      Poor little Jeremy had drawn short shrift. They had dressed him in a t-shirt that was probably Hannah’s size and made an improvised diaper out of a kitchen towel and some twine. OLDLADYNAME was impressed by their resourcefulness.
      “Thank you for breakfast, dafuzina,” she began, speaking slowly to give herself time to compose the proper words. “I have been thinking and I think we should stay here.”
“Here? But-”
      “Humor me, damorsi. Please. I need to recuperate here, not just for a day. No, no. Hush. Let me finish. Before we leave this place, we will need information and supplies. I think it is best to wait here for awhile.”
      The two exchanged a look that OLDLADYNAME could not decipher. After a moment, Hannah nodded and crossed her arms before her thin chest.
      “All right, OLDLADYNAME. Are you going to be okay, for this morning at least, if Mike and I go exploring a bit? The power doesn’t work, but the place is clean and stocked up. Someone must live her and they may be coming back. Better we find out what we can now.”
      Michael adjusted his cap. “And we have to find out if there is a working radio or TV here, because the ones in the living room are dead.”
      A wan smile upon her wrinkled lips, she nodded. “Yes.”
      Jeremy climbed back up onto the bed with a little boost from Michael and squealed with delight, his chubby little hands grabbing at one of the lovely embroidered roses.
      “I’ll bring some iced tea and stuff, so you don’t have to get up,” Hannah said and dashed off. She returned a few minutes later with the promised pitcher and a heavy glass tumbler. Both of the kids kissed her forehead and mumbled something vague about being careful, then they vanished in a whirlwind of denim and flannel.
      “Skib-mommy,” Jeremy crawled over her legs, giggling. He made his way to her torso and used her chest to pull himself to his unsteady feet. Placing both hands on either side of her face with surprising tenderness, Jeremy looked up at her. His deep brown eyes were velvety as a doe’s and the expression in them was much older and wiser than he was.
      “Skib-mommy,” he repeated, patting her cheeks again. Then he wrapped his arms around her thin neck and buried his face in the crook of her shoulder. “Skib-mommy.”
      Her heart fluttering in her chest, overcome with emotion, OLDLADYNAME hugged him back. Tears slipped down her cheeks.

– – – – – – – – – – –
      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Can you pick out the changes? Its probably not as dramatic a change as the previous Before & After post, but I think that little tweaks can really make the difference in how a passage flows. So, better or worse? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

FFF: Harbor Lights

FFF: Harbor Lights

      Trying out a new feature here at PP.net. It probably won’t be weekly, but I’m hoping it’ll give me an excuse to step away from the WIP each week and flex my creative muscle.
      That’s right b*tches, PP is doing FLASHfictionFRIDAY. I’m hanging out with the cool kids. At last! Wheee!
      Tonight I just went to Mangle.CA and got a bunch of random images from LiveJournal. The first one I saw struck me as something I could run with. I think this link should take you to a lovely nighttime photo of many boats in a harbor which are apparently Croatian (or so Google Translate of the blog tells me). Its such a beautiful shot (and in that associated blog post there are MANY other images of picturesque towns and lagoons in (so they say) Croatia, I just can’t help but close my eyes, crank up the music and see what comes out in the next 20 minutes.
      Aaaaand away we go!
—————————–
      Nikos pulled a knee to his chest and wrapped his arms around it. Below, in the harbor, he could see the whole island had turned out for the party. Dinghies, skiffs, fishing scows, pleasure barges and rafts. Even Gazeborea’s yacht was there. Those uppity bastards, just showing off in that big old thing. Fuck…, he thought, furrowing his brow.
      They bobbed gently on the tide, all lined up with luminous white paper lanterns swaying from twine draped between the vessels. He had read a story once where glowing, floating etherial balls called will o’ wisps had danced and frolicked and sucked the life right out of some adventurers, nearly killing him.
      Nikos wished fervently that those damned tacky lanterns were really soul-slurping gloves of unlight that would slowly, torturously murder every single one of those two-faced jerks down on the water. Not all of them, he supposed, for his mother was there, and his cousin, Jemmy. But pretty much everyone else. How dare they sit around down there? Drinking and eating and dancing and fucking? How dare they?
      “They haven’t forgotten, Nik,” a familiar voice from behind him said. He stared out across the water, shifting only slightly on his perch to make room. Stubbornly, even as she slipped her arm around his waist and lay her head upon his shoulder, Nikos refused to acknowledge her. “They’re saying good-bye the only way we know how. What would you prefer? Keening wails and cutting widows’ weals?”
      “A few tears and a genuine sense of sorrow, at least. For Heaven’s Sake, I know he was not exactly well-loved around here, but do they have to be so- so bloody happy about it?”
      She cleared her throat and failed to answer. Nikos did not blame her for falling silent. There was no answer that would have made him happy anyway. If she admitted that people were somewhat pleased that Gabor was dead, he would have grumbled and pushed her away. And if she stroked his wounded pride and coddled him by agreeing with him, he would have been called her insincere and offered to take off his boots so she could lick them without hurting her back.
      Ruminating on her wisdom in the face of his juvenile reaction, Nikos smiled inwardly. She got him. Always had. She understood his moods: manic, maniac, somber, or black. She laughed at his jokes and celebrated his victories, no matter how small or large. She never made him feel self-conscious about his back hair and when she looked at him with those big, brown doe eyes… he knew that she truly did love him.
      Nikos felt unworthy.
      Without a word, he slipped his arm around her and pulled her close. The warmth of her affection was tangible in the cool, moonlit air. Maybe he would never be important, or wealthy or famous. Maybe his name would not be recorded in the annals of history as a hero and a traitor like his brother, Gabor. Maybe he would only ever be Nikos Burdavara, fish shack cook.
      But he could strive to be better.
      He could work to be worthy of her love.
      He would do.
      “I’m sorry,” Nikos murmured, kissing the top of her head as they sat side-by-side on the edge of the cliff. “Want to grab a bite and head home?”
      Shafeela nodded and he helped her to her feet.
      “There’s nothing you could have done,” she said as the gravel crunched beneath their shoes. The moon was nearly full and shone bright from its nest in the cloudy night sky. “You’re not your brother.”
      “I know.”
      They walked in silence for a few peaceful strides. At length, she broke in again. “I love you, Nik, that’s all. I hate seeing how you beat yourself up like this. Just- Just know that Gabe’s mistakes were just that, mistakes. He never meant to cause… you know…”
      “I know.”
      Shafeela squeezed his hand, wrapping both of hers around one of his. “Stop brooding, my love. It will all work out. C’mon, I’m starving. Let’s race!”
—————————–
      Well that sucked.
      As usual, I took myself off on some crazy tangent and then sort of sputtered out. O’well. It took me like, an hour of concentrated effort to get this eked out tonight. C’est la vie. Its 700 words more than I had written this week before tonight.
      What do you think?
      Should I keep torturing myself this way each Friday?
      Should I start a-new or try to find out where Nikos & Shafeela are headed? What Gabor’s traitorous deed was? Why they’re having a funeral-slash-boat party?
      *grin*

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Snippet Sunday: Marked

Snippet Sunday: Marked

      Today’s excerpt is a scene from WT: Madaya. It is from an older draft, but I always sort of liked it. At this point in the story, the Secubant are no longer content to work their wicked ways from the hidden villages. They turn their collective attention from destroying the Vindari and set out to return to power. But first they require a pawn… young Lourdan Hazei of Acernas…
– – – – – – – – – – –
      “Do you fear me, little one?” he chuckled, his deep voice like gravel in a velvet pouch. There was a pause as the cold blade trailed across her cheek. “You should…”
      “I fear no man,” Lourdan replied, lifting her chin in defiance.
      He nodded, long black curls shifting over his shoulder, and stepped away. His eyes trailed down her body, pensively. Each was a different shade: the right was a cold, flinty gray and the left was nearly black. She cringed, his disconcerting gaze was nearly tangible on her bare flesh.
      “Sadly, my love, I know you lie. Your eyes are clear…perhaps you believe there is nothing earthly to fear. But,” he sniffed the air, meeting her gaze. He lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper, leaning down until she could feel his hot breath on her face. “I can smell your fear.”
      The rope around her ankles and wrists bit painfully into her skin as she tried to shrink away from him, and a smile crossed his face when she winced. Slowly the man dragged the flat of his dagger down the side of her neck, hesitating at the base of her throat. It slid over her chest, the unnatural chill from the blade penetrating her thin silk tunic, and down her belly. With a grunt, the man tore open the lower half of her shirt. He lifted his arm and flicked the knife to one side, then down. Lourdan bit into her lower lip, determined to show no weakness, but as he carved his glyph into her abdomen silent tears spilled from her eyes.
      Low, rhythmic words in a tongue she did not understand rolled from his tongue and his eyes fell closed as he began to sway slightly. Rock grated against rock as the stone door opened and a dim light spilled into the cavern. Lourdan squinted, then gasped.
      “Ah, you’ve done well, husband.” A female voice cooed. “Loradin’s lovechild, yes?”
      The man nodded once, bowing his head and stepped away from the young woman bound on the granite altar. “Lourdan Hazei of Acernas. Meet Summoner Bae, Vayne, the next M’Ambra of the Secubant.”
      Suddenly, she understood, but there was no relief in the realization that they would not kill her.
      “Delius,” Vayne gestured with her hand, “Finish marking her. The spell is incomplete.”
      There was no Vindari blood in her veins, but she could feel the weave tightening around her body. Vayne watched intently, pale eyes fixated on the young woman. She tapped her nails against her cheek as her husband worked; a frown forming upon her lips. His work was sloppy, his weaving loose and gaping in places. Angrily, she pushed him aside and leaned over the girl’s prostrate form.
      “If you cannot do it properly, fool, do not bother!”
      Vayne closed her eyes tightly, and her fingers began to twitch as they plaited etherial strands. The elements twirled and danced in her grip, sliding around the young woman. Blood trickled from the glyph and as she looped the braided light into the wound, Vayne leaned closer to Lourdan, hovering over her. Flesh closed, puckering around the spell and the girl began to scream. The braid alternatively flashed hot and cold, writhing inside her abdomen. Pain unlike anything she had even known seared through her body and blackness enveloped her. As the final words of the incantation left her lips, Vayne bent her head and dragged her tongue over the burned flesh, tasting magic and blood.
      “Control.” Delius smirked, freeing the girl from her bonds. “She will wake soon. Then she will be ours.”
      “No.” She glanced back at him. “She will be mine.”

– – – – – – – – – – –

      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Snippet Sunday: Pills Don’t Kill the Pain

Snippet Sunday: Pills Don't Kill the Pain

      Today’s excerpt comes from a different old story-in-the-round my bestie and I wrote back in 2008, called: Hollyweird. It is a series of vignettes about Hollywood, the Paparazzi, fame, hangers-on, celebrity gossip websites and the dark side of it all. Some of them were pretty freakin’ hilarious. This one, one of the later episodes, is not so much funny as… sad. But I thought I’d share a blast from the past.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      Someone save me.

      I’m sorry. I’m the cliché. I’m exactly what they said I would be.

      It all started so innocently. I was a cute baby. No really – I was damn cute. Some producer was in our hometown to bury his Great Aunt and my big sister was pushing my pram up the sidewalk. His name was Jacob Diamond and the sleeze stalked us all the way home. He insisted on talking to my parents – who were in the throes of a messy argument that had them about two minutes from filing from divorce. They signed a contract and sealed up my future. Saved their marriage for about three years, but that’s another story.

      They mostly used twins, due to child labor laws, but I was a natural and it was just as easy to use me for the real shots and stick some stunt baby in the background for the rest.

      The show was a ratings darling and so was I. The older I got, the more they loved me. I was making more money at four than the rest of the cast; I had my own line of dolls, books, toddler clothes.

      I was already an empire when the show folded after ten years on the air.

      I remember reading the stories of Drew Barrymore & Maculay Culkin, or hearing about all those 80s child stars and how they ended up disillusioned, robbing 7-11 stores and smoking crack.

      I vowed that I wasn’t so stupid. My parents were equally as fucked up as theirs, but I was my own person (at eleven). I was rich, famous, adored by the masses. And I knew I wouldn’t end up like them, snorting coke off some tranvestite hooker’s ass outside the Viper Room.

      It was crystal meth in some Spic’s trailer in East LA for me.

      Drunk in public at twelve. Caught smoking pot at thirteen with my co-star and lover, who was nineteen and playing my older brother in some crappy movie that ended up in the dollar bin at Walmart within two months of release. Arrested for possession at fifteen. Slapped with a DUI at sixteen and my license revoked. First stint in rehab came right after that. Sure, I laid low for a few years, got clean.

      Then I made a majestic comeback in a new Jacob Diamond sitcom. Ran for five glorious seasons during which I spent the end of my teens and the start of my 20s so drunk or high that I couldn’t remember my lines and was generally a slutty bitch to everyone involved. Still, it worked for the character I guess and the royalties from syndication keep me in booze and pills.

      Or they did ’til my fucking business manager ran off to Brazil with my mother. And took every damn dime I ever made.

      You don’t even wanna know what I did to keep myself flush in the dark years. The ones when everyone that matters forgot my name. The ones that are all a blur.

      You really don’t want to know what I do now, just to survive. Most days are clear, and I wish they weren’t. More drugs to take away then pain, they’d be welcome. Hurts so much just to breathe most of the time…

      Someone save me, if you will. And take away all these pills.

      I think they wrote that song about me. Or for me.

      Someone save me.

      Someone.

      Anyone.

      Please?
– – – – – – – – – – –
      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Meh? Hooray? Would you like to read more of our “Hollyweird” shorts? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Snippet Sunday: Green-Eyes in the Mirror

Snippet Sunday: Green-Eyes in the Mirror

      Today’s excerpt comes from an old project, written in rounds by my amazing best friend and I: Posthumous. This project is not one we ever completed, but it was fun nonetheless. Below you’ll find the opening, by yours truly.
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Chapter One: Trapped



      Fuzzy.
           Everything’s blurry.
White. Everywhere, white. Misty. Glowing.
           Warmth. Joy. A man’s smile.
      His eyes are green. Can’t see them. Just remember.
Gold glistens. Pale and cool. Around my finger.
      Diamonds in a line. Champagne flows.
Music. So much music. Laughter and dancing.
           Fairytale.
      Tin cans clinking. Open road.
Evening stars, sunset.
           Reach over the backseat. Luggage.
           Combs in my hair. White tulle everywhere.
Smiling at him. Green eyes. He has green eyes. What’s his name?
      Lights glare. Can’t see! Too bright.
           And I’m flying. Like a bird.
      Bleeding. Red dots on white silk. Hurts.
Hurts so much. Blurry again. Hazy, red.
           Black fenders. Crunched chrome.
Where is he? Green eyes.
      Green eyes.
           Light. So much light.
…Darkness.

* * *

      With a gasp, she sat straight up in bed. Uneasily, she wiped her hand across her eyes, her chest. She dripped with perspiration; cold sweat brought on by the most horrific dream. It still flashed there, behind her eyes. The distant, diaphanous fingers touching lightly here, there, like butterfly kisses upon her churning mind. Slowly, she reclined on the pillows and let her arms fall across her breasts. Like a corpse in repose, she closed her eyes and sunk into the feather-filled depths of the bed.
      With the nightmare burnt to cinders and dashed from her mind, she found herself curiously thoughtless. A vast, empty nothingness filled her head and she opened her eyes as a frown formed upon her lips. Concentration furrowed her brow, then a low, dull panic as the void expanded, leaving her nameless, soulless… a shell.
      Green eyes. Light. Blinding me. So bright.
      Darkness.

      She sat upright again, throwing the think silken sheet from her body. A haze was descending now, flooding her senses. Memories came and went in a pulsating dance. Delirium. Pictures and scents and sensations. Nausea swept through her and she grit her teeth as her fingers clenched the bedclothes.
      “Oh God.”
      She froze, the sound of her own voice alien in her ears. Eyes widened, unseeingly tracing around the room. It was white. So very white. The sheets, the walls. Tears swam before her eyes and the world went blurry again. Warm wetness slipped down her cheeks. She could taste the saltiness of her sorrow.
      “Oh God.”
      She said it again, her voice breaking, her stomach heaving; she wretched, but her stomach was empty and the spasms fruitless. She clung to the sheets, the room began spinning. Everything was white. The floor. The ceiling. Tears fell faster now and she doubled over, vomiting bile into the back of her throat. Her fingers trembled as she let go of the sheets and pressed her hands to her face. Blocking out the light; blocking out the white.
      “Oh…”
      Her voice caught on the syllable. She gurgled and strained, leaning forward as if to expel the word by force. And then she did.
      “God!”
      An audible click reverberated through her skull. The simple sound of a key into a lock, the closing of a door. Click.
      And then silence. With a shakey intake of breath, she dropped her hands, sitting upright again. Her palms cupped one other loosely, discarded into her lap limply. Tears dried upon her cheeks and she blinked others away as she turned her head slowly, seeking the source of that single, simple click.
      “H-hello?” She managed, shifting her legs as if to climb out of the bed. She set her foot upon the floor; first one, then the other. They supported her, though she wobbled briefly, and she took a deep breath.
      One step further; left foot forward, and then the right.
      A second click echoed across her brain.
      A whirlwind caught her, swirling through the room like chaos incarnate. Books and papers and sheets and clothes, all tossed to the cyclone as it pummeled her. She opened her mouth to scream, but in the thundering storm, she heard nothing but the wind. Hair lashed her face like a bullwhip, tearing fine lines in her flesh. Blood seeped like teardrops, smeared across her cheeks by the force of the tornado. Pain seared her, sundering her limbs from her body as the storm raged around her. Darkness replaced the white; darkness pressed in and everything else scattered before it.

* * *

      She stumbled, and hit her knees, catching her weight on her wrists. Her hands flew to her face, feeling hysterically for cuts or contusions. There were none. The room came into focus, filled with clear, warm light. Nothing out of place. The bedclothes rumpled, but not torn; the bookshelf filled, the papers on the desk untouched.
      “But I-” she frowned, pushing herself to her feet. They were bare, nails painted in a soft petal pink, and her pants pooled around the ankle. Her pajamas were cotton, loose in the leg and too long in the arms. Dark blue with pale stripes, masculine, in fact. She chuckled inwardly and hugged them close. They must be Orin’s. Mmm… married at last. She turned to the bed, looking for him. Puzzled because it was not her bed; because it was empty.
      “Where…?” She began stupidly, turning again in a circle.
      An unfamiliar face peeked into the door at that moment. The woman smiled. Her teeth white and smiling, her lips thick and painted red.
      “Jules, you planning on sleeping through the big day?”
      “Huh? I’m-”
      She blinked furiously, looking down at her hands in confusion. The nails were buffed, gleaming and tipped in white. There was no ring. She lifted her hand, palm facing in, questioningly.
      “Where’s my ring?”
      The woman lifted a brow curiously. “You feelin’ alright, Jules? You don’t look so good. Nervous, huh?”
      “Where’s my ring? My wedding ring. Where’s Orin?”
      She stepped into the room and made to put a heavy, comfortingly soft arm around her shoulders. “Its natural to be nervous, Jules. It must’ve been some heavy nightmare though, to leave you trippin’ like this.”
      “Who is Jules? Who are you?
      “You’re Jules, sweetie,” the woman said guardedly as the younger one shoved away her affectionate advances. “Julienne Yeager. I’ve called you Jules since you were knee-high-”
      “No! No, my name is Amara. Amara Morrigan. I- I just got married.”
      The woman shook her head. “Girl, don’t tell me you were high last night! I told them girls to give you a safe night out!” She threw her hands up, exasperated. “I’ll get you a glass of cold water. You just sit your behind down. You’ll be right as rain soon.”
      “But I’m… I’m not…” Amara trailed off, confused. She could hear the woman talking to herself, berating someone named Charise as she stalked down the hallway. Her heels made a clacking sound on the hardwood floors.
      “I’m… not Julienne.” Amara whispered to herself weakly, shifting herself to the padded chair that sat before an antique dressing table. “I’m Amara. I am. Orin…where’s…”
      Her voice trailed on even after she froze in fascinated horror at the mirror before her. A stranger looked back at her. Creamy chocolate skin and wide brown eyes rimmed with green, but dark as night toward the pupil. She raised a hand to her face then looked down at it, clattering out of the chair. It was brown, the nails freshly painted in a brilliant lavendar, smooth and unveined, but- not her own.
      “No! This can’t be- I-”
      Amara stumbled backward, bumping into the bed and turning around in a helpless circle. She dove for the edge of the vanity, gripping it tightly as she stared into the wild, crazed eyes of someone she had never before seen.
      “This isn’t real. I am Amara Marie Morrigan. My fiancé- no, husband, his name is Orin. Orin Luciano. I-”
      The denial caught in her throat and her entire body shuddered involuntarily. A frightened, distant voice spoke within her and rose up, filling the strange voids that seemed to permeate her body. It whispered, it wrapped itself around her. Its fear and sorrow were strangling.
      I am Jules, the voice spoke gently to her, slipping inside her very mind. I don’t know why you came here, I’m so scared. So scared. Please, Amara, please. Let me go!
      “Let you go?” She asked outloud, “Let you go?!”
      You’re hurting me. You have to get out! This is my body! My life! The voice’s anger tempered its fear but it screeched, raging against her. Get out of me! Get out! Leave me alone!
      “I don’t know- I don’t know how. I don’t-” Amara cried, slumping against the bed. “I don’t understand what’s… I want Orin…”
      The same older woman, with her cropped salt and pepper hair and thick red lips returned with a glass and a frown firmly stamped on her face.
      “Oh no, honey, no. You ain’t gonna mess this one up. That boy is too fine a man and your mama paid too much for this wedding for you to ruin it now. C’mon, Jules, take a drink, here have one of Rona’s pills. You’ll be fine. We’ll get you showered, dressed. Its your wedding day, babygirl, you don’t wanna keep Tyler waiting, do you?”
      Amara stood, ready to defy the strange woman and opened her mouth to protest. In that instant, she felt the other presence surge forward and she was forced into the backseat.
      “Aunt Gin!” Jules sobbed, throwing herself into her aunt’s warm, broad bosom. She held the girl a moment, stroking her back until she contained herself, but was distubed by the crazed expression in her eyes when she forced a smile and nodded.
      “I’m ready now, Aunt Gin. Dunno what came over me.”
      “That’s my girl,” Gin chuckled a little wearily and headed for the door. “We’ve got breffast downstairs, if you’re hungry. C’mon down.”
      Amara felt the head bob in a nod, the lips softening into a more easy smile, but could not alter them. She saw through Julienne’s eyes as the girl assumed full control of the body, felt the water she splashed on her lovely face, heard the jovial banter of cousins and friends in the kitchen below. She was helpless, she was powerless.
      She was trapped.
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      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Are in interested to see what direction my co-writer took when he wrote the next bit? Which direction would YOU have taken it? Do you want to take a crack at writing a new chapter two? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Snippet Sunday: World Premiere

Snippet Sunday: World Premiere

      What’s this? A snippet instead of a VBT post? Surprise! This week’s VBT post will be up later in the week and I think its going to be a great one. That leaves Sunday free for a return to Snippets.
      So, without further ado – today’s excerpt comes from my current WIP: WT: Inferno. It will be brief and painful because frankly – that’s how my first drafts roll. Still, check it out. The world premiere of Inferno.

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      The afternoon was hot and dry but there was a thick, black thunderhead moving toward the Freehold. It promised to bring a spectacular lightshow and blessed relief. OLDLADYNAME had never expected to anticipate storms, to wait with an unexpelled breath to see if rain would fall all the while praying it would. In her century long lifespan on the coast, rain had been plentiful – too abundant at times. She could recall standing with a wicker pick-nic basket – red gingham table cloth and all – on the front porch begging Jesus to clear away the clouds. Now she sat, feeling half-naked in a gauzy chemise, rocking and fanning herself and begging God to send that big, beautiful, rain-pregnant storm their direction.
      October should not be so hot, she thought sipping suntea through a straw. It had been cool when Michael brought it out. She suspected he had iced it especially for her for beads of condensation had slid down the glass to pool on the flat, weathered arm of the old rocker. It had not lasted long, that icy coolness, but she had appreciated the small gesture of affection.
      “Gamma!”
      She lifted her gaze and felt a smile break instantly across her face. The boy was anathema to her dark mood – it was impossible to brood or worry or doubt when he cam running toward her with that grin. It was irresistable whether paired with a mud-smudged or freshly scrubbed cheeks. He refused to allow anyone to cut his hair and it grew like a weed; in just a few months it had already grown so long that it swung down into his eyes like that one skinny pop singer Hannah had adored when she was small – *what WAS his name?*, she wondered – and curled around his collar.
      “Gramma!” Clamoring up onto her lap, he soaked he thin shift with cool water from the creek. “Come s’im! Come s’im wif us!”
      Jeremy threw his arm around her neck and motioned back down the hill toward the water. Even from here it looked cool and shady, lovely and so very inviting. But there was a long, scorching journey across the parched yard and down the dusty hill between her and the creek. Hale as she was, OLDLADYNAME doubted she would ever make it, shuffling along in this heat.
      “Not today damorsi,” she said, and patted his hair. “Perhaps tomorrow?”
      Disappointment colored his dusky features for just a heartbeat or two, then, like the sun breaking through a squall, joy suffused his face and he nodded. “T’mawwo.”
      “Tomorrow,” she said, and squeezed him close. OLDLADYNAME expected him to dash away again, back to the creek where the other children were splashing and laughing. Instead, he seemed remarkably content on her lap. Jeremy lay his head against her chest, stole a sip of her tea, and closed his eyes. Despite her age, despite having raised eight children, plus helping to rear her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchilren, OLDLADYNAME felt the same love for this one little boy as she had when her own Samuel had been the cuddly lump on her lap.
      She hoped God would grant her the years to see him grow and thrive.
      She prayed God would grant him the years to grow-up in.
      Whether or not He willed it, the dark days were coming and humanity’s survival was far from guaranteed.
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      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Boring, I suppose. But spoiler alert – but OLDLADYNAME and Jeremy survived the first novel. For now. Muahaha. Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Snippet Sunday: [redacted]

Snippet Sunday: [redacted]

      Today’s excerpt comes from … uh…. *ahem**
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      Well, I had hoped to have Part Two of “Pirate Booty: The Legend of Mim” ready for you all today, but alas… I missed my own deadline. Sometimes, a girl just bites off a little more than she can chew and this week (what, with Camp NaNoWriMo beginning, finishing the editing of “Incandescence” and starting “Inferno”, plus work, home life, it being a gaming week, and a multitude of other things popping into my brain) was one of those weeks.
      That said, I am off to sprint my way through the opening chapters of “Inferno” this afternoon. I promise to have a new Snippet for you all next Sunday — and a music-themed guest post for the VBT in the next few days!
      Until then, just keep swimming.
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      What would you like to see next week on Snippet Sunday? More “PB: TLoM”? Something from the first draft of “Inferno”? Something new from “Incandescence”? Something else entirely? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

[PPNote: Oh, by the by, you can catch my post "More Than Words" at Natalie Star's blog this week! I'm so honored to be hosted by her!]