Gah! It’s been how many months?!

Since I’ve updated my blog? I don’t want to know :).

Anyway, I’m doing Nanowrimo. Really doing it. I’m at 31,000 words as of this date, and since the goal is 50,000 by November 30th, I’m feeling fairly optimistic. Barring any weirdness in the next couple of weeks, I should be able to finish.

What’s it about, you ask? Well, even if you haven’t, I’ll tell you :). It started out as a kind of Silence of the Lambs YA concept, with a girl forming a relationship with a serial killer. It’s since taken a pretty big detour. The best way I can describe it as “Shutter Island” for teens.

(If you haven’t read “Shutter Island” head to your local library or bookstore and pick up a copy. Really. It’s that good).

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Posting on fictionpress…

For the sake of not having too many stories on the blog (it gets me confused, lol) I’m posting my serialized paranormal on fictionpress. My user name’s dawnchimera (same as my twitter handle) and the name of the story is VENGEANCE.

Hope to see you there!

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Teaser Tuesday!

Haven’t done one of these for a few weeks, so why not? I actually managed enough wordage to meet my Camp Nano goal, so I’ll post a bit of my last scene (not the book’s last scene–I’ve still got a ways to go on that).

(Oh, and for those of you curious about our rabbit friend–he’s been coming by and keeping our lawn nicely trimmed. He’s also pretty friendly–came right up to my daughter as she lay in her hammock and allowed her to take some pictures :)).

Onto the teaser:

She pushes it open. A drift of new snow falls onto the floor, and I shiver as a blast of icy wind cuts through my clothing. She puts a hand on the back of my neck and pushes me so that I’m gripping the ledge, half my body outside, my feet just brushing the floor inside. My voice comes out, cracked and high. “Sierra…”
“Take the branch.”
I see what she’s talking about—a large thick-limbed tree, its bark dusted with white, leans towards the window. I grip the closest branch and pull myself out, Sierra gripping the back of my jeans and hefting me up and out. I scramble forward until my whole weight’s on the branch, the limb tilting dizzily downward. I close my eyes for a moment, the cold air numbing my face, my hands.
“Move it. Come on.”
I pull myself along, gingerly. If I get to the trunk, there’ll be handholds and footholds—it’s not like a palm. But the branch seems too slim to support us both, and I make the mistake of looking down, at the two story drop onto ground below. It’s covered lightly in snow—grimly I figure that if I do slip and tumble, that the snow’ll provide some sort of cushion. Maybe not enough to prevent my breaking half a dozen bones, but sufficient to prevent death. Maybe.
“Move it,” Sierra gasps. I wonder if she’s looked down, wonder what would happen if I lash back with my foot and send her tumbling to the ground. As if she knows what I’m thinking, a hard hand wraps around my ankle.
“Don’t even think about it.”
So I don’t. I keep skimming forward until I can wrap my arms around the thick trunk. Behind me I feel the warmth of Sierra’s body, her breath against my neck.
“Now we’re going to climb down. Slowly.”
“What happened to Jared?”
She doesn’t answer for a second. Then, “I don’t know.”
My heart lifts. “He didn’t drown?”
“Like I said, I don’t know.” Something jabs me in the back—given the sharpness, the sudden needle-dart of pain, I know what it is. “Now climb.”

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Our backyard wildlife…

IMG_2577

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An experiment…

So as I was adding to my camp nano word count the other day (almost at 50,000–yeah, baby!) I decided to try something new on the blog. A few months ago, I’d posted a bit of a paranormal YA (not my usual wheelhouse, but sometimes an idea takes root and keeps buzzing around–how’s that for mixed metaphors?)

Anyway, I stopped working on that piece, but I’ve started again, this time from a different perspective. And I’ve decided to serialize the story on the blog as I’m writing it. My self-imposed rule is that no chapter will be longer than a thousand words, and I’ll probably post a new chapter once a month. It’s starting out kind of dark, but what can I say? I like dark :).

Chapter One

I wonder what it would be like to be invisible. To be able to sneak into places where I had no business being, watching life happen without me. Of course, I could make things happen—knock a vase from a shelf, throw a book across the room, even run after someone with a butcher knife. That would be something.
But I’m not invisible.
The knock comes at eleven. I’m reading in bed, a novel they assigned for school, pretending to be absorbed so I can answer the questions the teacher asks. But I’m also listening. My mother’s room is down the hall, and the walls are thin enough that I can hear the soft murmur of voices, her door opening and closing. If it closes once, I’m safe. If it opens and closes again, I’m not. I don’t even need the knock to know I’m screwed.
“Come in,” I say.
He likes it when I invite him in. I know why—it makes it seem like I consent. Even vampires prefer an invite, from what I understand. But a vampire victim might have an excuse—a magical trance, or whatever. I don’t have that protection. What I do have is the cold and certain knowledge that my mother, who hasn’t left her room in two months because of the cancer, can’t do what she used to with her new husband. Which leaves me, because if he left we’d lose his money.
It doesn’t seem like an even trade.
The door opens, and I see him framed by the light from the hall. He’s not bad looking, not really—slim, a little over six feet tall, dark haired, blue eyed. He’s ten years younger than my mother. Which, when I think about it, makes him pretty close to my age. Not that it helps. No amount of rationalizing does.
He sits on the edge of my bed and reaches for the book. “What are you reading?”
He can see the damn title well enough. But I answer anyway. “Jane Eyre.”
“Is it good?”
“It’s okay.” Actually, it was pretty good, but I don’t want to share anything more than I have to. He thumbs through the first few pages before lightly tossing it back onto the bed.
“You up for this?” he asks. Another question I don’t want to answer—when I’ve said “no” in the past, he’s pouted, made enough noise walking down the hall to rouse my mother from her morphine-induced sleep, started throwing things in bags and taking them to the car. I’d had to get up and go to him, me standing on the driveway in the oversized Yankee tee-shirt that used to belong to my father, telling him I’m sorry, come back. Which he had.
He reaches for me, cupping my head in one calloused hand and bringing me towards his lap. I don’t want to go, but I don’t struggle. In the back of my mind, though, I’m retreating as fast as I can, going to a safe place where I can’t think or feel. I think about the boring parts of American history—the founding fathers and their endless debates over what was right for the country, the fact that Dolly Madison really did invent ice cream.
He unzips his shorts, pulling my head closer.
Something slams against the side of the house. It sounds like it’s right outside my room. I flinch, and his hand loosens its grip. “What the hell…”
It happens again, louder this time. I run through a mental catalogue of possibilities, come up with things like earthquake and tornado, even though neither are likely in our part of the world. But then it happens again, and this time the slam comes with something else. Window glass cracking.
He shoves me aside, and I look up just in time to see the curtains yanked aside as if by someone’s hand. And what I see then makes so little sense that I’m suddenly sure it’s a dream, that stepdad coming into my bedroom to molest me is part of it, that I’ll wake up and it’ll be morning and Devon will be waiting in front of the house to drive me to school.
It’s a creature. I can’t say ghost or spirit because that wouldn’t fit, although there’s definitely a resemblance to what I’d consider ghostly. It’s tall, taller than I am, taller than my stepfather, and it floats through the window as if it’s made of mist. Which it is, or something like mist, some soft silvery substance that has no defined form. Bits of something brown cling to it, and its eyes—it has eyes—are green, a shade that seems to shift from the palest non-color to deep richness.
And it carries a weapon.
A sharpened stick.
It drives it through my stepfather’s belly, pushing it as if harpooning a fish. His mouth stretches wide in agony, his eyes going huge, but before he can scream something shoots out of his mouth—a vine, it looks like, all long and brown and green, no, not a vine, maybe roots, tangling around him like ropes. The mist-thing hisses and lifts him off the bed, holding him towards the ceiling; I can’t see any part of him anymore, can’t hear anything but what sounds like the rustling of leaves.
The thing carries him to the window.
Drags him through it, the sharp shards of leftover glass cutting into the roots and leaving thin trails of something clear and heavy, like mucous. I fall back onto the bed, my heart pounding so hard it feels like it’ll come out of my chest, and then I can’t see or hear anything more.
When I wake up, the sun’s shining. And the window is still broken.
I touch the clear substance left by the thing and bring it to my lips. Sweet, clear.
Sap.
And I look at the floor. At the bits of brown shed by the creature.
Bark.

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Thoughts and prayers for the people of Boston…

That is all.

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Getting lost…

Early on in the life of this blog, I wrote a whole post about Costco plots versus boutique plots. The Costco plot is my term for the “everything but the kitchen sink” type of story, where you’ve got everything from teeth-gnashing villains to weird science to damsels in distress. The problem is keeping it all running smoothly and having it make sense, and (for me anyway) it’s all too easy to get lost on tangents.

So anyway, I’m a lawyer by trade (bear with me–this will make sense in a moment). Usually my work keeps me in my office, but the other night I went to court in Queens to handle a matter. For those who don’t know Queens, it’s big. It’s sprawling. And the street signs don’t always make sense. The numbers skip and go back, and even when you’re on a well-known avenue or boulevard you may suddenly find yourself at a dead-end or going the wrong way down a one-way street (but that’s another story).

So anyway, I made it there okay, thanks to Mapquest. But when I was leaving, I made a wrong turn. A turn that cost me an extra hour in commute time going home.

But in that hour, I saw a lot of things. A bunch of kids playing baseball in an empty lot between two buildings (the girl had a mean swing, by the way). When I stopped at a gas station on Queens Boulevard to ask for directions, I met a couple visiting from France. They didn’t speak much English and I don’t speak any French, but I found myself showing them the correct currencies to pay for their gas. I found a strip of row houses between two major sprawling avenues, the houses looking like something from an earlier time.

So what’s the point of all this? Just to say that sometimes getting lost–whether it’s in your plot, or in your real life–can have some really cool results. It’s not always worth getting home on time.

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