Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This is The New Book!


So I couldn't help myself and wrote just a bit of Shahnoi even though I was supposed to be devoting myself to finishing Shaded Grey! It's all you guys and the support you give! Shaded Grey has now crossed 50 followers! To celebrate, I will be announcing my plans for a new kinda award soon...
For now, this is the new book I'm planning on writing.
I'm repeating the little blurb I gave that day- just so anyone who missed it can catch up- 

Ru Rennan came to the Shahnoi Valley with the carnival that only comes once in every twenty years. He has no past, no present and no foreseeable future. He is a young man with only his name for comfort, and a way of arresting everyone who speaks to him. He is the carnival’s freak- predicting easily what’s in everyone’s pockets, reading minds, reading feelings.
He is the only one who stayed behind as the town’s newest permanent resident in one hundred years. He is the only one who knows that the ghost who haunts Shahnoi, the Dark Nevvie, is no ghost. He is the only one who sees what she is protecting. He is the only one who understands.
Nevvie doesn’t know what to think of Ru. After almost one hundred years of a solitary, terrifyingly lonely existence…will he put an end to her longing for company, or will he end her existence forever, as she has feared for over hundred years?


1.
I am Ru Rennan.
He studied those words, written in a sprawling, large print on the side of the cardboard box in which the carnival’s gymnasts kept their props in. The red marker pen had dripped a little when he wrote, and the ‘u’ in his name had a long, bloody-looking tail.
I am Ru Rennan.
He brushed a hand through wavy hair and chewed on his upper lip. Really, what was the proof? The man with the Freaks and Oddities sideshow, Larsen, had called him Ru when he had woken up. Had, in fact, emptied a bucket of water in his face and yelled it out. He’d heard ‘You!’ at first, but then louder voices had added to the man’s already strangely female voice- the pretty rope-walker Morena had screeched, the burly guy with the carousel had growled it, the large and bearded woman whose name he didn’t know yet had practically wailed.
Ru.
What a strange name.
 He turned back to the horse he was painting. It was supposed to be on the carousel, but it’s once blue eye was now a glaringly empty bit peeled off color and showing the rotting wood inside.
Carousel music played in his background, strange and eerily captivating to him. The music was mixed with the cacophony of the sideshows being set up. Morena and Larsen were hammering a tent pole into the ground. The bearded woman was whining with her fire-breathing husband. The two young guys who owned the See the Real Mermaid sideshow was coaxing the “mermaid” into her apparently too tight fish tail.
Ru, if that was his name, found he liked the sounds.
 The Ferris wheel was going up, and the strange hum of the generator was like a constant chord to the other, more elevated noises. He applied another blue stroke to the horse’s eye and turned his gaze on a young woman just leaving her tent, rubbing her blackened eye.
A fist slamming in her face- pain- now where did that purse go!-I woke late will I have time to eat before work starts-someone should remind Cor about the broken mirror in the House of Glass- and is my nose broken by the way it feels like it is broken it should be broken-
Alarmed, he looked away, and the thoughts that weren’t his fled from his mind. So did the feeling that there was something beneath her bed, in the ghostly darkness- the purse she had lost.
Ru Rennan, mind reader, carny-boy.
It felt strange to be discovering him by himself. He’d already done the physical of course. Looked at him in a cheap, dirty mirror and found sharp, anthracite black eyes and tanned skin; a straight nose and a long scar down one side of his face. He was tall, and strong from apparently wrestling about heavy carousel horses and heavy boxes full of tent pegs.
No one expected him to speak for some reason, and he wondered if he could for a while- until he spoke to the inanimate wooden horse and found he had a voice after all. Maybe he just didn’t use it. Or maybe people preferred he didn’t use it- if they knew he could get in their minds and read anything there.
He guessed they did know. He’d been looking at the purple and gold posters that the carnies were distributing to everyone who came within fifteen feet near the field they had set up camp in. It listed the bearded woman, the fire-breathing man and the amazing aerial dancer Dellie, along with the mermaid and him- the Spectacular Boy, Ru Rennan, who could tell you your deepest secrets.
Freaks and Oddities sideshow, it announced in slightly raised golden type. Eight thirty at night, Freaks and Oddities sideshow.
He was a freak and an oddity apparently, and he wondered if he should be unhappy about that. He felt oddly detached from himself, like Ru Rennan was just a new dress he’d cast off when bored.
The mermaid had stalked angrily into her tent, and the Ferris wheel was running. Ru finished the last stroke of blue on the horse’s eye and then began to carry it to the carousel, which was still playing that faux-innocent music he felt so captivated by. The lights were on, and he watched the horses go up and down with the tinkling of bells and the flashing of bulbs with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a toddler at his first fair.
The big man cuffed him on his head and growled in a voice that cracked like icicles, ‘Don’t stand there staring, boy! Larsen gave you no work?!’
He watched a black horse make its way around the singular orbit it revolved on for its entire wooden life, oddly drawn to it and its ruby eyes. The rest of the horses were blue eyed for some unfathomable reason, and he knew instinctively that this horse was his favorite, that the few times he’d ever gone on this ride- if he had- he had always ridden him. There was something defiant and resolute about that horse and the strong shape of him.
‘You’ve been strange since morning, you have. Coming down with something?’
He shook his head and left the muttering carousel man before more questions followed.
In the next half an hour, Ru walked as though in a brightly colored, richly populated dream. His mind saw tableaux even in pandemonium and hysterics.
The large tent that had reptiles in glass boxes arranged within in was the first tableaux- two men fought over the space next to it, one with the bowling pins and the balls, another with a skill test and a girl who danced with hoopla rings.
The next was at the Glass House, where Cor was standing with an expression of utter disenchantment from life on his face- like he would have loved to just melt into the wet, sticky mud of the rain-washed ground.
The third was the Freak and Oddities tent- a large purple affair where Larsen was trying to pacify the bearded woman who was in hysterics, and the thin man who was complaining of a heart attack which allowed him extra pay.
 He touched the posters on the tent walls- touched his own two-dimensional face and wondered if he always smiled like that? Like he was an animated glass statue protecting itself from the world.
Ru Rennan, mind reader extraordinary. He will tell you what is in your pockets! He will tell you what your dead mother’s favorite teacup looked like!
The purple and gold flyers really gave no scope to the strangeness of the whole thing. Ru stared into his own picture’s black eyes, trying to see through them as though they were windows holding all his secrets just beyond them.
Who are you, Ru? Who’s Larsen to you? Where you always a carnival freak?
Somehow, everything that he was before that day seemed to have vanished from his mind. Anything that he planned to be after a few years…well, that too seemed to have vanished. No past and no future. No memories to construct his timeline on.
Who was he supposed to trust?
Larsen called to him. ‘Ru! Over here, I need help- ’
He didn’t turn around. He kept walking.
Beyond where the flags atop the tents fluttered against a meltingly blue sky, ran a brown stream. He sat on its bank, watching the water gush and smash into rocks strewn all over the stream bed, batter the branches of a tree which slid into the stream like it drew sustenance from the swift, cold water. Shards of ice glittered in the liquid as it flowed and Ru straightened, peering out at the scenery around him for the first time.
Snow capped mountains on all side. The sun struck off ice in glimmering rainbow-colored arcs and blinded him from looking too high. He scanned the east, west and north and found only ice and sun. To the south there was more snow, but not as much as the rest. It was like being in a tropical sundae and kept in refrigeration.



On the artwork:
the model is the beautiful Daria from DA. Her art account is called Luria-xxii and i mention her specially because she gave me permission to use her beautiful photos for creating Nevvie.

I cut the Ferris wheel from an old photo of mine, and the petals and stuff are so myriad in origin that I really cant trace them!

Monday, January 24, 2011

This is How my Hero looks- um, sorta!


The hero of Shaded Grey.
K.
Not to sound stereotypical- but he's gorgeous (the character is, and so of course he's never completely well-representable). (Really, I'm a girl, and every girl wants the guy in her book to be gorgeous- agree?) Now, this model is from the stock of a wonderful stock provider on DeviantArt (deadsoldier stock) and I just loved the pose and the picture's clarity. Again, the model sort of met my requirements of K- he's in that stage between big and small in size, and stylish and completely photogenic. This is the best I can do for K. I did some brushing to make it look like a painting (because the guy had brown hair- unacceptable for K) and then used some brushes (the Euphoria brush set) and some stock background (Angelia61) for making this image.
This image comes in a lot of colors- I put the brightest (and my fave) here. The other images can be found on Facebook (I have a Facebook badge on the sidebar- did you guys see? If you're on FB, let's be friends!) and I'll put it up here as soon as the netbug making my connection slow loosens it's chokehold a little. I also did some work to the About/Contact page at the top of this blog- now it has an author photo (me!) plus a better description of the book, plus a note as to why my followers would NEVER regret following my blog! (I love you guys) 

I'm currently on the second chapter ! Updates coming soon!
(Please check out the About page- don't forget the FB badge- and also comment on this pic! If you've read a bit of Shaded already, tell me if it meets your idea of K!)



Friday, January 21, 2011

Do You Like This New Header?

So I was thinking that I should do a new header, since the one that's on the site was made for a time when the site was just for my novel Shaded. In the recent poll I did, as to if I should post reviews and other posts or not, all 22 votes said YES. It was a very unanimous decision, and I will humor that. This new header is done with the help of all the stock providers from Deviant-Art whom I owe a million and whom I will credit in the new and upcoming ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS page on the blog. I sort of like this- and I want to know if you do! If a lot of people do, I will put it as the new Header on the blog and change the layout! (Looks a little smushed because it is smaller than the original size. Click to see the original size!)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dark Art and Paranormal Romance


The purpose of this artwork is double! One is participating in a competition for amateur art designers by a new and upcoming digital art magazine. The theme of it is Digital Haunting, and I thought I would do something like this! Truth be told, it’s a little inspired by the cover of Anna Dressed in Blood, but of course, it’s a different picture altogether, and I did spend a considerable amount of time cutting the house and the model from their backgrounds!
Again, I may use this for my new story in progress (mind-progress, I’m writing Shaded by hand and also typing it) which I will call- for now- “SHAHNOI” after the town in the story. It’s a paranormal fiction, but I’ve steered far from vampires, demons, angels and werewolves.

SHAHNOI description:

Ru Rennan came to the Shahnoi Valley with the carnival that only comes once in every twenty years. He has no past, no present and no foreseeable future. He is a young man with only his name for comfort, and a way of arresting everyone who speaks to him. He is the carnival’s freak- predicting easily what’s in everyone’s pockets, reading minds, reading feelings.
He is the only one who stayed behind as the town’s newest permanent resident in one hundred years. He is the only one who knows that the ghost who haunts Shahnoi, the Dark Nevvie, is no ghost. He is the only one who sees what she is protecting. He is the only one who understands.
Nevvie doesn’t know what to think of Ru. After almost one hundred years of a solitary, terrifyingly lonely existence…will he put an end to her longing for company, or will he end her existence forever, as she has feared for over hundred years?

Tell me what you think! Should I write this?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top No-No in Cover Designs

Ok, someone please explain how i can
buy this and then sleep.

IF anyone’s taken a peek at the gallery or the sidebars, they’ll know that I’m crazy in love with digital art, photo manipulation and stock photography.
Beyond Twilight and its gorgeous covers- which I really think is what started pushing publishers into recognizing the importance of good cover-art- we’ve had a lot of good, beautifully done covers coming in. Basically in the Paranormal genre, these covers give a real pick-me-up-now scream.
But sometimes- some awful times- the cover designs are so terrible that I just had to post about what they should never be like!
(okay, this is my personal opinion as a cover designer and artist. If you guys disagree with me…good! It means I’m eliciting a response. I’m a glass half full kind of person)

1)      This Bloody Book:  Yes, this seems to be the most popular choice with publishers right now. Seriously, I think I can recognize a book for being about Vampires without blood dripping all over the place. I mean, Twilight is about vamps, and so are the Gollancz edition of the Sookie Stackhouse books- and they do use red for their books…but it’s limited. Have you SEEN that font that just drips with globs of blood? That is just disgusting. And again, I really don’t like books where the heroine has blood pouring from her mouth in the front cover. It really doesn’t endear me to her, whatever her…uh…drinking habits!
2)      Colour Disaster: This may seem weird, but have you seen books that look awful because of the awful cover color? Nalini Singh’s psy-changeling series has some of these. You just CANNOT have a buff-looking guy on mauve background and then expect the cover to look good. 
3)      Let’s Just Call This A Cover: These are the kind of covers I have seen in books where zero effort has gone into the making. Black text on a background- color if the designer feels like it, white otherwise- and sometimes (shudder) in the default Times New Roman font…it’s not a cover. It’s a crime!
4)      Random Unrelated Stuff: Why are there books where the story is about a man’s quest for spirituality…and there’s a coffee mug in the front? What are we supposed to even understand from it? That a good cup of espresso goes in hand with God? What the hell? And again…why are there books with a flower vase out front with roses in it, and no reference to any such thing later on? Yes, the cover should look good. Doesn’t mean you have to have something entirely out of reference. Having a watch or a belt buckle or a coat hanger in glossy color on a black background (black and glossy is the popular thing right now) cannot be called a book cover! No!
5)      The Ooomph Cover: I hate books that look like porn advertisements. I hate them, especially when they are used in young adult books. I don’t mind content, but I hate those kinda covers.
6)      Mismatch: Case 1 :the background is a black castle. The subject looks like Clipart? Case 2: The background is an  enchanted forest copied right off Google Images. The girl in front has half her original photo background having off her, She hasn’t been cut out properly!!
Where are the people who design these things? I want to strangle them!!!

7)Fantasy Books with awful covers.
 I just had to post this picture. What IS this? What IS that thing burning behind her? What sense does this make? Really???!!!! What is that attacking her…ship? A fish? A bird? What?!! 
And THIS. This is...oh, wow. A no:5, and no: 7 together. Yayy, this can be the new paranormal romance. Oh, God.

Tired of awful covers? Check this one out. This is what I call a beautiful cover design. The book doesn't come out till September though (sniffles)
Have comments? Have your own awful book covers to add to this pile? Please Share with me what you think of cover disasters!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My first review! Under the Dome by Stephen King

Written by Stephen King
Hodder & Stoughton hardback
Release date 10 November 2009
When the Dome falls over the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine, everyone’s shocked – but they don’t expect it to be there for long. As time progresses, though, and the struggle for power inside the Dome escalates, it becomes a matter of survival for all those involved............
WHY I BOTHERED

I bought this book solely because I just knew Stephen King wouldn’t disappoint. I’ve read a lot of his books, so when I saw Under The Dome, copies stacked one over the other, with the various different covers I just jumped and bought it! The back jacket proclaims various little blurbs like “staggeringly addictive” and “expert ratcheting of tension”. Looking at this book- this HUMUNGOUS book, mind you- you wonder how it can be true. Especially since the print is teeny-weeny.
But you know what? This is ONE book where the back blurbs are right. Like, totally right.
This book, people, is just amazing.
(Well, except for the bad language and constant cursing…but every book have its flaws)

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT
(Spoiler Free)
“Expert ratcheting of tension” is right.
This book is a constant series of cliffhangers. Starting from the very first page it goes onto keep the reader on their toes for the most part of the enormous book. This book is generously populated, with the author giving its 50(?) odd characters their own stories, their own mannerisms and their own places in the almost stereotypical town of Chester’s Mill. Although Stephen King is most known for his bizarre stories- Under The Dome itself being proclaimed bizarre- it is not the strangeness of what happens to Chester’s Mill (it’s inexplicably cut off by a dome- imagine a glass sphere- from the rest of the world) that interests us so much.
It is the human behavior.
The way the townspeople turn savage and unruly. The way one man plays God, Judge and Executioner. The way people will do anything to survive. The way they choose to be blind in the face of someone of power.
The characters are so immense in number that I cannot pinpoint any particular protagonist. This would have been annoying in any other book but King is…well, King. But Barbie, Rusty and Big Jim Rennie I felt has been drawn up so effortlessly, so wonderfully that it’s difficult to believe they aren’t real. Some of the other important characters are equally cleverly written- each with their quirks and general  normalness that I felt I should cherish. Each moment of each character’s life within the dome, not knowing how long they will be excluded from the rest of the world, not willing to give up their lives, not understanding what otherworldly power holds them captive…you should read it to understand it. Every character I can say with certainty, is perfectly realistic. Every moment, from the crash of the airplane in the beginning to the devastating fire towards the end, is written with style. Pop culture references abound, with James McMurty’s song and references to the US political scenarios giving the book a real it-can-happen-to-me quality. I loved the Stand, I loved Dome better. The microcosm of the small town within the dome is portrayed so, so well…
Like one of the back blurbs proclaim, you are SORRY when you come to the end. Because when you are UNDER THE DOME, you breathe, feel, live and be the characters that King has drawn up in such meticulous fashion.

Cover(sssss)


my copy's cover


the hardback edition

This book has many different covers. Although I did like the one with the dome out in front, which gives the whole sci-fi feel, I liked the ones with the townspeople in front better. There are many covers for this one, and each one features a different person. My own copy has the blond girl out front- I like to think of her as being Linda Everett for some reason- and I can get the whole feel of the book from her –of being trapped, of hoping against hope.
another cover. there are MORE and this one seems to me like...maybe Alice Appleton if she was older


Rating:

6 on 5??
Well, no. The amount of times this book goes into cursing-mode-craze is uncountable. You can’t blame anyone because it’s an adult book, it’s a realistic book and in real life…well , people curse.
Personally though, a restricted use of the “F” word and all it’s derivatives (all its ten thousand derivatives) would have been appreciated. I’m not a purist, but I’m not really into cursing beyond maybe shit, damn and…ah, I should stop.
4.5 on 5!
Yeah, we are settled.




Sunday, January 16, 2011

Slide Show+ Polls

Since I'm a new blogger, I'm celebrating everything I do on the blogosphere the first time. SO I've started the polls for this site, and please vote, guys! Plus there's a slideshow of all my photoshop artworks on the left sidebar. Please give me comments on it!
If you post my button and leave me a comment, I will post yours on my site too. Thanks!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grab the new Button! (And Important Announcement)

Yay, I always wanted a button for Shaded, and I finally got it done! You can grab my button right off the sidebar  to display on your blog and add to your bloglist (please do!!!) and let the world know about this story going on here in this blog! Just copy paste the html in the box onto your blog's HTML gadget... I would like to say thanks to Kimberly at All About Kimberly for her tutorial on how to make these buttons (I'm no good at HTML), and also to my regular stock providers from the awesome DeviantArt whom I've credited at the bottom! Enjoy your weekend!!

NOTE PLEASE
I am currently accepting requests for blog header artworks as well as button making artworks. It's for free, all you have to do is put my blog on your bloglist. Please feel free to contact me at fictionflaire(at)gmail(dot)com or leave a comment here. Artworks will resemble the ones in my gallery in terms of quality (it's really quite good quality, I hope)

Friday, January 14, 2011

2011 Stephen King challenge

SO I love horror...as everyone well knows. I've been reading Stephen King like his books are holy ones I can totally learn from, and this reading challenge from Book Chick City is just PERFECT for me.
And I found the perfect book to start with too! Under The Dome, released in 2009 is so impossibly awesome...In 2011 I'm going to read a lot of Stephen King- his Dark Tower series maybe, From A Buick's, Bag of Bones, IT, Misery, Just After Sunset, Cell....I'll add a lot more!! Everyone who loves this challenge check out Book Chick City

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Installment 4

Yayy!Continuing the story... 
Installment 4: Where a Race is Run
STORY SO FAR: Ani Raye has been asked to appear for an appointment at her principal's office. This is a strange request and she finds herself wondering what could possibly await her behind his orange door. In the school cafe, she meets with her best friend Khyran (K) and her trainer Stratten. K and her mother substitute Willa is also introduced. Leaving the cafe, she meets a servant girl Jina, who tells her to give a note to K. In the note is written the words

If I talk to you, and they catch me,
They won’t sack me or tell me to go home.
They will kill me as a lesson to others like me.
Spooked, Ani runs into two of her Trainers who ask her to run a race.





My feet crunched against hot concrete. I was barefoot enough that I could feel the heat lick at my soles. Dusk was falling but the heat hadn’t broken yet.
Pale sunlight still shone stubbornly through fragments in the multi-hued sky, gold shafts cutting though the dark purples and ochre and sunset oranges. The light split the hot air into shifting, strangely colored layers and an obscure thought about running through rainbows flitted through my head before I pushed it out of my mind to concentrate on the task ahead.
‘Concentration,’ Trainer Mee had once yelled in my face ‘, is the thing that’s going to make the difference between whether you live or die, win or lose.
Win. Or lose.
I was third in line and proud to be. My throat was a parched desert, my limbs craving rest, my hair sticking wetly to my neck. I was dazed, hungry, running on adrenaline and entirely too pleased with me.
A big smile stretched my lips, cracking their already dry surface. I could see it now, the no nonsense chalked line Trainer Stratten had drawn on the ground. The finish line.
I didn’t increase my speed or try to pass the two in front of me.  Third was good, third was enough. Third meant no washing duty or listening to Trainer Mee shouting your worthlessness in your face.
In front of me, running in second place, was the tall stick-girl Lu-Wei, her stick straight hair flip-flopping this way and that. She seemed exhausted, her face slick with sweat, a pained look on her sharp oval face. I gauged the speed I’d need to leave her in the dust behind me and then ditched the calculations. Lu-Wei was going to give up. Her mind fought her body, pushing it to move, but she was failing. I could tell from the way she wasn’t controlling her breathing anymore. Breathing, as they repeatedly drilled into our brains, was extremely important when running long or hiding.
Lose control of it, and lose everything.
Even if Lu-Wei finished first, Trainer Mee was going to chew her out for disregarding his cardinal rule. They measured these breathing and heartbeat stuff using little straps they put around our waist and fingers and chest, so we couldn’t just lie about it.
In front of Lu-Wei was Chyna, her effortless prance to the finish line as effortless as water down an inclined surface. A gun went off as Chyna crossed the line, the birds on a nearby tree taking frightened flight at the loud, ear-splitting bang. Through the cacophony of beating wings and scattered applause from the kids who had just been let out of class I saw Chyna’s friends run to her with bottles of glucose and the pale lavender potion they kept feeding us.
The evening sun had dipped lower in the horizon and the light dimmed around us. The walkway was full of students and chattering, the dizzy rush of release from class in every face. Bodies surged forward and knocked into each other, and froze at the sudden booming thunder clap from the heavens. The sound of it seemed to make the blood in my veins hum along with it and I worked my muscles harder, intent on getting to that line before the elemental war in the sky unleashed its fury on us earthly beings.
I could hear snatches of voices calling my name, cheering me on. The noise sounded fuzzy to my heat-dazed brain but I held onto their familiar pitches anyway, like their voices were what were anchoring me to this earth flying past my rhythmically pounding feet.
The exodus on the walkway reminded me of how strenuous the race had been, how thirsty I am. The thought was all it took to make me suddenly aware of the exhaustion threatening to bring me right down on the heated tarmac of the path.
The first fat drops of rain spilled onto my scalp, sinking to the roots. A smile broke out on my face at feeling and I pushed my hair beneath my ears as I ran. Lu-Wei, utterly exhausted now, tripped, her feet flying out from under her, landing hard on the concrete with her limbs splayed out in an undignified mess. A giddy little whoop broke free of my mouth as I swerved to avoid her fallen form, and twitters from onlookers proved they were laughing at her, too. No sympathy for the losers, that was the School, all right.
Snarling, angered, Lu-Wei grabbed for my ankle but got nothing but air.
I laughed out loud as I crossed the line, unable to shake the image of Lu-Wei sprawled on the ground from my mind. Sweat ran down my face and neck, my shirt stuck to me like glue, and I was laughing, wondering if it was mild hysteria. I dropped to the ground just beyond the thin line, breathing controlled sips of air, letting my lungs luxuriate in the sweetness of oxygen while the rain pelted me. Entirely exhausted but reveling in the glory of being second, I didn’t hear the footsteps until Trainer Mee was right in front of me.
‘Raye. You’re disqualified’
My mouth dropped open pretty much all the way to the tarmac. Squawking in disbelief, I choked out a ‘what?!’ which made him glare at me.
‘Why the hell am I disqualified?’
Trainer Mee chewed on his lower lip. ‘Stratten tells me you took the Shade Shield potion before the race’
Trainer Stratten, lounging against the dark silhouette of a tree, smoked a cigarette and waved when I shot him a dirty look. I stood up shakily, brushing mud and sand off my knees and tossing my heavy hair behind my shoulders. A loud buzzing told me that the watching crowd had got their winners and were leaving now.
‘Well’, I tried to reason, exasperated beyond measure. ‘, I didn’t know I was going to run a race. And Stratten practically pushed it down my throat so he’s not one to talk is he?’
‘Whatever, Raye. Excuses are like worms. They wriggle everywhere and Gets. Under. My. Skin’
I rolled my eyes heavenward and a heavy drop of water fell onto my chin, rolling into my mouth. A loud rush of static seemed to have seized my brain, and I wondered vaguely about the orange door and the crumpled note from Jina to K. An illegal note, mind you, written in terrible language and debasing the Trainers.
Although, right then, I would have happily decapitated Mee and Stratten let alone debase them.
‘You pick on me.’, I hissed at Trainer Mee, hands on my hips, furious. ‘, If I win, oh it’s the potion, but if I lose’, I changed my pitch to do a dopey imitation of Trainer Mee’s flat, coldly insinuating tone ‘,washing duty for you, Ani! Either way, you pick on me!’
I left him no room for speech before marching away jubilantly. A triumphant roar was in my head, but anxiety boiled in my stomach. Tomorrow, there would be hell to pay for. I’d have to probably start the fires as punishment for disrespecting a Trainer.
My feet dragged on the stones and made a harsh grating sound that set my nerves tingling uncomfortably. I was ready to crash, just let the rest of the evening run it’s course while I drifted in blissful stupor until I could get myself in order. I’d get K to bring me coffee and then read a book or ink his arms (he was a tattoos and ink-in-skin kinda dude) with those complicated patterns I always came up with.
A girl could fantasize.
I’d probably go back to the dorms to find a note telling me it was my turn to start the damn fires. 

Read on! : Next installment features a description of Ani's world as she sees it, plus a better rendezvous with K. 

From the first: 

Artwork by me, model is faestock on DeviantArt

Delay!!

Okay, the new installment is long overdue, and I know it is.
Groan, groan, groan.
I had an issue with the manuscript and then another long and nasty one with the plot. Finally things seem to be a little settled between me and all the issues, and I guess I can post again pretty soon.
Maybe tonight if no other issues crop up.
I've been busy reading Stephen King's UNDER THE DOME, a terrific book with terrific plot twists, and have just about finished that high-octane read so I can soon begin my next one- a book by Helen Grant, called THE GLASS DEMON. I'll be putting up reviews soon of both, although I don't think any review can do justice to King's book- which should be read!!! 
More on SHADED coming soon!
The lovely and wonderful Misha has agreed to promote this book, and you can read what she had to say about it here
I also did a new and very surreal photomanipulation I call The Memory Lane (um, literally)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award



Let me start off with a Happy New Year to all you guys out there!
It was so awfully kind of Janette to drop a comment on my blog, and pass me the Stylish Blogger Award. I'm totally thrilled because this blog is still in its thumb-sucking, helpless infancy! I checked out her site immediately, and her blog is simply captivating (don't you just LOVE that header? It's so drool-worthy)
Janette is the (surely proud) owner of the site The Story Realm, and you guys should check out her site...



There are 4 duties to perform to receive this award: 
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!


So, a random 7  things about myself

1) I am an obsessive writer- once I start I don't stop until my fingers threaten they'll fall off
2) I prefer pen to keyboard, and rather hate typing stories on the keyboard.
3) I read Stephen King like some others would read a holy book to be memorized
4) I love sunny days and then those cloudy ones; if anyone lives in Trivandrum they'll know why I have a love-hate relationship with rain
5) I love photoshopping!!!
6) I am, and have been in love with the Harry Potter saga for as long as I can remember
7) I have multiple addictions- paranormal romances, coffee, PS, Diary Milk chocolates and my mobile are just a few of them.

Now, for the blogs I've chosen to award!

1)The life of a Bookaholic
2)Twilight of Shadows
3)The Simple Pleasure of Reading
4) Ottilie Weber
5)Universe in Words
6)The Secret Writer
7)My book Addiction
8)Trees and Ink
9)My life as a Vampire by Amy Mah (Vampire)
10)Lilk13's reading library

Have a nice Jan 6th!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Orange Door- part 3

Ani Raye has been asked to appear for an appointment at her principal's office. This is a strange request and she finds herself wondering what could possibly await her behind his orange door. In the school cafe, she meets with her best friend Khyran (K) and her trainer Stratten. K and her mother substitute Willa is also introduced. 



I pushed myself into moving out of the chair as the Lowers tittered nervously and gazed at my table. The rest of the Mess Hall shone while my table looked like an aerial view of the Great Massacre. I walked to the front of the Hall and paused with my hand on the handle of the pull-open door.
Someone had whispered my name.
I glanced from one gleaming surface to the next, squinting against the stark fluorescence of tube-light against steel, and heard it again.
‘Ani!’
‘What?!’ I asked, too loudly, voice echoing in the stillness of the empty hall. Strange, how I thought of it as empty even with all the Lowers in it. Those blue-robed servants never seemed to make any sort of noise…
‘Ani-here!’
I looked down beneath the counter, narrowing my eyes a little. Although the rest of the hall was way too bright, beneath the counter it was dingy and dark. A Lower girl was huddled down there, swathed in the blue rag-tunic, trembling.
‘What the-?’
‘H...he…he said I could t-trust you-‘ the girl babbled quickly, words mixing into each other, accent odd as if she never really spoke at all and was rusty with lack of practice. The girl wilted into the metal wall of the counter as I met her gaze, scratching at a long, thin scar on her face nervously. She looked washed out, a pale shade of grey. Her eyes and hair were a pale brown, skin pale and anemic in complexion. Beads of sweat shone on her upper lip and she kept wiping her forehead.’ he said so’
‘Who?’ I asked sharply, confused and concerned. If anyone saw her talking to me, a Trainee….the other Lowers would give her hell, and the Trainers would sack her.
‘Him.  Your…the boy, your…uh, friend? Friend! Yes, your friend, the boy, nice boy, very nice, green eyes…’
Shit, of course it was him.
Everyone walks by the Lowers; K makes “friends” among them. I should have known.
‘K?’
‘Um. Um…yes. Yes?’ the girl seemed to seek reassurance from me.
 ‘Yes’ I said, for lack of anything else.
‘Will you’, the girl said, rummaging in the folds of her tunic with two shaking clumsy hands. ‘, Huh, give this…this, what, this letter…to him? To nice boy with green eyes’
I felt my eyebrows rise.
A letter.
From a Lower.
 I didn’t even know they could speak, let alone write.
I rubbed my temples, wincing at the light shining brilliantly all around us, driving swords into my already strained eyes.
‘Guess, yeah’ I said, taking the very brown, very crumpled note from her. ‘, Who should I say it’s from?’
‘Jina. My name is Jina’
‘Right’ I forced a smile in her direction and she trembled all over like I’d just slapped her, so I figured I should move.
I walked out, a little chilled. Lowers always frightened me, shook me somewhere deep inside, and I hated that feeling. The note in my fingers was curiosity in the disguise of paper.
Ani-and-K. One being. One person to the School and it’s students.
So, what was meant to be K’s…was Ani’s too? Right?
Right.
I opened the note slowly, easing the creases with my thumb. She had written and re-written the note, then inked furiously over all the parts she’d wanted to hide. Three sentences in broken, unreadable, mispelt language were cramped into a tiny square at the bottom of the page.
I squinted hard to read, the wrong spellings and awful language adding to my headache brought on by the day and all its effects on me. White-hot lightning left retinal echoes on the back of my eyeballs when I closed my eyes to the pain. I was so pissed off at everything, and the stupid orange door was at fault. The words on the page only poured more oil on the inferno that was already inside me.
An inferno that froze into ice when the words made sense on the fifth read. Splintering shards of it seemed to freeze my veins to a deep blue, change my blood to sluggish sludge.
‘Oh God, K…’ I muttered to myself, reading it again, ignoring the spelling.
If I talk to you, and they catch me,
They won’t sack me or tell me to go home.
They will kill me as a lesson to others like me.
They will kill her as a lesson to others like her.
Other Lowers like her.
My breath caught in my throat. Who were ‘they’? The Trainers?
I could understand Jina’s fear better now. Her stuttering, incoherent, terrified speech.
The trembling. The flinching.
The…grayness about her.
‘Raye! What the hell, girl, don’t you have somewhere to be?’
My whole body going rod-straight I turned to Trainer Mee and Trainer Jovian.
‘No, sir. No, ma’am. Free, this and next hours’
Trainer Jovian fixed brown eyes on me. I dropped the note and put my spiky shoe heel on it, grinding it against the concrete.
‘Free?!’ barked Trainer Mee, moustache quavering.
‘Yes, sir, got my Subterfuge and Stealth now, sir- but Trainer Heir is busy charting a course for the Boys’ Capture and Ground exercise’ I chattered out smoothly.
Trainer Jovian grinned. ‘Yes, Stratten’s letting them use all the stuff from his Equipments class and Nara’s letting them have her stuff from Tracking and Encounter’
Trainer Mee pulled a face of sullen disregard and cast his eyes to the sky. ‘Don’t see the point of Capture and Ground.  It should be Capture and Kill- that’s what they should do when they see a real Shade. Capture and Kill. Simple.’
‘They can’t just kill K, Zoran,’ Trainer Jovian reproached with a sharp edge to her voice. ‘, He’s a Trainee’
‘Oh, great’ I moaned, unthinkingly. ‘, K is the fugitive for Capture and Ground? Again?’
Capture and Ground was a complicated Hide and Seek. One person was the Fugitive, hiding from the Hunters. The Fugitive paint-balled the Hunters with a paint-gun- which was his only weapon. If you’re paint-balled it’s equal to you being dead, and you’re out. The Hunters carried all sorts of gear, and when they captured the Fugitive, they would use it to make sure he didn’t escape. Game over is when either all the Hunters were down, or when the Fugitive was caught.
K never got caught, making him the best Fugitive ever. But some of the Hunters forgot it was just a game at times. I couldn’t forget the night when he came to Willa, biting his lip to stop the tears, a blade-tipped dart in his ribs. Willa had basically ripped Trainer Heir for making K the Fugitive repeatedly.
He was at it again.
‘If you’re free, Ani, come run a race’ said Trainer Jovian, cocking her head to the side, regarding me like I was a pleasant little treat to eat.
Trainer Mee smiled a wicked little smile. ‘Oh yes, please Ani’
I gulped, and followed them.
the exploring ani's world is now updated
the gallery is now updated!

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Images used in this blog are either digital art created by the author or free photographs. Reviews and views expressed on this site are strictly personal. Text by Varsha Dinesh is copyrighted under Creative Commons.