The Friday Muse – Violet Dawn

The Friday Muse (Cropped)For those of you who have read my Black Earth novels, you’ll know Violet Dawn from some of the quotes at the beginning of the books, and some of the artwork found throughout the series. She’s an enigmatic character that I have yet to explore fully, but this little snippet gives me the chance to start the journey into her background.

Violet Dawn
Donald Respy, a male reporter for the Violent Underground newspaper, took a seat on the red leather couch, afraid to touch anything in her apartment. Violet Dawn was known to be a germaphobe, and she hadn’t set the rules for her place when he first arrived at her apartment to do his interview with her for the newspaper. Instead, upon answering the door, she left him in her foyer and went straight back to the canvas she was currently painting: a lonely daisy, the flower rising tall above the blades of grass surrounding it. Behind the daisy was a field of trampled flowers of many varieties and colors. Violet was in the midst of painting one of the crushed flowers, a violet.

How appropriate, Donald thought. “So, how did you come to be a painter?”

“Artist,” she corrected as she dipped her brush in some purple paint set to the side of her easel. “I am an artist.”

“But aren’t painters artists?”

“Not all painters are artists. You are only an artist if you bleed all over your work.”

Donald scribbled her quote on his notepad, unsure if he should ask a follow-up question. “So, how did you come to be an artist?”

Paint (Resized)“I took a risk one day. Remember that movie, The Matrix? Remember when Neo takes the red pill?”

“Yes.”

“That was a risk that Neo took to find the truth in everything. One day, I slit my wrist – figuratively – and bled my anger, my love, and all the emotions I felt in between upon the canvas. That’s the day I became an artist.”

Donald began scribbling down her quote, and stopped for a moment to study her figure. She wore blue jeans and a red blouse, and her figure was that of a perfect hourglass. Donald wasn’t sure how old she was – she never, ever gave her age in any of her interviews – but he could easily guess she was in her thirties. The white smock she wore over her blouse had a large black oak tree embroidered on it. Her sneakers were Sketchers.

“Your stare is burning a hole into my right butt cheek,” she said, dropping her paint brush on the edge of the easel before turning to him. Her bright red hair came out from behind her head in all directions, like a long cluster of fiber optic cable. Donald was certain his cheeks had turned the same shade.

She simply grinned and motioned to the painting.  “Done.”

He nodded. “Very nice.”

“Oh, I wasn’t asking your opinion,” she said. “I’m just stating a fact. I’m done. Well, not completely done.” She picked up a piece of white paper and set it on the edge of the easel underneath the painting. “This will be the caption that goes with the picture.”

Donald set his notepad on the surface of the glass coffee table and stood to get a closer look at the canvas. “And the flowers were trampled under their feet,” he read. “All of them were. But the daisy rose above the others and stood tall, carving a way through the valley to the Mountain of God. Violet Dawn.”

She nodded. “I have to get the proper plating for the caption, but other than that, I’m done.”

“What does that caption mean?”

She shrugged. “How am I supposed to know?”

“Because you wrote it.”

“I did. Artists are simply conduits, Mr. Respy. Conduits to the emotions around us. Conduits to the darkness and light in this world. Conduits to the spiritual realm. Just because I painted this painting, and just because I wrote that quote, doesn’t mean I understand what any of it really means. It’s left open for interpretation. Open for examination.” She took a step toward him, leaning in near his face so close he thought – with a delighted expectancy – that she might kiss him. “The real meaning behind the painting is the meaning you apply to it. What does this painting mean to you?”

Daisy (Resized)He stepped back, giving himself room to examine her artwork more closely. “It’s a daisy that has lasted some chaotic event. Maybe some global disaster. Or maybe some kid came by and trampled all of the flowers and missed the daisy because his mother yelled for him to come home.”

Violet crossed her arms and nodded. “I can see that. What else?”

“Nothing more. I don’t know what the Mountain of God is supposed to refer to in your caption.”

“It could be anything that means something to you spiritually. Or it could be an actual mountain that God has appointed as His own.”

Donald picked up his notepad and pencil from the coffee table. “Ms. Dawn, where exactly do you get your inspiration from?”

“No more questions, Mr. Respy. You know all you need to know about me by viewing my work. Like I said before, I bleed all of myself into my work. Everything you want to know about me is on that canvas.”

The Friday Muse – Roaming V

The Friday Muse (Cropped)Sorry for the hiatus on The Friday Muse pieces, but I’ve been pretty busy with projects and the such. Today’s piece is something I sketched out about nine months ago. It’s connected to my Expired Reality series, but even I’m not sure if it’s before the series or after. Anyway, enjoy!

Roaming V
A purple silhouette in the shape of the female form. Flat, without any identifying details, much like a blank cardboard cutout. That was all the woman was to Dellaray, even though it was known that the woman was so much more than a mere cutout or silhouette. She was a hologram. She was an A.I. – Artificial Intelligence – although the ‘Artificial’ part wasn’t as true as it once was. Verspe was more than a computer program, more than a robot. She had gained an awareness. She had gained a spirit, although Dellaray knew not of how she had accomplished such a feat.

“Your blood pressure is rising,” Verspe stated in her usual monotone female voice. “As a result, your breathing has increased, and your perspiration levels have risen dramatically.”

Campfire (Resized)I move the thick stick into the makeshift campfire, stoking the flame in hopes of keeping the heat in our cave until morning. The downpour outside the mouth of our dwelling space threatens to flood us out if the water level reaches the cave entrance which is three feet above the ground level of the forest. The rainwater was at nearly two feet when I last checked a half hour ago.

I have never seen it rain so much before.

Verspe moves her glowing projection close to the fire. Her figure fades in and out depending on what angle I look at her from. The firelight is doing a good job of washing her out. I know she is a mere hologram, but sometimes she personifies a human being better than some friends I have.

“You are worried of the rainwater,” Verspe says.

I stoke the fire some more before setting my stick on the ground and pulling the front of my thick denim coat shut to seal out the cold wind that is sneaking its way into our space. “Yes.”

“At this rate, the rainwater will begin to flood the cave in approximately – ”

I wave my hand at her to shut her up. “Zip it, robot girl. Okay? I have enough on my mind right now, I don’t need your depressing statistics. Just…just let me rest for a bit.”

“You would rather die in your sleep?”

“It’s the best way to go,” I whisper as I stare into the fire. “You don’t have to worry about death though, do you? You’re some fucked up artificial intelligence that isn’t really even here.”

“I am here. I am just not embodied in a form that you approve of.”

“Tell me, robot girl, is there anything we can do about the rainwater? Is there higher shelter somewhere?”

“There is, but it is unwise to pursue it.”

“Why is that? The wind is cold, but I can deal with it if the shelter isn’t far from here.”

“Sarppers.”

I shudder at the name. “You never told me there were Sarppers close by.”

“You never asked.”

“You shit-for-brains!” I stand to my feet and kick dirt into the fire. A few moments later, the source of my warmth is put out, but the glowing purple freak next to me is not. “Extinguish yourself or go dark or whatever the hell you do when you turn yourself off.”

“I cannot turn myself off. It is against my programming. The Anaishan Sentry Unified Sector does not allow a Roaming V to shut down. Ever. I must monitor your health and well-being until you are safely in the custody of the proper authorities.”

“Monitoring my health and well-being is much different than doing something to protect my health and well-being. If I had known Sarppers were nearby, I wouldn’t have picked this cave.”

“They are twenty yards to the west. It is very possible they know nothing of your presence here.”

“That’s reassuring.”

Forest (Resized)The rain stops. The wind stops. I draw near to the mouth of the cave and look out into the thick forest beyond. All I can make out is a massive turtle shell the size of a one-story house. The shell glows red, which tells me that my time is already up. I won’t have the opportunity to run, to hide, to flee.

“You have received your death sentence, Dellaray Realia,” Verspe says. I have a few moments to realize what has happened, that Verspe led me out here to execute me. Nobody will ever know that’s why I was led out here. I thought she was leading me to civilization so that I could be tried by a civil court. Instead, I realize I have been led into a trap meant to execute me in the vilest way without the Anaishan Sentry Unified Sector causing a public outcry.

Warmth fills my britches as I lose control of my bowels. It has begun. My nose suddenly bleeds, and my head feels like a stone is inflating within my tiny skull. Before everything blacks out, I hear the pulsing groan emanating from the turtle shell, a sound that I should have been prepared for. And then all at once, I collapse unto death.

My Kickstarter Campaign Is Now Live!

Kickstarter LogoAfter months of work, I’m proud to say my Kickstarter campaign is live! This campaign is to raise funds to cover the costs associated with publishing a full year’s fiction catalog through my new publishing company, The Crossover Alliance. Check out the Kickstarter page for more details and to see some of the awesome rewards you can snag by pledging to this cause –

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2054728317/the-crossover-alliance-first-year-fiction-catalog

And check out the official Kickstarter video –

Goodbye, California

20150328_074843 (Resized)It’s been two years since my family and I made a ridiculous leap of faith and moved to the Bay Area.

To be honest, it feels like ten.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t lost and confused when we first moved out here. Our initial reason for moving was to help start a church plant in the heart of San Francisco. For our family, that fell through months after we moved here. From that point on, it was an overly challenging and incredibly emotional ordeal to find our place out here and to figure out where this place fit in with God’s plan for our lives.

Two years later, and I find myself not really wanting to leave California. This has been a testing grounds of sorts. It’s been my desert of wandering. I’ve been put through trial after trial, each designed to knock a bit more of the rough edges off and polish this vessel. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, this two-year period has been the hardest of my entire life. I’ve had to learn how to control my emotions, how not to hesitate so much, how to speak up more, and most important of all, I’ve had to learn how to be myself.

See, when you’re young, you know who you are. You may not know it at that time, but later in life, you’ll realize that the real you was formed in your youth. Your likes, your dislikes, your passions – they all develop when you’re a snot-nosed kid in junior high and high school. It’s when we’re thrust into the ‘real world’ that things get ugly, and that ugliness, that harshness of the world, knocks you around a bit, bruises you, makes you bleed. By the time the world is done with you, you can’t remember who you are or what you’re doing.

Sometimes you need to recalibrate. And sometimes, that recalibration is the reason God sends you somewhere far from friends and family, and allows you to face the challenges that will change you for better or worse.

This time here in California was my recalibration.

I’m returning to Arizona at the end of the month. I will wave a bittersweet goodbye to the state nearest to my heart. I’ll shed some tears, no doubt. But I’ll be returning to Arizona so much more different than when I left. And that’s definitely a good thing.

My Upcoming Kickstarter Campaign

I’ve been hidden in the shadows as of late because I’ve been working on a lot of projects, the main one being the Kickstarter campaign I will be launching next week on the 7th. My campaign will seek to raise money to cover expenses for the first year’s catalog for the new publishing company I am in the process of launching – The Crossover Alliance.

Some of you know that The Crossover Alliance originated as an online community I built to bring together readers and writers of edgy Christian speculative fiction. It quickly transformed into a standalone website, and now it’s moving on to become an online publishing company. I am really excited to be able to help authors who are writing in this overlooked genre get published, and I can’t wait to share more with all of you about the evolution of the company in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, please check out the Kickstarter video (above) that I put together using GoAnimate.com, and stay tuned for more about this exciting venture.

The Friday Muse – Mercy Springs

The Friday Muse (Cropped)

I’m still busy working on publishing company stuff, so I don’t have any new tidbits from my current work-in-progress, Salt & Lyte. However, I do have a piece to share with you all that I originally had up on my old blog some time ago. Today’s Friday Muse was written because I wanted to explore some of the space/time continuum anomalies that occur in my Black Earth series – such as the appearance of the Mercy Springs Elementary School in the middle of California, mentioned in the second novel in the series, The Broken Daisy. Enjoy!

Mercy Springs

“What do you make of the anomaly,” Hendricks asked her.

Sybil shrugged. “I can’t really make heads or tails of it with what little information we have.”

“I have a theory,” Hendricks said as he took a seat at his desk.

Sybil tied her long brown hair back into a ponytail and held it together with a rubber band. “I really don’t care for theories.”

“I know. But you might want to hear me out on this one.”

Sybil took a seat in the chair opposite Hendricks’ desk. The thick leather made a loud noise as she settled into it. “Fine, let’s hear it.”

Hendricks leaned forward in his chair and rested his elbows on the desk. “Okay, Nathan Pierce and his friends made contact with a school called Mercy Springs Elementary.”

“Correct.”

“Now, we have no record of there being a city named Mercy Springs in California.”

“I already know all of this, Hendricks. Get to the point.”

“What if Mercy Springs Elementary School is from another reality?”

Sybil straightened up in her seat. “You mean like the Black Doors?”

He nodded and stroked his beard. “Yeah, I do mean like the Black Doors.”

“But how would it have appeared in California? How did Nathan Pierce, Heather Rhodes, and Cynthia Ruin come into contact with a school from another reality? The Black Doors are small. And you’re talking about an entire school.”

Hendricks sighed. “I know it’s a lot to take in, but my theory is that the school appeared without the assistance of a Black Door. Mercy Springs Elementary came through a time rift. I know, it sounds very science fictiony, but I believe that’s what happened. After we went through the files from the Vector organization, I found detailed reports of a woman – Jennifer Glass – who could move through time involuntarily. That was until a young man named Griffin helped perfect the ring that now allows her to move through time and space at will.”

“Jennifer Glass is an enemy of our organization, Hendricks.”

He nodded and waved her comment away as if it were a fly in the room. “I know, I know. The Time Protection Society has been hunting Jennifer for years. Blah, blah, blah. But listen, I’m convinced that her journeys through time and space have actually been damaging the space/time continuum. Her very presence has been causing rifts in our reality – and subsequently other realities – and I think that Mercy Springs snuck in through one of these rifts. In fact, I have reason to believe that the entire city of Mercy Springs was caught up in the rift and was transported somewhere else…some other reality.

“I think these rifts have been interfering with the Seer device. They have to be. The Seer device – from what I’ve been told – can only search out events along the current timeline. But what if outside sources – the rifts – bring in anomalies that the Seer device cannot compensate for? It would mean that the TPS is moving on commands that are not made in sound judgment.”

Sybil stood to her feet. “I’ve heard enough. This is why I don’t like theorizing with you, Hendricks. You take it too far. Unless you have proof of one of these rifts that Jennifer Glass supposedly created, then I would suggest you keep your mouth shut and just do what Redford Raleigh wants you to do. Don’t ask questions, don’t push your agenda. Just believe that the Seer device works and that we are to follow all instructions given to us based on what the Seer device reveals.”

Hendricks shook his head. “No. No, I’m not going to just go with the flow around here anymore. I’m tired of taking orders without any context. We don’t even know where the Seer device came from, Sybil, nor do we know how Redford knows so much about time travel and the future. Aren’t you the least bit curious to know why none of us have ever been allowed to see the Seer device?”

“Stop,” she said. “Just stop now before they decide to silence you for your insubordination.”

“Nobody really knows why Macayle Harper defected. I’d like to know the reason for that decision. Don’t you?”

Sybil reached behind her and pulled the Glock pistol from her back pocket. Before Hendricks could protest, she fired a bullet straight between his eyes, splattering blood and brain matter across the leather chair.

“Sorry, Hendricks. But those who know too much don’t need to be a part of this organization. Just like Macayle Harper.”

The Friday Muse – Tiffany Sweet

The Friday Muse (Cropped)

I’m still working hard on projects that aren’t directly related to my current novel-in-progress, Salt & Lyte, so I don’t really have much to share in regards to my progress with that. On the other side of the coin, I do have a ton of short snippets of fiction that I wrote on my old blog for what used to be called Flash Fiction Fridays. (I changed FFF to The Friday Muse because there were pieces I wrote that couldn’t really be considered flash fiction).

Today’s Muse is a piece I titled Tiffany Sweet, and it’s a sneak peek at some of the background of one of the characters my Expired Reality series. I actually wrote out the background to this particular character during National Novel Writing Month 2009, and hope to publish that novella at some point in the near future.

In the meantime, enjoy!

Tiffany Sweet
Jensen Alcon stepped three feet to his left and stood in front of the next research pod. This one was particularly larger than the last three he had done a routine checkup on – it was bigger, more advanced in its technical workings, and was being used to isolate a human rather than a creature like the others. The stainless steel surface of the cylinder-shaped chamber glistened under the fluorescent lighting of the lab, adding a hint of refinement to the somewhat macabre task at hand.

Jensen held his clipboard out in front of him and cleared his throat. He didn’t like participating in experiments on humans, but – as his colleague, Roc, had put it, Wedges weren’t normal humans. They were super powered beings, putting them in a classification of their own.

scientist-lab-researcher-chemist-cartoon_mJHv6BJensen only half believed that lie. He half believed it so he could move forward and do the work he was getting paid to do. Squelching his conscience was just part of the job.

“Subject 7A4T,” he said, hoping Roc – who was monitoring him from the security panel in the other room – wasn’t paying attention to how nervous this made Jensen feel.

“Just get it over with, man,” Roc’s voice boomed over the lab’s speakers.

“Leave me alone,” Jensen said.

“I want to go to lunch. They have that buffet place that just opened down the road. Hurry up so we can get there before the crowds show up.”

Jensen sighed and read aloud the fact sheet on his clipboard. “Subject 7A4T. Name: Tiffany Sweet. Age: 16. Family is deceased. Mother was a baker, and her father owned a bookstore. Tiffany’s powers are…erratic.” Jensen glanced up at the camera in the ceiling that he knew Roc was watching him through. “Erratic? That’s all it says here. Is that why her powers were put into dormancy?”

“Just read the sheet, man. Nobody really cares what it says. Just read it for the record, open the chamber, and check on the experiment before naming it.”

“She’s not an experiment, Roc. She’s a human being.”

“Man, we’ve been through this.”

“You have your way of dealing with things, and I have mine. I don’t want to think of her as a test tube or a beaker. She’s a young female. A human. Endowed, maybe, with powers beyond our comprehension. But still human.”

“Just finish your damn job so we can eat, man! I’m starving!”

Jensen input his sixteen-digit alphanumeric code into the security panel on the front of the chamber and stepped back as the chamber hissed. White mist swirled up from the bottom of the unit as the front shield lifted up to reveal the female within.

Her appearance shocked Jensen for more than just a mere moment. She was nude, and her arms abstract-medical-background_fkfVhKwuand legs were strapped into the chamber by a silver-colored flexible alloy known as Silvertech. Nobody had ever escaped Silvertech, nor had anyone ever destroyed Silvertech. Jensen briefly remembered reading a newspaper article about the Eneran military wanting to use Silvertech to build their tanks.

He shuddered at the thought of indestructible tanks.

The girl’s breasts were covered by her long, pink hair that had grown down to her hips. The most striking trait about her though was her bright turquoise-colored eyes. In the chamber, their ‘experiments’ were put into cryo sleep – which happened immediately upon activation – and caught some of their subjects with their eyes open.

“Are you getting off on the experiment, man? Hurry up!”

“She’s…stunning. Not her flesh. Her hair. Her eyes. One could get lost in those eyes…” Jensen mused.

“We need to get you a girlfriend. I heard there’s a lot of women that eat at that new buffet down the road.”

“I’m not looking at her like that, Roc. There’s something special about her. I can’t place my finger on it.”

“Just name her, and let’s go. My stomach is crying out somethin’ fierce!”

“Alright. I’ll name her…Turquoise. Turquoise Wedge.”

“Great. You named your new girlfriend. Now, can we eat, please?”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers