5 On Friday: My Excerpts!

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve selected five excerpts from my fan-fiction-related short story for today’s installment of my “Five on Friday” posts, in preparation for a more regular schedule of my writings. I also added a few new screen-shots for the viewing enjoyment of all!

I hope that your respective weekends are off to a great start. Mine certainly is!

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Festivities: This excerpt details some of the goings-on during a celebratory dinner.

Comeuppance: Revenge is a dish best served cold, as detailed in this brief tale.

Seclusion: Self-driven solitude is a necessity, at times – for the protection of others, as well as oneself.

The Wild Hunt: A cure for an illness comes in an unexpected ritual.

The Entertainer: Confidence can be earned, and learned, from the most obscure sources.

Midweek Musings: Weeds & Weather

After the small heat wave of last week, the weather has returned to the cool-but-dry pattern set near the middle of May. I suppose the fires in the B.C. area of Canuckistan aren’t helping matters much; the air quality in Seattle has been suffering for some time, due to those. I’m hoping that the clouds and haze clear up by the time the eclipse occurs! That will be a spectacular phenomenon to witness if the weather cooperates.

The yardwork and gardening is pretty much completed for this year; we cleared away branches from the trees and trimmed the shrubberies along the fence-line. When the burn-ban is lifted, we’ll have a nice little bonfire.

The bamboo is thick and healthy and ready for transplanting! We’re going to move some to the fence-line dividing our property from the one next door to create a natural privacy screen. After being empty for so long, it appears that it is finally being fixed up for selling. Unwanted neighbors, like unwelcome weeds, are in the foreseeable future.

Speaking of weeds, quite a number had to be removed from under the front deck. They were making themselves at home, out of sight! It’s a good thing we’re getting the weatherization of the house done; the hubster located the weeds when he was inspecting the crawl-space and saw where they were encroaching. Culling one’s garden of weeds every so often ensures the healthy growth of the plants and flowers that have been planted and tended to. When pests intrude, it is best to get rid of them with as little fuss and muss as possible, no?

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The roof will be done this coming weekend, which will be the last bit of necessary repairs for this year. We’ll be able to budget for a cross-country trip in 2019 or 2020, which allows me to focus more on writing and getting my excerpts out there to reputable and respected publishers. Research, research, and more research! I’m even considering doing the NaNoWriMo thing again this year: I enjoyed the challenge of it, and it sparked a few more ideas for future stories. Anything that keeps my creativity flowing is worthwhile!

BGR 2017: Celebration in Pictures!

The Black Girls Rock 2017 celebration took place on Saturday, 5 August, but you wouldn’t know it unless you had marked the schedule on your respective calendars! I found little coverage and virtually no articles about this event, but I can’t say that I’m surprised – par for the course, sad to say.

In light of that, here are a few pictures with some positive, uplifting quotes for those of us who are overlooked and under-represented on a daily basis!

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5 Songs for Full Moon Monday…7 August 2017!

The full moon would be a lovely sight to see tonight, if the weather would only cooperate. Still, I can only hope that the clouds and haze today will be gone a fortnight from now, in order for us to get a perfect, crystal-clear viewing of the upcoming Solar Eclipse! An astronomical event such as this is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence which simply must be seen, if you’re fortunate enough to live in, or near, the path of totality. We’re picking up our eclipse-viewers from our optometrist later on today, as getting those from a reputable source is vital.

Creativity burgeons under the full moon and I enjoy listening to music when writing, so please enjoy these five songs…which have nothing to do with the moon!

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Monday Montage: Sepultura’s Screen-Shots! (Re-blogged)

A mid-week reblog of a Monday post published in May…enjoy!

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Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

I was putting the finishing touches on my next few excerpts, and that involves a bit of sorting through the many screen-shots I take during my gaming sessions. These help me keep the details of my tale fresh!

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Introduction to one of the many dungeons one can explore…

Spiders and a snake – my special little friends!

A mystic ritual…

…riddles in the dark.

A new trophy…

…emergence of a goddess!

The heat of battle

Grabbing a quick nap

A crowded bank – tending to business

Time to sort some parchments!

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Singer Luedji Luna earns three nominations at the Caymmi Music Awards recognizing the best of Bahian musicians

This post illustrates why most reviews are meaningless to me: the people who write them are only interested in maintaining the boring, insular status quo. They could care less about putting the spotlight on talented up-and-comers who could use a little boost! Sad to say, that is a common reality amongst the creative arts – the deck is stacked against most.

Black Women of Brazil

1 Photo: Nti Uirá

Note from BW of Brazil: I learned many years ago that some of the best artists in music are those whose names are not plastered on the covers of every magazine, constantly featured on talk shows, sell out huge revues or get hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. On the one hand, it’s a shame because so many of us won’t even know of the existence of some great artists. But on the other hand, when you discover such artists you sometimes feel that the artist’s music is your own little secret for your own little world. Once upon a time I remember only listening to those artists whose music made it onto the Top 10 list of some music chart. But in the past few decades, I have found myself becoming more and more distant from what is usually defined as Top 40 music…

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Sci-Fi Writer Octavia Butler’s Inspirational Notes to Herself on Display at Huntington Library in CA Through 8/7

Even years after her untimely passing, I still draw inspiration from this dedicated, determined, creative genius! She and the late, great Maya Angelou are the only authors who inspire and encourage me, as they are the only ones who I could ever relate to.

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GOOD BLACK NEWS

Octavia Butler is pictured in 2004 near some of her novels at a store in Seattle. (Joshua Trujillo / Associated Press)

by Karen Wada via latimes.com

Octavia E. Butler was a powerful and pioneering voice in science-fiction. The first black woman acclaimed as a master of the genre, she was known for vivid, expertly crafted tales that upended conventional ideas about race, gender and humanity. Although her creations were bold, Butler, who grew up poor in Pasadena, was “a private, reflective person who struggled with shyness and self-doubt,” said Natalie Russell, curator of a new exhibition at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA.

How such struggles influenced her life and art is one of the themes explored in “Octavia E. Butler: Telling My Stories.” Russell said the show uses an invaluable resource — the author’s archive — to examine both her published work…

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Excerpt: Emergence – Part II

*** Author’s Note: The story that this excerpt is from is completed. Now comes the fun of submissions, endless calls and emails to editors, agents, and others in the publishing industry; and the all-too-common rejection that all new writers face! It don’t come easy…

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The bloated behemoth shambles towards her, gnashing rotted, crooked stumps in a lipless, triangular mouth set in a scarred, twisted face. Three cloned miniatures weave dazedly at its feet as they crash to the ground, then stand and lurch forward in unison. Sepultur’a darts to the side of the titan, clutching at the air again and bringing forth the dragon-talons. The smaller golems are immobilized by her grasp and she somersaults through them, knocking them flat. One vanishes in a shriek of blue flame, which blazes off towards a black diamond hovering in the air in the northern quadrant of the dolmen. The blue sphere explodes in the diamond, which shatters into a purple ball of lightning. She feels stored energy and life radiating from the sparking globe – it could be of use to her. Three other diamonds hover at the other compass-points in the other quadrants of the anchor-base, waiting to be filled and unlocked.

The two other flesh golems have regained their footing and are lunging at her again. Their mighty cousin sweeps his spiked arm around and down, attempting to smash her into a broken, bloody mess on the ground. She rolls to the side, just barely avoiding the blow. The spiked arm slams straight down, and the massive body heaves as the arm pulses, driving noxious poison into the earth below. Sepultur’a is able to sense the direction the toxins are being driven and runs around the center anchor towards the gigantic golem from behind, grabbing a discarded staff that had been dropped by one of the doomed cultists. It tingles in her hands with healing properties, a soft golden aura glowing at its tip. She waves it and golden motes shower down like dandelion fluff, healing her small wounds and cauterizing the large ones. Residual toxins in her lungs are removed and she takes a deep breath, siphoning the remaining life-energy of the weakened midgets. Her explosive exhale finishes them off; two of the diamonds shatter into purple spheres of lightning. Three now hover at the northern, western, and southern quadrants. The power and energy they contain is palpable.

The massive, twisted mutant has freed its appendage from the ground and turns, emitting a low groan of rage as it focuses its malevolent gaze on its target. Sepultur’a bares her teeth in response, hurling another obsidian ball at it. The projectile shatters on its patchwork hide; she quickly gathers the fragments, again shrouding herself in stone. Turning, she grasps the sphere of lightning that is now behind her and absorbs the latent power, gasping at the intensity of the energizing, healing shock. She screams an ancient battle-cry and stamps the ground, drawing upon the foundations of the bedrock to become an immobile pillar of iron will. The massive arm swings down at her again – and rebounds, rocking the giant mass of flesh back on its thick, stumpy legs. She points the staff at her foe, drawing upon the life-energy imbued in the wood. A beam shoots forth, hitting the golem and siphoning power from it, restoring her nearly-depleted resources. Rejuvenated, she rolls between its legs and behind it, feeling her new powers surging. She gives in to the battle-roar surging inside and transforms, the now-familiar sensation of twisting bone and knotting muscle wracking her slender frame. What was painful on the first try is now exquisite pleasure and she bays to the sky, howling a command. The titan staggers, turns halfway, and rams its arm into the ground for another subterranean attack.

From the darkness, two wolves rush into the fray, harassing and worrying the golem, tearing at the barrel-like legs as they dart between them, drawing the attention of the enemy. Sepultur’a rushes around the anchor’s base and attacks the golem from behind, leaping to the shoulders and slashing at the neck and throat. The golem waves its arms helplessly, unable to reach the fury on its back and losing focus on the wolves at its feet. With a mournful moan, the titanic golem falls face-first to the ground, vanishing with a horrendous scream of pain and rage. The residual energy pours into the final diamond, shattering it with a deafening crack and roar. Sepultur’a, still in beast-form, lopes to the remaining spheres and absorbs the power within them. New health pours into her and her lupine companions, even as a taunting voice rumbles from the whirling blue-white light above.

“Filth! You dare defy me? Let’s see how you fare against one of my generals. Face the Ever-Open Eye, my greatest spy!” The ground rocks with impact. A shape explodes and slowly coalesces into an ancient, yet familiar, form. Sepultur’a has seen creatures like this in the books in the family library, as well as dusty tomes in the various academies dotting the land. Her people refer to them as ‘Beholders;’ others call them ‘Watchers,’ and archaic etchings named them ‘Gazers.’ Whatever the name, the shape and powers remain the same: a spherical being with a great, glaring eye in the center of its round, tentacle body. The appendages could be short and squirming, or long, thick vines with spatulate, suckered ends for grabbing its victims. The eye would intermittently blast out hypnotizing rays which would stun one into immobility if struck. Another attack favored was the wrapping itself with its own tentacles, then whirling like a cyclone, whipping the appendages out with violent force, blasting a spell of stunning which depleted the stamina of those caught in the radius of the arcane aura. This monster will most likely have abilities greater than its lesser, distant cousins of the desert, and she is on guard. Her wolf allies launch themselves at the hovering entity, howling to their pack to join the fray. The battle is on…

Excerpt: Emergence – Part I (Re-blogged)

I’m just putting the finishing touches on the next installment of this short story. Here’s Part I, in case you missed it the first time around!

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Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

*** Author’s Note: This would have been published yesterday, but the weather has been too nice to be stuck indoors! Now that the weather is shifting again, some intense gaming will be done over the next few days, along with a lot of live-streaming – tune in for the fun, anytime!

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The portal vanishes behind her with a soft whoomph sound. She stands in the secluded glade, the moss-covered statue of the Forest Lord standing tall before her. The night is darker than it was when she’d first entered the portal, as clouds now blot the sky and a soft rain falls. She isn’t sure how long she’d been in the realm between the worlds – a day? A week? Two? A whole month? Time had slipped away from her.

She looks down at her armour. The reinforced leather pieces are badly rent and ragged, scorched in some places…

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Excerpt: The Wild Hunt (Re-blogged)

Editing my next excerpt took longer than anticipated, so I’m re-blogging this one from a few months ago. My gaming session begins at 2100 PDT in case you’re interested; tonight’s adventures will involve much dungeon-crawling and dolmen-bashing!

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Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

*** Author’s Note: This is one of many chapters which has been considerably condensed, for the purpose of posting this excerpt. For the full story, you will have to read the book! ***

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They walk in silence to the secluded grove. He has been here many times; for her, it will be her first visit…but not her last. Her thoughts drift back as she follows him through the dense forest, recalling the events that led her here…

She is brought quickly back to the present as they emerge in the small clearing. The statue of the Forest Lord stands tall before them, brandishing a spear. His antlered aspect is fierce; his human torso well-formed and muscular. His two wolf companions snarl in stone effigy at his feet, worrying a boar.

The tall, broad-shouldered, wild-haired man turns to face her, his ice-blue eyes blazing in the moonlight that filters through…

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