Monday, November 30, 2015

I did it! I made this year's NANOWRIMO goal!

It's been one rough weekend in the non-writing life area. I wasn't certain I'd be able to sit down long enough to finish the 50,000 word goal--especially after having to take a family member to the emergency room. Many writers claim how writing can be therapy. I'm here to say this is proof. I was stressed, exhausted, and worried but when I made myself open up the file, I was able to finish and then sleep well. Okay, so I did take my sleep aid but that's okay.

I like to dangle a carrot for myself to finish challenges like this. This year's is the new Enya album. I can't buy it until the 6th but who cares?  I made it!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day 28 of NANOWRIMO!

Today was a hard day to get writing done. I managed 2,079 though. I'd love to do more but am so very tired. If I can do that many, or close to it, the next two days then I'll make the goal!

I worked on flashback scenes this time. There are only two and they take place one after the other in the story. I don't care much for flashbacks but they are needed to show a character things that happened in her ancestor's past and their effect on the present.

Here's the excerpt:

Obasi came to with a low moan but had no idea how long he lay unaware on the ground. It was painful to move but he turned onto his side and realized the reed mat beneath him was soaked in his blood. He probed his shoulder wound with the fingers of his right hand and winced. It was crusted a little so he knew to pack it with grasses to staunch any further bleeding. There were plenty only a few feet away and so he half dragged, half crawled over to them. The back of his head ached too, likely from impacting the ground when he fell at the last.

 He further realized it was quiet…too quiet. He heard no sounds of hooves or shouting or clashing of weapons. Even the insects were silent.

Where are the men? What happened to the villagers?

He frowned when he saw the billows of white and grey smoke rising from the village. He feared for his tribal family.

There were many scuff marks on the ground to indicate the battle was fierce. Blood, sweat, and smoke still clung to the air so he decided he wasn’t out for very long. Continuing to shove the grasses against his wound, he noticed something dark in the bushes just beyond reach. He concentrated his focus and realized he it was a man’s foot sticking out from beneath.

Crawling closer, he was able to trace the foot to a leg and then a thigh. There he paused because he recognized the scarification sigil on that thigh. It belonged to one of the drummers who fled the scene when the conquistador shot his pistol.

Obasi gathered his inner strength and said a prayer for help as he grasped the leg and pulled. It was indeed attached to the rest of the poor man’s body but was too heavy and at the wrong angle for the priest to pull him free of the foliage.

He wormed his way beneath the branches to get closer. One look at the man’s ruined face made him stop. There was no way any mortal could survive that kind of damage. Bone and cartilage reflected the fading sunlight; there were a handful of teeth scattered to one side like kernels of discarded corn.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The end is near! Not just for NANOWRIMO but some characters in my story. LOL!

After a couple of rough days, where I barely managed 100 words each. I made up for it with today's 3,148 words in the Scarification novel for NANOWRIMO. With the bad weather and black Friday weekend (which you couldn't pay me to go out in), I should finish on target.

Yes, I am about to kill off some folks. Hey, it's a horror novel so that's got to be expected at some point. Right?

Here's the excerpt for today:
1750 A.D.

Kukoyi and his brother hid among the leafy green bushes. They knelt among the tall grasses and sat still and patient as a lion assessing its prey. Nothing stirred them, not even the insects crawling across their toes or stinging their arms. Sweat ran freely down from their temples to their cheeks and still they watched, taking mental note of every detail before them.

The Yoruban chief followed his tribesman here to investigate reports of raids on neighboring tribes. There were many stories and rumors these lean years about raiders different than those of the normal intertribal disputes. These newer invaders destroyed villages, burning the homes and crops. They took the people away…those not left to rot in the hot sun.

The Nigerians were outmatched in weaponry, which more than made up for the lack of invading soldier numbers. Their tactics were strange as well—offering immunity for trade of enemies or outright buying children. Not the very young but those of an age to be easily influenced, yet not needing a mother’s careful watch. Those of eight to twelve rainy seasons of age were most at risk. It didn’t matter if they were married or nobility. All were taken the same.

All of the old were outright slaughtered, as were the sick and deformed. These men were unmerciful and unyielding. They cared nothing for death rites or burial rituals, which left many souls doomed to wander the savannah, following the red trails of blood in the dust.

They were careful with the pregnant women, which the men found curious. If one was to slaughter their enemies, why would they leave the possibility of one becoming two by allowing the birth? The other curious thing was the disturbing boldness of these bearded men from the northwest. They never employed stealth and negotiations were brief, if at all. It was as if they did not fear the Orishas or the power of the land.

The Portuguese slavers clapped iron bracelets and anklets, which were joined together by thick chains on each of their conquered people. Then they were led away towards the coast. Rumors were to a place whose name was feared:  Elmina Castle. It’s Door of No Return was infamous and only spoke of in whispers. Kukoya believed it was a doorway into hell, as did most other Nigerians.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Day 23 of NANOWRIMO. 40,000 words surpassed! Excerpt included.

It was a good writing day. I split it up again so maybe that's a better plan for me. I'm concerned there isn't enough action lately so hope to focus on a few of those scenes next. Yeah, I know there will be revision time later but you know writers...always looking for what's needed to make the story flow and be interesting.

My daily count came in at 3,011 which gives me a running total of 40,028. I'm excited. Grin.

Here is today's excerpt:
Amara interrupted, “There are some situations which cannot be fixed and some wounds which cannot or should not be healed. In cases of physical abuse like this, the children’s lives are at risk.”

“That’s one beautiful thing about God. No one is above redemption. Anyone, who truly wishes it, can be redeemed. It doesn’t matter the depth of their depravity, or their sins. The key is for them to see and understand their wrongs and truly repent of them.”

“That would require never doing it again. I can’t risk that on any child’s life.” Amara straightened her back. “Please forgive my bluntness but this is not the time for sermons. Praying for them won’t fix anything.”

“Ah, but there you are incorrect,” the priest said, punctuating his point by jabbing his right index finger on the desktop. “As I mentioned before, the blessings of her sister brought Abeni discomfort. The demon could no longer hide itself. Prayer may be the only way to save her.”

Just then Amara remembered something:  shortly after Kalika started praying the family blessing, she silently prayed a similar blessing prayer from her ancestors. Suddenly she wondered how far back that prayer actually came from. She knew her family history went back to a tobacco plantation in Virginia. They were slaves captured originally in…Africa.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Day 22 of NANOWRIMO! Post update and today's excerpt.

Today I did a split writing day. 1,200 words in the morning and the rest after some TV in the evening. I did nap in the afternoon though. Hopefully it'll help me dump this cold I'm trying to come down with. I also suspect the carbs I'm having difficulty avoiding are contributing to the headaches, heartburn, and lethargy. I'm determined to avoid them more than I have been. It's my fault for not being diligent.

My total writing today came to 3,321 words. I start the final week with my total at 37,017 out of 50,000. Almost there!

Here's today's excerpt (remember these are unedited):
Pumbaa Bankole hadn’t slept much the night before either. The imageless visitor returned to taunt him as he lay on his bunk. He knew it was there just seconds before it spoke. The room smelled of warmth and ozone. He also knew he didn’t imagine it because one of the other two men in the cell stirred.

“I met Abeni,” it told him from the dark shadows of the jail cell.

When he ignored the bodiless voice, it sang in his ear, “I showed her what a liar her father is and how her mother is a slut.”

Pumbaa closed his eyes and pretended to sleep.

“They tried to take her faith away from her but I stopped them. You should be grateful; you should thank me,” it told him.

“I doubt that,” Pumbaa whispered.

“They wanted her to nail her brother to the wall.”

“I doubt that as well.”

“Shut up,” one of Pumbaa’s cell mates spit at him from where he lay up on his bunk. The man turned over to face the wall.

“Ask her about the little séance. Oh wait, you poor man who cannot even comfort his daughter in her darkest hour. I suppose you will have to leave that to me.”

“Leave me,” Pumbaa said in a low tone.

“Very well,” the voice said to him. “I guess I will have to go discuss the situation with your wife.”

Even though he couldn’t see the thing, Pumbaa knew the presence had left. The room suddenly felt emptier and cold. He told himself he preferred it that way as he pulled his blanket up tighter about his chest.

When dawn arrived, and the call to rise came from the prison public address system, Pumbaa cursed the demon. Even though it didn’t stay long, it planted the seeds of doubt and worry in his mind. That was enough to keep him awake and uncomfortable the remainder of the night. He climbed from his bunk, exhausted in body and mind.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wow, day 21 of NANOWRIMO already! Here's today's word count and an excerpt.

I think I'm fighting off a cold. Yesterday I blew off writing to go to bed early. I slept 11 hours!  Today, though, I got in 2,715 so don't feel too bummed. That's got my running total at 33,691. I want to give a BIG thanks to my friend, Sally, for helping me brainstorm some word association game words. She also pointed me to some nice online references. Who says writers are alone when they write? Not this time!

Here's today's excerpt:

Once everyone was seated, Father Quinn addressed the older girl. “It is not imperative for you to be part of this unless you simply want to. I understand you are protective over your siblings and so wanted to offer the opportunity to stay.”

Kalika picked at the hem of her sweater as she said, “It’s more Taiwo that I watch over these days.”

“I understand. Still, the choice here is yours.”

Avoiding her sister’s frown, she answered, “I’ll stay.”

“What do you need from me?” Aislin asked.

“Just your prayers. Pray for Abeni and for me,” he said.

She nodded. “I can certainly do that. I’ve been praying for you both already.”

“Thank you,” was his reply.

“I have a question,” Abeni piped up.

The corner of Kalika’s eye twitched—something not missed by the adults in the room.

“Certainly, young lady,” Quinn said. “Tell us your question.”

“Just who are you praying to?”

“Abeni!” scolded Aislin.

“No, no…it’s fine. That is a very astute question,” Quinn said. He looked directly into Abeni’s face when he answered her. “I will pray to God, Our Father in Heaven. Each of us will pray to the almighty being to whom we revere and obey…whichever name we refer to him by.”

He then turned his gaze upon Aislin and Amara. “Belief and a solid faith is what’s important here. Doubt and fear are the things which are not allowed. Does that make sense?”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day 19 of NANORIMO Less than 20,000 words to go! Also, today's excerpt.

The count for today is 1,842 words, which puts the total so far this month at 30,976. I did finish reading Interview with an Exorcist and posted a review on Goodreads before writing for today.

Here's the excerpt from today's writing:

“I believe a curse as a real thing is entirely possible. It’s not as direct as modern people may think where a person suddenly grows old or thin. However, a demonic presence can be directed to focus on a person, or a family in this case. We’ll find some of this out in the determination interview. Signs of a real obsession or possession will include elements we all can see.”

“Would you elaborate?” Amara asked.

“Certainly. If the demon is present, we should be able to force it to reveal itself. Physical attributes such as abnormal strength for a child, eyes rolling back in her head, speaking foreign or dead languages, causing objects to levitate,” Quinn explained.

“That sounds like Hoodoo or some kind of stage illusion.”

“That is something we will discover along the way. It can be very real or some great elaborate hoax.”
“Well, thank you for your time. I appreciate your candor and consideration. I will see you at the interview tomorrow then.”

Amara stood and held out her right hand to shake Father Quinn’s hand.

He accepted it but held on for a moment to gain her full attention. “Miss Byrd. You and I will help these children…one way or another.”