Seeing is Believing

I’ve stopped visualizing which is a big no-no when you’re a dreamer. The key is to visualize. Always, always visualize so you know what your goal looks like. So you recognize it when you get there. I’m not sure when I stopped visualizing all the things I wanted. Feels pretty recent, like the past couple of years, probably when social media blew up and my confidence took a backseat to fear. Or maybe I stopped visualizing when I had no (or very little) sales on my first book. And my second book. And my third. And my fourth.

It’s hard to keep the image of sitting on Ellen’s couch (yes, I imagined this. Shut up) discussing my widely popular novel and laughing over all the trials of getting there when literally no one is buying it. I had this whole idea how everything was going to happen and when it didn’t, something shifted. Me, I guess, and with my lack of readers it became harder and harder to picture myself there, on that couch.

Which is BAD.

I need to start up again. If I have any hope of actually making it, I  need to picture myself next to Ellen,  being my charming and witty and wonderful self (and not having panic attacks. Stupid anxiety). It’s the only thing that’s going to get me there, imagining the future I want.

And you need to keep it up too. Whatever your dreams are. Visualize it. See what it looks like so you know where you’re going. It’s VITAL and I haven’t been doing it as much so I’m going to start again.

What about you?

Do you visualize your dreams?

Engines Ahead?

I’m writing this (YA) contemporary romance and it’s proving harder than I thought. I think it’s because I can’t rely on major action-packed events to build the romance like I did with my series. I have to depend on smaller exchanges and a lot of conversation and I keep thinking a lot of conversation is bad thing. But how else do characters get to know one another? They talk.

Right?

In times like these, I deflect to the classics. My classics. Eleanor & Park and The Sea of Tranquility, obviously. Love stories that I love, love, love! Love stories that I pocket for rare occasions: the how-to’s of good romance. Not harlequin. Not BSMD. I’m not into punishment or alphas or how tattooed of a bad boy asshole he is. Yuck. It’s not real. I like real. I like genuine.

E&P is real. TSOT is real.

I believe their stories, probably because they’re written with authenticity. That’s what I’m trying to do with Autumn and Alex. I’m trying to be really real with it but I feel like I’m just jumping from scene to scene with them chit chatting around the central ark. I don’t know. I guess I’m not used to writing a straight romance without aliens and monsters and threats getting in the way. So why the switch? I have no idea. The heart wants what it wants and I guess this is it for now.

Anyone else try a new genre having a wee bit of trouble? Or extra doubt?

First Day, First Paragraph Tag

first-day-first-paragraph-tag.jpgJoleene Naylor tagged me like, weeks ago, but sometimes I’m forgetful and I remember things at the last moment. Like that I was tagged to do the First Day, First Paragraph Tag for January. But WOOP for being #1 of 2017, bitches!

Anyway….

 

 

Those who have been tagged have to:

  1. Publish your own post on the first day of the next month.(If I tag you now ((Loni)), you will post February first. )
  2. Use the graphic above
  3. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you. (Thanks, Joleene!)
  4. Explain the rules, like I’m doing now.
  5. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  6. Ask your readers for feedback.
  7. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

I’ve decided to tag Loni Townsend because she’s brilliant and funny and creative and I dug her book, This World Bites. You should check it out too.

This is from my current WIP, Better Than This. I finished it like, yesterday (last minute, remember?) so I’m still not sure if this is how it’s going to go… but, well. Take a look:

I hate Leo Warskowski.

Correction: I hate Leo Warskowski with a passion.

Last week he took a Sprite from Amber’s lunchbox and poured the whole thing into her back-pack. The whole bus watched and no one stopped him. No one said a word. The week before he made up a song about Carrie’s weight and sang it at the top of his lungs, over and over again until we got to school. We had to listen to chants of ’fatty, fatty, can’t you see/cookies and donuts are not fat free’ for over twenty minutes. Carrie cried the entire day.

Thoughts?

This is like the seventh or eighth revision. I’ve lost count. And after another comb through the WIP, it’ll probably change again.

 

Anyway, thanks again for tagging me, Joleene, and for forcing me out of my introverted cave of shyness. I owe you one. 🙂

 

Blood Moon Rising and Savannah, Bitches

I was supposed to advertise this, like, a whole bunch last month, but with my 31st birthday *cough I’m still 26 cough*, an awesome trip to Savannah, and a whole lot of working OT and being somewhat stressed at work, I didn’t. Time got away from me and here we are in October, the very month I was supposed to talk about because it is the month of the Blood Moon Rising. And thirteen nights of Halloween. And pumpkin-spice everything season. But mostly that first thing. Because Blood Moon Rising is a month-long event of celebrating authors (and their works) of Fantasy, Sci-fi and horror. You know, the things I write. 😉

Here’s the rundown: every day an author takes over with a few days highlighted for interactive activities, special talent days—stuff like that. Some people do giveaways. I would like to do one if I ever figure out how to, but until then, it’s a whole bunch of my writing up there for me. If you’re interested, my day is this Tuesday, October 4th. I’ll be posting a few short stories, some Q&As and various segments from my dark fantasy romance, Rozmarie & Josiah. I’ll  also be posting throughout the day (literally on the half hour) and would love it if you would stop by. Or hover in the corner and watch silently. Either way works.

But you should definitely think about swinging by at some point to check out all the cool people and things. It’s a month-long event, filled with tons of different authors all doing different activities, all sharing their fantastical, science-fictiony, horror-tastic works. And word has it there are prizes. Even a Grand Prize that readers like YOU can win. All you have to do is hang out with us for a bit, comment or like, and you’ve thrown your name in that hat. It’s that easy. I’ll also be there, lingering creepily in the background, hanging out with the fellow weirdos as well. You know, where I belong 😉

Alright, now onto all those awesome Savannah pictures you had no idea you’d be seeing until this very moment:

Because Batman is a history buff…

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Fort Jackson

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Here we go!

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…something, something, history…something…

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Who doesn’t enjoy a good view of invaders?

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and a tunnel of doors

Onto the city!

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I mean, I had to

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…which we later found out was haunted…

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When they say ‘fried quail’ they mean literally fried quail.

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part of SCAD

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graffiti from a bathroom

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And there you have it. A quick picture tour through “the most haunted city in America”, which is interesting since St. Augustine makes the same claim…

Remember, Blood Moon Rising is a month long event – so it’s happening now! Be sure to think about dropping by this Tuesday (Oct 4th) and maybe even acting on that thought. I’d love to feel your invisible presence. Yes, even you my silent stalkers  🙂

P.S. You should *totally* go to Savannah. It’s awesome.

P.P.S. And get the pralines from the River Street Candy Store. Possibly the best thing you’ll ever do. Trust me.

 

 

 

They Write the Books Continued: Gabriella Messina

Due to some awesome advances in technology, I was able to gather Gabriella’s Q&A for you. So, as the final day of (me participating in) Fall Fantasy Conclave is here, let’s end it with some good ol’ juicy details from Bloodline’s author, Gabriella Messina:

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Bloodline

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Gabriella Messina… I’m the author of Bloodline, a paranormal fantasy novel, and the Kate Gardener Mysteries series, which I’ve dubbed “semi-cozy mysteries”. I’m also a writer of blog posts, articles, and other freelance writing assignments… my “day job” if you will. I’m a mom to an active five-year-old and if I’m not writing, I’m probably walking or playing with Thomas the Tank Engine. LOL

How did you get into writing?

I used to make up “movies” when I was a kid… Jotting down the titles of stories, casting them, putting music to them… but writing was never something I really thought about until after I left college. I had gone for Theater, but after a very disappointing sophomore year, in which I kept getting passed-over for parts, stuck in the back doing tech and construction work, I just got fed-up… Really, my thinking was that I couldn’t do it, that I’d been kidding myself about being able to perform, so why waste the money, you know? So I took a break and traveled. And it was while I was in Florida that I had two breakthroughs… the first with a wonderful acting teacher in a workshop who not only showed me that I could act, but that I was good (I did a monologue as Jackie Kennedy and she actually cried at my performance). The second breakthrough was when I started teaching myself to write screenplays. My mystery series featuring the character Kate Gardener was born during this time. Once I saw that I could create these great worlds and flesh them out, and that other people enjoyed them, initially in my family and then among friends and peers… Then I began to look at it as more than just a whim.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

My first novel, Bloodline, was born as my original screenplay “The Devil Inside”, which I wrote back on 2005. Oddly enough, the origins of the story were in a reviewing of The Lost Boys and a listening to a lot of Def Leppard. I started thinking about a werewolf movie that the two Coreys might be in… Over time things changed… In its earliest incarnations, Sam Karolyi was a guy, Vincent was just “Krem” (and may have been a vampire), and the story was set in LA. Then a peer reviewer said something in a critique that sent the whole story in a new direction. He said that the script had a lot of good elements, but needed something to set it apart, and that maybe Sam should be a girl. And that set me on a new path with the story. Sam became a girl, “Krem” became Vincent, Ivan morphed from wise old friend to cantankerous grandfather, and the whole story shifted to the East Coast, to New York City.

Kate Gardener Mysteries also began their lives as screenplays, or more accurately teleplays, as it was created to be a television show. The idea sprang to life about a year after I took a trip to London. I started jotting down possibilities for characters and plots for a series… And the series went through a number of changes, too… At one time, I was going to set the “show” in London 1893! But eventually I settled into the current time and format.

Who are your favorite authors?

Anne Rice… She has essentially built an entire 30+ year career off a handful of vampires and their world, and she still is able to continue building that world, book after book, all while branching out into other genres with equal success. Plus she’s a really cool person, you know? Answers questions, talks to fans… She’s really, well REAL.

I’m also a big fan of Joss Whedon. He writes great female characters that are flawed, funny, and fierce and feminine. And his style is kind of iconic now.

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

Audition by Michael Shurtleff… Even if you have no interest in acting or public speaking, the stories he tells in this book and the tips that he gives for being prepared and approaching an audition can be applied in so many different ways in your life, whether you’re going for a job interview or doing a live broadcast. Sheesh!

*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

My late grandfather… Just to have the chance to sit and eat spaghetti and meatballs with him one more time.

************

Thanks for sharing, Gabriella! And for joining me here for the first (hopefully annual) Fall Fantasy Conclave.

And to all my authors: Chrishaun Keller-Hanna, J.L.Hendricks, and Gabriella Messina– it was a pleasure hosting you! Good luck in all your endeavors and may your sales hit a record high!

Fall Fantasy Conclave Welcomes: They Write the Books: Garbiella Messina

Thursday already, guys. THURSDAY. Has the week been flying for you too? Friday is around the corner, but before we can get there, two things:

1.) I see you all of you promoting one another for the Fall Fantasy Conclave, and I have to say, it is *AWESOME* to watch! Just knowing how you Indies are supporting and encouraging each other they way you are makes me proud to be one.

2. Help me welcome my third and final Author I have the pleasure of promoting during this week long  promotion-support fest: Gabriella Messina!

Gabriella is the author of the Kate Gardener Mysteries series and Bloodline, a contemporary fantasy shifter novel:

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Unfortunately, due to a little technical difficulty, we’re flipping things around a bit. Instead of the Q&A first, we’ll be taking a look inside Bloodline, as that was the attachment I was able to open. 😉

Excerpt:

 

“Nice shot.” The Hooded Man’s voice was surprising: rich yet with a touch of softness to the timbre. Sam watched him walk to Franco’s body. The Hooded Man crouched for a moment, looked steadily at the body. 

“I’ll call… for help.” Geez, is that my voice?  The Hooded Man didn’t respond and Sam started to wonder if he’d even heard her. Sam reached into her pocket for… the phone.  The phone that got tossed. Shit! 

“There’s only one way to help him now.” The Hooded Man stood up, raised his weapon and aimed it at Franco’s abdomen. He fired, the bullet blasting into his body just below the sternum.  Sam quickly raised up the gun and trained it on him. “Put the gun down!” 

The Hooded Man glanced toward her briefly but seemed untroubled by her clipped order. Franco whimpered a final time and was still.  “Any minute now.” 

Sam kept the gun aimed at him as she looked at Franco’s body. The skin color had changed, taking on a silvery sheen. Sam closed her eyes, opened them. The body seemed to be moving, a subtle gelatinlike shudder. Beads of the silvery sheen rolled off the body like sweat, soaking into the ground below. 

He’s… it’s melting. The fuckin’ body is MELTING. Sam backed away and leaned against a nearby tree, the gun lowered at her side.  The Hooded Man continued to watch the body until nothing remained but a darkened patch where the body had been. He holstered his weapon and pushed back the sweatshirt hood, ran a hand through his wavy black hair, causing longish pieces on the top of his head to stand at odd angles. He looked to be in his early thirties, but a kind of dark maturity gave him an air of timelessness.

 His eyes were dark, a rich coffee brown that nearly verged on black, with heavy black eyebrows rising above them. She’d been a little over-generous in her height estimation; with the hood back, he was tall, but his wiry build gave him an illusion of greater height.  He watched Sam for a moment before he stepped away from the melting site and joined her by the tree. “You all right?” 

Sam was silent, staring at the spot where Franco, or whatever he had become, had melted away.  The Hooded Man watched her a moment more, then reached into his pocket, pulled out a piece of soft white cloth. He reached over, dabbing at the blood that had trickled down her neck from the cut Franco had made. He dabbed once, twice; as he reached to dab a third time, Sam shivered slightly, grabbed his hand. 

She watched his face relax a bit as he released the cloth into her hand. “That was a little close, wasn’t it?” His voice had a bit of an accent, maybe Irish or something. That wasn’t going to help her concentration.  Sam blotted at her neck, glared at the handsome man in front of her.

“Close, yeah, thanks. What was that?” 

The Hooded Man glanced at the melting scene then looked back at Sam. “Some poor bastard infected with LV.” 

Sam stopped blotting. “LV?” 

“Lycanthropic Virus.” 

Sam gave him a blank look. “I’m sorry, I left my medical encyclopedia in my other coat. What does that mean exactly?” 

“A virus which causes Lycanthropy.” 

“Lycanthropy, I see.” Sam moved away from the tree, began to make big circles as she scanned the ground searching for her phone. She stopped suddenly. “Wait a minute. Is that, like, werewolves?” 

“Like, yeah. What are you looking for?” 

“My phone.” She groaned, resumed her search. “Werewolves, huh?

Not to antagonize the crazy person or anything, but when was the last time you had a CAT scan?” 

Her phone appeared in front of her face. Sam looked up at the Hooded Man, took the phone from him. “Six months ago.” He raised his other hand; Sam’s Lorcin pistol hung before her eyes.  Sam hesitated a second, then took her gun, tossing him a small smile in thanks. “Uh-huh, well, you need another one.” 

She started walking away from the scene and toward the low-level noise and movement of Broadway. The Hooded Man followed her.  “You know, after what just happened, after what you just saw, I would think you’d be more open-minded than this.” 

“I’m a New Yorker, I was born open-minded.” Sam picked up her pace, keeping it steady and brisk as she reached Broadway and started up the street. 

“So, what happened to Sick Boy?” 

“Who?” 

“The kid who robbed the store, who was hit by the bus.” 

Sam stopped suddenly. The Hooded Man had walked on a few steps before he noticed that she had stopped. He backtracked to stand in front of her.  Sam looked at him warily, placed her hand near the gun in her pocket. “You. You were there, by the vendor. The man in black. Who are you?” 

“Vincent Kremer, at your service.” He bowed slightly at the waist, adding a flourish with his right hand then smiled.  He has a nice smile, nice everything actually… oh, what the hell, Sam? You’re just one big hormone anymore…

Shook her head, banishing the thoughts away and focusing in again on Vincent where he stood on the sidewalk. She frowned. “Why were you there? Were you following that kid? Oh, wait, let me guess… He was a werewolf.” 

Vincent grinned. “You’re catching on.” 

“Good Lord.” Sam rolled her eyes and marched past him, continuing up Broadway. Vincent hurried to catch up to her, talking all the way. 

“Jekyll and Hyde. The beast within realized. The virus enables the physical transformation; drugs eliminate the ability to control it. Result – a short, violent life spent preying upon the homeless, the sick, the weak, spreading the evil as they go. A physical manifestation of everything dark that lurks within.” He paused, seemingly for breath, as they neared St. Paul’s and Vesey Street.

“You know, that bastard had been running around for two days. Gutted a junkie in the Bowery the other night.” 

Sam stopped walking, her gaze fixed on the sidewalk ahead of her. “The Bowery, huh? Now that’s funny.” 

Vincent frowned, puzzled, “Why would that be funny?” 

Sam looked up at him, a matching frown on her own face. “Because someone was spotted leaving the scene that night. A man like a shadow.” She paused, letting it sink in, looking him up and down.

“A man in black.” 

 “Oh.” Vincent looked down at his clothing. “I suppose my wardrobe is a bit incriminating, then.” 

Sam nodded, started walking again. “A bit. Now, I’m torn between hauling your ass in on murder charges, or my personal favorite, me walking this way and you not following me. So -” 

Sam turned to look back at him, but Vincent was gone. What the hell, c’mon with the disappearing people! 

Sam noticed something laying on the ground behind her. It was just about in the spot where Vincent would have been standing if he hadn’t high-tailed it out of there. Sam wondered what did it… the threat to haul him in or that she encouraged him to go away. 

Sam bent to pick up the small piece of folded cardboard. A matchbook, plain and white, half the matches gone. She opened it and despite her tiredness, the aches and pains setting in already from the altercation with Franco-thing, the fear and anger and loneliness she felt right now with Ivan locked away in the hospital… despite all that, she smiled. 

Written on the inside of the matchbook cover were the initials VK and his cell number.

***************

Thanks for sharing, Gabriella!

Come back tomorrow for a *possible* Q&A (technology pending) or check out some of Gabriella’s other works, like the Kate Gardener Mysteries series:

The Memory of Trees (Kate Gardener mysteries Book 1) by [Messina, Gabriella]

On a crisp September morning, a jogger stumbles upon an horrific scene in a London park…

When forensic photographer Kate Gardener steps in for her injured supervisor, the brash American ex-pat finds herself at the scene of a truly brutal murder. The naked, castrated body of a young pharmacist has been found at the edge of Regent’s Park.

Get it here

De Profundis (Kate Gardener Mysteries Book 2) by [Messina, Gabriella]

As faithful parishioners gather for Vespers on All Saints Day, a beloved priest is bludgeoned to death in the church sacristy…

Though he is no stranger to controversy, the priest’s death sends shockwaves through the community. Allegations from the past come to light when a young seminarian, the victim of sexual abuse, is found hiding on the church property, his clothing covered with blood.
Forensic photographer Kate Gardener has her doubts about the young man’s guilt, and her hunches are seldom wrong. The twists and turns of this complicated and controversial case throw Kate into the path of the members of a notorious dining club…. and a very handsome young architect. Romantic entanglements must take a backseat to the case, however, as the investigation intensifies and the inquest into the death of Neville Crane looms.

Together with Detective Sergeant Richard Pierce, Jimi Khan, and the rest of the team, Kate must overcome her fears and face the ghosts of her past in the race to piece the clues together and catch a brutal murderer before he strikes again.

Get it here

Thanks again for sharing, Gabriella, and for participating in the Fall Fantasy Conclave!

They Write the Books Continued – J.L.Hendricks

Welcome back for Day 4 of Fall Fantasy Conclave and our featured author, J.L.Hendricks. Yesterday, you got to learn a little about our Indie friend, but today, you get to read some of her stuff!

Let’s take a peek into Worlds Away:

Worlds Away: Sci-fi Alien Romance (Alpha Alien Abduction Tale Book 1) by [Hendricks, J.L.]

Excerpt:

My heart was still pumping an hour later, and my adrenaline seemed to be burning out. I was exhausted just sitting there holding tight to the laser gun as well as to the couch every time our ship was hit. I wanted to say that I could hear the laser cannons fire, or whatever they called them on this ship. But I knew it must be my imagination creating the sounds in order to keep track of the fighting somehow.

However, I really did hear some of the torpedoes going back and forth. It was a weird sound, almost like Superman flying super-fast through a tunnel and taking all sound with him through that tunnel. Then it was super quiet for less than half a second which was always followed by a loud bang and then the ship would jerk one way or another. At least there was a warning sound before the torpedoes hit. They packed the most punch.

The next hit, well, it was almost what killed us. The ship started to tilt, like it had lost its stabilizers or something, but we must have gotten a good hit on them as well because another hit didn’t come for a while. I could feel us limping along. Since we were slanted, Lisa and I had to hold on tight to the couch. I had never been so happy to see furniture tied to the ground before. Some of the knickknacks and loose items like chairs and pillows were flying around as we tried to get away from the enemy ship.

We turned and headed to something, at the time I didn’t know what. But at least we weren’t getting shot at any more. It seemed like days before we made it to the planet. The only reason I knew we were at the planet is because Venay called me, again.

“Venay, I am fine. No need to worry about me.”

“Thank the moons! But I am calling to warn you, this next bit is going to get very difficult. There should be a place in the quarters you are in where you can strap yourself to a fold down chair on the wall. Find that and get your butt in it now. We are going to try landing this ship on the planet before the enemy can catch up to us. But with the damage, re-entry is going to make for a very bumpy flight. Can you do that?”

“Yes, I can. Thank you Venay.”

 He grunted and then hung up. “Lisa is there a set of fold down emergency chairs that we can lock ourselves in? You know, like the jump seats on a commercial flight?”

“Yes, in the back bedroom. There are two seats there. What’s going on?”

“Has Rotna called you yet?”

“Yes, he tried once but was told to focus on his task, not his mate.” Her cheeks actually turned a shade of pink. I wondered when they were planning their ceremony.

“Glad to know he is fine.”

“Why do we need to do this? Is the ship getting worse?” Lisa asked, with wide eyes.

“Yes, we are approaching the planet and going to attempt to land before the enemy ship can catch us. The re-entry is going to be tough.” We made it to the back room and found the seats. There were a few things that had blocked our way, but we moved them without much issue.

It was a good thing Venay called to warn me, because we weren’t even buckled in when I felt the ship jerking and shaking like an amusement park ride about to go off the rails.

My teeth hurt so bad within just the first two minutes, I thought they might all be cracked, first from the chattering they were doing with the way we jumbled around and then from the pressure I put on my mouth to stay closed. Somewhere along the way I had bit my tongue and it hurt.

I couldn’t say how long it took for us to get through the atmosphere, but it felt like forever. I could tell when we made it because we started to smooth out and the ship wasn’t jerking so badly. The loud noise that almost made me deaf had also quieted down, now it was more like a ball whistling through the air. Although, my head was pounding and my body ached from all of the jostling and clenching. I don’t think I have ever held on to anything as tightly as those restraints, ever!

“Lisa, you ok?”

“Did we make it?” She looked around the room wide eyed and I could see she had been crying. Her face was streaked with the paths her tears left. But I couldn’t blame her. I was pretty scared myself and if I hadn’t survived five years on the streets I would have probably been crying as well.

“So far. I don’t think we have landed yet. So stay seated until we are told we can move. I have a feeling we are going to feel the landing as well.”

The ship was still tilted and the seats were very uncomfortable, we were slanted to the left so the belts that made up the restraints were digging into my left side. It felt like one of those carnival rides where you went around in circles but you were hanging on one side and the ride seat was digging into your entire side. Like that, but worse.

“Lisa, tell me about the plans you and Rotna have made for your wedding. When do you want it to take place?” She looked like she might get hysterical any moment. Her eyes were all over the place and she was having trouble breathing. But she didn’t look injured, unless the belts did something internally.

“Huh? What? Oh, yea, wedding. Ummm, we spoke about it last night. We agreed that we wanted it to happen as soon as we could get some time on the Commander’s schedule. Do you think he will have time tomorrow?” She was dazed, I wasn’t sure she understood what was happening. How could she if she was thinking Venay could marry them tomorrow, after crash landing on a planet while in a firefight with a pretty heavily armed enemy ship?

“Lisa, do you know what just happened?” I wished at that moment I could get out of my seat, but I knew there was no way it would be safe until after we made landing.

“Yes, we are landing on a planet.”

“Because we just got our butts kicked in a firefight with an enemy ship. There won’t be time to get married, not at least for a while. I couldn’t even tell you how long it will take to fix our ship. Or if the Zateelians will come for us. Lisa, I need you to focus. Can you do that?” Her eyes were still glazed over and her mouth was hanging open. She kept moving her head like she was listening to some music somewhere.

Just then I got a communication from Venay, “Paris, are you ok?”

“Yes, both Lisa and I are ok. She might have some internal injuries, but I think she is ok. However, she appears to be in shock. How much longer before we land?”

“We came in too fast, so I have to keep her flying as long as possible to slow down, which means we won’t be close to the settlement here. But they will come for us and help us soon. Stay in your seats. Don’t move until I tell you, ok?”

“Of course, I am betting we will feel it when we land?”

“Yes, I am afraid you will. And Paris, don’t say anything, but Rotna is hurt, badly. Lisa might know. If he called her before he went unconscious then she knows. But don’t say anything until we land and you can check her out. Ok?”

“Ok, thank you. Um, any news about the enemy ship? Are they following us?”

He sighed and I knew it was bad, “Yes, they are heavily damaged, but they did make it through. However, they are not very close to us. They will have to crash land as well so we should have some time before they come looking for us or the settlement. I just hope that they aren’t able to crash very close to the settlement.”

“Thank you for being honest with me. You have no idea how much that means to me. I still have the gun Cazon gave me. Once we land, where should I take Lisa?”

“Stay where you are. I will let you know where to go once we land. Please don’t try to leave your room until you hear from me. The ship will be unstable and I still have no idea where the Zateelians will land.”

“Right, oh then I guess you better get back to work. And Venay, thank you for checking in on me so much. I know you have a huge responsibility with the entire ship.”

“You’re welcome Paris, see you soon.”

That man, or alien, was stealing my heart without even trying. All he had to do was show me love and attention and my stupid heart was falling for him. But I still can’t get over the slave issue. I don’t want to fall completely for him and then end up accepting slavery. It isn’t right. However, my heart won’t stop falling for him. I am truly afraid that I will end up head over heels in love with this great big warrior before this is all over with.

The ship started to lurch and leaned to the left and then to the right. We had begun the crash, I say begun because it took so long for it to finish. There was no way this ship was going to survive intact after this crash. We bumped up and then down and we even spun a bit. My stomach was not happy. It was a gurgling mess and I had never been so happy to have a mostly empty stomach before. It had to have been at least four or five hours since I ate breakfast, so not much in my stomach to worry about.

The noise was so loud and harsh that my ears started to ring. It sounded like the ship might be breaking apart. We were being jerked so harshly that I wouldn’t be surprised if it broke up in a couple of pieces. Just then the ship jumped up, the reason I knew we jumped up was because my stomach was all over the place, like in a roller coaster ride where when you get to the top of the highest point in the track and then go over the cliff and start to go down, you lose your stomach. Well, that was what it was like. We bounced up high, and then all of a sudden we dropped like a roller coaster ride.

When we hit the ground my whole body jarred and my teeth clicked together so harshly, I knew I had cracked a tooth this time. Thankfully I kept my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth so I didn’t bite it again.

My head was throbbing, not just an ache, but an actual throb. I could feel my pulse through my head and it was going a mile a minute. I couldn’t feel my body at first, and I didn’t know exactly what happened, like in a car accident, it all happens so fast. But my seat had come loose from the wall and I was on top of the bed in a very uncomfortable position with the seat on my back. I tried to roll to my side but it took me a couple of tries.

Once I was on my side I looked around the room. Even though most of the furniture was locked down, it looked like a tornado ripped through here. The dresser had come undone and was right next to the bed I was on. Anything that had been loose, was spread all over the room. From my angle I couldn’t see Lisa, and I didn’t hear her either.

My hands hurt so badly from holding on so tightly to the straps that it was an effort to get my hands to open. I had to stretch them out a bit before I tried to undo the straps. Once they were undone, I fell to my stomach on the edge of the bed.

“Lisa? Lisa you ok?” I called out but got no response.

I hoped she was alright. The first thing I needed to do was get up and stretch my tightly constricted muscles. They had tightened up and some locked in place while I was being thrown about like a rag doll during the crash. I wanted nothing more than to have Venay come and get me and hold me. But that couldn’t happen anytime soon. He had the entire ship to think about. And besides, chances were pretty good that our ship had broken apart. I had no idea how long it would take him to get here, or even if he could.

After about a minute or two of stretching on the bed, everything seemed to work fine, no broken bones at least. So I stood up and I looked over towards the wall were my seat had been and Lisa’s seat was barely hanging on. She appeared to be passed out, at least that was what I was going with. Her eyes were closed, not open with a vacant stare, so I assumed she was still alive. Living on the streets you come across quite a few dead bodies. The one thing they all had in common, was the vacant stare in their eyes. Sure a few died in their sleep and their eyes were closed, but most didn’t. That stare is what you remember for the rest of your life. Not how nice or how mean that person was, just how they looked when you found them dead.

“Lisa, answer me if you can.” I climbed over a few things to make my way to her.

I felt her neck for a pulse. It was weak, but there. Then I started to feel her body for broken bones. Her arms and legs seemed alright. But there was a place on her stomach that worried me. It was where the seatbelt was digging in and I lifted her shirt to see a huge bruise already forming. I didn’t know what that meant, but pretty sure she had some internal damage.

I looked around for something soft to put below her. She was going to fall off that seat once I unlocked her restraints. I didn’t want her falling on the ground.

There really wasn’t anything, so I grabbed the bedding and pulled hard. The seat I was in was pretty heavy and still atop the bed so I had to work hard to get the sheets and blankets off. Then I found the pillows on the other side of the room and put them all below her. I slowly undid her buckles. My hands were still quite sore from holding onto my belts.

Before I undid the last buckle, I reached around her chest to try to hold her a bit before she fell like a lump to the ground. I wasn’t very strong so once I got that last belt, we both fell, but I cushioned her fall a with my own body. “Lisa, are you awake?” I asked as I move the hair from her face.

I whispered in her ear, “Lisa, Rotna is alive but he needs you. Please wake up, I can’t carry you.”

I dragged her closer to the dresser so that I could hold her head in my lap while I leaded back against it.

She wasn’t awake, but at least she was alive. I sat there thinking about what I should do when I heard a beep in my ear. It was an incoming communication! “Venay, is that you? Are you ok?”

“Yes sweetheart, I am fine. How are you? Are you hurt?” I could hear the relief in his voice as it went lower and softer.

“Oh thank the stars! I am ok, a bit sore and a few scrapes but I am fine. Lisa is another story. She is alive, but passed out and injured. I don’t know what to do for her.”

“There should be a med kit somewhere in her quarters, most warriors keep them in their bathrooms. Check there or the kitchen, but please be careful. We have stopped but I don’t know if the ship will stay steady or not. She broke up as we crashed.”

“I figured as much, how long before you can get to me?”

*****

A BIG thanks to J.L.Hendricks for stopping by and sharing some of her work!!

Tomorrow and Friday, help me welcome Gabrielle Messina as the third featured author for Fall Fantasy Conclave!