One More Reminder

 

As I grew up, a big problem I faced (though didn’t realize till much later) was that almost all my goals weren’t mine. They were my mother’s. I just wanted to do whatever she wanted me to do. True, I had hobbies, but I didn’t even consider them as a career option till my mother mentioned it, and even then I still ended up enlisted in the Air Force.

But still, I was lucky.

I always knew I wanted to tell stories and more specifically, make or write movies. I loved them and wanted to be part of that world, even if I ignored and neglected that desire.

For others, it’s not that easy. I had friends who had no clue what they wanted to do or be. Even my brother still doesn’t know what he wants to do for a living and has little to no hobbies.

It has become a challenge for some people to discern what their true personal desires are and what their family or society desire for them.

When choosing a goal to accomplish, a new life to create, it’s always better to listen to the gut rather than the brain.

How does it make you feel rather than what is the more logical choice. Because even if a choice may give you money and safety and security, it won’t matter if you’re not happy and worried that you will lose said money and safety and security, or if you even don’t want it anymore because you’re so miserable with the way things are.

Balance is always the aim, but if I had choose between being rich, unhappy and frustrated, and being penniless, happy and fulfilled, I’d chose happiness.

But I suppose people are rarely happy and fulfilled while being penniless. So indeed, balance is the goal.

This isn’t really anything new. We’ve all seen the desktop wallpapers, the bookmarks, the motivational posters, etc. But how many actually follow the advice? Who actually dares to live a life of non-conformity and passion rather than a life of safety and comfort zones?

Not many.

Maybe it just takes one more time. One more message. One more reminder to live your life on your own terms, and never give in to fear. That you can. That it’s possible, despite how scary that seems.

It’s good practice to discover and follow your dreams.

Never believe or act otherwise.

What’s your dream? What are you doing today that will take you closer to its fulfillment?

 

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Excerpt Day: BEASTS

 

These last few days I been advocating the need for action towards ones goals. One of the reasons I disappeared for three months is because I wanted to finish a chapter for my YA novel and post that as the next post. That never happened cause I never finished it. But I didn’t want to post something else because I was starting to feel like I was all bark, no bite.

I didn’t just want to talk about what I loved to do or wanted to do.

I actually wanted to do it.

I still haven’t finished that chapter, but it’s nearly done. I have a few things in the works.

A nonfiction book based on everything I talked about last week. My YA Shapeshifter novel. And Savior, my superhero noir story that may become a comic.

So today is excerpt day. Proof to myself that I am doing the work and following the dream, not just talking a great deal.

Funny enough, it’s been nearly a year since I’ve shared an excerpt of a WIP.

Perhaps July is just the month of sharing.

Enjoy.

 

 

~~~~

Chapter One

Stars twinkled above Nicolai when he opened his eyes and he was struck with a painful longing for the Antarctic sky. The image of a dark carpet of colorful light stretched across the heavens was clear as day in his mind. Then it was gone, back into the abyss with the rest of his lost memories.

So desperate to cling to his forgotten past, Nicolai remained on his back for several more minutes, trying to reimagine the picture. But it was useless. It may as well been a dream for all he knew.

With a heavy sigh, he sat up in the darkness. Sniffing the air, he figured he was sitting in a dank alleyway and that a cat passed by recently and marked his territory on the dumpster he’d been sleeping against.

“Yuck!”

Nicolai climbed to his feet, rubbing his face and grabbing his green knapsack.  Plunging his hand inside, he pulled out a water bottle and dumped the small amount of liquid inside on his face. That woke him up—though he hadn’t been tired to begin with. He couldn’t remember where he was or how he got there. He stood in the darkness for a moment, straining his memory. The last thing he could remember was reaching the Capitol on foot around midday, but that could have been days ago.

He glanced at the sky. It was late. Probably midnight judging by the moon and past curfew. At the far end of the alley, he could make out the faint glow of streetlights. On the other side of the dumpster was a solid brick wall. Great place for a nap…if you can call “randomly blacking out” a nap. He wanted to at least stay off the streets when night fell. Find an abandoned building or something. The last thing he needed was to run into the cops first day in the Capitol. The street would leave him expose. Catching sight of a fire escape just above him, he repacked his water bottle and reached for the ladder.

“Good evening.”

Nicolai froze. He sniffed again. Cat pee – a great cover for an actual cat. His eyes followed the voice and fell on a male figure crouched on the top of the brick wall. The stranger grinned widely, like a Cheshire cat, the moonlight reflecting off a row of sharpened white teeth and large amber eyes with almond shaped pupils.  Nicolai estimated him to be at least a few centuries old.

An Alpha.

“I take it you’re new around here, eh?” The Alpha cocked his head to the side, like a cat eyeing a mouse. “Shall I welcome you to the neighborhood?”

Nicolai didn’t move, but tensed his muscles, ready to bolt.  He inhaled deeply. Was this one alone? No. Alpha’s didn’t hunt alone. Where was his pack? And what species was he? Definitely not a house cat.

“What is it? Cat got your tongue?” The Alpha laughed, revealing even more of his sharp teeth. “Oh, not yet, I hope. That’s the most succulent part.”

Nicolai turned his gaze to the tops of the buildings. At least six stood on the edge of the roofs on either side. All male, blond and muscular. One silently jumped down to a fire escape a few floors above him to watch, hands gripping the railing as if to jump.

The Alpha’s amber eyes narrowed as his Cheshire grin changed – less amused, more sinister.

“You’re not welcome here.”

“I’m not hurting anyone.” Nicolai slid one foot back, trying to make the movement as unnoticeable as possible.

The Alpha wrinkled his nose, the grin vanished and his entire face plunged into shadow. “Your stench is hurting my nostrils.”

Sweat slid down the back of Nicolai’s neck. He moved his foot further, watching the approaching cat above him out of the corner of his eye. “Sorry. Can’t really do anything about that.”

“Oh but you can.” The Alpha’s teeth flashed again. “You can die.”

His amber eyes flicked up to the others. Nicolai grabbed the corner of the dumpster.

“Get him!”

The cat above him leaped onto the dumpster’s lid, his boots leaving a dent. Nicolai wrenched the dumpster forward the moment he landed and the entire thing came crashing down. The cat stumbled and smashed face first into the opposite building. The Alpha jumped from the wall, snarling, his clawed hands reaching for Nicolai’s neck.

He ducked to the floor and the Alpha flew over him. The other five cats were scrambling down the buildings. Nicolai quickly jumped onto the dumpster and over the brick wall.

The snarls behind him grew louder, feral and inhuman. Nicolai could guess what was happening, but he wasn’t about to wait and find out. There was no way he could outrun real cats unless he put some serious distance between them, so he ran.

A Life Worth Living

A long sufferer of depression and anxiety, I’ve learned the hard way that feeling good does not equal a fulfilling life. I learned this after I realized I can feel good regardless of my situation.

Feeling Good and my External Situation aren’t related at all.

I learned this by the fact that I felt really, REALLY good for a while and yet my life was still exactly the same…because I was still doing the same things. I figured that feeling good meant I would do things differently, that feeling bad was what was keeping me from all my goals.

Boy, was I wrong.

So what does keep a person from taking required action? I suppose it all comes down to habit. We do the things we do because we’ve been doing them for so long. Change is hard because change is uncomfortable and feeling good is all so important.

Add doubt regarding what IS the required action and you have a recipe for stagnation.

Three weeks ago, I turned 26.

Thanks to Holosync, someone who shall not be named and the fact I feel like I haven’t been living any sort of resemblance of a life for over a decade, I had sort of violent emotional relapse (Supernatural, Tumblr and sleeping/dreaming my drugs of choice). Thus resulting in my sudden absence from blogging (new posting schedule: when there’s a post, there’s a post) till now.

I’ve recovered mostly, but now am wondering what can I do to change things? What can I do to keep this from happening again when I turn 30?

Well, first what does it mean to have a life?

Here’s a list of some of my ideas. (Yay! A list!)

 

Keeping  Up Appearances

This means physical appearances. When you’re as isolated as me, you don’t really think this is such a big deal. I don’t really expect to find the love of my life any time soon, so why bother to get all made up?  Answer to Self: Because it makes you feel alive, idiot! Only corpses don’t need to care about how they look.

 

Hobbies

A hobby is something you do that requires work, but isn’t work. Something that is done just because and not because it feeds you. Something you do for the hell of it.  I’ve done the mistake of making my hobbies into my career (or at least trying to), unless you count watching TV, YouTube and Tumblr as hobbies , I’ve lost mine. A fulfilled life is one full of an assortment of interests.

 

 Socialization

Okay. Here I am AGAIN. Admitting I was wrong.  Happy loner? Eh, not so much. I’m used to being alone. It feels safe. Familiar. Comfortable. But whoever commented that being alone can lead to insanity had a point. I’m going crazy in my little house, with my little computer, all by my little lonesome. Time to branch out.  A fulfilling life has daily interaction with real, living, people sharing the same air you breathe in the same physical space (a.k.a not online).

 

Sharing

This is kind of a given. There’s a reason social media has become a global obsession. Sharing creates a sense of community and connection with others. I’m going to push it a little further and say it validates our existence. When you share something you learned, found or created and are acknowledged for it, your existence is also being acknowledged. I never really realized just how much I needed my existence to be validated by another person until now.

 

I can probably add more to the list. A routine, a job that contributes to the greater whole, a physical activity, etc. But I’ll leave the rest to you, readers, if for some strange, bizarre reason anyone is still reading this blog.

What do you think contributes to a healthy, happy life?

 

(In other news, Yes I’m still working on the novel. First chapter is due soon.)

Hollywood — A Request from an Action Junkie

Nothing disappoints me more than a movie or T.V. show with a great idea or opportunity, but fails to deliver or execute—even worse if they limit themselves.

I love Transformers. I loved the different cartoon shows on T.V. and I even enjoyed these movies…to an extent.

I recently, finally watched the third one on DVD and I wished I had watched it in theaters.

The action was so amazing! In fact, that is pretty much the only reason I love the movies so much. The action is so amazing. That and that Sam Witwicky character is fun to follow around.

But what’s probably my favorite scene in this movie, is a tiny moment, probably less than a minute, where that Director of Intelligence lady (or whoever she was) walked up to the autobots (the good robots) to talk to them for the first time. In this scene, the other autobots explain that Optimus (their leader) isn’t talking to anyone, that he seems upset and as one autobot put it: “He’s pissed.”

I loved that scene. I must have rewinded and played that short scene over and over again.

Because it was probably the only scene in the entire movie where it seemed like Transformers were more than just machines with cliché one liners and cardboard personalities.

In this scene they had personality, they had emotions.

Optimus was pissed.

I loved the Transformers show on tv not because it’s about robots that could turn into things and then fought other robots that also could turn into things. I loved it because these robots that could turn into things were like real people that had drama.

My favorite Transformer is Starscream, who’s actually a bad guy. Now I’m not a die hard Transformers fan. I don’t know the complete canon or storyline of the comics or Japanese tv shows or watched any of them in their entirety. In fact, the version of Starscream that I fell in love with was from the Transformers: Armada cartoon, which was technically an anime and…well apparently a lot of fans really hated (though I enjoyed it enough).

Anyways! Starscream was cool int he cartoons and comics because he was always fighting with Megatron and I loved how in Armada he turned good before dying. I really loved that.

Of course, in the Transformers movie trilogy he was the stereotype cardboard villain just like the rest of them. I sort of expected it, but it is still disappointing. At least in the original Transformers continuity he was interesting enough to be constantly fighting with Megatron to seize control over who will lead the bad guys.

Not here though.

There is so much potential with these characters, but instead we get an action flick that is just all action and little of anything else.

I’m not really surprised, but I kind of wish people would get tired of this already.

Even worse than the lack of personality, was that the only two female characters either had no personality and was just there to look pretty and be rescued or used as comic relief also insulted me. Can’t women fight too? Or want to figure out what the villains were up to along with the guys?

For action, it’s an amazing movie. For Transformer love, I had that tiny, itty bitty scene where Optimus seemed like a real person.  And that was pretty much it.

I wonder what would have happened if they actually tried. If they did create a solid, complex story and intriguing meaningful characters, and actually give the damn robots more human qualities that they had in the damn comics and cartoons?

What if they actually did the opposite of what we’ve seen so far in regards to sci-fi action flicks?

Like we’ve seen with Inception.

I would like to see more of that, thank you.

 

P.S. In regards to sci-fi action flicks, I also hear Hollywood is looking to remake the anime classic Akira. …Don’t. Do. It. Please. I beg you. Leave Akira alone!!

 

P.P.S. Actually, you want to do know what happens when they do put in depth characters and plots into sci-fi and fantasy movies? Oscar nominations happen. Freaking OSCARS!

 

That is all.

The Promotion

Okay, remember when I said there be two posts today?

I lied. I lied hardcore. But according to Chuck Wendig, that’s what we writers are.

Liars.

So can’t help it apparently.

So anyways, I guess I’ll do what I always do when I don’t have something prepared and time has run out.

Provide an old story I wrote ages ago.

(I was actually going to post a brand spanking new story, but it just wouldn’t come.  Hopefully tomorrow it’ll make its beautiful appearance).

Let’s see what’s buried on my hard drive…

Here’s something. This was my one of first serious attempts at a standalone short story. I’m a novel sort of girl and even then I can’t leave it at one novel (my novels come in threes), so it was definitely difficult to write an entire story with a definite ending in 1000 words. It has gotten easier with practice.

I liked this one, though others didn’t apparently since it was rejected. Ah well.

Fair warning, some mild violence ahead.

Enjoy!

 

AN OFFICER’S PROMOTION

 

 

Officer Zane had a bad feeling. He stood on the bridge that led to the entrance of the Guerra colony. A grunt of no rank worth mentioning was waiting for his electronic signature. It was for the cargo ship that just delivered the new battery plant. According to his official report, the old plant had broken down due to a soldier’s negligence.

Actually it had been Zane’s duty to inspect the plant, but he didn’t have the time to take care of it. The probation of an insignificant soldier was a small price to pay to keep his own record clean, but the malfunction left every weapon on the colony without power. They were defenseless.

Zane usually read every official letter he received, but this time he pressed his thumb onto the screen without even looking. The shadowy trees that enclosed the colony held his attention and he couldn’t look away.

It had been months since he had been stationed on this primitive planet and there never had been any problems. He was diligent and patient, expecting a promotion.

But now, something seemed off.

The day seemed normal. Most of the soldiers were on leave. Zane shoved aside a Private and his sweetheart and ignored the Private’s clumsy salute as he strained his ears. What was that sound? It was hard to hear over the mindless chatter around him.

The wind blew and the sound came more clearly. Screaming? He saw movement in the trees. A soldier staggered out and collapsed dead, back studded with spears. Zane watched as a swarm of children poured out of the trees like provoked army ants. Brown skinned boys wearing loincloths brandished bloodied spears. Their small bodies thundered down the clearing, their faces alive with excitement.

By the time Officer Zane’s sharp mind had processed the situation, he was running in the opposite direction. It would take hours before the new battery plant was installed and their power restored. The primitives on the planet had been declared harmless. An attack had never been expected and the soldiers had no training in killing hundreds of bloodthirsty children. They were doomed. It was time retreat.

At the opposite end of the bridge, a tunnel led to the docks. Zane ran for it. He didn’t look back as the couple on the bridge screamed in agony. He couldn’t save them even if he wanted to—which he didn’t.
There was no time. The only spaceship on the planet was the cargo ship. It had been unloaded a few minutes ago and would soon take off. Zane had to make it. He had worked too hard to die now.

The narrow tunnel was crowded with new settlers and they slowed him down.  Zane had to dodge crying children and parents demanding answers. He didn’t bother explaining. They would soon get their answers from brats no older than their own. He knew abandoning his post was career suicide, but surviving was more important. He’d start over if he had to. It didn’t matter how long it took.

Once he left the tunnel, brilliant sunlight and chaos greeted him. The ship waited thirty feet away in the center of a lake. Along the shore, civilians and soldiers alike fought over the small boats that would take them to safety.

As the cries of the killing frenzy in the tunnel reached Zane’s ears, he raced down the everglade, prepared to fight for a boat. It wasn’t necessary. As the murdering swarm spilled out of the tunnel, panic erupted. Settlers abandoned the boats, throwing themselves into the lake.

Zane didn’t hesitate. He jumped into an empty boat and started the engine, but a hand grabbed his arm. A dying woman, impaled by a spear, stood in chest-deep water, holding up her child with the last ounce of her strength.

“Please… Please, take her!”

Zane was ready to hit the throttle and leave them both behind when he made eye contact with the little girl. Large, watery blue eyes looked at him with fear and confusion. He cursed and grabbed her.

The moment the girl left her mother’s arms, she began to cry. Zane sat her down on the bottom of the boat and did his best to ignore her. The ship was taking off. He zigzagged his way across the lake, dodging spears and floating bodies.

A shadow loomed over his boat. Without thinking, he threw his body over the child. Pain struck him as a spear sank into his shoulder, splattering the toddler’s face with blood. She screamed. Zane wanted to apologize and wipe the blood away and beg her to stop crying—it was giving him a headache.

There was no time for that. He looked up. The cargo bay doors were still open. Gathering the child in his good arm, he stood on the edge of the boat. Spears whistled by left and right. The doors started to close. He jumped.

The cargo doors snapped shut as Zane rolled across the metal floor. The spear twisted in his shoulder and the child bawled in his ears. His vision swam and shadowy figures appeared at his side. Someone took the little girl from his arms.

“Thank you,” he gasped, ears still ringing.

Zane grunted with pain as they removed the spear. He couldn’t see them, but heard them speak in hushed tones.

“Damn. It’s poisoned.”

“Do we have the antidote?”

“Use the broad spectrum stuff. Hopefully it’ll work.”

Dread washed over him. Was he still going to die? After everything he’d worked for? Everything he’s suffered?

At least the child is safe, he thought. The only noble deed he’s ever done in his life. Would it be enough to get into heaven?

“That child… Is that Marianne Sinclair?”

“Wait, General Sinclair’s daughter?”

“His wife and daughter were on the roster. They came on vacation.”

“My God…”

There was a sharp pain as the antidote was injected. His vision darkened, but Officer Zane smiled.

His promotion was secured.

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