Monday, August 31, 2015

REWIRE, Part One: The Beginning of theEnd

Chaos Monster and Sun God


Chapter 1 - To Grandmothers House  

“Mommy! I cant swim!Bob cries.  

Bobs bobbing in the black swells of the dragon sea. Hes dressed in soggy purple pontiffs robes. It’s meant to be the regalia of his new religion borrowed from one of old. The Age of Reason and the coming of our Lord Bob. Bob smiles reminded of Sulis. His new religion is all tangled up with memories of her body merging with his. The memory fades and hes back to drowning. He splutters and splashes. His robes are dragging him down into the freezing black water.    

Just as his chin breaches the swells he gasps for air. Now hes spinning. He’s caught up in a vortex and going down fast. Bob’s cheeks puff up and his color changes from red to purple as he tries not to breathe. His lungs are aching. He prepares for the end -- a death by drowning while spinning with not a moment for reflection. Bob breathes the water in as air.  

Cold seeps into his chest and then it filters back out again from behind his ears. He fingers the skin there to find paired filaments and lamellae. Gills, though he does not know what to call them. Nor does he know that this is the method by which fish gather oxygen from the water. He just knows that the Night Mare has not killed him, at least not yet.

His surplice and stole spin back up towards the surface in the same vortex that dragged him down to this place he was certain would be his tomb. Now that hes going to live Bob takes a quick look around. 

He heads off toward a low hilltop glowing blue in the near distance. Hes seeking higher ground for a better view of his surround, and the blue glow of the ridge reminds him of screen light.  

Wet sand squishes between the toes of his bare feet. Bob strolls nine thousand feet below the surface of the water. Frigid air and grey skies are now but memories overhead. The water here should be freezing but Bob cant feel it. It must be part of the Night Mares spell, he decides, now that he knows hes been conjured.

Bob suddenly remembers that the completion of his mission is the only way to get back home. Hes been sent to rescue his brother from Tiamat the dragon. His own new great-grandmother. Bobs not sure what a dragon is, or a grandmother for that matter, but then he didnt know what a mother was less than a season ago. All things considered thats worked out rather well until now.  

Water filled with lighted lumps and flitting streaks of color is what he sees all around him. It takes a moment for him to understand that the lights and color are alive.  

What are these creatures? He wonders to himself. Now he doesnt feel safe.  Best to get on with the rescue, he thinks, moving away from a lump of yellow light hovering near his head.    

Bob considers his task. He decides that wherever Lord Nightmares being held it must be close or why would the Night Mare have dropped him here? 

The old bitch! He mutters and stews. He’s remembering how much he left back in Reves rooms. Hed just discovered the joys of Sulis, of mating and of mutual orgasms. He was just starting his new religion. Now that he remembers all of that and now that hes not dying, Bob sputters and shuffles, he stamps his feet and he pounds the water with his fists in the manner of a bratty child. He accomplishes nothing but to ruffle the sand around him.  

Bob stops. He shakes the angry thoughts away as a useless drain on his brain, and he focuses on the task at hand. How would Sulis advise him? He hopes shes still alive. Hes grown accustomed to her counsel. It ought to surprise him but instead its been nice to share his plans. Hes found that shes not stupid, that she thinks and that her thoughts are fine.

Bob squints trying to turn what he sees in front of him into something he understands. As he draws nearer to the sand bar he’s noticing that it’s a made up of screens. He moves toward it with more purpose.

Bobs never been underwater. The Night Mare has forbidden water from gathering anywhere in her city.  Hes never imagined nor even wondered what might lie beneath the surface of the half world ocean. Bob assumes thats where he is.  It never occurred to him that there was so much of it underneath. Hes wondering now how it might be drained and sold as real estate.

As he gets closer to the glowing mound his pace slackens. He’s understanding without comprehending that the glowing miles long reef is hundreds of thousands of sleeping screens beneath a veneer -- sand, plants, and small crustaceans. The whole thing is pulsing blue light.    

Bob puzzles the mound of sleeping screens turned reef. He scratches at his head. Why are these screens here? He cannot comprehend it. He climbs to the top of the moss coated pulsating blue hillside. From its precipice he can see that the screen reef stretches beyond his field of vision in one direction. There’s a massive structure glowing in the other. He decides that this glow must be city light. He bounds across the uneven surface of the screen reef heading toward it.

As he gets closer to the mound there are more lighted things in the water around him. He dodges a corps of jelly-shaped tutus whirling and spurting a bioluminescent ooze. Gliding clear blobs with insides the color of blood pulse past him.  
Off in the distance theres a colony of jelly blobs, with domes like alien hovercrafts in bright blue. Tendrils hang from umbrella wings which propel the jelly creatures through the water. A green centered glob the size of a bear cub torpedoes toward Bob. Before he can react, before he can hoist his arms up over his face, an orange jelly something streaks across the green blobs path, distracting it and becoming its snack instead.  

“Ouch! Something is munching on Bobs toe. He kicks out and a critter tumbles away. It lands several moss coated screens away, unfurls and begins to snack on the invertebrates it finds there. Bob looks down because something else is nibbling on his toes. A swarm of the creatures, isopods, salt water parasites each the size of Bobs head, scurry on the screen reef all around him. Like giant pill bugs but sixteen inches and more.They scuttle around Bob like enemy tanks.  

He bunches his robes around his waist and he runs through the water, knees up, crossing the field of isopods in hops and leaps. Huge bubbles trail in his wake.

Once clear of the isopod field Bob glances back. He smirks at his small triumph. He turns toward his destination coming face to face with a viperfish. This Mesopelagic has more sharp teeth then face. The six inch attacker knocks into Bobs right shoulder spoiling for a fight. The tiny bully pivots a sharp one-eighty, doubles back and knocks Bob’s other shoulder. Photophores act like running lights along its sides, and a long lantern like dorsal fin is used as a lure. The viper waves this fin at Bob now in challenge. It comes at him its enlarged white eyes staring at Bob the way the Night Mare does.

Bob swipes at the nightmarish thing with his fists, once, twice, and then again, until he knocks it squarely on the nose. His own teeth are bared in the effort. The impact is solid and the viper wobbles down and away into the dark.  

An angler fish the size of a hover chair circles the event. Its large fanged mouth opens and closes, releasing fleets of tiny-bubbles.  

“Youre an ugly fellow.Bob burbles to the angler fish.  
“You want a go?He asks his fists raised ready to blunt another nose.  

But the monster fish swims away. Its angler trolling behind like a bright fishing line. 
Two fish the size of sardines are embedded by mouth in either side of the fleeing beast. Bob snorts. He assumes that these are the females. For isnt that the natural state of things the male preyed upon by the weaker sex?  But Bob is wrong as he so often is. The larger of these three Anglers is the female. The parasites she collects to fertilize her are the males of the species.

The bright mound toward which the current is now dragging Bob is recognizable as a rustic castle carved in the side of an ancient volcano. Its size rivals the Night Mares buildings. Theres a chasm before it as moat. A swift wall of current flows along it.    How do I cross that, Bob wonders?  He stares at the water flowing over the vertiginous cavern, the castle behind it. Stepping into it would certainly carry him away and the thought of plumbing the caverns depths is not enticing.  

A squadron of fanged snakes swoops up out of the inky cavern, electrified, forming a wall of lethal current. This electric wall is coming at Bob.    
Bob crouches into a defensive stance -- eyes closed, arms up, his purple robes billowing. He waits for the expected pain of the electrical shock, but nothing happens. He opens his eyes and he lowers his arms. The electric squadron flanks him on either side.

Bobs hoping its a honor guard, but he doubts it.

A pair of giant albino squid, some sixty-feet in length, puff up out of the sand on either side of a thick stone portcullis behind the flow of water. This gate is crenellated across the top where a monster whale is said to have taken a bite out of it. The sight of the giant squids causes Bobs stomach to twist in both directions at once, for to these creatures Bob is but krill.  

Two stiletto-snout Chimeras, armed with lethal fins and noses like sabers, whip rattails through the water while crisscrossing each other as sentries. Pairs of coffin fish, long, flabby bodied, covered in spines, are posted along the upper ramparts.  

Every creature here is ferocious, Bob thinks, a fear lump in his throat. Yet, its as if he were expected. 

Maybe this whole rescue thing will be civil, Bob hopes. Hes wondering how dragons feed and what kind of lair he might find inside this castle? Hes not wondering how he will accomplish his task for Bob is a rat.  Hes a creature of opportunity. The kind of rodent who chews through his obstacles. The way supplies itself, is what he’s thinking and so often its true.  

Bobs wondering if hell be housed in family rooms within his great-Grandmothers castle? Will he be afforded the preferment to which hes become entitled? He is the Night Mares son after all. Bobs hoping the guest rooms here are better appointed then the Night Mares own, which are ghastly and ghoulish. The notion of a dungeon never enters his mind. Hes wondering what to ask for as a reward for this rescue. Maybe he could keep Reves building not liking the idea of having to give it back.  

A warble of horns through water makes a visible current. The two undulating moons wrench the portcullis off its locks. A building sized tablet of stone plows down through the water with a whoosh and a wave that blows Bob and his guard back several hundred feet. The stone thuds to the ocean floor bridging the sideways current and creating a passage across the moat.  

Now Bobs certain that hes expected. He confidently mounts the slab of stone about to pass through the inky aura of the undulating moons, when a school of dragonfish rush out to meet him. Theyre slimy and black with large heads and sharp teeth all powered by tiny thug bodies. Long barbels jut from their chins, whisker-like appendages tipped with light producing photophores. They wink on and off in a syncopated reveal of small monster faces. They hover. Their fanged mouths open and close. They glare at Bob from milky white eyes as if awaiting orders.

“Now, see here,Bob begins,

Before he can finish the bubbled sentence the small dragons grab the cloth of his billowing robes. In an evocative turning dance of flickering chin-lights they bind Bob up. When hes a purple mummy, they float him into the castle. The stone slab bridge closes slowly behind them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

STONE CHART



gold-stones.jpg
photo By: Mello FM 88

GOLD – MUST BE SURRENDERED IMMEDIATELY TO THE NIGHT MARE(priceless) 

SILVER - Tempered Metal, (may involve hammering, 4 points) 

VERMILLION - Trial by Fire, (lessons will be learned first hand,1 point) 

YELLOW - Wild child, (extroverted youth followed by death or great wisdom,1 point) 

BLUE - Spirit Quest (accidents happen, 2 points) 

GREY - Mirror, mirror, (narcissist, cold as ice, 3 points) 

SCARLET - Great passion (will need taming,5 points) 

GREEN - Nurturer (Preferred, 10 points) 

PINK - Docile (preferred, 11 points) 

WHITE - Deferential (preferred, 15 points)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Brooklyn Book Festival



Sunday September 20, 2015
http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org/map

Come and visit The Gold Stone Girls September 20th at the Brooklyn Book Festival booth 204!

REWIRE, book 3 - out September 27.  Recording of the audiobook starts Monday! Cover coming soon!







Cover Art: Caitlin Quinn
http://cargocollective.com/CaitlinPageQuinn
http://www.antlerandwoods.com/

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

REWIRE, The Gold Stone Girl, book 3, Prologue - Holometabolous



I am soup. Not consomme´, or broth, or even bisque. I’m the texture of things that have been boiled down into each other, thickened by evaporation into a potage. A brew that carries the flavor of the old me into something new. My body died. It was attacked by the same sort of juices my stomach uses to digest food. It would not be far wrong to say that I ate myself from the inside out in a process called histolysis. Not all of my original tissue was destroyed. Some of the old me will pass on to my new self. Though not much.                                                                                                                        
In insects there are collections of special formative cells which lie dormant, cells which have played no part in the insects larval life. I have them too. These groups are called imaginal buds or histoblasts. Maybe they’re the source of my dreams. The histoblasts supervise the building of the new body I must make out of this soup, or die in the attempt. It’s the same biochemical process that turns insect food into body parts. This rebuilding process is called histogenesis. I have no idea how I know these things, but I do. 
When the change starts I know that something is seriously wrong and I also know that I have no way to stop it from happening. A hook covered appendage, a cremasterpushes itself out of the skin on the back of my spine like Bourko’s arm, but dark spindly and spiny. I’m screaming. It’s as if an alien were trying to get out of me and it’s succeeding. The insect arm embeds itself into a glue-pad of fine silk, which it secretes onto the rock ceiling without asking my permission or needing it. Then I’m dangling by the alien arm attached to my back, my feet kicking.                                                               
Maybe I’m an alien like Bourko.   

I have a second to process the situation, the women staring at me hanging from an arm I didn’t know I had, before Reggie inflates like a balloon around me. The same way she protected me from the ball of flames that time we killed. This time all of my epidermis goes with her, like a snake shedding its skin. Only I don’t have another set of scales underneath. It’s gross. I’m like something found under a rock, something slimy with pulsing veins. I’m teeth chattering cold and scalding hot all at once and I’m moaning.  
Reggie seals the larval me up inside her and then I disintegrate. My gastric juices are turning me into soup. Why was I worried about being eaten alive by the Night Mare when in the end I do it to myself? Suffice it to say that I am liquid. Except for these tiny discs made up of embryonic matter floating on top of the me-soup.
The discs suddenly go into overdrive consuming nutrients from the soup. The tiny discs have divided many times growing and proliferating at breakneck speed. I can feel it happening. It’s not totally uncomfortable. I’m getting used to it. I’m becoming something new. How long it will take and what I will be are unanswered questions.                                                                                                                    
 It’s me making all of this happen. I know that. The me that’s thinking these thoughts. That me has to figure out how to accomplish the rest of this process. I’m not sure what that means but I feel hopeful. I wonder if soup can hope? If so, I hope that this is a safe place for what’s happening to me because soup can’t stand and fight. Soup can’t even run away to fight another day.
Now I understand why no one wanted to explain this change to me. What could they have said but, you’re going to be soup? Who would have believed it? Certainly not me.   

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Podcast: Critique It's a Nightmare




Episode 21: It's a Nightmare: Dystopian (Feminist) Fantasy Critique



listen                 here  or

EPISODE DESCRIPTION

Leslie & Alyssa critique the opening pages from Nicole Quinn’s It’s a Nightmare.
They discuss the genre, the function of the comma, the importance of a name, and
suspension of disbelief.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Santa Ana winds




















Photo by Eric Massey (@masseyfoto)
When my Papa moved into our house to die I imagined a sweet old man puttering around till one day he wouldn’t wake up, and we’d all cry. That’s not what happened, nor who arrived. He was a gale of hurricane force, that knocked me off course, tempered me, and left me refinished. 



My mother always blamed ill temper on the Santa Anas, downslope winds that originate inland and drive everyone crazy while racing southwest to the water of the California coastline.  Devil wind.  Santa Anas whoosh all of the smog away.  In their wake, everything is crisp, blue skies, a desert landscape climbing to snow capped mountains.  During Santa Anas there’s a notable rise in crime, freeway gun battles, Hollywood actors in rehab,100 mile winds, forest fires, sinus infections, and generally bad tempers all around. Some surgeons say that blood won’t clot predictably during the Santa Anas and they adjust their operating schedules accordingly.

When the wind blows off the desert hot and dry, or fresh off the mountains skin blistering cold, beware. This is what I know of my family and their moods. This is the East wind my father brought with him from the West.  He was a Santa Ana.

My Papa was kidnapped by Lewy Body dementia. Held hostage by its hallucinations, he held us all captive there too.  

Papa had caregivers around the clock.  A revolving cast of personalities that came and went, depending upon their capacity for aggressive insanity.  Papa sent one nurse to the E.R.  
While awake, he was visited by the ghosts of long gone friends and family, with whom he brokered forgiveness, and assigned blame, all while offering them breakfast.

At night this ninety-four year old retired rocket scientist, who could barely leave his wheelchair when awake, was a spy on a mission in his dreams. In those dreams turned nightmare we were all the enemy, unseen voices, ever on the attack. He bit, he punched, he protected himself. He crawled from under his bed as the wreckage of bombed buildings.  He balanced on the bedside table to wave in incoming aircraft.  We lived at the eye of his storm.

But Santa Ana winds are seasonal, inflaming everything as they whirl towards the Pacific Ocean to be absorbed and neutralized.  The devil wind always ends.  The crime rate returns to normal and more blood clots according to routine.  Papa’s gone now, and, as in the wake of the Santa Anas, the atmosphere is recharged, it’s clean. When the wind blows, sometimes the cradle rocks and the bough does break, and crocuses still poke their heads up out of the snow.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Harlem Book Fair

Mina and I will be exhibitors at The Harlem Book Fair, July 18
You can find us  on 135th st, between Lenox Ave and Adam Clayton Powell

In Writer's Row: Blue Barn Productions - R6