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Saturday, January 8, 2011


For those of you wondering what kind of week Victor Standish has been having ...

Here is his encoutner with evolved raptors who have kidnapped Alice, torturing her with keeping a baby safe from them, while fighting her own hunger for its flesh from my WIP chapter, DEATH SPEAKS EVERY TONGUE :

I was so scared that the only reason I didn't piss in my pants was that every opening in my body had shrunk to the size of a pepper seed.

I was looking at something Dore or Dali might have painted in an opium high or inside an insane ward. Shafts of marble thrust up from the swampy mire in front of the altar.

They looked like nothing so much as the ancient bones of some Greek god's corpse jutting out from a lousy-made grave. The ruins seemed to breathe a diseased air as if the very stones were cursed.

Perhaps they were the only survivors of some fabled land destroyed by the great flood. A land so old that there remained no legend, no myth, to whisper its name.

Rock that had been cut and shaped before the first stones of Memphis had been placed beside the Nile. But somehow I knew the Soyoko knew the name for that cursed land, for their racial memory spanned ice ages.

The smell in the darkness was terrible. Heavy musk. Nose-wrinkling tang of ammonia. Stomach-turning stench of rotting flesh.

Amazing how much you can see in just a few heartbeats. Alice holding a whimpering baby in her arms. Her shaking with hunger, yet her neon eyes frantic with the need to protect the baby from the Soyoko.

Towering over her, the enormous, glowing gem of deepest night called by the Soyoko, the Black Stone.

What the Black Stone truly is no Soyoko will tell. Only that they, who are cold and rigid in their spirits, hold it sacred ... and in fear so intense it more truthfully could be called terror.

Elu only knows that they have polished it for thousands of summers with the finely ground dust of the crushed skulls of their human prey.

They have lovingly, yet fearfully, bathed it in the blood of their most prized victims. They have done so for so many centuries that now it shines with a glow that seems to burn from its depths. And the light pulses. Pulses with the beat of the closest heart to it.

With so many hearts in this cavern where Mother had transported me, it cast a strange strobe-light effect from Hell on all who were here.

The madly pounding Soyoko, holding with their scaled legs the high drums made of bone and human flesh.

More scurrying Soyoko than I could count or see because of the constantly shifting shadows. Evolved raptors Sam called them.

They had lost the tails but gained length and muscle in their arms. They sure hadn’t lost any teeth. Gained a few hundred it seemed to me.

Mother, in a fit of anger, casting me here in the middle of the nest had rattled them. Like Apaches, they loved to ambush. And like Apaches, they hated to be on the receiving end.

Hissing and barking oddly, they scurried all around me. Using their long, sharp claws, they scaled up the walls and …. Crap. They were running along the stone ceiling above me. How did they do that?

The drummers, who had stopped at my arrival, now were picking up the weird pounding. The primitive music throbbed down into the very marrow of my bones.

Good. It would give my shivers something to dance to.

Their slit eyes reflected the pulsating glow of the Black Stone they both worshipped and feared.

On a high stone shelf above them sat a slowly swaying female. Double crap. She was swaying to the beat of my heart. She flicked sneering eyes from the shivering Alice to me.

She studied me, her head first slowly cocking to one side then to the other. I matched her head cocking, move for move. She hissed her displeasure. I smiled my skull-smile that said I already knew I was dead meat so expect me to spit in your eye, thank you very much.

I both heard and saw the Sokoyo begin to circle me. They formed groups of three’s. I smiled wider. For once, Hollywood had gotten it right.

The female saw me smile and fast held up her right claw. “Hold!”

The word had not been spoken in English, but I still understood it. I smiled wide and bitter. I was Death’s son. And I should have remembered that Death spoke every language.

“Why?,” hissed the lead drummer.

The female husked, “Know you not that smile? It is the smile of the Last Wolf. This one must be his cub.”

I smiled even more bitter. They called Captain Sam “the Last Wolf?” Why not?

“So, R’lyth?,” grunted the drummer.

R’lyth gave me a flesh-eating smile. “Things have grown more interesting.”

She turned to me and spoke in heavy-hissing English. “This flesh-eater is your mate?”

Alice stiffened at the words, looking at me with neon-eyes that seemed as if they expected to flinch at my next words.

I nodded, looking, not at the sadistic raptor, but into Alice’s neon eyes. “Yes.”

Alice rasped, “I l-love you, Victor. Now, run. Run!”

R’lyth smiled, showing all her razor teeth. “Ah, that fleshling delusion called love. I will test this love of yours, cub.”

“Standish,” I said loud. “The name’s Victor Standish, Sunshine.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I make a pact, The Standish. Your life for your mate’s. What say you?”

Alice called out, “No, Victor. You run. You hear me? Run!”

I looked at Alice. I had been dead while breathing before her. I had laughed at death because a part of me had wanted it all to end. Now, I wanted it to last always.

Captain Sam said there was a price tag to everything, both good and bad. I turned to the silently studying R’lyth.

“Fair trade,” I said loud.

“No!,” sobbed Alice.

The raptors swarmed at me in a wave of teeth and claws. I leapt over the lunging raptor in front of me, bounded three feet to my right off his back, and wall-ran up the stone, twirling over their outraged heads in a full Arabian cartwheel.

I laughed, “But I never said I would make it easy!”
This was the tune running through my head as I wrote this scene :


  1. I've read your post on "pacing" last week, I'll try shortening my sentences and paragraphs, maybe this will help?

    Going back to your post, I hope Victor is okay, and I liked the way you set the dark mood by describing the dark atmospheric stench, "The smell in the darkness was terrible. Heavy musk. Nose-wrinkling tang of ammonia. Stomach-turning stench of rotting flesh."

  2. Shortening the sentences will help with reader attention and speeding up the feel to the read.

    Look at the conflict involved with the scene you're trying to pace well. There's should be a strong "Want" for your hero's goal. There should be an equally strong, if not stronger, obstacle to block your hero.

    Look at this post.
    The set-up appealed to three of the five senses : smell (stench), sight (hellish strobe-light effect), sound (pounding drums, scurrying sounds of claws upon stone).

    The set-up grounded the reader in the "reality" of Victor's senses. Thus, lending realism to his encounter with surreal evolved raptors.

    Victor's want : the safety of Alice, his ghoul friend. The obstacles : her own hunger for the flesh of the baby she was holding - and - the evolved raptors who delight in torture and eating humans.

    Victor is thrown into sure death, then thrown a bone of saving his love -- at the expense of his own life.

    But Victor, being Victor, turns things and himself upside down, while laughing at death the whole time. The reader tenses, expects the worst, then gets a slim chance for escape.

    I hope this mini-lesson is a help in some small way, Roland

  3. I can't stand Victor being in such a dilemma and poor Alice having to see it.

    Talk abut torturing your mc. Now I will be worrying about VIctor and how he gets out of this mess.

    But I know you Roland my friend, you won't let anything happen to Victor.... or will you?


  4. thanks, Roland... for your mini lesson on writing. Much appreciated always. :)

  5. Laughter in the face of death; romantic sacrifice; witty comebacks. Victor is so playful, and engaging character.

    I like the setting description. Vivid imagery for the senses.

    Thanks for the mini-lesson.


  6. Michael : I'm in the middle of the wild chase through the French Quarter that Victor leads the reptilian Soyoko, using his skill at Parkour and running into helpful ghosts and psychotic ones along the way --

    did you know that there was a Jill the Ripper of sorts in the early days of the French Quarter? Of course, Victor runs afoul of her with the Soyoko hot on his heels. That poor boy can't seem to catch a break!

    I'm glad I caught you up with my snippet of his nightmare situation.

    Imagery Imagined : I'm glad you got something useful out of my mini-lesson.

    Donna : I think of Victor as a kind of 13 year old Tony Stark of the IRON MOVIES. That you liked my description of his character and his surroundings means a lot coming from you.

  7. LOL! I loved you first line. It pulled me right in with the perfect tone...laughter and danger.

    The leaping off the backs, full cartwheels and everything else was a wild, exhilarating, and unforgettable ride.

    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  8. Raquel : Victor is a hoot, isn't he? Surrounded by raptors, he still tries to laugh at the danger and himself. If you ever saw PRINCE OF PERSIA, Victor does parkour as the young orphan boy at the film's beginning.

    For a truly astounding display of parkour, at which Victor is expert, go to this link :

    Have a great Sunday, Roland

  9. give something for my shivers to dance that line!

    I can't imagine how he's going to get out of this're terribly adept at the cliffhanger!!!!!!!

  10. Words Crafter : Victor thanks you for liking his line. He's a scamp that one. Victor is a survivor. I am in the midst of writing his run across the rooftops of the French Quarter, along the balconies, down and up the walls of the buildings ... all the while taunting the pursuing raptors.

    I'm glad you think I have some skill in cliffhanging. It's something all of us must do to keep the agent turning the pages. Never give them a stop point to lay down your manuscript. Always make them wonder how your hero is going to get out of this one. Roland