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Thursday, January 27, 2011

99TH PAGE BLOGFEST ENTRY in addition to the No fear entry_SEASON OF MIST/NIGHT OF DEATH_NO FEAR BLOGFEST ENTRY


I thought I'd post an entry to the 99TH PAGE BLOGFEST, too :
http://hddodson.blogspot.com/2011/01/99th-page-blogfest.html {Thanks, Holly}

It is from FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE when Samuel McCord is walking through the Katrina devastated landscape of Tulane with his best friend, the vampire priest, Renfield :

With the soft voice of twilight, ghost music sang in my memory. It was accompanied by the chorus of the whispers of the wind from the listening sky. I closed my eyes. New Orleans was timeless, especially to me with the blood of Death in my veins. My transformed eyes only told me the truth, and the truth was not what I wanted to see. So I closed my eyes, and for a moment the truth was what I wanted it to be.

Meilori was back in my arms, supple and vibrant, the peach velvet of her cheek nestled against mine. She pulled back to murmur "Beloved."

Slanted eyes looked up into mine, seeming like jade quarter moons waiting to rise. Her smile was a promise of wicked delights to come in the evening hours before us. And my heart quickened.

Her hand lightly squeezed my gloved one. Her head bent forward, and soft lips tickled my ear. And we were dancing, dancing as if our bodies were the wind given life. It had taken me a hundred years, mind you, but I had learned to be a damn fine dancer. The firm body in my arms had been ample incentive.

Some moments lose their way and grope their way blindly back from the past into the present.

Such a moment swept me up now. Meilori and I were dancing across this very grass. I had paid a prince's ransom to pry King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band out of Tulane's old gymnasium to play out here under the stars. In my mind, I could hear young Louis Armstrong on cornet, see the pleased faces of the other dancers stepping lightly all around us, and hear Meilori's low laughter.

Renfield rasped beside me, "Sam, are you doing this?"

"What?"

I opened my eyes and went very still. The speechless shades of a long-gone night whirled and wheeled all around us. That long-ago evening was replaying itself before our eyes.

Renfield and Magda were laughing as they danced beside Meilori and me.

Renfield sighed, "I'd forgotten how your face looked happy."

I looked at my ghostly double, envying him the sheer delight in his eyes. "I'd forgotten how it felt."

The sound of my words settled an old score with truth, and the evening shades slowly faded from sight. I shivered. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Renfield look wistfully at the disappearing Magda in his own double's arms. I sighed. Some truths were best seen only by starlight.


Here is my entry for Dominic's NO FEAR BLOGFEST :
http://www.dominicdemattos.blogspot.com/2011/01/no-fear-blogfest.html

{This is from the 3rd novel in the Victor Standish series, SOMETIMES THERE'S NO VICTOR. It is a re-working of an earlier post here that I liked so much that I enlarged and added depth to it as a part of my new novel.

Those of you who liked my Zombie Playground entry for Misty Waters might be interested to know that I have used a re-working of it as the prelude to my 2nd Victor novel, VICTOR'S NOT JUST MY NAME. Becky and Glasses also turn up as characters towards the end of the book, too!}


It was All Saints Day, and my throbbing body hinted I might be close to joining those saints in their pearly clouds.

I thought about all those old Testament saints : pillars of salt, rivers of blood, skies of fire, angels of death.

I used to think those tales sounded so outlandish ... until New Orleans when my life took a sharp turn into the the Old Testament. Maybe these were the Last Days?

Or maybe the World was always more than we suspected ... until the bottom opened up beneath our startled feet.

A black mist with threads of burning silver flowed around me worriedly. I caught the perfume of apricots. I smiled despite the pain. It died a quick death.

Elu husked from the mirror beside my bed, "I need you to come and die, Standish."

Never my best bud, Elu had increasingly become meaner of late. I swung with a grimace of agony to the side of the bed. "Let me get my boots on, Elu."

He grunted, "Do not even think of calling for help."

Bending to tie my hiking boots, I said loud, "Wouldn't dream of it."

Under my breath, I whispered to the agitated mists, "Like at Ada's. Remember?"

Memory must have served correctly for the mist was suddenly gone, and my chest felt full to overflowing.

I staggered up and walked into the misty prison of Elu's mirror world. I shivered. Like him, it had grown colder of late.

The Apache shaman, Elu, studied me like a bad meal he was being forced to eat. "You can barely walk, boy."

"Yeah, well, Trick of Treat was mostly trick."

I waved absently at the billowing clouds of thick mist all around us and smiled wide,

"But it was worse for Empress Theodora and her pet bear, Strasser."

Elu looked like he was smelling something bad. Must have been his curled upper lip. "They were only Whites."

"White 'revenants,' Ton--"

A corded hand covered my mouth and squeezed hard. "Never use that name in front of me!"

I muffled, "Guut ya, Aye-lu."

He let go and waved angrily to his left, making the mists go crystal-clear. I looked and my heart sank.

"Oh, crap."

Elu's window out of his prison, the Mirror World, showed a rocky slope of a jagged desert mountain and

... a very roughed-up Abigail Adams ... surrounded by ... I counted, getting more depressed as I went ... seven Apaches.

The cloud slipped like a dropped veil from the face of the moon. Its pale light struck fire from the long, sharp canine teeth of the Apache revenants ... think vampires on crack but without the morals.

The elegantly dressed leader of all the white American revenants was tied to a stake of all things.

I sighed, "First, Theodora. Now, this. Jeez, Elu, is she trying to commit suicide?"

His dried-apricot face went sad. "Yes, I believe she is."

I went stiff. "Well, we're not letting that happen. She's gotta give Alice away when we get married."

The fullness inside me bristled, and Elu arched an eyebrow. "Have you even asked the ghoul yet?"

"Hey," I said, gesturing to my chest. "This is me we're talking about. Who could say no?"

The fullness bristled more, and I sighed, "Besides, Elu, you and I both know I'm never going to make it out of my teens."

Elu depressingly nodded. "Yes. But you need to die soon so that Dyami may live."

My heart joined the Titanic. "Captain Sam?"

"Dyami!"

I made a mental note to myself : In front of Elu lose the "Captain Sam" and keep the scalp.

"Why soon?"

"Your weakness distracts Dyami and makes his enemies think he is weak as well."

"So you want me to go rescue Abby so that I can die?"

"Yes."

I smiled wide. "Well, why didn't you say so? Of course, I'll go."

As he eyed me warily, I dropped the smile from my face. "And then, I'll be back to whip your ass ... Tonto."

His fingers actually bristled in flames. Jeez. What was he?

Invisible hands seized me and hurled me through the crytalized fog. I hit stony ground with a stumbling, awkward attempt to keep from falling on my face in front of seven Apache revenants.

I thrust out my arms in a flourish. "Tada! Abby, you're rescued."

Abigail's mouth dropped, "Standish, are you insane?"

"People keep asking me that."

I eyed the Apache leader, who waved his men back, and smiled at him. "Go figure."

My heart became as cold as his eyes. Jeez. I recognized him from the history books. Geronimo. Great. It kept getting better and better.

Like slates of rock scraping against one another, Geronimo asked, "Why are you here?"

I nodded, remembering what Captain Sam wrote in his journals of Apaches. They respected only strength, sneered at weakness. "Show no fear" had been his words of advice. Yeah, right.

The Apaches blurred, then re-formed feet from where they had originally stood. I was no match for them in speed. I saw the moonlight gleam wet from their bloody fangs. I was no match for their strength.

I smiled crooked. I'd just have to cheat.

I went stiff. A woman was staked on the ground. She was all but dead.

Geronimo smiled cruel at me. Bad mistake. I was Death's son. To kill someone near me was to bring Mother to my side.

I whispered low, "Mother, end her pain."

There was a movement by the poor tortured woman. I saw a flicker of Mother, tall, skeletal in tattered black robes. The moaning stopped. Mother was gone. I smiled so sad it tasted of salt. Mother was gone but so was the woman's pain.

Mother was Allwheres, AllTimes, all at once. I tapped into the power of her echo, though blood seeped from both nostrils. I appeared right in front of the coward.

I muttered to myself, 'All right, Victor, time to earn that reputation of yours.' I gave him a wolf's smile.

"Well, Elu thinks he sent me here to die."

Geonimo's eyes narrowed. "Why would he do that?"

He blurred to rip out my throat as I knew he would. I sent myself right next to Abigail. She jerked in surprise. I winked up at her.

I edged closer to Abigail and flashed a gypsy smile. "He's jealous of me."

Standing right by her stake, I gestured grandly to myself. "Can you blame him?"

Geronimo looked like he was about to speak my death sentence, and I hastily said, "Of course, he wants you dead, too."

He barked a harsh laugh. "He sends a boy to kill me. I am so afraid."

I pulled myself up as tall as I got, the fullness growing heavy inside me.

"I killed an Old One when I was twelve. I outran the Soyoko and rubbed their noses in their clumsiness this August. And Empress Theodora and Major Strasser are a little worse for wear from this Halloween."

Geonimo gave an Oscar-winning look of contempt to Abigail.

"Why do you need me and my men for your war against Empress Theodora when you have this great warrior?"

Abigail glared down at me as if I had just sunk her great scheme. Yeah, like she wasn't already tied to a stake to greet the dawn when I got here.

Stroking Abigail's arm and stopping at her wrists, I turned to Geronimo.

"Well, she doesn't want this widely known, but ever since I got a grip on her corset at Halloween, she's been sweet on me -- doesn't want me to be in harm's way and all."

(Of course that hand had been there to keep her from falling flat on her face in front of Theodora but Chief Long-In-The-Tooth didn't have to know that.)

Abigail husked, "Standish, if my hands weren't tied ...."

"Ah, no kisses in front of these guys, all right. I get embarassed easy."

The cruel smile dropped from Geronimo's thin lips. "You have been amusing. Now, you die."

I held up the cords that once held Abigail helpless (hey, Harry Houdini was my teacher.)

"You really want to dance this dance, Chief?"

He snorted, "You two can barely stand."

My own smile dropped. "You've forgotten the first rule of hunting : never get inside the cage with the wolf."

His body blurred. He stood right in front of me, his fangs becoming longer. "You are outnumbered."

Fear made a jackhammer of my heart. But I looked at the tortured corpse of the woman. He was a coward. And even if it killed me, I'd spit in his fangs.

I shook my head. "No. You are."

The heaviness flowed as mist from my chest to reform into Alice in her short gothic Lolita outfit. She smiled with her own sharp teeth.

When someone like Elu invites me to his deadly Mirror World, I just naturally think of having an ace up my sleeve or the ghostly ghoul, Alice, inside my chest.

"Oh, Victor, you sweetheart. You know how much I like Native food."

Geronimo was only a foot away. There was no way he was getting out of this alive, or as alive as the undead got, if things got ugly.

He husked, "A ...."

"Hey, that's my ghoul friend you're about to call names, Chief. Now, we can either be friends, or you can be spare ribs. Your choice."

And that is how Abigail got her Apache warriors, and Geronimo became my ... well, his place in line to take my scalp is right behind Elu's. Like I should worry. It's a long damn line.
***



***
And for those of you wondering what gothic Lolita fashions look like, here is a video (remember Alice looks thirteen like Victor, and though she is ... ah, a bit older, Victor is her first love.)


36 comments:

  1. Poor Victor sure does suffer the slings and arrows, doesn't he? You really put him through his paces, and yet he remains so charming. hehe.

    I have yet to write my entry, so I'd probably better get busy on that. Of course it'll be more Happy Acres. How could it not be?

    Nice entry, very brave is Victor.

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  2. Thanks, Mara. Yes, Victor is a scamp all right. But all heart ... like a junkyard puppy.

    I wish you luck with your writing your entry. I look forward to reading it. Roland

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  3. Great entry Roland- I was immersed in Victor's world- I think I'm starting to really like him!

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  4. Thanks, Summer, that means a lot coming from you. I've tried to make Victor and his world entertaining and interesting. He is a gypsy -- guess that's why my cat likes him so!

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  5. SO nice to have a ghoul friend on the side when things get a bit rough. She is fun.

    "Oh, Victor, you sweetheart. You know how much I like native food."

    I'm still laughing about it. Well done, Roland.


    Michael

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  6. Michael : I do have fun writing Alice's quips and Victor's, too. Glad you enjoyed my little tale, Roland

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  7. I enjoyed reading your blogfest entry! Another story starring Victor Standish--I really like him as a character.

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  8. "But without the morals..." Nice. I loved your imagery; the mist, the silvery light, the darkness. Poor Abigail! Great entry.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  9. Friends or spare ribs. Hmm, not a tough choice!

    Great entry, Roland!

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  10. Thanks, Golden Eagle. Victor is fun to write.

    Raquel : I'm happy you like my imagery. I tried to put a fun though scary spin to this.

    Lydia : Victor was hoping Geronimo would see it like you did! LOL.

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  11. Hi,

    Well, what can I say, except that you've done it again. Entertained, entralled, captured my concentration and transported me where ever your whim so decides!

    Great job all round: on both counts. ;)

    best
    F

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  12. Nice entries. You put a lot of time and thought into your words. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Great entries! I love the vampire one. The imagery is superb and so emotional with them watching a vision of themselves in happier times. Good luck with both!!

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  14. "You have been amusing. Now, you die." LOL that's a great line.

    Both entries are your usual classic cool styie, though I admit I'm partial to Viktor. Poor Viktor, always surrounded by death. Or would that be Death?

    T.x

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  15. I don't think I've read anything with your Victor Standish character before but I loved him! This line was superb:

    'Or maybe the World was always more than we suspected ... until the bottom opened up beneath our startled feet.'

    Great piece of writing!

    No Fear Blogfest

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  16. Ellie : Thanks for the great words. I'm on my 5min break at work -- no breakfast, no lunch -- but your praise made my day! Victor sends a gypsy wink your way. LOL.

    Tessa :Yes, I guess you're right. When your mother is the angel of death, I think you could say Death surrounds him! Glad you liked Geronimo's line.

    Mysti : Thanks for visiting and following. I do like the emotional tug of McCord seeing shades of happier times and both feeling elated and sad at the same time.

    Angela : With the kind of blood run day I've been having, your kind complimentary words are a balm. Thanks

    Thanks, Heather, for noticing and commenting. It means a lot!

    Francine : As always your comment is lyrical and truly appreciated. Have a great weekend, Roland

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  17. I just read the second entry and I was really hooked to the MC. He sure was brave there.

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  18. OK, I am in love with Samuel (and New Orleans), and my heart is breaking that I will never see that grand old madame in her glory. Will come back to read the other entry (short on time right now), but would keep reading!

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  19. OK, I am in love with Samuel (and New Orleans), and my heart is breaking that I will never see that grand old madame in her glory. Will come back to read the other entry (short on time right now), but would keep reading!

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  20. I would absolutely turn the page. That was borderline poetry, the word paining really transported me and felt like whirling with the wind. Really beautiful writing all tinged with sorry.

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  21. Great initial photo, Roland! and I enjoyed reading the excerpts--loved the phrase the "listening sky" among other parts. Happy weekend!

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  22. I love Victor and find myself really worrying about him! Great bravery, mirrors freak me out.

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  23. Great imagery and storytelling. Makes me wonder how I would react in such a scary scenario.

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  24. I love the atmosphere and tone in the first entry. Very nice.

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  25. It wasn't so very long ago that I met Viktor and Alice for the first time, but now I find myself eagerly looking forward to the next encounter!

    Another treat, Roland and so well written, as usual. I can't wait for the day when I can get my grubby mitts on a whole book!

    Well done for a fine piece and thanks for entering my blogfest

    :Dom

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  26. Dominic : I hope I can find an agent who feels towards Victor and Alice as you do so I can send you that book! Your blogfest was a hoot and seemed ready made for Victor's lifestyle! LOL.

    Jennifer : If only I could get an agent to feel about FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE as you! I'll knock on wood. Ouch. I used my head.

    Tony : I'm not nearly as brave or as resourceful as Victor, nor do I have such a deadly beauty as a "ghoul" friend. I probably wouldn't handle it as well as Victor or McCord!

    Margo : Like you, I have always been somewhat suspicious of mirrors and the world behind them. I'm happy you enjoy Victor's world and adventures.

    Carol : Yes, McCord is a poet forced by fate into a life of violence. I'm glad you like his view of life and his world.

    Erin : Thanks for enjoying the poetic way McCord looks at life and his surroundings. He is a poet forced into a lifetime of fighting the darkness that lurks in the world's shadows.

    Empress : New Orleans is slowly healing. Still, the core of violence and bleak hopelessness of so many of her children have turned the streets into avenues of Hell in some areas. McCord's adventures still, however, retain much of the beauty and grace of older, more genteel times he remembers.

    Myne : Victor's glad you think him brave. He's not really. He's just more scared of knuckling under to a bully and losing respect for himself than he is of death. Besides, Alice was watching from inside him ... he couldn't give into fear in front of the love of his life! LOL.

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  27. Victor -- Victor is more than just a name -- Standish character is a superb character. I have to agree with Ellie, the line

    'Or maybe the World was always more than we suspected ... until the bottom opened up beneath our startled feet.'
    is so well evocative.
    Their bravery comes in many sizes and guises.

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  28. Elaine : Thanks. Your words make a tired evening so much better. I've always thoughts the bravest hearts belonged to puppies, kittens, and children.

    I thank you again for liking that line about my feelings about the world that we only think we know about. Have a great weekend, Roland

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  29. Well Roland 'No Fear' is a bit of an oxymoron for you and you've proved it again by putting poor Victor through his paces yet again. I was intrigued by the Mother figure.

    Thanks for coming by and reading my excerpt.

    Denise :)

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  30. Denise : Oh, I have fear a'plenty. It's just my heroes, McCord and Victor, that seem to find the reserves of courage that I so often lack!! LOL.

    Victor learns more of his mother's true nature in the second book, VICTOR'S NOT JUST MY NAME. She is still mysterious, dangerous, and unpredictable ... but she has never stopped loving Victor ... or stopped being secretive about who his father is. Mysteries abound in poor Victor's life. And wait til he and his step-mother meet for the first time!

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  31. ...I'm thinking you may have found something in Victor. One of those likable characters that leave readers begging for more. Characters like that are hard to come by, readers constantly begging for more.

    Cherish poor Victor like a fine wine, my friend...(he's in need of a hug as well;) you may have very well penned your greatest character thus far:)

    EL

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  32. Thanks, Elliot. I think you're right about that scamp, Victor. He's taken on a life of his own, ghoul friend, enemies, and eerily supernatural mentors and allies.

    Now, if I can only convince an agent and publisher of his appeal to the buying public! Thanks again for the words of encouragement. Roland

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  33. Oh I do hope you find an agent - tell them to come and read the enthusiastic support here!

    Anyway ...

    CONGRATULATIONS - you are a finalist in the No Fear blogfest. Voting is open until midnight GMT on Sat 6th Feb
    Thanks for taking part!
    :Dom

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  34. Thanks, Dom. I hope Victor can interest an agent in his sales potential. I know it is there. But, hey, I'm prejudiced! LOL.

    And thanks, as well, for having me be a finalist in the blogfest. It was a win just reading and enjoying the entries of others and reading their comments on mine.

    We are all winners, telling our tales by the light of the cyber-fires, warming our hearts against the darkness by sharing and supporting one another in their dreams. Have a healing Sunday, Roland

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  35. a fun read!

    enjoyed your writing, and the way you tied your story together, keeping in mind, the importance of each character.

    Well done. Roland.

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