And it’s not even a throwback. Oh well. Happy late Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you had an awesome day and ate lots of awesome food. ...

And it’s not even a throwback. Oh well.

Happy late Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you had an awesome day and ate lots of awesome food.

Today is Black Friday, obviously, but I’m ignoring that because I’m not shopping; I’m continuing the blog series I’ve been doing all month. Although technically today’s story is more of a Where-Are-They-Now than a throwback.

You might recall the horror I posted on the first Thursday of this month. You know, the one about the poor orphan boy on his birthday, bawling his eyes out? Yeah, well I’ve spent three years off-and-on editing that story, and today, I’m posting the revised version of the prologue. I scrapped most of it, but the basis of the scene is still the same, just lengthened and better-written. Hopefully this piece, now entitled Sketchy Moments, will be less painful for all of us than the last few weeks have been.

***

Prologue

I peer at the pictures in the locket, clutching the necklace in my fingers, as if memorizing my parents' faces can bring them back. Holding the images in my head, I close my eyes and shut out reality, creating a dreamworld where they still live.

It's like I can hear my mom laughing, see my dad smirk as we share an inside joke. Yeah, I don't know if they were anything like that, but so what? This is my imagination; I don't have to make things accurate or real.

And anyway, a lot of my life is a little too real.

“Andreas! You in there?”

Cringing against the covers on my bed, I stuff the gold, heart-shaped locket under my pillow. Devon is my best friend, but I'm not sure even he would get why I keep such a girly piece of jewelry.

He opens the door and strides in, a grin shining on his dark face as always. “Hey, DrĂ©. You all right?”

I roll my eyes, but smile at the same time. Devon's used my middle name since the second I told him about it, and I never cared enough to ask him to quit. “Yeah. I'm fine.”

“Good.” He nods, clapping his hands together. “Cause we're gonna play some football in the yard. You coming?”

I scoff. Yeah, right. Like I'd be caught dead playing football. Matter of fact, the second I stepped foot out there, they'd make sure I was as good as dead.

“C'mon, just this once?” He winks and laughs. “I'll even make sure the bully boys leave you alone.”

If Devon had to deal with the “bully boys” as much as I do, he wouldn't be such a chucklefest. “Yeah?” I ask, eyebrows raised. “And how exactly are you gonna do that?”

“No idea! But when I figure it out, I'll let you know.”

I scoff and shake my head. “Thanks, but no thanks. Besides, I got a meeting in a few.”

“With some prospectors?”

“If you mean possible fosters, who else? Not that they'll be interested after the meeting,” I shrug, “but whatever.”

Devon shakes his head and the smile flickers off. “Don't sell yourself short, dude. You're a ton cooler than you look. And than you act. And–”

“Well gee, thanks, Devon. I knew I could always come to you for comfort.”

He smirks. “You'd better believe it. Sure about that football?”

“Perfectly.”

“But– ”

“No means no, Devon.”

“Fine, fine.” He laughs. “Then I'll see ya later, little wuss.”

I can't help it: a frown creeps across my face as the door closes behind him. I know Devon was joking, but still, it's not strictly fun to have my best friend remind me that everyone else here thinks I'm weak. That when they use words like “wuss,” they're all downright sincere.

Can't imagine how bad it'd be if someone found out about my locket. I'd be the biggest baby on the block – and worse – till I age out and ditch this stinkin' Kids' Home.

That day can't come soon enough.

Before I leave to meet my “prospectors,” I pull the locket out, taking a final look at my long-dead parents. Then I snap it shut, locking myself inside with them.


***


So what did you think? I’m about to start querying, so I’d love any comments you have to offer. 

Also, this is my last post for November, and that matters because NaNoWriMo is almost over. So we’re done with the throwback thing. Hope you enjoyed. :)

Starting next Saturday, I’ll have a weekly post on Verbosity Book Reviews, so my Shipping Saturdays will be even more erratic. Pretty much, I’ll do them whenever I’ve got a ship that I just have to share with you all, but they won’t be regular posts. Nonetheless, you can still check me out every weekend on Verbosity, where I will be, as the title suggests, reviewing books.

All right, I’ll shut up now. Let me know your thoughts on the prologue! Ciao!

Yes, I know the last two Mondays have been this band, but I ain’t sick of them yet, so I hope you aren’t either. I just love Anthem Lights; ...

Yes, I know the last two Mondays have been this band, but I ain’t sick of them yet, so I hope you aren’t either. I just love Anthem Lights; they’re awesome people who make awesome songs. These two in particular describe how I feel sometimes better than even I can. I’m so glad they exist (the songs and the band), because they’ve seriously touched my life.



And at last we see the light! This Thursday’s post is last year’s NaNo project, a story I called Mirage. Though it d efinitely could be be...

And at last we see the light! This Thursday’s post is last year’s NaNo project, a story I called Mirage. Though it definitely could be better, I think we also see a bit more maturity in both the writing and the concept.

So read on, and hopefully, this won’t be as tortuous as the last two weeks.

***

Chapter 1

Bamm!!!

The gun goes off and I smile. Bullseye.

Dad comes over and grins, too. “Great shot, Ry. You've really been getting good.”

I grin back, wider now. “Thanks, Dad.”

My father kind of nods and half smiles. But before he can add anything else, a loud voice interrupts. “Ryker! Ryker!”

“Out here, Amos!” I call back to my brother. Dad turns around and goes back inside, while I turn back to the target, cocking the gun again and putting my eye through the crosshairs. My vision cuts off, like I'm half-blinded. I can see nothing but the target. Cock the gun. Pull the trigger.

“Ryker!”

Bamm!

I turn to Amos with a glare. “You made me miss!”

He squints at the target. “It's on the second ring.” He shrugs. “Better than what I can do, even when my meds are working.” He smirks and shrugs again. “Can I have a go?”

I shrug, too, handing the gun to Amos as he moves on to the target beside mine. For once, his hands don't shake. He holds them study as he looks through the crosshairs. Aims the gun. Cocks it. Pulls the trigger.

Bang!

“It's a bullseye, you jerk!”

He laughs. “So it is, so it is.” He ruffles my hair. “Come on, you didn't think you'd ever actually beat me, did you, little brother?”

I roll my eyes. “I got a bullseye, too, you know.”

He looks at the target. “Luck of the draw.”

“Nuh-uh.”

“Oh yeah?” He hands the gun back and points to another target down the line. “Prove it.”

I take the gun and walk over to the other target, Amos following on my heels as closely as a puppy. I feel him on my shoulder, breathing down my neck as I lift the gun and aim it. He's breathing too close. I can't concentrate with him right there. “Amos! Back up like two steps, could you?”

He takes two tiny steps back, still smirking at me and I look away. He's doing this on purpose, but I can't let him bother me. I lift the gun again, aim. Fire.

It's off, but just by a little. Still, it's not a bullseye.

I don't want to turn around and face Amos, but what else can I do? He's hiding a smile, but not very well. “Told you so.”

“Well, you only got one. So I could say the same about yours.”

He nods very, very slowly, in that deliberate way he has sometimes. “You could, couldn't you?” He holds out his hand for the gun, and I hand it back.

“How many bullets are left?” he asks, as he takes my place several feet from the target.

“Three.”

He smiles. “Perfect.”

The gun goes off in rapid succession, bang, bang, bang, three short, separate pops. But when he lowers the gun, and I look at the target, there's only two holes. Mine and his. One for my off-shot. One for his three bullseyes.

I shake my head. “I hate you.”

He frowns for a moment, but then he laughs. “Keep practicing, Ryker. I'm going inside. Got a class.”

I nod, watching as he slips off the protective glasses and the headphones that protect our ears, but let in just enough sound that we can hear each other, and start collecting the gear. It's great to have him back, after so long of the schizophrenia taking over him. But it's been two years since he was diagnosed, and he's done a lot better in this past year. So much better that it's like he's actually my big brother again.

I really missed that when he was “away.”


***


Whaddya think? As always, I welcome constructive criticism, even beg for it every once in a while. So, please, hit that comment button, let me in on your thoughts, and I shall see you Monday!

Someday, when I’m not working on anything else, I might write a story based on this song. A sweet, little romance where the boy plans a stri...

Someday, when I’m not working on anything else, I might write a story based on this song. A sweet, little romance where the boy plans a string of dates, each representing one of the girl’s favorite chick-flicks.


And here we are, week two of Throwback Thursdays. I was pretty shocked at the overall positive response I got last week. Not that commenter...

And here we are, week two of Throwback Thursdays. I was pretty shocked at the overall positive response I got last week. Not that commenters said it was amazing, but you guys were nicer to younger me than I was. So thanks! I don’t feel so terrible now.

Although, that might change after this week... But seriously, don’t hold back your harsh comments on my account. I’m not even sure about this one.

My 2012 NaNo, entitled New Pair of Genes, opens with one of my main characters planning to do something incredibly stupid for incredibly stupid reasons. Well, the thing itself wasn’t strictly stupid, but her reasons were. I’m not sure how I feel about her decision, but it was necessary to the story, and at the time, I knew it was a dumb idea and had someone tell her as much. So... yeah. Maybe this one too, has something like a chance.

NPOG, as I took to calling it, is futuristic – not dystopian. It features a society about a hundred years in the future that’s actually thriving and has relatively happy citizens. So, rather than having my MCs overthrow the government and take over the known world, the stakes of this story are much more personal.

Okay, two quick little notes before we get started: One, this excerpt is a lot longer than last week’s (about twice the size), but I couldn’t find a good stopping point, so here you go. The whole 1000+ words of pain.

And two, while there’s nothing bad in the story, it is targeted at an older audience, about fifteen and up. Just so you know.

Okay, I’ll shut up and let you read now.


***

Prologue: Cameron

Clone. Match. Duplicate. Doppleganger.

Genetic copy.

All words that can be used to describe me. All the things that I think about every time I look at myself in the mirror.

Why would they do this? How could my parents do this to me?

True, I wouldn’t actually be alive without their interference. In any case, I wouldn’t be me.

But since I’m not really, I’m just someone else, why does it even matter?

Because they needed their perfect little family with their perfect two children, so when one of them was gone they stuck me in as a replacement.

Replacement. Proxy. Secondary.

That’s all I really am and everybody knows it.

But I’m going to prove them wrong.



Chapter 1: Elizabeth.

I’ve always known Cameron was crazy, since the very first day we met back in fifth grade. But what she’s just told me, makes me absolutely sure she’s gone over the edge.

“Are you crazy? That’s insane!”

She grins, flipping her long, black hair over her shoulder. “Yes. Yes it is.”

“Cammie, you can’t be serious. This isn’t like dyeing your hair purple or going out with that guy that your dad made you swear on the Bible to stay away from. This is serious!”

“I know.” She replies, picking up a red wig off the shelf and slinging it over her arm. “You need to quiet down though, we are in a store.”

I glare at her, wondering why she took me to Hallie’s Hair Shop of all places to inform me that she’s completely lost her marbles. Maybe so that she can tell me we’re in a store so I ought to quiet down. “I’m not going to help you with this, you know.”

“Yes, you will.”

Even though she’s my best friend and I love her, I hate her calm assurance that I’ll do whatever it is she wants me to. “Maybe this time, I’ll just let you do it on your own. Watch you crash and burn, then step back and say I told you so.”

She laughs. “You wouldn’t do that, Liz. Say I told you so. You’re way too nice a person. And that’s the same reason you’re going to help me.”

“Help you do this.” I follow her around a corner, she’s still not looking me in the eye. “This is crazy.”

“You’ve said that already.”

“And I’ll keep saying it until you realize it.”

“Then you can stop. I already know it’s crazy.”

“Then why are you doing it?!”

She turns to me, finally looking me straight in the eyes, and there’s still a smile on her lips, a twinkle of mischief in every aspect of her pose as if this were some game we were talking about playing. “How long have you known me anyway, Lizzie?”

“Since fifth grade. Almost 5 years I guess.”

“Then you should know perfectly well by now that I do crazy things sometimes, just for the fun of it.”

“Like the Joker.” I mutter under my breath.

“Who?” She asks.

“He’s this old comic book character. From that series Batman.”

She rolls her eyes at me. “And another thing Elizabeth, you have got to stop reading those dreary old books and watching those stupid movies. They’re a whole century old.”

“They are not dreary or stupid. They’re very interesting as a matter of fact. And we still use all kinds of things from a century ago.”

“Yeah, like what?”

“Cell phones.” I pull mine out of my pocket and hold it up.

“Yeah, well, that’s different. And our cell phones are a million times better than they were back then. Just like our movies and tv shows, and everything else, are a million times better than anything back then.”

“That’s not true. There were a lot of things that aren’t half as good now.”

“Yeah, like the economy?”

“Like the fact that idiots like you couldn’t do the stupid, idiotic, crazy, so stupid I have no more adjectives for it, thing that you’re planning on doing.”

“You’re right. They just got themselves pregnant with their boyfriends didn’t they?”

“At least they did it by accident!”

My voice has risen and an old lady turns to look at me funny. I wish that I could hide behind all the wigs and pretend that I’m just not here. But they haven’t developed an app for your cell phone to make you invisible yet, so I just stand there and whisper an apology, before turning back to Cameron who’s smirking smugly again at me.

“Ugh. I don’t even know why I hang out with you.”

She turns away, headed for the mirrors. “Me neither, Liz. You should probably start hanging out with more of your nerd buds. I’m sure they’d be way more your style.”

Something in her tone makes me wonder if I’ve struck a nerve. I can’t imagine how or why. I know the things that bother Cameron and I’d never bring them up in normal conversation unless I was incredibly ticked.

But then, I guess, it wouldn’t be a normal conversation.

“Cam, you know I’m only upset because you’re my best friend. This is stupid and I don’t want to see you getting hurt. Where did you even find out about this stuff anyway?”

She picks up a blonde wig, putting it on her head and posing a few different ways before replying, “In the ad section every day in the newspaper. How does this look?”

“Meh. You read the newspaper? Since when did you read at all?”

She rolls her eyes at me. “Very funny. And I’ll just ask the mirror then. Mirror, how do I look?”

Lights come on along the sides of the glass’ pink frame and an automated, very charming, male voice says, “Baby, you look fine.”

She giggles. “See, the Chase Rossi likes it.”

Now, it’s my turn to roll my eyes. “Come on. You know just as well as I do that, not only do they pay Chase to let them use his voice, but it’s automated! He says the same thing every five minutes!”

“Does not! He really thinks I look good!”

Though I can see from the twinkle in her eyes that she’s joking, leftover annoyance at the fact that she can just bounce on to the next meaningless subject when we are discussing something important is really annoying to me. “Gosh, Cameron, you really are stupid.”

Her face falls and she glares at me, tugging off the blonde and pulling a red wig on. “You know I was only joking, Liz. Why do you have to be so uptight about everything?”

“Because you’re so Loosie Goosie about everything. I have to make up for your stupidity.” I’m being mean. I’m never mean. What’s wrong with me?

She doesn’t even acknowledge my statement. “I like the red. It’s fiery. I think I’ll get it.” We walk in silence back to the wig racks and she puts back the blonde one.

“I’m waiting outside.” I tell her, unable to stand her presence for a second longer before walking right out the door, not even looking back.

She walks out a few moments later, with a bag and the wig inside I suppose and we continue to walk in utter quietude for several minutes as we head back to her house. She stares straight ahead, refusing to even look at me and it infuriates me. How dare she make me feel guilty? Make me feel like I’m the idiot about to do something wrong?

“Cameron?”

She turns.

“This is a bad idea. And you won’t be able to pull it off. They have laws, remember?”

“But you know how to get around them, remember?”

I ignore the sarcastic tone in her words, just wishing that she hadn’t remembered.

“I have to do this, Elizabeth.” She continues. “It’s important.”

I sigh heavily and she smiles, probably assuming that it means that I will help her regardless of my own opinions, because that’s what best friends do.

“Let’s... go back to your house and finish our homework.” I say, hoisting my backpack higher on my shoulder for accent.

She smiles and nods. “Let’s.”

And I follow her down to her house, pretending to be normal for the time being, because, if she goes through with her plan, then in a short while, everything is going to change.


***


Wow. Cameron was a piece of work.

This beginning is a fine example of trying way too hard to make the reader ask questions. If I hadn’t written it, it would be difficult for me to say exactly what they’re talking about. Since I did, I know they’re discussing Cameron’s idiot plans to become a teenage surrogate mother for idiotic reasons that aren’t revealed till later.

Anyways... whaddya think? Was 2011 or 2012 a better writing year for me? Go ahead and be honest. I am not afraid of harsh criticism for this.
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