I finished the second draft of The Reset on Saturday, August 23. In case you’re interested. And, as someone once described editing, “it’s like chopping fingers off.” And then buffing and painting the nails. Some of the revisions included:
Changing the novel from present tense to past tense.
Fixing grammatical errors.
Cutting scenes that didn’t move the story forward or contribute to the plot (word count went from 48,155 to 44,637).
Adding some scenes that explained the plot more and/or moved the story forward.
For the third draft, I think I’ll focus on:
Cutting a few unimportant characters if needed.
Impressing Althea’s apathy upon the reader in the beginning of the story to clearly show how her character progresses throughout the novel.
Decide upon January’s mannerisms. It doesn’t seem right that he’s a tall fellow, but still so childish. It’s endearing to me, but it doesn’t seem to fit him even though he’s arguably one of the sweetest people in the novel.
Polishing the writing style.
Adding a bit more foreshadow.
Hopefully I’ll still enjoy it the third time around. 😛
And, I figured, why not share some snippets? I haven’t done that in a while. I guess I feel self-conscious, like every other author. Ah, well.
“No need to spend more money on something we can do for free.”
“What? I’m not worth it?” January adopted a put out expression.
I set a kettle of water on the stove and leaned against the counter, waiting for it to boil.
“Of course you are,” I said. “You’re priceless. I can’t possibly spend enough money on you.”
“You could try,” he suggested.
“If I chose anything more than bread and cheese,” January said, “I’d have to cook. And that ain’t happening. Hope you don’t mind.”
Everyone within earshot turned to look at us.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“Smoke!” he wheezed. Jan doubled over, gripping his abdomen. “It’s killing me! And you!” He pointed an accusatory finger in the smoker’s direction.
I covered my mouth to hide a smile as Jan narrowed his eyes at the man whose face had turned a deep cherry red. He dropped the cigarette butt on the ground and crushed it with his heel. January straightened and nodded once. He tugged on his coat and grabbed my arm. We hurried down the street with our ice cream and dignity.
I looked up at the young man who winked at me.
“Saving lives one hack at a time,” he said.
“How do serial killers become serial killers, do you think?” he asked, obviously forgetting that I was a serial killer. “Do they eat their Lucky Charms while reading the Paper in the morning and go, ‘oh, nothing interesting in the news today. I’ll change that?’”
“Well, I’m guessing someone forgot to put the ‘lucky’ in their ‘charms’ that morning because, if they were lucky, that’s not what would cross their mind.” I rolled my eyes.
“Oh, please,” Fëar said with a rolling of his eyes. “You think Fanon and I are just partners in a business? Nah, we’re buddies. We joke quite a bit over a round of drinks. You’re one of the best jokes we’ve heard in a while though, darling, I must say.”
I slammed my coffee mug down on the table. The black liquid splashed up and burned my skin, but the pain only registered in the back of my mind.
“You think my pain is something to laugh about over a drink?” I shouted. My chair fell backwards and crashed to the floor as I stood. “Is that all other humans are to you sick people? Jokes? Toys you can break and throw away when you get tired of them?”
Fëar frowned. “Be a bit more generous, darling,” he said. “We tape them back together a few times first.”
The elf stepped forward and jabbed a finger at me. “You were lovely, darling, until you started thinking. I would put a reality check on my daydreams if I were you.”
“I’m beginning to wonder which is more real,” I said, “my daydreams or your reality.”
“Sometimes they don’t mean to,” I cried. “But people are selfish and they’ll do what’s best for you until it’s inconvenient for them.”
I smiled a little and placed the dagger on a decorative table. “Get out of here, tramp,” I said with a grin. “I’ll see you soon. Don’t go anywhere predictable.”
He winked. “No garbage cans or park benches. Got it.”
Maeve turned to leave, but stopped. “Oh, and just so you know,” she added over her shoulder, “that little episode earlier was nothing. Fanon’s had centuries to discover new methods of manipulation. I’d just get it all over with. It’s the right thing to do.”
I closed my eyes and when I reopened them, she was gone.
The right thing.
How could she tell me that an incremental massacre was right? Would killing many for the sake of one justify the murder of so many innocents?
What’s your editing process? Any advice? Specific things to look for?
I love you and God bless, kid! 😉 You rock.
As I read my Bible last night, I stumbled upon this verse and thought this it worth sharing:
“My son, with humility have self-esteem; prize yourself as you deserve.” – Sirach 10:27
Well, folks! It looks like this is going to be the last round for January!
If you have any more, I can always do a miscellaneous sort of post and tag on the stragglers. 😉
Also, before we begin, I’d like to just say Happy Valentine’s Day. Today isn’t just about loving your OTP or binge-ing on chocolate. It’s the feast-day of Saint Valentine, a martyr, canonized by the Catholic Church. For some facts about this saint, click here.
Remember, too, that you can never be happy with someone else until you learn to be happy on your own. So happy appreciate-yourself-day to everyone. ^_^
Now onto the round:
1) Favorite villain? (Loki…? XD)
For you, yes. Loki is pretty cool. *kisses your forehead*
2) What would you do if you discovered that many of us are obsessed with you? Oh, puh-lease. I already know it. 😉
Alias: Don’t encourage him. His head is almost too big for his top hat.
Is that some corny phrase?
Well, don’t do it again. It sounds weird.
3) Do you like the snow?
Yep! My goal this year is to make an army of mini-snowmen and position them outside of Stone Cross on the porch. Slowly, all the silverware will disappear from the house and reappear as the snowmen’s hands.
Alias: *screeches from backstage* WHAT?!
Shhh! Don’t tell!
4) If you could have a superpower, what would it be? I would either control minds or give myself the energy to do things like fold my clothes.
Alias: I wish you had that superpower too! The latter one, I mean.
5) What would you do if you could control minds?
Hah! Great minds think alike. 😉 I would like to say I’d have everyone love each other. No more wars, killings, etc.
6) What would you do if you were invisible for a day? I would stalk Alias like a creeper.
Alias: You already do that, sweetheart.
They don’t need to know that! *crosses arms and pouts*
7) What lies within the deepest, darkest corner of your heart?
…I don’t know. It’s not a place I like to frequent.
Alias: HE’S TOO AFRAID OF WHAT HE MIGHT FIND IN THAT OLD HEART OF HIS.
I already know it’s not like yours! I ain’t got cobwebs on my soul! No, ma’am!
8) GOODNESS, I JUST — I JUST — ASDFJGH — I LOVE HIM!!!!!
I LOVE YOU TOO!
9) Do you like math?
…I don’t know. I think if it’s practical, learn it. But if it’s just memorizing stuff you’re never going to use, don’t waste your time.
10) When you’re supposed to be doing something, what’s the best excuse you have to procrastinate?
Oh, good question. Hm… I don’t have a set excuse for every time. I just sort of make one up on the spot. 😉
11) What do you do when you’re bored?
I like to eat when I’m bored though it is gluttonous and that gluttony isn’t attractive.
12) What do you do to bother Alias?
Anything and everything.
13) Do you prefer thinking on your feet or mulling things over?
I prefer to mull things over, though I am good at thinking on my feet. Mulling things over allow me to look at a certain thing from different perspectives.
14) Are you proficient in computer stuff? If not, I feel ya. 😛
I’ve never used a computer in my life! So, probably not. J
15) If you had to get a job, what would you do?
Oh, I don’t know. I might work sign up for a job on a ship or something. Load cargo, something like that.
EDIT: Actually, I’d like to be a waiter in a restaurant. Or deliver pizzas or something.
16) Do you ever gain weight with all your eating habits? XD
Not really. *sheepish grin* But I’m pretty active, so…
Alias: No, you’re not. You just fidget. A lot. And you only go walking to get food. You just have great metabolism, is all.
17) Have you ever worn makeup?
I don’t think so. But if I did, I’d probably go for guyliner.
Alias: NO, YOU WOULDN’T, YOUNG MAN!
I swear. Alias is like a flipping MOM. -_-
18) Favorite time of day?
I’m a morning person.
19) If you could interview anyone/spend a day with anyone you have not yet met, who would it be?
Is “you” a viable answer?
20) Describe Alias to us.
What do you mean? Personality? Physical appearance? Well, I’ll describe her personality then give you a picture. She’s quiet and gentle, but she’s commanding and bossy too. There’s something about her that you get the feeling she’s a lot more than what she looks like and she’s not a superficial type of person either.
Well, another folks! I hope you’re enjoying these! 😀 Feel free to ask more. January will answer anything if it gains him more time in the spot light. 😉 I didn’t ask any of these questions or any of the previous ones. xD And without further ado, round 3, ladies and gentlemen!
1) What would you write if you had a blog?
My life story.
2) How old are you? If you don’t know, make an educated guess.
I’m twenty-one years old.
3) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I do like Stone Cross Manor, so I think I’d continue living there.
4) What’s your favorite/most memorable dream that you’ve had?
The one where I bit into a piece of blueberry pie, but it tasted like apple crisp.
5) When you listen to music, is it the words or the music itself that makes you feel? Trying to explain, is it the words and the way they’re sung that make the song touch you and paint the picture? Or is it the composer’s music that makes it alive?
Hm, interesting question. It’s definitely a combination of both. Lyrics are a big thing for me. I don’t like to waste time with senseless words, but I also don’t like to listen to crummy music even if I like the lyrics. Know what I mean, jellybean?
6) What’s your favorite fashion accessory?
My top hat. ^_^
7) What are your pet peeves?
When people squeeze the toothpaste from the wrong end, don’t twist the cap on, leave toothpaste all over the cap. Another one is when people treat other people like animals. Seriously, guys. Get with it and treat each other like decent human beings!
8) Have you ever fallen down the stairs?
Yes. Many times. Thanks for bringing up painful and awkward memories.
9) What is your strongest character trait?
My infinite humility.
10) What is your weakness?
My lack of self-confidence.
Skip to 32 seconds.
11) If you could go back in time and change one thing, only one, what would it be?
Alias’s placement in time. I think she belongs in mine.
12) Describe your dream home. What would it look like and who would be in it?
It would be a lavish manor with several rooms, exquisite furniture, and a Victorian-like setting. Alias, obviously, would be there, and so would my sister. Also, a couple of puppies. Preferably huskies or Labradors.
13) Pirates is the best choice — favorite character in Pirates? (This is probably kind of obvious. XD)
You have good taste in movies, beautiful! *winks* It’s a flip between Captain Jack and Will Turner. Captain Jack is humorous and Will is a gentleman. We need more people like me.
14) Angelica or Elizabeth?
I didn’t like either of them very much, but if I had to choose: Elizabeth. Angelica was… I don’t know. I didn’t like her.
15) What’s your favorite treat?
The one that comes out of a bag with a dog printed on the front. *grin* Nah, I don’t know. I’ve got a sweet tooth. And Alias makes good chocolate chip cookies, so…
16) If there was one secret you could tell Alias, what would it be?
I really don’t like myself all that much. *stares shamefacedly at the ground*
17) Have you ever had a disease?
Yeah. It’s called “sarcasm.”
18) Do you love Rana? (You better).
Well, if I better, then why is there a question mark?
19) If you could speak out against anything, what would it be?
People treating other people like filth.
20) Favorite gemstone?
Well, I like garnets (surprise!), amethysts, sapphires, turquoise, and aquamarines.
21) Favorite country that you love to study/visit?
Hm… which one has the best food?
22) Favorite time period????
Whichever one Alias is in.
23) Do you like owls?
Is this a trick question? Hoping and praying it’s not… yeah. They’re funny-looking things. They always have their eyes open like they drank five cans of Redbull before bed and now they can’t sleep.
24) Favorite song? Or just a random song you like?
I really have to answer this one, don’t I? *sigh* Well… I do like Angelus Everlasting by The Crüxshadows. I think Rana’s influencing me. *is scared* And another one would be 20 Years by the Civil Wars.
25) CAN HE GET ANY MORE LOVABLE??? OH, MY GOODNESS, HE IS JUST /PRECIOUS/!!!!!
OH, MY GOODNESS, YES, I CAN! AND YOU ARE PRECIOUS TOO! *spins you around in a big bear hug*
26) What was your first impression of Alias? It was a good once since she just offered to get me food. I didn’t even have to ask.
27) When you meet people, what’s usually the first thing you look for/notice about them?
Their teeth. …Just kidding. Nah, I tend to try and look at people with more than my eyes. Appearance isn’t everything you know.
28) Favorite doughnut?
Chocolate crème filled! You know the one! Sugar powdered on the outside with chocolate frosting in the middle! *licks lips*
29) Favorite quintessential American food?
Are you trying to make me hungry? Well, to answer the question: CHEESEBURGER PIZZA. Yes, it is a legitimate thing. And one of the best legitimate things I’ve ever digested.
30) If there was a character from ANY book/movie/whatever you would like to meet/befriend, who would it be and why? (Please explain a bit about said book/movie to add to our knowledge, dearie. ;D)
Ohhhh, this is a toughie!!! *rubs forehead* I think Angel from Mirriam Neal’s “This Mortal Coil.” He seems like a cool guy. Though I think he would possibly maybe hate me. I might look cuter than him to the ladies. Him, or Rusty or Azrael.
The NCFCA speech and debate tournament was a success! 😀 I did pretty darn well, I think. 🙂
Now, I could hardly wait for February to roll around! xD Kind of ironic that we’re interviewing January in February… Anyway! Onto the questions! 😀
I promise that none of these questions are mine. 😉
1) What’s your favorite song, Jan?
I don’t have a favorite…
2) What’s your favorite color?
Hmmm…. blue, maybe. The deep blue color of the ocean just before a storm. It’s a wild color.
3) If you could wear whatever outlandish gear you want, what would you wear? =D
I would go for a jedi get-up. They’re cool, you know? Flowing capes, sweet boots, awesome tasers.
Alias: Darling, they’re lightsabers. Not tasers.
4) What is the weirdest place you’ve ever had to stay at/sleep in?
…Alias’s house. Have you ever been there? It’s HUGE! And then there’s all sort of weird noises. Don’t tell her, but I think the place is infested with rats and creepy crawlies.
5) Who is the nicest person you’ve ever met (besides Alias 😉
Maybe the captain of the ship I stowed away on. Or maybe my sister Havilah…
6) What is your favorite quote (by someone other than you, love)?
Why do you do this to me? There’s so many! *groans* Uhhh…. hm, let’s see. *scratches head* I’ll give you two. I’m generous (and horrible at choosing just one of anything): “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
7) Now that Alias has taught you to read, what are your favorite types of stories?
Adventure and fantasy. Not the dry stuff she likes. *pointed glare at Alias*
Alias: What?! You don’t like Plato’s Republic? But the DEBATES! The LOGIC! The-
*makes shooing motion with hand* My interview.
8 ) What’s your favorite animal?
Either cats, dogs, or chinchillas.
9) What’s your favorite novel?
Well, I really like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
10) [Not a question, but Jan wanted to reply to this anyway.] Jannybaby, I wuvsyou.
Aw, I love you too! *ruffles your hair*
11) Do you get excited whenever January rolls around? ‘Cause every time I write the date in my journal I think of you. Or look at the calendar. Or anything that has your name. XD
Wow, I love these ego strokes! Yes, I do get excited when January comes around! It’s my favorite month. 🙂
12) What’s your favorite food?
The fresh kind.
13) Ballet or tap?
14) Opera or kpop?
Whyyyyyyyy? Ugh. Opera.
15) Favorite article of clothing? (I expect an interesting and unique answer from you on this one, lovey. XD)
I don’t like your expectations. They’re too high. And they’re just there. *groans* My top hat. And top coats. Interesting enough?
16) Do you ever talk to yourself or ask yourself questions or tell yourself stories?
Not really, no.
17) Do you like chipmunks?
Are you expecting me to say yes? I don’t know. They’re just cute little animals. I don’t have an opinion. It’s not like I’d want one as a pet.
18) Do you like geese?
No. They’re frightening things.
19) Geese or chipmunks?
In what scenario? Would I rather have a goose or a chipmunk as a pet? Which would I rather have attack me? Which would I prefer to dream about? If the first, chipmunk. If the second, chipmunk. If the third, chipmunk.
20) Winter or summer?
21) Fall or spring?
22) What’s your bedtime/getting up time?
I don’t have one. I just do what I want. Unless Alias is being bossy (which she frequently is). In that case, I go to bed around 10 or 11 and get up around 8 or 8:30.
23) How old are you?
24) I’ve already adopted you. You cool with that?
You got evidence to prove that statement, love? But sure. Just feed me and I’m good.
25) What’s your greatest injury you’ve ever suffered?
Physical? Hm… maybe when I broke my arm after it got caught in a rope on board the S.S. Astron.
26) Happiest memory? (Anything with Alias is definitely accepted).
Well, now, I guess you’re expecting an answer with a mention of her now, huh?
27) You gonna marry Alias?
Erm… I… uh… Well, just read the end of the, uh, book. I technically don’t exist. And that makes me very sad. Because I love being alive. I think the world would be a better place if it knew me. *sniff*
28) Favorite fairy tale?
Well, they’re all twisted and dark. *shrugs* Plus, I’m not one for fairy tales.
29) Favorite Disney movie?
Pirates of the Caribbean.
30) FAVORITE DISNEY PRINCESS????
Princess Leah. She is a Disney Princess now unfortunately. -_-
Hope you enjoyed that. 🙂 I’m sorry if it’s lame. I’m so tired. xD
So yesterday I wrote on waiting to get an idea out there. I received a comment from a lovely lady over at the Paris Review Blog who apparently shares the same feelings I have with my novels. (Also, Ana/Eflie’s comments always make my day. Just throwin’ that out there. ❤ ) She loves her stuff so much. She has something to say. But she realizes the importance of waiting until that project is perfected before she can show it to the world.
I admire that. I think we’re all itching to say something. I’m impatient too. I have something to say and I’m like, “I gotta say it now before I explode!” But, as writers, we need to write the first draft, rewrite, edit, rewrite some more, and edit some more before out product is ready to be viewed by the world.
Since I can’t publish my stuff for a while, I have this blog. It’s my way of getting my message (whatever it may be) out to the world. 🙂
I’m thinking that next month, I’ll do a character interrogation – I mean question and answers session with January from the Reset. Mirriam allowed me to steal her idea. So I’m taking advantage of it. 😛 Read the interviews with Angel, Azrael, and Eristor. They’re hysterical. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I just read those and I’m better very quickly.
In case you haven’t read the Reset, here’s some snippets with January so you can get a feel for who he is. Feel free to ask whatever in the comments and we’ll begin the rounds in February! 🙂
I feel it’s important for you all to feel engaged in the blog, so this is my way of doing that since I can’t talk to you all personally. 😦 But we’ll make do!
I smile at Jan and he smiles back. “I’m willing to bet self-confidence is your best quality,” I say.
January shakes his head. “Nope. Humility is my best quality. Couldn’t you tell?”
He chuckles. “Freedom is a state of mind, stupid girl! You could have it now!”
“I think the longer you live, the shorter your Christmas list gets because you begin to realize that the things you want, you simply can’t find in a shop.” He shrugs and puffs out his cheeks.
“Now what fruits do you want?”
“All of them. Strawberries, grapes, kiwi, melon is good too. Ah, let’s see… apples! Red, please. Green is too sour for my taste.”
“You remind me of my brother,” I repeat.
Jan wipes his mouth across his sleeve. “What’s his name?”
“Well, it was Markus, but he’s long dead now.”
“Lovely thought, that,” Jan says wistfully. “I remind you of a dead man. How sweet. You know, Alias, that just really gets me. Gets me right here.” He taps his chest over his heart.
“You’re priceless. I can’t possibly spend enough money on you.”
“You could try,” he points out.
“Think twice before you say something,” I tell him.
“But it would take time and that’s not something I like to waste.”
“Man up!” I shout.
“Be nice!” he shouts back.
“Use your manners!”
“Be a woman and-”
“And what?” I sit up in bed and stare at the door, wondering what he could possibly have to say.
“And be really sweet and loving and caring and bake me some cookies.”
I throw the previous shoe’s mate after it. “I am being loving by teaching you manners,” I tell January. “It’s called ‘tough love,’ love.”
I imagine he’s pouting like a four year old now. “Doesn’t seem very loving.”
“I’m not feeling it.”
“What? The love? Oh, it’s flowing all right. Flowing like your hair on a windy day.”
“That’s didn’t bring up a pleasant image in my mind,” January says through the door.
I snort. “Why? What’d you think of?”
“Hair in my mouth, stinging my eyes, pain.”
“Well,” I chuckle, “that’s the realistic image. Kind of like how true love is. You imagine chocolates, butterflies, and warm, fuzzy feelings, when, in fact, love isn’t a feeling. It’s a commitment. And I’m committed to teaching you manners, so just learn ‘em, boy and end my struggle.”
“So what day in January is your birthday?” I ask Jan as I unlace my boots and slip my feet out of them to walk in the sand.
He shrugs. “I don’t know.”
“So… when do you celebrate it?”
A grin spreads across his face. “All month long.”
“I don’t know what standards you have for your friends, but mine appear to be higher, because anyone who’s going to run when it gets tough was never a true friend in the first place.”
“That box is full of memories. Things of the past that I can never get back. You, my darling, are now. You are full of potential. Those relics have no future. They sit and gather dust and remind me of what I’ve done. They don’t tell me who I am or what I’ll do and you can. Actually,” he adds with a grin, “you already do tell me what to do. Quite frequently.”
But it’s so hard to know when to end the story sometimes. The people you write about are so real. You never want to subject them to a “the end.” But every story must stop. At least on the printed page.
I think the end comes when you’ve got nothing left to say. When the story goal is achieved, when the message has been told, when to continue would mean to drag it out and stretch it like a rubber band ’till it snaps, that’s when the end should come.
Two words. And they’re so painful.
But if the book is done well, while the end may seem painful, it will feel complete.
And that’s how it is with the Reset.
41 chapters. 1 epilogue.
And a bunch of feels.
I don’t know what it is about my guy characters, but people seem to love them. January, Cael, Kody, Elyya… I love my boys so much. ❤
So, while the Reset is waiting to be edited, I will probably rewrite the Desensitized trilogy and it will be better. Thanks to all the help I get from my betas and Mirriam, I think this second go around will be better. The Reset flowed. Desensitized did not. But it will this time.
And before I go, I’ll leave you with a few snippets. ^_^
“What?” I squeak. “What do you want?”
“I want compensation for the blood I lost because of you,” the tattooed man says simply. He rotates his neck on his shoulders and I hear a series of pops.
I stare at the floor and bite my lip. If he takes the blood he lost, I’ll need to perform another job before the end of the month. Three dead in thirty days because of me. I lean my head back against the wall.
“How much?” I whisper.
“Half a month’s supply.”
I look up at the man sharply. “You didn’t lose that much.”
“I’m accounting for the interest as well.”
One of my hands makeup. A thousand thoughts run through my head, none of them pleasant.
I hate to be in debt, but blood and lives should not be a means of paying a price.
rubs my face and I’m sure it smears the carefully placed
“I want it by the end of the month,” the man says.
“What’s your name?” I want to know.
“Bane,” he answers. “Bane Cormac.”
“Look,” he says, “I don’t hate you. You’re messed up, and you need help. You said you wanted a friend, and it looks like I’m the only available one at the moment, so I’m sticking around for a bit.”
I stop and turn around to stare at Jan.
“Besides,” he continues, “all my nice clothes are here. You’re not going to wear the suits and top hats, so I might as well make use of ‘em.”
“If I chose anything more than bread and cheese,” January says, “I’d have to cook. And that ain’t happening. Hope you don’t mind.”
“Do you really mean everything you say about yourself?” I ask. “Or do you say it to cover up a lack of self-confidence?”
Jan’s smile vanishes and his gaze drops to the floor.
“Ah, they say fake it till you make it. I’ve been faking it since I was a kid and I say things like that, but I don’t believe it. Sometimes I’m able to lie to myself, but at the end of the day, I’m still the same broken kid.”
I pull January into a hug again.
“I changed my name a few times,” he tells me.
“Really?” I figure it’s best to let him talk. “What to?”
“I can’t save you. Only you can save yourself. I can be here for you, but you have to make the decision. You have to want to be saved and until then, no one can do much to help you.”
I nod and, as I think about it, it makes so much sense.
“So basically, we limit the help we receive.”
January pats my cheek twice. “That about sums it up, darling. Now I want to practice my reading. You want to choose the book?”
Everyone within earshot turns to look at us.
“What’s wrong?” I ask him.
“Smoke!” he wheezes. “It’s killing me! And you!” He points a finger in the smoker’s direction.Top of Form
I cover my mouth to hide a smile as Jan narrows his eyes at the man whose face is a deep cherry red. The man drops the cigarette butt on the ground and crushes it with his heel. January straightens and nods once. He tugs on his coat and grabs my arm. We hurry down the street with our ice cream.
I giggle and look up at the young man who winks at me.
“Saving lives one hack at a time,” he says.
“I doubt if he’ll stop on your account,” I tell him. “Sorry to burst your bubble.”
“Well, I opened his eyes to the danger, so there.” He sticks his tongue out at me. I smile and lick my ice cream as it begins to drip over the side of the cone.
January had fallen over and was just lying on the ground like the world had ended.
I nudge him with my foot.
“No,” he replies.
I have the sudden urge to kick him. “Get up,” I repeat.
“Why not? Your clothes are getting ruined. Now stand up before someone tramples you.”
“Who’s going to trample me?” he moans as he stretches his hands into the air before letting drop to the pavement. “We’re in an ally way.”
I look around. “Oh. So we are. But that’s worse, see? Now your clothes are completely ruined. Look at all the rubbish strewn on the ground.”
January raises an eyebrow only a little so it’s barely noticeable. But then his face falls and he just stares up at the grey sky and sighs.
“Just let me die here,” he whispers. I crouch down beside him.
“What are you talking about?” I poke his side. He curls up in a large ball, hugging his side.
“Don’t touch me,” he cries. “Just leave me alone.”
“Why? What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Shall I chase those hooligans and make them apologize?”
“No,” he breathes, his eyes closed tight. “Just- Alias-” January looks up at me and I see something close to pain in his eyes. “My ice cream – it’s dead. So leave me to die with it. Please. Bury me by my park bench, if they’ll let you.”
I slap his face and laugh. “January- January Whatever-Your-Last-Name-Is, get up and come on. I can’t believe you! You’re such a drama queen.”
He hops to his feet, grabs my shoulders, and shoves me back against the wall of a building.
“Never – never – assume you know the pain of a man who has lost his ice cream,” he hisses. “And don’t call me a drama queen. If anything, I’d be a drama king.”
I was having an e-mail conversation with the lovely Mirriam Neal yesterday and I let her know that I had almost accidentally typed “food” instead of “good” to which she responded “‘good’ and ‘food’ can be easily interchanged.” I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. 🙂
I’m babysitting my four year old cousin and not feeling well. Also, I’m tired.
What better time to write a blog post, right?
Update #1: THE HOBBIT IS SO AMAZING I CAN’T EVEN! NO SPOILERS, JUST ASDFGHJKL!!!!!!!!! It didn’t follow the book and I was a bit worried that Peter Jackson would totally butcher it, BUT I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Okay, the first one didn’t set high standards, so I wasn’t expecting much, but THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. *spazzes*
My 11 year old cousin thought Thranduil was a girl until he spoke. O__________________________o I thought he was an interesting character. I hope to see more of him and the other elves in the third and final installment of The Hobbit. 🙂
My 12 year old sister liked Kili best. Hm, wonder why…
Update #2: There was a Christmas dinner and show at my church Saturday night and it was amazing! They all did such a wonderful job. ^_^ It wasn’t the typical Christmas play either. They went all out, had “commercials” which advertised used carts “cheap as dirt” because they were so dirty and other things. 😛
Update #3: My grandma is an amazing lady. Just throwing that out there. She had me, my sister, and cousin sleep over, then took us to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which preceded a lovely lunch at the Pita Pit.
Update #4: Yesterday, I was babysitting the four year old, as previously mentioned. Two years ago, I changed my first diaper. (It wasn’t mine, I promise. I’ve long since stopped using those things. It was her diaper. Just felt the need to clarify that.) Since then, I have never changed another diaper and have never felt the urge to. I couldn’t get within three feet of the kid without gagging and I’m not exaggerating. We had no wipes, Mom was taking a nap, and I was the only one mature (and brave) enough to handle the situation.
My cousin laughed at me and so did my sister as they ran back and forth from the kitchen with paper towels. Lovely family.
After nearly choking on the putrid scent and getting human child feces on my hands, I was done. No more butt-wiping for me.
And two years later, that same girl is sitting on the couch, watching Dora the Explorer (and I didn’t remember how annoying it was) and coloring, when she looks up and says to me, “Rana, can you get me some different underpants?”
I was sitting there, like, “x_x Why (dare I ask)?”
“I pooped my pants.”
I’m just sitting here going:
She gets in the bathroom and says, “I’m joking.” I stand there, staring at her until she finally gets it. “That’s not funny, right?”
Yeah, I’m a Sherlock fan, in case you haven’t noticed. 😛 I said, “Not dead” in theaters when we were watching DoS. Because I’m that kind of a person. 😛
Update #5: I’m loving The Reset. January… just… I fangirl over him. ^_^ A big thanks to Lisa for fangirling with me. 😛 And to Mirriam for getting excited about his name and face with me. XD
This boy is so lovable. ❤
Here’s what he looks like:
Isn’t he lovely? ^_^
Anyway, I’m having so much fun writing him.
Onto the snippets! 😀 I’m doing a lot ’cause I have 13 chapters already and I love this so much. XD I was trying to choose only my favorite parts, but the whole book is my favorite part, so there’s a bunch of snippets. 😛
“I want to be done,” I whisper, dropping back into my chair as I stare at the picture of a handsome gentleman with blond hair and blue eyes.
“I apologize, Miss Holden, but that is no longer an option for you,” Fanon reminds me. He doesn’t seem sorry at all. He’s just like Fëar. Emotionless. Dehumanized.
“As if it ever was,” I retort.
“It was,” Fanon tells me, glancing up from a file on his desk. “Before you joined us. Now if you don’t mind, I have work to do.”
“You’re gonna regret that in the mornin’,” Silas warns me, interrupting my thoughts and bringing me back to the present.
“Then I’ll just sleep ‘till noon.”
“I don’t look any different than when you saw me yesterday morning.”
“Not to the untrained eye, anyway,” says Fëar. “But I can tell, Alias, m’darlin’. I can always tell. I’ve had since the beginnin’ of time to practice reading people and I’ve grown quite good at it.”
I sigh. “Stop reading me. It’s rude.”
He shrugs. “As you wish.”
“Good movie, that. You and your date should watch it sometime.”
“He’s not my date. I don’t date my targets,” I groan as I pour myself a mug of coffee and sit down at the table.
A girl on the stool next to mine elbows me with a sly grin on her face.
“Isn’t he a dream?” she asks, nodding in Silas’s direction.
I smile back at her and nod. “A perfect nightmare.”
“I don’t want to kill anymore.” I grind the words out through my back molars.
Fanon leans in and clasps his hands on the desk as he speaks. “You don’t have a choice.”
“What can I do to get out?”
“No, there is way, isn’t there?”
“Well, I could release you from your bond, but I don’t feel much like doing that. Or you could find someone else to take your place. But then you’d still be bound for a year so there would be double the blood on your hands. And there would be no way to redeem yourself after you died, an occurrence which would take place immediately once the year was up.”
My cell phone buzzes on the table.
I flip it open.
“YOU HAVE 1 TEXT MESSAGE.”
I open it and read the message.
“Hey, srry ill be a few mins l8. –SV”
That makes me want to puke. Really?
You seemed like such a wonderful person until I read that text message, Silas.
“Don’t worry about it,” I type with my thumbs before pressing the send button. A yawn stretches my mouth.
“A yawn is a silent scream for coffee, or so I hear,” the barista calls to me. “Can I get you anything?”
I smile at the young lady. “Sure. What kinds do you have?”
She begins rattling off a long list consisting of espresso, double espresso, cappuccino, Americano, café latte, extra shot, and flavored coffees. I inquire as to what options the latter might include.
“We have hazelnut, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, gingerbread, honeycomb, and mint,” she replies cheerfully.
I run through the list in my head a couple of times before looking back at the brunette.
“What’s your favorite?” I ask her. I’m horrible at making decisions.
“Well, I’m a vanilla person, so I’d go for that. But the caramel is good too.”
“Can I do both?” I ask.
She laughs. “I can try!”
With that, she sets to making my caranilla coffee and returns with a steaming mug of it. I take a deep breath and let it out in a contented sigh.
“It’s rude to break into people’s houses, Fanon,” I shout.
“I didn’t break in,” he replies, appearing in the middle of the living room.
I roll my eyes. “You’re in here uninvited. It’s the same thing.”
“No, it’s not. Breaking in implies that I forced myself into your house, which I did not.”
“Alias, darling,” he says slowly, “have you read about the old legends?”
Where is he going with this? I wonder.
“Which ones?” I ask instead.
“On the elves,” he replies without looking at me.
“No,” I tell him. “I’ve read quite of a bit of Tolkien though, if that’s what you’re referring to.”
Fanon chuckles. It’s a deep, throaty chuckle that sends shivers up my spine. He pulls a book off the shelf. Its cerulean cover sports golden letters that form to create the title.
The Truth in the Legends
Fanon begins to read a passage located somewhere in the middle of the book.
“In the old legends, Elves were not the honorable creatures Tolkien led people to believe in. They were powerful, dangerous, and beautiful supernatural beings who are more than likely to harm humans than help them.”
Fanon stops and I stare at him, my jaw hanging open. The fact that he read “are more likely” rather than “would be more likely” bothers me. The way the text is written implies that these creatures are real.
The man continues.
“The word ‘elves’ comes from a Germanic term that translates to ‘nightmare.’
“Now, dear Alias, in light of this new discovery, please keep in mind that if you disappoint me, I will hurt you. The Bank isn’t a game. It’s a business. I would appreciate it if you would treat it as such. From now on, stop playing with your targets and just perform the job. It will be easier on you.”
I tear my jacket off and go through my arsenal which is comprised of five blades, not counting the one lying somewhere downstairs in a puddle of blood.
The spear-point will be for Silas and the drop-point for Mirai. I’ll try to do them at the same time to avoid causing one of them the agony of watching their only loved one die.
I’ll spare them the agony I’ve dealt with these past two centuries.
I hold onto Alex tight, knowing he’ll be gone at any moment. “Elizabeth Barton is dead,” I tell him.
“You could have been Mrs. Elizabeth Wilkins.”
“No, I couldn’t have been,” I sigh. “I would never have left you to this life. I would rather die every day and live in hell so you could be saved.”
Fëar crosses his legs and hovers in the air, his elbows on his knees, his chin in his hand.
“Well, we hate humans, basically. So anyway we can hurt them, we will. Immortality is one of those ways. Killing the conscience is another. Though that doesn’t matter much until the soul leaves the body.”
I look up at the navy blue drapes that ensure no sunlight gets in the house. The thick material does its job well.
“So you live to see us hurt?” I ask, yawning. “That seems like a really shallow motive.”
“Oh, there’s more,” Fëar says, flashing me a wicked grin. “You humans don’t know it, but we control the earth.”
I blink. “What?”
“Oh, yeah. President of the United States? He’s the same as you. Of course, we do make exceptions for leaders. They have to die so no one will start to wonder.
“The assassins are all one of us. Most of them fake their deaths, some of them we kill if we think they’ll start telling the world about the Bank.”
“What other leaders do you own?” I ask.
“Well, the politicians are easy to win over. We’ve got some kings and queens.”
“Don’t they have to kill?”
“Yeah. But they do it differently.”
“How so?” I lean forward, curious.
He grins, revealing a set of perfect, white teeth. I notice his bicuspids are sharp. Sharper than any normal person’s. Almost vampirish.
“Do you drink blood?” I ask suddenly, forgetting my previous question.
He sits back, the grin fading. “Absolutely not,” he answers. “No.”
“Are you in trouble?”
I nod. “Been in it for two hundred years and I guess it’s not stopping today.”
“Wait, what? Have you been at the bottle?” Silas raises an eyebrow.
I laugh bitterly. “I wish that was as far as my troubles went, but no. You have to understand that I don’t like this.”
“You don’t like what? Just get to the point!” Silas watches me so closely as if he’s trying to pinpoint the problem somewhere on my face.
“Oh, how much longer must I sing this song?” I mutter under my breath. “It’s an old tune and was never catchy in the first place.”
“Hey, God,” I mutter. “Um, You know what I’ve done. You know I don’t want to do it but have no other choice. This is kind of like a slave contract sort of thing, I guess. I don’t know what to do. I’m lost, okay?
“Like that goat or whatever You talked about finding even when You had the ninety nine all safe and stuff. I’d like to be found again so if You could pick up that lost people detector or whatever You use to find us, I’d appreciate it.
“I’m willing to give this whole faith thing another go if You’ll just get me out of the Bank.”
“Why do you hate me?”
“I don’t hate you,” Fëar says. “My feelings toward you are worse than that.”
I had been heading toward the couch, but stop and cast a confused look over my shoulder. “What’s worse than hate?”
“What do you mean?” I curl up on the couch and watch his face.
“Hate simply means I wish ill for you, but use is much worse than that. It’s wanting to hurt you for my personal gain. You might enjoy it for a while, but I’ll only put up with you until your entertainment purposes surpass your usefulness.”
“Sometimes, I think you’re my friend,” I whisper. “But then I have to remind myself that I have no friends and even if I did, you couldn’t be one of them.”
Fëar chuckles. “Smart girl. Yes, you are smart, m’darlin’ but you’re stupid at the same time.”
I sigh. “Oh, go away.”
His chuckle echoes throughout Stone Cross Manor even after he disappears.
NOW FOR SOME SCENES WITH JANUARY BECAUSE I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
In the park, a man with vertically striped pants (almost like the kind Fanon wears, but in thinner stripes), a coat, some arm bangles, and a black cowboy hat covering half of his face. He appears to be sleeping so I brush past, but his hand reaches out and grabs my wrist.
“Ay,” he says, glancing up at me from his one visible eye. He doesn’t uncross his legs which stretch out on the park bench.
“Let my wrist go, please,” I say, in too much of a nice mood to get angry.
“No, not yet,” he says with a distinct American accent, and sits up. He fixes his cowboy hat and straightens his belt which is old and worn by the looks of it.
“Can I help you?” I ask. I stand far enough away to be able to move if he stands to get closer.
A blue printed scarf peeks out from beneath his dirty white shirt which is covered by a denim jacket. To top it all off, he wears a threadbare wool coat. It all adds up to make an interesting statement to say the least.
His face is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It’s dirty, but he has angular features, a straight nose, full pink lips, and it’s all framed by long strands of black hair that escaped his loose ponytail.
“What might I be able to help you with?” I ask when he doesn’t continue.
“Don’t know yet,” he says, eyeing me.
“I beg your pardon. I don’t understand.”
He flashes me a white, but slightly crooked smile that I find just darling. A few seconds later, I find myself smiling back at him.
“Would you care to sit with me for a while?” he asks me.
I know I shouldn’t, but I’ve got nothing to lose, so I sit beside the young American man and he releases my wrist.
“I thought you were sleeping,” I tell him.
He laughs. It’s a pleasant sound. I haven’t heard a genuine laugh from an adult in such a long time. If Silas ever laughed, it was because of some hidden nervousness or insecurity. Not like this man’s. It’s clear, loud, and real.
“Most people do,” he tells me with a wink.
I smile and nod, unsure of what else to do.
“Do you need money?” I ask.
He lets another laugh ring in the foggy air. “Oh, please,” he chuckles. When he doesn’t explain the humor in my question, I prompt him for an answer. He looks me in the eye, still grinning. “I don’t need money!”
I blink. “Forgive me for being so frank, but how do you not need money? You’ll freeze before the winter sets in if that’s the only outfit you’ve got.” I gesture toward his thin jacket.
The strange man continues grinning as he leans backward. His right arm rests on the back of the bench. He rolls his first two fingers in a circular motion to prompt me to go on.
“And it baffles me that you would sleep out here on a park bench in the cold if you have a flat or somewhere to live.”
Another chuckle escapes his lips. For some reason, it goads me on.
“No offense, but you’re quite filthy too,” I point out. “If you had enough money to live like a decent person, you would be much cleaner.”
He just keeps smiling. But the light in his brilliant blue eyes tells me he’s laughing at me.
“Plus, you-” I stop and shake my head as he begins to laugh again. “What’s so amusing?” I want to know.
“You put so much faith in something so unimportant,” he explains.
“I don’t understand. Yes, money isn’t the most important object, but without it, life is a lot more difficult.”
The man leans closer to me and whispers, “That’s what they want you to believe.”
I lean backwards and place a hand on his chest to keep him out of my personal space.
“What’s your name?” I ask. He leans back.
“Jan,” he answers. “It’s short for January.”
I wrinkle my nose. “January? Is that your real name?”
He shrugs. “I was born in January. That’s all I know about myself.”
“What do you mean?”
“I was put in the orphanage right after I was born, so I don’t know anything else. They never named me so I named myself.”
“Who never named you?”
Jan sighs and taps the side of my head. “Not very bright, are ya? No one named me! Not my parents, and no one in the orphanage.”
“Oh,” I say lamely.
“What’s your name, beautiful?” Jan smiles at me. He holds my gaze and doesn’t look away, even when he’s speaking. It’s a bit unnerving.
“Alias,” I answer.
“Is that your real name?” he asks, mimicking the tone in my voice when I had asked him that question.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” I respond, with a grin.
“Yes,” he says. “Yes, I would very much like to know.”
“Why?” I stop fingering the folds in my scarf. I hadn’t realized I was doing it until now.
“Because I’m a creeper.” Jan rolls his eyes. “I’m just curious, is all! No need to get so defensive.”
I smile at him and pat his cheek. “Cute.”
I laugh. “No one acts the way you do. It’s cute.”
He shakes his head. “I’m not cute.”
“Then what are you?”
“I’m a loner who happens to be very attractive.”
I smile at Jan and he smiles back. “I’m willing to bet self-confidence is your best quality,” I say.
January shakes his head. “Nope. Humility is my best quality. Couldn’t you tell?”
“I think the longer you live, the shorter your Christmas list gets because you begin to realize that the things you want, you simply can’t find in a shop.” He shrugs and puffs out his cheeks.
“You hungry?” I ask him. “Can I take you out for supper?”
He raises an eyebrow. “Did you just ask me out on a date?”
I shake my head. “No. I asked you if you wanted some free food.”
He spreads his hands out. “Hey, I’ve never not accepted a free meal. But what’s the catch?”
“No catch. Just food.”
“Unless, of course, we eat fish. In which case, there must be a catch for there to be food.”
I smile at him. “All right, what do you feel like eating.”
“People,” he mutters. A large man shuffles past the back of his chair and knocks the back of his head with his elbow.
I lean forward. “I’m not sure what you’re used to eating, Jan, but human beings are not on the menu.”
He laughs. “No! I was just-” He gestures to the man. “I was commenting on people’s manners, is all. Or rather, just people in general.”
I smile. “What? You don’t have friends?”
“Nope. It’s just I, myself, and me against the whole world.”
“Then maybe it’ll just be us against the whole world.”
I look up at Jan. “You’re sweet, you know that?”
He grins and sticks his tongue in his cheek. “Yeah, I think so.”
“What do you want?” I moan.
“Some fun,” he hisses.
“Find it somewhere else. I’m not a Happy Meal.”
A low chuckle sounds in the back of the elf’s throat.
“I don’t need you to be happy,” Fëar clarifies. “I just need the meal. I’ll find the pleasure in it somewhere.”
“I’m not on any menu,” I snap. “Go away.”
He steps toward me and crouches before the bed. His hand stretches out and tucks a loose strand of my dark hair behind my ear. I stare into his pale blue eyes, rimmed with red.
“You still haven’t gotten me the blood I wanted,” he whispers.
“I just killed two innocent people,” I tell Fëar, wanting so much to be able to cry. “I can’t.”
The elf’s hand is on my throat in less than a second. His strangely beautiful face is just centimeters away from my own.
“We made a deal,” he growls. “You’re not backing out, love. I want blood in return for the blood I transferred to your account last time you decided you didn’t want to kill. And, beautiful, if you don’t, just know that I can make your life more miserable than you ever thought imaginable.”
Okay, I don’t know why it turned out so small, but this is my lovely cast. ^_^
Starting at the top left corner and going clockwise, we have Fëar, Fëar again, Stonecross Manor, Alias, Alias again, Silas Vealy, Fanon, Fanon again, some weird blood-smoke thing, the Stalker who I have yet to name, January, and January again.
I hope you enjoyed that horribly long post. Every time, I plan on writing something short and sweet, but then I get going and, well, this is the result. 😛