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Scribble: Amuse Me

Another scribble that I hope you folks will enjoy. Critique is always appreciated!

“It’s all fun and games until someone gets hit over the head with a frying pan.”

Cosmo blinked as he heard Murphy’s words when the other young man entered the dining area with a tray full of chocolate cake pieces. “Goofing off again?” he asked.

“No, I was legitimately asking Lydia if she would go out with me,” Murphy said. “If it wasn’t for my awesome reflexes, I would have been decapitated. The forearm strength of our gorgeous cook is amazing!”

“She’s going to file for sexual harassment one day,” Cosmo said, glancing around his host’s podium to be sure no customers were within earshot.

“Nah, she loves the attention,” Murphy called out as he went to deliver the desserts to table ten. Cosmo shook his head and plastered on a fake smile as a young couple approached him to ask for a private booth. Being a slow Tuesday night, he was able to offer the pair a wide variety of seats and decided to place them in Zoe’s section; if they were put in Murphy’s section, Murphy most likely would not have been able to resist flirting harmlessly with the woman.

“Your waitress will be with you shortly,” Cosmo told the pair after they had been seated. As he left to return to his station, he added, “Enjoy your meals.”

Cosmo fidgeted by his podium and kept glancing at his watch. He still had a few more hours before closing time, and the restaurant was almost deserted. Cosmo wondered how much trouble he would get into if he faked a plumbing or electrical problem and closed the place early.

“Hey, boss.” Murphy reappeared, his shirt covered in what appeared to be wine. “The lady at table twelve isn’t too happy.”

Cosmo groaned. “What happened?”

“The wine wasn’t red enough.”

“…What?”

Murphy was looking down at his shirt. “I disagree with her,” he said conversationally. “My white shirt is definitely red now. Anyway, sorry, but she wants to see a manager to complain.” Murphy clapped Cosmo on the back as he passed by to go back into the kitchen. “Good luck!”

Cosmo took a deep breath before calling over Zoe to watch the front, and made his way to table twelve. There a solitary woman sat, a long cigarette clutched precariously between her fingers as she stared at a newspaper. Her dark red hair was pulled up in a tight bun with blue and green feathers poking out of it. Her lips were drenched in crimson lipstick, matching the dress that looked as if its’ seams were about to burst. Cosmo didn’t remember seating the woman, and guessed that the previous host of the day had given her the private booth. He wondered if she would be offended if he reached over to open a window to get rid of the hazy smoke circling her head.

“Hello, ma’am,” Cosmo said. “I am Cosmo, one of the managers for the night. How can I be of assistance?”

“Your wine,” she muttered, “is inadequate. I require something more…red. Like blood.”

Cosmo tried to school his expression into remaining neutral, despite the fact that his mind was racing with the possibility of this woman being utterly crazy. How close were the police to the restaurant? Was a lady wanting blood-red wine enough of a reason to call them?

“I apologize if you did not like the wine that was brought to you,” he said. “I will personally go into the kitchen and find our reddest wine for you.”

She chuckled. “See that you do.”

Cosmo couldn’t walk fast enough away from the woman, and nearly ran into the kitchen.

“Jesus, that lady is scary…!”

“Aw, Cosmo, that’s not very nice.” Murphy was still there and leaning against one of the counters. “Lydia’s not scary.”

“Not Lydia,” Cosmo snapped as he went to the wine rack. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Lydia shove Murphy away from her counter to start kneading dough for more bread. “I was talking about the woman at table twelve.”

“Ah, the Lady in Red,” Murphy said. He began to sing the Chris DeBurgh song, and even attempted to pull Lydia into a dance. Lydia threw some flour on his shirt to add to the wine as she ignored him and returned to her dough. “At least my shirt’s white again—”

“Lydia, is this our reddest wine?” Cosmo asked.

She glanced at him, clearly bemused, but looked at the title. “That’s it,” she said, and returned to her duties. Cosmo thanked her and left the kitchen, dragging Murphy with him to go clean up some empty tables while Murphy waited for the food for his occupied tables to be done. Cosmo ignored Murphy complaining about Cosmo interrupting his alone time with Lydia while making his way back to table twelve with the wine.

“Ma’am,” Cosmo said, and waited for her to look up from her newspaper. He held out the bottle for her inspection. “I’m afraid this wine is the reddest that we have. Will this do?”

She peered at it critically, looking at the bottle on all sides including the bottom. Her nose wrinkled, and Cosmo had a sudden fear that she would throw the bottle back at him, but she eventually shrugged and said, “I suppose. Pour me half a glass and leave the bottle here.”

Cosmo stole a glass from a nearby empty table and did as she said. “I hope you enjoy it.”

She just waved him away, her attention back on her newspaper. He glanced at the paper, curious as to what story she was so enthralled with, but soon hurried back to his station. Murphy was by the podium, apparently choosing to let Zoe return to her tables instead of cleaning like Cosmo said.

“Do you know what she’s reading?” Cosmo asked.

“I think she’s in the middle of one of those romance books,” Murphy said. “You know, the supernatural ones—”

Cosmo stared at Murphy, dumbfounded. “What?”

“Yeah, I saw the novel sticking out of Lydia’s bag—”

“Stop obsessing over the cook,” Cosmo said, lightly punching Murphy’s arm. Murphy rubbed the spot as Cosmo continued speaking. “That red lady’s newspaper is all in some sort of weird language with symbols instead of letters.”

“So, she has a Japanese newspaper,” Murphy said with a shrug. “I thought we already established that she’s a bit eccentric.”

“The title has little pictures of wings and sparkles decorating the letters,” Cosmo said.

The waiter stared at him. “Okay, so… I have no idea what to say to that. I’m not sure why you care—”

“Make sure you take good care of table twelve,” Cosmo said with a sigh. “I want that lady out of here as soon as possible.”

Murphy raised an eyebrow. “She seems to like you,” he said, glancing behind the manager at the table’s direction. “In fact, she’s beckoning to you right now.”

Cosmo turned around and noticed that the woman was indeed motioning with her index finger for him to return to her. He gave her a polite smile, had a ten-second whispered argument with Murphy about who should go, lost the sequential rock-paper-scissors game, and made his way over to the table.

“Hello,” he said. “How may I help you this time?”

“What is the best area to see the full moon around here?” she asked.

He paused. “In all honesty, there are not too many places within the town’s limits,” Cosmo said. “Perhaps you could try Green Park? There are some sections of it around the pond that don’t have too many tall trees or buildings to block out the sky.”

“Where is that?”

Cosmo tried not to cough from the cigarette smoke she had exhaled toward him when she spoke. “It’s right after the town’s center,” he said. “You take a right after leaving our parking lot and you go down Main Street. Keep going straight until you see Woods Lane on your right. Go down that road, it’ll curve a bit as it goes around the pond, and you’ll eventually find the parking lot for Green Park. Walk along the park’s sidewalk until you find a spot you like to watch the moon.”

She hummed in thought, and then nodded. “When does this restaurant close?”

“It closes at 11 o’clock, ma’am,” Cosmo said, glad for an easy question.

“Are you here until then?” was her next inquiry.

“Yes I am, ma’am.”

“Very well.” She turned her attention back to her newspaper. “I shall wait until you get off to take me to this Green Park.”

Cosmo’s stomach dropped. “E-excuse me?”

“I do not know this area,” she said. She turned a page of the newspaper, her eyes not leaving it. “I will require you to take me to Green Park.”

“Ma’am, I will be needed here past 11 o’clock to supervise the clean up routine,” Cosmo said, grasping at imaginary excuses for this woman to leave him alone.

“There are benches outside for me to wait,” she said. “I have lived a long time and am a very patient woman.”

Cosmo glanced at her, figuring that she didn’t look any older than her forties. “Um, ma’am—”

“Hey, boss.” Murphy clapped Cosmo on the shoulder, and gave the woman a polite, “Excuse me,” before directing his attention back to Cosmo. “Sorry for interrupting, but I wanted to tell you before I forgot. Your mechanic called and said that your car wouldn’t be ready for a couple of days. It looks like you’re stuck with the town bus for a bit.”

Cosmo raised an eyebrow at Murphy, whom flashed a grin at the red lady and apologized once more at interrupting before making his way to the kitchen.

“You do not have your vehicle?” the woman asked.

“No, ma’am,” Cosmo lied, thinking of his little truck in the employees’ parking area. “I was just about to mention that. The tire blew out this morning on my way to the bank.”

“It will take a few days to fix a tire?”

Cosmo inwardly cursed his stupidity, but settled for a polite shrug. “I guess my mechanic found something else wrong with it, in which case I was lucky the tire blew at this time. Better to get it all fixed now, I suppose.”

She stared at him before looking back at her paper. “Very well, I will find this Green Park myself. Good luck with your vehicle.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” He waited for half a second to see if she was going to say anything else before speed-walking back to his podium. Murphy was there and grinned at him.

“So, can I take your car for the night to help with the story?” he asked.

Cosmo sighed and gave the waiter a crooked smile. “Fine, but don’t scratch it or dent it or eat food in it—”

“Alright, alright, I’ll take good care of your baby,” Murphy said.

“Thank you, though, honestly,” Cosmo said.

“No problem,” Murphy said. “That lady sounded so sketchy, asking you to take her to the park.”

“Tell me about it,” Cosmo muttered. “I’ll trade you my car keys for your bus fare, if you don’t mind…?”

“It sounds like a deal,” Murphy said. He went back into the kitchen, and Cosmo shook his head as he heard Murphy say to Lydia, “Hey, I got a car tonight! Now can we go out?”

The rest of the night was fairly uneventful, and Cosmo was thankful that the lady in red walked out of the restaurant around quarter to 10. She didn’t pay for her wine or rare steak, but Cosmo wasn’t too concerned with it. The woman was bizarre, and he hoped that she wouldn’t return to the restaurant ever again, or at least not when he was working. After they closed up the restaurant and cleaned up at the end of the night, Cosmo watched forlornly as Murphy took his car for the night (Cosmo had even asked to call the deal off, but Murphy mentioned the possibility of the scary lady watching from the bushes to be sure that Cosmo really did take the bus, and Cosmo didn’t really argue with his friend), and went to the bus stop for the town bus.

The bus ride took about twenty minutes to get to his stop, and it took Cosmo another ten to walk home. During that time, he tried to forget about the lady, instead focusing his thoughts on what he was going to do on his day off tomorrow without a car. He made it to his front door, inserted his key into the lock, and looked up at the sky as he turned his doorknob in time to see the full moon blow up.

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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Scribbles

 

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Random Generators

Hi everyone! This is just a quick post talking about random generators and how awesome they can be in helping to jump-start stories or ideas for those that love to write (or whatever… I’m sure the generators can be used for many other things as well).

I recently discovered this little gem of a site: Fantasy Name Generators. Not only does it have a plethora of generators for character names, there are also description and name generators for places, animals, spells, superpowers, book titles, and so many other categories. I took inspiration from the tavern description generator and the cafe name generator for my latest scribbles The Steelclouds and Common Grounds, respectively.

A couple of other of my favorite generator sites are the Seventh Sanctum and Serendipity.

Happy writing!

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Home

 

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Scribble: The Steelclouds

Another random story scribble. Enjoy!

From the outside, the tavern looked dull and dirty. It was difficult to see through the grime-caked windows, but there were flickers of candlelight fluttering from the inside to indicate someone was home. Porter went inside, the large wooden door creaking to announce his entrance. The bartender was using a rag to wipe a glass that was not getting cleaner did not even acknowledge Porter’s presence.

The tavern itself was nearly empty, and those few patrons scattered among the tables and chairs were silent, plotting. Not a one looked Porter’s way and he was okay with that. He paused, glancing around toward the low fireplace, and debated on whether or not he should order a drink from the bar. The bartender had yet to look Porter’s way, yet Porter figured he should buy something in exchange for having a meeting at the establishment.

A stranger in a hooded cloak puffing on a pipe beckoned to Porter from a table on the far wall, making Porter’s decision for him. Porter strode over to the table and took a seat, ignoring the dust and streaks of who-knows-what that were on the chair.

“Mr. Porter.” The hooded stranger breathed out the greeting with wisps of tobacco smoke.

“Mister…” Porter hesitated, acutely aware that he knew nothing of the stranger in front of him other than the fact that the stranger represented the Steelclouds. The stranger grinned, enjoying that fact as well.

The stranger lightly pushed a piece of parchment toward Porter. “Contract.”

Porter took the parchment in his hands and began to skim through the terms and agreements. He did not have too many options other than hiring the Steelclouds, to be honest, to get rid of certain problematic people in the court’s circle, but he wanted to be sure the job would be done.

“Your payment clause,” Porter said hesitantly. The Steelcloud took out his pipe and sat up straighter. He nodded as a gesture for Porter to continue speaking. “I don’t quite understand it. It’s not in monetary terms… Actually, it’s more like in terms of—“

“Years.” The Steelcloud leaned over the table and his voice dropped to a low whisper. “We take a life, and we get a life in return. Or rather roughly about thirty-five years, if the life lives that long.”

“Oh.” Porter’s mind attempted to grasp the concept. “Such as a servant or a slave, you mean.”

“Another body,” the Steelcloud said. “The body should be young enough to be trained well, depending on which job we wish for the body to do.”

“Like cooking or cleaning, then.”

The Steelcloud’s grin would make a snake proud. “Among other… tasks.”

“That should not be a problem,” Porter said. “I have several servants that I could use as payment—“

“I already know which body I want,” the Steelcloud said. “You want the royal family out of the way, as you put it when you first contacted us. The king and the queen we will kill as a package. The young princess, however, will be our payment.”

“That will still leave the bloodline alive—“

“No one will know who the princess is, least of all her once she’s ours,” the Steelcloud said, waving a hand as one would casually wave away a fly. “If you are truly paranoid, I may be able to find a suitable substitute to kill as the princess, but it would cost extra—“

“No, that’s quite alright.” Porter cleared his throat, not comfortable at all with the idea of the Steelclouds killing a random little girl just for the sake of pretending to off the princess. “I’m sure your skills and plans are more than adequate for the job. I accept your terms of payment.”

“Then sign.” The Steelcloud handed Porter an ink-dipped quill, and Porter only hesitated for a breath before signing away the lives of Opar’s royal family.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Scribbles

 

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Scribble: Common Grounds Cafe

Just a little something that I was typing up to get some writing exercise done. This is probably part one in a mini series. Enjoy! Critique is always appreciated.

Diana Winters was the Common Grounds Café’s new barista, and she apparently didn’t look like the type who could keep up with the daily onslaught of caffeine-deprived customers. At least, that was what her coworker Colin said when she showed up for her first shift.

“You don’t look like the type who can keep up with the daily onslaught of caffeine-deprived customers.” He snapped his gum between every word.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, glancing at her apron and slip-resistant shoes. “I’m wearing the uniform correctly, right?”

“It’s not the uniform.” Colin blew a large, pink bubble. It’s pop made Diana jump. “You look too… nice.”

“Erm, thanks?”

He shrugged and angled his thin torso toward the front doors. Already there were silhouettes and shadows of people huddled in the dim lighting of the early autumn morning, all waiting for their first caffeine fix of the day.  The opening manager, Michael, was slowly unlocking the doors. As he opened them, Diana heard Colin say, “You’ll see.”

Diana’s eyes widened as Michael was nearly crushed behind the door when the crowd surged over the threshold. Customers formed a loose line in front of Diana’s register and five of them began ordering at once. Colin tapped Diana’s arm, snapping her out of her stupor, as the customers cut each other off and began to grudgingly form a proper line.

The woman who won the honor of being first in line raised a thin drawn-on eyebrow at Diana. “Large skinny mocha latte with three extra shots of espresso.” A credit card was shoved in Diana’s face.

“Of course,” Diana said, her eyes glancing at her screen and touching the options to correspond with the woman’s order. Her register mirrored the order screen behind her, and she heard Colin moving around the containers of cups and flavored syrups to fulfill the order. “That’ll be six dollars and seventy-five—“

The woman dropped the credit card on the counter. “Whatever.”

Diana swiped the card through the register and the woman snatched it back. Before Diana could ask if the customer had wanted her receipt, the woman walked over to the end of the counter to wait for her drink, all while staring at her cell phone. Impressively, the woman didn’t bump into any tables or chairs.

“Medium mocha-caramel iced coffee, light on the ice.” A five-dollar bill and a couple of ones fluttered onto the counter. Diana hadn’t even caught a glimpse of the man’s face before he followed after the first customer to wait for his drink.

“Large French vanilla—“

“Um, please, hold on a minute,” Diana said to the third customer while she desperately tried to remember the second customer’s order to input it into the register. She ignored the man’s sigh and the nausea in her stomach as she hovered over the flavor options.

A larger hand deftly tapped the mocha button and the caramel syrup option, swiftly finishing the order. Colin snapped his gum again as he tossed out the receipt that had printed, and he grabbed the medium-sized cup to start processing the second order.

Diana took a deep breath and, with the words, “May I take your order?” ready on her lips, glanced up at the third customer. She blinked and stared at the translucent yellow wings protruding from the young man’s back.

“You ready yet?” the man asked.

“Oh, yes, I’m sorry,” Diana said. “Thank you for waiting—“

“Large French vanilla coffee, cream, extra sugar.”

Diana did her best to keep up with his rapid words, marveling at the sight of his wings. She snuck glances at him while he was waiting for his drink and, judging by the familiar nod that Colin and the customer exchanged, he was not a new customer to Common Grounds.

Although her mother warned her about getting a job in an establishment situated on the Dimensional Crossroads – for who knew what kind of strange creatures passed through the realms of time and space – this was precisely the reason as to why Diana joined the café’s team. Diana wanted to meet extraordinary folk, and Common Grounds was the place to do so. Nestled in the center of the Dimensional Crossroads, Common Grounds was where all sorts of people, races, and creatures stopped for a cup of coffee as they passed through the area.

After all, that was where Common Grounds Café had gotten its name.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Scribbles

 

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April 2014 Camp NaNoWriMo

Day 1 Word Count: 1873/50000

Last camp NaNo, I had the word count goal of 25000 to make it a bit easier to reach during my busy work schedule. However, I had reached the 50000 word count goal for this past November, so I figured I could try to reach that again. After all, it’s the same amount of days, and if I did it once, I can do it again, right?

Rachel and I are in the same cabin for this camp, along with 10 other campers. We got a big cabin, haha! Most of us seem to be off to a good start, and hopefully the streak will continue all month long.

Some time ago, I found a 30 Day NaNoWriMo Meme on a random tumblr account. I thought it would be something interesting and motivating to do throughout the month, so I am subjecting you to it:

Day 1 – Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before?  If so, which years and what end result?  If not (or even if so, for that matter), what’s your connection to writing?  Why do you want to participate this year?

I have participated in NaNoWriMo before, and have been doing so for a couple of years now. I found NaNoWriMo around 2008, and have attempted to do NaNo since then. I have only ever “won” NaNo once, which was last year, when I really started to take my writing more seriously. I love to write and enjoy creating fantasies and stories, most of which I hope to share with the world one day through publishing. Participating in NaNo helps me practice and churn more words out than I normally would in a month.

Good luck to everyone else in their writing and life! 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Home

 

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Define Success

Marva Collins: “Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.”

Success is generally defined as the accomplishment of one’s goals. Whether that means completing your homework or research paper in a timely manner, teaching your dog how to sit, editing that final draft of your novel, or beating your sister’s turtle in a game of hide-and-seek, the meaning of success varies from person to person.

(I’m not kidding about the turtle. During the colder months, she likes to hibernate, and currently I cannot find her buried among the three or so inches of bark in her tank. She’s probably under her pool, I’m sure, but she is definitely the queen of hide-and-seek.)

I’ve been thinking about my journey to success lately. I considered myself successful when I beat the NaNo challenge with 50023 words (the winner certificate is still on my desk) and when I got promoted to a manager position at work. All of that is well and good, but how is my relationship with success towards my dream of writing?

I have two first drafts of novels finished, and the strong start of a few more. I want to write, to make writing my main focus in my life, to be able to share and live off of my works. To get my name out there, to figure out what this publishing business is all about, to work by my own rules… That will be my definition of success.

I’m going to be 24 at the end of next month. Through hard work, discipline, and a bit of silliness here and there, I will be successful. Let’s see how it all pans out.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2013 in Home

 

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Catch Up

Ernest Hemingway: “Write drunk; edit sober.”

NaNoWriMo Day Three Word Goal: 5001
Current NaNoWriMo Word Count: 1702/50000

Starbucks, Coffitivity, and a work-in-progress novel. Life is good.

So, NaNoWriMo is in effect! Yay! I’m already a day behind! That’s nothing new… In my defense, I literally worked all day yesterday then made an appearance at a friend’s birthday party… then came home and went to bed.

Good news is that I have all day today to write. I should be able to catch up fairly easily. It only took me about an hour and a half on the first day to reach the word count goal. Rachel of course is ahead already, which I’m simultaneously proud of her work ethic and envious of her typing speed, haha!

I hope everyone else is doing well! If you’re doing NaNo, look me up: Winged_Spirit. Happy writing!

Also, check out this tumblr. It is one of my new favorite things.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Home

 

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