What do your Animals say about you? (I)

Welcome to a new Theme Quiz that will reveal what your choice of Animals has to say about you. This is Part I of “Animals,” since more similar quizzes will follow in time. All you have to do is read the question, then the choices, and please make your decision within the first 5 seconds since the moment you understood what each choice means. Do NOT read the interpretations before you’ve made your choice, and be completely honest. Be completely true to yourself, this is a MUST for a correct assessment. And most of all – Enjoy! : )

Which of the following animals do you identify with more?

  1. Wolf
  2. Fox
  3. Lion
  4. Bear
  5. Dolphin
  1. Wolf – you’re a survivor; you concentrate on what’s important, and quickly see through the useless details in any given situation; wise and calculated, feared and respected, looked up to and often consulted.
  2. Fox – you’re cunning and patient, and you often think the goal is worth the means; you may not always be opposed to bending the rules; an achiever and a strategist.
  3. Lion – you’re proud and loyal, fierce but kind; you demand admiration and dedication, and will not accept anything but the first place; you might like luxury and care about appearances.
  4. Bear – you like things predictable; you like your comforts and set patterns, have old friends and probably are a traditionalist; you may enjoy evening talks by a nice fire; you’re reliable and generally well-liked.
  5. Dolphin – you’re dedicated and empathic, a true friend and generally an optimist; you enjoy spreading happiness; you’re well-loved, and people seek your company because they feel you genuinely care about them.

Enjoyed this quiz? Plenty more where it came from. Check out the other quizzes in the Quizzes section on this site, and please share your feelings in a comment. I’m always happy to read from you.

Feel free to roam this site for many more goodies, especially the Short Stories of Suspense. Stay tuned for a new episode of The Marquis tomorrow for a suspenseful and thrilling ride. Enjoy!

Pic source. 

What do your Stories say about you?

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Music piece.

Okay, what story do you think of when looking at this picture in combination this song? I for one wrote The Executioner inspired by pieces such as this.

So the story they inspire is – Girl falls in love with dangerous man, whom she desires like a forbidden fruit. 

What’s your story? It will reveal things about you, so leave a comment with a few lines, and I’ll get back at you with traits of your personality. I’m looking forward to “meeting” you this way 🙂

 

Pic source.

Quiz – What do your Reactions say about you?

Welcome to a new kind of personality quiz – the Situational Quiz. Today will reveal what your Reactions say about you. This is different than the Theme Quizzes in a number of points, but mainly the variants are no longer images, but words. Our subconscious reacts differently to these elements.

The principle is pretty much the same as with the previous quizzes. You are required to read the question, then make your decision within the first 5 seconds after your brain has registered what each choice means. Do NOT read the interpretations until you’ve made your choice, and please be purely honest. And most of all, enjoy!

QUESTION:

When faced with a false accusation, which of these Reactions feel more natural to you as you read them?

  1. Cry; 2. Yell; 3. Demand; 4. Ask; 5. Coerce.

INTERPRETATIONS:

  1. Cry – you’re sensitive and sometimes vulnerable; you’re kind-hearted and empathic at the cost of your defenses; you’re soft and easy to hurt, but not necessarily easy to sway from your purposes.
  2. Yell – you can sense people’s intentions; you have a sharp sense of justice, and you go as mad over intention as you do over words or actions; you can make an impression and often get your own.
  3. Demand – you know when to be firm and your attitude rarely allows too bold behavior; you may have a feeling of entitlement; you’re straight-forward and people naturally respect you.
  4. Ask – you have special respect for your fellow humans, for their choices and freedoms, which makes you particularly liked; however, you may also be a good influencer, which means you can be manipulative.
  5. Coerce – you’re a hard person, and you have some experience with getting your way; sometimes the goal justifies the means, and you don’t shy away from darker methods; there’s secret to you, and maybe danger.

Enjoyed this quiz? Plenty more where it came from. Check out the other quizzes in the Quizzes section on this site, and please share your feelings in a comment. I’m always happy to read from you.

ANNOUNCEMENT: A New Year has begun, and a new year means NEW STORIES. Hyperion, Saphira and Lila (available here) have opened the road for The Marquis” – once a victim, now a killer pursuing an epic revenge, and The Serpent God” – in which the woman who loved Hyperion and was loved by him in return is contacted to find him and unlock his secret, the secret of the Serpent God, and the meaning behind the title. Stay tuned for suspenseful entertainment starting this Tuesday and, most of all, enjoy!

 

Pic source: www.pinterest.com.

Personality Test – What do your Bridges say about you?

Welcome to the Theme Personality Test – What do your Bridges say about you? First of all, thank you Marta Frant for the quiz idea! Indeed, bridges and pathways do say a lot about the human psyche, and Marta realized that very well. Please feel free to come up with ideas and requests, I’ll most probably oblige.

As always, answer the following question with the greatest sincerity. The time for the decision is of 10 seconds. It is also very important that you don’t read the interpretations until you’ve made your choice. And, most of all, enjoy!

THEME QUESTION:

Which of the following bridges is more representative for your life?

 

  1. Bridge – Hanging – You often feel your way in life is hard and bumpy, but also beautiful; riddled with hurdles, but mostly you wouldn’t want it any other way; you’re creative when it comes to problem solving.
  2. Bridge – Arch – You’re industrious and crafty, you think big and have a rather majestic personality; you have an eye for the big picture, you have vision and you have a feeling for the mechanisms that move a small or a big universe.
  3. Bridge – Moon – You’re introspective and often baffled by the wonders you encounter in your own inner life; you’re more aware and accepting of the inner workings of the psyche than most people, and you’re creative with them as well.
  4. Bridge – Green mist – You’re attracted to the unknown and sometimes to the dangerous; you’re adventurous and often fearless, even though not necessarily reckless; forever young at heart and hopeful, many people feed on your good energy.
  5. Bridge – Clear – You’re realistic and dependable; you have strong opinions and rarely change your mind; you have an eye for detail and a deep respect for the world of the senses; you rarely fantasize about things you consider unachievable; reality inspires you.

Enjoyed this personality test? Plenty more where it came from. Check out the other personality tests in the Personality Tests section on this site (above), and please share your feelings in a comment. I’m always happy to read from you.

Also, there’s a big ANNOUNCEMENT I have today. Tomorrow is the big day! In the evening of the 22nd of December, tomorrow evening, the Christmas Stories – Suspense & Mystery for Adults will be available in Amazon Kindle Store! I must announce that in addition to the episodes that have been released on this site of Hyperion, Saphira and Lila, the final episodes to two of the stories have some steamy scenes of intimacy, so please make sure the book reaches only the hands of suitable audiences. Enjoy!

Pic sources: Bridge 1; Bridge 2; Bridge 3; Bridge 4; Bridge 5; Featured.

 

Hyperion Episode 8 – In the Moonlight

BLURB:

Hyperion is on a mission to slay the Swine, a powerful Night Wraith. Yet in the last episode he found himself compelled to save his target’s wife, Ligia, from rape by one of her husband’s men. Hyperion killed the attacker, and now he has to dispose of the body, which he takes deep in the woods. Yet in the moonlight there’s more than Hyperion’s wraith that comes to life. Enjoy the story as secrets even Hyperion doesn’t expect reveal themselves “In the Moonlight.”

***

The Weasel’s body now lifeless at my feet, I hide my face deeper under the hood. This is the part where I become a real monster, and I don’t want Ligia seeing it in my eyes. I don’t want her to know I’m no better than her husband.

Without a glance at her or the widow, I grab the Weasel by his ankles and drag him over the sill. The adrenaline is still alive in my blood, and I must take advantage of it while it lasts. I jump over and sling the body over my shoulder, but as I advance into the darkness my feet begin to sink in the thick snow, the cold and the strain catching up with me. It’s been a draining night.

By the time I reach the heart of the woods I can’t feel my toes or my fingers. My lips are split and start to hurt. The ground is too frozen and too hard to dig anything resembling a tomb, so I give in to my other monster impulses. I take the Weasel’s knife – dented and blunt – and start around his face, applying more strength than I would with a good blade, and more skill.

He’s already rigid and barely bleeds as I cut around his forehead and cheeks, making sure he’s unrecognizable. I rip his shirt open with the same bad temper he ripped Ligia’s, shred his pants and underwear, and I chop him open. The cold neutralized his smell, but the warm insides of his body are an odor bomb.

I wait for a while in the frosty shrubbery to see if wild animals take a chance on him. They don’t – they prefer their prey wounded but fresh. They will devour him eventually nevertheless. Food in the winter woods is scarce. Still, if he doesn’t fall prey to fangs, by the time anyone finds him he’ll be long forgotten anyway.

The break helps refill my tanks just enough to start back towards the old widow’s house. I remember the story about the orphans in the widow’s barn, and I decide to seek shelter there. For that, I have to take a path through the village to cross to the other side of the woods, and so I have to pass by the well. When I do, my heart leaps in a way no wraith could ever cause it to.

Ligia stands in the moonlight with her back at me, her blond locks falling free down to her waist. I approach, the snow crunching under my feet. Apart from the sound of it there’s an unfamiliar pounding in my ears. Maybe I’m worried about the consequences of her leaving her house. What I know for a fact is that I can’t believe she honors the midnight meeting she suggested even under the circumstances.

“What if your husband returns and doesn’t find you?” I admonish when I’m close enough. Not too close, I don’t want her feeling the stench of death on me.

Her frame straightens and stiffens at the sound of my voice. She spins round, and her bright blue eyes meet mine, the blush in her cheeks like roses on porcelain. The sight stirs me, and I feel the urge to shield against it. I square my shoulders, putting on a forbidding face.

“He’s –,” she babbles a bit and gathers the afghan around her like a shy child. “He’s not coming back until morning. It’s not the first time he goes out like this.”

I give a stiff nod.

“I mean he’s at –”

“No need for explanations,” I interrupt, doing my best to sound unfriendly. It makes her feel embarrassed, and my stomach clenches. Not what I aimed for. “He’s seeing other women, I understand. You don’t have to give me the details if they hurt you,” I add a little softer. This encourages her.

“Hurt me? No, they don’t hurt me. I’m happy to have him away.”

She walks closer and looks me right in the face. I take a step back and she stops.

“I’m sorry about the first night at the citadel,” she says. “I didn’t realize you were . . . You’re not going to tell him, are you?”

“I just killed a man in his house, right before your eyes. Do you think I’m in any position to expose you?”

Her eyes wander all over my face, greedy and relentless, and I realize my hood is off. I want to pull it back on, but it seems awkward and pointless. It’s too late.

“Then we keep each other’s secret.”

I don’t reply, and keep my gaze fixed between her eyes. It helps me look distant, but something very strange happens inside of me.

“The widow’s lips are sealed as well,” she whispers. “She said she prepared the old Father’s chamber at church for you, it’s warm and cozy now, and she will be attending to you. I will as well, if you wish.” Her cheeks go even redder and hotter despite her breath turning to steam in the cold. I’d like to breathe in that steam.

“No. It would cause trouble for the both of us.”

Now she feels embarrassed again. She sinks her head.

“No it is, then. But if I may ask – why did you do it? Why did you save me?”

“Just an impulse. I came to see your husband, and –”

“You came to kill him,” she cuts off. It doesn’t really surprise me, the widow must’ve told her. I decide to restrict the answer though.

“It’s not that simple.”

“I understand. No need for explanation on my side either. Just know that whoever seeks to free this place of the Swine – freeing me of him in stride – has my complete and purest loyalty.”

She walks by me and stops by my side. She’s too close.

“Father Jacob. Is that your real name?”

“It’s the name they gave me in the monastery.”

“But not the name your mother gave you?”

The words make my jaw lock, but Ligia is patient. She doesn’t move until I speak again. “My mother was young. She had big dreams and daring ideas. She picked a more pretentious name.”

“Tell me. Even if it’s the last word you ever address me,” she pleads, her voice sweet and broken. It blows my shield into pieces.

“Hyperion,” I hear myself before I think it.

“Hyperion,” she repeats. There’s a kind of reverence in her voice. She seems to take my name with her as she departs, while I remain motionless by the well under the moonlight, my heart pounding, my face burning. The adrenaline races through me, but this time it isn’t anger or bloodlust. It’s something different. Something new to me. And strangely pleasant.

To be continued.

***

Liked this? Share your thoughts and feelings in a comment. Hyperion’s whole story will be published in a Christmas Story Book for Adults, so stay tuned for Gift Promotions and other goodies. This Story Book for Adults will also be quite fit for a Christmas present – stay tuned for the reveal of the cover versions next week, and you’ll see how come.

Enjoy Hyperion’s former episodes on this site 1, and my muse for Hyperion’s fabulous works here.

Picture from www.pinterest.com

Buy Hyperion’s whole story here.

 

 

Saphira Episode 4 – Bewitched

BLURB:

At the Marquis’ ball Saphira has learned that, apart from being a murderer, the young man is slowly taking control over the entire region. Soon there will be no place for her to hide. She attempted to leave the ball when her way was blocked by one of her overly insisting admirers. Then something that happened behind the man drew her alarm, and now she finds herself in a very perilous situation.

***

The young Marquis walks close behind the piranha Vladimir Pukov and stops him with a hand on the piranha’s shoulder. Something flashes in his other hand –metal. I only see it for a second or two, but it’s enough to make things clear – he can kill the piranha in cold blood, same as he did the man at the Royale.

“I have to step in,” he says. “You’re heading too confidently towards my date.”

At that word both the piranha and I look puzzled from one to the other, then to the Marquis.

“My apologies,” the piranha says, his shoulders slumping, his baldhead glistening with sweat under the chandelier. He has no idea that he’s facing a murderer, but he’s intimidated nonetheless. It’s the first time I see the bastard humbled, and it feels good. “I didn’t realize you and Miss Lothar –”

“Apologies accepted,” the Marquis replies before the piranha finishes, then offers me his arm. I’m afraid of the consequences of a refusal to take it, so I do without a thought.

He sweeps me with elegance away from the staring piranha. Surprised faces and Venetian masks draw from our path as we glide among them, and I become ashamed of my appearance. Most women look glittery and flamboyant but decent, their dresses long, so I feel more like an escort than a lady in my short golden cocktail dress, my hair unrestrained down my back. It’s too much, maybe even ostentatious. Inside I’m shooting reproof at my mom, who I now notice on the side, a happy smile on her face. Dad must be ecstatic at the sight of the Marquis and me together too.

In order to sheathe our heading for the exit, the Marquis stops here and there and introduces me to people I know already. They’ve been spending their holidays in this town for years, but one fact is indeed new and shocking to them as it is to me – I’m the Marquis’ girlfriend. Some of them would’ve considered their own daughters, sisters or themselves a far better pick, especially since they’re leading rich sharks in London and Paris. They have some difficulty swallowing the info that a bankrupt artist from the province has won the freaking lottery with the Marquis’ interest.

I have even more difficulty. I stare up at the Marquis’ face as he speaks, and find myself compelled by those dark, murky eyes. The way his hair frames his head, rich and glossy, it enhances the youthfulness of his features and the menacing feel of his gaze. I’m all too aware that he was ready to kill a man just minutes before. The scene of him removing his gloves after taking that man’s life at the Royale comes back like a stinging warning, and fear makes my muscles clench.

It’s baffling how he manages to lead the way amidst the crowd and then out of the banquet hall without anybody noticing. A line of people who look like guests but must actually be the Marquis’ staff close behind us like a human wall as we leave through a narrow – and secret – exit. My heart pounds in my throat as he takes me up dark stairs to the tower, an architectural ghost.

“Why are we going there?” I manage, breathless with anxiety.

“Don’t be afraid,” his voice resounds close. It makes me feel drunk, and I know he’s got a grip on my senses again. The fear subsides, and my hand relaxes as he takes it in his. The touch of his skin electrifies me.

I’m little more than a zombie with a crush by the time we reach the room at the top, the door creaking open like an old cell grate. The place looks a dungeon, the walls black and foreboding. The Marquis leads me slowly to a niche to the side, lights a candle, and holds it up to illuminate what I expect to be a wall. But when the painting I made of him reveals itself in the candlelight my senses shudder out of the trance, and I reawaken to reality.

I’m standing in the manor’s oldest tower with a murderer, looking at my best-kept secret. The Marquis seems to read my mind.

“You took mine, I took yours.”

“How did you even know about it?” I whisper, trying to hide my fear. I’ve painted it in repeated fits of nightly obsessions after the day he visited at my parents’ house, he shouldn’t even know of its existence.

“Your father. I suppose he wanted to make it clear to me that the chances stood high for the two of us.”

I’m embarrassed and enraged. “He had no right.”

“He had a reason.”

“He just wants to see me married to someone wealthy,” I spit. “I understand you’re as filthy rich as they come, so he’s doing his best to bring us together. That’s as noble as his reasons get.”

I can feel the warmth of him close behind me, and my knees threaten to melt. I struggle to keep control. My jaw tightens as my thoughts run in errant circles. The Marquis bends his head so that his lips touch my ear, sending a thrill all through my skin.

“You think it’s a good idea to put your father in that light? I understand tonight you learned what I do with greedy bastards.”

My head snaps to the side, and I stare at him baffled. A smile draws his young lips, and I feel an urge to kiss him. I bite the inside of my cheek until I taste blood.

“Yes,” he says, “I know what was discussed at your table.”

“How?”

“In my business I have to keep spies everywhere.”

“You mentioned your business before. What is it exactly?”

“Direct again.” He looks up at the painting and raises the candle. “Let’s talk some art first.”

I decide on direct once more. “You want to know why I painted you?”

“Oh, I know why you painted me. It’s how you did that I find intriguing.”

I look up at the portrait too. It shows him in his full beauty. I’ve been waking up at night with the urge of plunging into the oily colors, forgetting the brush and working on it with my fingers, wishing to feel him, to become one with him so I can understand him. I felt possessed, pushed into it by some evil force, moving like a nut case until I fell exhausted and smeared with pasty color all over, my eyes puffy and heavy.

“How did it get here?” I whisper.

“Your father helped. After you left for the banquet tonight, your maid opened the door to my people, who packed it and brought it here.”

“They were fast.”

“They always are.”

“What’s your name, Marquis?”

That smile again. “I can’t tell you that.”

“Why not?”

He looks me in the face, and I’m lost in the depths of his eyes, glittering dangerous in the candlelight. “Because it would give you power over me.”

“Are you a demon, then?”

“Yes.”

“You’re mocking.”

“You’re shaking.”

I haven’t realized that he walked to me while I retreated, and now I bump into the wall opposite from his portrait. I’m hot and start sweating, yet I can’t control my shivering.

“Why do you do this?” I whisper. “Why do you tell people I’m your girlfriend?”

“I’m making this serious. Otherwise you’d think I’m playing with you.”

“I don’t want us to be serious.” The words hurt as they leave my mouth, because in truth I desperately want him to kiss me.

“What do you want?”

“I want you to leave here and never come back,” I lie blatantly.

“I can’t do that, Saphira. Not after everything you saw.”

“I saw the end of a murder, yes. But not exactly what happened. I’ll keep my mouth shut, I assure you.”

“It’s not only what you saw at the Royale.” He’s now too close, and I feel high again. “It’s what you see in me. What you put in that portrait. And what you might reveal in other works too.”

“That is the portrait of a young man, nothing more.”

“That portrait is a confession. You don’t realize this, but it talks too much. You won’t be able to hold back, you’ll reveal more in time.”

I want to keep the line of replies open, but the Marquis’ next move stuns me. His arm winds around me and presses me to him, his other hand stroking its way up the halter under my dress. My heart jumps and my breath catches as his lips, warm and soft, take over mine. My head spins, and I can’t help touching him, letting my hands knot in his hair. He retreats before my passion breaks out of control, a satisfied smile on his face. I know immediately that he’s aware of his power over me, that he’s aware I’d go all the way.

“Not yet, Saphira. Not yet.”

He withdraws in the dark, leaving me shaking with desire. I’m under his spell, and I barely realize where I am until the door creaks sharply, bursting open. My head turns in its direction, and I see the last person I expect to see.

To be continued.

***

Next episode.

Previous Episode.

Liked this? Please share your thoughts and feelings in a comment. Saphira’s whole story will be published in a Christmas Story Book for Adults between the 15th and 18th of December. The book might just make the best present idea for some of your friends. Know someone who loves fairy-tales even in ripe years? Then take advantage of this opportunity, and stay tuned for Gift Promotions and other goodies.

UPDATE: Saphira’s whole story has been released in the Christmas Story Book for Adults.

Stay tuned for the Wednesday Quiz – One question. One choice. What does it say about you? tomorrow, and a new episode of the suspense story Hyperion on Friday. Enjoy!

Hyperion Episode 7 – Bloodlust

BLURB:

Hyperion has been feared in battle. The creature he turns into in his fights is fierce, draining, and impossible to tame when provoked. In this scene Hyperion returns to his target’s house to save the man’s young wife, Ligia, whom he might’ve put in danger. The situation he encounters surpasses his expectations and he is no longer capable or willing to control the wraith inside.

***

The Weasel has Ligia pinned against the wall, one hand ripping her shirt open and grabbing her breast. I can see it all through the window – it’s the only one lit. My senses spike free, my hearing now sharp enough to pick up every sound in and around the house – only some old furniture creaking in the main room, and two guards outside the front door. Not wraiths. The Swine took the heavy weight with him when he left. The Weasel must’ve stayed behind as indoor guard, and does the hell of a job attacking the boss’ wife. Ligia struggles and screams, her blond ringlets whipping the air around her.

“You’re doing this, you little bitch,” the guy spittles through his rodent front teeth, “unless you want your husband to hear more of you and your lover-boy the priest.”

“Nothing happened with the priest.” The despair in Ligia’s voice makes my blood surge. But it doesn’t seem to touch the Weasel at all. On the contrary, it makes him want more. He looks her in the face and grins.

“And who’s the Swine going to believe? He’s sort of lost interest in you anyway, he’s at the brothel as we speak.”

Ligia scratches him with a cry, and he slaps her hard in return. She covers her cheek with her palm, and I zoom in on her teary eyes in an impulse.

“I’ll fight all the way,” she tries to defend herself. “How will you explain the bruises to your boss?”

“I doubt he’ll tell the difference between mine and his own.”

That second I spring forward from the shrubbery toward the window, but a new element stops me in my tracks. I see the old widow launch into the room and push the Weasel with all her strength. He’s short, skinny and a bit hunch-backed, but the women are still no match for him. He sweeps the widow with one arm, sending her sprawled on the floor, and returns his attention to Ligia.

I can’t take any more of this. All pain and discomfort from the last hour is forgotten, my blood now hot with adrenaline. All I need is minimal input from my wraith to unhinge the window frame soundlessly and slither inside without the Weasel noticing. The moment he faces me I’m already close enough to squeeze his balls, the other hand covering his mouth and pushing him against the wall.

“Hello there,” I hiss, relishing the wide fear in his eyes. He stinks badly of alcohol and excrement, and his clothes are dirty. My nose creases as I look him up and down. “You and water are mortal enemies or what?”

He mumbles something behind my fingers, and I can’t resist the temptation to hear his fear too. I want to take it in through all my senses before I kill him, letting it recharge me.

“If you scream I’ll kill you slowly and painfully,” I say as I free his mouth. He’s surprised at the sudden freedom and stares dumbly at me before he gathers himself.

“What are you doing here? How come –,” his voice cracks. He clears his throat and tries again. “What are you doing here?”

“You presumed to know already.” I give him my evil grin. “I’m lover-boy.”

The Weasel’s jaw drops. “But you’re a priest. You said Catholic priests –”

“What does it matter what I said? You accused this woman of having an affair with me. So why are you surprised to see me here on a night her husband is away?”

“I –”

I don’t give him a chance to find his words, and punch him hard in the face. I hear his jaw split, so I grab his nape and press my hand on his mouth again before he can howl. The pain and inability to let it out makes powerless dread expand his pupils like a drug addict’s. Now I have a grip on the back of his head and the front of it, as well as on his full attention. I bring my face real close to his, so that he can get a good look at the creature under the priestly hood.

“This is what this woman felt as you prepared to rape her.” I give him a few seconds to feel it. Then I pull the arm behind his neck to the right, and the one on his mouth to the left. His head fires to the side, his spinal cord snaps, and he falls dead on the floor.

To be continued.

***

Liked this? Share your thoughts and feelings in a comment. Hyperion’s whole story will be published in a Christmas Story Book for Adults, so stay tuned for Gift Promotions and other goodies. This Story Book for Adults will also be quite fit for a Christmas present – stay tuned for the reveal of the cover versions on the 1st week of December, and you’ll see how come.

The picture featured in this article is considered for the cover, so let us know your thoughts about it.

Enjoy Hyperion’s former episodes on this site 1, and my muse for Hyperion’s fabulous works here.

Buy Hyperion’s whole story here.

The Executioner Episode 13 and UPDATE Book Release

Now this is the lucky number – 13. Haha! Here goes part 13 of my upcoming – FREE for one week – novel “The Executioner”, a big chunk of which I promised to publish online on this blog. Here is me keeping my promises. Will reveal a glimpse into the approved cover soon, so stay tuned: the sexy villain, fog and all, as they so lovely say. BROAD GRIN. Go all through to the end of this post. There’s a surprise for YOU! So here we go.

Novel Synopsys:

When she meets heartthrob Damian Novac, shy student Alice develops a heavy crush against her best wishes. Hoping to get close to him, she joins Damian and friends on a winter trip in the Carpathian Mountains – a choice that will change her life abruptly. When the train derails in high snow, they seek refuge at an abandoned cottage, but soon people of their group start losing their minds and dying. Alice barely escapes with Damian and some of their friends, only to realize she’s far from safe even back home. A shady corporation that conducts experiments on humans and which had ‘engineered’ Damian into something monstrous many years before is on their trail. A man of secrets and obscure powers, Damian might be a villain or a hero. Though aware of the danger he poses, she can’t fight the obsession that draws her ever deeper. Will Damian become her lover or her executioner? forbiddenlove

Pic source

Tony stayed until after the last class that evening. He waited for us every break. He must’ve really wanted to redeem himself. I decided to give him a chance, only not the kind he would’ve wanted and expected, for sure.

“Listen, Tony,” I cut off his blabbering, smile broad, eyes soft, hand light on his shoulder, all rounded enough to convey the show as far as to the corner Damian’s group had gathered in. “Let us talk about this in a more comfortable place. Standing tables aren’t exactly suitable for long stories, so why don’t we go to Portofino?”

Surprised by my friendliness Tony agreed, babbling and grinning at the same time. But, contrary to what I’d expected, Damian didn’t follow us to the cozy restaurant on the corner between campus and the main road.

It was already evening. The place felt as welcoming as ever, the orange walls adorned with paintings of fishermen throwing nets in calm seas as hospitable as the broad tables laid with shell-shaped dishes. Ruxandra was pretty creative when it came to stories, so she even gave him details about this imaginary peasant granny who’d fed us homemade bread and roasted pork. It felt a bit like the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, with Rux often displaying a disturbed expression as if she remembered watching someone being chained and stuffed with food, then sliced open.

Tony made himself smaller and smaller in his chair, eyes wide like onions as he constantly expected a sharp edge to the story that Rux’s glowering and tone threatened with. Soon unable to put up with the game I myself had initiated, I suggested we continued some other time. “It’s getting late,” was the lame excuse. Plus, after an hour at the restaurant Damian still hadn’t made his entry, which meant that my attempt at making him jealous had failed. But, as we emerged from Portofino there it was, his 98’ BMW 3rd series, black with dark windows, parked by the restaurant.

Damian himself was nowhere to be seen, yet for a moment I hoped with all I had that he’d somehow been watching us, concealed, eating his heart out in jealousy. But the theory shattered when Damian appeared with Svetlana and two laughing couples from the neighbored gas station. They’d most probably had their dinner at the Hey fast food, a modern furnished place, loved by many of our fellow students. For some reason Ruxandra dragged me out of the way that very moment.

The bus ride home allowed Tony the opportunity to talk about himself. He’d sold his car to pay for his last year of studies at a private – and bad – university, and now he no longer lived with his mom, but with three friends in a rented apartment at the Lighthouse. I don’t remember details, since I was drowning in morbid jealousy, my mind spinning around Damian. I felt powerless at the thought of him and Svetlana, and used at how he’d had me give his blade a hand job last night.

Tony accompanied us to the gate. I wasn’t even angry with him anymore. Tonight he’d been merely an instrument that had failed its purpose and I honestly didn’t have the slightest feeling of guilt about it. He’d used me in far more vile ways, so this was the least he could do for me – accept my returning the favor.

Ruxandra didn’t explain why she’d dragged me after her from the Portofino until a week later, which passed with me overthinking Damian’s words and actions from our short moment of intimacy on the Marvimex evening. She sent Tony for coffee – poor guy was going out of his way visiting every day on campus – and bent sideward to me. She spat the words quickly in my ear.

“Don’t look now, but Novac’s been watching you. Whenever you glance at him, he looks away.”

And once again butterfly wings flapped like crazy in my stomach.

“He’s sure wondering what’s the deal with Tony,” I sneered. “He already made it clear he means to protect me, he owes it to Dad. As he does keeping his whore warm.”

“Listen, I don’t have the time to deal with your frustration, but know this: Last week at the Portofino I made you look away from him on purpose. No matter how well versed he is and how detached he managed to appear, I had a feeling he knew exactly where you were at any given time. I was right. Whenever you turn your eyes from him, his settle on you. He even followed the fucking bus every night, Alice.”

Another flapping of butterfly wings that I struggled to repress.

“That only confirms what I told you. He’s playing the bodyguard.”

“Oh, yeah? Even here, in the full cafeteria, where nothing can happen? When you’re with your back at him, he’s drinking you in. It’s growing more obvious by the day. Even Svetlana noticed.”

Her eyes flicked to the woman, and mine followed. Indeed, she was glaring at me, while Damian talked to another campus heartthrob, Gino Bogza – the blond Elven Prince, how I liked to call him.

“Rux, he’s just keeping an eye on me, making sure I don’t roll on my back and fall like a baby just when he’s not looking or something.” I let my shoulders slump, tired and hopeless. “I’m just gonna wait until this is all over. Dad is with the R.I.S., protected, Hector’s on the case, and I . . . I’m giving up. We’re not gonna be able to solve anything where the police and the R.I.S. can’t. BioDhrome, the Executioner, Damian, these are huge fish . . .”

“You’re talking gibberish,” Ruxandra interrupted. “Don’t you think we can help if we share what we know?”

“I don’t know what to think anymore . . .”

“Here’s what we’ll do. I’m gonna go see Hector. Maybe we do know a bit more than he does, and maybe we could put together what we have. And I’ll ask about your Dad, too.”

“No. Damian said Dad is safe as long I don’t try to find him. We might be followed if Hector takes us to his hideout.”

You might be followed. You’re his daughter and possibly still BioDhrome’s target. Maybe you were their target all along, if we are to trust the R.I.S. and your lover boy, which is the sound thing to do.”

“He’s not my lover boy,” I snapped.

“Stop that. You’re crazy about him and he’s crazy about you. He watches your every move, which means he won’t bother wondering where I am. I don’t matter to him or BioDhrome, so nobody will follow me. And I swear, if I have the slightest feeling I’m being tailed, I’ll abort mission.”

I nodded with a heavy heart and let her go. But after Ruxandra leaked out of the cafeteria, leaving me in Tony’s company, I also saw the downside. My ex wasn’t getting off my back anytime soon, now that we were alone.

He refused to go to his university and waited for me in the cafeteria on the next break too. I would’ve loved to know Damian’s reaction to this, but every time I glanced at him he happened to look away. Frustrating. Then I had the most brilliant idea to lose Tony, whose constant presence was starting to get on my nerves. I decided to attend Dr. Anton Barbu’s Educational Psychology class from 18.00 P.M. I originally intended to skip today, since it was late and already dark outside, but since Damian would apparently follow the bus home at any hour, I should’ve been safe.

“I can wait,” Tony said.

“No, don’t. We might stay for debates after class. It could get really late.”

“Then just call me when you’re done.”

“Okay, I will,” I lied with a smile.

It relieved me to see him walk out, but I was certain he’d wait outside for at least half an hour to make sure this wasn’t a strategy of mine to lose him. Tony and I had been a couple for over three years and I knew all too well that behind this fresh contact façade he was still a patronizing bastard.

The cafeteria was now a more pleasant venue with only a few students left, rain trickling down the tall nightly windows, and dimming lights. To my dismay, as I glanced to the place where Damian should’ve been, it was empty. He’d left. A chill went through my chest. I looked at my cell – Still enough battery for a few hours. If panic took me, I could still call Officer Sorescu, Mom or Ruxandra.

Despite the late hour and the scarce attendance, Dr. Barbu’s lectures always took place in a great aula, its amphitheater shape reminding me of ancient Greek plays. I loved attending seminars and lectures in these halls, wood-paneled symbols of history. A thin man in a tweed suit, bald on top of his head but with jet-black hair on the sides, the proud bearer of a Poirot-style mustache, Dr. Barbu always made an impression. A famous and infamous psychiatrist whose name reverberated as far as the Sorbonne, he intimidated not only us, but also the living shit out of the Rector. I guess that’s how he got the monopoly over the psych classes of all faculties.

He had everybody’s attention in a matter of seconds, and not because his lecture was fascinating – as you might falsely expect from psych classes – but because all people present desperately needed to pass his exam. Now that was a difficult task. His phrasing was complicated both in speech and writing, so we mostly strained to get just passing grades, while attendance added a few points. Right before the clock above his lectern struck the end of class, while I was already gathering my stuff, one sentence apparently spoken louder and clearer than all others before it sent a power current up my nape.

“More on gene-generated compulsions, their manifestations and how to identify them in Dr. Nathaniel Sinclair’s ‘Facets of the Nuclein’, available at the city library.”

My head snapped up. The professor was just writing the book’s title down a list on the blackboard. Recognition smacked me full in the head. I’d read five pages of a book written by Dr. Nathaniel Sinclair up in the mountains. The book had belonged to Marius Iordache.

To be continued . . .

***

Enjoyed this? Don’t keep it to yourself. Share a comment with the writer and the reader, and stay tuned for the cover reveal next week. I’m also super happy to announce that for the first week after the book is published on Amazon it’ll be up for a mighty giveaway. And there is also a surprise I’m preparing for you guys: How would you like to have YOUR STORY told? Leave a comment stating your interest and a motto – what characterizes you and your story?

The Executioner – Episode 12

As promised, episode 12 of “The Executioner.” Stay tuned next Friday for episode 13, and every week for much more.

Novel Synopsys:

When she meets heartthrob Damian Novac, shy student Alice develops a heavy crush against her best wishes. Hoping to get close to him, she joins Damian and friends on a winter trip in the Carpathian Mountains – a choice that will change her life abruptly.
When the train derails in high snow, they seek refuge at an abandoned cottage, but soon people of their group start losing their minds and dying. Alice barely escapes with Damian and some of their friends, only to realize she’s far from safe even back home. A shady corporation that conducts experiments on humans and which had ‘engineered’ Damian into something monstrous many years before is on their trail.
A man of secrets and obscure powers, Damian might be a villain or a hero. Though aware of the danger he poses, she can’t fight the obsession that draws her ever deeper. Will Damian become her lover or her executioner?

forbiddenlove

Telling her the conclusion I’d reached during the night was only a matter of minutes. Ruxandra listened with her usual concentrated frown. The discussion was shorter than I’d expected, since none of it seemed to surprise Rux. Hardly anything still could, she said. She asked no questions.
George still snored as we picked our outfits for today. It was an easy and fast process, with Ruxandra grabbing her bags from Marvimex, which she’d dropped on the chair by George’s couch when she’d stormed to him yesterday. I plucked from the wardrobe whatever my hand touched first.
The pair of thick black trousers and the brown sweater didn’t compliment my body the way the clothes from yesterday had, not to mention what an ill fit they were, but more creaking of the wardrobe doors would’ve woken George, so I had to make do.
Mom was up ahead of us, as usual. A rich breakfast was already on the table: marmalade, chocolate croissants, butter, scrambled eggs and, luckily, black tea, which is the only thing I managed to get down my throat.
Mom grinned, guessing what knotted my stomach. “Anxious about seeing Damian today?”
Ruxandra’s eyes flipped up at me over the rim of her teacup.
“He’s just a friend,” I muttered. The word prickled my tongue.
“Now that you mention it, I never got to ask,” Mom said, “how long have you known each other?”
“Um, about two months,” I replied, recounting our history in my head.
The first time I’d laid eyes on him in mid November. How I’d stalked him from afar for about a month and made plans over the Christmas break with Ruxandra to get his attention, falling deeper into a crush before I realized wasn’t even entirely human. How I’d stumbled into his arms in mid January at the party. How we started talking to each other in the cafeteria afterwards – most of this ‘talking’ consisting of short exchanges and jokes from my part – over the following weeks. Then the trip to the mountains and the events that had shaken me to the core. And now we had . . . Wow, already the 20th of February. “Three, maybe.”
“That’s a while,” Mom said. “I’ve seen great loves develop over that amount of time.”
“Not the case here,” I retorted, a little acrid.
“I really think he likes you,” Mom insisted, wrapping up sandwiches that I didn’t want to imagine what she’d do with.
“Are you and Rux hand in hand to make a sucker out of me?” – Not that it came into question that I’d still chase him, but I just had to voice the problem that had tormented me when I’d started to, at least for therapy. “The competition’s fierce for the guy, can’t you imagine already? And he’s actually seeing one of the campus Barbies,” I spat, a flash of Damian rolling his hips into Svetlana shooting me a headache.
As I’d foreseen, Mom moved with the aluminum-foil clad sandwiches in the direction of our bags. I instantly remembered the rice pudding she’d packed once back when I was in elementary, the entire classroom laughing and pointing fingers at me in the lunch break.
“What are you doing, Mom?” I snapped.
She ignored the question and stuffed the sandwiches in our bags. “He’s great looking and, as far as I can tell, darn smart, of course there’s competition for him. But all this must’ve concurred to his developing refined tastes. And setting his eyes on you.”
Ruxandra intervened. “Jenna, are you saying you have a good feeling about the campus Prince Charming? As far as I know, you hate the type.” She sounded and looked surprised, too.
“Yes, I actually do have a good feeling about him,” Mom replied with a warm smile and the look of wisdom on her face that I’d trusted all my life. Had I been wrong forever?
We took the bus to campus. It was packed and it stunk of dirty puffer and wool, onions and sweat, but Officer Sorescu would surely refrain from offering himself as an escort ever again, so crowds were the safest place to be. As was the constant company of trusted people.
The cafeteria was as loud and busy as ever, so Rux and I met there again after lectures, as usual. Though hating myself for it, I couldn’t help glancing around for Damian, while fellow students bombarded us with questions about the events in the mountains – They’d heard a mild, fabricated version.
Then I saw him walk in, looking stunning in a beige V-neck knit tight on his muscular arms, brown chinos and boots, backpack slung on one shoulder. My heart leaped into my mouth, but sank only instants later, as Svetlana appeared high on thin heels with a couple of giggling girlfriends.
Within a few minutes her arm coiled around Damian’s like a snake around a thick tree branch, her grin large and white, her hair falling long and glossy platinum down her back. Dressed in a fitted white blouse with a generous cleavage-view to her small but firm breasts, and slim khakis, she was beautiful and seductive.
She seemed to have recovered completely from the state I’d last seen her in. Not a shadow of distress on her smooth face, as if her whole life experience consisted of dolls and later beauty shops and cocktail parties.
Damian didn’t grant me one glance, as if he didn’t even know me, but Svetlana’s eyes did stop on mine at a certain point. I must’ve glared, feeling angry and impotent, unable to do my father justice, even though he didn’t quite deserve it – He had no one but himself to blame that his much younger lover and the only man he’d trusted with his secret banged each other behind his back. Nevertheless, he was my father. My allegiance to him before third parties was unconditional. Not to mention that jealousy I desperately tried to ignore if not deny ate at me like an army of rodents at a piece of cheese.
Svetlana sank her head. Though she’d already proved stronger than me physically, it was understandable now. I was so angry I would’ve stopped at nothing. I would’ve knotted her jugular around her throat if it cost me a whole bruised face, which must’ve been obvious in my glare.
She began rummaging in her designer bag as a man’s face suddenly replaced the sight. He stood real close, so I had to back up a couple of steps to bring him into focus. My mouth popped open.
“Tony?!”
He smiled a shy smile. “Hi, Alice.”
I stared at him, unable to utter one word. It had been many months since this man had stood before me with his round face, cheeks like red peppers, small eyes the color of bark and the ridiculous air of arrogance. But, unlike his usual self, he was sober. Even his hair was slicked back like that of mobsters in old movies. He looked halfway presentable with vest over shirt, suit pants, coat á la Clark Gable hanging on forearm. He brought cool winter air with him, so he must’ve just come in.
“I,” he began, voice shaky, “I saw you on the bus, I . . .”
“Aha.” Eyebrows high up, I still couldn’t recover from surprise.
“You were with Rux,” – who, I now noticed in a glance, was also staring with an open mouth – “Wondered if I should come and talk to you. I, I heard what happened, you know.”
“What did you hear?” shot automatically out of my mouth.
“The whole story, you know. The train, broken down in the mountains. The avalanche, you were trapped there. Until they found you, the villagers, you know,” he stuttered.
“Oh.” So the fabricated version.
“You’re looking good, Alice, really good.” Now he ogled me from head to toes, much the way Officer Sorescu had the evening before. Tony, too, seemed unable to control his slippery eyes despite my unflattering baggy brown sweater, overworn black khakis and leather boots with low heal. Un-fucking-believable.
“It took a while until I decided to come here and talk to you,” he said.
“I understand.”
“You do?”
“Perfectly.” – Resentful grin.
“You still haven’t forgiven me, have you?”
“You still ask?”
Slam on the table, coffee mugs clattering, my heart jumping out of my chest. Ruxandra’s eyes stabbed Tony, her fist clenched, knuckles showing white. “Can you believe yourself, asshole?” she spat, so loud that every head in the cafeteria turned in our direction. My eyes darted to Damian, who was looking at us with the expression of a wolf ready for attack. I had an idea.
I placed a light hand on Ruxandra’s forearm. She gave me a questioning glare with a quirked-up eyebrow.
“It’s all right, Rux,” I said, looking deep into her bitter-chocolate eyes and praying for telepathy to work, “the man has good intentions. Why don’t you tell him exactly what happened up there, if you feel up to it. I sure don’t yet.”
Ruxandra glared at Tony. It took a few moments until she was able to address him again, eyes down in her books, hand angrily flipping pages to stay busy. While she presented in short the fabricated story as alien from the truth as E.T. from Earth, involving peasants welcoming us by their stoves until the authorities found us, I observed Damian from under my eyebrows.
Observing is an overstatement, though. I glanced at him once in a while, trying to read the emotion in his face. The flashes revealed tight jaw and eyes fixed on us, metallic. Maybe he feared we might tell Stranger too much, but I’d sure as hell make him believe a hotter version.

To be continued …

***

Enjoyed this? Don’t keep it to yourself. Share your opinion with the writer, publisher and readers, we’re happy to hear from you. Stay tuned for episode 13 next Friday or subscribe at anaatcalin@gmail.com to receive notification at each new post.

Love,

Ana

The Executioner – Episode 11

As promised, episode 11 of “The Executioner”. Stay tuned next Friday for episode 12, and every week for much more.

Novel Synopsys:

When she meets heartthrob Damian Novac, shy student Alice develops a heavy crush against her best wishes. Hoping to get close to him, she joins Damian and friends on a winter trip in the Carpathian Mountains – a choice that will change her life abruptly.

When the train derails in high snow, they seek refuge at an abandoned cottage, but soon people of their group start losing their minds and dying. Alice barely escapes with Damian and some of their friends, only to realize she’s far from safe even back home. A shady corporation that conducts experiments on humans and which had ‘engineered’ Damian into something monstrous many years before is on their trail.

A man of secrets and obscure powers, Damian might be a villain or a hero. Though aware of the danger he poses, she can’t fight the obsession that draws her ever deeper. Will Damian become her lover or her executioner?

forbiddenlove

Pic source.

Rux nodded, neck long and face drawn in mock-refinement. “Words put to paper in your dear philosophic period. Freshman year, wasn’t it? When you were still tactless and fearless. Why play pretense now, Alice? You know that what most if not all women want above all else is to be beautiful and desirable. Fuckable.” She sneered the last word in my ear, Marlene Dietrichish enough to set us both laughing.

“I did say that, didn’t I?”

Twisting a strand of my hair on her finger, “You must’ve read it somewhere.”

“Most probably some philosopher.”

“Maybe Schopenhauer the Misogynic.”

“Maybe Nietzsche. I’d expect such impertinence of him, too. Wouldn’t hurry to ascribe it, though, it was a while back.”

“Well, you know what they say. We forget names and titles but the content shapes us. Do you still believe in the thesis?”

I pondered and, for the first time ever since Tony had stood and left me crying at a corner table, I spoke with the ugliest of truths, fished right out of the pond of mud and shit deep down.

“Strongly.”

Ruxandra smiled. “Then hear and savor: You returned home different tonight. It must be the adrenaline Novac makes boil in your blood. You’re still the sweet Lolita with baby blue eyes and creamy caramel locks but somehow more . . . glamorous. Striking even.”

“But still Lolita,” I whispered, then changed the uncomfortable subject. “What’s up with George? Why has he been so restless without you today?”

Ruxandra dropped back on the bed, hand already reaching to turn off the reading lamp. I jumped on the mattress next to her and caught it.

“I’m listening.”

She rolled on her back, eyes to ceiling. When she spoke, she did so as if she were talking to herself. “All he wants to do is cling to my chest and snivel. The entire time. Among sobs he might repeat apologies, although I dread it when he does.”

“Apologies?”

“He feels guilty for having been violent with me up in . . . up there. He fears he might’ve done with me what he did with . . . that guy.”

A heavy silence fell over us. What was I supposed to tell her? Oh, honey, everything’s gonna be all right? Overused and arid of meaning. I let go of her hand and lay down by her side. She turned off the light, and for minutes both Ruxandra and I stared upwards in the darkness.

“You think he would’ve done it, Alice?”

The question I feared. I squeezed her hand, my voice faint. “Yes.”

Further moments of silence, even though we were both wide awake and haunted. I decided that, since we were speaking with the dirtiest of truths again, we might as well do it all the way. Plus, this particular truth might just have made her feel better.

“You would’ve done it, too, Rux.”

The sheets rustled as she rolled to face me. I didn’t do the same, but kept staring upwards, eyes darting all over the ceiling in search of words.

“The gas, it rose our adrenaline to a specific level that stripped us of everything to sheer instinct. We were . . .”

“Killing machines,” she breathed.

“Every one of us was ready, willing, if not eager to spill blood.”

“Not every one. You weren’t.”

I couldn’t keep back a bitter laugh. The memory of the peasant in rubber boots, his bad-smelling grin, the wrinkled, bloodshot eyes that my fingers had clawed into, all of it played before me like a movie on fast-forward.

“Oh, yes, Rux, me too.”

She squeezed my hand harder. “That was different. It was self defense.”

“You call it self defense when you don’t have a choice,” I snapped. “But I overpowered him, Rux. I scratched his eyes, he couldn’t have followed if I’d used the chance and run away. But no, I wanted to finish him.”

A while later I was calm enough to add, “Malice is in all of us, I guess. When stripped of the glazing of civilization and given the proper chemical input, we’re all just instinct. We’d never guess who we really are until we get down there, to the most base of levels.”

Another few moments of silence, grotesque memories sucking us both in. When Rux talked again, I heard her as if through static.

“I don’t know, but base isn’t how I felt.”

Now it was my turn to be curious and surprised. “How did you feel?”

“Superior.”

The mattress wobbled as she rolled on the other side. She cried herself to sleep that night. The bed was a vibrating cradle, one that cast me into dark thoughts in the silence. For hours I thought about what she meant by superior. How could anybody feel like that in the state we’d been? We’d been animals. Stronger than in our civilization-coated environment where most of us are lost to apathy, but still base.

Maybe indeed better than merely human in some sense. In the sense of tougher, maybe more efficient. All due to the gas that had turned our bodies into some kind of high-performance machines. I’d even recovered from multiple fractures and God knows what else before I’d woken up. The realization gave me the chills.

But if the gas alone could do that, resulting in blood tests that baffled doctors, then what had BioDhrome done a whole year with Damian Novac? I shuddered at the idea of him lying on a metal table, needles sticking out of his body, his eyes half-closed and mouth open, a tube snaking down his throat.

Then I thought about Giant. That he was so large he could’ve easily won Mr. Olympia could be ascribed to steroids, the brightness in his eyes to the gas, but combined? In the context of Damian’s and BioDhrome’s story?

With his breathtaking looks that bordered on inhuman Damian seemed to be of the same outlandish league as Giant, so the latter was surely one of BioDhrome’s experiments, too. An agent, Damian had said. Then it hit me.

A genetically modified organism.

I sat up in a flash. This is it! This was the result of everything linked together: BioDhrome conducting medical experiments, the R.I.S.’ chase for them, my Dad’s part in it as a geneticist, the weird Giant and the striking Damian, all of it led to one conclusion: BioDhrome agents were genetically engineered killers.

I felt a consuming urge to find out exactly what they’d done with Damian and what made him “unable to live among people”. “An Upgrade is as doomed as a target,” Dad’s words came to mind. Yes, that’s what they must be called, Damian and Giant. Upgrades. More than ‘normal men’. Superior, as Ruxandra had put it.

For hours I strolled in circles around the room. Barefoot and gnawing at my partly nailless fingers, there was little difference left between me and an asylum lunatic. When Ruxandra shook me awake from the chaise longue in the morning, my eyelids were swollen and heavy.

“What are you doing, curled up there?” she inquired, black hair messy, eyebrows raised, eyes bitter chocolate.

“I’ve got it, Rux. I’ve got it,” I grumbled.

***

To be continued

***

Enjoyed this? Don’t keep it to yourself. Share your opinion with the writer, publisher and readers, we’re happy to hear from you. Stay tuned for episode 12 next Friday or subscribe at anaatcalin@gmail.com to receive notification at each new post.

Love,

Ana

The Writing Process Blog Tour

DSC_0089

Writers – Typing. Plotting. Sweating. And more and more often, getting together and working in teams on projects that are meant to entertain, please and heal. We’re on such a project today – The Writing Process Blog Tour. Together with a great team of writers and authors we’ll be talking about how the writing process works. We’ll talk about style, as well as about the inspiration and especially transpiration involved in creating work readers can enjoy to the fullest – our greatest dream as authors.

The first thing I’d like to do is thank Luciana Cavallaro for allowing me to be a part of this. She posted on this topic last week, you can read about how the writing process works for her here and more on  her original writing based on alternate mythology (!) here. I’m a regular reader of her posts and recommend them with great trust. I’d like to point out that I have genuine and deep appreciation for her and the writers I’ll be introducing you to in the last part of this post. I love and respect each of them for different reasons, which I will share with you.

My role in this project is telling readers and fellow writers about the strings and mechanisms behind the writing process and how they work in my case. I could write volumes on this one, but I’ll do my best to keep it to the essentials. For details I’ll gladly be at your disposal, so feel free to leave comments and tell me what you think or what you’d like to take from my experience. Experience is only useful when shared.

What am I working on?

I’m currently deep in crafting Cries of the Blood, a sequel to The Blacksmith. This is the second book in a series, but I don’t intend to go about it the way I don’t appreciate myself as a reader – making one story too dependent on the following. Each of my books offers some kind of closure, e.g. if The Blacksmith centers on human potential – backed by scientific research – and romance, Cries of the Blood is focusing on past lives – again, it won’t fall short on plausible, scientific explanations – and, of course, romance. I’m posting chapters of the book each week on my blog, so readers and fellow writers are warmly invited to give their opinions, suggest turns and edit if they see fit. This helps keep the project interactive and allows for team work – yes, I’m a hardcore team player, so I’ll probably be stressing the importance of that every chance I get.

Cries of the Blood binds past, present and future in a story that unfolds in France. It’s sewn with chateaus, cathedrals and history, as well as forbidden passions and struggle. You can read the first hundred pages here.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not struggling to make my work different. Different is not the right word for me. What I can say is that I find my inspiration in heavy loads of research in psychology, medicine and history and I haven’t read anything quite similar to my work so far. The characters go from humans like you and me – called Rooties or base humans in the books – to becoming the best versions of themselves. I called them demiangels and demidemons. I daresay this is my signature. I’ve been striving to prove that humans have all necessary traits to become like their ideals – immortal and invincible – and I’ve been spending long nights with the glasses on the tip of my nose, deep in books, reports and dissertations. Having a medical doctor for a mother and a physicist for a father helped my cause. I’ve drawn a lot on their knowledge and experience when I went on searching for the perfect bind of life and death, love and lust, purpose and bliss. This may sound a bit crazy, but I do believe in what I write.

Why do I write what I do?

With all the drama going on in today’s world, with stress, desperation and crime sinking their claws ever deeper in the throat of humanity, with cancer taking lives like once the Influenza, I’m stubbornly seeking to unearth humans’ natural ability to heal themselves and attain bliss – not in the next world, but in this one. I think passing to the other side – death – should be a matter of choice and not the Sword of Damocles.

Just as importantly, seeing how couples who’ve lived a lifetime together give up on each other, failing to see in their partners the “god” or “goddess” they once fell for, gives me the chills. I believe that the passion which brings two people together – the crush, if you like, or even the limerence – is a powerful tool that helps maintain the “kick” throughout relationships, a tool people could learn how to use. I strongly believe that couples can love and passionately desire each other for millennia, like when they were still new for one another. Again, I do believe in what I write.

How does my writing process work?

This may sound weird but, trust me, it’s the truest thing I can say about writing: it’s like having a baby. First, it grows in you. I just knew I wanted to write – yes, wanted, not had to. See the difference? There are those who have to – they’re chosen. There are those who want to – they choose. I tried putting ideas on page for a year and a half. But research elbowed its way to the font of the line. It wasn’t yet the time for writing. And then the characters took shape in my sleep. I saw Aurelia Novac – a Romanian English teacher whose face was slowly being marred by wrinkles while her students blossomed into youth. She didn’t talk at first, but I had access to her feelings – she knew she would die an old woman, undesired by her husband or any other man, feeling that her life was wasted. She asked me to change her destiny. I had the power to, so I did. But when the water broke, so to say, it was harder than I’d expected. Some pages just flowed from my fingertips, others didn’t. I had to suffer, breathe and push like at childbirth. Sometimes I’d just brace myself and rock back and forth in my chair, eyes stuck to the computer screen. Mostly it was like watching a movie, yet somehow different: scenes took place in slow motion, as if the characters wanted to keep me guessing. They’d sometimes give me one line at a time. Soon, I began to write as if I was watching a series on TV. I look forward to writing each day. That’s why I initially decided to post the episodes from Cries of the Blood each week – for readers to enjoy reading each episode of their weekly fiction as I did writing each of them. Starting next week there will be two episodes, Wednesdays and Saturdays. So stay tuned at anaatcalin.com.

Research never stops and neither does the flow of ideas. The work isn’t done with the first draft either. Yet even though I aim to offer my readers the best experience possible, I still write for myself. The reason is simple: that’s the only way to keep it real and – returning to the second question “how is your work different” – here is yet another answer. I totally enjoy other styles and foreign stories, but focusing on “what sells” functions like a virus in the organism of writing. Nevertheless, I do keep an eye open for new trends and developments. I doubt too many people would enjoy Dante’s style these days – I know I wouldn’t. I know I’d want a book that will entertain me and feed me, not strain my nerves. As an author, I will offer no less than I expect either.

Next week:

Camelia Miron Skiba – is one of my favorite authors. I discovered Camelia during another blog tour (importance of team work!) and would like to emphasize this: if you want a professionally written, perfectly edited, captivating story that will make your week, she is your author. I’ve read a lot of her work and preferred her Hidden Heart and Born in Sin even to Coelho and E.L. James (yes, funny that I have both of those in one sentence but people are complex and have tastes to match). As I stated above, I have genuine appreciation and respect for the authors and bloggers I recommend.

Stephanie Hurt – Stephanie’s blog posts have inspired and given me strength in difficult moments. She is the one who made me feel I’m not alone out there with my troubles and that other writers share them too. Her posts are slick, to the point and empowering. She lives in Georgia, is a writer, an accountant and a mother. She is a well of motivation.

Joe K – Joe is fairly young but he’s impressed me with many things. He works with a team of other young writers and together they have created The Forum. Their work is manifold and rich, they write really well and I found I have a lot to learn from them – again, binding past, present and future. Keeping an eye on their dynamic project often replaces New York Times at morning coffee.

Stay tuned for their posts next week, the 18th of November 2013. I’m sure they’ll be a pleasure to read.