From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Conversation with a Fellow Blogger.

Hello readers, as I’m sure some of you have seen I have a page inviting other bloggers, writers, producers or anyone who has something to say or promote to be a guest on my blog.

Today we’re going to spend some time talking to my dear friend Amani Darby. She is my principle partner in crime, my 1st editor, & my literary rival. We’ve known each other for over 10 years and her opinion where my writing is concerned is paramount. I love her writing and she has agreed to let me post a piece of her work here and I get to pick the story!

So let’s hear what Amani’s got to say…

What do you think makes a good story?

I think a good story is something that pulls you out of the here and now and suspends you in someone else reality and a great story makes you want to say in that reality.

How much reality goes into your characters, are they your alter ego’s, based on people you know or completely made up?

I think they are little of both of being made up and based on other people. Because of the way that I write they come to me; a situation comes to me or a dialog comes to me, and as I flush the person out memories of how someone responded to a situation or I how responded to a situation in my life that’s what helps bldg the person. It’s like being born, you’re not a complete person at anytime in your life, and I think that when I write neither are the people I write about.

What type of genre do you write in and why?

I have no fucking clue!

Do you work from an outline, or do you just start writing and see where you end up?

I just start writing usually from a dream. That kinda makes me feel asinine…its really hard to answer these types of questions with out saying you don’t write from an outline, I think what I like most about the way I write its visceral, it’s vivid because my ideas do come from a dreams.

Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?

I don’t think I draw a line although I have noticed that our writing assignment, that you didn’t do by the way, grab # 1 was my 1st story that had real cussing in it, even my son/editor asked me why is she was talking like that. I think there’s cussing in that piece because it’s so internal.

Besides writing you’re also an editor, which do you enjoy more writing or editing and why?

I think they are completely two different beast and I cannot say that I enjoy one more than the other. It’s like asking which of your kids is your favorite and that’s impossible to answer because your kids are little pieces of you.

Despite the fact that I have read your short stories and poetry you insist that you are not a writer…why do you say that?

I hate you for this question. I think I feel that way because everything thing you’ve read of mine and out of every piece of my work we’ve talked about there are only two of them that are finished and one is a poem…I think I am still in the birthing process.

In closing is there anything else you would like my visitors to know?

Understand that my piece are always in process and my reality is just that my reality, if that offends you please seek professional help.

As promised I'm now going to post one of my favorite pieces from Amani, it's a newer one and it was assigned to us through our writing group. It doesn't have a title yet, she just posted it under the name of the's called Grab Bag # 2. It was a 15 minute timed drill, the 1st sentence had to be There was no time for sleep now.... and the story had to use the words vision, memory, gifts, and beckoning.

The following story and others from Amani can be found on her blog @
There was no time for sleep now that the ritual place and time had been decided. Now we must prepare since the beginning of memory for the tribe this ritual had been performed by the High Priestess and her children but with the flash flood only two months ago our new High Priestess would have to have a helper that was me.

I had worked for the last Priestess and her family and since I had not been in her house that night I was assigned to help the new Priestess. What no one in the tribe was aware of was that I was a Priestess in my own right a Priestess of Marahat I had communed with Marahat and asked for the chance to be the new Priestess and this was the village’s interpretation of that wish.

My visions were strong and I knew that Mallaleha would soon be just another gift for the Gods. As the sun rose on the western horizon I saw the line of villagers bearing gifts for the ritual in two days time. Mallaleha appeared in the doorway beckoning me inside the temple to begin the preparations. I felt a small twinge of guilt as I knew in two days time she would cease to exist and then my family line would hold the most powerful spot in the village.

My children hidden in the swamps and high lands could come down and enjoy life as I wrote and dictated the rituals and spirituality of the tribe. What power what justice oh what vengeance would I hold in the palm of my deformed hand. What no one seemed to understand was that our deformity is what caused us to see the visions of the gods and was the only reason one of us always served the High Priestess without us she would be a shame a lie.

Now it was time for one of us to hold the position. It was our birthright, our gift to make up for the imperfection the Gods had given us and one I was fully prepared to kill for.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

DVD Pick of the Week…a month in review.

Made in Hong Kong.

Believe it or not my best friend Star and I spent our beautiful sunny Seattle days last year indoors watching movies imported from Asia. We watched “Old Boy” 5 Stars, “Cello” 5 Stars, “No Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” 5 Stars, “Time” 5 Stars, “A Tale of Two Sisters” 5 Stars…way too many to list here and by far our favorite was a movie called “The Curse of the Golden Flower” 5 Stars.

We were dazzled by the sheer beauty of the film and scandalized by it’s deep and complex plot. We both thought that this would be the be all end all of modern Chinese cinema, but then comes along a little movie called “The Legend of the Black Scorpion” This 2006 Huayi Brothers rendition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet was nominated for seven, count 'em seven Hong Hong Film Awards and there are no words that I can think of to describe its perfection.
5 Stars

Seen it all before.

I can handle indie films with poor lighting and strange “artistic” camera angles. I don’t need an all-star cast, outstanding special effect, or a million dollar production movie to be entertained.

However if I have to watch one more zombie movie with bad acting, a non-existing plot line, and a predictable ending I am going to shoot someone in the face.

Wolf Wolff’s 2008 Virus Undead (The Beast Within) not only gets Zero Stars but two thumbs down as well.

I’m not a fan of whodunits but this little gem made a lair outta me!

M. Brian King’s 2009 Night Train, not to be confused with Clive Barker’s 2009 The Midnight Meat Train (we’ll talk about that later) is super fun to watch because your not sure which genre your watching and your not even sure what year it is. A man boards a train, and it's apparent that his sick because he’s popping pills like its M&M’s, and another passenger gives him alcohol, and dun dun dun! He dies.

The man who gave him vodka opens the box the dead man is holding and sees diamonds inside. He convinces the other passenger in the car and the conductor to throw the body out of the train so they can keep & split the jewels. We soon find out that every person on that train and even the little Pomeranian have something to do with that damn box. We spend the next very stressful 91 minutes trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and what the hell is inside that box!

5 Stars.

No not the one from the Twilight saga…the other one.

In 2004 Mark Edward Robison released a film called Breaking Dawn. We are introduced to a young medical student who is assigned to psychiatric patient Don Wake as her final exam. At 1st she cannot get through to her patient because he would not speak to her, but when he finally starts talking her tells her about a man named Malachi who is watching them and warns her not to drink the coffee.

She dismisses his claims as delusions until she becomes aware of a man following her, complete strangers start to come up to her to warn her about Malachi, and then she shares his paranoia and stops drinking the coffee. Half way through the movie you can kinda see the ending coming but all and all it’s a decent little indie film that’s worth watching.

3 ½ Stars out of 5

Monday, June 21, 2010

Seattle Crypticon 2010

Hello you guys =D Well as you know I spent my Seattle weekend at Crypticon. I met other authors, film producers, star-gazed at celebrities, ran from zombies bought some jewelry, ate too much, saw a couple of screenings for movies and had a rip-roaring good time. Instead of posting a zillion pix, I've compiled my favorites and made a little video...

I would have had a gazillion more kick ass pix but my stupid battery died...grrr...enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Taking time to give back…

To those of you who know me personally, know I think nothing when it comes to giving back to my community.

To those of you who do not know me, I own and operate a company called Seattle Crystal Concierge and thru my company I donate heavily to The Girl Scouts, The Susan G. Komen for the cure, Girls Inc, UNIFEM, local domestic violence shelters in the Seattle area and Operation Homefront.

I just got home and recv’d an email from a client telling me about an organization called “Girls Right Now” she was explaining in her email that because I tend to help organizations geared towards girls and women thru Seattle Crystal Concierge that now I might be able help girls as a writer.

This is kinda big deal. From the very beginning I’ve always, always, always written about and will continue to write within the horror and sci-fi genres. When I was just a little girl everything I read was written by a white male, before I started my business and I was working on ships and as a diesel mechanic I was surrounded by white males…I really didn’t know anything else.

The book that had the most profound effect on me was a little book called Fledgling written by an author you may have heard of named Octavia E. Butler and I didn’t read that book until I was in my late 20’s. It was the 1st time I’d ever read a story where the main character looked like me, who talked like me and the author looked like me and the 1st female writer that wrote like me. (Calm down, my delusions of grandeur is not so far off the Richter scale that I believe that I’m as a phenomenal writer as Octavia Butler. My point is we both write in the same genre)

Before I read Fledgling I was always editing The Darkness to what I thought would be a good fit for “the mainstream readership” i.e. white male readership, but when I was finished I found other writers like me authors like Tananarive Due, L.A. Banks, and and then I found a copy of Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora on a Seattle Public Metro Bus and nearly lost my mind…it was like finding the Holy Grail!

I undid the edits I had made. It was no secret that both my main characters in The Darkness are women…what I was editing was that both of them are black. I wrote The Dakness they way I wanted to with characters who look like me...and now I'm being published.

Do I still read books from white males...Heck yeah I do! Stephen King, and Dean Koontz are still the love of my reading life, but I have to admit I've been flirting with the books by Scott Sigler and one way or another I'm getting Patricia Briggs' autograph...but being true to myself and my writing was the best thing I've ever done.

I’m going to do what ever I can to support and bring awareness to Girls Wright Now, I have a photo shoot and an interview that will be taped schl’d for next month, and I’ll be wearing a Girls Write Now t-shirt for both events, there is a link to their site from my blog…and I’ll be donating $1.00 from my 1st 100 book sales to Girls Write Now.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Plumes of Arrogance.

Before I even knew that The Darkness would be published I always told my family and friends that if I ever did become published that would be getting a tattoo of an ink bottle and quill on the inside of my right forearm because I am right handed.

Over the years I have been collecting pix of feather quills, flipping through tattoo magazines for other ink and quill tattoo’s and putting together a general idea of what I wanted my tattoo to look like…and for the most part it was going to look like the everyday glamorous quill’s like the one on the right hand side of this blog under “tools of the trade”

Though I didn’t know it at the time, my idea’s of my feather quill’s began to change when I wrote and posted a piece entitled “Colors part 2” (you can find it under the January archive) along with a comment by an anonymous poster, which lead me to put up the picture of the peacock in dedication to the hateful comments that anonymous left.

So when the time came around to get the tattoo to commemorate my first book and even though the feather of geese are traditionally used for the ink and quill I began to look at a different bird for the plumes of my pen…

Like I said, keep an eye on me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My work had been reviewed and judged and...

The Ruins has earned a runner up placement in Crypticon Seattle's 2010 writing contest!

Whoo Hoo!

I feel really good about this placement because this is what I wanted. I'm not going to lie to you and say I didn't want to win, of course I did, that's why people enter contest in the 1st place, but the recognition of a placement feels just as good.

Here is The Ruins for you to enjoyment. The Ruins will also be included in my short story collect "...And They All Lived Happily Ever After."


It sounded like a cannon. Not like the whisper of 16th century artillery, its ear-piercing scream was like the roar of the Mark 7 16inch guns blasted from the bowels of an Iowan class battleship. The recoil from the .50 caliber was so powerful that the 2nd shot propelled me a full foot and a half, and I hit so hard against the wall I was afraid I was going to black out. I remained standing and snarled victoriously at my archenemy lying at my feet.

I saw my husband but couldn’t hear him, as I was still temporarily deaf. He quickly glanced me over from head to foot, at the gun in my hand and then at the floor. He looked at me slowly this time checking to see if I had been hurt. I watched him halt the men from entering into our bath suite, his guards were only a fraction of a second slower than my husband in coming to my aid. He assured them that everything was ok before he closed the door. The sound was coming back to my ears, but for now all I could hear was ringing.

“I’m tired of these wild accusations.” I screamed that declaration I know that I did because I felt it in my chest but my hearing still betrayed me. Fahyim looked down at the scale, which was now in a thousand smoldering pieces and smiled.

“That brutal instrument is the creation of the Devil.” I heard myself that time but I sounded far away.

Nothing said I love you more than the way my husband looked at me now. He told me all the time in all seven languages that he spoke how much he loved me, but it was this look that hammered it home.

I meet him in France. On our 1st date he flew me to have lunch in a city with a stunning view of the Arabian Sea, he proposed in Germany and now we spent six months living in the US and six months in Iran. I married into a very affluent and powerful family; in antiquity his would have been a royal one.

I had been engaged in trench warfare with that damn scale since the birth of our twins two years ago and I was losing ground with frightening speed. His smile melted me. He glided across the mosaic tiles with the grace of a dancer and the way he was looking at me then let me know he didn’t mind the extra.

We fell asleep on the bathroom floor but I woke up in bed. I was hot and sticky and wishing I was still on the cool bathroom floor. Spending the summer months in Iran was like vacationing in the fourth level of Hell. It was only 11 in the morning and already 93 degrees.

I was only out of the shower for five minutes before I started sweating again. I followed my children’s laughter into the kitchen. Sameer and Sameera where playing and chasing their cousins who were 4 and 6 around and the nanny and the poor girl was near

tears. They we’re all going to the zoo today and in their excitement lunch was all but ignored.

After getting the children fed and out the door I went to check on the renovations. The East wing of our palace-sized home had been unused for almost 30 years and the space I was given to remodel was a 27,000 square foot space with a tile and glass dome top – I was having it turned into my own private indoor rain forest.

The foundation and been dug up to accommodate my heated pool that snaked around my oasis like the Amazon River. My husband imported fragrant tress from Asia and Africa that were now tall enough to filter the sun. Tropical birds and butterflies were brought from Malaysia and Peru and last week I saw a python.

The groundskeeper, who was hired to stay on top of the butterfly and frog population, assured me that he was harmless and explained that he was imported to feed on the frogs and that he shouldn’t grow larger than 12 feet or so.

Last year I saw in the distance what I believed was a leopard cub. It scared the shit out of me and I fled into the arms of Fayhim, who was just as startled as I was by the sighting. Later that day we found out that the jungle cat was just an Ashera, a large exotic house cat that had cost $20,000.00 courtesy of the emissary of evil – my mother-in-law.

Both cats had been declawed for my safety, but that idea was not my mother-in-law’s favorite.

I was in my 7th year of remodeling and “The Garden” was becoming one of my favorite places in the world to visit. No matter how many times a day I came down here I always heard and saw something different. Small rodents and lizards (some large one’s too) had been imported so the cats would have something to hunt and a new species of bird was discovered in my forest.

The team of veterinarians we hired who specialized in tropical animals was growing concerned over the results of recent blood test due to the fact that the animals were drinking what was essentially swimming pool water. We hired water chemists who assured us that he could control the bacteria levels while reducing the amount of chemicals that were use to keep my river clean.

My current project besides converting my pool into a quasi-fresh drinking water source while keeping it save for my children and I to swim in was incorporating two “natural” springs. One pool was to resemble the fresh water of a river and the other, the Jacuzzi, would be the “hot” spring.

I could hear the call of the birds but I couldn’t see them from the tops of their canopy. I felt like I was being stalked and I probably was...fucking cats.

I was inspecting the site where the fresh water pool was to be installed when my foot was tangled in a thick vine. I tried to yank free but I fell and as I was lying there trying to catch my breath, I felt the ground beneath me shift. I tried to get up but before I could I fell again, this time 30 feet beneath the foundation of my home.

I don’t know how long I was unconscious; when I woke up I realized that my left leg, right wrist, my jaw and maybe a rib or two had been broken. As I lay looking up at the shaft of light, jagged floor boards and pebbles of dirt that slid down the hole I left I did the best I could to stay calm and breath.

The worst-case scenario would be that I would spend the night here and would be found by the groundskeeper when he did his morning rounds. I drifted in and out of sleep, when I woke up again it was still daylight. My jaw didn’t hurt as bad and neither did my ribs. I was able to drag myself up to a sitting position and get a better look at the cavernous void that I had fallen into.

If I had of landed just a foot to the left I would have kept falling. I gingerly peeked over the cliff that I was perched on and saw nothing but blackness. There was a cool upward draft of air and I could hear running water. There was a wall thrusting itself upward from the abyss and the pillars that crowned it stopped just a few feet from the foundation of my home. The temple wall was constructed of large stones that had been cut and placed on top of each other and I could see images carved within the wall.

As I studied the strange symbols that had been chiseled in the rock I wondered what message the ancient people who worshiped here were trying to convey when I saw an image that made my blood freeze in my veins. Shaped within this stone that had been underground for God only knows how long were the faces of my children. I cried out and closed my eyes, opening them slowly to see if what I saw would still be there. It was my two children.

The light pouring in from above flickered and when I looked up I saw a silhouette of a head, and then another, and another. The reflection in their eyes and four legs that helped their descent served to alert me that I was now prey. I took advantage of their slow and cautious decline and stood up. I used the pain that shot through my body like a lighting bolt as fuel and dragged myself away from the light. It took only 25 steps to plunge me into complete blackness and in 15 more I fell the distance that I missed the 1st time.


Droplets of water woke me up and as I opened my eyes, I could see my surroundings. Instead of being enclosed in darkness I was bathed in muted shades of grayness and I prayed that this source of light meant that there was another way out.

I sat up gingerly and noticed that I had fallen down a flight of stairs. The floor I was sitting on was inlayed with rows of mosaic stone rugs.

I rose slowly but still managed to stand fast enough for me to slam my head into a large stone ice crystal that was hanging from the caves ceiling. My vision exploded with stars and blood poured from my nose as I stood swaying waiting for the pain to subside before dragging myself deeper into the cave following the sound of the water.

The tiled rugs I was walking on became littered with sand, the sand turned into loose pebbles before I found myself stumbling over large unstable rocks. I closed my eyes against the pain and lost my footing, I plunged headlong down a narrow ravine hitting both sides of the jagged wall on my way down.

My broken leg became a compound fracture. I heard the fluttering of winged creatures taking flight in the background of my screams along with the sounds of hunting cats and was bombarded with the of falling rocks the size of grapefruits that had shifted in response to the movements of the predators above.

I was safe from the cats for now because the only way they could have come down to where I lay broken would have been to jump. However the distance was too great for even an animal granted with nine lives to attempt.

I watched the cats peering down at their next meal as my vision threatened to abandon me. What jarred me back to consciousness was the sound I heard from behind me.

I sat up fast dragging myself from the water’s edge as quickly as my battered body would allow and as I did so I saw the tail fin of something large and prehistoric plunge back beneath the liquid depths. I sat trembling against the rough and ridged wall of the cavern. I took off my shirt and wrapped it around the gaping hole in my shattered leg the best I could with just one hand. With my latest fall my broken wrist was now dangling from my arm by just a few tendons. I threaded my arm through my bra strap for support, closed my eyes and tried to think while desperately trying to ignore the splashing of water.

I opened my eyes and waited for them to adjust to the light, which was brighter than the grey light from above. The first thing I noticed on the shore of the other side of the bay was another temple. This one was much smaller than the one I encountered when I first fell beneath the earth but in terms of size it looked like a two-story house that would have comfortably accommodated a family of six.

There were stairs leading to the crest of the temple from both sides where the crumbling remains of two thrones sat, both equal in size, and between them was a large pit.

I was hoping it was used to contain flames to keep the royal one’s warm but somehow I knew that wasn’t its intended purpose.

The carvings on the temple and the wall behind it resembled the remains of Persepolis. In the center of the wall behind the temple was a stone effigy of a Goddess and she dwarfed the statue of Emperor Shapur the 1st who stood guard before the Shapur Cave. The deity, carved from rock, was illuminated from something that was glowing behind her, which gave the effect that she had descended to earth in gold rays of light.

The light reflecting off the moving water that bounced off the walls, the formations dripping from the caves ceiling, and the pillars thrusting out of the water made the inside of the cave beautiful; and the Goddess, her temple and carving made this underground space seem sacred.

I pulled myself deeper within the cave so that I could see around the temple in front of me because I wanted to see where the brighter light was coming from. The journey of six feet was long and laborious, an ambitious feat for someone in my condition.

I reached the end of my excruciating expedition just to learn that the fruit of my labors would be paid with cruelty and despair.

The Goddess wasn’t alone standing on each side of her were stone replica’s of my children that seemed to have had been carved before the beginning of time.

I looked up at the Goddess who seemed to be staring down at me with malevolence, with tears filling my eyes I screamed at the Goddess and the sound that came from the depths of my soul was guttural and inhuman.

I woke to the rustling sounds of leathery wings and lay in petrified terror as a thousand large bats flew past me, over the head of the Goddess that stood over my children and into the twilight beyond. The passage they flew through looked like a mining shaft and I knew the light coming from the other end of that tunnel was from the moon. If the bats could use that tunnel get out meant it I could use it too, however all I had to do was swim across to get there.

There were only two problems with my exit strategy. The first one being, I couldn’t walk let alone swim and secondly, and more importantly, there was something in the water. Something big.
I felt a draft that was blowing on me from behind. I flipped myself over on to my back and propped myself up on my elbow to see where the air was coming from and saw a passageway that I hadn’t seen earlier when I was crawling to this spot where I could see behind the temple.

I was exhausted, confused, and riddled with pain. I closed my eyes and let the cool air caress my face. I lay back down, and the drops from my tears pooled in my ears. I just wanted to go sleep but the cool air turned cold and I began to shiver. The next sound I became aware of was a waterfall of pebbles. I sat back up and noticed wisps of dust and cascading stones coming from the opening of the smaller cave in front of me. Then I heard a feral sound, the chirping and chattering of felines.


The scheming cats had found another way down. I gave these animals a Garden of Eden they were fed well and protected. The best vets money could buy tended to their medical needs and I was spending $6,000 a month to ensure they had fresh drinking water…and now here they were hunting me.

I pushed away from the portal in the rock wall. As the head of the first animal appeared my arm, head and neck dipped into the freezing water. The lead hunter was completely out of the opening and two others weren’t far behind.

With a large underwater stroke I propelled my entire body silently into the water and arched my back to stay afloat disturbing as little water as possible not wanting to

attract the attention of its occupants. The cat on the shore hissed and prepared to lunge. As the cat took flight something brushed across my back. The timing was perfect and the huntress splashed down into the water to my left and came up pissed.

The distance between us was just a hairs breath, I tried to push away from her but my overhead stroke was quickly converted to a protective defense shield. Her razor-sharp claws sliced my forearm all the way down to my elbow. Now I was just as mad as she was. I swung at her ripping away the flesh across my knuckles on her teeth then pushed her head beneath the water and she shredded away the meat on my arm in retaliation.

As another cat was sailing through the air to her aid, a hooked tentacle, the blue color of a healing bruise, burst from the water with the same fear inspiring awe and splendor as a missile being shot from the silos of a submerged submarine and wrapped itself around the cat’s middle.

The pride of large house cats on the water banks displayed their outrage with arched backs, flattened ears, and spits and hisses. Their reverberated snarls echoing of the cave walls sounded like the roars of lions.

Another cat took flight but this time I was not the quarry, it was the beast rising from the depths of the water. The leviathan had the head of an eel; the fangs thrusting out from its bottom jaw and to be at least a foot and in its mouth were rows and rows of knife

sharp teeth. Two more tentacles rose above the water; the cat that had pounced was now locked within its jaws.

I wrenched my arm free from my bra strap, rolled over and swam. My only goal, my only hope, was that I would have enough strength, enough speed to swim the distance of an Olympic swimming pool to get to the shores of the temple.

I ignored the carnage I was hearing behind me and swam. I thought of Johnson and Johnson No More Tears scent of my babies’ hair and swam. I thought of the holes in the knees of Sameer’s tuff skin jeans and swam. I ignored the cramp in my side and swam. I thought of the drawer full of Sameera’s barrettes, ribbons, and hair combs and swam. I ignored the burning in my lungs and swam. I remembered the last night I’d spent with my husband on our bathroom floor, I remembered the sounds of laughter from my babies and swam.

I felt new pain explode in my arm, as it slammed down hard on rock. I climbed out of the water on my elbows like a navy seal sneaking onto the beaches on enemy lands. I swung my bum leg out of the water, brought my arms against my chest and rolled my self further away from the water as if I was on fire. I had gained so much momentum that I crashed against the base of a staircase.

The sea monster rose out of the water at a frighten height. I was not safe from where I was and I wouldn’t be able to get out of the way in time. The monster’s attention was suddenly at the Goddess as if it she had called to it. The beast seemed to flinch and bow in submission before sinking back beneath the water seeming to never take its eyes off her as he did so.


I don’t know how I got there but I found myself lying at the feet of the Goddess. Rows of concrete bells draped her ankles and her toes were jeweled with rings. The purple light of the rising sun woke me and cool morning dew wrapped me in a damp fog.

My head weighed a thousand pounds; I hurt in places I didn’t even know existed. I could not go on. I knew that Fayhim would be looking for me, so I just thought I’d rest here until he found me. I just needed a little more sleep.

How long I slept there was no way of knowing but I woke up in a drowsy cloud of haziness, delusion and pain. Mommy. Can you hear a mirage? Mommy? That was just wishful thinking or a cruel dream. Either way that wasn’t Sameera’s voice? I was lost beneath the earth. God alone knows how far I had wandered from home. If anyone would be calling me it would a member of the search party, an adult, using my 1st name. Fayhim would never bring a child down into this earthbound hell, especially our own.

Mommy! That was my daughter’s voice and it was full of tears and terror. Sameera! My voice held more strength than my body and just screaming her name pushed me towards blackness. But hearing both my children crying out to me through their tears gave me the strength to call upon the Goddesses from my culture to deal with the one who stood above me. I called to Leza the West African Goddess of Protection, and to Sekhmet the Egyptian Goddess of War and Destruction.

As I pulled myself up through the mining shaft, the cries of my babies were being muted by the sounds of drums, dafs, and cymbals. The daf, a drum made with metal rings attached to the inside of the drums frame, was mainly used in religious ceremonies, hearing it now drowning out the cries of my children and being in the presence of this Goddess made my blood freeze.

My crawl was so slow it was more like a slither. By the time I inched my way to the sounds of the ritual music and within view of the percussionist who beat them I could see the entrance to the cave, which was probably still a half a mile away; the indigo sky was splashed with bluish grays, magenta and the secondary colors of orange and purple; and four of my fingernails had been ripped away.

Though mere seconds before I was a half a heartbeat away from death what I was seeing now filled me with rage and gave me the strength to stand up. The space I was standing in was filled with stone pillars and another temple, which reminded me of the

one of the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram, but seemed somehow older. The only Goddess present was a replica of the one below.

The Goddess that was carved into an arch on the side of the temple, and tied to three of the four pillars of the shrine were both my crying children and Fayhim, and he couldn’t have looked any prouder. Resting upon the pillars that my family was tied to was a sacrificial mound and bound upon it was our screaming nanny and she was struggling, against all hope, against her restraints.

“The prophecy shall now be fulfilled.” I didn’t even see my mother-in-law until I heard her. The drummers reduced their banging to soft taps, so that the monstrous atrocious woman, who kidnapped and imprisoned my family and was now offering them up to some ancient Goddess, could be heard.

She handed me a ceremonial knife that was so old that at first I thought the blade was stone. After a longer look I realized it was oxidized copper the flaking and green color so deep it was as if the copper had returned to its natural state. The hilt of the long blade was the face of the Goddess, her headdress colored stones and jewels.

My mother-in-law gently rubbed the side of my face and called me by another name, “You’ve never come this far before, this time you must do what must me done.”

I looked at my bounded and gagged husband, listened to the cries of my children and watched the nanny scream and struggle against her restraints.

I looked back at my mother-in-law who smiled encouragingly at me. I plunged the knife into her neck, the blade came out on the other side just above her shoulder. The look she gave me was a forgiving one as she slid off the blade and collapsed onto the floor. I hobbled over to my husband and removed his gag; all I needed was to hear his voice.

“Its ok,” he said calling me by the name his mother had used to address me. “I’ll wait for you, I’ve always waited for you.” He told me he loved me in his native tongue while I told him I didn’t understand.
“I loved you before Cain was born and I will love you until the end of time. Don’t worry; I’ll wait for you, in Paris like always. This is the farthest you’ve ever come, and we’ll make it next time I’m sure.”

I had gotten him untied and he was holding my face within his strong hands. I turned to look at Sameera as she screamed Mommy just in time to watch my child materialized into smoke. Fayhim was holding me tight, kissing me and telling me that it was ok, that he would be waiting for me. I heard my son screaming out to me but Fayhim blocked him from view, when I heard him no more I knew he too was gone.

There was nothing left in me, I was hysterical and demanding to know what was happening. My husband soothed and calmed me with just his touch and presence. He smiled at me he kissed first my right eye, my left and then my lips. “I’ll see you in Paris.” He faded from my view, my grasps as I begged him not to leave me, and within moments he was gone.

Sitting alone within the temple walls with no one with me but my slain mother-in-law and my dead nanny, but how she died I couldn’t tell. I looked up again at the Goddess who had destroyed my family and suddenly couldn’t feel my heartbeat. Looking up at the Goddess was like looking into a mirror; the Goddess I was looking at was me. My screams took the very last of what I had and I collapsed near death, hoping for death that did not come.

I was also denied sleep and I lay on the cool floor all night trying to understand what it was that my husband and mother-in-law had said to me, what they saw in me – what I saw in myself when I looked into the face of the stone carving; while trying to understand what it was I must do the next time I got here and wondering how many times I had failed before. Finally sleep was granted.

I woke to the rustling sounds of leathery wings and lay in petrified terror as a thousand large bats flew past me, returning down to the refuge of darkness from which they came. The next sound I began aware of was footsteps and I was relieved when I

realized that they belonged to the countries authorities and the guards that had been employed to protect my husband’s family.

But I quickly became mortified as I knew the only thing they would see was my murdered mother-in-law, my dead nanny strapped to a sacrificial alter, a nasty looking weapon that my prints would be found on, and at the realization that nothing I would say would make any sense.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My next project

In the next month or so I am going to be putting together a collection of my short 1st anthology =D Here's a sneak peek...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My 1st Interview...(sort of)

It seems like all of sudden people are starting to ask me about The Darkness. From people I interact in person, my face book and my myspace "friends" and from emails sent by complete strangers people seem to what to know I am. A few months ago my BFF "interviewed me" about The Darkness and I thought it would be a good idea to add others peoples questions to the ones she asked and post them here in my 1st unofficial interview. Here Goes:

What made you want to write science fiction?

Well it’s the way I like to be entertained. I’m a big fan of the idea of forbidden knowledge, conspiracy theories, government cover-ups, and secret societies.
I rarely missed an episode of the X-files or Millennium. My own worst enemy was right up my alley and now I’m watching Fringe both on DVD and online…I can’t get enough of it; and every book I pick up has some type of monster in it.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve always been able to tell a really good story. I asked my mom if she could remember when I first started telling stories and she said, “Yes I remember…it was from the moment you learned how to tell a lie.”

My mom said I got in trouble for whatever it was I was lying about but not necessarily the lie because they were always so imaginative and creative. She says that sometimes I would create a whole cast of accomplices even if I was the only person at the “crime scene.”

My brother once found a play that I had written for our father when I was very young. It was only three acts but what was so crazy was that it had instructions for the lighting and stage crews.

I was in jr. high when I started transferring my oral stories to paper and I have been writing them down since.

What is your writing method?

I write like a raving lunatic! I was once told that the way that I write is raw and undisciplined and I think he said that because I’ve never taken any type of writing classes.

He was reviewing a chapter of The Darkness and three pages consisted of one giant run on sentence. My written grammar is atrocious and my spelling is even worse but I don’t care because I know what I’m trying to say; and besides that why God created editors!

I just write and I write on everything. I have several note pads full of what appears to be the ramblings of a madman, reams of scratch paper full cultural proverbs, references to the Bible & Koran and random quotes; and my research consist of sticky notes that are plastered everywhere…and once I wrote on my forearm while I was driving on the freeway because I didn’t want to lose an idea.

What gives you inspiration for your stories, what sparks the different characters, and how do you intertwine them?

The inspiration for my stories comes from everywhere: the things that I am afraid of, a partial conversation I hear as I walk through a crowed room; the crazy, wonderful, unexplainable, things that little kids say and do, the crazy, horrible, inexcusable, things that we do to each other as adults and the random acts of heroism and kindness of strangers – and of course Monsters, Anti-hero’s and Villains (oh my!)

What sparks my characters are the everyday people I grew up around and surround myself with, which for the most part are women. I got an email asking if I was a feminist and though I believe in equality among the sexes I hardly qualify as an activist. I grew up in a matriarchal household; most of my friends did too.
Growing up watching the incredible things that my mom did to ensure we were taken care of; and watching the way her and her friends took care of each other and all of us is the bases on which my character development comes from and every story I write has an incredibility strong woman at its foundation.

I’m not sure I would use the word intertwine, collide is more like it and they do so with such violence you can actually hear it.

Who influenced your writing?

I think I’m more influenced by concepts and “What if” questions rather than other authors; however when you read my work there is no denying who my literary hero’s are and who I try to emulate: Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz, Octavia Butler, Michael Crichton and Robin Cook.

Why is Adam not trying to understand his "mother" the Dr.? It seems he would have many questions for her?

He’s angry. He does have a lot of questions but the more he thinks about it the more it upsets him.

It’s because Adam doesn’t ask the right questions or know the whole story is why you start to get that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s like seeing there is going to be a train wreck but knowing there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

Does Adam know that his power does not simply come from Inanna?

Actually I don’t think that he does. Adam was only four years old when Inanna rescued him. His earliest memories are of her alter room, reading from her spell books and studying in her library.

Inanna and Myrddin taught him how to use and control the results of his genetic alterations through their skill and knowledge of witchcraft and sorcery; and though Adam uses both his powers from his genetic engineering and his powers from witchcraft he doesn’t seem to differentiate between which war chest he gets his armory from.

Is he going to ever leave the "dark side"?

“If you only knew the powaaah of the Dark Side” I’m sorry, that’s a pretty bad impression of James Earl Jones. Actually Adam quotes Darth Vader in The Darkness, he says the exact same thing but his impression is much better than mine. So will Adam leave the dark side…we’ll just have to say a prayer keep our fingers crossed and wait and see.

Was it Inanna’s goal to cause Adam to be so powerful, and vindictive?

Wow, that’s a really good question and one I haven’t really thought about in that way. Gosh, I don’t think so. Inanna loves Adam and they are extremely close.

Anyone who knows these two would never believe that Inanna did not give birth to Adam, no mother wants anything bad to happen to their kids; and like wise no mother would want to knowingly raise a child like David Seltzer’s Damien – but with that being said Adam was already extremely powerful due to his genetic engineering and Inanna increased his power by teaching him witchcraft; but you can only teach someone what you know. Because Inanna is so powerful and vindictive it was inevitable that her son would be too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

…We are not looking for other genres of speculative fiction and we are not looking for…

So I come across a writing contest that’s right up my alley and I get all fired up about. So I dig up a story that I wanted to extend it was one of the ones I did as a writing prompt.

I read and re-read the contest entry rules and the extended The Ruins to the meet the word count requirements and had a blast while doing so. Once that was done I had three people read it and I read it out loud to two others to insure that I wouldn’t make an ass out of my self in front of a panel of judges (well not really in front of, but you get the picture.)

I read and re-read the contest entry rules. Changes were made, and I was stoked! I scoured the Internet on the correct way to submit to a contest and learned all the mistakes I’ve made in the past when submitting entries (D'oh!)

So I reformatted my mini-manuscript. I read and re-read the contest entry rules. I called my BFF and read The Ruins one more time out loud. The phone call ended in elation because we were both sure that I had written, at the very least, an award wining runner-up story!

I read and re-read the contest entry rules. I called my BFF to ask if I should include something in the body of my email, or just send it off. She suggested that I include a short bio and the cover letter in the body of the email. Sweet.

I read and reread the contest entry rules. I took a deep breath, ran spell check on the email I had just composed, attached my story, took another deep breath, and clicked send. It was 3am so I went to bed.

I was in a super good mood when I woke up, knowing that I The Ruins was going to be at the top of the pile. I read and reread the contest entry rules…we are not looking for other genres of speculative fiction and we are not looking for…

Uh Oh.

I googled the definition “speculative fiction.” I binged the term “speculative fiction.” I re-read The Ruins. I read and re-read the contest entry rules and burst into tears. I think The Ruins falls under the "other genres" of speculative fiction.

I called my BFF we googled speculative fiction together…she did what she could to try and reassure me. I was beside myself because I knew I'm not going to place in this contest. Not because I didn't write a good story, I did, however I wrote a good story outside the contest guidelines (queue the tears and violins)

I have no idea what genre I write in. I thought The Darkness was a horror novel, but I was told by a close friend of mine that The Darkness isn’t scary but it’s suspenseful another friend of mine said he thought it was a little scary but he thought it was Science Fiction.

A romance novel can be frightening; a thriller can be science fiction, an action book can be a love story, a comedy can he horrifying…with it being so easy to cross and blend genres its no wonder I’m walking around lost with no real home.

Maybe my writing is crossed and blended like my racial heritage. I'm proud to be Black, Mexican, Am Indian and white (Irish) maybe its a good thing that my horror is also sprinkled with science fiction, has religious undertones, has a pinch of comedy and blended with the supernatural.

But would have been kick ass to place in that contest.