Friday, July 18, 2014

A Fifth Friday Freebit from Change


Thieves attack Tyna's caravan in this fifth Friday Freebit.

~ * ~

Kedriq twisted around at her warning. His movement saved him. A pain seared his arm, the knife meant for his back cutting less fatal meat. It was a bad mistake for his attacker. With the knife from freeing the ox still grasped in his hand, he swung the blade with deadly results.

“Look out.”

The warning came too late. He jerked the knife free as the man he had slain sagged to the ground, but a second assailant grabbed his jacket, holding him while another knife arced toward him. He knew nothing could save him from this second attack.

With a loud clank, a metal cooking pot connected with the assailant’s head. The man sidestepped, stopped mid-assault, his gaze stunned, his weapon dropped. Another smash of the pot rotated his head back in a violent and unnatural twist. Kedriq heard the neck snap, even as the body fell.

He looked at Tyna, who stood, pot in hand, looking in stricken shock at the fallen man.

“I’ve never... he was one of the escorts!” Even as she spoke, hooves warned of the outriders’ return. Kedriq pushed Tyna behind him with his knife holding hand. His other arm hung useless. Blood flowed down its length and dripped from the tips of his fingers. As if the sight weakened him, he slowly sank to the ground. His last coherent thought was, that as usual, his best effort was useless.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

All Things Two





Continuing on with my words, intuition, divination, lore, and superstition involved with numbers, here is two.

The strongest aspect of two is that it contains many conflicting symbols, as represented in yin and yang, capable of complete opposites, or like wings permitting flight, or snake fangs, striking with poison twice.
Cardinal: two
Greek: Beta
Hindu-Arabic: 2
Roman: II
Pythagorean numbers: duad

Roman words of two come from duo (duae, duas, duorum, duabus), secundus as in second and secondary; and bini meaning two each as in biannual, bicameral, binary, biceps, bilateral, bias, bifocal, and bicuspid. Greek gives us two prefixes of two: di used in forming many scientific words like diatomic, diacid, and words like dialogue; and dual as in duet, duality, duplicity, dualists, duplex, duplicate. Notice the words involving conflict, betrayal, and two-sidedness. More English words relate to two as in yoked, doublet, reproduction, sex, again, both, wings, and semicircle.

As already mentioned, the prefix di is forms many scientific words; however, the second element is Helium (He). The astronomy we have twin stars like Gemini, and Castor and Pollux. Our bodies have two ears, two eyes, two lips, two nostrils, two arms, hands, two legs, feet, two lungs, two kidneys, and either two ovaries or two testicles. Birds have two wings. In mathematics and measurement, we have two-dimensional or flat, and any number divisible by 2 is called 'even.' The geometric symbol for the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and parallel means at least two lines run side by side. In geophysical features, U.S. Highway 2 runs on the northern border of the United States from Houlton, Maine to Rouses Point, New York. Of course, it is broken into two sections, with the second running from St. Ignace, Michigan, to Everett, Washington.

On the calendar, February is the second month. February comes from a Roman word for purification, a rite that took place in this month. Monday is moon day, because the moon follows the sun. The moon is also a feminine symbol tied to two. and a pair of days, Saturday and Sunday, comprises the weekend. April Fool’s Day comes on April 2.

In monetary associations, we have two bits equaling 25 cents, and two-dollar bills. Once, before the U.S. mint actually printed two-dollar bills, there was a saying “As fake as a $2 bill.” It seems people distrust two-dollar bills, one reason so few are minted and found in circulation. Some users think these bills bring bad luck.

Christians consider the duality of Christ, having both a divine and human nature. The second human created was Eve, a first woman. The Second Commandment says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.”

In games, you can get the deuce or two-spot in cards, snake eyes in dice, a double-run in baseball, or two points for scoring in basketball.

Two is an important number in Cinese T'ai Chi.

Two is the symbol of women and represents the feminine in all things such as marriage (as coupled with a man), motherhood (mother and child), and the Yin or eternal female. Because female cycles are tied to the moon, a clear association lies between female gender identification, the moon, and two. The moon as related to women and their patterns gives associations such as the unconscious, emotions, bio-rhythms, instinctual responses, reflection, passivity, the soul, family matters, and heredity. This also makes two audacious because she separated herself from the Divine One, as the moon is now known to have separated itself from the Earth.

Two also identifies the person who is second in command, second place, second-rate, and the red ribbon winner.

The night as opposite to the day’s sun belongs in the symbols of two. As one speaks to ultimate power, two represents a differing outlook, one looking for peace, and working differences out harmoniously. In its difference from one, two means a changing perception of self, a consciousness of being someone in some place and time. Other symbols of two include anything including two such as horns, antlers, or two fingers held upward. It is yin-yang of nature, and so represents duality, changeability. After all, woman change their minds all the time, don’t they?

In Astrology, two encompasses the House of Taurus (the bull; what?) and symbolizes the planet Venus (another female symbol). In numerology, the alpha associations are the letters b, k, t, which are the second letters in each one through nine count the alphabet. This is important in divination because you add up your letters to find you guiding number.

Because two is a number of duality in pairs and opposites, it is an inclusive number. This dual nature makes for positive attractions, complements, and partners.

Because of the yin-yang association, two is the number of opposites: day & night, good & evil, heaven & hell, husband & wife, light & dark, hot & cold, joy & sorrow, male & female, me & you, sister & brother, positive & negative, and truth or lie. In color opposites, we have black & white, red & green, yellow & purple, orange & blue.

As a number of opposites, two comes with negatives. Two is a symbol of ignorance and despised by the Pythagoreans as a symbol of polarity. Two was also known as evil because of its relatedness to all things feminine, a number related to Isis, Lydia, Ceres, Artemis, Diana, Maia, and Juno (Ahh, those misogynistic ancients — go figure). Because of above, two supposedly creates a desire for evil (darkness) and desiring matter (over 1’s spirituality). From there, two devolves into a number representing antithesis, divided polarities, uncompromising opposites, indecision, and thus passivity, and subordination. Slang usage reflects this inherent evil in such epithets as two-faced, double-cross, second-place, second-rate.

In Tarot Divination, the high priestess card represents two. She symbolizes the passive principle of life (female, right?). She represents potentiality, unconsciousness, an unrevealed future, or hidden influences at work in the supplicant's life. The card's placement in a reading is of special value for artists, poets, composers, or anyone connect to the arts. When the high priestess appears in man's reading, it might represent the perfect woman of all men's dreams. If upside-down, the high priestess indicates conceit, sensual pleasures over deeper commitment, and being content with the surface aspects of one's life over inner spirituality.

We also have words of pairing: couple, pair, twins, mates, two halves, Siamese twins, opposites, twosome, team-up, dual citizenship, dual personality, and two-dimensional.

We also have famous pairings like comedians Abbott & Costello, Adam & Eve from the Bible, Batman & Robin from comic books, TV, Movies, TV cartoon characters Beavis & Butt-head, Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street, Cisco Kid & Pancho from movies, dancers Cissy King and Bobby Burgess on Lawrence Welk Show, dancers Ginger Rogers & Fred Astair from movies, TV cartoon characters Heckle & Jeckle, comedians Laurel & Hardy, TV and movie icons the Lone Ranger & Tonto, Romeo & Juliet from the Shakespeare play, TV cowboy and girl Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, singers Seals & Croft, singers Simon & Garfunkel, comedians the Smothers Brothers, singers Sonny & Cher, and cartoon characters Tom & Jerry.

Other common phrases dealing with two:
couple-up
dual purpose
double deal
double life
split tongued
either… or
good things come in twos
it takes two
like two peas in a pod
neither… nor
number two – gotta poo
pair of wings
put two and two together
seeing double
tete-a-tete
twice as much
two armed
two bit
two faced
two by four
two cents worth
two legged
two step
two timing
two way

As you can see, two is a conflicted number, but a very useful one! So there it is — all aspects of two, but certainly a list that is not all-inclusive. Wikipedia has a page on Two.
~ * ~
Sources Some information was drawn from:
The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin
A Complete Guide to the Tarot by Eden Gray
The Numerology Workbook by Julia Line
The Dartmouth Number Symbolism in the Middle Ages site offers much info on numbers in Christianity.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Fourth Friday Freebit from Change

Acceptance and Change deal with a mother, never seen but often heard from, who treated each of her daughters very different.

~ * ~
Now the threat she had been warned of all her life would walk next to her day after day. Naomi’s alarms and warnings sounded within her. “You must never show your gift! Beware of touching others unless you are sure they cannot feel you. You are special. Not even your older sister has your unique gifts. There are those who would harm you if they knew your secret.” The only punishments she received had been for ignoring this stricture. It left her in a lonely limbo.

Poor Kissre. Her punishments were more frequent and harsh, but Kissre seemed to enjoy indulging in misbehavior. The harshness of the punishments eventually insured Tyna’s caution, but drove Kissre to ever-greater defiance. She could suddenly hear her mama’s harsh “your older sister is an insolent child,” not even speaking to Kissre in her anger. Tyna smiled, just as she remembered Kissre used to.

Her face straightened. Now Kissre was the only person who knew of her talent, as Naomi called it. A daughter who couldn’t even exert herself to come to her mother’s funeral, a sister who was never around to discuss problems, and didn’t care that her only living relative was alone and struggling.

At the end of a long day of walking they halted on the shores of a much narrower and faster Hex. The water had a subtle rushing sound that made the steady wind blowing down the wide ravine seem colder. In the icy light of the setting sun, the northern upper cliff edges were picked out in gold, pink and rust striations quilted by navy shadows. Tyna took a minute to look at day’s ending spectacle.

“This is how it looks at home,” Kedriq said coming up next to her. “The Hex travels to Grotto Falls just so.”

“You mean Witch Falls?”

He smiled. “It is not called that in Cygna.”

~ * ~


Friday, July 4, 2014

The Third Friday Freebit from Change

Of course, trouble brews and miscreants linger in obvious sight. Behind Tyna's back, her right-hand man is scheming with the traitor from Acceptance, Eldin.
~ * ~
Eldin slowly sipped the flat ale in his mug. The Spotted Pig reeked of ale, dirty bodies, and rotting fish. The musty smell of repeated flooding underlined the other scents. The disrepair and filth offended him, but the small town didn’t offer better than this waterside shack. Tonight the tavern filled with the crews off numerous small riverboats. Their dinghies lined the dock surrounding the building. Inside, the crowd offered anonymity, but he kept his back to the wall anyway. Arm wrestlers with their attending audience produced a rough cacophony that drowned conversation.

He felt lonely, isolated by his surroundings. Traitor, a weak inner voice lashed, but he ignored his guilt. In quiet moments like this, his deeds nipped at his conscience. King Clement offers more than I could ever gain in Kaereya. My future lies in Pertelon now, and I’m trained for the service the king requires. He sighed. That service and the constant travel stretched his physical capabilities. His lethargy testified to his fatigue.

One of his contacts had made the offer and entered the bar accompanied with the guide from the caravan, pointing the man to Eldin’s table. The guide searched Eldin, his eyes filled with an unflattering appraisal. Eldin felt his cheek twitch at the implied insult. Many made the mistake of equating size with manliness. The guide swiped his mouth on his hairy forearm before he walked to the table.

Eldin inspected the sloppy man who pulled out the bench across the table from him. A thick arm rose to hail a maid for service. Busy with other patrons, the waitress didn’t notice the beckoning hand.

“You’re Jebe?” He gave an equally dismissive look, but the man missed the slight, his attention focused on gaining the maid’s notice. Jebe only nodded his head once. “Does anyone know you’re here?” Eldin smiled, but didn’t bother introducing himself.

“No. The girl’s grieving. She entered her wagon before I left.” Jebe waved again.

~ * ~

Now go to Ginger's blog and follow the links to other Friday Freebits!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Writing, Walking and the Brain


I like to walk. During the summer, I do it frequently but not as much (daily) as I need for a good exercise routine. Often I walk because my legs ache from sitting too long (and I know sitting too long is very unhealthy). Writers often lose sense of time while working and end up sitting too long. When my legs say move, I walk. Besides enjoying how my walk route changes during the seasons, the action seems to clear my mind almost like meditation. I can’t say that's true because I’m not sure I’ve ever reached a meditative state, but it is relaxing.

Sometimes I use walking as an escape from a plot or character refusing to cooperate. While walking, my mind starts playing with the problem and comes up with a new tact for smoother sailing through that problematic scene or discovers a better motivation for a cranky character. Other times my brain just seems to spasm and imagine a totally different character and situation, so it is not a sure-fire cure for writing problems.

I always thought this was a result of getting away from my desk, but a recent study at Stanford University indicates it might be the action of walking. Their study found the act of walking increased creative thinking through simple tests given to participants after the exercise. They found walking did not focus thoughts as in critical thinking, converging thoughts to find a single correct answer, but released them in a divergent process of creativity. Is it only walking that creates this brain connection? Those doing the study haven’t studied that aspect yet. This study has been reported through many different media outlets since the study's release this past spring, which I missed, but I’m happy to learn that when I do something for my body and health, I'm also doing it for my brain.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Writing Conflict



Action scenes are not my strong point as a writer. I've written battle scenes, survival scenes, and high impact confrontational scenes, but I don't think they are the nail-biting, gut clenching tension  horror clinchers other authors achieve. I'm not sure why, maybe because I hate confrontation in real life.

Where I believe my strength lies is in emotional tension. In this scene from Loser's Game the lead female character, an outlaw who goes by different aliases, leaves the man she loves more than her own life to protect his reputation and career. I hope fireworks  are what the reader senses is happening. Once the reader reaches this point, they know the heroine is a great actress, and a person of integrity despite her reprehensible reputation.

~ * ~

“Don’t worry, Mister Fournelle, the shuttle will be at Starbase Freedom’s private-liner bay.” Jesse looked at him, and grinned. “But you don’t trust me, do you? Well I have even better reasons not to trust a Service Corps officer. Have you already made plans for my arrest as soon as I dock with a stolen shuttle? So, we are at an impasse, are we not?”

Jesse couldn’t keep the mocking tones out of her voice. She hated the way Fournelle looked at her. Like so many others. She knew very well once Fournelle agreed to her plan, he wouldn’t back out, but goading him was irresistible. Besides, she felt mean. For the last few days she’d purposely bickered with Krayne whenever the opportunity arose.

She took a few steps to the shuttle’s hatch, even took a step inside before she looked at the forbidding officer. “Mister Fournelle,” she tightened her lips at his look, biting the insult lining her mouth. Taking a deep breath she said, “Thank you.”

Fournelle didn't answer her. A movement on the edge of her vision caught her attention. Krayne stopped as she noticed him, his face taut, his jaw clenched and his eyes cold.

"Leaving?"

Exhaling slowly, Jesse hesitated before answering. "Yes."

"What, no goodbye? Or is everything clandestine with you?"

Jesse smiled casually. "It's easier. No excuses. No lies." Her hands gripped the hatch.
"I'm sure it is. Just a clean thrust to the heart and walk away." He looked at Fournelle. "Leave." As Fournelle's footsteps fell away, he said, "What about our marriage? Our plans?"

"What marriage?" Jesse scoffed. "When I cross over into Alliance space, it will be nonexistent. You made the only plans. Don't blame me for your delusions of a rosy future. We had none." She watched his eyes flicker, his jaw muscles bunch.

"I see. So just what have I been?"

"An escape." She smiled and shrugged. "In more ways than one. I'll admit to using you, even enjoying you. You've let me evade capture, provided some entertainment, and of course, given some physical relief. But I have no interest in becoming your rehab project. I guess it's just time to move on before I become bored."

"Too glib, Jesse. I don't believe you."

"How can you?" she said in disparagement. "You don't even know what I am. I've run into your type before, both as a man and as an officer. You see the outside with desire, and I'll give you credit for not backing off when you discovered what's on the inside, but when you learn about the underside, it will be a different story."

"That's not true. I know you and I know what you are."

Jesse gave a dry laugh. "Of course it's true. You only think you know me. I'm not just the pirate and thief you believe. There are countless Alliance laws I've broken. Did you know Jet ripped a man's throat out with her bare hands? That she was instrumental in Durant Rosche's death? And tell me, what will you think the first, second or third time you run into someone for whom I've whored?" She watched him flinch. "Then what? You want me to make a list beforehand? That's just for starters, there's more. Do you want to know all the details?"

She watched him swallow, his jaw setting in rigid lines. "You can tell me whatever you want. It won't change how I feel. I love you. Not unless you say straight out you feel nothing for me. Tell me you don't love me."

"Of course I feel something for you. You came along at an opportune time. You know what Merit and Thor were doing to me. But love? My God, you're a Corps officer. If you think I'm stupid enough to allow you to capture me with sex, and then, when you get bored in a few months or so, pass me along to Alliance justice, think again." She watched his face remorselessly, even smiled at his expression.

"And the shuttle? Another theft?"

His acceptance was too quick. She watched for a trap. "No, it's part of the agreement I made with Fournelle. I told him it would be at Starbase Freedom before the Nebulae docked. You going to stop me?"

"Yes."

"That's not a wise move."

"Then say it and make me believe it."

Jesse stood in the shuttle's portal for a lifetime. She slowly moved back to the gangway and stopped directly before Krayne in Ranger at-ease position. "I don't love you," she stated slowly and clearly.

He looked into her face for another lifetime reading her truth there. "Go, then. Get out of my sight." His voice held calm command.
~ * ~
Hope you enjoyed the short excerpt!

Margaret Fieland  is up next on the round-robin. Visit these authors for more scenes with fireworks:

Heidi M. Thomas 
Beverley Bateman
Kay Sisk
Anne Stenhouse
Connie Vines
Ginger Simpson
Geeta Kakade
Fiona McGier
Lynn Crain

Friday, June 27, 2014

Second Friday Freebit from Change

In this very short section Tyna meets her first witch, or at least what everyone expects someone from the country of Cygna to be.

~ * ~

Tyna poured herself a second cup of tea. Her eyes wandered the area, and noticed a man walking into camp. He dressed in plain travelers’ garb with an encompassing fur-lined burlet covering his head. He looked around, then headed toward her. An unusual shaggy looking longhaired gray pony stood tethered at the camp’s edge.

“Mistress Pierce?” the stranger asked in a pleasant voice.

“Yes?” She looked at him, not really seeing him or caring.

“My condolences, mistress, I would not intrude on you at such a time, but I heard in the village that your wagons would be traveling through Seer Pass. That is, if you are still going after your recent loss and this early in the year?”

“I must go. The armed escort I hired arrives tomorrow.”

“Then might I join you as far as the Cygna cutoff? I am willing to pay.”

~ * ~