literature

In Her Own Words – Meet Lex From My Novel LEX TALIONIS

I posted this a while back on Angela Highland’s website, but I’ve had a few more followers drop by since then, so I thought it might be a good time to repost it. 

Without further ado, here’s Lex. And no, she’s not your average girl…

I would introduce myself, but I don’t know my name.

My life began a couple of weeks ago, when I died in the Emergency Room of the Mathis Clinic on the planet Serron. My doctor, Colin Mayfeld, was about to write his final report when a little humanoid alien broke into the room, sat on my chest and brought me back with one touch.

I don’t remember any of it.

I don’t remember being in an alley near Bradley spaceport,  even though that’s where I was found, barely alive but still breathing. An unconscious girl in a bloody spacesuit, with no ID chit.

I don’t remember talking to the alien when  it brought me back, but Dr. Mayfeld says I did. The funny thing is, he says I didn’t speak Universal–I spoke Latin. And I asked the alien for help.

I’ll have to take his word for it. About what I said, that is, not about speaking Latin. I know I can speak Latin because I have had the same phrase going round and round in my head since I was able to make a coherent thought.

Lex Talionis. The law of retaliation–of revenge.

That’s the other thing I know.

I want revenge.

Someone killed me. Someone beat me, tortured me, raped me and left me for dead in an alley. Someone is walking around out there thinking I’m gone and never coming back. Some bastard thinks my story is over.

Well, it’s not over.

I’m not an ordinary girl. I’m healing faster than Dr. Mayfeld expected. I’m getting better every day.  It’s because I’m an N-gene. I was genetically engineered in vitro to be smarter, stronger, faster. Whoever did this to me might have over-powered me once, but they’re never going to get that chance again.

I’ve given myself a name–Lex. And I have help. The alien that saved me can’t speak, but it’s still with me. I think it knows something. I think it can help me remember.

Dr. Mayfeld is doing what he can too. He has friends who might be able to assist the Troopers as they investigate the attack on me. There are ways to work on getting my memory back. He’s going to do whatever it takes to help. I don’t know why he cares. But he does.

I only care about a few things right now. I care about remembering my past. I care about being fully healed. And I care about finding who did this to me.

Because when I do find them, I’m going to make them wish to all the Gods in all the galaxies that they had killed me right the first time.

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Copyrights and Other Thoughts

I’m not an expert on this stuff. But I’m a writer, so when people are talking about stuff, I have to take notice. Scott Turow, president of the Author’s Guild, had an interesting article in the New York Times today that every author should read, so I’m posting the link here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/opinion/the-slow-death-of-the-american-author.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&nl=opinion&emc=edit_ty_20130408

I’m sure those in the know will discuss it fully as it makes the rounds. I will say that as an author who lives and works outside the US, starving for my art has always been the likely reality. Very few people ever encouraged me to write, even friends that read and liked my work. There is simply no outlet here. Publishers are few and mostly do textbooks or assist in self-publishing those with the money to take such a route. Publishers that might publish a Caribbean author’s work are based in the UK and have the entire Commonwealth as their slush pile. With such odds–and writing genre fiction as I do, instead of contemporary literature or the usual post-colonial stuff–I never got anywhere querying agents and publishers in the UK. Most didn’t bother to reply. I have no idea if the expensive mail packages I sent ever went anywhere, and in the past, no way to follow up. Thank God for the advent of email!

The internet opened up worlds to me. I joined the best writers’ site ever in 2001, The Online Writing Workshop for SF, Fantasy and Horror, learned all there was to learn about the industry, all while genre itself was opening up to email and the internet far faster than publishers and agents in contemporary literature. I would have no book deal and no way out of the Caribbean without the OWW.

But I also knew I would never make a cent just by being a good writer. I had to sell overseas.Now it seems even as we have the self-publishing market opening up writers to make more money on their own, the internet has begun to shrink our usual revenue streams, and in ways that may affect the new ones over time as well.

I feel as though we are living in a time of great flux. I do not think it will be for long–it will probably take five, at most ten years, for the industry to settle down and find its new legs. But there are many, many changes to go before that happens. It’s premature to call Amazon the great devil, but it’s also premature to thank them for the dubious pleasure of Kindle Select. In the end, for the moment, I think this industry is less about good guys, bad guys and who’s right or wrong, and more about everyone making a mad dash toward one new thing or another, trying to get on top of everything they think might eventually replace the old order.

In other words, we’re all just trying to survive and not get left behind. In a despearate scenario like that, I think we should be careful to not get caught backing one side or another. I think it’s better to watch, listen, learn and take the best decision you can for yourself at the time, given your circumstances. We can’t protect ourselves from every bad thing that might be out there. But we can make sure we go into this industry with our eyes open, understanding that in this new world, we are now the masters of our own fate.

And perhaps that in itself is such a wonderful thing that despite whatever else the future might bring, it is enough to hope that it will all work out for the best.

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7/7 Blog Challenge

Thanks for this, Marlene!

The 7/7 blog challenge means I open a current WIP, and post 7 lines beginning with the 7th line on page 7. Or page 77. Then I tag 7 other authors who get their turn. Good times for all.
Marlene’s post is here.

*Quick plug* Marlene is a wonderful person who has several great novels for sale, so feel free to check them out if you’re interested in things like alternate history involving the Titanic, the fey and urban fantasy. Someday, she might even combine them all!*End of Quick plug*

I have decided to go with the beginning of page 77 of my current work-in-progress, ‘The Nightward’. It’s a science fantasy, set in a matriarchal world modeled on a mixture of African, Indian and Caribbean society. Women possess ‘real’ magic, while men have only ‘illusion’ and this has led to women being the more powerful sex. However, there are things in the past of this world (no, it’s not Earth, but there are links), that will not stay dead. And the door to them has been opened in order to dethrone the rightful Queen of the High Court and the Hand of the Goddess Gaia herself.

Viyella is the heir to the High Throne. Today was hers and her twin brother’s sixth birthday. At the celebratory party to introduce the heirs to the other Queens of Gailand, Viyella’s mother is murdered in front of her. She manages to escape the ambush with the help of her new bodyguard, Dagen, a soldier or Daguard, whose future is now irrevocably tangled with hers. They seek shelter at the Seat of an ally, Lady Gretchen. There, they realise for the first time that they face more than betrayal…

“It is the Nightward.” The hand lifted away from Viyella’s forehead and a sudden draft chilled the skin there. “And it comes for her.”

“Comes for her?”

Viyella opened her eyes as the Lady rose to her feet, the wind snapping blue silk around her ankles. She knows.

“Daguard, the Queen must not stay here. In a matter of an hour, the darkness you see will reach Fairye. Once it arrives, it will seek out the Queen–and we will not be able to stop it.”

Hope you liked that peek :-). Below are the seven writers I’ve tagged. Feel free to go visit them and read their snippets too.

And to my friends…Tag! You’re it!

Elizabeth Hull
Drea
K.N.Lee
Anna Kashina
Cindy Lynn Speer
Walter Williams
Susan Curnow

Write What You Know

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Write what you know

It’s what every writer has been told in every class they’ve ever taken. For a long time, I took it literally and despaired. Because I loved all things genre. I loved science fiction–“hard” or “soft”, whatever that means–fantasy, horror, mystery… You name it, I loved it. But how could I write it when I was only allowed to write what I knew?

I didn’t know enough about science to do science fiction, I thought. I certainly didn’t know enough about crime-solving to do mysteries. But, oh how I wanted to. I kept thinking of stories, kept writing stories, that had fantastic elements. Stories my teachers frowned upon in school, but my friends loved. Stories that came to me down a dream-pipe, completely without my assistance. When something beautiful shows up, just like that, dressed and ready to go, how do you ignore it?

Then I learned the truth. That the ‘what you know’ meant what you knew as a human being too. So stories weren’t all about the academic or procedural research. They were about translating the human experience. Your human experience. Because yours was the only one you were an expert on.

I should not have taken so long to figure this out–after all, if that rule was literal, how could Ray Bradbury write the Martian Chronicles, or Carl Sagan write Contact–but it was a daunting thing, all the same. Now I not only had the responsibility of credibility that research catered to–I had to bare myself in public in certain ways. I had to write what I knew, and in doing so, tell the whole world a little about myself. I don’t remember who said it, but they were right when they said a writer is someone who appears in public with their pants down.

It’s not an easy thing to put down your thoughts, hopes, dreams, nightmares so others can share them. There’s always that risk that you’ll be rejected. Or laughed at. Or worse, that no-one will care. But for everyone who has the courage to write what they know, they take a chance that somewhere, someone will find a kindred moment.  A shared experience. Somewhere out there, a bond will form between writer and reader, between two people who have never met. And it will be a deep and lasting friendship.

So to those of you who have had the courage to risk yourselves in the telling of your stories–take a bow. It doesn’t matter if you get paid to do this. You know what this really means, this writing what you know. You deserve to celebrate yourselves a little.

And to those who haven’t had the courage to try yet. Well..what are you waiting for? Write what you know.
We’d love to hear from you.

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Unblocking

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I have recently come to realise something. If you decide you will write every day, no matter what, and you give yourself no excuses and no quarter, even a champion procrastinator like me can get at least three lines out per day.

Now, you might say three lines are nothing. But you’d be wrong. At least according to some famous author I read years ago who did the math and figured out that if you wrote three lines a day for a year, you’d have a 50,000 word novel at the end. Or a 60,000 novel. Doesn’t matter. What matters is, as my friend Bone says, there will have been PROGRESS.

This is actually a big deal for me, progress. Because I’ve been stopping and starting with long breaks between my writing for a couple of years now. Until I made this demand of myself last month, I had not written a word since late last year. Now I have two new scenes and I’m still going.

Yep, it was all just lack of will to follow through. I guess some authors are right. Maybe there is no such thing as writer’s block. Just writers who want to be blocked.

Either way, celebrate with me. I got a new scene finished and I edited my sequel a bit.

What have you accomplished lately that you’re really happy over?

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Guardian – New Short Story

So, I have a new story up. This one arose from a writing exercise, although the idea had been in my head for years.

I won a prize of a year of short story writing mentorship from an established editor in a contest on my writing forum and the editor’s first challenge to me was to write a story with the word sacrifice.

Sometimes I need triggers to do things. I’m the worst procrastinator ever. Took me months to get around to those two stories. Thank God the editor was also a dear friend and willing to wait.

*Shameless Plug* That editor is CN Lesley, and her debut fantasy novel ‘Darkspire Reaches’ will be released shortly from Kristell Ink. I’ve had the pleasure of reading the beta manuscript and it was AMAZING! You can find out more and pre-order from her website, http://www.cnlesley.com.*End of Shameless Plug*

Back to your regularly scheduled programme.

I had been kicking around the idea of two star-crossed lovers meeting again after a long time, but they’re on opposite sides of the same war. This is what resulted. Not quite what I expected and I’m not sure I’ll ever publish it. It’s definitely in need of more polish.

But tell me what you think. Go read it and if you decide to vote or like it, thanks very much. It’s really appreciated.

Click right here to read Guardian  

or

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  check out the Trunk and read my other short stories too!