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Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Stream Runs Through Deep Sediments

After much careful consideration, the title contest came down to a tie between "A Stream Runs Through It" by KM Walton and "Deep Sediments" by Mariah Irvin. Both of them make me giggle, so, because I am indecisive...

*random number generator*


KM WALTON, you have won! Yay, KM!

In honor of me getting back into my Stream Pirate-y mood (and in honor of the giggle-worthy titles ya'll came up with), I have decided to post a snippet. And though I was CERTAIN I had posted snippets of Stream Pirate recently, the only ones I could find were from January. Blasphemous. I must rectify this problem at once.

It is SO HARD for me to choose a snippet. A short one, a long one, a romantic one, an action-packed one, CHOICESCHOICECHOICES. Argh. The scene I finally settled on happens fairly early in the book. Alluvial, after employing the stream pirate Yazoo Oxbow to help find her father, was put to work on his steamboat shoveling coal. She runs up on deck when the boat gets attacked by-- well, you'll see.

The river water was green. A murky green, as though Backswamp’s moss and slime sullied these waters. That should have been enough to convince me that I did not want to fall overboard, but something held me there, clinging to the railing with my nose nearly touching the surface.
A face. Green as a strand of seaweed, with eyes so yellow they had to belong to someone who was ill. Strands of sea grass floated around its head – though, as it bobbed up and down, it became clearer that the strands were hair. It smiled, revealing surprisingly white fangs behind scaly lips. Its back and arms, more of the green skin covering bundles of muscle, pulled back, a defensive pose. Somewhere far beneath it the tip of a tail twitched, and it shot toward me.
The great slimy body flew up out of the water, its crocodile tail propelling it up and up. Water droplets leapt off its skin, soaking my hair and clothes, throwing mossy water across the deck. Arms outstretched for me, its smile never wavered, its yellow eyes never left mine.
I screamed. An arm closed around my shoulders, keeping me pinned to his chest. The world around me, the distant tree-lined shore, the brilliant blue sky, all whirled and shifted as I was dragged through the air. My feet slipped on the moss-coated deck and I locked my arms around Yazoo’s neck, hanging onto him, my eyes still on the crocperson.
Its arms still reached for me. The yellow eyes hadn’t left mine before Yazoo’s pistol pointed at its chest. One tug of his finger, and he sent a wad of lead into the crocperson’s heart. The yellow eyes snapped shut as the force of the shot shoved it backward, back into the river, back down into the murky depths it had brought with it. Its body sunk below the surface but left in its wake a slowly-growing splotch of black-green blood.
“They’re leaving!” Perry screamed, but I couldn’t look away from the water. I couldn’t look at the water. I closed my eyes and pushed my face into Yazoo’s shirt, the after-effect of fear making my body quiver in his arm.
When I had composed myself enough to breathe, I looked up at him. There was nothing annoying about him now, nothing frustrating or mysterious. His good eye was narrow, the gleam in it dim and soft. Shoving his gun into his belt, he unwound his arm from my shoulders.
“You stink,” he said and turned for the pilothouse.
Arachne took that as her cue to take my arm and steer me toward the stairs. I was still barely aware of my surroundings enough to maneuver across the slime-covered deck.
“What was that all about?” I asked her.
“You do stink,” she said. “Quite a bit, actually. Working in the boiler room can do that.”
“No,” I shook my head, “why didn’t we outrun the crocpeople? Ron and I could’ve shoveled faster–”
Arachne led me into a small bedroom, complete with a short wash bucket, a bed, towels, and my satchel, looking entirely un-messed-with. “There’s no changing Yazoo’s mind. He’s always been infested with a desire to rid Radial Stream of crocpeople. Could be the richest stream pirate, but instead just devotes his time to blocking rivers that lead from Backswamp. Strangest man I’ve ever met,” she said and slapped a bar of soap into my hand. “There’s a freshwater pump in the next room. Please do us a favor and make good use of it.” She left, waving her hand before her nose to reinstate the fact that my time with Ron had left me rather pungent.
I fingered the soap bar. It was an acceptable answer; Yazoo wanted credit for ridding Radial Stream of the nuisance that was crocpeople. I would have accepted it, had I not seen the look Yazoo had given me.
My father had given me that look after he had finally let me in to see my mother’s body. When I had stepped up next to her bed, seen her pale face, her still chest, I’d dropped to the floor and screamed. Tom had cradled me in his arms but didn’t speak, didn’t cry, didn’t do anything but give me that look. The look that said “It was my fault you screamed. If it’s in my power at all, you’ll never scream like that again.”

Sunday, July 26, 2009

No Excuse

Sorry, I was away on business. You understand.

What? You-- you don't understand? Well, actually, I had to...um...wash my hair.

Nope? Still not good enough? I-- um-- my dog ate my laptop.

Sympathy, but still not good enough? Gosh, tough crowd.

I-- hm. We-- nope. It all just-- ah, shucks. All right, all right, I cede to you people. I have no excuse for not blogging for 2.5 weeks. None whatsoever. I am a horrifically inconsistent blogger with a pension for staring at blank blog posts and then deciding I really have nothing exciting to say. And I'm not saying that to be humble. I really, honestly, had NOTHING exciting to talk about. I got a puppy. That has been the pinnacle of my excitement this summer. I haven't written anything, read anything, DONE anything to warrant a really exciting blog post. Even now, I'm writing this with absolutely no idea what my conclusion will be.

I know what you're thinking. I'm thinking it too.

Where is this going?? Why is she writing??

No clue. But I felt it necessary to post something today, seeing as today was the first day in about three months that I was INSPIRED to write something. See, for the past three months, I've written nary a thing. A few sentences here and there, a few bullet points in an outline, but overall, nada. Zilch. But today I rediscovered my love, nay, my adoration for my characters/world in Stream Pirate, and spent the better portion of the day working on the outline for the sequel.

Oh! I know where this is going now!

In honor of my rediscover-ation of Yazoo, Lu, and all things stream-piratey, I shall hold a contest! *and the crowd goes wild*

See, I changed the sequel. Entirely. No longer is it Web, and no longer is it from Arachne's POV (she blatantly refused to tell her side of the story. There's just no reasoning with pirates). It is now from a split Lu/Yazoo POV, and it is now called -- um. Yeah. That's where the contest comes in. I have absolutely no plans for a title. I need help. So I shall throw out a few of the things the sequel will be about, and whoever comes up with the zaniest/best title will win! Yay!

But, Sara, what will we win?

You will win your name being written in really BIG, BOLD, COLORFUL letters! Yay! Everyone's dream, right?

Okay, here's a few things the sequel contains:

Sediment monsters (Dirt has never been so scary.)
Under-mountain rivers (The original water roller coaster.)
Stream pirates (Lots of hot, angry, feisty stream pirates.)
Invisible trees. Evil trees. (This ain't your momma's forest.)
A conniving former-lord (The coup, part deux.)
Marriage, interrupted (Sometimes those ceremonies are just too stinkin' long.)
Big, climatic battles (um, duh.)

Okay, hit me with your best titles! They don't have to be serious. In fact, they'd better not be. I can't very well tack a serious title onto a book about evil trees.

EDIT: Sorry; character explanation here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When Good Puppies Go Bad

Sure, my new dog is cute. Sure, she's all cuddly and adorable. But I somehow managed to get the one dog on earth (okay, maybe not the ONLY dog...) who holds a grudge. Me, being the "mommy," has spent the past three days saying one phrase: "Pippa, no. Pippa, NO. Pippa -- NOOO!!" Because, though she's cute, though she's cuddly, she's ORNERY. Stubborn. Inquisitive. And small. So small she now knows how to use her smallness to dart into tight spaces and keep whatever unchewable object she got a hold of. And while I thought at first, "Oh, puppy! It'll be fun!", and I'm sure she at first thought "Oh, new home! It'll be fun!", we both now look at each other with the same thought going through our heads: "I. Need. A. Break." Because I'm tired of chasing her around the house, pulling small objects out of her mouth, and because she's tired of me yelling at her whenever she licks (yes, LICKS) a light-socket.

So here's how I take a break. (She takes a break by playing with my mom, dad, or sister, all are people she still likes. Me, on the other hand, just gets this look of "I don't like you" whenever I try to make peace and play with her.) I take a break by watching movie trailers. And my oh my, are there ever some frickin' awesome movies a-coming out this year. Allow me to start with a classic.

THE classic.

THE classic and inexplicable, uncontainable, just plain AWESOME it-shaped-yet-destroyed-all-hope-I-had-of-finding-a-good-man, DISNEY.

Yeah. A new DISNEY PRINCESS movie. Can we all just jump and down as one and squeal a little bit? I mean, seriously Disney. I had almost convinced myself that men were imperfect, human, and made mistakes, instead of the perfect, sculpted, mesmerizing princes you thrust into my subconscious during my formative years. I needed to be reminded that my expectations should be set inordinately high. You returned in the nick of time, Disney. In the nick of time.

The next is yet another love story because, well, that's the kind of mood I'm in today:

I'm on a huge self-help book kick lately, so this one really popped for me. Though it makes me a little sad to think the people who wrote the amazing books I've been reading don't really do the things they wrote about...but this trailer used the Goo Goo Dolls, so I'm appeased.

The next one is quite a bit different from the first two:

Lately I've been very unsympathetic to movies like this. For instance, I saw the latest "Transformers," and all I could think during the big, powerful scenes was "They're cars. I get that it's supposed to be epic, but -- they're cars." I don't know why I want to see this one, but it's Peter Jackson. After LOTR, I will always give him a shot. Even if he has "King Kong" on his record. *shudder*

Okay, I'm REALLY excited about this one:

I'm such a sucker for relationship-oriented chick flicks. I know, I know, what chick flick isn't relationship-oriented, but there's a big difference between sappy chick flicks and relationship-oriented, actually-has-good-advice chick flicks. And, chello? The guy and girl from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" are TOGETHER AGAIN! Win!

So, this is how I take a break. Yup. Instead of using what precious free time I have to work on my outline for...um...ANY WIP I have, I watch movie trailers. I'm a failure at writing. But at least I'm an entertained failure at writing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Break-Up

Dear Body,

Letters like this are always hard to start, partly because of all the happy memories that come to the surface and make me want to rethink writing this. But -- oh wait -- that's right, we don't HAVE any happy memories. So this will be easy.

It started young. The sleepovers I missed, the play dates I canceled, the frantic looks on friends' parents' faces when I clutched my stomach and turned green in the middle of lunch at McDonald's. I was dubbed with a "nervous stomach," and thus the labels started. The so-called "nervous stomach" did not stop through middle school, or even through high school, and lord knows it didn't stop into college. I mean, could I not move back ONE semester without curling into a ball and praying for a stomach transplant the first day? Really, Body. It was college. If anything I should've had stomachaches for another, less-legal reason, not because I had a "nervous stomach."

Then things went from bad to worse. The so-called "nervous stomach" became an every-day-every-minute-every-hour stomach, where food became the enemy and long nights were spent curled in the fetal position in a constant prayer to the stomach gods. What small animal did I have to sacrifice to get a little relief? Badgers? Rabbits?

Then came the real kicker, the "beginning of the end," as I call it -- the doctors. Oh, their intentions were honorable, their tests were given with the firmest of beliefs that we would find a "solution". But after 4 -- yes, FOUR, Body. Remember? -- years of tests, exams, nasty-crap liquids, and IV's, it always resulted in the same thing: "We didn't find anything. But we'd like to do another test..."

You were finicky. You were selfish. You acted sick and upset until the MOMENT before a test. You teased me. You refused to digest anything, ANYTHING, for years. You treated me like some disposable carrying case for your own personal fun-and-games. And now, NOW, you dare to contract stomach virus after stomach virus, as though the YEARS of nausea and pain weren't enough? You dare to develop a weak immune system as though I haven't been tip-toeing around you my entire life?

Well, Body, this should come as no surprise then. I'm breaking up with you. I've had enough of your abuse, your insensitivity, your cruelty. I've had enough of your interruptions. I've spent far too many nights making excuses for you, missing out on events because of you. You, quite frankly, suck at being healthy, and I deserve to eat whatever the hell I want and not cry about it later.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out,

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why I've Been AWOL: A List

Reasons I've been missing for a week:

#1) As though I haven't spent enough of my life ill, my body decided to contract God-knows-what bug and incapacitate me for a few days. Yay, mortality.

#2) I got something. Oh -- you want to know what I got? Well, okay. It's best to show you:

Yep. I bought a dog. Not just any dog. A 7 week old Corgi puppy. So not only have I been sick, but this little bundle of teeth and claws has been making me feel like I just had a baby, not bought a puppy. Granted, mi familia has been caring for her whilst I lay around moaning, but still. Puppies + sickness = Buyer's remorse.

Funny/sad vet story: I took her to the vet today for her first shots (actually my mom took her, I tagged along, looking very pathetic and sickly). My mom told the vet that Pippa (the dog) was my dog, I'd bought her, yadda yadda. The vet looked at me and said "Just wait until you turn 16 and get to buy a car. That's a whole new world of purchases!" And I just sat there, looking even more pathetic and sickly. I'm going to be 20 in August. Ouch.

Suffice to say, as soon as I get better/get adapted to having a baby-- I mean get adapted to having a puppy, I will return to the blogosphere. Until then, I leave you with this YouTube video:

I might be late to this bandwagon, but John Green does YouTube videos!! Who knew?