Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Whispering of Trees

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 1:

  Aggie, deeply asleep, snuggled into her pillow, arms wrapped around her well-loved Mr. Maple Tree stuffed toy.  As the bright galaxy spiraled in, her lips curved into a smile in anticipation of another of her lively interactions with The Sister Whale.  The sparkling lights of the galaxy suddenly went dark.  Aggie flinched, her fist opened and closed.  The middle of the spiral went oily black, and her smile morphed into an open-mouthed grimace.  
  Her eyeballs moved rapidly from side to side under fluttering lids.
  A huge black sperm whale, his tail and fins tattered and bloody, flew at her.
  She moaned.
  He opened his mouth wide.  Something dark and viscous boiled out of his gaping black maw along with words she couldn’t comprehend, but carried a clear threat. 
  She tossed. 
  His breath assaulted her.  It smelled of death.  Then he smashed bloody teeth together, and red mist sprayed over her. 
  She threw her hands up to ward it away. 
  Blood ran in rivulets and dripped from his ragged tongue. 
  She thrashed. 
  Flames danced and flickered from his flared blowhole.   
  She whimpered.  “Please.  No.” 
  He turned his demon head to stare at her with blistering red eyes.  He opened his mouth again to scream at her with the fury of a thousand demons, filling her room with the sounds of hell.

Friday, April 10, 2015

     I recently read a post and the comments that followed in which the author of said post was making the point that as writers we are all in this together and should strive to be supportive of one another.  I certainly agree wholeheartedly as did most of the commenters who followed the original subject of the post.
     One, however, veered off subject a little to mention rude criticisms posted by readers of our work, not pointing the finger of blame at any one group in particular, just at readers in general.  This particular comment opened the little can of worms I keep locked in an old rusty file cabinet in the back of my brain in a dark corner of my Vault of Nasty Comments from Readers.  One fat, juicy worm squirmed to the forefront of my mind bringing with it the memory of that time I and my work were the unhappy recipients of a particularly mean-spirited and, I must say, highly inaccurate criticism that caused me to seriously doubt my skills as a writer.
      While it is true that even one unkind criticism can open a writer's floodgates, inundating us with a million and one doubts about the quality of our work, being so unkind as to criticize a book that obviously hasn't been read past the synopsis is especially mean-spirited.  
     When it happened to me the first thing I did was shed a few tears and swear.  Then I took a deep breath, counted to ten, and read it a second time, mining for tidbits of constructive criticism.  I did find one or two helpful-in-general suggestions and took them to heart.  The remaining comments went in the trash instead of the can of worms where I save the especially mean ones for later use in kicking myself when I'm already down.  But that's a post for another blog.  My point is that even the sharpest of criticisms can sometimes carry within them a helpful snippet or two, but please read the work, post, if not constructive, at least, accurate criticisms.
     I, and I'm guessing all of my fellow writers out there, would be ever so grateful if commenters would, accurate or not and before hitting Enter, put themselves in the commentee's shoes and temper their criticisms with a just smidgen of kindness.
     P.S. Luckily for me, a few months later that work I mentioned earlier (my first novel) won an honorable mention in the 2013 Paris Book Festival bringing with it a renewed faith in myself as a writer.