Explanations and Excerpts

Well hello there!

It’s been too long! I know, I’m terrible, but I did warn you: my procrastination skills are a force to be reckoned with.

Me, procrastinat

Me, procrastinating. Epic, no?Also, I know what you're thinking: This looks nothing like you. Don't worry, you prolly just don't recognize me without my specs.

Any who, lots of things have been happening, so I will quickly share with you some tidbits about the real life adventures of this absentee blog writer and then follow that up with a writing excerpt. If you’d rather not read about me and things that I consider interesting then by all means, feel free to scroll down 🙂 But then, why are you reading my blog, hmm???

First of all, boyfriend and I have decided to move to Austin, TX in October! Woot! A long awaited change of pace and location! I am obviously, very excited. We also got a puppy! His name is Wendell and he is the bee’s knees. Well, actually he’s a golden retriever, but you know what I mean. In other news, we recently got back from a vacation in California, wherein I met boyfriend’s sister (who I super like) and nephew (who is adorable and a total camera ham). We also visited one of my best friends in Monterey for the 4th of July, which was stupendous! If possible she has gotten even more beautiful and fantastic (as best friends are wont to do when left unattended). My only complaint is that there were no fireworks. Next year fireworks are an absolute necessity for me! I haven’t seen any in years and I, along with countless seven-year-olds across this great nation, love fireworks in a pretty serious way.

All in all I’ve had a fantastic couple of months! Things are looking good from where I am and I am jazzed for the future. However, all this positivity and excitement is weighed down by my recent lack of textual creativity so I will definitely be making the attempt to focus on my writing from here on out! After all, I only have something like 5 and half months in which to finish my book, lest I fall prey to the classic curse of making something a resolution and therefor never following through on it. To that end, please rejoice in the following excerpt!

Just a bit of introduction:
This scene has been rolling around in my head since the inception of this whole zombie novel idea. Herein lies the moment in which Whitley and Theo first clap eyes on each other before tearing off in a mad dash to escape a horde of bloodthirsty ghouls. The scenario popped into my head one day while listening to a jaunty little number entitled “Write It All Down for You” as made famous by a group of Canadian crooners known as Elliott Brood.

Enjoy~

******

Whitley stood on the roof of the run down Costco and watched the sun set. She didn’t hold her hand over her brow like a normal person. The brightness of the washed out light never made her eyes water anymore. It made her feel sort of impervious, inhuman really, in a good way. She could stare directly into the sun now, what was there to stop her? It stung a little to watch so hard, but seeing the edge of the bright circle dip below the horizon was her favorite part of the day.

She blinked a couple times trying to remove the burned-in image from her retinas and pulled her goggles back over her eyes. She could already see ten times better in the rapidly fading light. Swinging her pack onto her shoulder she stood upright and walked over to the repair ladder. She stopped when an unexpected howl shattered the quiet around her.

She scanned the horizon looking for the source of the noise. She could smell something on the air now moving closer- fear and… hunger! It hit her full blast and made her mouth water in commiseration. There must be a horde of ghouls nearby for it to carry like that she thought. She moved to the edge of the rooftop and crouched low, waiting. A few seconds later she caught a glimpse of a small someone running pell-mell down the blacktop. A kid, a boy; a live boy by the look of things! Whitley’s stomach growled and she forgot everything but her avid need to turn that kid into a manwich.

She barred her teeth as she sprang from the roof silent as a ghost. Her boots hit the concrete just as the kid crossed her path.

“WHOA!” He screeched as he nearly crashed into her. She cocked her head curiously, like a bird examining a fat worm, playing with her prey before the attack.

She was covered from head to toe in clothes: gloves, hood, scarf, goggles, the whole shebang; he couldn’t tell she was a zombie. He paused a moment to peer into her red lenses. Whitley was thrown by this very human action, no not human, childlike. She was astonished by the naive stupidity of his gesture. He reminded her of someone. He, she thought. He was a person, a live person. Her mind pivoted around the thought. She stared dumbly back. Then seemingly remembering something important, the kid took off again at break-neck speed.

“Better run clotheshorse!” He shouted over his shoulder. He was fast, really fast.

Whitley watched her would-be dinner turn the corner down a side street ahead, dumbfounded. Then she noticed the rumbling under her boots for the first time. She looked to her left as the horde thundered like a freight train toward her. They were less than a mile away and gaining fast. She was alone, a scavenger. They were so hungry they’d eat her first and ask questions never. Knocked out of her reverie she turned on the spot and hit the pavement hard running after the kid.

******

And for your listening pleasure-

Introductions: Part 2

Hi guys! Sorry I’ve taken so long getting this post up. I am a woeful procrastinator. However, I do hope the wait was worth it! So without further ado~

Meet your heroine, well sort of-

Whitley Howard is a realist and for that reason does not consider herself a heroine. She’s a zombie- and she’s not happy about it.

To quote a wise man: "There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead."

Whitley was infected over a year after the initial outbreak of the Z virus, which means that she managed to stay human and alive for quite some time and that was no mean feat.

This is very admirable.

However, she became a zombie at a point when the food population had been depleted so much that she has only fed on human flesh a handful of times and has otherwise been starving the bulk of her undead life.

This sucks.

BUT, the lack of a readily available food source and her subsequent starvation despite her death impairment has led Whitley to some rather interesting discoveries concerning the particular strain of zombie that she is. For instance:

  • Despite the fact that her body is decomposing, Whitley hasn’t actually died and is therefore not a reanimated corpse; the Z-virus has only altered her genetic makeup and is killing her and other zombies in a rather interesting way.
  • A zombie is only alive because the virus assimilates living proteins into the system. This is what incites the host’s desire to feed on living flesh.
  • While human flesh and brains are nutritiously preferable in her condition, she can survive and function so long as she ingests some form of meat protein.
  • Eating larger quantities of a live food source makes her stronger and also boosts the Z-virus regenerative factor. However, zombie regeneration does not lend one the capacity to re-grow a severed limb and the like. The Z-virus works in such a way that its host is self-healing, but only to a certain extent.
  • On the flip side, eating larger quantities of meat also causes madness. This results in the host becoming a bloodthirsty “ghoul”. The madness is a symptom of holes that develop in the brain, which are a byproduct of cannibalism. Because this state cannot be reversed once it begins, most zombies are ghouls.
  • Consuming smaller amounts of meat and/or starvation slows any long-term damage to the brain. It is because of this that Whitley is able to exert some control over her hunger and retain a sense of self. However the desire to feed is intense.
  • Complete starvation would result in a slow, stupid zombie a la “Night of the Living Dead” and the host body would decompose much more rapidly than that of a host who had fed.

So due to her perpetual state of hunger, our heroine has somehow lucked into the “happy” medium of zombie life.

Thusly, at the point where her story begins, you would be most likely to find Whitley scavenging a grocery store in search of a can of Vegetable Beef Chunky soup or stalking a stray cat.

You would also come to understand her opinion that she does not, in fact, live the most dignified undead life.

PS- I’m sorry, the scanner killed the color in my drawing a bit, but hooray for visuals anyway! Also here’s a jaunty little tune for your listening pleasure C:

Introductions: Part One

Hi guys! OK so all you need to know before you read this post is that I changed the “Sam” character’s name to Theo and gave him a personality. I hope you’re just pleased as punch to meet him! Whitley’s profile is coming up next and she is ridiculously awesome so keep your eyes peeled 😀

Any who,

Meet the sidekick!

Theo Juan-Carlos Salvador Garcia is a short, mostly Hispanic, 15-year-old. He has brown hair, brown eyes, and brown skin. He wears red converse shoes and a pendant depicting Saint Giles (who among other things is invoked against fear of the night) that his brother gave him. He never takes it off; it’s his only prized possession. He’s also a stickler for foot hygiene and tends to scavenge abandoned houses for clean socks. Theo runs very fast but he’s also a klutz. He travels light carrying only a backpack in which keeps comic books and a metal baseball bat. He also hides a stash of dog food that he frequently feeds Whitley; she believes it to be cereal (more on this later).

Theo Juan-Carlos Salvador Garcia! Drawing and coloring by yours truly...His left arm is abnormally long but you should overlook this.

Before the Z-virus outbreak Theo had three sisters: Rosa, Tatiana, Mari and one older brother, Joseph. His sisters ignored him and his mother didn’t pay him much attention either, but was kind in an absent sort of way. All he knows about his father is that they share the same first name. His step-dad was harsh but mostly ignored him. This never bothered him though, as he was closest with Joseph and considered his brother to be his best friend and the only family he’d ever need.

Theo and Joseph were alone basically since the beginning of the Z-Virus outbreak after their zombie Abuela proceeded to eat most of the family at their sister, Rosa’s, Quinceañera.

And let me tell you, that was a lot of brains.

A few months before the story begins, the two boys went out for food and were surprised by a horde. In an effort to save his brother, Joseph was killed. Theo was bitten on the shoulder but never contracted the virus.

Losing his brother broke Theo’s heart and he’s been making only a feeble attempt at survival out of respect for Joseph’s effort to protect him. Nothing in the world really matters to him, not even his apparent immunity, until he and Whitley become friends. Despite his losses, Theo is rarely angry or sad and is by default an upbeat and carefree person. It is his openness and vulnerability that eventually win him the friendship of a certain undead girl.

PS- If Theo had a theme song, this would probably be it:

Amusing Anecdote 1)

Here’s a post that I wrote for fun and then thought would tide you over until I can finish my character profiles. They’re taking longer than I anticipated as I’ve decided to include drawings! Anyway, here is a short but harrowing tale in which a nice, young girl (bearing only a slight resemblance to yours truly) morphs into a monster, makes it very clear who is in fact the boss, and then treats herself with some sugar and a hunky sci-fi hero.

Happy reading ~

PMS Scorpion: A Work of Fiction (Entirely, I Swear)

Once upon a time there was a girl who was very annoyed.

She was also PMS-ing.

She had the temperament of an angry scorpion, if you will.

So, rather than make mountains out of mole hills by bottling up her emotions, she sought to air her grievances to her most trusted companion. That companion listened and then proceeded to take all of the girl’s grievances, and all of her complaints, and wrap them up in a big, ugly wad and shove them in her face.

Needless to say, the girl’s temperament moved rapidly from that of an angry scorpion to that of an angry scorpion who had just been poked in the face with something sharp, like maybe a stick covered in dog poo.This shocked the girl! She was merely trying to express herself (as many a Guru including Madonna- back when she was still producing legitimate hits- have advised)! How could her friend turn on her like that? It was unacceptable and something had to be done.

In her mind, the little scorpion girl grew a pair of great, red pincers and a giant, poisonous tail. Her face turned hideous and she sprouted too many eyes and her shoulder muscles bulged impressively. In short, she Hulked-the-hell-out and she proceeded to sting the bujeezus out of that friend.

Then she ate some ice cream and watched an episode of Doctor Who. And all was well once again.

10th Doctor! He's good for what ails ya! Even if what ails you is a tendency to turn into an angry PMS Scorpion... Not that I would know.

Ghost Ships in the Night: A Preview

Hey guys!

So here’s a little piece of the novel I’m working on. Character profiles are coming up next! This is the first piece of the story that came to me; the first blurt if you will. A guy, a dead girl, and an awkward kiss. I’m not sure if I actually want to include a romance in the finished book but I’ll be damned if I didn’t want to write it. I was too intrigued by making a dead girl pretty, but still definitely dead. I’m almost pleased with how it came out but I wish Sam would’ve spoken more. Or at all.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!~

* * * * * *

Whitley stood at the edge of the river ankle-deep in the muddy water. She watched the rainbow sheen of oil ripple and bend on the water’s surface. It stained her skin in rings; varying shades of light and dark like the inside of a tree.

Sam watched her from the boardwalk. At night the whole world was sapped of color; everything melted into shades of blue, black and grey. In this light she looked almost normal, almost human. She didn’t cover up so much at night. So long as the sun was down you could overlook the deep purple green of the circles around her eyes. You didn’t even really notice that her skin was the wrong color or that it seemed to flake off of her body in some places and hang off of her bones in others. Well, you almost didn’t notice.

Sam shoved his hands in his pockets and trudged down the beach tripping through the sand and debris. He kicked a bottle into the water with a dull plunk to announce himself. Whitley made no move to acknowledge him until the plastic container bumped softly against her skin.

When she turned to face him her eyes flashed grey-green in the dark, like a predator. A breeze kicked up lifting her straw-dry hair around her face. It was bleached white under the moon.

“Hey.” He said lamely.

Whitley furrowed her eyebrows disparagingly and turned back toward the horizon. She closed her eyes and went back to ignoring him.

He moved closer swirling the water, the noise of his movement masked by the tide.

She smelled like dirt and dead leaves. Wet. Rotten. Sweet. With only the slightest hint of something sharp. It reminded him of how he used to sleep in the attic on cold nights back home.

He liked it.

Unsure of what to do, Sam rocked from side to side shifting his weight.

Right. Left. Right.

He looked down at his feet and then up at Whitley again. Her hair trembled around her face in pale curls, like little ghosts. It was strange and pretty and Sam stared intently. Before he knew it he was lifting his hands toward her; he faltered then quickly took her face in his palms and pressed his lips resolutely to hers.

Whitley’s eyes snapped open in shock. She had just enough time to register the way his brow furrowed and relaxed as he kissed her before she shoved him violently away. He stumbled backward and fell with a splash into the dirty water.

“Sam! What?! Why?! What is WRONG with you?!” she spluttered in anger and disgust wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

Sam pushed his wet hair back off his forehead and looked up at her. She was standing stock still with her fists at her hips. She was mad. She was a little scary but he smiled up at her.

“Are you SMILING at me? You just kissed a dead girl! That’s disgusting! What are you some kind of pervert?!” She asked irate. When he didn’t respond she folded her arms over her chest and waited intent on an explanation. Sam looked up and lifted his eyebrows as if he was considering his answer. He couldn’t think of anything to say so he just shrugged and smiled again. Whitley looked at him like he had just slapped her with a dead fish. She paused for a long time and then settled on a two-word response.

“Dude, ew.” She said, and then she stalked off with her arms clamped tightly across her chest.

Sam pushed himself up and took off his sopping over-shirt. He watched her figure shrink into the distance and smiled to himself shaking his head. She had tasted like tin and earth and dust and she’d probably punish him for it later, but “It was totally worth it.” He said aloud to himself with a chuckle. Then he trudged up the beach after her.

* * * * * *

 

PS The whole concept for this book is heavily inspired by the band Dead Man’s Bones and I thought I’d include a sample of the song I was listening to when I wrote this. If you feel curious run out there and buy their album immediately as they are absolutely fantastic and your life will be better for having heard their music.

An Explanation

Hello there!

My name is Heather. I am not blond. I just wanted to get that out of the way in case you were wondering if I was, because a lot of Heathers are blonds, but I am not. Not that being blond is bad. And just to counter the blond joke community, two of my best friends are blond and both of them graduated well in the top ten percent of our high school class, have since completed college, and are living far more fantastic lives than I am right now… So maybe there IS some truth to the old adage that “blonds have more fun,”

But I digress.

I am a 23-year-old brunette. I love reading in a pretty serious way and I don’t see very well. Sometimes I wear glasses that are very thick and only attractive to dudes with nerd fetishes. I work in an office where I do tedious things over and over again. This office is in a TV station which leads many to the misleading conclusion that I live some sort of glamorous and interesting behind-the-scenes TV lifestyle. I don’t. I have, however, learned that the camera does NOT add 5 lbs. A horrible fact to have discovered as I have been on television and have had to accept that the image produced from filming is an exact portrayal of my figure. I AM that slightly overweight girl grinning obliviously and I must learn to accept it. At least my hair still looks cute.

My life away from work is (thankfully) not filled with mindless drudgery and depressing epiphanies concerning my self-image. I have a ridiculously supportive mother, a sarcastic-to-a-fault-but-always-on-my-side gay brother with a set of pipes to die for, and a wonderful boyfriend who would build me a fire underwater if I asked him to. I have a pretty positive outlook on life, a beautiful house that I share with two beautiful roommates, three amazing and inspiring best friends, and an intense desire to find the perfect puppy. Also I have a crap-ton of books. What more could one marginally attractive, twenty-something, bookworm want?

I’m glad you asked: I want to write a novel of my very own. A fantastic one, and if possible, I’d like to write a few more after that.

Because I realized very early on that I have far too active an imagination to sit at a desk FOREVER. Therefore, I plan to use my imagination to pull myself to artistic freedom!

Good plan.

Problem: writing a book scares the bujeezus out of me! Have you seen how long most novels are? I can barely stand to read one any longer than a week, which is OK since I read pretty fast, but write my own? That takes time. This isn’t to say that I haven’t made several attempts to do so. Actually, my resolution this year was to write a book AND I had a great idea AND I even started writing it, so see? The desire is totally there! However, I seem to have lost my steam as of late and it’s not even March. Something must be done.

And that something is blogging.

Because if Stephanie Meyer can write a book then I sure as hell can!

So there you go, I will be writing this blog as a way to keep up my enthusiasm for the Big Kahuna project I’m working on: the great American novel. Though, I fully expect to produce an acceptable novel by an American instead. That works too. This will be my first novel, after all, assuming that I succeed.

Anyway, here you will find short stories, character profiles, and amusing anecdotes written by yours truly as I sculpt, hack, and shape my writing into something definitely worth reading and possibly worth publishing. I hope you enjoy them. More than that though, I hope that even if this goes absolutely nowhere I come out on the other side having done something personally fantastic despite the work induced stupor I spend most of my day stumbling around in.

Here’s hoping …