Survey Sunday

What is your favorite genre for reading and writing?

It’s hard to choose just one for each of the categories! I love to read mysteries, historical fiction and nonfiction, sci fi and chick lit. Over the past 12 months, I’ve participated in four wrimos and have written in a few different genres. I finished one sci fi novel, as well as a sci fi fantasy romance, started a mystery and struggled through the beginning of another sci fi story. My project for November is a suspense novel with a few sci fi and romance elements. I’m equally comfortable writing in terms of the real world as I am speculative fiction. 

What’s the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? Give us your thoughts. 

The last book I read was a YA novel called They All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach. It was centered around four high school seniors whose lives change abruptly when an asteroid is on a collision course with the earth. I enjoyed it on the whole because it had excellent character development and deep plot lines as they adjust to the likelihood of the fate of the planet. I won’t give anything away, but the end was very much a cliffhanger that left the typical wrapping up of storylines unresolved. I didn’t particularly like that element because it felt so abrupt. Normally this doesn’t bother me, but in most cases of books that end this way, there are a few clues as to what might happen. This may just be me, but that’s my take on it. 

Do you prefer paper books or ebooks? 

I love both. I grew up with paper books, so I love the touch and smell of reading one. Ebooks are great, too. Storage is not an issue and the backlit displays are very easy to see. 

What’s your take on fanfiction?

I love it. I know there are various mindsets among authors on this issue, but I think writing or reading fanfiction can be very rewarding. Before the Internet and sites for fanfiction, I can imagine a lot of creative types wrote it before anyone gave it a name. I know I did; I wrote a resolution to the end of the television show Quantum Leap as a teenager. In my opinion, anything that gets more people, especially the young, involved in reading and writing is a good thing. Writing on the basis of already established characters and plots and still being able to make it feel authentic and true to the source is not easy, and I think it prepares a lot of the skills one uses to write original fiction. I know a lot of people started out in a fanfiction setting and kindled their love of writing into the world of original works. 

What’s your favorite way to spend your free time?

I love to relax by hanging out with people I love or being alone… Both suit me equally well. I love reading, watching films, listening to music, exercising, shopping. There are many ways to fill a free day, depending on what’s going on!

Dream #125

The music blared over the speakers as I reached for my stylus, certain of its position because I always kept it in the same place. He has always been so kind, helping me with learning where to put things and setting me at ease over my overly dilated pupils. 

“We match,” he joked as he removed his glasses and allowed me a closer look. 

I’d never felt so close to him except for when we danced. I loved to dance with him because all that mattered was the music and the feeling of our bodies together, two becoming one. 

He encouraged me to read and keep up with my writing as much as ever and massaged my weary legs and feet at the end of each day. Often words were not necessary. 

I could talk freely about how I thought about the others and wondered why they hadn’t clung onto the will to survive. They hadn’t wanted to be here, but I did. I liked being here. 

Flying Home, Part XII

“No. Julian’s dead.” Emily was beyond stunned. “He has to be. His plane went down. He’s gone. ” A flash of anger ripped through her body. “How can you just sit there and tell me something like that when everyone knows it isn’t true? I’m the one who’s had to live without him. I don’t know how you people can be so cruel… She stood up and started to walk toward the door.” 

“Did you see any wreckage? A body?” Harry’s voice was gentle as he asked the probing questions. “What do you have, Emily, beyond what other people have told you? You’re a reporter. How much of this lack of evidence could be used for a news story? Please just consider that. When you write about deaths, be it an accident or whatever, how much proof do you require? Leroy wouldn’t sign off on a story made of nothing but gossip.” 

Something of this logic resonated within Emily. She stopped and turned to face Harry and Mary Jean. “No, he wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t present him such a piece, either.” 

“I know. Why don’t you apply the same ideals to this case?” 

“Wesley did warn Natasha against chasing after Julian in the event of my murder,” Emily recalled. “But everything there seemed so unreal. I don’t even know why they live there.” 

“It’s far worse than a love affair,” Mary Jean said. “They’re only fooling themselves, though. They imagine their employers to be some sort of monsters who will be displeased if they don’t shed as much blood as possible.” 

“Julian’s blood.” Emily meant to state it as a question but it sounded like a statement. 

“No, my dear,” Harry sighed. “Yours.” 

“Why? Who am I to them?” 

“A witness,” Mary Jean answered. “And they’re too blinded by fear to realize that what you saw had nothing to do with them but rather these employers of whom they’re so afraid.” 

Emily shook her head in confusion. “The lights? How could they have made that happen? And what’s wrong with my witnessing it, if that’s even true?” 

“In reality, nothing. They only think so.” 

“How could Julian be alive?” Emily returned to the original source of shock. 

“I’m afraid we can’t keep you safe right now if I answered that question,” Harry intoned with a glance at his wife. “But you can know that he is truly alive.” 

“Then where is he? I want proof!” 

“He isn’t here, but it won’t be long,” Mary Jean answered. “I suppose you’ll either trust us, even though we can’t reveal much yet, or take your chances with Wesley and Natasha.” 

I can’t do that, Emily thought. They want to kill me and I have no idea why. But how much dare I trust Harry and Mary Jean? Something inside told her that the couple were by far more trustworthy than the perennially owly Wesley and the simpering Natasha. So she sat back down. 

“I’ll stay. Just promise me this will make sense.”

Flying Home, Part XI

“You? You’re the one who left the note?” Emily couldn’t imagine Mary Jean being so cryptic. True, she didn’t know the woman very well, but she was an extroverted person who seemed much more likely to speak openly about something important. 

“I’m sure I’m the last person you thought would write to you under the cover of anonymity, but I have my reasons. You’ll be safe with Harry and I,” Mary Jean continued. “I’m not trying to make you paranoid, but at this point I wouldn’t advise either of you ladies to trust much of anyone around here.” 

“Leroy isn’t involved in all of this, is he?” Leigh rubbed her eyes with fatigue and weariness of the secrecy. “We can trust our boss, can’t we?” 

Mary Jean smiled. “Yes, Leroy is one of the good guys. Although I would warn you that the people besides him and Harry and I might not be.” 

In a few minutes, Emily and Leigh were inside Harry and Mary Jean’s palatial mid century house. It sat on the outskirts of town on the opposite end of where Natasha and Wesley were apparently living, built with a view of most of Aurora. Leigh, the natural designer with her artistic eye, seemed to approve of the house. 

“This is beautiful,” she said. 

“Thank you,” Harry, the tall, lanky man with prematurely graying hair, said. “Mary Jean and I had it built after we married. We met on the band circuit. I was leading my group and one night I fell in love a singer in the other one. It happened that we were traveling through Vegas, so we got married and lived on the road about a year before we stopped for a show here and never left. I guess the place has a way of pulling you in.” 

“I guess,” Emily agreed. “So what’s going on? Why am I in danger?” 

“Natasha and Wesley fear that you know too much.” Mary Jean sighed. “They imagine that they’re working for people who have shady motives, but in truth, there’s no reason to fear those to whom they report. Have you noticed any strange lights or colors in the sky, Emily?” 

“Only in a dream,” Emily replied. “I had a vivid one the other night. I was drawn to the house and there were dancing lights in the sky that even played flowers in the sand that grew. But most of all, I went inside and saw my dead husband sitting in a chair as if nothing had changed in our lives.” 

Mary Jean gave her husband a knowing look before turning to look at Emily with tears in her big blue eyes. 

Harry leaned in toward her, his face growing somber. “What if I told you it wasn’t a dream?” 

“None of it? Even Julian…” 

“No,” Harry shook his head. “Emily, you need to know that Julian is alive!” 

Flying Home, Part X 

Part X

Emily and Leigh were silent until they reached their vehicle outside the house. Emily wanted to turn around and see if either Wesley or Natasha were watching them but refrained in favor of getting away from the place as quickly as possible. She started the car and drove as fast as she could to the country highway that would lead them back to Aurora. 

“Did that just happen?” Leigh asked, her face flushed in bewilderment. “I can’t believe all of those things Wesley and Natasha were saying. They actually tried to kill you?” 

“I know it sounds lame, but I have no idea,” Emily responded as she guided the car down the highway. “I don’t remember anything like that. But why would they want to do that? I’m not a threat to anybody in whatever is going on. Can you honestly tell me, Leigh, that you don’t see the changes in town? The televisions turning into radios, portable phones ceasing to exist, computers gone with typewriters instead? Am I losing my mind?” 

“I don’t think you’re losing your mind at all,” Leigh began, “but I don’t remember the things you’re talking about. They sound like they’re coming from science fiction magazines. Computers take up whole rooms. How could they sit on a desk?” 

Emily shook her head. “Maybe they drugged me, that could explain all of this memory stuff.” It felt impossible that she would have created an entire way of life in her mind, but everyone knew that the military was far more capable of many things than it shared with the public. Could Wesley, aided by Natasha, been able to alter Emily’s memories as part of some top secret project? 

“To whom do you suppose they were referring when they talked about someone not liking you looking around the house? I thought Wesley was more or less the highest in command here.” 

“I don’t know. Maybe he has more superiors than we know.” Emily shook her head. “I feel like it all comes back to the note on my desk. Someone knows more than they’re telling. I wish I knew who.” 

They pulled into the driveway of their house and sat there for a moment. 

“Should I even stay here?” Emily asked. “Is it safe?” 

Before Leigh could answer, Emily heard a tap on the window. Startled, she turned to see Mary Jean, the wife of Harry the bandleader. 

“You will be if you stick with me,” she said. “Both of you. The cool blonde pointed back to her own vehicle. It’s not the best idea to discuss it here, so please follow me. This is all for your own good. I’m sorry if I scared you by putting that note on your desk. I wanted you to be aware that you need to look over your shoulder more.” 

Flying Home, Part IX

Part IX

Emily felt shivers run up and down her spine at Wesley’s words. Do what again? She glanced at Leigh in desperation. Her sister looked at shocked as she was herself. It was hard to separate each idea from the confusing tangle of information. Wesley and Natasha shared this house? They both had enough personal effects stowed away to suggest more than an occasional visit. Were they lovers? Emily wouldn’t put it past Natasha’s flirty was to snag and ensnare any man whom she happened to choose. Why Wesley, though? And what did Wesley have to do again? Emily couldn’t recall him doing anything in the first place. What had happened? Could whatever he had done, perhaps to her, explain the strange changes taking place in town? 

“If she’s snooping around here,” Natasha continued, “it must mean that she recalls something about that night. Wes, we’re in deep trouble. They won’t like it.” 

“No, they certainly won’t,” Wesley agreed. “Which is why we have to work together to solve the problem for once and for all.” 

“Do you believe them? That they’re harmless?” Natasha asked shakily. 

“I don’t know,” Wesley answered. “I did at first, but why did they bother with Julian?”

Emily’s ears perked up even more at the mention of her husband. The lack of complete information frustrated her because a half explained conversation would not tell her what she needed to know. What if she was going crazy with grief? Was the town and its technology really changing or was it her imagination? Leigh didn’t seem fazed by it in the least. 

“He was supposed to be back when they were done. Why aren’t they done?” Natasha’s voice took on a whiny tone. 

“I don’t know, but when he’s back, give him a wide berth. Even if we have to eliminate Emily, you can’t just go prowling after her husband. It’ll never work. He loves her too much! He will want to honor her memory!” 

“Wasn’t he fair game the first time we attempted to eliminate her?” Natasha wheedled. 

Emily squeezed Leigh’s hand as her blood turned to ice water, sloshing around in her head and her stomach. Wesley and Natasha tried to kill her and she couldn’t even remember it? If they discovered her in the house, would they assassinate her on the spot? She closed her eyes in an effort to calm down. It was tortuous to be so quiet, unable to talk to Leigh because she could be overheard. 

Emily put her finger to her lips, gestured toward the window and stood enough to creep across the room. Leigh shook her head violently as Emily raised the window little by little. Somehow it was noiseless. It was their only method of escape. Getting out now may very well save their lives. Leigh followed after her sister with heavy movements of great reluctance. 

Sunday Survey

I’m borrowing this quiz from my friend at The Catz Meow!

How old are you? —— 38

Favorite TV show? —– Downton Abbey, Rizzoli and Isles, Wayward Pines

Favorite Color? —– purple, pink and silver

How would you decorate your home? —– My favorite style is a mix of traditional, Edwardian antique, Asian and contemporary.  

Pets? —– four month old tabby kitten, Sadie

Favorite book? —– The Great Gatsby

Last place I visited? —– It’s been too long to recall

Studying in college? —– Journalism

Secret Celeb Crush? —– It’s no secret that I adore Hugh Bonneville

Favorite Social Media Site? —– Twitter and Tumblr

Favorite Food? — spinach lasagna

Favorite Place I’ve Visited? —– Texas gulf coast

Family Members? —– One mom, one grandma, one grandpa, one aunt, one cousin

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? —– being a journalist!

Politics? —– I do not like politics because the real points get convoluted. I am more liberal than not. 

Coffee or tea? —– Both. I love coffee but also have an affinity for black tea. 

Favorite movie? —– Anything with Elizabeth McGovern 

Kids? —– Unlikely but one never knows

Place you want to retire? —– London

Silver Posts

It was the day the world was supposed to end according to the Mayan calendar, but my world was just beginning. The snow was crisp on the ground and if I used my imagination, I could hear the carolers in the background. I’d never been able to breathe so clearly on a winter night. My feet were howling in protest of walking on ice in scrappy sandal heels, but I made it to the mall anyway. As I sat on the barstool in the accessories store, I barely felt the ear piercing gun shoot silver balls into my earlobes as I listened to one of my favorite songs playing above our heads.