Friday Snippet #48 and Monday Drawing #17

InfiorataSunny. Sunny. Sunny. That’s it. Enough reasons to put together my resurrected Monday Drawing ad the Friday Snippet in the same post. My tan allows me special powers. Also this is my blog.

Nothing to add on the rewriting/editing front. Same as last week.

From Elios, which is slowly taking shape:

Areel paused a moment and lowered his head. “Soon, we’ll be reunited.”

I nodded. “Yes, very soon.”

“You’ll see, you’ll feel better once you’re home.”

“Areel…”

“Yes?”

“I can’t help but wonder about the softness of her skin and the pleasure we would have experienced with the briefest sharing of our thoughts.”

Areel gasped and for a moment his image faltered. “But you haven’t attempted a Share with her? You told me you hadn’t—”

“I’m the epitome of the perfect Observer.” I looked at him and shrugged. “Never touched her. Never kissed her.”

“Good. That’s good. Because you know what would have happened to her if you had.”

I raised one hand to stop him from spelling it out for me. Every Observer knew the rules and I didn’t want to talk about scraping her mind clean of my memories.

But Areel keep talking. “She could lose her mind through the process.”

“I know.” The procedure was the equivalent of a sophisticated lobotomy.

“You know the exposure to us changes the subject’s DNA—”

“I remember.”

“Then you also remember that the subject transfers Solean DNA in their genes and passes the memories of us to the next generation, and then the next, changing both their history and ours.”

“I remember!” I finally shouted, but Areel wasn’t done yet.

“There are too many implications in having a superior knowledge way ahead of time. Especially for a violent society like the humans.”

I was furious with him, but I composed my voice and repeated, “I did not touch her.”

“I trust you.” He sounded apologetic and before I could ask what was all that about, he whispered, “It makes everything easier.”

Friday Snippet #48 and Monday Drawing #17

Friday Snippet #47

Greenerie inkThe Pacific Northwest is experiencing a sun epidemic. My sales are sinking, but every indie authors and their mothers are complaining about not selling, so I’m partially relieved. It must be the sun. Unable to control the weather and the publishing market, I blissfully make lemonades by walking mile after mile and writing when I’m not walking—I wish I could do both at the same time. I’ve been also on a baking spree. More on that later.

From Elios:

Around mid-December, one rainy afternoon, I was sitting on the floor, hoping to sense her aura and feeling bereft without her mental presence to soothe my pain. A familiar but unpleasant feeling possessed me. Darkness embraced my mind and I was sucked up into the tunnel before I could react.

I was enraged, but not surprised to see both Areel and Kam at the other end waiting for me. “What did you do?”

Kam waived one hand in the air. “You didn’t give us a choice.”

“And you thought forcing me here would be for the best?” I had never come to feel so close to want to beat anyone. Physical energy built in me and needed to be released. “You thought involving Lex to give you my mental signature would be a good idea?”

“We didn’t know what to do—” Areel stepped forward and I stepped back. “I’m not going to force a Share on you!”

“Wouldn’t you now?” I looked at them and they flinched. “What did you tell Lex?”

“Nothing.” Kam lowered his eyes on the ground.

I shook, fists by my side. “Lex wouldn’t have given you access to my mental signature so that you could summon me here against my will for nothing. What did you tell him?”

“That you needed a vacation, but you were too busy with your mission to be bothered to take a break.” Areel gestured for me to look around.

Only then, I finally took in where we were, and it wasn’t our usual spot. “What are we doing on Karillion?” It was a place we used to go on vacation, a tropical island close to our Academy. Ancient pink sand beaches with perfumed seawater and warm temperatures. I looked down at my feet already buried in the shore. The fine pebbles mixed with the sand and moved at once with the water, rolling back and forth and creating a melodic sound, almost music. I had always though it was the most relaxing place in the universe. Not at the moment. “I am still doing my job. This, what you did, is uncalled for.”

Areel maintained his gaze on me. “We only wanted to help.”

I felt angrier. I didn’t like to feel vulnerable and right then I was devastated. “I wouldn’t stop working on a mission for anything and you know it.”

“That wasn’t our concern.” Kam discarded the cloth around his waist and waded into the water. “Come.”

*Today’s drawing is an inked version of one of the illustrations I made for The Prince’s Day Out. I used Paint.Net as my usual to saturate the colors of the original and I added the ink filter.

Friday Snippet #47

Friday Snippet #46

My art on Someone else's cell phone

Another great week in the Pacific Northwest. Last Sunday, I went for a hike and discovered I’m not in the wonderful shape I thought I was. The climb is quite steep though and I did swim in the icy waters of the lake once we reached the end of the trail. It felt awesome, but I temporarily lost the use of my limbs. Worth it.

I finished several paintings using Fresh Paint, but I hesitated to share the one titled Rainbow Feelings on twitter. I thought it looked too crowded. I’m glad I decided otherwise, because I received several kind tweets commenting on it.  My naïf art is now a lock screen background on someone’s cell phone. And that is priceless.

On the writing front, my latest news is that I joined a co-op on NetGalley. I have no data to report at the moment. I’m working on Elios and keeping a steady 1500 words a day, while also editing Gaia. Crossing fingers, I should be able to publish the two of them for Christmas. Meanwhile, Marie’s Journey, the fourth in The Ginecean Chronicles series—formerly known as a trilogy—is in the capable hands of my editor, Amy Eye.

From Elios:

“Now, I want you to do it again, by yourself,” Lex said.

I blinked.

“Try.”

In earth time, several hours had passed since the beginning of the session and I was mentally tired. Almost certainly, my physical body—lying naked on the bed—was aching as well.

“You must trust me.”

“Of course.” I summoned the image of when I had gone deep diving in one of the seawater pools by the Academy. Lex had asked me to find a memory that symbolized my reaching for the innermost part of my soul and that image had stood out. I shed my clothes as I had done that day and dove into the bright, turquoise waters. It wasn’t a coincidence my human eyes had turquoise flickers in them. I kept diving and the colors all around me darkened. Soon, I was surrounded by black waters, but I wasn’t scared. I felt at peace; cocooned in a warm, safe liquid. I was ready for the next step and surprised it had taken so little effort. I switched my point of view, and, as I had done in the previous sessions guided by Lex, I opened my eyes to a different scenario. I was in Seattle, but I wasn’t. I levitated over the vast expanse of the city, myself as big as the sky, floating over the roads and the buildings. I expanded my consciousness. I stretched my ego until I was no more. I looked down and I saw reality as a constant stream of mathematical possibilities. Every single action taken by the individuals living down there could be explained and predicted with great accuracy. I lingered to analyze one of the possible futures this city would live through in the span of ten years. I fast forwarded to one century. Then, I came back to five minutes from the present. A second later, I was in the now. “Amazing.”

Lex chuckled and when I looked at him I saw the sparkle in his eyes. “You, my pupil, are the youngest Observer to ever achieve the Dark Void with barely a mission in.”

Friday Snippet #46

Friday Snippet #45

Summer Turmoil

Sunny, exceptionally sunny in Seattle. Therefore, I have little to say about this past week other than I walked miles and miles and  got sunburned. Rewriting Elios is hard and I’m struggling through the process, but I am working on it every day. Conversely, drawing with Fresh Paint is easy and I’m having fun with it. Summer Turmoil is one of my latest drawings.

From Elios (working title)

“Are you up for a session?” Kam had the uncanny ability to check on me whenever my mental defenses where at my lowest.

I closed the window, stepped inside and sat on the lonely chair. Breathed in and out and let the rest of the room disappear one item at a time. First the wall in front of me, then the one on my right, next the one on my left. A blank screen engulfed my vision. The mosaic marble tiles with their floral pattern followed the walls. I was sitting on a floating chair. Then, I was simply floating and the blank screen zoomed toward me. A slow moving tunnel sucked me in and I emerged at the other end to face a smiling Kam.

“You made it.” He raised an eyebrow. “You look horrible.”

“Thank you.” Next time, I should be more careful in composing my mental appearance. I had been successful so far to keep both Kam and Areel unaware of my inner turmoil. “Where is Areel?”

“Unexpected session with his Guide.” Kam materialized the furniture in the astral room as he strolled toward the center.

I had to move out of the way to make space for a chair and two cabinets. “Why do you bother?” I regretted my words as soon as they were out of my mouth.

“You know why.” He blinked and the old, battered couch we had spent so many hours sitting on appeared before him. “I like our dig to be lifelike. It makes our shared time here all the more enjoyable.” With a tilt of his head, Kam gestured for me to join him on the soft cushion he was patting.

The fabric let out a fine cloud of dust that reached my nose. I waved my hand to dismiss my earlier statement. “You’re right of course.” I added a few pillows and rugs to the floor and went to lie there instead. “So, is Areel having problems again?” Our friend was still healing after the trauma of his first mission’s end.

“It takes time to adjust to the idea you had to doom an entire species to oblivion.”

Friday Snippet #45

Friday Snippet #44

Finestra sull'Umbria SketchedGray outside. Gaia is in the hands of the editor once again. It took me a long time to implement his corrections and add my changes. Hopefully, this second time around it will go faster. Meanwhile, I’m working on Elios. A nightmare. I must rewrite the whole 90k words. The first 80 pages are mostly inner monologue. Although there’s a good reason for that—Elios is an Observer—the story can’t stand on its own the way it is written now. I don’t look forward to the task ahead.

From Gaia (still a working title):

It was Wednesday afternoon, and Sara was checking the weather to see if we could finally go for a hike somewhere nearby. I was trying to focus on something on TV while Pallino had decided to sleep on my lap.

“Spending a few days away from Seattle is going to help you reconnect with the rest of the world,” Sara said.

“Is that so?”

“Yes, it’s been proven that open air is beneficial for the health of the gray matter. In your case, there isn’t a lot left to save, but still.”

Suddenly, the doorbell rang, and I jumped, surprised because we weren’t expecting any of our friends. Pallino woke up, irritated by my lack of manners.

Sara went to see who it was when I felt it. I felt him.

I knew exactly who was behind that door before she reached the other room. I sat down on the first chair I found because I couldn’t stand up, couldn’t breathe. I just wanted to scream.

Elios had come back.

Friday Snippet #44

Friday Snippet #42

Libera la MenteNot a lot to recap since my three thousand years stint in the alternate universe I went to a few days ago. I can only add what I think happened to my radio host, author Frank Smith, who keeps quiet about the whole thing. He declared having screamed at unanimated objects for four minutes. That’s my answer to him:

“Frank, although we didn’t take the same portal, I’m pretty sure I saw you waving at me at least in two different occasions. The first, if I remember correctly–it was a long time ago– it was in the occasion of my coronation as Empress Monica the First of Moon and Mars. I didn’t mention this detail earlier because I like to keep it real and humble. Anyway, I think you were among the delegation from Ganimedes. I could be mistaken. The second, I had a glimpse of you at the inauguration of the Transoceanic Railroad on Jupiter. Quite the crowd gathered for that occasion. You were accompanied by an attractive Venusian and quite interested in her gills. Although not excusable that could explain why you didn’t notice when the first bomb exploded. Since we finished our interview, I surmised everything went fine on your side.”

And now, my snippet. From, Green Glass and High Tide, Jules and Lucia are having lunch together in one of the Rotunda Restaurants just outside the megalopolis:

They settled on the cushions and played with the music selection while waiting for their food. Two servos arrived from who knows where and deposited the artfully arranged plates on the windowsill, took Lucia’s credit number by asking her to look into the robotic eye they all sported on their trunk, and finally left.

“I’d like to move back here,” Lucia commented, while having a second helping of her crème de cassiope.

“Don’t… say that. You know this is temporary.” Jules dropped her spoon and looked at Lucia with pleading eyes.

“It could be permanent.”

“Hell is going to break loose as soon as I start my investigation.” Jules pinched the arch of her nose.

Lucia thought that Jules looked more and more like their father. Even in the way they expressed anxiety, they moved their hands in the exact same gestures. “I can help you with that.”

“I think is better if you leave as soon as you can… so that the aftermath doesn’t reach you.”

“Nonsense, I’m not going to abandon ship.”

“Listen to me, Lucia. I love having you around, but, have you considered that maybe I will have to run away…?” Jules’s comlink chimed harmoniously and she made an I-told-you-so face. “And hell is going to break loose in three… two… one—she raised one finger to shush Lucia—Rizieri’s here. Yes, I’ll wait for him. Thanks.” Jules tapped gently her earlobe to close the call. “I’ve been assigned to a cleric. This is the beginning of the end.”

Lucia touched her sister’s arm. “May the Truth prevails… as father would say.”

“Forever and ever,” Jules finished the formulaic prayer with a sigh.

Friday Snippet #42

Friday Snippet #41

Sunny DayI survived my lecture and came back to say everything went well. If the video turned out fine, it will be posted on YouTube, otherwise you’ll have to take my word for it. In that case, I’ll declare I was fabulous.

Meanwhile, in the green land of the never ending rain there was sun. Like a lot. I got freckles all over my face since I was out for long walks every day.

In other news, I decided to put Smashwords to work and made Linda of the Night free there. If somebody will report the lower price to Amazon, eventually the short will become a perma-free. I’d rather have readers taking a chance and sample my work than having the short sitting there, collecting dust.

This Friday’s snippet is brought you by my antihistaminic. At the moment, there’s more pollen than breathable air outside my room.

From Green Grass and High Tide, a science fiction novel I wrote two or three years ago and that might see an editor in the near future:

A soft orchestra of machines sounds, hissing, chirping, and the unmistakable regular thumping of a frail heartbeat, welcomed them inside Mother’s sleeping chamber.

“Come closer my dears.” A feeble voice came from the center of the room.

“Rya, my love—” Tyo’s voice broke.

Jules looked at his father and she saw etched in his face that he missed his companion more than he wanted to show.

“Mother, how do you feel?” Lucia walked past Jules and bent on the big bed that was the point of origin of every sound in the room.

Jules stood at the door petrified, barely breathing.

“I’m happy to sense you. I think I was sleeping before you entered. Tyo, how long has been since last time you talked to me? I have troubles understanding time…” Rya painfully dragged the words one after the other.

“You had an accident several years ago, and we’re keeping you in cryonic sleep until we find a way to reconnect your mind to your body,” he answered.

Jules thought that Father could have sweetened the pill, but Tyo would have never denied his beloved Rya anything, not even a harsh truth.

“Why did you wake me now?”

“Happy second century, my dear Rya. We’ve gathered to celebrate your birthday, love.” Tyo’s eyes were clouded with unwanted moisture.

Friday Snippet #41

Friday Snippet #40

Koi out of waterI won’t comment on the weather. It’s raining now, but I can’t remember about the rest of the week.  Other than editing, and waiting for some more editing coming my way, I spent the last seven days working on the lecture. I’ve been recording myself and I have mixed feelings about my performance. I tend to eat words a lot and I haven’t been able to recite the whole speech without humming and hemming between one slide and the next. Yesterday, I stopped making any sense after the seventh try. Also, after a spell of insomnia, I decided to avoid coffee for a week and see what happens. First day of the experiment. So far, I’ve tried to put clean dishes in the fridge, ate three five times what I would have any other day, and I have a huge headache. Also, I took a break from writing this post to go downstairs and eat some more…

From All the Rainbow’s Colors,

My day ends as it started, with my nose against the cold window’s panel. The apartments in the building complex in front of mine are all illuminated. The lady in pink hasn’t come home yet, but there is a man I’ve never seen in her living room. He’s arranging long stemmed red roses in a tall vase. The man is so pink he’s almost red like the roses. Who knows what it feels to be that shade of pink? I have no clues.

In the next apartment, a family of five, mother, dad, and three small kids, is preparing for the usual reading time ritual before bed. Every night, the father tucks the kids in their tiny beds, and read a tale from the same old, battered book. He must know every word of that book by heart. He smiles, always. The man is lucky, because he’s not cursed like me. He doesn’t see that his youngest child has the same green shade of his mom, but his orange comes from a family friend, who visits the house a lot. And so the dad is happy.

I am forced to know. Since it started, two years ago, people’s feelings are no secret to me. And what it makes this whole situation even worse is that I can’t do without colors. Literally. I hate them, and I can’t survive without them.

Friday Snippet #40

Friday Snippet #39

*Didlr Staycation Week

Almost at the end of our annual staycation. It has been a great week. I sent Gaia (working title) to Redadept Publishing and it should come back with notes and changes in fourteen days. The editing of Prince f War is almost done. Amy and I are working on the final touches before sending the document to the proofreader. My cover artist, Alessandro Fiorini, is playing around with Prince’s cover and I’ve just to decide which color and texture I like best. My talented and very patient husband helped me with a presentation about indie publishing. I was asked to give a lecture on the subject on May 9th, at the Bellevue Art Museum. He made my text pretty by adding animation, graphics, and other neat stuff I didn’t even know existed. Now, I must memorize the speech and time myself. Despite capricious weather, this week, I walked a staggering twenty miles around my green neighborhood. According to endomondo, the app I’m using to track my walking habits, I burned almost 2k calories and I was outside for a total of nine hours. Too bad today is pouring down like there’s no tomorrow.

From the YA paranormal, All the Rainbow’s Colors:

“Milla? What are you doing, there, all alone?” Giorgia is calling me from the stairs outside our classroom.

Since the Scholastic Authorities have decided that opening a transit directly inside a classroom creates distraction, duh, every school in the City has adopted the external staircases. Architecture gone wrong, if you ask me.

“I like eating alone,” I answer, while climbing the steps two at a time.

The rest of the day drags to the point I contemplate to slip into a coma. If I only knew how. Instead of taking the transit with Rachel, I go home walking. It’s colder, and it’s silver-raining harder than before, but I don’t mind. When I get home, I’m silver, from head to toe.

In the kitchen, I prepare a snack I will never eat. I’ve become quite the accomplished actress. Nobody has discovered me, yet. In two years I haven’t lost weight, and my pale complexion is all the rage.

I put the sandwich I made on the nightstand, and I go take a shower in my bathroom. After, I look at myself in the mirror, and I’m satisfied by my green. It’s a shade too dark, but it will do, for now. I should’ve looked for a bigger animal, the effects would’ve lasted longer, but I don’t want to complain.

*In case you’d like to take a look at my didlr gallery.

Friday Snippet #39

Friday Snippet #38

Mount Ranier

Late in the day, but here I am. Rainy and cold Friday. Today, I couldn’t go out for my usual walk for a very good reason. After four years in the making, I finally finished writing my New Adult novel. Not sure if it is soft scifi or paranormal, there’s an alien but neither science nor vampires involved in the story. Also, I haven’t decided on the title yet. It has been Her Book for a while, but it will probably become Gaia or The Book of Gaia. In other and equally exciting news, my editor sent me the final six chapters of Prince of War. I’m mentally exhausted, my eyes see snow flakes when I look at the screen, but I’m happy. Looking forward to the weekend.

From All the Rainbow’s Colors:

A squirrel jumps from brunch to brunch on the tree in front of my bench. Even the squirrel is pink. Can you believe it? This color is starting to annoy me, big time. I give a brief glance right, then left. Nobody is around. I outstretch my hand toward the tree, and I point my fingers at the squirrel. I shake. I’ve waited too long. I do my best to steady my fingers.

The squirrel stops on the highest branch, he looks dizzy. I finally manage to aim at the small pink cloud, and ever so slowly the color dims, until it becomes a pale shadow of the tint it was. I feel immediately better, the incoming headache retreats, the blue is now a beautiful dark green. The squirrel seems to wake up from a nap, and runs away.

I feel bad. Every single time. After. I can’t not eat. I tried. I won’t ever be black again. Never again. It happened only once, at the beginning, when I didn’t know, yet, how to stop the hunger’s pain. Since then I’m careful. I never let myself go beyond the darkest blue. There are times when I can’t stop. Once, only once, I didn’t stop before the color disappeared.

Friday Snippet #38