Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Keeping up with the Zombie Luv Contest, we've got 15 entries you can read by clicking on the links on the side bar. :) There's only one more week to go, so gather your words and kill them!
Obviously you'll want to relive them by any means you can, so they'll become properly zombified, heh.
Now, if you're still with me, watch something amusing. I've wondered if this kid is the real thing... O_o
Saturday, June 26, 2010
It took me almost a month but I'm finally explaining why Randomities moved, and why I've changed my whole web presence. Thanks for your patience guys! :)
Beforehand, I should assure you that no, there's no stalker. My shadowy picture is result of an option I've made in regard of my privacy. Ever since I've turned my life towards the writing career I've considered how much should be shared about my personal life on the internet and elsewhere.
It's not an easy thing to find balance. Take Neil Gaiman as example, he has a blog, he's on twitter, he has a girlfriend who has a blog and is also on twitter, his assistant too and even his bird-watching friend.
There was a time, not long ago, when he shared insights about his daughter, his son, his dog and cats, his girlfriend, and even the rudeness of a cab driver, or the moment he was going to sleep -- from the bed of a hotel room or his own.
Once I did follow all this activity, being a real drooler over his writing, but soon I felt overwhelmed -- talk about stalking, eh?
Now I follow him on twitter and only occasionally check out his blog. Last time I popped in there I glimpsed over another post about his dog (boring) and news about the events he was attending (boring, but only because I can't be there, bleh).
As far as I know he has limited his personal exposure on the web. I concluded this by the diminished number of tweets and change in content. Now he shares other people's stuff as well. Actually, to be fair, he has been sharing mainly other people's stuff lately, which are interesting and informative.
Although I've never reached Gaiman's extreme I was already feeling over exposed. Having a conservative profession I thought I should split my web persona from my professional one, to spare me future problems and allow me the freedom to write whatever the muse inspires me to.
So I ask you, how do you feel about your own exposure on the web and elsewhere?
Do you think the lack of a clear picture of a writer could be an impediment to her work reaching the readers?
Friday, June 25, 2010
I had promised another installment of the zombie dragon story for this week, but, but... It doesn't matter does it? heh ;P
So, I wrote this a few days ago, which I thought I'd share with you although it doesn't really qualify as #FridayFlash. But there you go; I hope you'll like it. :)
I'm walking on a large road with no room for pedestrians. I'm going from one appointment to another and I have plenty of time. I'm hungry. I'm eager to sink my teeth into the half-eaten sandwich I'm carrying in my purse.
My strides are calm yet determined. I spot this:
I had seen this small path before, walking on the same road. I've wanted to explore it although it looked too much like the entry to a private property. Today I dare going in. It might have been the pending flowers that made it look like the door to another world, or it was the sun inviting me to rest under the trees tops. It doesn't matter.
I look back to see if someone sees me and I stroll in. I'm welcomed by chipping birds, a kind breeze and white butterflies.
As I advance I'm more and more certain that I'm trespassing. I ignore the knot on my stomach and look at the shades of green of the tree leaves above my head; I smell the humidity of the earth below my feet; I hear the cracking sound of the fallen branches at my every step.
I hear a rumbling sound that does not come from my belly. Shortly after I see a construction between the tree trunks; there's no doubt anymore.
I turn to go away. Nature invites me to stay for a while longer, so I leave the rough road embracing the woods, feeling that the birds will hide and protect me from the owner's wrath. I'm wearing red under a black coat.
I give my back to the house and the noise and sit on a tree stump. I eat my sandwich, leaving the crumbs in appreciation of the bird's greeting. The sun thanks me with a warm beam, illuminating every one of us.
I breathe in the moment and go. The butterflies salute me in my way back.
I'm writing this in a charming town, drinking a good caffè macchiato. I pause every once in a while to gaze at the passing people, the buildings and into nothing.
The sun has hidden behind the clouds, providing a cool afternoon. My red scarf protects me from the mountain air and the coffee heats me from the inside. Life is good right now.
Note: These pics were taken by yours truly with her crappy cell phone camera. Please forgive their bad quality, although I've tagged this post as "pretty things". It's the essence that is pretty, not the form. ;)
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I was celebrating having received the first entry to the Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest that I missed Randomities' lack of reaction.
Did you notice the change in its color? O_O
Randomities died, and it's my fault! *sob*
My body parts keep falling on the keyboard and it contaminated the computer, and now Randomities too. Poor thing!
*nose falls, catches it and glues back at once*
Err, I hope it all goes back to normal after July 10th, the contest's deadline, but in the mean time, let me present you: *drumroll*
Zombie-Randomities is proud to showcase the entries to the #ZombieLuv Contest -- by order of submission -- on the sidebar, just below the contest's logo. Enjoy the reading! :)
And there's more! Every week until the end of the contest the cool # series will be zombified as well. Keep your living eyes open that new zombie funninesses are coming your way!
But hey, keep these yummy eyes away from me. Too yummy. *licks lips* Just saying, heh. :P
Psst, click on the link for the guidelines .
Edited to add: Click here to find out how Randomities got unzombified. ;)
Monday, June 21, 2010
You have heard about the horrific consequences for the environment, right?
You can track its growth here. I'm in awe of the extent of its taint.
Here you can read about National Geographic photographer Joe Sartore's experience when visiting the site. (Thank you Debra, for the thought provoking link!)
These are the US government initiatives to contain the disaster.
What can we do to help?
Phyl Good wrote a post in her bookish blog that pushed the start button of an engine in my head. There are people, good people, taking action to contain or remedy its impact.
All illustrations you see in this post were taken from the Ripple Project blog. This is an incredible initiative by illustrator Kelly Light to raise funds to help animal victims of the oil spill. Each drawing is a card that can be purchased by only $10; all income goes straight to two non-profits: The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and The International Bird Rescue Research Center.
You can take action by purchasing something beautiful.
"I can't draw", you say, "and I'm short on cash." Well, I'm on the same page, but you can help in other ways.
For instance, Jim Bronyaur has an awesome project that demands no disbursement from you. All you have to do is read and comment on a given list of blogs and websites. He will donate $10 to each 50 comments in the sites of the list.
One of the included links is a fantastical story (literally) that takes place in the post-Katrina New Orleans: Devil's Blood.
He is also recording an album which income will go to the same goal. You'll be able to download it from his website. Watch his blog for further news!
You can take action by supporting other actions.
You can spread the word, like I'm doing. You can be inventive.
We live in a oil-based society, so, even if only indirectly, we're all responsible for the problems risen from the extraction, processing and usage of its by-products.
Be responsible. Take action.
Note: Here are the links for the illustrations featured in this post, by order of appearance. The name of the illustration leads to its post on the Ripple Project Blog, and the illustrator names lead to their website (when available). Visit them, show your support. This is also a good and inexpensive way of taking action!
>> We Will Emerge, by Danielle Gaudet
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Welcome to the Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest!
Please excuse the hostess odor. Being (almost) immortal comes with a price, you know? heh
If your reaction to this statement was, "Uh?" check out this post that explains the birth of this zombie romance contest, and how Susan H. Gottfried got me into this stinky situation.
(When you can, don't miss her website and blog. it's all Rock 'n Roll! ;)
All right, if you've followed the #ZombieLuv hashtag on Twitter, and if this is not your first visit here at Randomities, you know already a few things, like, there's a double prize and one of them is having your story published at Flashes in the Dark!
So, if you like zombies, you're most welcome to participate! If you don't, why don't you give it a try? I used to dislike undead, smelly, brain/corpse eating things, but I've changed my mind. I've even become one of them!
If so, here are the guidelines for your enjoyment. (or horror? heh)
*upper teeth fall, preventing hostess from keeping babbling*
*sprints towards the bathroom to fetch Mari-girl's super glue*
* * *
Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest
>> Mari Juniper (or zombie-Mari, if you will)
- The winner entry will be published at Flashes in the Dark.
- The winner will receive a paperback edition (new) of Pride Prejudice and Zombies.
- An honorable mention might be granted, which will be published at mari's randomities: http://marisrandomities.blogspot.com
- The story must be a romance between two zombies. Make it as horrific as you like. ;)
- Stories containing animal cruelty, torture, graphic sex or violence, any form of exaltation of violence, racism or other forms of prejudice will be immediately disqualified.
- Post your entry on your own blog, with a title resembling this:
Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest: Story Title
- Leave your story title and a link to the story entry post as a comment at mari's randomities: http://marisrandomities.blogspot.com
- Copy and paste the contest logo and the guidelines at the end of your entry post.
Note: If you have any doubts, please give me a shout on the comments or through the #ZombieLuv hashtag. ;)
Sunday, June 13, 2010
"I'm sorry to say this, but you don't look much like an angel," said Helen apologetically. "I hope you won't be offended."
Oscar smiled warmly. "Don't worry, your reaction is normal." Pointing behind her he added, "See that light? Who besides an angel of death could show it to you?"
This is when realization hit and Helen noticed her surroundings. They were seated on... nothing. There was no floor, no sky, no color -- not even white or black or something in between --no fog, nothing she could associate or make an analogy with. Yet, it felt solid and safe under her.
"Look," said Oscar, pointing down.
Between her dangling feet, she could see her own body laid on the coroner's table, who was going through the initial stages of the autopsy, talking to a small voice recorder about the external aspect of her shell. He opened her eye, making a verbal note.
She gaped, "My eyes, they look just like yours!"
"Yes," replied Oscar.
"I don't understand, this must be a dream," she mumbled, "Not a good one though."
Oscar smiled broadly and said, shaking his head, "Indeed, death feels much like a weird dream."
She looked at him with hopeless eyes, which were drawn to the open wound in his head.
"I'm sorry if my appearance is disappointing to you, but I assure you that the light right behind you is the real thing."
She looked over her shoulder, still curious. Momentarily forgetting about her companion's appearance she asked, "So the accident was real too? Not a bad dream?"
Oscar motioned negatively.
"What now then?"
"There's the light," he said, nodding to its direction.
"Are you coming with me?"
"Oh, no, I can't cross," he said softly, "I'll just keep you company until you're able to let go."
She looked down once more. This time she saw her funeral, filled with friends and family. She felt bad about the emotional distance with which she saw her daughters and her husband weeping for her, or for the pain her absence caused.
Helen sat there, reviewing her life backwards, unaware of the patient and silent man beside her. When all that was left was her own feet to watch and she had given them a good look, she got up in the nothing where they sat, being followed by Oscar.
As they walked she looked at him sideways, thinking that he should have been a gorgeous man when he was alive. He had a muscular body under the straps he wore and nice brown hair that was once accompanied by candid eyes. She wondered how could an undead be a death angel. Angels are angels, she thought, zombies shouldn't do their work. It feels unnatural.
"Don't be shy," said Oscar guessing her thoughts, "you can ask me as many questions as you like. I'm here for you."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stare."
"It's quite all right." He smiled his warm smile again, making her heart beat faster.
"Why do I feel my heart beating if I'm dead?" she asked.
He raised his eyebrows but kept walking.
"It's a mental trick to make the transition less traumatic. After reaching the other side you'll be free from all bodily sensations."
"You know this by experience?"
He cleared his throat, "Not really, no."
Although she felt embarrassed, she believed all this was a dream. If it was the real thing though... She didn't really believe in it and she was too curious to hold herself.
"Might I ask how come you're an angel? I mean, you're supposed to be cursed right?" Realizing how offensive what she said could be, she amended, "Err, no offense."
"Non taken. I am what you said. That's why I don't get to cross over."
He silenced, gazing ahead at the beam of light. Helen kept walking quietly; she noticed that even his dead eyes conveyed sadness, and something else she couldn't identify.
"I'm a great exception," he continued, "I was tainted against my will. Since I was to become an angel of death anyway, they offered me this position here in between, as means of redemption."
"I see. Is this a hard job, being a death angel?"
"Not for me. Since I am unable to reach the other realms, I get the easier cases." He grinned.
"Do you know how long this redemption of yours will take?"
"It must feel like the eternity."
"There is no today, no tomorrow, no expectations here, so time is free to leave us alone."
"I'm not sure I understand."
"You don't have to," said Oscar. "Where you're going to it's all meaningless."
"All of it?" she asked, fighting the knot on her throat.
"No, not your life. Just the illusions."
She opened her mouth to speak when he motioned ahead, "We're here."
Helen was surrounded by the brightest light she had ever seen. It didn't hurt her eyes though, it felt warm and comforting. She felt lightheaded and looked back to see Oscar waving and wearing a broad smile.
"Wait, I'm not--"
She didn't know how, but she understood his unsaid words, "Yes you are."
Note: I found this amazing illustration on photobucket. On the same search this odd one came up. Uh? Just a curiosity, heh.
The picture book writer Olive O'Brien, who was Randomities' first honorable guest, with a great article about the differences between writing for kids and for adults, asked me to talk a bit about what's it like to live in Italy.
If you're curious too, stop by Olive's blog, Write Olive, and check it out. :)
Note: The picture up there was taken by yours truly, in her vicinities. ;)
Thursday, June 10, 2010
"Cover you mouths, now!"
The four soldiers held their breaths and crouched, squinting against the deafening blow of poisonous steam. As the vapor started dissipating they rose to their feet in a swift coordinated movement and ran to the castle’s narrower passageways.
The ground shook when the beast made its way in, leaving skin, scales and stone behind.
A deep silence fell upon them. Alanas looked at his men; Ehkart, his second in command, had an intent look in his face; Tkhur nodded, ready for orders; Liyas looked incessantly at all directions, wide eyed. Alanas sighed.
Tkhur elbowed Liyas in the rib and Alanas signaled them to the stairs that lead to the cave below the castle. Ehkart frowned, making the kings sign with his hands. Alanas touched his sword handle, nodding towards it. Ehkart’s eyes narrowed, gazing towards the destruction from where they had come he assented.
The beast’s stench seized their attention. Acting by instinct they all plunged to the floor, feeling the heat right above them.
Tkhur quickly put out the fire on his coat while Liyas coughed, “The damned thing is too close sir!”
With a hard look to his protégé Alanas sprinted down the corridor toward the king and his people’s hiding, followed by what remained of his battalion.
They arrived at a large cavern of more than fifty feet high, with stalactites and stalagmites the size of three warriors, fallen rocks and pools of dripping water untouched by living beings. Turning right, they crossed the cave’s main chamber as fast and silently as they could, heading to the labyrinth below, hoping that it would accomplish what the solid castle walls weren’t able to.
Taking his gem out, Ehkart signaled to the captain, “Have you any news sir?”
Blowing at his own gem Alanas replied, “Nothing yet. If Ehkord failed I’m afraid I'll have brought doom to our people.”
The other two mimicked them, making the cave’s large corridor shine blue. They all placed their stones on their left shoulders and passed their hands over it to lower the light.
"Damned be dragon's hearing. Even after death it's good enough to track us down," said Ehkart.
"It can hear us all right," Alanas said, "but I doubt its understanding of sounds is the same as when it was alive. We wouldn't have survived this long."
The others waited, knowing that a strategy was forming in their captain's mind.
"We'll keep on with the sign language, but we'll make noise with our bodies. The cave's echoes should confuse it."
Alanas guided his men swiftly in a wide curve toward the cave’s main entry. He made many twists and turns, climbing up and down slippery wholes, passing by narrow passages that allowed one man at the time walking sideways, crawling beneath solid rocks the size of a room, running through larger spaces, reducing speed only when the cave demanded him to.
They were far ahead when the dragon squeezed itself out, to the cave's main chamber. Its frustrated howl shook the cave’s structure, being heard by the group of four, and died in a whimpering sound.
They almost lost their balance at the beast first thrust in the cave's narrow passages. In the second, they heard rock falling at distance. There was a silence and the air temperature raised. Everyone covered their mouths and noses when Liyas coughed, although the dragon was still at safe distance.
He wiped the blood off his mouth in his jacket, looking wide eyed at Alanas. He wouldn't last much.
Soon after, they found a minor chamber cooled by a small subterranean stream, where they drank avidly and set to rest chewing slowly their remaining rations. They put out all but one gem and talked with their hands through the deep blue of Tkhur's gem.
“The clean water might be a light of hope for Liyas,” signaled Ehkart, “but his poisoning is too advanced to be sure.”
“Yes,” said Alanas, “we must find a way of taking him to the healers. Our regular potions won’t hold him long.”
Liyas had distant eyes, being barely aware that they were talking about him.
“We might have to split up sir,” suggested Ehkart.
Alanas nodded. "Tkhur will take Liyas to the healers and give word to the king."
Tkhur frowned but signaled positively. He didn’t like the idea of leaving only two men two fight the monster that had killed every soul who had dared defying it, although he would not question his leader's wisdom.
"Be silent and swift," Alanas continued, "we'll keep going this way, making noise to cover your escape."
The thundering sound was coming closer, too soon. Alanas stood up to leave when Tkhur’s gem went out. A shuffling sound followed as Alanas and Ehkart picked their stones and blew on them. No light.
“It seems that the beast’s master followed it from the grave,” Alanas said aloud. “You must send word to the king personally Tkhur. No communication from now own, we can’t take any chances. Let’s hope that we all are blessed enough to meet our goals. Go.”
Tkhur made a silent salute and went his way, passing Liyas arm over his shoulder and supporting him by the waist. Alanas grabbed his second man’s forearm; they looked grimly at each other in the dark.
Note1: This story was inspired by Lena, at Informally Yours and Fictious Flashes, who suggested we both wrote a flash fiction on zombie dragons after reading my #FridayFlash debut, Zombie Walk. Having become fond of writing challenges I accepted this one with earnest. I suggest you stop by her blog and see her own vision of this dreadful monster. ;)
Note2: I found that breath taking illustration here, where you'll find many other dragon awesomenesses, including an actual zombie dragon! I chose to adapt this image, although the dragon in it doesn't look too much like a zombie, because it was too fitting for my story. ;)
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
It all started with an interview at The Penny Dreadful twitter chat, when yours truly ranted about how zombies are dull with all the brain eating and such.
Making short a long wine-filled story, Jim Bronyaur and Jodi MacArthur not only scared the heck out of me with their zombies -- not so dull, no sir -- but they convinced me to give it a try.
So I did, and guess what? My story, Zombie Walk, was published at the cool horror webzine Flashes in the Dark!
When Donald Conrad came up with the idea of a new sub-genre, zombie romance, something clicked in my mind, and #ZombieLuv was born, and so the idea of a contest!
But then the unforgiving Susan H. Gottfried killed me.
(If you like Rock'n Roll you ought to visit her site and read her stuff. She rocks! Oh, wait, I hate her. She's the bad woman who killed me!)
I love writing so much that I came back from the dead -- well, sort of --to keep amusing you. Or annoying. Whatever.
*holds falling finger and attaches it back with sticky tape*
So, here's the deal: I lose more fingers and you get published at Flashes in the Dark!
Plus, you win the bestseller Pride Prejudice and Zombies!
Am I, or am I not a cool undead? heh
Well, if not cool at least I'm cold. No heating being produced in this body; thank you Susan.
oH,,, skorrssy. mOrrre lter?
UPDATE: The Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest is up! Click here to see the guidelines.
Psst! Follow the #ZombieLuv hashtag on twitter for more tidbits before the official launch of the contest. ;)
Note: The funny-yummy picture up there I found in this chaotic myspace profile, and the rock'n roll #ZombieLuv I found here (which, man, I love already!) but it's shared on photobucked, the place I actually took from.
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