Saturday, September 27, 2014

My weekly weekend short story - 9/27 edition

Well, I was in for a surprise this weekend. The challenge was 2,000 words and the story needed to include rain, banana and acceptance. Yes, a banana.

No Returns Allowed

A tale of a devious hound

“Have I ever mentioned that I hate rain?” Clyde stared out the door leading to the wilds of Night Owl City.

“You don’t hate the rain, in fact you love it. You hate the fact that I won’t let you outside because I don’t want to deal with the mess that comes along with it. There’s not a patch of dirt for miles, and yet somehow you turn into a mud monster whenever outdoors and water is involved.”

“I hate to tell you this, but I do have to pee. Do you want to take a gamble on me being able to hold it until this rain is over?”

Nyx had to think about that one. Her options were giving Clyde a bath, which she’d probably make someone else do, or being stuck with the horrific odor she’d just recently gotten out the curtains, by buying totally new curtains.

The holes in the curtains necessitated the need for new ones even more than just the smell. There was dog pee, and then there was Hellhound pee, and there really was no comparing the two. The Hellhound variety could corrode through the strongest metal.

Looking back through the glass doorway, Nyx wondered how long the sudden downpour would last. Even if it instantly stopped, Night Owl City didn’t get a lot of rain, so she expected it’d be a while before things dried out. The drops of clear water almost mocked her as they pelted the glass.

“I don’t believe you have a lot of options here, Mom. You can take all the time you want to think it over, but we’re going outside.”

Clyde sounded so confident; Nyx hated hearing that tone in his voice. The Hellhound got his way too often. It didn’t help that they always found themselves in situations where there weren’t a lot of options other than letting him get what he wanted.

“Is it just number one?” Nyx asked considering her choices again.

Clyde looked back over his shoulder, the wrinkles on his face scrunching together as he considered where his mother’s mind was going. He wanted to go outside and he wasn’t above lying to do it. He didn’t really even need to go to the bathroom.

“I think you need to rethink wherever your mind is going. Not a single shoe in our house would be safe from me if we don’t go outside.”

“I really wish Ben didn’t have a no returns policy. I don’t think there’s been a day that I haven’t wanted to return you to him.”

“You know you love me. One of these days you’ll accept that, maybe even admit it. Are we going? You got all dressed up in your cute little workout outfit and we lost the guards at some point. If you stall any longer, someone’s going to find us and take away all our fun.”

Nyx wasn’t sure how they’d lost the guards, but Clyde was right. She wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without someone standing outside the door. Clyde could be considered a guard, if you decided to use the definition of the word loosely.

As a Hellhound he had built-in weaponry, like the fact he could bark fire, but that wasn’t usually enough for Alex and Sebastian. Nyx became really suspicious when logic started dawning on her.

“What did you do the guards, Clyde?”

“Crap.” Clyde knew he shouldn’t have mentioned the guards were gone. It was a gamble because he’d thought Nyx would be excited about being free instead of realizing there was a problem.

Clyde didn’t move a muscle and hoped Nyx would forget she’d even asked the question. He knew it wouldn’t work, but he wasn’t going to reveal what he’d done. He could feel the heat coming from Nyx staring at his head, and he wasn’t going to take a chance that she developed some kind of fire vision.

“Seriously? You’re just going to sit there. Ben!” Nyx yelled as loudly as she could. Even if the apartment complex had other occupants, she didn’t care if someone was a little disturbed by her raised voice.

Neither of them budged while they waited to see if Ben would show up. He was almost always keeping an eye on Nyx, so it was a mere second before they smelled his presence. To Clyde it was like being home, but Nyx couldn’t stand the sulfur stench and gagged a little.

Nyx turned to face the demon and rolled her eyes when she found him wearing a yellow slicker and goulashes. He even had a shiny yellow hat to match.

“Did I catch you right before you left for a costume party? Actually, knowing about the kind of parties you have down in Hell, I don’t think I want you to answer that.”

Nyx wanted to plead with Ben one more time to take the annoying Hellhound back. Nyx would never admit it, but messing with the guards put her in danger. Alex and Sebastian both had places they had to be, so she expected they were still safe, thankfully. If Clyde had done something to either one of them, Nyx would’ve taken him to the nearest pound, which was probably a hundred miles away.

“I heard there was a downpour and I thought I’d dress appropriately. You won’t believe how expensive the suit I’m wearing under here is.”

“As you can imagine, I could care less about your clothes, Ben. You’ve got to take him back.”

Ben studied Nyx carefully and then tilted his head to glance behind her at Clyde. Nyx watched his face closely, looking for any secret messages being exchanged.

“What’d you do this time? I don’t expect the rain was your doing, and currently that’s the only thing I can think of setting her off.”

Clyde couldn’t reply in a way Ben would understand, so Nyx had to decide if she was going to play translator. She should’ve run back to the penthouse as soon as she suspected something had been done to her guards. It was doubtful Clyde was capable of killing them, so trying to get rid of him took precedent.

“It doesn’t matter. You have to take him back. If you don’t, I’m sticking him outside and putting a ‘free to a rotten home’ sign on him.”

“Hey, that’s not nice. There’s nothing wrong with them. I just picked up something the last time we went to see Hilda and I decided to see if it would work. Surprise, it did. I thought you’d be happy to find a way to lose the guys.”

Clyde was working hard to backpedal. He found he had too much fun topside to go back down to Hell. Hell dwellers weren’t as easy to manipulate as the paranorms he lived with.

“You’ve got to be joking,” Nyx pushed Ben out of the way and broke into a run.

Checking on the guys became imperative if Hilda was involved in any way. Clyde was an idiot for using anything he found at SpellBinders. Hilda couldn’t be trusted when it came to the health of the people using her products.

“Hold up, Mom,” Clyde said nipping at Nyx’s heels. “You don’t want to go in there without a little knowledge of what you’re going to find.”

Nyx had to wait for the elevator doors to close, so Clyde was able to hitch a ride. Nyx thought about throwing him out, but that would take too much time.

“If you’re worried about me falling prey to whatever you did, don’t. After one trick too many being played on me by Hilda, I’ve enlisted help from an outside source to make sure I don’t find myself dancing for hours again.”

“You know someone who has that kind of juice? That’s so cool.”

Clyde was impressed. He didn’t know that Ben had the chops to take on Hilda. Knowing that, there wasn’t a lot of options for who Nyx got to help her. Nyx had to be pretty desperate to ask her mom for help.

“You’re already in trouble. I don’t suggest you ask any questions.”

“No questions needed. Look, I read the fine print. Nothing bad is going to happen to the guys. As soon as we deactivate the banana, things will go back to normal.”

Nyx didn’t understand what a banana had to do with anything. The elevator doors opened into their extravagant foyer. Nyx wished she could turn Clyde into another statue to place in the space. They already had David and Venus, a Clyde would go nicely with those two.

“Where are they?” There were three people who should’ve been in the apartment. The others had left to spend their time off as far away from Nyx as they could get.

“Jake’s room. I figured since it has a doggie door, it’d be easiest to set my trap in.”

As they turned the corner to Jake’s room, neither of them were surprised to see Ben waiting for them. Something as mundane as taking an elevator was beneath him. He hadn’t lost his fish sticks box getup.

“Nyx would probably prefer if I scolded you for this, but it’s amazing. If you’re not going to let him keep the toy, can I have it?”

Ben moved out of the way and Nyx’s eyes widened as she saw the banana for the first time. She couldn’t see any of the guards, so she walked closer, keeping her eyes on the weird dancing fruit as she moved. It looked like someone had stuck little hands, feet and a face on the banana and brought it to life.

Across from where the banana was dancing around, Jake, Jonas and Smitty were staring intently at the fruit. Nyx wasn’t going to have to worry about what to do with Clyde, because they were going to kill him.

“I hope you’ve made whatever arrangements you needed to before you put this plan of yours in motion. Now, how do you make it stop?”

Nyx didn’t want to get anywhere near the thing. Lucy had made her immune to Hilda’s magic, but there was a chance Hilda had put some kind of rash inducing substance on the banana that wasn’t magical. Nyx had absolutely zero trust when it came to Hilda.

“It’s got a timer, so I think you just wait until it stops. The best thing about it is that they won’t remember a thing.”

Nyx was having trouble looking away from the cartoonish fruit. She knew it wasn’t influencing her like it was the others, but it was too peculiar not to watch.

“Ingenious. Do you think there’s still some in stock?” Ben asked, clearly eager to get his hands on one of the toys.

“I’ll give you that one if you take Clyde. You two can go laugh it up as you torture unsuspecting victims.”

“Why do you have so much trouble accepting that Clyde’s yours to keep?” Ben had probably posed the question thirty times.

“Because I don’t want him. Now take him and the banana and leave.”

In immediate response to Nyx’s demand, Ben left, forgetting both things he was supposed to take with him. Clyde walked over and nudged Nyx’s hand to get her to pet his head.

“Sorry to tell you, but I’m yours until one of us dies. You wouldn’t kill me, would you?” Clyde looked up with the most pathetic puppy dog eyes Nyx had ever seen.

“This can’t happen again, Clyde,” Nyx said pointing in the room.

“Promise. How ‘bout we go take that run we both really want. We probably have another thirty minutes before they’ll miss us.”

Nyx sighed, and Clyde knew he had her. If he could’ve rubbed his paws together, he would have, but he was going to have to be careful about revealing his deviousness for a while. He figured Nyx would forget all about the incident in a week or so, and everything could go back to normal.

Oh and yeah, I may have finished up the three books I was working on, and I'm doing a giveaway if anyone's interested in entering. Maybe I should've put that above the story, or at least mentioned it up top, but this way I can tell if you're really reading :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My weekly weekend short story - 9/20 edition

This week's challenge was a fun one for me to try to keep in Nyx's world. It was imagine a scenario in which a pirate discovers a trove of treasures. Without a pirate in Night Owl City, I had to play a little dress up, but there was a treasure trove somewhere in the five hundred words.

The Pirate's Booty

In the end, there be treasure

“You’re joking, right?” Clyde asked as he stared at an eye patch sitting on a pile of fabric. He could also see a black hat with an overly cute white Jolly Roger on the front of it, but the eye patch was what really caught his attention.

“Someone’s gotta dress up, and it’s not going to be me.” Nyx’s face indicated she’d made up her mind and Clyde wasn’t going to be able to talk her out of it.

“Out of all the holidays you paranorms could lift off the humans, why did it have to be Halloween? And why are you so into it this year? Sophia can’t very well eat whatever it is you’re giving out.”

Clyde wouldn’t go down without a fight, but as Nyx put the clothes on the ground and started dressing him, he refrained from biting her. Clyde liked fun and games as well as the next Hellhound, but playing dress up to amuse some little kids wasn’t high on his good times list.

The only bright side he saw in the whole deal was the fact that he’d seen what they were handing out as candy, and it wasn’t what humans considered candy. Paranorms didn’t mess around with sugary crap. Guys had been in the kitchen all day cooking up crisp slices of bacon. Clyde preferred his meat bloody, without grill marks, but he could dig a little sizzling pork every now and then.

“Halloween was our holiday first, we just celebrated it a bit differently before the humans made it what it is today.” Nyx paused to look at her handiwork. Clyde saw her scrunch her nose up and squint her eyes. “That’s going to have to do. I should’ve told Jake he couldn’t go on a date. He would’ve made a better pirate.”

The doorbell rang, causing Nyx to jump up and grab Sophia, who’d been sitting on the floor close to them. Clyde was sure the baby was laughing at him, which told him he had to look like a complete idiot. Thankfully, there weren’t any mirrors around for him to see just how bad things were.

The time passed by quickly as Nyx and Sophia enjoyed handing out treats to the kids who showed up. There were more kids than Clyde expected, a memo had to have gone out there was plenty of bacon to go around. Clyde was certain a couple of the little werewolves made more than one trip.

“Why didn’t you talk me out of that?” Nyx asked when it was all over.

Clyde’s eyes were on the leftover bacon calling his name. It glistened like moon rays over a tide coming up to shore. As far as Clyde was concerned, it looked like a treasure chest filled with diamonds and gold.

“Arrgh. I be just a pirate and it be a pirate’s life for me,” Clyde said as jumped into the bacon pile and swam around in his treasure. “Let’s make Halloween a daily holiday.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How I spent my Sunday

Now I know Sunday isn't over yet, but I've spent the day getting my head ready to revisit the world of Avery Clavens. I still have to finish up the three book twos I'm working on, which will more than likely be done in the next two weeks. I was feeling creative though, so I worked on remaking the Avery covers into something other than what they were. In doing so, I had to remember why I picked the drawings I did to begin with, and that meant laughing as I skimmed through some of those early words.

I can't wait to clean these up and potentially expand them a little bit to reflect where my writing has gone in the last two years. I'd love to be able to just write the last book, but I know I need to dive deep into the world before I write the things already playing out in my head. The ending has been hiding out in my head since I figured out what the twist in the books was going to be. I'm getting excited to finally get that ending out there.

So anyway, here are the covers I was playing with today, even the one for the book not started yet. There is a very high probability that these will all change as I work, but I'm sure everyone knows I love changing covers.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My weekly weekend short story - 9/13 edition

This week's challenge: imagine a scenario in which the only way out is to dance.

Just a Little Dancing

Payment for services

“You know I hate going in there.” Nyx had parked three blocks away from the store she was in no hurry to visit.

“I am well aware, but we brought Marcus for a reason,” Sebastian reminded Nyx.

Sebastian was the first to move, and after kissing Nyx on the cheek, he opened his door to get out. The two guards in the backseat wasted no time following him, while Nyx contemplated sending the rest of them in without her.

Marcus, who had been sitting behind Nyx, rapped on her window before opening Nyx’s door. Nyx got out of the car and made her way over to Sebastian. On the way to SpellBinders, Nyx kept everyone quiet. Hilda was sure to know they were on the way, but if she didn’t know until they were almost there, the chances of Hilda messing with them greatly reduced.

When they got to the door, Sebastian held it open for the group, and no one complained as Marcus entered first. Nyx followed after him while Smitty and Sebastian brought up the rear.

Hilda wasn’t out greeting customers, which wasn’t new. When Nyx showed up, if Hilda didn’t disguise the store altogether, Hilda liked to make her wait. It surprised Nyx on that particular trip, because they’d brought Marcus, and everyone knew Hilda had a thing for him.

“Hilda, we don’t have all day,” Nyx shouted as she looked around the shelves of weirdness, not reading the labels on the different bottles and vials.

“I’m so happy you came by today, Nyx.” Nyx couldn’t pick out where the voice came from, but the tone told her it was time to head for the door.

Before Nyx could take half a step, loud music started blaring and a thick fog rolled into the room. The weird smoky effect didn’t even have to get to Nyx before her toes started tapping. A second later, Sebastian had her in his arms and they were twirling around the floor.

Nyx hated dancing and she knew Hilda was at fault. She was going to kill the little evil witch, and it didn’t matter that said witch looked to be having a great time dancing around with Marcus.

When the music finally died down and the urge to dance came to an end, Nyx had every intention of strangling Hilda. Hilda saw her coming and put up a barrier between them.

“Calm down. I just wanted to test a new batch of dancing potion before I put it on the shelf, and it’s your own fault for bringing my favorite dance partner. You came to ask me questions, just consider the three hours of enjoyment a payment for whatever I’m going to tell you.”

Nyx didn’t think the payment was equal to the services she needed from Hilda, by any stretch, but Nyx knew she’d have to wait to get her revenge. Three hours of her life spent dancing was something Nyx would find a way to make Hilda pay for.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

My weekly weekend short story - 9/6 edition

This week's challenge was imagine what happens when a rogue chicken enters the scene. It's getting harder and harder to get the story told in only 500 words.

Not Your Average Stakeout

Proof that you haven't seen everything

Nyx was a lot of things, but patient wasn’t one of them. Having to sit in her car while she followed a suspect’s moves wasn’t her favorite part of the job, especially when it led her to sitting outside a house doing nothing more than staring at said house. She wasn’t alone, but she pretended her two werewolf guards and the Hellhound sitting next to her were invisible.

“It’s obviously him, right? Let’s just go in and see if the girl’s in there,” Jake suggested from the backseat.

“I guess it won’t hurt to go knock on the door. You guys have to stay here, though. Showing up in force won’t loosen the guy’s lips.”

There were noises of protest, but Nyx ignored them. Nyx was to the front door by the time she heard car doors opening and closing behind her. She hurried to knock before the others could join her. She had no background information on the guy they’d been watching, just the fact that he owned a van like the one they were looking for. It wasn’t much, but Nyx had worked with less.

Nyx tried opening door normally, but the knob didn’t turn. As she moved to put a little shoulder power into it, she was picked up and transported out of the way. Nyx watched as Jonas made opening a locked door look easy.

Before anyone stepped into the house, a chicken flew out at them. White feathers went everywhere, as the deranged-looking chicken went on the attack. Nyx wasn’t ready for it, and with its trajectory aiming right at her, she reached for her guns. She got both of them up, but a gray blur beat her to taking care of the chicken.

As soon as Clyde got his jaw clamped down on the chicken, it morphed into the body of a full-grown man. Nyx had seen a lot of crazy things, but a chicken turning into a man was up towards the top of the list.

“What do you want to do with him?” Jonas asked as he lowered down Nyx’s arms, which were both still ready to shoot something.

“He’s a chicken. How in the world is that possible?” Nyx watched as Clyde tore into the man’s ankle with his fangs.

“When you figure out how we turn into wolves, I’m sure you’ll have your answer. I suggest we just leave him. It’s going to take him a while to heal from that bite, and by then I’m sure he’ll realize kidnapping werewolves is just stupid.”

“Fine. I’m going to go get back in the car, and I expect the rest of you to join me. Clyde, let’s go.”

Jake had gone into the house and returned with the woman they were looking for. Nyx could see some burns on her body, but she was sure she’d live. Nyx thought the more scarring part of the situation would be the idea that a chicken shifter was possible, but that was just her.

I haven't been sharing the little simple covers I've been making for each story, because I'm mean, but here they are. I clearly got on a black streak after Clyde's book. I'm thinking about changing his to match the other ones.