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Oh The Frigid Cold

Sometimes I wonder why I still live in Minnesota. I mean, I was moved here as a child so it is not like I had much choice in the matter. There is also the fact that I don’t really see myself living anywhere else. EXCEPT, for days like these.

It is so cold that my nose hairs freeze the second I walk outside. That is absurd and quite frankly, this weather is just disrespectful. I would rather be home writing or doing homework but unfortunately, every one else at the office is out today, which means that I have to be here. Honestly, I’m glad I am privileged enough to have a vehicle because I don’t know what else I would do. Normally, I take the bus to work but I just could not do it today.

I hope everyone else is finding ways to stay warm. I know I’m wearing way too many layers and I’m uncomfortable at my desk haha. We will see how the day goes but I cannot wait for this polar vortex to be over.

A. Rose

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I’m Back (Again)

Yes, I know; I have been away for a while. I have been writing but most of all I have been focusing on my mental health. Something that is very important and crucial to my ability to write. It has been a journey but I’m finally starting to feel like a person again, so I guess that’s better than nothing.

Daughter of Athena is still waiting to hear back from agents (yes, I refer to my manuscripts as if they are a person). I’m hopeful but I’m not gonna lie, those rejections hurt a little bit. I’m thrilled about the story and I think that other’s will enjoy it as well. If it comes down to it, I have zero problems with self-publishing it as well.

I am also back to working on the sequel to Imitatore. I took a break from the story because I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to go with it. Now that I have an idea, and a small spark of inspiration; it is back in my rotation of works. I also recently self-published a collection of poetry, which you can find on Amazon. It is called Legal Pad Poetry: Poems From Yellow Paper. I hope you enjoy it!

Alrighty, that’s enough out of me. Back to writing!

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Sacrifice- Part One (Short Story)

Blood seeped through the floorboards, it did not belong to anyone else but him. They spell had gone wrong, the sacrifice did not work. He had hoped that this time it would take, that he would become as powerful as he wanted to be. The sun was beginning to rise and he would have to get the mess cleaned up. Slaughtering animals in his living room was not the way he thought his life would turn out. Alas, someone had to do it and unfortunately it was him. His clan had been long go. They slowly began to abandon the rituals one by one because they never worked. He was the only one left, the only one who hadn’t completely given up. Maybe he should have, maybe it was time for him to let go.

He shook the thought away and cleaned up the mess. The carcass would join the others out back until he had time to dispose of them all. Luckily, he had no neighbors, so the only thing the smell would attract was more wild animals. It helped his cause but the smell was starting to get to him. He scrubbed the floor without even having to think about it. It was such a part of his routine that he could do it with his eyes closed.

Once he was done, he headed to the shower to clean himself up. There was so much time available to him considering her didn’t have to sleep anymore. One of the sacrifices did not go the way he had planned, so he was cursed with the ability to stay awake. It had it’s upside but he longed to dream again. It was the only way he had ever truly felt connected to his cause but it was stolen from him in the name of it. He scrubbed his body hard, hard enough that his skin felt raw when he was done. He never truly felt like he got all of the blood off of him. He always smelled a faint whiff of iron. It comforted him in a way but he hated it at the same time. When he finished cleaning his body, he stepped out of the shower and avoided seeing his reflection in the mirror. He hated seeing all the scars on his body and the last thing he wanted to do was look in his own eyes.

Leaving the bathroom in a hurry, he almost slipped in a puddle. When he steadied himself, he looked up to see an ominous form lingering in front of him. His heart went cold and he froze. It hovered there for a while, it had holes where eyes should be but it was not in the form of a body. It was black smoke but he could feel its eyes on him, even though it had none. He did not move or make a sounds, the form lingered for a few more moments and then disappeared. He was still frozen in his spot as he was unsure of what to do. It was the first time in a long time that he was frightened of something. He took a deep breath and shook the image from his mind. Surely his inability to sleep may have been causing hallucinations. He got dressed and the hairs on his neck were still standing on end. He tried again to shake the form from his mind but could not. Maybe there was a meaning behind it after all. He walked over to his bookshelf and grabbed the ancient texts he kept stored there. He hoped that they would have some kind of answers for what he just saw.

He spent hours pouring through the books but found nothing. He sighed in exasperation, there had to be an answer somewhere. He could not spend his whole day preoccupied with it, he had work to do. The books were safely put away and he began his trek into the woods behind his house. It was a long walk but the day was nice and clear. He let his mind go blank as he walked the trail to his traps. He hoped to see them filled with animals need for his daily sacrifices but they were getting harder to come by. He feared he would have to move again, maybe he was depleting the supply of this area. He did not think that was possible but stranger things had happened to him. Every trap he came across was empty, there was nothing for him to make another sacrifice with. This frightened him even more as he could not stop. The sacrifices were what was keeping him alive and if they stopped, he feared that would be the end for him. Maybe the end was what he needed, he had grown tired of the daily slaughter sessions and sleepless nights. All of the glory he once thought he would have, never came.

He had forsaken his name, his family, and everything he loved in search of eternity; in search of ultimate power. Power that never came, no matter how hard he had tried. Everything made sense at one point in time but it was all starting to fall apart. He headed back to towards home empty handed. There was nothing he could do to make the animals come in time, so he had no choice but to forgo a sacrifice for the night. When he got back, he was almost too nervous to enter his own home. He feared the ominous figure would come back. So, he entered his home timidly, unsure of what would be waiting for him in it. He held his breath while the door swung open and the tenseness in his shoulders left when he saw his empty living room.

When he entered, the door slammed shut behind him. This caused him to jump and turn around fast enough to fall over. When he hit the ground, his eyes filled with stars because he had smacked his head rather hard. When the stars cleared, he saw the ominous figure looming over him. He tried to scramble away but found that he could not move or speak. His heart began to race, his skin grew clammy, and his throat felt dry.

“All this time and you have not given up.” It said with a deep, raspy voice.

He opened his mouth to speak but no sound manifested.

“There is no need for you to say anything, I already know all that you have done. Your tireless efforts have gone unrewarded and sadly, they will continue to be. People do things in hope for some gain, whether it be karmic or something we believe we deserve. The truth is no one deserves anything, at least not in the ways we believe that they do.” It paused. “I admire your tenacity to the cause, you stumbled across my books so long ago and just dived right in. Not knowing that it would never yield the results you were looking for. I suppose that was the real test, to see who would be willing to go this far.” It floated to the other side of the room.

He was finally able to stand up, he wanted to face the figure while on his feet. Once again, he tried to talk but no sound came out.

It spoke, “The truth is, you got the sacrifice part right but you have been sacrificing the wrong things. You see, it is not animals I am after; it never was. I am and always have been in search of a vessel. A place to reside which is something I have been missing for so long. The others were viable candidates but they all gave up too soon. But you, you are something special and I would very much like to reside within you.” It laughed.

His eyes grew wide with fear, this was not what he wanted. There had to be a way to change his fate and he hoped it wasn’t too late.

A. Rose

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Stuck (Short Story)

She stared into the mirror until her reflection went blurry. When her eyes refocused, she stroked her hand down her cheek. It felt soft and warm but her hand was freezing. Her hands were always freezing, it was pretty normal. She looked into her deep brown eyes and wondered if she was even real. If her reflection was really there or just a figment of her imagination. It was much too early for an existential crisis but she honestly could not help herself. It was hard to feel real in a place where she did not belong, a place where she had ended up so long ago.

“Artemis dear, it’s time for us to go.” Her husband called to her from across the hall.

She sighed, the last thing she wanted to do was go out on a night like tonight. Artemis got up, got dressed, and walked across the hall. She kissed her him on the cheek and smiled.

“You look lovely as ever my dear,” he smiled and took her hand.

She blushed as he was often good at getting her to. Even after several years of marriage, he still had that effect on her. They headed out the door and into the limo that he had reserved for the evening; he said he wanted the night to be special. Artemis did not know why, they anniversary was months away. One thing she was not a fan of was surprises but at this point she had no choice but to go along with it. They did not speak during the ride there, oddly enough they were not a very chatty couple. Artemis figured that’s why the relationship worked so well, he never really had asked much about her or where she came from. He just accepted that she existed and that was that. She looked out of the window and the crisp clear evening. It was so nice that she did not need a jacket. The dress she chose to wear was backless and she really hated to ruin the look with a coat or sweater. Her husband took her hand and squeezed it.

“Your hands are like icebergs,” he looked at her with concerned eyes.

She did not reply, she knew that her hands were cold but she would not be able to tell him why. He let it go and did not pester her further about the matter. When the arrived, he instructed her to wait in the limo until he returned for her. Artemis was not happy about it, she detested being cooped up and vehicles were too small of a space for her. After what felt like an eternity, he returned with blindfold.

“You must put this on, I don’t want to ruin the surprise.” He spoke while he gently tied it on for her.

She frowned but let him, she knew that her husband meant her no harm. He guided her slowly inside the building, she was afraid to walk without support. If she had known she would be blindfolded, she would have opted for flats. Artemis heard the familiar ding of an elevator and allowed her husband to guide her inside. She was full of anxiety because she had no idea what was about to happen. There was no way for her to tell if the elevator was going down or up, her stomach always lurched regardless of the direction. She felt it stop and heard the doors open. Her husband guided her out of the elevator and she could hear her heels clacking on the hard cement ground. Where was he taking her? Her heart began to race and she feared the worst. Had he finally found out the truth? Was this the end for her?

He sat her down in a chair and then kissed the top of her head. She felt him untie the blindfold and she cautiously opened her eyes. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the dinner table in front of them.

“Oh my, what is this?” she questioned.

He sat down in the chair opposite her, “I wanted to take you to your favorite place but I wanted us to be alone. The owner decorated this room for us.”

There were beautiful twinkling lights everywhere, so many flowers, and the food smelled delicious. He winked at her then began to eat his food rather quickly. Artemis ate her food in silence as well as she felt the cold from her hands begin to travel up her arms. She knew that she didn’t have much time left before it overtook her whole body; she hoped dinner would be fast.

“What’s the matter dear?” He asked with great concern.

“Nothing my love,” she smirked at him. She pushed the thought of the cold away and focused on enjoying the night with him.

They laughed, the talked, the danced, and kissed the night away. It was the happiest she had been in a while. Her husband was often away for work and she missed him constantly. She wished she could share everything about herself with him but there was no way that would ever work. It unnerved her that he didn’t seem to care about the fact that she never spoke of her childhood. Why would anyone marry someone they barely knew? Hell, she should have asked herself the same question.

The evening was drawing to a close, the coldness in her body had reached her legs. She was running out time. They left the restaurant, her husband had a work flight to catch. The limo took them to the airport and he kissed her goodbye. When he was gone, she sighed. Artemis was finally alone but that did not mean that she would not miss him. It was much safer for him to be far away from her this time of year. She instructed the limo driver to take her home as quickly as possible. The cold in her body slowly crept into her lungs and then made its way to her heart. If she did not get home soon, there would be nothing she could do to stop it. The drive felt to slow, so she took the pendant from around her neck and drank the liquid inside. It would give her enough time to get home but it wouldn’t save her completely.

The limo arrived to her home and she did not wait for the driver to get the door for her. She hopped out and ran as fast as she could into the house. As soon as she crossed the threshold, she felt some of the coldness in her body retreat. Some remained in her hands and feet, she knew then that she had more work to do. Without changing her clothes, she headed into the basement. It was cold dark and clammy, the only thing renovated down there was a wine cellar. At least, it was the only renovated room in the basement that her husband knew about. She entered the wine cellar and walked to the wall on the far end of the room. She grabbed ahold of a wine bottle and pulled. A secret door opened, she walked inside, and shut the door behind her. There were no lights in the room, so she lit several candles and placed them as she walked.

She made it to the altar and placed her last candle directly in the center of it. Artemis sat down and waited for her energy to reconnect with the room. A gust of cold air came from nowhere and it made her shiver.

“You took much too long this time.” A craggy voice came from behind her.

Artemis did not turn around, she knew that if it wanted to be seen; it would be seen.

“I know, I apologize. My husband took me to dinner.” She looked down at the floor.

It laughed, “Husband? Dinner? You seem to think that these things are real for you. If you are late again, I will no longer be able to help you.”

Artemis rolled her eyes. It was always saying that but continued to help her anyway.

“Now, I can give you more energy but eventually this will no longer work. At some point you will have to tell your “husband” the truth.” It chided.

She knew it was right, there would be no way to hide this from him forever. “Why isn’t there just a way to bring me back?” She begged.

It scoffed, “your body was buried here so long ago that there would be nothing for you to come back to. If there were a way, I would have done it by now.”

Artemis frowned, it was right and there was no way she could argue.

“Even if you were to find a new body, you’ve been like this for so long that I fear no spell would work.” It added.

She knew that she should have just found a new body when it brought this up over a hundred years ago. Artemis just couldn’t bring herself to kill anyone for her own selfish desires. It was also difficult to do considering the fact that she could not leave the house for long periods of time. Her husband just thought that she was agoraphobic and he did his best to help her. He did not know that he was in love with and married to a ghost. She knew that someday she would have to tell him, the question of children was starting to come up. Artemis could not bear children as she had no body to bear them with. He would only go along with her agoraphobia excuse for so long.

“I will charge your energy but you cannot leave this house for a month. Otherwise you may just fade away this time.” It said as warmth poured over her.

She closed her eyes and focused on drawing the energy into her. When it was over, she felt it leave and then she hurried back upstairs. As she was changing for bed, she thought about calling her husband and being honest with him. Artemis decided against it, how do you tell someone something like that over the phone? She laid down in bed but was unable to sleep, simply because she did not need to sleep. Going through the motions was just what she was used to. Suddenly, the energy in the house shifted so quickly that her form disappeared and then reappeared in the kitchen.

When her vision returned, she saw her husband standing in front of her. He looked so distraught and she wondered how he got home so quickly.

“Honey. I love you so much.” He caressed her cheek.

She kissed his hand, “I love you too.”

“My plane crashed. All I could see was darkness and then suddenly now I am here. I’m scared and I don’t know what is happening.” He spit out frantically.

If there were breath in her lungs, she would have lost it. “It is because you are dead, my love.” She took his hands in hers.

“What?! Dead?! How am I here?! How can you see me?!” His questions were full of panic.

She smiled and embraced him. Then she pulled back to look at the face of the man she loved and could finally be with forever. “It’s because I’m dead too.”

 

A. Rose

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Weird Black Girl (Get to Know Me)

Yes, you read that right. It is a category that I have fit into since childhood, second only to Blerd (Black Nerd). It’s definitely not a bad thing, I will tell you that. Also, I know that I’m not the only one. I have never categorized the word ‘weird’ as bad in any way. If you do, then I apologize for any offense it may cause.

I have always been into different things. I realized this at a young age when I figured out Evanescence was. I had always been a music lover but I slowly learned that I really wasn’t into a lot of the music my peers and family were into. Like I will seriously listen to Breaking Benjamin and LIGHTS every day of the week.

Then I discovered my love for fiction, mostly fantasy fiction. I love superpowers and  superheros and worlds that have been created from scratch. I got super into that early on in life as well. I cannot tell you what the first fantasy book I read was because that was such a long time ago. I do know that one of my favorite series of books was the Eragon series, which I believe came out in like 2002. I absolutely loved those books and I’m actually kind of sad that I don’t own any. Secondly, I love absolutely anything by Octavia E. Butler, she is actually my idol when it comes to writing; even though she is no longer alive. There are many more but I can never think of them right off the top of my head. I never really got super into Harry Potter (don’t hate me). I have seen all the movies but never honestly made it through all the books. Doesn’t mean that I don’t like it, I just haven’t read enough to say if I do or not.

What can I say? I love magic, intrigue, mystical beasts, and mystical worlds. I mean I love a story that allows me to just completely escape inside it. Like, who doesn’t like that when they read a book?

So that’s me, though it’s not everything about me. I love alternative music, consider myself an adult goth, and just recently read the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children series (I loved it by the way). Secretly, I still wish I had magic powers that I have yet to unlock and I’m 25 years old. I think that’s the kid in me and I honestly hope that never goes away.

A. Rose

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Why Your Support is Needed

Now I know what you’re probably thinking, is this really necessary? Most likely no but hey, I’ve got to write about something here. Support is always needed. In life, in art, and in so many other things. Without support, a lot of things never truly get out there. That and the support of my friends, peers, and even strangers means a lot to me.

As an author who plans to self-publish, building an audience and having support is a major key to my success. Well, I presume there will be a small amount of success but that is definitely not guaranteed. But in order for there to even be a small amount of success, I need you all. Even if you don’t read, like fantasy fiction, or don’t like my book in particular. There may be someone out there who does and your help with getting it out there would mean so much to me.

Being black and a woman has is advantages, I will say that. However, because of those two things I often feel as though my art and my voice are constantly overlooked. Could be all in my head but I doubt that. To add to that, there is the fact that there are not many black women fantasy fiction writers. Attempting to break into that market is going to particularly difficult for me to do but I am not going to let that stop me. I can’t let it hold me back from trying, even if it gets to me.

So again, your support is greatly needed. It will always be needed and I will always appreciate it. I will do my best to let you know how appreciative I am every single day.

 

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Going for Broke

A phrase used quite a lot but it is definitely something I always feel like I am doing. I put my all into pretty much everything I do and I hardly ever expect results from it. The reason for this is because I love the things that I do. If someone else loves them too, that’s great, but it is not the only reason I do things. That sounds crazy full of myself but I promise you I am not.

I spend a lot of time wondering why I do things, or rather, why I try to do things. I am constantly plagued with self-doubt and anxiety, so the additional stress at times hardly seems worth it. Truth be told, nine times out of ten I give up on a project before it is even finished. I have so many unfinished poems and stories that I don’t even know if I would qualify myself as a writer sometimes. It is all very, woe is me, but whatever. Where am I going with this? Oh yea that’s right, going for broke.

With Imitatore, I am going for broke. I am going to self-publish this book and put myself further out there than I ever have before. It is absolutely the most nerve racking thing I will ever do and I do burlesque. I have a hard time sharing my writing, simply because I am always afraid that no one will like it or understand it. I know, that in the end that part doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel about the work that I put out but it is still nice if someone likes what I do. There are no guarantees that anyone will like Imitatore, none at all but I am not going to let that stop me; not this time.

With self-publishing comes inevitable expenses and as a broke college student, that word scares me. I don’t know if I could work up the courage to do a gofundme or a kickstarter because I really hate asking for money. That and I have no idea who would want to donate to something like that. Especially when there is no guarantee that this book will even be successful. I know I have to do something because I believe in this project, I just don’t know what I am going to do yet. I need luck, confidence, and so many other things. I am slowly finding them along the way, hopefully everything falls into place soon.

 

What have some of you done in your own self-publishing journeys? Have you raised money through a crowdfunding campaign or did you go it alone?

A. Rose