Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Ice Maiden and the Lord of Fire

Island of Lost Dreams
26. January 2014
Host: Harriet Gausman
Picture Prompt: Ice Maiden
Time: 30 mins

The Ice Maiden ruled the kingdom with a fist of iron and a heart of stone.
After her father died, the will was read and to everyone’s surprise her brother, the eldest of five siblings, was set aside. She was only the third in line to the throne and yet she became queen at a very early age.
The first few years flew by quickly. She learned how to rule the hard way, no mercy, heads chopped, hands tossed in the pigs’ den, determination and cruelty that were quite surprising in a maiden as young as the queen.
However, no one really cared what happened to others, as long as it didn’t happen to them. So, they kept in line, minding their own business, working the land, growing their cattle, selling their products.
It was when the Ice Maiden came of age and decided it was time to get married that things got complicated.
Knights of all corners of the land came to try their luck. First, they fought against one another for long days and nights.
The weakest ones got sent home with a bruised pride, but in one piece, well, at least alive.
The strongest three had to prove they were worthy of the highest honor in the kingdom, marrying the queen and becoming the prince escort.
They were sent on a quest for something valuable. Each would have to decide what to bring back.
One knight brought back gold. The queen dismissed it. “Too boring. I have gold.”
The second brought back gemstones. The queen waved him away. “I have enough gemstones to last me a lifetime.”
The third brought nothing much to the surprise of everyone in the room.
“My Queen, I brought you myself, to honor you and love you, to share with you my most intimate self, as honestly as I can. I’ll help you make the most difficult decisions and I’ll be by your side, always.”
At first, the queen was taken aback by the boldness of this knight, but as she did with every decision in her life, she decided to marry him immediately.
“Why this one, Your Highness?” asked her wise advisor.
“I’m made of ice; I need a man by my side to be my fire.”
The years went by and these two kin souls became the best rulers of the country. Several centuries later, they were still remembered as the Ice Maiden and the Lord of Fire.


“Terminate Account” blinked on the screen. The technician desperately tried to mend the utter mess created by someone, somewhere, somehow. No one wanted to be blamed for the end of the world, not that it would matter afterwards, so no one said a word. The technician fiddled with the system until the words stopped blinking. Everyone took a deep breath and the room filled with sighs of relief. When the word “terminate” blinked again, it was too late. At the Cosmos Central Agency the blue dot vanished and someone was heard saying “These humans, they’re hopeless. Were…”

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The 1928 Murder Case


25. January 2014
Host: Lizzie Gudkov
Prompts Siclit Prod: Estuary, 1928, murder, crushing, coldly, suitcase
Time: 30 mins

Back in 1928, the town became richer with new incoming goods. Commerce grew exponentially and people had a strong feeling of hope. Yet, the day they found the body, no one dared walk the streets. There was a crushing feeling of powerlessness. A killer was at large.
The authorities searched the whole area of the estuary, believing that the body could have been hidden somewhere in one of the wood shacks along the river banks.
Alfred Hitchcock's Case of Jonathan Drew had just been released in the local movie theater and the plot of the film kept people thinking, particularly because the victim was a blond girl, just like the ones in Hitchcock’s film. The eerie feeling of having fiction invade reality was overbearing.
Weeks went by, months, and the body was not found. It was only years later that a maritime police boat in a routine patrol found a suitcase floating about. They reeled it in carefully not to damage it. It looked like it had been in the water for a long time. When they opened it, there was a transparent plastic bag inside with a handwritten note, “The body went to the movies.”
At first, the police thought it was a joke, but some of the old-timers recalled that unsolved case of the blonde girl who had disappeared right around the time of the release of Hitchcock’s film. They searched the movie theater and interrogated its owner. After painstakingly trying to get information out of the suspect, the police was about to give up when he perked up in his chair and said coldly “She did like the Case of Jonathan Drew. You’ll never find her.”
The police did try, almost tearing the movie theater down, to no avail. That blonde would be at the movies forever, now, wouldn’t she…?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Not Found

Winter Moon
The waves hit the side of the small fishing boat while the men tried to put on their life jackets. It came out of nowhere, one of the survivors would say to the media later on. When the boat capsized, they struggled to stay together until the helicopters came for them. Happy to have survived, surrounded by their families and love ones, they went back home after a few days in the hospital. One man stood at the pier though, waiting. He had to file a report and write the words he hated the most… One man was not found.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Of Stories, Writers and a Virtual World

Milk Wood
Originally written for iRez and posted in the Stories tab.

It’s raining. After a few months of wintry landscapes, Second Life’s snow is slowly melting away. There’s an unspoken urge amongst the residents for warm weather and sunnier days. You can sense that, here and there.

Role-playing the approach of spring and falling in to that same urge, I found myself deleting the snow emitters at my place and reducing the areas covered by mounds of white, feeling surprisingly content in doing so.

Some places are gearing up for St. Valentine’s. Snow will soon be replaced by little red hearts and the whiteness by an overload of pink.
Virtual reality (and I speak of Second Life, in this case, considering it’s the one I know the best and navigate in) offers a writer the inestimable power of reaching farther, of immersing oneself in a world of order and in a tempting world of disorder.

This parallel universe hosting extraordinary and often unexpected traits of such familiar, comforting evocations is a source of invaluable material since this familiarity is something you can fully enjoy. As every writer knows, stimuli such as landscape, ambiance, sound, are fundamental to the labor of writing an enticing story. Virtual worlds give us the possibility of drawing words, ideas, sentences, hesitations and a whole lot of determination from sims of all flavors.

Within virtual reality, writers are also given the possibility of being selective, a much appreciated option, considering that every writer is a victim of merciless deadlines.
Recently, I found myself struggling with an extremely demanding deadline, the NaNoWriMo. Almost unexpectedly (and I say almost, because in reality I had been toying with the idea of undergoing that torture… I mean, experience, for quite some time), I trapped myself in this compromise that would last a month. And I am stubborn enough to know that I would complete this challenge even if it were the last thing I did… in writing!

All writers have lives, of course, and although mine is fortunately fairly placid and uneventful, coming up with almost 3000 words a day is a bit of a stretch for anyone, even for those who, as is my case, do have a slightly longer amount of time to write than the regular working (wo)man. So, I plunged into it, head first, as befits a true adventurer, and I geared up my arsenal, I mean writing tools, a few notes here and there (yes, in hindsight I should have prepared things in a slightly more detailed fashion!), a word processor and my favorite spot.

I never really debated whether my share of daily writing should take place exclusively within a word processor or immersed in my Second Life home, surrounded by books and cats and odd bits and pieces with a view to the cherry tree that stands guard to my greenhouse and my swimming pool overshadowed by a few temperamental palm trees that argue constantly with two circling seagulls about things we shall not discuss here for the sake of good taste. The playful weasels laugh at these arguments and tease the butterflies, trying to catch them, and a story starts brewing in my mind, a story about weasels and palm trees and seagulls and a greenhouse where something will happen that…

Oh, wait a second! That’s not the point! The point is that I would park Lizzie, the avatar, in front of her typewriter with a brewing, beautifully flavored cup of coffee right next to her and have the word processor opened in a separate window, resized, so I could have the best of those two worlds. I was certain of it. And that seemed like the right thing to do. Why? I don’t know. I do have a pretty nice desk in Real Life. Nevertheless, it just did seem right and that’s where Lizzie sat to write.

Sometimes though, I needed a change of scenery. The book I wrote was a thriller with a bit of suspense and mystery, plus a crime obviously (private joke to my regular readers; I do tend to kill a few, cough… a lot of the characters). You cannot feel the pulse to a darker frame of mind if you’re sitting in your favorite spot, now, can you?

And that’s why writers are hoarders and never throw anything away! So, I resorted to my folder containing an array of locations in Second Life that I visited and enjoyed in the past. I fished one out that seemed appropriate, I teleported to that sim and voilá, a whole new world, a whole new set of ideas, a whole new range of vocabulary that I could juggle and play with.

Every now and then (or more often, when I chose to), I stumbled upon other tortured souls… I mean writers, doing the NaNoWriMo or any other writing challenge. I sat down, I shared ideas, and we encouraged one another. Suddenly, writing a book, what seemed like a decision taken in a moment of utter lunacy, becomes a possibility, a reality even.

The NaNoWriMo is long over and new challenges have already emerged, challenges I’ll embrace with the same sense of (in)sanity as I did the NaNoWriMo. However, this time, I have a renewed certainty that I will write more and hopefully better, drawing from the richness that a virtual world offers, both in spaces and in people.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


BWC Village
He wasn’t much of a drinker so when they told him “bite on this”, his dormant urges became overwhelming. When the party was over, he roamed the streets, hiding in the shadows to calm the demon within. As he got home, he rushed to the computer and browsed unrelated sites for hours. However, it was hopeless. By morning, he had 10 lemon cheesecakes, 7 lemon tarts, 1 lemon pudding and a large number of mutant lemon squares that practically announced the end of the world. The whole building stank of lemon. The neighbors complained. Once again, Lemon Man was back!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fragile Revisited

Wow, I just stumbled upon this video. It's my story Fragile told by Sven Peterson of the Ozlandish Writings. What a treat! Thank you, Sven.
Picture by JudiLynn India.

2013 in a Nutshell

A few days into 2014, my writing year of 2013 can be summarized in only a few lines.
*Bits and pieces, here and there;
*NaNoWriMo, started and completed;
*Host of the Writer's Dash Scrimmages;
And what rich lines these are!
Now, let 2014 unfold! :)


Torno Kohime

The husband wearing horn-rimmed glasses sat in the car, waiting. His wife was chatting with their hot neighbor while lightly touching his arm and smiling a pathetic smile. The husband blew the horn and waved for her to hurry. They were late. The orchestra rehearsal was starting in ten minutes. She gave him that look of disgust, and he knew. That night, when she was fast asleep, his friends came over with the gear. The husband blew the horn, the orchestra horn that became the hunting horn. No one ever saw her again. Next on the list was the neighbor…