Happy Dance

hwa_unfleshedI always feel like a newb whenever I see my book cover somewhere and I squeal. The sound is somewhere between a dolphin call and a monkey  screech. But here it is, up on the Horror Writers Association page. That’s is probably the closest I’ll get to #VinDiesel, too! (I’ll take it.)

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Every month I’ll have a new chapter to my “newsletter only novella” and some other cool things! maybe even some free flash fiction from guest authors? Who knows! Gotta sign up and see!


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Trying to Keep it Up

fb_img_1458961349994.jpgAs you all know, the past month (at least, I lost track) has been filled with storms, rain, flooding, rinse and repeat, here in Texas. It has been gloom, to say the very least. I suffer from severe migraines and have, up until now, had them under control until this weather began. The entire month is a blur and I have to refer to my notes to figure out where I am and where I left off. I’ve been trying to truck through and keep my head up, but then I got some weird cold or plague, whichever. (laughing) My head is pounding and I’d like to rip my own tonsils out. This blog has suffered a little for it, so I apologize. I was doing so well in keeping up with it.

Regardless of how I feel, life still goes on around us. I’m grateful for that because it keeps me from slipping into the dark abyss that is my bed, where it’s nice and warm and gives me a reason to emerge every day. It may only be an hour or two at a time, but it’s progress!

One thing that I look forward to is writing. I promised myself I would write a little everyday. Even if its ideas for other books. I set a little time aside for me to  be creative and purge the ideas that were backlogged in my head.

La Plaga is creeping up on me again, so I will bid you all a good day until I emerge from the lair again. Until then, keep writing.

Post the first line of chapter one in the comments below, let’s inspire one another!

The Immortal Sols: A work in progress

When Darkness is infiltrated by a light it is up to Ladon, the Lord of the Dragons to seek out the source and destroy it. He soon learns that any attempt to damage the source becomes an attack on himself. The King tries to keep it a secret as the law states that any sovereign in a weakened state may be challenged in a match to the death.

Will Ladon learn how to destroy the source?
Or will his brethren learn of his secret and destroy him first?

Welcome to the Reign of the De Sols

Family Tree
https://www.wattpad.com/story/74573941-the-immortal-sols

The Unhowling: A Work in Progress

793 A.D. Northumberland, England
Lindisfarne Monastery

Alkuin is a banished priest who struggles to maintain a secret held far from the reach of the people of England when an attack by a Viking ship forces him to unleash a beast so dangerous it could change mankind forever. The Catholic Church called it an abomination but will it save them from a fate much worse?

Follow me here to get teasers and glimpses into my WIPs (Works in Progress): https://www.wattpad.com/story/74576047-the-unhowling

The Unhowling

Just a little sick of it…

I’m going to rant today. I really need it. I’m sick of keeping things bottled up and fearing the repercussions of what might occur if I spoke up about my own feelings. But not anymore. Because my feelings are right. They are feelings of anger for the violence that is committed against innocent lives. It’s anger directed at people that commit these acts and it has nothing to do with race, creed, religion, or any other of the protected classes. Just want to make that infinitely clear before I begin. Although the words will be wasted on those that will see nothing but those things regardless of how much you, or I, or anyone try to avoid being misconstrued.

It’s time that our people. And when I say “our people” I’m talking to you. The Person reading this, regardless of what color your skin is. I am talking about our People, the Humans on this earth. It is time for us to stand up, link hands and form a barrier around our children. Crimes against our children are the most heinous of all crimes.They didn’t ask to be here. They didn’t have a choice in being born.

What infuriates me the most is when I post an article about one of these innocents and the first thing I see is a comment about the article being racially skewed.

Hello? A child was murdered.

The second thing that happens is a heated conversation repeatedly going back to “but the article is trying to point out their race and the writers are racist!”

Wake up. A child has died.

The third thing I see is, “why are oppressors surprised when the oppressed raise up”

What is wrong with you? A. Child. Has. Died.

This has nothing to do with me, you, our agenda, our crisis, our thoughts. Your thoughts and my thoughts should be for the lost soul ripped from the world in a brutal, sadistic way at the hands of another human being.

I say, “I’m not getting into a racial debate, a child was lost” and my commentors say, “It’s still exits even if it makes you uncomfortable.”

I’m uncomfortable that a child has died and you want to point out the reason that child has died being a race thing. I grew up in a neighborhood where 40% made it out. Blood is red, folks. I lost friends that I grew up with my whole life to violence. Do I feel vengeful? Damn right I do. But not to their children who had nothing to do with the violence their parents perpetrated upon my loved ones. Do I feel an all consuming desire to do harm to some of them. Oh, yes. It festers deep inside me like a chronic, end stage disease. It worms its way into my organs and blackens my heart…but not for their children.

You see, I believe we are all responsible for our own actions. Some actions may have been inspired by another, but they do not decide our fate.

If a person dropped to the ground before me, I wouldn’t stop to check what skin color they were or if they were really a naturally born male or female. I wouldn’t ask, “What is your religion?” I would get down on my knees and breathe life back into them.

Now, I’ve been accused of making things “about me”. Well yeah. Who else is it about? If I don’t do something or speak up, who else will? If I don’t keep my heart from shutting off in eternal apathy, who will do that for me? And when I post to my own (censored) Facebook page, it really is about me and how I feel. It’s the experience that I go through reading about sick crimes committed by sick people. Because Death is as indiscriminate as your God is.

And what if this was a woman who was raped? Would you find some justification for that, too? Or would it depend on what color she was?

My skin has many colors.

I’m Greek. I’m Puerto Rican. I’m Native American. I’m African American.

None of that matters. My blood is RED.

And right now it’s boiling. Where were my brothers and sisters of these “races” when I was growing up? None of them embraced this half breed. None of them believed me when I told them my last name really is Vasquez. It’s not by marriage or adoption. Or the snide looks when I say, “I don’t speak Greek, I’m sorry.”

I had no control over this. But I do have control over what I do with how I was treated. I feel sadness for those that identify with a heritage they had no control over and let it define them in everything. When they let the past dictate their future. When they make excuses for what was done to their race in the past and don’t face the opportunities given to them today.

Here’s a (not so) brief history lesson: 

  1. Slavery was very common in ancient Greece. Some estimate that in Athens, around the fifth century, there was the equivalent of one slave to every free person in the city. Anyone with even a modest income typically owned a slave or two to help in the household or family business.
  2. African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.
  3. In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.
  4. A reductive view of the American past might note two major, centuries-long historical sins: the enslavement of stolen Africans and the displacement of Native Americans. In recent years, a new wave of historians of American slavery has been directing attention to the ways these sins overlapped. The stories they have uncovered throw African slavery—still the narrative that dominates our national memory—into a different light, revealing that the seeds of that system were sown in earlier attempts to exploit Native labor. The record of Native enslavement also shows how the white desire to put workers in bondage intensified the chaos of contact, disrupting intertribal politics and creating uncertainty and instability among people already struggling to adapt to a radically new balance of power.

And if you’re thoroughly pissed off? Please direct your anger to this and do something about it:

People think they know everything about slavery in the United States, but they don’t. They think the majority of African slaves came to the American colonies, but they didn’t. They talk about 400 hundred years of slavery, but it wasn’t. They claim all Southerners owned slaves, but they didn’t. Some argue it was a long time ago, but it wasn’t. ( Daina Ramey Berry, University of Texas)

  • Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
  • Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.
  • According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.
  • There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
  • According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.

WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PREJUDICE NOW?
Mine is RED.

Work in Progress

The following is an unedited chapter to the book I’ve just started. THE UNFLESHED is nearly finished and should be out as soon as it is edited. In the meantime, I’ve been exercising my writing muscles and begun a new one. Hope you enjoy and as always, comments welcome!

 

All rights reserved
© 2016 Lisa Vasquez

 

CHAPTER ONE

793 A.D. Northumberland, England                   
Lindisfarne Monastery

 

                The morning bells of the monastery rang out penetrating the dense fog rolling in from the water that surrounded their coast. Alkuin was coming up the pathway from chores when something struck him as odd.

“There are no gulls.” He said to himself, aloud.

Raising his eyes toward the grey sky, he stared deeply into the overcast that snuffed out the sun. Behind the soft cadence of the church bell in the background, there was a drumming noise and he realized it was the sound of his heart.

The monk turned in a slow, careful manner to face the sea. Even though he was grown now, the haunting stories of his grandmother lingered on him whenever he watched the eerie fog roll in as it did now. He braced himself, expecting some manner of monster to emerge before chiding himself each time it pulled back leaving nothing except the icy waves and dancing gulls. But today – there were no gulls to speak of. The drumming of Alkuin’s heart grew louder and danger filled the air he breathed, expanding his lungs with its imminent warning.

He stared harder into the fog until his site caught what his senses were warning him of. A creeping head pushed through the clouds with eyes of fire. Towering above the water, flared nostrils billowed more smoke around it, carrying the stench of death. It did not pick up speed because there was no reason to. Like Alkuin, everything before it froze and trembled in its wake.

The monk dropped all that he was carrying, the fresh vegetables from the garden now lying in the dirt, and shut his eyes tight.

“Run, Alkin!” He tried to convince himself, “Run!”

As if his feet were suddenly free from invisible bonds, Alkuin ran as fast as he could to the safety of the monastery, shouting to everyone as he did so.

“Warship!” he cried, “Warship! Hurry!”

The other monks spun from their task and looked to the origin of the warning. The low tide was at hand and the ship was making its way straight toward them.

“Quickly! Into the shelters! Hide!” They all shouted.

The normal serenity of the monastery turned to chaos as clergy ran, shutting gates and corralling livestock. Many of the monks rolled whatever valuables they had into blankets, tossing them into their hiding places which were normally piles of hay or straw.

Alkuin ran directly to the chapel and was met with Father Aidan.

“What is it?” He asked.

The look of panic on Alkuin’s features made the other monk uneasy and the two rushed inside closing the doors behind them. The large wooden board was eased into the brackets across the entrance, and Aidan slid the reinforced iron rod across as well.

Once Alkuin was assured the lock was engaged he turned to the other man to explain, “There is a warship approaching. It sits barely a stone’s throw off the shore.”

Aidan’s eyes widened and he turned toward the altar. On the outside it looked normal. A chalice flanked by two large candles, and behind it a large crucifix. Aidan and Alkuin were the only two that knew what hid underneath.

“What do we do?” Aidan asked.

“We wait. It is a last resort, you know that!”

“People could die Alkuin!” The younger monk cried out.

“Hold your tongue Aidan,” Alkuin snapped, “We all took the vow.”

Aidan turned his eyes down conceding in silence.

“Now go through the back and bring the brotherhood inside. Those that tarry seal their own fate.”

“Yes, Father.” Aidan bowed and ran to his task.

When the younger monk had gone, Alkuin looked down at his hands which were trembling with the surge of adrenaline. The secret contained inside the chapel was worth dying for, and he was prepared to see that mission through. Curling his fingers into his palms, he made fists with both hands driving in his conviction to the cause. He pulled in a deep breath and lifted his chin to inhale the air. Alkuin then closed his eyes to focus on separating the incoming smells.

The fragrant incense was pushed back allowing the salty ocean breeze to filter through. Northmen, his thoughts said, and he released the breath from his lungs. The Alkuin’s lungs expanded again, filling with the air. At least twenty distinct smells gave away the number of passengers that he could readily identify. Concentrate, he thought to himself then growled and pushed himself harder.

Once more Alkuin took in a deep breath, forcing the air through his flared nostrils until his chest expanded and ached. The smell of burning bodies was acrid and thick, almost choking him.

Women! It was distinct. He could smell the bodies and the fear rolling off the women they were holding on board. Rage boiled deep inside his chest and his jaw trembled as he tried to keep control of it.

Another low, rasping growl welled up from deep within his belly pushing its way into his throat. Alkuin hunched over and grabbed at his hair trying to keep himself from the transformation.

“No.” He snarled, “Not…now.”

His eyes were burning and his skin was crawling as he forced himself to breathe and slow his heart rate. He willed himself to focus on the crucifix behind the altar and prayed for the strength to keep the monster inside but he could feel its claws tearing behind his ribcage. His eyes were tearing and he his entire body shook with the inner war going on but after a few minutes, the monk was able to gain control again. The effort exerted brought him down to a knee just before the rush of the brothers came in through the secret door in the back. They stood around him now in silence in what they was ardent prayer for their safety. They were half right.

Alkuin stood up and turned to face them, “Brothers, we have gone many years without the interruption of another human but our own clergy. We have discussed what would be our action if we were in the face of invasion. Our own complacency has led us to the belief that we would never have to practice those actions.”

He paused and let their sin sink in before continuing, “Today we shall reap what we have sown. It is in God’s hands now.”

The brothers turned to one another and there was a rush of whispers. Alkuin broke it up as he went on.

“We are under invasion and it is time for us to do what it necessary to save ourselves! Brothers, please. Listen to me, now, for there is not much time.”

The men hushed and faced him once again in silence.

“There will be blood. There will be sights you have never seen before in our peaceful life but do not falter, and do not hesitate to save yourself or your brother by any means necessary against the Evil that comes today.”

“Now, let us pray.” Alkuin turned and kneeled again before the altar and made the sign of the cross.

The others followed his lead and went down to their knees to offer their prayers for safety and guidance, others to eradicate the fear from their hearts. The shouts from outside began to subside as the ship grew closer and the other monks found places to hide. Alkuin could hear the oars push the water and the sound of the ship slicing through the waves on approach. The danger threatened to elevate his heartrate again but he controlled his breathing. Unleashing the rage meant he would unleash the monster within. It had been many years since it was free, he had no idea if he’d be able to reign it in once more.

Please dear Lord, offer your strength to me. Allow me to use this …thing…inside of me for your will. Even if it condemns me to Hell for eternity, I seek to do thy bidding while here on earth. Place your hand upon the head of my inner demon and command it, as you are creator of all things. I pray you allow me to be your humble servant and protector of these people who love you and serve you all their days with all their actions, and all their words.

The sound of the boat on land stopped Alkuin’s prayers and he could feel his breath rasping and he realized he was panting now. In his hand, his rosary was embedded into his palm and a slow trickle of blood was creeping down the wooden beads to the floor. The movement below the floorboards caused him to stand up in slow motion. Any sudden move and he could agitate it more.

“Brothers, stand up. Get into position. It is time.”

The friars all stood up slowly and turned. Each one with their back to the others’. None of them brandished any weapons but their bare hands. Alkuin stood in the center of the other men and lowered his head. He needed to concentrate if he was to keep his rage under control. If the invaders got past the other men, then he would have no other recourse but to fight. In a circle of plain brown robes, they stood there in silence for nearly an hour. Waiting.