Exercise #22

Yes Cat’s and Kitten’s- I’ve ignored these exercises for nearly a year.  Thankfully, that is because I’ve been diligently trying to write my first book, which is a collaboration between me and Mrs. Batty.  I have not forgotten them!  I am skipping exercise #21 for the moment- can’t think of a damned thing to write for it.

Exercise #22-  Start a story about a dare.

“I dare you.” James whispered into Anca’s ear, brushing his lips softly against her cheek as he pulled his head back.  The hairs on the back of her neck stood up as though an electric shock had run through her skin.  If he could see her aura right now, he would see that she wanted to be back at his house in a more intimate setting instead of tromping through the woods toward what would certainly mean exile.  A breeze blew lightly through the trees that surrounded the manor and the two of them stood in silence in the deserted parking lot.

“I’ve already told you, James- no.  I don’t feel like going to the lake right now.  Can’t we just go back inside and catch the end of that Bond marathon?”  she met his gaze and tried to do her best puppy dog eyes at him, “Anyway- I got you a present, but you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the lace at the lake- it’s too dark.”  James raised an eyebrow and moved closer to her so that they were face to face.

“You and I will have to have a word about that a little later- nice girls such as yourself shouldn’t be wearing such naughty things and I, as the older gentleman, will have to help you to remove them, but you haven’t answered my challenge.  I dare you to go into the cavern and borrow the grimoire.  Unless you’re truly alright with the idea that Jemma’s ghost will see us en flagrade delecto.” James had wrapped his arms around her as he spoke and was now holding her tightly.

“James, that’s not fair.  You know why we can’t have that.  My mother would put us both in jail or have us thrown out of town if she knew that we were still seeing each other!”  she pulled away from him and tried to hide her fear, “You know that what you are asking could mean exile for us both if we get caught, right.  Are you truly willing to go that far?”

“I wish that there were another way.  The grimoire in the cavern of the source is the only one that contains an exorcism ritual that will work on that bitch- she’s too damned stubborn to be sent on by anything weaker.  Believe me, I’ve tried.”  James could see that he needed to do something more to convince her, but his arsenal was nearly empty.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement on the sprawling front lawn followed by a dark figure with a glinting belt buckle.  Jarvis was spying on them.

“You’re right.  We can’t break into the cavern- I don’t know what I was thinking.  What do you want to do?  The restaurant is closed for the night, the grille is closed, and all of your friends are either drunk or asleep.”  He knew that they had to get inside before Jarvis could tap into Anca’s thoughts and figure out his plan.

“Come on, let’s go in a watch Bond.  Anyway, you have a present to unwrap.” she kissed him lightly and took his hand in hers, leading him back toward the front door to the manor.  James took one last look toward the lawn and the dark figure seemed to have gone back into the night. “I was thinking, and-” Anca paused as she opened the front door, “there’s more than one way to get hold of that grimoire and it doesn’t involve stealing it.”

Book Review- The mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones: Book 1

Here is the blurb from Ms. Clares web site-

“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.

But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….”

I picked this one up because a friend of mine had bought the books and was not reading them.  They had been on the shelves at Target and Wal-Mart for a while near the Twilight display so I’d stayed away from them, but then decided- what the heck.  I’m glad that I did.  The world that Cassandra Clare has created is incredible.  The main characters had many moments where I found myself wondering- how old are you? Where are your parents? But that being said, the plot was well thought out and the writing was excellent.  She expertly drew me into her world of Shadowhunters in a way that I wasn’t expecting in teen fiction.

City of Ashes: Book 2

Here is the blurb from her web site-

“Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.”

So the story continues and I was dying to find out what happens next, but … SPOILER ALERT!!! … I am not too sure how I feel about the incestuous undertones of the Clary/Jace relationship.  I agree that it was integral to moving the action forward, but even as a reader I felt awkward and found myself going ewwww if I thought about it too much.  I was 100% confident that he was not her brother, but the fun was trying to figure out how he wasn’t and that answer was not in this book so I found myself a little disappointed at the end of the book.

City of Glass: Book 3

One more time- from her web site-

“To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and her best friend, Simon, has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling The Mortal Instruments.”

So this was a fantastic ending to the three book story arc and I got all of the answers that I’d wanted, but I did wait a while before picking up the third book.  The evolution of Simon was part of what I enjoyed in this book.  He went from just wanting to protect Clary to realizing that he was forever changed and this was his fight and his world- Loved it!  I finally got to know how Jace wasn’t Clary’s brother and everything seemed to be wrapped into a nice neat little bow.  I would like to have seen Clary’s powers go beyond just what she can do with the runes, though.  You would think that …SPOILER ALERT!!!… if you have the blood of an angel running through your veins you could do a bit more than just that.  I get that it’s a big thing in this universe, but… I also would have liked to see more of Jocelyn and Luke- They have more to tell than just this and we may well see that in the next installment.  I will definitely be picking that one up when it is release in a few months.

Memory of Middle School

Maybe it’s just me reminiscing, maybe it’s the fact that “The Princess Diaries” is on, or maybe it’s just guilt, but I am remembering a moment from when I was in middle school in New Jersey.  I was by no means popular and I was just as much of a private person as I am today, which is a bit oxy-moronic for my two loyal readers, but there was a young man named Jamie Papp that I knew.  He was one of those guys who always seemed popular and was the “cool” guy who didn’t lead any teams or anything like that (or at least so far as I remember at this moment).  I will admit freely that I don’t remember much about those years anymore, but this one keeps popping up in my head.

He had recently split with his girlfriend who was also known to be cool, but a little unstable (I believe that she downed a bottle of aspirin at one point).  I was at my locker and I remember that he came up to me and very seriously began to tell me that I was not like any of the other girls that he knew at the school.  Thinking back on it, it must have taken a lot of nerve to come up to me like that, since I was not the most welcoming person in the world.  He was a genuinely nice person, but at the time I didn’t trust anyone.  I thought that he was making fun and would go back to his friends and laugh about it later if I was receptive to his interest.  Needless to say, I expressed to him how little I believe what he was saying and walked away.

It’s one of those moments that I do regret and no matter how much I’d like to say that I don’t regret much, I do.  I was mean- unintentionally so, but I probably hurt his feelings and I feel badly about it.  This leads me to wonder- how many of the things we regret have stemmed from our own insecurities?

Were I in a better place personally, I wouldn’t have reacted that way.  Had I not been scared and hurting I probably would have either been nicer or whatever else would have happened, but I wasn’t and I didn’t.  That day has informed many of my choices since for the better and for the worse, I’m sure.  I wish that I could say that this regret has made me more open to relationships, but it truly hasn’t and that reality is due in no part to Jamie.

There are so many things in life that effect others in ways that we had never intended and that were truly no fault of their own that will inform their actions for years to come.  For him, I have no idea what effect I had, if any.  I honestly don’t believe that he would even remember who I was if my name came up, but I can safely say that I will never forget him.  I will never forget the imagined wrong that I’ve done him and it will probably show up in one of the books that I plan to write.