WW Photo Challenge: Pirate

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter P. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Pirate for the P.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

The background with the ships is a classical painting by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853).

If you want a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

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WEP: Deja vu or Voodoo

This WEP entry is the Chapter 5 of my fanfiction novella Magic Senegalese. The story is set in Wen Spencer’s Elfhome universe. Please check out the other WEP challenge participants here. To remind you what has gone before in my story, you could read:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
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Naomi followed Dina’s instructions and found the superstore with no problem. After piling everything on Dina’s list plus a few items of her own into her shopping cart, she endured a long lineup to one of the cashiers. Clearly, Dina was right: everyone in Pittsburgh stockpiled their groceries the day after Shutdown. The line took over an hour to get through.

She stored the bags in the boot and in the truncated backseat of her Beetle and started to retrace her route to the yarn shop. After a while, she realized that she had taken a wrong turn somewhere and got lost. She needed a Pittsburgh street atlas, in addition to the local flora and fauna guide, she thought in irritation. She needed a whole damn encyclopedia to understand this nutty place.

She looked for somebody to ask directions, but strangely, nobody was around. The street felt abandoned, the houses shut up, their paint peeling. Assorted detritus and weeds chocked the front yards. A breeze blew yellow autumn leaves off the trees and across the cracked pavement.

Getting nervous, Naomi watched for any signs of danger. Strangle vines. Steel spinners. How did they even look?  Could they get inside a car? How would she recognize any of those biohazards? She knew how a saurus looked from a TV show, but that was small comfort. It could probably smash her car.

A purely human cry for help from a house she was passing felt like a relief. She stopped. The house looked as abandoned as the rest, its windows boarded. Maybe she didn’t really hear that cry.

“Help!” a childish voice called again.

Damn, she did hear it, and nobody else was in sight, just like yesterday. She had to do something. Naomi checked to make sure the Mace spray was in her purse and climbed out of the car. Prompted by her growing paranoia, she grabbed a crowbar from the car boot. It wouldn’t be much help against a dinosaur, but it made her feel safer. Only then, cautiously, she tiptoed along a narrow gravel path to the porch.

Her head swiveled from left to right, searching for monsters. No creature jumped at her, but the realization hit: the abandonment was an illusion. Although the large window beside the front door was still boarded, and the boards seemed old and grey, the door sported a new padlock.

“Help!” the voice behind the door screamed once more. Frantic fists pounded. “Whoever you’re. Please! They’ll kill me.”

“Okay, wait,” Naomi said. “I’m here. The door is locked. Who is going to kill you?”

“He’s gone to buy food, but he’ll be back soon. Hurry.”

“Is there a back door?” Naomi tried to project a calm reassurance she was far from feeling.

The inside girl sniffled audibly. “It’s locked too,” she said.

“Perhaps I should call the police.”

“He’ll be back soon,” the girl said forlornly. “They won’t have time.”

“Okay.” Naomi studied the crowbar in her hand. “I’ll try to pry the boards off this window.”

She had never done anything like this before—she wasn’t a DIY person—but she persevered. The girl on the other side whimpered piteously. At last, one board came loose. Another. She could at last see the girl inside the house. Huge terrified eyes glimmered in the small face. Elven ears strained up over the short uneven haircut. Another elven child? A dizzying sense of deja vu swept over Naomi.

“One more board, and you could climb through,” she said soothingly. The board moaned, as she pushed the crowbar harder. Naomi didn’t hear the footsteps. Her only warning was a horrified “No!” from inside the house.

She whirled and dropped the crowbar at the sight of a man with a gun, the same one who had mugged Dina yesterday. He might’ve recognized her too, because he smiled maliciously as he mounted the steps.

Naomi’s eyes were glued to his gun, only a couple steps away from her. He said something and sniggered, but she didn’t listen. Feeling strangely calm, she lifted her left hand as if to ward off the bullets, while her right hand crept furtively into the purse hanging at her side. Blindly, she palmed the Mace, set her finger on the trigger, and whipped it out. Squeezing her eyes shut and holding her breath, she stretched her arm into his face and pushed the trigger.

The spray hissed, and the man howled. Something clattered to the porch deck, probably the gun. Naomi backed off and risked a peek. Her eyes and nose stung and watered, but not badly. She could see him. He got a full blast of Mace in the face and was clawing at his eyes, yelling incomprehensible words, probably dire curses, and spinning aimlessly. The girl inside the house screeched too, but Naomi’s unnatural calm persisted. She inched towards him, picked up her crowbar, swung, and brought the tines down on his head. Something crackled loudly. He stopped screaming and dropped. And lay still. Blood oozed from under his head, soaking into the old wood of the porch.

Naomi picked up his gun, put it into her purse, and started shaking. She couldn’t work on the boarded window anymore. Her palms were sweaty, and her arms seemed boneless. They wouldn’t hold the crowbar. It hit the deck with a muted thump. Maybe she didn’t need the crowbar, she thought numbly. Maybe he had the key to the padlock. Feeling detached, her fingers trembling, she searched his pockets and found a key chain. The third key she tried opened the door.

The girl shot out, straight into Naomi’s arms. “Is he dead?” She clutched at Naomi’s jacket.

“I don’t know. Let’s go.” Naomi tugged the girl off the porch. There was another car parked behind hers—his jeep. She avoided looking at the crumpled body on the porch. Her only wish was to escape this place as fast as she could. Holding hands, Naomi and the girl raced to the car.

Posted in Olga Godim, WEP | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Necklace

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter N. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Necklace for the N.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

The elf girl on the cover is by the incredibly talented Pat Ann.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Illness led to writing

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
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OPTIONAL QUESTION: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

MY ANSWER: One major event in my life not only affected my writing. It inspired me to start writing.

I became a writer pretty late in life. By education, I’m a computer programmer. I worked with computers for almost three decades. I’ve also always been a daydreamer. Since I remember myself, I’ve made up stories and played them out in my head, like a one-woman theater, but I never told anyone about my daydreams. They were my secret. I didn’t write anything down.

To tell the truth, I was a bit embarrassed, afraid of ridicule. I was a professional woman, a single mom with two children. I never thought I could be a writer, never confided in anyone about my daydreams, but I couldn’t get rid of the imaginary characters residing in my head, even if I wanted to. I didn’t. They always helped me through rough patches. I escaped into my daydreams and felt happy there, often happier than in my real life.

In 2002, I got seriously ill – cancer. During my long recovery, my daydreams became more persistent. Besides, I had a lot of free time on my hands and not much energy for anything but sitting on a sofa, reading. I always liked to read. Sadly, I couldn’t find many books I liked. Disgusted with the majority of published works that came my way, I decided I could do better than most books. It was incredibly naïve, of course, just proving my complete ignorance, but I guess, cancer made me brave. I decided to turn one of my daydreams into a written story.

From my first paycheck after I returned to work – I know the exact month, Feb 2003 – I bought a dedicated laptop, off limit to my kids, and started writing my first story. I never stopped writing since then, but I had discovered pretty soon after I started that I didn’t know squat about writing. So the learning process had commenced. It’s still going on.

As for how writing affected me – immeasurably. I learned so much since that fateful month, Feb 2003, I can’t even list everything. My writing brought me close to many fascinating people, other writers, and it made me, I hope, a better and wiser person. It aided my perception and deepened my compassion. I like myself much better now than before I started writing. Maybe my heroes’ courage and kindness rubbed off on me… at least a little. I always liked my heroes more than I ever liked myself.

What about you? How did life affect your writing?

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Posted in Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, Writing | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Mask

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter M. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Mask for the M.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Library

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter L. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Library for the L.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Jaguar

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter J. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Jaguar for the J. The girl is a princess, of course. Who else would be hunting with her tame jaguar.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Backstory

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
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For the first time in over six months, I want to write. I hope my writing block is finally over. But I still haven’t started yet. I have a story, almost complete in my head – the plot, the characters, and the milieu – but one question bugs me: backstory.

One of my favorite writers, Jennifer Crusie, is loudly opposed to any backstory in her books. She thinks it is not relevant to the story you’re telling here and now. According to Crusie, any backstory you include in your narrative – a long flashback, a prologue, a memory dream, or small chunks of explanations sprinkled through the texts – always slows down the pace and takes away from the immediacy of what is happening to the protagonist at the moment. The past is already done and gone and can’t be changed.

I happen to agree with her… almost. In rare cases though, I think backstory is necessary. Sometimes, backstory becomes almost a character in itself. Without it, the choices the protagonist makes are incomprehensible to the reader. The protagonist’s decisions might seem cruel or idiotic, unless the reader knows what events in the past prompted them in the present. To make my character sympathetic, I must explain why she acts the way she does.

Or do I?

Some past, if it was traumatic enough, never leaves you. It poisons every thought, affects every action and every relationship. All the revenge stories are like that. To let the pain go, to forget and forgive, might be much more restful. It would also make you a better person, erase the bitterness and the fears that gnaw at your soul, but it is so infernally hard. What if you can’t forgive? In the case of my story, I’m talking about this kind of backstory, although my story isn’t about revenge.

I’m still debating with myself what I should do. Should I include the backstory in one flashback? Should it be a prologue or come out at the appropriate time in the middle of the story? Should I pepper the text with small nuggets of information about the past? Should I leave it out completely and let the reader guess?

What do you think? Do you consider backstory necessary? If yes, how do you deal with it in your fiction? Are there certain types of storytelling or genres that lend themselves to backstory more than others? Tell me in the comments.

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WW Photo Challenge: Ice Queen

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo on a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter I. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Ice for the I.

My book covers are mostly made from images I find on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as free stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. The fonts are negotiable, of course.

 

Posted in art, book cover, Fantasy, Olga Godim, WW Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

WW Photo Challenge: Harbor

I’m participating in Celia Reaves’ photo challenge. Every Friday, she posts a photo with a theme starting with a letter of the alphabet. This week – it is the letter H. As before, I’m posting one of my pre-made book covers.

Harbor for the H.

The background of this cover, with the ships in harbor, is a classical painting by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853). He was a famous Danish painter who laid the foundation for the Golden Age of Danish Painting. He painted portraits and landscapes, ships and historical scenes. Sometimes, he is referred to as the Father of Danish painting.

My book covers are mostly made from images I found on several free image websites, like Pixabay.com. Sometimes, I add an element or two I discovered as stock on deviantArt, but not this time.

The basic font I use is as much a placeholder as the text. If anyone wants a cover you see here or in my deviantArt gallery for your real book, let me know. I’ll make one for you with different fonts, suitable for your title and the author’s name.

 

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