books, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

The Dawnstone Tale — a fantasy novel, Chapter 1 continued…

by R.L.Davis Hays

Ruth Davis Hays Book Cover Collage 1

Chapter 1 continues:

~~~

The Drunken Faery Tavern was nearly empty; the few lamps that burned gave a secretive light to the place. The stale smell of ale filled Lylith’s mind with images of dark deeds and careless laughter. It was the kind of tavern she imagined would appear in the tales she read; the sort of stories that always initiated some unknown youth into the dark paths of crime, only to have him save his ladylove at the end.

Alone, she would have never stepped foot into this little pub, yet with Lord Dharromar Weiss on her arm, she felt untouchable. Her new acquaintance bore an intensity that made most harm-doers back down without a second thought. The worn, leather scabbard and intricately carved hilt of his blade, resting with ease on his hip, made those that did give them a second thought turn away as well.

They sat at a small, scarred table near the door. Her companion kept his dark green hood drawn low over his stern face until a loud rumble from her belly caused him to smile.

“That hungry, m’lady?” he chuckled as they settled and signaled the barmaid. “We should have stopped sooner.”

Lylith smiled. “Pardon me. I suppose I am hungrier than I knew. My mind was rather occupied with other things before.”

They exchanged the secret smile of new lovers. Blushing, Lylith changed the subject when the waitress appeared beside them with two mugs and a plate of roast venison, the aroma prompting another internal growl. She asked Lord Weiss, “Will we reach the port soon?”

“There is a town a few leagues ahead where we can bed down for the night. Then, if we get an early start tomorrow, we should reach the port town of Nothshore by evening,” he answered after the food was on the table. The dark-skinned waitress withdrew sourly, appearing put out by the arrival of these latecomers.

Unable to resist the succulence, the young sengheir was quick to eat, but Lord Dharromar was silent for a long time, spurring Lylith to look up from her meal. He was watching her intently.

“Are you absolutely set on this course, m’lady?” he asked.

“Yes, I should think. I want to see this island. At least try. I’m not able to explain it other than to say that I feel compelled to go there.”

The gentleman nodded in understanding. “Then, we go.”

“Do not feel that you must accompany me, Dharromar –” Lylith began. He raised one pale hand to ward off her dismissal. She glanced at the candlelight reflecting on his gray, claw-like fingernails. It was captivating; they were one of his weird qualities that fascinated her, making her crave to know more about him.

“I have learned that it’s better not to argue with a magda on a course of action when they say that they are ‘compelled.’ Besides m’lady, the night we met I did promise my sword for your protection and myself as your guide. I never go back on my word. Without our word of honor, what are we but the Beasts of Chaos?” He shook his head and added, “No. I will accompany you to the ends of this world if I must. As long as you have need of me.”

She smiled gratefully. “I am glad. I have enjoyed your company these past few days. You have proved to be a most helpful guide. And, I cannot deny that you are most helpful in other ways, too.” She giggled as the memory of their first, passionate encounter flowed back into the forefront of her mind…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She had traveled into the unfamiliar lands outside her home for less than a day when she sought refuge in a small, two-story inn that boasted the name of The Regal Lion, though its crippled and weathered boards hinted that it held the name from ages long past.

Rains swept over the landscape and night was quickly following. She knew she would be staying here until the morning. That was if the stained, thickset crowd inhabiting the tavern did not chase her back out into the downpour. The heavy, wooden door creaked shut behind her, causing all heads to swing towards the newcomer. She could feel their eyes crawling over her greedily.

With a mixture of natural interest and inexperience, she surveyed the room, meeting each pair of eyes one by one. Some fell away at her glance and returned to their mugs of ale; some leaned closer with perverse glee. Her skin felt sullied by these stares. Her heart began to tremble as she marveled at her audacity to attempt this trip alone and on foot.

Then her eyes fell on another individual, one that seemed wholly unique in this place. Dark blue eyes gleamed from the far side of the room, mimicking the color of tumultuous clouds etched by flaring moonlight. His lean frame lounged against a carved doorway which opened onto a staircase. His stare did not frighten her. It seared her, intrigued her. His lips held her gaze with a sly, inviting grin and trapped his thoughts inside. Modest, yet elegantly detailed clothes draped over his muscles, defining his shape rather than hiding it. The firelight caressed his pale skin and glinted across the smooth fall of hair that was as black as the deepest shadows in a nightmare.

The buzz of conversation resumed around the stuffy tavern, the other patrons fading back into their own business. She stood mute, pondering her next step. The fire popped and jumped in a short, stone hearth to her left. Tables, crowded with travel-worn patrons, filled the room before her and a line of hunched backs covered the bar that stood opposite the fireplace.

Neither hungry nor tired, she was simply seeking a safe haven. The tavern staff seemed busy with the room’s demands and she did not know the name of a single soul in this town. She felt very lost.

Her glance was drawn back to the man by the stairs. He had not moved. She felt a tingle run through her as she met his intense, knowing eyes again. He was merely leaning on the wall, his arms crossed over his broad chest comfortably, one booted foot cocked against the baseboard. But, his smile threatened to strip her dress from her skin, exposing and fulfilling all her wanton desires.

Her heart lurched; brushed by his fire. It seized a curiosity within that had consumed her for many years; the neglected lust for uninhibited adventure that propelled her dreams through restless nights. This man’s expression stoked that buried inferno, giving promise of its release.

He had nodded a friendly greeting. The shape of his face was most pleasing, framed by the ebony hair. There was something audacious about him. A dark radiance sparked deep within those sultry eyes, rimmed in their black lashes.

Perhaps lured by his savage beauty or because of the impudent confidence in his stance; either way, she had decided that making his acquaintance would surely prove most exciting.

Not knowing what was socially proper, and not really caring about convention, Lylith had walked straight up to him and asked why he smiled at her.

He did not react as one shocked by her behavior nor did he make any polite excuses. He had simply smiled broader, which revealed slight fangs, and stared deep into her large, violet eyes.

“I was imagining what you would look like on my bed, m’lady,” his resonant voice had purred.

“And where is your bed, sirra?” she had asked, aroused by his blatant comment.

One black eyebrow arched as he replied that it was upstairs, third door on the right.

She had nodded and given a mischievous grin. “All right, m’lord.”

With that, she walked straight up to his room. Her sense of adventure engaged, she was not one to play senseless games.

He had followed behind her after a brief moment of surprise and confusion, but the “introduction” that followed was, to her, quite remarkable.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After the brief reverie, Lylith found that she had been staring at Dharromar for quite some time. They were both silent. His smile was inquisitive and kind.

“Were you having pleasant thoughts, m’lady? You didn’t seem to be listening to me, so I stopped talking.”

“Oh, I am sorry.” Lylith laughed at herself. “I was just remembering how we met.”

They both grinned and, surprisingly, she saw him blush as he looked down at his plate.

“I will concede, m’lady, that is a most pleasing thought, but we do have the problem ahead of us of how to pay for the voyage. You, as you have said, have no funds to pull from and I cannot access mine this far west.”

Lylith shrugged. “I could use majiks to get us whatsoever money we need.”

Lord Dharromar shook his head and glanced around the bar. “No, no. Besides the fact that actions of that kind are illegal, we don’t want to wreak havoc upon the economic balance of a small port town. I can get the money needed. But, it will take a little time.”

“How long? Will we miss the ship?” Lylith’s voice had a strange distressed tone to it.

He glanced at her, concerned; then he shook his head. “I think not. The clouds gathering this evening foretell foul weather tomorrow. Possibly rain for a few days. I don’t think the ship will leave port in a storm. We have time.”

A playful thought came to her. She reached out to draw tiny circles on the back of his hand resting on the table. “Then we do not really need to get up early in the morning, do we?”

His warm fingers captured her slender hand and he brought it to his lips. The hot breath trickled down the flesh of her arm with intimate promises.

“I am your most humble servant, m’love,” he whispered.

******************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

 

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author, books, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized

The Dawnstone Tale – excerpt

by R.L.Davis Hays

Chapter 1 continues:

Ruth Davis Hays Book Cover Collage 1

“Have I ever failed to pay you?” Keinigan protested. The knife held at his throat was making it difficult to talk with bravado.

The thieves of The Slider Guild were sincere in their threat of cutting him if he did not produce the money, but they were not merciless to those that kept their word, and Keinigan had always made sure they were on the top of his debt list. To not pay them after they had given him their aid was worthy of a knife in the back.

He made it to the safehouse without pursuit. Yet, the gate to sanctuary was a perilous one. The thieves did not care for people to burst in unannounced and fresh out of a jailbreak.

Novak, a burly human with one eye and a long, ugly scar down his neck, held Keinigan pinned beside the door with one arm. The other arm gripped the jagged knife, warm from being next to the small of his back, against Keinigan’s golden skin.

“But, you don’t have the silver on you. Do you, Keen?”

The query came from a thin, dark-skinned woman lounging calmly at a table in the far corner of the tavern. She could have been considered pretty if it were not for the hard, cruel expression that always sat on her face. It was clear from the respect that all others in the room gave her that she was their leader. She had not even moved since Keinigan arrived in a flush of excitement; nevertheless, he knew the only real threat came from her. She could order his life taken with the bat of one black eyelash.

“Do you, Keen?” she repeated, skeptical. Using Keinigan’s guild name was a show of authority and the ominous tone caused the blade of Novak’s knife to sink in a little closer. The guild was determined to extract a payment or, at least, secure the promise of one.

Keinigan made a depreciating gesture. “No, it’s true I have nothing on me, Gala.” He called her by her guild name as well to try evening the odds. “But, I’ll double the price if you cover me for tonight. I swear.”

There was silence from the corner. Then her face broke into a crooked smile. “You are such a filthy liar,” Gala cackled as she waved Novak away.

The knife withdrew and the tension in the room eased. Keinigan rubbed his throat and glared at the lumbering human. They were deemed equals now and he was allowed to be indignant. Moving over to Gala, the fae slid down into a chair opposite to make his offer.

“Look, you know I’m good for at least the price of two days’ hiding. I can get more if you want it.” He smoothed his tunic and settled into his most charming attitude. “Come now, Gala. What’s better for you? Twenty silver pents now or an extra ten added to that later? You wouldn’t even have to let the Silvermen know about it.”

Her brow creased in mock anger. “Wait. Ten extra? You said you’d double the twenty. Swindler.”

He spread his hands over the tabletop. “Like I could really get my hands on forty silver pents.”

Gala shook her head, her mouth turned up on end with a smirk. “I know you too well, Keinigan.”

“Thirty, then?”

“I know you; it’ll take you forever to scrape it up. Just give us the regular twenty and I’ll forget what I heard about cheating the Slider’s guildmaster.”

Keinigan lowered his head with a smile. He knew it was a gentle reprimand coming from her. However, a little bribe is never out of place.

“How about if I give you something that the guild won’t mind missing out on…”

Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Like what?”

His hand stole across the table to gently pick hers up and play with the fingers. He raised his slanted, green eyes up to her with a lustful promise simmering in them.

“Oh,” he purred. “I’m sure the Silvermen won’t mind a little reminiscing between two old friends.” He leaned in closer as he saw her opening to the suggestion. “Two good friends. We could go down to the hide-room and –”

His offer got cut short by a movement near the window. One of the thieves stood up and peeked out the glass.

“Torches approaching,” was all they heard.

The room cleared.

 

******************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

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Review: Indie Fantasy Film

Legend of the Red Reaper

 

Summary:  In an ancient time, humans thought themselves finally safe from the ravages of the Demons. Their protectors, the Reapers, stand poised to hand the lands over to them. But, one Reaper sees what is coming. Half-human, half-demon, Aella the Red Reaper seeks to vindicate and protect those she loves.

 

For those that expect a film hyped as a “Sword & Sorcery Epic” to be full of fire and lightning battles, swordplay, and dragons this is fantasy of a different sort. This is “down in the heart” fantasy. This is epic, in that it adheres to the classic mythological themes and conflicts of Man vs. (or should we say in this more enlightened age: Woman vs.) Herself, Woman vs. Society, Woman vs. Fate, and perhaps the most common love theme, Woman vs. Woman.

One of the central plots is two women struggling over the heart of one man, what could be more romantic? Lots of blood and violence with a sword, of course! With a sweeping backdrop of mountains, forests, and even a little hut by a fjord, this is a world populated by humans, demons, and their unfortunate byproducts – the reapers. I say unfortunate because most were conceived by the rape of human villagers. Two realms are the focus of this story. In the city of Enid, the humans live in relative peace with the reapers protecting them. The other realm is ruled by a vindictive warlord, S’grun, who covets Castle Ragjnboyg in Enid and wants to rid the land of the reapers. The tensions between the human leaders are coming to a head because Eris, prince of Enid, is going to be crowned the first king of the land.

This poses a particular problem for Aella, the last reaper born and who gets her nickname “Red” from her brilliant locks of flame, because she is in love with Eris. But, she is constantly reminded that a human king cannot have a reaper queen! Her mentors within the reapers all tell her the same thing; this is a new age beginning – the age of Man.

As the reapers are seeing their time of protection coming to an end, Aella sees something different on the horizon.

Aella is different. She was born to a powerful woman known as the Teller Witch. Her mother has the gift of foresight, and although young Aella was unaware of it, the Teller Witch has been preparing her for a day when she would face her biggest challenge in battle – her demon father. Having assumed all her life that her mother had given her over to the demons in trade for an elixir made of demon blood to stay young, Aella has dealt with feelings of rejection, unworthiness, and rage. But, she is about to find out that her past is not all that it seemed. The leader of the demons, Ganesh, may have been trying to create a demon warrior out of his red-haired daughter with cruelty and force, but in fact he was creating a weapon that would fight on the side of the humans. Aella, rescued and living among the people of Enid (even if she is not totally accepted by all of them), was given another ‘gift’ by her mother. She inherited visions of the future; visions of an invasion; visions of the return of the demons. All interwoven with her memories of fear and pain at the hands of her father.

This back story of the reapers and the Ganesh/Teller Witch exchange is laid out distinctly in the first few minutes with both visceral images and narration, helping the audience to understand Aella’s feelings of alienation from the others and her, at times, uncontrollable rage.

I like that RED REAPER shows a woman losing control, at times completely driven to violence by her anger, but yet does not dismiss this as “she needs help, she’s crazy and un-ladylike.” When a woman is angry, it all too often gets flipped back on her as “oh, it must be her hormones” rather than validating her anger as deep-seated and justifiable. Aella has a RIGHT to be angry. But, this does not mean that she is portrayed as a psycho bitty, either. She is a warrior and a woman, through and through. To quote another reviewer, “Unlike other films that feature women in lead fighting roles, Aella was not sexualized, nor was she attempting to emulate a man.”* And, this strength (inner as well as physical) is extended to many of the characters in REAPER, male and female alike. The female reapers are equal to the men, warriors all. Aella does not compromise who she is for Eris. She may have body issues because of her demon blood, but as for her skills, her passion, and even her rage she needs to give no apologies to the man she loves. He loves her with all her ups and downs, not despite them.

This relationship is mirrored in a second passionate couple in the movie, the reapers Freya and Andrae. It shows the audience what tender companionship Aella is missing out on, given that everyone in her world seems to be telling her to stay away from Eris. Except Eris, of course.

The other lady in Eris’s life is Indira, the woman chosen to be his queen. Chosen by his parents and hers, apparently, but not by him. He is a gentleman, though, and not resistant to the idea. But, his passion is for Aella. He is not presented as a two-timing, vacillating male full of hormones, either. His intentions ring true and he stands out in the fantasy film genre, in that he lets the women he loves decide, as they are trying to let him decide. It is an interesting dynamic set up in this flick that gives strength-of-character to each person involved, and even gives Indira a slightly devious edge that is not common in the “ingénue” role.

Even the “bad guys” have their moments of significance. Connall, the tender gentleman son of the hard-nosed warlord S’grun, could have been played off as comic relief, but instead is compassionate and smarter than his warmongering father. His resistance to his father’s ambitions creates a bridge between the two opposing lands and a unity that helps Eris and his people in their time of need.

Well, I don’t want to give you the whole plot, but suffice it to say that this film, although not high-tech or flashy and prone to some issues that are not uncommon in a film with an extremely limited budget, Legend of the Red Reaper has a LOT to say.

The story was laid out cleverly, it was clear in its focus, and had enough great ‘side’ plot moments to make it fun! There were humorous moments without making it corny, and there were moments that brought tears to my eyes. But, the emotional undercurrents will resonate with many viewers and stick in their hearts.

Tara Cardinal and her many casts and crews worked long and hard to see this vision come alive, and as a lover of fantasy and myth, I must say that their devotion shows!

— R. L. Davis Hays

* by Aphrodite Kocięda. Featured on http://www.btchflcks.com/2013/09/why-we-need-more-women-filmmakers.html

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Watchdogs Part 3

by R L Davis Hays 2017

WIP copy

“Tori, honey? Could you come in here when you get a sec?”

My mom’s voice sounded strained and I had just walked in the door. What could it be so soon? The bittersweet smoke lingering in the air screamed to me of the presence of Derek, her cigarette-toting man-thing.  By God, he had the worst taste in smokes.

I used to love the smell of my grandfather’s pipe, stuffed with the butt-ends of his cheap cigars, a sweet hickory scent that infused my grandparent’s log cabin with the trappings of comfort and acceptance.  Not the same as Derek’s at all.

Clutching my backpack, I hurried to my room, briefly catching the sight of dark hair on curled toes peeking out of two Birkenstocks that had seen better days.  Through the door to our living room, I could see his pajama clad legs as he sat in the same spot he had claimed the first day mom brought him home.  What little sunlight that floated through the window draperies caught in the cloud of clove smoke and was prevented from intruding further.

“Did you hear your mother, Victoria?”

I dropped my backpack to the floor, my hand on the handle to my bedroom.  So close.  I almost went five seconds without Derek parenting me.

“Yes, Derek.  I heard her.  Can’t I just put my stuff up first?”

“You don’t have to backtalk.”

My eyes rolled out of sheer habit.  Tossing my pack to my bed, I moved into the kitchen to see my mother, her walker against the counter, trying her best to reach up into a top cupboard.  A stack of groceries covered the counter-top, the bags littering the floor, and the back door was standing open.

“Why doesn’t Derek help you with the groceries?” I asked for the millionth time as I lowered her off her tiptoes and placed the soup cans onto the shelf with ease.  Perhaps I was born for the simple task of reaching high areas for my tiny, middle-aged mater.   Seems as likely as any reason.

“He doesn’t come over to do chores, Tori.  He works hard. Let him relax,” she mewed.

I sighed.  It was the same line she used for my absent father who watched her body disintegrate until he had had enough of “taking care of a mooch” and decided to leave her.

“He could at least shut the door if your arms are full, couldn’t he? That wouldn’t take any of his precious energy.” I mumbled so she could not hear too much as I closed the wooden door.

“I’m perfectly capable of–”

“No, you’re not, Mom.” I heaved a sigh and grabbed the plastic handles of a floor-dwelling bag. “You have a freaking walker to deal with. You shouldn’t have to carry groceries from the car by yourself.”

“No, she shouldn’t.” Derek magically appeared at the arch to the dining room. It was like the click of the back door summoned him.  His gravel choked voice continued to scold me as if I had been the one squatting in the other room listening to her struggles this whole time. “You should be more helpful for your mother.”

After the day I had just been dealt, something in me snapped. “You’re right, Derek. I should’ve known my mom was at the store and should’ve dashed home like The Flash to help her with the bags! Utterly brilliant!”

“Tori.” My mom admonished me with her tone. “Just put the things away for me, please? I need to lie down. Can you do that without yelling at anybody? Please?”

I wilted. “Sure, Mom.”

She shuffled to the arch where Derek ushered her to the hall with a waiting arm. He was such a freaking hero. I resumed sorting the items from the bags, muttering to myself. “I wasn’t yelling at just anybody. It was still a pretty stupid thing to say. How am I supposed to help when I’m not even home, Derek? Tell me that. Like you tell me everything else; you’re so smart and so wonderful. Why can’t you tell me that? Huh?”

Meaningless, pointless venting.  Eventually my grumble petered off to silence and I was absorbed in organizing the shelves, the frig, and the small pantry closet near the back door.

An hour later, I realized Derek’s true genius. I had cleaned the kitchen without being asked.  Pure evil, that’s what he was.

books, Cereal Authors, Character Quotes, Fantasy, Fiction, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized

Character Quotes from THE EXCURSION by R L Davis Hays

But, here they were. Lylith, Lady Pinne, Rachel and her new admirer, Hamlin, as well as the knight Trevalin and even Master Calbraum… all willing to help him merely because he had told the truth instead of trying to steal what he needed. He was amazed.

gala n kein CA“These people don’t really exist, do they?” he muttered aloud as he felt the warm form of Gala slip into a spot beside him. She was his back up. Since the Journeymen had hired her, she was his best bet on finding them. Though, to be honest, neither of them knew exactly where to go. This whole force of magda and arms were only going to be applicable if the journeyman took the bait.

“Do people really do this much to help each other?” he marveled, but Gala brought in the touch of reality that he needed.

“No. They want to arrest the Journeyman and you are their best way of finding him. Otherwise, we’d be on our own, Keen,” she stated flatly.

“Thanks, Gala.” He snorted. “You always know how to make me feel special.”

With that, she got back up and left him to sulk.

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Sarcasm vs…

I used to have a snarky reply for every question. When I was a teen, my mother used to ask why I was so “smart-mouthed”.  When I was college-aged and in a group of friends I considered to all be equally intelligent, I would let the sarcasm fly. I knew they would “get” it.

Looking back, I don’t know if I was eager for the laughter (even if it was only my own), or if I was guarding my emotions. Can’t get hurt if they think you don’t care, right?

But recently, I’ve noticed that I’m not as off the cuff as I used to be. The sarcasm comes out when I’m irritated or tired; it’s reserved for those special moments when I’ve been pushed too far.

When Dellani first spoke to the Cereal Authors about posting on sarcasm, I thought it would be easy. On the contrary, I’ve found myself at a loss lately. Thinking on it, I tried to trace back to where I had lost my everyday sarcasm. I believe I tempered it when I was raising my son. (There is only so much witty, sardonic banter one can throw at a five year old before it just sounds cruel.)

As my son developed into a teenager, I let it creep back and he seemed to take to it like a duck to water. Now, he’s the smart-mouthed one. (Maybe it’s a teen thing!)

In looking for examples of sarcasm in my writing, I’ve come across the conundrum of:  Is this sarcasm or is it irony?

So, I thought I’d try and work that out this month, and in doing so, found that it is not a situation of Sarcasm vs. Irony. It is rather a hand in hand relationship.

Dictionary.com describes Sarcasm as “a form of irony in which apparent praise conceals another, scornful meaning…” and “mocking, contemptuous, or ironic language intended to convey scorn or insult.”

It is usually delivered through dialogue or tone. Now, a person’s tone is somewhat difficult to convey in a literary piece without actually using a descriptive speech tag like “he said in a mocking tone.” (A bit subtle, don’t ya think?)

Irony has one definition that is just as vaguely symbiotic:  “the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what they normally mean.

However, irony can be more situational and punctuated by the use of sardonic, biting dialogue. And with its second definition:  “an incongruity between what is expected to be and what actually is, or a situation or result showing such incongruity,” and “In Literature:  a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.”

There we go, as clear as day. A big, bright, sunshiny day.

For a crude example of the two, I came up with a situation in the blurry haze of the morning.  Say that there are two characters riding an elevator together, and one guy passes gas. The other notices and remarks, “Nice. Thanks. We needed an air-freshener in here.”

Now, if that same gassy character is lying in bed, lets one fly, and then flips over in his covers and essentially Dutch Ovens himself. (That is not only karmic justice, but on the ironic side.)

I warned you it was crude. I’m not sure where I was going with this article, but it sprang out of a contemplation of myself. Like I said, I used to wield sarcasm in almost every social situation when I was young. I used it to not get too close or appear too vulnerable to those around me. One definition of irony rang true to me on this point. “(especially in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., especially as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.”

Detachment from an emotion.

Yes, there it is.

That is what drives the sarcastic banter among several of my main characters. Especially those that have the most to lose by admitting their true feelings or having those feelings exposed. Sarcasm is their shield, as it was mine. (And still is on many occasions.) It is an essential element in them, their way of dealing with their world. I cannot picture them without it. And, I don’t think I would want to.

Just a musing for this month, as I approach the Half Century mark in my life, that I thought I would share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

books, Cereal Authors, Character Quotes, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized

Character Quotes from THE EXCURSION by R L Davis Hays

Kein n Rach CA

As soon as he was done, she pointed languidly at his cheek and asked, “Those scars on your face. Where’d you get them?”

“Why?” he asked, noticing a different tone in her voice.

“They’re sexy looking,” she added playfully.

He sobered a bit, raised one sharp eyebrow, and said with a clever cock of the head, “A massive reaverbear slashed me with its two long claws right before I chopped its head off.”

“Really?” Her eyes were wide.

He couldn’t conceal his smile, confessing the lie in his eyes.

“Com’on! Really?” Rachel pushed his shoulder, a bit harder than she had intended.

They both laughed.

“No,” he admitted.

“Seriously then, where’d you get ‘em?”

“I can’t tell you.” He resisted, then added with a wicked grin. “Then I’d have to kill you.”

Rachel shoved him with a fumbling slap on his chest. “Hot! Got any others?”

“Nope,” he laughed, suddenly sorry that his fae flesh healed so well. “Sorry, those are the only ones.”

“Well, you showed me yours, I guess it’s only fair that I show you mine.” Even she could detect the slurring now from the ale, and she giggled again. Struggling with her tunic shirt tucked into a wide leather belt, Rachel pulled it until a short, thickly seamed scar on her abdomen could be seen just below her ribs.

Keinigan’s eyes were drawn to her soft light flesh there, and his mind uttered a grateful prayer to the gods. He glanced around to see if any other patrons might see this little display as he uttered, “Well, mine are on my face, that’s hardly fair.” Followed quickly by a breathy query, “Got any others?”

Leaning towards him, she caught his mouth in a playful kiss. “Shut up.” She smiled, now feeling much warmer and eager to share his tenderness. “Yes.”

“What kind of scars?” He looked her up and down as he smirked.

“Surgical,” she said. They were very close together now, his lips brushing hers temptingly.

“Really?” he whispered. “Where?”

She grinned, her eyes shining with the flirtatious glee. “They’re down there,” she said pointing to her hips as she watched his eyes flame. “One for an appendix and the other for a hernia.”

“And, how do they look?” He waited with bated breath for her answer.

“If we go someplace private, I might can show you.”

She snuggled in for another passionate kiss. As it ended, he practically overturned the table as he leapt to his feet.

“Oh! Alright, let’s go!” he chimed.

Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, paranormal, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized, YA

A Work in Progress — Watchdogs

Part 2

High school locker rooms.  Every kid’s favorite place.  The arena to expose our physical flaws to our worst critics like exposing our jugular to a vampire.

I may not be the tallest girl in my class, but I’m gangling enough to pass as a teenage boy if I wanted.  All shoulders and elbows.  Stupid pseudo-ectomorph body type.  My breasts popped out in seventh grade, but quickly gave up the fight against gravity.  Now they are just two medium ski slopes dangling above a small paunch of “baby fat” that refuses to go away no matter how many sit-ups my coaches tell me to do.  I don’t want a six-pack; I just want to be able to button my jeans without lying flat on my bed.

If having attention being called to my body’s disproportions during (not one, but two) gym classes each weekday and giggled about by my peers was not enough, I was sure to be reminded of my “budding womanhood” by my mom’s creepy-ass boyfriend when I get home.

Geez, why can’t we just be prepubescent one night and burst forth from a chrysalis two days later as a legal adult?  Why must we suffer for eight to ten years like this?

I hate high school.  So what? I’m sure everybody does.  I’m not a whiner.  It’s just that transitioning to a new school mid-semester because my old school burned to the ground puts me in unfamiliar territory.  I’ve known some of these kids most of my life, we just went to different schools for a lot of that time.  Now I’m in their world, uncertain and vulnerable.  It takes every aspect of myself that I was comfortable with and sticks it under a new microscope to be poked and prodded by narrowed eyes that are less than impartial.

Gym is the worst and the best.  The coaches push me to join after school athletics and I usually get picked right away for team sports. This is because of the way I look, not because of any proven skills.  I’ve had to adapt over the years, so as to appear that I know what I’m doing.  Example:  I can hit a ball hard enough; I just don’t always know how to make it go in the right direction.

I would much prefer to be in an art class or computer lab.  Thus, I suffer through my typical day.

Also, I’m the type of person to use the word ‘thus’.  Enough said.

author, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Life, paranormal, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

So New, It Doesn’t Even Have a Title

A work in progress:

The juice box was definitely against me. Its resistance was punctuated by a taunting titter.  My efforts to open it were futile, it mocked.

 

WIP copyNo, wait. The snickering was not the juice box. It came from down the lunch table.  I didn’t even have to look their way. I knew who was laughing, and I didn’t want to see if it was me they were laughing at.  In my heart, I knew it was.

 

I continued to stab at the little cellophane covered hole with the sadly beveled end of the hard plastic straw like Van Helsing at the climax of a bad B movie. The final strike bent my straw, but rewarded me with a squirt of lukewarm apple juice in the face. An arterial explosion worthy of the best special effects artist in the business.

 

The laughter from the perfectly coifed girls at the other end of the table could not be ignored this time.  My life was not a bad horror movie; it was a comedy and I was the hapless victim of a situational schtick.

 

Staring down at the lunch tray, I watched the juice drown my stale, rectangular pizza slice.  At least, I wasn’t hungry anymore anyway.  My appetite was ruined by the whispered jokes about me destroying the little paper box with my brute strength.

 

I closed my eyes and swore that if I heard one more comment from those four makeup-slathered, social media celeb wannabes about me being a “she-male”, I’d flip this table on their heads.

 

Not that I hold any direct animosity for She-males, or what have you, but I do resent lies being spread about me.  And, I resent those who start the lies.  Namely, Brittany.  My mom says I spend way too much time worrying about Brittany, her crew, and what they think or say about me.

 

Mom says it doesn’t matter what others think, only what I know about myself.  Yeah, she’s full of inspirational poster stuff like that.

 

Sorry, Mom.  But, it’s hard not to see myself reflected in the eyes and jeers of my fellow students.  My peers.  What a joke.  I have so very little in common with them that I hesitate to call them peers of any sort.  Alas, for the next year or so, I must.

 

Of course, using the word ‘alas’ in casual conversation is one of the things these girls would tease me about.  Can I help it if my grandfather read Shakespeare to me for the last fifteen years of his life?

 

The siren-like bell blared from the hall to announce the next class would begin in five.  I gathered my sloshing tray and stood, never glancing at Brittany once.  Fifth period was next.  Gym class, right after lunch.  Brilliant scheduling.

 

When was this nightmare going to end?

*****************************************************************************

I woke up the other day recounting my dream several times as I did to try and remember it. The sights, the feelings, the familiar trappings of high school. I often dream that I’m back in school, but never had I wanted to write them into a story. This one was fun.  Well, to me, running for my life and fighting creatures while possessing an unnatural strength in a dream is fun.  Others may call it a nightmare.  Either way, it spawned this new character. This is a little beginning snippet from what I will call my first Urban Paranormal Young Adult story.

It is such an infant at the moment that it has no name.  Heck, I just came up with the protagonist’s name this morning.  I hope you enjoy!