Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A to Z and Captcha

So Monday was fun right?! I got to meet a lot of new, cool, people and be re-introduced to many more. Those blog hops and fests were awesome, if I do say so myself - and I do.

And I'd like to answer a question from the Re-Intro fest... Yes, I talk fast! Lol.

Last night when the kids and I got home from grocery shopping - UGH! - I sat down on the couch that insisted on giving me static-y hair and about eat me alive. After I found a comfy position I opened my laptop and my blogger dashboard materialized on the screen. Low and behold! - the A to Z Challenge was already accepting participants but this year they are adding a slight twist - Categories! Just add ONE behind your sign up name/blog. You don't have to but it's encouraged.

1. WRITING:                          (WR)
2. BOOKS:                              (BO)
3. FILM:                                  (FM)
4. PHOTOGRAPHY:               (PH)
5. GARDENING:                     (GR)
6. CRAFT:                               (CR)
7. ART:                                    (AR)
8. MUSIC:                               (MU)
9. CULINARY:                         (CU)
10. LIFESTYLE:                      (LI ) 
11. FASHION:                          (FA)
12. PERSONAL:                      (PR)
13. SOCIAL MEDIA:                (SO)
14. GAMING:                           (GA)
15. EDUCATION:                    (ED)
16. POLITICS:                          (PO)
17. HISTORY:                           (HI)
18. SCIENCE:                          (SC)
19. HUMOR:                             (HU)
20. TRAVEL:                             (TR)
21. MISCELLANEOUS:            (MI)
22. ADULT CONTENT:             (AC)

I signed up at #48 using the category (MI). Hurry up and go sign up! I'll wait...

Ok, now for those of you that are going to sign up, or those of you that already have, I have a favor to ask...

Shhh, come here. A little closer. A little closer. That's it. Just a little - OUCH! Not that close - sheesh!

Can you make sure you have your CAPTCHA turned off? That thing sucks meatballs during regular blogging hours, it sucks even worse during A to Z Challenge, especially when we are trying to visit hundreds of blogs a day. Even if you shut it off for only the month of April would be appreciated. Click here or here to find out how to make this happen.


I'm excited to meet new bloggers, get to know the ones I've recently made, and visit my established blogging friends. You guys make me excited to visit every day!

Don't forget to visit/follow the co-hosts:

Arlee Bird                     Tossing It Out                  @ArleeBird
Damyanti Biswas           Amlokiblogs                     @damyantig
Alex J. Cavanaugh        Alex J. Cavanaugh           @alexjcavanaugh 
Tina Downey                 Life is Good                     @TinaLifeisGood
DL Hammons                 ruising Altitude 2.0         @DL_H
Jeremy Hawkins            Retro-Zombie                   @iZombieJMH
Shannon Lawrence        The Warrior Muse            @thewarriormuse
Matthew MacNish          The QQQE                        @MatthewMacNish
Konstanz Silverbow       No Thought 2 Small         @KonstanzS
Stephen Tremp             Breakthrough Blogs          @StephenTremp
Livia Peterson               Leave it to Livia               @LiviaGPeterson
L. Diane Wolfe              Spunk on a Stick               @SpunkOnAStick 
Nicole  Ayers                 The Madlab Post               @madlabpost
And @AprilA2Z and use #AtoZChallenge on Twitter!
Have an AWESOME Wednesday!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Express Yourself, Lunar Lovin and a Re-Introduction

Today is full so lets buckle up...

First up...

This week on Express Yourself (sounds like I'm hosting a TV show) Jackie and I want to know: What movies do you watch over and over that you can practically quote them word for word?

Dazed and Confused, Aladdin, Lion King, The Sandlot, The Breakfast Club, Star Wars (New Hope), Romeo + Juliet, Rocky Horror..., Dawn of the Dead...

I think I'm gonna stop there. I seriously could go on.

Next Up - Some Dark Romantic is hosting the Lunar Lovin’ Hop! Take a pic of the moon on the 27th and post it on the 28th.

Well here in the land of Indiana, the weather can be very impulsive, last night we had overcast and sleet. So I had the wonderful idea of running outside in my naked feet with my iPhone and snap a picture. What the hell, right?! If I wasn't going to get the moon then I should at least get something. So I give you SLEET!

And Finally - Steve Tremp, Elise Fallson, Carolyn Brown and Mark Koopmans are co-hosting Re-Introduce Myself. So on January 28th, feel free to take a moment and share something interesting about yourself. It can be anything. It can be about writing, or blogging or life.

Hmmm... Let's see... My name is Danielle but my aunts have always called my Dani. A few years ago, another Danielle started working with us so my co-workers opted to call me Dani. After Danielle #2 quit, the name stuck. My friend of over 14 years also calls me Dani but we have a nick name for everyone.

If you don't already know, I'm 35 and a mom of four. A 14 yr old, 13 yr old (in 7 days), 10 yr old and 3 yr old. Met my second husband at 26 and this one seems to be stinking around. LOL. We really do love each other. He's my polar opposite - we magnetize each other. Oh and I'm done having kids. Love them dearly but I'm done.

I'm hardly ever serious. Oh, I can be serious, and mean, and just a straight up be-itch! But I'm normally sarcastic, cynical, cracking jokes, a klutz, honest, fair, steadfast - your typical Capricorn. Ask my kids, they have to ask me whether I'm being "for real" with them; my husband is the serious one.

I love to read and write - dystopian/horror mostly but I also enjoy fantasy, paranormal, YA. I'm not a huge romance girl. Well to be perfectly honest, I've never really been a girly girl. So give me action - that also goes for movies. Blow stuff up! Bring on the aliens! Chase me with zombies!

So that's me in a nut shell. Now go visit all the blog hops and fests going on! Have a happy Monday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

It's my first week in joining VikLit @ Scribblings of an Aspiring Author weekly Meme Celebrate the Small Things.

Each Friday, post in your blog something you wish to celebrate achieving / doing that week. It can be anything from writing to reading to a simple life thing as cleaning out a sock drawer.

This week I am celebrating...

Updating my Goodreads with the list of books I've read since October. It's nice to trash those old scrap papers. - I write EVERY book I read down until I can find time to log them into Goodreads.

Finally getting over excreting unwanted "waste" from this cold I've been haboring for two weeks. I like being able to breath normally.

My three yr old is TRIUMPHANTLY grasping the concept of telling me when she needs to use the lavatory. YAY!!!

So what small things are you celebrating this week? Have a great Friday and an even better weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Memes, Bloghops, Blogfests, & Books

Oh, it’s only the first month of the post-apocalyptic year and there is sooooo much going on in the Bloggerverse.
Let’s see if I can do this in an orderly fashion, shall we…
First up… MEME’s!
Every week Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and myself host Express Yourself. It’s a weekly meme that comes with a Banner that has topics for us talk about each week. We ask a question that evokes more than a simple yes or no. This is our way of getting to know our fellow bloggers better.
Then of course you have the Ninja’s, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his monthly Insecure Writers Support Group. This takes place the first Wednesday of every month. The title is just what it means – we support one another through our writing woes and triumphs. It’s a pick-me-up and a high-five rolled into one.
Two new MEME’s I’ve joined…
Celebrate the Small Things comes to us from Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. Each Friday, post in your blog something you wish to celebrate achieving / doing that week. It can be anything from writing to reading to a simple life thing as cleaning out a sock drawer.
Kelly @ Dandelion Dreams is putting on Monthly Reading Challenge. Each month Kelly will post a new challenge for the month. These challenges won't be too difficult: just one book per month. Come back each month to see what the new Monthly Challenge – pretty simple if you ask me. OPTIONAL: Post a review of the book.

Jan. 27th – 28th Some Dark Romantic is hosting the Lunar Lovin’ Hop! Take a pic of the moon on the 27th and post it on the 28th. Badda Bing Badda Boom!
Jan. 28th  Steve Tremp, Elise Fallson, Carolyn Brown and Mark Koopmans are co-hosting Re-Introduce Myself. So on January 28th, feel free to take a moment and share something interesting about yourself. It can be anything. It can be about writing, or blogging or life.
Jan. 28th – Feb. 1st Sharon Bayliss is hosting The World Building Blogfest. Take your novel “world” and in a week, break it down in geography, cultures, religions, history, etc.
Feb 14th – On the most romantic days of the year, Precious Monsters is hosting Vampire Bites Bloghop. It’s all about vamps.
Feb. 18th – 20th Elise Fallson and Michelle @ Writer in Transit are hosting She Said What?! Click on their names to learn about the comic strips.
March 1st M. Pax, Suze @ Subliminal Coffee, and Nicki Elson, for the Back From the Future Blogfest. If you were to send yourself a shoebox sized package from the future, what would it hold?

April – We should ALL know what April entails! A to Z Challenge. 26 days of pure blogging fun!
Yesterday I went to the library and grabbed a small stash of books to read. I’ve been wanting to get me hands on them and my moment has come!
Read on!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Express Yourself - Anticipating

It's Monday the 21st which means ...Happy Martin Luther King Day!

... and...

Another week of Express Yourself! This week Jackie and I want to know: Are there any books, movies, or music you are anticipating this year?

Oh jeez! There are a shat load of movies I can't wait to lay my eyes on... (the ones in bold are the ones I will pay theater prices to go see).

The Last Stand                                                             Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Movie 43                                                                      Bullet to the Head
Warm Bodies (loved this book)                              Side Effects
Beautiful Creatures (must reads!)                       Dark Skies
Snitch                                                                             Oz the Great and Powerful
G.I. Joe: Retaliation                                                     The Host (hope its like the book)
The Heat                                                                        Evil Dead
Oblivion                                                                       Pain & Gain
The Great Gatsby                                                         Star Trek into Darkness
Fast and Furious 6                                                  After Earth
World War Z (great book)                                       The Lone Ranger
Pacific Rim                                                                     The Wolverine
300: Rise of an Empire                                                Elysium
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters                        Riddick
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Love love love the bks)
Insidious Chapter 2                                                    
Ender’s Game
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Who hasn't read these)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Last night I finished reading Grace Lost by M. Lauryl Lewis. It's a great read and was FREE from Amazon! It's not a typical zombie novel. This had a few twists in it; the MC, Zoe, has an unusual "talent". There are some heart wrenching moments as well, like any good zombie horror book. Not everyone survives and it leaves you with a huge cliff hanger. Also, you have to overlook some typo's and a few missing words but still an awesome read. Installment two will be out Spring of this year, so I'm anticipating Tainted Grace along with so many other sequels for so many other series.

I also NEED to get my hands on Deadline by Mira Grant so I can be caught up when Blackout comes out in May of this year.

Also I WANT to read Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin. Ashfall was so remarkable that I need to read the second book of the Ashfall Trilogy.

Music wise, I'm just waiting for something new and unexpected to hit the airwaves. I want to be in awe of it and feel the NEED to buy the CD asap! I let you know when and if it happens!

After brainstorming and talking to Carolyn Brown, Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and I have decided to use a Linky that you only have to sign up for once. Yep, no more signing up every week. Just fill out the info in the below Linky and then post every week. If you miss a week or two, don't fret. We're very understanding hosts.

When signing up please use only your blog URL not the URL of your post! Thanks!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Misha Gerske Wants Award Noms

I'm just blog-roaming on this cold Friday morning. Trying not to let my 4th head cold of the season get me down. When I came upon Misha Gerske blog and thought I'd help spread the word...

Misha is posting/talking about how she wants to do award ceremonies to pay things forward to other bloggers. Also, to make others aware of some amazing blogs out in Bloggerville.

Seven AMAZING people volunteered some prizes to pay forward. Misha will announce them next week.

With her prize, there will be a total of eight, so she decided to announce four categories this month so the winner and runner up can both win something.

These will be January's categories (in no particular order):

Most Encouraging Blogger
Best Reviewer
Best Writing and/or Inspirational Post
Beginner with Most Potential


Please note: She will NOT be accepting nominations in the comments section as the links will probably shoot her spam filter to shreds. BUT, you can tell her what you think of this idea and which categories you want to see next month. She wants to make sure she's running something people will enjoy.

Please spread the word about this, because on Monday, she will announce the nominees, prizes and sponsors. She needs you all to vote for the winners.
Hope everyone has a great Friday and weekend and go check out what Misha is doing!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A to Z Challenge - Total Roadie

We are only half way through January and A to Z chatter is all over my news feed!
So what is the only logical thing to do? HELP SPREAD THE WORD!
You post every day in April except Sundays. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter A, April 2 is B, April 3 is C ... you get the picture. Right?!
April 7 is not G --> April 8 is G. Remember we have Sundays off. Don't forget!
You can use a theme or just be random. I already have my theme in an Excel Spreadsheet, listing my letters from A to Z and the topic for each day. Starting next week I will take a few letters and write my post. After my posts are written, the scheduling begins. I’m a total plotter!
I missed the first year (2010) and heard there were only 100 or so participants. Last year, over 1700 participated! This year’s sign up will be on January 30th  and I’m so excited!! Can you tell? I’m wondering and anticipating how many are signing up this year. Will A to Z break the 2000 mark? WOW that would be AMAZING!

This year’s team has all the familiar faces, er, bloggers, uh, you get the idea – and a few new ones too!
Arlee Bird                     Tossing It Out                  @ArleeBird
Damyanti Biswas           Amlokiblogs                     @damyantig
Alex J. Cavanaugh        Alex J. Cavanaugh           @alexjcavanaugh 
Tina Downey                 Life is Good                     @TinaLifeisGood
DL Hammons                 ruising Altitude 2.0         @DL_H
Jeremy Hawkins            Retro-Zombie                   @iZombieJMH
Shannon Lawrence        The Warrior Muse            @thewarriormuse
Matthew MacNish          The QQQE                        @MatthewMacNish
Konstanz Silverbow       No Thought 2 Small         @KonstanzS
Stephen Tremp             Breakthrough Blogs          @StephenTremp
Livia Peterson               Leave it to Livia               @LiviaGPeterson
L. Diane Wolfe              Spunk on a Stick               @SpunkOnAStick 
Nicole  Ayers                 The Madlab Post               @madlabpost

So if you have never participated in A to Z but tossed the idea around, I strongly encourage you to sign up this year. I know 26 days of straight blogging (except Sundays) seems like a lot of work, it really is a ton of fun!
Last year I did 5 themed topics each day except a few because of Blogger system failures, which was way too much work, so this year it’s only one topic. If it still seems like too much work… just post a "picture of the day" and the letter and/or word stating what the picture stands for. Super simple! Or just blast a word that begins with the letter of the day.
You don’t think you’ll have time to blog cause you’re WAY TOO BUSY… schedule your posts!
I’m really not leaving you any excuses except one… you just don’t want to. And you know what, that’s ok too. I still love you.
Now I gotta go, I already downloaded the A to Z badge, now I need to follow the newbie team members on blogger and twitter. YOU SHOULD TOO!
Gosh I love this time of year!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Express Yourself - Books

What a vague title. I'm sure there will be plenty of future EYM titles that mimic it.

This week (Jan. 14-18) Jackie and I would like to know - Are there Any writing books you recommend to your fellow writers?
Not a writer, then what books do recommend to your fellow readers?

I'm a writer but I've never actually held a book which told be how to write correctly. I don't believe in "correct" or "not correct" ways of writing. I think writing should be expressed freely and openly without judgement. But
unfortunately... that's not always the case. It has to be understood and grab your attention. Anyways I do most of my research online so I don't have any books to share on subject. Sorry.

But some good books to read...

The Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie

Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent

Trylle Series by Amanda Hocking

Anything by Neal Shusterman

Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

What books do you recommend for writing? You don't? Then what books do you recommend for reading? You want to recommend for both! Go right ahead! You can do both.

We are no longer using the Linky Thingy for our EYM's for now. But we want you to continue participating of course! We love reading and connecting with you all. Don't forget to leave a comment so we can find your posts. And if you aren't posting... leave a comment anyways, like usual!

Have a great Monday!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Birthday Memory Lane

♫♪ Today is my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to…♫♪
No, no, I’m not on the verge of crying at all. I don’t shy away from my birthdays, I embrace them. Although turning thirty was hard. Why was it? I think leaving my twenties was kind of surreal for me. I didn’t have much of a college experience… well technically from age 18 to 19 I did and that’s how my 14 ½ year old came about. Too much drinking, not enough thinking.
But now that – officially today – I’m halfway through my thirties, I’m totally diggin’ it. Eh, I got a few more blemishes and wrinkles. I’m getting my mother’s jowls for Pete sake’s!
Birthdays, for me, always bring about memories. Good ones mostly. Like playing – or fighting – with brother. Any memories of my brother are good ones. Like the time we were playing “Barbie’s”. I had my Barbie and he had his He-Man with “punchable chest action”. And every time you hit the chest it would flip to the next chest plate and look like you dinted it. Well that day he decided to rip my Barbie’s head off. I screamed being all melodramatic which sent our mom flying up the stairs. She in turn – to teach him a lesson not to touch other people things – ripped the head off of his He-Man. See the head on my Barbie popped right back on, mom thinking the head on Tony’s He-Man would do the same thing – WRONG! This particular He-Man was held together by a ton of rubber bands controlling the switchable chest plate and his arms and legs. So when “pop went the weasel” so did the arms, the legs, the chest plate, etc. The entire He-Man fell apart in her hands, Tony fell apart on the floor, and I slowly backed away to my bedroom. Needless to say, she went out the very same day and bought him another one and neither one of us EVER touched each other’s stuff again. Lesson learned.
See, funny memory. Tragic at the time but funny now.
One more…
In high school I wasn’t, shall we say, the best teenager on the planet but I have never been in trouble with the law so at least I was a smart teenager. Like most some few teens, I would sneak out on occasion. After the second time getting caught by my dad, he decided to put one of the thingamabobbers on my car, so when I backed up it went BEEP BEEP BEEP. When I would get home from school or work I would have to pull my car up to the house so the only way to exit was in reverse. Ugh! Smart dad – he was a mechanic. At school was the worse! If I wanted to back into a parking spot – BEEP BEEP BEEP. If I was backing out of a parking spot – BEEP BEEP BEEP. Embarrassing! Too bad I didn’t figure out years later that it was only clipped to the battery and all I had to do was simple … Un. Clip. The. Alli. Gator. Clip. He was out to ruin me like all good, loving fathers.
There you have it – a few funny Friday stories from my childhood. Have a good Friday everyone!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Express Yourself - Resolutions

Today is the kickoff for the 2013 edition of Express Yourself. And the first inquiry, Jackie and I want to know, of the year is: What is your 2013 Resolutions? And if you don't make any, then what is something you are looking forward to in 2013 (i.e. life changing event)?

Oh I try to make at least one resolution every year but end up break it, especially if it has to do with losing weight. That is just something that always sounds good, but food ALWAYS looks better.

Last year’s resolution was to read more and I actually fulfilled that goal ALL YEAR LONG! I read over 150+ books in 2012. By the time December came around I didn't touch a book. I decided to concentrate on catching up on those movies I neglected. So far in 2013 I've read 2 books so I'm happy with myself.

However my resolution for 2013 is to just make sure I'm happy. I know, how vague. But it's important. As a mom or even a parent we seem to neglect ourselves. So this year, of course, I'm still going to put forth all of my efforts making sure my kids are happy and healthy and thriving, but I'm going to take the time to pamper myself more.

You know, my daughter doesn't need another pair of boots-with-the-fur, so that I can get a bra that isn't falling apart.

Or my son can buy his own date to the movies so I can stop putting off dying my two inches of grey roots when needed. Gawd I'm only going to be 35 (on Friday) and I have tons of grey! It's probably cause I need a new bra.

And the sad thing is... it's not like we can't afford the things I need. I'm just one of those that think - If I spend that money on me, then something happens like one of our cars take a crap, then I just futilely spent that money. Really? Like a bottle of hair dye or a bra are going to do us in, but I just can't justify it.

Or telling my kids "Not right now" so that I can finally finish my first rewrite of my first draft and get those edits done. If I keep telling my WIP "Not right now" it's never gonna get done. And dreams don't come true by sitting by the wayside.

BUT NO MORE! This year, I'm going to start spending a little more time on me to make sure I'm a little more happier with myself. Let's see if I can stick to this.

Have a happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January IWSG - Critique Me Deuce

Today is IWSG hosted by the awesome Alex J Cavanaugh! If you want to learn more and join in, check it out here.

Can you believe we all made it to 2013 and survived 2012 and all the crazy talk about the end of the world!? I know, me either!

I am posting my revised update from my post on Dec 19th. On 12/19 I posted a very rough draft of my first 1000 words. I had many people email critiques and I had tons of fun doing it. Here it is... my revised first chapter. So, you know, it's nore than 1000 words. This of course is not set in stone. Be honest and let me know what you think.


My sister only knew how to do a few things right, conjure protective and healing spells, wield black magic, and annoy the hell out of me.
Like now. She stirred the ambers on the fire while humming along with her obnoxious instrumental music she knew I hated.
            I reached out to grab her iPod, but stopped. A chill tickled up my spine until it found its perch at the nape of my neck. I tried to brush it off with a shrug but it sat there, beckoning.
            “He’s out there, isn’t he?” Rena pulled out her ear buds. Her eyes scanned the tree line behind me. She could feel my unease.
            I nodded. “You know he is.” I couldn’t look at her. I couldn’t look into those eyes that were mine, those lips which moved like mine. She was me, but not me, my twin.
            Rena stabbed at the coals some more with the poker before clicking the red button at the end of the silver rod. It folded up in on itself several times before she tucked it into her boot. “You shouldn’t have gotten so close. I told you he was playing possum. You never listen to me,” she scolded in her most quiet voice.
            “Berating me isn’t going to fix what happened back there, Rena. I’m aware of how dangerous Baquarats are and you of all people shouldn’t be giving any lectures on this side, or any side of danger for that matter.”
            She flinched.
I cringed. It probably would have hurt less if I had hit her instead. Even I knew that was way below the belt. I went to speak but for once I couldn’t find anything more than the simple word, “Sorry.”
            Rena crumpled up into herself and slumped onto the oversized log she was sitting on. A single tear trickled down her slender check. It held for a moment before it plummeted its long descent to the cold ground below. “I know Reese.” She sniffled.
            Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Why did you say that? My thoughts rattled inside my head. I tried not to blame Rena for what happened to our parents, to our aunt, my boyfriend and his family. She didn’t know her choice to save my life would have brought death to them.
The thought made my head hurt which reminded me how much my body ached. I envied Rena for stealing the first of the night’s sleep. Slumber looked so peaceful, and I willingly wanted to let it overcome me but seeing how Rena beat me to it, it became apparent I was taking first watch.
I stood, brushed the dead vegetation from my hands and sauntered over to her. I lifted Rena’s head, sliding her water skin under her cheek and twisted the cork tightly down into the opening to make sure the weight of her head wouldn’t spill the contents out. I wouldn’t have worried worry so much if it were only water. We could refill it down by the stream we passed about a mile back but Rena’s water skin carried her healing elixir which was now about half full. Thanks to me.
Rena swatted at the night air after I placed her head down on the skin, and she mumbled something that sounded like it came straight out of the movie, Hocus Pocus. She did that often - talked in her sleep. It was mostly spells or wards. Sometimes, though, she cried out for them – our parents. Tonight it was spells.


“Få ned!”
 My head snapped to attention involuntarily. I must have dozed off.
Rena sprung from her log to a fighting stance. “Få ned!”
Få ned? “Rena?” Lazily I stood beside her. My head spun. “Why are you shouting?”
“Rena?” Shifting in front of her, I noticed her eyes churned a foggy magenta color. She still slept, traveling through the reverie realm. I knew better. Why else would she have yelled “Get down!” in Swedish while standing like she was about to take out an entire army. She didn’t even speak fluent Swedish.
“Come on Rena, let’s lay you back down,” I coaxed.
She followed me in her trance. Her hands blindly felt her place on the log as she snuggled back down on her wool skin throw and water skin.
            My fingers trembled through my hair while deep breaths filled my lungs repeatedly as I tried to calm down from this sudden adrenaline rush. To no avail I reluctantly knelt on the ground next to Rena. I slid my right hand under her tunic and stopped over a lung. My left hand found her pulse at her temple. My eyes relaxed as I timed my inhales and exhales with hers. I let my energy flow into her body while it equally pushed her relaxed energy into mine. My heart slackened along with the horrendous throb in my head and the catch in my breathing subsided.
            I turned to face the open forest with my back firmly against the log. Calmness finally welcomed me and I accepted.


            Reese wake up!”
            “Reese, wake up!”
As my eyes fight to flutter open, Rena materializes where a male figure once stood in my dream. “Reese! The Baquarat’s back! Wake up!”
            The smell of smoke had me gasping. “What is that? What’s going on?” Sweat pooled at the base of my neck and the small of my back.
            “I – I didn’t know what else to do,” Rena stammered. We were surrounded by a ring of fire that swept throw the air like dancing gypsies who’s hair burn orange and blue. “You fell asleep!”
            “Arrows?” I pointed to her sheath.
            She nodded. Another talent of my brightly gifted twin? Archery. Why weapons when we can manipulate magic? Some parts of this blessed, beautiful sphere have Black Out spots such as this weald forest my sister and I had stumbled into. As long as we were touching something Earth Bound we could not use magic.
            Old pine needles pierced my palms as I struggled to get to my feet. “So genius, how do you propose we get out of this?” I rubbed the debris from my hands and grabbed my own metallic poker from my boot. With a slight flick of my wrist, the short rod elongated into a slender, lethal rattan.
            “Fly?” Her face mimicked that of a toddler. Sweet yet pathetic.
            “Sorry sweetness, I forgot thy broom at home,” I said with a curtsey and twist of my lip.
            Her eye roll spoke volumes but not as much as the growl that permeated from the opposite side of the flames. “You know what I mean.”
            “How long will the fire hold?” I wasn’t one to panic. Have a mild heart attack – maybe. Panic – never. I would never have instructed this fire that’s for sure. I’m more aggressive and willing to fight while Rena was more passive and logical. The fire would have been brilliant if its burn grew outward, keeping the Baquarat as far away as possible, but the orange and blue flames licked the ground towards us.
            “Until it burns off.” Her eyes scanned the circle before settling back on me.  “Or us,” she urged. “Reese, you’re gonna have to foreshadow us outta here.”
            “I was hoping you wouldn’t ask me that. The Queen will likely find us.” At this point I wasn’t sweating from the flames. The thought of me having to do something I knew I shouldn’t had me sweating bullets.
            “Reese!” Rena’s single word brought nothing but fear to my body and numbness to my fingers. I closed my eyes not wanting to look up. God please don’t –
            With a thud and a shift in the earth below my feet, the Baquarat stood at the edge of the inner circle. Erected over eight feet tall with immensely long arms, and two rows of razor sharp teeth including a pair of saber tusks, the beast looked like he could have passed for a large cuddly polar bear who walked on its hind legs. And that was on his good days. Any other day he smelled bad, was covered in blood, and looked like a white and red tie-died Minotaur.
Today he was healed and hyped up on Völva blood. And this was entirely my fault.
            Two nights ago, his body was in a heap at the side of Codanus Bay. Rena had said not to get too close, but being the older twin I decided not to listen.
            Long story, short, my dumb ass had unwillingly let the ailing brute bite a chunk out of my leg and swallow it whole. Now my blood courseed through his veins, drawing him to me like a compass. And he now stood between me and my sister.
            “Gather your things Rena. We’re getting out of here!” I shouted from across the circle. That mild heart attack was starting to settle in.
            Her movement didn’t even make him flinch. He was intoxicated by my blood and could care less if my sister ran out of here and left me to die.
            “Come and get me you freak.” It was barely audible but I could have sworn he smiled at me. “Get up the tree Rena!” I shouted, my rattan smacking against the dirt.
            She nodded.
            Using our powers would be so helpful about now. I shook my head to clear my thoughts, I couldn’t think about that now. The Baquarat’s crouch gave my heart a jolt, a jolt that came too late. Within his one leap, the brute had knocked me on my back. He towered over me and we were now face to face.
            His hot breath was sticky on my face and smelled of road kill. I didn’t want to imagine how painful being eaten was going to feel until he started caressing me with his tongue. “Oh hell!”
            “What? What is he doing?” Rena yelled from across the twenty foot opening of the ring. The south side of the ring started to burn up the base of the tree.
            A small purr came from the beast’s belly, almost kitten like. “He’s licking me! And now – now he’s – he’s purring?” Drool saturated my face. As I scraped off as much drool as I could, I could only get small glimpses of Rena on her roost. She fumbled with something in her pack.
            “According to the book, it appears he’s courting you!” Her voice chimed high, as if trying to suppress a giggle. That sent a cold rage through my body. She’s reading from the book! I’m gonna kill her!
            “Oh my freaking – what is that!” A long prickly shaft appeared between his legs.
            “Well, I’m afraid he is now trying to –”
            “Yeah! I get it! Could you possibly think of a way to get me out of here? He has my arms pinned!” His grip stopped right below my wrist. I flipped my hand so my rattan knocked the Baquarat on his head but my feeble attempts didn’t even make him flinch.
            The beast’s head shot up stopping the purring cold. I didn’t know what Rena had done but she had his attention. His grasp on my arms and legs loosened. Instinctively my hips pivoted to the left, sliding my right leg out from under him. I did the only thing I knew to do in that situation. I kneed him, manhood and all.
The brute wavered for a moment, long enough for me to wiggle out from underneath him and get to my feet. The tree, where Rena was perched, seemed to take forever to reach.  I tapped my big toes inside of my boots, releasing the toe spikes so I could climb to the first branch.
“He’s coming Reese! Hurry!” Rena stood on a large, thick branch about ten feet off the ground. All I needed to do was reach her before he got to me and we might have a chance to make it out of here.
He was coming alright. He pounded the ground on three of his limbs while holding his manhood in his other.
“Grab it!” I slapped my rattan in her palm.
Her face pinched from the pain.
I pressed the collapse button. It folded up on itself while pulling me up it the same time. With my feet positioned securely on the branch I finally noticed what Rena had done to get the Baquarat’s attention. “What did you do?”
“The book said the only thing that attracts it is blood. So, I cut myself.” Her smile was faint. She knew what she did was correct. She was waiting on confirmation.
“Nice job! I wouldn’t have thought of that. Are you ready?” I owed her that much.
She nodded.
“On the count of three we jump.” I grabbed my water skin, wool cover, and pack from her and held on to her hand. “One. Two. Three!”
We leapt into the air like two birds. Rena countered my force and pulled herself into me, wrapping her arms around my sternum. “Here he comes!” She shouted as she peered over my shoulder. With my back to the tree, I could only imagine what she could see.
I pointed my rattan to the sky and shouted, “Augur!” The forest around us shook and shifted as our bodies were ripped into tiny molecules. For a moment I felt the tug at my back and then it was gone. Dark skies turned to starry skies as our bodies took form once again. White stars zoomed past us. And just like the last time we foreshadowed, our feet landed on foreign soil in a time we had to figure out and adjust to. For this is where we will live until we can fathom why we were sent here in the first place. Foreshadowing is by choice but the place and time are by divine intervention.