My First Writing Prompt Post

I always knew I would  do writing prompt posts eventually. I like the label “Writing Prompt Wednesday,” but since I can’t find the next IMDB.com movie selection right now I’ll try my hand at this.

Here is a little background. Micheal is a character in my rewrite project Standing Inside the Rain. This is later on in the story and not quite concrete. The following piece is pretty direct, so I hope you enjoy what I’ve come  up with.

Today’s prompt is The Best & Worst Day. (Thank you Laura & Dustin Gibbons.) For my fellow writers out there, feel free to comment if you want to share your own take on the prompt. Ok here we go,

Micheal hated the sweet smell that the bath oils left on his skin. He was properly packaged for a night with his mistress. The soul eating Justice was waiting for him on the other side of the door and he would perform as was expected of him. It had been five long years since he had made this trade. He had done it for love, he had done it for Sheldina.

The hallway always seemed longer on this night. He always felt like he was marching to a gassing chamber more than a bed chamber. The sex would be mechanical,simply insert tab A into slot B and pray a child came of it. He supposed that was the only reason he hadn’t been killed when he helped Sheldina escape from her self-absorbed narcissistic family. The Justice and her magistrate husband wanted a child. They wanted a child to carry on the bloodline, the name, the traditions, etc. Etc. They wanted that child so badly that the Justice’s rightful husband turned a blind eye to Micheal’s weekly visits. It was a hard life being demeaned down to a simple sperm donor, but it was better than the magistrate’s original plan to shanghai Sheldina into being his concubine. If one of them had to play the whore, he would rather it be him.

He wanted to see her safe and he hoped he had accomplished that. The only thing he knew for certain was that his brother and sister had promised to find her and protect her if need be. From what he had seen Sheldina didn’t need protection, but she needed a tether, she needed them to hold her hand and tell her she still had a choice. And Sheldina still had a choice, it was Micheal who didn’t.

The twin heavy doors waited for him with each step he took down the golden tan carpeted hallway. Had it always been this vast and intimidating? He pushed the random thought away trying to remember what the Justice liked in her lovers. He was to be aggressive, but gentle. He was offer himself willingly, but make her earn the final act. Her need to be both in control and controlled was mind numbing difficult and he had recently found that if he just shut off his brain and pulled her in close she would do the rest. He preferred the absence on his part. It was more bearable that way.

He knocked on the doors with a loud boom that echoed through the hall. The pair opened up with two tall statuesque maids manning the doors. They politely bobbed their heads at him and shuffled past him to leave him with his owner. At first his steps felt heavy, but as he saw the steps that lead up to the curtained bed he found his old steely backbone had returned. He was Micheal of the ninth plane. He had served valiantly in wars before this mere spoiled brat was born. He might have even known her father if her mother had chosen one of the most powerful Gifted to give her children. This was another mission, nothing personal tied to it now. He had done all he could for Sheldina. Now it was time to be a man and honor his commitment.

The Justice stood near a dainty serving tray on fold-able legs. Her slender hand was wrapped around a crystal tumbler. Her reedy form turned to him and she would have been beautiful under normal circumstances. Her nightgown was an icy blue shift. Her arms were covered with yards of the sheer material giving her the appearance of bird’s wings. Her hair was down in the mane of curls that Sheldina happened to have as well, but her hair was more red than her sister’s. Micheal knelt on the gilded stairs and bowed his head reverently.

“Good evening Madam Justice,” he greeted.

He could hear the smirk even without looking at her. He heard the tumbler settle to the tray and rustle of the nightgown brush the floor.

“How many times must I ask you to call me Quintrell?” the Justice asked as she stood in front of him.

She lifted his chin so that he had to look at her. This was always the hardest for him. Even though Quintrell was her own person, she looked like Sheldina. At least in the eyes. He knew they weren’t the same, but those eyes always caught him off guard. He hated himself for not making the distinction, but sometimes the soft blue pools made what he had to do easier.

“I am ready for my duty, my mistress,” he said weakly.

He looked around the room and realized they were alone. Well at least in appearance, the Justice would have her Seraphim close by just in case he decided to get rough. There were always eyes on the Justice and magistrate. There was something wrong though, the magistrate would normally greet him as well and leave when she dismissed him. There was no greeting tonight.

“May I ask where the master is?”

Quintrell took his hands and made him stand. She brushed his black locks away from his forehead and brushed his linen covered shoulder. Something was wrong, there was sadness in her eyes not the normal control.

“My husband doesn’t like to see me work,” she replied.

A cold chill began at the crown of his head and shimmied down his spine. He was going to die tonight. His years of humiliation were coming to an end. He squared his shoulders as he spoke just like a good solider.

“Make it quick Quintrell.”

The respect was gone from his voice. He wouldn’t hit her, it wouldn’t have helped anyway, he wouldn’t get very far. Seraphim were good at their jobs, he would be drug away and beaten before he even landed the blow. He fought the urge to let his fist fly and he let the serenity return to his words.

“All I ask is you send my soul back to the 9th realm so I can rest at home.”

Quintrell petted him like a dog, her face blank, but the wheels were turning beneath the surface. He thought about pulling back, but he decided that would show weakness. He had outlived his usefulness and he would face that like a man.

“Don’t you want to know why?” Quintrell asked.

He didn’t flinch,

“No.”

“The Magistrate feels like our energy is better spent else where for a child. We’ve… you and I have been trying for 5 years now. And sadly I have no child to show for it.”

“It’s because you are barren. You will never fulfill your vow…”

He was cut off by the harsh slap against his cheek. The sting burned on his skin and he waited for the death-blow, but it didn’t come.

“I can give my husband what he needs… I can, I can.”

The tone of her voice gave away her true feelings. She knew it wasn’t going to happen, that was why she kept killing her replacements. She knew one of them would do what she couldn’t. It was a petty motivation, but it was a woman’s logic.

“My dear husband believes my sister is the answer. Once we fetch her, she will be brought here to perform her duty. After I take her soul, I’ll be even stronger and more capable of giving my husband what he needs.”

“How many souls have you taken madam? How many times have you taken a soul and returned to your husband’s bed and still there is no child?” Micheal asked.

She had just threatened Sheldina and if he couldn’t hurt her physically he would crush her in this moment. Quintrell didn’t answer him she simply pushed him back to his knees. This death was going to be more complicated than he realized. Panic pricked his chest for only a second. He didn’t look away from Quintrell even as her skin began to crack and flake away revealing her true form. The purple layer that was exposed was wet and glossy. Her eyes grew in size until they were round granite gray holes in her head. Death was blind and didn’t need to see its prey.

Quintrell lowered her purple claws down to his chest. Now came the part where she would rip him open. There were cleaner ways to hull a soul, but Quintrell was known for her taste for pain. Micheal took a deep breath just before he felt his flesh tear. The void in his chest pulsed, like his heart. However, he watched her face fall into a state of confusion. He could feel what she wanted beating inside him, but it wasn’t lifting up or away from him. At first he didn’t know why, but then his last night with Sheldina flashed before him. He promised his soul to another. The ink was already dry on the contract.

He watched as the snatching claws tried to dig down into his wound. The confused look turned to anger when she came out empty-fisted.

“Have you figured it out yet?” he asked breathlessly.

The bloody fist thumped hard against his collarbone. He managed to keep his balance through sheer will-power.

“My soul is spoken for, only she can handle my final hours. My contract is with her. Not you.”

Quintrell remained strangely calm as she smeared his own blood on his face.

“It is a shame it will end this way. On so many levels the other way would have been easier, quicker, painless. This will be quite possibly the worst day of your life.”

Micheal leveled his eyes to the gray pits in the soul eater’s head,

“On the contrary my mistress, this is the best day of my life.”

A sick smirk turned up her lips as she matted his hair with her blood soaked hands. It was a sudden strike like a snake bite as Quintrell bit hard down on his shoulder. Then she moved to his ear.

“You will die slowly. Slow enough that you will find my sister. Even if you don’t I still win because your soul can not leave your body without her. I think you’ll find her though, and when you do tell her I know where she is, and we’re coming for her. She will be called home,” Quintrell whispered menacingly.

Micheal felt the poison settle in and slowly his vision faded to black.

A New Back-File Friday Post

Oil Lamp and Bible

When I first heard that Helium.com was going to take down my work I knew I was going to eventually re-post them here. I was waiting till December so that the material came back to me. I cruised through my back files and today’s post was a topic in the spiritual hub of the site.

It was supposed to be a study of the Book of Ecclesiastes. I felt a connection to this particular section of The Bible. So I wrote the following article. Without any more chatter here is A Study of Ecclesiastes.

A Study of Ecclesiastes

by: B.W. Harold

In twelve chapters King Solomon covers all the things that people allow to become idols. From pleasure to work, King David’s son tried everything under the sun to find it was all “Meaningless.” Solomon was the second child of King David and Bathsheba. When he was permitted to take the throne God told him he could ask for anything. The young king asked for wisdom. It was granted to him. His reign was known as Israel’s golden age. But the saying “Ignorance is bliss,” has some truth to it. It’s common for someone who has great access to knowledge to lose their faith; to turn their focus inward to their personal growth. With multiple wives and many of them foreign pagans, Solomon began to lose his faith in the God of his father.

Anyone who suffers the pain of watching their life fall apart can most likely find the cause in the Book of Ecclesiastes. The lessons are timeless and have startled many readers with how modern the themes are. But the truth of King Solomon’s words very seldom strike a chord until a life lies in shambles. No one wants to turn their eyes from God, but the slope is steep and minor decisions to ignore God’s teachings can lead to full out rebellion.

Chapter 1

Solomon begins his manic depressant rant lamenting his wisdom, referring to it as “Meaninglessness.”

He says, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge the more grief.” (Ecclesiastes 1:18)

Chapter 2

Chapter two begins with the quest for pleasure like chasing the wind. The more one drinks, indulges, and seeks out pleasure, the more empty it becomes. Solomon says the work of his hands meant nothing to him. He would still die as a fool does.

Chapters 3-5

Chapter three sports one of the most well-known verses in rock and roll history. “To everything there is a season…”

“and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3)

All things are appropriate in their time. Death is inevitable, harvest always comes, and the healer is just as important as the solider. Solomon continues that it is good for a man to enjoy his work, but he will never see the fruits. Again Meaningless. He goes on to say that work is pointless without a friend to help when one falls. Chapter five warns of speaking in ignorance.

“Do not be quick with your mouth; do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

When in the presence of God, silence is golden. This last statement is true in all aspects of life. Think before speaking, honor hierarchy, and humble yourself when dealing with others.

Chapters 6-8

Chapter six bemoans the accomplishments of a man who gains endless wealth and legacy, because he will never see the fruits of his work. If one primarily worries about his reputation, bank account, and the effects of his family’s actions on his reputation, he will never have peace. Chapter seven states wisdom does not equal righteousness. Chapter eight questions why the wicked live long lives and the righteous die young. It makes no sense to him. He also resented the fact that bad things happen to good people and the wicked prosper.

Chapter 9

Chapter nine states that the righteous and the wicked are the same. “No man knows when his hour will come.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)

Chapter 10

Chapter ten reveals that status has nothing to do with righteousness. Solomon says,

“Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones; I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.” (Ecclesiastes 10:6-7)

Status means nothing if a fool possesses it.

Chapter 11

Chapter eleven warns not to try to understand God’s ways, some things are unexplainable. Solomon tells the young to enjoy their youth. It vanishes and they never know how precious it was. Youth is meaningless, and often wasted.

Chapter 12

Chapter twelve gives the total meaning of Solomon’s search. Honor God. Above all things turn to God, and then the world has meaning. One knows their place when they honor God; their eyes are opened to the bigger picture. The young need to understand this.

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

So to recap, the lessons found in Ecclesiastes:

  • Friendship makes toil worth the effort.
  • Everyone dies.
  • Think before speaking.
  • Wealth and reputation cannot be taken into the kingdom.
  • Wisdom does not equal righteousness; in fact wise fools are more dangerous.
  • Bad things happen to good people.
  • No one knows their time.
  • A fool is a fool no matter what his station in this life.
  • Honor and Respect God.Knowledge comes with a price.
  • Knowledge comes with a price.

IMDB.com Top 250 Movies: #243

Papillon (1973)

Cast: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Woodrow Parfrey, Don Gordon, and Robert Deman

First off welcome to 2015 everybody! One of my handful of new year resolutions is to buckle down on this blog. I’d like to kick 2015 off with a Monday Movie review (Okay yeah it’s Tuesday, but I started this yesterday!). So here is a continuation of my 250 imdb.com Top Movies review series.

Today’s entry is Papillon a 1973 adaption of the novel of the same name. Papillion is the classic autobiography of Henri “Papillon” Charriere the only man to successfully escape from Devil’s Island, a French penal colony.

The 1973 film adaption of the harrowing story is a two and half hour epic that takes the viewer on a great story of perseverance. Papillon (McQueen) is sentenced to life for committing a murder he didn’t commit. The sentence requires him to serve his time on French Guyana; first as a prisoner and then as a colonist.

Hell bent on escape he learns quick that if he ever wants to escape he will need money. Aboard the ship he learns that one of his fellow convicts is a wealthy counterfeiter. Louis Dega (Hoffman) has made a fortune by forging national bonds. It is well known he has money  and that he has smuggled enough with him to bribe his way into relative luxury.

The two men reach an agreement that Papillon will protect Dega for the duration of  their trip and in return Dega will grease whatever wheels are needed to give Papillon an escape. However Dega finds life in the penal colony unbearable and begs to be taken along. This joint suffering is the beginnings of an unlikely friendship.

Papillon endures failed attempt after failed attempt to win his freedom. While Dega quietly tries to ease his friend’s pain by sending good food and encouraging messages. The two men walk very different paths while still sharing the horrors of the rigorous life around them. The final steps of their journey are inspirational and gut wrenching in the same breath.

My Opinion

I recommend watching this movie more than once to truly appreciate. I watched it twice and I found although the excitement of the story was the key attraction the first viewing; in the second viewing I connected to the characters more. This film has many layers that a good epic always has and pulls them back at the right time. The side characters are just as compelling as the two leads and their roles in the escape plans are more than just colorful accents to the landscape.

My previous experience with Mr. McQueen’s work has been macho man’s man type roles. Papillon is a macho role, but there is a vulnerability that is underneath it. As a person who has only seen the “muscle car” films of his career I was thoroughly impressed with this film. It’s nice to see when an actor steps out their comfort zone and displays range in their work.

Not to mention this is a great story. The supporting cast is not glossed over and the plot is riveting.

Check this one out if you want to pass a rainy afternoon inside the house. You’ll be glad you did!

IMDB’s Rating: 8 stars

My Rating: 8 1/2 stars

NANOWRIMO!!! Let’s do this!

Hey everyone. lots of things to catch up on this post.

Ok, still going strong Odesk. Business is steady and I feel good about the future.

But now to the meat and potatoes of this post. For those who don’t know I am a 2014 NaNoWriMo participant (National Novel Writing Month — for you virgins out there.) November always brings out haters and devotees to this monthly challenge. NaNoWriMo is a challenge to beginning and veteran novelists to create a 50k word novel by the end of November. In all fairness it doesn’t have to be a good novel, but it is meant to be a fun motivator for those who are chronic procrastinators (like me) or that scared English (or something else) major who is afraid to dive off the cliff.

This year I am what is known as a “NaNo Rebel.” That means that my project this year was either:

A: An existing work.

B: Began before the official start date (November 1st.)

C: A non-fiction or none literary work. NaNo’s “rules” (loose term by the way) state that the project be a work of fiction. But many writers take NaNo as an opportunity to write memoirs or an autobiography. Some even write fan fiction, cookbooks, or like me rework old projects.

Standing Inside the Rain is the first novel I wrote after the end of my first marriage. I didn’t write a thing those two years I was in that marriage. I was starving by the time I got to this one. Yeah about the title it’s a lift from a Bob Dylan song. Just Like a Woman, the lyrics begin as

“Nobody feels an pain. Tonight as I stand inside the rain. Everybody knows that baby’s got new clothes. But lately I’ve seen her ribbons and her bows have fallen from her curls. She take just like a woman, yes she does. She makes love just like a woman, yes she does, And she aches just like a woman, yes she does. But she breaks just like a little girl.”

Not a subtle title I know, but it fit the work at the time. It was meant to be a therapy session for me. The problem was I was such a raw mess that anything I wrote would have been rambling. Then I met an old friend in the grocery store.

My friend had been writing through out his childhood as well and he had a steady character base and world he had built. I was there in the beginning of the work, and then life happened. Anyway he showed me the completed work and asked me what I thought. I Loved it! I honestly cared about his world, and I honestly cared about his characters. I began looking for other things he had written online. He had posted some things.  Mostly incomplete snippets.I found one he called “Slayer.” It was rough, but it had potential to be an interesting story.

I emailed him and asked him if I could “finish it” sorta like a fan fiction. He agreed to me doing that… kind of excited I asked I think. So I took the basics of his idea, created my own characters to place on the field, and just started the process. I mentioned his characters here and there in passing, but his work was more the history of the world I was writing about.

In the end Sheldina Campbell was my own creation. As I mentioned in a previous post he didn’t care much for it. But it was rough and cobbled together. I was out of practice… I knew it and I steered into the skid.

Today was the first day and I always try to keep my tally on here as a motivator.

Participant-2014-Square-ButtonDay 1: 784 words

Standing Inside the Rain by: B.W. Harold

Shelly title

Shelly Campbell has just had her world ripped away from her. The love of her life has tried to kill her and the only explanation is “he’s on the other side.”

Gabriel, Micheal, and Vincent have been the closest thing to family she has ever known. Her long time  friends have been hiding a secret world from her. One that changes Shelly’s view of the world forever.

This mind altering journey brings Shelly to some revelations about herself and the world she thought she understood. Can her surrogate family help her find her balance again? (inspired by the work of Bobby Birks.)

Book Banning: Why It Happens, and Why It Shouldn’t

bwharold:

Great topic!

Originally posted on The 100 Greatest Books Challenge:

Book banning happens A LOT, and it happens for all the wrong reasons. In my latest article over at Punchnel’s, find out which books are “filthy,” which books are “dangerous,” and which books are “communist” — and why we should read them anyway.

10 Reasons for Banning Books,
and 5 Much Better Reasons Not To

And don’t forget, Banned Books Week 2014 starts on Sunday. Support banned books by participating in an event near you, and by making fun of people who would try to take away some of the world’s greatest literature.

banned books 2

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10 Things Authors Worry About

bwharold:

I have struggled with all of these and still do on a daily basis!

Originally posted on Shannon A Thompson:

Announcements: 

The next section of my interactive poetry series on Wattpad has begun! You can read the first poem – The grave of my teenage daughter – by clicking the link. Remember to vote, comment, and/or share for your chance to be mentioned during my next YouTube video.

In other news, Star-crossed Book Blog reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, and she included excerpts and viewpoints on the characters. Read the full review by clicking here, but here’s a small quote, “Noah was a mystery that I enjoyed unraveling. He was broken, dark and even though he never showed it, I couldn’t help but feel as though he was suffocating from having the weight of the world on his shoulders.” Click here to check out Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon.

10 Things Authors Worry About:

One of my more popular posts has always been Being a Writer: Pros…

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NaNoWriMo Creeps Ever Nearer

November is NaNoWriMo. Last year I didn’t even make it a week. I had a story, I had a premise, but I found the first installment still haunted me.

Rewriting seems to be where my work dies. So this year I am deliberately doing a rewrite.

My first writing project post high school was a “fan fic” of a universe a good friend of mine had created. I created my own characters and set them on his playground. I didn’t worry about it being good, but I did want to work out some personal demons. I was going through a divorce at the time and had some issues to work through.

Writing is very therapeutic and helps a person see themselves in a mirror. I needed that mirror.

The piece itself is poorly written (and my friend didn’t care much for it), but I fell in love with these characters. I created a fictional family that I could relate too. And for the record I did ask my friend if I could borrow his playground. He seemed pleased that I would take an interest.

My goal this NaNoWriMo is to rewrite the piece and finish the concept I started. My friend gave me a great base to build off from. I have no problem sharing a byline with him. I think he is super talented, but I only use his world building devices. The rewrite won’t mention his characters at all. Previously they were mentioned in explanations to my characters. It’s not that I don’t want to bring attention to his talent. I think he has a lot to offer to his genre.

I think it best if I just let my characters tell their experience in the playground. I am a very feminine writer and in a world clearly designed by a man; a woman’s experience is very interesting to me. I hope my friend understands that I *need* to write this. If anyone has ever created a fictional character I think they can relate to the “speaking” that happens. When the story surfaces or resurfaces, it is an obsession. It is the escape from the mundane and the rigors of adult life.

My character Sheldina Campbell wants me to finish the story. I can’t disappoint her. My friend and I haven’t spoken for a while so I haven’t been able to tell him. It’s not that I plan to “do” anything with the piece. However there is a certain peace of mind and confidence that fills me when I know I have his blessing. I hope this rewrite will be better crafted, but still hold the heart. *Sigh* I guess the only thing to do is try and see.

What about my fellow Wrimos? What challenge will you lay down for yourself this year? Let me know I’m curious.