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Jul. 11th, 2011

The Black Beast

La Bête Noire
(The Black Beast)

Firelight plays across your face. For a moment, maybe, there’s a gentleness I haven’t seen, not since long ago. Time and space have ceased for us. We lay entwined, your hands in my hair, my hand on your chest. And I weep. Such bitter tears of anguish fall from my eyes.

Your eyes are still hidden though. So deep. In the shadows. There was a time when I could see past it all. I could see eternity. But now… That darkness is never ending. It’s forever.
My finger to my lips, I lean forward.

“Shh,” I say. “Can you hear that? …It’s coming… It’s coming for me.”

A slight breeze brushes a strand of hair across my cheek. I push it back. I tuck it behind my ear.

You don’t understand. Not any of it.

You can’t hear what I hear.

A thousand times, I've said I’m sorry. A thousand more I’ll say it.

But it won’t matter. Not now.

It’s coming.

It’s coming for me.

Jul. 6th, 2011

It just might be a good thing

When I was a kid anyone could hit me and I’d take it. I could get called hateful, mean things and I’d produce copious amounts of tears for their enjoyment. I had no defenses and I had no way of knowing how to even build a half-wall around myself. I took every hit, physically, emotionally. It didn’t matter. I learned to lay down early as that kept the pain to a minimum. That was who I was. And even though I walked in the shadows as much as possible, being this way always attracted those who were looking for easy targets. In the end, I paid a high price for my sin of being a doormat.

I was around 22 years old and it was somewhere around the birth of my second child that I learned to fight back. There were a lot of obstacles surrounding the pregnancy and birth. I was forced to make decisions I never imagined I’d have to make. In the end, a fighter was born. And that fighter was me.

If you hurt me, I’m gonna hurt you back. Punch me and I’m gonna slam my fist in your face. Knock me out and I’ll eventually come to, find you, and retaliate in equal form.

I don’t go out looking for fights or revenge. I don’t feel as though anyone that has hurt me deserves worse than what they gave me. My actions are spurred on by the knee-jerk reflex, the pump of my adrenaline, the “fight” option from the flight or fight response.

This is who I am today. And it isn’t a bad thing to be. It’s pushed me to be the woman I am. The writer I am. The mother I am. It’s enabled me to fight for my kids, my beliefs, my right to love my God, and my dreams.

So if you’re ever wondering if people really can change, this is your proof. We can and we should. We should grow in some way every day of our lives. If we don’t, we become stale and stagnant. We begin to reek of regret and confusion. We’re left behind because we refuse to move forward and the rules of the universe won’t allow our loved ones to carry us.

Jun. 17th, 2011

You Can't Take It Back

You Can't Take It Back

Of all the souls to touch my life, I never imagined you’d be the one to shatter me.
But you did.
And you can’t take it back.
I shouldn’t keep you.
Into the darkness I run. Into my shadows.
I sit, my knees pulled to my chest.
My fingertips trail across my blade.
I want to die.
I want to end it all tonight.
My demon crouches low, breath putrid, teeth dripping acid, his claws coated crimson with my blood. He laughs, satisfied to have me all to himself once again.
“Such splendid carnage he’s made of you,” he says. “All mine now.”
I bury my head in my hands. My eyes weep betrayal. I breathe in deep. There’s no point to this. No end. I’d die to have you know every inch of me.
But it makes no difference.
When I bleed, I only bleed for me.
I can never kill the pain. Nothing stops the craving for my grave.
Confusion swarms my head while mayflies rip at my flesh.
I’ve been lost down this road for so long.
Exhausted.
Broken.
I’m jagged, little shards of my wrecked soul dropping with each step. Even those breadcrumbs won’t help me find my way home.
There’s a part of you I wish I could reach.
A part you think I shouldn’t know.
I tried to scrape together a shelter. Mud and clay. Pieces of bluegrass shot through. You tore it down, crept forward, your hand reaching for me. You made me believe. Made me think I could break free.
Now I lay here, stripped bare, shivering and cold. Your breath still fills the air. Your fingertips still hum across my skin. Fragments of what I could have been float above me. I close my eyes.
When did I become so unimportant, so insignificant?
I know you wish I could let go. In a moment, it will all fade. In a moment, I’ll struggle to speak. I’ll struggle to stand. Maybe someday you’ll forgive me. Maybe someday you’ll understand I’m loving you the only way I can.
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May. 25th, 2011

What I Aspire To

I'm sure I heard this prayer several times while growing up, but it wasn't until around 1 year or so ago that I read through it and felt like it spoke to me. Since then I've tried my best to work toward the goals in this prayer. In just working at it, it's changed my life for the better in more ways than I can count. It's made me smile more, laugh more, love easier and gain a personal confidence I didn't know was possible. I thought, "Why not share it?"



Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury,pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.



O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen



It seems if I recall my massive mind library of music right that Sarah McLachlan set this prayer to some beautiful music, on the off chance you wanted to know this. ;-)

May. 17th, 2011

Lovers' Spats (Panthan's Abyss)

Today's excerpt is from my young adult paranormal Panthan's Abyss, which is a work in progress still.

*Spoiler Alert* 

If you're waiting for this book's release and don't want to read any possible spoilers then pass by this one, please.

Characters: Laura and Grayson

Past tense told in 3rd person from Laura's point of view for this scene.

 

The mouth let out a moan and she covered it with her palm.  The vessel was in pain.  She could stop pain.  She was supposed to stop pain.  Using her free hand, she wrapped its bare neck, releasing her endorphins to seep through its skin and into its bloodstream. 

No longer hurting, it fell silent.  She wrapped her legs around the waist and sucked in another mouthful.  And another.  It took five deep pulls before the legs gave way.  They tumbled to the dirt and she let out a chuckle.  From now on, she would take all her vessels standing because she’d liked the rush of the fall.  

This one was full of blood and she had been starving.  Her chest rested against its ribs.  Her heartbeat was rapid, the vessel’s faint.  Hot breath oozed across her hand, still covering its mouth.  Soon, though, the breath grew weak as well.  The heart sputtered to a stop, the steady stream of blood on her tongue flagging.  She sucked harder, trying to pull every ounce of the liquid velvet into her.

It was then she was yanked away, some unseen and unknown force snapping her from her kill.  She came up hissing, her claws slicing through empty air.  As she kicked, her feet found something solid so she had at it once more, whatever it was.  A grunt muddled through her foggy hearing.

 “No!” Gray yelled.  “No, you can’t!”

She was shoved against the wall, crumbles of dirt spewing in every direction.  She threw a hand up, ready to slash his face, but midair caught his growl as one of her own diamond blades stabbed the middle of her palm.  Fiery pain zapped across her hand and up her forearm.  She slammed her head back, tasting gritty soil as she let loose a high-pitched scream.

Using her only free hand, she twisted, yanked the dagger loose, and dropped it to the ground.  “My God, you’ll pay for that,” she gritted out between her front teeth.

Grayson snarled in return, ready to lunge, but she never gave him a chance.  With both hands, she attacked, picking him up and tossing him across the passageway.  He crashed into one of the wooden braces, knocking it in half, but took no notice as he rolled from the raining dirt and lunged for her again.

Prepared, she spread her legs for balance and waited.  As he neared, she threw out a punch.  It landed hard and sharp across his cheek.  He stumbled, but righted in seconds, swinging his leg around.  She ducked under the kick.  A stupid move on her part, because the instant she popped up, he clamped both her wrists and shoved her hard into the wall between two braces.  Like lightning, he drove a dagger into each palm, nailing her solidly against the wooden columns.

“No…No!” she cried.  “Don’t you understand?  You’re not real.  None of this is real.  And I am nothing.”  She laughed, twisting in her painful hold.  “Do you know what they used to say?  They used to say you were mutations.  A government experiment gone wrong.  Science.  There was no God in their equation.  No Satan.  And I believed them.  We all did.”

He stood before her, huffing, tears streaking down his filthy face.  “You fed from him.”  He leaned over, resting his opened palm against his thigh.  With his other hand, he pointed at her.  “You fed from him.  Took his lifeblood, sucked him till he ran dry.”

He straightened, swiping at his cheeks, leaving mud smears.  “What the hell is wrong with you?”

She had no idea what was wrong with her, if there was even anything wrong with her at all anymore.  She’d lived in a horrible fog for the past seven months.

May. 16th, 2011

Lovers' Spats (Pieces of Me)

Jealousy and the fear and pain of loss. Today's excerpt is from my young adult novel Pieces of Me, which is currently undergoing reconstruction.

Characters: Aspen and Jason

Past tense told in first person by Aspen

 

A dozen thoughts buzzed through my brain as I stared at her, beginning with an image of myself smashing one of those heavy vases over her auburn head.  Somewhere in the middle were the words, “He’s mine,” said with an animal like growl.  At the end, she had a bloody nose and a few missing teeth.

 Only problem was he’d ignored my texts all day.  In addition, Terry’s visitation was not the place to deal with these things.  I turned away, going to the guest book set up in the corner.

 Throughout the evening, I tried to catch Jason’s eye.  He refused to look at me.  When I finally built up enough courage to approach him, he replied to my condolences in a monotone consisting of two flat syllables, “Thank you.”

 India smirked at me with her eyes.  Until she did it I would’ve thought the action impossible, but I knew better now.  Besides, wasn’t there such a thing as laughing eyes?

 I was crushed, confused, and in tears by the time Dad and I left.

 Still, I wasn’t going to give up on Jason or my vow to make sure he knew I was there for him.  By eleven-thirty, I’d repeated my performance of the night before and arrived around the corner of Jason’s street.

 I flipped open my phone for the umpteenth time, but he hadn’t replied to me.  Is this where we ended?  Was she in there with him?  Had she convinced him he didn’t need me?  Had he ever even cared about me in the first place?

 With so many questions spinning in my head, I thought I’d go crazy.  My hands shaking, I dragged my hair back from my face, yanking hard at it, as if I could jerk all those insane thoughts right out of my head.

 But they weren’t insane, were they? 

 They had to be.  He couldn’t be telling me it was over.  I didn’t believe him.

 I yanked on my handle and hopped onto the sidewalk.  I shoved at the door, but then caught it with a quiet, “Oh,” as I remembered the time.  I wasn’t supposed to be here.

 I tiptoed down the sidewalk, up his driveway, and to his window.  Once again, I sent him a text.  I stood there, shivering, waiting, my phone open in my hand.

 It vibrated and lit up.

 
Jason: U need 2 go home

Aspen: No.  Let me in.

Jason: not 2nite

Aspen:  Y?

Jason: jus go home.  I’ll talk 2 u tmorow

Aspen: I’ll jus sleep out here then.  I’m not leaving.

Jason: fine.  U do that.

Aspen: I will!

 

I sank to my butt against the brick wall.  A few minutes later, I dug out my gloves and put them on.  I didn’t care what he said or thought.  No, I did.  He needed to remember that we were in this together.

 He also just had to come to the understanding that I was fighting for my fairytale ending here.  I wasn’t going to stand by and watch him fall.

 I pulled my phone from my pocket.

 Aspen: jus so u know, I’m still here.

 He didn’t answer.  I curled up on my side underneath his window.  It was freakin’ cold out.  My nose started running.  I rubbed my glove underneath it.

 It wasn’t below freezing.  I couldn’t die out here.  Besides, I was shaking all over and that was a good sign.

I checked my phone.  Thirty minutes had passed.

 

Aspen: still here

Jason:  I don’t need u

Aspen: I don’t believe u

 

His window came open.  This time I dove in headfirst.  He grabbed the back of my coat and yanked me through.

 “You are so stupid!” he snapped.

 I popped to my feet.  “What is your problem anyway?”

 “I don’t want an audience tonight.”

 “An audience for what?  To watch you slit your wrist?  Put a gun to your head?  Are you giving up now?  Don’t think for a second that I’m gonna let you do that.”

 He covered the top of his head, curling his hands into fists.  “I just wanna wake up.”

“Well, you can’t.  This is where you live now.  She’s dead.  It happened in a split second.  You couldn’t stop it.  And you’d already done everything you could for her.” 

 Hands still at his head, he stumbled to his bed and lay down.  Following him, I left a trail of outer clothing: my gloves, scarf, and coat.

 We didn’t talk anymore that night.  He cried some, off and on, and I held him close, praying that God would take away his pain.

May. 15th, 2011

Lovers' Spats (The Souls of the Fey)

I guess on the outside people always see something different than the true person who is inside. This is also true of couples. I get asked every once in awhile about arguments between my characters. "How do you write them? You and your husband seem to get along so well."

True, we do get along for the most part, but of course we argue. lol As all writers and artists know, inspiration comes from everywhere. I use past situations of my own or I'll catch an argument out in public and cast my own story with my own characters into the roles. Love scenes are awesome, but when I edit I find myself the most intrigued by the lovers' spats. So I thought I'd use the following week to post some of those on my blog each day, just for the entertainment value. Feel free to play along on your own blog if you'd like. I enjoy reading them!

My first scene is from The Souls of the Fey between my characters Sarah and Asku. The language is a little older than my YA novels and you'll probably find this book has more romance and heat in the scenes than my others. I guess I was just feeling the sharp claws of love when I wrote it. ;-)



He crooked a finger. "Come, let's have it out, and be done with it."

She turned away, but he yanked her around to face him. "You never did give a damn about me, did you?" she asked.

"Stop that."  He shook his head sadly. "Even now, to look at you feels wrong."

"Why? Because I'm not what you want."

"Wanting and needing are different things."

"I know that."

"Do you?" He raised his brow. "Tell me what you want of me and then tell me what you need of me."

She fell silent. Was there a difference in her mind between the two? She wanted him as much as she needed him, didn't she?

"The hate. Let's start there," he said softly.

With a jerk, she pulled from him. He caught every crumb of her emotions. "You take. And when you do, you take everything of me. I have nothing left so I go numb. No, I hate, for I don't want to feel anything. Then I start a fight because I need you to feel something. You've built walls all around you and I thought I could break through them, that I would be the one to pull down the gray, but it's not so. You're only cold and untouchable and not mine."

He took her arm again, squeezed. "I will always be yours. But until you can feel without a shove, I am untouchable. And you can hate me until hell freezes over if it makes you feel something."

"Hell has frozen over," she spat out. "It stands before me, rigid, and I'm the one shattered."

"I am not what you need, Sarah." He shook her arm, making her look at him. "I am not what you need. I will always be a part of that nightmare and when it ends, if I were to stand before you still, husband, lover, you would hate me far worse than you do now. And your hate would grow, a corrupt vine, choking any love I had for you."

He laid his hand gently on her cheek. "We are not meant to be. Not like that."

"Then how are we meant to be? What is there here for us?"

"Friendship," he said. "If I could take back what I did, I would, but only because it was wrong and selfish and very unmanly. I don't want to take it back though, for it was what I wanted. Yet certainly not what either one of us needed. Can you deny that? Can you tell me what passed between us does not link into the shame of that day? I am nothing more to you than the good side of death and violence. A memory you can look upon, for your husband's turns into a nightmare."

He flicked the ruffled lace at her throat. "This black? Who do you mourn for, Sarah? Your husband or yourself?"

"I hate you for this!" She pulled backward so fast she stumbled. "You make me see what I am," she continued as he steadied her, "and I hate you for that."

"There is a man far removed from this nightmare who can help you. I am not that man." His face was inches from her own, those black eyes moist and red tinged. "I am the tail end of that twisted storm that rages in you. I need you to love me for the man I am, not hate me for the man I had to be. Friendship. That's what I need from you. Will you give me that?"

May. 6th, 2011

My letter to you (A Mother's Day Post)

In my mind, Mother’s Day celebrates not only moms, but also womanhood. I’d love to write a letter honoring all the moms across the globe, but I’m a YA author. My true heart will always be with my teens, and some of them will be moms one day. All will be women. So this is my letter to them.


To all my girls:

I used to be you, which is the very reason you can trust what I’m about to say.

I promise you with all that makes me who I am that everything you feel is very real and very important. The world ignores you. I know it does. You’re heartbroken. I feel it. Your love was real. How could anybody ever doubt your heart? Every day, your mirror proves your every flaw. This hurts so much. You’re angry. I get it. You don’t know why you yell. You don’t know why you do anything. You don't have to know why you're feeling anything. Always searching, so cold, so lonely, looking for someone to understand your pain. I know how unbearable it is sometimes. The teachers overlook you, accuse you, misunderstand you. I know they do.

You don’t want to go to school, don’t want to face the world. Nobody listens. You’re confused. Sometimes you want to hurt yourself. Sometimes you want to hurt your friends. You mess up everything you touch. You’re hated. Everybody stares. You’re too fat. Too thin. Eyes too small. Too big. You’re not smart enough, not good enough. You hide behind a smile, but at night when you’re all alone… you cry, and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make the tears stop.

I’ve wished so many times that I could take this nightmare world away for you.

You drop things, forget things. You trip. You’re laughed at. You want to be the best at something, but you’re an epic fail at everything. You keep getting told none of this is a big deal.

I’m telling you, they're completely wrong. It’s the biggest deal in the world. It was once my world and now it’s your world. It's a big deal. But you have a deeper layer, something I didn't have.

You’re numb. Heartache and death are common to you.

You’re being raised in a warzone. Our soldiers have always been across the oceans. Screaming matches erupt all around you, each person swearing their way is best. Your parents, news reporters, teachers, and church leaders all fight with one another. They fight over you. They fight over their war. They fight over their husbands, their wives. Anger and hatred flood your computer and TV screens right next to death and blood. You’ve lost fathers, moms, cousins and friends. You watch coffins come home, the funerals protested with more hate and anger as the families try to bury their loved ones. You want answers, but no one can give them. You crawl deeper within yourself, scared, so torn, wishing you had a safe place to hide.

I would give everything to take this nightmare world away for you.

But I can’t. I can promise you life won’t always be this bad. You’re only just beginning, though it’s a sad shame you’ve gone through so much already. Hold on for me, though. It’s a hard struggle. That’s the honest truth. But don’t let go. Give yourself some time. You’re going to figure this all out. I know you will. I also know this world is trying very hard, but don’t let it steal your passion or your will to fight for the woman you’re supposed to be. Stand up for yourself and your dreams. You’re completely worth it.

Now, here are a few secrets, girl to girl, to help you on your journey: Remember to always keep pieces of your little girl in your soul. Run barefoot through the creeks. Always climb a few trees. Plan your wedding with every cute guy you see. Be a daydreamer. Every day. Laugh at stupid things. Paint your bedroom a crazy color.

Shh. Don’t dare tell this one to anybody, but your daddy was broken the day you were born. I can’t say this is a proven fact, but he’ll never be able to see you past the age of hair bows, brightly colored rainbows, and unicorns. So when you run down those creeks or climb those trees, take him with you. It’ll make him happy and he deserves to be happy.

And speaking of happy, make people smile, just for the pure joy it’ll give you. Don’t be afraid to mess up. Learn to have pride in your flaws because they add the most amazing things to your character. Plus, perfection is overrated. Cross my heart, this is true. Laugh at yourself. Dress up pretty every little chance you get. Make believe you’re a movie star, even when you’re 80. Love every person you meet, but leave them without a second thought if they can’t love you back.

And when it’s time, marry the guy who doesn’t just love the woman you are but loves the little girl in you too. Those are the guys that make the best daddies. ;-)

All my love,
Meredith Wood
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Apr. 29th, 2011

If you haven't already noticed...

Okay. I am on an extended blog break. This was not intentional, but my life has taken some twisty turns this past month. (No tornado pun intended) And on that note, we are fine where I'm at. However, we're all a little worried about how much longer the levees can hold that mighty Mississippi back from us. It's breaching levees all up and down its path, some of the worst flooding being within 20 miles from us in two different directions. I have friends flooded out and friends who have lost their homes. But even before the massive storm damages things were really crazy around here.  I promise to return as soon as possible! xoxo

Mar. 11th, 2011

Friday Five

1. I climbed in bed last night and turned on my TV. One of my favorite shows happened to be doing an arc where the mom dies of cancer. My heart couldn’t take it. I turned out the lights, my chest a silent night. All was calm in there. All was lost in there. Last week ended on a terribly sad note and this week began with the funeral. Death is like a thief in the night and it is the most depleting experience in the world.

Because of this I fell asleep thinking, “I can’t handle any more. So tired of death. So tired of destruction. ” I actually took the time to ponder why we can’t just quit on this part of life. Just lie down and say, “I’m not doing this one anymore. You go on and grieve without me this time. I’ll try to catch up later.”

As I fell asleep my subconscious plopped an ugly misshapen cherry on top of my weary mind. In my dreams I battled every enemy I ever had.

It’s no wonder when I woke and read the earthquake and tsunami news on my Yahoo page it took a few moments for me to understand I wasn’t still in the throes of my nightmare world.

2. I wish I’d had more time to blog this week. The only post I got up was one I wrote last weekend. I’m sorry.

3. But we finished the kitchen floor and most of our backsplash. We’re waiting on some more things that are on order before I take the final pics and post them. I <3 my new kitchen. It’s just amazing.

4. I’m going to try to sit my rear down this coming week and do some writing and reading. I’m doing a beta read for a friend right now and it is a wonderful story.

5. My heart and prayers go out to all in the path of this earthquake and tsunami.

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