Trump’s Bone Walls

pixabay

pixabay

This post is dedicated to Donald Trump and the many walls he attempts to build between us and within which he resides. An excerpt from my post-apocalyptic book The Bone Wall, it’s an oral history told by a disabled woman named Shy who keeps the stories of the People.

***

“In ancient days,” Shy begins, “old books told of gods and angels, devils and deceivers, of the making and breaking of the world.” Her small hands glide though the air as she talks, as if she would paint for us a picture of the words she perceives. She appears not to blink, the light voice of a child smoothly echoing an ancient tale imprinted in her memory long ago. “Prophesies came to pass, books burned to ash, gods and devils long ago dead.” She pauses to swivel her misshapen head, her eyes goggling at Riverwalkers and descendants alike.
*
In the beginning, the greatest of gods created into the formless and empty void, the heavens and earth. Of his eyes, he made the sun and moon, which he set among the white stars that he might behold his creation by light of day and dark of night.
*
He toiled to set the clay to spin, the sky to blue and storm. Of his blood, he spilled the rain to carve the rivers and sate the sea. Of his body, he sowed the seeds of life and from his flesh burst a fecund world of plant and tree, laying over the land between the seas a verdant green. He gazed upon the work of his hands and saw it was good.
*
With his breath, he breathed life into the waters of the sea and set it teeming. Breathed life into the winged birds of the sky. Molded with his fingers and breathed into the living creatures that roam the land, each according to their own natures. He gazed upon the work of his heart and saw it was good.
*
And of his thought, he created man in his likeness and woman that he might live in companionship. To them he gave the seed-bearing plants and fruit-bearing trees. To them he granted mastery over the fishes in the seas and birds in the sky and every wild creature that crawls and runs upon the land, that they might shepherd this new world. He gazed upon the work of his dreams and saw it was good.
*
Thus in seven days the heavens and the earth were fashioned in all their vast array.
*
In the beginning of the end, what was done would be undone.
*
For man in his covetousness forsook the gifts of the great god and bowed to the deceivers who feared not to speak evil of grace and charity, believing themselves their own deceivings. They with feigned words made man a slave of his desires, promised him liberty, when they themselves were the servants of corruption.
*
In pride and greed, man closed his eyes to the shelter of the sky, thus the sun was set to scorch with fire and the moon to chill with ice. In gluttony and sloth, man poured his foul in the rivers and springs of water that flowed to the sea, and every living thing in the sea died and the land dried. In envy and lust, man scourged the life of the fields and forests, and disease broke out on man and beast; thus the land was plunged into plague.
*
In wrath and fear, the deceivers shouted their righteousness into the air. Forsaken and astray, zealous with false beliefs and dread to hope, man took up sword and shield. Flashes of lightning rent the sky, peals of thunder shook the mountains and the great cities of the nations crumbled. Every island drowned as the seas rose up in mighty tides. From the sky, huge hailstones, fire, and ash fell on the People.
*
Thus in seven days the heavens and the earth were broken in all their vast array.
*
The deceivers, laden with plunder, sought to escape the pollutions of their creation. In secret voices, they whispered among them: “Let us build these Gardens and stand walls around them. The glory is ours, for we are the righteous and chosen of God; rewarded with license on every side. Why else be blessed with such bounty, but by God’s desire.”
*
Then in slow procession, one for every ten thousand men entered within the walls. One for every ten thousand women abided within the walls. One for every ten thousand children sheltered within the walls. So they found peace within their walls and security within their strongholds, no violence in their land, nor ruin or destruction within their borders.
*
Beyond the walls, the tens of tens of tens of thousands trembled, for terror and fear lay upon the whole land. The fields went fallow, and beasts bore no calves or lambs. The rivers ran with fire, and seas belched up their foul and bloated bodies. Plagues and pestilence befell man and his descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering wars. And the people came to the Garden walls and begged for entrance.
*
And so said the deceivers onto the gathering hordes: “Mighty God, bless us. Saved are we by our devotion to your laws and renunciation of the wicked. We offer no succor among the righteous but cast the sinful from our gates. We deny the tainted and corrupt safe harbor within our moral ranks. We are the merciless sword of your justice, keepers of the covenant, the Saved.”
*
The people in the parched and broken world rose up in fear and desperation, and descended onto the Garden gates. A great horde of fury marched on the mighty walls, those in back pressing blindly on those at the fore until bodies leapt in screaming pillars of flame. They could not save themselves from the power of the walls; just as fire consumes the forest and sets the mountains ablaze, so were they devoured.
*
Ten-thousand times a thousand men blazed upon the walls. Ten thousand times a thousand women flared upon the walls. Ten thousand times a thousand children perished upon the walls. And the white bones clattered and rattled and formed mountainous bone walls around the Gardens of the deceivers so they would be reminded of their own ruination.

The Bone Wall: 2 Blogger Reviews

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The Bone Wall – Amazon Universal Link

Kevin Cooper from KC Books & Music recently graced one of my books with a glowing review. Of course, I did a happy dance around my house, and the dogs barked their heads off at the excitement. “No, we’re not going for a car ride,” I shouted. “I got a super review.”

There’s no greater gift to an author than when someone “gets” your book and tells the world about it. Kevin is a great friend of indie authors, a reputable reviewer, cover designer, and accomplished author and musician in his own right. I encourage writers and readers to browse his site. Without further ado:

Kevin’s Review: The Bone Wall

This futuristic/dystopian tale is presented to us in the first-person pov from the perspective of two very different, if not truly opposite personas: Rimma who is angry and bent upon revenge for the death of her father and against all who oversaw the destruction of heaven, and her twin sister, Angel who hopes against hope for a better world of peace, love and harmony.

Rimma not only vows to kill all the biters, (those responsible for the destruction of heaven) but forces Angel to vow that she will allow Rimma to bear all the burdens and consequences so she can protect her.

The only thing stronger than Rimma’s burning desire for revenge is her love for Angel and all that she stands for… In a world bent upon self-destruction, Angel must survive at all costs. The story is deeply thought-provoking, extremely well written and constructed; It’s not the kind of story you want to read quickly and get it over with but rather, one you want to savour. There are countless raw emotions and events to draw you ever deeper, and never a dull moment passes in this action-packed epic fantasy/sci-fi tale.

The Bone Wall is a truly exceptional work which brings out the best in D. Wallace Peach… Without doubt my favourite to date and one of the easiest five-stars I’ve ever given. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.

** ❤ **

Somehow, this ended up being my lucky week with a second review, this one by the talented author and blogger, Jacqui Murray. She blogs at Worddreams, and I love her site for her writing tips and “How to Describe” thought-starters. Check out her Top Posts and other resources on her right menu bar.

Jacqui’s Review: The Bone Wall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Bone Wall follows the story of two twins, entwined in a failing world that neither is prepared for. When the world almost destroyed itself over 300 years ago, it managed to seal in some of the planet’s inhabitants while condemning the rest to live outside the protective shell, in a world that was barely life at all. Now that shell is failing and the inhabitants within must figure out what that means to them. What follows is a savage fight to save a dystopian world that will never be the same.

This is D. Wallace Peach’s fourth novel. Not only is it a page-turner, but it challenges our notions of humanity, fairness, and equity in a world where none of those can truly exist.

** ❤ **

Thanks you to both authors for taking the time to read and share their thoughts on their blogs. It’s a great honor.

Amazon Universal Link

The Bone Wall – #BookGiveaway

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Free on Amazon Today through July 3: Click Here

I accidentally hit the publish button on my Happiness Tag post last Tuesday. It was supposed to be today’s post. Oops. So I’m filling the slot with a little unabashed book promotion for the long weekend. The timing of the promotion and the accidental need for a Friday post is entirely coincidental, I swear.

The Bone Wall is a grim and gritty post-apocalyptic fantasy.
So tender readers beware.

The Blurb:

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world.

A wonderful review by Christoph Fischer:star3

“The Bone Wall” by D. Wallace Peach is a beautiful if somewhat grim piece of fantasy that makes no secret of its metaphoric and symbolic character. Heaven and Hell, good and evil are the forces in an apocalyptic world. The novel presents us with twin girls, Rimma and Angel who are quite different in character from each other. The book is refreshing in its stylistic approach, clear in its message and touching in its characterisation.There is swearing and darkness, there is goodness and hope, a fast pace and a literary quality in the writing. Impressive.
Thank you, Christoph!

Happy Reading!

To all my US friends – Have a wonderful 4th of July

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Those Darn Cussing Characters

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All modified images from pixabay

I don’t cuss. Well, rarely, and when I do, it usually makes me laugh, which defeats the purpose of expressing the strength of my irritation.

Yet, my characters cuss, some worse than others, and my cursing characters have elicited some negative reviews. It was a risk I chose to take, and I’m not shocked by the occasional blow back. Since profanity is controversial, authors should weigh whether swearing will occur in their books, and if so, what kind and how much.

Consider that these choices apply to a blog too. Readers may forgo your cuss-free book because of cursing on your blog. Just saying.

Certain books lend themselves toward cursing more than others. Carrie Rubin of The Write Transition commented on her blog that, “a 17-year-old, inner-city Cleveland bully would not call his victim a “chubby poo-poo head.” I would agree. The same may apply to a whole host of characters, particularly when they’re in dire straits.

If I’m driving off a the side of a cliff, I might yell something stronger than “Oh, darn it!” My character that’s facing an advancing horde of barbarians might mutter something dicier than “Rats!” And my character that just lost three fingers in a sword fight might cry something more powerful than, “Bummer!”

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For some reason, readers who dislike “real” swear words will tolerate “swear-like” words. Thus, we get fricking, freaking, frigging, fragging, frecking, flipping, and the close call fecking (not a word in the US though we all know what it means). There’s no mystery as to what any of these variations mean, but somehow they’re more acceptable.

Writing fantasy gives me a bit of an out. If I’m inventing a world, I might invent my own cuss words and trust readers to make the leap.

In The Melding of Aeris, the cataclysmic event of the past was The Burn. So cuss words fall along these lines: flaming foul, burn me, foul and fire, burn them… In my current WIP, The Rose Shield, the cussing of one secondary character is a bit more colorful: filching codwit, spanking corker, codding torch-benders, glistering goat-licker… (To avoid mortification, be sure to research your fake words!)

No one seems to mind the bloody violence in my books, but heaven forbid someone says, “Shit!” (There, I said it – grinning foolishly.)

Well, that brings me to The Sorcerer’s Garden. It takes place partly in contemporary times, so I used present day language. Not too foul-mouthed – mostly “crap” and “shit.” A reader didn’t care for the word “shit” and commented on it (it appears 28 times in 90,000 words). I couldn’t add any more “craps,” but I suppose I could have swapped a few out for “darns, rats, and bummers.” I chose not to. The book is written for adults, and though I don’t say that word often in real life, my 28 year-old character is far less reserved.

She is who she is. I took the risk.

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Well, then comes The Bone Wall. Oh dear. A reader mentioned not being able to finish it because of the prevalence of the “f-bomb.”

Now, I’m NOT suggesting that the reader was wrong or unfair. There aren’t hundreds of f-bombs in the book, but there are a lot. Readers are free to like and dislike whatever they want. I will put down books if the writing doesn’t appeal to me, and every reader has the right to do the same. We know as authors that not everyone is going to be a rabid fan, and I knew when I wrote the book that I was poking a few boundaries. I wrote it anyway.

Knowing that I would irritate some readers, why did I do it?

Because I felt it was necessary for the authenticity of the book, characters, and the main character’s arc. The story takes place in a violent post-apocalyptic world. One the main characters goes through a process of hardening, reacting to the brutality of her environment by increasing her own ruthlessness. Her language degrades as her choices and experiences do. Her cursing is in direct contrast to her twin sister, who doesn’t swear at all. To me, the language choices serve a purpose, and I was willing to accept the consequences.

When writing books for adult audiences, authors make choices about profanity, violence, and sex, knowing these are a few of the hot topics that some readers are sensitive to. There are many books with violence that don’t cross the profanity line. Perhaps cussing isn’t a prerequisite for any book. Authors must weigh their creative freedom and choices against offending readers and suffering those unfortunate reviews.

Do your books include cussing? What is/was your decision-making process?

Eye of the Beholder

pixabay - natureworks

pixabay – natureworks

I don’t know why the science of light and color caught my attention. Perhaps it’s the fantastical element of how this intricate world works that intrigues me. The initial leap sent my imagination cartwheeling. Another perceptual shift in reality and possibility. More inspiration.

My first memory of the nature of color is the moment I learned that when we interpret something as being “red,” the object is actually all the colors except “red.” Red is the merely the wavelength of light the object reflects. This rule applies to every person and thing entering our vision – we see reflected light, not what is absorbed, not the “color” they are, not the solid objects at all.

Well, in my little pea-brain, that’s mind-blowing.

pixabay public domain pictures

pixabay public domain pictures

Waves of light are received by the unique cones and rods in our retinas and interpreted by our one-of-a-kind brains. Each eye has about 6-7 million cones that receive intense levels of light and create the sensation of color. Each eye also has about 120 million peripheral rods, which are more sensitive to dim light and transmit black and white information to the brain. This is why nightfall drains the color of the day. It’s not magic after all.

Biologically, what I see is different from what you see. Red to me is different from red to you. It’s all interpretation, perception, not of solid objects and entities but of waves of light. As I look around my living room this morning, I shift my perception, aware that I see only light beams.

It’s all light, all perception, beauty in the eye of the beholder.

So where does this science take me? Straight into fantasy, of course.

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pixabay – stevebidmead

When writing The Melding of Aeris, I researched the visual perception of animals. In the book, humans have developed the ability to graft animal skin, scale, horns, other stuff, and eyes to their bodies. (I know, weird, but that’s me). I learned that although humans discern a broader spectrum of colors than most mammals, many animals perceive color better than we, see sharper and farther or have vision highly attuned to movement. A variety of birds, fish and insects see the shorter wavelengths of ultraviolet light invisible to the human eye.

Well that’s cool. What else can’t we “see?”

pixabay geralt

pixabay geralt

Centuries after Newton first observed that color is not inherent in objects, our scientists experiment with bending waves of light. Since all we see is reflected light, it makes sense that if we bend it around something, we render that thing invisible. In The Bone Wall, a few characters have developed the ability to manipulate light waves. Of course, to my thinking, if we have the skill to bend light, why not waves of sound and heat as well? I travel that path without a second thought.

I’ve always liked musing about perception, chipping away at the borders of what I imagine is real. I like watching science “discover” what ancient wisdom has been teaching for thousands of years. We all experience those laughable moments when science proves a truth we already know. At the same time, I relish my eye-opening moments when science flints a spark of creativity and leaves me with the question, “What if?”

 

 

Covers: Reader Eye-Candy

New cover for The Bone Wall

New cover for The Bone Wall

We’ve all heard about the importance of quality book covers, and if I’m honest about my own book buying habits, I have to agree. I browse the covers. If I like a cover, I read the blurb. If I like the blurb, I read the first few pages. From there it lands in my shopping cart. A treat for me!

My switch from traditional publishing to indie publishing means it’s time for new covers. Authors will usually have the option to purchase existing covers from the publisher, but I decided to use this opportunity to upgrade, to commit to a professional image and brand. I figure this is my chance, and the covers I pick have to stick.

Covers are an investment for a writer, just like editing and proofing. Unlike editing and proofing, they’re seriously fun. I asked the talented Jennifer Munswami of J.M. Rising Horse Creations to recreate every one of my covers, including those for my 2 self-published books. I’m committed to this writing thing, and with my transition to indie publishing, the future of my work rests squarely on my shoulders.

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The old cover

The transformation has begun, and it will take about a year to complete 13 covers (my schedule, not Jennifer’s). Purely as a result of timing, we started with one of my self-published books, The Bone Wall.

Of course, I have to include an Amazon link: The Bone Wall 

Are you considering a cover for your book? Here’s what a cover designer needs before starting:

For All Books: 
Book Title and Author
Genre
Ebook, print book, or both
Stand-alone or series (for branding a series)
Deadline

What you’re looking for in a cover? 
Main character(s), theme, whether you like color…

Other less important details:
Setting, props, other possible background details…

If creating a paperback, these additional items are needed:
Print House
Book size
Color of paper (for title page graphics)
Exact number of formatted pages (determines spine width)
Blurb (for back cover)

Find J.M. Rising Horse Creations on Jennifer’s Website and on Facebook.

Hope this was helpful 🙂 Happy Writing!

For the Grimdark Fantasy Reader

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pixabay.com

The point of her shovel chips the ground where she drops it. She presses her foot on the blade’s flat rim and pushes. Clods of dirt break free, tossed aside to tumble and slide down the slope. Rimma presses her lips behind her teeth and digs into our bone wall alone. Her shovel has gouged a well nearly a foot deep when she hits something hard. She widens the hole’s edges, digging around the thing until she can lever it up. On her knees, she reaches in and pulls from the soil, the first long, pitted, ivory bone.

More shovels join in the excavation, the exhumed grave widening and deepening until shovels aren’t required, the bones resting on bones like loose gravel, bones nestled in bones in pockets of air, a tomb built of millions upon millions of bones. They rise from the top of the wall one at a time, in handfuls, in bouquets of rib bones, the thick-clubbed remains of arms and legs, blades of the back and hips, butterfly bones of the spine, hollow-eyed grinning skulls, the delicate twigs of fingers and toes.

The People watch with sober faces as we unearth their past, our past. I wonder if they’ve clawed into these walls before, if this vision is as fresh and tormenting to them as it is to us. The bone wall extends for miles. How far and how long will Rimma dig? I don’t believe she can stop.

“That’s enough, Rimma,” I say, squatting beside her. “Peace, Sister.”

She sits back on her heels, eyes closed, a tiny skull in her lap no larger than her clasped hands, an unborn child perhaps. She raises it over the open pit, and when her fingers open, it drops clattering back in, the toothless jaw snapping off. I believe that if I didn’t stand there, at the rim of her experience, at the edge of the gaping hole in the bone wall, she would have leaned forward and fallen into the grave herself. Without a word or glance, she rises to her feet, and with the shovel over her shoulder, trudges back up the spoke to Heaven.

~The Bone Wall

Yep, a little promotion 🙂

Peace

Flood Update: We are safe and dry and have lights as of late last night. Thank you for all the kind thoughts and comments. All is well.