Happy Halloween

A little scene, in preparation for my NaNo.  The official writing starts tomorrow!

**

Leon loved Halloween.  It was so much fun!  There were costumes and parties.  Children roamed the neighborhood, ringing bells to ask for candy.  Scary movies were all over the television.  It was, hands down, his favorite holiday.  He was in a good mood as he strode into his office.

“Nice ears,” Angie called, grinning.  Before he could thank her, she added, “Nate wants to see you in her office.”

Frowning, Leon tugged off the cat-ear headband and dropped it onto his desk.  The only reason Nate would need him was if he had a mission.  “On Halloween?” he moaned.  “Really?”

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About Ann Williams

This is the last character that I’m profiling from my upcoming NaNo…

First Impressions
Name: Ann Blakely Williams
Age: 30 years (Apr. 5)
Occupation: innkeeper
Summary: Loves a good challenge and has a natural skill with leadership.  She is very intelligent and uses her determination and sharp mind to achieve whatever goal she sets for herself.
Culture: Grew up in the big city and is used to the faster pace there, but has come to love the country life.

Loves
Family: none living
Friends: the women in her knitting circle
Romance: her husband, Henry
Things: the inn

Individuality
Flaws: dominant, sometimes impatient, can be intolerant, not always in touch with emotions
Graces: efficient, energetic, self-confident, strong willed, charismatic and inspiring
Quirks: something of a perfectionist
Skills: interior decorating, knitting, cooking, baking

Language
Diction: Speaks with crisp consonants and precise vowels; very careful with wording
Catchphrase: Don’t do that, honey.

Appearance
Body: somewhat short (5’4”), curvy form
Skin: lightly tanned
Hair: shoulder length dark red hair
Eyes: wide hazel eyes
Face: heart-shaped, fine features
Hands: small, stubby fingers
Unique Features: none
Movement: brisk, precise

Style
Fashion Style: chic
Colors: cool colors, browns, creams
Textures: silk and satin, velvet, smooth cotton, wool
Clothing: stylish jackets, slim line skirts and trousers, heels
Accessories: wedding band and engagement ring; locket her husband gave her
Entertainment: knitting, reading
Activities: hiking, cooking and baking

A drabble, to show a bit about her:

pie

Henry could smell a rich aroma as soon as he crossed the threshold.  A smile touched his lips as he headed into the kitchen.  Ann was just setting out the pies on the windowsill.

“Those smell good,” he said, coming up behind her.  He hugged her waist and pressed a kiss to her cheek.  “What’s the occasion?”

“Lizette will be here soon,” Ann said, smiling over her shoulder.  “I want to make a good impression.”

Henry hummed softly.  “Good idea,” he mused.  Frowning, he asked, “That doesn’t mean I can’t have some now, though.”

“When they cool,” Ann said, relenting.

About Henry Williams

Another character from my upcoming NaNo…

First Impressions
Name: Henry Williams
Age: 50 years (Sept. 15)
Occupation: innkeeper
Summary: Focused on the world around him, he takes his responsibilities seriously and is very dependable.
Culture: He grew up in the countryside and enjoys the slower pace that is typical there (as opposed to life in the city).

Loves
Family: a cousin who has three small children
Friends: none close, but friendly with everyone he meets
Romance: his wife, Ann
Things: the inn that he owns with his wife

Individuality
Flaws: inflexible, reluctant to improvise, worried about social status
Graces: warm and sensitive, very loyal, very personable
Quirks: randomly doodles on any available paper
Skills: accounting, business management, singing

Language
Diction: He tends to speak in a relaxed manner and uses a great deal of colloquialisms
Catchphrase: Is that so?

Appearance
Body: not very tall (5’7”); strongly muscled; in good shape for his age
Skin: lightly tanned
Hair: dark brown, somewhat messy; part on right side
Eyes: brown
Face: rectangular; firm brows
Hands: large, muscular
Unique Features: small but noticeable scar on chin
Movement: long, rangy steps; easy and relaxed in motion

Style
Fashion Style: casual
Colors: dark brown, black; jewel tones
Textures: smooth cotton, denims
Clothing: polo shirts, jeans, sweatshirts
Accessories: wedding band, wrist watch
Entertainment: reading, fishing, bird watching
Activities: running, hiking

A drabble featuring him:

apples

Henry smiled faintly as he watched Ann bustle around the hotel lobby, making certain that everything was perfectly set for when guests would arrive.  She set a basket of apples on the counter and placed a sign beside it.  “Help yourself,” the sign read.

“That’s a nice touch,” he said, nodding.

Ann smiled, shaking her head.  “I know you had fun picking apples with your cousin’s kids, Henry, but… Why did you have to get so many?” she said.  Then she headed over to adjust the logs by the fire.  “We’ll never eat that three pecks of apples, silly man!”

About Mary Carlisle

Another character from next month’s novel…

First Impressions
Name: Mary Carlisle
Age: 24 years (April 6)
Occupation: ornithology
Summary: sweet, outgoing, intelligent. She likes to be outdoors, in nature.  She’s a real country girl.
Culture: Born and raises in a small town in New York, she isn’t comfortable in the big city, where everything feels too close.  She likes the wide-open spaces and takes things at a slow, relaxed pace

Loves
Family: parents, large extended family
Friends: church, work, etc. she has loads of friends
Romance: husband (Robert)
Things: charm bracelet (Pandora type)

Individuality
Flaws: fiercely independent, unpredictable (not a planner), easily stressed, competitive
Graces: charming, sensitive, imaginative, curious, artistic
Quirks: left-handed, sneezes really loudly
Skills: trained in zoology, very good at knitting

Language
Diction: relaxed manner with a distinctly Upstate NY accent (sort of NYC, but not quite); uses a bit of country dialect
Catchphrase: Did you see that?!

Appearance
Body: slender, athletic build
Skin: fair, but tanned from being outside
Hair: long, blond
Eyes: blue
Face: oval, fine features
Hands: small, delicate
Unique Features: none
Movement: walks with big, heavy steps; somewhat clumsy

Style
Fashion Style: casual fashion style
Colors: browns, tans, greens, soft colors
Textures: soft knits (sweaters, etc.); brushed cotton
Clothing: tee shirts, jeans, sneakers; flannels, sweaters; relaxed skirts; turtlenecks
Accessories: wedding band, scarves, sunglasses
Entertainment: hiking, biking, boating
Activities: knitting, drawing

 

I almost forgot her drabble:

hat

 

“Do you think you’ll need another sweater?”

Mary smiled as she looked over at Robert.  “It’s not going to be that cold, silly,” she said, shaking her head.  Closing the lid to her suitcase, she added, “One will be enough, along with my coat, for cool mornings.”

Robert nodded and hefted her suitcase off the bed.  Stooping to kiss her, he said, “I wish I could go with you.”

“Next time,” she promised.  As she followed him to the door, she shrugged into her coat.  “What?”

“Bring my hat,” he said, settling the ballcap on her head.

She grinned.  “Sure!”

About Eduard Davis

First Impressions

Name: Eduard Davis
Age: 45 years (Mar. 3)
Occupation: scientist (expert in biochemisty)
Summary: social and generally cheerful; he’s a hard worker, with a direct and honest nature.  He’s not the sort to shrink from telling someone exactly what he thinks of them.
Culture: He was born and educated in Mexico, coming to the States later to follow his career.

Loves
Family: parents, sisters, large extended family
Friends: many friends, mainly among his colleagues
Romance: no one steady, yet
Things: walking stick (gift from parents)

Individuality
Flaws: can be stubborn, judgmental, focused on social status
Graces: loyal, patient and reliable
Quirks: very organized, tends to untie and retie his shoes if one lace gets loose
Skills: graceful dancer, trained in higher sciences

Language
Diction: He tends to use somewhat flowery and poetic phrases.  He speaks in a way that draws the listener in and makes them pay attention to him.
Catchphrase: You see what I mean, of course.

Appearance
Body: average height, athletic build
Skin: medium complexion, tanned
Hair: very dark brown
Eyes: brown
Face: oval, strong eyebrows
Hands: large, muscular hands
Unique Features: slight limp
Movement: graceful, confident; erect

Style
Fashion Style: vintage style
Colors: grays and blacks, some soft colors
Textures: soft wool and cotton
Clothing: fashionable suits with ties
Accessories: pocket handkerchief, flower at lapel, hat
Entertainment: theater (concerts, plays); fine dining
Activities: dancing, reading

Leon Jones

Another character for my upcoming NaNo…

First Impressions
Name: Leon Jones
Age: 32 years (Mar. 12)
Occupation: photojournalist
Summary: gregarious, street smart, flirtatious, snappy dresser
Culture: a farm boy by birth, but he’s worked hard to smooth off those rough edges.  He comes across as sophisticated and refined.

Loves
Family: parents, young sister, elder brother
Friends: Nathan Donavan (co-worker)
Romance: nothing steady or significant
Things: pocket watch that belonged to his grandfather

Individuality
Flaws: can seem arrogant, sometimes stubbornly close-minded
Graces: an honestly good man who wants to help others
Quirks: shoots his cuffs when frustrated, chatters when nervous
Skills: self-defense, sharp shooter

Cardinal Sin
Pride | Greed | Envy | Wrath | Lust | Gluttony | Sloth

MBTI
Extravert / Introvert | Sense / Intuition | Thinking / Feeling | Judging / Perceiving

Language
Diction: speaks in a precise, careful manner; faint Vermont accent
Catchphrase: I’m sure I’m right.

Appearance
Body: lower side of average height; average build
Skin: rather fair
Hair: dark brown
Eyes: brown
Face: chiseled features
Hands: long fingers
Movement: confident, certain

Style
Fashion Style: rather formal
Colors: more browns and blues than blacks and grays
Textures: soft, smooth fabrics
Clothing: suits with ties; khakis rather than jeans, polo shirts
Accessories: pocket watch, tie bar, pinky ring
Entertainment: theater (plays, ballet, opera), concerts
Activities: reading, photography

 

pumpkin

Leon was tired.  It had been a long and day.  He wanted to take a long bath.  As if he could just wash the problems of the day away.  He knew it wasn’t that easy.  It never was.

He opened the door of his apartment.  Then, as he closed the door, something rubbed up against his calf.  Chuckling, he flicked on the light.

A small marmalade tabby was rubbing itself against him.  It blinked up at him before returning its attention to his leg.  “Hey, Pumpkin,” he said.  Stooping, he lifted the cat into his arms.  Life wasn’t so bad.

About Andrew Smith

Here’s the first Character Worksheet for my upcoming NaNo

First Impressions

Name: Andrew Smith (Andriy Surikov)

Age: 30 years (Oct. 17)

Occupation: writer

Summary: quiet and unassuming; somewhat shy with little interest in socializing; he’s tense – nervous about something

Culture: Born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, he’s been living in the States for the last six years.  He still has some of the old-world charm going on (kisses ladies’ hands, bows slightly when greeting men).

 

Loves

Family: parents and siblings dead, one estranged uncle with wife and child

Friends: no friends to speak of, not very trusting, has trouble making friends

Romance: wife dies before action of story (Sofiya), toddler son also dead (Dmitri)

Things: carries small acorn trinket box with him everywhere, it was a gift from Sofiya

 

Individuality

Flaws: anxious; can seem callous or selfish

Graces: clever, droll wit

Quirks: sometimes talks about things that only interest him

Skills: theft, gymnastics, firearms, self-defense, speaks several languages, degrees in higher sciences

 

Language

Diction: speaks with crisp consonants, sometimes overly polite, has some trouble with certain idiomatic phrases; implacable foreign accent (sort of British, but not quite)

Catchphrase: “Did I say that correctly?”

 

Appearance

Body: short (for a man); athletic build

Skin: rather fair

Hair: blond (naturally strawberry blond); falls down over neck and ears, parted on left with long fringe over forehead

Eyes: blue; soulful

Face: oval, full lips, expressive brows

Hands: large, strong

Unique Features: scars on back

Movement: graceful, certain, confident

 

Style

Fashion Style: relaxed; clean cut

Colors: mostly black and white, some dark jewel tones

Textures: favors smooth, soft materials (cotton, linen)

Clothing: crisp white shirt, dark trousers, heavy sweater with polar bears and snowflakes

Accessories: acorn trinket box, glasses; wrist watch, wedding band

Entertainment: reading, writing

Activities: plays guitar, sings

 

Here’s a drabble, to show a bit of his character…

sweater

Andy heaved a soft sigh as he frowned out the window.  The sky was gray, overcast with clouds that threatened rain.  Wind swirled in the trees, shaking leaves from the branches.  Cold as it was here, it was bound to be worse in Vermont.

Shaking his head, Andy added a couple long-sleeved shirts to his suitcase.  Then, he closed the lid.  He paused at the door to shrug into a black sweater with polar bears facing each other.  He felt safer in this sweater – as if he were calling on the protection of the Great Father just by wearing it.

It’s that time again…

Each year since 2006, I’ve spent the month of October preparing for National Novel Writing Month.  This year is no different.  I’ve already signed up.  I’ve got my title (Crossing Paths).  I’ve got character images, setting ideas, dialogue prompts and such like on my pinterest page.  I’ve got a blurb.

I’m going to be spending this month getting to know my characters a bit more by writing drabbles featuring them and crafting character outlines.  Meanwhile… here’s what I do know about my story:

My blurb:
When he checks into the Bayview Inn, Andrew Smith is only looking for a dry place to stay for the night.  A chance encounter in the lobby may change his life forever.

Andrew, called Andy, is the main character.  There are five other major characters in the story.  There are, very likely, a host of minor characters that I’ll dream up as I need them.  I got the idea for this story from a prompt that I found online a few years ago.  I took it and ran with it in a completely different direction.

The basic idea is that Andy is going to meet someone at the Bayview Inn that he knows and who knows him.  The last thing he wants is to encounter someone who knows.  Why?  Because he’s on the run!  He’s hiding from… something.  I know what he’s hiding from, but I’m going to work on making that something of a mystery, at least at first.

One thing that I’ve learned from doing NaNo for so long is… what I think I’m going to write in November and what I actually end up writing is, at times, completely different.  I’m a discovery sort of writer, so that’s all right with me.

So… Are you going to participate in National Novel Writing Month?  If so, what are you writing about?  Are you a plotter, a pantser or (like me) something in between?

Taking a Moment to Relax

Once they had finished cleaning up from the fight, things became rather dull, so far as Liesel was concerned.  The Stars might consider themselves to be totally different from the Crosses, with their own community and their own rules for governing it, but Liesel couldn’t see any difference.  Both groups wanted to talk everything to death.  The only good thing about the Stars was that they didn’t expect kids to stay in the meeting.  That meant that they were allowed to go out to the playground near the community center.

It turned out to be the same park they’d visited with Konrad, where they’d first met David.  This time, they were allowed to see the whole playground, since they didn’t have to stay where Konrad could see them.  Liesel found the large climber that Markus had played on during their first visit and climbed up to a platform with two slides coming from it.

“Hey, Olivia,” she said, grinning at the other girl.  “I didn’t know you were here.”

Olivia nodded.  “Daddy told Mommy to keep us outside during the meeting,” she said.  Then, she shook her head.  “I didn’t know why, but them Mommy said there was a fight!”

“Everyone’s all right,” Liesel said, nodding.  Her brows furrowed and she shook her head.  “Mr. David mentioned that there was a map of gateways, like the one over in the forest there.”

“It’s in the book that the Elders keep,” Olivia said, nodding.  Her brows furrowed and she shook her head.  “Most of them are gone, though.  They got closed or broken.”

“How do you break a doorway?” Frieda asked, shaking her head.

Olivia shrugged.  “I don’t know,” she said.  “I just know they broke somehow.  Mr. Malcolm was telling Daddy about it.  Crosses closed some of them, he said, but a lot more were broken.”

Liesel hummed to herself.  Then, she sat on the slide.  At the bottom, she looked up at Konrad.  “How do you break a doorway?” she asked, shaking her head.  After a moment, she seemed to think better of the question and added, “I mean… the magic doorways, that lead to the Otherworld.  How could one of them get broken?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Konrad said, shrugging.  He ruffled her hair and said, “We’ll work on the problem together, later.  Markus might be able to get a copy of their book.”

“Why Markus?” Frieda asked, as she reached the bottom of the other slide.  “Why not you or Opa?”

Konrad smiled.  “If these Elders are anything like the ones back home, they’ll figure that Staffs are the ones that do research,” he said, nodding.  “Markus is our staff, so they might lend him a copy of the book Olivia mentioned.”

Frieda nodded and then scampered over to where Markus was playing with Johannes.  It was a large ball-shaped climber with webbing strung between the larger points of it.  Johannes was climbing around in the webbing, pretending to be a spider.  Markus was pretending to be a fly that was trying to get free of the webbing.

“Do you want to borrow the portal book from the Eden community Elders?” she asked, frowning up at him.

He climbed up to perch on one of the large green beads at the juncture of several bars.  “Yeah, sure,” he said, nodding.  He looked over at Johannes.  “Do you want for me to borrow it?”

“I think we need to see it,” Johannes said, his expression serious.  Then, he looked at Frieda and said, “Do you want to be a pretty butterfly?  Come into my web!”

“Pass,” Frieda called, as she ran back over to the big climber.  She climbed up the side, using the hand and footholds.  Then, she grinned at Olivia and Liesel.  “Johannes is pretending to be a spiddy spider,” she said.

Olivia shook her head.  “Why’s he wanna be a spider?” she asked.  She made a face and added, “Spiders are icky!”

“I think it’s because that dome has webbing in it and it makes him think he’s a giant spider in a giant nest,” Frieda said.  She hopped onto the platform and then said, “I don’t want to pretend to be stuck, though.”  Then, she went down the slide.  She was just hopping to her feet when she heard Opa calling her and her sister and brothers.

She sprinted over to the entrance of the playground.  Once she was there, she caught Opa by the hand.  “Is the boring stuff over?” she asked.  “Markus wants to borrow book.”

“The one that talks about the doorways,” Markus said, glancing over at David.  He adjusted his glasses and shrugged.  “It might help us know how everyone here became tainted.”

“And more about the doorways,” Frieda said, nodding.

“Not a bad idea,” David said, nodding.  He smiled at Konrad and nodded.  “I’ll clear it with the Elders and then Markus can borrow my copy.”

“Thank you,” Johannes said, grinning.  He looked up at Konrad and spread his hands.  “Why do they keep forgetting?” he asked.

“Because it’s not how they do things,” Konrad replied, lifting one shoulder.  He smiled at David.  “The Cross is in charge of things like this, even if he is only seven years old.”

“Right,” David said.  He chuckled and looked down at Johannes.  “Didn’t keep you from skipping a meeting, though.  Did it?”

“It’s not my fault you didn’t invite me to stay,” Johannes said.  He looked up at Opa and said, “I was a spider, Opa.”  He pretended that his pointer fingers where the spider’s mouth, waving them back and forth and making clicking noises.

“No spiders in the car,” Opa said, as Liesel and Frieda screamed and hid behind Konrad.  He chuckled and then shook David’s hand.  “I’ll get in touch with you about that book,” he said.

“Sure,” David said, nodding.  Then, he called for his own children.  “Time for lunch, kids,” he said, as Josh and Olivia ran up.  “Say goodbye to your friends.”

“We’ll see them again, right?” Olivia said, frowning.

Frieda grinned at Olivia and nodded.  “We visit here every summer,” she said, her tone certain.  “Even if you don’t see us again this summer, we’ll be back next year.”

Olivia grinned and then hugged Frieda.  Turning to Liesel, she hugged her as well.  “I hope you can come to the founders’ festival next month, at least.”

“Yes,” Liesel said.  Then, she giggled and danced back from Olivia.  Waving, she said, “Enjoy your lunch, Livie.  We’ll see you again soon.”  Then, she scampered off towards where Opa had parked the van.

A Plan of Action

The next day, they had a quick breakfast, then Opa took them out to the barn to meet with the others once again.  “This is not how I imagined your summer with me,” Opa said, as they all got out of his car.

Konrad shrugged.  “I’m sure that Tevas never imagined that we’d have to face down a horde of Singers when he took us camping,” he said, his voice soft.  He shook his head.  “Unfortunately, this is the life that we’ve got.”

“At least it’s never boring,” Liesel said, shrugging.  She scampered ahead of them to hold the door for everyone.  Then, she followed them inside.  Malcolm was already there with Ainsley.  David was there, as was Ryan.  There were also several other people that she didn’t know by name, but she recognized them for the previous night.

“You all know why we’re here,” David said, addressing the group.  His brows furrowed.  “I don’t think any of us suspected there was more to this than… just a misunderstanding.”

“We know different now,” someone grumbled.  Liesel looked over as an older man shook his head and glanced over at Ainsley.  “A Hammer, attacking her own Star…” he trailed off for a moment.  “I never thought I’d see the day.”

“Never thought I’d see the day one of us dragged outsiders into our disputes,” an elderly woman said.  She looked over at Opa and shook her head.  “They had no business putting a portal in your garden, Richard.”

“Grandson took care of it,” Opa said, ruffling Johannes’s hair.  “I’m more concerned with the here and now.  Do we have an idea how many we’ll be dealing with?”

Malcolm grimaced.  “Are we assuming everyone in the Eden Community aside from those gathered here has been tainted?” he said.  When Opa shrugged, he grimaced.  “With that assumption in place, they’ll outnumber us.”

“Good times,” Liesel said, grinning up at Konrad.

He grimaced.  “Not so much, no,” he countered.  He heaved a sigh and shoved his hands into his pockets.  Turning to David, he frowned thoughtfully.  “How much do you figure we’ll be outnumbered by?” he asked.

“Going by the same assumption as Malcolm, it’ll be something like four to one,” David said, nodding once.  Then, he shrugged.  “It may not be a valid assumption, though.  We might find that, the moment we start purifying them, and the inevitable reaction starts among them, a bunch of them are actually on our side.”

“From your lips to the Great Father’s ears,” Markus murmured.  He looked around at everyone.  “Would someone please tell me that we’ve got some sort of plan in place?”

“Spoken like a proper Staff,” Ryan said.  He shrugged.  “Right now, we know that everyone will be gathering at the community center.  The Elders have called a meeting and, in fact, we’re supposed to be there…” he trailed off to glance at his watch, before he finished the thought.  “In about twenty minutes.”

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