Thursday, August 14, 2014

Violence in America

I have never been the rah-rah type, the type to get out in front and lead the way but despite the past, change needs to take place in order to have a bright future. With gun violence running rampant across the United States and the local and national news constantly focusing on the turbulence rocking our world, it is time for us as humans to look at ourselves and ask what can we each do to contribute.

I know people are probably asking themselves, what can I do; I’m only one person and I’m not even from that area. Me personally, I ask myself that question all the time and I also wonder why anyone would even bother to listen to me. But history has shown that one person and one voice can make a difference. It only takes one person to decide to take a step in the right direction and before you know it, a nation is walking beside you.

We should start by contacting our local officials as well as officials from across the nation. We can contact civil rights organizations and try to effect real and lasting change by getting laws in place that punish officers for committing these crimes against unarmed black youth. Right now, police officers receive a slap on the wrist and not only that but they are protected and insulated by their follow officers as opposed to being condemned for their actions. It’s only natural to want to form a bunker mentality around someone that you perceive to have a bond with but what happens when that bunker mentality which is meant to protect becomes distorted and ends up actually assisting that person in committing atrocities.

Many people of my color like to using a saying “It’s open season” when stories hit the news of young, unarmed African Americans being shot and killed in the streets of America for no reason. I’m sure the police officer will tell you that he had probably cause but what else is he supposed to say; at that point the officer is in CYA (Cover Your Ass) mode. Not only that but with the proliferation of guns in America, normal civilians take the law into their own hands and shoot and kill young African Americans. When I hear the phrase, “It’s open season” I think back to the old Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd cartoons where the tricky hunter would put up a fake sign that reads: “Rabbit Season is Now Open.” There might as well be a sign up on every street in America that reads: “Killing Black People Season is Now Open.” I mean, they basically gun us down in the streets now without any repercussions as if we were wild animals and to be honest, I would not be surprised if that is how some people see us. Although I am no scientist, I do know that despite skin color, when a black or white person is shot, red blood leaks out.

It has also been revealed that police officers on the city and state level have been receiving military vehicles, equipment and weaponry that was built for WAR, not for maintaining the peace in a community of American citizens. When police officers open fire on peaceful protesters and arrest journalist then this is no longer the America that is advertised to the world. Instead of trying to aid every other country and nation around the globe, we need to focus on home and (pardon my French but) get our shit together.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Winter's Legacy By Andre Alan - Prologue - Sample


It had been a time of great unrest.  The world was on edge since the humans had obtained the sacred, ancient artifacts from the Consummate of the Trust.  Despite the vast mixture of advanced technology that was owned by the humans, their eastern shoreline was still battered by the Orc landing party several months ago.  The western hemisphere’s most advanced humans living on Eioda had been bracing itself for the prophecies to come.  Some believed that war was inevitable while some knew that war was already here.  In this time of political uncertainty, the humans would somehow be in need of its savior; The Winter’s Legacy…, Thame Elliot.
Despite the times and mounting turmoil that ravaged the nation of Eioda, the love of two people would not be swayed by what was to come.  It was Thame and Charlotte’s time….
Gathered together in a three tiered church in the human country Eioda’s major military city of Ardile, a packed house watched as Charlotte Landry was escorted down the aisle by her father, the Admiral of the Eioda Naval Fleet, Bareq Landry.  
Dad, Bareq Landry throughout his years of service had earned the tag-name Flash, wore his dark brown wavy hair swept back and hung lose about his neck with a thick line of grey stretching from temple to ear.  He wore a black tux and a slight chuck of fat extended the waist line of the suit due to lack of proper exercise.
Charlotte wore a gleaming white dress with flowing gown that trailed a meter.  Her bright blue eyes gleamed while those same, matching eyes of her father walked beside her wearing a proud smile which was uncharacteristic of the usually stoic soldier. He kept his face reserved as he handed his daughter over to her soon to be husband, Thame Elliot.  These two families were considered royalty in the eyes of the people living in Eioda and a packed church watched eagerly with smiles and tears as the two became one.
“Dear family and friends… We are gathered here today, to witness the love of two people, bound together for eternity, in the eyes of Enigmone,” said Pastor Clay Reynold, a disciple of Ren Saint Paul and the Tarrin Faith.  Thick, silky greased back black hair of Pastor Reynold’s was tied into a ponytail with long streaks of gray.  He wore a black suit and black shirt with a clerical collar showing a square of white under his chin.  Completing the priestly outfit, a long necklace of wooden prayer beads with a cross hung to his stomach.  Looking into the faces of the couple that stood side by side in front of him, pastor Reynold displayed a proud smile showing a toothy grin with a large gap between his two front teeth.  “Let us celebrate the union of Thame Elliot and Charlotte Landry in Holy Matrimony,” said pastor Reynold.
Thame wore a wide grin that nearly split his olive complexioned face in half. He leaned in, black hair cut short and closed his brown eyes and planted a deep kiss on his wife.
               Seated in the stands, Empress Autumn Augustus with her unique grey eyes discreetly caught the attention of Admiral Bareq Landry’s striking blue eyes from across the pew and gave a slight nod.  The movement was barely visible to the other guests who were focused on the reception and the two young people smiling wide, drowning within each other’s eyes.


“How was the wedding, Empress?” asked Violet Inkhorn, looking at her Royal Highness’s beautiful caramel complexion and dirty blonde hair that fell past her shoulders as she entered the Temporary Command and Control Center located on the black sand beaches of Ardile, the main port on Eioda’s eastern shore.  Violet had worked for the empress since her ascension to the highest seat of power in the human territories.  She thought of the empress as a rare beauty of sorts. She had heard the rumors spread about her empress’ sexuality since every suitor that came to Autumn’s door had been turned away despite their social standing or wealth. What people did not realize, what people did not see behind the scenes was how much pressure the empress carried, relationships would only serve as a distraction.
The Empress’ secretary sat in the corner behind a makeshift desk which was a broken, plastic door resting on scavenged, mismatched table legs and even a bat. Violet pushed her thin, square framed glasses back onto her olive skinned face with plush pink lips that were made for kissing. Her dark hair was tied into a pony tail that hung over her shoulder while her white blouse was buttoned to the top and her black, leather skirt matched her high heels.
“The ceremony was wonderful,” replied Autumn, “but I am glad that it’s completed and out of the way.  Now I can deal with more pressing matters.”  She nodded to her military brain trust seated around the large table in the center of the tent that was the temporary CCC.  She took her seat at the head of the table. 
Outside, several tents were setup along the black sand beach of Ardile with the ruined roof of the Pyramid casting a deep shadow over their operations.  The building was currently undergoing construction, after the destruction caused by the Orc attack had bombed the other major military installations along the Eioda eastern shoreline, from Ardile to Queens.  Until the damage was fixed, anyone flying overhead could look down into the halls of the Pyramid.  
Several Eioda Marines were guards standing strategically around the tent that held the powerful military brain-trust, soldiers that blended into their surroundings, almost invisible.  This group of high ranking officials sat around a large mahogany table.  The heavy wooden table had been levitated into place when it was brought through a portal from the Capital City of Eioda, Consonance.  The chairs however were a scattered assortment of whatever could be found in the camp.
               “The most pressing matter should be wiping these filthy green skins off the face of Threa,” said Admiral Bareq Landry, stepping through the flap of carbon composite vinyl that was the tent entrance.  Bareq Landry was decked out in full military regalia: a double breasted, dark blue, full length coat with a shining collection of emblems, metals and pins plastered on his right breast.  Underneath the formal attire was all business with light weight reinforced carbon Kevlar body armor of the skin tight exo-suit.   On the right hand side of the Empress, he took a seat.  “They attacked us and actually put their filthy green feet on our soil and for that they should be punished. Not to mention the fact that because of those actions they are now in violation of the Elven-Dwarf Maritime Peace Treaty.”
               “Is the H.A.E.M.P. ready to go Admiral?” asked Empress Autumn Augustus.  She kept her face calm and took a deep breath.  There was a cold, cool gleam to her grey eyes while she swept them across the generals seated before her.
               “Ready and waiting your Highness,” replied Bareq Landry.
               “Initiate launch sequence,” said the Empress.  Autumn pulled the nuclear football from a lockbox underneath the mahogany conference table.  The Admiral of the Fleet and the Empress of Eioda inserted their detonation keys.  After each of them punched in their confirmation launch codes, and then at the count of three, turned.
               Several hundred thousand kilometers away, high above the heads of the unsuspecting humanoid citizens of the planet Threa, a satellite stationed in geosynchronous orbit above the planet received a signal.  The satellite responded by sliding open a rectangular panel to expose four High-Altitude Electro Magnetic Pulse missiles.  The laser guided HAEMP missiles propelled themselves from their holding case.  Two missiles headed towards the Orc territory while the remaining two traveled to the Goblin Nation; both in the eastern hemisphere of Threa where were far away from the humans of Eioda in the west.  An electromagnetic pulse of radioactive energy detonated in the late evening night above the Capital Orc City, Heldefolan and the Goblin capital, Bengali.
               In the makeshift forward command post, the handheld Plan Position Indicator screen located at the center of the table lit up like a flash of lightening.  The P.P.I. was a handheld, circular device that projected three dimensional terrain of the Orc capital, Heldefolan as a projection, suspended in mid-air, a few centimeters above the table.  Gazing down at the terrain of the city, everyone at the table watched lights wink out of existence across the city as power died, computer chips, circuits and anything else that relied on electricity fried beyond repair from the EMP blast.  Backup generators exploded at several sites on the map from overloading power stations that could not handle the strain. 
Sitting at the eastern edge of the mahogany table in a flimsy, plastic, puke green, low back chair, Colonel Samuel Temple with his shiny bald head watched the three dimensional representation of the EMP blast with ravenous green eyes rimmed with black from no sleep and sunken in below a protruding, cave-man-like brow.  Colonel Temple did not bother to dress up for this meeting, electing to go with functionality over good looks. He wore a skin tight brown and green camouflage exo-suit that protected him from neck to toe in carbon composite Kevlar infused with the indestructible adamantite.  The EMP blast spread out across both cities like water expanding across a plate.  Assessing the amount of damage displayed by the projection, he gave a nod to the other brass sitting around the room.  The largest regiments of Marine troops were under the direct control of Colonel Temple. His advanced combat knowledge, troop placement skills, and outside of the box strategic thinking gave him the unique experience that was needed to lead all of the Eioda military infantry ground troops.
               Seated across the conference table from Colonel Temple was General Cadence Hightower.  She too wore an exo-suit but chose an all-black model.  She had slanted, almond shaped black eyes and black hair that was cut short and barely reached her neck.  “We can finally proceed with the Normandy plan and finish the assault. We need to launch the combined ground forces of the ENS Army and Marine Corps troops to destroy the Orcs and the Goblins weapon manufacturing, production installations and all transport aide stations,” said General Hightower.  “If we launch an attack after the sun goes down we can catch them unawares and decimate their ground forces and disrupt their supply lines. Before they would even know what hit them we could wipe out half of their military personal.”
               “Not so fast,” said Admiral Landry.  “Now that the Orcs and Goblins can no longer use their electronics, it doesn’t mean they cannot still fight.”
               “We will have them in our grasp if we move quickly,” said General Hightower.
               “All of their electronic equipment is now worthless. We can take our time--” Colonel Temple tried to say before being cut off.
               “Take our time until what!” said General Hightower slamming her fist onto the table.  The black exo-suit fist drove a small crater into the polished wood.  “Until the Orcs are marching on our shores again but this time with Trolls and Giants to accompany them!”
               “Calm down,” said Empress Augustus with hands extended, fingers spread wide as she patted the air, hoping her calm gestures would keep the hot blooded general relaxed and thinking rational. “We need time to bring our neighboring countries to the north and south of Villus and Seldor to join us. Hopefully the Elves and Gnomes across the Mizuki Ocean will agree to provide military aid when the time comes.  We will need to send emissaries to each respective nation. Not only that but have you forgotten, we are still rebuilding major installations here in Eioda and bolstering our defenses.”
               “So you are suggesting we sit back on our hands and continue to do nothing!” said General Hightower, heat in her dark almond eyes. She rose furiously and towered over the seated members of the Council.
               Giving her General a scathing look, Autumn Augustus’ grey eyes were ice cold and held the promise of pain.
Receiving the message, crystal clear, General Hightower swallowed hard and relaxed back in her seat.  Her head was hanging, eyes averted, thin lips held in a pout.
“I am suggesting that we proceed with caution,” said Empress Augustus.  “I will hear no more of it. This meeting is dismissed.  You all have your assignments.  Remember that there is a dark cloud spreading not only across the nation but across people’s hearts.  May the light forever shine upon you.” She stood with a slight nod of the head and marched out the tent, dirty blonde hair swaying as she walked.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Stretching the Tension in Writing

To all of my fellow writers out there, how many times have you heard from writing instructors and the like, that you should stretch out the tension point in your writing. How many of you have heard that you can’t give the reader what they want right away. For example, a novice might write a sentence like so:

    The cow jumped over the moon and as it streaked back to earth, landed in the shoot of a meat processing plant.

Whereas an expert would stretch this sentence out more and make the reader wait for the “punch-line” at the end when the cow meets its fate. For example:

    The cow streaked into the air, looking left and right while wearing goggles for eye protection. The cow marveled at its surrounding while the earth grew smaller below its hooves. Birds casually flew through the air and doing a double take at the sight of a cow in their territory. It was such an odd sight that the flying creatures began to circle the cow as it flew through the air. The birds flew until they could fly no longer. The cow ascended further and further, up in and through the earth’s atmosphere until the bovine creature found itself looking down on the moon which was far underneath its rudders and nipples. Terror did not reach the cows eyes until it found itself falling like a rock back down to earth. As the cow neared the earth and what was directly underneath it, the cow began flapping its four legs frantically in an attempt to avoid its eventual fate. Alas, the cow’s desperate act at salvation were unrewarded. The cow plopped down into the shoot of a meat processing plant. Before the grinding blades took the creatures life, the cow had smiled at the thought that it had seem something no other cows could ever imagine.

As you can see, my example runs a little long but I think you get the idea: to build up the tension as much as possible before you give the reader their payoff for continuing to read. The age old adage that I have heard from many a published writer is that, if you show a gun on the dresser in act one, the gun should be fired by act three.
While I do like this rule and understand the meaning behind it, I also try not to overuse it. I guess its like they say: everything in moderation, including moderation. At the same time, while I do utilize this rule, I also feel as though this technique can be utterly frustrating, especially as the reader. Sometimes, with certain writers, it can get to the point where the writer describes every little detail from how the wind feels blowing against the grass to every piece of food on a table, its origins and down to how it was cooked, by who and even what that person was wearing with in depth detail down to the underwear. Okay, I admit that I am exaggerating a bit but you get the idea. The practice of delaying the gratitude in order to squeeze more tension out of a scene and keep a reader on the edge of their seat until they fall off can be overdone. It is possible to fill a scene with so much detail that it bogs down the paragraph or chapter. I feel as though this technique, if overused, can put off a reader and force them to put down your book which is the last thing any writer wants.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest Post by Chantal Bellehumeur

Welcome to Ryukage Brainwork, where today, the Shadow Dragon's imagination takes this blog post off. For your reading pleasure, please dive into the alternate reality world created by Chantal Bellehumeur and her feel good novel: "Not Alone". 

Story Summary:

Harmony Goodhumor didn’t always get along with her younger sister Katherine, but the girls became close after their mother’s death.  When Harmony moved to another city for university, she missed Katherine very much.

The girls tried to be there for one another as best as they could whenever a personal problem would occur, but there was only so much they could do for each other.  

There came a time when Harmony started feeling depressed and alone.

One summer, Harmony decided to go visit Katherine in her new home.  During her short trip to Moncton, New Brunswick, Harmony did more than just spend time with her sister and something unexpected happened during an excursion.  

When Harmony returned home, she started missing Katherine again as well as other loved ones.  But, during her moment of blues she makes the realisation that she is not as alone as she feels.



Not Alone
by Chantal Bellehumeur

Excerpt from Part one

Hi.  My name is Harmony Goodhumor.  Before you ask like most people I meet, yes I like to live in harmony with others and am generally in a good mood.  However, as I am human and therefore not perfect, I don’t always live up to my name definition.  From time to time I am in an unpleasant mood and sometimes get made fun of because of it.
I will admit that I had problems living harmoniously with one particular person in my youth.  Wow!  The last part of my statement just made me feel really old!  I actually just celebrated my thirty second birthday and hope to live until I am about triple my current age.
Anyways, my younger sister Katherine and I did not always get along when we were kids.  In fact, we argued a lot.  Most of our arguments were about movie rental selections, and the uncleanliness of our playroom or the small bedroom we shared.  Sometimes we would cause scenes over stupid things, like the fact that one of us looked in the other’s window during a long car ride or even went over the invisible line of the middle car seat that separated our sides.  I always sat on the left and Katherine sat on the right.  We shared the middle seat and were pretty anal about our spaces.  Not even our toys or books could go over the other’s side without us arguing.  We would also annoy each other by placing the tips of our fingers close to the other’s face.  When we would yell out “Stop touching me!” the other would say matter of factly “I am not touching you.”  We drove our parents nuts.  Of course, they always told me to show the example because I was the oldest and it irritated me.  My sister seemed to find it amusing and always stuck out her tongue at me. 

As we grew older though, Katherine and I started appreciating each other’s company and became closer to one another. 
I think the fact that our mother died when we were children made us realise how important it was not to take your family for granted.  I was fourteen and my sister eleven years of age when we found out that our mom had cancer.  It was a complete shock to us both, and to our father as well.  My mom just went to a doctor’s appointment and came home with the bad news.  We all thought that she would fight it, but the disease had already spread too much by the time it was discovered so the chemotherapy treatments didn’t do anything to improve her well-being.  It seemed to just make her sicker and lose all her beautiful long black hair. 
My mother died six months after her diagnosis, at the age of forty-five.  I was holding her hand in the hospital when she took her last breath.  I don’t remember ever crying so much in my life.  I don’t think I ever saw my sister cry so much either, and she used to be a real cry-baby.  My father tried to be more discreet about it, but he wasn’t fast enough in wiping his first tears.  Katherine and I told him it was okay for him to cry in front of us, something we had never seen him do.  He ended up crying a river just like us.

The novel can be purchased on Amazon in eBook or paperback:

For other titles by Chantal Bellehumeur please check her website here:

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