Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Wanderlust Chronicles - The Next Chapter

I can hear the rain beating against my windows in my apartment - a soothing sound as I return to the Wanderlust Chronicles. 

I hope you enjoy.



As they ate, Julie kept glancing at Zaira and her thoughtful expression. She seemed preoccupied with something, some idea regarding her sale of items, Julie thought. And yet . . .
You look at me so strangely,” said Zaira in a calm tone that jarred Julie out of her thoughts. “Why?”
It's just that . . . well, I'm not really sure what to say.”
Just say it.”
Zaira, your look, your everything, seems so distant from here. I know you're on your way to another town, but it looks as though it might be more than that. Sorry if I have overstepped my boundaries, considering that I've just met you and all.”
Zaira set her burger on the wrapper and folded her arms on the table as she looked at Julie with a carefully guarded expression. Her eyes seemed to shift in colour, or perhaps it was the light? Julie set her burger down as well and made herself look into those eyes that seemed to say so much more than words could ever attempt to do.
Julie, I need to go. Thank you for the food.” The woman made as if to get up just as Julie placed a hand on her slender arm, causing her to gently sit down again.
Don't go. Not yet. Are you in trouble? It's okay if you can't tell me but damn it, I just-” Julie looked away and focused her attention on the small line of customers patiently waiting to place their orders. She swallowed hard; what was wrong with her? She then turned back to face a smiling Zaira then said in a low tone, “Where are you going?”
I told you. A town. Hardly noticeable.”
I know that's what you've told me but I really want to know. What's the name of the town?”
Why so curious?”
Julie closed her eyes for a moment, took a deep breath then opened them. “Do you need me?” Zaira blinked several times in slight astonishment then her smile deepened.
You worry for me,” she said in a low tone. How admirable. She hardly knew her.
Yes, I worry. Will you be safe? How will you get there? Do you need me?”
I will be fine. I have been to this town before, Julie. I appreciate your concern but I will be fine.” As an added measure, Zaira reached over and placed a hand on Julie's arm then gave it a light squeeze. “I will be fine.” She then retracted her hand and resumed eating her burger and Julie followed suit several seconds later. As they ate in silence, Julie's mind wandered with floating words and images that she could not help but think of: Zaira alone on the highway. Zaira getting mixed up with the wrong crowd. Zaira dead. Julie reached for her soda and slurped quickly, as if the fizz could erase that last thought. Zaira ate with such a calm manner that Julie wanted to slap her and tell her not to go to the town, whatever it was called. And why didn't she want to tell her the name of it?
Zaira knew, of course. She knew of Julie's concern over her yet refused to give in to her concerns. It was touching, after all, for a woman she barely knew to be like this. She hadn't felt such concern from another human since . . . .Zaira frowned. Damn, she thought. It had been a long time. . . .


Far long the wandering eyes,
seeking such distant shores.
I come to you, fair traveler; seek my face and know.
I remember when the ships landed on the harbour,
their sails, indigo and black, fluttered silently in the breezes created by my words.
I wandered towards the cliffs and watched them carefully, carefully,
seeking a face that I knew would be there.
My hair whipped behind me, snapping in black
towards the others who stood by and waited.
I saw the whispers and the lies
that fell from the ones who sailed the ships.
All, except He. He who arrived last.
He, whose eyes flared like golden coins under the bright sun.
He came last and saw me standing on the cliffs then waved.
I nodded, merely moving my head, and soon he was there, standing next to me.
His skin felt like warm light that danced over my eyes.
I wanted to kiss him and tell him that I had found love.
I found love through his eyes that sought me again.
He knew, my lover, my dark angel.
He took my hand and led me away, away from the edge,
the cliffs where I waited for him.
We walked past the others who stood in silence towards the house
of where he first made me his.
My lover, my life, He who breathed the darkness into me.
Finally, they tell me, He has arrived.
Breathe the last into her lips. Let go of that which you have carried
as you sailed the seas and above the skies.
They, who whisper your name and give you dreams, come forward.
The women, the warriors step forward and place their hands on me.
Bless me, of all who are fair.
Bless me, She who claimed my soul when He left.
Bless me and give me the peace of the stories from long ago.
I am here, ready to listen and understand that what I shall hear
is a tale still in the telling.


Zaira closed her eyes for a moment as the last of the words faded into memory once more. She remembered when they first told her of their lives, their stories that were created when the worlds were not so far away. She remembered when the speaker, a tall and proud woman with long curly black hair and piercing eyes, stood before her and placed a hand on her shoulder. Back then, ages ago, she had just begun her studies to become a Chronicler, yet she was afraid of such a title. When she was a child in her small town three worlds away, the townspeople had told her that the Chroniclers were to be both respected and feared; it was they who traveled between the spaces and belonged to no one. They lived and breathed everything they saw and it was all too much and not enough. They were the enigmas that never stood still for fear of the Wanderlust settling in their bones and deeper still to the marrow. They feared to settle for it meant death. Not the lingering death that came to everyone else, but rather the Death that came quickly and painfully. It was that Death that kept the Chroniclers alive. They lived because it was what they knew.
The women, especially Her, the one they called Morra, knew Zaira to be beyond talented. She could recite a dream without sleep and could remember a story told in seven days straight. That which she collected came naturally to her and Morra knew it. Morra placed her trust in her when she told her the Words from her own life. Zaira stood, eyes looking directly at her teacher, and listened to the tale that had been told before they were even in existence. Morra told her the Words and Zaira listened and suddenly, they became a part of her being. Now, whenever she felt uneasy, the first pangs of the Wanderlust settling in, she would bring the Words to her mind and settle in the familiarity of when they were passed to her. Morra still lived, still wore her long curly black hair down her straight back. Morra's eyes saw everything that passed by and through and yet she was a kind soul, one who protected those that she loved and more importantly, respected.
“What are you thinking about?” Julie's voice broke up the fading trail of the Words, causing Zaira to blink several times then smile. “You seemed lost.”
“Did I?”
“Caught up in something that looked to not be unpleasant.”
“You see well.”
“Perhaps. Look, I'm sorry for asking you so many questions. When we leave, I will go my way and you will go yours.”
“Yes.” The two then got up and took their trash to the bin then stepped outside and made their way to Julie's car. Zaira hefted her bag on her back then checked the straps.
“Do you need me to drive you to a certain place?” Zaira was about to say no, only to stop when she saw a glimmer of light to the right of Julie that moved to fast for the normal eye to catch. Someone was arriving, she thought as suddenly, a young man with a shaved head wearing what looked to be worn hiking clothes casually walked up to her. Zaira broke into a grin as she recognized David and his grin made her feel even better. He walked up to the two women then dropped his bag as he swooped Zaira up in a tight bear hug, lifting her several inches off the ground. Julie breathed a sigh of relief; Zaira did have friends, she thought as she leaned against her car. When the two released each other, Zaira placed a hand on his warm tanned cheek then said, “David, meet Julie. She bought food for me. We just met.” Her eyes remained focused on David's face as he walked over to Julie then kissed her on each cheek.
“Julie,” he said in a tone that felt like warm liquid. “How good to meet you.”
“Are you on your way to the town that Zaira's going to?”
David glanced at Zaira, who merely shrugged. “No. I just arrived from my own trip and am just passing through. Zaira, you do know that Iardin is waiting for you?”
Zaira sighed; sometimes, the Eater of Dreams could be quite the child if he didn't get his way in a certain amount of time. “Yes. I was going there today. He knew his request was difficult.”
“And yet, you still did it anyway. Why do you work with him? Why not Claso or perhaps Anadri? They do not have such a reputation as Iardin.” Julie watched the two converse yet their words sounded foreign in her ears. Who was this Iardin and why did her have such a bad reputation?
“I go where I am needed. If they request something and ask for me, then I shall deliver. One way or another. You know that, David. You, such the golden child.” David ran a hand over his scalp that still glowed faintly from his hair that refused to stop growing.
“Yes.”
“I am leaving now. I have what he needs. I just hope it is enough.”
“With him, one never knows.” Just then, the two Chroniclers suddenly focused their attention on a very confused Julie, who watched them with a mixture of curiosity and a little of intimidation. She coughed then glanced around.
“Well,” she said as she pulled out her car keys, “I hope you get to Iardin soon. I hope you won't be in trouble.”
Zaira laughed. “I hope for my sake as well, but I still have a day left before I should really worry. Goodbye . . . Julie.” She then held out a hand and Julie shook it, then turned and walked away.
“She will be fine,” said David in a low tone as he moved closer towards Julie. “She has done this before.” Julie glanced at David and tried to nod yet stopped and instead watched her friend walk away. Never had she felt so lonely.

Where in the hells is she?”
Iardin walked through his parlor, barely noticing the cool marble against his bare feet. Normally, such a sensation would be pleasant, almost soothing, yet Zaira was late. Although she had a day left of their contract, she was still late in his eyes. She, out of all of the Chroniclers, was the one he could depend upon the most. In her years of having such a title, she had never let him down, no matter how dangerous the job or how unsavoury the pickup item had proven to be. She had always delivered with a deep bow and unmatched respect. Iardin stopped his pacing and cracked his toes, feeling the long toenails scratch against the marble. He sighed then pulled at his ponytail that trailed down his back. Perhaps she was delayed, he thought as he resumed his pacing yet slower. Perhaps something happened with my request. He stopped as a small frown appeared on his full sensual lips. He could always check in on her, as he had done so many times before. A quick peek and all would be well. The frown changed to a wide grin as he walked quickly to his study. Soon, he would know.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review - Night Music: Three Tales of The Secret History by Rose Streif



I'm listening to classic Siouxsie and the Banshees in my apartment as my mind returns to the world I just inhabited only a day or so ago. . . .

I had the pleasure of meeting author Rose Streif at Imaginarium, the lovely writing convention located in Louisville, Kentucky. I was walking through the dealer's room on Saturday, wondering which books to pick up and take home with me, when I met Rose at her table for the publishing company Das Krakenhaus. After talking with her and her associates for a while, I knew that I had to purchase her books. After all, she was a fellow "dark chick" author!

Several weeks later, I finally got around to reading one of her books, Night Music: Three Tales of The Secret History, and I have to admit that I was beyond impressed. The three stories will give you just enough of a taste of her "world" and believe me, it is a good entrance into that world. The stories are thus:

"A Man For Arrah" tells the story of an automaton located in New Orleans that has failed to work, leaving it up to an anomalyst and her wolf folk partner to solve the dark mystery that lies behind it. "Pretty Polly" is the story of what happens when a shady yet handsome bigamist believes himself to be beyond the reach of the law. And, "The Wolves of Draper Hollow" is a very touching story of a rogue wolf folk man who joins another clan and what he must endure in order to keep his place there.

These three stories, plus an excerpt from Streif's full length novel, The BearKeeper, are wonderful examples of Streif's writing; her words are dark and formal, woven in with silk, absinthe and seduction that places her as a Modern Gothic storyteller with ease. Her writing will appeal to fans of Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Allan Gilbreath and me!

Click HERE for more details about her books.



EX LIBRIS!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review - The Vine: An Urban Legend by Michael Williams

Yes, I will freely admit that I was and still am one of those nerds that totally got into Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. I love the stories of the betrayals, the marriages, the deaths and the gods that supposedly watched over it all and laughed. I was especially fond of the Greek theatre and all that it had to offer; I was a high school girl who spent most of her time reading thick books and asking questions that caused the nuns at my school to repeatedly tell me to "ask the priests instead".

(photo taken at the Brooks Museum of Art - 2014)

So I knew, then, that I was going to love my friend's, the very talented author Michael Williams, book The Vine: An Urban Legend simply because it is a Greek tragedy. This amazingly well written book tells the story of Stephen Thorne and his attempt to put on the play The Bacchae by Euripides. However, as the play begins to assemble itself in the form of players, sets and costumes, it has suddenly caused a group of very interesting women to take note in their dealings.

A group of women known as the Muses . . . .


This was the first book I'd ever read by Williams and what a way to be introduced to his work; his style of writing is a carefully mixed blend of literary observances with street lingo and archaic words that still hold meaning today. Everyone has a voice that rings quite differently yet blends well into a story that only a few could ever write. And Michael Williams has done that.

One of my favourite lines in the book caused me to read it at least twice before moving to the next page, as spoken by the Muse Thalia ~

"I remember how his dark skin opened like blossoms."


This is a book filled with madness, murder, kidnapping, sex, revelations, dreams and uncovered truths with human beings who are nothing more than playthings for those who have lived through the ages with nary a glance.

The Vine: An Urban Legend is a book that I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys something that makes them think, laugh and ponder. In fact, click HERE for details on how to order your copy through Blackwyrm Publishing!

EX LIBRIS!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Review - Diary of a Yuppie by Louis Auchincloss

Let me just say for the record that I had to check out the book Diary of a Yuppie by Louis Auchincloss simply for the title. Being a Generation Xer who spent most of her childhood in the 80s, I remember hearing about yuppies and their world that seemed to be so radically different than the one I lived in. And yet, as I flew through the slender book, I realized that their world was just the same as mine and many others, complete with problems, sex, greed and what it means to be a human.



Diary of a Yuppie is the story of New York City attorney Robert Service and his experiences that he writes down in his journal. His wife, Alice, is his partner and the love of his life and his two daughters are his pride and joy. Everything seems to be quite perfect for Mr. Service until, as we peer over his shoulder during his rants in his journal, that all is not right in his world. Yet, even with every hurdle he encounters, Bob rises to the occasion like an olive in a martini and refuses to give in. He is, in the truest sense of the word, a yuppie, one who is driven to do whatever it takes to be the best at everything as he looks good while doing it. He even quotes lines from literature just to impress at the right time.

As I read Mr. Service's words in his journal, I couldn't help but wonder if he was ever "off"; that is, if he ever just sat down and did nothing. Did he ever have a thought that was not related to his job, his love life, his advances in the world? Perhaps there was another Robert Service that we did not see, one who was just a normal man who had normal thoughts. In any case, Diary of a Yuppie will delight and entertain even the most casual of readers, plus give an incredible insight into the world of a person who spends too much time thinking of being the best as the world crumbles around him. This was (I think) my first book by Auchincloss and I know I will read more of his work.

EX LIBRIS!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Shoot - The Temperance Card

It's Columbus Day, and I'm off from my corporate job. I've had an excellent day of walking through the Memphis Zoo and the Library to pick up several books:




 Spooky looking chick. 


 Apparently, David Bowie drops everything whenever this author writes a new book ~ that's enough for me.


The last one I had to check out purely for the title!



In any case, I am home and ready to show off the next Living Tarot "card"! This time, let's make a visit to Temperance. According to the Tarot, Temperance represents: balance; moderation; patience; purpose; meaning. I think Lori did a fantastic job in portraying such descriptions, even with her sunglasses.

May I present to you The Living Tarot ~ Temperance!

Temperance from The Dark Angels Tarot deck ~ recently purchased in New Orleans. The artwork on the cards is stunning, as you can see.



 Lori Osif as Temperance.




 There is balance in all things . . . 




 To be Patient is to be Cool ~




 Thank you, Lori! I love your expression in this one, by the way. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review - The Whispering Muse by Sjon


I think this is the first time I will begin a book review by saying these words - I have no idea what I've just read.

I have no idea what I've just read and I'm glad I feel that way. The Whispering Muse by Icelandic author, poet, lyricist (he has worked with Bjork) Sjon is a slim read that will leave you with questions. Lots of questions.

It's the year 1949 and Valdimar Haraldsson, an Icelander obsessed with the concept that humans who eat seafood are superior to other humans, travels on a Danish merchant ship to pick up a massive order of raw paper. However, all is not what it seems as Haraldsson becomes caught up in the "tales" told by the second mate known as Caeneus - does everyone remember their Greek mythology studies? It is in these tales that Haraldsson learns of Caeneus' previous lives and soon, the reader is swept away into a tale befitting of the Greek gods themselves.

I came across this novel while looking for books to check out at the library; since I'd never heard of Sjon, I figured I would give him a good ol' college try. I'm glad that I did. His words, translated into English from Icelandic, weave quite a rather fetching tale, an awesome mixture of myths and legends that may in fact be true and post World War II realism. I began The Whispering Muse this morning and just now finished it. I could not put it down because, although I was both confused and understanding as to what I was reading, I HAD to know what would happen next. I have already placed Sjon's other books on my Wish List and I can't wait to read them.

If you are looking to read a book that smacks a hard left from the normal, pick up The Whispering Muse and then tell me what you think of it. I would love hear everyone's thought about this book.


EX LIBRIS!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Necropolis Trilogy

One day, can't remember when, I wrote a trilogy of poems that dealt with a necropolis ruled by the Etruscan Goddess of Death, Leinth. I had thought I had a home for them but Fate chose another Path for the trilogy. So, I figured that I would post them here in tribute to Happy Goth Month, also known as October. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

All photos were taken at Elmwood Cemetery.



I: THE NECROPOLIS


The city is covered
In webs made of unused words
Fleeting from possible conversations.
Dirty and grey are the buildings
That stand in silence
While securing their positions as sentinels
That no one wants.
The knowledge is forgotten
And lost among moldy books
And shattered vases; destroyed
Beyond a point of pain calculated
In a cold manner.
The city is silent, occupied
By the dead who can appreciate such
Granite dreams, unfortunate that no one
Is there to smile.
A piece of paper hurries along
With starved breezes
To a destination even it is not sure of.
A necropolis, here and now,
Divided by the dead and silent.
Given to black coal wings flutters
The one who sees it all, the one
Named in foreign tongues as bliss.
Black, midnight, nevermore coloured
Tendrils creep and grow tightly,
Covering the once thought of webs
Of dissolution. Thorns protrude
Dressed in indigo, the forgotten colour,
The one that is sacred. They drip
Foul liquids onto the granite dreams, hissing
With reptilian sensuality and banal lust.
The winged one sees this slow destruction
Of the necropolis and smiles; the birth of the new dead
Comes only once in a lifetime.
Fallen stone angels cry tears
Made of powder and demonic thoughts,
Feeding the thorns to gluttony.
The Winged One sits and waits.




II: LEINTH


Help me. I have forgotten who I am.
Time moves like winds lost among those who have forgotten
And yet I am still here, watching over this place
As if I gave birth to it.
I never sacrificed enough or gave enough for this to happen.
Day and night have no meaning here
But still I fly from place to place, watching those
That no longer have eyes to see.
I am a vision before you; kneel and all will be saved
Under my cold hands that bring promise of a better life.
Death is only a matter of time, and soon, all will come here
To witness the birth of a new world, one filled
With the laughter of gods and the children of scorned goddesses.
I used to smile, before the winds changed their direction.
Perhaps now is a good time
To say that I was once loved. I still am
But not in the way I remembered.
Crumbling statues are now my comfort
For the dead are no longer a use to me.
Strange, then, that my ways are of burnt wings
Given to the fires that constantly feed and devour
The souls of the eternally lost.
I fly with wings made of tears from children
Who have lost their mother and fathers, sisters and brothers.
I fly to seek out what I know is already there
Among the rubble of the necropolis I call my home.
Time eternal is my gift to everyone
If only to remember me for a blink of a mortal’s eye.
I am She Who Stops, the one that instills fear
And comfort when there is none left.
Come to me, denizens of the shattered, and take my hand.
We will be there soon enough when the last flame dies.





III: THE DEAD

We are here.
Listening, listening, to those who keep us
Like pets.
Silence. Shattering, scattered, remember, remember.
Floating away like so many of us before.
A single flower. A backwards glance.
Time immemorial.
Something approaches us but we dare not more;
We have no reason to fear. Fear is of the Living.
The thorns prick our flesh, dusty and grey,
Slinking slowly away from us when they realize we are not their food.
We hear and we do not obey
For we are the unheard masses,
Clamoring, clamoring towards a better spot to view
The endless suns that bring us no warmth.
Falling like leaves trampled,
Desiccated, unworn, baptized and made new,
Forever, forever, we are silent here.
There is one who shall speak for us but she refuses to do so.
She is bored with us; she remembers the light.
Or does she?
Stone angels mock us at every turn
Amid the buildings of a distant past but still signal a future.
We are here. Wondering, wondering
Just when this will truly be over
And we can go home, home, to our loved ones
Who fly way above us with wings not melted.
No wax created, only the love that another showed
When worms fed on his flesh and gouged out his eyes.
A god died and we were not there to witness it.
A shame, shame, performing utterly fascinated
With the dance of times forgotten.
Still.
The stones that hold us here are not cared for.
We can blow upon them and they whiter then reappear.
Hades was never this kind to us; he loved his Life so,
Giving her the sweet, sweet taste of a fruit poisonous to us.
She remembered and it was all over then.
The city, our city, our Hell,
Carries us swiftly when she can no longer do so.
We are many with one silent voice.
We are many.
Never, never, ever born into this world.
Forget us.




poetry copyright 2010 Kimberly B. Richardson




















Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Review - The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Two: Die Glocke

Criminals of the world beware . . .  

For those in need are about to receive . . Assistance Unlimited!




With these words, I returned to Sovereign City and its hero, Lazarus Gray, as he and his friends embark an another adventure! This time, they seek out the mysterious device known as Die Glocke and attempt to take it from the disfigured and power hungry enemy Walther Lunt and the Nazis to destroy it. Yet, what is Die Glocke and can it be stopped by Gray and his friends? Add the Circus from Hell (literally), a monster from another world and souls protected in stones and you've got a story that will make you stay up late at night reading.

Author Barry Reese has done it again with the second installment of the Lazarus Gray series through ProSe Productions; I carried the book with me to New Orleans this past weekend and found myself flipping through the pages and repeatedly asking the question, "What could possibly happen NEXT?" Yet, as much as I enjoyed the book and the familiar characters, I felt as though there was something missing. True, the action and never-ending intrigue were still there as in the first book, yet this time the characters felt a little stiff and the plot felt somewhat loose. When I reached the end of the book, I expected more of a powerful and cliffhanger ending than the one Reese wrote, yet it still left me with more questions than answers, of which was a good thing!  However, as I stated before, I enjoyed the book very much and I do look forward to reading the next one, of which is on my shelf.

Thank you, Barry and ProSe Productions!