Now that the first book in my Trouble with Men series has launched I can focus more on my other projects. I’ve been working on the edits I received from my editor for book 2, The Trouble with Scarecrows, and I’m also working on the 2nd draft of my YA fairy tale inspired novel – So I don’t have word count updates. I was going to try to keep up with hours spent, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. On the backburner for now is the rough draft of the 3rd book in the series. I want to get these edits back for book 2 first, and then I’ll work on book 3 while I wait on the next round of edits.
I’ve said it before, and just in case no one was listening, I’ll say it again: I would much rather work on edits/rewrites than a rough draft. (The rough draft is … hard lol.) I think the only bad part about rewriting is having to reread the story a thousand times. (You’d better like your story.) I was talking to my sister about this, and she asked me if I dreamed about my characters. I’d never thought about this before, but no, I don’t. Which is weird because I’m a big time dreamer. Maybe I just use a different part of my brain. IDK
Now all this talk about dreams reminds me of one of my short stories in my collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales. “If You Feed a Wolf” was inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. What I used from Wonderland was the way it reminded me of how I feel in dreams. So what I did was use some of my dreams from my dream journal as inspiration. So this story is a little fun, a little sad, and little out there. And I’m adding it to the end of this post.
Love, Laughter, and Fairy Tales,
If You Feed a Wolf
by Dorlana Vann
“But I don’t want to go among the mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the cat, “Or you wouldn’t have come here.”
From “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll
Nora ran, dodging trees and paying no mind to the twigs that scraped her bare arms and legs from shoulder to thigh. Once in awhile, the high afternoon sun shone through the density of the woods, and she knew she had better hurry.
When she reached the beach, she admired all her sisters who had gathered for the festivities. The continuous breeze carried the ocean’s scent as it waved through her long, bright hair. She felt powerful and had no doubt that she would be the victor.
“Gather around,” said Mother Mabel. Even without her ceremonial robes she stood with confidence, stripped down to her breast and bottom coverings. She was the oldest and wisest in their community, beautiful and flawless. “It’s time for the first race.”
Considering her competition’s bronzed, muscular legs and stomach, Nora found her to be an equal opponent. She couldn’t recall her name, only that they had known each other for a very long time. Nora smiled, and the woman smiled back, but with more self-assuredness—like it was clear she’d leave Nora in the dust.
“Go!” shouted Mother Mabel.
Nora took off. Her legs were strong and her mind clear. She wanted to win, although she didn’t want the race to end. Her sisters raised their red-ribbon-tied spears and cheered. The further Nora ran, the thicker the sand gathered on her feet, but it didn’t stop her from crossing the finish line first. She took small, effortless breaths as she looked behind her, but her opponent wasn’t there.
Where did she go? What did she look like? She wondered this as her sisters picked her up on their shoulders and paraded her around.
The moon, blazing orange, seemed to take the sun’s place in an instant. Everyone had gathered for the feast, eager and hungry for it to begin. The fire felt hot against Nora’s face and hands. She wasn’t hungry, but she couldn’t wait for the food. A bird with antlers flew down beside her and pecked the ground and then flew away again.
She watched as a wolf walked out of the forest. He stopped and then began to spin, around and around in circles. No one else seemed to notice him until he sat down beside the fire. He was hungry. Mother Mabel threw him a crumb and told him to leave. He growled out of the side of his mouth but ran back into the woods.
“Nora,” Mother Mabel said, the fire’s light dancing on her face. “If you feed a wolf, it will leave.” She took a puff from her brass pipe and passed it to the sister sitting next to her.
A storm started brewing, and the wind blew sand over the fire. All was black, except for the light of the pipe, and it seemed to float to Nora. She took it in her hands but hesitated until she heard Mother Mabel say, “I will come with you on your journey. I will always be with you.”
Nora put her lips to the cold pipe and inhaled, feeling the sweet smoke invade her mouth and then her lungs, heavily gratifying…
When awoken by a sudden light and an uneasy rustling, she couldn’t recall ever going to sleep. She was afraid to look, but curiosity forced her eyes to fly open. Where am I? Like lyrics to a forgotten song, but without the sweet melody, she vaguely recognized the room. She couldn’t breathe; the four white walls were stifling. Other people were there, but she didn’t know them.
What did Mother Mabel say to me? “Something about a journey,” Nora whispered.
“Nora? Nora?” asked a lady with silver, stringy hair, wrinkles, and sunken cheeks. “Can you see me? Can you hear me?”
The old lady sucked in her breath and put her hand over her mouth. “It’s me … Mabel. Mabel.”
Nora shook her head because the woman didn’t look anything like Mother Mabel. But there was a resemblance. A similarity. The green eyes, the way she opened her mouth when she smiled. I will come with you on your journey. “But why do you look so old?”
The lady laughed. “Why indeed.”
“What kind of journey is this?” Nora whispered. She tried to stand, but her legs held no strength, and she fell to the hard, cold floor.
“Oh,” Mabel said. “Are you hurt?” Mabel tried to help her, but Nora refused, thinking she didn’t need help.
Nora sat on the floor, legs in front of her, staring at unkempt yellowing toenails that stuck out of dirty, pink slippers. She pulled up the gown she wore, revealing pale, thin legs. “What happened to me? Why am I here?”
“I’m so glad you can talk.” It took her a couple a seconds, but Mabel got down on the floor and sat cross-legged like a little girl. “You are talking, aren’t you?”
“Is there a reason? Is this a lesson? Does this have to do with the wolf?”
Mabel eyes widened and in a raspy whisper she said, “How’d you know about the wolf?”
“It was by the fire, and you told me to feed it.”
Mabel inhaled and her hands jittered about wildly. “Right. I told you about the wolf. You did hear me. You could hear me the whole time. Why didn’t you say anything?”
“About what?” Nora asked.
“Right.” Mabel bit her nails.
“Oh, Miss Nora.” A man wearing white from head to toe stood over them. “Am I in trouble!” Without asking, he helped her up and back into her seat. “Here.” He handed her a small container. “I got distracted on my rounds and plum missed you. Woo wee, we wouldn’t want this to get out.”
“No,” Mabel said struggling to untangle her legs. “No, she can’t have those.”
“Miss Mabel, causing trouble again, I see. You know what happened last time Miss Nora was off her meds for too long. She bit you. Remember?”
The man held his hand out, now helping Mabel stand up.
“See,” Mabel said as she stood. “I’m fine. Don’t you see? Nora told me about the stories. She heard my stories …”
He looked back at Nora and nodded. “Take them, Miss Nora, and you’ll feel a lot better. You’ll go right back to la la land.”
Mabel wiped her eyes. “But the fairy tales, she remembers. And I don’t have anyone to talk to.”
Nora looked at the two little pills in the bottom of the small clear cup.
“No, Nora,” Mabel pleaded. “Stay with me. Stay with me.”
Nora couldn’t see the value of her journey. She didn’t know why she had come to the colorless place where she had to be so weak and helpless and where her thoughts were foggy. “If you feed a wolf, it will leave.” As she looked down at the little white pills, the message the real Mother Mabel had given her became clear. In this strange place, she was the wolf. If she wanted to go back to be with her sisters and never leave the beach, she would have to feed the wolf the little white pills.
Story From Dorlana’s Paranormal short story collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales eBook .99 cents Amazon
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Here is one the paranormal short stories from my collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales. The eBook is available on Amazon for only .99 cents – These nine Supernatural Fairy Tales are not retellings of the original fairy tales but were inspired by them. They are paranormal themed stories about vampires, ghosts, mermaids, witches, and more, in genres ranging from romance to thriller. And fair warning: they don’t always have a happy ending.
Forbidden Beach was a lot of fun to write.
I knew what lurked beyond the trees even before I opened the car door: the forbidden, barricaded beach. Even though I lived only a few miles away, I had never stood so close. Leaning against the car, the wind ruffled my hair as nerves tangled my insides.
“Aren’t you coming, Junior?” Pearl, my date, stood in the moonlight, hands on her hips, legs apart, making a perfect triangle with her skirt.
I shrugged my shoulders. “We’re not supposed to be here.”
“There’s no law against it.”
“Let’s go, you two love birds,” Clay said, shining his flashlight on us for a second before moving on.
“Don’t be scared,” Pearl said. “Just don’t step in the water, and you’ll be fine.”
I put my already shaky hands into my pants pockets. “I’m not scared!” It wasn’t that I needed to impress Pearl. I had only agreed to go out with her because no one else had said yes, but I didn’t want a mammoth, cowardly act stamped on my already unimpressive rep. “I just don’t believe it, that’s all. Have you ever seen it happen?”
“No, but my cousin, Fern, said he did. After a dare, one of his friends ran into the water and changed right before Fern’s eyes, and then the sea took him. He never saw him again.”
This reminded me of all the times my mother had warned me to stay away from the beach, to stay away from the wild Merfolk. “They took your father. Shameful, cannibalistic creatures, behaving like animals in that dirty ocean. Immoral and naked. Catching fish with their mouths. It’s shameful. It’s shameful. They took your father you know…”
“So, let’s go.” Pearl grabbed my hand, and I allowed her to lead me through the trees. The same salty air I had breathed my entire life now burst with intensity.
After we had caught up with Clay and Iona, we helped each other over the concrete barrier and down into the sand. I heard the soft roar of the dark waves, its movement the only factor separating it from the sky.
I vaguely heard the others talking behind me before Clay shouted, “No hard feelings, Junior. We just want to see if it’s true.” They laughed and pushed me until my feet sank into the wet, gushy sand.
“Don’t! Don’t!” I pleaded, already feeling the droplets of ocean spraying my face, before they gave one hard, final shove.
A wave pulled me with it, soaking my pants up to my waist. Fear pushed my voice to a scream. I screamed for help, screamed for the ocean to let go! Just as the water retreated, I lost my balance and landed on my knees. Sunken sand tracks, where the kids had run away, came into focus.
I scrambled to dry land before the next wave, trying to catch my senses. Tears filled my eyes as I remembered the pictures of the hideous beasts that I had been shown since grade school.
Standing up, I examined my legs and put my hands out in front of me, waiting for it to happen. The change. When I touched my mouth, my teeth felt normal, not long and pointed like a beast’s.
Relieved and unchanged, except for my belief that I would never be accepted by kids my age, I started to walk toward the road. A new sound in the darkness stopped me. I thought maybe they didn’t leave me but were hiding, waiting to watch me turn into a creature.
“I know you guys are there,” I said meekly, becoming increasingly concerned with the alien surroundings. I fought the urge to run. I would not let them win. And then a different, even stronger thought intruded; since I proved the myth untrue, I’ll be like a hero. No one would have to be afraid of the beach again.
I followed the sound to a pile of drifted sand and tangled weeds. The closer I stepped, the more it sounded like a whimper instead of a snicker. My mouth fell open as my breathing picked up pace. I questioned what I perceived camouflaged in the debris. A woman?
Her long hair, wildly strewn out behind her, was mixed with the sand and seaweed. “Hey, are you all right?” When I noticed her bare arms and her bare chest, I turned away. “Immoral and naked.” My heart quickened because it knew I had to look again. I stared at her face, down to her neck, to her chest, and past her stomach.
No legs! A fishtail! A real fishtail!
Stumbling back to standing, I turned towards the sea. “Oh! Ohhhh…” I put my hands up to my head. What do I do? She was a Merfolk, but something was wrong with her. I couldn’t just leave.
I loosened my tie and started unbuttoning my shirt as I thought about how Mother would kill me if she knew. It might not have been against man’s laws to walk the beach, but it sure the hell was against her’s. I turned back around and gently placed my shirt over the mermaid’s shoulders, covering most of her exposed upper body that didn’t look monstrous at all.
She didn’t move, except for her labored breathing. As I stood, wondering what to do next, I noticed a two inch gash in-between her two bottom fins that seemed clogged with sand.
I ran to the water, cupped it in my hands, and ran back. I did this several times, cleaning the wound as much as possible. I pulled my tie over my head and then wrapped it around her fins, bringing the edges of the cut as close together as possible.
When I put a handful of water up to her lips, she gave a quick inhalation, sucking up some of the water. I staggered backwards and then shot to my feet. Running to the water, I shouted, “Hello? She’s alive, and she needs help!” But only the spirited, nocturnal seagulls soared overhead, their replies loud but unclear.
After walking back and forth a couple of times, I dipped into the water once again and took it to her. The mermaid’s eyes shot open, but I didn’t flinch. I let her drink.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
I nodded, a little surprised to hear her speak. “Are you all right?”
“I think I just need something to eat.”
“Well, I can run home and make or… bring…”
“If you could just help me to the water, I can take care of that myself.”
“Oh,” I said, recalling what Mother had said about them catching live fish in their mouths.
“Please come be my guest so I can thank you for your kindness.”
I looked behind me at the ocean, allowing myself to realize how much I admired it. “I can’t, my mother… besides, I’m not like you. It wasn’t true, after all. I was in the water, and I didn’t change.”
“The sea takes no one who doesn’t wish to be there. You must desire the change. See?” She waved her hand over her tail. “I didn’t change into Landfolk just because I sit on dry land. I love the sea, and I want to return.” She held my stare as she said, “You must love the land.”
Or am I just scared? A soft breeze lifted me out of my thoughts, as she lifted her arms to me. I struggled, but managed to carry her until the waves splashed up to my shoulders. She sank and without a word disappeared into the darkness.
“Did you have a good time?” Mother stood in the foyer like she had been waiting there since I left. “I’m glad you finally got out of your—” Her smile distorted into a wide-mouth scream. When she pointed at my feet, my face grew hot. I didn’t have to look down to imagine all of the golden sand that probably clung to my pant legs and shoes.
She sat down on the stairs, blocking my escape to my room. In between gasps she said, “How many times have I told you never to go to that beach? It’s dangerous. Shameful, dirty beasts! Filthy-cannibalistic-naked-immoral-ugly creatures—”
“They’re not ugly,” I whispered.
Her face froze with a mix of horror and shock. “What did you say?”
I avoided her eyes. “I met one. I umm, I helped one. Her.”
“Swear to me right now,” she hissed, “you’ll never set foot on that wicked, wicked beach, again.”
At that moment, I realized how disgusted I was by her snobbish attitude. I also knew I would never be able to stay away from the ocean, away from the beauty of the Merfolk. “Why do you hate them? Because they’re different? You know, they’re not so unlike us. They can talk and are free to do…” At that moment, what really happened to my father became so obvious. “He chose the ocean, didn’t he? Father wasn’t taken!”
Tears of which I didn’t know Mother was capable began to seep from her eyes. “I should have moved us to the compound years ago just like the Worleys.” And then softly she sobbed. “But I had to wait.”
“Wait? For what? Father’s not coming back. Why would he? He’s free.”
“Don’t you dare disrespect me, Junior. You’re too young to understand the world. Merfolk are manipulative and horrific.” With wild eyes she looked around. “I have to protect you. Go pack! Now!” She stood up abruptly and pointed up the stairs. “Pack up your stuff. We’re moving in the morning and never coming back.” She screamed, “They can’t have you!”
I made my way up the stairs to pack for the compound. A compound so far inland I heard the air smelled of pine. A compound I could not leave until I was of age.
Early the next morning, I climbed out of my bedroom window and found my way back to the beach. It had lost all of its darkness and now glistened and pumped silver-blue waves as far as I could see.
“You came back.”
I almost missed the mermaid; her hair blended and moved with the water.
“I wanted to say goodbye. My mother is scared of what she doesn’t understand.”
“But you’re not,” her voice rose over the rumble. “I can see it on your face. You have fallen for the sea.”
“I don’t know.”
She held out her arms to me. “There is only one way to find out. Give yourself fully to the waves.”
I stepped into the water, thinking I would come back later and tell Mother goodbye, but the feeling of freedom already overwhelmed me. The further I swam the further away the mermaid seemed. I watched the tip of her tail go under and held my breath, plunging in after her. Immediately, I felt different. I was changing! My legs felt as one unified object. But when I gave in to the need to inhale, I choked violently. I coughed and gagged until finally I felt accepted.
My eyes had burned feverishly from the saltwater during the ocean’s initiation; now they could focus on the new surroundings. Brilliant and vivid fish that I had never imagined existed swam playfully around me as if they were celebrating my arrival.
To my surprise, a group of Mermen suddenly appeared. My heart thumped wildly. I started scanning their faces, searching for my father. I smiled, and they grinned. Then they opened their mouths, exposing daggered teeth. They came closer, surrounding me, licking me with their shameful, filthy, cannibalistic tongues.
June 15 – June 21
Not a lot of words written last week – but I feel I needed this time to get my thoughts together. So you can guess what my goal is for this week – type, type, type …
Trouble with Men Series book #3 – words written: 779
When I opened the file up on Tuesday I didn’t start writing, instead I went back to the very beginning and went over it – it helped to better describe my characters and to get in their heads from the very beginning again. So by the time I was finished for the day, I actually had three more scenes in my head. I also sent the first 2 chapter to my friend and critique partner (she’s read the first 2 books) – This was one of her comments: “There were several places that surprised a laugh out of me.” Which is awesome because I was worried about it being too heavy. Of course it wasn’t all sunshine, she also gave me some things to think about. So now I think I’m back on track (I really think taking a few days off of this book helped) – even though my word count is yuck.
YA Fairy Tale Inspired – words written: 1593
I finished the rough draft at 36713 words. It still has a long, long, long way to go but it is plotted and down on paper after a very long journey of it being my backburner story. To me, the rough draft is the most difficult part of writing, so I’m actually looking forward to the second phase of the book. Since my word count isn’t going to be the most important aspect of the second draft, “words written” above will be changed to “time spent” on my next entry.
Love and Laughter,
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June 8 – June 14
As you see below, I kind of favored one book over the other last week.
Trouble with Men Series book #3 – words written: 807
Hopefully, I’ll get back to it sometime this week, but I have a final scene in the other book that I have to finish.
YA Fairy Tale Inspired – words written: 6,366
I’m on the final scene and hope to finish today or tomorrow – I ended up with a good word count even though I did a lot of cutting and starting over. At one point I cut 1800 words – yikes. So I’m at the end of this one – and yes it looks like the rough draft will be about 36000 words. But of course this is just the rough draft so it’s not final – So I don’t want to stop and work on the other just yet.
Love and Laughter,