A Compelling Villain: Bill from Kill Bill

A Compelling Villain – Bill from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill – Vol.1 & Vol.2

A villain doesn’t have to be perfect, all powerful or even logical for him or her to be a perfect villain. In fact it’s that lack of perfection or strive towards imperfection that makes many villains, both film and literary, so interesting. In some cases, even more interesting than the heroes themselves at times. The hero/protagonist is supposed to be a selfless person who is supposed to do what’s right regardless of selfish desires. While the villain/antagonist is supposed to represent selfishness and the desire to put their own wants above all others. And yes, they will kill as many people as it takes to achieve that end.

First let’s start with the protagonist, Beatrix Kiddo aka The Bride aka Born Killer. I say “protagonist” because she is by no means heroic at all. She saves no one’s life. (Sparing the life of the Yakuza boy isn’t the same as saving it.) She’s not out to stop some bad guy’s evil plan or even rescue someone. Her motivation is the most selfish, easily relatable story motif there is: Revenge. We know what happened to her and therefore we root for her.

And then there’s Bill. The villain we as the audience are supposed to root against. Other than the initial act that gets the revenge story in motion what does Bill actually do that would be considered ‘evil’ or ‘villainous’. And this is not counting special features or deleted scenes. The answer is nothing. You never see Bill kill a single person in both volumes. He tries twice to kill the Bride and fails. That’s it. You don’t see Bill killing cops or killing some random henchman for failing. Bill simply just waits for the Bride to come to him.

Bill has no plot (The character not the movies. Thought I should make that clear). He has no plans to take over the world, rob a bank, steal a secret weapon of mass destruction or even assassinate someone. An assassin who doesn’t assassinate anyone. Think about that for a second. Bill doesn’t even send random scores of henchmen to go after the Bride.

And here’s something amazing for you.

Bill doesn’t lie.

While some of his responses are vague when it comes to certain questions, everything he says is more or less the truth. He more or less doesn’t lie to Tommy in the chapel at the beginning of Vol.2. He tells Budd that Oren really didn’t have 88 body guards and that they just call themselves the Crazy 88 because, ‘they thought it sounded cool’. When his daughter B.B. changes the truth slightly about the death of her gold fish Emilio, he corrects her by quoting her directly. When B.B. and Bill continue the gold fish story Bill says, “You’ll be so proud of her mommy. She didn’t lie,” once again emphasizing how important the truth is to Bill. Tarantino continues this when he tells B.B. the brutal truth about how he tried to kill the Bride and later on when Bill tells Beatrix that he has a solution to her “lying problem”, he shoots her with a literal solution in the form of a powerful truth serum he calls: ‘The Undisputed Truth’.  Even the movie’s title is brutally honest, spoiling the movie’s climax for everyone and at the same time, not.

Tarantino could’ve just easily left out the truth serum and had a simple exchange between Beatrix and Bill. We as the audience would’ve taken for granted that whatever she would’ve said would be true. Bill is the father of her child after all and they used to be lovers. And sure you can interpret the truth serum as a not-so-subtle way of explaining that after everything Beatrix put him through, he really doesn’t trust her. But I give Tarantino more credit than that. Bill goes out of his way to explain just how strong the truth serum is. And from a character standpoint you can tell he made it especially for her. Unless of course Bill just keeps bottles of powerful truth serum lying around his house because, reasons.

In other movies, pain is used to get answers during interrogation scenes. But in Kill Bill the Bride’s pain comes from the answers themselves. Not physical pain but emotional pain as the Bride is forced to tell the truth about how she not only loves killing, but she enjoyed killing every single last person it took to get to him. Then Bill gets her to admit that not even she believed her plan of living in El Paso would’ve worked. You can tell how painful it is for her not to lie. In other movies the protagonist and the interrogator are almost always intimately close. But former intimate lovers Beatrix and Bill sit on opposite sides of the room. And when they do sit close together, they try to kill each other. Other movies would have these former jilted lovers yell and hurl insults at each other, but no. They address each other in all-too-calm voices but you can still more or less feel the emotional blows from their exchanges.

Their one and only kiss inside the El Paso wedding chapel, the only kiss anyone shares in both volumes, is a direct reflection of their relationship; lifeless. The most intimate thing you witness them sharing only succeeds to drive more distance between them with Beatrix saying goodbye for one reason and Bill saying goodbye for another.

Now contrast Bill’s brutal honesty with the Bride’s long string of lies within the story’s arc. When the Bride finds out she’s pregnant there’s a wonderful scene that, much like the climax in Vol.2, focuses on her telling the truth and having to provide evidence to prove that she’s being honest. It’s almost as if we’re being told to not trust anything she says or at least take it with a grain of salt. She even tells Karen Kim, the shotgun wielding assassin in Vol.2, that any other day she would be lying to her. That day just happened to be the day she’s telling the truth, as if it happens so rarely.

And there’s a reason why. The Bride is a liar.

In El Paso, her would-be husband Tommy and all of her friends do not know her past, her real name or even the real father of her baby. She lies, in a chapel mind you, to her future husband Tommy about Bill being her father. Claiming that your former lover and the real father of your baby is your own father is a pretty big lie. She technically lies to Bill when she vanishes and moves to El Paso without telling him that she’s pregnant, making him assume she was dead. She lies to Hitori Hanzo when she meets him at his restaurant in Okinawa. Even the Bride’s initial premise is a lie. Vol.1 tells you, or heavily implies that Bill’s massacre happened during Beatrix’s wedding, when it in fact happened during her wedding rehearsal as explained in Vol.2.

Need more evidence. Listen to the lyrics of the song playing in the background after Beatrix puts B.B. to bed.

Now contrast that with Bill who is constantly lied to by those close to him. His former lover and mother of his daughter, the Bride, of course lied to him about being pregnant and ran away. A lie of omission, but a lie nonetheless. His own daughter B.B. lied to him about how her gold fish died. Budd, his own brother, lied to him about pawning his Hanzo Sword. A real testament to brotherly love considering how much money Elle was willing to pay for Beatrix’s sword. And speaking of Elle, Bill’s current lover, she lies to Bill when she tells him that Beatrix killed Budd with a black mamba.

No wonder Bill values the truth so much. The people closest to him have no problem lying to him and hurting his feelings. His daughter kinda thinks he’s stupid if she honestly thought he would believe her lie about how her foot ‘accidentally’ entered Emilio’s fish bowl. But she’s 4 so I suppose she gets a pass. Budd hurts Bill by lying to him about pawning his ‘priceless’ Hanzo sword that Bill both gifted and engraved with a loving message. And Elle casually lies to Bill about the black mamba killing Budd. Keep in mind, during that brief phone call she casually tells him the ‘tragic news’ that his brother and the mother of his daughter and are both dead. One’s a direct lie and the other is a lie of ignorance. Plus she delivers the tragic news like she’s reading items off a grocery list, pocket notepad and all.

What makes Bill such a compelling villain is how much he goes against the grain, and takes a chainsaw to all villain clichés in the process. If you really look at it, Bill makes for a very risky villain. I mean look at him: An honest man. An assassin who’s never seen killing anyone on screen. A loving, nurturing father. No scores of disposable, armed henchmen to do his bidding. Bill has a large hacienda in Mexico and no guards. I can’t remember a single time a bad guy’s ‘liar’ didn’t have any armed cronies. And this is a personal favorite, he’s a villain that lives in Mexico but he’s not a drug dealer of any kind. Any other director would’ve tied Bill to drugs the moment they tied him to villain and Mexico.

And yet, nothing feels amiss. Bill still manages to be terrifying without you ever seeing him do anything at all. In another movie that goes against the grain, you are more or less told through other characters in very subtle ways as to how strong and villainous Bill is. Your mind automatically fills in the blanks whenever it comes to the important events that aren’t shown on camera. And it’s that mystery that adds to the character. How did Bill meet Pai Mai? And why was he not worthy of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique and Beatrix was? What did Bill do exactly to make Hitori Hanzo swear a blood oath to never make another sword again? Whatever it was, also led him to break that very same oath just for the promise of killing Bill. And keep in mind, Hitori and Beatrix had just met before he decided to make her a sword. That mystery adds to his character and more importantly, doesn’t take away from the story.

The confrontation at Bill’s hacienda is the only time we see the Bride holding a gun. She faced off with 88(or so) Yakuza bodyguards armed only with a sword. The fact that she feels threatened enough to carry a gun tells you just how dangerous she knows Bill to be.

But you already knew that of course. Because if there is one thing that we take with us about Bill through both volumes is that he tried to kill his pregnant former lover. Never mind showing him kill lots of innocents. The El Paso incident, which we only see the prelude of, is all the convincing we need to know he’s bad

So why did Bill do it?

This brings me to my favorite aspect of not only Bill but Kill Bill as a whole. (Writer’s take note.)

I’m certain many of you simply believe that Bill overreacted when he found out that Beatrix was pregnant and getting married, as is somewhat explained in Vol.2. But placed under a bit of scrutiny it falls apart.

For starters, was Beatrix always planning to leave Bill? I mean, if she can speak several languages fluently I’m pretty sure she knew that sleeping with Bill would eventually lead to her being pregnant. Being an assassin (trust me I’ve done a fair bit or research) requires a fair bit of planning. As does revenge. Especially against other trained assassins. But the movie would have you believe that Beatrix got pregnant, remembered who the father was, panicked and left. And then, for some strange reason, she got engaged to a man she’s known for less than a year. And even worse, when the Bride tells the reverend’s wife that she doesn’t have any family but, “we’re planning on changing that,” she strongly implies, (aka lies) that the baby is Tommy’s. For those of you who didn’t fall asleep during biology class, you already know what Beatrix and Tommy did or had to do, in order to convince Tommy the baby is his. Such a revelation would drive an ordinary man over the edge. Imagine what such a revelation does to a man whose life and occupation revolves around killing people.

Was his reaction extreme? Of course it was. Innocent people died thanks to Bill’s broken heart. Was his reaction that surprising? Well…

…put yourself in Bill’s shoes. Your former lover, whom you thought was dead, is alive. You should be happy. (Remember how happy Beatrix looked when she first sees B.B.?) You’re expecting to find a corpse or an unmarked grave of someone you cared about. But instead you don’t find her dead but happy, without you. She has friends, a new boyfriend and above everything else, she’s getting married to ‘some f**king jerk’ a.k.a., not you. And (this is very important) she’s pregnant. She wasn’t pregnant the last time you saw her. But now she is and she’s getting married to a stranger when you’ve known her and loved her for years. And if that isn’t bad enough, the effing jerk is also old enough to be your son.

Now, as a ‘murdering bastard’ as Bill referred to himself as, you can:

Option A:

Leave Beatrix alone and spend the remainder of your life imagining her screwing her perfect stranger of a new husband and living a long and happy life while you do BLANK.


Option B:

You make sure Option A doesn’t happen.

Not as easy a choice when you put it into perspective. But it gets better or worse depending on if you’re Bill. Since Beatrix didn’t look pregnant before she left for El Paso, this leaves Bill with only one logical assumption. (I’m assuming you already know what that is.) After all, Beatrix’s very first words are, “Bill, it’s your baby,” as if she knows exactly why Bill is trying to kill her. Not a problem for couples who trust each other, but Beatrix is a liar. Given all the evidence it’s difficult to determine (especially for Bill) if Beatrix was telling the truth or lying to save her and her daughter’s life.

So what does Bill do? Get a paternity test that is never shown on screen? Or invent and shoot your former lover with a powerful truth serum that doubles as a recreational drug. (How the hell else does Bill know about the euphoria with no druggy after affects as well as length of time it takes to go into effect? It also explains why a truth serum of all things is his favorite invention and I honestly doubt he tested it on his four year old daughter. And for an already honest guy like Bill, the drug has no negative consequences.)

Then after the serum takes effect, instead of asking something that bleeds insecurity such as, “Is B.B. my daughter you lying slut?” which of course implies several other things. Bill instead asks, “Why did you leave with my baby?”

Years have passed and Bill has obviously bonded with B.B. (she calls him daddy after all) but you can tell he wanted to be sure without coming off as desperate or insecure. And it works. Had Beatrix’s baby not been Bill’s baby, she would’ve immediately told a different story about how she wasn’t pregnant before Karen Kim tried to blow her away with a shotgun. After the story you can see that Bill is visibly more relaxed. He gets to die knowing that he, and not some ‘effing jerk” is the father of his daughter. That may not seem like a big deal to some of you but for most men, it’s all they think about, even when they try not to.

To the casual movie watcher, Bill can seem a bit plain. And that would be somewhat accurate. After all he doesn’t have nearly the mystery Kevin Spacey’s Keyser Soze or the complete disregard for human life of Heath Ledger’s Joker or Darth Vader’s mere presence or the body count of any villain. Try picturing them with kids. In fact try picturing any villain with kids. Darth Vader, one of film’s most famous fathers, is the least father-like father in the history of film. I can’t begin to imagine Anakin or Darth Vader raising twin babies and changing their diapers or driving them to soccer practice or Jedi school. Or Ra’s al Ghul changing Talia al Ghul’s diapers. But Bill pulls it off with ease like Brando’s Vito Corleone; fatherly in one scene and menacing in the next. The relationship between Bill and B.B. feels authentic. Not shoe horned in as a useless gimmick like in Bad Boys 2. Not only can I imagine Bill changing diapers, I imagined he changed a lot of diapers since he was raising B.B. as a single father. Also, I can still see him cutting someone’s head off.

Some see Bill as cruel and that’s also accurate. When you kill people for money, you have to be. But as I explained earlier the El Paso incident, while tragic, was more or less justified. Extreme? Yes. But justified. His heart was broken after all. And that’s the greatest tragedy. After his heart is broken figuratively the Bride breaks his heart literally.

I’m not here to argue how the Bride is really the villain and how Bill is really the hero. That’s a whole other blog for a whole other day. And if I’m bored enough I’ll cover it in greater detail. But I will say this. The thought of getting back with Bill or raising their daughter together or her simply taking B.B. and leaving Bill alive was never an option. Even with B.B. still alive and healthy her goal is still to Kill Bill. Never mind the fact that he raised her himself for the past four years. (Granted he’s the very reason why he had to raise B.B. as a single father.) However, even before the El Paso incident the Bride still didn’t want to raise B.B. with Bill. In fact in the story’s arc she all but says I’ll jump a motorcycle onto a speeding train for you but there’s no effing way I want us to raise OUR daughter together, despite our years of history. I’d rather sleep with and marry a perfect stranger AND jump a motorcycle onto a speeding train than start a family with you.

How would that make you feel? How would that make any man feel? I mean the absolute arrogance of Beatrix honestly believing that after hurting Bill that badly, Bill will somehow just find it in his cold black murdering heart to forgive her and move on with his life. Spoiler Alert, people don’t work that way. Not just men or just women, people. If the roles were reversed, do you think Beatrix would’ve been as forgiving as she hoped Bill would be? I’ll let you decide that for yourselves.

When developing a villain, or any character, don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Ignore that voice in your head telling you, ‘I want my reader to be comfortable with the character.’ And while that is certainly a worthy goal, comfortable characters tend to make cliché characters, aka boring characters. And if you take anything away from this blog, take this rule.

Villains can’t be boring! Superman is allowed to be a little boring. In fact that’s kinda of the point, at least when it comes to Clark Kent. But Lex Luthor is never allowed to be boring. All great villains have one thing in common. None of them are boring, even when their heroes sometimes are.

Thanks for reading.

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Questions to Ask When Writing

Yes my friends it is #NaNoWriMo2014 and like every year I embark on a month long adventure that takes me to fascinating places without leaving the relative comfort of my writing desk. For those of you new to the game, November is National Novel Writing Month where established authors and newbies alike try their darnedest to write a story’s rough draft in a month. It’s fun, challenging, and other stuff. And although I’ve never finished a rough draft during NaNoWriMo I’ve always emerged from the month with a significant chunk of my story written down and it only takes me an additional week or two to finish up the rest.

For those if you taking on the fun challenge of trying to write a novel in a month, writer’s block is either a huge road block or nonexistent. Either way you should consider the follow questions as you’re typing away. So here are: The Questions to ask yourself when Writing Fiction

1. Who’s in the scene?

This may seem obvious but a writer really needs to consider this when taking in a scene. Who’s present? How many are present? Why are they there to begin with? Is someone hiding somewhere and listening in? Is someone looking at someone else through a hidden camera or a sniper scope. Is someone using a hidden recorder? Just because a character isn’t present doesn’t mean they aren’t there in one form or another. Really consider why each character enters that bedroom or brothel or church or gunfight. Their reasons may be similar but more than likely each character present has a different agenda than the other.

2. What do you want to do with the scene?

What do you want this scene to accomplish? What is its purpose? Does the scene introduce a new character or a new place or does some major event happen? How does this scene move the plot forward? Remember your story for the most part is a beginning, a middle and an end. Every chapter, scene, page, paragraph, sentence, word, syllable and letter is but a step toward that goal. Every scene in your novel should have a purpose to either move the story along or enhance the experience for the reader or both. Try to avoid adding a scene just for the sake of foreshadowing. Your reader will either think the scene is useless or see the foreshadowed event so clear you might as well call it five-shadowing.

3. Where does the scene take place?

Trust me this isn’t as straight forward as it sounds. Yes your next scene can take place in a hospital or in a graveyard or on a battlefield but the real question how do you make that place real for the reader? How do get them to smell the hyper cleanliness of the hospital or feel the bitter chill of a cemetery overpopulated with tombstones or smell the rotting and decay of countless bodies littering a battlefield. The area you’re reading this sentence in stimulates your senses at this very moment. Really take the time to consider what your characters are feeling, seeing and smelling and as a result, so will your reader.

4. When does the scene take place?

Does it take place right after the last scene? Or the next hour? Or the next day? Or a year from then? Some writers don’t put much stake in this question, preferring to allow the story pace itself. Which is why I’ve read stories where babies are born in five months or destroyed cars are completely fixed in two days or its sunset one minute and the sun is setting again on the next page and my personal favorite, trips on sail boats that realistically and historically last for weeks or months seem to take two weeks or a few days. Some authors overshoot it and it ends up taking years. Another problem that arises is that it messes with the pacing. Don’t ignore this question. Really consider when each scene takes place in relation to the other.

5. Why is this scene important enough for the reader to know about it?

Keep in mind, you’re not going to tell every last detail of your characters life. Ideally you’re only sharing the highlights within the framework of a story arc. Sure you want these scene to introduce a main character but why do you wish to introduce them this way instead of some other way? The why tends to be a very open ended question which inevitably leads to other ‘why’ questions but your goal is to justify you spending time behind a keyboard sharing this scene with your reader. This scene isn’t just about introducing a main character, it also reintroduces an old character, gives a back story in another character and foreshadows several major events in the book. Those reasons, plural, more than justify you sharing it with your audience. I’m sorry but a shower sex scene with your attractive female lead needs to do more than the reader that your character likes to have sex in the shower and nothing else.

6. How do you tie it all in to your scene?

Whenever my writing is blocked I ask myself any of the above questions and I DON’T accept “I don’t know” as an answer. The world of your story is yours to mold and shape anyway you see fit with the buck starting and stopping with you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t be afraid to take risks, make mistakes and to try again when something doesn’t work the first time. Only you can answer “How”. So ask it, then answer it. And if you’re not having even a little fun answering these questions, then perhaps writing is probably not the profession for you.

I would like to thank everyone on Twitter who decided to follow me to see into the mind of a madman. I very much appreciate it. I would also like to wish good luck and Godspeed to all writers crazy enough to go through #NaNoWriMo and I wish you all the best in your writing adventures. Remember, even if you don’t finish, the time you’ve spent will not be in vain. Take care and thanks for reading.

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Inspirational Writers Quotes for September 2014

Happy September Everyone!!! Look at what I got!


Isn’t it beautiful? It’s one thing to have a story in your head, in a bunch of random college notebooks next to your Plato’s Allegory of the Cave notes, then in your word processor, then in a PDF, then on a Kindle but its completely different when its in your hands in a form that you’ve only imagined in your head a billion times. I feel relief and disbelief at the same time. It’s a strange feeling. Good, but strange.
Anyway, I have to keep this update short for I have a lot of work for you so here is: Inspirational Writers Quotes for September 2014

In case you, like myself, need to be reminded why you write and who you’re writing for.











I hope these help. They’ve certainly helped me. And because I’m feeling generous, here’s a bonus one from Stephen King.


Remember that. I know I do.

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Berley’s 5 Truths of Fiction Writing

Dear reader and/or writer,
As you may have noticed, my novel, Curse Breaker: Guild Assassin is finally out and I finally breathed a long awaited sigh of relief, four years in the making. During my endless journey through this weird and destructive land known as Art, I’ve ran into more than my fair share of obstacles and setbacks. Although those same obstacles and setbacks have at times pushed me to the breaking point on more than one occasion, I’ve always managed to take a step back, take a deep breath, and get passed them regardless of what they might be.

For a writer, or any kind of artist as a matter of fact, the obstacles come in many shapes and countless forms. Terrible teachers, non encouraging or non inspiring elders, fear of rejection, self doubt, lack of discipline, stubbornness, unwillingness to learn, jobs, families, friends and yes, fear of failure and occasionally, fear of success. When starting something as dubious and as open to anyone’s opinion as art, whether its literary, or musical, or visual, or architectural the art is always available, waiting to be seen, heard, experienced and judged by whoever happens to come to cross it. For many people who sit at a cubicle or crunch numbers or type up spreadsheets only have to worry about making something good enough for their boss or bosses to not love or even like but merely to understand. Artists work for the most difficult boss ever to exist; the entire human race. And not just humans living now, but every human that will exist long after the art is finished and the artist is gone. So may I present you: Berley’s 5 Truth’s of Fiction Writing

1. Write what you care about
You have a better chance of being struck by lightning 100 times in a row and surviving than make a work of art, especially literary art like a novel, and NOT have a couple of bad, if not, terrible reviews. Keep this mind, one person’s 5 star review is another person’s 1 star review. One person’s “I couldn’t put it down” is another person’s “Did Not Finish”. One person’s “it hooked me in” is another person’s “it made me bored”. There’s no pleasing all of them, so don’t! This advice comes from Sci-Fi/ Fantasy author David Gerrold: “Write what you care about most. That way at least one person in the universe loves your story. And if one person loves it, then surely there will be others.”
Keep in mind, J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert Heinlein are considered the best of the best of their respective genres, they both died before the Internet went mainstream and BOTH still have 1 star reviews on Amazon.
All artists get bad reviews. Even the dead.

2. No one writes a perfect draft the very first time
That rough draft still collecting dust on your desk or taking up space on your hard drive? (Seeing as how I’m using my iPhone to write this blog, probably the ladder.) Relax. You’re not going to write the perfect novel on the very first try. Chances are you didn’t make your first basket the first time you held a basketball or scored a home run the first time you swung a baseball bat. If you did that would be remarkable. Or you’re Superman. If you’re really that good you should stop wasting time reading my blog and start curing cancer. As for the rest of us mere mortals it takes time and energy just to get anything on paper and/or word processor. (Who am I kidding? If you’re reading this then most likely a word processor). And guess what. It takes more time and more energy to polish it up. New writers find this concept frightening. Veterans find it freeing. To me there’s no better feeling than knowing that I can write complete crap today and my only critic will be me. So spend time today (Not tomorrow when you’re feeling better! TODAY!) getting your story out of the stormy sea of chaotic thoughts that is your brain and onto a processor (or paper). You can waste time polishing it up later when the rough draft is finally done.

3. Don’t be a Critic Pleaser
I say this with love: CRITIC PLEASERS MAKE TERRIBLE WRITERS. And to be honest, terrible artists in general. A Critic Pleaser, for those who don’t know, is an artist who cares more about pleasing a critic (Not The critics but A critic) than pleasing themselves or their fans. I’ve had the fortune of reading great works of fiction by published and unpublished authors alike. I’ve also had the misfortune of reading other books by those same writers who were more interested in pleasing their critics than anyone else. Never mind the many positive reviews and feedback from many people they’ve received. It’s that one review from that ONE person that drives them up the wall. So rather than write another amazing book that pleases the already established fan base, they alienate their fan base in order to please one person. ONE! Or perhaps 2 or 3. But definitely less than the people who liked their work to begin with. Some critics may spout the ultra lie that they speak for everyone in the universe that isn’t you. LIES! The fact that I can find several 1 star reviews for The Lord of the Rings, (a book so awesome it’s been cloned by more writers than most writers have reviewers) should tell you that one person’s option DOESN’T speak for “everyone.” Far from it. If you got a good thing going on that makes you happy, then keep doing it. Anything else is a complete waste of time.

4. Write when you feel like it and you get pages. Write everyday and you have a novel
Discipline and Talent will take you further than just talent alone. Over the years I’ve met far more talented writers who’s books you’ll never read because they never finished writing them.
You wanna finish that hard drive space wasting rough draft?
Write everyday.
You want your book out there?
Write everyday.
You want writing to get easier?
Write everyday.
You want to stop or at least weaken writer’s block?
Write everyday.
Once it becomes a routine, like walking and breathing, it becomes easy, like walking and breathing. It only seems harder because people don’t usually pay good money to see an artist walk and breath.

5. HAVE FUN!!!
If you’re not having fun, then you should stop being a writer. Fiction Writing is art ladies and gentlemen. That means it was made to be enjoyed, to be analyzed, to be criticized by EVERYONE! You have no control over who critiques your work anymore than a hot girl in a bikini has control over which guys are checking her out and which guys aren’t. (And trust me, as hot as she is or thinks she is, there will still be guys that aren’t checking her out for one reason or another.) To be an artist is to be judged, loved, hated, worshiped and a slew of other verbs I’m too lazy to list. The best way to deal with harsh criticism that inevitably comes with this line of work is to enjoy it as much as possible. Find joy in the creation, the writing, the world, the characters, the fact you can control where the characters go rather than on the choices of some other writer.
To help with this issue answer this question as honestly as you can: Would you rather be a published author who’s work is available for people to both love AND hate or would you rather be unpublished and therefore unknown writer/dilettante in the writing community? If the idea of having your work judged scares you from writing then you’re not having enough fun. And if you’re not having fun writing, then why are you writing to begin with?

Take care friends and once again, Curse Breaker: Guild Assassin is now available on Kindle and Kobo by Curiosity Quills. Please check it out and if you can, leave a review. Don’t care what it is as long as its honest.
Til next time😀

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Curse Breaker: Guild Assassin (Sample Chapters)


Angry. The word was an understatement of how I felt that morning. Even words such as heated, crossed and even infuriated, wholly and utterly failed to define my mood in those moments. Pissed is a good word, a very good word. But even that couldn’t begin to describe the level of rage I felt at that moment, at that time, on that day, as I limped down the early morning streets of Glasgow, Scotland towards my destination.
The click-clack, click-clack of my boot heels meeting granite resonated like a discordant symphony in my bruised and bleeding ears. My body was still having trouble adjusting to Earth’s gravity. Since setting foot on the Mother Realm, I’d found myself tripping over my own two feet more often than I care to mention. My recent injuries coupled with the added weight of my pistol and dual swords didn’t help my coordination much either.
My attire, which consisted of black boots and a simple, black and red custodian’s uniform, were stained with dirt, grass and blood, some of which was mine. Stitched over the uniform’s right breast pocket was an insignia of a red Viking ship complete with oars and sails. Written on the side of the ship in bold black letters were the words, “Red Viking Industries.” My would-be destination.
Fresh, sticky blood decorated the black waistcoat my dual swords were currently wrapped in. Not the most discreet of disguises but with so few options available to me I had to make do. I prayed the blood stained bundle appeared as nothing more than a pile of sticks, or anything nonthreatening. I did my best not to worry, but thanks to everything that was going on, it had turned into an exercise in futility.
The other weapon I had was just a bit worse.
The 9mm pistol, tucked in my belt, reeked of gun powder and heated metal; effortlessly contaminating the air around me. Thankfully there were precious few pedestrians on the streets that morning and all of them were a good distance away. I had no doubt in my mind that anyone standing within three feet of my person would easily be able to smell my recently fired pistol as plainly as the stench of a pipe-dreamer emerging from an opium den.
For a brief moment my right boot caught on something and I stumbled forward, barely catching myself to keep from falling. I leaned on a nearby fence and chuckled in spite of my pain. It was almost embarrassing. I’ve killed and helped kill Guild Masters, amongst others, on several different planets and here it was the Mother Realm’s own gravity giving me the most trouble. I considered slowing my pace, giving my body a few precious extra seconds of healing. I considered it, but my grim thoughts only goaded me into increasing my pace.
Half a dozen airships, two large class-B’s and the rest, not-as-large class-C’s, buzzed overhead; their numerous propellers whipping the air in their wake. I looked up at the orange-red sky as the assortment of dirigibles sailed overhead; steadily making their way over the near-empty streets of Glasgow’s Industrial District. Plumes of ghost-white steam erupted from the vessels’ various vents before swiftly evanescing into the air as if they never were. It wasn’t just any kind of steam but exhaust from the hydro-p fuel they all no doubt ran on. Hydrogen-peroxide; the quote-unquote ‘miracle fuel’ that dominated damn near every economic and trade market in the 500 Realms since the early twentieth century.
The Industrial District was as business oriented as they came. There wasn’t a single private residence for at least a mile in all directions. Not even the poorest of tenements could be found within the district’s borders.
Instead there were warehouses and factories. So many in fact, that I was hard pressed to give a proper estimate, except to say that from what I could see the number was definitely greater than fifty. Due to their obvious lack of commercialism, most of the factories looked very much the same, even down to the same shade of concrete-gray they all seemed to share. Each city block was owned by a different business and the properties they sat on had at least three buildings; one office building for conducting business while the remaining buildings housed the assembly lines which put together whatever product they happened to churn out. Not all, but most of the assembly buildings possessed tall smokestacks. Black smog spewed from some, while hydro-produced-steam billowed from the rest. Whatever the color of their gaseous waste product, every single smokestack in the district was in use.
As I drew closer to my destination, whistles and cat calls from scantily clad women lining the narrow alleyways between the factories, begged for my business. It didn’t matter to them that I was a woman. As far as they were concerned, the currency they assumed I had on me worked just as well as any man’s. Gender equality at its best. While I was used to men hitting on me and treated it with boredom at least half the time, receiving offers from ladies of the evening made me just a bit curious. Then again, stars are often fascinating, but it doesn’t mean I want to touch one with my bare hands.
When a particularly desperate hooker started to harass me, refusing to take no for an answer, I removed my pistol from my belt and held it high. High enough for her to get a very good look at it in the dim morning light along with my bruised and equally stoic face.
I couldn’t care less how reckless my actions may have appeared. I was too angry and in far too much pain to care. I was in no mood to be bothered.
In the end my actions yielded the desired result. The woman turned around and trotted away as fast as her ridiculous high heels could carry her. The others must have seen the pistol as well because the whistles and cat calls abruptly ceased. Once again it was down to just me, my weapons and my fatigued mind, drowning in a stormy sea of ill thoughts.
I tucked the pistol back into my belt and continued on.
I hobbled past three factories and two traffic lights before arriving just across the street from my destination; The Red Viking Glasgow Industrial complex. The red and black insignia printed on my borrowed uniform was painted on every building within the complex along with more than a few airships, cars and steam-suits.
The Red Viking complex, to its credit, was by far the most interesting piece of property in the district. Nine separate edifices stood proudly within its high-security fences. Four large hangers, all of them large enough to fit at least one class-A airship, and two identical office buildings stood on the south side while three factory buildings populated the north. On the east side was a parking lot reserved for company airships and cars belonging to Viking employees; on the west end, made obvious by the wide open black gates, stood the main entrance.
Beyond the entrance was a plaza which held a long wooden stage, erected at the very center. Employees clad in red and black uniforms moved purposefully around the stage, setting up video-cameras, microphones, chairs and speakers while others cleaned up the area as much as possible. With each passing second, more and more formally dressed non-employees arrived, positioning themselves as close to the wooden rostrum as possible.
It wasn’t until I saw the crew putting up large posters if a man wearing a highly technological suit of armor that I immediately remembered what all preparation was for. Viking was going to show off their brand new steam-suit model to potential investors as well as future customers.
Just east of the stage, at the very heart of the complex was Viking’s main office building, the misleadingly named Viking Tower. Standing a meager six stories, it was easily the tallest building in the district. It too carried a concrete-gray color but unlike the other office buildings in the district, and was by far the cleanest. The other businesses didn’t bother with the expense of consistent clean up, leaving both their property and people covered in soot. Viking Industries employed a round-the-clock cleaning staff, dedicated solely to keeping all the buildings, as well as the areas in between, as unsoiled as possible.
I should know. I was disguised as one of them.
I casually walked through the factory’s main gates, trying my best to not to limp, trip or draw any form of attention to myself whatsoever. Thanks to my uniform, no one, not the factory workers, the formally dressed business employees nor the handful of armed guards patrolling near the entrance, gave me so much as a second look. I kept my sword-bundle close to my chest, but with all the excitement around the plaza escalating, my actions didn’t seem to matter all too much.
In fact, most of the people I saw inside the complex, employee or not, were far too preoccupied with their travel-phones to even notice me. Most of them wore headsets, leaving their hands free to do other useful things like twirl their canes or check their pocket watches. One man even had a headset built right into his black top hat, complete with a foot long antenna jutting straight up. These Phone-tops, as they were known, were certainly becoming fashionable. This was the tenth one I had seen in four days on two different Realms.
Those who didn’t have a travel-phone, phone-top or not, used the computer kiosks near the entrance. For a few pounds, users had the option of making picture-calls or sending Electronic Information Network messages to any on-Realm network. For a few pounds more they could even send a message off-Realm. The price depended on the Realm.
Despite the technological distractions, I played it safe and kept my distance from the gathering crowd. I made my way northeast, just behind Viking Tower to the company’s three story Research and Development building. I avoided the main entrance, along with two more Viking employees, one chattering on her travel-phone, before ending up at the same side entrance which, in many ways, led to the situation I was in. I pulled on the handle and to my surprise, the door was already unlocked. I took a quick look around, ignoring the strain in my neck and slipped inside, shutting the door behind me.
Orange, electric light filled a narrow hallway that ended at an intersection containing a stairwell. Lying unconscious on the floor of that same hall were four, low-level, Viking security guards. They were blindfolded, their hands and feet bound, their weapons missing, and all four of them sported fresh bruises and rips on their uniforms. I checked the pulses of each of the guards and from what I could tell they were going to be out for a while.
I tapped into mea-vis, my power, and immediately channeled the flow to my head before redirecting the energy to my ears. The hallway’s air conditioner, which a moment ago was a low hum, had become as loud as a running dirigible engine positioned a few feet away. Aside from the guards’ low breathing, there was nothing else to be heard. I released mea-vis and immediately my muscles began to relax.
Once again I drew the pistol, tip-toed around the injured guards and cautiously made my way to the stairwell.
“Hands up!”
Like an apparition, a young man dashed from the stairwell, his pistol already aimed at my head, well before I had a chance to raise mine. I froze, cursing at my own stupidity. The guards had distracted me a little too well. I should have known better.
Had he been an enemy, I surely would have been dead.
The young man, recognizing my face, holstered his weapon, ran to me and gave me a hug. I returned the embrace, ignoring the pain in my freshly bruised body.
“Wendy,” he said, giving me a half smile.
“I was ambushed,” I replied, feeling the pain in my throat. It hurt to speak. “I barely managed to get away. What happened, Chris?”
“I’m not sure. After subduing the guards, Robert and Rosalia went upstairs to engage the target. They told me to stay here to keep watch.”
“Just you? Where’s Burian and Susan? Weren’t they supposed to meet us here?”
“They never showed up. So far I haven’t—”
The sound of gunshots stopped Chris in midsentence. We looked at each other and immediately began rushing up the stairs. Pain exploded through my muscles and I almost fell twice during my ascent. Halfway toward our destination, the sudden gunfire came to a halt and silence once again reigned over the building.
When Chris and I reached the top floor, we slowly emerged from the stairwell, guns drawn and entered the office area, making certain to keep our backs to the wall. What I saw there was definitely worse than what I had seen on the first floor.
The stench of fresh blood and the dry tang of gunpowder hung thick in the air, contaminating everything in the room; the cracked walls and ceiling, the broken furniture and machines, the living and especially the dead, turning the once quiet office building into an even quieter abattoir.
The only two people in the room who weren’t dead were my friends, although one of them was doing a great impression. He was barely breathing at all.
“Robert? Rosalia? What happened?” I replied. Rosalia’s hand moved so fast that I barely noticed her gun until she had it pointed straight at me. For the second time that day a friend had a loaded pistol pointed at me.
I gasped but not because of the firearm, not entirely. By then I was already used to having the business end of God-knows how many weapons pointed at me. What I was really reacting to was far more frightening. Rosalia’s free hand lay atop Robert’s chest, caked with his blood and fighting to keep as much of it from leaking out of the bullet holes as possible. He wasn’t moving.
Rosalia looked at me. Her ocean blue eyes held the ghost of tears. Yet she refused to shed a single one. When she saw that only Chris and I stood before her, she lowered her weapon, but kept it well within reach.
Robert’s breaths sounded low and labored, but he still lived. Locks of his sweaty, red-brown hair stuck to his even sweatier forehead and his skin color had lost much of his pigment. Conversely, other parts of his body were actually redder thanks to his blood rushing to repair his injuries. Robert’s nidor, the unique odor that all Validus gave off when summoning in-vis, the power, was even more potent than the stench of the firefight which filled the room. It was unmistakable for it carried a distinct repulsive smell similar to rotting oranges.
Robert’s body, not Robert himself, was summoning in-vis and pooling it around his injuries, restricting his blood loss, and closing his wounds while simultaneously dulling his pain. Judging from the nidor’s potency, in-vis was the only thing keeping him alive and conscious.
“Our cover’s blown,” said Rosalia. “We need to get Robert someplace safe to treat his injuries.”
“What about Burian and Susan?” I asked.
“If they’re not here by now chances are they never will be. If they’re alive, they’ll meet us at the rendezvous. First we need to get ourselves to safety.”
I knelt next to Robert and his ocean-blue eyes darted toward me. I could tell he wanted to speak, but his injuries kept him from doing so. I summoned only a touch of mea-vis and channeled the energy-flow to my hands with much of my power congregated at my fingertips. I ran my hands up and down his torso with my fingers less than an inch from his body. Had I been Cӕcus-born, that is to say a human who lacked the ability to summon in-vis, the most my fingers would be able to feel would be the heat coming from his body.
But I am not Cӕcus-born. Thanks to mea-vis my fingers were easily able to detect the concentrated pools of electric energy flowing around him, especially near his injuries. It felt, strange, and yet at the same time familiar. It was like two magnets with similar charges repelling each other only far more subtle. Robert’s vis-flow, reacted to my own and it was through those channels of concentrated resistance that I was able to detect where his power was flowing to as well as guess which injuries were the greatest depending on where it was most concentrated.
I summoned more of mea-vis and channeled the flow to a particularly nasty wound just above his heart. Robert’s power resisted me at first; it was only natural. Rather than waste precious seconds waiting for his flows to accept my own, I simply strengthened my flow, sending his power to other parts of his body.
I could only do so much. Healing wounds, especially gunshot wounds, wasn’t my specialty. Not to mention I had used much of mea-vis earlier to heal my own injuries. When I finished, or gave up rather, my power faded. I was only able to stop the bleeding and dull the pain. His injuries were more severe than I had originally thought, which meant they needed much more time to heal.
“I’ll carry Robert,” said Chris.
Chris triggered suus-vis, his power, channeling the energy-flow to his muscles. He carefully picked up Robert as if he was as light as a pillow, turned to the stairs and dashed from the room, leaving only a blur in his wake.
Rosalia and I got to our feet, holstered our pistols and began making our way back down the staircase.
Waiting for us on the first floor stood a small army of well-armed, very conscious, Viking Industry guardsmen (two dozen by my count), standing amongst the still unconscious guards and employees my family had subdued earlier.
The moment they spotted us, they aimed their pistols and began shouting orders in thick Scottish accents.
“Get down on the ground now!”
“Drop your weapons!”
“Show me your hands!”
The guards shouted the orders over and over again. Their commands becoming a collection of nearly incomprehensible babble.
I tossed my sword bundle on the ground in front of me before slowly dropping to my knees. However, I kept my hands to my sides.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and reached deep inside myself before summoning the final reserves of mea-vis. My power filled me inside and out, wrapping my body in a soothing cloud of warm, flowing energy. Energy that was completely undetectable to any of the guards’ five normal Cӕcus senses.
That time I didn’t concentrate mea-vis to any particular part of my body.Instead I let the energy flow where my body thought it needed it most. Most of my power pooled near my injuries speeding the healing process and numbing the pain. As for the rest of me, it distributed itself evenly with a slightly higher concentration around my head. It made sense considering my head was where my eyes, ears, nose, mouth and brain were. Slightly higher concentration meant slightly higher protection.
I opened my eyes.
The world and everything in it came into crystal clear focus, appearing infinitely more vivid than it had moments before. The stink of sweat coupled with at least seven different brands of cheap cologne filled my nostrils. I heard the guards’ collected breaths and heartbeats along with their orders for me to raise my hands above my head; orders which I still ignored. I felt the weight of my hair as well as the clothes on my skin from both my over and undergarments. I could literally taste the gunpowder in the air.
Thanks to mea-vis, the guards moved slowly, as if the very air around them had the consistency of quicksand; an illusion of perception. The world had not gotten slower; I, both mind and body, had gotten faster.
I reached for my pistol.
Before the guards could as much as blink, I drew and fired. Dispatching one after another, as fast as my arm could move. I managed to hit eight of them, leaving the ones I missed diving for cover.
Rosalia triggered her power, before drawing her own pistols. The guards I missed, she hit. Gunshots and death screams echoed in the hallway and in less than two minutes, all of them lay dead. Out of the two dozen, only four or five had managed to return fire.
Then it happened.
The most defining moments of my life are always determined by the smallest of things beyond my control paired by a poor choice in judgment.
It could be assumed that anyone outside the room would’ve heard the multiple gunshots and kept their distance, but the doors were made of thick metal and the walls were reinforced for security purposes reducing sound to a bare minimum. Dire facts I didn’t learn until much later. Plus all the noise and fanfare from the presentation outside didn’t help much either.
With mea-vis still flowing in and around me, I reacted off instinct more than anything. The moment I saw the door open, I turned. I aimed. I pulled the trigger; twice.
To my everlasting shame, I didn’t miss. Both bullets found their targets; two little girls coming in from the festivities. Whether they were just playing or looking for the lavatory I’ll never know. In the end the ‘why’ didn’t matter. I had taken many lives both before and on that day, but that one mistake still stands as my greatest sin. A sin that would haunt and define the rest of my life.
My name is Wendy Magdalena Braca. I was born into a world of wealth and privilege, only to end up in a world of violence and secrets.


Before I met Robert and long before I was trained as an assassin, I was a child, born and raised in Jupiter City on the David Gerrold Inland Realm of the American Territories.
My neighborhood was beautiful, ugly and isolated. The Amethyst District, named for the amethyst trees whose pale purple flowers blooming all year round, populated not just the region but many parts of the realm itself. Amethysts, as they were more commonly known, lined every avenue in the district, covering much of the streets and sidewalks in a sweet smelling aroma as well as countless small piles of recently departed flower pedals.
Standing just a few yards away, isolated and segregated from the rest of the district were the picturesque, and equally overpriced, multi-bedroom estates that made up the district. Every house that stood within the region had either a wall or a wrought-iron fence standing at least ten feet high, if not higher. Beyond those lofty barriers were at least twenty additional feet of open space comprising of either a courtyard or a simple walkway and occasionally a garden. None of the residents spent much time there of course. If anything, their hosts of servants spent more time on the property than the inhabitants themselves. And the moments they were there, they spent much of that time hiding. They weren’t just hiding behind their high walls and silent servants but behind their big mansions, fancy cars, fancier airships, shiny gadgets and above all, their money.
I slowly walked through the neighborhood, somewhat dragging my feet, as I made my way back to my house. The sidewalk was still a few shades darker thanks to the rain. I did my best not to step on any of the amethyst pedals, believing, as children my age tend to believe, that stepping on one of them was bad luck. Had I known what awaited me I probably would’ve taken greater care to avoid them.
The rain had stopped moments ago and the sweet scent of the amethyst flowers filled my nostrils with every breath. The neighborhood was quiet, as it always was. Only I was walking the street. Everyone else drove. And those who did were either heading home to hide or leaving the district to escape. The neighbors were as neighborly as society required them to be, however, socializing was avoided to such a degree it was practically a sin.
By the time I reached my house I already knew something was wrong. The first sign being, the gate was still open. Unless someone was arriving or leaving, the gate was never open. Not just in my house but for every house in the neighborhood. An open gate with no one there to use it was akin to a woman opening her legs anywhere else outside a lavatory or the bedchamber. It simply wasn’t done.
I looked down both sides of my streets looking for anything that may be out of place. I saw nothing except more houses, more mounds of amethyst pedals and an absence of cars and pedestrians.
I closed the gate and made my way up the stone walkway toward the front door of my house. At first I thought (or hoped) that the gate was where the incongruity ended. It wasn’t. The front door was closed but unlocked. Regardless of who was in the house or not, the front door should have always been locked.
Were we robbed? I thought to myself.
From what I could see, none of the windows were broken and neither the door, nor its locks seemed to be tampered with in anyway.
Perhaps mom forgot to lock it. I gave a nervous chuckle. Chances are she’s naked and passed out on her bed, dead-tired from hours of coitus and drinking her weight in red wine… again. It had happened before. So many times in fact it had become as much of a routine as eating and sleeping. Yet, during each one of those times, the door was always locked. Always.
I swallowed hard, pushed open the door and entered, praying that the uneasiness I felt in the pit of my stomach was in reality in the inner most recesses of my young, twelve-year-old mind.
When I saw what lay at the center of the foyer, I screamed.
It was my mother. And she was dead. Not just dead, murdered.
I ran to her but already knew it was too late. Far, far too late. It was obvious, even to someone as young as me that she was gone. She wasn’t breathing. Her chest, as well as the rest of her, lay perfectly still. Her almond eyes whose hue matched my own, stared blankly at the high ceiling. And the knife used to kill her was still protruding from her gut.
Even in death my mother’s beauty was still a sight to behold. Her cyan silk robe, which could almost be considered sheer, was her only article of clothing. It too was covered in fresh blood staining the foyer’s parquet floor. Tears blurred my vision as well as covered my face. The shock was so severe that it took every ounce of mental strength to force myself to move.
I pulled the knife from her gut and dropped it immediately when more blood began to seep from the exposed wound. The blade clattered on the floor, the noises echoing throughout the entrance hall as well as the rest of the house.
Phone, I thought. Police! Those thoughts were the only way my stressed mind could articulate them.
I wiped away my tears, staining my face with fresh blood in the process and ran to the downstairs phone-closet to call the police.
The mansion’s phone-closet was a tiny room that held two cushioned chairs as well as an E.I.N. accessible video-phone hanging from the wall. When not in use, the video-phone presented itself as nothing more than a large circular mirror with a gilded frame. The camera, which was cleverly concealed as a simple black jewel near the apex, projected everything it captured on the phone’s screen giving the device the illusion of being nothing more than a simple hanging mirror.
The video-phone, detecting my presence, flashed the words: What is your command?
“Call police,” I ordered.
My mirror image vanished. In its place were the words: Calling Jupiter City Police Department…
Two and a half rings later the image changed again. Instead of just words, a gray haired woman dressed in semi formal attire appeared on screen. She was behind a desk, seated right next to other emergency dispatchers who were answering emergency calls of their own. The captions on the bottom of the image read: Judith Hellman – Jupiter City Dispatcher
“Jupiter City Emergency Services,” said the woman automatically. “What is your emergency?”
I composed myself as best I could and told her everything.
“Wendy, listen to me,” said Judith, with genuine concern in her voice. “First I want you to lock the door to the phone-closet. Can you do that for me?”
I gave a short nod before shutting the door and locking it.
“Good. I’ve dispatched local officers to your location. I want you to stay in the closet and not leave for any reason. Do you understand?”
Again I nodded.
“I’m going to stay on the line until the police arrive. You do not open the door or unlock the door until I tell you. I’ll let you know when it’s safe to leave so you can let the officers in.”
I nodded, not knowing how else to respond.
Five minutes later several police cars arrived, sirens blaring. After Judith confirmed that it was indeed them, I left the phone-closet and rushed to the front door. Standing behind it were two uniformed officers with several more entering through the wide open front gate. The officers took one look at the foyer and immediately began waving the others to come and join them.
One of the uniformed officers escorted me back to the phone-closet where Judith was still on the line. After confirming that I was in safe custody with the officers, she hung up and I was made to wait with officer Brooks, while the other policemen patrolled the perimeter to see if the suspect was still in the house.
It took ten minutes for the officers to search the house as well as the surrounding grounds. Even though their searches turned up nothing, many still patrolled, and took notes making certain not to leave anything to chance. Every light was turned on, and every room door was opened. My house, which only moments ago was grave-silent had become as noisy as a carnival. More officers arrived and began collecting evidence as well as marking off the foyer where my mother still lay. It was a crime scene now, and I was no longer allowed in.
And what’s a carnival without animals?
One of the last uniformed officers to arrive came with a long leash attached to what looked like a cross between a skunk and a badger with electric-blue fur and black and green stripes. The creature had no eyes. Instead it had a long, drooping, bright pink nose almost resembling an elephant’s trunk. Almost.
“Is that a yalquill?” I asked the officer, standing guard over me.
“Yup. You’ve never seen one?” replied the officer, looking at me out the corner of his eye.
“Not up close. What’s it doing here?”
“Sniffing for clues of course. Their sense of smell is even better than most bloodhounds. Their nose is so sharp they can pick up a suspect’s trail on another Realm two months after they jumped there. They even helped catch that Donovan fugitive a few years back. And that was in the Outlands! Since then, every law enforcement and military agency in the Inland Realms had to have one. If the bastard who hurt your mom is still around, Casey will catch him. Guaranteed. She’s our best.”
The officer gave me a confident smirk. I smiled right back. His words and confidence gave me some comfort.
After the carnival began, two new officers, a man and a woman in plain clothes, entered. Their brass badges pinned to their coats was all the identification they needed. They were police detectives.
The female detective was very attractive, for a cop. She had short black hair, cropped just above her shoulders, hazel eyes, lightly tanned skin and exotic features which suggested mixed ancestry.
The male detective was far more banal. He had balding blond hair, blue eyes and a protruding gut which spilled over his pants and covered his belt buckle. The handgun he kept holstered, partly visible under his coat, and the camera in his hands, were the only remarkable things about him.
“Casey!” yelled the yalquill-officer.
I looked up just in time to see the electric-blue creature run straight to the female detective and began rubbing itself against her legs like some sort of weird, alien cat. Its tiny mouth made a strange, adorable noise that wasn’t quite purring and to be honest, it wasn’t quite adorable either.
Almost every cop in the foyer stopped what they were doing and watched as the yalquill-officer grabbed the creature’s leash to regain control of her.
“Stop it girl! Stop it! What’s gotten into you?” The officer pulled the creature away, put her on her side and began rubbing her stomach to calm her down. The female detective smiled, knelt down next to the creature and began to affectionately pet her as well. The yalquill continued to make that adorable/not-adorable sound.
“What’s wrong Casey?” said the female detective, rubbing the yalquill’s belly. “You miss me?”
“I’m so sorry Helen,” said the uniformed officer. “She’s usually not like this. I should’ve never lent her to those narcotics guys last week. Must’ve smelled something she didn’t like.”
“Have you taken her around the house yet?” asked the male detective.
“No sir.”
“Do that then. Maybe some fresh air will get Helen’s overpriced perfume out of its snout.”
“Yes sir. Come on Casey.”
The officer pulled Casey to her feet and quickly led her out of the room toward the kitchen.
The female detective stood up and surveyed the area where my mother still lay.
“‘Overpriced perfume?’” said the female detective. “It wasn’t overpriced when I bought some for your wife last Christmas.”
“Yeah it was,” replied the male detective. “What the hell were you thinking Helen? Valkyrie’s Secret No 1! Thanks to you, it’s all my wife and daughters wanna wear. They’ve gone through five bottles since last Christmas. Five! And guess who fits the bill for each one!”
“My uncanny powers of detection say you Ryan.”
“Damn right!”
“I warned you. I’m no good at shopping for other women.”
“No. You’re too good at shopping for other women. Do me a favor. In the future try not to be so generous.”
“I love your family, Ryan. So I’m promising nothing.”
Just when the male detective was about to retort, the female detective fixed him with a smile that was deadly-gorgeous. It was friendly and sensual at the same time. A smile that was easy to misinterpret. Detective Ryan cleared his throat and immediately broke eye contact.
“So what do we know?” he replied, hoping to change the subject.
“If you read the brief you’d know.”
“Very well,” she said with an annoyed sigh. “Here lies Mrs. Maria Mercedes Braca,” she replied, with genuine remorse in her voice. “A widow. Her husband, the late Mr. Felipe Braca, died of pneumonia a few years back. Felipe was born in Barcelona to a wealthy Spanish family. Maria, also born in Barcelona, married into wealth. The family business nearly went bust when Felipe inherited it from his father. After his death, Maria sold her share of the company to Felipe’s more business savvy cousins.”
“How much?”
“Not sure. A few million at least. More than enough for Mrs. Braca to not work or worry about money for the rest of her life. That and support her young daughter.” Helen pulled out a small notepad from her coat pocket. “Wendy Magdalena Braca. 12 years old. Felipe and Maria’s one and only child, born and raised here in Jupiter City. She made the call.”
“First generation,” said the male detective. “Where is she?” Muttering and the sound footsteps answered the detective’s query. “I wasn’t asking myself a rhetorical question,” he replied, his voice filling the room. The uniformed officers once again stopped and turned their attention to him. “Wendy Braca, our victim’s daughter and possibly only witness. Where is she?”
Almost every officer in the room turned to the phone-closet where I still sat. The uniformed officer guarding the door tried to step out of the way but Helen’s eyes were already locked on him. The look on her face was unmistakable. She was obviously very upset.
“What the hell is this?” she asked in a hard voice.
“W-We needed to keep her out of the way ma’am,” stammered the officer.
“Then you take her to the station or at least to another room,” she said through gritted teeth. “You don’t leave her in a goddam broom closet in perfect view of her mother’s recently murdered body still lying on the fucking floor!”
“M-ma’am. I-I’m sorry.” The uniformed officer was ghost white. His mouth twitched wordlessly not certain what to say or not say.
The male detective gave a disappointed shake of his head.
“Wendy?” said the female cop, addressing me. I looked up and was surprised to see a wide smile on her face. A friendly smile. A smile that told me she was genuinely happy to see me.
“Yes, ma’am,” I replied, not knowing how to address her.
“I’m Detective Helen Louis, Jupiter City Police,” she said, pointing to herself. “But you may call me Helen. This is my partner, Detective Ryan Phillips.”
“Ryan’s just fine,” said the detective.
“Now I need you to do me a favor Wendy. I need you to go with officer Brooks to the rear grounds. He’s going to wait with you until Detective Ryan, myself, or another officer comes to get you. Ok?”
I replied with a short nod.
“Good. Go. Don’t worry. Someone will be there shortly.”
“Come on Wendy,” said officer Brooks.
I nodded slightly before following the officer to the main hallway that led to the rear grounds as well as a few adjacent rooms.
Our mansion’s interior boasted excess and wastefulness instead of practicality or fervor. Whoever built the house had constructed it in classic Victorian fashion, the most popular style and, for many, the only style throughout Jupiter City and most of the Inland Realms. Thankfully, God blessed my late father with at least some taste. During his years as master of the manor, he had added just enough medieval-gothic elegance in the doors, paintings and windows to keep it remotely interesting.
My mother however, detested my father’s taste, and had threatened on countless occasions to sell or burn his prized possessions and restore the house to its former glory, whatever that may have been. Despite all of her numerous threats, after my father passed, she kept his things around to honor his memory.
If there was a single Victorian piece that I honestly loved above all others, it would have to be the hallway mirror. It stood six feet tall; surrounding it was a beautifully decorated black, wooden frame. My parents loved it for reasons I cannot be sure about. Yet I loved it because it turned anything and everything within its borders into a work of art. My father, my mother and I would spend much of our free time gazing at our reflections and admiring what we saw.
I can say, without shame, that I came into this world a beautiful child. Not that I saw myself as flawless. Flaws I have aplenty. However, over the years, I’ve had more than enough boys compliment me on my looks for me to accept my beauty as simple truth. As for the girls, well… their envious gazes were compliment enough for me.
From my father, I inherited my long, chocolate-colored hair which is often mistaken for black. My almond eyes and alabaster-olive skin color were gifts from my mother. In fact, all of the women from my mother’s side had that unique skin tone.
As for the rest of me, at age twelve, I was still quite lanky and awkward. Adolescence had not yet found my flat breasts and non-existent hips. The only clues to the beauty I would one day possess when I reached full adulthood were my face, and my mother’s own voluptuous figure.
That night, as I stood, gazing at my reflection, I couldn’t help notice my mother’s blood stains on my hands and on my dress. I rubbed my fingers and felt the dried crimson peeling from my skin.
“Wendy,” said officer Brooks. “Is everything alright?”
I snapped out of my trance.
I’m fine,” I said, still staring in the mirror.
With a grimace, I turned from my reflection and followed the officer out the backdoor.
After reaching the rear patio, I took a seat on the swinging, black and metal Victorian bench. As for officer Brooks, he stood in the doorway and casually leaned against the wooden frame. I glanced over, just as he gave a sigh of relief. Detective Helen must’ve really frightened him. I didn’t blame him. As beautiful as she was, she was quite intimidating.
I turned away from the officer and began to rock back and forth, with my feet swaying just a few inches above the wooden floor, a stray tear occasionally rolling down my cheek. The creak-creak of the bench swinging beneath my weight contrasted greatly with the earlier sounds of my footsteps.
The realm sun had set and night had fallen since the police arrived and the carnival started.
I looked at the moons. All three of them hung full and high in the night sky. In the distance, downtown Jupiter City was all lit up; the twinkling, artificial lights of the city rivaling the thousands of stars floating far above it. Airships, large and small, fat and skinny, buzzed over the metropolis like great ugly bees. The night looked beautiful and clear. Strangely enough, it looked very similar to the night my father died.
As I sat, swinging on my metal bench, trying not to think about my mother’s frozen, dead body on the floor inside; I reflected on the day of my father’s funeral. That day the sky was cloudy and gray, as if the entire world had turned into a well-aged sepia photograph.
I cried on the night he died. I cried at his funeral. And I cried for weeks after that. My mother tried her best to comfort me, but I refused her consolation. I often yelled at her and slammed doors in her face.
My mother mourned in her own way. Not even a month after my father’s funeral, parades of men and occasionally women began to visit our house. At first, she kept things discreet by sending me away to spend time with my nanny, Mildred.
All attempts at discretion stopped the day I came home from my lessons early. I walked in on her and Victor, our fifteen-year-old gardener, in the main hall. Victor lay on his back with my mother straddled on top of him.
My mother flashed me an annoyed look as if I had just walked in on her in the bath. The whites of her eyes were red with liquor and five or six empty bottles decorated the hall floor, along with puddles of red wine.
I stood there, frozen in disbelief and rage, for God knows how long, before my mother yelled at me to get out. She threw everything within reach to keep me moving. I ran up the stairs, all the way to my room and locked the door, hoping to forget everything I had just seen. I didn’t forget. The memory refused to fade.
My mother fired Victor a month later, and Mildred two months after that, telling her that I had grown too independent for a nanny. From thereon, she proceeded to hire and fire gardener after gardener, none of whom did any actual gardening. And, when manual laborers no longer tickled her fancy, she brought home lawyers, business men, merchants, doctors, politicians, police officers and more than a few members of the city’s wealthy elite. My mother made no attempt to hide these people from me. In fact, she usually took great delight in introducing them. Married, single, widow or widower, status or no status, men, women, young, old it didn’t matter to her.
Whilst I loved my mother, I also hated her. I hated her actions, and worse, I hated what grief had turned her into. Yet, while I sat there that night, swinging on that heavy metal bench, I missed her terribly. I was angry and scared. And above all, I was alone.
It felt as though I was on a beach, looking out towards an endless ocean and trying to see beyond the horizon. Unfortunately, the horizon’s too far and I’m stuck right where I am, unable to escape. I know my future lies beyond the shifting waves and soapy surf, but I am lost and frightened. My luck comes and goes just like the tide and nearly as unpredictable. My options are limited, but I know that somehow, someway I need to see what’s beyond the horizon.
Being born into wealth and privilege my future had been all but certain. But without my parents and with no one to look after me, all I could see was that endless ocean and nothing to rescue me from that merciless beach.
I held up my hands and looked at them again in the tri-moonlight. Dried blood covered them; her blood. More tears ran down my face. I did my best to wipe them away but the more I tried, the more tears followed to replace them.
I bit my lip and kept swinging, thinking, sobbing and waiting for something to happen, or someone to come along and release me from my grief, or at the very least, distract me from it.
Soon I heard the rear door to the house swing open behind me, followed by heavy footsteps.


I stopped swinging and furiously wiped the tears from my face before turning toward to my visitor. I expected to see Helen standing there but to my surprise, my latest guest was a tall, attractive gentleman. If my mother had met him, she would’ve no doubt turned him into one of her regulars, or at least tried to.
His age, I guessed, lay somewhere around his mid to late thirties. He had short, reddish-brown hair and his face was hard yet warm at the same time. His well-defined jaw and chin were not obscured by any facial hair. His ocean blue eyes appeared kind and all-knowing, as if the very secrets of the universe lay hidden within them. He stood erect with wide shoulders and a sturdy frame; his persona boasted an inner confidence as well as obvious authority. To my surprise, his attire didn’t appear nearly as fascinating as the man wearing it. A simple, black work suit and tie. Even without the brass badge hanging from his dark trench coat or the pistol at his waist, I still would have recognized him as a cop. His suit and hair cut were just as much a uniform as his badge and gun.
“Hello, Wendy,” he said to me. “I’m Detective Robert King, Jupiter City Police.” He offered his hand and I took it, accepting his greeting. “May I sit down?”
I nodded vigorously and slid over to make room for him. Robert took a seat. The swing groaned under his added weight.
“Your badge is different from the others,” I said, looking into his eyes.
“How observant of you,” he replied. “It’s different because I’m a Captain.” Robert unclipped his badge and handed it to me. The silvery moonlight shimmering from the three moons overhead allowed me to read his full name.
Captain Robert Octavius Antonius Simon King
“You have a very long name.”
He chuckled at my simple observation.
“Almost everyone says the same thing. Though, I must admit; you are by far the youngest to say it.”
“I like it,” I said, handing him back his badge.
“Why thank you, Wendy. You are one of the rare few. You see my parents had a great sense of humor. They figured with that many names I would grow up to be someone famous or important like Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.”
“But you’re a police captain,” I replied. “That seems like a really great job.”
Robert shrugged his shoulders and leaned back causing the bench to creak some more. “My job makes me happy and that suits me just fine.”
“Why did you choose to work as a police officer?”
“Honestly, I have no idea. If I had to choose one answer, I guess you can say that I wanted to help people. A cliché answer I know but still, it’s the truth.”
Robert and I sat there for a while, swinging gently on the patio bench. He told me some jokes as well as a few funny stories about his job and his family. As it turned out, he had a sister, a wife and a baby daughter. I laughed and smiled at all the appropriate moments and asked all the appropriate questions. Regardless of our conversation, I couldn’t forget why he had come to my house to begin with. But at least I had stopped crying.
“So, Wendy,” said Robert finally, giving me a sidelong glance. “I know this may seem a bit hard for you right now, but can you tell me what happened today?” He could not quite meet my eyes as he spoke.
I looked down at my feet and gave a short sigh, trying my best not to look at the bloodstains on my dress.
“Take your time,” he continued in a soft voice. “Just tell me what you know.”
I gave another sigh. Everything felt so surreal, like living in a waking dream. Although the tragedy had happened only a few hours prior, it felt like it had happened years ago, lifetimes ago. From the corner of my eye, I saw Robert take out a notepad from his jacket pocket and waited patiently for me to start. So I did.
“I love the rain,” I began, gazing out towards downtown. “I really love reading while it’s raining. This morning I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed next to my stuffed animals and read the biggest, thickest book I could find.” I looked down at my feet and wiggled my toes. I swallowed hard, trying to find the strength to continue.
“Take your time, Wendy,” he told me.
After a short pause, I went on. “Unfortunately, my mother loved the rain as well. It gave her an excuse to stay indoors and entertain ‘guests’.”
“You mean like friends or family?”
“No,” I responded, flatly. “Not friends and definitely not family. She had special guests. You know, the social kind. The kind that helped my mom ‘grieve’ after my father died.”
Robert nodded, showing no expression in his face.
“Alright, so who was today’s guest? Do you remember his name?”
“Dr. Peter Sullivan; my French tutor.”
That time his face did show a reaction. The captain sympathetically shook his head and leaned further back on the bench. Then, he asked, “Did you see him come into the house?”
“So how do you know who came over today? You have a very big house.”
“Not big enough,” I said through gritted teeth. I sat up straighter and folded my arms. “I recognized Dr. Sullivan’s voice.”
“It could have—”
“I heard him. I heard them… yelling things. Dirty things. Nasty things! I heard the bed squeak as if the damn legs would collapse at any moment.”
A long silence fell between us. My anger had burned off most of my sorrow. “I read one line of my book over and over again until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I threw my book against the wall, put on my clothes, grabbed my umbrella and left.”
The police captain looked at me intently as he waited for me to continue my story. The bench creaked as I leaned back and turned my attention to the other houses in the neighborhood. We passed an uncomfortable series of minutes that way. He looked as if he wanted to say something, but did not. I guess he didn’t want to push me.
I continued my story. “I tried so hard to forget what I had heard but, it just kept coming back over and over again. So, the more I remembered it, the more I walked. I wanted to get as far away from the house as possible.”
“Did you go anywhere particular?” he asked, folding his hands on his lap. “Did you go to a friend’s house or to school or the local library? Any place where someone can vouch for your whereabouts?”
“No. Not really. I didn’t really have a destination. I just wanted to get away for a few hours.” I replied, honestly. “First, I walked to the park. I did not stay long because of the rain. So, then I went to the library but got there too late; it had already closed. For some reason, I just kept walking.”
“You didn’t head anywhere else? You just kept walking?”
I gave a quick nod. My sorrow rushed back. I swallowed hard, trying to keep my grief inside. A fight I knew I would eventually lose.
“I walked for a few more hours,” I said, tucking a stray hair behind my right ear. “I don’t know exactly how long I walked, but I know at least two hours went by, as I saw a clock in one of the shop windows I passed. When I reached downtown, I knew I’d traveled too far. So I turned around and walked home. By the time I returned, the rain had stopped. I didn’t hear anything unusual when I came up the front walkway; but I did notice the door was unlocked.”
“Did that seem unusual?” he asked.
I nodded.
“We always make sure the front door is locked. Always. I would have stayed out much longer if I hadn’t felt so hungry and cold,” I explained, building myself up for the next part of my story. I took a deep breath and continued, “When I entered the house, she was lying on the floor. Her blood was just… everywhere. There were so many cuts… all over her body.”
Tidal waves of many different emotions flooded over me; sorrow, anger, fear and confusion to name but a few. Images of my mother’s frozen body flashed in my mind’s eye and couldn’t shut them out. I simply couldn’t hold it in any longer. I placed my head in my hands and the tears just started coming again, only much harder than before.
“Even the knife was still inside her!” I sobbed.
“Yes, I saw the knife too,” said Robert, folding his arms. “Did you remove it?” I gave a whimpering nod. Robert made a quick memo in his notepad.
“Your name is inscribed on the blade.”
“The family name is inscribed on the blade!” I exclaimed. “Not mine! The family’s! My mother came up with the idea. She wanted all of our dinnerware to carry the family name.”
“So what did you do next?”
“I ran to the phone-closet and called the police. Then you came.”
“Thank you, Wendy,” he said, giving me a sidelong glance. “Thank you very much for sharing your story with me. I appreciate it.”
The sound of quick footsteps, followed by the creak of the rear door opening, grabbed our attention. We both turned to face Detective Phillips as he strode onto the patio.
“Yes, Ryan?” replied Robert.
“Everyone has arrived sir.”
“Terrific. Come Wendy. Let’s go.”

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Inspirational Writers Quotes for July 2014

July is finally here! What does that mean? That means on the 28th of July the day has finally arrived…again. As before I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed. That and a few other things. But yes the release date for Curse Breaker: Guild Assassin is July 28th, 2014. So mark your calendars!!! I’m going to be spending this month crossing my Ts and dotting my ‘I’s and making sure everything is ready for the release date. So in celebration of that I’m going to share with you 10 Inspirational Writing Quotes just in case any of you need inspiring.











And for a bonus here’s a quote from a man whose name is synonymous with intelligence. So it would be wise to listen to him. I will keep you updated as release day approaches. All of these pictures are from Pinterest. I highly recommend you check Pinterest out for more. Take care and hopefully you’ll be hearing from me soon.


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Inspirational Writer’s Quotes for May 2014

Hello friends and followers. Once again, sorry for the delay but with things slowly moving along with CBGA (Curse Breaker: Guild Assassin) there isn’t much to report other than the editing is finally finished and now comes more weeks of waiting for the next step, whatever that might be. I always laugh whenever I hear stories of authors finishing the rough draft of their first novel one minute and becoming a bestseller the next, as if this process happens overnight. There is nothing further from the truth. To put it in perspective, I finished the rough draft for Guild Assassin in 2008. I signed with Sharon, my agent in 2010. Had it not been for a certain *ahem* “setback” with a certain publisher, Guild Assassin would already be (or still) on sale. Oh well. Ce la vis. You swallow the setbacks and continue putting one word in front of the other.

Were I a weaker and less desperate man I might’ve given up after the setback but I picked myself up and moved on. It was the only thing I could do. While many factors contributed to me never giving up, if there is one place I know I can continue being inspired to write long after my will power is depleted, its other writers. If anyone can understand my frustrations it’s them. And while I can come up with ten, clever, Oscar Wilde-ish quotes, I believe the writers, even those who choose to remain anonymous can tell you better than I so here are:
Inspirational Writer’s Quotes for May 2014:











I hope these words of wisdom helps you as much as they’ve helped me. When I find more, I’ll post more. It’ll be nice to get back to posting regularly again. I will keep you posted on any latest news on Guild Assassin. If all goes well I’ll be changing my Sample Chapters some time in the very near future. Take care and happy writing and reading.

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