Moira’s Blog 6.30.11

Be sure to check out how Team Promethiad handled this week’s challenge on Escape! You can see it here: Escape: Challenge Four: The Valley of Death

*Warning: This post contains some graphic language. Moira likes to say things how she sees it.*

Sooo . . . Brea’s letting me take over her blog on Thursdays now. I can’t exactly post on my team’s blog, because then they might find out about Toby and me—and that definitely wouldn’t be good. I mean, I’m sure they’ll find out eventually, but now’s not a good time. Apparently the show knows though . . . and they don’t seem to care. I’m pretty sure our teammates would kill us.
Anyway, we made it through the desert alive. I don’t know what genius decided it would be a good idea to traipse through Death Valley in June, but we survived it. Lily whined the whole time (big surprise). I’m just glad the idiots finally listened to me for once and decided to go through it early in the morning before it got hot. They wanted to sleep in and wait until the sun came up. When I pointed out that the sun makes things hot, they finally agreed. I think it’s sad that I seem to be the smartest one in the group. The only other one that has any sense is Will, but he doesn’t say much.
Toby’s team went to Florida, so it’ll be a while before we can sneak off and see each other again. I did get a short email from him. He probably doesn’t have good service in the swamp. I know I haven’t had good service here. I can’t wait until this whole damn thing is over and we can go home. Actually, I think I’ll kidnap Toby and take him home with me. His mom sounds like a crazy bitch. I think he’d like Santa Cruz, as long as we steer clear of the ocean.
Chance mentioned some sort of big reward if we managed to make it through this week’s challenge, so hopefully next week I’ll be blogging from someplace fun! See you later people!
~ Moira

Why I Love Wednesdays . . . Favorite Sidekick

Today begins a new feature . . . Why I Love Wednesdays! Each Wednesday, I’ll be posting about various things I love, following the prompts from       
This week is Favorite Sidekick week. Mine is Silk from The Belgariad and The Mallorean by David Eddings.
Silk is really what you’d call a “scoundrel and a rogue”. He knows every shady place in every town, can pretty much lie himself out of any situation . . . and is a spy for his country. In fact, in his country spying is the national occupation. By an “accident of birth”, as he calls it, he is also royalty. His real name is Prince Kheldar and his uncle is the king of his country.
My heart really broke for Silk when it’s revealed that he’s in love with the queen, his uncle’s wife. He spends a lot of time secretly pining for her, although he claims he has an aversion to marriage.  Silk is eventually “brought down” by his boss’ niece Liselle, who is pretty much the female version of him (doesn’t that always seem to happen?).
I really can’t attempt to convey the hilarity that is Silk. He has a sarcastic response for everything. There are just too many layers to Silk to convey in a blog post.
I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes from Silk:
“I don’t know that I’d use the word ‘murdered’ exactly, my Lord.” Silk winced. “Oh, I’ll admit that there was a bit of unpleasantness, but that’s such an awkward way to sum up.”
“Believe me, Durnik, Liselle can take care of herself. The two of us are playing a game.”
“Do Drasnians always play games?”
“Of course. It helps to pass the time. Winters are very long and tedious in Drasnia. The games we play sharpen our wit and make us better at what we do when we aren’t playing.”
*Both passages are from King of the Murgos by David Eddings.

Writing Prompts: 60-year old photograph

For today’s prompt, I chose one that says, “Weave a story around a 60-year old photograph.” I found an old picture of my grandparents that was taken shortly after they were married, just before my grandfather left the country to go fight in World War II.

My Nana was nineteen and my Grandpa twenty-two in the photo. Unfortunately, neither of them are alive for me to ask about the day this photo was taken, so I’ll just make it up as well as I can.

Isabelle had to force a smile as she waited for the photographer to take the picture. Philip would be leaving soon and she didn’t know if or when he would return. All she knew was that he was bound for Europe to fight for the American Army in the war. They’d had such a short time together since their wedding, and now they may not see each other for several years . . . that is, if he survived to return home.
Phil would have to leave straight from the photographer’s studio. It was time for him to report for duty. They had wanted one last memento to sustain them during their time apart . . . to remind Izzy of him if he never came back. He’d be on the front lines. The chances of him making it through the war weren’t good.
Izzy hesitated as she was bidding Phil farewell. She was carrying a child that she hadn’t mentioned. She decided not to tell him yet. She didn’t want Phil to worry any more while he was away. She would surprise him when he returned. She didn’t know that the child would never be seen by the father that he would be named for. She would later bear the boy and bury him within a week’s time, alone.
As much as Izzy wanted to cry, she didn’t want Phil to have to leave a sobbing wife. Instead, she watched him leave with a smile on her face and a photo in hand, praying that he would stay safe and return home soon.
*Author’s note:  I can’t even begin to imagine how my grandparents were really feeling when my grandfather left to fight in the war. My Grandpa did survive the war and returned home safely. I believe that my grandfather (and all the men and women who fight for our country) was a hero, as was my grandmother and all the other families that have to be left behind. My family (on both sides) has a long history of former members of the military, and I’m extremely proud of that.

Character Archive: Casting Raena Davenport

Beginning today, I’ll be posting character interviews, “castings” and songs from my play lists every Monday. I’m going to begin with my casting of Raena Davenport. She’s the protagonist in the Shadow Imperium series, so I thought it made sense to start with her. I tend to “cast” actors as my characters, because I like to have a visual approximation when I write.
 I chose Sophia Bush to “play” Raena. She’s definitely how I picture Rae. Sophia Bush is currently acting on the TV show One Tree Hill, but she’s also in a movie I love called John Tucker Must Die. Here are a couple of clips of her in action . . .
Check back next Monday for an interview with Rae!

Six Sentence Sunday #2

Here’s another sneak peek from Foreshadow!

I counted one, two beats of his gigantic midnight wings and then he was on the ground behind me. He reached down and grabbed me around my waist, pulling me up from the grass. I struggled and attempted to kick him, desperately trying to get loose from his grasp. He held his sword at my neck and I froze. The sharp blade bit into the soft area underneath my chin. The point punctured the skin and I could feel a thin ribbon of blood snake its way down my throat and drip onto my new blouse.  

Want more? Check back next Sunday!

New Blogging Schedule!

Hi all! Beginning tomorrow, I’m going to be blogging every day. Here’s my new schedule:

Sundays:  Six Sentence Sunday:  I’ll be posting six sentence long teasers of my writing. Brought to you by

Mondays:  Character Archive:  I’ll be posting character interviews, “castings”, and also songs from my play lists.

Tuesdays:  Writing Prompts:  I’ll be using writing prompts from Writer’s Digest to write some shorts.

Wednesdays:  Why I Love Wednesdays:  Posting on various things I love, brought to you by 
I’ll also be posting my challenge from Escape! at

Thursdays:  Moira’s Blog:  My character Moira from Team Promethiad will be taking over the blog to write about her experiences on Escape!, as well as her illicit relationship with Toby from J.F. Jenkins’ Team Introv3rsion

Fridays:  Fun Fact Fridays:  I’ll be sharing facts about me, my writing, my research, etc.

Saturdays:  Short Story Saturdays:  I’ll be sharing an exclusive serialized story featuring my Muse Lorelei. We’ll be following her as she goes through her training to become a Muse. (Ever since I gave her a name, she’s been clamoring for her own story. Since she’s been cooperating with me so well lately, I thought I should give in!)

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Six Sentence Sunday for another sneak peek of Foreshadow!

Escape! Challenge Three: Going Going, Back Back, to Cali Cali

           “Where the hell were you?” Adrian demanded when Moira appeared from behind a booth.
            “I—I got something to eat and I was playing some games,” she said.
            “By yourself?”
            “Yeah,” she lied. She couldn’t tell them about Toby. Not yet.
            “So, you won that panda yourself?” Adrian asked, nodding at the stuffed animal Moira held in her arms.
            “Uh . . . yeah. I’m really good at games.”
            Lily came up to Moira and got as close to her as the giant panda would allow. “We were looking for you forever and you were off playing games?”
            “Not so timid now, is she?” Moira muttered to herself under her breath. Raising her voice, she said, “Yeah. After being trapped in that tiny room, I had to go do something fun. Got a problem with that?”
            Lily quickly backed off. “No, I guess not.”
            “So what now?” Jesse asked.
            “Well, we’re supposed to have the night off. Why don’t we go get some food—those of us that haven’t already,” Adrian suggested, looking pointedly at Moira. “Then we can have some fun and find someplace to crash for the night. I guess we’ll get our instructions in the morning.”
            “Hey, it’s not my fault you guys didn’t eat!” Moira said.
            “Actually, yeah it is,” Lily told her. “We were looking for you instead of eating.”
            “Well, sor-ry. Let’s go find you guys some food.” She hoped that they wouldn’t run into Toby and his team. Not that she didn’t want to see him again, but it would be hard to not go up to him and they couldn’t risk their respective teams finding out about them yet.
            Moira trailed behind the rest of the group as they wandered through the fair, trying to decide what to eat. She wanted nothing more than to go find a hotel room, maybe email Toby like she had promised, and curl up in bed. She was still trying to process her time with Toby. She was overwhelmingly happy that she had finally been able to see him in person, able to actually touch him—but at the same time, she hated the fact that they were competing against each other.
Want to read the rest? Visit for the rest of this challenge, as well as other challenge, character interviews and an exclusive short story, written by J.F. Jenkins and me!

Six Sentence Sunday

Here’s a small sneak peek from Foreshadow!

            I stood on the edge of the pier, gazing out at the flat, grey ocean.  There were no waves and the sea looked like murky glass that stretched as far as the horizon.  In one hand, I held a plastic box containing my mother’s ashes.  In the other hand, I carried a bouquet of her favorite flowers—pink carnations.
           A breeze stirred my hair, carrying with it the scent of salt and fish.  The fog hanging low on the water mirrored the fog clouding my mind.  

Want more? I’ll be putting up another sneak peek next Sunday. Stay tuned!

The "Fun" House

           You have now arrived at your destination,” the tinny voice of the GPS blared into the silence that permeated the car.
            “About damn time!” Adrian muttered.
            “Just shut up, Adrian! I’m sick of your complaining,” Moira told him.
            “I’m sick of you complaining about my complaining,” he shot back.
            “Oooh, that was original.”
            “Get off your damn computer so we can get the hell out of this car,” Adrian demanded.
            “I would get off the damn computer if I could just find a damn WiFi hotspot so I could email my boyfriend! I haven’t heard from him in a little while,” Moira admitted.
            “I’m sorry, Moira,” Lily said.
            “Don’t feel sorry for me! There’s nothing to feel sorry for.” She was starting to feel a little hysterical. Not necessarily because she hadn’t heard from her boyfriend, but because she wasn’t exactly sure they were going to be facing at this carnival, and that was starting to scare her. She didn’t like carnivals to begin with, and this was probably going to make it worse.
            “Sorry,” Lily said again as she climbed out of the front seat of the car and slammed the door behind her.
            Moira gave up on trying to find an Internet connection. She sighed and shut down her laptop, carefully stowing it away in her bag. Everyone else had already gotten out of the car, and they were standing around waiting for her.
            “So, now what?” Jesse asked once they had stowed their excess things in the trunk.
            “Maybe someone’s here to tell us where to go?” Lily offered.
            “Right you are, Ms. Rayne!” Chance Cagney, the host of the show, appeared as if out of nowhere.
            “Crap, man! Where’d you come from?” Will yelled, jumping away from Chance.
            “Oh, I was around. So, your challenge today is to make it through the fun house.”
            “That’s it?” Adrian asked, skeptical.
            “That’s it! However, you will meet with challenges while in the fun house, and of course you must evade the Hunters. There is a hidden door at one end of the fun house. You must find it, and then you will have the night off,” Chance explained.
            Moira perked up at the idea of having the night off. Maybe she could try her boyfriend again. She really wanted to hear his voice. “Just get through the fun house, avoid the Hunters, and get out? Then we have the night off?” she repeated. It sounded almost too good to be true.
            “Yes, but beware—in the fun house, things aren’t always what they seem. Good luck!” With that, the host walked off again.
            “What’s that supposed to mean?” Lily asked with a frown.
            “I think it means that we’re going to have a lot harder time in the ‘fun’ house than we think,” Jesse answered.
            “Can we just go find the damn fun house and get this crap over with?” Will cut in.
            “He’s right, let’s get this over with,” Moira said. She didn’t want to let on how scared she actually was about the prospect of being trapped in that fun house. She really hoped there wouldn’t be any clowns. She had been terrified of clowns ever since she had watched the movie “It”.
            It took them a few minutes to locate the fun house. “I don’t know how we didn’t see this thing from across the carnival,” Adrian muttered. It was a huge, gaudy red and yellow striped tent. Music spilled over them in waves as they stood staring at the entrance. Strangely enough, no one else seemed to be around.
            “What, did they reserve this thing specifically for us?” Moira wanted to know.
            “Adrian, I’m scared!” Lily wailed.
            As Adrian turned to comfort his sister, Moira rolled her eyes. She was scared too (hell, she was terrified!) but she couldn’t let it get to her. Just go in, get through it, and then you’ll be done, she told herself.
            Will was giving her a strange look. “What do you want?” she demanded.
            “Nothin’. You just don’t look so good,” he told her.
            “Thanks,” she muttered, then raised her voice so the whole team could hear. “All right, let’s get in there and get this over with.” She marched inside, not bothering to see if anyone was following her.
            Once inside, the music was even louder. The lights were dim, strobes flashing everywhere. An unnatural fog permeated the tent. Must be a fog machine, Moira thought to herself. The smell from the machine was already giving her a headache. There were mirrors everywhere, and she didn’t know which way to go. “Which way should we try first?” she tried to yell over the music and creepy sound effects.
            There was no answer. She turned, thinking that maybe they hadn’t heard her . . . but her teammates were all gone. Moira swore violently. She hadn’t liked them, but this was the last place that she wanted to be left alone in.
            She called out for her teammates, but received no answer. Finally, she thought she heard Lily’s voice calling for her. She could barely make it out over the din.
            She ran toward where she thought Lily’s voice was coming from. She kept running into mirrors and dead ends. All the reflections of herself were beginning to make her feel a little crazy. She turned a corner, and instead of finding Lily, she found someone, something else . . . a clown. It wasn’t a garden-variety children’s birthday clown. No, this one had sharp, serrated teeth—and it was holding a knife that was dripping something steadily onto the floor.
            Moira’s scream ripped from her lungs as she turned and fled as fast as she could.Oh God, did that thing kill Lily? She ran smack into a mirror, ricocheted off of it, and collapsed on the floor. The mirror had splintered where she hit it, and there were glass shards scattered all around her. She couldn’t stay on the floor! She picked herself up off the ground, slicing her palms on the glass fragments, and began to run again.
            Something slammed into her from behind and she tripped, falling against a wall this time. She didn’t fall to the floor—something was keeping her up. She tried to turn, only to find a closed door behind her. She was trapped in some sort of metal cylinder. She jiggled the handle on the door, but it wouldn’t turn. She started pounding on the walls, screaming for someone, anyone to come and let her out. The walls were so close that she could barely lift her arms. It seemed like they were barely three inches away on all sides.
            Adrian heard Moira screaming. “Hold onto us, Lil,” he ordered his sister. She complied, grabbing one of Adrian’s hands, and taking Jesse’s hand on the other side. Will had disappeared the minute they set foot into the tent.
            “Wh-wha-what do you th-think is g-g-going on?” Lily asked, her voice quavering. Her whole body was shaking.
            “I don’t know,” Jesse answered her. “But we need to stick together if we’re going to get out of here.”
            “Did you hear that?” Adrian asked.
            “Hear what?” Jesse wanted to know.
            “It sounds like Moira calling for us.”
            “Hold on just a minute.” Jesse held up his free hand, palm facing upward. He stared at it for a moment, until a small flame erupted, dancing merrily.
            “Great idea, man. We need some light in here besides all these crazy strobes. I feel like I’m in a techno club,” Adrian told him. He started dancing until Lily elbowed him.
            “Adrian! This is serious! We have to find Moira and Will and get out of here!” she chided him.
            He winked at Jesse above her head. He had just been trying to take his sister’s mind off their situation. “Of course. Sorry, Lil. Let’s go.”
            They began to move in unison, hunting for their other teammates. The mirrors were disorienting, and the fire rising from Jesse’s hand threw back strange reflections.
            A loud whirring sound reached their ears. “What the hell?” Jesse asked.
            It was coming closer. Adrian looked around for the source of the noise—and saw a chainsaw reflected in one of the mirrors. He caught a flash of a suit. It was one of the Hunters. He didn’t know if they were supposed to hurt them, or just scare them, but he wasn’t taking any chances. “Lily, don’t look. Just run!”
            Still holding hands, they bolted through the maze of mirrors. They could hear footsteps behind them. Jesse tried to shoot some of the fire in his hand back at whatever was chasing them. It didn’t seem to reach. Adrian tried to pull some of the electricity from the strobe lights, but that just made the building darker.
            “What the hell is that growling noise?” Jesse shouted over the sound of their flight.
            “What growling noise?” Adrian slowed down. “Hey, I don’t hear the chainsaw anymore.”
            “But do you hear that?” Jesse pointed, letting the fire go out.
            Adrian looked where Jesse was pointing. There was a giant black panther clawing at a metal cylinder. They could hear Moira shrieking and banging inside. “Oh crap, it’s gonna kill her!” he yelled.
            The panther stopped what it was doing briefly and looked at them, then it returned to trying to shred the metal.
            It finally broke through and Moira came tumbling out. She ran over to where Adrian, Lily, and Jesse stood. The panther collapsed on the ground. It blurred, and then Will was lying on the ground in its place.
            “What the hell?” Adrian exclaimed.
            Will looked up from the ground. “It was the only way I could find her.”
            “What’s that supposed to mean?”
            Moira leaned against the wall, trying to steady herself. She had worked herself into a frenzy inside that hollow tube, but she couldn’t let them know that. Suddenly, she felt herself falling. She landed on the ground once again, this time with sunlight spilling over her face.
            “Oh my God, we’re free!” Lily shrieked excitedly.
            “Right again,” Chance Cagney said, stepping around the corner. “You managed to get away from the Hunters, and you got out of the fun house. Great teamwork everyone!”
            Will wanted to rip the stupid guy’s throat out, but he knew that wouldn’t help anything. “So we have the night off now?” he growled, his voice still thrumming with the aftermath of his shapechange.
            “Yes, you are all free for the night,” Chance told them. “Further instructions will come in the morning.” He turned abruptly and walked away.
            “Thank God that’s over,” Lily commented.
            “Yep. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting the hell out of here!” Moira exclaimed and disappeared around the corner.
            “Should we go after her?” Adrian asked.
            “Nah, I’m sure she’ll be okay. We’ll find her later,” Jesse told him. “Let’s go find some food!”
            Will wasn’t sure she would be okay. He had seen the look on her face when she came falling out of that tube. He made a note to keep an eye on her in the coming days to make sure she didn’t have a nervous breakdown or something.