Saturday, August 4, 2012

So sorry!

I didn't mean to drop off the face of the planet there. I did it just about everywhere. I haven't felt very much like being friendly, which is one of those things I can't really avoid what with having to work and needing to support the family.

In June, I lost my oldest sister. It's been very hard to realize that she is no longer around anymore. My family has needed me, and so I've been spending extra time with them and when I was on my own I've been escaping in video games. Not sims though, Elder Scrolls.

This doesn't mean I'm done with Sims, but I haven't actually played Sims 3 like a real game ever. I've only really ever used it for screen shots because I really do like the look of the sims over Sims 2. (I know, crazy.) So I do actually use Sims 3 as a writing tool to bring characters to life from time to time. It's a fun tool for that, and easy to use to boot.

But I am on a break still while I try to balance everything out. I haven't even written for a few months. Today marks the first day I've actually sat down to just write because I had a character voice too loud to ignore. If I hadn't gotten up and started writing, she would have carried on without me and I don't trust my own memory. I guess that particular story is tired of waiting!

So, I'm sorry that I don't have an update and that I've been awol. I don't know when I can expect to be back to anything that resembles normal. Read more!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


 The trip to our old meeting place didn't take long, but by the time we were there, darkness had fallen even though there was still light in the sky. We lay down in the grass, side by side and looked up. There wasn't anything to see, just washed out blue and the moon making its way over the hills.

Our arms touched. She had on longer sleeves than I did, but my hand brushed hers and I could feel how cold her skin was. It made goosebumps rise on my arm. I rubbed at them then rolled over to look at her. She didn't move, only glanced at me and then went back to looking at the empty sky.

"You look weird with short hair."

Self-consciously, I scratched at it, the short hairs tickling my fingers. Jimmy liked the cut. He thought it was a sign of my growing up. Or so he said. "I'm thinking I should grow a beard."

Her hand shot to her mouth too late to cover her laugh. It was too wonderful a sound to wound my pride. She blinked quickly, her throat rising and falling as she swallowed. The smile on her lips slowly disappeared and that look of exhaustion returned. I didn't know what to say to her. Was my being here really enough?

Her thoughts were too quiet. There was nothing to pick up. They were as clear as the sky. I touched her arm so that she would look at me. Tears hung on her bottom lashes. Whatever it was she needed, she wouldn't ask for it. She didn't know how to ask for help.

I rolled over on top of her, and she gave a gasp of surprise. Her hands fell to her side, hitting the ground with a soft thump as she partially tried to push herself up, but I threw my arms around her. Instead of shoving me off, she wrapped her arms around my back and whispered in my ear. "I hate him," she said, her voice shaky with tears yet to be shed. "I hate the one who did it. They say he was just a boy-- like it makes it any better. They keep saying it was an accident."

She held onto me, and I was sure she was crying. I held her head and rubbed her back. The possibility that it was an accident was slim. Telling her that wouldn't offer any more comfort than lying to her, so I didn't bother to speak.

"Do you think he meant to hit my father?"

"No. It could have been anyone. It would have been anyone."

She held so still that she didn't even shiver. Her thoughts had kicked up again, but they were going much too fast for me to catch any of them. She laid back down and closed her eyes.

I knelt over her while considering just how much I wanted to tell. "Jimmy's looking for the one that did it."

Her body tensed at that. She opened her eyes and looked up at me. "I know what that means."

"He asked me to help."

She sat up on one elbow, but didn't move from under me. "You aren't going to..." The words started out strong enough, but they taped into silence before she had even finished her thought. She pressed a hand over her mouth until she regained some of her composure. "Your first... it can't be because of us." Because of me. Her thought was so strong, I believed she'd said it out loud.

I sat back on my knees. "What makes you think I haven't already? It's been months since you've actually talked to me."

Her fingers covered her lips again. She eyed me as if she would be able to see the truth.

"You hate him, don't you? You want him dead.”

She glanced away. I hadn't actually heard her think it, but I could guess. Quietly, she said, “I haven’t heard it said out loud like that. Does wanting someone gone mean I’m an adult now? I don’t want to be if that’s the case.”

I had nothing I could say to her, but in an instant I understood Jimmy too well for my liking. He was always pushing me, trying to get me to take a more active role in the tribe based off of something that I had no choice over. I couldn't exactly choose my brother or my father, but I had to deal with the repercussions. Becoming an adult was something that would happen, to both of us.

A tear worked its way down her cheek. She looked up at me, and I was aware of just how close we were to one another. I reached for her then, scooting even closer, so I could kiss her chastely, just the top of her head, something to warm her and protect her. Her head tilted, and then it was only a short distance from her forehead to her lips. At first, she tensed, unsure if she should enjoy it. Her lashes nearly brushed against my skin as she shut her eyes. Her hand stayed on my shoulder, but the rest of her melted into my arms.

We didn’t pull away. She didn’t open her eyes. “I won’t ask. Do what you have to do.” She untangled herself from me and stood up, reaching a hand down. “We should go back. Did you see my mom walk off with your brother? What was that all about?”

“You think they’re talking about us.”

She put a hand on her cheek. “Wouldn’t you if you were them?”

I laughed. She turned to head back down to the bar, but I grabbed her and pulled her to me again. “I know you said it wouldn’t work, but—“ I paused. She stood expectantly. I took a deep breath to gather my strength and only felt my own frustration creeping up. It had been building. For months I'd been trying to figure out what I'd tell her if I got the chance or even making a chance of my own to explain to her just how much she meant to me. In my head, I had always been so well spoken. “Dammit, Pat. You mean a lot to me. More than anyone else ever before. I just wanted you to know.”

I was sure she was blushing them. She took my hand and led me to the bar. I’d prepared myself to not expect a response, but it would have been nice. Even her thoughts were a quiet buzz, effectively hiding them from me.

We entered the bar from the back. Jimmy was still there. He sat at the bar, a half-filled glass in front of him. Rita sat next to him with her glass even less filled than his. Pat caught my eye, hers wide in disbelief.

Jimmy stood. Rita’s eyes were as red as Pat’s had been and they still shone with recently shed tears. Had my brother sat through her tears? Listened to her? Somehow offered her comfort? She managed to smile at me, not a real one, but a muscle memory. Instinctive. Her smile was her defense.

“I’m glad we didn’t have to send out the search party after all.”

Pat fidgeted next to me, crossing her arms and looking away. I knew she was still worried about what her mother would think we had been doing alone in the dark, but it seemed the furthest thing from Rita's mind. The only thought I caught from her was one word: Good.

Jimmy and I said our goodbyes. Pat locked the door behind us. We walked together back home as the lights in the village started to come on one by one. When we were away from the village, walking together in the dark, Jimmy spoke.


“You’re right. I want to help.”

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Sunday, January 22, 2012


Neither Jimmy nor I were in a rush to get there. We said it was because we didn't want to scare off anyone else who might have come to pay their own respects. But I had a feeling that he was just as nervous as I was. Comforting people wasn't exactly his thing. Jimmy was definitely a man who did better in theoretical comfort-- keeping things nice and safe so the villagers could sleep at night.

As for me, I didn't know what Pat would do or say. Would she ignore me? Would she cry? What would be on her mind?

By the time we arrived, most of the people were gone. I worried that we were too late, and then I saw her. Pat looked both incredibly mature and incredibly young. The stress of two such different traits on her face made her look exhausted. I wanted to swoop her up, if she'd let me, and just hold her close. I wanted to give her a moment of peace.

Rita was slowly making her way out. There was a woman who was attached to her arm, but Rita didn't seem to be enjoying her company. When she saw us, she managed to excuse herself and make her way to us. The woman took one look at Rita's destination and took off without her, not even looking back.

Rita looked older. Her hair was loose, a rare thing for her, and she wore the darkest outfit she'd probably been able to find in her closet-- a gray skirt and a light colored sweater. When she was near, she didn't stop. She stepped right into Jimmy's arms and gave him a hug as if it was natural, and he didn't stop her. In fact, he wrapped his arms around her in return.

She stepped back, the tiniest sprinkle of a tear on her lashes as she stepped over to get a hug from me. We hadn't hugged before either, but there wasn't anything else I could do but return it awkwardly.

She wiped her eyes and sniffled a bit before she said, "You should go see her. She'll want to see you, you know."

I didn't know what to say, so I stood there like a dumbass. Jimmy gave me a shove to help me get my feet moving. As I walked away from them, I looked back to see Jimmy reaching out a hand for her elbow to help lead her back to the bar just up the dirt road.

Pat wasn't looking at anyone. She had her head down, and her eyes closed with both hands over her face. Her thoughts, always a whirlwind, were now silent. It wasn't difficult to understand how she was feeling, and I hesitated, unsure that I would actually be of any use to her.

Then she saw me. I half-expected her to shove me out of the way as she ran past me. Instead, she ran right into my arms, and I held her close. She was shaking though she wasn't sobbing. We stayed together like that for a while without speaking. Eventually her breathing became more normal and her shaking stopped.

She still didn't move for a while. When she finally did manage to disengage herself, she looked up at me with a bitter smile that didn't reach her bloodshot eyes.

"Do you want a drink? I could sure go for one. Or more."

Jimmy and Rita had headed towards the bar. I didn't feel like being trapped with the two of them inside the small bar. It also didn't seem like a good idea to invade their quiet time. There had to be a lot they needed to say to one another. A drink sounded like a good idea, but in town, the best place to get it was from Pat's. If we took off in search of it, there'd be questions, and I didn't feel like talking to anyone else.

But we also couldn't stand in front of the reminder. I took her hand. "C'mon."

She didn't fight against me. She followed me, holding tightly to my fingers.


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Monday, January 16, 2012


"Brandon, something's happened."

Jimmy walked quickly to me, his voice low. There were others nearby, but at the sight of him striding so purposefully towards me, they suddenly found things to do away from me.

It wasn't a good sign if Jimmy was seeking me out. The look on his face was enough to make me want to disappear. He looked angry, but not the kind of angry that contorted his face. Whatever had happened was something that made him have to keep a level head. That was a very bad sign.

"What is it?"

Jimmy paused in front of me, turning his head a bit, though he still was watching me, trying to figure out how to say what he had to say. I wished I could just read his mind, but as always, it was a frustratingly black hole. He took a breath and spit it out. "Frank and two other villagers were attacked on the way out."

I didn't know what it meant. Why did he feel a need to tell me? My stomach dropped even as my mind fought to keep up. There had to be a reason he was telling me this. "Are they okay? Why are you telling me?"

Jimmy ran a hand up his forehead and through his hair. "Frank's dead."

Pat. That's why he was telling me. I sat down on an old crate that wobbled beneath me. I didn't know what to say or even what he expected me to do. The last time I'd seen Frank he'd been very alive. He'd looked like a man who'd outlive me, just one of those people who won't let go.

"Didn't they have someone with them?"

"They did. They were surprised by a couple of younger scavengers. They shot at the cart and hit Frank, then they took off."

I rubbed at my face. I couldn't believe it. This was a nightmare. The scavengers were not usually confrontational. I'd run across them from time to time, and usually they tried to avoid us. There was a standard agreement-- we'd leave them alone if they left us alone. This would turn everything to shit. The younger ones coming of age were known to be volatile and hot tempered. In some ways I could understand their anger, but they didn't want to be a part of the tribe either. They wanted to be independent, and that wasn't possible for anyone, even the children of the Experiments.

"How're Pat and Rita?" The words came out slow. I wasn't sure I wanted to hear it.

"They're burying him tomorrow." Jimmy crossed his arms and left the obvious answer unsaid.

Pat had asked for space, and I'd given it to her. It'd been months since I'd seen her on purpose. All those times I's seem her on accident while going through the village didn't count.

"We should pay our respects." Jimmy said it quietly. It surprised me at first. He wasn't one for burials. There had only been one I could remember him being present for-- a small private ceremony that was just between the two of us on the plains between the city and the Southlands Village.

But there was something between Jimmy and Rita. I'd caught specks of memories from her of Jimmy as a young boy and flashes of my mother. Though I couldn't pick up emotions, the memories she had were so strong, the feelings about them colored the scenes. They made her sad and even a little wistful.

The other half of her memories were locked inside Jimmy's head and dealt with the time in his life before I'd come along. That time was off limits for me to ask about. It wasn't just a tribe thing, it was an understanding between the two of us. He didn't want to talk about it, and out of respect I didn't ask.

"Did you hear me? We should pay our respects."

I stood up and nodded. "Okay. Fine." My stomach folded in on itself. Would Pat want to see me at one of the worst moments in her life?

"You should know; I have people out there looking for the ones who did it."

I wouldn't have expected any less from him. "They might do it again."

Jimmy looked me dead in the eye. "I have a feeling that when you see her, you're going to want to do it yourself."

I found myself biting my lip. Maybe that was exactly what I was scared of.

Next Chapter -->

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'd rather be delivering a story post

I was reading through a friend's story blog, and I noticed it had been five weeks since I last updated. Yikes! I really didn't mean to go that long, but I haven't turned on Sims at all, not even to play Pets. It is possible that I just don't feel like playing sims right now, since this stuff usually goes in phases anyway. But I think my main problem is just that I keep alternating between feeling really great and like total crap. It's not a winter specific sickness, just the regular, "You think you can write?" bug.

I'm pushing on, but I don't have much energy to wrestle with sims by the end of the day. (Though I can see the next scene so clearly in my head...)

In the meantime, what am I working on? Let's see if you all recognize him. :D

This is just the rough color copy. The artist's DA page can be found here.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011


Pat was watching me strangely. "Did you say something to my dad?"

She'd always been observant, just like her mother, Rita. I glanced up at her, hoping to pull off innocent though it had been a long time since I had been.

"Why would you ask?"

"He apologized when he came back." Pat fiddled with the hem of her shirt. "And Mom was the one who said it'd be okay to see you again." She met my eyes, her own nearly as sharp as the few high ranking mothers we had in the tribe. "She wouldn't say that unless Dad had said something to her, but he's too stubborn to tell me."

I didn't know what to say. It's not that lying is hard for me, just lying to Pat. I hesitated, and she caught it right away. "You did! You talked to my father? Why would you talk to my father?"

She gave me a hard shove on my shoulder with the last question. I couldn't help being reminded of her father right then. She was so like Frank sometimes that it was downright creepy.

"Why did you talk to him?" She repeated, but this time she spoke softly, her thoughts coming to one conclusion.

"Because you were hurt. He was wrong, and he knew he was wrong. He would've apologized anyway."

She kept her eyes on me. "So then why did you talk to him?"

I could feel the blood rushing up my neck to my ears. "I was pissed off. I didn't want him to think that someone like me could just come in and sweep you away."

Pat was surprised. I could hear her thought as clear as if she spoke it, But you probably could. She was looking down at the ground, but she almost seemed to sway towards me. I reached out for her and wrapped my arms around her. She didn't fight it. We stood together for a while, right there at the back fence to her parent's house. It was the first time we'd ever been that brazen, and yet there was still something wrong. Her thoughts had grown quiet, and she held onto me tightly as if she dreaded letting go.

Finally she spoke. "This can't work out, can it?" She didn't move. Her voice was soft in my ear. It wasn't really a question, just gentle resolve. She said it because she believed it. We were both almost adults; our time was short. Maybe the time to enjoy each others company had already passed.

"You can't marry me," She said as she stepped back. "I'm probably never going to leave the village, and you can't join the village. You're going to have to do whatever it is that you do."

A thought of hers bubbled up over the buzz of her other thoughts, Before I get hurt. Before you hurt someone. I wondered if she even knew it was there between the two of us.

I didn't know what to say. It couldn't end like that. It seemed too soon. Our time together was so short and so spread out that it didn't count. We'd never really gotten anywhere, and we were never going to get anywhere if I couldn't say something to encourage her and convince her that it could work out if we wanted it to.

There were things about me she didn't know yet, things I actually hadn't offered to tell her. I wasn't exactly sure why I held back. Maybe I held back for the same reasons I'd guess Jimmy held back too. Because it still hurt years later, even as I approached real adulthood. And because somewhere deep inside, I did worry about Pat and I becoming too close. It wasn't safe. Hadn't that already been proven to me?

I didn't want to become like Jimmy or Henri. I didn't want to be one of those men who seemed to only live for their jobs and their duties. It was my chance right there, with Pat, to change things, to send us down a different path, and I couldn't.

Pat turned away from me without saying a word. She couldn't look me in my eyes. Whatever thoughts were on her mind were so busy and jumbled that I couldn't catch any of them, but she acted as if she thought I could.

"Maybe we should give it a rest for a little. It's not really fair to you, is it?"

I wanted to say something, but she was already walking away, hoping that I wouldn't follow. It didn't feel as if following would do any good. Things could only get worse. So I left her alone, and let her go.

Next Chapter -->


Ha! Bet you didn't think you'd see an update from me this week!

My interview at Sim Storytellers. Also, I'm hosting a giveaway on my writing blog for the proof copy of the book and an advanced copy of The Two Brothers, which will be a brand new, never released story. Just in case anyone would care for what I'm calling book prototypes.

I was also on Shana Norris' blog talking about Ruin and the inspiration behind it.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sim Storytellers

If you don't know this LJ com, you're missing out! They post very interesting interviews with many different sim storytellers, and it's a great way to find other stories.

Well now it's my turn. You should be able to post anonymously there. You can also post here if you feel more comfortable. This first week we take your questions, and next week I answer them.

Even if you don't participate with this one, take a look at the other spotlights! So many interesting people. It really gives you an idea as to the wide variety of sims players. (Another reason I love the sims. There is no limit.) Read more!