Friday, March 21, 2014

Beyond The Reach of Judgement - Book Trailer

Please tell me what you think!

Excerpt 4: Beyond the Reach of Judgement

“Ruth, let’s go for a walk. You’ve been stuck inside for far longer than is healthy,” Julien offered his arm as the setting sun darkened the great room. “This part of the city can be quite peaceful in the evenings. Let me show you.”
    Ruth stood as she wondered at his motivations. Was this it? Had he finally grown tired of her and planned to be rid of her?  She searched his eyes for evidence of such motivations but she found none of the hunger and desperation she had met during their first encounter.
    “Unless you would rather not?” Julien stepped back and lowered his arm as he appeared to study her with equal intensity.
She swallowed and took a deep breath. “No. I’m sorry. I would enjoy a walk. I was just wondering what you did with all your time. I mean, before coming to the City I could barely imagine what it must be like to not to have to spend eight to twelve hours working a day and barely have enough free time to shower after trying to get a good night’s rest in. You don’t work, don’t sleep, and your showers are so short.”
    “I think.”
    “All the time?” She took his arm as the elevator doors opened to the lobby.
    “Not exactly. I probably spend most of my time trying not to think, to be honest. That is how I came to enjoy these evening walks when my hunger allows such things.”
    Ruth shivered. As soon as her mind seemed to escape the fact that he needed to feed from humans to survive, he found a way to remind her. “How is your hunger now?”
    “Tolerable. You needn’t worry. I will not risk your safety again.” His other hand reached over to squeeze her arm where it rested over his, but he did not look at her.
    “I’m not worried for myself. I just hate to think of you doing something uncomfortable for my sake.”
    “You are an interesting person, Ruth. It seems rare in this current age to find someone quite as selfless as you.” Julien led them down the street.
    “Um, thanks, I think.” She shrugged and considered asking him how many people from this age he actually knew.
    “So the architecture in this area is different from anywhere else in the city. This area was once home to the most prominent citizens of the city in its infancy. Many of these buildings are in their original Art Deco style that was popular at the time.” He pointed upwards toward the towering buildings that surrounded them. “That building there was the tallest in the state for nearly 50 years and was designed by the same architect that designed the building in which I currently reside. They are some of the oldest still standing in this area.”
    “So you like architecture then?” She questioned.
“I find it intriguing how it reflects the current culture and technology and mentality of the time, yes. But mostly, it just seems to remind me of how old I am. To think this entire area did not even exist as more than just prairie and forests when I was born.” He looked away from her. “There are some lovely churches in this city as well. Maybe another night I will take you to see them.”
“I would like that.” Ruth smiled when she caught his glance returning to her as they continued their stroll.
“But the strangest thing I’ve ever encountered anywhere on my travels is coming up here.” He pointed to an alcove between buildings. “It is called Putto 2x2x4.”
As they approached, Ruth stared in confusion at the odd piece of sculpture settled amongst the garden in the alcove. It seemed about twenty feet tall and depicted some strange headless, two-bodied creature with six limbs appearing as human fingers and two limbs appearing as short fat baby-like legs, four limbs on either half. On the screen behind the metal beast played a video of the creature clumsily dancing around as its two bodies fought for control. “It makes no sense.”
“Apparently it is modern art,” Julien replied indicating the plaque for the Kemper Art Museum. “But I relate to the poor beast’s struggle. Its two halves not wanting to acknowledge the other side, meanwhile pulling in opposite directions in a constant battle with itself.”
Looking at the sculpture again and then to the video screen, she could now see the battle between the two sides, neither inherently stronger than the other, each gaining control for a short time before the balance literally tipped in favor of the other side. “Now I see why you try not to think too much.”
He gave a sad seeming smile and another gentle pat on the hand before they continued down the street back toward his place.
She found herself longing to reach out and touch him. The muscles in her arms twitched as she resisted the impulse, and instead she felt her desire twist within her chest. Reminding herself again, despite how he appeared and behaved, that Julien was not human and therefore could not share her feelings, she pushed her urges away. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Edited Introduction: Beyond the Reach of Judgement

These are the first 600 words of my novel, Beyond the Reach of Judgement after their trip to the editor. Enjoy!


People who cease to believe in God or goodness altogether still believe in the devil. I don't know why. No, I do indeed know why. Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”

- Anne Rice, Interview With a Vampire

Alone in the stone cell, Julien paced the perimeter until finally sliding his body down the unforgiving wall opposite the cell door. With her final words still stuck in his head, he focused on the cracks in the stones and the number of blocks stacked to form his enclosure. He tried to memorize the angles and the dimensions of the space instead of allowing thoughts of her warm curves pressed against him to overcome his focus. When the vision of her bright blue eyes came into his head, he changed his attention to the ceiling, taking in the cobwebs in the corners, the dim bulb hanging above, and the smell of mildew hanging in the air. As his mind fell upon the memories of their final moments together, he ground his fingernails into the hard stone beneath him.
His concentration wavered as something slipped through the bars of the cell door. Even in the dim lighting, he immediately recognized the medical grade pint of packed red blood cells. Although freshly sated by the girl’s last remaining ounce of life, the blood still called to him. The more he tried to ignore its presence, the louder the call became. His eyes repeatedly drifted back toward the bag as his tongue ran over his teeth. He sniffed the air, relieved that the scent of the bag’s contents remained trapped by the sterile sealing process.
His jaw clenched, and his fists tightened as the pain built in the back of his throat. Picturing himself back in France in the Church of Saint-Pierre de Montemartre, he swallowed back the saliva that collected in his mouth as he closed his eyes and began to chant.
AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.1
With his eyes closed, he chanted the words over and over, repeating them until they became senseless in his mind. Placing his head between his knees, he squeezed his eyes closed tighter. When he started to wonder what blood type was written across the bag in bold letters or about how fresh it might be, he changed prayers. When the memories of the sensation of his lips on warm flesh, the sound of a pulse echoing in his ears, or the taste of that first drop of blood on his tongue entered his mind, he changed prayers. When he remembered her scent in his nostrils and her flavor in his mouth, he changed prayers.
Recognizing her footsteps and her smell, Julien did not look up as Agent Wolf stood in the doorway. After a long silence, she finally spoke. “Mr. Durant, tell me, why should I spare you?”
“You should not,he said.
“And why is that?”
“I am a monster. I deserve to be ended. I wish to be ended.”
“And why should I give you what you desire?” Her voice hinted at genuine curiosity.
“You should not.”
She said nothing else as her footsteps disappeared down the long corridor. Silence filled the cell once again. He was alone, alone with the blood.
Imagining himself back in the Spiritual Exercises, he started to chant again. He had conquered the evil and disorder within himself once so many years ago; it could be done again. Ruth taught him that. It took losing her to prove to him that he had the choice, and her loss gave him the strength to take it.
Even though he had witnessed her passing with his own eyes, her presence still haunted his every thought. He sensed her fear and despair as if she sat next to him now. But now she was dead, and he sat alone in the stone cell.
1 Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Beyond the Reach of Judgement will be released April 19, 2014 in e-book and paperback. Stay tuned for more details. Consider liking the Facebook Page here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Kitchen Adventure: Husband's Birthday

So recently my husband celebrated his birthday. Normally this would mean going out to a nice dinner at a location of his choice. This year, however, because we both had early morning obligations, I volunteered to cook him something special.

After scouring the internet for several hours, I happened upon two perfect recipes. For the appetizer I prepared Cheesy Creamy Roasted Onions (recipe found here).

For the main course, Spinach and Ricotta Dumpling over tomato and basil marinara sauce (recipe found here).

So my versions aren't nearly as photogenic but they certainly were delicious so I consider this Kitchen Adventure to be a success.

Thank you - Mom, What's for Dinner? and Amuse your Bouche Blogs for sharing these recipes.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar Picks!

Here it is - my Oscar Ballot

Best Picture:
Nebraska (although I think American Hustle is more likely to take it)

Actor in a Leading Role:
Bruce Dern (although I won't be surprised if Matthew McConaughey wins)

Actor in a Supporting Role:
Barkhad Abdi (although I wouldn't mind if Jared Leto gets it)

Actress in a Leading Role:
Amy Adams (I really want her to get this one)

Acress in a Supporting Role:
Lupita Nyong'o

Animated Feature Film:
Frozen (I will be shocked if anything else takes this)

American Hustle (would love Nebraska to get this too)

Documentary Feature:
The Square

Documentary Short Subject:
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Foreign Language Film:


Costume Design:
 The Great Gatsby

Film Editing:

Makeup and Hairstyling:
Dallas Buyers Club

Original Score:
The Book Theif

Original Song:
"Let It Go" from Frozen

Production Design:
The Great Gatsby

Animated Short Film (I saw all of these I am proud to say)
Mr Hublot (with Feral as a close second in my mind)

Live Action Short Film (I've seen none of these)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre

Sound Editing:
Captain Phillips

Sound Mixing
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Visual Effects:

Adapted Screenplay:
The Wold of Wall Street

Original Screenplay:
American Hustle