Introducing Charming – Part 3

Today I’m posting the final part of my “Introducing Charming” scene. Last week, Charming was faced with a mysterious man asking him to do a favor. This week, find out if Charming agrees to his demands or not.

You knew someone would find out one day.

My fingers curl into the silk, and I swallow hard, trying to control my breathing, rubbing the tie against my bracelet, as if trying to call energy from the room. There’s none to draw on, and I’m too worn down from the show to use my personal aura. I’m helpless.

“What’s your deal?” I say, for once thankful for my post-show sore throat. It keeps me from sounding scared.

“You ever heard of a press rat?”

That’s a stupid question, as every Elite with half a brain knows what a press rat is. They’re people who make deals with the press – trading others’ secrets to the hated reporters for money, power, fame or a combination of all three. If someone, anyone, discovered that you were a press rat, your career would be over.

“Of course I have.”

“Well, if you’ve ever wanted to be one, here’s your chance.” The man digs in his pocket and holds out a small glass chip. “You tell me what you can find out about the Skye family scandal, and I’ll leave your dirty past alone.”

I stare at the chip in his fingers, and then back at him. “If I’m caught –“

“Your career would be over. However, I’m guessing you’d prefer not to be terminated which is what your past would bring you, wouldn’t it, Sahir?”

The man’s gloved hand doesn’t even flinch as I snatch the chip from him.

He smiles, the shadows that conceal his face making it seem even more menacing. “Good. I expect those details by tomorrow, 0900.”

“How will I get it to you?” I shove the chip in my pants pocket.

“I’ll drop by for a visit. See you then, Charming.” The way he snarls my name makes me believe that he finds it more than just pretentious. “Oh. You’ve got your…talents back.” The man smiles again.

I raise my hand, but he’s gone before I can even make a dent in his thoughts. I’m left standing there in the middle of the room, trying to process what just happened. I’m being asked to commit the second most hated crime in my world. Informing on other Elites’ scandals and secrets is a crime only slightly behind traitor, which is something I don’t even want to think about.

That’s what your father said, too. And look what happened to him.

I push the thought out of my head and turn away from the mirror, not wanting to face even myself. Mechanically, I knot the tie around my neck and pull on my red suit coat.

I’ve got no choice, I argue with myself. This is all I have left.

“Give them a good show,” I tell my reflection, making sure every trace of fear is gone out of my eyes. It’s show time, and Charming Prince doesn’t get scared.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

~ Kayla

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Introducing Charming – Part 2

Last week, I posted the first part of a scene written about my main male character, Charming Prince, from my NaNo novel this year. This week, I’m posting the second part of that scene. We left Charming back stage after performing in front of a huge, adoring crowd. 🙂

At this point my throat is aching like someone poured acid down it, so I simply nod politely. A blonde girl appears holding out a bottle of a murky looking liquid. I take it, giving her a curt nod, and she instantly disappears. Tipping my head back, I swish the nasty stuff around in my mouth and force myself to swallow it.

“Better?” Davis chuckles as he sees my wince.

“Yeah,” I say before taking another sip. “The scream in ‘Emperor’ always gets me.”

Davis nods. “You did great, though.” He pushes open the door to my dressing room, and we both step in.

He walks around me, striding across the sparkling black concrete to take a seat on the red sofa, grimacing a bit as he does. I can’t blame him. Davis is in his seventies, and these late night concerts full of screams and drums and flashing lights take their toll on him.

I cross the room and step into the bathroom, positioning myself in front of the full-length mirror, working on untangling the tie around my neck.

“You’ve got an after-party to get to. There’s a girl there, Stella. I want you to get to know her, understood?” Davis’s powerful voice carries easily to the other side of the room.

“Understood,” I respond, yanking on the tie a bit harder.

Davis rounds the corner and places a thin, blue glass card on the vanity sink. “Read up about her before you go.”

I pull the tie off from around my neck and give him a nod of consent, starting on the buttons of my high-collared white shirt.

“I’ll let you get ready. Meet me outside in an hour.”

“Sounds good,” I flash Davis one of my award-winning smiles (I’m not joking – I’ve won literal awards for my smile.) and hear the door clang shut after him.

I finish unbuttoning my shirt, and take another sip of the liquid, wrinkling my nose. “It’s 2084. We should have something better than this to heal damaged vocal cords,” I mutter before swirling the stuff around my mouth again.

My voice was never really meant for screaming, but that never stopped me. When I was younger, I’d done serious damage to my vocal cords trying to hit the notes in my favorite songs. I’m paying for it now.

I swallow more of the liquid and glance over my appearance in the mirror. While my female fans might prefer if I didn’t wear a shirt to my concerts, I much prefer that I did. It wasn’t so much that I minded performing half-naked (heck, I’d done crazier things for publicity) as much as the scars that crisscrossed my body. There are more scars on my chest than tattoos on my arms, a ratio I wish I could change. I shake my head, forcing my thoughts back to where they need to be as I step into the steaming water, letting it wash off the last traces of sweat and stage makeup.

Shower. After-party. Stella.

I step out of the shower and pull on a pair of suit pants, before walking across the cold floor to grab the fresh black shirt my stylist left me on the back of the vanity chair. I’m buttoning it up nice and high, arranging the tie around my neck when I hear a click of dress shoes on concrete. The red tie falls to the ground as I spin around, eyes searching the black and red dressing room.

“Hello?”

There’s nothing there. I crouch down to snatch up my tie, and then straighten, facing my reflection in the mirror, telling myself it’s just post-show jitters. That’s when I hear several more clicks. I spin around, this time, knowing there’s someone in the room.

“I know someone’s here. Stop hiding.” My voice, still scratchy from the concert, sounds a lot more menacing than how I actually feel. In reality, I’m terrified.

“Hello, Charming.”

That’s when I see him – a figure standing in the shadows behind the sofa.

My fingers press against the cool metal of my bracelet, hoping they’re charged enough to let me disappear.

“Don’t bother.” The man steps into the light a bit, just enough so that I can make out his lined face and white hair. “You’ll find that those are useless. I’ve turned off the aura.”

My fingers find the one thing they can grip, twisting themselves in the red silk tie. “Security!” I call, my voice breaking slightly, half from the strain, half from fear.

“You’ll find that the intercom system has also been shut down.” He smiles a bit. “Scream all you like, but they won’t hear you.”

“Who are you?” I demand.

“No one you would know. I came because I have a proposal for you. And not the marriage kind.” I can see him shove his hands in his pockets, and chuckle a bit at his own joke. “There’s something we’ve managed to find out about you, Charming Prince – or should I say Sahir Brenan Harb.”

My fingers dig into the silk, as I try to remain calm. “I don’t know –”

“Oh, don’t even try it. You see, I can tell everyone exactly who you are.” The man chuckles again. “And I know you don’t want that. I have a deal for you. I won’t tell anyone who you are…if you do a few small favors for me.”

Thanks for reading! Part 3 will be up next week. 🙂

~ Kayla

Introducing Charming – Part 1

It’s four days until NaNoWriMo! I’ve been excited for this year’s NaNo for months now. I haven’t wanted to work on anything other than this novel, and now, in four days, I finally get a chance to write it!

My NaNo novel is called Ella’s Cinders, and it’s a dystopian Cinderella story about a girl named Ella Cinder, who gets swept up into the world of the Elites, who are the rich and famous celebrities whose rule keeps the rest of the citizens in submission.

Of course, no Cinderella story would be complete without a Prince Charming. Today, I thought I’d introduce the prince of my story, who is known by his stage name of Charming. He’s Ella’s fellow singer, arrogant, full of himself, and anything but the perfect prince. In fact, at the beginning of the story, Ella can’t stand him.

Since I couldn’t get this bit of backstory out of my head, I decided to write it down from Charming’s point of view. So, without further ado, meet my new character!

The scream dies in my throat as the lights flash and the drums crash for the last time. Then suddenly, everything goes quiet as the stage is plunged into darkness. With one final explosion of noise, the spotlight is on me again, and I lift my arm up, making a fist, the lights sparkling off the silver bands that encircle my wrists.

At that moment, the crowd goes wild, and I can’t stop the grin spreading across my face. I toss my head and flip the mop of sweaty black-brown hair out of my eyes, looking out over the people gathered in front of me.

“Thank you all for coming!” My shout only riles them up more, but I don’t mind.

I half-run, half-skip to the front of the stage, and wave to the crowd, bending down to high-five a row of teenaged girls not much younger than me in the front, and then standing up to blow kisses to the rest of the audience. The girls scream and look like they might swoon, an effect I tend to have on my fans. I’m trying my best not to grin at the fact they’re all screaming for me, something I still haven’t got used to even after three years of touring.

My dress shoes clatter across the all black stage, the only color coming from red, glittering holograms that spell out the letters of my stage name: Charming Prince. The label said it was too pretentious, but I told them that I was only being truthful, so they finally gave in and let me keep it. After all, I am their hottest teenaged superstar.

The crowd’s still cheering as I straighten my red tie and do an exaggerated bow, playfully sweeping my arm out like a real prince bowing to a fine lady.

“Thank you again for coming! I love you all and I’ll come back soon!” I clear my throat best I can, ignoring the fact that my vocal cords feel like they’re burning.

I kiss both of my hands and wave to them, enjoying their calls of “Encore! Encore!” as I step through the black hologram that’s my version of an old-fashioned curtain. With a ripple, the calls and screams from the crowd are instantly gone to be replaced with a round of applause from my crew who have been waiting for me to step off stage.

I do another exaggerated bow to them, grinning as one of the new girls runs up, giggling, and drapes a towel over my shoulders. I give her a wink and she instantly blushes, running back over to the makeup table.

“Charming, my boy!”

I burry my face in the towel, wiping some of the sweat and makeup off my face, glancing up as Davis, my agent appears.

He claps me on the back, giving me a smile. “Another outstanding performance!”

I grin and nod, pushing back my dripping hair.

“I’m sure you need something for your voice,” he chuckles, taking my silence for throat pain. “With all those screams in your set, I can imagine.” He claps his hands together and starts walking off down the hallway to my dressing room.

I follow him, still trying to wipe some of the sweat off my face.

“The crowd went nuts. Your popularity is through the roof. You’re doing it, Charming! You’ve made it big time!”

I’ll have part 2 up next week! Thanks for reading. 🙂

~ Kayla

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials: Quick Review

First of all, I’m sorry I didn’t post last week! Last Wednesday was my birthday, and I had to take the PSAT in the morning and then went straight from there to the theater to see The Scorch Trials with my best friend, so I had a hectic day! 🙂

Speaking of The Scorch Trials, I had high expectations for this movie. I really enjoyed the first one, and I’m a huge fan of James Dashner’s novels. I went into the theater looking forward to seeing one of my favorite books brought to life … and that’s not quite what I got.

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie, don’t read beyond this point!

Things I liked:

1. The casting (at least for the Gladers) was really well done. The actors they chose fit the description of the characters in the book.

2. The Cranks were horribly scary and gross, but I did think they were well done and fit the book’s description (even if they did go a little overboard on the grossness).

3. Even though the movie didn’t follow the book at all, I did enjoy it, though more as a stand-alone film than one based on the novel.

4. My friend and I quite enjoyed Newt’s scarf and fingerless gloves. We thought was hysterical for some reason! XD

Things I did not like:

1. Everything they did with Brenda. In the book, Brenda was immune to the Flare, had a long, black ponytail, worked with WICKED, and wasn’t nearly as annoying as she was in the movie. In the movie, Brenda was infected by a Crank, had short, black hair, rebelled against WICKED, and was annoying.

2. Jorge was waaaaay older than I pictured him. I imagined him to be in his late 20s, early 30s, and in the movie he was in his 50s or 60s.

3. Bertha was not a flying barge ship as she was in the book, but a truck.

4. The entire plot of the movie was totally different than the book. The Gladers were made out to be escaping from WICKED in the movie, however, in the book, they were being put through another round of trials by WICKED. Also, in the movie, they said they had a cure for the Flare. The plots of the last two books of The Maze Runner series hinge on the fact that there is no cure for the Flare.

5. Minho was captured at the end of the movie, which really irritated me because Minho was by Thomas’s side throughout the whole series!

6. Teresa never betrayed Thomas in the book. She was being forced by WICKED, and rigged it so he only felt betrayed. However, in the movie, she very clearly betrays him.

7. Rat Man didn’t look like a rat! I was so looking forward to seeing him brought to life, and I was disappointed by who they chose. 😛

So, what did you like about the movie? What didn’t you like? Comment below and let me know!

~ Kayla

Quick Book Review – Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

If you’re looking for advice on how to deal with evil snake-haired ladies named Medusa, singing severed heads, or a super sheep, look no further than modern-day hero and demigod, Percy Jackson. In this guide, Percy will tell you exactly why being a hero sucked with his retelling of 12 accounts of ancient Greek heroes.

Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

“We’re going back about four thousand years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people. Then, for dessert, we’ll die tragic deaths. Ready? Sweet. Let’s do this.” – “Introduction”, pg. ix

What I Liked:

1. Starting with the obvious, the cover and illustrations in this book were amazing. They were in full color, incredibly detailed, and gorgeous.

2. Percy Jacksons’s narrative style was what really made this book so amazing. His snarky and sarcastic comments had me laughing so hard I had to stop reading, catch my breath, and then dive back into it. It also made the myths and stories extremely memorable, and that helped me to remember them way after I had finished the book.

3. I learned a ton. I knew most of the Greek myths, but this really helped to cement the stories in my mind and be able to recall the details of a story.

4. I’ve read the other books in the Percy Jackson series, and I loved all the inside jokes added into the stories. It made it even funnier, if that’s possible.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. I will be forever calling King Eurystheus, for whom Hercules performed the 12 labors, High King Hide-in-Pot instead of his proper Greek name.

2. I enjoyed the book so much (I had borrowed it from the library to read) that I had to go out and buy it.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below.

~ Kayla

District 12

School is in full swing now!  I’ve been pretty busy with school assignments, so I haven’t gotten a ton of fiction writing in lately. However, I have been working on some essays for my online writing class. My last assignment was a descriptive essay, and I chose to write about District 12 from The Hunger Games. It was actually a lot like fiction writing, since I had to describe a setting, which in my case was a fictional place. Anyway, I ended up earning an A on it, and I thought I’d share it today!

District 12 is known as the mining district. Its streets are tinted black with coal dust, and every morning starts with the tramping boots of miners on their way to work. The Seam is an area between the mines and the meadow, where the sulfur stench of coal is mixed with the sweet odor of trees from the forest that is blocked by a long, metal fence. The Capitol teaches everyone that 12 is no more than coal dust and fences. However, if I look closely enough, 12 has more to offer than just coal mines and electric fences.

The small house smells like pine trees mixed with coal dust. It is right by the fence, settled on the edge of the Seam. Long, rough wooden planks make up the only two rooms. One of these rooms is a tiny bedroom, barely big enough for two beds, while the other is longer with a wide wooden table in the center of it. The ceiling is low, and the wooden slats don’t quite line up, leaving skinny patches of sunlight that dance across the floor and warm my bare feet when I walk through them. The mismatched boards creak under the slightest pressure, and the door to the outside whines as it slowly opens on its rusted hinges.

The hum of the electric fence is gone, leaving only the rustle of the trees in the wind. The fence is a high chain-link one, crowned with barbed wire loops. Beyond it, there is a wall of green pine trees, like a barrier to keep the Capitol out. The shrieking of a squirrel on the other side warns me to stay away. I tug on the sharp edges of the broken fence to make a hole big enough to squeeze through. The cool metal rattles as I slide underneath it

Out here, there is only the forest to see, making it one of the few places untouched by the Capitol. The singing birds and sweet air make the woods seem even more welcoming, especially with the warm sunlight on my skin. It sneaks through the vibrant green leaves tinting everything a yellow-green color, making it look a little happier out here. The flowers, nestled on the bank of the winding brook, smell like perfume as I walk through them. I dip my hand in the cool water, feeling it splash up against my wrist as the stream runs along, chattering happily.

Everything in 12 is covered in black coal dust. I can’t escape the grit of it under my boots, the feel of it in my teeth, and the smoky smell of it in my nose. In the forest, that is replaced with sweet, clean air and the song of birds and rustling trees. It is a whole different side of District 12, one that many never see. Outside the Capitol-controlled town, there is an untouched world that is the closest thing to freedom that I will ever find.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Liebster Award

My friend Bessie Lark accepted this award over on her blog, and she left it for anyone who wanted it. Now, I’ve had Liebster awards before, but these questions were really interesting. I thought today I would accept this award and answer the questions. 🙂 Thanks, Bessie!

There are no rules to this award other than just answering the questions. So, let’s get started. 🙂

1. What fictional character do you think you are the most like?

My mom says that I’ve always reminded her of Anne of Green Gables since I tend to have my head in the clouds, and I want to be a writer. I’d have to agree with that! 🙂

2. Favorite musical genre?

Oh, man. This is hard! I listen to everything from Taylor Swift, Owl City, and Ed Sheeran to Twenty One Pilots, Paramore, and Fall Out Boy. It’s impossible to just pick one genre!

3. Which do you enjoy listening to more: piano or guitar?

I really like guitar in songs; however, I think I like piano better.

4. What’s your favorite aspect of blogging?

Probably interacting with my readers!

5. If you got something in the mail, would you prefer it to be a card or letter?

I would prefer a card. Cards are more likely to contain money, anyway. 😉

6. Are most of your friends older than, younger than, or the same age as you (or an even mix)?

Most of my friends are older by at least a year or two.

7. If you had to choose one song to be the theme of your life, what would it be?

If it was a theme to remind me of what my life is supposed to look like, then “In Christ Alone (I Stand)”. It’s one of my favorite hymns of all time. If I got to select a version, I would pick Owl City’s. 🙂

8. What is one activity you doubt you could live without? Why?

Figure skating! I spend a ton of time on the ice, and my life is very much wrapped up in skating. When I had to stay off the ice for 6 months due to my knee injury, I missed it so much! I can’t imagine living without it.

9. What color fits you the best (not necessarily your favorite color)?

This made me think of one of my favorite Studio C sketches on all time:

All videos aside, I think the color that fits me best is purple. It’s artsy and creative and is also my favorite color.

10. If you could choose how many siblings you had, their gender, and their birth order, what would your family look like?

I’m an only child, so I’ve always wanted to know what it was like to having siblings. On the one hand, I’d like to have an older sister and older brother, then a younger sister and younger brother so I could experience the full range of siblings. On the other hand, I’m quite happy being an only child!

11. What’s one thing you would love to do but have never had the nerve and/or opportunity to?

I would love to dye my hair a crazy color. I really like colored hair for some reason, especially blue. However, I’m too scared that the dye would hurt my hair to do it.

I think I’m going to do this award the same way Bessie Lark did it. If anyone would like to answer these awesome questions, go ahead and answer them! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

A little bit ago, my friend over at Mom’s Princess Writes nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World award. Today, I’m accepting that award! 🙂

The rules are:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. Nominate four other bloggers and ask them 10 questions.

First of all, thank you to the author of Mom’s Princess Writes for the nomination! Now, for her questions! 🙂 She only gave me three to answer.

A. Who would you love to be, if you had a chance to be someone else?

Well, right now I’m working on researching my NaNoWriMo novel, and my male MC is a very famous celebrity in his world. I think I’d like to be someone really famous, just for a day or so, so I could know exactly what it is like for my novel!

B. One food you need to taste before the world ends…

I’ve always wanted to try crème brulee, but never got the chance to.

C. Your dream job?

Obviously, New York Times bestselling author. 😉 However, if that wasn’t one of the options, I think being a forensic artist or librarian would be really cool.

My questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favorite song at the moment?

2. What is your favorite kind of donut?

3. What was the last book you read?

4. Did you enjoy that book?

5. What is your favorite time of day?

6. Who is your least favorite fictional character? Why?

7. Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?

8. What name have you always wanted to use for a character?

9. Do you like summer or winter better?

10. Would you rather live in London or Paris?

My nominees:

Roomble

Accelerate the Jesus Movement

The Randomness of a Teenaged Writer

The World of the Writer

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Quick Book Review – Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

First off, I’d like to apologize for not posting last week! I caught a cold and wasn’t feeling up to doing much of anything, so I decided to rest up and feel better. 🙂 Secondly, this is the last book I’m posting for my summer reading challenge. I’ve really enjoyed doing this reading challenge and throughout the year as I read, I’ll be posting more quick book reviews. 🙂

Tally is only three months away from turning 16 and pretty. In her world, when someone turns 16, they are turned from an ugly to a pretty and are then able to take their place in society. When Tally’s friend disappears, Tally must make a choice either to turn her friend in or stay ugly for the rest of her life.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

“What could they do to her anyway? In three months she’d be a pretty herself.” – “New Pretty Town”, pg. 7

What I Liked:

1. I’d heard a lot about this book, and it lived up to all the good things I’d heard about it. I really enjoyed it.

2. I liked Tally, and I loved what the author did with the character and how he changed her.

3. The idea behind turning everyone pretty and a society built on that idea was really interesting. It was a world that I could see existing, and it had parallels to modern society’s pressure to look a certain way.

4. I need one of those hoverboards that Tally has. Those were super cool.

5. I was totally not expecting the ending! I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. The story definitely didn’t grab me right away. It took a bit to get into it.

2. I thought Shay and Tally acted a lot younger than they actually were supposed to be.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below.

~ Kayla

What Makes a Classic a Classic?

This year for school I’m going to be reading a lot of American literature classics. Currently, I’m just about to start working on The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. That got me wondering what actually makes a classic a classic. I found these quotes in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter by Leland Ryken, which I’m reading for school, and I thought they answered my question nicely.

“The best that has been thought and said.” – Matthew Arnold

“A literary classic ranks with the best of its kind that have been produced.” – Harper Handbook to Literature

“A classic ‘lays its images permanently on the mind [and] is entirely irreplaceable in the sense that no other book whatever comes anywhere near reminding you of it or being even a momentary substitute for it.'” – C.S. Lewis

“Classics are works to which ‘we return time and again in our minds, even if we do not reread them frequently, as touchstones by which we interpret the world around us.'” – Nina Baym

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla