Matt, my trainer taught a class of 20 of us. He was muscular and filled with high energy. The heat inside of the warehouse style dojo surpassed the heat of a humid Florida summer. We sweat. Punched. And, held our lunches down.
The advanced students pummeled heavy swinging sandbags, while us novices tried to follow our instructor’s lead without missing punches.
I attended this HIIT cardio class nearly every weekday, with little air flow, for 45 minutes. As I jabbed, crossed, and cut the bag, I thought about what the main characters in my novel was doing.
This isn’t a blog post about crossfit or bootcamp classes. But, it is a mini-intro to my Work In Progress. YAY!
I believe working out helps with creativity. But, I didn’t find out until after a difficult day at the gym, I noticed I wrote better fight scenes.
My characters felt more alive. When someone was body slammed in my first draft, I imagined their muscles being slammed onto hard concrete and then crushed by the weight of their opponent’s bulk.
Thankfully, my kickboxing class wasn’t hand-to-hand combat. But, it was intense. The HIIT not only melted fat, but forced my creative muscles to tone up.
As I flexed my writing muscles, I stopped trying to be a full-on pantser.
I researched the locations for various scenes.
I studied my character’s choice of enertainment, (anime!).
And, I learned all I could about parasites and their favorite foods (us!).
My motivation for the characters improved. Without a good reason to confront an enemy or commit that crime, the character falls flat or just looks like a maniac.
So, does kickboxing show up in my latest Work In Progress?
You’ll just have to read the un-edited, raw, excerpt below (more info about new release after excerpt):
I wondered how much damage this ‘Entity’ did to me. And, what did AJ mean that it attempted to devour me? I wasn’t sure if everything AJ told me was the truth, but I needed to make sure that I didn’t faint during his story either.
I turned on the tap, washing the bluish blood from my hands. I stared up at my reflection and my attacker stared back at me. His head turned in the wrong direction, his tentacles twisted like gnarled roots. I didn’t scream. I dropped everything, bolting out of the bathroom into AJ’s arms. He gripped me as if he knew what I just saw.
“It’s okay.” He said.
My face twisted and I shook. “I-It’s…,”
“He’s not here any longer. You’re safe now.”
Those words sounded so familiar. When I closed my eyes, I could imagine him saying them to me before.
“I know what happened traumatized you. But, you will get through this.”
My eyes shot open and I looked at him, brows furrowed at the center.
“I didn’t say anything,” I said, in a soft whisper.
“You didn’t have to.” He tapped his forehead twice with his index finger. “You shared your thoughts with me.”
I shook the guy off.
“I didn’t…. You’re not making sense.”
“Solstice, I highly doubt this is your first time running into an Entity.”
“I never told you my name.”
“I know.” He said. “You didn’t need to. I learned everything I needed to know about you, by tasting your thoughts.”
Sickness washed over me. I put space between AJ and me. And, as soon as my bottom bumped into the wall, my mild headache transformed into a full-blown migraine. I doubled over, grasping my skull, and I felt AJ’s hand rest on my shoulder. He stood close, and I looked up at him, his eyes flickered with the deep blue flame within them.
“You need to sit down.” He said.
“I’m fine, I used to get migraines all the time in my teens. I just need some aspirin.” And, my own bed.
“I know you want to go home.”
“H-How are you doing this?”
“I tasted your thoughts.”
“I don’t know if I’m following you,” I said.
“Sit here. I’ll grab you a cup of coffee, and we’ll talk more.”
He set a cup of coffee, brewed fresh in front of me. He set up a spread of cubed sugar, both liquid and powdered creamers (both hazelnut flavored) and a couple of spoons. I cradled my mug of black water. I didn’t care for coffee and preferred heavy cream, heavy sugar, and a lot less coffee.
“When I told you I can taste thoughts, I meant it. The best and only way I can describe it is that each thought that enters my mind from an individual has a particular flavor. Thoughts that are wrapped around emotions such as anger, sadness, and the like have flavors that one would imagine such as spicy represents anger, and acidity is bitterness. Then, there are the complex flavors. Ones that are formed due to particular thought patterns…,”
“Hold on. You can read minds?”
“I’m still explaining.” He said while lifting up the liquid creamer and pouring it into my mug. I held my hand over the cup.
“How did you know I wanted creamer?”
He blinked twice, setting it down.
“You don’t like coffee, but you don’t mind having coffee as long as it’s incredibly sweet and creamy.”
“Did you get this from reading my mind?”
He sighed through his teeth.
“I’m not a mind reader. I don’t see the words popping into your head. I don’t see them falling out of your mouth either. That’s not how this works. I was explaining it before you interrupted me.”
“And, I don’t see how you can sense or taste or whatever with my thoughts when that’s not exactly an ability normal human beings have!” I said in a clipped tone.
He tapped his finger once on the table and drew his hand into a clenched fist. I glanced up from his hand into his eyes.
“I know what you’re going to ask.”
My lips clenched.
“Then give me an answer,” I said after a moment.
He closed his eyes and sighed through his nostrils.
“I’m an Entity.”
I stood up from the table.
“You need to sit, the blood loss isn’t helping your migraines and memory.” He instructed.
“I need to go. I-I don’t want to be here anymore. Just tell me where my stuff is and I’ll be out of your hair.”
“I’m not a threat.”
“I don’t know you. This crap about Entities and tasting my thoughts. I just don’t…,” My migraine stirred, and I gripped the table, causing the mug to tremble and the contents to splash out. He grasped my side, and heat washed over me as his fingers touched my hips. Part of me wanted to shove him away, keep him from touching me. Another part of me liked it.
He returned me to my seat.
“Last night, you were attacked by an Entity who attempted to feed on you. His goal to rip your head open, and slurp your brain out with just his syphons. The second he pierced your skull, you attacked him, ripped his syphon out of your head, and you fought ferociously. By the time I reached your side, you managed to snap his neck, severing his spinal cord, and end his vessel’s life.”
“You’re lying.” I cupped my ears, careful not to squeeze the wounded one too tight.
“I wouldn’t have any reason to lie to you. You seemed to be in shock until I touched you, and you were ready to defend yourself to the death. I got the upper hand before you could do more damage to yourself or anyone else. However, something happened during our interaction. I don’t know how it would’ve happened if I didn’t believe you were like… me.”
I let my hands drop, my eyes landed on him, and I frowned. “Like you?”
He nodded and drew his chair closer to me so that we ended up on the same side of the table.
“You’re not human, are you?”
I snorted. “Sure, dude, whatever you say.” I grabbed the spoon and started scooping cubes of sugar into the brackish drink.
“When I put you to sleep. I saw an old memory. The first time you awakened your abilities.”
The spoon clanked in the mug and I stared at my fingers. They trembled.
“I don’t know what happened to you that night. But, you became one of us. And, I believe last night may have triggered your suppressed nature…”
“Shut. Up.” I said. “You just go on and on. Maybe you should practice silence.”
“I struck a nerve.”
“Yeah, my eardrums. Look, AJ. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. I have a life, a home, and people who care about me. I think you need to stop trying to feed me crap I don’t care about. What happened last night, happened. I can’t control it, and…”
He shot a fist towards my throat. I grabbed his wrist and flipped him onto his back.
I stared at my trembling fingers. My nostrils flaring. He laid on the ground, looking up at me, then he pushed to his feet.
“Do you know where you learned that move?”
I shook my head.
He threw another punch square at my head. Had he gone insane? I caught his fist, my wrist trembled, and I thought he was going to shatter my bones.
“A piece of me flowed into you. And vice versa. Last night, we swapped energy. Your memory loss isn’t because of the Entity that attacked you. It’s because I siphoned it out of you. And, you siphoned some of my muscle memory.” He said. “You’re not denying that Entities exist, which means you know something about us.”
“You’re still talking way too much.”
I released him, staring at the palm of my hand. It tingles with pent-up energy.
“Are you going to admit that you know what I’m talking about or continue to play dumb?”
My jaw clenched. I closed my palm into a tight ball…
If you’ve enjoyed my sci-fi work-in-progress excerpt, please let me know in the comments.
More updates will be given in later blog posts.
****If you’d like to find out about the future release date, or gather more info about giveaways and pre-orders of the e-book do the following:****