The Paragraph Challenge for Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Now, this should be a fun diversion from the general angst infusing today’s election. (I know that is rather US-centric of me. Sorry.)

Over at On The Plum Tree, Niamh Clune has issued a Paragraph Challenge as a way to connect with other writers/bloggers, stretch our minds, be inspired, find new books, and generally have a blast.

Creativity. Innovation.
Imagination. PLUM TREE BOOKS.

1. Choose a writer/fellow blogger you wish to feature.
2. Ask them to select a paragraph from their work with the word “longing” or “longed” (or a variation thereof) in it, and send it to you.
3. Then nominate 4 others bloggers.
4. Add their names and blog links to the bottom of your blog.
5. Post your featured writer’s paragraph, first, followed by your own piece of prose.
6. Then we can visit and love and tweet (fun rule anything goes.)
7. Visit and make contact with new bloggers. It should be people who are about to release or who have released a novel or play or book of some description.
8. Each person mention Plum Tree Books at the top of their page… http://www.ontheplumtree.wordpress.com
9. The person whom you feature should reblog! Then that traffic comes to you. Then all will achieve the purpose of making our links..
10. Once you publish your post be sure to send out the INVITATION to the Four Bloggers you chose to Participate.

Bear with me as I play fast and loose with the rules – for what are rules if not to be broken? – and put my featured author right up front:

Featured Author:  J.J.Brown.

J.J. was born in the Catskill Mountain region of New York and has lived in New York City for two decades. She has published novels, short stories, and poems. J.J.Brown was a research scientist before turning to fiction writing. She completed a PhD in genetics and her research is published in leading science and educational journals. Brindle 24, a novel of love in a chemically toxic environment, will be out this November.

For this challenge, J.J. chose a passage out of her book, Death and the Dream,  a collection of fourteen short stories set in New York. They explore death and dreams, showing the beauty and the horror of ordinary lives. Mothers, daughters, scientists, and murderers walk the fine line between sanity and insanity, reality and dream, life and death.

The following chillingly evocative passage is from the story, “Rose Death.”

“…The next day, Old Viola hadn’t come by the apartment for her regular Sunday morning visit. The night had been frigid. When the sun went down Old Viola felt her body shivering more than she felt the cold. She longed for sleep, for the slow release, return to the welcome darkness of the quiet mind. As the temperature fell from the heat of a summer day to the chill of a summer night, her shivering ceased and her body stopped trying to keep her warm. She felt her heart rate become slower and slower, her breaths imperceptible, twice a minute, then once a minute. And as the temperature dipped down to about 20 degrees Celsius, her heart stopped beating entirely….”


For me, finding a passage that fits the rules was a real challenge. I was amazed at the lack of “longing” in my work, particularly in my Dragon books. That said, I discovered the following lines from my short story, “Of Avalon & Mistletoe: A Solstice Carol.”

Siduri took the long spiral trail to the standing stones, each step measured by
failure. Since her meeting with Caelan, she’d walked the Isle from end to end,
negotiating with dragons, brainstorming with human and Faërie until dusk
darkened to night and exhaustion was all she had left. Despite the Isle’s
abundance, Avalon alone could not replace all that had been lost.

Voiceless beneath a waning lick of moon, the stones gave cold comfort. The Lady leaned against them, longing to fade into their stronger existence, to feel their wisdom wrap around her like gryphon wings. Instead, defeat laughed in the wind, and she felt winter’s bitter promise leeching warmth and life from the earth.


Now, for the Invites:

I heartily recommend these fine writers and their books, and hope they will jump in on the challenge:

You Have Been Invited To Participate In THE PARAGRAPH CHALLENGE
To accept the Invitation and uncover the rules, please go to: MacKENZIE’s Dragon’s Nest.


Kat Magendie
Lord David Prosser
Emmie Mears
Vaughn Roycroft