Wednesday, December 16, 2015

BOTB and WEP: Holiday Celebrations

I'm out of town, and wasn't planning on posting for either the BATTLE OF THE BANDS (hosted by Saint Mac and FAE) or Write Edit Publish: Holiday Celebrations (hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Rene) because it will be a couple days before I'm home and able to browse this many link participants.

Scroll down for WEP if this BotB doesn't dazzle you.

For BotB'ers: short and sweet. Vote on your favorites, or just enjoy - or not. Please feel free to vote on all your impressions: visual, auditory, group favorite. Or stick your tongue out at me in the comments and register a "no vote." Ya'll know I'm not one for traditional or commercial Christmas spirit.


Or Starry?

For more BATTLE OF THE BANDS Participants, or to add your own battle, click here for the links.

Want to give me MORE Holiday spirit? Read and comment on my original Write, Edit, Publish: Holiday Celebrations writing. Yep, you read that right, I wrote a near one thousand word excerpt as my last writing and blogging post for the year.

From the WEP Challenges page:

For this challenge, our final for 2015, you will be asked to share your ideas for a holiday that is out of this world, literally. Take us to a new planet, universe, or simply change the one you're on.
Since December is the month of celebration, the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Chanukah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve and many more. We want you to take us out of this world. Take a trip to a new planet but use your experiences, memories, or just your imagination to write a holiday celebration that is unique to you and this new or drastically changed location.

Write a story, a paragraph, a poem, show us some artwork, a screenplay or take a photograph. The night sky is always 'out of this world' – okay, sorry for the pun, but have fun!

Remember, anything is possible! You can make it happen!

This month, the out of this world, speculative fiction/sci fi excerpts will be judged by author/blogger and IWSG founder Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click here for further details of this challenge and to read others and/or add your own submission to the linky. Submissions close Dec 19, Australian time.

998 words
All feedback acceptable.

Dag and Fil clipped the mossy skirt to the six meter long metal float, then stood back to admire their achievement. For months the two boys had spent every free moment collecting the glowing, multicolored lichen and embroidering it into the satiny blanket that now surrounded that float’s structure.

“Now what?” Dag asked his brother.

“Now we wait for Sol to place his ice sculpture atop and we join the parade,” Fil answered.

“He’s late.”

“Yep,” Fil agreed, scratching at a down-covered spot on his neck that had begun to molt.

“Don’t pick at it,” Dag warned. “Someone will notice and report you.”

Dag had begun molting again a few weeks earlier, starting between his shoulders and quickly spreading down his back and hips. Just thinking about the changes made him shake involuntarily, causing the rough undershirt to rub against his feathering skin and satisfy the urge to scratch. Two years older than his brother, he’d been through the process once already, and knew a few tricks about remaining undetected; and coping.

Fil looked around the warehouse, taking note of the noise and bustle of the other parade participants for the first time since arriving hours earlier. No mentors were allowed in the staging area as the students put the final touches to their Earth Day projects and jostled for position in the line up. Many of their classmates had already joined the procession – those that decorated with traditional Earth flowers and vegetables grown in special green houses all year, musicians and dancers in colorful costumes depicting the unusual diversity of that old world; bakers and cooks that intended to sell their wares at the banquets and street markets that the holiday encouraged.

None of the other industrial projects looked ready for presentation. Fil was sure they could be next up, if Sol would just get here and uncover his masterpiece.

“We’re all evolving, no one is Pure anymore. I’m not ashamed.”

Dag moved closer, lowering his voice to a level that no Pure Earthling and few Articans could hear. “It is not shame that keeps us hidden.”

“No shame.” The words drifted on the air from many directions, sifting through the artificial warmth.

Dag and Fil glanced around, but everyone seemed busy with their projects. Welding sparks, shouts of enthusiasm, curses and challenges, hammer bangs and ignition booms; nothing out of the ordinary for this artistic apprentice group.

“Trouble makers.”

That whisper was easily tracked, and both boys smiled as Sol strode through a side door. As usual he was wearing only a short sleeved shirt, khaki pants, no shoes, his long blue-black hair looking more like a mammal pelt worn by their ancient Earthling ancestors. Jem followed in his wake, small and mysterious in a deep blue robe that covered her from head to – bare feet.

“Aw come on; this is not the day to make statements.” Dag succumbed to a nervous itch, then he and Fil followed Sol to a locked freezer.

Sol punched in a code, lifted the huge metal lever, and turned to grin at his friends. “We’re going to win today. Grand prize is an audience with the Empress –"

“Only her daughter-”

“ – who is rumored to be evolving just as we are. I say that today is the perfect day for a statement.” Sol opened the heavy door wide and motioned for Dag, Fil and Jem to precede him.

“There will be a hundred prize winners Sol. And who wants to sit through all those ceremonies and speeches instead of drinking, eating, and getting it on with the girls.”

Dag adjusted his body temperature as he stepped into the freezer. At three degrees Celsius outside, it was one of the warmest days on Artica, and the scientists had speculated direct sunlight might even reach them later in the day. Dag put as much faith in the possibility of sunlight as he did in a supply shipment from Earth. It’d been over three hundred years since the appearance of either anomaly. Unlike the self claimed Pure Earthers, Dag did not welcome the feel of heat, although he hid his displeasure in clothing that looked layered and warm when in public.

“Its beautiful,” Fil stated, scratching at his neck again.

The sculpture glistened in the frigid air, a perfect replica of the colony ship Pleiadies that brought their first ancestors to the frozen planet named after the coldest region of Earth. The settlement had thrived for a hundred years after it was established, but as supplies and support had diminished, and eventually stopped, the citizens had to adapt to the frozen tundra. Many of the younger generation questioned why the annual Earth Day holiday was still celebrated. Few lived who remembered landing day.

“Its too small to be noticed,” Dag disagreed.

At just under four meters, the replica would be the smallest entry into the parade. The prospect of a dance or three, and possibly more, with his girlfriend later was looking up. He could almost taste the Artican Brew on his rubbery lips.

Sol and Jem laughed, the sound vibrating on the freezing air like the humming notes of a flute.

“Show them Jem,” Sol said, tugging the shoulders of Jem’s robe.

She raised her arms and let him pull it over her head. Fil showed his respect by turning his head, but Dag stared at her nude, multi-colored body. He’d seen her talents before, and the spectacle always fascinated him.

Jem winked at Dag, and suddenly the room was filled with a shifting rainbow of colors that crystalized around and above the Pleiades sculpture.

“Under the lichen blanket Jem will be able to absorb and reflect the natural colors. We’ll outshine even Dar’s electrically generated lights,” Sol bragged.

Dag glanced at his brother, who returned his eager grin. “We’ll be arrested.”

“Making us the biggest winners of the parade, with a private audience with the young Empress for sentencing.”

“Brilliant,” Dag and Fil said together as they lifted the sculpture.


Elephant's Child said...

How I would love to see that parade, and cheer on Dag, Fil, Sol and Jem.
Evolving in the most positive way...
Sadly, at the moment blogger is insisting on the captcha. In a random sort of fashion.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those are some wicked cool light shows! Both are impressive. Can't get behind Slayer as a band though, so my vote is for Metallica.
Will be back in a little while to read your entry. If I'm judging, I want my brain fully awake!

Pat Hatt said...

They sure went all out with the lights. Metallica gets my vote. Quite the parade indeed.

Michele Truhlik said...

I love the Christmas lights that are synced with the music! I was just sitting in front of a neighbor's house last night listening to their light show. Fabulous! I liked both light shows that you presented here but Slayer hurt my ears big time so my vote is going to Metallica.
Fun battle!
Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season!

Michele at Angels Bark

farawayeyes said...

I'm gonna vote Metallica. I admit that I didn't listen to either version all the way through, but in the roughly minute of each that I did get, Metallica seemed more mellow. Yeah, I'm sure they managed to move from that phase rather quickly, but they get my vote for that fist minute at least.

As for your WEP piece, I found it interesting and was intrigued to know more about this evolving (Molting, really?) process. You hooked me and I would read on (for more than a minute, at least, Ha, ha, ha!)

Safe travels my friend. I thought you were heading out last week, but maybe that weather held you back.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Donna - I no longer think I'm traditional or commercial Christmas, either. Metallica hits me where it "hurts" right now. The melancholy drift when I realized I had to change. It's worse than puberty - if I ever got that far?!

Be safe and happy in your travels. (Smile). Dixie

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Clever boys. Hey, if you're going to win, might as well go for broke. Hope they get their audience with the Empress.

Jeffrey Scott said...

Because of the sheer insanity of it all, I'm going to vote for Slayer, the first one. I can only imagine what the neighbours must think. That would drive me bonkers going on every night.

Olga Godim said...

I want to be in that parade. A lovely story.

Yolanda Renee said...

Hi Donna,
Sounds like change isn't going to be easy, but it's definitely coming, especially for this new generation. Molting and evolving to survive on their adopted planet has to happen and with a royal showing the same inclination, well, it will happen. Love the characters, is this the start of a YA rebellion story. Well drawn characters and possible heroes lining up here. :) Great story! And a parade I think we'd all love to see.

Thanks for participating in the WEP Holiday Celebration Sci-fi Challenge. We've missed you.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Holiday and a prosperous and peace-filled New Year!

Yolanda Renee said...

I vote for Starry, and Metallica! Loved the light shows, but preferred the more gentler version! :)

D.G. Hudson said...

A great idea to have a parade - almost everyone likes that. I'm wondering what Fil and Dag are evolving into (birdmen or other?) If the ones who are changing are becoming more adapted to their environment, that is even more interesting. I had visions of X-men when you mentioned evolving. I like it Donna, well done. Hope you have a great holiday. Merry Christmas!

Yolanda Renee said...

Your piece made The Review Here!


Tweeting does get the word out!

dolorah said...

EC: I love parades!! But not captcha :(

Alex: Hmmm, I pegged you for a Slayer fan. Thanks for judging this writing contest :)

Pat: I would love to have something like that at my house.

Thanks Michele: and have a wonderful season yourself :)

FAE: I think it stays pretty mellow. Our version of mellow may differ though :) Glad my story held your attention more than the songs though. This trip was down south, went your way way early to avoid the 6" snow fall.

Poor Dixie; you've certainly been having bad year. I hope 2016 is better.

Jeff: yeah, I loved the insanity too. Think of all the work that went into setting that up.

Thanks Olga

Yolanda: glad you liked at least one of the shows :) But no, not a YA short story. I am glad you liked my characters, they were fun to write. And thanks for the review links. OMG I am so surprised and pleased. Thank you.

DG: Penguines!! Revolution is never easy, and I did get inspiration from X-men. Merry Christmas to you also.

Anonymous said...

I love, love Xmas light shows! Such a cool idea and absolutely my vote goes to SLAYER! Ha :)

As for your short story.. loved it! Not as doom and gloom as the rest I've read. Really neat idea, I'd love to read more :)

Denise Covey said...

Hi Donna

I love the adventures of Dag and Fil and Sol.I'm touched that they spent such a lot of time and patience in creating their float. Also love the way you've eked little bits and pieces of the 'other' world into your story. A story which would make a much longer story.

Safe travels. I hope you and your family have a fantastic Christmas, over and above your expectations!

Thanks for participating in WEP at this busy time of year!

Denise :-)

desk49 said...

morphing through years of change
what more could they wont
as little of earth remained

showing off to those still around
if the Empress don't run
them out of town


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I was impressed by the guys who programmed the light shows for each house. However, if the people who owned the 'SLAYER' house lived across the street from me, I would be residing on DEATH ROW today.

"Musically" (and I use that word very, Very, VERY liberally - with "liberal" being a word I avoid whenever possible) I think Metallica is better (like Bush and Obama are better'n Pol Pot).

So, in the end, I vote for METALLICA. ...And now I'm off to off myself. The world may not be better off, but... I'll be.

~ D-FensDogG
'Loyal American Underground'

dolorah said...

Madi: light shows are awesome this time of year. I wish I had the tech-savy to create something for my house. Thanks for reading my story :)

DX: I have a fondness for creative people :) This was a fun challenge to participate in. Happy Holidays to you also.

Desk: I'd have to write more to see if she is on their side, or would run them out of town.

St Mac: Oh I know, not sure I'd want such an evil looking light show next door either, but its cool to watch online. Safe. Ah, look what nasty words I've evoked from your - keys. Shame to me. We'll have to wash it down with something, soon. Do you mean to "jack" off yourself? or just die in bed after a 12 hour shift? I'll call you tomorrow to see what happened to you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - loved the idea of an earth, too small, yet with a mysterious cover - that springs forth with all colours blazing ... I'd love to read the whole story ... fun to read - cheers Hilary

odell01 said...

That's divine! You surely are having a lovely season with that candle of inspiration burning. The videos are exciting, of course, fun to see your version of Battle of the Bands. That's an extra thrill to the Metallica song, for which I would vote, though both are rather unique. Good luck to you with your blog and if there is more of this content, to throw in a buzzword, clearly people would want it. This is different than other entries in the WEP challenge, which is in the spirit of fun, and I'm optimistic, with some insight I hope, that the originality of the WEP challenge (not to mention the addition of a certain blockbuster making the rounds) has lent itself to your creativity. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! All the best.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Donna, now that's a different Christmas theme showdown. lol I'm giving my vote to Metallica. May you and yours have a joyful Christmas and a blessed new year!

Strayer said...

Now this is another world, with young people adapting and changing to new reality and still acting like young people. Love it!

A Beer For The Shower said...

Not gonna lie, I don't like Metallica or Slayer, but I can't stand Slayer, so Metallica wins kinda by default.

As for the WEP, I enjoyed that much more than the songs. It's got a really cool premise. Evolving in an arctic tundra far away from Earth, and still putting on a parade... meanwhile, I can't even be bothered to attend a parade when it's 20 degrees outside.

Anonymous said...

Now Dolorah, you've left me with a nearly impossible decision. I'm more of a Slayer fan, but I actually find "One" more spooky than "Raining Blood". The idea of being trapped inside myself, unable to communicate? Unable to move, or do anything other than think? Oh my gosh. Nope! Don't worry; I know you meant the "theme" of the light shows, which, I agree with some other commenters here, were both quite good! But since I'm partial to spookiness, I'll go with Slayer set to a "spooky" light show.

Great battle!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Donna
Sci-fi suits you I think. Good character development. Of course, this could benefit from more words but the limit is all powerful. Well done.

Robin said...

Original BoTB idea! That said, neither of these were my music of choice, but Metallica beats Slayer.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Robyn Campbell said...

Dolorah, loved reading your piece. I'm glad you picked this holiday to write about. You write characters like nobody's business. Do you write sci-fi? If you don't, you should. Yours is amazing. I think you should consider writing this as a novel. Wondrous. :-)

Elsie Amata said...

Well, voting is long over but I throw in for Metallica just because I can.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Wonder if you're still out of town or not. If so, I hope you're having fun and safe travels back home.

I never pegged you as a science fiction writer. This kind of gave me a Madri Gras feel. Maybe because it's almost that time of year and in my head I see the colorful floats. Take care and be well. Happy New Year. Thank you again for all your help with my first original draft of my self help book!

Chrys Fey said...

I also vote for Metallica although voting is done. ;)

I enjoyed your Sci-first piece. It was a new writing side to you. The premise was fascinating. It would be neat if you wrote more on this.

Happy New Year!

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey Donna:)

Happy New Year to you, too :)

Let's do thissssss!!!

Arlee Bird said...

I can't believe how many BOTB posts I missed this round--well at least 2. I must have been busy preparing to leave on my road trip back east. Well I'm home now so guess I'll have to wait for your next BOTB post.

Arlee Bird
Check out the "Lost and Found" blog fest coming soon!
Tossing It Out

mike spain said...

Sorry I missed this one. The lights were fun!

DEZMOND said...

hope you had nice holidays, Donnzie

Tammy Theriault said...

Metallica!!! Enjoy your new year!!!

dolorah said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Sorry for the lack of response; out on the road and then forgot to check in again.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Hi Donna, just me catching up...loved your story premise, cool idea to have an Earth Day off Earth. Like the others, would like to know what the characters are evolving into? The float sounds spectacular too. Your alternative world is rather enticing! Much enjoyed the story.

Happy New Year 2016! Btw, I define my 'goals' vaguely in terms of wordcounts too :)

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