Tag Archives: writing

The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA) – The Ascension

This is the first in a series started some time ago called The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA). Rebecca is the main character in the Dark Ascension series. These posts are short stories (flash fiction), usually with drawings, sketches, paintings, etc. of things that Rebecca might have seen during the Dark Ascension series. All TAORA posts will be in Rebecca’s point of view and voice. Enjoy!


I’m Rebecca Ashford, and this is my afterlife.

My first life ended the day my parents died and demons ascended from whatever hell they came from. I don’t know if it was the Hell or not, but I do know that creatures poured out of strange black portals in the ground and sky. On the news, Errol and I watched one of the portals open up over New York City. Black vapor and oily, black tendrils spilled from the openings as beasts large and small fell to the ground. The carnage was immediate. It was as if the drop and new setting hadn’t affected them. Clawed and rabid, the creatures slaughtered people in the streets.


I drew this a few weeks after the first portal opened above New York City. I’m not sure how many of them appeared, but they disappeared after some time.

Eventually, most news stations stopped showing the New York City maiming. But once everyone had realized that endless monsters were emerging from the portals, some people thought it was too important not to show. Thousands of home videos were posted online, and posted or texted photos went viral. Within a week, the event had been named the Ascension and the monsters identified as demons. This was also when most of the larger cities had fallen.

My family lived in the middle of nowhere, an hour away from the closest city, but we weren’t safe. When the Ascension began, Errol and I spent ages trying to call and text our parents and our grandfather, who lived in a cabin at a lake in Nebraska. Hours had passed before the local news showed cellphone video of a portal opening under Lillian’s, the biggest grocery story in the city and where our parents had gone that morning. Fat tears streaked my face, and I held my sobbing sister while we watched the grainy building break apart and fall in on its self. Beneath the rumbling and snapping, we heard people inside cry muffled screams of pain and terror while bystanders watched in horror. The demon portal swallowed Lillian’s, then the street, then cars from the parking lot. They slid into the glowing black hole, along with our family’s silver Ranger.

Our hometown became overrun with shadow creatures not long after our parents were devoured. Neighbors ran through the streets while little black creatures chased them. It was almost comical until the Scavengers and Scourge showed up. The people no longer fled in fear. Instead, they failed, and the eyeless Scavengers tore them apart. While the demons focused on their prey, Errol and I snuck to our tornado bunker at the back of our house. We heard our neighbors’ shrieks through the air vents as we held each other in the dark.


Next Project Hints

undineAtSeaSo, I’ve been sending links to images that hint at the subject of my next young adult novel project. It will be a stand alone novel, which I know is a risk. As I work on it, I’ve been inspired by two of my favorite artists: Arthur Rackham and John William Waterhouse.

undineCrystalVaultThe first piece of inspiration is the story and art of Undine, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. He is a well-known artist who illustrated books like Undine and Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland. He is also known for fantastical and whimsical illustrations of the fae folk as well as fairy tales. His artwork reminds me of the ocean, and it is magical. This particular story, Undine, is about a water nymph who is taken in by a fisherman and his wife. She wishes to gain a soul, but in order to do so, she must marry a human. It’s considered a romantic fairy tale of sorts.



After Arthur Rackham, I am also drawing inspiration from John William Waterhouse. I enjoy his artwork so much that I even tried to replicate this particular painting during an art assignment in school. We were supposed to emulate a master painter’s work, and this mermaid was the painting I chose. I wish I could find the old painting, but it has been lost in my recent move. If I find it, though, I get a picture posted. At any rate, Waterhouse is so inspirational because he paints a lot of beautiful, flowing women and water.  (Can you sense a theme?) I love his mermaid, and the way he treats water is just so pretty. These are a couple of my favorites, but I do love Lady of Shalott and The Siren.



Another hint, and this one is really sad, but I never realized that The Prince and the Pauper was not actually a fairy tale, nor did I realize that it was written by Mark Twain. Please don’t think any less of me. I just never put two and two together. So embarrassing!



So, there are my hints and inspirations. Can you guess the subject of my next YA book yet?


A Writing Exercise – Story Through Letter

So, I’ve been in a sort of rut the last few days. I think I’m getting over it because I’m so annoyed that I’ve been neglecting NaNoWriMo related things that I will shortly be starting my outline. In the meantime, I am writing this entry about one of my most favorite writing exercises from 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley. I have no idea why it’s my favorite or why I love it so much, but the first time I ever used it was amazing. Basically, what I will do is give and explanation of the exercise (in green, if you would like to try it) and then write my own (in block quotes). I could just show my old one since it was my favorite, but it doesn’t pertain to my current novel and I think I would benefit from a little free write, so to speak.

Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Write an email (or a note, letter, or something of the sort) as one of your characters to another one of your character with a list of 5 – 8 items that one either needs or will bring. A successful exercise will include implied plot and character personality. It’s an exercise to help you understand your characters and is a fun way to brainstorm.

Here’s mine:


Bridget ran off after Kitcha went mental last night. She’s probably alright, but we really don’t have the time to track her down. I say we cut our losses. I’m sure she will turn up and Kitcha is capable of taking care of the both of them. If we are going to get to Julian by tomorrow morning we will need a few supplies.

  • Peroxide
  • Mountain Dew
  • Baking Soda
  • Canned Peaches
  • 9mm Ammo
  • Bandages
  • New Bike Chain

I’m taking care of everything but the ammo and bike chain. It only seems fair you find those since the 9mm and bike belong to you. Just saying.

Be Back in an hour,

I totally remember why I love this exercise so much. It’s fun and easy and you can actually say a lot about a character in such a short bit of writing. If you choose to do this exercise, I would LOVE for you to link or post the result.

Also, anyone try Write or Die? I find it quite fun! I was really excited to hear that a desktop version may be in the works. Hopefully I can use that. If not, I may just try using the online version. Who knows! But check it out anyway, because it’s pretty neat!