Following the journey of award winning author, Alex Azar, as he travels the publishing world and all things interesting. To reproduce or publish any material found within this blog, please contact me at azarrising@hotmail.com

Thursday, December 27, 2012

sexy freaks hot chicks wallpapper hd



I wish I could explain the history of this blog, more specifically the viewing history of the stats I've seen.  I've posted one entry a month since October yet in the past month the blog has had views from some pretty random countries, such as; Germany, Poland, China, Libya, Sweden, Latvia, and Russia. These are all countries I've never been to, nor even know anyone there, but still some how my blog is getting views from them. Below is a map with all the countries that viewed the blog in the past month highlighted.
Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers


And just for shits and giggles since it's about the end of the year, here's a map with the top ten countries that viewed the blog for the entire existence of the blog, dating back to May 2008.  It'll be interesting to see if there's any difference in this map at the end of 2013.

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
One of the stats I'm most proud of is that nearly a dozen people (or one person 12 times) were directed to the blog from the UK's "#1 Adult Social Network".

But the real reason for this post is the searched keywords that brought someone to the blog this month. "sexy freaks hot chicks wallpapper hd".  You read that correct spelling mistake and all.  Out of curiosity I searched that 'phrase' I guess you can call it and the first page of results from Google was for a site called 'bikesbabesandrides.com'  Now the interesting thing is, I went through 10 pages of results and still didn't find anything linking to azarrising.blogspot.com, which I wouldn't have expected to.  But it begs the question, how  that search resulted in a blog view for me.  In any case, I hope whoever the searcher was, wasn't too disappointed when they stumbled across my literary world.

And I know now that I posted this, with those keywords written in a post along with that biker website, I'll be getting a lot more of these random views.  Anything to help spread the words of Azar (that's me).


Monday, December 17, 2012

Intro 3: "The Last Noel"



I'm jumping ahead of my publication history a little to bestow upon you the joy that is Christmas, but in my world happy elves, and flying reindeer mean something a little different.  "The Last Noel" takes a look at why Santa Claus has so many different names and origins, and the truth may be more sinister than expected.
YuleTide Tales Of Horror


The Last Noel
Alex Azar

     Why have you never wondered where Santa’s elves came from? They’re introduced to us as children and we grow up already comfortable with the notion that this jolly fat man has a race of pygmy slaves in his isolated snow kingdom.  Well I’m here to answer all the questions you didn’t think to ask; like why an ever young hottie like Mrs. Claus with that portly home invader?
     I went through all the typical stages of Christmas myths every other American does, other than the Jews of course.  Sure I believed in Santa religiously as a kid, waiting wide eyed in bed for my gift list to be fulfilled.  That faith slowly gave way to doubt over the years, only to be shattered in an awkward moment of revelation.  We all had that moment, even though the details the differ; some of us see our dads sneaking back away from the tree in a cheap facsimile of the iconic red suit, or have a classmate ruin it for us by opening their big mouths marking the beginning of what will be months of ridicule for still believing the obvious lie.
     Or is it?
     After filling my son’s head with the same absurdity she was taken from me at the age of four, before he could even discover the truth, some disease that I still can’t pronounce correctly.  But the pain of his death was too much for my marriage, so my wife left me for a world tour of foreign cocks.  Feeling like I was utterly destroyed already I got sloppy and was fired, or “let go”, from my job as a blog journalist.
At this point you might be asking what my sob story has to do with Santa, well on particular Christmas Eve the shit that life threw at me drove me to the edge and I decided to jump off.  Miraculously I was stopped long before hitting the bottom.  Disorientated it took me a bit to realize where I was.  Santa had caught me in his sleigh.
     “You have no idea how hard it is to time a catch like that, let’s not try it again, okay?” The actual real life non-mythical Santa Claus saved my life mid-air and quipped about it.  Aside from his cavalier attitude his voice is exactly like you imagined as a child.  “You’ve been a good boy Sammy…” Oh my god, I can’t believe he actually says that, “…you don’t deserve what’s happened to you, but unfortunately I can’t give you what’s on your list.  Darryl is dead, I can’t bring him back.”
     He sees the obvious disappointment in my face, and places a giant mitted hand on my shoulders.  Despite its size, his hand feels almost weightless.  I think he smiles but it’s hard to tell through his beard, you can barely see his mouth open when he talks.  “I am sorry about your son, and while I can’t make it up to you, how about a different gift?  Here.”
     He gives me the reigns in his hands and for the first time I notice the reindeer just floating in air before the sleigh, “Holy shit… sorry to curse sir but this is all a lot to take in.  How is all this possible?”
“It’s all just a reality, different from and yet very much like your own.  Now give the line a good whip and tell these fellas where you want to go. Anywhere in the world.”
     Excitedly I ask with half breaths, “Even to…”
     The big man cuts me off in as polite of a manner as possible, “Yes, they can take us to the moon and beyond, but you wouldn’t survive the trip.”
     “Ah makes sense, OK…uh…on Prancer?”
     “No, no those aren’t really they’re names.  Just say the destination and they’ll do the rest.”
     A little more disappointed than I should have been, I dropped my shoulders, “OK” It takes me a moment to think of where I want to go, but of all the bucket-list locations that came to mind like Paris, Japan, or Italy they all feel too romantic to go with Santa and that’s when it hits me.  What better place to go with Santa by his reindeer.  “Take me to the North Pole.”
     Santa laughs with a “Ho Ho Ho,” that makes the hair on my neck stand giddy, “That’s where they all pick.”
     I go from giddy to jealous faster than I would have thought possible, “What do you mean ‘they’?”
    Once again placing a weightless hand on my shoulder he explains, “I choose you Sammy for a reason.  I’m sure you know that this time of year the rate of suicides sky rocket and while I’d love to, I can’t save everyone.  But I saved you because I have a favor to ask.” 
     I ask “Of me?” but to my ears they sounded more like nonsensical grunts.
    “You’re situation and your former profession makes you the perfect person to ask.  Every few generations one person is chosen to reintroduce the legend of Santa Claus to the world.  My image has become a shill for corporate sponsorship, but you’re going to use your journalistic abilities to invigorate the ‘myth’.”  He finishes his sentence with air quotes, which I typically hate, but seeing Santa do it is warming, possibly because of the mitts he’s wearing.
    I’m about to ask him what exactly I’m supposed to do when I notice how cold it’s gotten.  Seeing me try to warm my arms Santa suggests, “Look in the bag of gifts behind you, I have something with your name on it.”
    Reaching into his velour bag that’s deeper than it looks, I find a heavy winter coat is revealed, and sure enough on a tag hanging from the zipper is my name.  I put it on, and the chill just melts away, “Wow, this is the warmest jacket ever, thank you sir.”
    “Please call me Santa, or Chris, or Papa… the different people I’ve gotten over the years tend to choose a name they think will be more relatable to their countrymen.”
    “Hmm, well if it were up to me…”
    “It is up to you, as of now, my entire lore is up to you. No pressure, Ho Ho Ho.” He jokes, but it is a lot of pressure.
    “Ok then, as an American, I’m partial to the classic, good ole Santa Claus… it’s…” the rest of my thought trails off as does the air in my lungs and surrounding space.
    Santa takes the reign and cracks the whip with what looks like anger in his eyes, “Hey you shits, I told you when I’ve got someone in here with me you can’t fly so damn high!”
    The sled drops altitude and air returns to me, “Thank you, Santa.” The display of anger still throwing me off.  While it’s a natural reaction for anyone, I imagined him, freaking Santa Claus to be above such things.
“These shitheads almost killed Josefina a few weeks back.  They think because they’re immortal I won’t punish them.”
    Choosing to focus on the only thing in those statements that wasn’t negative, I ask. “Is Josefina Mrs. Claus?”
    “Ho Ho Ho, no she’s this fine piece of Brazilian tail that’s got that Memento thing going on.  Poor chick can’t remember she bangs the real Santa every few months, so she can’t tell people about me.  Ho Ho Ho.”  The bass of his laugh vibrates in my lungs, but I don’t find the joy in it I did mere minutes ago. “I like you Sammy, feels life I could be myself in front of you.”




Want to read more about that "fine piece of Brazilian tail" that Santa gets on the side?  Want to know the truth behind the adorable sounding Santa's Little Helpers? (I can tell you they aren't as adorable as Hollywood would have you think)
If your curiosity is sufficiently peaked you can purchase "The Last Noel" in the anthology Yuletide Tales of Horror at my Amazon Author's PageBarnes & Noble, or for a limited time you can pick it up for a discounted price in the AzarRising Mobile Bookstore (yes that's professional author lingo for 'the trunk of my car'). The perfect stocking stuffer can now be yours (and for my non-Christmas celebrating followers, you can remind yourselves why you've chosen a different path) so don't delay Christmas is right around the corner.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween, story intro

As a horror author I feel it's mandatory to post something on Halloween.  I'm currently working on a story that will hopefully be completed tonight, but in the meantime here's the beginning of my first ever published story, titled "I Knew we Kept you Around for a Reason".

The story came about in interesting fashion.  I had joked with my roommate about something irrelevant, and finished with the phrase that would become the title to the story.  I wondered what reasons might there be to 'keep someone around' and in my own twisted fashion, asked how can I make that into a scary story.  As I was writing it, I had come across a call for submissions for an anthology, School Days: Tales with an Edge.  I decided the story would fit well, and it helped define the overall tone of "I Knew we Kept you Around for a Reason".

For your Halloween pleasure, I present to you the beginning of "I Knew we Kept you Around for a Reason"...



They are way too cool to be your friends.” Eugene’s older brother, Randy, really does love his brother, but it’s in that older brother kind of love that only manifests when he’s drunk, or when the two are older and able to share such emotions freely. However, there is truth in the jest. Eugene is a dork, a nerd on his better days, but the star quarterback and head cheerleader just invited him to a party tonight.
***
Earlier in the day, on his way to remedial math, Shawn dropped his cell phone in the hallway. Eugene was behind him heading to the adjacent class, AP calculus, and saw the phone. “Shawn, hey you dropped this.”
Oh shit man, thanks. My girl woulda killed me if I lost this. It’s got pics of me n her… Never mind, it’s Eugene, right?”
You know my name? Wow super!”
Course I know your name bro, we’ve gone to the same school for ten years.”
Still bewildered by the notoriety, “Yeah, but we never spoke before. I mean, I’ve only seen you with the other football players and cheerleaders.”
Never mind all that, you did me a solid, n I won’t forget.”
***
So just like that, the most popular kid in school invites you to the hottest party of the year? Must have been some nasty pictures on that phone.” Still not believing his little brother was invited to a party Randy himself would have gone to during his high school years.
Not fully knowing who his new friend really is, Eugene defends Shawn, “No way, that’s not what he meant, Shawn wouldn’t do that.”
Are you kidding me? Remember, I was a senior when you guys were freshman, and even back then I heard stories about him and girls in my class.”
***
During this Shawn was having a conversation of his own. “Babe, I’m tellin you, your plan worked perfectly. Seriously, the loser picked up the phone before it even stopped spinning.”
Pleased with herself, Lillian’s also surprised with Shawn, “I’m just glad you were able to remember his name. Do you think he’ll come tonight?”
Shawn barely hears the question of his cheerleader girlfriend as he watches her get ready for the party. “Huh? Oh, it doesn’t matter. He thinks we’re friends now. I hope he doesn’t show up, don’t think I could deal with him geeking up the party.”
Honey, listen to me, we only have three months to make him trust you completely by prom night or it won’t work.”
***
Little bro, I don’t think you should go to the party.” Randy stands in fron of Eugene, blocking the door. “Haven’t you seen ‘Carrie’.” He walks away laughing. At least change your shirt.” He calls over his shoulder.
Eugene turns around and heads upstairs thinking, They should like this shirt. Little does he know, no one would have found the humor that is “Geeks do it 22.”
***
What the hell are you doing here, loser?” The center lineman has his giant hand pressed against Eugene’s chest, crushing his Star Trek intercom logo that he wears around his neck.
Shawn comes rushing down the stairs, “Back off Box, the los… he’s not a loser. Eugene’s with me.”  Getting in between the two, Shawn puts his arm around Eugene’s shoulders.
Whatever you say cap’n.” Box walks away confused, but more interested in getting back to his drink.
So Eugene…” Shawn has to mentally fight off the awkwardness of the moment. “Glad you could make it. You want a drink or something?”
Thanks, but I don’t drink.”
Sure you do, here you go.” He hands Eugene his own drink of Hennessy and coke. “Go mingle, I’m going up to Lillian, I’ll be back in a while.”
***
Eugene wakes up the following morning, with the room spinning, and a t-shirts worth of cotton in his mouth. He’s lying on top of his retro Voltron blanket completely naked. “Am I still a virgin?”


To find out whether or not poor Eugene is still a virgin or not, you can purchase School Days: Tales with an Edge here at amazon.com and stay tuned for more from AzarRising






Saturday, September 22, 2012

What I'm Reading Now 9/22/12

About 7 months ago I decided there's too many good books out there to waste time on bad books, so I set a page limit of 75.  This pretty much means if by the 75th page a book hasn't hooked me, I'm done with it.  Doesn't matter if the book is 150 or 700 pages if I'm at the 75th page and I don't care about the character or where the story is going, I'm putting the book down.In the time since I set that mandate, I've put many books down by page 75, which in turn has given me more time to read good books.

Currently I'm in a conundrum though, I'm reading Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut.  The only other Vonnegut book I've read was Slaughterhouse V (which if you read my Top 25 Books page you'd know it's one of my favorites).  The conundrum arises because it's not that good of a book yet, but I really want to like it because of my feelings for Slaughterhouse (coincidentally also the name of the artist I'm listening to now) and by extension Vonnegut as the author.

I've broken my own rule and read past page 75.  Initially I read to page 76 (I know big commitment there) only because it was the end of that particular chapter and I was hoping the resolution would be enough to keep me reading. Didn't work, but I kept on reading hoping to find some merit in the book.  Now I'm up to page 150, about a third of the way through, and I'm getting bored with it but I feel part of it may be that I know I read past my limit of uninteresting books and I'm subconsciously telling myself to stop. On top of that, the next book on my to read list is a book I know I'll enjoy. So I leave it to you, my faithful few followers; do I finish this book I'm currently not enjoying? or heed my own advice and move on to greener pastures?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Niagara Falls


Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls (New York side)
“I know it's clich├ęd and ironic to say this at a funeral, but Nate really was always full of life.”  Fabian says as he stands on the altar less than two feet behind my casket, and if he's half as sad as I expect him to be, he's hiding it expertly.  I wonder if he feels he needs to put on a strong facade for my mom.  Is it selfish to hope it is actually a false front and that he is genuinely upset at my death?  Probably, but this is my funeral, screw etiquette.   What else does my frat brother have to say?
“In college he was the de facto leader of our group, even after we'd grown into our own separate lives he was the one to bring us back.  When we'd be out he was always the center of attention, not because he was the most charming or funniest of us, although now that I think about it he probably was, but simply because being around him made everyone else feel better.  No one was allowed to be in a bad mood around Nate.”   You always spoke so well in front of an audience, but that's not entirely true Fabian, what I always said is if on any day nothing goes as planned...
“He always said “If your day doesn't go as planned, change the plan.” I don't think I truly understood what he meant until the day he died.”  I'll forgive you for interrupting me this one time buddy... jokes aren't as funny when no one else can hear them.  “People always say 'live each day to the fullest' but no one does, I won't even pretend that Nate did, but what he did do was make the most with what he was given.  He didn't come from a wealthy family, but his parents instilled in him from a young age strong morals that carried with him to his last day.  These morals drove him to exceed at every academic level, eventually leading him to succeed professionally, although none of us ever understood what exactly it was he did.”  That wasn't funny people, stop laughing.  I am... was a National Operation Manager overseeing the country wide vended business services for... never mind.  If you couldn't get it when I was alive, no point in trying now.  
“Nate was the first of us to meet our wives, even if he was the last of us to actually get married.  He met Amber on a trip we took our senior year of college, and they started dating almost immediately after.”  You old softy, you are sad.  Why else wouldn't you mention where the trip was to?  “They might not have gotten married right away, but everyone close to them knew that what Nate and Amber had was legit and would last forever.  Sadly, none of us knew how short forever was.  After years of dating, two of my best friends tied the knot.”  You hate that saying Fabian.
“Having dated for so long, and growing as close as any couple could, they decided the only place they could get married was at the same location they first met.” Again you're avoiding the location.  Not saying the place doesn't make the events any less real man.  I'm sorry this hurts so much, but I promise you'll be happy again, all of you here will.  “While they waited so long to get married they seemed to have rushed to have kids.  I'm sure if someone were to actually do the math, we'd see that their daughter, Courtney, was born less than nine months from their wedding, but we'll let them have that secret.”
Fabian chokes up at her name, his first real sign of what he's dealing with internally.  “Forgive me if this sounds cruel, but Courtney's birth really was the beginning of their problems.  Understand, I loved that girl as if she were my own...”  No one's blaming you man, no one's judging you. You're doing good, not much more to tell.  “She was an angel, but she wasn't long for this world.  I don't know why, but she was taken from them, from all of us too soon.  His health problems started before she was even twelve months, and she passed on her second birthday.  The unimaginable pain Amber and Nate must have gone through was too much for Amber's body.  She soon became sick, almost like her heart couldn't go on without her angel and two short years later, on what would have been Courtney's fourth birthday she left Nate also.”
This is it Fabian, you're almost at the end, stay strong get through this and go home to your wife and kids, and love them like I never had the chance to do.  “Being Mr. Sunshine, Nate tried to hide the pain he was in, but he couldn't fool any of us, a complete stranger could have seen the pain he was in.  For two years Nate put on the face of a man who was content with his allotment in life.  What none of us knew, but we should have been able to guess is that he decided to 'change the plan'.  Exactly two years after his wife's death, and four years after his daughter died Nate took his life.  The spot he first met Amber, and where he shared his nuptials with her, will always be the placed he jumped out of our lives, and I can't blame him.  No one should have gone through what he did, but you'll forgive me if I never return there.  Thank you, and cheers.”  You seriously snuck a beer onto the altar?  Good for you sir, I'll have one ready for you when we see each other again, which hopefully won't be for many, many years.  “Here's to Nate I hope you found your happiness again.”




I wrote this story nearly three times before I had this finished piece.  The first two times were variations of people going over the falls in a barrel which seemed to easy of a pick.   I know more about the first person to go over the falls than I’d care to, and attempted to create the first married couple to do so together, but again it all seemed like the easy way out.  However, it wasn’t all for naught because it led to the story you just read. 
While it is a rather depressing story, I feel at the core there’s a great lesson, and the main character said it beautifully, “If your day’s not going as planned, change the plan.” I was impressed with myself when I wrote that one, hope you were too, and see the meaning behind the words.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Free Thoughts 8/21 (my 30th birthday)


In honor of the greatest day of the year let's take a look at some of the history of the AzarRising blog this past year:

Obvious places like US and Canada rank as some the most frequent visiting countries, with some surprising spots in the top 10 like Latvia, Sweden and Israel.

Also worth noting are some of the odd Google searches that resulted in a visit; "Azer Uma Rising" (not even sure what they were looking for but they spelled my name wrong) "Alex Azar wife" (either someone knows something I don't or I've got a secret admirer) and my personal favorite "Azar sexy" (and mind you this was searched more than once)

That's it for now, I'm going to return to my stress free birthday, but stick around there's plenty of reading material.  As always keep reading, and enjoy.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

AzarRising Pages

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to remind you all of the pages that I have available on the blog along with the posts I make.

The first page is a list of all the rejection letters that I've posted (including a brand new one) as a show that all authors have been rejected, and even though I've been published several times it still happens.
Rejections

The next two are lists, one of my Top 5 most overrated things, and my 25 favorite books.  I'm looking to do more lists, so please feel free to suggest a topic.
Overrated Top 5   and Top 25 Books

The next page is my "bookstore" which has links where you can purchase each of my books (which should have an update in October, *hint*hint*) Show your support and purchase a book, or if you really love me, you can track down the AzarRising Mobile Bookstore (my beat up Dodge) and purchase a personalized signed book for cheaper.
AzarRising Bookstore

And finally is the ever growing Alphabet Project page.  Here you can find links to each of the posted stories of the project (up to 'M' as of this writing, 'N' coming soon)  Once completed these 26 stories will cover a wide breadth of genres and emotions.  Two of the stories are actually going to be published shortly, and the ultimate goal is to publish a book collecting all 26 in a single volume.  Enjoy it for free while you can...
Alphabet Project


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Free Thoughts 8/15

I turn 30 in six days and I'm sick, if that's not some cruel reminder that I'm getting older I don't know what is.    Mind you, I'm laughing as I type this so don't take this too seriously.  Since I started doing these Free Thoughts I flirted with the idea of writing about my birthday, but I don't want it to come off as mopey or emo, but now I feel like crap and am ok with however it comes off as.

I'm happy with where my writing is, I've had nine short stories published to date, and I have another two coming in a single anthology due out in October.  That will actually be the first time I have two stories in a single anthology, and I'm very excited about that.  Late last year I published in two anthologies that my good friend was also in, which is the closest we've come to being published together, so far.

I'm working on a novel that's taking a lot longer than I had anticipated.  Initially I planned on having finished my first full novel by the time I turned 30, but that's not going to happen.  I've taken comfort that I'll finish at the age of 30.  The major draw back of writing a novel after working on short stories for so long is that I don't have that (near) instant gratification.  I've actually been tempted to post samplings of the book here on the blog, but don't want to spoil it or rush a sample before the novel's even finished.

Aside from the writing, I have a well paying job, although it's just that, a job.  My career is and always will be as an author, I just don't really make money off of it yet.  My company has had me at some great locations in NYC, such as; Columbia University, Rockefeller Center, The Chrysler Building, and currently in the middle of Times Square.

People ask me how I feel about turning 30, and while I joke about it, I'm actually ok with it.  I would rather not be single, especially when I see 80% of my graduating class is already married with kids...

...I just reread what I've typed so far and it really sounds like a personal add for an online dating service, so let me switch it up.  I may be turning 30 in 6 days, but my body feels 10 years older, and my mind is 15 years younger. So, in my opinion I'm ahead of the curve, ladies apply within ;)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Free thoughts 7/5

I know I'm not the only one who plays out conversations in their heads. What I find interesting are the inspirations that I have during these conversations, many of which are arguments (go figure).  For the most part these inspirations are in the form of a line or snippet of conversation that I later feel the need to work into a story.

A prime example of this is from a number of years ago: I don't recall exactly what i was thinking, but I remember explicitly getting the image of my head of some guy hugging a tombstone while crying in the rain and he yells out "I just want you!" to the thundering sky.  The image played so heavily in my mind I ended up working it into the story I was working on about a super hero trying to quit the life to live with his new wife.  With the scene I created a back story of how he had already been married but his arch-villain had killed her awhile ago.

The addition to that one scene added so many elements to the story that I hadn't previously thought of and took it from a short story to a novella.  Because of that scene and how it so affected the development of the story I've made sure to keep track of all of these inspirations I have talking to myself in an app on my phone (yes, there's an app for that), like the recently added "I will shit on your grave!" That was inspired by me thinking back to the movie of a similar name "I will Spit on your Grave" and wondering what other levels the sentiment could be taken to.

There are a couple of these lines that I've been trying to find a suitable home for them but they come off too forced for any of the given situations I'm already writing, like a humorous/disturbing line about possible non-consenting sex. (fear not, the intended line implies the deed was not done because of it's illegality.)

And although this is a day late, Happy Birthday 'Merica!!!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
USA!!!
OK that's enough of that, hope you enjoyed your booze, fireworks, and at least slightly burned food

Friday, June 29, 2012

Free Thoughts 6/29

When I started doing these Free Thoughts I said I wanted to do at least one a week, and now it's Friday and I haven't done one yet.  Thing is I don't even have a prompt for me to go into a tangent about.  Not knowing what to write, but still putting words down on paper (or in this case the screen) can easily turn into ramblings of a long digression.  That's what makes picking a certain topic a great tool for these kinds of things.

It's also  a great practice in regular prose writing.  When I find myself stuck on where a story should go I typically begin writing random things about a main character.  This fleshes out the character in a way you, as the author, don't plan ahead of time.

In the book I'm working on now, in just such a moment I spent numerous paragraphs detailing the character's morning routine when getting ready for late after waking up early, which led into overly descriptive paragraph of his belt-buckle and socks.  Reading this description of those descriptions undoubtedly leads to disbelief of the entertainment value of reading such explanations but those few short paragraphs dig deeper into the character than any average fundamental paragraph would.

The reader comes away with a better understanding of the character and makes them more vested in the outcome of his story, however it's a delicate balance of enjoyable deviation and tedious diatribe.  Furthermore, if it is a successful exposition, as an author, you have to refrain from using this tool to explain every detail.  Too much of this informative digression slows the progression of the story and your words end up like reading a dictionary.

Another useful tool, one that I'm just really getting into using after switching from short stories to a novel, is section breaks, not to be confused with chapters.  This also take a balancing act to use properly.  Too many breaks and you're once again slowing down the narrative, not letting scenes develop fully.  Not using enough, or any, can make a story feel too rushed, or the reader can feel they're being bombarded with too much information and not enough time to muse over it all.

When writing any scene know where you want to go with it and how it should end.  Begin writing that, and obviously changes will happen during the process, but once you get to the desired end scene... section break.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rejection 13: "Skullkickers"

The below rejection is for a writing contest for a comic.  I'm an avid comic reader spending way too much money and time on them, but I hope to one day write comics as well as the prose being published now.  With that said, I had never read this particular comic, "Skullkickers", prior to hearing about the contest.  I knew enough about it to come up with a pitch and entry, but decided to read some of the previous issues to see what I was actually submitting for.  Turned out my submission was right in line with what the comic was doing, at least in my opinion, and I had come up with several other ideas for submissions (the contest was open for multiple submissions, I sent in 6 essentially making this six rejections in one).



I wanted to get in contact with you about your Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest Entry. Although it didn't win, I wanted to let you know that I appreciate you taking the time to enter the contest.

With over 250 writing pitches for short stories, it was excruciatingly difficult picking a winner. With so much competition, way more than we expected, it was tough to choose.

Thanks so much for submitting your story idea. I wish you good luck with your own creative projects.

Thanks also for your enthusiasm for Skullkickers. That kind of fan support means a lot to creator-owned comic titles like ours.

All the best,
Jim





I find this interesting because while it seems like a personalized rejection just for me, I know that can't be the case.  There's no greeting whatsoever, it actually had started with my submission email, and he even states he received over 250 submissions, I could never image a working comic author to reply to 250 different submissions.  Additionally, he didn't even mention all the other submissions I sent in, if he were speaking to me, he shouldn't have been using the singular.  All in all, I'm not that big of a fan of what I read of the comic, but I'll definitely be picking up the issue the contest was for; I've got to see how much better my story would have been.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Free Thoughts 6/20



The countdown has begun and in two months I'll be turning 30, which got me thinking about my legacy. I know this is a topic everyone has talked about from comedians, politicians, to philosophers, but I've got something I'd like to share, a story in fact:

It was my 21st birthday and while most people would go to a bar or club for the first time legally, the majority of my friends were a year younger so instead I had a party at a friend's "frat" house at Rutgers.  It was a great time, I drank plenty of shots, drank plenty of beers, drank plenty of pretty much anything put in front of me, as any good 'twenty firster' should. Needless to say I got pretty drunk, and unsurprisingly don't remember some of that night.  However, after blacking out, I came to around 3am and had a moment of clarity while watching everyone around me.  I had seen a group of Hispanic people talking in a group, my white friends talking together, even the 2 black people at the party were together.  Suddenly my drunken Arab ass felt out of place at my own party (this is probably the only birthday I've ever spent without any family), so I decided to look for Arabs and walked out and away from the house.  If you know anything about Rutgers, the first place you go for Arabs is the grease trucks spot.  This is a parking lot filled with more than a handful of food trucks specializing in 'fat' sandwiches in which you can pretty much put whatever you'd like in it.  Most, if not all, of the cooks/drivers of the grease trucks are Arabic, but they're not open at 3am.   Now, I'm not sure when they close I know full well they wouldn't be open that late.

Feeling completely dejected I sat down (while I remember more of this night than I probably should, I can't recall if I sat on a bench, grass, or in the middle of the parking lot) and thought to myself for some time.  Eventually, I looked at the building in front of me and saw it to be the "Asian Culture Studies Building" or some such name, and thought Well Arabs are technically Asians, maybe there's some Arab's there. Again time held no meaning to me at this point.

Speaking of which, at this point in reading you may be wondering what this has to do with legacy, trust me I promise this digression is building towards that.

Heading towards the building I was actually facing the back of it, and tried the rear door, but unsurprisingly it was locked.  Refusing to be deterred, I went around to the front, and while the lights in the lobby were on, the doors were...locked. On the verge of giving up on my epic quest (yes it was epic and only gets better) I once again sat down, this time I do recall there being a bench that faced the lobby doors.  After a couple minutes, a janitor walked by the doors. I will still fight to this day that he was in fact a janitor despite the building being locked, the fact he was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, and had no giant ring of keys, simply because he was pushing a rolling garbage can.  In any case, upon seeing him, I asked for him to open the door, and after a quizzical look he obliged, and I finally entered the building.

I searched throughout the ground floor which consisted mostly of lecture halls and no Arabs.  I had systematically searched each floor (not seeing the janitor again) without seeing anyone else.  While on the 4th (and top floor) the alcohol had begun taking over more than just my brain and I needed to urinate.  Deciding now would be the most opportune time to use a females bathroom, I did so.  Now the reason for mentioning this is to validate while surely moronic, I am not insane as a friend was able to verify the layout of the building  (a building I had never entered before or since) I described including the leaky faucet in the restroom.

With all that said and done I had still not found what I was looking for so I decided to head back to the party. And what greeted me as I exited the building? Cops. Now I had no idea what they were there for, but  in my inebriated state it had to be for me, and couldn't be good.  So I did what any irrational drunk would do, I ran.  Thankfully, they were still in the squad car, and I was running through the quad. I believe I was able to lose them through some bushes that exited at a dimly lit side street which I promptly ran up.

Running as fast as I could, which is quicker than my body shape would imply, I made good distance until I came to a small building that resembled a large house, but what stopped me was a statue standing on the lawn. I have no idea who the statue was of, and that could be because he was an obscure campus figure, or I was too drunk to read the plaque/ recognize the face.  All I did know at that moment is that I wanted to do something in my lifetime to deserve a statue. I became lost in speculation of what this man did to deserve a statue (again for all I know the statue could have been of George Washington or Batman, the two most deserving men on statues, but that's not the point) and that contemplating led me to reflect on what I had done in my life.  Granted at the time I had just turned 21, and life hasn't expected much of me, but here I was drunk in a town I don't know being chased by the cops.  That realization reminded me that there were cops after me, and I began my dash for freedom again.

Moments after literally being thrown into the house, the cops drove by with their lights flashing and sirens blaring.  I spent the rest of the early morning hours sleeping in a bathtub, which was just fine for me at the time.

9 years later and I remember details to that story that truly are irrelevant but I still have the desire... nay the NEED to have a statue of myself commissioned and constructed, it doesn't even have to be gold, I'll settle for bronze.

What's your legacy going to be? And how do you want it immortalized?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Free thoughts 6/13

Earlier in the year I began working on a novel and it's coming along pretty well, although at this point there's no real end in sight.  But because of this I don't have the chance to write and publish short stories like I've been over the past year, depriving you (my reading fans?) the opportunity to read more of my writing.  So I decided every little bit, at least once a week I'm going to write free thought on this blog.  It'll give you (still there?) a chance to see part of my writing process, learn some of my motivations for writing, and basically hone my skills.  Speaking of skills, this isn't an exercise in proper grammar, so if I forget a comma or the like don't worry, that's what editors are for.

As you may, or not, know I'm a big comic book collector, but I had recently decided that I wanted a new hobby to collect, something I could display.  I first chose to get a painting anywhere I visit, but after missed chance in New Orleans added to the fact I don't really travel too much, I decided against that.  Next, I thought about getting wooden death masks, and while I still really like that idea I've settled on something even better.  For each of the stories I have published I'm going to buy something that represents an important scene within it.  I'll freely admit that this idea occurred to me while watching an Oddities marathon (can't wait for Oddities San Fran)   Right now I have nine stories published and I'm working on ideas for the different things to get.  If you have a favorite story, or a good idea for me to get, comment below.

What'll be interesting is when the two stories that I have accepted but are waiting to be published are finally published they're going to be in the same book.  Depending on what the items will be it'll be interesting to see how I'll display them, or if I can find one item that fits both stories, but that seems unlikely.

These two stories are in an antho with a 'spring fever' theme, basically anything spring related.  Ironically both of them are apart of my alphabet project.  The first one was accepted over a year ago so technically the rights have reverted back to me, but the second is newer and still under contract with the publisher.  I'm thinking if by next March the antho still hasn't been published I'm going to pull both my stories out, I never liked the idea of breaking up the Alphabet Project.  I feel like it'll work best as a book in itself, and even better if it's the first time any of the stories have been published.  I like the publisher that they're currently under contract with, but it's a non-paying market, and I feel as a whole the alphabet project deserves more than that.

This publisher in particular has put out 4 of 9 of my stories but I've relegated them to a back up from other paying publishers for works that I can't find a home for elsewhere.

Thanks for letting me ramble, and remember to keep reading!

Alex Azar

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mardi Gras



Mardi Gras

While it may seem like this would be an easy topic, it proved more difficult than expected.  All I knew when this topic was chosen was that it had to be about a virgin nerd.  Initially I had planned on the main character being a female, but with the ending I had in mind it would have proven to be too dark, and I wanted to lighten the mood after my previous entry.



“I can’t believe I didn’t want to come here!” Mark says as he leans over the shoulder of one of his friends. “Thank you for convincing me to come, best birthday ever!”
Not amused at Mark interrupting his conversation with a girl, his friend tells Mark “Go hit on some girls.”

Not needing any further prompts, Mark shouts to a nearby girl, “Show me your tits!” with no beads in hand.  Following a look of disgust the girl unsurprisingly walks away. “Fucking prude, go back to Idaho.”  Mark uses the same line on the next five girls he sees; three of which oblige.
Finding his best friend, Hank, at a bar two doors away, Mark runs up to him.  While standing between Hank and the girl he was talking to, he exclaims “I’ve seen thirty five tits today! How great is New Orleans, man? Why are you just standing here alone?”
Looking over Mark’s shoulder, Hank sees that the girl has walked away. “Have you talked to any girls Mark? We’ve been here for nearly a week and all of us have gotten laid.”
Feeling his buzz slowly die down, Mark sheepishly answers, “Come one Hank, you know I can’t talk to girls like that, I’m too shy.”
“Back home maybe, but you also wouldn’t tell a girl to show you her tits back home; you wouldn’t even drink back home.”  Waiting for his comments to sink in, Hank then continues “This is Mardi Gras, you don’t have to be the Mark who puked from non-alcoholic beer.  You can be the Mark who loses his virginity.”  Seeing that Mark is catching on, Hank enthusiastically adds, “You don’t even have to be Mark, you can be Pilot Dan, Firefighter Bill, or Tom ‘fuckin’ Cruise, but that might not help anymore.  This is Mardi Gras and you can be anyone, so why the fuck are you talking to me?”
As if he was just prepped for war, Mark screams a primal yell then turns and runs… right into a six foot three bouncer built like a tank.
In a deep yet nonthreatening voice the bouncer warns, “Easy there killer.”
Unphased by the ebony mountain of man, Mark defiantly shouts, “This is my birthday, this is now my bar, I don’t have to take it easy!”
Seeing the exchange, it is now Hank’s turn to step in between, “I’m sorry sir, he doesn’t usually drink. I’ll go lock him in his room for the rest of the trip.”
Pulling Mark away from the bouncer by the collar of his shirt, “Dude, you clearly got the wrong message.  When I said you can be anyone, I didn’t mean you’re suddenly a seven foot tall black belt who can take on the black Hercules guarding this place. I meant you can lie to girls to get laid.”
Defeated Mark acknowledges Hank’s reasoning and exits the bar through a door the bouncer is far away from. “I need to get laid.” Walking on the famed Bourbon St he’s quickly distracted by the novelty of legally walking in public while holding a drink. “The whole world should be like this.”
Paying more attention to his diminishing drink then where he’s going, Mark ventures off of Bourbon St., something his friends warned him about.  Content in his stupor Mark travels away from the festive lights and sounds.  The further he walks the sparser the people on the street get, until he comes to a group of youths walking in the middle of the street.
No paying them any mind, Mark continues walking undeterred when the silence is broken. “Hey cracker, you a long way from the party, eh?”

***
Mark wakes up the following afternoon by the jostling of his friend, “Hey man, wake up! What happened to you?”
Wiping the sleep out of his eyes, Mark replies with a condescending tone, “Obviously I had a great time, I don’t remember a thing.”
“Listen douche, something’s wrong.  You’re bleeding, looks like you got the shit kicked out of you.” Hank practically carries Mark to the mirror to reveal the many lacerations on his face and upper body. “Someone beat the beat your ass but didn’t take your wallet or money, so you must have pissed them off.”
With concern in his voice Mark barely manages to utter, “I don’t know what happened. Last I remember, we were eating dinner.”
“Shit man that was 10 o’clock, fourteen hours ago.  I didn’t think someone could black out for that long.”
Panicked, Mark exclaims, “We need to go to the police.”
“And say what?” Hank rationalizes the situation, “You got beat up for reasons unknown, by a person or group of people you can’t identify somewhere in the city.  Your injuries aren’t that bad, and nothing was stolen.”
“Where are my glasses?”
Hank squeezes the bridge of his nose, “Probably in a pool of your blood.” We leave tomorrow afternoon, just survive today and you’ll be fine.”  Pulling a shirt from a shopping bag, he tosses it to Mark, “One of the guys hot you this, thinks it’ll help you get laid.”
Mark holds up the white t-shirt and reads aloud, “Still a virgin, Please help.” Crumpling it up he scoffs, “That’s so gay.”
“Wear it or not either way just be careful today. I’ve got a date with a bartender so I won’t be able to babysit you.”

***
Three bottles of electrolyte filled sports drinks and a half hour shower later Mark has just begun to regain his bearings.  Even knowing Hank was right about being more careful tonight, he took exception to the way he said it.  “I’m twenty-one now, I haven’t needed a babysitter since I was sixteen.”
Deciding he was going to teach his friend a lesson in respecting the new Mark, he drinks the remaining four beers and half bottle of orange flavored vodka in the hotel room.  Reinvigorated by the hair of the dog, Mark tries to map out his plans for his final night in Paradise.  He knows his only goal has to be to finally get laid.
Emerging from his room at ten Mark joins most of the friends for dinner ad is already more drunk than any of them would like.  Not wanting to have to care for him they all promptly finish their dinner and head out on their own, leaving Mark to pay the bill.
An hour later Mark is walking along Bourbon St still complaining about dinner, ignoring the many flashers along his way.  That is until he collides with a large woman with even larger breasts. Amazed at the size of the tits he just accidentally touched, Mark isn’t even aware that he split his drink.  Either too drunk or too happy, the woman wasn’t upset at all. “Don’t worry about it cutie, just look where you’re going.” The woman jovially says with a pat on Mark’s butt.
Happy with the compliment and semi-sexual touch, the anger leaves Mark, the alcohol does not.  Ignoring the advice he enters the closest bar without looking where he was going.  The alcohol renders Mark unable to identify the multicolored flag that’s all over the door and interior of the bar on the corner of Bourbon St. and St. Pete St.
Although the bar had more guys than Mark would have liked, they were all friendly and the girls their seemed to be having a god time.  He figures it’s worth staying for a couple of drinks.
Befriending a group of guys and explains he needs to lose his virginity hoping they could be of more use than his friends.

***
***
Mark will wake up the following morning to discover that his new friends did in fact help pop his cherry, however perhaps not in the way he intended.


“I can’t believe I didn’t want to come here!” Mark says as he leans over the shoulder of one of his friends. “Thank you for convincing me to come, best birthday ever!”
Not amused at Mark interrupting his conversation with a girl, his friend tells Mark “Go hit on some girls.”
Not needing any further prompts, Mark shouts to a nearby girl, “Show me your tits!” with no beads in hand.  Following a look of disgust the girl unsurprisingly walks away. “Fucking prude, go back to Idaho.”  Mark uses the same line on the next five girls he sees; three of which oblige.
Finding his best friend, Hank, at a bar two doors away, Mark runs up to him.  While standing between Hank and the girl he was talking to, he exclaims “I’ve seen thirty five tits today! How great is New Orleans, man? Why are you just standing here alone?”
Looking over Mark’s shoulder, Hank sees that the girl has walked away. “Have you talked to any girls Mark? We’ve been here for nearly a week and all of us have gotten laid.”
Feeling his buzz slowly die down, Mark sheepishly answers, “Come one Hank, you know I can’t talk to girls like that, I’m too shy.”
“Back home maybe, but you also wouldn’t tell a girl to show you her tits back home; you wouldn’t even drink back home.”  Waiting for his comments to sink in, Hank then continues “This is Mardi Gras, you don’t have to be the Mark who puked from non-alcoholic beer.  You can be the Mark who loses his virginity.”  Seeing that Mark is catching on, Hank enthusiastically adds, “You don’t even have to be Mark, you can be Pilot Dan, Firefighter Bill, or Tom ‘fuckin’ Cruise, but that might not help anymore.  This is Mardi Gras and you can be anyone, so why the fuck are you talking to me?”
As if he was just prepped for war, Mark screams a primal yell then turns and runs… right into a six foot three bouncer built like a tank.
In a deep yet nonthreatening voice the bouncer warns, “Easy there killer.”
Unphased by the ebony mountain of man, Mark defiantly shouts, “This is my birthday, this is now my bar, I don’t have to take it easy!”
Seeing the exchange, it is now Hank’s turn to step in between, “I’m sorry sir, he doesn’t usually drink. I’ll go lock him in his room for the rest of the trip.”
Pulling Mark away from the bouncer by the collar of his shirt, “Dude, you clearly got the wrong message.  When I said you can be anyone, I didn’t mean you’re suddenly a seven foot tall black belt who can take on the black Hercules guarding this place. I meant you can lie to girls to get laid.”
Defeated Mark acknowledges Hank’s reasoning and exits the bar through a door the bouncer is far away from. “I need to get laid.” Walking on the famed Bourbon St he’s quickly distracted by the novelty of legally walking in public while holding a drink. “The whole world should be like this.”
Paying more attention to his diminishing drink then where he’s going, Mark ventures off of Bourbon St., something his friends warned him about.  Content in his stupor Mark travels away from the festive lights and sounds.  The further he walks the sparser the people on the street get, until he comes to a group of youths walking in the middle of the street.
No paying them any mind, Mark continues walking undeterred when the silence is broken. “Hey cracker, you a long way from the party, eh?”

***
Mark wakes up the following afternoon by the jostling of his friend, “Hey man, wake up! What happened to you?”
Wiping the sleep out of his eyes, Mark replies with a condescending tone, “Obviously I had a great time, I don’t remember a thing.”
“Listen douche, something’s wrong.  You’re bleeding, looks like you got the shit kicked out of you.” Hank practically carries Mark to the mirror to reveal the many lacerations on his face and upper body. “Someone beat the beat your ass but didn’t take your wallet or money, so you must have pissed them off.”
With concern in his voice Mark barely manages to utter, “I don’t know what happened. Last I remember, we were eating dinner.”
“Shit man that was 10 o’clock, fourteen hours ago.  I didn’t think someone could black out for that long.”
Panicked, Mark exclaims, “We need to go to the police.”
“And say what?” Hank rationalizes the situation, “You got beat up for reasons unknown, by a person or group of people you can’t identify somewhere in the city.  Your injuries aren’t that bad, and nothing was stolen.”
“Where are my glasses?”
Hank squeezes the bridge of his nose, “Probably in a pool of your blood.” We leave tomorrow afternoon, just survive today and you’ll be fine.”  Pulling a shirt from a shopping bag, he tosses it to Mark, “One of the guys hot you this, thinks it’ll help you get laid.”
Mark holds up the white t-shirt and reads aloud, “Still a virgin, Please help.” Crumpling it up he scoffs, “That’s so gay.”
“Wear it or not either way just be careful today. I’ve got a date with a bartender so I won’t be able to babysit you.”

***
Three bottles of electrolyte filled sports drinks and a half hour shower later Mark has just begun to regain his bearings.  Even knowing Hank was right about being more careful tonight, he took exception to the way he said it.  “I’m twenty-one now, I haven’t needed a babysitter since I was sixteen.”
Deciding he was going to teach his friend a lesson in respecting the new Mark, he drinks the remaining four beers and half bottle of orange flavored vodka in the hotel room.  Reinvigorated by the hair of the dog, Mark tries to map out his plans for his final night in Paradise.  He knows his only goal has to be to finally get laid.
Emerging from his room at ten Mark joins most of the friends for dinner ad is already more drunk than any of them would like.  Not wanting to have to care for him they all promptly finish their dinner and head out on their own, leaving Mark to pay the bill.
An hour later Mark is walking along Bourbon St still complaining about dinner, ignoring the many flashers along his way.  That is until he collides with a large woman with even larger breasts. Amazed at the size of the tits he just accidentally touched, Mark isn’t even aware that he split his drink.  Either too drunk or too happy, the woman wasn’t upset at all. “Don’t worry about it cutie, just look where you’re going.” The woman jovially says with a pat on Mark’s butt.
Happy with the compliment and semi-sexual touch, the anger leaves Mark, the alcohol does not.  Ignoring the advice he enters the closest bar without looking where he was going.  The alcohol renders Mark unable to identify the multicolored flag that’s all over the door and interior of the bar on the corner of Bourbon St. and St. Pete St.
Although the bar had more guys than Mark would have liked, they were all friendly and the girls their seemed to be having a god time.  He figures it’s worth staying for a couple of drinks.
Befriending a group of guys and explains he needs to lose his virginity hoping they could be of more use than his friends.

***
***
Mark will wake up the following morning to discover that his new friends did in fact help pop his cherry, however perhaps not in the way he intended.

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Book Available

The anthology Cobwebs and Antiquities by Static Movement has been published and now available.  It contains my short story "The Statue Garden" about a young girl's nightmare coming to haunt her as an adult.
You can purchase it at the below link, or from The Azarrising Mobile Bookstore (the trunk of my car) at a discounted price.
Cobwebs and Antiquities @ Amazon.com

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another story has been accepted!

Hello all, it's been a while since I've had this kind of good news, but the wait is over.  I've just signed a contract for another story to be published.  "Best Birthday Ever!?" has been accepted into the anthology Spring Fever, an anthology I already had a story accepted into.  This will mark my first time having two stories in a single antho.

The story is a departure from my other writings, it has no horror or thriller elements.  It's a tale of the best birthday celebration ever, or is it?

Stay tuned for more info on where and when you can purchase this book.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hypothermia

Hypothermia
Alex Azar


Winter is over. It’s this belief that damned Sophie Ting. She’s not used to the difference in seasons from Japan to Jersey. Growing up in Japan the passing of winter was immediately followed by the sprouting of new flowers, and blooming of trees. She didn’t know that in New Jersey you can still wear a t-shirt through November, and that April showers sometimes turn into snowfall.
That very same snow caused Sophie to lose track of the path in the woods that led to her awaiting friends. Thinking she’s headed in the right direction, Sophie quickens her pace, but the realization she was heading the wrong way sets in when she comes to a brook, rapid with fresh melted snow, a brook that she didn’t cross when heading into the woods to go to relieve herself.
Turning to return in the direction she came, she sees a figure move behind a tree. A figure much too large to be any of her girlfriends who have more than likely stopped smoking up just long enough to ask if Sophie returned from taking a piss. She calls to the wind and the mystery figure she’s no longer sure she even saw, but there’s no response. Deciding it best to not to find out, she begins to follow the bank of the brook assuming she’ll eventually come to some landmark of significance.
After half an hour of following the river, Sophie's jeans and hoodie sweatshirt no longer suffice in fighting off the cold. Again she can swear she sees a shadow move behind a tree to her left. Already scared of the impending nightfall this is enough to push Sophie as she breaks into a run as fast as her cold bones allow her to move.
Five minutes of this brings Sophie to a patch of grass devoid of any snow. Figuring she's put enough distance between her and the shadow, Sophie takes a seat on a relatively dry stone. Just as she gets in a comfortable position, she hears a branch break. Without a second thought Sophie's in another full sprint yelling for help. Scared beyond all reason, Sophie decides to cross the brook at a point she feels is thin enough to jump across. On any other day if her legs were working up to par, Sophie may have made the jump; unfortunately, her jump is just short and she lands near the opposite bank and slips on a stone beneath the water.
No longer able to run, Sophie goes to hide within the trees. Rounding a tree she trips over a root that in a week’s time would surely have been visible, but as it stands today is mostly covered with snow. She lands head first into a tree bending her neck at an awkward position, not hard enough to break her neck, but it's guaranteed to be sore if she regains consciousness. During her fall a low hanging branch catches on the hood of her thin sweatshirt, ripping it down the back in jagged fashion.
Revealed on the back of her limp body, is the upper portion of an elaborate tiger tattoo. A tattoo that suggests more of her past than any of her stoned friends know about. A tattoo that may hold clues as to Sophie's paranoia and fear of being followed, or simply a tattoo that will entice the possible stranger in the shadows.

I owe the origin to this story entirely on my trip to Florida in the summer of 2010.  While there, I attended a tattoo/comic convention that was mediocre at best.  However, my friend’s tattoo booth was next to an old Asian man who had a lot of ‘tattoo art’ on display.  They were mostly Asian girls with elaborate tattoos.
One painting in particular caught my eye, of a girl crouched on one knee in the middle of a snow covered field, with dead trees and rocks around her.  She was only barely covered by a blanket, and revealed on her back was the majority of a large tiger tattoo. 
But what struck out the most were the streaks of mascara running down her face from tears as she stared at the ground.  I couldn’t help but wonder how she came to this situation, but even more so what happened next.
Admittedly, I altered some of the aspects of the painting to fit the story.  I submitted this in for a seasonal anthology calling for stories set in spring.  Ultimately, the story was rejected, but I’m happy with how it turned out.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Landslides


I started this story while at the airport waiting to fly to Tampa. This piece was a long time in the making in that I took a several month hiatus after “Kinetic Art”.  At the airport I decided to continue the project by completing another entry by the time I landed back in Jersey.  As it turns out the story was completed mere minutes after the plane took off; essentially the piece was completed less than two hours and really invigorated me on finishing the Alphabet Project. 


Landslides
by Alex Azar




“Don’t worry baby, you heard the lady from Off*Moon. We have about an hour of air and they know where we are.  She’s sending rescue people now.” Lauren tries to comforting her five year old son, Lester.
The truth of the matter is that she’s just as scared as her son, if not more.  Still not sure what happened, all she remembers is driving along the coast and suddenly her car being surrounded by mud blacking out her windows.
Lester was in his ‘big boys’ seat playing with his action figures and didn’t notice what was happening until it was over.  This helped delay his reaction, but siting in the buried car for fifteen minutes has pushed him to the limit. “But mom, we’re going to be late and miss dad at the airport.  Can’t you just drive?”
“Baby, the car is surrounded right now.”  Wanting to save what air they do have, Lauren doesn’t want to talk too much.  “Go to sleep and I’ll wake you up when the get here to help us out.”
Lester quiets down, but she can tell that he’s not comforted at all, “Daddy will wait for us, I promise. Come sit up here with me, we’ll nap together.
Fifteen minutes later Lauren is woken up by Lester shifting in his seat. “Baby what’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry mommy, I have to make pee-pee.” Squirming some more Lester explains, “I don’t want to mess your new car.”
Laughing Lauren is surprised she’s able to find any humor in this situation. “Baby, I don’t think we have to worry about that anymore.” Reaching into the back seat she asks, “Did you finish your sippy-cup?”
“No, there’s still some.”
Finding the cup, Lauren can tell it’s just less than half filled, “Why don’t you drink what you can, then go pee-pee in it.”
Shaking his head violently, Lester nearly shouts, “I can’t mommy.”
Seeing the pain on his face, she bites the bullet and drinks the juice even though she has to go herself. “Go in the back and be sure to hold the cup steady.”
After doing his business, Lester hands his mother the cup, nearly filled to the brim, but spills most of it after he steps on one of his action figures. “I’m sorry mommy.” Crying before Lauren can even react, he throws his face into the cushion of the back seat.
“Baby, Lester, it’s okay. I’m going to have to get a new car anyway.” Reaching back with both arms, “Come back to the front.”
Picking up her son, Lauren exclaims “Wow, you’re a big boy now, huh? Soon you’ll be able to sit up front with me, and we’ll make daddy sit in the back.” As soon as the words left her mouth she knew it was a mistake.
“Daddy is at the airport now, isn’t he?” Lester barely whispers as he nuzzles his head into his mom’s bosom.
Finding no other options but to tell the truth, “Yes he is already waiting for us, and don’t you think he’s going to be surprised at the story we tell him when we get there?”
Petting Lester’s head Lauren is able to lull him back to sleep, but the panic of the situation is weighing too heavily on her to sleep again.
Its been half an hour since she spoke to the Off*Moon representative, and Lauren has figured there’s other cars trapped as well; after all she wasn’t the only one on the road. She thinks to herself, ‘What if there’s a car with a toddler also trapped, or more than one baby?  They’d have to save them first.’ Panic sets in, and although she doesn’t want to wake Lester, she’s compelled to call Off*Moon and check on the status of Lester’s rescue.
As a lifelong career woman, Lauren never wanted kids, but due to a reversal in her husband’s vasectomy, Lester, most definitely a mistake, was brought into this world and she’s been thankful every day since.  It’s these events from five short years ago that has caused Lauren to care more for Lester’s survival than she thought was possible.
Connecting the line with Off*Moon Lauren can’t  take her eyes off of Lester. With tears running down her cheeks, she asks “Are you going to be able to save us?”
Without any pause for thought the faceless voice replies, “Ma’am, rescue workers are on scene and we have every confidence you’ll be safe long before air runs out.  Off*Moon has reports of three other cars in your immediate area, and you are each a priority.”
Scared of the situation, Lauren takes out her frustration on the monotone voice, “You say we’re all priorities, but have any of the other cars been rescued yet?”
“Ma’am, I understand the situation you’re in, but…”
Once again cutting her off, Lauren screams “No you don’t! I don’t know where you are, but I know you’re not trapped in your car with your five year old son!”
The exchange wakes Lester, but his young instincts tell him to keep quiet while his mom vents. Instead he silently shifts from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.
Lauren sees that Lester is trying to be brave but her yelling didn’t help the situation. She looks in his eyes, but can’t find any words to comfort him.
Lester breaks the silence by asking “Why do you and the lady keep talking about the air?”
Unable to answer his question without further frightening her son, instead Lauren deflects and suggests “Why don’t w play twenty questions? You think of something or someone and I’ll ask questions.”
Already thinking of someone, Lester just nods his head, so Lauren asks, “Are you a person?”
“Yes, 19.”
“Are you famous?”
“No, 18.”
Knowing who her son picked, Lauren draws the game out for his benefit as well as hers “Are you someone in this car?”
“No, 17.”
“Are you someone I spoke to today?”
“Yes, 16.”
“Do you work for Off*Moon?”
“Mom, I said I’m not someone in the car.”
“Okay, okay. She’s not really someone in the car anyway. Are you flying on an airplane today?”
“Yes, 14.”
“Are you dad?”
Excited he thought of someone that took his mother so many questions to answer, Lester exclaims, “Yes, your turn.”
Seeing the smile on her son’s face Lauren can’t help but take a moment to wonder how she brought something so precious into the world.  She questions how she ever thought about not having children.  Then she sees the time, and notices there’s only ten minutes until she was told she’d run out of air.  “OK one more game, then let’s take another nap.”
“Are you a person?”
“No, 19.”
“Are you something famous?”
“More like infamous, but no, 18.”
“Are you something hard?”
“No, 17.”
“Do you smell?”
“Yes, 16.”
“Do you smell bad?”
“Definitely, 15.”
“Are you a kind of water?”
“You mean a liquid? Yes, 14.”
“Are you pee-pee?”
“Be more specific.”
“Mom you can’t be my pee-pee in the car. I said I was sorry.”
Laughing together, “You’re very smart to get that so quickly.” Patting Lester’s head, she continues, “Now let’s get some sleep.”  The smile and mirth leaves her face when she sees that the game ate up five more minutes, and there’s still no sign of rescue.”
Watching Lester slowly drift back to sleep, Lauren whispers nearly inaudibly, “There’s no one else I’d rather be with.”
Lester’s sleepy response is little more than a mumble before the silence is disturbed by the Off*Moon chime. “Mrs. Lancaster, are you still with me?”
Not wanting to get her hopes up Lauren calmly responds, “Yes, we’re here.”
“Good, I’ve been informed that responders have reached the block your car is trapped on. I have notified them of your current air situation and they will be there momentarily.”
Lauren whispers a “thank you” that belies her joy. Lester has fallen asleep and she would like the next sounds he hears be his rescue.
After drifting in and out of sleep Lauren notices that it’s now one minute until they run out of air.  She confirms the time on her watch and anxiously presses the Off*Moon button.
The limited air has made it difficult for Lester to breath.  What begins as a low whine builds to a full blown cry.  Lauren can only shed tears of her own as she hears the whirring machines of the nearby rescue workers.  As the air dissipates so does Lester’s energy, as well as his cry.
Understanding the urgency of the situation the voice on the other end begins explaining immediately, “I’m sorry I can’t be certain, however responders are currently digging a car out now with a child screaming. I believe they have found your car, can you confirm this?”  with no response the voice questions, “Mrs. Lancaster are you there?... Mrs. Lancaster?”

Sorry for the delay, but I plan on continuing this project until it's completion and to avoid needing to take another lengthy hiatus, I aim to post the next story in a month, and hopefully continue every month until 'Z' has been completed and posted.  Thank you for sticking with it, and you can expect 'M' in a month.