Guest Post with KRR Bridgstreet on her fantasy story

Thanks for having me, DD. I’m stoked about my first book release, Shadow and Light.

7593864This was honestly my first successful attempt to complete a story in the fantasy genre. I have a bad habit of starting stories but never seeing them through. With this one though, my cousin and I had a concept of a mythological creature called the “shadow fucker” that was a source of a lot of hilarity. I decided I wanted to write an origin story for this creature. It ended up dealing with more serious ideas than I had planned on.

When I began writing it, I had no idea what would come out or where it would go, but I like where my creative mind took it. I’ve always been fascinated by ratios and mathematical equations that appear over and over again in nature, and I’m also a huge fan of music of any kind (who isn’t, really?), so it was natural that they came together in this story in the form of my heroine, Kaliana, who runs a conservatory that studies the interplay between music and math. The world of Meso is a world I wouldn’t mind living in for awhile to see the concepts of mathematical music in action.

One of the scariest things about writing and publishing this story is that it explores ideas that I’m rolling over in my mind too—what is unconditional love? What is unity? Is love possessive, or can it be free? What does it mean to live in a community? Can we always follow our joy? Should our responsibilities keep us from our joy, or add to it? My complete adoration of music and the human voice is apparent in there too, as well as my ideals about sustainability. I feel a little exposed, but that’s okay. I feel I was able to discover a lot about myself throughout this writing process, and I’ve got to give props to the editors at Breathless Press for helping me express myself fully. Leona—you rock.

Excerpt:

When the sun shone, it flooded the valley with a beam that struck and splashed between twin mountains. It danced outward, skittering through the mountain valley toward opposite civilizations advancing. The peoples moved each to the other, slowly, like seeds in the earth waiting for the right combination of warmth and moisture to coax their substance from the soil.

To the east, light meandered over green terraces that descended between rock-lined funnels, joining the streams that irrigated miles of pasture, and wound a slow and steady route to the geometric city of Meso. A solar system of paved streets orbited a central blinding compound of glass, stone, and steel. The people of this city reflected their own reverence for the aesthetic machinations of the universe they tried to emulate. Their lines were sharp. Their angles pristine. Their movements productive and efficient. Sunlight that did not succumb to the walls of glass enclosing the structure melted over the bodies of these people. The rest flowed over the sharp angles and refracted, fractioning crystalline and settling over the far eastern forest, where it disappeared into the maze of trees.

Light spared none in the west. The earth cracked beneath its weight, crushing moisture from rocks and opening the veins of plants, desiccating. It painted self-portraits on jagged sunset bluffs, gazing into the mirror of dominion. The light enveloped completely any river that once shaped the red and orange cliffs, leaving a dusty trail for rodents and lizards dashing in and out of shade. Men and women scratched hoes in the dirt, pulling free meager crops that seemed as if they sprouted old and worn. The men and women lived, and the children played and learned, among a vast cornucopia of poisons and potions.

They were hard, shaped by the same wind that aged the banks of empty riverbeds. The people’s hard-bought respect approached religious devotion to the dry land. Sobered by the relentless light, the people of the western border mercilessly clung together, commanding of the earth just enough to survive.

This is the light from which the young man traveled.

It happened at Two Mountains Standing, under the moon of the summer solstice. Presiding over the ceremony, the moon bathed the dancers in the pale white reflection of the sun. The dancers disappeared and reappeared in flickers of shadow and light, reflections of the red and yellow fire surrounding them and within them. Their bodies surged, throwing black shadows across the sacred fire circle and onto the two mountains framing them. The moon smiled down on the shadows looming giant on the mountainsides, mimicking their owners’ frenzied movements.

The shadows came together and parted, came together and parted, circled and leapt over the fire, leaping from mountain to mountain. Sweat ran down the dancers’ arms and legs and they pounded it into the packed earth. A turbulent, wordless harmony brought forth the incantations. Curved backs raised heaving breasts higher, spines rippled, and hot, slippery tits bounced in the bodies’ rhythmic undulating.

In the center of this frenetic circle a man lay, immobile. He was a stranger to this place. A solid short mound of earth covered each of his arms; his legs extended toward the sacred fire and also disappeared into the earth. When dancers leapt the fire, they sometimes landed on his submerged arms and legs, pounding them deeper into the ground. The man’s eyes stared unblinking up at the moon. No lines marred the man’s face, which was dark and unmoving. A braid ran down the back of his head, and the tail of it fanned out loose behind his shoulders where he lay. His eyes were fixed on the moon.

There was no telling how many dancers circled the fire. Sweat poured from their bodies, turning the packed earth to mud. The mud splashed with each pounding step, covering the dancers’ legs and the silent man with specks of reddish brown. Sweat turned the specks quickly to streaks, which ran down their bodies like tears. Harmonies rose in pure ecstatic emotion, and hands began to smear rivulets of mud over the arching and writhing bodies.

Buy Links:

Breathless Press.com Shadow and Light

Amazon Shadow and Light

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About DD Symms

Writing is foundational to our communication like running is to sports.
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