Thursday, August 13, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Stupid TARDIS

Dang, did I accidentally come back to July 11 instead of May 26?  Well shoot.  Sorry, had to run off and fight the Daleks and all that.

Actually, I've been engaged in a singular project: writing an entire novel that I have actually outlined beforehand.  It has a beginning, a middle, AND - most importantly - an ENDING.  I know where the story's going, and what each character does in it.  Not every scene, mind you, but enough that I can usually figure out what the next scene is - which is always the thing that trips me up.

Thus, without further ado, an excerpt is in order.

Please understand this is still a draft, but I really like this chapter.


***

Fallo Gapple was convinced that he'd heard his master's voice up there, calling for help.  It didn't really make sense that Madame Voskamp would be in that particular apartment, but Fallo's knowledge of his master's social schedule was somewhat limited beyond the portion of the day when he was at her beck and call.  He listened, trying to hear again what he'd just heard and convince himself it wasn't what he'd thought. 
Help!”  The voice was faint, but it very clearly belonged to Madame Voskamp.  Fallo sprung into action.  Well, sprung might have been a bit of an overstatement.  He said “pardon me” to a portion of the sea of human legs swirling around his small frame, said “excuse me” when the “pardon me” proved ineffective, and finally waved his orange arms over his head and made a ululating noise that he thought might scare them off.  He was finally able to get across the flow and to the door, where he was presented with another problem.  The buzzers for this building were quite high up, and he found himself hopping and reaching to get to them.  He did the old trick of hitting every buzzer in hopes that someone would just open the door. 
Nobody did. 
Fallo pounded on the front door. 
Nothing.
Fallo jumped up and hit all the buzzers again.
Nothing.
“Can I help you, little fellow?”  A voice from behind.  Fallo whirled around and faced a set of knees.  He looked up into the leaning face of a particularly tall human.
“I need to get in there.  My master is in trouble,” said Fallo.
“Now how do you know that?”
“I heard her.  With these,” said Fallo, pointing to all three of the ears arranged around his vaguely pyramidal skull.
“Well, I live here, so I'm going to open the door, and I'll let you in, but you behave yourself, ok little guy?  I don't want to have to call a Reclamation unit on you.”
Fallo bristled at the human's condescension, but held back any insult.
“Yes, sir,” he said instead.  “Thank you, sir.”
The human's legs swept past Fallo, and the human's hands opened the building's door with a swipe card.  Fallo followed behind and entered the building.
The lobby had been hexed to be bigger on the inside, so what had looked like a simple brownstone from the outside was now a sumptuous mansion's entry hall, and a sweeping staircase led upward. An elevator with blue doors stood next to it.  The human walked to a bank of mailboxes on one side, and Fallo walked to the elevator and pressed “up.”
The elevator arrived a few minutes later and opened.  It, too, had been hexed to be bigger on the inside, no doubt an expensive touch to quell claustrophobia in the building's residents.  Still, Fallo found it disconcerting to be constantly thrust into spaces that didn't make dimensional sense. 
His ears had pinpointed the sound of Madame Voskamp's voice to an apartment on the fourth floor, so he pressed the button to go to that floor.  The elevator doors, much farther away from him than they should have been, closed, and the elevator started moving.
At the fourth floor, the doors opened, and Fallo felt a weird sense of vertigo as he exited the cavernous elevator into a narrow hallway that could not have possibly contained it. 
A scream to his left.  It was definitely Madame Voskamp.  He launched himself at a door, hit it, and bounced off, his thin shoulder throbbing. 
Still, he'd clearly made enough noise to rouse the occupants.  The door opened, and a human male, who Fallo estimated to be somewhere in that vague age range humans called “middle,” answered wearing a shiny purple robe that flowed down to a bare set of feet.  Fallo looked past the human to see if he could get a glimpse of Madame Voskamp. 
“Yes?”  The human male asked.
“Is Madame Voskamp here?”
“Who?”
Fallo?  The voice was clearly coming from inside.  “That you, Fallo?”
“I'm here, Madame.  I heard you calling for help.”
“What?  No I didn't.”
“We're all fine here,” said the human male, blocking Fallo from entering.
 “But I could swear -”
“Did you just talk back to me?” The human male asked.
“No, sir.  I just -”
“Fallo, it's all fine,” said Madame Voskamp from somewhere.  Fallo trained his ears, trying to get a sense of her state of mind. 
It honestly all seemed to be fine. 
Then what was that all about?
“A- are you sure you're ok, Madame?”
“Yeah,” said Madame Voskamp, coming to the door at last.  She was clad in a skintight plastic leotard.  A set of handcuffs dangled unlocked from one wrist.  Fallo began to get the picture. 
“Oh, um, very sorry to disturb. I thought you – I'll just...I'll show myself out.”  He bowed effusively and backed into the hallway.
“Be at the club early tonight, Fallo.  I'm doing my special act,” said Madame Voskamp.    She gave a little giggle.  The human male closed the door.
The humiliation burned a pink hue into the orange skin on Fallo's cheeks.  He took a deep breath.
“What are you doing in here, imp?”  A short human was addressing him, a male child, about Fallo's height. 
“Nothing, apparently,” Fallo responded.  “Wasting my time,” he added.
“Is it true you can walk through doors?”
Fallo winced at that.  “No.”
“But I heard -”
“Some imps can walk through doors.  I cannot.  Which, to be honest, was a good thing just now.”
“Why?” 
“Because of reasons.” 
“What reasons?”
“Reasons you'll know about when you're older.  Now, please excuse me.”  Fallo turned away from the human child and walked down the hall back to the elevator.  The blue doors opened and the impossibly large space behind them caverned away from him.  He decided to take the stairs.
Back out on the street, Fallo seethed.  He knew that nothing that had just happened had been Madame Voskamp's fault, per se, but it was the sense of obligation he had for her well-being that was really pissing Fallo off.  Fallo was a smart imp, smarter than a lot of other imps he knew.  And yet here he was.  Subservient.  Menial.  Doing his imp duty. 
“Hey, brother,” a voice Fallo recognized said behind him.  It was Ganna Magog.  Fallo was glad to see an orange face at his level, and he embraced the other imp with enthusiasm.
“Ganna, glad to see you,” said Fallo. 
“What are you doing in this part of town?”
Fallo shook his head.  “Don't even ask.  It's just...don't even ask.”
“Ok, brother, fair enough.  Listen, I'm glad I ran into you, actually.”  Ganna reached into a pocket of his work shorts and pulled out a rumpled leaflet. He handed it to Fallo. 
Fallo began to read the leaflet.  “FELLOW IMPS,” it began portentously. 
A human bumped into Fallo's arm, making him drop the leaflet.  It was immediately trampled and lost in a sea of human feet.
Ganna cursed under his breath, watching the leaflet disappear. 
“Sorry,” said Fallo.
“It's ok.  Hell, I could just tell you.  There's a meeting in three days.  A meeting of imps.  I want you there.”
“What's the meeting about?  Is it a religious thing?  Is this that weird cult of Garroth I've heard about?  Tell me you're not into that...”
Ganna shook his head.  “No no no...nothing like that.  This is...ok, I really think we should keep our voices down.  Come over here.”  Ganna grabbed Fallo by the elbow and maneuvered him around the current of knees to the mouth of an alley. 
“What's so secretive?”
“SHH.  Look, this is about imp self-preservation.  Imp self-determination.  It's about thinking about our relationship to humans in a completely different way.”
“Whoa, slow down.  This is a political thing?”
Ganna nodded.  “Yeah it's political.  It's about rights.”
“What are you two imps conspiring about?”  The voice came from a green clad Reclamation officer standing nearby.  The sea of pedestrians parted for him. 
“Nothing, just catching up on old times, officer.  Sorry,” said Ganna. 
“Move along, you two,” said the officer.
“I'll get in touch with you later,” said Ganna.  Fallo nodded.  Ganna walked away.  The officer gave Fallo a sideways glance and then moved on.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Towel Day, hoopy froods!

The world still misses you, Douglas Adams.

“Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Monday, May 18, 2015

Meanderings

Something I'm writing right now that isn't connected to anything else I'm writing, except that it seems to take place in the same world as one of my many stalled novels.  Anyway...read this.


A hail of thaumic bullets.  Glass breaking in slow motion. Eddie Mayne rolled through the wreckage and came up firing.
“Fucking cover me!” he shouted, and the small man cowering behind the brick wall winced in terror as he fired a few wan bursts over Eddie's head.
“You fucking coward!” Eddie noted.
“Sorry!”  The apology ended with a wet grunt as the man's head was neatly destroyed by a pulse.
“Shit!”  Eddie rolled over to a thing he could hide behind and hid behind it.  It turned out to be an easily vaporized bit of wood, which was easily vaporized a second later, leaving Eddie exposed.  A pulse burst way too close for comfort, and Eddie rolled toward a thing in the corner that looked like a good thing to crouch near, and crouched near it.  He was able to pull off a few pulses of his own, and a satisfying squeal of pain told him his aim had been true.  The firing stopped.  Eddie caught his breath for a second and assessed the situation.  He'd been grazed by one pulse, leaving a nasty burn line along one of his arms, but otherwise he was unharmed.
His antagonist, a four foot tall dwarf named Simon, lay rolling around in a ball of pain five feet away, his gun and the hand he'd been holding it in lying in a bloody puddle nearby.
“Now that was an extremely dumb move, wasn't it, Simon?”
Simon's response was a gurgling noise, which roughly translated as “Owwww you shot my hand off” in Dwarfish.
“Yes I did, but you know why I did, right?  You know why I had to shoot your hand off?”
“Mmmmgggrrrrrr,” Simon pointed out.
“You were a naughty boy, Simon,” said Eddie.  “A very naughty boy.”
“Nnnnnnnnghhh,” Simon argued.
“There's no sense trying to explain yourself, Simon.  You're going to bleed to death in a second, and you should probably know why.”
The ragged stump at the end of the dwarf's arm pumped more blood out of it and into a growing puddle on the concrete floor of the warehouse.  Simon gurgled.
“You told the Gray Sisterhood about me, didn't you?”
“Snnnnnrrrrfffgggrrrh,” Simon complained.
“Yes, you did.  And that's not something you should have done, is it?”
The dwarf's battle with consciousness ended with a flutter of eyelids and a sharp exhale.  Eddie tsked his tongue and shot the dwarf between the eyes.  He shook his head, pitying the senseless loss of life.
 “Are you quite finished, sir?”  It was Eddie's valet, a thin gray man called Garreth, who had been waiting patiently with the car while Eddie dealt with this particular unpleasantness.
“Yeah.  Fucking Simon.  I told him a thousand times, I did.  But did he listen?  Did he?”
“I'm assuming not, sir?”
“No.  He damnably didn't.”
Eddie walked back to his car, the aetheric contacts glowing green as they repelled away from the tarmac of the road.  He jumped in and signaled Garreth to head north, toward headquarters, and the car slid away on a pocket of thaumically charged air.
“He fucking knew better, didn't he?”
“Yes, sir,” said Garreth.
“God damn son of a grinth.”
“Indeed.”
“Now I've got to get back to the High Mage himself and report that I killed Simon.  That bugger won't be happy.  He'll blame me for all of this.”
“That is an unfortunate outcome,” said Garreth.
“Yeah it is,” said Eddie.  He watched the profile of the city slide past, impossible skyscrapers poking needle holes into the sky, glittering virescent in the night, lit by the plasmic energy of thaumatic thorium, the miracle cure to the world's energy crisis.
Ahead, the complex of narrow buildings that made up the headquarters of the intelligence branch loomed like teeth, sharp and inevitable.  Eddie was not happy about the report he would have to give.  Simon had been a valued agent, which made his defection to the Gray Sisterhood all the more puzzling.  And now Simon would have no way of finding out what had made Simon switch sides.
Where the fuck is this going?
The air car arrived at headquarters, the steel door soaring fifty feet above him opening with an echo that reverberated across time and space.  Eddie shivered as he stepped out of the car and entered the cavernous hall, lit by steel torchieres set to maximum flicker.  Surreal shadows jumped greenly at him as he walked down the corridor.
At the end of what, due to the distance charm that had been cast on the space, seemed like miles but was actually only about twenty feet, Eddie came to a set of narrow gold doors, which opened portentously for him with a charmed crashing noise that echoed along the hexed space to give the illusion of maximum power.
“High Mage Pertucken, I come bearing a message,” Eddie bellowed, because bellowing was the only way to force sound through the warped dimensions of the High Mage's audience chamber.  The doors rumbled closed behind him, solid like a tomb.
A voice rumbled at an angle to reality, above hearing but within it, impossible yet clear as day.
“WHAT?”
“I, Eddie Mayne, have slain Simon Bunk, dwarf defector from these orders, sympathizer with the Gray.”
“SLAIN HIM?”  The voice echoed impossibly through Eddie's eardrums, as if both backwards and inside out, the sound wrapping itself around him like a black hole in a blanket.
“Yes.  I had no choice, you see.  He was shooting at me.”
“YOUR INSTRUCTIONS WERE TO INTERROGATE.”
“Well, hard to interrogate someone who's blasting aether at your head, isn't it?”
“I REPEAT.”  The High Mage's last statement stabbed at Eddie's ears like an inverted needle.
“Ow,” Eddie said.  “Look...you weren't there.  You...”
The inverted needles began to penetrate Eddie's brain, probing.  Eddie fell to his knees and cried out.
“Look, I'm sorry,” he managed to gasp.  “I should have been more careful!”
“YES,” said the voice, and fresh stabbing assaulted Eddie's brain.  He began to bleed from his nose.
“What do you want, High Mage?  I supplicate myself to your mercy.”  Eddie's eyes streamed, his nose bled, and his brain seemed to be melting out of his skull.
“PENETRATE THE GRAY SISTERHOOD.  FIND OUT WHAT MAKES THEM TICK.  DESTROY IT.  DESTROY THEM.  THEN YOU MAY LIVE...A BIT LONGER.”
“Thank you, High Mage. I will do that.  I honor you.  I honor the Magehood.  Praise be to Thaumia, goddess of the Magehood.  Praise be to you.”
The stabbing stopped.  The doors behind him opened again, rattling and echoing for maximum effect.  Eddie stood, bowed, turned on his heels, and left the chamber.
Because there was no need for drama on the exit, his journey back to the car was significantly shorter than his journey in had been.  A plain gray corridor led to a set of simple wooden doors, which when opened revealed his air car floating there waiting for him.  Garreth stood there, black suited and white gloved, the most reassuring sight that Eddie had seen all day.  He had an urge to give Garreth a big hug, but he resisted.
“Take me home, Garreth.  Got some thinking to do.”
Garreth nodded and opened the back door.  Eddie slid in to the leather enclosure, finding comfort in being ensconced by the solid lines of the machine.  It was the perfect synthesis of technology and magic, this air car, and the techno-thaumaturges had worked for years to get the balance right.  It was a comforting extravagance, necessary in Eddie's line of work, where every moment of downtime was precious.

***

Eddie poured himself a stiff drink and sipped at it, staring at the notes scrolling down the flexiglass screen in his hand.  They were all he knew about the Gray Sisterhood, those fanatics, and they were all he had to go on in hunting them.  He wished he had more, honestly, but he was out of time.
Headquarters: Silver City.  Membership: Unknown.  Purpose: Unknown, but generally anti-magic, pro-technology.  Tactics: Sabotage, terrorism, kidnapping, protest mobilization.  Known agitators:
And here a roster of names unfolded itself, names that Eddie had collected over the years, known sympathizers and anti-magic extremists.  Simon Bunk's name was there, and Eddie marked it red, indicating Simon's death.  The red names outnumbered the black ones on this list, but only a few of them were Eddie's fault.  Most of the Gray sisterhood's dead activists met their fate on failed missions.






Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sinister writers club postponed today

It's way too nice outside to sit and write, so I'm going out!  The none of you who would normally be here will have to write on your own.  :)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sinister Writers Club - Saturday edition

Hey Sinister Writer(s)!

I know I'm shouting at an empty warehouse with these posts, but hey, this is working for me, so I'm going to keep doing it.  You, for any definition of the word "you," are welcome to join me at any time, and if you say hello, I will say hello back.  Well, I probably won't say "hello back," because that's just useless and weird, but I will return your greeting.

Today's soundtrack: Disparition, the artist who does the music for Welcome to Night Vale.

Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast.  If you like Prairie Home Companion, but you wish it had a little more H. P. Lovecraft and Steven King, and a darker sense of humor, and vague shadowy figures that inhabit a dog park which no dogs, or people, are allowed to enter, then you should listen to Welcome to Night Vale.

Writing prompt: A scientist stumbles on something mysterious lurking at the bottom of his cereal bowl.

Bonus image writing prompt:



I'll be checking on this post for the next hour or so.

Cheers!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sinister Writers Club - After Dark

Welcome to the first Wednesday night edition of Sinister Writers Club.  If you're up for making a blank page less blank, say hi!

Today's soundtrack: Massive Attack on shuffle.





Writing prompt: A giant robot shows up on your doorstep and tells you...

Happy Wednesday!  We're more than halfway to the weekend!




Saturday, April 25, 2015

New! The Sinister Writers Club: Evening edition.

It's been a long day at work.  You're tired.  All you want to do is have a beer and sit in front of the tube and veg out and then do it all again the next day.

Instead, why not join me and bang out some words?

The next Sinister Writers Club will take place this Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 7:30PM Pacific Time.

Shake off the inertia and lethargy of the workweek and join me.

That way, if someone asks you:


You can say, "Hey, I worked on my writing project today!"

The Sinister Writers Club is in session!

Hello sinister writers!  Let's hunker down for an hour and bang out some words, shall we? Comment below with what you're working on, how many words you'd like to write, tell us where you're stuck, etc. Hell, just say hello.

Today's soundtrack: Evil Friends by Portugal. The man.  Digging this band's sound.



Today's writing prompt: A woman wakes up in a desert and finds that she's suddenly got a beeping metal bracelet around her right wrist.

Bonus! today's IMAGE writing prompt:




Inspirational quote:   “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” -Douglas Adams


I'm still working on my new story.  It's up to 11,000 words, and it is my goal to significantly increase that number today.  It's my first real attempt to write a sci-fantasy humor-ish novel inspired by Douglas Adams, Pratchett, Christopher Moore, and the like.  I had the first 10,000 words reviewed by my writing group on Tuesday, and I was given some really good feedback on how to improve it, but early reviews were generally positive.  
Ok, get writing!