Friday Flash: Master Piece

This isn’t the flash I intended to write, but this is what came out of my keyboard.

He stood back and inspected the work. His legs trembled and his arms were weak, exhausted from holding a brush for a so long.

It was perfect for this, the world of his birth, and epitome of all that was decadent and thoughtless. They took pleasure in the suffering their thoughtlessness inflicted on others, saying, this was the way of the world. This was what one sacrificed in order to move forward.

Thousands of pages of bleached white paper layered one over another like angular clouds. It was the perfect base, all sharp points and an inviting texture. He’d laced two women on top, blond, bare skin bleached white, and carefully applied his special red lipstick to their lips. The procurer was well worth the price. He’d tied a hundred thousand of his carefully prepared rose buds on top of the paper, a silent exclamation mark.
People would touch, stroke the bodies, brush their fingers over the paper, marvel over the contrast between the deep red roses and pure white paper.

And they would die. The red poison in the lips and roses would infect the world like a firestorm. Here and gone before anyone quite realized what was happening.

He wouldn’t survive it, of course. But he was glad to pay the price and call it cheap. This, the place where he was born, the place that had nurtured him, deserved nothing less than to drown in its own vomit like a cheap drunk. 

Friday Flash: Diamond in the Rough

This is short, odd Friday flash. Enjoy.

 

Gigantic diamonds dotted the landscape, as numerous as suns in the galaxy. The cocooning sand, polished to a fine edge by centuries of harsh winds, gleamed in the dawning light.

The grunting, sweating bodies of men swarmed over one especially large gem, six feet tall and three feet wide, tapering to narrow points at the ends. They wrapped it in soft rope and lifted it whole to the back of the truck.

The bottom of the diamond was covered in brown slime. No one paid any attention to it, not even when the muck stuck to the bottom of the workers’ boots. Not even when a tiny crack appeared in the diamond’s shell and a small, black eye peered out.

Teaser Tuesday: Concealed in Death

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser: 

And what the hell does that mean? Why would you serve food for thoughts, and what kind of food? If you serve spinach, do you get healthy thoughts? If it’s ice cream and candy, it is fun thoughts? Why do we say stupid sayings?

- Concealed in Death by JD Robb

This line made me laugh. Food for thought . . .

Concealed in Death Out Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Concealed in Death by JD Robb comes out. 

Some lucky people snagged a review copy. (I was not one of them. But I haven’t been looking for review copies of any book, not even JD Robb.)

There is fan art and even videos made by the fans. (These people are clearly more talented than me.) Some of the videos are to fun watch. One uses Stana Katic from Castle to portray Eve – this is not a portrayal I would’ve thought of, but I understand it.

Why do I love this series? I am not so sure I can say.

I love the fact that it takes place in the future, complete with flying cars, AutoChefs that do the cooking, droids that can do the cleaning and illegal, unregistered computers one uses to do illegal computer stuff.

I love the mystery plot-lines – murder and mayhem. The whole police-procedural feel of it is really nice (and would go wonderfully on the silver screen, IMO).

I love the romance, too, that’s woven throughout. Well, Nora Roberts is known as a romance writer, so it is marketed as romantic suspense. Truthfully, I feel that if you take the romance out, there is still plenty of story left. (But that’s me.)

Not many stories combine these three elements. The mix varies, depending on the book, but all three are always present. I love it for that.

I just wish I could get a copy tomorrow. Or even this month. Instead, I will be haunting the review sites. ;)

Stop Reading an Author Because of Annoying Language?

A couple weeks ago I read some books in the same series one after the other. They didn’t all have the same main character, but they were all by the same author. They all took place in the same world, just centuries apart.

And they sounded the same. The main characters, despite being born centuries apart, born in different circumstances, different social classes, spoke the same way. They were prone to the overuse of the same word. Not just in description, but in the actual dialogue.

It was annoying. So very, very annoying.

And, then, curious, I read through excerpts of another, older series by same author. And you know? The main character used the same words in dialogue and description.

It’s not just one word they used over and over again, but a whole host of words.

I have no words for annoyed I was. I mean, I don’t usually care if authors epically like the same word. That’s inevitable. (Mercedes Lackey is particular fond of the phrase “perfectly ordinary”; LKH especially likes the word “spill” to describe things.) It doesn’t usually bother me. At least, not a lot.

There was just so much of it in this series. I still like the series; I still like the characters; I will probably not stop reading this author entirely. (Would you stop reading an author because of annoying language?)

But this is a sign that I shouldn’t read too many of the author’s work back to back. It just annoys me. Maybe one book a year.

 

 

Friday Flash: Alive

This is an old story I’ve resurrected for #fridayflash!

Cries rent the morning air, like a knife slicing through butter.

Startled – and afraid – I grabbed the dog and rushed indoors.

Cas barked in my arms and shook his blond head. Stone crunched under my claws.

The cry came again, piercing my ears like a needle.

I shut the door just in time. The shriek cut off in the middle. I sagged against the heavy stone gratefully.

Cas licked my nose, rubbing soap suds over my face, and barked. I let the dog jump to the floor.

Cas shook himself, lay down, rubbed himself dry over the carpet.

I didn’t care. As long as I was alive.

I never wanted to see a hunting dragon ever again.

Scene Goals

I am trying the Snowflake Method to write a novella. So I am planning it out, writing the character summaries, thinking about the scenes, and I realize: I don’t know what are the scene goals.

Each scene has to have a goal, right? A place in the story structure? Otherwise, why are are you writing it?

Well, sometimes I write them just for the sheer fun of writing them. But ultimately, they have justify their existence in the finished story.

So I am writing and writing and writing – and I realize, I don’t know the scene goal. Like, I am going on and on and on, but I have no idea why. The scene I really, really wanted to write was this big, tense, sexually fraught scene.

This was the lead up to the big scene, but there was no tension, no conflict, just a boring rendition of the day. But somehow I can’t keep myself from writing it.

I am thinking I either need to trash it or insert conflict.

 

 

Red Titles

You ever have days when you feel like every title you’ve seen recently has the same  word in it, repeated over and over, in endless variations?

I felt like that a few months ago. Not that I did anything about it. Well, I started a post, but never finished writing it. But I am writing it now.

It’s seems to me that many, many titles this past year had the word red in it. (I have only read one of these.)

  • Written In Red
  • Red Sparrow
  • Red Sky in Morning
  • Red Hill
  • The Red Queen
  • The Red Knight
  • Red Country
  • Redshirts

Does that strike anyone else as odd? It strikes me as strange. Are there normally so many books with the word red in the title published in a single year?

I went to the Fantastic Fiction website and did a search for red. It returned 2245 titles.

Granted, some of them seem to be in series with the red in it, such as: Red Stone Security. But they mostly look like they have titles with the word red in it somewhere.

The first book with the word red in its title appeared in 1846 (called The Red Rover). The second one shows up in 1846 (called The Red-Skins). The third appears in 1860 (called Elfrida, the Red Rover’s daughter).

I never realized there were so many titles that involve red in some way. I am quite amazed. And this doesn’t even include other words for red colors: crimson, scarlet, vermilion, etc.

Friday Flash: Snake Woman

This is my first Friday flash of the year – and my first in many, many months. I meant to post this last week, but I forgot. :( This is an experiment, using a different POV from a story I posted earlier.

She peeked in the window. Her old yellow scarf moved in the breeze and she yanked it back. The room was dusty, and littered with pencil stubs and torn paper. The man was inside. He bent over a pad of paper, fingers smudged with graphite. This looked promising.

She moved around the house, past the scraggy grass in the front lawn. There was a kitchen garden in the back. A basil plant grew by the side of the house, its leaves a bright, verdant green, in direct contrast to the faded whitewash of the house.

She squatted in front of it, and cringing, reached inside. But her fingers passed through the soil painlessly, like air through a flute. The bones were buried among the basil roots. Perfect. She cradled them in her hand and lifted them out. The skeleton was no larger than her hand, dead so recently that bits of flesh still clung to its skull. The burial must have been rushed, she thought, the ceremonies not properly observed. Otherwise the basil would have protected the small baby from such as her far better.

A dead baby and a grieving widower – this was perfect. She picked several delicate finger bones and chewed. It would tell the babies in her belly how they should appear to the man.

She left the bones on the ground and rose, turning to the window. The bells on her anklets tinkled in the air, as loud as they had been silent before.  

The man walked came outside from a second door. She smiled at him and pulled on the magic of her people. It covered her like a new silk dress, soft, pliable yet strong. The man gazed her, entranced. She embraced him; his arms wrapped tightly around her. He breathed on her neck, long, slow breaths, and she led him inside.

She made him man food, but left the dust in the room alone. Night fell and she took him in the bed. Finally, finally, she let the magic go. He saw her as she was. His eyes widened above her; he gasped and moaned as though overcome with fear – or desire. His sounds were a wonderful music. She grinned – and drank down his energy. Afterward, he lay on the bad, watching her with wide, staring eyes.

She gave birth on top of him. Blood soaked the bedding. Her babies slipped from her, tiny, writhing, hungry creatures. They bit his lips, sipped his blood. The man would care well for them for a few years. She would be back then.

She knew the villagers would leave him be. They knew her people’s reputation.

Happy New Year and Teaser Tuesday

Happy New Year people! Today is the last day of this year! I think I will be glad to see it go.

I like how the 3 is falling away. Bombs away 3!

So today is also Tuesday and this is will be the last teaser Tuesday for this year:

“It’s not going to make a very good story, in the annals of my time as sister queen.” She quoted dryly, ‘Then her consort jumped up and knocked the foreign queen unconscious with a kettle.’

- The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells.

This is a reread. Martha Wells is one of my favorite writers. I’ve reviewed it here.