fantasy · flash friday · Short Story · Writing

Friday Flash: A Test

This week’s Friday Flash involves dolphins and elementals. It’s actually an idea I’ve been playing with and wanted to see how it works out in shorter fiction. It’s 312 words.

Vari dove into the water. His undine swam beside him, blue hair streaming, like a beauty out of legend.

This was a test, he knew. She sped ahead of him. He strained and couldn’t catch up, but didn’t fall behind either.

A forest of giant kelp appeared before him, waving gently in the water. She looked at him over her shoulder, winked and disappeared inside.

Oh, no. Instead of following, he kicked to the surface and gasped in air. His boat was a small brown speck, bobbing in the water.  The sun felt good on his wet, bare shoulders.

Following the undine into the kelp forest would be the height of stupidity. Who knew what in there? Even with his magic, he couldn’t prepare for threats he knew nothing about.

A sleek gray bowfish breached the water nearby, water blowing from its spout. Maybe the same one who was riding the bow of his ship yesterday. Watching it, Vari got an idea.

Ducking his head under the water, he studied the bowfish. Maybe twenty, a small family, all bunched together. The larger pod had to be around here somewhere. Not that it mattered so much.

Quickly, quietly, he spelled a shield over himself. Here, with the energy of the whole ocean to draw on, it was easy.

Carefully, quietly, he sent thick threads of magic in a half-circle around the bowfish, open only towards the kelp forest. The first wave of sound startled them. He could see it in their quick, darting movements. The second wave of sound moved them a few body-lengths. He snapped magic a third time, louder, and the bowfish panicked.

They swept through the forest like hurricane through wood, sweeping debris before them, sending lesser creatures scurrying for safety.

His undine whipped clear of the kelp forest, eyes furious, voice high with rage.  “That’s not fair!”

Vari grinned at her.

reading · science fiction

Ender’s Game and Blogging

I was thinking of online newspapers and blogging and social networks and how they rarely appear in old science fiction. And than I realized: Ender’s Game has all that.

Oh, I am not sure it has social networking (i.e. facebook, twitter) but I am pretty sure it has blogging, online newspapers and online forums. Come to think of it, forums  and chat rooms are a form of social networks, aren’t they? So maybe it does have social networks.

Remember, when Ender’s sister and brother (the ones who were passed over for special schooling!) they wrote posts and articles to incite the public. Opposing posts, so that when one gave in, the other would look so much more reasonable.  For free at first (I think on their very own blog) but later for money.

Someone conceived of blogs whenever Ender’s Game was first published. I was postively stunned!

Now I have to find another copy of it to reread and see if I am right.

fantasy · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice

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:

He’d spent most of the night lying awake, thinking of One-Thumb lying dead in the dirt. Thinking of the horror on Lilissa’s face when she’d seen the blood on his hands. He’d gone to Trickle Street to save her, to win her, and somehow, in the saving, he’d lost her.

– The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice by Stephen Deas

Short Story · Writing

Succinctly Yours: Zombie Night

Succinctly Yours is a weekly meme by grandma. Of this meme she says:

How low can you go?

Use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters OR 140 words. It doesn’t have to be exactly 140, just not more. This one is 140 characters.

 Rain drummed on my windshield. Fog rolled up through the street and obscured shapes. I prayed I could get home before the zombies came out.

flash friday · Writing

Friday Flash: Slow Train

I wasn’t going to post this at first, was afraid it’s be too boring. But I figured, WTH.

Shelia swiped her card, pounded up the stairs and just barely squeezed through the train doors. They caught on her backpack and slid open again. She slipped her navy backpack down her arm, out of the way. The doors closed again and the train started moving.

Shelia leaned against the doors, catching her breath, looking around. Other kids and people in business clothes crowded the train. All the seats looked taken and she really didn’t feel like forcing her way through the middle to look for an empty one. Couldn’t even wrap a hand around the poles; not enough room. Well, she didn’t need to hold onto to anything anyway, just needed to brace herself.

She opened her bag and pulled out her sheet of formulas. Couldn’t afford to flunk the calculus midterm today. Twenty minutes to review before the bus.

The train stopped at the next station and Shelia was forced to step off before anyone else could get off. Back inside, she propped herself up against the seat railings, flipped the page over and continued reviewing a convergent series example.

The train lurched to a stop. Shelia looked up, fingers curled around the railing, and realized they were between stations. A large pregnant woman stood next to her, but didn’t block her view door windows. Tiny cars ran below and gulls flew high in the sky. A few people in bright orange vests did mysterious things on the tracks.

An hour left until the test. Shelia frowned. She should have been at the bus stop by now. The train started moving again and she breathed a sigh of relief. Lucky she gave herself twenty extra minutes today. Looked like the subway was running late.

But the train moved slowly. So slowly. The people around her shifted, bored and worried. The minutes trickled away. Another station came. 82 Street-Jackson Heights. Shelia stared outside and unease tickled her spine. Should she get off here? The bus would be easy to get. But it would definitely make her late and the train might still get her there on time. Maybe.

Shelia watched the station disappear and wondered if she’d made a mistake. A crackle from the overhead speakers, but no announcement.

The train stopped entirely. Shelia shoved her cheat sheet back in her bag, no longer able to focus.

A man stood up, gave up his seat to the pregnant lady. “She been standing too long,” he said gruffly, when Shelia stared at him.

Shelia nodded. “Right.” She dug her phone out of her bag and called home. No one answered. Hell. Mom must be out.

She wished for a smart phone so she could the check the MTA website. She looked around, but none of those business people had a blackberry in their hands. Everyone had a watch, though, and they kept checking the time.

Three hours later, Shelia arrived in school. Her classroom door burst open and her fellow classmates poured out.

Some waved to her, stopped and asked questions. “Subway problems. Where’s the – Professor!” Shelia spotted him, hands full of papers. “Professor, I can explain. The train, the subway, it was really late and I -”

“The train isn’t an excuse, girl.”

Stunned, Shelia watched him walk down the hall, seeing herself fail calculus.

General · work in progress · Writing

Scenes and Little Details

I was rereading a scene in the WiP the other day and I noticed I didn’t include a lot of details about the setting. Just the street, towering buildings and little potted trees.

Okay, yeah, he was just walking down the street, so he wasn’t thinking about the crowds. That’s important, since the WiP is 1st person and crowds aren’t something he’s going to notice.

I know he’s weaving through the crowds, and avoiding the tourists who walk five in a row and take up the whole width of the sidewalk. But it’s not something I mentioned. And now, thinking about it, it could come off as though the sidewalk is empty.

The crowds aren’t important, just one of those little city-setting details.  The crowd plays no role at all; he is more involved with his own thoughts and how it feels more like December instead of October.

When I wrote that scene, I am pretty sure I was thinking most people would automatically picture a street crowded with people and cars. But maybe not. When we arrived in FL last year, the drive from the airport to the hotel was a little scary because it was dark and the highway was empty. Maybe one or two other cars in the distance. It was 8 on a Saturday night. That’s after dark, but not that late, especially on a weekend. And, in all honesty, I have never seen a highway that empty. It was nerve-wracking. But for people who live there, it would be normal.

So now I am wondering, should I mention the crowd? A line on the sounds or smells or feel of a crowded street?

reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Midnight’s Daughter

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!

It’s five lines instead of the usual two, but I couldn’t pick which two, so I posted all of them.

My teaser:

Louis-Cesare and his opponent both looked at the clock; then the mage decided on the better part of valor and bolted for the door. I didn’t try to stop him; I was too busy following hard on his heels. Louis-Cesare trailed after me, dragging the limp body of the cabin attendant with him, and the three of us ran full out for the chain-link fence near the runway. The mage, unencumbered by bodies, reached it first and vaulted over. Louis-Cesare dropped the steward and sailed after him, jumping across the eight-foot fence like it wasn’t even there.

–  Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance

Short Story · Writing

Succinctly Yours: Inspector Dad

Succinctly Yours is a weekly meme by grandma. Of this meme she says:

How low can you go?

Use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters OR 140 words. It doesn’t have to be exactly 140, just not more. This one is 135 characters.


“Dad?” She looked out her father’s bedroom window and groaned. He was at it again. When would he realize he was retired? “Dad! Dinner!”

Book Review · fantasy

Book Review: Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton

Warning: spoilers ahead. Do not read if you object to being spoiled. Repeat, do not read if you dislike spoilers.

Old Anita is back! At least, this is the closest to Old Anita Blake I have seen, well, I can’t remember since when. LOL

I cannot tell you how happy I am. This whole book, there is only one sex scene. Count it, just one sex scene with one guy. Okay, yeah, he’s a new guy, but I am too happy to look this gift horse in the mouth. It’s such a relief!

She’s away on Marshall business; the Harlequin are killing people. They (Anita and Edward) can’t tell anyone who the killers are, but it’s their job, so they need to do something. Lots of action ensues:  firefights, chases. As always, Edward packs a tremendous amount of firepower. I always enjoy seeing what new weapons he will bring out.

I think Edward is one of the reasons why Hit List is so good. She is out-of-town. Her usual sweeties are not there and she’s better at controlling the ardeur (explains the lack of sex) . Plus, there is Olaf to mix things up. The bodyguards actually guard Anita instead of doing other stuff.

I really like Edward. He and Anita have both changed since the first book and this book makes clear their relationship has changed, too.

The ending sort of uses the ardeur, but also the power from the insane vampire from the last Edward book (OB). It wasn’t a huge fight scene, but not that bad.  Think it lacked firepower. Also, the way she was kidnapped was a little disappointing.

The biggest surprise:  Olaf becomes a weretigter. The usual end-of-book summary says this and that he’s kidnapped an Anita Blake lookalike. The next book might put an end to the Olaf situation once and for all.

But Anita can call tigers to her . . . what odds do you give Olaf will be able to resist Anita’s siren call?

Grade: B

flash friday · science fiction · Writing

Friday Flash: Welcome Storm

This week’s Friday flash (or Friday drabble, as it were) is based on this photo. Truthfully, I am not sure if the image or the idea came first. I wanted to write a desert scene and went looking for desert photos.

He huddled on the sand. His tattered clothes provided little protection. The hot desert sun beat down on his back. It burned, but he welcomed the pain. Windblown sand drove into his skin like tiny, splinter-sized knives. Eyes shielded by his fingers, he saw a sandstorm in the distance like the promise of freedom. A thick smudge on the horizon, fleeting, leaving behind a wreckage of hearts. A fist of sand slammed into him. It set his ears to ringing, but he sat up and ripped off his clothes. He welcomed the sandstorm with open arms and a joyful heart.