Friday, July 12, 2013

Hope You Had A Nice Holiday

I know I did. Lots of lake and sun. Minimal work. Who doesn't like holidays?

I did get back to the routine this week, though work has been super busy. I don't have a whole lot to say about the latest piece. It actually was pretty rough and I spent a good amount of time editing it and adding a bit to it. It's a bit longer than my last few excerpts, too.

Did I make Damian awkward enough? Generally dialog is supposed to be a fictional representation of "real speak." That is, when writing dialog, I try to avoid a lot of the verbal foibles we're all prone to. The um's, the ah's, the awkward pauses.

There are a lot of those here. I'm hoping it's not too annoying. I was shooting for awkwardly cute.

I also break up the dialog with a lot of tags, again playing up the awkward. Except for the rambling part. That's all mashed together. Does it stick out?

That's all for this week. Hope you have a great weekend!
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A Healthy Glow

The glow around Genny seemed to diminish when her dark eyes lit upon Damian.

Glow? his mind questioned, but Damian shrugged it off. He was still jittery from his recent encounter, and needed to calm the hell down. The transition from dark hotel room to bright hallway was causing him to squint. He rubbed at his eyes, begging them to adjust, and considered what else to say.

Don't let her in, Inigo reminded.

Duh, Damian answered. But why is she here?

As if in compensation for the fading brilliance, Genny’s smile put in an appearance.  “Am I interrupting?” she asked.

“Ah...” Damian fumbled. “I was just…” –he pulled his head back in and looked at the bloody mess– “… working.”

Genny raised an eyebrow. Then, she glanced to the side.

Do not let her leave, Inigo pounced. She must have come to see you! “But I could use a break,” Damian added. Then, he slithered out of the room and held the door cracked behind his back.

Genny backed up to allow him space in the narrow hallway. “You sure?” She seemed uncertain and uncomfortable.

Damian nodded. “Yeah, I was thinking about, um, getting some dinner.” As soon as it was out, he remembered the cancelled date. It was supposed to be this evening. Dinner.

He had cancelled, hadn’t he? Hopefully she wasn’t upset. It’s not like he had much of a choice.

Perhaps she thinks you are a popular man and have chosen another, Inigo said. Do not underestimate the wrath of a spurned woman!

You’re not helping, Inigo.

“Alone,” Damian said. “By myself.” –Duh– “I mean… they sent me to this work thing.  Last second notice. You know how it is. Or do you? I don't know. Probably wouldn't happen where you work. I mean the bar is a nice place and all, I like it, but I doubt they send you out to customers. Mostly they'd come in, I think. It’s probably illegal the other way. Did you get my message?”

Damian came up short of breath, and paused. In the silence, he realized he was dressed poorly. He had on the same T-shirt from the drive in. The shirt had a picture of the Kool-Aid man on it and read: Oh Yeah! He hadn’t been thinking. He’d grabbed the first thing he could find. Please God let there be no blood on this, too.

Damian looked down and found only Kool-Aid. He returned a thanks for that. And for pants. His jeans were still clean, and –more importantly– on.

Genny giggled. “You look fine.” She took a step forward and laid warm hand on Damian’s shoulder. A jolt of paralyzing electricity skittered through him. “And, yes, I got your message,” she added.

He let his tingling brain process that. “Then, why are you here?” he blurted. He slapped a hand to his mouth.

She giggled again, bless her!

Looks like she is as crazy as you are, Inigo chimed in. If she had any sense, she would be running. Not laughing.

Shut up, Inigo.

Genny shifted her feet and Damian’s heart fell with her eyes. “I'm sorry, Damian,” she said. “I just thought… maybe we could still have dinner? If not, I completely understand. It was sort of a crazy impulse, you know? And I wouldn't normally do something like this, but just thought that, well, it'd be nice.”

Damian stared. She was the one rambling now. To him. Could he be making her feel uncomfortable?

Big, brown eyes rose to meet Damian’s. In them, he saw what his mind refused to process. Vulnerability.

How could I say no?

He forced himself to start breathing again. Normally. In and out.

“Dinner. Sure. Of course. I didn't even think– I certainly didn't mean to– I mean…”

You’d love to, Inigo helped.

“I'd love to.”

The door clicked behind him as he closed it the rest of the way.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

A Light In The Attic

Damian glanced down. His clothing looked like a bad piece of modern art. He didn’t recall getting spattered with blood, but there it was.

It would not do to receive a lady so attired, Inigo chimed in.

Damian sent the voice a metaphysical eye-roll and began scrambling around the room. Dancing around the bodies and blood, he stripped off his speckled clothing and tossed it in the vague direction of the trash can. He’d take care of it later. A quick glance in the mirror confirmed that his face had escaped the art show, miraculously. There was only a small crimson line on his neck from the knife.

Damian scrubbed anyway. He felt dirty. Really, really dirty. Like he’d run a marathon on a sweltering day. Through mud. While wearing a sweater and chewing gum retrieved from the bottom of a park bench.

I’ll brush my teeth while I’m at it, he reasoned.

Hoping for a kiss? Inigo asked.

The surprising thought drove Damian’s knee into the bathroom counter. He cursed. Then, he threw a hand over his mouth and stared at his own reflection, wide-eyed. What must this all sound like outside in the hallway?

He leaned warily out of the bathroom and eyed door. A ray of light filtered through the peep-hole. Damian followed it to where it terminated on the back of a dead henchman’s skull. Like a sniper’s dot. Or the Staff of Ra showing Indy where the Ark is hidden.

“Damian?” Genny’s voice called.

Damian flinched. After a brief paused for a deep breath, he stepped up to the door. Turning the knob slowly, he cracked it and poked his head out.

Radiant and resplendent, Genny hovered just beyond the door, a concerned look furrowing her dark eyebrows. Damian wanted to reach out and smooth them. She shouldn’t worry about him. He was Master of Lamps!

Oh, ho! Perhaps you’d like to use some of your newfound confidence to speak to the lady? Inigo prompted

“Uh, hi?” Damian tried.
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The Dog Was Supposed To Be Named Indiana

This section is mostly new. I needed a bridge between the original two scenes so it was a bit more fluid when put together in book format. So I whipped this up yesterday. Had a little fun with it. It's not every day you get to allude to the Staff of Ra. (Yes. I love Indiana Jones. Perhaps too much.)

I had a little fun with the dirty part too. Park bench gum is totally gross. And I imagine that fighting two henchmen with burning eyes in your room would make you a little sweaty. Plus it's Damian's first time killing anyone. I doubt he looks as dirty as he feels, but you'll have that.

(Side note: I was proud of myself. I scheduled this ahead of time since I anticipated being busy Friday. Go me.)
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Friday, June 21, 2013

I'm Back

Missed a couple Fridays, I know. I went to Disney World with my family. It was pretty fun. But I'm back now, so I need to keep this up.

We left Damian for dead last time... but wait a minute! He's not. Duh. Wouldn't be much of a story if I killed off the protagonist so early. Unless I'm channeling George RR Martin, I guess.

Note the completely different outcome from a thrown knife this time. It is actually pretty difficult to throw a knife and kill someone, despite what the movies say. Not that I've tried a whole lot on real (possibly inhuman) targets. I imagine Damian hasn't, either.

Nothing quite so indecent as two dead bodies on the floor, eh? Genny has impeccable timing.
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Knock, Knock.

Damian burst out of his body and hovered above it. Well, not quite. His eyes were still closed. He could still feel the big man on top of him. He just… wasn't himself. He felt detached. Like when the doctors had instructed him to take “happy pills” as a child.

I'm dead, he reasoned. His voice seemed to echo as if from a distance. Where's the light? I know there’s supposed to be a light. I want to go toward it!

Except Damian wasn't dead. His body was still resisting. The knife had stopped alongside his throat, pressing hard but drawing no blood. He could still feel it. It was just... blurry. Could a feeling be blurry?

“Help me,” his mouth growled. It was Inigo's voice that came out, not Damian’s.

What? How? Damian asked, but the response he got was incongruous to the question asked.


Tossing aside his metaphysical concerns for a moment, Damian zeroed in on the command. He couldn't feel any arms and legs. How could he push? Dutifully, he focused on the concept of pushing. Muscle against muscle. Mind over matter.

Righty's knife slipped back an inch, as if the henchman’s strength was suddenly lessened.

Or if my strength has increased? Damian's eyes opened. The rage on Righty’s face had been replaced by something else. Fear?

“Push,” Inigo reminded him.

He renewed his focus. The knife retreated another small bit. Righty ground his teeth. The bigger man was losing. Suddenly, he rolled off of Damian. That quickly, the threat of death was gone. Righty thumped onto the floor. He scrambled to his feet, and made for the door.

He's fleeing? Damian leaped off the bed and retrieved his knife. He casually flipped it around so that his fingers rested gingerly along the blade. Without hesitation, he flung it. It found the space between Righty's shoulder blades a scant two steps before the big man reached the door. Righty toppled forward with a thump.

Silence crashed in. Damian stood, dumbfounded, and settled back into his own body. His limbs tingled as if blood was resuming its circulation. He shook out the pins and needles.

There were two dead bodies on the floor.

Knock, knock.

It took Damian a moment to realize that the knocks weren't in his head. By that time, they'd sounded again. He crept toward the door. A strong voice called from the other side.


Damian froze. It was a female voice.

“Genny?” he called out.

A quick glance through the peephole confirmed his guess. He jumped back. How did she find me?

“Are you all right in there?” came the concerned voice from the hallway. “I heard a thump.”

“Yeah... uh... just a moment. Let me get... ah... decent,” he answered.

He turned around.

There were two dead bodies on the floor.
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Friday, May 31, 2013

Laughing in the Face of Death

One of the things I've tried to do with Damian as a POV character is to let loose his oddities on our narration. The way his brain works isn't too far from my own (what with the voices and all), and I enjoy word-nerdy things like alliteration, puns, and pithy sarcasm. Generally speaking, if you have a straight-laced POV character and then throw in the crap that I'm throwing in, it would stick out and be thematically incorrect. I'm hoping that by letting Damian be Damian, I'm also allowing myself to have a little fun with the prose without jarring the reader out of the story.

This scene is a perfect example of that. Fights are serious business. Right? And yet, I have some random metaphors and groan-worthy alliteration thrown in. I think it's fun. A literary stickler would probably lambaste me. I subscribe to the "write what you would want to read" theory, and these are tiny little jokes that make me cackle. Even in the middle of a serious fight.

Jim Butcher is, in my opinion, a master of this. I love his Harry Dresden novels, wherein the main POV character's peculiarities are completely embraced and provide for some hilarious jokes within jokes. Emulation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I'm definitely trying to channel my inner Butcher here. (And it has nothing to do with fine meats.)

Damian is no Dresden, but I like to think they'd get along if they ever met in person. Harry would be dry. Damian shy. But how often do you get to meet a wizard?!
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What Death Sounds Like

Righty stepped back and coiled his arm to strike again. Damian's feet danced away. Damian leveled out his weapon and balanced on the balls of his feet, ready for any dish to be served in this deadly feast. Righty delivered a ripe, overhand thrust, aiming the blade down at Damian's face. The oaf had apparently eaten his fill of finesse and was hungry for a main laden with brute strength.

Panic took control. Damian saw the knife in his hand and pictured dozens of movies he'd seen. As Righty came charging, he emulated them and threw the knife, end over end. It spun through the air, time slowing and light glinting off the sharp blade. The camera pivoted one-eighty on the blade as it hit the big man in the chest.

With the hilt. Which, of course, did not stick in like an assassin’s airborne offering, but instead bounced off harmlessly and clanged to the floor. Righty kept right on coming.

Damian caught a meaty wrist with both hands and they toppled onto the bed. The big man was on top, leveraging his weapon down. It would be over soon. This was not the movies. That knife swung down far faster than it should.

Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, Damian prayed.

Do I have to do everything? Inigo whined. Clear your mind!


Just do it.

Damian closed his eyes and tried not to focus on the blade bearing down on him. Mere seconds and it would be over. Over! He would be murdered in a hotel room. He could feel the cold steel on his chin, the blade sliding along as it went after the soft flesh of his throat. What's the use? Damian gave up.

He heard a pop.

So that's what death sounds like...
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Focus

As the day winds down, I struggled to get this part out. I actually wrote some new stuff this week, but wanted to stick to this scene. Originally, there was a bit more which I'll post next week. Just didn't get to it today.

Fight scenes generally fly out of my fingers and then need a good deal of editing. There tends to be a lot of little, stylistic annoyances. Like redundant words. I also tried to tighten things up a bit. One of the tricks to good fight scene tension (any tension really) is to keep your sentences short and almost choppy. Not so much that it's annoy, just enough that the reader is pushed from one idea to the next. It can add a "frantic" feel when done right, which is entirely appropriate for a fight.

I remember when this scene first came to mind, I had reached a point in the story where I was like "now what?" When in doubt... fight scene! It's not totally gratuitous. There is a reason these baddies are tracking Damian. And there's always reason to kill when you're an evil henchman, am I right?

More next week! I'm trying to get back into things!
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Dark eyes drank Damian  in from across the room, feeding what they saw to the tiny flames and stoking their unnatural fire. Righty stalked to the foot of the bed, shoulders rippling as he prepared to pounce. Damian felt his hand tighten around the hilt of the large knife he'd taken from Righty's twin. Lefty's carcass lay between them, pool of blood percolating outward.

What now? Damian's panicked brain asked. He had no idea of how he'd managed to slay his first assailant, yet here he was with the man's knife, facing the second–are these even men? Damian backed away.

“I didn't particularly like him,” Righty said, giving the body a quick glance as he stepped over, “but I like you even less.”

Well, that's comforting, Damian thought.

Be quiet and let me focus, Inigo responded.

Focus? I'm the one in danger here!

Be quiet!

Damian resisted the urge to prod. If the voice in his head wanted quiet, Damian would comply. It wasn't like he didn't have more pressing uses for his brain.

“Yeah, well,” Damian responded, “you should leave now if you don't... if you don't want to... to... die or whatever.”

The threat sounded hollow to his own ears. Righty grunted. And kept coming.

From somewhere inside of his black sport coat, Righty produced a switchblade. He flicked it open and whirled it around, perhaps hoping to intimidate his foe. It worked. Damian tried to swallow, but even the smallest drop of spit couldn't find its way down his constricted throat. He coughed loudly, sputtering.

Righty saw the weakness and leapt. The switchblade flashed out toward Damian’s neck, slicing the air. Damian once more trusted instinct.

Reflex pulled him down while his knife hand shot up. It deflected the swipe away from Damian’s body. Righty regrouped, and aimed another sweeping slash at Damian's midsection. The hilt of Damian's blade caught that one. The move pulled Damian face to face with his assailant. Inhuman black eyes stared back, the tiny flames flickering wildly.
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Lefty For Dead

Lefty, despite the obvious threat of the lamp, hazarded another step. It put the man within striking distance, so Damian swung. Unfortunately, in his haste, Damian had forgotten to unplug the weapon from the wall. As the weighted base arced toward his assailant's head, the lamp’s cord went taut. Then, just as suddenly, it snapped free from the wall, flinging Damian forward.

The lamp clanged harmlessly against the bed’s frame, and a jolt shot up Damian's arm as he toppled. Some part of him must have been expecting the fall, for he felt himself tuck into a roll. One with the momentum, he let it carry him back to his feet. With a start, he realized his attackers were behind him.

Damian spun, lamp-weapon in hand. Or, rather, what was left of it. The base had snapped off and rolled away. It clunked into the baseboard, causing Damian to flinch. His eyes went to Lefty, who was still standing a step away. The man appeared even more menacing than before. Damian wasn't sure how that was even possible, but it likely had something to do with the two fresh cuts across the man's cheek.

The plug, Damian reasoned. It must have grazed him.

Lefty didn't acknowledge the injury, but Damian was sure it had to hurt. It was bleeding, after all.

“Sorry, I- ah... yeah,” Damian stammered.

To his surprise, Left grinned, though it fit about as well as a dragon in a dollhouse.

Damian didn't have time to marvel at the expression, however strange, because with the smile came a step and a grasping hand. Damian ducked with speed that surprised him. Even more surprising, he thrust the top of the lamp out in front of him like a spear. It jabbed into Lefty's gut, pushing him back slightly.

The man grabbed the weapon, trapping it and crushing the shade. For one awful moment, Damian was staring directly into the man's burning eyes, eerie darkness with a dash of flame. The perfect recipe for an arduous death.

Damian allowed instinct to control him again. This time it yanked his arms away from the suited stranger. Damian didn't expect the weapon to budge, but the crumpled shade ripped free. Lefty glanced at the remains.

What happened next, Damian would someday find even harder to explain. He had a great view of the events, perched–as it seemed–high in his own head, viewing everything from a distance. He was the audience for his own action film.

With the removal of the various parts of the lamp, all that remained was the long, skinny midsection with a naked bulb in the socket on top. Damian’s hand gripped the implement at the bottom and hefted it, judging the balance. Then, his arm brought it up in a circle even as Lefty was raising his eyes back to his prey.

The bulb caught the man flush to the side of the head and popped. A bit of white powder puffed. Glass speckled the suit. Lefty raised his knife, but whatever controlled Damian was quicker. Even as the shards of glass were bouncing of the man's wide, muscular shoulders, the lamp whizzed back around.

It raked across the man's face from brow to chin, tearing the skin. Blood oozed out of the cut and down into Lefty's right eye, partially blinding him. He swung with his knife where he thought Damian should be, but Damian's body had already vacated the spot, swirling to the left.

The dance ended when Lefty stumbled forward and Damian brought the broken bulb up under the man’s jaw. Damian rammed it home and the tiny fires were snuffed out. A red flood burst from Lefty's mouth. As the man fell back to the floor at the foot of the bed, Damian's hand darted out to grab the knife. It parted easily from lifeless fingers.

New weapon in hand, Damian turned to face Righty. The man wasn't laughing anymore.
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Rock, Paper, Lamp?

This scene jumps back to where we were prior to last week. There are two goons in the room and Damian has no idea what is about to happen. As they say, animals are most dangerous when they're backed into a corner.

This is the first scene where we see a strong hint that maybe there is more to Damian than his mundane exterior might suggest. Certainly the skill with which he moves in this fight is not native to your average cubicle dweller. I, for one, am pretty sure I would have a dreadful time surviving if I brought a lamp to a knife fight...
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Make it Personal

I made a post over on my gaming blog that I thought was also applicable to post here. It's not going to be an exact copy, but I'm going to use large chunks and frame them slightly better for this blog. The basic musing came from my thoughts about "tortured" protagonists in fiction.

The class I used to play when I was heavily into World of Warcraft was a Warlock. These fellows consort with demons and are generally shady characters. I wrote some in-character RP back in the day, and it was always fun trying to make an evil, selfish character sympathetic. I like to think it made for some very interesting reading.

Last weekend, I went to see Iron Man 3 and really enjoyed the movie. I had the crazy notion just this morning that, you know, Tony Stark might be similar to my Warlock character. He's not evil, nor does he consort with demons, but he definitely has that selfish thing down. Let's just say: He's no Captain America.

The cool part about that movie, to me, was the cleverness with which the story was pulled off. In the Avengers movie, the very fabric of the world was in jeopardy what with the alien invasion and Norse gods and all. It was the epitome of a "save the world" plot. How, then, do you create a movie in the same universe, with the same character, and have it retain a high stakes feel? It's like... well, we just saved the world, now what? Sequels in general struggle often with this problem. The stakes were so high in a previous movie and any subsequent plot will fall a bit flat.

There is a neat little trick that I think IM3 nailed. Instead of putting the whole wide world in jeopardy, you need only put the main character's world in jeopardy. If you do your job and make a sympathetic character, then threatening things that are important to them can really raise the stakes without needing to resort to threats of a more global variety.

As a former Warlock, I appreciate this. Saving the world doesn't always appeal to me. Sometimes, well... let 'em burn, right? Yet, threaten what I love and... it's on! A game like World of Warcraft has a hard time using this trick, since everyone is a protagonist. Global threats are the only ones that seem to work , which perhaps is why I feel it gets a bit overdone there. They have some good story threads, but my favorite by far was the Lich King. Fitting, then, that it may be perhaps the most personal of the story-lines in that universe.

With Damian's story, I'm trying to use what I learned from my time as a Warlock. Tortured, somewhat ambiguous characters are loads of fun to write (and hopefully read). Just... don't forget to make it personal!
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Friday, May 3, 2013

I Bet He'd Kick A Puppy, Too

“…and that’s why I hate orphans. It’s not their fault, I know. Product of their environment and all that bullcrap, but that is exactly the problem. We abdicate responsibility so easily these days, you know?”

Not really. Damian wiped at burning eyes. “I–”

Sonny rolled right on over him. “Of course you do. Listen, I’ve really enjoyed our conversation. Made the flight almost pleasant for once.”

It was the first not-explicitly-hateful thing Damian had heard the man say. Even so, when Sonny reached into his pocket, Damian felt himself flinch. It didn’t help that the clunk of the cabin door opening timed up perfectly.

“Whoa, whoa buddy! Do you see a beard?” Sonny threw his head back in laughter, pulling out a piece of paper. “I just wanted to give you my card. Call me once you get settled into your hotel. Where did you say you were staying again? Let’s do drinks.”

Sonny pressed the card into Damian’s hand and, without waiting for a reply, strode down the aisle. Damian watched the man shoulder through several people in his quest to be the first off the plane.

What a strange and unpleasant fellow, Inigo said.
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Jumping Ahead

I know, I just went back to the thread last week. Now, I'm jumping ahead. I wrote a very small but brand-spanking-new chunk this week. It tacks right on to the end of where I left off prior to my little life event. I'll be honest, it's probably the first cohesive bit I've written in like 6 months, so I'm sharing it. My mind seems to be getting back into gear.

The story left off with our hero trapped on a trans-Atlantic flight next to a very rude fellow named Sonny. This takes us to touch-down in Vienna, and straight into our next setting. I think my transitions are a bit jarring when reading sequentially (perhaps less so in the episodic nature of blog posts), but I'm rolling with it for this story. I think the benefit is that it cuts out a lot of unnecessary meandering. I'm trying to give you just the essentials. That's not always a bad thing.

Anyway, here 'tis...
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Back to the Story Thread

Ok. I left y'all hanging on the door knock. Apologies. Been a busy couple of weeks, as mentioned. I got some time today to go back over the beginning of the first fight scene. Yes, I like writing fight scenes. This is sort of setting the stage for (hopefully) next week. And yes, that is a Lord of the Rings reference. I'm also particularly proud of the Van de Graaf reference.

If you're chuckling and saying "nerd" under your breath right now... yep, nailed it. :-)
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Room Service

Damian crept over on wary feet. He froze when the knock sounded again, and then closed the last few steps to peer through the peep hole.

Two suited strangers stood on the other side, looking very much like generic government agents, Righty and Lefty. Righty leaned back, bulky arm settling at his side. Lefty rocked back and forth on his feet.

“Who's there?” Damian called out.

“Room service,” Lefty growled.

Righty chuckled.

They do not appear to be employees of the inn, Inigo observed.

No shit, Sherlock, Damian replied.

“I'm sorry, I believe you have the wrong room,” Damian answered.

Righty leaned in toward the door and smiled. His teeth were stained yellow and cracked, gums dark around the edges. Damian involuntarily took a step back. Was that sulfur he smelled?

“Damian Gardner,” Righty said. “No, I believe we have it right. Open the door.”

Though there was a door between them, Damian suddenly felt naked. Wood, metal, or whatever the barrier was made of did not seem to stop the stares. The big men somehow sensed Damian.

Damian closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He could feel them out there. Waiting. Watching.

“G-go away,” Damian stammered. “Whatever you're here for, I don't want any part of it.”

“Well that's just too damn bad.”

The door exploded inwards, splinters of the jamb spinning through the air. Damian stumbled back until his knee slammed against something painful, and flipped onto the bed. Had they used a gun? Damian couldn’t recall hearing a blast.

The men strode into the room, eyes burning. Literally. Damian gawked. The irises were orange flames licking against a black background. There was nothing human about them. Panic shot through Damian like electricity arching off a Van de Graaff generator.

He fought with the comforter on the bed, wiggling like a fish in a net. He thrashed about, managing somehow to chuck the two pillows at his pursuers. Lefty swatted one away casually, while Righty slashed the other aside with a knife. A shower of white fluff spurted from the wounded sleeping implement.

A knife! A knife!

There seemed an echo in his brain. No time to worry about that now. We need a weapon. Damian flipped heels over head, rolling across the bed and landing on the other side. His hand darted out and grabbed the first thing it could find. The lamp. He pulled it off the nightstand and held it, burning before him as it if were a wizard's staff, though it was hardly large enough.

The men paused on the far side of the bed, pinning him with those awful eyes. They spread ever-so-slightly in the cramped room – Righty to the right, Lefty to the left – blocking both an escape around the foot of the bed and back across its disheveled surface. A crazed psychosis overcame Damian just then, and he embraced it, saying the first thing that came to his mind.

“You shall not pass!” he bellowed.

Lefty cocked his head and took a step forward. Righty just laughed.
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Content Sponge Mode

If you've been paying attention, it is probably obvious that I'm struggling to write. This isn't to say I'm not writing, just not really coherent and planned writing. It tends to be more spur of the moment. I won't lie, I feel somewhat guilty about this. On the other hand, I'm sort of experiencing life upheaval, so it's not all that surprising. Most of my energy is diverted to "holding it together." Sort of like shifting around the deflector shields on the Millennium Falcon. I thought you fixed the hyperdrive!

Apart from that, extra energy is being spent on going out and living a bit. We all go through different seasons of life. My previous had been one of, well, hermitage. There was so much going on at home that I never really got out. It was really conducive to writing, as one might imagine.

I've transitioned back (or forward, depending on how you look at it) to a season where I need to be out making new friends and connections. It's not a bad season, and I've been having a lot of fun. It is absolutely not conducive to writing.

I was driving and thinking (I do a lot of that these days), man these last few weeks would make a good story. One of the hallmarks of many of the writers I've studied over the years is their ability to find the story in anything. I recognized right away that I was doing the same thing. Curiously, it made me feel less guilty. I decided that while I was more productive word-wise in Hermitage Mode, there's something to be gained by getting out and living life every now and then. I think I want to call it Content Sponge Mode. Sure it's fun, but it is also giving me a whole bunch of experiences to draw from when crafting my next work. And that's not a bad thing.

So, for now, I'm going to embrace Content Sponge Mode. I'll write as I get a chance, but I probably won't get a book out this year. I'm sure I'm missing the proverbial boat as e-books continue to take off, but I was never doing this as a get rich scheme anyway. Just wanted to tell stories.

I'm going to still try to keep Damian's story going, but it may be hard some weeks. Just wanted to let y'all know and appreciate those that are sticking around here even in the face of the really sporadic content. I'll never give up on writing, but you may have to weather me being a bit of a flake this year. Artistic license... am I right?
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Cell Phone Hokey Pokey

Random scene today. I wanted to write something short and this bit came to mind. Ever have phantom spasms where you store your cell phone? Happens to me all the time, especially when I'm anxious about a call. Then I pull my phone out and check it twelve times before telling myself to stop being obsessive. Wonderful inventions, these cellular telephones. :-)

Not sure where/if this will end up fitting in the story, but it was fun to write. Hope you enjoy.
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You Put Your Right Leg In

Damian’s leg vibrated. His hand was fishing around in the pocket before he even realized it. Reeling in the catch, Damian studied his phone.

Are all of the world’s intimate secrets now made clear? Inigo asked.


I’ve heard it said that such a device contains the world wide web, no?

Damian’s brain had trouble processing both Inigo’s statement and the state of the phone. There were no messages. No alerts.

I swear it went off.

He shoved the device back in his pocket.

A false alarm?Inigo said.

I guess.

His leg vibrated again. Reflex had the phone out in seconds. Again, the screen was brain.

What the hell?

He set the phone on the table. A few seconds later, his hand was in his pocket again, only this time, there was no phone to catch.

Muscle spasm? Inigo offered.

I guess. Damian replied. Maybe I’ve developed some sort of superpower, able to anticipate a future phone call.

Or perhaps you are just overly anxious to hear from her.

Perhaps. Damian admitted.

He stared at the phone, foot tapping beneath the table.

Probably. He amended.

He felt Inigo’s rolling eyes.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

A Google Reader Alternative

This is not the fiction post you were looking for, I know. Still, it may be pretty useful for many of you. I posted the same article on my gaming blog, but it bears repeating both places. Anyway, here we go...

The announcement Google made about retiring Reader sent me into a mental tailspin (as well as a whole bunch of others, it seems). I've been a Google Reader user for years now, and I'm not even sure I could find half the blogs I like to read again if Reader just disappeared. So yeah, I was just a bit panicked. Plus, as a content provider, you have to somewhat wonder how this is going to affect your readership.

Have no fear. Feedly to the rescue!

After I calmed down a bit, I suspected it probably would not be too hard to find a replacement. Surely, someone else has created a clever RSS-based reading application. It did not take long. I found Feedly right away, installed the Chrome app, logged in, and perhaps 15 minutes later was staring at my Google Reader subscriptions in a new service. After a bit of poking around, I was sold.

Then, I decided to go look to see if my Reader subscriptions would be safe with Feedly after the inevitable shutdown. The good folks at the Feedly blog had two wonderful articles. One with tips for all of us transitioning from Google Reader. The other explaining how your subscriptions WILL be transferred over (short answer: seamlessly and without any action on my part. Huzzah!).

I figured I'd pass this all along as a sort of public service announcement, as many of you undoubtedly had faced similar freak-outs in the last few days. I want to note that I am in no way affiliated or receiving anything from Feedly. I'm just pimping them because they're the first service I came across, it was super simple to set up, imported my existing subs with a button, and assured me that they've got my back when Reader is shut down. What's not to like?

So no, I do not think Google shutting down Reader will be the end of blogging. I don't think it will really harm traffic all that much. Sure some folks may be left in the dark, but where there's a will, there's a way. If we keep creating content that folks want to read, they'll figure out how to read it. How do I know this? Because I'm more consumer than creator these days anyway!

Case closed. The Mayans were still wrong.
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Chapter 3 - Intro

Back this week with another scene. Chapter 2 would be a short chapter. I switch to 3 here as we've switch location, which is sort of what I'm using to break up "chapters." Sort of an arbitrary choice, but I think it helps keep things clear.

Not too much going on here. I set up the scene and try to have some fun fleshing out my two characters. I really enjoy having a voice inside my main character's head, as it provides someone with which to have constant dialog and spruce up normally description-heavy sections. To me, it just makes things more fun. I'm also skimping a bit on description, relying the reader's experience to fill in the blanks. Pretty safe to assume that most people have been to a hotel at some point. I note that it's not a dive, but otherwise unremarkable.

The chapter's name makes more sense down the road I think, so I won't comment too much on it just yet.

For the record, I don't have any plants in my house, plastic or otherwise. But I do not mind wide-brimmed hats.
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Can I Expense That?

Damian pulled into the hotel parking space and the engine sputtered off. As usual, the door did not want to open when he pushed against it. He put his shoulder down and gave a harder shove. It squealed past the point of resistance, flinging wide. Thankfully, the space next to him was unoccupied. He'd chosen this space – furthest from the door – for just that reason.

Sometimes, it is considered mercy to kill a lame horse, Inigo pontificated.

Damian chose not to respond. Instead, he yanked the trunk open and removed his luggage. He slung a black bag containing a laptop over his shoulder. The other, larger piece was on wheels. Damian heaved it out and pulled on the handle. It slid halfway, and then stuck.

Damian pressed the button again and pulled. Nothing. He pressed harder and jiggled things a bit. The handle would not budge. He pulled and rattled, rattled and pulled. No dice. He cursed, but that didn't solve the problem, either. Finally, Damian turned and trudged toward the hotel, stooped at an uncomfortable angle.

I wonder if she got my voice message, Damian's mind wandered.

Are such messages often waylaid? Inigo asked.

Damian considered. I suppose it depends on the person.

She could have lost her phone for all Damian knew. Or left it at home while she was at work. Or turned the ringer off and didn't realize he was trying to reach her. Whatever the case, he hoped she wasn't sitting alone at home, waiting on him. Not that any girl ever would ever do that. Ever.

He considered calling again, but didn't want to risk pushing the number of missed calls into double digits. It would seem desperate, he reasoned with a nod.

Inigo let that one pass with only a chuckle.

The check-in went as smoothly as one might expect. His last name had been misspelled: G-a-r-d-n-e-r, Gardner. People always insisted on adding an extra “e” for some reason. He was neither a botanist, nor a tiller of land. Wide brimmed hats made him look silly, and his thumbs were most assuredly not green. In fact, all of the plants in his apartment were plastic.

The room was tolerable. There was not an inch of dust on the faux-wooden surfaces. No shards of glass lurked in the bathroom sink. The air was free of a musty chlorinated smell. The bed was only slightly lumpy when Damian lay down atop the comforter. He'd been in worse. Heck, he might even risk sleeping beneath the covers.

There was a time when one was fortunate to be able to sleep on something other than straw, Inigo noted. Shall I call you Lord Damian?

If you wish, fair subject, Damian answered. He waved his hand majestically to the amusement of the empty room.

If the voice in his head could have scowled in disgust, Damian was sure Inigo would have. It made him smile. The smile made him think of Genny. Damian pulled out his phone and stared at it. The clock read quarter to eight.

Damian sighed and reached over to turn on the bedside lamp. It was long, skinny, and utilitarian, like everything else in the room. Perhaps he would do some reading. He began to rummage through his things.

It is not too late! Inigo interjected.

Damian sighed. She is over an hour away, Inigo. There is no way I would be able to keep the date now.

A pity.

A knock at the door startled them both.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

It's the Simple Things

Day Job was really busy this week, and I didn't have time after work to do any editing, either. So I have nothing ready for you. Mah bad.

I did write this article over on my secret public journal today. Perhaps it's worth a read. I'm waxing a bit philosophical about the "simple" things in life and how they apply to me and my current goals. When life gives you lemons, maybe first you need to work on remembering how to squeeze the lemons and worry about making a full refreshing beverage later. Or something like that.

See y'all next week.
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Nobody Calls Me Chicken

Damian is not Marty McFly, obviously. There's not much here to discuss. This scene represents the end of what one might call the second chapter (which I organize this all into an ebook), so it sort of just ties things up and sets up where we start in the next scene. It's also sort of the launching of the adventure. It's fun to begin things in a very mundane way, and make it fantastical. Perhaps I just wish my similar experiences at the Day Job resulted in adventures...
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The hand on the clock assaulted gravity once more, pulling itself upward with a tired, trembling arm. Damian imagined he could see the hidden gears flexing like muscles beneath the smooth, white exterior. The hashes marking the passing seconds were teeth, poised to chomp down on his neck and trap him here, forever.

“I was only on the phone for a mo-” Damian blurted, stopping when his boss raised a meaty hand.

“That's not why you're here,” his boss said, fingers steepled. “I’m going to have to ask something of you.”

Damian's eyes darted around the small office, searching for an escape. If the denizens of the world were strictly divided into “fight” or “flight,” he was most assuredly a bird. Even now, Damian found himself envious of a crow taking wing outside.

A thin glass pane surrounded by wood paneling hemmed him in as effectively as any metal cage, however. The menacing fluorescent tubes above chased away all trace of friendly shadow. Behind him, the closed door might as well have been a heavy bank vault.

“Um, sir?” he stammered.

The leather executive chair protested his boss’s shifting weight. “Our customer has requested your presence in an off-site meeting.” The sentence seemed to leave a sour taste in his mouth. His lips smacked before he continued. “So, I'll need you to go ahead and drive yourself to the airport tomorrow night. See my secretary on your way out. She's already made arrangements.”

“Did you say tomorrow, sir?” Damian asked.

“Yes.” Jowls trembled with a nod. “The first flight we could book you on is early. You should consider yourself lucky; the ungodly hour qualifies you for an overnight stay. Hotels are not cheap.”

Damian found it easy to contain his enthusiasm. The “first” flight was likely cheapest, more than offsetting the cost of the flea-ridden hotel. Still, this was behavior he’d grown to expect from his employer. What caused Damian to frown was the implication of the stay.

“Overnight?” Damian squeaked.

His boss shrugged. “I don't make the rules. Have a nice flight.”

And then he turned around and began pounding away at his keyboard. Damian stood to leave. He had obviously been dismissed.

You already have made plans! Inigo reminded him. Tell this thing to your boss. He cannot simply expect you to be available whenever he requires it.

Yes, he can, Damian replied. That's sort of how it works.

You do not even try, Inigo said.

Fine. Damian turned back, one finger raised.

As Damian opened his mouth, the phone rang. His boss revolved and made a shooing motion.

“Hello? Yes, Sherry. Put him through.”

Damian closed his mouth. Who was he kidding? He draped himself in defeat and left.

Coward, Inigo heaped on.

I'll just have to reschedule, Damian replied. Surely, she'll understand.

She would have to, wouldn't she?
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Memory of Story

This is a direct re-posting of the article I wrote today on my gaming blog. I think it fits both here and there for obvious reasons, and my love for the story definitely merits a double posting. So, if you're subscribed both places, I apologize for the redundancy in advance...

During the last few days, the entirety of my gaming time has been devoted to finishing a book. I finally finished late last night, having burned my candle at both ends quite a bit. Even though I don't have much to say about gaming (just waiting on 5.2 for WoW), I figured A Memory of Light was worth mentioning. Several of you are probably Wheel of Time fans as well.

I won't say too much. I know I'm probably the last one finished, but I still don't want to spoil anything for anyone. No alerts here. Just wanted to do a bit of cheering.

What an awesome series! I was introduced to the Wheel of Time series by a good friend only about 4 or so years ago. Many of you have probably been living with these stories for much, much longer. 14 books (15 if you count the Prequel), over 4 million words, almost 12,000 pages. Wikipedia tells me that the audio would run 419 hours and 30 minutes. That's a lot of story.

For folks that do not know, here's a quick intro to the series. The Wheel of Time is epic, epic fantasy. Yes, that's two epics. Long, involved, with loads of plot threads and characters, it is not for the faint of heart. Due to scope alone, it may not be for everyone, but what it does, it does well. It's not pretending to be a thriller, it is epic fantasy. There is magic. And battles. And different races. And very, very human emotions.

The first dozen books were written by Robert Jordan. Then, unfortunately (but with a slight bit of warning), he died. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. Obviously, Mr. Jordan wasn't able to finish the series, and fans anguished that they would never find resolution for the characters that they'd grown to love. Fortunately, the man had prepared notes. Lots and lots of notes. And Brandon Sanderson was approached (as both a fan and burgeoning fantasy author) to finish the series.

It proved a prophetic choice. I can't imagine another author doing a better job of both treasuring the story and honoring the legacy of the late Robert Jordan. These books will remain a treasured series of mine for many years, and it is not without quite a bit of sadness that I finished last night. It was not the ending, but it was an ending. And endings can be both sad and fulfilling. AMOL was both. To borrow the word of Thom Merrilin: exquisite.

To all the other WoT fans out there, /cheer. I made it. We made it. What a ride.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.

Welcome to the Fourth Age.
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Friday, February 8, 2013

On Fire

Damian stalked with false purpose through the cubicle corridor. It was always best to convey a sense of business-like importance. Fewer questions that way. If you looked like you had things to do, then people were less likely to assail you with inane questions.

Did you watch the game last night? No. See the latest episode of… nope. What about that awards program? Nada.

You need a hobby, Inigo observed.

Shut up.

Damian ducked into the break room, phone halfway to his ear. Fortunately, the room was empty now, the coffee having been adequately dispersed amongst the peasantry. Damian’s thumb grazed the “send” button, and he pressed the speaker to his ear. For no reason in particular, Damian fought to appear casual. It was not like she would be able to see.

The phone rang. Once.

“Hello?” Her voice was like a host of heavenly bells ringing down the line and into his ear. In the break room, Damian shuffled from foot to foot and groped for something to say. He pulled at his collar. He hadn't expected Genny to answer. Not on the first try.

Isn't that what is supposed to happen when you employ a telephone? Inigo asked.

Of course, of course, Damian replied. Shut up and let me think.

The silence stretched.

I believe you should state your name.

Shut up!

“Hey, it's Damian,” he said in a rush.

“Hi, Damian,” she replied. He could hear the smile in her voice. His stomach danced.

“I, uh, just called to...” Shoot, what did I call for? “Ah. Do you want to do something sometime?”

“Sure,” she said brightly. “What did you have in mind?”

Crud, he though. He was hoping she'd have an idea.

“A movie?” he tried.

Terrible idea, Inigo said. You cannot converse at a theater. At least not freely. I would offer her cheese and wine under the moonlight on a beach.

We don't live near a beach, Damian fired back.

“Dinner?” He realized he hadn't waited for a response from his first question and blushed. Thankfully, no one was around to see it.

“Dinner and a movie, then,” she said. “When?”

“Ah.” More decisions!

Dinner generally happens in the evening, Inigo pointed out helpfully.

“The evening?” Damian parroted.

Genny giggled. “How about tomorrow? Say eight-ish? I'll text you my address so you can pick me up. Sound good?”

Sounds heavenly.

Text? Inigo asked.

Don’t worry about it, Inigo.

“Sounds wonderful,” Damian replied. Fortunately, his brain wasn't entirely broken. It churned out his next question. “Um, do you have a preference where we go?”

“Surprise me,” she purred.

Damian swallowed. Hard.

“Okay, then.” He cringed when his voice cracked, but, like a champ, he powered through it. “I'll pick you up at eight, then,” he said in a lower-than-normal voice.

She laughed, reminiscent of tinkling bells. Damian found himself smiling, as well.

“Good bye, Damian.”




That last voice had not been hers, his, or Inigo's. He turned and found his boss lurking in the entryway. His stomach stopped, dropped, and rolled.

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” the larger man said. “My office, now.”

The smile slid off Damian’s stupid face.
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Scene Intro - Busted

I think I originally called today's scene "busted," so I went with something different today. "On Fire" is because I like my stop, drop, and roll quip near the end. If you find puns in my writing, at least 75% of the time they are intentional. Promise. I'm a sucker for cheesy puns.

I wonder if any other writers have the problem where someone picks out something you did, and you didn't even realize you'd done it. Like, "Wow, you did x and y and it was amazing." It's great when that is intentional and someone picks up on it, but almost as often it seems accidental. Do you just play it off? "Yeah, I mean to do that." Or admit that you stumbled into talent? Perhaps that's why so many writers crave approval. Half the time we're just bumbling through things.

Though, I will give some credit that, with any art, not being cognizant of something does not mean that you didn't do it intentionally. A lot of times when doing artistic stuff, the subconscious mind can assert itself in unforeseen ways. That's sort of the fun of it, right?

So, yeah, the rest of this scene was simply written by me rolling my face across my keyboard. Complete luck. Didn't plan any of it. Except for the pun. It was a planned pun. A plun.

Nailed it.
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Friday, January 25, 2013

All Work And No Play

Damian blinked and the world dimmed. He swore he could hear the clack of his eyelids closing. As they fought back up, fluorescent light lanced his eyeballs. It felt as if someone had spooned sand into his irises. Fridays were usually like this, especially when one visited a bar the night before.

The world returned to full speed once Damian's orbs were fully exposed. He ground a palm into each socket, hoping in vain to massage himself into wakefulness.  The clock on his computer read 3:01 PM. Two hours to go.

A pungent smell frolicked above the cubicles. Coffee. Of course there was coffee. The steaming black liquid was the lifeblood of engineers. It didn't matter the time of day; there was always a pot on. A terrible, horrible, exceedingly cheap pot. That is, unless you were friends with the guy on the third floor that ground his own beans and kept a spare brewer under his desk. Unfortunately, Damian was subjected to the free stuff.

It free for a reason.

Even so, the smell drew Damian to his feet. He periscoped above the cube walls like a rabbit sniffing the breeze, wary of hawks. Other heads popped up, swiveling. Should two rabbits happen to meet eyes, they would quickly look away as if ashamed at being caught contemplating something other than work.

Ben laughed loudly, oblivious, probably watching another video online. The noise startled Damian into action. He grabbed his brown-stained, handle-free mug, a streak of white plaster down its side, and went off in search of the watering hole.

The oasis was populated by animals of all sizes, jockeying for superiority. Rhino and giraffe stared each other down–or up as the case may be–and then back at the black wellspring. Elephant hefted a handful of creamers that could be flung at Zebra's face, should it become possible to advance his turn. Hyena cackled off to one side with Wildebeest. When Lion rounded the corner, mane resplendent in its dignified perfection, Gophers at his heels, each animal stepped aside. One does not bite the hand that feeds, especially on the wild office savanna.

Damian waited his turn. A second pot was put on. More beans sacrificed to the engineering gods. More perfectly good water dirtied.

The paper in his pocket twitched. Paper couldn't do that, of course, but Damian would have testified to it, hand on the Bible. His fingers found the napkin, folded in a small, neat square. He watched the drip, drip, drip of the coffee. Most of the animals around him were ones that had been too tired, too lame to chase down the first pot. In their sullen company, Damian wanted to scream.

Do it, Inigo urged. Unleash the beast.

Damian turned and fled back to his desk. He would return to the pot a bit later. It was... that had only taken seven minutes? It had felt longer. Time skewed on the savanna.

The paper twitched again. Damian freed it from his pocket and spread it out lovingly in the open space before his keyboard. The number was hastily scrawled in pen. He consulted the memory for the thousandth time. Chills danced along his spine. His stomach did a flip.

The digits burned into his mind, couching themselves deep within the delicate folds of his brain. For a while, he just stared. Should he call? He took out his cell phone and dragged his thumb across the screen, opening it. No bars.

He held the phone up. No bars.

He spun in a circle. No bars.

That device of yours usually seems to perform better near the break room, Inigo suggested.

Damian had been known to make calls from the break room. Usually to his mother. He stood up, gazing once more over the cubes. The animals seemed to have returned to their pens. The Lion was nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps it was coffee time, now. Surely, there would be some left. If not, he could always put on another pot, maybe make a call while it was brewing. He had time to kill; it wasn't even four yet.
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Chapter 2 - Intro

Today's scene would be the start of the second section. Call it a chapter if you wish. Very obviously, this is the next day after Damian gets Genny's number at the bar. It is also Friday. Like today.

I don't think this scene bears any relation to any of my real-life experiences. Not at all.

(Yes, that is sarcasm).

Is it 5pm yet? C'mon weekend!
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Damian Tutone

You should have asked if you could write her, Inigo admonished.

Write her? How about get her number? Damian glanced over his shoulder at the bar retreating in the gloom.

Yes, so you may telephone her. Sometimes I am forgetting of modern conveniences.

Damian shook his head. No, that's not my style.

I can feel the untruth of those words, Damian. You are simply scared, Inigo said.

There was no point in lying to an entity already in your head. Of course I'm scared. You saw her, Inigo. She is way out of my league.

A league? Inigo asked. Of gentlemen?

Extraordinary. Damian chuckled to himself.

I’m afraid I do not understand.

Damian sighed. Yes, Inigo. Out of my league. As in, she is far too attractive for me.

Damian checked to make sure that he had replaced his wallet in the back pocket of his jeans. After spending more than enough on drinks – delivered swiftly and with a radiant smile – he'd tossed a pair twenties on the bar and left. The night had raised his spirits somewhat, and so, in that regard, he supposed it had been a success.

Ah, but you are intelligent and possessing of a well-paying job, no? Even in my time did money entice pretty women, Inigo said. It cannot be much different in these days.

No, I guess you're right, but… she's not like that, Inigo.

And you know this how?

I don't know, she just... I can tell. Damian shoved his hands into his pockets.

It sounds to me like you are making excuses. I could not help but notice the amount that she smiled upon you.

She was working. It’s her job to be friendly in addition to serving the beer. Damian frowned. Had she really smiled at him more than the other patrons? Just let it go, Inigo.

As you wish, Damian.


The voice said his name at the same moment as Inigo. It took Damian a moment to ascertain that it hadn't been in his head as well. He froze a few steps later with one foot in the air.

“Damian,” Genny said again, the patter of her boots closing.

Damian's heart hammered against his chest as he turned. He swallowed once as he drank her in. Even in the unflattering orange of the parking lot lights, she was radiant. He struggled to remember that he could speak.


Genny smiled, closing the last few steps between them. Her chest heaved and Damian tried not to stare.

“I'm sorry to chase you but… I just…” She bit her lip.

Damian envied the tooth. They stood there. Crickets chirped nearby. A truck passed on the distant highway.

Genny shook her head, and the beautiful curls bounced. “Here.” She had a napkin in her hand.

“Did I spill something?” Damian looked about in a panic. Why am I such a klutz?

Genny giggled. “It's my number.” She pressed the paper into his hand.

Damian was stunned.

“Call me sometime,” she suggested.

Damian plumbed the depths of his willpower for a nod.

Genny turned and walked back to the bar. Damian stared openly. She was so... smooth.

It took the door swinging shut to release Damian from his trance. He held the napkin in his hand up to the light. Sure enough, there was a number scrawled on it.

He resisted the urge to pump a fist high in the air.
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Scene Intro - Damian Gets a Number

This scene is pretty simple. Genny follows Damian out into the parking lot to give him her number. What guy doesn't like being chased by a beautiful

I added the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen joke during the edit. What can I say? I'm fond of both cheesy puns and that movie. Here's a secret about me that you might not know: I do an excellent Darrell Hammond doing Sean Connery voice. (Anyone else love those old celebrity Jeopardy SNL skits?)

I mess around with Inigo's word order here. The point is to give you a sense that English is not his native language. I'm being lazy, as what I should do is make use of Google translate or something to get some actual messed up word order examples. I did not do that. Instead, I'm just peppering his speech with odd things here and there to give it a unique voice, hopefully without being annoying.

What scene is not complete without some heaving breasts? Just sayin'. Breathing is sexy. I mean... well... when compared to the alternative... um... I guess that's pretty obvious?

I really, really, really badly wanted to have Genny say "Call me maybe?" But... c'mon! Too cheesy even for me. Plus, Genny is not the sort of girl to ask. She's got a fair bit of self-confidence. Maybe is not a word she'd use. More like:

"You're going to call." (Jedi hand wave.)

(Monotone) "I am going to call."

Yes, Damian is weak minded where Genny is concerned. Men have this problem with beautiful women all the time, but you didn't hear that from me.

Once upon a time, I asked a girl out when she was working at Dairy Queen. Got her number on a little DQ napkin. I was totally a nervous wreck going in (for probably no reason). Afterward, success in hand, I was on cloud nine. I always have loved the movie scene where dude gets kissed, then celebrates when he thinks he's safe, and woman sees and chuckles. Real life goes more like Damian's encounter, I think. That film plays upon the silver screen in your mind, but you hold it in. For all that is holy, you hold it in!

But really, who are you fooling? Everyone can see your idiot smile.

Just sayin.'
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Monday, January 7, 2013

I'm Learning New Words For Dust

I'm going to sit out another round of ROW80. Sad, I know. Unfortunately, I'm still pretty focused on other areas of life, and writing has taken a back seat. It's still happening, just not as regularly, and certainly not to the point where I can set goals and be supportive of others. I'm lucky if I get one post a week in on here, but things are looking up. Writers write, so by no means have I stopped. Just... not very organized. I go weeks where I'm super busy, and I throw a crappy poem down in my notebook. Then, the next week, I have some time, edit almost an entire scene... and then hell breaks loose at work.

Also, here's one thing I'll say upon making the transition from coupled to single living. When you're living with someone, you can divide a lot of the chores. If you have a rough week, you have someone to lean on. Even when things aren't exactly peachy.

When you're living alone, it's all on you, baby. Dust on everything? Milk going bad? Carpet need swept? Laundry? Dishes? Yep, all on you. Or, they just pile up and point accusingly from the doorway/sink/closet/fridge.

Chores bad. Writing good. Arch-enemies. That's what I'm saying here.

(In all reality, it could be that I work full time, volunteer as a coach, and am trying to resurrect a social life. That's probably more to blame, but I choose to blame chores. Still, writers write. Excusers make excuses? I'll finish my stories, just... slowly, and in fits and starts.)

Anyhoo, I did want to give a shout-out to the ROW folks. They're gearing up for another round, and I wish them all the best. I will be lurking in my usual haunts, and I wish you all the best. If you've stumbled over here and don't know what ROW80 is, check it out here.

In other literary news, I'm super-excited about this. Any Wheel of Time fans around here? Huge finale to my favorite fantasy series... releasing tomorrow! (Gosh, I'm almost tearing up looking at the pictures.)
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

I've been on a much needed hiatus during this holiday break from, well, pretty much everything. I saw a whole bunch of family and friends. Warmed my heart. Caught a cold. Dug into some good books and video games. Murder Mystery-ed in the New Year. It's been refreshing.

It's crazy to think that I'm entering my third year on this blog. It doesn't seem all that long ago that I was starting my publishing/writing journey out in the light. I'd written for years, but never shared like this. A long conversation with a new friend last night reminded my how cool this plunge really is. That is to say, there are a whole lot of writers out there that never share, never publish, never take that first step. I try to encourage where I can, because even though I've not sold a million books, gotten rich, or become famous, I've still gotten a whole lot out of the experience. Even if I stopped doing this today (which I'm not), I would be able to look back on this as time well spent and something to be proud of.

I've met a solid handful of very supportive, very talented, and very nice writers through my writing here and involvement in the larger writing community. I'm incredibly thankful for those that have stopped by, commented, and otherwise warmed this space. When you're going through a crappy year, even the smallest support means a whole lot.

I'm still going to be working on Damian's story in 2013. I'm hoping that as things get back to something more closely resembling a normal schedule, and that I'll be writing more earnestly. I'd definitely been sporadic at the close of 2012 (for good reason, but sporadic nonetheless). If there's one thing that seeing friends and family reassured me, it's that writing is a fundamental part of who I am, and I've gotten a lot of people if not interested in writing/reading, then at least curious about the creative process. I think there's something fundamental about creating, about giving life to stories and emotions through words or other media, that speaks to something very primal in all of us. I would definitely advocate anyone interested in taking the plunge with a blog, story, or other creative project, to do so in 2013. It may not take you where you expect to go, but it will be fulfilling in new and unexpected ways. Less destruction, more creation in 2013, says I! I mean, we did make it through the Mayan Apocalypse after all.

So yeah, just wanted to take some time out for reflection this morning and say thank you. Your continued support means the world to me. And I've loved reading/hearing about your creative pursuits as well. We're all in this crazy boat called life together, and it's an honor to be rowing beside you all.

Happy 2013!
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