No one had bothered tracking Rory Slade down when his son Madison died in the skiing accident. They hadn’t thought he’d care – that was how active he’d been in his son’s life. It wasn’t something he was proud of, being a deadbeat dad, but he didn’t know if he really could have done anything differently either. Amplifiers usually didn’t do well amongst families. If he’d stayed, he’d probably have done more harm than his absence had.
So when Madison and his wife, Clara, died while on vacation and his granddaughter, Gale, was left parentless, it was weeks before he heard. When he found out, he finished out his current contract, refused all the waiting ones, told his contacts to remove him from their call lists, and had all his belongings shipped home.
He missed the funeral by a good month and a half. It took him another two days to track down the aunt and uncle who’d taken Gale in. Sadly, it had taken no time at all to convince them that she should live with him. They just didn’t know what to do with a child like her. He knew it would only get worse as she got older. The poor little sprite was an amplifier just like her Poppy. He couldn’t leave her to the world’s tender mercies. He might be completely unsuited to raising her, but he was all she had. And before long, she was going to need him.
A more frail, sad-eyed four-year old he’d never seen. Not that he’d been around many young kids, but he knew this wasn’t normal. The last time he’d seen her, some four months previously, she’d been a typically happy, if quiet, child. Now she was more of a breeze than a gale. She hardly spoke, she was sickly, and she wore the trauma of her parents’ death almost visibly. Had she seen them die? Felt them pass from this life? Did she have that post-traumatic stress syndrome or whatever the shrinks called it? He’d have to find out. God only knew what that would do to a budding amplifier.
The aunt and uncle - Mort and Maggie or something like that – packed up a couple of woefully small bags for the chit. Surely that was wrong. Didn’t little girls have lots of frilly things and gew-gaws and stuff? Where was all the shi- er, stuff, from
’s home? The M’s sent her off with stilted hugs and more vigorous waves. She didn’t even look back. Madison
“Are you keeping me now?” Her voice was barely a breath of sound in the loud beat-up car. At least it hadn’t taken her long to decide to talk to him.
“Yep. It’s gonna be you and me, kiddo.” Then he added under his breath. “God help us both.”
He had no idea what to do with kids in general, let alone a little girl. He’d look up parenting crap on the internet. McDonald's. Kids liked that place, right? They went there for lunch on the six hour drive to his place out in the weeds of
. She seemed to like it okay. She ate the nugget things anyways, and clutched the little pink toy whatsit when they got back in the car. Other than that first question, she didn’t speak, and that was fine with him. But if they were going to live together, they had to talk sometimes. He figured it was up to him to get things started. Kentucky
“You wanna talk about your parents?” he asked after a gruff attempt at clearing his throat.
Right. Big surprise. “How about the aunt and uncle you stayed with for a bit? Were they nice?”
“They were okay. One of their kids bit me.”
“Bit you?” Kids did that to each other? How dare one of those little twits do that to this poor child? He was of half a mind to go back and beat that kid’s ass. Butt. Bottom. Or, hell, whatever you called it that wasn’t a cuss word. Heck. Dam- darnit! This not cursing thing was going to be… heck.
Huh. That urge to go defend the kid had hit him out of nowhere. It was the first protective urge he’d felt in… ages. And his amplifier’s abilities had had nothing to do with it. They were still lying complacent in his mind like a fat cat on a sunny window-seat. “Did you tell his parents?”
“Her parents. No.”
“Why not? She shouldn’t be picking on you.”
“She’s only a year old. Her teeth are coming in.”
“Oh. Was she the little one in the yellow jumper-thing with drool all over her chin?”
“Yeah. Babies drool and bite things a lot when they’re teething, Aunt Margie says.”
Margie! That was it. Not Maggie.
She was quiet for a moment, then added, “I don’t like drool.”
“Me neither.” Did this count as bonding?
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Lora entered the Anyaver with something akin to relief. She tugged the head covering closer around her face and hoped that the temporary brown tint to her eyes held until she made it to a room. The gold rims of her irises burned through the dye at an alarming rate. Her clothing was of good quality, but nothing that proclaimed her true rank. After all, why would the heir to the throne of Andiri need to frequent a hotel a short glide trip from her own quarters in the Courts?
To escape. Just for a while.
She approached the front desk, knowing that she would have to talk to a live person rather than simply key her request into a machine. Today’s attendant was a young lady with light brown skin, just hinting at the laska color common to the higher ranked Andiri. Lora’s own skin was pure laska, the light orange-pink of the morning sky on Andiri. One of the new Personal Appearance Modifiers (PAMs) had managed to dull the color to that of an aristocrat for this trip.
Lora inserted a credit chip linked to her alternate identity into a slot on the counter. “One room, two nights,” she stated to the employee.
The young woman’s eyes widened slightly at whatever her screen told her. Then her professional mask returned and a friendly, if curious, smile slid into place. She handed Lora a room key chip and pointed off to the side. “The private lift over there will take you directly to your room.”
Lora raised her eyebrows. That wasn’t common at all but she wasn’t in the mood to argue. “Where do you need my print?” The transaction was keyed to her account via her credit chip, but it needed her fingerprint to authorize it.
“No need. This room is always available to you. You don’t even need to check in or out. Just take the lift on up.”
Before Lora’s tired mind could argue that none of this made any sense, Jorand stepped off the private lift and moved towards them. His strides ate up the distance between them. Somehow he seemed to note everything at once. He directed a passing hotel employee to something that needed attention at the front of the lobby. As he passed by a large potted tree, he plucked off some dead leaves, dropping them in the base. And yet he remained focused on Lora.
When she’d needed to get away from the Courts but still be accessible, this was the first place she thought of. Even if Jorand found out she’d taken refuge here, he would keep her secret. Now she was getting the idea that he was several steps ahead of her.
“I’ll show the lady up, Tennya. Thank you.” He motioned Lora to precede him to the lift, taking her small bag as she passed him. Lora was used to these small courtesies from him. Once the lift doors had swished closed, she turned to him, still peering out from the depths of her head cover. “I have a permanent room here?”
“A suite actually.”
“An entire suite that will hardly ever be used?”
“With a garden.”
“Surely that’s a waste of money and space, Jorand. You’re a keen businessman. Why would you do that?”
He shrugged. “What wouldn’t I do for my Coravi and the guardian of my family?”
She scoffed. “It was an accident that I aided your family a few times. Coincidence.”
“No. It is who you are. You are the Coravi in deed as well as in name. We recognize this and are grateful for it.”
“You don’t owe me anything, Jorand. You or your family. Regardless of my actions, you are the ones who capitalized on it to make your lots better. You might not be at this same place today if I hadn’t played a small part in your history. But I have no doubt that you would have done equally well on your own.”
“Your words are that of a true Coravi, bolstering her subject’s morale.”
She narrowed her eyes at his obtuseness and stalked from the lift when it opened. These people insisted on believing that she was something more than she was. Didn’t they realize what a farce having her as Coravi was?
She didn’t notice his small smile as she strode away.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
J6.4: (clears throat) "Dad, guess what?" (very smooth, nothing happening kind of voice)
Husband: (in between bites of ravioli) "What?"
J6.4: "I rubbed your fork on my butt when I set the table." (bursts into laughter)
Now, J6.4 has a contagious laugh. It comes from deep in her belly, and completely takes over her body. When she starts laughing like that, you can't help but laugh too. So we all started laughing uproariously, even my husband who's sitting there with a mouthful of ravioli and a sick look on his face.
I thought this was a story worth sharing, so I grabbed the cell phone and called my bro-in-law, UncleR. He'd appreciate the trauma his younger brother was being put through by the offspring. Then we had to discuss Thanksgiving plans, and their new house, and eventually I got up from the table and went in the other room so I could hear. I finished the phone call and came back to finish eating with everyone else.
Husband: (After a few bites) "So how's the ravioli?"
Me: (Thinking through this because this was a new brand of ravioli, but ya know, frozen ravs are frozen ravs. So I finally decided on an eloquent: ) "Eh."
Husband: "Good. Because you have the butt fork now."
More uproarious laughter. I kid you not. This is my life.
So then yesterday, we were playing a marathon game of Uno. Poor J6.4 kept getting hit with the Draw 2's and 4's. After her 3rd Draw Four in about 8 minutes, she mutters under her breath, "Someone's gonna get their fork rubbed."
Friday, November 20, 2009
- Teaching for Dummies - Now, do we really want dummies teaching anyone, er... anything? Seriously. It should have one page in it that says "Please don't." Then the whole rest of the book could be pages reading "This page intentionally left blank."
- Evolution for Dummies - Isn't one of the whole points of evolution to put paid to dummy propagation? So is the entirety of the book and attempt to explain to said dummy why we want him/her out of the gene pool?
- Birthing from Within - Um, duh? Where else would it be coming from? It's not like any woman is interested in reversing that process...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
- Dialog: Me, I like my dialog. Oftentimes the dialog is the first thing that pops into my head when coming up with a new scene. Now, someone who's read my dialog needs to weigh in here and tell me if I'm way off-base with my evaluation of my own dialog brilliance. :)
- Plot: I think I do a fair job with plotting and making sure things flow logically. Bus-sized plot holes still occur, but they're usually infrequent and my critique partners point them out with glowy pens and markers for me. ;)
- Scene Description: I wish I could describe scenes better. I'm worse at that than my kids are at listening (and that's pretty stinking bad, just ask my husband). In an effort to improve that - the description, not the listening because that's a hopeless cause - setting is something that I'm concentrating on for the dark fantasy that I've started plotting out. I've browsed the net for pics that show my world (concentrating mostly on just a city right now because most everything is happening there) in the hopes that when I'm doing a scene, I can do a better job of describing it if I have something to look at that resembles it somewhat. I've also spent time coming up with particular places so my folks won't be in a random tavern, but a place with a name, history, a particular clientele, ambiance and structure. What helps you guys with your settings?
- Not So Likable Characters - I love reading characters who are not all "good" or "bad" but I'm not so good at writing them. I tend to give my chars small flaws that are too easily overcome or overlooked, and that's just not how real life is. So that's something I need to work on.
- Full Book Plan: This is the biggie that I'm working to resolve. I want to be able to tell where I'm going from page one so I have a road map to get there. It's fine if I take an unplanned turn along the way and get the Garmin's testy voice in my head saying, "Recalculating..." because I will still have a destination to drive towards. I want to get away from just having a starting point and letting the story meander and frolic along on the way to somewhere. It's worked so far but....
- Emotions: Sometimes they're on the money and sometimes they seem too overwrought. I think this is something that I'll get better at with time and practice. I hope. Oh, I soooo desperately pray this is so! See what I mean?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
- Point to note: We've found a ton of fantasy-type pictures of scantily clad women who could easily be the physical manifestations of my goddesses, and ironically we've found very very few scantily clad male pics. Wonder why that is... NOT!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
- 1000 words/day during the week
- 500 words/day on weekend days.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Then they let Sergeant Ortelli in. He stepped into the room and almost missed a step when he saw Lora, but came to attention despite the burning questions in his eyes.
“Sergeant, I don’t suppose you have any credits I could borrow?” she asked sweetly.
He broke attention immediately. “My Coravi, aren’t you carrying around your own credits yet?” but he was reaching into his trouser pockets nonetheless.
She laughed delightedly. “Not to worry, Sergeant. Save your credits. I learned my lesson and have my own. I was actually hoping you would help me put another arrogant man in his place.” The first time Ortelli had come to her attention, he was in her honor guard on an excursion into the city. Yet another of her attempts to right a wrong had almost failed thanks to his then commanding officer. With Ortelli’s help, and his credits, things had worked out. Ever since, she’d had a special fondness for the kind-hearted rascal.
He rubbed his hands together. “You know that old dog Warski did something to jack up his career? He has patrol duty now. In the north. Far north.” They shared a laugh at his old commander’s fate. The man had not been well-liked. “I’d be delighted to help. Things have been sorely dull since you left.”
She explained her need to obtain the records from the herbalist. “You’ll be acting on my authority. While I would like the operation to go smoothly and without offending too many people, if you start getting push-back, feel free to throw my weight around.”
“How many is too many people to offend?” He smirked.
“You’ll know you’ve jacked things up once you’re on patrol duty up north reporting to Warski again.”
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
If you are a Nalini Singh fan, you're probably aware that her next book in the Psy/Changeling series, Blaze of Memory, is coming out a week from today - Nov. 3. Lurve A La Mode has posted a review and Nalini is giving away 2 signed copies of the book there. But you must comment by tomorrow morning at 6:00 am. So be quick!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
- On the Edge by Ilona Andrews - Rustic Fantasy? (Cross between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but some of the characters are country. Way country) - The first in their (her and her husband Gordon) new series. Another odd magic sandwich world where a mundane world (ours) co-exists next to a magic world (the Weird) and causes, well, weirdness. To give you an idea of how this works, here's my favorite part from one of the snippets I read: "Go brush your teeth, comb your hair, put on dry clothes, and get the guns. We’re going to Wal-Mart." Also, if you want some chances at free On the Edge books (and a Sony e-reader), follow these contest links: The Book Pushers and Bitten by Books.
- Temptation and Surrender by Stephanie Laurens - Regency Romance in her much-loved Cynster series.
- Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre - Science Fiction - Book #3 of Sirantha Jax.
- Demon Forged by Meljean Brook - Paranormal romance - The story of Guardians Irena and Alejandro. Yum.
- Lucinda, Dangerously by Sunny - Paranormal romance - The second book featuring Lucinda, the demon dead princess. It's an offshoot of her Mona Lisa Monere books.
- Shadowlight by Lynn Viehl - Paranormal romance - See my preview of Shadowlight for more deets on this one.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
- Like the Darkyn. Still getting Darkyn fix with Kyndred novels. Me likey.
- Viehl's bad guys are scary-cold-unfeeling-BAD. Not like kill your mom and dad and cat and then kill you in your deepest fear kind of way. They don't care enough about you to find out what your deepest fear is. If you're in their way, they'd run you down with their car and then take the shirt off your broken body to use it to clean the human-barrier gunk from their car. Makes for chilling reading and it fits well with the Roman roots of the story.
- I'm amazed that she's able to keep coming up with new and interesting abilities for her people to get. You'd think that she'd have to start duplicating somewhere, but each one is fresh and new. This novel introduced about a half dozen more er, novel abilities.
- This novel really highlights how well Lynn Viehl utilizes character motivation. All her characters have a history that makes them into the people they are now. Rowan isn't just an angry, mouthy chick because she's young and headstrong. There's a valid, compelling why to it. The main character, Jessa, had been young and carefree (sort-of) once. And then she had that ripped away. Her life now is necessarily bleak and focused. She's repenting for her earlier blindness, trying to atone for her guilt. And the fact that she feels that guilt in the first place for something that hadn't really been her fault, makes her a noble (if hard-headed) character.
- As usual, I was impressed by the characters, the plotting and the emotions involved.
- My only real dislike was Jessa's disbelief. She's got weird abilities herself and knows of others who have them, but she refuses to believe a word about the Darkyn or vampires for the majority of the novel. I just don't get that. Why wouldn't she at least consider the idea?
- Overall, another well-written novel by Lynn and a good start to the new series. I'm happy that we got cameos of Sam, Lucan and Alex and that the Darkyn will be playing more roles to come.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
- I write a little bit
- It sucks and I delete most of it
- I sit there and spin my wheels in place
- Go back to 1. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I've already mentioned on this blog that I really enjoy Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros books. I thought her latest, Deathwish, was in a category all on its own for her treatment of the relationship between Cal and his brother Niko - heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. This book, Trick of the Light, which released on September 1, kicks off a new urban fantasy series set in the same world and has a similar relationship of mutual dependence (but in the same healthyish way) for two of the secondary characters. If you're thinking that she's re-using a plot mechanism, you're welcome to your opinion, but don't complain about it to me, because I think she does a super job with it, and I love these characters. DON'T rain on my parade, got it?
- Okay, I got this. I'm onto what she's doing with that little trail of breadcrumbs throughout the book.
- This other thing though, I think I know where it's going. But it can't really be, right? I mean, nah.
- And what's up with that thing? It's got to tie in somehow, but I haven't got a clue as to how.
- Oh, man. This main chick character is just waaaaay too cocky. Things are clearly getting ready to go FUBAR
- (Closing my eyes) I just can't watch whatever is about to happen. It can't be good for the home team.
- And wha- WTF just happened?
- NO. Nuh. Uh. Damn. It really happened... But not quite like I thought. I like her way better than what I pictured. Good on ya, Robyn.
- And holy hell! Where did that come from? Not a clue! I had not a freaking clue that that was in store for us.
- Wow. Just wow.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Me: "E3.5, J6.2 asked nicely and you must have at least 25 of those little packets over there. Why don't you let her play with two of them?"E3.5: "No. Mine."Me: "If you're not going to share, then maybe you don't deserve to have any to play with either. Wouldn't it be better if you could both play with them? J6.2 usually shares her stuff with you (after having her arm twisted and a contract filled out in triplicate stating what is being shared, for how long, how it may be played with, the condition it will be returned under and what is being used as collateral)."E3.5: *silence*Me: "You don't need all of those and you can't play with all of them at once anyways. She only wants two. Either give two of those packets to J6.2 to play with or I'm taking all of them away from you. It's your choice."
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
He was slender and sleekly muscled with waist-length black hair. His silvery gray skin was lighter than normal for a pure-blooded goblin, which Talon most definitely was not. His aquamarine eyes were from his mother, an elf.Talon is a nineteen-year-old half goblin/half elf. FYI, in Lisa's books, goblin doesn't mean short warty green creature with big ears. They're more like the smexy vampire persona making the rounds today, complete with fangs. Talon is quite the hawt young ladies' man, and knows that he's about the most dangerous threat to a woman's panties since his daddy, Tam, first hit the sheets oh these many years ago. He's cocky but charming, a powerful young spellsinger and a bit of a daredevil. There. Go forth and scavenge the webs for a young hottie with er, silvery gray skin. Yeah. Prob won't find that, but really, that's just a small detail. :)
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
- Monday: 450 words SF novel
- Tuesday: 80 words UF novel (gak)
- Wednesday: 1285 words UF novel (Chase came through for me :) )
- Thursday: 730 words SF novel (I had to grind these out - discipline, discipline)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Another book by a fave author was released yesterday - Obsidian Prey by Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick)! My mom & I are first in line to pick up her books, and I didn't even have any idea that this one was coming out until I almost stepped on it at our local B&N. I apologize, OP, for not being aware of your upcoming arrival. I am shamed.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
- Patricia Briggs - Hunting Ground (next in the Alpha & Omega series)
- Patricia Briggs - Mercy Thompson: Homecoming (graphic novel)
- L.L. Foster - Servant: The Kindred (Gaby book #3)
- Christine Feehan - Dark Slayer (Carpathian book #umpteen)
- Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook (holy incredible author lineup, Batman!!! Shazaam!)- Must Love Hellhounds
- Rob Thurman - Trick of the Light (1st of a new series)
Monday, August 17, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
The snuffling of a nearby creature pushed through the pain and pulled Quint to consciousness. His breathing stayed slow and steady and his eyes didn’t so much as flicker. He had no idea what had happened or where he was, but he clearly wasn’t where he should be. It was safer to pretend unconsciousness to any surrounding enemies.
From the leaves, dirt and twigs poking his limbs and dusting his face, he knew he wasn’t safe with the Guard. Actually, that could be perfectly normal if the Third or Jason were pulling practical jokes again. It was the various aches and pains in conjunction with his surroundings that were the clincher. He hurt all over, in ways that he hadn’t been hurt in decades. His left arm and hand in particular were a mass of agony and the searing pain in his right thigh screamed bullet wound.
His jaw was sore, as were both cheekbones, but a quick inspection with his tongue assured that all his teeth were still solidly in place. That was good – it was tough enough keeping centuries old teeth healthy without having people knock them loose.
He laid there for what seemed like hours, but was probably about twenty minutes, just listening to the sounds around him - animals, bugs, but didn’t seem like any people. The wildlife was just doing its thing while he laid there and decided that he wasn’t dying, nor was he bleeding out - plus and plus. Now to figure out what in Hades had happened to him.
The last thing he remembered was setting down in a clearing near his mission target – a potential slave trafficking holding area.
No, no, there was another memory, but it was fuzzy, just a snapshot really of a rank room with about a dozen thin, grimy people crammed inside. Then nothing. Just this. He struggled into a sitting position and started cataloging his injuries.
Gunshot wound in and out through the outer thigh. Check. Two swollen, probably black, eyes and a banged up chin. Check. Knot on the head. Check times two. Cracked rib. Check. That hurt like a mother, and not the nice kind who makes cookies for the whole class either. Masses of bruising on the left arm and hand where it looked like someone went after him with a maul. Check. What the devil were they trying to do? It probably would have been simpler to steamroll the stupid thing. Two-inch long strip of flesh missing. Check. What the fuck was up with that? Finally, he had a broken pinky finger. Wonderful.
His watch with its GPS tracker had fallen victim to the arm battering. The face was crushed, the clasp mangled and the entire thing crusted in blood from where his scalp bled all over pretty much everything.
Even more concerning was that he didn’t have a single defensive wound. So what? He’d been unconscious and someone had simply shot and then beaten the hell out of him? Then what? How did he end up here, half buried under tree debris?
He splinted his pinky and strapped it to the finger next to it. A strip of his shirt got torn in two and folded into pads, one for either side of the bullet wound. Then he tore another strip and wrapped it around the pads and his thigh to hold the makeshift bandage in place and keep dirt out. His cracked rib complained the whole time.
Finally, he gained his feet, hand on a tree to steady himself. A few tentative steps made it clear that walking was doable but painful. He looked around, view narrowed from eyes almost swollen shut, but still had no idea of where he was. The sky was overcast, but he judged the time to be mid-morning, somewhere kind of forested. He guessed that he was not near his mission destination. The local flora was different, and the climate just a bit off. Of course, it could simply be a change in the weather from whenever he’d set out. He had no idea how much time had passed either.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Guys, stop reading. There's no point in your continuing with today's blog post.