Tuesday, July 27, 2010
But I don't usually read them.
1. Because it's too late. The book is on the shelves. It's finished the editing process. For good or bad, I can't go back and change it.
2. Because if the reviews are great I get a swelled head. Praise is a wonderful thing. Getting cocky isn't. And yes, I try not to. But sometimes it's wonderful to have the old ego get a good stroking.
ON THE OTHER HAND
3. Because if the reviews are horrible I get seriously down in the dumps, wonder if I'm really any good at this, etc. One bad review has more power than 50 good ones. Seriously.
So, write your review. Post your review. I thank you for the time and effort. I appreciate you letting other readers know what you think so that they will (hopefully) read the books. But know that I probably won't read the review.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Oh, and I colored my hair. Reddish brown. Highlights to follow. I also (GASP) trimmed the ends and bangs myself. This means that they may be crooked and I will get scolded harshly by the hairdresser when, eventually, I go out of town to get it officially cut. But I literally COULD NOT STAND IT ANOTHER MINUTE!!! And even crooked (I'm guessing here, since I can't see the back and cut it by bending over and combing it down first. I did check using two mirrors after though and it didn't look too bad.) would be better than it was, which was hideous.
Alas, I am also losing quite a lot of hair. This, of course, is due to the thyroid and pituitary crap. Since I'm really not feeling bad I must only be off a bit. I have an appointment with the doctor soon. But honestly, if the worst that happens is my hair gets thinner, I will live with it. Actually, I'll have to live with it anyway, probably. But while I would not particularly like to go bald, I still have quite a lot of hair left.
Oh, and I've been exercising. Which means that I will be sore for a day or two. But they swear it is good for me and I DO feel better once I'm a week or two into it. Also, losing weight seems to help with the thyroid meds. (Don't ask me why. Just seems to. Maybe less mass=more effective.) Of course the thyroid/pituitary crap does making losing weight considerably harder. But HEY, I like a challenge, right?
Okay, day job calls. Gotta go.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Ryan smiled at the sound of Carrie's gasp. It was the nastiest smile I'd ever seen. It promised trouble of the worst kind. He drew the gun and used it to gesture that the girls should go ahead of him into Jen's room. As they passed I saw that Jen had a knife palmed and held against her thigh. That terrified me. Because a knife would be no match for a gun and, smart as she was, she might just try something stupid if he made her desperate enough.
"A computer. Well, well, aren't we coming up in the world."
"I bought it at the junk shop. It's too old for you to pawn."
He looked me over carefully. While he did I sent an urgent e-mail to everyone on the girls mailing lists: "HELP! RYAN BROKE IN. HE HAS A GUN!!! CALL THE COPS!!" All caps, LOTS of exclamation points. Everybody in the girl's circle knew Ryan was bad news. Hopefully one of them would be online and would do something.
"You're probably right." He finally admitted. He ordered the girls to sit on the bed and began throwing things around, rummaging through Jen's meager belongings, deliberately making as much mess as he could. It was obvious he was enjoying the tight-lipped fury she couldn't hide. While he was ransacking the place, I did a little hacking, managing to get control of the traffic camera attached to the stoplight a block over. I rotated it until it was aimed directly through the bedroom window.
Try as I might, I couldn't think of much else I could do. Not with him standing so far away.
"Nothing. Not a fuckin' thing. You are so pathetic." He shook his head. Grabbing the lamp from the makeshift desk with his left hand he swung it in a vicious arc, stepping towards me as he did. Jen and Carrie shrieked as the metal base smashed into my monitor with the sound of breaking glass and the crack of shattering plastic.
PAIN, hideous pain shot through me. He was off-balance from the blow. He was in reach. This was my only possible chance. I wrapped my cords around his ankles without him noticing. When he lunged to grab my base unit the cords tripped him, sending him crashing to the ground.
Everything seemed to happen at once. The gun went off, the shot shattering the window. Ryan's head hit the corner of one of the cinderblocks forming the bookshelves, breaking open his skull. Pulled off-balance I felt myself crashing downward onto his inert form.
I woke on a workbench. A fancy new monitor had been attached to me. I was in a new case. I felt . . . great. Really great.
Taking a look around I saw Carrie and Jen counting money out to the skinny man with glasses standing in front of the workbench.
"I still think you guys are nuts. I mean, yeah, the guts of it were still okay, but it's old. I could get you a much newer model for less than you're spending "
"No." Carrie said firmly.
"Absolutely not!" Jen gave him a horrified look. "We'll pay. But we want Ed. He's special to us."
Glad they thought so. The two of them were pretty special to me, too.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Life is incredibly busy. I only have a couple minutes until I have to start in at the day job. I'm looking forward to posting the finale of "Ed" for the breakfast serial tomorrow, and I have a pretty cool idea for the next one brewing in the back of my mind.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Oh, and before I forget, I am excited to announce that I am now represented by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency. :) Merrilee Heifetz, my previous agent, is a wonderful person and a tremendously skilled agent, but we had a different vision for my individual future (aside from the joint projects with Cathy). So with no animus, or onus on either party, a change has been made.
NOW ON TO THE SERIAL:
You expect that if bad things are going to happen, they'll happen at night. The burglar, or rapist will sneak in through the bedroom window in the wee hours between bedtime and sunrise. It isn't always so. Sometimes the bad things happen in broad daylight.
I don't know how Ryan found out the girls were doing well. Maybe he heard it from one of the patrons from the bar, or around the neighborhood. Maybe he noticed the curtains and decided to investigate. I suppose it doesn't matter. But disaster struck on Saturday afternoon. The girls came back from the store, arms laden with groceries. Carrie hooked a foot around the edge of the door to kick it closed and followed Jen into the kitchen. She would've locked it after she set down the bags in her arms. She always did.
She never got the chance.
They were chattering and laughing in the kitchen as, very quietly, Ryan opened the door and stepped into the living room. He pulled it quietly closed behind him, flipping the lock.
"Well, well, well. Would you look at this. You two sure seem to be doing well."
"Get out." Carrie's voice was cold. In less than a second, her cheerful expression had hardened like stone. Slowly, carefully, Jen moved her body so that she faced Ryan. Hand behind her back, she very quietly reached into the silverware drawer and pulled out a steak knife.
"Now is that any way to talk to the love of your life?" He scolded. He sounded almost obscenely cheerful.
"Get out." She repeated. She was furious, but I could hear a tiny thread of fear in her voice. Apparently Ryan could too. He smiled.
"Oh, I don't think so. Not without what I came for."
"What do you want?" Jen asked. She held the knife in a white-knuckled grip behind her back, blade ready for an upward thrust. Clever girl. It's too easy to block a downward strike.
"You always did get right to the point." The fake cheer faded from his face. "What do you think I want?"
"Money." Jen answered. "That's what you always want isn't it?"
"Got that right. And you two seem to have more than enough to spare."
"I've got twenty bucks." Carrie said. She was still angry, but there was a sense of tired hope in her voice. An almost audible thought that, if she gave him her cash, maybe he'd just go. "I spent the rest at the store."
He shook his head in mock sorrow. "Ladies, ladies, I just know you can do better than that. LOOK at this place." He smiled dangerously. "Jen, why don't we just check in that bedroom you used to keep locked up so tight. I just bet there's something worth pawning in there."
He turned toward the bedroom door, and the light jacket he wore unzipped moved slightly, showing the gun tucked into the waistband of his jeans.Carrie gasped, her eyes widening in fear.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I have friends who are a couple who had two children. They are a loving couple, great, doting parents, who are adventurous, really involved . . . great. And a little over a year ago they lost one of their daughters. It was sudden, unexpected, and horrifying. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to ease their pain.
I really wish there was.
Monday, July 12, 2010
First, we take it absolutely for granted. It's like the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, gravity. Unless something goes wrong ("Oh CRAP, I'm LATE") we pay it no attention, or even wish it away. ("I can't wait for the weekend." "WHEN will this meeting END?") Very seldom do we actualy live in the moment, appreciating it for what it is: a truly fleeting thing. The next moment is never promised for us. We could end. But time will keep flowing on.
People can live in the future. "Someday baby, we'll have enough money to take that vacation you've always dreamed of." Or they can live in the past, "When I was a kid . . .."
But mostly we just exist in it without ever paying attention to it at all. Then suddenly we look up and a huge chunk of it has passed and we kind of blink and go "WHOA how did THAT happen?"
And while I am sorry about it, you CAN'T appreciate every moment. I mean, get real, who's going to appreciate getting reamed by their boss, or broken up with, or (oooo baby) having the flu? To paraphrase from The Incredibles, if every moment is special, none of them are.
So here's to time. For the next hour or so of it I am going to try to stay off of the internet (which eats big whomping chunks) and try to write something.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Ryan left that night. Things were tense the first few days, wondering when he'd come back. But when days stretched into weeks, the tension eased and things slowly began to improve.
Carrie got a job waiting tables at the local bar. It wasn't a lot of money. But it was steady, and it was enough. The sheets that had been hung over the windows with tacks were replaced with curtains---cheap, but cheerful and pretty. Ramen noodles gave way to Hamburger Helper and vegetables.
After some discussion the girls decided to chip in and get basic cable with internet. Now it was my turn to shine. I made sure both girls got plenty of coupons in their e-mail boxes, but screened the spam and scams. When Jen began writing seriously I surreptitiously collected writing contests for her inbox, screening out the ones that weren't reputable, and flat out failing to post the ads and solicitations by folks listed on sites like Writing Predators, and Predators and Editors. Her word processing program had a red button marked "ED" at the top that I'd installed. She thought it was a standard editing feature for the software installed on the machine. It wasn't. But I wasn't going to tell her different. She'd hit ED and I'd make editorial comments and suggestions. Both girls began calling me "Ed." It pleased me to no end. I'd never had a name before.
She worked hard and her writing, and her life, began to steadily improve. So it was no surprise to me when after about six months she placed in a short story contest and won a little money. The girls celebrated with steak and a bottle of wine, toasting each other, me, the future. It was a spectacular night, the best of my life.
I should've known it was too good to last.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Got my fact checking back. I hadn't done too horribly considering I was using internet sources, which tend to be limited and not always reliable. (Yes, there are good ones. But there are also bad ones, and it's hard to tell which are which sometimes.) I got to include some specific details I hadn't known, which helped me to beef up the word count. It's still a little short, but I sent it off to the editor. We'll see what she says.
I have to get moving. I'm the only staff member in the office this week, and it's a ZOO.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
As soon as my friend gets back on my fact checking, I'll finish editing it and send it off.
It's a romance. In fact, it's one of the most romancy things I've ever written.
We'll just have to see whether or not I've pulled it off properly.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
BAM, BAM, BAM.
The pounding not only shook the doorframe, it shook the wall. I could feel my cord shudder in its plug.
"Open the f***ing door!" A male voice, slurred with drink and drugs. I was guessing it belonged to Ryan. Such a charmer, waking the entire building at 2:30 in morning.
"Yeah, like that's gonna happen." Jen muttered.
"You're gonna give me the f***ing rent money, and you're doin' it now."
I watched as she sat up in bed, glanced at the clock and winced. Someone on the floor below was pounding on the ceiling with a broomstick in a non-verbal complaint about the racket Ryan was making. The sound was unmistakeable.
"I gave it to the landlord yesterday." The word asshole was implied, but not stated.
"You what?" He was stunned, and outraged.
"I ran into him in the hall." She took a deep breath. "He demanded the money and he told me that if we didn't catch up on last month in the next week he was throwing us out."
There was a pregnant pause. I could hear Carrie in the background. "Last month? Ryan, last month was when I . . . you had me . . . I mean, that's the only reason I . . ." She sounded like she was starting to cry and I had a feeling I didn't want to know what Ryan had had her do to earn their part of the rent.
Ryan's voice was gruff. "He's a lying bastard. I gave him that money."
Even I could tell he was lying, and it's not like I came with polygraph software.
"Look," Jen said with more calm and patience than I would've been able to muster, "I paid him for this month. I don't have any more money. I have to go to work in the morning and I need some sleep. Good night." She flopped down onto her mattress, pulling the blankets up over her head. It took a while for her to fall asleep though. No surprise. Hard to relax when you can clearly hear the sound of your roommate's heartbroken sobs through the closed door.