Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Martians Emerge

Tara Tyler is having her 300+ Follower Celebration by letting us post brief blurbs about our works in progress.  I did so for my reimagining of The War of the Worlds.  Of course, you’ll get a larger excerpt below.  (Keep in mind, it’s Victorian-ish in style.) 

The Martians are just emerging from their cylinder.  I’ve flipped the main character to female. 

The whole creature heaved and pulsated convulsively, its oily skin resembling some great fungus on a rotting log in a dank forest.  The quivering of its mouth and the heaving of its body were only matched by the curling and uncurling of its tentacles.  The great mass of them, on either side of its mouth, brought the term “Gorgon” to mind, rather than “Martian.”  But there was a deliberation to the movement of its tentacles, and a vital intensity to the immense eyes as it observed us and the surroundings that conveyed a nastiness of spirit.  A tentacle rose in the air, swaying, then it pointed at me.  Cold sweat broke out on my brow, and I was overcome with disgust and dread. 

Slowly, the monstrous thing slid over the edge of the cylinder like a clump of wet snow toppling off an eave when sufficiently melted.  It thudded like a great mass of leather in the pit.  The most peculiar, thick cry finally emanated from it.  Then another of these creatures appeared, glistening, crawling forward like the first. 

I turned and ran.  

Monday, February 27, 2012


The Borders bookstore from my previous post

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Now the Forever 21 store

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Campaigner Challenge

Rachael Harrie is holding her First Campaigner Challenge.  Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall.”  As an added challenge, do one or more of these:  

  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!

I did all four.  Please enjoy. 

Shadows crept across the wall, spikes and fangs protruding. 

I’m awake inside my stasis pod.  It’s happening again.  How many did we lose at Turloka 4?  Seventeen?  Eighteen?  Their dying screams echo in my ears as I claw at my chest buckle, releasing the straps. 

Too late.  The creature slithers into the chamber.  Its eyes key on motion.  I go rigid inside the pod.  But my muscles jitter after coming out of stasis.

A man and a woman enter, casual, leather armor on their elbows and knees. 

I hammer at the internal latches with my fists, kick the pod cover open.  My throat thick from stasis sleep, I can only rasp, “Look out!” 

The creature lunges. 

The man whips out a spray can.  Orange aerosol hits the creature between its eyebrow ridges.  It falls on its side, chitinous carapace melting.  The claws spasm a death rattle. 

I stand on the deck plating, struck dumb.  The woman scans my gray underwear with an instrument on her wrist.  “In stasis fifty-seven years.  We’ve had some progress since then.” 

It’s over.  I put my hand up to my eyes, remembering the ones who didn’t make it.  Everything fades.

“Dude, put some clothes on.”  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


DL Hammons runs WRiTE CLUB

The first rule is You do not talk about WRiTE CLUB. 
The second rule is You do not talk about WRiTE CLUB. 

But I was eliminated early, so I’m blabbing giving them publicity.  


I was in Round 6, with an excerpt from one of my Athena novels.  I thought I had a pretty good chance.  Unfortunately, I went up against a skilled competitor.  My pen name was NextMark.  See who you think should have won Round 6. 

They’re in the quarter-finals now, so you might want to check out who wins.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Great Examples of Book Trailers

Holly Cupala has the most interesting trailer for her novel, Don’t Breathe a Word

Although she didn’t say so, I think this could be what illustrations in ebooks will look like in the future:  Short scenes, maybe a few seconds long each, embedded in the ebook itself.  The author herself may shoot the videos (and readers would enjoy the earnestness of the effort), or hire a professional. 

For those who prefer the graphic arts, another trailer uses illustrations drawn by Realm Lovejoy

So this is an impressive book launch by Holly Cupala, as well as a nice mini-tour of Seattle.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Good Computer Recycler

I took my three old computers to for recycling.  As I handed one to a worker there, he said, “Oh, that’s an old one!” 

I said, “It’s the first one I ever owned.” 

  Dewey Louie Hewey  

Now that I think about it, my first one was an Apple IIe.  I labored mightily on it to write an entire novel using WordPerfect.  Anyone?  Anyone? 

But has a good reputation for erasing the hard drive, which was the main reason I had hung onto the three relics for so long.  It would be a pain to plug them up to monitors and keyboards again and use some erasing software that I’m not even sure the oldest one could handle.  The alternative would be to spin the internal disks around while holding a sturdy form of sandpaper up to them.  

Also, they’ll fix up some of the usable computers and give them to third world countries.  So if you live in the Seattle area and have computers you’re using as ottomans, you might stop on by. 

But I have to admit, mine were not as cute as the drones in Silent Running.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Freelance Editor

Emily R. King is hosting her What’s New Wednesday.  For me, it’s a new phase in writing:  

I finally hired a freelance editor to go over one of my manuscripts, and it was a neat experience.  Leigh T. Moore edited my vampire satire, and she made valuable comments, as well as catching some embarrassing inconsistencies. 

Some freelancers will charge you thousands of dollars, but I found her rate very reasonable.  If you’re skittish about the idea, she’ll do a free 500 word sample edit.  So I recommend:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Alien or Human?

This is Ioana from Romania.

Is she from Mars or what?

No, she just eats Mars bars all day.  

When she was in Romania with her 20-inch waist, she couldn’t get a husband, because thin = impoverished family.  She seems to have some natural stricture that has the same result as certain gastric bypass surgeries.   She tried eating Mars candy bars to fatten up, but was still skinny. 

Now she has a husband in Germany and a career as a model.  She eats lots of pizza and other things, but still can’t gain weight. 

Don’t you feel sorry for her?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Five Marketing Myths

Sheralyn Pratt at her blog has shared five Marketing Myths.  This is different from the writing half-truths I've posted on.  Hers are about the commerce part of art vs. commerce.  Her myths are:  

1. Think big.
2. Do what you love, the money will follow.  
3. Aim for your goals.  
4. Practice makes perfect.  
5. Be yourself.  

You'll have to go to her blog to see how she unpacks these.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Liam Neeson - Phone Message

I remember Liam Neeson from a small part he had in The Bounty, for being the voice of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, and for being the ex-CIA guy who is determined to track down and kill the guys who kidnapped his daughter in Taken

Listen to the phone message he leaves for a fan: 

Please leave a message if you’re willing to admit you’re holding your cell phone up to my blog right now.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Critique Blogfest

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim is hosting her Critique Blogfest

Please make comments on my blog re:  

a.      Appearance: Does it appeal to you? Is it too busy, or too plain?
b.      Layout: Is it difficult to navigate? Is it cluttered, or sparse?
c.      Frequency: Does the blogger post too often? Not often enough?
d.      Content: Are the posts interesting? Unique? Are they focused, or all over the place?
e.      Quality: Are the individual posts too long, too short, too sloppy, or too generic?

Then go to her blog and critique some of the other participants.  

Thanks to Margo Kelly and jonyangorg  for already participating on my previous post.  


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