Friday, April 27, 2007

A Fine Conspiracy

Getting your future home inspected is a bit of a muddle, isn't it? I mean, you hire this fellow, that is usually recommended by your realtor, to find all the faults in the building that the realtor would rather not be found.

Although it is you who is in fact paying him, he really gets his continuing business from the realtor. At the same time, the inspector's harshness and keen eye is in line with your needs (find the thick piece of balsa wood they've used as a support beam; point out that the flashing is improperly installed according to Section 849201-a of the Building Code and will result in catastropic failure of your condo/townhouse/house/small grass hut in approximately Specified Amount Of Time Too Soon To Ignore; spot the tell tale signs of a deadly mold or that the previous owners enjoyed the work of Chuck Norris in a non-ironic way), and yet, is at odds with the realtor's needs (get this puppy sold so they can move on to their next deal).

It's a bit like, say, Batman getting his batmobile inspected by say, A Certified Professional Superhero Conveyance Specialist, recommended by the good folks at "Superhero Vehicles, Planes, Biplanes and Solar Powered Jets Inc". I imagine the conversation would go like this:

Batman : "So, that ejector seat, seems a bit finicky."
CPSCS : "Oh no, that's what you want. You don't want it going off at the slightest touch."
Batman : "Like, say, when I really want it to go off, without making a very obvious smashing motion on the ejector button right here, beside the 8-track deck?"
CPSCS : (looking nervously at the salesman) "Er, uh, hey, that's a nice jet engine you got installed over there. A real beaut."
Batman : "Oh, it sure it. I don't think it actually contributes to the speed of the batmobile though."
CPSCS : "The flames are nice though. Can't go wrong with flames."
Batman : "That reminds me, the flamethrower. It--"
CPSCS : "Yeees?"
Batman : "It doesn't actually throw flames. Not an appreciable distance, anyways."
CPSCS : "Well, how far did you wa--"
Batman : "Farther than 2 feet."
CPSCS : "Oh, you don't want that, the flamethrower is really a close quarters weapon. You wanna see his eyeballs boil."
Batman : "Ew. Speaking of disgusting, is it supposed to be leaking this much oil?"
CPSCS : "That's not oil that's, uh," (looking nervously at the salesman, who is staring intently at his "Salesman of the Year 1972" mug) "pure evil. It's leaking pure evil."
Batman : (somewhat impressed, looking at the batmobile with new eyes) "It can do that?"
CPSCS : "Uh, why not."
etc etc etc.

You can see how it's a bit of a incestuous relationship. With the inspector not wanting to tank the deal, and the realtor holding the sharp edge of Never Suggesting To My Client He Call You Again dagger over his head. Which, in addition to being an unwieldy name, is pretty much the only way that an inspector stays in business.

I notice I'm repeating myself. It's an obvious quandary. And it's a quandary that has to do with not only where you live, but where you are going to be putting a entirely unreasonable chunk of your paycheque. A man's home is his castle and all that. A more apt term would be of course "A man's home is his largest amount of debt he'll have to pay over the course of 25+ years and which, in the scheme of things, is really owned by the bank, the damn blood suckers". But that's fairly unlikely to ever happen; in the world of sayings, truth and pithiness rarely intersect.

People Who Write Marvellously

It's a rare occasion when I stumble upon a blog that's written so well, I feel that perhaps I've bypassed some payment screen. That unbeknownst to me, I somehow hacked past some credit card requiring site, and am suddenly reading some juicy, marvellously written blog that is only shared among Those In the Know, or perhaps, Those Willing To Use Their Mastercard To Read Good Stuff; as opposed to the general drivel that tends to flood the intertubes: endless posts about cats and kittens, and perhaps aforementioned felines mashed up with the meme-o-the-day.

Now, I'm not sure what the etiquette is for announcing said links. I think if you are of the cool set (and really, if you are wondering if you are, I suppose that means you're not), you simply do not make any reference to it, and only add it to you links (or blogroll, I think is the term). Which is perfectly fine. It's like the cool kid suddenly taking under his wing the slightly odd exchange student from a newly recognized former Soviet Bloc country with the dashing hair and alarming body odour. Nothing is said, it's merely observed by the cooler kids, and the more pathetic teachers, that said exchange student is now under the tutelage of coolness, as it were.

Which is grand. My understanding is most blogs are fairly tightly contained. No need to mention all friends here and sundry at random intervals. That's that good blogs do. Good blogs. This is not one of them. So, of course, I'm going to draw attention to A Big Side Order. A weekly blog about some fellow in the UK who takes walks, and writes gobsmackingly funny posts about it. So good, in fact, I was tempted to never mention him at all. I do not need help to bring in sharp rellief my lackadaisacal style and often times questionable logical flow, not to mention my patchy application of grammar.

But link to him I must. As I, wild and crazy person that I am, felt the need to write him a fan letter of sorts. Which he took as an invitation for him to link to my blog. Which is shocking. Very shocking. Apparently he ignored the part in my email where I suggest he NOT do such a thing. But he's far too high class to not link me. I'm not sure what the etiquette is for linking and the like. So far I've only linked to people I actually know. As opposed to admire. Or admire from afar. Admire unabashedly and slightly stalkerishly, actually. So I've linked back to him. He apparently has even been paid for his non-fictionish writing. So I suppose he's a professional writer.

Anyhoo, so if you enjoy my blog, and want to find out how this sort of thing is really done, head over there, I think he's approximately thirty times more visitors than I have. Give or take a few factors.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stress

Somedays are easy and breezy, like so many pina coladas on a slightly illegal Caribbean hot spot, like that one time you have surgery on an infinitely unpronounceable body part and they give you some highly addictive but oh so dreamy narcotic. We all strive for the ease of days. (Those of us who don't thrive on it of course. There are a cursed few who live for it, ER doctors, say, or air traffic controllers, maybe the odd bomb specialist, and of course, the ubiquitous Extreme Sports Guy on an edgy, Gen-Xerish commercial touting yet another way to get caffeine into your system).

And yet, and yet there are times when the Fates -- being the vindictive harpies they are -- conspire to shovel unto your unsuspecting, in full repose self, a mountain of stress. A heaping mountain of Everestian stress. And I'm not just talking about the base of Everest, I'm talking about the whole sack of hammers; even the top where countless numbers of once brave, stiff upper lipped British explorers have left their very courageous corpses.

It is the stuff that builds character. It's the day that's crafted to off you, once and for all. To take advantage of your faulty ticker or hair trigger response to aneurysms.

It's not without purpose, of course. We as a hunter gatherer people are used to stress, it was our pulse, it let us know we were still hunting the mammoth on those primitive plains of yore, or perhaps trudging through bleak and unforgiving tundra, looking for that one bit of shelter to save us from the elements. And, to a much lesser extent, it was the pregnant pause as we watched our fellow cavemen admire and judge our neolithic paintings of ungulates (more than likely made with feces or blood of a downed furry thing). And it was stress we felt when we watched our tribesmen surround a great beast; and use teamwork and a suicidal disregard for the physics of multi-ton pachyderms versus small naked ape descendants.

Stress is the stuff of waiting. Waiting for the other shoe to fall, for the thing-that-we'd-rather-not-fail-horribly to be put through it's paces. Waiting for our lives to forever be changed by the outcome.

For me, that was today. It was the day when we waited for the subjects to be removed from our place (the buyer crossing all the t's, dotting all the i's, struggling with the throes of Buyers Remorse); and also the day we put in an offer to our new digs; and also the day when I decided to email the agent who has a partial manuscript of my book, and who I've been waiting for for a good five months and a bit; and also the day when the Canucks had game seven for the Western Conference quarter finals (admittedly, I have never been nor will I ever be a hockey fan, let alone a Canucks fan, but it's difficult to ignore the outcome of a small rubber disc on ice being thrashed at by grown men in gladiatoresque uniforms when the entire city, as well as a few of my close friends, are positively Heart In Throat about the whole thing (I will never jump onto the Canucks Fanwagon. There are some things that are too sacred to sully with Me-Too-ism. Die-hard fan loyalty for a franchise that has tripped and fallen oh so many times is one of them.)).

In short, it was my version of the hunt for the shelter from the elements, the judgment of my cave painting, and the hush before the hunters were victorious or permanently driven into the landscape by a lethal pachyderm.

It was a day of stress.

But, lo and behold, things went along well. Subjects were removed, our offer was accepted (albeit with a slight alteration, we have a month in which we are homeless), the Canucks won, but of course, the one thing that has my heart going the way of Myocardial Infarction Ville will probably not be settled until much later.

And probably with an equally stressing and all the less exciting rejection form letter.

Ah to be a caveman.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lovecraft Exercise

I recently finished a novell by H.P. Lovecraft, "At the Mountain of Madness". Lovecraft was a writer in early 20th century who wrote commercial horror for pulp mags and the like. He's as influential in the Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy camp as say, Edgar Allen Poe, or almost as much. He writes in a florid style, usually taking about thirty pages what can be said in two. But he has a style, and it can be quite interesting to read.

In an effort to build my writing skills, I wrote a short story that hopefully does a good job imitating his voice. I initially thought to make it Lovecraftian and humourous, but was not equal to the task, so I give you this instead:

Culling Beans

A most hated day. When a hellspawn intelligence dreamt up a nameless horror, then bent the world and willed it into existence. It burst forth from the lowest places of Hell, from the depths of the Lakes of Fire. It was a day that will burn in my mind as the day I undid the world.
     But it was not a day unto itself. No, it was a nadir of my four decades on this earth. Toiling and plowing the fields of knowledge. Hoping that my sweat and strife would bear fruit for me and my hungry, yet lacking, intellect.
     The striving ending with miserable failure, having to bear the acceptance to a mediocre institution. My failed papers. My failed relationships, when there were any. My tenure at this hated research group. Little more than a gopher for the luminaries who walk these halls. A footnote in the annals of academic pursuit!
     I see now, I see how that pulled at me, whipped at me to go the forgotten regions, to the places forbidden by God and by Science. Forbidden by the most primal instincts of man. Indeed, to pull from the very maw of that unseen and ancient terror. To try and lift something from the Abyss to the Halls of man.
     The folly!
     I think now, how it was so easy. After all, the Geology Group wasn't doing anything with them, simple lima beans. Ancient, of course, found in some pocket of strata. The details evade me now. Geology being a far cry from my passion of Botany.
     The Geology Group should have pushed this onto the best and brightest of the Botany Group. But they couldn't be bothered, they had their own lights to follow. Their own paths to blaze. How they rue the day they let a small mind such as myself clutch at that most hated treasure.     
     Upon examing the seeds, I found quite quickly how they had strange inscriptions on them. Hideous, yet stunning in their complexity. Carved by no human hand, and never seen, until then, by any human eye. The sight, I'll admit, made me cry out, even before I knew what I was looking at. Something in that reptilian brain of mine knew immediately. Something deep under all this thinking and wanting and scheming brain recognized I should have smashed those seeds. Then and there.
     And yet. And yet I was intrigued.
     They were surely ancient. Pre-history, pre-human to be sure. Could such etchings be made from natural process of pressure and heat? Maybe some of the Geology boys were having a joke at my expense. That seemed the least likely. Not because they wouldn't do it, but because the carvings were too hideouslly detailed. They spoke of eternal evil. Before you think my prattling that of a dangerous, unstable mind, my lab partner, Thompson, thought the same thing. He refused to work on them with me. Which didn't stop him from suggesting that perhaps I should plant them. See what happens.
     We would all soon see what ruin that would bring.
     How cruel the Fates were to me. To pair me with a partner who would stoke my desire for greatness, and provide, in his own way, the catalyst for all of our undoing.     
     And so I sent a message via our pneumatic systems, asking the Geology group if they might explain the carvings. They never got back to me. Too busy deep in their studies, or off on another trip, to be sure. In any case, they knew who I was, and most likely prioritized my queries accordingly.
     Would I have planted those accursed beans if I had known? I'm not sure. Perhaps that reptilian warning would manifest itself in action, and I would store away the beans, never to be seen again. Or more likely, the urgent desire to find and do anything of value for the field of Botany would have excoriated me ruthlessly until I relented and did something with those beans.
     Oh accursed, hateful day. The day I turned on the lamps. And every day I watered those beans.
     First there was joy. Who could know a failures joy on realizing all his inequity, all his painful failings could be wiped away by one significant discovery? I was overjoyed. Small red sprouts came forth not one week after the strict watering regime. It had been quite the work to recreate the pH and salinty, the proper balance that must have occured when these beans first found the earth.
     I didn't notice, or cared not to notice, that out the leading stem of each plant there oozed what looked very much like blood.
     A month passed.
     The plants were hideous. Frightening. I was glad to be in the basement, close to the boiler. Thompson had thankfully, or perhaps unluckily enough, been promoted. Not here 3 months and he had found the first run on the ladder. While I still toiled, seven years unrewarded. Perhaps if he was still with me he would have stopped my experiment. The plants were veiny, red, bulbous things. Only the smallest trace of green touched these gory horrors, sprouting, thrusting into the air.
     Soon, I noticed that they moved.
     It was small, imperceptible, but they did seem to pulse. Their veins pulsed ever so slightly. Did I know even then that something dark was afoot? That soon I would be staring at mortality as it counted my last days? Perhaps I did know. But I was powerless to resist. Where the carvings on the seeds frightened me, the plants horrified me, froze my heart and mind into blindness. I could not, would not see what was in front of me.
     Weeks passed, in a hazy, nightmarish daze. I would still water the plants, but with my eyes closed. I could not look at them. Worst, I felt that perhaps, they would not be looked upon. But every day clawed at me with a terror I could not breathe, a terror I would not admit to myself. A terror that ravaged my dreams until I could not sleep.
     And then, that hateful day. The most hateful day.
The plants spoke.
     My eyes flew open in wide eyed surprise, and on seeing the abomination, narrowed to abject fear. It was no longer a plant. Where the seedling was there stood now a five legged arthropod of some sort. Not unlike a crab from the darkest recesses of our nightmares. It's eyes were the on long stalks, and held an ancient, ruthless wisdom in them. To my further surprise, I saw how the eyes had been the lima beans. The beast had grown from the earth, eyes first. When it blinked, I could see faint tracings of those nameless carvings, those terrible, soul killing carvings. Five eyestalks ended in three to seven eyes each. They blinked independentally of each other. As if being a being of five different minds. On the main body were five mouths, each one armed with needle like teeth, each one speaking in turn.
     The plant inquired as to where it was and why. I told it what, in halting words to be sure, what was happening, what I was trying to do. I asked it what it was. It asked to be taken to head. Those who were in charge. It could see, in it's terrible intelligence, that I was a mere lackey to those that mattered.
And so I arranged a meeting. After much incredulity and scorn.
     I've inserted a transcript on the discussion between the Director and the Monstrosity.

     Unknown : It's curious that I was not exterminated the minute my first sprouts were evident.
     Director : We are not a warring and uncultured race. We desire to learn, to grow.
     Unknown : Ah, just as I suspected. I was designed to have contact with such a species. Those advanced far enough in science to not attack me outright while I, or any of my brothers and sisters, grew.
     Director : That's a relief. Your intentions are, peaceful then.
     Unknown : Not in so many words.
     Director : What would you say your role is then?
     Unknown : I have many names, in your language, I am the Balancer, or the Peace Bringer.
     Director : Most comforting.
     Unknown: I am also known as the Culler.
     Unknown : Planted many aeons ago in your planet's crust. We were placed to germinate and grow. But only when a truly advancing race had sprouted, and would not eat us or destroy us as we grew, were we to reach our full maturity. Our masters abhor competition. So we were made to feed on, well, your brains. Well developed, large, and full of all those nutrients that only a well evolved brain would have.
     Director : *screams*
     Direco...

Transcript ends, naturally enough. And then that monstrosity proceeded to suck the brains out of the Director. It's intelligence far exceeded all of us. Using some sort of psychokinesis, it was able to lock down the entire Institute, and proceed to very slowly, to suck the brain stuffs of all the greatest minds, and all the not so greatest minds. It is to my horror then, that my mediocre mind has saved me from having my brains sucked from my skull.
     I am the last of the Institute. The last, not so great mind. Locked in the final door. I'm of no delusion that I shall live this out. The Monstrosity needs me though. Needs me to gain contact with the rest of the world. It's told me that it has urges to spread it's spore throughout the world, and rid the Earth of all brains. I'm promised a quick death if I cooperate.
     But it's been a slow death all these years. A slow, plodding death. And so I send this last diary, this last piece of evidence that although I undid the world, there might still be hope. The pneumatic tubes should take this far enough away.
     For the Monstrosity is in talks with the general who oversees this Institute. The general who has his finger on the button, so to speak. To nuke us to high heaven should any of the many experiments we are conducting go awry. And awry they have. But the general doesn't know. Couldn't know.
     But he's suspcious. Suspicious of all things new, all things revelatory, inspecting everything that comes from the Institute should it be blemished by Soviet idea. Few of the bright stars here thought of the general's influence. But I saw it. Being of inferior intellect, I was keenly aware of any and all obstacles that might hinder my work from being noticed. Those of more prodigious talent never worried. Didn't need t worry. Didn't censure out any comments in their research that might hint at their findings 'helping the average working man', or comb through their communique for any rantings against big money donors. I did. Or I did for them.
     The Monstrosity gets hints from me. Little tidbits of information it needs to fool the general. To remove the lockdown on the Institute. For it wasn't soon after the rampage started that one of the scientist hit the panic alarm and locked down the entire campus.
     The Monstrosity is asking me what to tell the general. What happened. The general knows that we were run over by something. The last message said as much. It just didn't say what. I couldn''t say, the Monstrosity, of course, who would believe it?     
     I told the monster to say the only word that would assure the safety of the world.
     Commies.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Some Serious Sci Fi : The Slide

I'm still having a hell of a time getting some words down on "Hayden Smith : Sardonic Space Cowboy", so I decided to give some serious type sci-fi a try. I wrote this short story on Sunday. It probably needs a bit of editing, but as a first draft, came out pretty well, I thought.

It's not hard sci-fi, but it's serious. Hard sci-fi being all about the science and atoms and gluons and such.

It was a pretty easy write since it's written as a retelling from the main character's point of view. It basically became a very long dialogue piece without the quotations. And for better or for worse, I do find dialogue to pretty much write itself. It may not be good dialogue, or witty, or interesting, but damnit, it helps me hit my word count targets!

Short story in the comments.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mercurial Baby

Babies. If the thought of them confuses you or angers you, you can skip this post right now. Because it's all about babies, and really, it'll just be preaching to the choir.

I'll give you some time to bugger off.


Are they gone? The sorts of people who roll their eyes or quickly duck out at the mention of diapers, binky, or "does he sleep through the night?". Not that blame them. I mean, honestly, you are not into babies, better just duck out then feign interest. Kind of like me and sports. Or power tools. Or anything, actually, that is more manly and more appropriate than the latest video games.

But enough about me. You baby lovers have stayed to read about babies! BABIES!!! What is the nature of the baby? That new soul thrust into a world of feedings and diapers and Not Comfortable At All Times? Chinese tradition informs us, or tells us, or clucks disapprovingly at us, that babies are bad things, inherently evil. At least that's what I've heard. Maybe I'm misquoting. If so, I apologize, 2 billion something times. Not that this is remarkably different from say, Catholic Doctrine, which berates us, at the end of of a 1950's parochial school staff, that babies are sinners! Sinners from the days when all the genetic information in all 5 billion people in the world was JAM PACKED into two, rather unlucky people. Adam and Eve, of course. (Or Lilith, if you are into reading Apocryphya. And who isn't? It's like the underground alternative scene to Organized Religion's latest boy band or faux angry 'metal' group, isn't it? "Pah, you really read Romans? How gauche. All the cool kids with the extra eyeliner and the really really bad beat 'slam' poetry read Gospel of Mary, honestly." Gods, what sort of weird hierarchy exists in Comparative Religious Graduate Studies? I wonder if that translates into when they are eventually working as clerks at the local fundamentalist Christian shop or serving up half decaf no fat quarter steam frappamachiatotino.)

Anyways, babies. Their true nature. Cuddly wuddly bundles of lovable joy? Transforming the very way that their parents experience the world? Casting aside all stuffy nature of 'self' and 'beauty' and imbuing everything with a angel-touched sense of wonder and joy?

Or, are they, as the Chinese and Catholics (and no doubt, many other cultures) pure, uncut, unmitigated, more concentrated than a pre-law student doing his entrance essay exam while on a triple dosage of Ritalin and double expressos, evil?

They are not, as one would predict, the former (unless you have absolutely every single Chicken Soup For the Soul on your bookshelf. And they are there non-ironically.), and not really the latter either.

They, in actual fact, exist in a limbo world. That grey world where world class assassins, CIA Agents, and News Anchors ("And after the break, Are you slowly poisoning your loved ones? We have breaking news for you just after the break! Is your love creating autism? Stay tuned after this word from our sponsors! What more than 68% of you are doing to cause cancer every day! That and more after the break"). They are sneaky. Sneaky and underhanded and not all above board.

Sure, you think you have a hold on your baby. Her ins and outs, what makes her tick, what pisses her the hell off, what makes her giggle for absolutely no good reason. And they switch it up. They turn into some new puzzle. Whatever used to calm her down doesn't work anymore. Putting her to sleep has become a war of attrition. Curses sworn. Prayers said. It's all the same except for the funny guys in the spiked helmets and the lousy food.

What is this mercurial nature of the baby that insist that it change. And as soon as you think you've regained your sanity. Everything old is, well, not new again, but rather completely and utterly useless.

They are not unlike the T-1000, morphing and changing. Using their little hands as crude poking and skewering devices. Laughing mercilessly at you as attempt to placate their mysterious and unknown needs.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Like a Many Layered Cake of Frustration Part 2

Alrighty, this post is to continue my wildly popular (at least to Nighthawk, heya!) post about the types of writers there.

4) Agented
This is a tricky business. An agent gets thousands of queries to represent their work. And of those thousands, they maybe accept about .01%. That's right. Not 1%, .01%. Crazy eh? Literary Agents have become the new keepers of the Gate. The Gate in this case being the Gate to Getting you Book Published.
Being repped by an agent means that your manuscript is making it past some of the mandatory sieves and barriers that un-agented stuff must go through. You maybe picked up, you may not. Much of getting published has to do with market timing, who likes what, and a bunch of other stuff that I'm sure is influenced by a butterfly beating her wings in Japan somewhere.

5) First Time Published
Ah, the author has gone through the gauntlet. Usually after around 2ish years (this is after finishing the book, after getting an agent, after it getting bought by a publisher), their book is on the shelves.
They worry about things I can only dream of. Reviews, publicity, who will like it? How is it being marketed? What about my next book?
Their worries are no less real than we, the legion of unpublished novelists. There are reams of things they need to learn about publishing,and the whole business of writing. And if their agent is good, they won't have to worry about this side too much.

6) Mid List Author
This is a quickly diminishing group. But it's a group I'd be more than ecstatic to find myself in. This group makes about a middle class income, and publishes anywhere from 1 to 2 books a year. They make middling sales. They can pay their mortgage. They might do things they aren't entirely proud of, like write books based off movies, and whatnot. But they'll have their own cadre of loyal fans.
They are professional writers.
Somewhat related to the midlist is the literary novelist. Many of them can go publishing and publishing, and never hit a home run. From what I understand, they cannot write full time. Advances are too small. Now, this is only on my reading of it. A commercial mid-list writer and a literary novelist are cut from the same cloth, but live in different worlds (if I may butcher the metaphor).

7) Blockbusting Bestselling Authors
The number of these, in relation to how many writers there are is so infinitesimally small it's not worth figuring out the number of decimals places I have to count just to write it out. It's puny. Tiny. If you sneeze, that number would become zero.
The bad news is that any one who hears you are writing, automatically assumes this is where you are going to be.



I'm sure I'm missing many nuances and levels here. But this is as best as I can understand it. And more or less talking about commercial, genre writers. It's a crowded, messy world out there. A high layered cake where every segment seems more overcrowded than the last. Every segment seems more impossible to overcome.

But take heart, there are hundreds of thousands, just like you, going through the same thing.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Requests!

So my good buddy Funka! (not his real name, at least I'm pretty sure, no, I'm sure. But his real name isn't nearly as fun to say. Who wouldn't want to have a punctuation mark in their name!) has requested some more of my fiction.

Which is a tremendous compliment. And I thank him for what was probably an innocuous comment (made to fill up that awkward MSN pause where nobody is sure who's turn it is to type something, but neither wants to just exit MSN, and you are both just stuck there, watching that little window, hoping it doesn't flash, just trying to finish off your word document or excel spreadsheet, or that one last mine you have to find in Minesweeper, whatever).

Er, so, I put it to you readers (who have dropped from the heady number of 60 something returning visitors to a meager 38 (I can only assume Google is cracking down on spiders and bots)), what sort of fiction would y'all like to read?

Right now I'm working very sluggishly on my third unpublished novel. As you all know, Hayden Smith: Sardonic Space Cowboy. But really really really slow. For my last two, I tried my darndest to keep to 2000 words per day: as recommended by Stephen King (in his book On Writing, and in his article "Everything You Need To Know To Write Successfully In 10 Minutes". In this current work, I'm really dragging my feet. I'm lucky to get 4000 words a WEEK.

Glacial.

In my defense, I'm working through my very least favorite thing to do : plotting. Which just bogs me the hell down.

I have a few pieces I haven't posted yet. I think most of them are urban fantasy. Which is fantasy in 'real world' setting. Mostly offices. Er, only offices. Actually, just like "One Over, Three Down". Well sorta, without the horror aspect. That is, there is horror, but only in style of writing and the hackneyed language as opposed to any intentioned effect (affect?).

Oh, heck, I'll post a little challenge on of the writers in my critique group gave me. Write a short story without using the letters q or w.




End Cometh
The guppy cuts through the stream. Krest only looks at it, doesn't move to spear it, kill it, catch it for dinner. He looks up the cobbled tunnel. It's a long trek for him yet. But at the end, oh, at the end.
He shudders.
It's from the stream, it's so cold, so clear. The stories of it running red from blood skitter and scatter over his mind. But those stories are in the past. Ancient history.
The village elders never told him the origins of the tunnel. Only that it housed the Darkness. The Darkness comes every one hundred years. No exceptions. And this being year 100, somebody had to do something. Preferably someone that believes in the legends. Someone still in thrall of ancient stories.
His friends all laughed, they made fun relentlessly before he left. But the day came, he climbed aboard his raft, a simple leaf, and they did not laugh, they did not chatter, they did not jibe.
He hopes to hear their jibes again. They chatter about the oddness of a Darkness coming from The Patched Cave. The Tunnel. The Bringer of Darkness, as the elders called it.
Krest peered into the tunnel. Past the area that the boys dared one another. Go past there, go past there. Far past the touch of sunlight.
It looks almost inviting. There are thick pipes that run in the darkness. Not The Darkness, only the darkened recesses. No one can recall if those pipes are for the tribe, from the tribe, or from another, more ancient storied race. Nevertheless, the pipes, they zing and ping. They ting invitingly.
Krest approaches the cobbled sides. It's commonly thought that the safest, surest path is to climb the sides. Climb the sides into the cave, cavern, Tunnel, Bringer of Darkness. He's a sure climber, but the cobbled stones are massive, heavy things. Moved into place by a forgotten people for forgotten reasons.
The Tunnel echoes. Every slipped grip, every gasp of surprise, every grunt of strain is magnified to a giant. He hopes that The Darkness is scared of giants. He hopes he isn't too scared of the Darkness. But soon, the black mantle of Tunnel is about him. There are the dimmest of outlines of the cobbled stones. The rich heady smells of moss creeping on every surface.
It's a skeleton. A skeleton of a monster. Hell rending teeth, long terrible body bound to the earth. Krest jumps to the ground to look at it. It has a metal colllar around its neck. it reads, "Elvis the Croc".
Krest chuckles. A pet. A giant pet. Large enough to devour his entire village. But a pet nonetheless. A dead pet. Besides it rests a gigantic box not made of bark or cedar, paper or cotton. It's light, too light. "McDonald's" is emblazoned on it. Surely one of the ancients.
The elders are not pleased on Krest's report. It is not as prophecy had foretold. The Darkness is a cloud of death and teeth. It rains pain and misery upon the village. Every one hundred years. The end is nigh. The end is nigh. If legend had not informed the elders of anything, it had told them the end is nigh.
Krest leaves camp. Or Krest is exiled. His friends do not jibe him, chide is foolishness. They do laugh even louder to the proclamations of the elder. Loud forceful laughter.