Top Ten Tues: Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

September 18: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR

As usual, I will make this list from books I’m likely to read in the fall season–September 22nd to December 21st.

  1. American Elsewhere; Robert Bennett. A hometown with a dark secret. I enjoyed other books by this author, so I’m curious to try another.

2. Smoke & Iron; Rachel Caine. Books and magic are where it’s at!

3. The Land of Stone Flowers; Sveta Dorosheva. I need a fairy guide to the mythical human being.

4. Jane Austen, Secret Radical; Helena Kelly. Recommended by a friend.

5. Archenemies; Marissa Meyer. I enjoyed Renegades, a story about superheroes and supervillains, where it’s difficult to say who is who.

6. And the Ocean was Our Sky; Patrick Ness & Rovina Cai. A futuristic version of Moby Dick told from the whale’s point of view? So intriguing!

7. The Bedlam Stacks; Natasha Pulley. I heard the author speak a while ago, but haven’t gotten to her book yet. I’m impressed with her research, though.

8. Muse of Nightmares; Laini Taylor. Loved Strange the Dreamer. So excited for book 2! (Book 1: A floating temple, hidden children stranded on it, and an expedition to uncover the temple’s secrets.)

9. The Boneless Mercies; Genevieve Tucholke. Standalone of female mercenaries seeking glory. Sounds fun, right?

10. The Future is Blue; Catherynne Valente. A collection of intriguing sounding stories. And that cover!

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Weekend Writing Warriors: 9/15

~~~~~*****Announcement below!!!!!*****~~~~~

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a new WIP–“Discovering Gremlins.” Seth had a bad day at work–hit his head and saw a monster, which he dismissed as his imagination, despite a shadow following him home. The next day, he breaks his phone screen, his shower sprays water everywhere, the subway car he’s on is delayed more than an hour–after lunch Harry (she of I.T. fame) pushes him into her office and tells him she can fix his gremlin problem–and sends him to buy an expensive sound system, then go home.

Previous snippet: At least his red, sweaty face helped sell that he felt ill from lunch, and soon he was on his way to buying that expensive apology.

He watched the digits climb on the register’s readout grimly, thinking that if Harry was messing with him, he’d slip laxatives into her lunch randomly for months.

At least schlepping the boxes back wasn’t as difficult as he feared. Like plenty of expensive purchases, they weren’t very large, fitting easily into a single bag. He folded his arms around the bag on the subway, watching every flicker of shadow out of the corner of his eyes, and flinching at every groan and lurch of the subway car.

He texted Harry, “almost home.”

She sent back a thumbs up.

“This better work,” he muttered, stuffing his phone back into his pocket. When he stepped off on his stop, his nerves had frayed from every creak and smudge.

Perching on a retaining wall outside his apartment, he waited impatiently for Harry to appear.

 

 

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He checked his phone for a text, a call, an email–anything to tell him that Harry was on her way.

Nothing.

After a half hour, his rear numb, he pushed himself up, gathered the bag he’d tucked under his legs for safe keeping, and climbed the steps to his building. He’d be careful not to touch anything complex, and avoid all the electronics he could. Maybe he could make this apology on his own.

He couldn’t wait out here for hours–if Harry was really concerned about the danger, she’d have texted him back by now.

“How dangerous can they really be?” he muttered as he trudged warily to his room.

Seth set out each box with the sound system components Harry had listed, arranging them so the pictures and logos faced up, creating the prettiest circle he could.

“I’m really sorry,” he said to the empty room, keeping his eyes fixed on the boxes, “I didn’t mean to—I didn’t mean to upset you…”

Not a bad start, except for the stumble where he’d almost said something about their stupid rules.

*    *    *

Gremlins have camouflage magic, and a way of making people who catch just a glimpse forget them. This is good for humanity, because they’re powerfully ugly, and react violently to being discovered. But when Seth hits his head and lands on the floor right next to a gremlin, he sees it… and it notices that he’s done so. Things are about to go downhill for Seth.

————————————-Announcement————————————————-

Do y’all remember the NaNoWriMo from last year I shared here? It started like this:

“We should have left the party earlier,” Alix said, glancing around the darkening woods, her stomach knotting with fear over what would soon be lurking in them. Everyone knew that the goblins that came to the markets during the day were pretty safe, so long as you followed the rules. But the goblins who came out at night… the rules about them were so restrictive, it was easy to go wrong.

“You worry too much,” her cousin Stephanie, hunched on her bike seat, slurred, then hiccupped.

They should have skipped that second drink, too. Then they would have been back at the dorm right now, safe and sound, but at the rate they were pedaling, they would be caught out by the night.

Alix’s stomach lurched, and so did her bike handles, veering to the side and dumping her to the ground as if her trusty ten-speed had transformed into a bucking bronco. Groaning, she rubbed her bruised rear, and tried to stand, the world swimming around her. Before she could get upright, she lurched to her hands and knees to be sick.

Behind her, Stephanie leaned her bike against a tree, and wobbled over to gather up Alix’s hair in one hand, and pat her on the back with the other, murmuring soothing and mostly incoherent phrases until the attack was over.

“You feeling better?” Stephanie asked, when the retching had stopped for a while, and Alix had sat back, scooting away. She released her cousin’s hair with a final pat on her back.

Grumbling a noise that vaguely resembled agreement, Alix stood slowly, and when the world—and her stomach—didn’t revolt, rummaged in her backpack for a stick of gum. Finding a battered lone survivor on the bottom, she held it up in triumph before sticking the gum in her mouth, and folding the wrapper into her jean’s pocket.

 Rubbing tears out of her blue eyes, she kicked leaves and dirt over the mess she’d left, then hunted for her cousin, just realizing that Stephanie wasn’t waiting for her against a tree.

“We should—” she began, but Stephanie cut her off with a laugh.

“Enough should for right now! I’m going to stretch my legs a bit. Come on, Alix!” She started walking, scuffing her feet though the fallen leaves, her stride wavering from side to side.

“Steph! Get back here!” Alix demanded, then regretted it when Stephanie tossed her head, curled sandy blonde hair flying around her face, and took off running through the trees.

I finally, finally got to the end of the first draft (the first time I’ve ever done so!), and I need Beta readers. Mostly concerned with continuity errors, repeated words, and any places that just don’t make sense or need elaboration.

Any volunteers? Send me an email through my “contact me” link at the top of the blog. Thanks for all your encouragement that helped me get this far!

Book Riot Read Harder 2018: August

Almost forgot this one!

Here’s the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2018! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder, and I urge you to check it out if you want to get outside your comfort zone. It’s always great to see the new suggestions, and I’m still working on finding the perfect titles.

(Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

book riot

To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try.

  • Read a book of genre fiction in translation

Three Body Problem; Liu Cixin.

My response to this book can be summed up as “huh.” The various elements of it didn’t coalesce into a whole for me. The characters felt flat, difficult to relate to. They worked towards goals that weren’t often explained, or if they were, tended to be layers of lies.

In fact, there’s so much deceit and double-crossing going on, there are several “you were wrong” moments going on, like some terrible spy movie where the characters keep ripping off super-realistic face masks. You can never quite tell if what you’re being given is truth or lies.

It seems to boil down to a question of worth (of a civilization and of that civilization’s individuals) and the cost of survival. What sacrifices are okay? What aren’t? I’m not sure I grasp the answer the book is suggesting, if it is suggesting one at all. This is a book I’m going to have to think on.

  • Read a book set in or about a BRICS country.

Tsar of Love and Techno; Anthony Marra.

There’s something about a beautifully written book with pervasive sadness that doesn’t work for me. When the characters are helpless, or even complicit, in tragedy after tragedy. When they shrug off rape and torture and pointless executions as a part of life… I see the beauty, but I don’t, on the whole, enjoy it.

A tied together collection of short stories, united by the relationship between characters, a location, and symbolic objects (like the tape on the cover). Everything flows smoothly, each section giving more understanding to the stories that came before it. It’s heart-breakingly lonely, even when it describes moments of love and connection, they’re invariably tarnished and destroyed soon after.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 9/9

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a new WIP–“Discovering Gremlins.” Seth had a bad day at work–hit his head and saw a monster, which he dismissed as his imagination, despite a shadow following him home. The next day, he breaks his phone screen, his shower sprays water everywhere, the subway car he’s on is delayed more than an hour–after lunch Harry (she of I.T. fame) pushes him into her office and tells him she can fix his gremlin problem.

Previous snippet: “Oh,” Harry  brushed back her bleached-blonde hair, “I forgot you didn’t grow up on these stories. Gremlins hate to be seen, and they’ll mess with the tech around anyone who does, until something really bad happens. Or you apologize, by giving them a shiny new toy.”

Seth read the page, “A sound system?  But I didn’t do anything wrong!”

“You can’t expect gremlins to think like us, Seth.”

“This is crazy…”

“Everything that’s broken since you saw the monster that you didn’t see–imagine tomorrow is like that, and the day after, and the day after.”

“Sound system it is,” Seth muttered, folding the note and stuffing it in his pocket.

Harry called after him, “Better take the stairs!”

 

 

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At least his red, sweaty face helped sell that he felt ill from lunch, and soon he was on his way to buying that expensive apology.

He watched the digits climb on the register’s readout grimly, thinking that if Harry was messing with him, he’d slip laxatives into her lunch randomly for months.

At least schlepping the boxes back wasn’t as difficult as he feared. Like plenty of expensive purchases, they weren’t very large, fitting easily into a single bag. He folded his arms around the bag on the subway, watching every flicker of shadow out of the corner of his eyes, and flinching at every groan and lurch of the subway car.

He texted Harry, “almost home.”

She sent back a thumbs up.

“This better work,” he muttered, stuffing his phone back into his pocket. When he stepped off on his stop, his nerves had frayed from every creak and smudge.

Perching on a retaining wall outside his apartment, he waited impatiently for Harry to appear.

*    *    *

Gremlins have camouflage magic, and a way of making people who catch just a glimpse forget them. This is good for humanity, because they’re powerfully ugly, and react violently to being discovered. But when Seth hits his head and lands on the floor right next to a gremlin, he sees it… and it notices that he’s done so. Things are about to go downhill for Seth.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 9/1

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a new WIP–“Discovering Gremlins.” Seth had a bad day at work–hit his head and saw a monster, which he dismissed as his imagination, despite a shadow following him home. The next day, he breaks his phone screen, his shower sprays water everywhere, the subway car he’s on is delayed more than an hour–after lunch Harry (she of I.T. fame) pushes him into her office and tells him she can fix his gremlin problem.

Previous snippet: She pulled out a notepad, and started scribbling on it, “You need something big–something flashy. Here’s the address, and the specs you need.”

Harry paused in her writing, and jabbed the end of her pen at him, “Don’t skimp. They know the difference, and if you offend them with your apology, you don’t get a second chance.” She wrote a few more words, then tore the page off the pad, holding it out to him.

He took it, bemused.

“Say you’re sick, lunch didn’t agree with you. Buy this, take it home, but don’t go inside until I show up.”

“What are you talking about?” Seth burst out, feeling ready to rip his hair out, or shake Harry until she started making sense.

 

 

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“Oh,” Harry  brushed back her bleached-blonde hair, “I forgot you didn’t grow up on these stories. Gremlins hate to be seen, and they’ll mess with the tech around anyone who does, until something really bad happens. Or you apologize, by giving them a shiny new toy.”

Seth read the page, “A sound system?  But I didn’t do anything wrong!”

“You can’t expect gremlins to think like us, Seth.”

“This is crazy…”

“Everything that’s broken since you saw the monster that you didn’t see–imagine tomorrow is like that, and the day after, and the day after.”

“Sound system it is,” Seth muttered, folding the note and stuffing it in his pocket.

Harry called after him, “Better take the stairs!”

*    *    *

Gremlins have camouflage magic, and a way of making people who catch just a glimpse forget them. This is good for humanity, because they’re powerfully ugly, and react violently to being discovered. But when Seth hits his head and lands on the floor right next to a gremlin, he sees it… and it notices that he’s done so. Things are about to go downhill for Seth.

Top Ten Tues: Learning

Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

August 28: Back to School/Learning Freebie (in honor of school starting back up soon, come up with your own topic that fits the theme of school or learning! Books that take place at school/boarding school/during study abroad, books you read in school, textbooks you liked/didn’t like, non-fiction books you loved or want to read, etc.)

Here’s some of my favorite educational books. Not all are nonfiction, but they all have something to offer. Never stop learning!

  1. Kitchen Confidential; Anthony Bourdain. Maybe more than you want to know about the restaurant business.

2. Short History of Nearly Everything; Bill Bryson. What’s on the label.

3. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race; Reni Eddo-Lodge. Includes a well researched section on the history of racism in England, among other eye-openers.

4. Star of the North; D.B. John. Though fictional, this seems as well researched as it can be.

5. Darius the Great is Not Okay; Adib Khorram. A lot of information about Farsi, Iran, and depression.

6. Genius in Disguise; Thomas Kunkel. A lot about the Ross and The New Yorker, but also about the publishing business.

7. The Best American Essays; Joyce Carol Oates. Though I didn’t like all of the essays, several were slices of the past, informative and impactful.

8. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry; Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. A brief overview of a complicated topic.

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 8/22

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a new WIP–“Discovering Gremlins.” Seth had a bad day at work–hit his head and saw a monster, which he dismissed as his imagination, despite a shadow following him home. The next day, he breaks his phone screen, his shower sprays water everywhere, the subway car he’s on is delayed more than an hour–after lunch Harry (she of I.T. fame) pushes him into her office and tells him she can fix his gremlin problem.

Previous snippet: Harry flopped into a rolling chair with a sigh, the wheels squeaking across the linoleum. “So, Seth, how did you tick off the gremlins?”

He frowned at her, then asked, “What?”

“Ugly tech monsters? Making everything around you break?” she prompted in the patient tone of a teacher with an exceptionally slow pupil.

“I didn’t—it wasn’t real,” Seth said. “That thing with the teeth, and the spikes, and the claws can’t have been real.”

Harry’s lips pressed into a grim line, “Yeah, it was real, and we need to get them off your back, before they kill you.”

“Before they—what?”

“Don’t worry,” Harry told him,.“I know what to do.”

 

 

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

She pulled out a notepad, and started scribbling on it, “You need something big–something flashy. Here’s the address, and the specs you need.”

Harry paused in her writing, and jabbed the end of her pen at him, “Don’t skimp. They know the difference, and if you offend them with your apology, you don’t get a second chance.” She wrote a few more words, then tore the page off the pad, holding it out to him.

He took it, bemused.

“Say you’re sick, lunch didn’t agree with you. Buy this, take it home, but don’t go inside until I show up.”

“What are you talking about?” Seth burst out, feeling ready to rip his hair out, or shake Harry until she started making sense.

*    *    *

Gremlins have camouflage magic, and a way of making people who catch just a glimpse forget them. This is good for humanity, because they’re powerfully ugly, and react violently to being discovered. But when Seth hits his head and lands on the floor right next to a gremlin, he sees it… and it notices that he’s done so. Things are about to go downhill for Seth.

Complete: Attack at Dawn

My complete (four part) writing group snippet. Updated in chunks–divided by asterisks, so skip to whichever section you’re up to, if you’ve already read some. This got post-apocalyptic and a bit grim, fair warning!

Image in the public domain. From WikiMedia, by Sarang.

*  *  *

The children attacked at dawn. The town expected—dreaded—an early assault, as the children were often awake before the sun rose completely, shrieking and sharpening their stick spears for blood. So two lookouts protected the populace.

The east tower faced the caves where the children lived, surrounded by piles of broken toys and the gnawed-clean bones of their victims. Often the stick-thin children could be spotted prowling around, hunting for some morsel to appease their hunger. The west tower faced the forest, blighted from some attack by the Before People. The trees grew gnarled and twisted, half dead, branches clawing toward the sunlight. Coyotes lurked in the meager shade, and denned in the tangled roots.

The lookout in the east tower spotted the mob first, pouring out of their caves, screaming and brandishing spears and bludgeons. Quickly, the lookout blew the warning horn, two long, deep blasts, to warn of the coming danger at the wall.

Shutters and doors slammed as non-combatants barricaded themselves inside their homes, hastily abandoning morning chores. The hollow thuds of fear were punctuated with the lighter drum of running feet as every able body rushed to the defenses. Each person had their part. No gaps could be left without dire consequences.

And then the lookout to the west blew their horn—a brighter tenor, in two long notes. The children had learned misdirection.

Everyone defended the far side, facing down invaders—looking death in its small, red face, with snarls of hair haloing angry eyes and sharp teeth. So the lone child met no resistance when they tossed a knotted rope over the barricade, a hook of rusted metal biting deep into the wood. They swarmed over the wall with ease, and dropped to the other side.

**     **     **

The scrawny child, around eight years old and of indeterminate sex, straightened from their crouch. They raced down one road, turning right, right again, and then left. The skin exposed by the rags bore the faint scars of the illness that, almost a year ago, had attacked those under the age of twelve. The ill had raved and thrashed and bit in their fever, desperate to escape the fire consuming their bodies. Some had gone still forever, and others found the lesser still of sleep. Those parents with surviving offspring felt a toxic mix of triumph and relief–which, some whispered, had earned the punishment that followed.

Because some children had woken weak, and taken months to recover. Others had seemed to slip back into that violent fever, but their bodies healed quickly, the purple tinged rash evaporating as their tempers worsened. Many fled–and a few, it must be said, were let go. The changed children hovered around the town, stealing toys and food. As the days passed, the town fortified, building by building, and the thefts grew less successful. Then, three children, confronted by an elderly man, attacked him and dragged his body into a cave a short distance from town.

By the time anyone realized he was missing, they’d already consumed his tenderest parts.

What the children recalled served as a contentious, oft-repeated source of argument among the adults, which flared up like a peat fire, always smoldering beneath the surface. If the diminutive cannibals remembered little, however, it would be impossible that this eight-year-old invader walked a few houses after that final left turn, and peeled back a piece of board half-concealed by a small vegetable garden. The dark, greasy-haired head ducked as the child crouched and slid through the opening, into the backyard of the house the wall should have protected.

The board, settling back in place, made a muffled noise too quiet to be heard above the martial music of attack and defense.

***     ***     ***

Once in the yard, the child made a beeline for the shed tucked into the back corner. They jiggled the shed’s door, eyes intent, tongue poking out from cracked lips. After a few shifts, the latch, set higher than the child could reach, clicked open, and they vanished inside. The latch rattled for a moment more as the door flexed, then dropped into place, leaving no sign of the terror lurking inside.

The lookout had seen the child breech the barricade, of course, but lost track of their fast movements between the buildings. People searched, at first just a few who could be spared from the defenses. But after the children had been repulsed–with one casualty for the attackers, a small body left lying on the ground, eyes staring accusingly at the sky–they performed a grid search, checking doors and latches, hunting for any place a child might hide.

A searcher even shook the door of one particular shed, but finding it latched properly from the outside, moved on. In the darkness of the shed, weakly pierced by light filtering through hairline gaps, the child waited, head cocked, breathing shallowly through their mouth. When the noise outside moved away, the child curled up and napped fitfully.

Eventually the searchers gave up. Repairs were made, and life in its bustle of daily tasks and work to be done, settled in. As dusk crept over the town, a well-armed group of adults ventured out with shovels, and interred the diminutive casualty in the graveyard outside of town. One woman, weeping, carved a name into the horizontal broken piece of board forming a cross on the mound, as the rest piled the mound with rocks as large as they could carry, or stood watch.

Task complete, they hustled back inside. Lights flickered in windows as the day darkened further, as people gathered around small tasks in the firelight, and tucked their rare, safe offspring into their beds. Parents checked foreheads for a hint of fever, and shutter latches against the threats outside.

Silence, finally. A candle flickered where a woman toiled to finish repairs on ripped trousers, a man lay awake in bed, and a child whimpered in a warm, close room. But no one heard the shed door tapping against the frame as it flexed, or the latch rattle and click open. The well-oiled hinges made no sound at all.

****        ****      ****

The dark-haired invader oozed out of the shed, latching the door behind them. Ghosting across the yard, back out the hidden opening in the fence, the child retraced their steps to the barricade.

Up in the towers, the lookouts dozed.

No one saw the child unbar and open the main gate a sliver, peer out, then rejoin four others standing in the shadows of the wall. All of the children were older survivors as well, emaciated and splattered with fresh blood.

They exchanged nods, and two of the children hefted a litter constructed of sticks and patched together clothing, a tattered rag draped over the top. It clung, wetly, to the contents it concealed, dark spots blooming in the uncertain moonlight.

The five crept through the gate, closing and barring it behind them, then walked to the church at the center or town. This time, the west lookout spotted them, but not before they’d gained the church. The litter was abandoned outside as they scurried in to the sound of the warning horn blowing, loudly, but without the pattern to indicate which wall the attack came from.

The adults, woken from sleep, rushed out, half dressed and clutching weapons. Disoriented, they milled around.

“The church!” The lookout cried. “They’re in the chapel!”

Suddenly, the church’s bell intoned, gonging loudly as someone slammed it over and over. The percussion drowned out speech, and nearly thought. When the last peal faded into silence, most of the town had gathered in front of the small building–carefully tended, whitewashed, with flowers blooming in slender beds framing the wide doors.

Their colors washed out by the moonlight, they still lifted cheerful blooms to any wandering moths or bats, eternally hopeful. The rag-covered litter between them held no such hope, only fear.

Finally, one of the townspeople, a burly man with a bald patch almost as wide as his mustache, gathered the courage to flip back the covering with his pitchfork.

Neatly stacked in a pyramid three high, children’s heads filled the litter. Recently severed from their owners, still seeping darkly, though efforts had been made to clean them up and close their eyes. Each face remained gray with ground in filth, and gaunt from malnutrition, so those efforts achieved little.

The group stared. A man fainted. A woman screamed, cut off abruptly.

The bell chimed, quieter, as if gently tapped.

A high, think voice floated from the bell-tower. “We’re sorry. We want to come home.”

 

Top Ten Tues: Books to End a Slump

Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

August 21: Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

This is so different for everyone, so these are books that pull *me* out of a slump. When nothing appeals to me, I turn to old favorites that make me smile/laugh or evoke a warm fuzzy feeling.

Matilda; Roald Dahl. She’s my hero. And children’s books are great to break a slump, because they’re shorter.

Complete Works; Emily DIckinson. Assuming you like poetry, she has some wonderfully defiant poems, or quiet hopeful poems.

Mine Till Midnight; Lisa Kleypas. With books I’ve read a bunch of times, I might just read a favorite section–like a sweet declaration of love.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened; Jenny Lawson. Every since a friend directed me to The Bloggess, her irreverent humor has always lifted my mood with her weird hobbies, strange conversations, and willingness to fight a body and brain chemistry that is unkind.

Hogfather; Terry Pratchett. There’s a lot of life triumphing against entropy in all Pratchett, but this happens to be one of my favorites, because it has Susan Sto Helit and Christmas in it.

Brave Enough; Cheryl Strayed. Short, heartfelt snippets of wisdom and hope.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 8/18

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a new WIP–“Discovering Gremlins.” Seth had a bad day at work–hit his head and saw a monster, which he dismissed as his imagination, despite a shadow following him home. The next day, he breaks his phone screen, his shower sprays water everywhere, the subway car he’s on is delayed more than an hour–after lunch Harry (she of I.T. fame) pushes him into her office.

Previous snippet: Biting back some choice words, Seth held down the power button on his cell, and waited–nothing.

“Here, let me see,” Harry gently tugged the phone out of his hands, and slid open the back, peering inside the device.

She prodded something with a miniature screwdriver she’d produced from one of her many pockets, and then stared up at him, dark eyes intently focused for just long enough for Seth to start to feel uncomfortable, before returning her attention to his phone.

The screwdriver danced in her fingers, and she let out a triumphant, “Ah.”

“What?” he asked, patience fraying.

She wordlessly handed him his phone, which displayed the lock screen, and put her screwdriver away just as the server began setting down their plates. She mostly focused on her food, answering questions tossed her way, but asking none of her own.

Seth couldn’t muster the energy to care about her strange behavior.

As they were heading back into their building, she tapped his shoulder. “Hey, I have something to show you–let’s stop by my office.”

 

 

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Harry flopped into a rolling chair with a sigh, the wheels squeaking across the linoleum. “So, Seth, how did you tick off the gremlins?”

He frowned at her, then asked, “What?”

“Ugly tech monsters? Making everything around you break?” she prompted in the patient tone of a teacher with an exceptionally slow pupil.

“I didn’t—it wasn’t real,” Seth said. “That thing with the teeth, and the spikes, and the claws can’t have been real.”

Harry’s lips pressed into a grim line, “Yeah, it was real, and we need to get them off your back, before they kill you.”

“Before they—what?”

“Don’t worry,” Harry told him,.“I know what to do.”

*    *    *

Gremlins have camouflage magic, and a way of making people who catch just a glimpse forget them. This is good for humanity, because they’re powerfully ugly, and react violently to being discovered. But when Seth hits his head and lands on the floor right next to a gremlin, he sees it… and it notices that he’s done so. Things are about to go downhill for Seth.