Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Read This: The Princess Curse

Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul? 

(Just say it - that cover is amazing!)

The book itself? Yes. It is quite good. Since this story fits the genre of novels I'm currently writing, I decided to pick up this fine debut from author Merrie Haskell to see what all the commotion was about.

And was my curiosity ever satisfied!

What's cool about it? The humor, Reveka is a model heroine, and the story is a unique take on The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Beauty and the Beast. So, yeah. I recommend this novel for anyone in the mood for a fairytale retelling and a young protagonist that rocks.

Click here for a shameless promotion.

I'm David, and Romanian creatures are creepy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Tropes: What Is A Trope?

Writing a story isn't all that different from making a cabinet. The difference? Your tools. Believe it or not, making a story requires tools. I don't mean hardware like computers, keyboards, pens and paper. That's more or less your construction materials. I mean your software: plot, characterization, and conventions.

As a new feature, each Tuesday I'll highlight a trope, a figure of speech, something in literature and film that is easily identifiable and commonly used without being cliche, so long as it is not absurd or overused. Knowing what tropes are has helped me understand the building blocks of developing a good story. Hopefully you'll find learning about tropes to be just as helpful.

Take the picture above for our first example. Nathan Drake from Uncharted is dangling for his life.

Scary, huh?

This is a fitting example of a Literal Cliffhanger. Is hanging by one hand what makes this picture gripping? Look at the debris below him and the gun he dropped. This is known as the Plummet Perspective. This adds tension by showing you just how dire the situation is and how terrible Nathan's fate will be if he lets go.

Is this cliche? If done right, not at all. It's used quite often and is usually effective, especially if we care about the character (Luke dangling under Bespin? Frodo clinging above the fires of Mordor?). However, the Literal Cliffhanger is so common that inventing new ways to portray it has made it tougher to be original.

But it can be done! Like all building blocks, the possibilities are endless.

For more on tropes, check out my source.

Have you ever used a Literal Cliffhanger or a Plummet Perspective in your writing? Intentional or accident? What have you read/seen that uses this trope?

I'm David, and where's a good place to hang out?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post: Holy Cow! I'm A Guest!

Hey, guys! I'm back! And I mean it this time!

What can be more fun than watching Home Alone? Possibly checking out this awesome mentoring post over at E. R. King's blog (no relation ... possibly)!

Not only is she one of my favorite writers and blogging buds, but she's radically awesome. So, yeah. Give her a visit. Read her posts. She's totally worth your time!

While you're at it, say hello to our newest members!

Update: I've got a busy day ahead of me, so I'll keep it short. Getting over being sick and the holidays and all, I wasn't able to do much more than revise some short stories and flash fiction. Some of which I haven't mentioned yet (but plan to post soon). Fun stuff!

Have a great day! Best of luck to those rushing to meet that 50K word Nano deadline. And congratulations to those who already made it. You're writing beasts!

I'm David, and aftershave makes my face sting!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Random Sauce: What I'm Thankful For


It's that time again, the one grand day of the year when we're given encouragement to focus on what we're most thankful for. This is too broad. It's like asking what my favorite movie, book, or song is. It's like asking what my favorite day of the year is. Or favorite color. There's just too much I enjoy to narrow it down to just one.

Here's my elegant (cop-out) solution: I'm thankful for everything - the good, the bad, and the gray.

I'm also thankful, especially, for one other thing ...

Have a totally awesome Thanksgiving!

I'm David, and if you Wii, do you like it?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Post: Gooberiffically Out Of Commission


In case you're wondering why I haven't posted this week, I have a really good excuse. No kidding. It's a real doozy! Ready to have your mind blown?

I've been sick.

Okay. It's not all that earth shattering, but believe me when I tell you this bug knocked me off my feet for a whole week and I'm still not 50% over it. I'll spare you the details. It's not pretty. We're talking horror quality fodder here. Gross. You don't want to know. But if you must, I hope you haven't had any dairy today.

With a holiday weekend approaching, I'll likely be gone for another week. While I recover in quarantine, check out this awesome trailer I found (it's not The Hunger Games trailer ... that one's been shared to the death).

Have a fantastic week, you guys! And keep up your writing month progress. I want to hear all about it.

I'm David, and I can't play in the snow today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Post: I Am Always The Shoe


You know that board game, with dice and play money, that has a nasty reputation for ending abruptly when played by young children? Well. I never liked it. I never won. Looking back, I managed to build one hotel. Once. Only to have it taken away after landing on someone's hotel. On Boardwalk. And my hotel was the last of my losses. The move bankrupted me in one fell swoop.

Then the strangest thing happened. After a decade of living a Monopoly-free lifestyle, I was in the mood. I wanted to play again. Maybe it would help my kid learn about handling money (or scar him for life, whichever). So I bought a board. We played. And I lost again.

Only this time, I was okay with it.

In fact, I was happy to see his excitement, taking advantage of the age-old adage of "Beginner's Luck." I was equally excited to hand him my hard earned cash (it's play money, so I don't might so much). We had fun. That's what matters. And then I learned something!

(Light bulb!)

I think it's the shoe. It's cursed. I always pick it. No race car. No fox terrier. No bowler hat. The shoe. You know what? The shoe is one of the playing pieces. It has as much chance of coming out on top as any other piece. Writing is the same way. We're all players in a giant game of hard work and chance, losses and victories. The only difference is there's no monopoly on writing. There are multiple winners. Some now. Some later. Pick your piece and stick with it. You can't win if you don't play.

When that day comes, I want to be holding this.

Update: No real progress in writing or revising this weekend. Life happens. Plus I'm reading a couple manuscripts from friends of mine. Good stuff. I did, however, get the chance to meet Erin Summerill and Peggy Eddleman while dropping off a giveaway book (I have no pictures to prove it, so you'll have to take my word for it). It was a blast to finally shake hands with awesomeness. They are amazing and super friendly!

For those of you who looked forward to my last Friday post, something goofed with the auto post. And it was a guest post, too! If you missed it, please check it out.

What's your favorite board game?

I'm David, and people hate playing Risk with me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Guest Advice: Advice Is An Open Road

Giving advice is great and all (and for some reason, writing advice posts really got this blog rolling), but doing so rings up a universal truth. As perfect as your advice my be, it will not be helpful to everyone. No one has master expertise.

And Jess, over at Concrete Pieces of Soul, summed up the matter so eloquently, I just had to have her over for my first Guest Advice (because she's awesome ... and to shake up the whole Aspiring Advice routine).

And she's getting married TODAY, which makes this post really special. Congratulations! Take it away, Jess!

*    *    *

Writing advice posts is hard. There’s a lot of writing advice floating around the interweb, including everything from how to motivate yourself to write, to editing tips, to plot structure and guidelines for character development. As a writer (and not a published author), I don’t usually feel qualified to give writing advice.

People ask me for it anyway. The best thing I can say is this: writing advice can be hit or miss in terms of its usefulness. This is because writing is a creative career, not a scientific one. There’s no perfect formula for a novel, and there’s no path to publishing that works for everyone. Honestly, it’s a lot like traffic.

You’ve got the self-publishers, those people who couldn’t possibly be bothered with the crawl of the normal publishing path. They choose instead to cheat and sneak into the carpool lane, whizzing by everyone.

Sometimes they’re successful at navigating that high-speed path, and they reach success in no time. Other times, they get caught by the police or crash and burn, and their chance at success is temporarily (or permanently) over.

There are those who take the scenic route to avoid traffic. They take city streets, and make frequent stops. It might take them years to write a novel, and even more years to get published, but that’s okay.

They’re just enjoying the ride.

And then there are those like me, the ones who take frontage roads to avoid the worst of the traffic but still make it to their destination on time. I’ve learned a lot in the last few months, reading advice posts and hearing other people’s stories of publication. I’ve taken the time to educate myself on writing and publication in hopes that it will expedite my journey, but it’s not a guarantee. There are always unexpected road blocks along the way, like weddings and babies and new careers.

I guess my advice to you is this: be comfortable on the path you’ve chosen. If you’re unhappy with it, take the steps to change lanes, or exit the freeway and start using back roads. You’re in charge of this journey, and it’s uniquely yours, so own it!

*    *    *
And it is for that reason I leave off my columns with "this is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter."

Doesn't she have a good cranium on her clavicle (that's "head on her shoulders" for the illanatomate)?

J's attitude about writing is stellar. You can check out more about what she has to say about writing HERE. Visit. Follow. She's an aspiring author to watch out for!

Happy 11/11/11, everybody!

What are your thoughts on writing advice? Has it improved your career or taken you back a few miles?

I'm David, and if you have gas ... you can drive!

Want to be a guest? Email me. Let's talk.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Random Sauce: Who Likes Bad Jokes?


*Courtesy laugh*

But seriously, I'm shocked that I'm the only one in my immediate and extended families who actually likes the new Jane Eyre film. Nice Gothic tone, the lighting is excellent, and I want Mr. Fassbender ... to play one of my characters. I know I know. Who doesn't, right?

Yeah. They win screen couple of the year.

But seriously. Tomorrow is going to be ... interesting. 11/11/11 - the most evil day in the history of our lives, according to some ancient numerologists. To honor this unique, once-in-a-lifetime date, I will post something new that has never happened on this blog in the history of ... ever! For life! With maraschino cherries!

Okay. Maybe not cherries. No ice cream, either ...

Will it be evil? Come back tomorrow and find out!

I'm David, and we'll go see Puss in Boots instead.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

InkPageant: Introducing Jolly Fish Press!


Hey, you. Yeah, you! Guess what? There's a new publisher in town. And they're open for submissions!

Check out their blog and their website for more info about what they're looking for. If you submit your posts to inkPageant throughout November (up to three), you'll enter a chance to win a FREE QUERY CRITIQUE from the Jolly Fish Crew! Go ahead and get your fingers wet.

Throw in your best lines and see if the fish will bite!

Oh! And S.E. Sinkhorn is hosting a rather generous giveaway. I'd click that out too, if I were you.

I'm David, and mint lemonade is ... surprisingly good.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Post: My WPS Said ... Recalculating ...


This post will not be funny. Not one bit. So if you came for a laugh, you're not going to get one.

*poorly contained snicker*

Had you going there for second, didn't I?

But seriously, I'd like to take a moment to express my appreciation for everyone who ran, orchestrated, and operated both the Platform Building Campaign and The Rule of Three Blogfest. If you have the time for some good reading, check out the shortlist and vote for your favorite (I had a really hard time - they're all so good!).

As you can see, I didn't make the cut. Not even with the spooky competition I entered on the side. I was close, but you know what? I wasn't in this to win. I didn't even know there were prizes when I signed up (minus the spooky competition). Sure. I talked about it. I tweeted about it, but I was in this thing to step out of my comfort zone and see if I could write something fun, interesting, and memorable on the spot. First and foremost.

I learned a lot and made new writerly friends along the way. And I can't believe you guys still left comments! I can't remember the last time I visited your blogs. Your support is all the reward I could have wished for.

Now it's your turn, Dave. Visit my blog. Now!

I most certainly will. Now that everything's done, I can recalibrate my WPS (Writing Postioning System) and keep a more consistent blogging schedule.

Besides. I (will) have a nice collection of writings under my "Free Fiction" tab, something I've been meaning to fill for ... forever. I'm also surprised how supportive you guys have been. I never invited you to vote on my stories, but many of you did. Enough to place in People's Choice. Twice! For that, I sincerely thank you again.

Update: The Dragon's Heart might fit well with this new publisher I've heard about, so I've decided to reclaim it from the shelf and start a revision. When I said this, my wife sat right next to me at the computer and helped me resolve its problems in half an hour (This is the story I wrote at her request three years ago - something tells me she really wants to see it published)! So do I.

Give me a week and I'll be back to speed. Aspiring Advice is coming back with new posts each Friday. And I have a guest this week. Be sure to stick around for it.

I'm David, and my kid likes Cary Grant movies?

 "Sounds like he has good taste, to me!"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rule of Three - The Finalist Compilation

Guys! Guess what (if the title of this post hasn't already given it away)? My Lady in Wanting story that I've posted all last month for The Rule of Three has made it to the "Long List" of finalists! Not only is this a real surprise from left field, but a true honor. Thank you, judges, for allowing it to come this far!

As a finalist, I've been asked to repost the story in its entirety to allow voters easy access to the whole thing. Good idea. And here it is! I hope you enjoy the read.

  Lady in Wanting - Part 1


- Someone might fall in love.

Lyra grazed the soft white fabric with her fingertips. Pure as silk, smoother then satin. Of all the materials presented thus far, this felt the most fitting. Nothing compared, in all of Renaissance.

Melinda’s wedding gown would be perfect.

“I approve,” Lyra said. “How does it fair for you?”

Melinda copied Lyra’s approach with a nervous hand. Such a beautiful hand. Not a single blemish squandered her skin. Her green eyes gleamed of mixed excitement and caution within a round face. Even her hair matched the fabric well. Her fair complexion had taken root in her hair, making each strand look almost white. She felt the material, nodded, and abruptly excused herself.

Something troubled her. That much was obvious.

“Is something wrong with her?”

Lyra turned to the tailor—or rather Giles, his apprentice. The muscles of his mandible tensed slightly, as if his teeth clenched. Not with anger, but concern. The ends of his yellow hair did not extend long enough to hide this minute detail. Lyra found it rather appealing. “I’ve wondered that myself. She’s hard to keep up with, since she got engaged to Philliam. Now I’m dragging her about!”

“You don’t sound happy for her.”

“She may be the richest girl in town,” Lyra explained, “but she’s my best friend.”

Giles folded the fabric into a square and tucked it under his arm. “She’s lucky, then.”

Lucky? Something about the way he said that made her wonder. Did he just make a subtle pass at me? Even if he did not mean it that way, she did not mind the contemplation. Not one bit.

“I best give this to my master,” said Giles, “so he can start.”

“Would you mind walking me out?”

“Uh,” he stammered. “Sure.”

Lyra slowly seized his extended elbow as soon as he left the counter. Such a gentleman. His shop was much like the others in the small district, differed only by shelves of fabric, sewing tools, and other wears. Lyra never felt his arm before. The long sleeve shirt beneath his tunic did a marvelous job of hiding his firm bicep. He was a mystery. She expected nothing less of a blacksmith or one of the many miners from Heriot’s Pass, but from a tailor in training?

Curious indeed.

“Where do you find your materials?” Lyra asked. “They’re exquisite!”

“Imported, mostly,” Giles answered, “but we find worms in the Assart forest.”

Lyra summoned a quiet laugh. “To think my dress came from the bellies of those creatures.”

“I remember it.” Giles glanced at her. “The seams were devilishly hard to keep from puckering.”

Pausing, Lyra glanced into his light-blue eyes. “You made my dress?”

He gazed back with a nervous smile. “And others . . .”

Though she had a thousand responses, Lyra let her surfacing blush speak for her.

“I, umm,” Giles stammered again. “I’d better go . . .”

“You’ll be at the mask, tomorrow night?”

“For Philliam’s return?” He looked more nervous than ever. “I have no invitation.”

I’m inviting you.”

“You think it wise?”

“To be my escort? I think it very wise.”

Giles nodded. “Then I will come. Good morning.”

He bowed and parted. Lyra watched him move behind the counter to the back of the shop. She could not believe her forwardness. For a moment, she did not care. She knew Giles for a long time, ever since the establishment of Renaissance. Her heart and mind finally agreed.

She truly longed for him.

His hands caressed her satin dress once. If only the fabric on her body were his hands now.

Saving the thought, Lyra turned to look for Melinda.

 *    *    *

Lady in Wanting - Part 2


- A relationship becomes complicated.
- A character lies to another on an important manner.

Melinda watched her door close.

The solid oak thudded as the brass handle latched, leaving her alone inside the room she’d known all her life. Matching dressers, a wardrobe, and a vanity d├ęcored the warm, earthy walls that often made her feel like a maiden lost in the woods. A few of her old, favorite toys and a small playhouse loitered the corners below a collection of dolls. They stared at her, their glass eyes clear and dry. They would not weep for her taken innocence.

All the money in the world could not remove the anguish that stirred her soul. But all her coin was enough to keep the doctor silent.

Melinda took a breath, resisting the sick that dominated her stomach. She looked out the window. The doctor crossed the street, followed by the tailor’s apprentice.

What’s he doing here?

Stepping back, Melinda sat on the edge of her bed. She did not know what to do, feeling trapped and alone. Nothing in her pampered life could prepare her for the harsh reality that she faced. How could she face anyone now? Her parents. Her betrothed. With an utterance, even her best friend would be lost.

A rapping beyond the door disturbed her internal war.



Melinda tried to answer, but she swallowed instead.

“I saw the doctor,” her friend carried on. Always the strong-headed one, something Melinda wished she had more constitution of. “Might I come in, or will I catch whatever you caught?”

Dashing for her covers, Melinda made ready to feign the fever that she convinced the doctor to tell whoever inquired of her condition. She reached for the bowl of water on her nightstand, dabbed her fingers in the pool, and rubbed droplets on her face, completing the effect. “Come in.”

Lyra entered, looking lovely as ever. Her long dark hair draped behind her shoulders, her eyes framing amber irises. The normal confidence that defined her was missing. “You look dreadful.”

Melinda laughed, masking a cry. “And you flustered. I’m sorry for leaving you.”

“A short explanation would’ve kept me from upturning the town for you, but all is forgiven.” Lyra strode to the bed and sat by Melinda’s side. “I didn’t mind. Giles walked me here. He seemed just as concerned about your leaving as I was. I invited him to the mask.” Lyra pressed her palm on Melinda’s head. “Strange,” she said. “You look pale, and feverish, but you don’t feel it.”

A sob surfaced in Melinda’s throat. Her silent tears joined the water on her cheeks.

“This can’t be good,” Lyra asserted. “Are you putting this on?”

“I must,” Melinda choked. “I do not know what to do.”

“If not a fever, what has made you ill?”

Finding the words impossible, Melinda raised her head and looked down. Her hand followed and stopped over her middle.

Lyra shot up like a lamppost. “Are you sure?”

Melinda closed her eyes. More tears streamed into her pillow. Only Lyra knew the truth now. Relinquishing her secret brought about an overwhelming feeling of mixed relief and regret.


“I’m not sure . . .”

Lyra knelt beside the bed. “There is another?”

“I was to see him tonight,” Melinda said, “but I dare not now.”

“What will you do?” Lyra asked, her voice impressively calm.

Melinda reached, desperately, for Lyra’s hand. “Go in my place? Tell him it’s over?”

Lyra did not answer, her face writhen with torn patience. “No one else knows?”

Melinda shook her head.

“I thought I knew you better, but for you, I will ... if you tell me who the father is ...”

 *    *    *

Lady in Wanting - Part 3


- Betrayal is in the air.
 - Relationships unravel or strengthen.
 - A long-kept secret is revealed.

A cool wind jostled the dust from reddened leaves overhead. Not many remained on their branches, thin as they were. The Culdees forest used to be lush and full, long before the humble establishment of Renaissance. This was the story that Giles often heard. Weary miners, having nothing better to do than sit in his father’s pub, told many tall tales of their years when the town was a clearing. Some claimed they saw creatures that bewitched the eyes of late travelers. Giles saw nothing like that—just shadows, cast by a sliver of moonlight.

His smile frowned, reminded of his purpose for coming.

*    *    *

Despite the warning of Heriot’s Pass, the miners decided to dig there. It would not be long before everyone knew of its collapse. The news reached Giles that afternoon, just as he was about to start working on that wedding dress for Lyra's rich friend. All but one managed to flee the scene unscathed.

His elder brother.

Giles dropped everything to search for the physician, careful not to look grieved. No one needed to know that their three hundred and thirty-three population was about to change to three hundred and thirty-two, before the mask. To his surprise, Lyra bumped into him, still looking for her friend. They searched and soon found the doctor, counting coins, as he left Melinda’s house.

“Thought so,” Lyra told him. “See you later.”

Giles watched the door close behind her before he chased down the physician and brought him to his brother. Given all his skill and learning, the man could do nothing.

With his final breaths, Giles’ brother shed a tear. He spoke of a girl that he loved, a girl that Giles knew nothing about. They had planned to elope that night, deep into the southern forest.


Death reaped before he could say.

Giles closed his eyes and wondered. His brother always had a girl in arm. Which one?

Anyone else would have stayed and mourned, but whoever this girl was, she deserved to know.

*    *    *

Just ahead stood a thin figure, cloaked and still.

The closer Giles neared, the more she turned. He wore a cloak, too, so they stared at each other, their faces shrouded by the night.

Neither of them spoke, but Giles tried anyway.

“Hello,” she beat him to it. “Thornwall?” 

That was his last name, and he knew her voice.

It can't be!

Giles stopped as her face defined. “Lyra?”

She gasped, equally disbelieved. “Giles!"

As much as he loved his brother, Giles wanted to turn back and punch his dead face. Giles loved Lyra. His brother knew that, as far back as they could remember. And he wooed her, behind his back.

Tears lined Lyra's lips. “How could you?”

What did she mean? "How could I what?"

“Don’t talk to me,” she cried. “Ever!”

Giles reached for her arm. Her fist found his nose.

“Melinda is engaged, and then you flirt with me after giving her child? Just when I—

She took off toward the town in a hard run, leaving Giles with a whirling string of questions. Melinda was with child? His brother’s child? Was Lyra the one he meant to meet tonight, or was it Melinda? Either way, a grave misunderstanding had just occurred.

He wasn’t about to lose Lyra over it.

Giles followed, but she vanished long before he reached town. A light shined in Melinda’s window, giving him an idea. He found a few small rocks and threw them at her pane.

She opened it, looking surprised. “What do you want?”

“We need to talk,” Giles insisted. "Right now."

*    *    *

Lady in Wanting - Part 4


- There is a new arrival in town.
- Relationships mend/are torn asunder
- The final event becomes another secret for generations to come.

Every creature under the heavens gathered to the town square, just as the distant sun set behind the Roundeli Mountains. Some were birds. Others beasts. Bright lanterns illuminated the party, floating like kites on thin strings. None would leave hungry or go unquenched, nor would their eyes forget the unyielding colors. The Mask brought the whole of Renaissance together, one night of every year, with the promise of having their faces kept secret until midnight.

Philliam had not arrived. Neither had Melinda.

Standing near a bowl of cider, Lyra tugged at her mask and let it rest on her forehead. She had no intention of coming. After last night, nothing in her life was as she assumed, her ignorant bliss shattered by her betrayed infatuation. The music played. Lyra stood still. Giving her heart was a mistake. She would never give it again.

A palm caught her attention. “Next dance?”

The request came from a hooded sparrow. A brown mask covered all but his mouth. Lyra’s heart did not want to, but her mind desired a distraction. The tempo rose. Their waltz joined the others. He looked at her as she stared at his chest, wondering which boy he was.

“You’re easy to find,” he said, “with your mask off.”

“I’ve lost the joy of pretending.”

He moved closer, his hand pressing her back. “You’re not a very convincing nightingale.”

Lyra scoffed. “If only I were. Then I could fly.”

The sparrow paused. They stood still as the others carried on. “From what would you fly?”

“A predator,” she said, “unsatisfied with one prey.”

“If this predator pounced, would you flee?”

He removed his mask before she could answer. Lyra shuttered. Her skin ached where Giles held her body. His hands had touched every inch of her dress, too—his firm, experienced hands.

“Hear me out,” he said quickly. “I felt the same as you did, last night.”

Catching her breath, Lyra looked to see if anyone noticed. “The same?”

“I’ll show you.”

Holding back her prejudice and vexation, Lyra let him guide her from the party. They soon entered the pub. She heard sobbing behind the bar. Melinda’s sobbing.

A still figure occupied a table in the back room, draped with a thin sheet. Melinda sat by it, her face caressing a pale hand. Lyra did not understand. She looked at Giles for an explanation.

“The father,” he said. “My brother ...”

A wave of guilt and relief swept over Lyra’s heart, followed by sorrow for Melinda. She rushed to her friend with a careful embrace. Melinda received her, weeping softly into Lyra’s chest.

“I’m so sorry—”

“Someone back there?”

They all jumped. Philliam entered the room. Melinda stopped. Giles looked nervous. Lyra feared the worst.

“What’s this?”

“My brother,” Giles uttered. “Heriot’s Pass … collapsed on him.”

Philliam nodded, his eyes thin. “Sorry for your loss. I’ll wait outside, Melinda.”

After he left, everyone exhaled.

Melinda stood and wiped her eyes. “If he ever knew—”

Lyra took her hand. “It will be our secret. The three of us. Forever.”

Another tear welled in Melinda’s eye. She held Lyra tight. “I will never betray you again.”

They parted and Melinda left. Giles and Lyra followed, watching the couple as they entered the Mask.

Lyra breathed. “Can I live with this secret?”

“You do not carry the burden of another man’s child.”

“But I will be there, for her.”

“And I,” said Giles, “for you.”

Answering his invitation, Lyra reached for his neck and pulled herself to his lips. His hands found her back again—his wonderful, inexperienced hands. For now.

The End

I'm David, and this is my longest post ever!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random Sauce: My Driving Hurts People


In honor of my out-of-commission wheels (and because I don't want to leave for a week with a downer post), it's time to get this confession off my chest. It's been on my mind for some time, so I might as well share it now.

When I hop in my car, for pleasure or a quick errand, it never fails. No matter what happens. No matter the time. No matter where I go, someone gets hurt.

Am I driving recklessly? No. I stay in my allocated lane. I don't pretend my car is Pac-Man, eating the lines in the middle. I obey traffic laws. I stay within the speed limit (because we all do that, right?). So what gives?

Here's a scenario:

I'm driving down the street, about 25 MPH, singing to some Duran Duran, when I see a group of pedestrians walking down the sidewalk, ages 8 to 88 (this happens with groups of two or more, for some odd reason).

They're minding their own business. As am I. Then, one of them looks up, sees me, gets an excited look on their face, turns to the nearest person ...

... and does this ...

As the victim figures out what the freak happened, the assailant (and friends) shout this as I pass ...

I've heard this "Slug Bug" reference (or "Punch Buggy" phenomenon) started around the 1960s, way before my time, during the historic "Make Love, Not War" era, so why has this pastime prevailed well over 40 years?

How do you think I feel, knowing that I'm perpetuating violence when I'm just trying to drive home from work? The guilt (from laughing) might drive me to therapy!

And it doesn't matter where, when, or what!

In the rain ...

During athletic events ...
 And it's not just humans!

I doubt the good folks at Volkswagen (VW) engineered this fine piece of fuel efficient awesomeness as a means to spread worldwide bruises and "dead arms." So, on their behalf, mine, and everyone who thinks driving an insect is cool, I have just one thing to say ...

No. That's not my color.

What seemingly innocent activity do you do that causes undo harm to others? 

By the way, Michael Haynes has started a new flash fiction spot on his blog. You provide the prompt, he writes the story! It should be up soon. Check it out!

I'm David, and I endorse this "arm-saving" message.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Post: It's Been One Of Those Weeks ...

There's something I need to tell you guys. I totally auto-posted the last few posts. And a good thing I did. Turns out the universe must be telling me something. Not sure what yet, but there's got to be a reason for not-so-great things to happen all at the same time.

Things could be worse, but dude! Handling them all at once is, like, majorly bogus

Things aren't always the best. Such is life, so we'll get through this. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Having said that, I must take a blogging leave of absence for a little while. Maybe a week? That should be enough time to sort stuff out. I'll make an earnest effort to be a better blogger when I return, because you guys deserve awesome posts throughout November.

There's some exciting news coming, so you know!

I'm David, and someone is fixing the car.