Thursday, August 31, 2006

Roen's excerpt from Murder at the Witch's Cottage

      Roen requested page 10 from Murder at the Witch's Cottage. Because the scene is nearly 20 pages long, I can't include enough to make it stand on its own, although this includes a portion of page 11. Here's some info to orient you. Dora is a real estate agent and has brought a welcome plant to newcomers Brooke and Jake. Winifred is a neighbor as is Henry. Brooke and Jake have come to a cottage on the Atlantic Coast. Jake inherited it from his aunt Rowanna after she was found murdered, her head cut off. I think that's enough to help you find your way.
      This is the last day to request a page from my books or plays. Tomorrow I will share page 200 from Darkness, Oklahoma as per Randall's request. If you'd like me to share a page, pick one out in the comments.

From Murder at the Witch's Cottage

You must be Brooke. Welcome to our lovely community. I know you probably have plenty of things to do today, but I wanted to talk to you and husband soon about a business opportunity. Would you have any free time this afternoon or tomorrow morning?

You could give them a few days to get situated before you start trying to sell this place out from under them.

She has a point, Dora, besides the one on her nose.

Now you two are going to give Jake and Brooke the wrong impression of me if you're not careful. And that would make me very unhappy.



It slipped. I'm sorry.


I'll get the broom, dear. Don't you worry about it a bit. Dora probably stole it from the cemetery.


Are you okay?

I'm fine.

Well, this is hardly the way I wanted to present it to you, but let me tell you that this cottage is sitting on very valuable land. Several developers are looking to build new housing in this area. If you would be interested -- and I think you would be after you see what they're offering -- I'd love to sit down with you and discuss it.

Dora, isn't your husband one of those developers?

I hardly see why that's important.

Isn't that one of those conflict of interest things?


If you're implying that I would not represent Jake and Brooke's best interests, you are sadly mistaken and perhaps need a call from my attorney. Besides, I've separated from Hal. We are divorcing.

And you'd like to hit Hal where it hurts, wouldn't you? But aren't you jumping the broom here? Jake and Brooke might not want to sell.

That's something for Brooke and me to decide. Mrs. Dawn, I'll give you a call and set up an appointment.

Call me Dora. I'll look forward to your call.

That makes one of you.

Henry, it was good to see you.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

10 pages & Slim's excerpt from Darkness, Oklahoma

      I wrote 10 "keeper" pages on Murder at the Witch's Cottage tonight. As you can tell, the words just flowed. I'm replacing some scenes that were just filler with scenes that move the story along and add another layer of complexity. I'm pleased with how it's going. The story has pirates, treasure, ghosts, witches, secret passages, codes, storms, etc. It's all the fun stuff. I'm having a good time writing it.
      Oh, I added new scrollies and a new quote and update the progress bar on Murder at the Witch's Cottage.
      Slim requested page 13 from Darkness, Oklahoma, so here it is. I hope you enjoy it. (I added a few pages to complete the scene.)

       From Darkness, Oklahoma.

     Father Paul Henricks looked up from his prayer to gaze at the cross with its tortured body of Christ. He had never liked the graphic display of Christ's death. It seemed to put too much emphasis on Christ's suffering and cruel death. Christ stood for more than that. Paul recalled that the Mormons didn't have crosses in their temples and chapels. They believed that a cross was a torture device and didn't glorify it.
     Score one for the Mormons, he thought wryly. He waited a few moments before rising. Apparently the Holy Trinity had nothing to say to him today, or he was incapable of hearing it. Either way, the foyer needed to be swept, and since the Church of St. Hubert could only afford one elderly janitor, Father Paul helped Tobias as much as he could.
     Not that he minded much. It beat walking around in this forsaken town. He had been grateful to have this posting after the trouble in Ft. Smith. He had thought that he might not be allowed in the pulpit again. To receive a church seemed like a blessing from the bishop. Admittedly he knew the church was small, but he had been confident that he could build it up again. What he hadn't known a year ago was that the church was really dead and that no one in the town of Darkness cared if it died. They all had other faiths or no faiths or some New Age nonsense. Just a handful of elderly people attended the Church of St. Hubert, and they seemed more interested in filling small glass bottles with holy water than what he had to say.
     He sighed and went to get the broom and started to sweep. He enjoyed being alone in the small sanctuary. Built by German Catholic settlers in 1912, the church was a small polished jewel of a building with its polished wood pews, the black and white tile floor waxed and buffed for so many years that it held a soft glow, and the detailed representations of Saint Hubert painted on the walls. He paused to regard his favorite. It depicted Hubert in hunting gear confronting a huge stag. A glowing cross hung between the stag's antlers. The unknown painted had rendered the stag in vivid detail, proudly looking directly out at the viewer. By contrast, Saint Hubert seemed flat, only his bow and the arrow in his hand with the same detail as the stag.
     "Paul Henricks."
     Paul looked around the sanctuary. He could see no one.
     "Hello?" he called, feeling foolishly. "Is anyone here?"
     He walked toward the door.
     "Paul Henricks." The voice came from behind him.
     He whirled around. No one stood there. He backed up.
     "Who's there?" he asked. "Who's there?!"
     "Do not be afraid," the voice said. "The dark time is almost upon us. Be strong. Be wise. Remember always that you do not walk alone, and you will not fail no matter what assails you. You are called to a mighty Purpose."
     "Who is this?" Paul shouted.
     And suddenly he was surrounded by a roaring wind that whirled around him. He fell to his knees.
     He scrambled to his feet to see the seamed face of Tobias.
     "Are you all right?" Tobias asked. "Did you fall?" The janitor looked concerned.
     "No. I … Did you see anyone else here?" Paul asked, looking for a rational explanation. But how could he explain the wind?
     "No, Father. Just me."
     Paul nodded, gripping a pew to keep from shaking.
     "I was just going to tell you that I was going to go and get some gas for the lawnmower," Tobias said. "I thought I'd get a doughnut from Maxine's. Did you want one?"
     "No, thank you." Paul answered.
     "Well, if you're all right, I'll be going," Tobias said.
     Paul nodded and managed a smile at the elderly man. With another close look at the young priest's face, Tobias left.
     Paul stood there in the sanctuary for a long time. Something caught his eye. He looked at the painting of Saint Hubert. Surely it was just his imagination. That's all it could be, he told himself. He had stared at the stag so much that he hadn't really paid much attention to the saint. So the saint hadn't really moved. It just looked that way.
     But try as he might, Paul couldn't convince himself.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Frenzied Feline's excerpt from Darkness, Oklahoma

      Because Frenzied Feline was APPARENTLY (! Humph!) the only reader who was interested in reading a page from my books, I'm going to send her the title story from my humor book How I Fell In Love With A Floozy & Other Stories by email. I hope she enjoys it. FF requested page 25 from Darkness, Oklahoma. Here it is. (I included a couple extra pages so that the scene would be complete).

From Darkness, Oklahoma

      Senkarn walked easily down the street. Seth's clothes had fit it after a minor application of power, and it had altered its face so that it hid its inhuman mouth. It had commanded the human Seth to go forth and wander the town. If he came upon a trace of the Sword, it would know.
      Seth wouldn't remember it until it called him. If he was questioned by a follower of Substance, he would be unable to tell them anything. And if they pressed him, its spell would kill him quickly. It could take no chances on anyone interfering with her Purpose.
      It quickened its pace. It had to accomplish its Purpose, but first it had to find the Sword. A lesser creature might have quailed at its Purpose. The Sword had been lost for over five thousand years. The Servants had used every power at their disposal to seek it, but found nothing. Some thought the blade might have been destroyed during the long ago battle, but Senkarn knew that wasn't true. Had the Sword been destroyed, its Master could have climbed back from the depths millennia ago. Since its Master had not, the Sword still existed.
      Recently a follower of Substance had broken when captured, and before he died, he told the Servants that the Sword was hidden in Darkness. At first, they had taken it to mean simply that it was hidden from their eyes. But scrying in blood had revealed the truth. Somewhere in Darkness, Oklahoma, the Sword of Silence waited to be found.
      Due to the Compact, the Servants couldn't descend themselves to tear the town apart, but they could call one of their creatures back from the depths. They had chosen Senkarn, the Bone Queen, to be the vessel of their power. They had been subtle in its rebirth, careful that the followers of Substance did not learn that the Servants knew the truth. They had manipulated ignorant, power-hungry humans into accomplishing the rebirth. They even remade the broken follower and placed him back with no memory of his betrayal or awareness of their touch on his very soul.
      Senkarn turned the corner, walking beneath the towering oaks of Hake Street. Its body was attuned to the Sword. Eventually it or its slave Seth would pass near enough to its location. If not, then it would have to take a more direct approach.
      It turned down an alley. A man was putting black trash bags in dumpster. His eyes widened when he saw it sauntering toward him. It heard his pulse quicken.
      "Hello, hon," he said.
      It smiled, questing for anyone who might be watching. It detected no one, and it was hungry.
      "I'm looking for my cat," it said, lifting its head so that the protuberances on its chest caught his attention. It easily read his thoughts. Charles McMann lived alone, separated from his wife and children due to his rampant and unrepentant adultery. His wife had thought he was having a mid-life crisis. She didn't know he had cheated on her barely two weeks after they married. Charles's hair was thinning, and he carried a few extra pounds around his middle, but he could still get the girls if he chatted them up enough. In the back of his mind, he thought he would get back with his wife in a few years when he tired of the chase. Hidden even from himself was the realization that he was getting too old to attract any but the desperate.
      It stepped closer to him, noting with detached interest how he kept looking at its chest. It knew that Seth's shirt revealed almost as much as it concealed.
      "Could it be in your yard?" it asked.
      "Let's take a look," he said, leading the way into his backyard.
      It walked straight to his open back door. It paused and then looked back at him. It dropped its shirt off its shoulders, and then entered the house. He gasped and quickly followed.
      "This must be my lucky day!" he said as it turned to face him. Those were his last words, but he did make a few, delicious anguished noises before it finished feeding.
      Thirty minutes later, Senkarn walked out of McMann's house in clothes left behind by his wife. It left Charles McMann in the kitchen, the living room, and the bedroom.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 28, 2006

On & on & on ...

      How about since I've been gone so much lately that we have a super long entry today? Does that sound good? Well, too bad; we're going to do it anyway. Pack a snack, and let's get to it.

Theater talk
      For the next couple of nights, I'll be attending auditions for the next play that the local theater group is performing in September. I'm mostly there to help a new director (new to the group, but she has a lot of theater experience) get oriented to our theater. I'll be helping her and also helping build the set, do the posters and programs, and just whatever is needed. Yes, I'll be calling folks to do things, FF. It won't just be me down there.
      We intend to build the set for the play in such a way so that it can be used for the next several plays. We'll just repaint and use different furniture, hang curtains over unneeded entrances and so on. This will cut down on the work involved as well as save us some money. At least, that's the plan.

      Over the next month, I'll be writing/re-writing Murder at the Witch's Cottage. I'm trying to increase the suspense, raise the laughter level, fix a couple of glaring plot holes, and generally polish it until it gleams. I hope.
      I'm also plotting my next National Novel Writing Month project. As you recall, that happens in November. NaNoWriMo is when thousands of people sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It was great fun last year. No, really it was. It was crazy and nerve-wracking and hard, but fun. Hmm. Perhaps I need to work on my definition of fun.

Broken things
      Saturday night I woke up to a hot house. The central air unit had broken again. We called the repair guys, and lo and behold, they actually came out that morning and fixed it. The unit is over 20 years old and needs to be replaced. I'm going to do that as soon as I win the lottery.
      My car is having problems, too. I've changed the plugs, put in a new oxygen sensor and changed the ignition coils. I've ran a pint of fuel injector cleaner through the tank. I replaced the spark plugs' hoods. (Don't ask.) It still is running rough and throwing strange computer codes. Unless I can figure something out over the next couple of days, it's going to have to go into the shop for work. Sigh. Which means I need to get my old car running again so that I have transportation while it's in the shop.
      I hate taking my car to a mechanic. Most of them don't seem to know what they doing, and they charge outrageous prices. Cars have become so complicated with electronics and computers that it's almost like voodoo to fix them. Maybe I just need to sprinkle some chicken blood on its engine ... maybe not.

Old TV shows
      This weekend, TV Land had a marathon of Daniel Boone episodes. I loved that show when I was a kid. Daniel Boone was the coolest even though he wore a dead animal on his head. But I wanted to be his Indian companion Mingo. Mingo was a revelation compared to other Indians on TV. He was educated at Oxford, shot and hunted better than most white men with a rifle and a bow, was funny, witty and intelligent, not to mention he swung a whip better than Indiana Jones ever thought about doing.

Snack break
      I have to get to the theater now. Eat your snack and I'll be back later.

      Of course, now I'm wondering if the folks who read this earlier will come back to read this add-on. Well, if they don't, they will just miss out on all the blogging goodness that follows ...
      Remember my books Dragons Gather and Darkness, Oklahoma? I'm still working on them, although they have to take a back seat to Murder at the Witch's Cottage for the next couple of months. Anyway, I thought that maybe I'd share more of them with you. So ... just comment with the page number you'd like to read of one of those two, and I'll post those pages here.

Postcard interlude
      Frenzied Feline sent me this postcard. Cool, eh?

      My postcard collection goes back 30 years now. I was looking through it the other day and found a couple of cards from girls that I don't remember. I was looking at the signatures and wondering who they were and where they are now and what happened between us. Of course, they date from my college days when I fell and out of love weekly. I had all the maturity of a Styrofoam cup back then ... Now I've moved up to paper.

A Complaint
      I just finished reading yet another book that featured a vast conspiracy involving the Catholic Church and the Templars. Dan Brown has a lot to answer for as he inspired (if you can call it that) all these books that attempt to show how the church has keep the "truth" from us. What? Did these authors get scared in Sunday School? All these books attempt to show us some sort of shocking revelation, but they lack basic story-telling and only have their gimmick. I don't think any of they will be remembered in 20 years, much less 10. But I guess that applies to most books today. And after all, they did get published so what do I know? I'm just glad that I checked the book out from the library and didn't actually pay for it. I confess that I paid for my copy of The Da Vinci Code. I've been embarrassed about it ever since.

      We got some! Woohoo! We need more, but the rain finally fell in my town. I'm hoping for more over the next few days. The hurricane in the Gulf is supposed to generate some more. I hope the hurricane isn't bad for those folks down there, but I'm grateful for the rain here. My yard is mostly dirt now, but the trees appreciate it. And I know the animals do. The streams are mostly just dry now, but these rains will revive some of them.

A Victory!
      I paid off a credit card today! Finally, another debt gone. The next one will be paid off, God willing, in June of 2007. I still have a long way to go to pay off all my debts, but pardon me while I do a small victory dance. I'm making it. Slowly but surely.

A bit of Shakespeare
      And now we close with the end of the famous balcony scene.

From Romeo and Juliet

Sweet, so would I:
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.


Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
Hence will I to my ghostly father's cell,
His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.


      I'm exiting for the night, too. Pleasant dreams and have a great tomorrow!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Chores and a nap

      I got a lot done and also had a nice nap. What more could you want from life? Well, actually I have a list, but it was still a good day. How was your day? Anything exciting go on?
      It's raining all around us, but no rain here yet. I'm hoping we'll get some tonight or tomorrow. We sure need a couple of inches of rainfull. We need more than that, but the ground is so hard that it would run off. Several days of slow steady rainfall would be wonderful.
      I've been having trouble with my car. It's had its spark plugs changed, fuel injectors cleaned, new hoods installed, and other mechanicy things, but it's still running rough and giving terrible MPG. Tomorrow afternoon, I'm going to change the ignition coils. If that doesn't work, then it has to go to a mechanic because I'll all out of ideas.
      It's been a long day so I think I'll close now. Talk to you tomorrow. Have a great evening. Night.

Friday, August 25, 2006

This and that and a bit of those too

      I'm not at the theater tonight! I'm doing other things. The production runs through Sunday afternoon, and I might try to make that performance, but otherwise I'm done for a while. Well, there are always things to do for the group, but I have other things to concentrate on this weekend.
      Such as? Well, chores for one. My house has got into a fearful state. (Nevada.) There are papers, filing, bills, dishes, clothes, etc., all over the place. It's amazing how cluttered a house can get. I suspect clutter-sprites have built a nest in my house. I'll have to root them out and send them packing.
      And writing. I have several writing projects that are clamoring for my attention, yelling, jumping up and down, throwing scenes at me. I think they're going to burst something if I don't put some time into them soon. And I wouldn't want that. Some of them would bleed terribly.
      And napping. I'm going to get at least two naps over this weekend. Guilt-free, planned naps. I feel giddy about that. Or not.
      Did I mention that I didn't much care for the 200th episode of Stargate: SG1? It was a collection of short jokes and clips. Not what I expected from a landmark event in the series, but it got great ratings and other fans really liked it. This week the SciFi Channel announced the cancellation of SG1. I suppose they did it so that the channel can run more C-grade horror movies and old cancelled series from the 80s. Eventually it will disappear from my viewing habits completely.
      I found a new mystery series that I'm really enjoying. The series is called the Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles and is written by Susanna Gregory. The first book is A Plague on Both Your Houses, and it got me hooked on the series. I've now read three, and they just keep getting better. As soon as I can, I'm going to order more of the series.
      Tomorrow I start on the Special K challenge. You know, eat two bowls of Special K cereal a day instead of breakfast and lunch and lose five to ten pounds. We'll see how it goes. I like Special K so that's a plus, but I bet I'll get really tired of it after two weeks. Maybe not.
      My fish are doing fine to answer the couple of people who asked about them. They're fat and as sassy as fish can be. Which, admittedly, isn't a lot of sass. But compared with other fish, they're da bomb. Tomorrow I intend to give their tank a good cleaning. They always appreciate that. I think.
      Well, I have to be going now and get the weekend started. See you tomorrow. Have a great night and great tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A fact about me

      Crystal called my house tonight and left a message on my answering machine that said she thought I was spending too much time down at the local community theater. I totally agree. I just don't know what to do about it.
      It is against my nature to leave something undone or to do it in a haphazard way. If I'm going to be involved in an activity, I want it to be something that I can be proud of. I'd be much happier if I could let things slide. But I don't know how, other than just walking away. I have difficulty in settling.
      Truthfully, that's probably my problem in relationships. I want them to be wonderful. I want to keep working on them until they are wonderful. I want wonderful or at least the possibility of wonderful all the time. I must be exhausting to be around. I certainly make myself tired sometimes.
      Not that I'm bringing this up to say that I'm going to change. I've tried it before, but I didn't like letting things slide. I didn't like just doing the minimum. I can't be happy that way. I can't be proud that way. I'm not me without that striving to be better.
      When I see a problem or get told about a problem, I want to fix it. I want to make it better. I think there are always solutions. We can try them until we get one that works. Doesn't that make sense?
      There are lot of bloggers out on the Net who like to point out the problems that we face. They don't seem to understand that talk is cheap. Action, that's the thing. Getting out there and making change happen. Fighting for what you believe in it. It's exhausting and frustrating, and I can tell you now that if you're fighting for something good, you will lose more times than you win, but I promise that at the end of the day, at the end of your life, you'll look back with pride. Your life will have mattered.
      And that's why I wouldn't change even if I knew how.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What's left

      I thought of you this evening. I was behind a girl in line at a pizza restaurant, and she turned to talk to a friend and smiled. That smile was just like yours. For a moment, she was you.
      For a moment, I stood there, flooded by memories so strong that I nearly stepped toward her. I felt my arms want to rise to hold her close. And then she was someone else again.
      It left me jarred all evening. I kept thinking of how good we were before it got all bad. Do you know that I remember our first kiss? The uncertainty, the trembling, the sheer terror and glory of that kiss. I think I've rated every kiss against that one ever since.
      And now I'm older. I can see clearly what made it go bad, how we weren't right for each other, and that our lives are so much better now that we don't see each other and live half a country apart. At least mine is. I hope yours is, too. I don't know. But I won't try to find out.
      Because on evenings like this when I'm dining on regrets and memories, when I can taste your body, when I think about how we would throw our bodies together like we were drowning, when all these years seem like something I could step across if you'd just hold out your hand or call me, it's better that I don't know. It's better that I don't think of that temptation. It's better that I don't think of you.
      But this evening, I did. I thought about how it could have gone differently if I'd been braver, wiser, more loving. If you had been honest, stronger, more loving. Those sweet, bitter might-have-beens.
      I guess it's just the night for it. Tomorrow I won't think of it. Tomorrow I will be wise again. And happy to have this life that I have now for all its faults.
      You won't ever read this. Or if you do, I won't know because that's how it has to be. But I wonder one thing ... I wonder if you have evenings like this, too.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Before the curtain

       In just a few minutes, Knaves begins. As always before these events, I'm nervous. It requires quite a performance from me. I never know for sure if I have it in me. Well, whether I do or not, it's going to start soon and should be over with sometime Sunday. I doubt I will have time to post Saturday, but if I do, I will stop by briefly.
      How are things in your world? Are you as tired of the heat as I am? I would never have never thought that I would long for cold weather, but I'm actually looking forward to it.
      Gotta go and kill some folks! Talk to you later.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yes, it's Thursday

      I need another Wednesday. Not that it was so good, but because I spent the entire evening working on stuff for the local theater. I need another Wednesday night to get caught on what I need to get done. It's that needing more hours in the day thing again.
      Anyway, it's late here, and I don't have a lot to say. Well, I might, but I'm exhausted so I'm going to get on out of here. Sorry for the brevity. I'll try to write more tomorrow.
      Pray for rain, by the way. We need lots where I live. Lots and lots and lots. Night!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tuesday is the hardest day

      Yes, the scrollies changed a few days back. Frenzied Feline, sharp-eyed cat that she is, noticed today. She didn't mention two other changes that I made, but she may have noticed them. Did you?
      It was a busy day today. More theater group stuff. I'm slowly getting things done. I'll be glad when the patron drive is over. We've done okay. We've gained a lot of new patrons, but unfortunately lost some of last year's. But we won't be hurting for money as long as we're careful and watch our spending. I don't know of a non-profit group that doesn't have to do that.
      It was a hard day today. I was tired for most of it. Haven't been sleeping well. Wears me down. Doesn't leave me with a lot to deal with the myriad disappointments that the world seems intent on handing me. And sometimes I don't feel like pulling a victory out of defeat. Sometimes I just want to run away. Which is why I'm going to cut this short. No need to talk about it. Just the way things are on Tuesday the hardest day.
      So good night, y'all. See you tomorrow.
      Oh, and here's a bit for the Knaves.

From the History of the Dragons & Their Armoured Kin by Loremaster Edora Varlent

"When the Shadow Dragons appeared after the apparent death of Bahamut Cartocillian Sar, it was less a surprise than a confirmation of what many had suspected: Chiefly that for centuries, a unseen force had moved both for and against the Bone Throne. The Shadow Dragons' psionic powers and their ability to create and wield psionic enhancement items only added to their mystique.

It might seem odd that the Eberoni, as they call themselves, had remained undetected, but since their coloring closely resembles that of the ebony dragons, it is probable that they had been seen before but misidentified. Certainly the Eberoni took advantage of this.

What are their powers? The Eberoni have been careful to hide such knowledge, but apparently they hold the full range of psionic abilities thus noted in humanoids. There have been hints, however, that they possess ones undiscovered by even the vaulted mind witches of the Sarlissians. The most disturbing aspect of their shadowy powers is the possibility that they may have been using them to manipulate humanity for their own ends.

The discovery that Eberoni have human disciples can only be seen as alarming by the rulers of the Great Empire as well as any free-thinking humans ..."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mikey goes to school

      Here's my boy with his school backpack. Isn't he a handsome lad? I pray daily that school and life are kind to his innocent heart. So far, he's enjoying kindergarten. He remains a great joy in my life even though I don't see him as much as I would like.
      Notice that the backpack is nearly as large he is! But my little Mikey is growing up. One part of me is glad. Another is sad. That's life. All our joys carry sadness with them. I guess to make us appreciate our blessings.
      Well, it's late, but I promised I'd be here today. And I'll be there tomorrow, God willing. Have a good night and great tomorrow. See you then. Night.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Catching up

      Howdy y'all! How are you doing? It's been busy here, so I've neglected you, but I was thinking of you. No, really. Trust me on this.
      Also, I hurt myself. Again. In my apparent on-going quest to injure every part of my body, I fell and twisted my ankle in a major way. It's been iced and elevated and it still hurts, but it's much better.
      So, yes, I'll be able to go work tomorrow. Whee.
      What else have I been doing? Mostly stuff for the local theater group. Working on the patron drive, selling and creating ads for our sponsor wall, helping print and cut the tickets, and creating and printing the poster for the current play. During that, I also worked on Knaves and Murder at the Witch's Cottage. I also read Robin Hobb's Shaman Crossing, a truly excellent fantasy book that starts a new trilogy. I'll be watching the next one.
      Oh, here's some Knaves material for the hapless participants:

      Magician's Silver
      "So will it work?" Panther asked.
      Bernard shrugged. "It should, but it's not like I've ever done this before. And the cannon wasn't created for this. It was meant to defend against Northstar. I've reduced the power, but as to whether it's safe, is anyone's guess."
      "Will she do it?"
      "I think so," Bernard said. "But the truth of the matter is she has no choice." He looked at Panther with eyes deader than the night. "No choice whatsoever."
      "We have to hope he made it," Mantris said. "And if he did, then the Defenders will come --"
      "Be quiet!" Vanala hissed. "Do you want them to hear?"
      "They're not gods, Vanala," Zava said quietly. "They have power, but beneath that power, they are knaves plain and simple. They only understand one thing."
      "And what would that be?" a voice drawled from behind the threesome. "What is the one thing we understand?"
      The screaming went on for hours.
      "So it's settled," Dipak said.
      "It is decided, Honored One," Othar said. "That is the not the same as decided, but I think the Council will agree, barring unforeseen events."
      Dipak looked at him sharply. "See to it that such events do not happen."
      "The shadow dragons are powerful, Honored One," Othar said. "But we are not the only players in this war for the throne. And the truly wild card is your brother Cartocillian. What will he do?"
      "He will support us," Dipak said.
      "Such support would be welcome, and even more so if he held Nuri," Othar said. "Or does he, Honored One?"
      "He holds Quietus," Dipak said. "The War Sword is not to be a trifle."
      "That is truth, Honored One," Othar said. "But Boaz holds two of the Thirteen. Quietus was never one of the Thirteen, and it has brought disaster as often as victory."
      "It has never been wielded by one such as my brother, either," Dipak said sharply. "In his hands, the War Sword is as mighty as Nuri."
      "Let us hope that is so, Honored One," Othar said. "Otherwise, our lives may be shorter than we would wish and our deaths will certainly be more painful."
      A dark cavern in the Glorioles Mountains
      It burned for a taste of him again. It could still remember his blood burning through its body. It hungered for it as it had never hungered before. It had taken a score of lives since its release, but human blood no longer satisfied it. It wanted to feed upon the golden being again. It needed to.
      It shuddered as it recalled how close it had come to death. It would be wise to avoid the golden being, but it knew it could not. It had tasted power. It could not rest until it consumed him totally.
      Soon, it thought. Soon.

      And that's enough for tonight on Knaves. By the way, Knaves participants should comment. Otherwise, I might not be encouraged to post more of these.
      Otherwise, I haven't had much time to do anything else. What have you been doing? Many of us aren't blogging regularly. I'd complain, but it would be the pot calling the kettle black. Still we all need to do better. You first.
      I have a laser, not a robot monkey head. I wanted to clear that up. I like the robot monkey head, but it would just be another unused gadget in a house already filled with unused gadgets. I do have an exclusive, signed copy of Hal Spacejock, but you may already know that. It's joined my collection of signed copies. I have books signed by Holly Lisle, M.K. Preston, Lynn Viehl, Michael Garrett and Clay Reynolds as well as, of course, Simon Haynes. I also have some self-published books signed by their authors. It's a small, but growing group that I hope to add to. I particularly would like a signed book from Carolyn Hart, my favorite Oklahoma mystery writer.
      Well, I happen to know at least one Knaves participant is waiting for me to post this so I will now. Y'all have a good week. I'll see ya here tomorrow. Promise!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

HS and my Thursday

      It's probably not good to keep bringing up my exclusive, signed copy of Hal Spacejock. I've been told that me having an exclusive, signed copy of Hal Spacejock is inducing fits of jealousy in other people not so fortunate. Well, we can't have that. So I will stop bringing up my exclusive, signed copy of Hal Spacejock. Someday soon...
      It was a busy day for me. I worked at my job in the morning and then spent the afternoon attempting to sell ads for the local theater group. I sold some, but mostly the people I needed to see weren't in or were busy. This is taking a lot more time that I expected, and it's time that I need to be spending on other projects.
      Oh, as soon as Hal Spacejock is available at, I'll post it here. I think it would make a great Christmas present for the SF reader in your family. Did I mention I have an exclusive, signed copy of Hal Spacejock?
      I enjoy being creative with the ads. I'm attempting to make each ad different from the others. Not easy with 30 ads and a limited range of sizes and colors. I also want the ads to look good and get attention. The ads hang on a wall at the theater. The wall is black so the ads need to be bright and stand out. I hoped to have all the ads sold by August 1, but it looks like I will be selling them clear into September. No matter how many are sold, I have to stop September 15. That's my deadline. I have other things to concentrate on then, and they can't wait.
      Soon the patron drive will be over. It's gone okay so far. I'd like more patrons, of course, but we're doing pretty well for a little town our size. I just wanted the last drive I did to be over the top. Still, I have something good for the next patron driver to build on. What more could I ask? Well, overwhelming success and fame, actually. That would be nice.
      I keep telling myself every day that I will be in bed by eleven that night. Doesn't seem to happen. It's nearly 11:30 now. Just not enough hours in the day. That's what I want. A bottle of extra hours. Sprinkle a few out when you need them. Wouldn't that be cool.
      Well, it's time for bed. I'll lock my exclusive, signed copy of Hal Spacejock into the laser protected, robot monkey guarded safe, and call it a night now. Pleasant dreams and have a great tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Review: Hal Spacejock

      I finished Hal Spacejock, a comic science fiction novel by Simon Haynes. It's good! Buy it! Or try to. It's not easy to find. I'm hoping that will start carrying the series soon. Yes, it's a series. And if we're lucky, there will be many more adventures of Hal Spacejock and his robot Clunk.
      Hal is a bit of lout and incompetent to the point of being a fire hazard, but he shows some heart, and it's fun to watch him overcome his misfortunes, many of them self-inflicted. Clunk, however, steals the book with his deadpan humor. I wouldn't want to travel with Hal -- it would be too dangerous -- but Clunk would be a great companion.
      The book actually made me laugh out loud several times. It helps that I read a lot of science fiction so I caught many (but I'm sure, not all) of the inside jokes, but the plot moves fast enough and the quips are clever enough that it's readily accessible even to someone who doesn't read SF.
      One reviewer on another site compared it to Discworld, and I have to say that it's not as good as Discworld ... yet, but it shows much potential. (Discworld, after all, has been around a while and has grown and matured over the years.) More characterization and less plot twists would be good, and the other characters weren't even half as interesting as Hal and Clunk. The story only moved when we were looking over the duo's shoulders.
      Bottom line: It's an entertaining, fast, funny read, and I intend to read the second book in the series ... as soon as I can figure out how to order it from Australia.
      Learn more about Hal Spacejock here where you'll find sample chapters and more.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


      Did you go and look at Frenzied Feline's prom photo yet? Go now. I'll wait. Well, she sure cleaned up nice, didn't she? You just never know about people. For instance, tonight she confessed that she has a secret crush on Donny Osmond. Yeah, I know, Donny Osmond! Don't let her know that I told you about her secret crush on Donny Osmond. Because, see, it's a secret. Shhhh.
       Speaking of secrets, for all you Knaves out there, here's one: Sater Snow knows the truth about Tamek, but she learned it from a Defender. Guess which one? I love cryptic things, don't ya know.
      Did you see that I got 30 comments on the last post? Admittedly, FF and I made most of them, but that's a nice number. 30. Thirty. I once dated a girl who was 30. Of course, I was 23 at the time.
      Where is Crystal? She's not been around here the past couple of days. She probably has secrets. I wonder if she too longs for "A Little Bit Rock'n'roll" as does FF. Maybe they have their own club. And some spades and hearts, too. And they say diamonds are a girl's best friend. Which may be true, but can a diamond change a flat for you?
      Well, it's late here and I need to get some sleep so that I can properly concentrate on building my robot monkey army. It's delicate work building a robot monkey army. Just ask anyone who's done it, and they'll tell you that it's hard work. Hard.
      Now don't forget. It's a secret that Frenzied Feline has a crush on Donny Osmond. Don't tell anyone. Night!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Can't say no

      Are you asking, where has Tech been the past two days? No, you're not. No one is asking. (Edited to add: EXCEPT FOR FRENZIED FELINE WHO IS GUARANTEED TO GET TO RULE A GOOD COUNTRY WHEN I CONQUER THE EARTH.) But the rest of you are are out there having your own lives. Frankly that chaps my hide. You're supposed to wait here until I return. You need to arrange your life around me. We'll all be a lot happier. Well, I will be, and I think we're agreed that's the most important thing ...
      As to what I've been doing, I've been working frantically on projects for the theater group. Oh, I have news: They elected me vice-president. Yes, I accepted. Yes, I'm not very bright. Let's all sing that song from the great musical Oklahoma: "He's Just A Boy Who Can't Say No." Are you singing? Really? Hmm, I didn't think you would. What else would you do if I suggested it? I must think on that as I work on my robot monkey army.
      By the way, for those who know about it and are participating, Knaves is nearly here. Are you ready? I'm not, but I will be soon. I think.
      You know, I get asked every now and then why I choose to make robot monkeys instead of human robots. When that question arises, I look the questioner in the eyes and then shoot him with my laser gun. Some people you just can't reason with, and that includes people who would ask such a question.
      Yes, I've lost it. Although there's a good chance that I never had it to begin with. Consider that.
      My back is better. I'm still walking with my cane, but it's much better. My back is better, I mean. My cane is always fine. Except when it has a headache or when it slept badly the night before because it had that dream again where it was a toothpick in the mouth of life.
      Ahem. No, I didn't forget to take my meds. Why do you ask?
      Today, I received a package from Australia! No, I'm not kidding. I won a book in a contest a month or so back, and it came today. The book is Hal Spacejock by Simon Haynes. It's comic science fiction. I've read two chapters, and so far, it's very funny. A longer review will follow when I finish. I just wanted to mention that it's really grand of Simon Haynes to mail a book all the way to America. Awesome.
      I'm going to bed now. My robot monkey army will just have to wait until tomorrow to rise up and conquer the world. Night!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Swimming Saturday

      Yes, I went swimming again today. I have fallen in love with my friend's pool and hot tub. I should mention that the hot tub just has its jets going and not the heater. The tub is connected to the pool, but raised up so that the water flows over its side to fall into the pool. It's lovely and calming. I floated on my back watching the clouds float by. I'd love to have a pool of my own, but that may be a dream for another life.
      Today I basically babied my back. I did a few household chores, but mostly just napped, watched a little TV, read, played on my computer and ignored my list. It was like a mini-vacation. I think I'm becoming slothful.
      Have I mentioned lately that I love my new computer? It's fast and efficient. It's given me very little trouble. It's almost like I'm not running Windows ...
      One of my hobbies is making mazes. Don't know why I enjoy creating them, but I have a small notebook with a couple hundred of them. I've always wanted to have a backyard large enough to grow a hedge maze, but I've read that they're more trouble than they look. Apparently the bushes don't like growing in that fashion, and there's always gaps. Some gardeners fill the gaps with statues or short sections of a fence. I think hedge mazes would be creepy at night, though. Remember that scene in The Shining where Jack Nicholson chases a little boy through the maze? Nearly gave me heart attack.
      I've been trying to drink some unsweetened carrot juice. I've been putting it in my sugar-free punch to try to hide the taste, but the carrot flavor still comes through. I wonder if carrot cake would be as healthy. Probably not, but I wouldn't gag as much. Why can't food that's good for you taste as good as raspberry cheesecake?
      It's time for bed now. Night! Pleasant dreams.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A good evening

      I went to a friend's house and sat in his hot tub for about two hours this evening. Heaven. It helped my back immensely, and I was pain free almost the whole time I was in the tub. I'm pleasantly fatigued now, and my back is feels better. It was a very good evening and a nice end to the working week.
      I hope your evening was as pleasant. Have a good night.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Very bad back

      Ouch. And truly there's not much else to say about it. Back injuries are a lot like broken hearts in that it just takes time for them to get better. I'm using pain pills, back exercises, heating pad and deep heating rub. Do you have a back remedy that works for you? Share!
      And the odds are good that you've experienced back problems before. According to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research in their pamphlet "Clinical Practice Guideline, Acute Low Back Problems in Adults": "Eight out of ten adults will have a "low back problem at some time in their life. And most will have more than one episode of acute low back problems."
      Let's see what else the pamphlet has to say: "The human spine (or backbone) is made up of small bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are stacked on top of each other to form a column. Between each vertebra is a cushion known as a disc. The vertebrae are held together by ligaments, and muscles are attached to the vertebrae by bands of tissue called tendons.
Openings in each vertebra line up to form a long hollow canal. The spinal cord runs through this canal from the base of the brain. Nerves from the spinal cord branch out and leave the spine through the spaces between the vertebrae.
      "The lower part of the back holds most of the body's weight. Even a minor problem with the bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in this area can cause pain when a person stand, bends, or moves around. Less often, a problem with a disc can pinch or irritate a nerve from the spinal cord, causing pain that runs down the leg, below the knee called sciatica.
      "Even with today's technology, the exact reason or cause of low back problems can be found in very few people. Most times, the symptoms are blamed on poor muscle tone in the back, muscle tension or spasm, back sprains, ligament or muscle tears, joint problems. Sometimes nerves from the spinal cord can be irritated by 'slipped' discs causing buttock or leg pain. This may also cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs.
      "People who are in poor physical condition or do work that includes heavy labor or long periods of sitting or standing are at greater risk for low back problems. These people also get better more slowly. Emotional stress or long periods of inactivity may make back symptoms seem worse.
      "Low back problems are often painful. But the good news is that very few people turn out to have a major problem with the bones or joints or the back or a dangerous medical conditions."
      The pamphlet goes on to recommend rest, light activity, heat packs, OTC meds and time. Not much different than what I'm already doing.
      Anyway, I go back to work this morning so I've got to start getting ready to go. I dread the paperwork waiting for me, but hey, it beats digging a ditch. I think.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bad back bad

      I intended to go swimming again today, but instead I spent most of the day on a heating pad. My back has been bothering me since the trip to Tulsa, and today it decided to really hurt me. I handled the pain with deep heating rub, the aforementioned heating pad and Advil. It seems better now. I'll just need to be careful tonight when I sleep and pile pillows up to keep me from sleeping on my back. Tomorrow is the last day of my vacation, and I'd like to spent it doing fun things as opposed to creaking around my house.
      Tomorrow will mark eight days that I've been away from my office. I did go back in the evening on Saturday, and I did about thirty minutes of paperwork, but otherwise I've stayed away. It's the most I've been away for at least the past five years and maybe longer. I kinda dread the work that's piled up waiting for me, but I should be able to catch up in a couple of days, depending on the number of customers and how much work there is to do.
      Tomorrow I intend to go swimming again and do a little shopping. I got a couple of cash cards for my birthday, and I want to buy a couple of shirts with them. I also want to do some more filing and writing.
      Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to finally get the plot of Murder at the Witch's Cottage clear. Right now the play wanders all over the place and leaves a couple of important questions unanswered. I want to pin the plot down and then do another rewrite of the play so that it follows a clear, intelligent plot. Then I'll go back and increase the humor and suspense. At least, that's the plan. The most important purpose of any play is that people enjoy it. Yes, I know that's not earthshaking or educational, but while I want the play to have a point, I don't want people to feel like they've been in class.
      I finally installed Scrabble on my computer again and have been playing at least one game a day. The computer is very tough opponent. I've been trying to find an online Scrabble game that's free and doesn't fill my computer with spyware, but so far, no luck. I barely have time for a quick game anyway.
      "I Believe I can Fly" shouldn't start automatically now when you visit Harbor Street. That got annoying, I thought. So you can start it on that post should you want to listen to it. After having used, I've been expecting the bloggers in my blogging circle to start adding videos to their blogs. ER is threatening -- uh, promising to put up a video of his cat. Technology can be cruel sometimes.
      Speaking of cruelty, I've also been doing exercises to help my back. My roomie works as a physical therapist at a local hospital, and he's been most helpful in torturing me. Well, he says it's exercises, but it's no wonder patients attempt to run when they see him coming. Of course, if they could actually run, they probably wouldn't need a physical therapist. He'd told me about how elderly patients will attempt to bite him or hit him with their canes sometimes. I finally understand.
      I just heard on the news that there's a push to get rid of the penny because it costs more to make the penny than a penny is worth. I think we should keep the penny. I like them and have a huge jar filled with them. I'd hate to see them go.
      At least we don't have the British coinage, which frankly no one understands, not even the British. People are expecting that situation to get better since the euro has arrived, but so far, the British are proving resistant in giving up their pounds, pence, half-penny, penny, farthing, shilling, crown, half-crown, sovereign. Well, actually, several of those aren't used anymore having been withdrawn from circulation, but I think they're none the richer for it. We need our quirks and our pennies to stay interesting.
      Well, I think that's all I have to say tonight. Hope your day went well. Good night and pleasant dreams.