• The Hate U Give
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Nothing will be the same

    I went from watching Love, Simon last night to the Hate U Give tonight, because apparently I like emotional rollercoasters. Super happy feeling stuff one night? Obviously let’s follow it up with a tragic film about systemic racism and the impact it has. I really recommend reading the Hate U Give and/or watching it. We won’t fix any of the problems in our society if we don’t acknowledge them.

    Random First Sentence tonight:

    It’s silver against concrete. A ring. Thin, twisty. She bends to pick it up. It looks like flowers strung together. Too large for most her fingers, it slides right on her left thumb. Nothing changes, this isn’t some Lord of the Rings knockoff, but nothing will be the same again either.

  • Candle smoke
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Around the corner or his mom wouldn’t let him

    I just got back from seeing the Doctor Who season premiere in the theater. It was my second time seeing the episode, and the others seemed to enjoy it. There was clapping at the end.

    As such, I don’t have as much time as normal tonight. It’s time for bed so I can go to sleep and get up early to exercise.

    Yesterday’s short story idea has stuck with me. I’m considering telling it from a different point of view. Here’s a new First Sentence based on that idea

    It’s an accident. It always is. The boy is walking home after school. A short walk, just down the street and around the corner or his mom wouldn’t let him, would insist on picking him up. Driving is its own peril, though, with such strict taxes imposed for misuse. A distance like that might not be enough for a permit. Maybe she would walk him home, if only there were time with her job.

    It’s seeing a dog down the road that starts it. The boy loves dogs; he rushes to pet it. The golden retriever runs, and in trying to catch up the boy scrapes his side against the bark of a tree. Barely a scrape, really. But it’s enough to draw blood.

    I open my eyes and blink the vision away. The flame of my single candle comes into focus. I have time to prepare. It will happen this afternoon and three days will pass before his mom finds

  • Blood abstract
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    My world falls silent

    This morning I thought of an idea for a First Sentence. By the time I got home from work it had turned into an idea for an entire story that I’m really tempted to write. I’m also really hesitant to start it. The Way of Attrition started out as a short story called the Chosen. Over five years later, I just finished editing Chapter 4 (again).

    I’m also tempted to (after outlining it) write a little bit of this story every day and post it as I do. This would be completely new for me. My stories can change a lot in the writing and I’ve never shared them with anyone until well after having a complete draft. What do you think?

    Here’s the First Sentence:

    Everything stops when I see the blood on Joshua’s sweater. It’s inside, where the cloth would touch his right side. My world falls silent. The TV is on, a pot of soup is simmering on the stove, and the heater is running, but all I see is blood and all I hear is the whine of my terror.

    My hands are shaking. “Joshua,” I try to yell his name but it’s half strangled.

    Joshua hears me anyway, comes to stand in his bedroom door. “Mom?”

    I hold up the blue sweater so he can see the blood. It’s not a lot; it doesn’t have to be. “Show me.”

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    You’re just testing one

    It’s been a good day. I meal prepped my lunches and dinners for the work week, edited Chapters 2 and 3 of my novel, and watched the season premiere of Doctor Who, which I very much enjoyed! After this blog post it will be time to put away the dinners I prepped and walk Darcy (my dog).

    Here’s today’s very random First Sentence:

    “Just work together.”

    I raise a skeptical eyebrow. “This isn’t a school project.”

    “Please tell me they didn’t teach you that you can only work with other people if it’s for a school project.”

    “Of. Course. Not. But how do you ‘work together’ in a battle to the death?”

    She bursts out laughing. “You’re so dramatic! You’re not actually fighting a battle to the death! You’re just testing one.”

    “Yes, but the principle is the same. We’re simulating the contestants.”

    “You’re testing the program. Talk to the rest of the team. Brainstorm everything that needs to be tested and divide it up.”

    “They’re trained assassins and professional imperial warriors. I’m a reality manipulator. I don’t want to talk to them.”

    “Then it’s too bad you can’t manipulate them out of your reality.”

    “Oh, ha ha ha, very funny.”

    “Seriously, though. What are you worried about? You’ve been hired to do a job. They’re not there to pick you as their next mark.”

    I can’t say I find that reassuring. I’ve never even killed a bug.

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Not in the sense that people always mean it

    I am writing this post on my phone so, for once, there is no cat between me and the screen. Not that my cats don’t get between me and my phone, but they don’t run to do it the way they seem to when they see me on my computer.

    I had a fun evening with a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months. We watched a really interesting sci-fi movie called Anon. I enjoyed the premise and implications of that premise a lot. I was also very struck by the demographics of it. In a world with many mostly white male casts, this one’s white maleness stood out more than normal. I discussed this with my friend and commented that if the cast were the opposite – say, mostly black women – people would complain about forced diversity and pandering to liberals.

    This weekend I’m excited about the return of Doctor Who, a show that has been accused of that very thing in its casting of a female Doctor and two minorities (plus one white male) as companions. These people, self-professed Doctor Who “fans,” talk about how the series will be cancelled within two seasons because of this forced diversity and virtue signaling, and seem to hope for that eventuality. I, for one, hope the new season is wildly successful and I can’t wait to see what they’ve done.

    Today’s First Sentence, written just now:

    I’m going to commit the perfect crime. Not in the sense that people

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    That we have it without you?

    The last twenty four hours did not go as planned. Rather than dwell on that, I’m going to focus on how I will begin editing my novel (again). Tomorrow I have plans with a friend so Saturday is my day to embark on this new leg of my odyssey.

    (As a side note, Ianta just came and planted herself between me and my iMac).

    In honor of the best laid plans, I present today’s First Sentence:

    “Can’t? What do you mean you can’t?”

    “It’s a really simple word. Surely you don’t need me to define it?”

    “It’s your coronation. You picked the day. Representatives from over 200 nations are already here. What are you proposing? That we have it without you?” He speaks each word slowly, as if I’ve suddenly become hard of understanding.

    “I’m suggesting we tell them the truth.”

    “And what is the truth? Why can’t we have your coronation tomorrow?”

    “Because I’m not the true heir.”

  • iPhone Xs
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    The Appfinity Loop

    Today I was going to edit the first chapter of my novel. Emphasis on the word “was.” Because today I also had an appointment with Apple at 6:15pm since my week and a half old iPhone Xs said its maximum battery capacity was at 98% instead of 100%.

    Apple verified the phone was defective and recommended, due to warranty reasons, that I replace it through Xfinity, who I bought it through. Apple also said that because the phone was such a new model, it would need to be sent away and that I’d be without the phone for several days if I did it through them.

    Xfinity gives you 14 days from the day the phone is shipped, not from when you receive the phone. My phone shipped two days before I received it and that 14 day period ends exactly today. I think it’s BS that I lose two days of the return window to shipping since the phone was literally not in my possession during that period. But, whatever, I was still in the 14 day period so I called. I got a very helpful person who started the process right away, letting me know that I wouldn’t have to return my phone until the new one arrived. Unfortunately, she ran into the problem of the Xs being backordered for several weeks. Apparently their system won’t let you process an exchange unless the replacement is immediately available. This is something else I think is BS because I

  • Ianta the Punk 1
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Every. Single. Time.

    It never fails. Every single time I sit down to work on a blog post, Ianta is sure I’m here for her. Every. Single. Time. She’ll purr. She’ll walk back and forth. She’ll rub up against things to mark them with her scent. She’ll knock things off the desk with her tail and then be startled by the sound they make when they fall. It’s 100% cat.

    So, in honor of her, today’s First Sentence:

    They said it would be easy. Well, listening to them was my first mistake. Thinking anything in my life would be easy was my second. In my defense, all I was supposed to do was knock on his door and ask for directions to some place or other, and that really does sound easy, doesn’t it? Yes, yes it does. So how did it go wrong? I’m glad you asked.

    It all started with the cat.

  • Stephen Kellogg Concert
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Maybe one of them will understand me

    Looking forward to a Stephen Kellogg concert later today, in Novato. This will take me close to the area I grew up in, which, in ways, still feels like home.

    I’ve succeeded in finding two Shutterstock images to purchase and combine as cover art for when I post my short story Extinguishing Eternity. Still struggling to find something for A Way Out – nothing is close to what I imagine.

    To make sure this post doesn’t get lost with the concert and all, I decided to get it done early. This First Sentence is inspired by thoughts related to Extinguishing Eternity and the Star Trek: Voyager episode I watched last night:

    “I don’t understand. Why are you making them live forever?”

    “Because then maybe, someday, one of them will understand me.”

  • Custom virtual reality code
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    An interesting murder request

    Adulting has taken most of my Saturday.  Non-adulting highlights include Star Trek: Voyager, Jamba Juice, listening to a dystopian fiction audiobook, and furbutts of the dog and cat variety.

    Early this month I purchased a 30-day 10-image subscription to Shutterstock as a source of images in my blog and website redesign and for my stories. I’d intended to use most of them in my blog redesign, thinking I could rotate through several of them. In practice, however, most of them don’t work due to how responsive design resizes images. Unfortunately, unused credits expire so I have two days to decide how to use my remaining six. While I have many beautiful favorites, there are few I imagine having any use for. Alas.

    As a nice break from my adulting, today’s First Sentence was written just now:

    “Focus on the user.” The advice exasperates me. Users are banal and tedious. It’s all sex and action hero fantasies, hardly any interest in scenarios that require complex theorizing. Occasionally, an interesting murder request comes along, and those help break the monotony, but the sameness of most of the “custom” programs is wearing on me. Sometimes I think of slipping in a jack-in-the-box and turning a standard secret agent gig into a parallel universe time travel escapade but, well, I have to do what pays the bills and “focus on the” bloody “user.”