Friday, November 25, 2011

Grey (2/2)

The second half of what I wrote for this year's NaNoWrimo.  It has not been edited (it is still November after all) and may never be completed, though I quite like this story so I do hope to come back to it.

Head to foot in the intermediate gray of position, Janelle was on one knee on the other side of Father’s desk, waiting to be acknowledged. She’d been waiting for over an hour, and had long since gone into a light meditative trance. It took her mind off the hardness of the cold stone beneath her knee and the burn of oxygen starved muscle. It kept her ready and relaxed for whatever came next as the world around her was pushed back behind a cloud of single focus—Father.

She hadn’t yet perfected the technique. Sounds of her brother and sister Greys moving in the hallways, their handful of servants all jolted her out of her trance in bright flashes of pain and tedium. What she was good at, though, was not breaking the look of concentration. Then again, that might be why she was still down on one knee, waiting to be acknowledged by Father.

At least she couldn’t pull her freshly redone stitches in this position.

The edges began to fuzzy again as she reentered the meditative state. It was easy enough in Father’s office. The stone was, as expected, a dull gray and sparsely decorated. The rich wooden bookshelves with their leather-bound volumes provided most of the color, beside Father’s own golden tan complexion. Even his desk was a spare affair. Father never kept any papers longer than he needed them, and preferred to get his messages via email or text when he could. Alorna, his secretary did in fact maintain extensive files for him. Somewhere.

“So Iris says it was...” He cleared his throat. “A Colorless ‘bilge rat’ that managed to wound you?”

Grey (1/2)

I started writing this as my novel for this year's NaNoWriMo.  A few days into the writing, however, I felt the need to go back to work on another project I've had on my plate for over a year.  I promised that I would post what I had written, however, so here it goes.  I actually quite like this and hope to be able to come back to it.  It had been on my mind for a while.  I must warn you, though, that like any good NaNo novel this hasn't been edited.  It's still November, after all ;)



It’s the worst way for a Grey Assassin to die. They warn you about it in training.

Never get hurt alone. Never lie bleeding by the side of the road.

The reason was tacitly clear if not explicitely said. You couldn’t ever expect help from anyone but your brothers and sisters, because no one would ever dare. What we Greys did was legal of course. We were color-coded weren’t we? But we were one of the most mysterious colors. One of the deadliest.

Was the Grey lying in the gutter really dying, or was she on assignment waiting for her assigned Target to walk by? Better not to find out.

I wish they would. Because I’m not on assignment. I’m not on anyone’s time but my own. And my brothers and sisters… They’re probably wishing me to a wretched painful hell anyway.

What good is being a Colored Person, with a House and Name and Family if even they are going leave you to run out on the side of the road like Clear Water?

I was just looking for my kin.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Korean Day Parade 2011

It's not popularly known, but I am a big fan of Korean dramas (k-dramas).  Basically they're Korean soap operas or telenovelas.  Any given show will run from 16-100+ episodes depending on whether it's a weekly or daily drama.  They fall into several genres including rom-com (my personal fave and very popular for obvious reasons), slice-of-life, historical, action, etc.  Like any Western show, some are wonderful and some are terrible, with a bunch falling somewhere in the middle.  What I like about them is...  It's a little hard to explain.  I like the lack of graphic sex and violence (in rom-coms at least...your historicals can go there with the violence), I like the fast pace. I like the immense library of already completed shows!  And I can't neglect to mention the parade of hot guys.

What?  I'm just being honest!  I'll watch a show where I don't find the guys particularly hot (sorry, fellow beaners, but I don't think Wookie's cute and you know how I feel about Lee Min Ho), but it doesn't hurt.  At all.


Needless to say all my k-drama watching means I now also have an interest in Korean culture.  I know a handful of Korean words, I have added Seoul to the list of places I want to visit (Paris, you're still first!), and I've written k-drama inspired fanfiction. But anyone who knows me well knows that my fannishness is wide instead of deep.  In other words, although I'm seriously tempted it's unlikely that I'll learn Korean.  :-/

But still, yay Korea!

So imagine my joy and surprise when I came up from the subway last Saturday on my way to meet a friend only to run smack dab into the Korean Day Parade!  I swear I didn't jump and down and squeal, but that's probably only because I was surrounded by strangers.  Seriously, I got off about 2 stops early because, well, I was early.  I had no expectation of catching the KDay Parade.  My tv's been out for two weeks, I didn't pay much attention to the was totally God's surprise gift to me.  And what a delightful gift!

First of all, it was just full of pretty.  The traditional dress, the couple of floats I was able to see (I was on my way to meet someone after all), the street fair I wasn't able to actually visit...all very cool.  As a matter of fact, I ran into people going to the Polish Day Parade on Sunday and was kinda sad that I couldn't take pictures of it, too. 

Anywho, I promised my Dramabeans unnies, oppas and dongsaeng that I would post the pictures and videos that I did take.  In deference to those of us without hi-speed, or who think I'm totally nutters (you're in pretty good company ;), the pictures are all under the break.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Not the Expert I Wanted to Be...

I recently had an epiphany.

I am an etymologist (or bug specialist). And if you’re a fellow New Yorker, you probably are, too. Unfortunately, we specialize in cockroaches. The German cockroach, to be exact.

Yeah. I know.

How’d I come to this dastardly realization? It’s all my long-distance friend’s fault. Though she is not a New Yorker, she’s also no stranger to big cities. So why did she send me an email the other day with COCKROACH as the subject? In the body she wrote, “I just saw my first cockroach. Luckily he was already dead.”

Lucky indeed.

I’d like to mention here and now that I hate and fear cockroaches. There’s a longish story behind that which I won’t get into. Anywho...

 So this particular friend and I often share our insect woes, which usually center around silverfish and spiders and cats who don’t kill either silverfish or spiders right away. Trust me, you’ve never squealed about bugs until you’ve done it live via instant messenger. I’m just sayin’. So her sending me the email about the dead roach actually wasn’t very strange. In fact, I smiled and was quite amused. (Yes, these are the kinds of friends I have. You see why I love them.)

That alone, however, did not reveal my special “ability.” Oh no. Anyone can commiserate with a friend. It’s when, later on, that friend asks your opinion regarding whether she should get the exterminator, and you follow up with clarifying questions that you know something is up.

“Was it a German cockroach or an American cockroach, aka water-bug?” I asked.

“That's hard to say,” was the reply. “I originally saw it going towards my tea, so clearly it has some British heritage somewhere. But then it hid between ketchup and tomato soup in a can, so... that's pretty American. What's the difference?”

“German cockroaches are the small common buggers that plague NY. The ones in Joe's Apartment (movie). American cockroaches, aka water-bugs, are ginormous.”

“Oh, then it was German.”

See how neatly I narrowed down the options. But wait, we're not quite through: “Okay, well considering the time of year, it may have just been passing through. Was it an adult (about half inch to an inch long and dark brown) or was it a juvenile (smaller, lighter, narrow) or a baby (black, yellow stripe, roundish)?”

Do you see that? Do you see that?! I’m not quote info I’ve gotten off Wikipedia, or picked up from some foul Nat Geo special. This is first hand knowledge. I know the life stages of a roach the way other people know the life stages of dogs and cats! And I gathered this information from observation—fearful, cringing observation, but whatevs. Dude, I could have been one of the panel of experts on my made up, really disgusting Nat Geo special!

And I bet I’m not the only one, ‘cause it’s one thing NYers have in common it’s the roaches. It doesn’t matter how fancy your digs are, they’re all situated over the same rat and roach infested tunnels, and every now and then either one or the other makes it into everyone’s otherwise pristine domain.

So, yeah. I’m a specialist. In cockroaches.

Yippee aye yo ki yay.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tell Her: Speak Up

(Unexpected continuation of the story Tell Her...)


Holding his coffee in one hand, he watched his steps with exquisite care, slipping behind her as she strode down the hall.  She never noticed their near collision.

Or so he thought. Still moving, she glanced over her shoulder and smiled. "Hi."

Surprised, he could only mumble his own hello. But he did remember to smile. A good one, he thought.

She frowned for a moment, but before he could repeat himself she said, "I'm surprised you remember my name."

He opened his mouth to speak.

Andy breezed by.

"Hi Andy!"

"What? What was that?"

Amusement breaking along her face, she continued looking over her shoulder, her focus entirely on Andy, who was smaller but infinitely more animated than he was. Then Andy was out of sight and they were fast approaching his office, and—


In his head he called Andy several things only other number crunchers could appreciate.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tell Her

Not much in the way of dialogue tags here, but I think it's reasonably easy to follow along with.  Plus, it's short.

“You want me to tell her you think she’s cute?”
            “What?  No!  And it was just that one time...”
            “Aaaah, the day she was wearing that skirt.  I saw the way you were looking at her.”
            “It was a nice color.”
            “It was black and white.”
            “Which...looks nice on everyone.”
            “Uh huh.  Sure.  Why don’t you just let me do it.  The next time she calls--”
            “You see.”
            “Andy?  ...Andy?”
            “Yes, my dear.”
            “Can I borrow--”
            “But I just need it really--”
            “I’ll bring it right back.”
            “For how much?”
            “I don’t get paid until tomorrow.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Occasionally, you get it right

As many people know, I'm writing a fantasy novel.  What most people don't know, because it pains me to "admit" it out loud, is that it's a vampire novel.  

Yes, yes, I know.  I promise they don't sparkle.  I can't promise that they're not a little emo, though.  The first vamps I remember well are Anne Rice's after all.  Louis mourning Claudia throughout all time ring any bells for anyone else?  Lestat's torturous, unhappy childhood?  Yeah, thems my early inspiration, followed in short order by the likes of Joss Whedon's Angel and Spike v. 2.0 (not to be confused with the Spike of Buffy Season 2 where he was the scariest thing since since).  I've actually read quite a lot of vampire stories, much of it in the more straightforward vampires-are-EVIL perspective.  I'm the person my other geeky friends run vamp ideas past because I've already done so much "research" on the subject.  This is what you get from a voracious reader with a vivid imagination and a preference for mythology.

Anywho, I digress...severely.  I've just done a Wordle* on my novel, and while the names of my main characters pop up large and in charge, the word "vampire" doesn't even rate.  I'm ecstatic!

And you're going, Why???  Because when I started this novel, oh so many years ago, one of my express goals was to make a vampire novel that was somehow different from everything that I at least knew.  I wanted vampires who thought of themselves differently, who acted differently, who were perceived and perceived themselves differently.  For me that started with the word "vampire" being anathema.  Unfortunately, in this long editorial process, I've had to re-work and re-word a lot...including using "vampire."  

It would seem, though, that at least in one arena I've been successful.  It's very possible that concept-wise I'm still a big stinky failure, but I'm choosing not to believe that.**

*Wordle is an internet based software that takes text and turns it into a pretty wordcloud.  Which words appear in the wordcloud are usually chosen by how frequently they appear in the text.  Similarly, the most frequently used words are shown in the biggest font sizes, while less frequently used words are shown in smaller font sizes.  You can do all sorts of fun manipulations with these wordclouds on Wordle, from changing the color, font, word-direction, etc.  Have a go!
**Anyone who has either talked to me about my novel or seen my facebook posts will know that my love or loathing for my novel varies from day to day.  Usually the emotional swing is, ahem, quite wide.  *head desk*

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In a Pool of Dark Light

She scrabbled hard against the robes, hard against him, hard against her fear.  “Let me go. Let me go.  Let me go!
            But he kept dragging her along.
            “Let me go!”
            “No.”  And he yanked on her ropes, made her stumble. 
            Her knees scraped the rough deck-plating through her coveralls.  They were going up a ramp, though, so it was easy to get her footing again.
            She could feel her blood, running hot down her knees.  It itched.  The arches of her feet were cramped.  She could barely feel her hands anymore and the ropes bit painfully into her wrists.  “Please…” she tried again.
            He ignored her.  Until they reached the landing.  Then he yanked on the rope again, pulling her towards him then driving her to her knees.  She cried out.  Her torn knee burned and screamed.  Fresh tears made fresh tracks on her dirty face. 
            They’d found her in the engine room.  She hadn’t even known the ship had been boarded.
            He looped the rope around her neck, then around one of the railings.  If she pulled on it she’d strangle herself.  He walked away.
            She curled in on herself as best she could.  Her stomach was cramping, but she’d already thrown up everything she’d had for dinner when she’d been hit in the solar plexus.  She was no lightweight.  Working down in the engines meant a certain amount of dexterity and athleticism.  But she was no fighter, either, unless it was with her CO or a multi-tool.  Fear and exhaustion—they’d come near the end of the graveyard shift, her shift—was making her sick.  And she was feverish.  Up here, outside the bowels of the ship, it shouldn’t be so hot.  The invaders hadn’t killed enviro; she could feel the breeze of the circulating air.  But she was sweating and trembling in her jumpsuit.  Tears and sweat mingled with dirt and dust.  She stank.
            He came back, untied the rope and loosened it from her neck.  She thought of biting his hand.  He slapped her before she could.  “Up!”
            They were heading for a blank wall.  No, not a blank wall, but one of the pneumatic tubes.  Where were they going?  Where was he sending her?  The tubes were only big enough for one.  Even children, who were only allowed to use them in an emergency, had to take them singly.
            He stuffed her inside, carelessly throwing the rope over her head toward the back wall.  Then he stuffed himself inside, too.
            She struggled.  She fought.  She wasn’t exactly claustrophobic, couldn’t be working in the bowels of a ship, but she hated the pneumatic tubes.  She hated him.  Hated being tied up.  How could he even think they could both travel this way?!
            “Let me go!”
            He snapped his head into hers.  Blackness edged her vision.  The sound of rushing blood filled her ears.  His “No” came from far away.  She was burning up.