Obsession


 

There are some people who say that the way I feel is an illness. I’m not one of them. What drives me is really the purest form of love. It is a love so powerful that it consumes my every moment. If everyone wants to be loved, why wouldn’t someone want to be loved so completely?

My therapist is one of the people who think what I have is an illness. I know she does. I peeked at her notes once when she left the room, and her thoughts about me could not have been further from the truth. But, she’s a professional, so I guess she would know better than I, even if I think she’s wrong. Some day she’ll understand my point of view and change her notes to say “genius” or “enlightened”, but I’m sure that’s a ways off. She can be very stubborn.

My latest love has been a woman at work. Her name was Jill Sanders. Most people would say Jill is pretty. Not in an obnoxious, supermodel sort of way, but more like a statue that was made with purposeful flaws to make her more human and accessible. I guess I thought of her in the same way, but I could tell there was something even more special about her. Continue reading “Obsession”

Announcing the March Writer’s Challenge!


  Welcome to the first My Writer’s Cramp Writing Challenge!

 

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve met some great people and some great writers and I thought it might be fun to do a little writing challenge to share the works of my friends, introduce all of us to some new people and give us all a little something more to read (like we don’t all have more than enough right?).

The challenge will be broken into two categories: Short Fiction and Flash Fiction.

For purposes of this writing challenge Short Fiction we be defined as being between 1000 and 7500 words; Flash Fiction will be no more than 1000 words.

So what is the challenge? The challenge will be incorporating three of nine elements listed below. The more important to the story you make the elements the better, but if you simply mention them in passing that’s okay too. Its important to note that its not about using the word specifically but the concept. An example would be if the element was “sword” and you never mention the word, but your story involves a pirate who uses a saber when he boards a merchant ship, that would be a successful use of the element.

So here are the elements:

Swashbuckling Mismanaged Psychopathic
Rocketry Bedevilled Agape
Parricide Jive Rakish

Thank you to Creativity Tools Random Word Generator by Watch Out 4 Snakes for the random selection of elements. Continue reading “Announcing the March Writer’s Challenge!”

Distractions and Foci


Civilization V
Image via Wikipedia

 

Last weekend I had the major part of a day all to myself. I had nothing planned for except a phone call with a friend (which ended up not happening), yet I managed to get very little written during that time. That evening I wrote considerably more and ended the day about 1000 words short of my goal. I sat down and wrote the next day and was about as productive, though I spent the bulk of the day distracted by my parental duties. On the third day I punched out almost as much as I had during the previous two days combined although I was every bit as busy as the day before.

As I looked at the results of my weekend I asked myself what had made the difference in how much I was able to write during each day and at the different times of day. I questioned what had distracted me and what had helped me focus on my work and then I pondered what about the distractions and focus enhancers made them what they were. Continue reading “Distractions and Foci”

Book Review: Gabriel’s Redemption


“Drop in five, four, three, two, one…DROP, DROP, DROP!”

Gabriel’s head was slammed back against the padded wall of the drop capsule, known to drop-troopers as coffins, as the Marcinko spat the team from the drop bay like bullets. Nine capsules shot towards the surface of Poliahu at over seven G’s.

After the initial shock, Gabriel relaxed his breathing and had his neuretics bring up the drop data in Mindseye. Nine green dots, falling towards the surface at over 18,000 miles per hour, all secure telemetry in order. He checked for an update of the LZ, and confirmed the team was on target and all probes showed the same quiet colony.

All but one probe, he thought. I only hope that was a glitch.

Gabriel’s Redemption gives the reader a glimpse at an all too possible future, where global tragedy has altered the physical and political landscape of the world, leaving the stars as a refuge for hope and a better life…as long as you can survive.

I loved this book and when I set it down I wanted more.  Now when I say I wanted more it is not because I was left unsatisfied with the story or the way it ended, I say it because I loved the characters, the story and the writing so much that I hated to see it end.  Steve Umstead has crafted a piece of science fiction that is reminiscent of the works of Ben Bova, Larry Niven and Isaac
Asimov
, rich with description that feels natural, characters who seem real and technology that feels plausible and acceptable.

If you love a good story but the techno-babble of some science fiction steers you away from the genre, this is the book for you.  Umsteads sells you his vision of the future with well crafted writing as opposed to drowning you with scientific terms.  The end result is a believable future that is easy to relate to.

Gabriel’s Redemption is the story of Evan Gabriel, a disgraced member of the North American Federation Navy, who is given an opportunity to recover his former rank and to have the blame for the disaster he was blamed for removed from his records.  When the offer is made by a man he cannot stand and does not trust he has to wonder whether or not the risk is worth it, and when things start to go bad on the mission he has to figure out who he can trust and how he and his team will survive so that he can take advantage of the redemption he has been promised.

LINKS:

Steve Umstead’s Blog Page

Steve Umstead’s Twitter Page

Partners


“You know this can never last right?” Sheila looked up at Vince with a smile. She was lying on her side, barely covered by a rumpled sheet that had been pushed down to the bed only a few minutes earlier.

“I know,” Vince sighed, “we both knew that from the moment this started, but how long do you think we can make it work?” He stood facing the bed, buttoning his shirt, his eyes drawn to the gentle curve of the fabric that barely covered the body of his buddy’s wife.

“I think we can keep it going for quite a while longer,” Sheila sat up, tucking her legs beneath her and pulling up the sheet just enough to tease him with a little false modesty, “Jack and Linda both work so much that it’s easy for us to sneak in a little time together. I guess it is always possible that one of them could come home early and on the wrong day that could certainly put an end to things in a rather dramatic way, but I honestly don’t see that happening.” Their respective spouses had been A type personalities since college and getting into the workforce had pushed them both into overdrive. Vince and Sheila were simply along for the ride as Jack and Linda relentlessly climbed the corporate ladder. Continue reading “Partners”

Book Review: Excelsior


“Matthew, so few humans achieve their destiny before leaving this world. You have that chance.” Matthew Peters had spent the last seven years creating the ultimate online comic hero. He never dreamed that he would find the true hero within himself.

Last month I took part in the Blog Tour-de-Force and one of the free books I received was Excelsior by George H. Sirois.  Excelsior is a piece of young adult science fiction, and normally I do not read young adult fiction of any sorts because I get bored with the simplicity of the writing and the story, not to mention that so often there is a healthy dose of teen angst involved, but the little quote from the the smashwords website intrigued me and I’ll freely admit to the fact that as a long time comic book lover the mere word excelsior made me curious.  I read George’s blog and I could appreciate how much time he had spent in the creation so I thought I would give it a try.

Excelsior is definitely the end result of a labor of love.  The characters and history poured into the 70,000 plus words is plainly evident.  There is no confusing which character is which as the story unfolds and make no mistake, this is a very character driven bit of fiction.  The story only has a couple of different locations, but they are all distinct and well described so that you get the sense of each space and who lives and works there.  George says in the afterword that he spent fifteen years working on the main character and his story and the effort really shines through. 

The story revolves around Matthew, a junior in highschool who is far more interested in working on his web comic Excelsior than he is in doing his school work or paying attention in class.  When his comic draws the attention of a beautiful scientist working under a deadline and two nightmarish alien villains reawaken after millenia of imprisonment, his hold world gets turned upside down as he learns that the world of his imagination is far more real than he could have dreamed and that he is the key to the survival of his own world as well as the world of Excelsior!

Excelsior is definitely aimed toward the young adult reader, but it is well written enough that even adult fans of science fiction will enjoy it.  I’ll definitely be saving this one for my boys to read when they get a littler bit older and to re-read on my own.

Links:

George H. Sirois’ Smashwords Profile

George H. Sirois’ Twitter Profile

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Two-Hundred Dollars


 

I pulled the two hundred dollars from my wallet and set it on the nightstand. The diversion had been nice, necessary even, but that was all it was, a diversion. I looked at myself in the mirror and barely recognized the man staring back at me. Too many weeks away from home left me feeling hollow and my eyes betrayed me to anyone who looked. I brushed the slowly graying hair out of my eyes and ran my fingers through it, trying to push back into place. I remembered when my hair was still completely blonde and it stayed in place no matter how much abuse was heaped upon it, but time had mad my hair as unmanageable as the rest of my life.

I was straightening my collar and buttoning up the last couple of buttons when I caught the eyes of my recent companion looking back at me through the mirror. It struck at that moment as funny that the prostitute in my bed looked far more alive than I did. For some reason the image of the world weary hooker from the grittier crime shows represented the correct image more so than the Julia Roberts like hooker with a heart of gold. Maybe it was the run down neighborhood I had grown up in and my memory of Mrs. Larson down the street. She claimed to be a massage therapist, but the rumor was that she was really just a prostitute with a nasty meth habit. Personally I think it had more to do with my well developed sense of cynicism. I could remember my parents calling me a cynic as early as fourth grade. I didn’t know what the word meant at the time, but as I got older I recognized what I had become for what my parents had labeled me. Continue reading “Two-Hundred Dollars”