Friday, November 20, 2009

#FridayFlash - Salvation

It started as a low rumble that built and built, reverberating off the walls of downtown.


Smiles peaked out at the increasing sound from dirty, scarred faces, their owners looking out toward the street from boxes and alleys, others through the open soup kitchen window that always burped out the friendly scent of baking bread.


They’d all heard the rumors. And it looked like they were about to find out if they were for real.


Corner dealers looked up like startled foxes and rushed to finish their transactions before slinking out of sight just in case. Streetwalkers stared with hope in the rumble’s direction, making sure their pimps couldn’t see their expressions.


The hum of engines roared as those approaching finally turned the corner, formed up in a double line. A Hesketh Vampire led the pack, followed by Kawasaki Ninjas, some Indian Chiefs, and even Hogs. The smell of exhaust filled the air. Glass rattled with the noise of their passing. Reflective sunglasses shone under the bright sun, even as black habits flowed behind them in the wind, their underskirts hitched up so they could ride.


As they came to a red light, the Mother Superior reached back to caress her bat sized cross in anticipation, her sawed off shotgun poking up above the seat from the other side of the machine. Both were within easy reach and ready for battle, just like she liked them.


The Mother Superior cracked her knuckles. After all the training, after all the sacrifice, the Church had finally deemed them ready. Souls would now be saved. She and her sisters were up to the task. Using whatever means necessary.


The Virgin Vixens – dispensing tough love in the name of God.


Prepare to be saved.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Writing on the Waves!

Trying to help a fellow author promote a most unique writing workshop! Writing while cruising in the Caribbean!

Lynn Flewellin is an internationally acclaimed Fantasy author. And she will be holding a multi part writing course aboard the Freedom of the Seas with Royal Caribbean International.

7 night cruise with stops at Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Martin with 3 days of seminars packed between locations.

Seminar Day 1:

10:00-11:00 am: Meet Lynn and Explore Her Worlds

11:00-noon: "I Love/Hate That Guy! Creating Memorable Characters" with writing prompts

4:00-5:30 pm Salon- a gathering to read aloud, listen, and discuss each other's writing. Don't be shy! You can read from stories or books you've been working on or new material inspired by the day's writing prompts, or just come and support your fellow writers.

Seminar Day 2:

10:00-11:00 am: Creating a Sense of Place:

Everything has to happen somewhere.
Crafting detailed, believable settings" with writing prompts.

11:00-noon: "The Plot—and Theme— Thicken: You don't have much of a story if they don't!"

4:00-5:30 pm Salon

Seminar Day 3:

10:00-11:00 am: "Editing: Forget "book doctors." How you do the work to make your book the best it can be."

11:00-noon: "Through the Hoops: Finishing, Polishing, Packaging, and Approaching an Agent or Publisher"
4:00-5:30 pm Final Salon

Workshop participation Age 18 and up.
16-17 with parental permission.

Special pricing for the cruise as well. So if you've been looking for a vacation and have also wanted to learn about writing and the business, this cruise might be for you!

Friday, November 06, 2009

#FridayFlash - Prey

Her hunger tore at her guts, once more demanding its due. She ignored it, already on the prowl, seeking for the means to satisfy it.

So far the darkness had revealed nothing.

Honed senses scanned for the merest hint of prey. Deftly, she skirted the trees and other vegetation, searching, always searching.

Her pangs growing ever more acute, she finally spotted a bit of light glinting through the foliage. Like a moth drawn to a flame, she changed course, dizzy with the possibilities.

As she cleared the last of the trees, she found her endeavors hadn’t been in vain. A large clearing opened up before her showing the top of a small hill with a house, the calling light coming from its open doorway.

Sticking to the shadows, she drifted closer.

Excitement ignited inside her as she noticed a flesh being sitting on a raggedy chair on the sagging porch, staring out into the night while smoking a pipe.

Food at last!

With darting movements she made her way up the hill.

Nearing the house from the side, she peeked into the porch, studying her quarry, making sure her presence had gone unnoticed.

The balding prey puffed on his pipe oblivious.

A stray strand of wind wafted the scent of cooling sweat and pipe smoke toward her. Beneath it, barely noticeable, was the intoxicating perfume of blood. She moved a little closer, her hunger rising to a fevered pitch.

All senses on the alert for signs that her victim suspected her presence, she drifted closer still. Staring at her target, she could easily envision the life giving fluid pumping through the veins and arteries. If she’d been able to, she would have licked trembling lips in utter anticipation.

Barely stirring the air around her, she snuck up behind her victim, mesmerized by the pulsing beat of blood beneath the skin at his neck.

She moved closer and closer, her hunger and the call of the blood driving her on. Yet she purposely stretched the moment, moving forward ever so slowly, letting her anticipation increase.

As she touched the warm skin with the lightest of caresses, she felt a tingle rise through her.

No longer able to contain herself, she plunged deep into the succulent flesh. Gushing blood filled her hungering body, covering her with shivers of utter ecstasy. This was what it was about -- this was why she existed.

Trapped in the moment she didn’t notice the large presence rising over her. Too late, she felt the movement above her and tried to disengage from the pierced flesh. Pressure crushed her where she stood and sent waves of excruciating pain through her fragile being until mercifully, she could feel nothing at all.

The hunter had become the prey.


“Damn bloodsucker!”

Joe pulled his hand away from his neck, staring with disgust at the bloody smear on his callused palm. He stood up from the rocking chair, hastily wiping his hand on his coveralls.

“Myrtle, where’s that blasted can of OFF again?”

Sunday, November 01, 2009

FlashForward Book and TV Series

Thanks to Tor Books I won a copy of the novel FlashForward through a contest on Twitter. I’ve also been watching the series on TV (actually on the ABC site as Thursday nights have way too much on at the same time! I’m a week behind everyone else to boot! Hopefully nothing happened this past week that was too important. Heh heh).



I thought it might be fun to discuss the book and also do a comparison to the TV show.




The novel is by Robert J Sawyer and has won the Aurora Award for Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy.



I’m not entirely sure how to categorize the novel. It is definitely science fiction, but seems to tread the line into Hard SF, though the emotional and social aspects might not make it seem that way.



On a personal level, I had a lot of fun with this book because it was like an evening of discussions in an old gaming group. The book ends up covering two of the most discussed and still debated topics in science in the past and still today.



But before I get to that, let’s do a quick “what is it about?” bit. The FlashForward novel deals with an ‘event’ where everyone in the world loses consciousness for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. When they came back to themselves and the pieces start getting put together, people realize that they viewed events 20 years in the future. The book follows the fallout from the FlashForward, and how these visions have impacted several key individuals who believe they might just be the cause of the event in the first place.



So two main topics discussed by individuals, which also throw in actual current scientific theories, are:



1)How time works – is it static, can the future be changed, are all moments in time ‘now’, freewill vs. predestination. (People can go hours and hours on this one! Been there, done that! Lol)



2)And the power of the observer. Does the consciousness of a scientist doing an experiment actually affect the experiment’s result? (Another big topic button in the gaming group! Lol.) This also leads to discussions on humanity and its consciousness as a whole and what effect it might have on our universe.



Much brain fodder to chew on.



There’s also the emotional questions that tie back to these two issues as our principals have seen futures they both do not like. I loved that Mr. Sawyer brings in stories from the Old World into it, tales and fables of the ancient Greeks, as they felt and dealt with some of the issues brought up by this event. And of course all the repercussions of people/countries knowing what has been seen in this future and how they decide to deal or not deal with what was seen.



Mr. Sawyer takes us through all of that. As a writer, I was especially thrilled to see where he saw the future of bookstores going. Hopefully some of them will take the hint and push in that direction. Heh heh. I think it would be cool and we’re headed in that way anyway.



I also learned some stuff, too. Somehow I had missed hearing about Brown Holes before. So I found the topic totally fascinating. And in a total clash of coincidence, I had a friend tell me about Felicia Day’s “Behind The Scenes: When Galaxies Collide” and had just watched it Thursday morning right before I got to the part of the book that mentioned the phenomenon as well. (Video is a lot of fun by the way, and quite educational to boot! Go Felicia!)



The book was definitely an interesting read on many levels and I enthusiastically give it a 4 out of 5 stars!



Now for fun, let’s do a comparison to the TV series.



****POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT!!!!! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED*****



In the book, the ‘event’ occurs on 4/21/09 and gives (those who get one) a FlashForward glimpse of the year 2030 lasting for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. The TV series has the ‘event’ happen in 2009 for six months later showing them a glimpse of 4/29/10.



A neat split about the visions between the two versions is that in Mr. Sawyer’s book, those catching a glimpse had no context of what their future selves were feeling, while in the TV version, those who piggy backed into their futures knew the emotional states of their other selves thus getting additional clues from their feelings at those times. Both sets had no control over their future bodies, and only saw and heard whatever their other selves were paying attention to or where around at the time.



The principals of the book are located in Geneva at CERN, a scientific center housing a Large Hadron Collider. The TV series has our principals centered in LA.
Interestingly, Lloyd Simcoe, a main character in the book and physicist, who also is inadvertently responsible for the ‘event’, is played in the series again as a catalyst, but seemingly a knowing one. In the book the FlashForward occurred due to a number of circumstances coming together in a focal point, which produced the event – a miraculous happenstance not foreseen by anyone. But in the TV series, it is an actual feat that has been done on purpose! And not for the first time!
With the new twist, Agent Mark Benford is introduced, so we have a spear for the action adventure we expect from our TV offerings. His wife’s FlashForward actually very much resembles the one had by Simcoe in the book. (Or so it seems!) Shoe on the other foot type of thing. So it tickled me a lot because in the TV show Simcoe is the one having the affair there as well.



Another cute twist sits with Agent Demetri Noh. In the TV show he becomes the duplicate for Lloyd Simcoe’s scientific partner Theo Procopides. Theo, like, Demetri, also had no FlashForward vision and also comes to find out that he was murdered, with three gun shots to the chest. Unlike the FBI agent, he has no idea why anyone would ever want to murder him. Theo has a brother, Dimitri, who takes matters into his own hands to force others to find out if the future is changeable or not, so could be possible Agent Noh’s first name might be another indirect plug at the book with Demetri/Dimitri. (That or I’m just reaching!)



Agent Benford has a young daughter, and Simcoe’s fiancé had one at the time of the event as well. Except Michiko’s daughter was one of the casualties of the event, while Benford’s daughter lives.



Mosaic exists in both places for the same purpose, but one was created and maintained by the CERN folks and the other by the FBI.



I’m very much looking to see how the show explains the event to compare against how Mr. Sawyer set his up.



Reading the book has definitely enhanced the TV show for me. Giving me more angles to look at things and comparing how the TV writers and the SF author do different takes on the same concept. Should be a blast to see how it all continues to develop! Looking forward to it!

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