Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Eats My Shorts

I'm just about to head out the door to church, but I thought I'd throw a snippet on the blog of the short story I'm working on currently:

Corners and Curves

It was her fourth attempt at the maze, and it felt just as impossible this time as previous times. If she hadn’t known it was meant to be so difficult, she’d have felt like a complete failure.

“Kinsey White?” the overhead speaker called as she was putting on her boots.

She strode out of the locker room and into the greenhouse atrium at the beginning of the maze. There was someone else waiting there as usual. The last three times her partner had been female, though. The man seemed equally as surprised. A maze director walked out in his military uniform shaking his head.

“I’m sorry. They had you listed as a male for some reason, Kinsey. If you’d like, we can postpone for another day,” he said, flipping through paperwork.

“No, it’s fine with me,” Kinsey said. “Will our team be held to the course expectation for males, though?”

It didn’t seem fair to drag a teammate down just because the modified course was catered to specific genders. She’d heard the upper-body strength portions of the male course were brutal, and she just didn’t have that. Likewise, though, she’d had some tight squeezes that most of the males she knew wouldn’t fit through.

“We have a moderate level which will incorporate aspects from both specific courses—without exploiting gender weaknesses,” he said. “It’s harder on a whole, but…”

“Who uses the moderate level?” the other guy asked, echoing Kinsey’s thoughts.

“While you’re selected alphabetically during trial runs, after you’ve completed the maze once, you can pick your partner on additional runs. We have a lot of male and female teams when they can choose their partner,” the maze director explained.

“I’m game to go today,” the other competitor said. “This will be my third time, and we didn’t even get close last time.” He grinned at Kinsey. “That probably doesn’t boost your confidence.”

Kinsey smiled and said, “It’s my fourth attempt, so… ditto.”

“So, you’re agreed?” the maze director asked.

They both nodded. He marked on the sheet and exited through a side door.

“Kinsey White,” she said, sticking out a hand. “Lieutenant, First Class.”

“Heath Whittaker. Gunner, Space—Outer Ring, First Class,” he said, shaking her hand. “What division—Ground or Space?”

“I’m with the Ground division, but I’m medical bay. It’s a forward position, though, so I’m not with the facilities,” she explained. She didn’t want him to think she was going to hold him back from lack of field experience.

He nodded, understanding. “I’m trying to get with the Special Forces with the Ground division, actually. I’ve got the sniper hours to my record, but this maze keeps kicking my ass.”

“You have to have a successful run?” she asked. Wow. There were few positions that required a successful maze run.

“Two,” he said, rolling his eyes.

“Oh… I was just going for the pay increase,” she admitted.

“That is a consideration. I’m also tired of these long flight missions. We were gone six months this last time and were quarantined for three of those months due to some alien epidemic that made half the crew lose their hair.”

“Not you, though,” Kinsey said, gesturing at his thick brown hair. His eyes matched his hair… and the jumpsuit they both wore.

“No,” he agreed, running a hand through his hair. “I can’t believe they thought you were male.” He tugged on her blond ponytail with an amused grin.

“It’s the name. It happens all the time,” she said. She could feel her face blush and suspected that her blue eyes looked especially vivid next to her pink cheeks. The ponytail felt slobby suddenly. Who’d have guessed she wouldn’t be running with another female who’d look similar?

Beside them, there was the clink and whir of gears as the maze was set in place.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teasing is what Tuesdays do best

Wow... this summer is killing my blogging, isn't it? (Don't answer that. It's rhetorical.)

Well, at least I'm making it here for a Tuesday Teaser I guess. I had a monster of a migraine yesterday and we were busy with friends and family most of last week, so I wasn't even on Twitter that much. It's been a slow week.

I'm still waiting to hear back on submissions. It's surprising it's taking this long--as it seems from Query Tracker's records that most of these agents get back much sooner typically. Still, it's summer and I've heard New York shuts down in August. I've got nine subs out right now. (four are fulls, five partials) A few of the agents would have me in a heartbeat, but I'm a little more conservative on the others because I don't know as much about them. I'm still working on the "que sera sera" method of dealing with the stress. Getting published traditionally is a long shot with the odds. If it doesn't happen--after all I've done--I'm good. My family and happiness are a lot higher priorities. When you believe in the guiding hand of a higher power, it's hard to keep slamming your head against what seems to be a brick wall. Maybe it's not this way with others, but I start wondering if it just wasn't meant to be. I don't know. After the kids start school, I might reevaluate.

Anyway... here is my Tuesday Teaser from a short story called "Hot Ride" about a girl who slips into a hired car and tries to convince the driver that she's the person who hired him to drive her. He thinks she's crazy.

Here it is:

“Which brings me back to… what can I call you?” He could tell she was hoping he’d forgotten his original question.


“I know you’re not Franklin Benedict. He’s in his seventies and has gout,” Denny said helpfully.

She frowned. “Well, why are you driving me around then?”

“Because you looked pathetic and I’m a soft sell for pathetic.”

He pulled over to the side of the road.

“Do you want me to get out?” she asked, looking around.

Turning in his seat, he said, “No, you still look pathetic and that’s currency with me. Just tell me your name and where you want to go.”

“I can pay you,” she said. “That’s not why I hid in your car. Whatever your normal price is, I can pay it.”

“Your name, sweetheart,” he said firmly.

“Uhh… Jane,” she tried.

He raised his eyebrows. “Your real first name or I will drop you off here.”

She groaned and said, “Sabrina, but I can explain.”

Sabrina? “Not Sabrina MacNeal?” he asked.

She winced.

Oh hell no. He should drop her off here. How had he not recognized her?

“This had better be some explanation,” Denny stated.

“Okay, it is but, first of all, I didn’t do it,” she said.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday, you tease me.

Here is a small excerpt from my short story "Push Me" which I just completed at 3 a.m. (I'm still struggling to sleep if I have a story idea. I wrote from 10-3 last night.) The story is about a woman at a government agency that specializes in empaths. She has a hard enough time with everyone being psychic. She can "wipe memories" but that's the extent of her abilities. She's sent to wipe a specific memory from someone and discovers that not only is he hiding how strong his abilities are, but he is a pusher (someone who can induce compliance with the power of suggestion.) I'm really tired or I might have come up with a better summary than that... maybe... possibly.

Here it is:

As she stared at the steel grey lake with its early morning fog, Brenna was thinking of the predominance of grey in her life. There was the small office she was currently in with its grey walls. The government facility itself--its stacked-block, grey, concrete building marred the landscape like only government facilities can. There was her pin-striped grey business suit. While she looked good in it, and it offset her copper hair and green eyes nicely, it was still grey. Grey. Grey. Grey. Even her car was the regulation non-descript grey. Drab, very drab, Brenna. Who would have ever guessed you’d grow up to have such a drab grey car and work for a secret government agency cloaked in the grey space on budgets and administration?

Then, there was him… and he wasn’t drab at all. His eyes were almost the same color as the lake right now, and that’s probably why she was thinking of him. Though it might be his white grey hair—prematurely grey despite his age of thirty-one. They said it was stress, but if she’d ever seen Harris Dumont stressed out then he hid it really well. He always seemed to appear when she was stressed out however. They’d started meeting regularly when she was on a quick walk to clear her mind. If her walks were at all predictable, she’d think he was purposefully doing it. As it was, he was either incredibly lucky—or he could read her mind. His file, of course, said it was the latter but, damn, how could he read it without being near her? He had to be the strongest telepath in the compound, and that should scare the crap out of her, but it never had.