Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Thanks for sharing with us, Leanna. And thanks everyone for visiting the diner. Do you have any books you're anxious to read? Any novels you'd suggest I try while I'm waiting? Please tell me in the comments.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Jake Preston is on borrowed time. If he doesn’t stumble upon a miracle and soon, he’ll end up dead. And even if he does, he still might end up dead with a clever killer hounding his heels. He believes that the one miracle and antidote to save him is in Margot Davenport’s house, across the country and miles away from Boston. Somewhere locked in her home is the key to reversing an experiment that is killing him.
Margot doesn’t particularly care if she ends up dead. She’s lost everything she’s ever cared for. A divorce and the loss of her job as a corporate lawyer has left her with little faith in herself or in anyone else. Most importantly, she’s lost the one person on this earth she’s looked up to and cherished–her brother, Johnny. His death in a car accident has devastated her, and she can’t find the willpower to pull herself from the chasm she’s fallen into. Her only solace is at the bottom of a wineglass. Having moved back to the small town in northern Arizona where she was raised, she’s made a point of isolating herself both mentally and physically from everyone other than a few chosen friends. Little does she know that her life is going to explode into chaos and the person behind Johnny's death is coming after her.
Learn more about H.D. Thomson at http://www.hdthomson.com/
Thursday, August 9, 2012
In August 2007 Alan Fram from The Associated Press gave this surprising statistic—according to the Ipsos poll “one in four adults read no books at all in the past year.”
|Header courtesy of samulli|
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
by Eilis Flynn
1. What gave you the idea for STATIC SHOCK?
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with electronic and mechanical devices. They end up not working or doing something unexpected that has someone who has to try to fix it stare at it, mystified, trying to figure out what happened, or what I did that would have caused it. I always assumed I was just unlucky – brand-new tape recorders fail on me (twice), hair dryers melt (once), three computers die on me (three in three months), car alternators have be replaced more frequently than normal (three), the electrical system of cars can just fail (just once!), and watch batteries wear out very quickly, just to name a few examples – but then I found out that people with a heightened electromagnetic field will sometimes have this happen. Now, for STATIC SHOCK, I had to wonder: What if people with this (dis)ability were a recognized subspecies in a world of tomorrow? Especially in a world more and more technological? They would not be welcome in a lot of places, right? And STATIC SHOCK was born.
2. What was the first scene you wrote?
A scene I ended up not using, ironically. I had Jeanne Muir, my heroine, play a series of tricks on a coworker who is incredibly unpleasant but has power over her, and she gets back at him using her electromagnetic abilities. I kept in a mention of the confrontation between them in the final version, just hinting that she’s not good with conflict and she’s impulsive, but then he’s a bully who gets what’s coming to him. Heh. It was fun!
3. Did you have a scene that you loved but ended up cutting?
The first scene I just described. I had a lot of fun writing it, but realized that her abilities had to be a little more defined, so out the scene went.
4. I usually have an aha! moment, where an insignificant detail becomes something really important. Did you have a moment like that? Will it spoil the plot to tell me what it was?
There’s a scene early on where Jeanne weighs her options about whether it’s worth disrupting a series of timed traffic lights so she doesn’t get too wet during a downpour. She has the ability to influence the light to turn red so she can cross the street, and she decides to do it – but finds out when she nearly gets hit that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, because with a series of lights, you can throw a lot of things off-kilter if you tamper with one thing. When I wrote that, I realized that said a lot about Jeanne, and how she has a lot to learn.
5. Are you surprised where the story took you? Or if ended up where you planned, were you surprised how you got there?
I couldn’t figure out what the ending would be for my characters, until one day I read about a settlement in the Midwest with a population of one. The newspaper article was about someone who basically bought a town after its residents started to leave, one by one, until there was nobody else left. And then I read another article not too long after that about a ghost town not too far from where I live, and how it was a booming mining town a century ago, leaving only a trace of what had been. Both articles played into how the entire situation in STATIC SHOCK was resolved, with a promise for more stories somewhere along the way.
6. What story idea is sitting in the class right now, raising his hand madly, begging you to call on him?
I’m working on a story about a comatose woman and the man she meets in her dreams. Or are they his dreams?
Anyway, STATIC SHOCK is available in digital and print, and I’m pleased as punch about it. Finally, my electromagnetic field is working for me! Here’s a snippet:
I glanced up at the gigantic digital clock on the university’s neurosciences complex. I had work to get to. If I made the walk lights to cross the street, I wouldn’t be late for my assignment—but I couldn’t count on it.
I could, however, arrange for it.
There wasn’t a sky bridge connecting this side of the campus with the applied sciences complex, and it so happened the street that ran between those two parts of the university saw a lot more traffic than the surrounding streets. Sometimes, pedestrians who wanted to cross had to wait as long as five minutes before the lights changed. Anyone who had to cross when it was raining could be soaked by the time the lights changed.
Considering how many pedestrians jaywalked at this crossing, it was a minor miracle no one had been killed yet. And as far as I was concerned, it wasn’t going to happen today, either. At least not to me.
I looked up at the traffic lights.
A moment of discord shot deep through my mind as I focused. A low buzz tickled the back of my throat as the timer that controlled the lights and the “walk/don’t walk” signs clicked and flashed, but it was at a gut level that I sensed the power feeding into the simple timed system. I closed my eyes for a moment, reveling in that familiar sensation of the electricity I could connect with. In this way, electricity wasn’t my enemy; it was an ally.
The traffic lights blinked once, then went out of sequence. Unless you were watching closely or you knew what to look for, it wasn’t noticeable. I didn’t have to look around to know the other traffic lights up and down the street weren’t affected. It was only this one I was in sync with, the one I controlled right now. All the other lights could flash green, but this one would flash …
Red. Green. Yellow. Red. And it stayed red.
The pedestrian light flashed “walk.”
“Aces,” I whispered. Maybe I couldn’t lock down my abilities the way I was supposed to, but I could play with the traffic lights. And I was good at it.
I hurried across the street. A glance at the clock told me I had two minutes till my appointment. Once I crossed, I looked back to see the traffic light click back into its usual routine, with no one the wiser.
I couldn’t wear a watch, but I could control traffic lights for a few minutes. I could live with that.
I had to hope Ran Owata would think it was a handy talent if—when—he found out. I didn’t want to have my brain cut into if he didn’t.
My assignment took more time than I expected, even though it was a simple problem I was asked to consult on—electrical power was leaking out of what should have been a closed system. It wasn’t hard to determine what the problem was, but I still had to track down where the problem was in the wiring and make a recommendation on how to fix it. It was boring work, but it paid the bills.
By the time I made it back to the crosswalk, it was rush hour and the sleet had turned into a cold, hard rain. Waiting for the light to change meant I was going to get soaked.
Shoving wet hair off my face, I tried to estimate how long it had been since the last time the walk sign had flashed. Reaching out, not intending to influence the traffic light pattern—yet—I tried to figure it out by the feel of the electrical patterns coursing through the wires and cables.
Crap. The light had changed right before I got to the crosswalk. I’d be waiting a while unless …
“It’s either do it or drown,” I muttered as the rain ran down my face.
I closed my eyes and, just like that, I turned the traffic light, as if I had flicked a switch.
The walk light flashed. I knew it, I didn’t even have to look to confirm it. I started to cross …
And had to jump out of the way when car tires screeched, water splashed, and a car horn blared. Next thing I knew, I was sprawled on the sidewalk, drenched.
A car door slammed, followed by the splash of footsteps. “Are you all right? Don’t move,” a voice said.
“I’m okay,” I muttered. I wiggled my shoulders; no problem there. I might be sore later, but not now. “What happened?”
“You didn’t look both ways before you tampered with the traffic lights, Ms. Muir. And you did, right?”
Shit. I knew that voice. I pushed my hair back and looked up. Damn it.
Ran Owata, looking annoyed. Son of a bitch. It was not my day. “I was getting wet waiting for the light to change.”
“And you’re real dry now, aren’t you?”
Raindrops splattered across my nose. I wiped the moisture away with my jacket sleeve. “So I’m not a genius. Was anyone hurt?”
“Depends. Can you get up?”
“I’m fine,” I said. This was my life. Of all the times for the light-changing trick to work against me, it would have to be in front of the new director of the Geller Institute. The one with the lobotomy fetish.
And that's the post from me for the time being. See you next month!
Eilis Flynn lives in Washington State with her cutie husband and the ghosts of her cats. Drop her a line here at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.eilisflynn.com, or Facebook!
Monday, August 6, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Carambola is an interesting name. Tomato, not so much.
Recently, the hub and I were at lunch (or dunch, I guess, because it was a meal between lunch and dinner, or just plain food, because he hadn’t eaten yet and I was already working on dinner because I wake up earlier) when we heard one of the staff at the (real-world) diner yell, “Hey, Peaches!”
“Peaches.” Which got us discussing yet another of those odd topics that we tend to discuss as we wait for our food to be delivered. We can’t talk much about nicknames (well, we can, but that’s another topic), but what’s the worst fruit name a parent can bestow on an unsuspecting child? Gwyneth Paltrow’s kid Apple aside, of course. That kid’s going to have enough problems as it is (after therapy, I assume she’ll change her name to Amy or something equally bland).
Hub said “Breadfruit.” Yes, that would be a terrible name. And cruel.
Our food arrived right then, so we had to table the discussion. Mike threw the question over to his Facebook feed (anybody buy the stock? No? Anybody short the stock?) and got an interesting set of answers.
First, two people came up with “Uglifruit.” Yes, but that’s a name that would just be MEAN. Kumquat was another suggestion made by two people. What kind of character would “Kumquat” be? I see short, squat, distrustful. I mean, after all, if your parents called you “Kumquat,” wouldn’t you distrust everyone?
“Banana” also came up, courtesy of two people, one of whom, a French translator, pointed out that “banane” means “stupid.” Of course, I immediately thought of the Japanese author who writes as “Banana Yoshimoto.” Her real name is “Mahoko,” but writes as “Banana” because she likes banana flowers. (Of course, I didn’t even realize there was such a thing as banana flowers!)
Then there’s “Cherry.” I had to point out that “Cherry” isn’t a terrible name, and in fact, it’s relatively common as far as fruit names go. I grew up with Cherry Ames, Student Nurse novels, and of course, the best-selling author and absolutely wonderful Cherry Adair lives in this area. My old college roommate Elin, however, pointed out that there were obvious reasons that it was pretty bad for a first name. We disagreed, but then that’s nothing new (but she’s a dear soul). Then again, “Cherry Tomato,” we agreed, would be a terrible name, unless there was a new career as a stripper involved. (A British commenter said it would only work if it were pronounced “to-MAH-to.”) Also appropriate for a stripper career: “Lemon Kiwi.”
“Mango” and “Melon,” though, were borderline offensive (anyone else remember “Mango” from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE?). And anyone with a name like “Melon” or “Melons” would encourage a punch in the snoot. Or a career as a stripper.
Then there was “Plantain,” which has to be pretty far up for terrible names, although “Gooseberry” would be acceptable but still iffy for nicknames. Not to mention “Durian.”
The penultimate in unfortunate names that are real, of course, is “Prunella,” as in “Prunella Scales” (that reminder courtesy of the hub’s old high school classmate – if you’ve ever seen FAWLTY TOWERS, you’ll recognize the name). But the British are quirky that way (spoken like an American, of course).
The best, all-time real fruit name, though, is Marion Berry, the former DC mayor. Or Marion Barry, sorry. No excuse for him!
Eilis Flynn has nothing much else to say on the subject. She writes romantic fantasy and wonders why everyone doesn't.