Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Coin from a Fountain, Lost in Time

(to “Junkets,” I would love you, if I could travel back to you)

You took me by surprise, my lover
I knew you were waiting patiently by the fountain
for me to come to you, as you knew I would
both of us slipping quietly away from 
our alternate lives, bound and chained by time
in servitude to the lies we see
as reflections in the mirrors we pass through
as we leave our promises behind us
like ashes from long dead fires
smoldering softly asleep.
I gasped as I felt your arms
encompass me in the dim light of the street torch
your lips burning like sweet poison 
everywhere they touch
and they touch everywhere
and I think: if we should be discovered
at this moment and be killed for our indiscretion
then I would die content
but the street is happily deserted
the tinkling fountain and our sighs the only sounds.
The larkspurs by the fountain are drooping
the hour too late for their lovely faces
You dip your hand in the shimmering pool
and pull up a piece of shiny gold...a coin
of some foreign mark: a bright, thin thing
and you whisper, “Make a wish on it, my love
And I shall throw it back in!”
“No,” I cry. “Let us both wish on it, then
leave me have it so I can 
wish on it always and wish for you!”
So we wish. And I take the coin from him
and leave him there. And through my silvered
mirror I pass again, back to my own age
my own time, my own space, 
my realm of utter unhappiness and as
I wait under electric street lights by fountains
I pull out the coin and wish, wish, wish
I’ve gone back through the mirror many times
Yet, I’ve never seen my lover since 
the night we didn’t throw the coin back in.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blogging on the Road

I got my new Macbook finally and I have to say I am really digging the whole blogging from anywhere stuff. I really have to blog from the road as my internet connection is down at home and I'm just about ready to have the whole thing disconnected (land-line and internet) and switch to Broadband cable whenever I can afford it. Cheaper and more reliable than telephone lines.

Blogging from the library at present as it is cheaper than coffee shops, but I think a trip to Sonoma's may be in the crystal ball.

I finally got the updates I needed for my iWork '08 to work on the Macbook. There was a minor bug because iWork '08 was released when OS 10.4 "Tiger" was out (which is the operating system that my old G4 tower is still running) and my new Macbook came with the latest OS (10.6 Snow Leopard) installed.

The updates fixed the bug.

So, now I can go home and get a poem or two ready to submit to Soft Whispers, perhaps do a story for their "Un-luck of the Irish" anthology and load my old iWork '08 docs onto the Macbook; in particular a poem or two I would like to publish to "Risky Fiction" regarding traveling back in time and making love with the English poet, John Keats. Rawwr!

Not sure I will have a #fridayflash story available or not. Been trying to work on a new Bev & Co. for the "Roswell Diaries." We'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Tempest

This is my latest poem that was published on 'Soft Whispers' blog site.

there has never been pain
like the clash of kindred spirits
from a tempest so intense - a marriage
of like minds connected between a thin thread
of similar design, or
a familiar pattern to be read,
so comfortable and so blind


drawn suddenly taut and strained,
trembling entropy, where passes blame -
it snaps like thunder crashing;
lightning reflects, eyes flashing
and rages stabbing from each barbed tongue:
our cages ripped wide open, but
all of our traps have sprung


this is what the tempest left behind:
there has never been pain
like yours and mine

Friday, February 19, 2010

Slim Pickings

We met at the local Dive and Dine, one of my favorite restaurant chains in the city. I'm sure it had a name, but my brain is a sieve when it comes to things like that. Names are overrated, anyway. Like the name of my date. I can't even remember that. She was drop-dead gorgeous, though. I remember that quite clearly. She was sleek and brown and fast. But God, aren't they all?

It was a blind date. Sammy from Home Tree set me up with her. I owe Sammy big time for all the blind dates he's arranged for me. Maybe one of them will go beyond the "Wham, Bam! Thank ya, ma'am" stage, but I doubt it. I just never seem to meet the right one. Or maybe I'm the one not right for them. Whatever. It all amounts to the same thing. We're just not made to be monogamous. God help me, I've tried.

The Dive and Dine is one big smörgåsbord with people crammed all around the buffet. I found my date near the top, which is not one of the better places for sampling the choicest dishes.

"Up here, love?" I asked as I took the empty space beside her that she'd been saving for me.

She sighed. "Yeah, I know. It's pretty slim pickings. But all the good spots were full up when I arrived."

I flashed her my best "I-Don't-Care-As-Long-As-You're-Dessert" smile and dug in to the feast before me. I ripped off a thin strip of a shoulder steak between my teeth and began chewing. I jerked my head toward the head of the buffet. "Care for one of the appetizers, bird? I see no one's got to those rare bits yet."

"No, thank you. You can have them." She said, pausing to return my "come-hither" look with one of her own. Oh, yeah, I thought to myself, there will be some good loving tonight.

I strolled up to the top and plucked them out, one by one, and journeyed back to my lady love's side.

"Sure you don't want one of these little treats? Blue ones are the tastiest, in my opinion. At least regarding humans."

"No, really. I don't care much for eyeballs," she said.

That's where I left her: sex, or no sex.

No self-respecting vulture ever says that they don't like eyeballs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Waiting for Macbook and Internet Connection

My internet connection went down on Saturday afternoon.

I suspect it might be the outside line, perhaps due to all that crazy rain we had on Friday.

I'm phoning Verizon again today to see when the heck are they coming to check the outside line. I think they forgot about me. :-(

If it's the inside line, I have decided it will not be worth the money to have them in to fix it as I don't have that "Inside Maintenance" insurance on my account. I have decided that I will cancel landline and DSL and put a wireless connection on my laptop.

Oh, by the way, I ordered my MACBOOK!!!

It will be here by the end of the week and I'm so excited.

I have to figure out how to do all of this laptop stuff and how to configure it for wireless networking. I've got to get some help with that or research it.

School is going well. Nothing so far on the job search, but I'm confident something will happen soon. Although, as I am typing this at the library, nearly everyone around me seem to be doing job searches.

Somehow I'll get through this. As my friend Mary B. said "Maria, get your sh*^ together and stop worrying!"
Sounds like a plan.

Friday, February 12, 2010

First #FridayFlash Story Getting Good Reviews

My first #FridayFlash piece is up and running at Risky Fiction. It's called Bad Day at Bull Funk's.

It's the piece I wrote based on a funny picture I found on the Web.

I will warn you. This story has bad language and sexual innuendo. And the end is rather "squicky." If you've got no problems with all of that, then by all means: read on, Friend! 

And please feel free to add your comments to the ones from my #FridayFlash conspirators.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Introducing "Risky Fiction"

I have been debating with myself for quite sometime now about a little problem I have.

The problem is this: I've got so much family-oriented material on this blog that that I get anxious about posting any of my grown-up stuff here. Pretty much rules out a great deal of what I've been writing lately, should I happen to want to post any of that stuff.

Plus, I am seriously considering taking part in the Mad Utopia madness that is #FridayFlash. This entails writing flash fiction stories of 1000 words or less, posting them to your blog and then tweeting about them on Twitter.

This madness takes place every Friday in Twitterverse.

If I get involved in this, and I thinking more and more that I will, I don't want to post my stories on Identified Flying Lenticulars for several reasons, the most important one being that my #FridayFlash stories will probably tend to be more adult-oriented. A second reason is that I just thought a separate space for my #FridayFlash stories would be a good thing.

I'd like to introduce Risky Fiction.

This is my latest blog and it will be where I display my fiction and poetry that's for grown-up eyes, mostly Rated R stuff.

So when you click that link to the right, just be aware of what you might encounter.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Reluctant Prince, Chapter 4: Grondo and the Red Shaman

Chapter 4: Grondo and the Red Shaman 

The day after King Grondo of the Kindred took the lovely Lady Darla as his queen, he had to journey away from the kingdom. He was called to a High Meet with the Red Shaman, who had sent messengers to tell him that he had a prophesy to reveal concerning Grondo himself.

Not everyone in the valley of the Kindred would attend the High Meet. Some had to stay behind to carry on the running of the kingdom's affairs. The new Queen stayed behind as well. If something funny was afoot, and the Red's had some evil planned, then the kindred at least would not have to suffer the loss of both of their lieges. Queen Darla would have absolute rule until her husband returned, and there were none in the kingdom who doubted her reserve or her heart to rule them justly, but compassionately.

In the late afternoon (known to all the tribes as Long-Shadow Time) of the designated Meet, the party of travelers set off, hopping at a leisurely pace. They reached the borders of the red-skin's lands in very little time and found a welcoming party of Red border patrol waiting to accompany them to the place where the High Meet would be held. They led the way, followed by Grondo's guard, which surrounded the king on all sides (his two personal bodyguards directly in front) to protect him in case there was an attack by the Reds.

Eventually, they came to a clearing where many Red's were gathered. At the far edge of the clearing stood the leader of the Reds. The Reds did not have a king or queen to rule them. They had the shaman. And he ruled them with the fear of prophesy.

He was a terrifying looking creature, but he was ancient; the spots on his back were faded with age. A disciple had taken the juice of a yellow flower and painted golden stripes on the old Red's face. He did not look at King Grondo when the Kindred entered the clearing, but remained sitting on the ground and staring up into the clouds, as if communing with the Sky Itself.

The Red guards halted just paces from the old shaman. Their leader knelt in front of the aged amphibian, who finally rose to acknowledge their arrival.

"Oh, mighty one," the guard intoned. "We bring you the King of the Greens. With many of their tribe to High Meet with us." Grondo noticed that the border patrol guard announcing him seemed to be the same Red that had come to him in his chambers just the day before to issue the invitation to the Meet.

The shaman lowered his gaze and his eyes met Grondo's. Grondo, to his credit, did not blink or look away. He had had High Meets with the Red Shaman before.

The shaman bowed low and the king returned the customary greeting. The leader of the guards stood and led his subordinates away a short distance behind their shaman, where they took up ceremonial postures, hands near their belts where they carried mouth-guns that fired deadly, poison-tipped darts.

Grondo's own personal guard of two (one of which was his personal attendant, a good soldier of the Kindred named Merby) never ventured from their king's side. They were also poised with hands near their belts, where slim lark-feather arrows waited only to be fitted into the sleek bows upon their backs.

They had practiced years to be the quickest archers in the kingdom and earn their positions as Grondo's right and left hand armsmen. One sudden, false move on behalf of the Red guard and the guilty impatient one would not even have time to blink an inner eyelid before he fell skewered to the ground. If pressed for information, all of the remaining folk gathered there (Kindred and Red alike) would not be able to say with any degree of certainty which of the king's men had unleashed the lethal shot. The Red Shaman knew this, but lucky for his guard, they did not.

The Red Shaman came closer to Grondo, keeping his hands in front of him in a manner that was meant to communicate trust. Merby and his counterpart (a fierce and worthy Kindred named Basil) did not relax their stance one bit. When he neared within fifteen paces of the king, he did something very unexpected.

Dropping to his knees, the Red Shaman looked up at Grondo with an expression of anguish, deep pain. He placed his hands on his breast and began swaying back and forth, looking up at the full eye of God, rising, a huge and silvery orb over their heads.

"O, King Grondo, High King of the Green Kindred. Your fate is marked in the stars. I have read it there and it is not good. Evil tidings, these are, and it burns my soul to speak of them. This evil brings me much grief because it means great suffering for both of our tribes...and..."

"Oh, for crying on the lily-pad! Stuff the dramatics and say what's what!" This came from Basil, who was in his heart of hearts a practical frog and could not abide hysterics. This made him a terrible guest at the theaters, but it was his nature and he could no more help it than he could avoid a biter's sting.

Murmurs of assent rose up on the side of the glen where the Kindred were gathered, but angry grunts could be heard on the Red side of the Meet.

The Red Shaman looked deflated. "Dear King Grondo, I must be allowed to prophesy without interruption. It is for your own benefit and for the good of us all!"

`With the wave of his hand, Grondo silenced his people. "Stifle your irritations, Bas. At least until we hear him out." Basil shifted uneasily on his feet, in an embarrassed sort of way, but said nothing further.

In much the same vein as before, the old seer continued: "O King. Your soul hangs verily by a string. The next full shining of God's eye may be the last you know as King of the Kindred!"

A gasp went up all around the Meet, from both Kindred and Reds. Grondo stepped back and stumbled slightly. Merby reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder, to steady his king. Then he gave the Red Shaman the Evil-Eye. It sounded like the old stump-licker was predicting the King's death!

All the Kindred stood trembling as the shaman prophesied on:

"And under the full risen light of the Eye, you will lose your soul at the hands of an evil sorceress. But you may still find it again, though in an unexpected place," said the Shaman and, his narrative apparently finished, he rose and stood silently before the King.

 After the Meet, King Grondo met privately with the shaman. He strove hard to remember everything the old prophet said in their face-to-face encounter, but he could not. His mind was, quite naturally, filled with the unpleasant prospect of losing his soul. Merby was present, however, as was Basil, and they paid careful attention to everything the shaman told them and they took the most prodigious notes. When they were alone, they made a solemn vow never to let the King out of their sight and to be especially wary of strange females who could possibly cause their king to become ensorcelled.

The Kindred spent the remainder of the night encamped in the Meeting glade in a stuffy yew, then began the slow, sorrowful march back to their own lands at sunrise.

 Grondo walked with his head down and was very quiet all through the journey home, but occasionally he could be heard muttering to himself, repeating one phrase over and over:

"But I don't know any sorceresses!"
End of Chapter Four
Go to Chapter Three
Go to Chapter Five

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Day Grandma Decided to Knock Over a Liquor Store

I just think this picture is so funny. And so, since I don't have anything particular to post tonight (since tonight was a writing night) I'm putting up this picture. It makes me chuckle whenever I think about it and let my imagination roam. Who knows, maybe I'll write Grandma into a 1 K gem and use it for my first Friday Flash story. :-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mind:set - New Story in Progress

(photo courtesy of Chris Sharp) 

This is the premise for a new short story I've been working on. It's called "Mind:set." It is a cross-genre bastardization of cyberpunk and fantasy. 

Imagine a future people so calloused by desensitization that the word "lottery" doesn't mean a game where you might win a million dollars. It's where you are chosen to to play a virtual reality game via neural implants.

The prize: your life.

Welcome to Mind:set.

The Stringers live on the fringe. They refused to "sign up" for the roster of players and many don't even have shunts. They are "stringing" along. They are the bums of the future. They are the rebels, the outcasts, the scum of society.

Sixteen year old Luiza is entering adulthood and must sign up for the roster.

It's not how you play the game, Luiza decides. It's how the f*** do you win it?

Changing her mind when she is called sooner than expected for the "hook-up," she flees and joins the Stringers.

Will she escape her fate with Mind:set? Or be captured and forced to play for her life?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My "Soft Whispers" Interview & A Job Interview, Too

Here is my interview with Soft Whispers. I was granted the interview because I won the short story contest, "Pic 1 k" for January with my story, "The Archangel of Downward Spiral."

Soft Whispers Interview with Me! 

I am astounded and blown away by this. It could get quite addictive. I'm thanking God for my recent success. There's no doubt in my mind where it's coming from.

On another note, I have a job interview on Friday and they've sent me some forms to fill out. I need to get cracking on those right after lunch.

Wish me luck.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Need to Get Cracking on Next Chapter of "Prince"

The thought occurred to me that I am up to Chapter 4 with "The Reluctant Prince" and it is not even finished yet. Then, I will need to edit it and get it uploaded here. At which point I will probably edit it some more...

I've got some work to do, it seems.

Tomorrow, after I've had a bit of shut eye.

My First Short Story is Published

I am ecstatic. This is a truly great day.

My first short story has been published, both to the print publication and to the blog of "Soft Whispers" literary magazine.

This was my first submitted work for the year. I wrote about it in this post.

The story is called "The Archangel of Downward Spiral." It is a flash fiction (1000 word) fantasy of one man's descent into hell and the girl who tries to save him.

You can read it either on the print publications page (where you can download the whole magazine, which has lots of other works by great writers, or you can read it on the blog. Here are the links:

Soft Whispers - Issue One - print magazine
Soft Whispers blog posting of "The Archangel of Downward Spiral"

A note regarding the research for this story, the Hebrew name "Mehitabel" means "God is our joy" and "Zipporah" means "sparrow" or "little bird." Sparrows have long been associated in many mythologies as harbingers of death or "soul guides."