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Wednesday, November 4

I Think I Know How to End This

In fact, I do.

I need to rewrite the first chapter. My notes say, "More amiable." I can do that.

I need to write the last MC POV chapter. There are some good ideas in my head and I'm horrible about getting them into letters n' words in a way that satisfies me.

The last chapter's POV being on the love interest has been planned for nearly as long as the work has been in progress. The chapter will be short and an exercise in showing and not telling. I want the big reveal, which took me months to realize, to happen on the second to last page.

And I want to turn the pathos to eleven.

Tuesday, September 8


Obviously I havent been writing in the ol' blog lately. But, it's Share Your Crap Tuesday.

This one, taken out of context, is a little odd. Everett and Mirka are still in the water, this time under the Seven Mile Bridge and almost to Ohio Key. I believe it's Ohio. I don't feel like pulling up Google Maps to find out.


He turned to see her squatting in the water. The waves occasionally splashing her in the face.

"Don't watch me."

He turned back around and started walking.

"Everett, stop. Don't make me have to run to catch up with you."

That was it. "Mirka, dammit!" He turned as she was pulling her pants back up. "You've been waddling along behind me for hours. It would do you some good to exert yourself in some way. When it's dark, you won't have me to blame."

"Shut up, Everett. You're just being an asshole. If I did try to catch up with you, you'd speed up. I'm struggling to keep up with you now. If you must know, I'm cramping. I'm having my period."

The anger in Everett's face softened and turned to fear. "You didn't just put blood in the water."

"A little. It's not like it's weeping out of me while I walk." She turned and pointed. "It's back there anyway."

He started walking back to her. "C'mon, let's get away from that. I'm sure you have some particles on you and sharks tend to be pretty keen about stuff like this."

He held her hand as they walked forward.

"See, now you're walking slower than we were earlier."

"Mirka, after you did that, I'm not going to splash at all."

She squeezed his hand. "This was important. You never get mad when it's important."

"No, this is nothing. It does concern me some though."

Mirka jerked, letting go of Everett's hand. Her arm splashed out of the water as she pointed. "Everett, Everett. There's a shark fin."

He squinted. He wasn't sure if he could see it. A tip. He could see a tip. "I can see it now. I just needed to focus."

Mirka rushed to get behind Everett, causing more splashes. "You can take care of it, right?"

"I don't know. Maybe he'll miss us. I did a book report on them in, like, fifth grade. He'll do a bump run."

The shark was clearly on an intercept course with them.

Everett reached into his pocket and pulled out a box cutter. "They want to see what we are. He can probably still smell you. And quit splashing."

The shark angled off. Everett hoped it didn't understand the vertical objects in front of it. It was probably young. It was the size of a dog. The size of Iris.

Turning quickly, the shark headed toward Mirka.

"Get behind me," Everett said as he pulled on Mirka's arm.

The shark was six feet away when Everett extended the blade on the cheap dollar box cutter. The mouth of the shark wasn't open. Maybe this was the bump run. Maybe he remembered right. Cut the bastard.

When the shark was three feet away, Everett lunged toward it, slicing forward from it's dorsal fin to the tip of it's nose.

It curled and splashed. Everett came down through it's eye, turning his arm he pulled the knife back up through the gills.

The shark tried to swim away and hit the sandy bottom, kicking up a cloud. Then it was gone.

"I have never heard you curse that much."

Everett turned to her, breathing heavy. "I cursed?"
And yes, he cursed up a storm. Mirka's next line tells him about it.

Tuesday, September 1

Share you Crap Tuesday

And today's post is just that.

The most disappointing part of writing is having a great scene in your head and not having the talent to put it on paper. That said, I'll polish this scene, taking and adding, several times.

What I'm about to post is a very first rough draft.

Everett was out of breath as he peered over the side of the Seven Mile Bridge, looking for any way down. The water was too shallow to jump. Everett estimated it was a forty foot drop.

He whipped his head back around, ready to run another couple hundred yards before looking down again.

He saw Mirka doing the same, beyond her the storm, rain falling in slanted black lines. He ran. His stomach was cramping.

He knew it was pointless. They would have to jump into what looked like two feet of water. If they could belly flop it, they might live.


She looked at him. Fear in her eyes.

"We're going to jump." He watched her opening and closing her mouth, thinking of what to say. She looked terrified.

"Everett, we can't. There's not enough water. We can't. We'll break our legs."

"We belly flop. You've got better eyes than I do. When is that rain getting here?"

"It's almost here." She started shaking and looking from side to side.

Everett walked to the edge where Mirka was looking. There was enough water. Maybe.

"Come on. We're jumping."


"Yes. Get over here."

She was caving in on herself, becoming helpless. Her eyes were closed, head bowed.

Everett ran to her and grabbed an arm, dragging her to the edge.

She tried to fight away. "No, no. There's not enough water. Stop it..."

"Then belly flop or hope the sand is soft! I'm saving your life! The rain is..."

"'re going to kill us. We can't survive..."

He threw her over the edge. She grabbed his forearms with both hands, her nails digging into him for grip. His chest slammed into the concrete side.

"No, Everett, no. No. Pull me up. Please. Please."

"Let go! I need to jump! The rain..."

"You're killing us. Please. Please, Everett."

He tried peeling her fingers off his arm, but when he would get one off she would grip in tighter once he moved to the next. Blood ran from his arm.

"Mirka, you're killing us. Let go. The rain is here."

He looked at her wrist. Hammer the wrist. Forming a fist with his free hand, he raised it above his head, ready to swing it. The impact with her wrist might break bones, but hey needed to get under the bridge to safety.

He couldn't hit her. He didn't know what to do. Mirka was still pleading with him but he couldn't hear it. He looked at the rain. Even with his poor eyesight he could tell they had less than a minute.

He needed to jump. He pulled his feet under him, then pushed up as quickly as possible. Her weight jerked his body down. His head hit the concrete as they tumbled through the air.

Everett knew he was going to hit head first. Mirka had let go. He hoped she wouldn't waste time dragging his dead body under the bridge. There was no time.

He curled into a ball. Cannon ball. His back would hit first now. Wait. He tried to spread himself out so he would hit flat on his back.

He hit the water. His backpack impacted the sand. Cans and water bottles jabbed into his back. It didn't hurt nearly as bad as he'd thought. He kicked against the sand, trying to stand.

When he broke surface. Mirka was reaching for him. She was groaning and crying at the same time. "Everett, give me your hand. You hit the bottom."

They waded in the three feet of water. Everett tried hopping through it but it was too high.

They were under, but they needed to get to a support. It was too far.

"Can you tell what way the rain is slanted?" Everett didn't stop moving long enough to squint at the oncoming front.

"To the left and, I don't know, maybe back." She had stopped moving to look. Now she scrambled to catch up.

But Everett had stopped and was walking toward the edge. "I think if we stand here we won't get rained on."

"No, further in, Everett. Let's get in the middle."

"Just a little to this side though." He waded toward her.

"Oh, no no no no no. Oh."

He turned. "Here goes."

The wall of rain passed them. Curled sheets of rain splashed on the ocean surface. Everett noticed if they had stood where he suggested they would be very close to the rain.

"Come on, baby. Let's go squeeze under that support."

"There's not room. We can sit on the crossbeam." She tried to catch up to him. "Slow down. And, hey, thanks for not hitting me."

"Well, it all worked out, but I think it would have been safer if I had and you could control your fall by yourself. Or just jumped in the first place."

"I was scared. And I'm sorry about your arm." She had to speak up for Everett to hear her. The downpour was getting stronger and louder. "And I did control my fall. I fell flat on my back. I can't believe you did a cannonball. You idiot, you almost..."

She didn't finish. As they waded on the water got deeper.

He turned to face her. "You know, I would have gone another 200 feet for another foot of water."

"I couldn't see it."

He stopped walking. "I love you. But don't you ever do that again."

"I was scared."

He kissed her. "Don't feel too bad. Feel exactly the right amount of bad." He smiled. "You think all of our chip bags are busted open."

"Probably, oh, I didn't think about your cans."

"Oh, I'm going to have bruises."

She tried to hold his hand underwater as they continued walking but quickly found it didn't work that well.

Once at the crossbeam, Everett boosted Mirka up and she helped him scrabble up onto the four foot wide concrete beam.

She unzipped her backpack and frowned. "Oh, man. Cool Ranch." She pushed the contents of the bag around. "Nah, the others are good." She pulled out the small bag of Doritos. "You want to eat some wet, salty Doritos."

Everett reached toward her. "I'll try a few."


Thursday, August 27

Lions and Ink

[Ends up this is a rehash of a post I did a while back. I didn't realize. Well, more detail now.]

My latest thought for a story, as I stall on finishing The Rainwalkers, goes like this:

Lauren is dying on the operating table. The anesthetist talks to her, trying to keep her awake. He makes a joke about Lauren = Lion and continues by telling her the lions need her so she needs to stay. "The lions are coming to see you, you can't go away." Lauren dies for three minutes and thinks she hears an afterlife being tell her the same thing. When she wakes, lions are attracted to her. They escape zoos and animal rescue sanctuaries seeking her. She has an awkward bond with them as they don't use words. The government collects her, taking her to a special school.

There she meets Ink Girl. Her special ability is she constantly leaks ink from the palms of her hands. But after a sexual encounter with a boy at the school, she begins to leak ink from any orifice without a sphincter to hold the ink in. The whites of her eyes turn black. She must wear a mask covering her mouth and nose and she is fitted with a special suit. If she cries, which she does often, ink rolls down her cheeks. Her special power is more of a handicap.

Beat 'em Up Boy is a weak fifteen-year-old. He isn't strong, but any damage he takes heals within minutes. He arrives with a friend from the project that created them. Her body is severely damaged. She no longer heals, but through the occult practices of the team that made her, she can never die.

Our true superhero turns villian. After forcing himself on Ink girl, the boy who can stop people's thoughts, allowing him to walk through rooms unnoticed, is banished from the school and participation in any government programs. Furious that his powers cannot be used to serve the citizens of the United States, he vows to kill Lion Girl and Ink Girl.

Lion Girl's mother is stabbed in the eye walking into a store. There are no security cameras in that area and no one saw what happened. She was walking and studdenly she had a horrible pain in her eye. Lion Girl knows exactly what happened.

As Lion Girl and Ink Girl attack and defend themselves from the Mindfreeze Boy, Lauren has a slight advantage. As long as she has a lion nearby, she can see and hear.

I don't know where I'm goign with the idea or if I'll even write it. But I've had the oddly powered Lion Girl and Ink Girl in my mind for quite a while.

Tuesday, August 25

Teaser Tuesday

It's Tuesday again, time to post another chunk of rough draft.

Where I'm writing currently, Everett and Mirka are swimming from Upper Matecombe Key to Key West. Eighty miles. They will get a break halfway. After the Seven Mile Bridge is land. Even where there should be water there is land.

But, this snip is from when they start their swim.

They have run to get on a boat, fleeing the invasion force which has taken the island. They are the same people Everett once worked for.

The soldier raised his weapon.

Everett pointed the open backpack at the soldier. "I'm unarmed. I know how this works." He set the six cans of food on the ground and the uneaten granola bars.

Mirka did the same.

"Take out the rest," the soldier said as two more walked up behind him.

Mirka added the bottled water to her pile.

Everett held out the jug of tea. "We should be able to keep this. We made it. This is not the package it came in."

The soldier motioned with his gun. "Put it down."

Everett did. "This is not a valid food item for extraction."

One of the other soldiers said, "So?" then jerked in surprise. His eyes were wide. "Yes, sir." He nodded though the officer he was talking to couldn't see him. "Yes, sir." He looked at Everett. "You can keep your tea."

"Thank you." He picked the gallon of tea up and returned it to his bag. "May we go?"

Another man, older, walked up. "No, you can't."

Everett recognized the voice. Or thought he did.

The man stopped walking six feet in front of Everett. "Hi, Everett."

Everett looked to the side, shaking his head with a defeated smile. "Hello, Mr. Jordan."

"So, you're married, huh?" He nodded at Mirka. "Nice to meet you Ms. Bridges." He sighed. "Let's talk business, Everett."

"It was self defense, sir."

"Everett, I don't care if you killed those pieces of shit. If you could kill all four of them, starting unarmed and beaten senseless, then they deserved to die." He rubbed the sweat from one of his eyebrows. Two drops fell to the sand. "Where's the dog?"

"We buried Iris behind the Christian school, when you first get on the island it's on your right. There's a playground there. She's right in front of the bench."

Mr. Jordan looked past Everett to the water.

"Go." Mr. Jordan nodded to Mirka. "Nice meeting you."

Everett zipped his backpack and started wading into the water when he heard Mirka say, "Excuse me."

He turned. She was trying to get past the soldiers blocking her. She wanted back on land.

Everett called to her, "Mirka, come on."

"No, we can just walk back." He looked at Mr. Jordan. "We can walk out of your territory. We wont eat anything."

Mr. Jordan cleared his throat. "Ms. Bridges, everything south of Virginia and east of Texas is ours."

"C'mon, Mirka. C'mon."

She turned to him. "But, Everett..."

"C'mon, let's swim to the first bridge."

Monday, August 24

Lion Girl and Ink

I've had a hokey idea about a girl attracting lions for a while. The lions escape their zoos and animal rescue farms, walking hundreds of miles to lie on her front yard, to be close to her. Another special girl I've wanted to write about is one who has ink weep from the palms of her hands.

Now, I'm trying to think of a story for them. I have some good premise on Lion Girl's POV. But Ink Girl is much more interesting. I've though about another special/mutant who is amoral and through a traumatic experience involving him, Ink Girl begins to weep ink from everywhere that doesn't have a sphincter to keep it in.

But following the plot I've thought up, the story would be around 30,000 words. That is not nearly long enough. Also, I wanted the love interest to be the main character from another story I want to write which I've been calling Beat 'em Up. But how to actually get him to hang out? I don't see any reason.

I've got some time to ruminate on it. I haven't finished the Rainwalkers rough draft yet.

Sunday, August 23


The challenge my two remaining characters have is swimming across Marathon Key. Unlike what it sound, it isn't twenty-six miles long. From the bridge on the east to the west bridge it's fourteen miles. Since all the keys they've seen after Upper Matecombe have been washed out, this is too.

I've been working on how to torture them as they swim across, but also keep them alive.

They leave with some two-year-old snacks and drinks in their backpacks. Empty bottles and unopened chip packages fill a carry-on bag, used as a flotation device.

The crap:
  1. Everett wants some chips and opens the carry-on. The chip packages and bottles float out and the bag sinks. Everett freaks about how he just killed them. They're probably only to two miles into the swim. They decide to split the floating items 50/50 between their backpacks. I need to choose what items they stored in the carry-on, lost forever to the sea.
  2. Mirka gives up. It's too much. She's tired. It's hopeless. They are dead. Then she sees boats on the horizon. Everett says she's seeing things, but recall that Ev has bad eyesight. Mirka swims off in some random direction. She is very excited. He's "Don't leave me," but believes she is killing them. She then changes her mind, saying she sees buildings on the water. She's right. They're buildings tall enough to stick out of the water. Everett and Mirka sleep the night in an upper condo.
  3. There is a map drawn on the wall of one of the condos. People with a boat were trying to get away from Key West to the main land, struggling with the changed terrain. Everett and Mirka now know Key West exists. But the map has few details about getting to Key West as the things the others found important were areas Mirka and Everett have already seen.
  4. Mirka and Everett recover for a day, gettin low on food. When the tide is low, the roofs of taller houses can be seen. They swim to them and dive for food - breaking windows, opening doors, and swimming through houses to find pantries. Cokes and bags of chips float, ya know.
That's what I'll be writing in the next few days. I still haven't picked my points on the food diving.

Friday, August 21

Writing Faster, More Discouraged

The swimming chapter "Florida Bay" is getting longer. Our protagonists swim, wade on sandbars, and walk atop bridges they must climb as the islands washed out. It's one micro-adventure after another. I'm not sure if it makes for interesting reading. There are fun scenes - cute, sad, and violent - but the chapter feels choppy to me.

I need to rewrite to first chapter. The first paragraph should pop pop pop. The first five pages need to make people say, "Ooh, forget that bacon I was cooking, the iron I left on, and the tub I'm filling, I want to sit down and read this puppy." It doesn't do that now. Particularly irritating is my attempt to establish the love between Everett and Iris on the first page. Having a guy play with his dog doesn't move the story along.

The Rainwalkers will shoot past its goal today or over the weekend. It's within four thousand words of the 60k goal and my characters are only a quarter of the way to Key West. They have a shark, the main character throwing the love interest off a bridge into shallow water, the protagonists being pelted by deadly rain, and a coma to go through. The main character trying to transport the love interest ten miles will take some words too.

The very final page, I have no clue. I have about six different ideas. Any of them could work if I had the skill to write them.

Like I said, discouraged.

Tuesday, August 18

Share your Crap Tuesday

I finished Upper Matecombe Key yesterday. Since it's Teaser Tuesday in the YA crowd at AW, I'm posting some of it.

This isn't what I normally post. I try to post action. This is talk.

Everett and Mirka are living on Upper Matecombe Key after accidentally driving the truck off a cliff into the ocean. Everett wanted to head out immediately for Key West, following the bridges that still stand above the water even though the islands have washed out. Mirka asked for three weeks to just rest. The house they live in once belonged to a Mr. Chandler. He had lived there until two months ago, trying to map how to get to Key West in his boat, to find his daughter.


"Crap!" Everett exclaimed as the last of the six GPS units went dead. "Seventeen minutes. That's as long as we can get with these things. I guess we could bring a bag with all of them, and collect any others on the island. Four minutes here, six minutes there. If Mr. Chandler couldn't find this bridge, I mean, I'd prefer a little GPS help. And why didn't he use GPS? He's not that old?"

Mirka sat down opposite him at the kitchen table. "I want to talk to you about something. Like, serious."

He was worried. Did he get her pregnant somehow just by some accidental contact? They couldn't be running out of food. "Sure, what's up."

"I know the three weeks are up, and you want to go over to Key West, or try to find it."


"Everett, I love you. I'm your wife. And...I don't want you to ever leave me. I'll never leave you."

"And I'll never leave you either." He didn't know where this was going.

"I'm not going to Key West."

"That's not so big. But, I figured you'd want to pick out the house."

"Everett, I'm not going. This is our house. If you leave me, then you leave me. But we've got it good here..."

"Mirka!" He stopped, trying to calm himself. "Mirka, Johnny Ricco is going to work his way through Miami all the way down to Homestead and then his people are coming down here."

"Well, then, without the bridges out, the way we thought it was, why would that have been safe?"

"Because then we didn't know they were down here. Florida was impassable everyone said." He stood up and started pacing. "You're the one leaving me if you stay here."

"No, that would be me staying. I won't go over there because then if I wanted to come back I would be leaving you." She walked toward him and tried to hold his hands. He jerked them away. "Everett, you've seen the insides of these other houses. Mr. Chandler kept this one nice."

Through gritted teeth, Everett said, "I've fixed that pontoon boat for three weeks. I've charged batteries, found hand trucks and wagons..."

"Everett, why do you want to leave?"

"It was always the goal! It is the goal! We'll never be safe. Not here..."

"Just...let me talk. You've got your guns again. If they show up, yes, I'll hop in a boat with you and we'll head off leaving all our new stuff. I believe you that it will be unlooted, if it's still there. But everything is still here too and we don't have to go anywhere."

"Then why not go?" He walked to the front door. "What you're saying makes no sense. None. You're going to kill us."

"Everett, Key West is 80 miles from here according to the GPSs. Can you take a boat 80 miles in the ocean trying to find an island that might not exist?"

"Yes, I can."

"Based on Mr. Dead Chandler's maps? He left and didn't come back. He was trying to find the Long Key to Duck Key bridge that day. You think he just decided to move to Key West or somewhere else?"

"But I can." He walked out the open door. "I'm going on a bike ride."

He rode down to the power substation near the crash site. He had a folding chair there. He sat and cried.

Monday, August 17

Leaving Upper Matecombe Key

I finished one of my favorite chapters today. Now onto another chapter I hope I really enjoy, this one titled Florida Bay.

My main character and his love interest are swimming to the base of a bridge. The islands on the ends of it have been washed out. Our love interest believes the 78 mile swim to Key West is pointless. She thinks all the islands are washed away, including Key West. Our main character reassures her it's not really 78 miles. That's if they swim to the city center.

Spoiler: They only swim 42 miles. They see dolphins, a shark, are pulled under by the undertow, have to jump 30 feet into two feet of water, dive into houses underwater to get Doritos and Coke, and get blistering sunburns. And comas, they get comas too.

Sunday, August 16

Q is A

You'd think summarizing sixty thousand words in three short paragraphs would be easy.

It doesn't seem to be.

When a poor slob like myself finishes their manuscript, they send query letters out to agents who deal in post-apocalyptic teen gore-romance, or whatever. Those three paragraphs are what lead that letter.

Dear Mr. Johnnie Rico

Boy and dog have bad times in the apocalypse. Girls are cool.

Girls and boys and dogs have no fun in the apocalypse. I'm hungry. That cannibal is looking at me funny.

Boy and girl say, "Hey, half of us are dead and we're still hungry." Mean man says, "Go swim 90 miles."

Drinking Hotsauce is complete at 344, 000 words and is completely unpublishable.

I lover yer blawg. Thank you for your consideration,

pathetic house ape

But the trick is making it actually good. I've fished it around. We'll see what my critters say.

Friday, August 14

The New Book of Gates

When I finish The Rainwalkers, I plan to fix my first-effort monstrosity and work it into a cohesive story. I might know how to do it after taking two months away from it.

The problem with The Book of Gates is it doesn't keep the same POV. We're inside Jennifer for chapters one and two. Three splits POV: Cole, Jim, then Betty. Next chapter is Jim, but that scene reappears later from Betty's POV. We get a few Betty POV chapters...

You get the point.

In addition, it is a "looping fatalist time travel" story. The ages of the characters change randomly as they return from missions, returning to the base at different years than when they left. Their book has the time gates open like that. They can't control it.

It confused me, and I totally botched it. It's readable, but major facts are wrong. Halfway through I gave up, realizing it was unpublishable.

I will finish it. It will be the same story, but it won't be the same.

Wednesday, August 12

The Bay

I'm stalling on writing. My characters are about to go through a very discouraging time. I don't mind putting them in comas or getting them shot, but facing a bleak future of failure, that's not what I want for them.

They've reached Palm Beach, golf land, and it is a giant body of water. Everett tastes it and it's salty. It's a bay, not a lake. They head west to go around it. If you look at a map of Florida, you'll know how huge this bay would be if Palm Beach is under ten plus feet of water.

Everett will stop the truck 30 miles from the other coast, not wanting to discover if it's the end of Florida rather than a bay. If Florida stops there, they might have enough gas to get back to Daytona, where they got gas from buried cars, if they travel as the crow flies. The dunes of central Florida are not a thing they want to face.

[It's a bay. Woot!]

Tuesday, August 11

Share your Crap Tuesday

It's Tuesday again and AW's Share Your Crap Tuesay is upon us.

Setting the scene:

Everett and Mirka were unsucessful getting gas in Jacksonville, FL. It had been cleaned out by the company Everett used to extract gas for. They only have fourteen gallons and are getting nine miles per gallon going over the dunes and around houses destroyed by the hurricane. If they can't get gas in Daytona, they don't have enough to leave.

Unfortunately, Daytona is buried in six feet of sand. Mirka suggests they go into the Speedway looking for gas. Everett doesn't want to as it was an evacuation point, but the tents provided didn't keep the 100,000 evactuees dry, turning them into 'faceless.' There are 100,000 two-year-old skeletons under six inches of sand inside the speedway.

Everett and Mirka are seventeen and self-married three days ago.
Iris is a dog.
The world is dead; no plants, no animals.

[Wow, that took a while to set up.]


"I'm getting used to stepping on the skulls, I just don't like it when the ribs crack." She pointed at a front end loader. "Can we get gas out of that?"

"It's probably diesel. Pretty creepy it being here." He started walking toward it. Ribs cracked beneath his feet.

"Eew! It was to scoop the people up." She followed him. "Do you think Iris is OK? Like with me?"

"You stole me from her. You sit where she sat in the truck." He reached the loader. "I need to play with her more. You too."

"Yeah, I don't like the way she stares at me when we're having sex."

"It's diesel. And full." He leaned against the giant tire. "Why even bother scooping the people up? It's not like the big race is ever coming up again."

"Can we crank it and drive a lap? Uh, actually crunching the skulls would gross me out. And we'd have to push that car off the track."

"It's stuck in a foot of sand. It wouldn't budge."

"Push with the bulldozer. We could toss it in the air if we wanted."

Everett jumped to her. "You're brilliant." He kissed her. "We need both of our car batteries. And we can drive the LLV here, I think we're going to have enough gas."

They're now going to dig up the cars in the airport's long term parking and get the gas they need.


We had to put down our sixteen-year-old cat yesterday. Back when we just had Pado and Mouse, Zap was my cat. She loved me so much and I loved her too.

In the last few weeks, she lost a pound. She only weighed seven before. She was just bones and fur. She stopped eating. We know she hadn't eaten anything since Friday and she stopped drinking on Saturday.

May 5, 1993- August 10, 2009
A very smart and loving cat

Saturday, August 8

Almost in Tallahassee

Friday was a very productive day. I wrote the end of the Marianna chapter, knitting together a new fresh beginning to the previously written coma scenes, then getting an ending in there.

I decided to wait and write the proposal scene until the next chapter. Since they were stopping in Rosedale, halfway between Marianna and Tallahassee, the chapter name is Rosedale.

The chapter starts with Mirka driving the LLV rather than Everett. He's still weak from sleeping for six days. Neither pays attention to the setting sun, and they have to drive over partially covered streets in darkness. Everett walks in front of the truck, leading it to a parking lot, and keeping it from running into fallen trees or falling into a small man-made lake.

I originally didn't know what large building I had picked for them to hide the truck behind. But the miracle of Google Streetview has let me know it's Big Bend Jai-Alai.

It's not really your standard issue proposal, but it works in the post-apocalyptic Florida panhandle:


She lay back down. They gazed into each others eyes. Everett yawned.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to yawn in your face."

"Everett Bridges, would you like to get married?"

He blinked at her. "Sure." As she began to smile, he began to think. "How?"

She seemed to him to be bouncing around while lying down. Her smile was wider than he had ever seen.

She kissed him."We know all the words." She kissed him again. "We can do it ourself."

She kept kissing him. On his forehead or cheeks. She grabbed his head and they kissed on the lips. Then her enthusiasm slowed as she saw how confused he looked.

"OK, well, shouldn't we stand up first?"

"Oh, no. I've been thinking about this. When we get to Tallahassee, there'll be formal shops. And I'm sure the front of the state capital looks nice." She grabbed him by the collar. "You're going to look so handsome in a tux."

Everett smiled. He didn't understand her at all, but it was making her very happy. He loved seeing her happy. He loved just seeing her. He just loved her.

Tuesday, August 4

Share your Crap Tuesday

Well, It's another Tuesday so at Absolute Writes YA forum they ask you to share some of your stuff.

This is set after Mirka and Everett got together romantically. Jula, Mirka's sister, walked into the sandy wasteland of post-apocalyptic northern Florida allowing Everett and Mirka time to make out. But Jula gets caught in the rain and it's only a matter of time until she goes violently insane.

Everett walked out into the rain, which is sure death except he injects himself with dog blood, as dogs are immune to the rain, and he believes he just might be immune. Jula is mad at him because she thinks he has abandoned her sister by both of them dying.

Everett has injected Jula with as much of Iris's blood as he thinks Iris can take, then slits his wrist and had Jula drink his blood. She thinks he's crazy, but does it for Mirka.

Everett: 17 yr old male romantically with Mirka
Mirka: 17 yr old female
Jula: 14 yr old female, approves of Ev and Mirka's couplehood despite being a third wheel.
Iris: 1 1/2 yr old mixed breed dog that Everett loves dearly.
Everett's sister: Died nearly a year ago in a car crash that was Everett's fault.

Edited to add: Oh, they're at a firehouse in Mariana, FL.

Note: Totally totally rough draft.

She began sucking his blood faster. Everett looked down and saw she was glaring up at him. She was angry. If she was right, Everett had abandoned her sister. It was a mistake on Jula's part, but Everett had chosen.

She sucked harder. Everett started understanding. She wasn't trying to live by drinking his blood faster. She was trying to hurt him.

He felt dizzy. As he fell forward, he thought he saw Jula smile.

Everything went black.


He heard large birds fighting. Emus maybe. Iris barked at them but the squawks didn't change. Then he heard Mirka crying.

He opened his eyes. It was so bright.

The back of Jula's shirt had a V of blood from her ripping at the flesh on the back of her neck. Blood dripped from her arms as she screamed at Mirka.

Mirka held the 45 in front of her. Jula advanced on her regardless. A circular path of blood in the sand showed Mirka and Jula had been at it for some time.

Everett rotated the F2000 from his back and put the scope to his eye.

Jula screamed, "And you leave me for him! And you leave me for him! He'll want to feed me to his dog! He hates me! He steals you from me, just like the bikes! Oh, he got the bikes. Chop! Chop! Chop!"

Everett saw Mirka look at him. Her face was a red and wet with tears. She mouthed, "I can't do it."

"He chopped the bikes and he'll chop you! Food for the dog! I'm food for the dog and you're food for..."

Everett couldn't hear the words anymore despite her screaming them. He needed to shoot soon before he passed out. He fired.

A cone of blood erupted from Jula's head. She fell forward toward Mirka.

The brightness faded to black.


"OK, drink it."

Something was happening.

"It's water. C'mon. You need water. C'mon, c'mon."

It was a girl's voice. Everett choked on something. It was the girl's water.

He tried to open his eyes but couldn't.

"Everett, in a few hours I'm going to slap the hell out of you if you haven't woken up. OK? It's a deal then."


He could feel it. Something was happening. It was like fire. It hurt.

"Wake up, you son of a bitch! You can't do this to me! I need you! You can't die on me!"

A spike of pain.

"You can't!"

Another, somehow different.

"Can't die!"

He heard what might have been a machine, or birds, or crying. He didn't know. It all faded.


Iris was licking his face. He knew it was Iris. He wanted to move his hand to touch her fur or turn his head and kiss her on the nose.

Everett tried to open his eyes to see her.

He wanted to grab her and shake her and bite her hears.

It all faded.


"OK, baby. More water and then I'm moving you. It's going to rain soon. But I don't think that matters to you, Rainwalker."

It was the girl. He heard the words but couldn't remember them long enough for it to make sense. He tried to open his eyes but couldn't.

"OK, here it is."

He choked.

"See, I think that's good. When it goes down wrong you try to fix it. That's good." She cried.

He recognized the crying.

More choking. There was pulling on him. He had never been pulled.


Brightness. The girl was pulling his eyes.

"Are you in there? Good morning. You peed yourself last night so I'll clean that up. I'm going to try to feed you today and..."


He heard the crying. "It's water time."

He wanted to help her. He tried to open his eyes, or move. Maybe he could drink correctly. He never helped with that.

He felt the cup come to his lips. He choked.


"OK, put your hand here. That's Iris. That's your dog, Iris. She loves you and I love you. Can you hear me."

He heard the words but didn't understand. Dog's got eaten. Everyone wanted to eat his dog. His dog. He had a dog.

He knew who the girl was. It was his sister. His sister was alive. He fought to wake up.


"You're on your side. If you need to pee go ahead and do it. I'm going to go ahead and push on your real hard."

He felt pressure.

"Hey, good, good. Whoo, you needed to go. Ah, I should have planned this better. I'm going to let you sleep with a little pee on you tonight. I can't waste water cleaning. Maybe I should just put you in the rain."


"I'm sorry this is so spicy. I'm saving most of the bland, or at least not spicy, all the bland protein for Iris."

Spicy hot. Caliente. That's what they call it.

He choked. He couldn't stop coughing.

"Oh, baby, baby. I'm sorry. I'll mix it with water. I'll wash off the spices. That was a bad idea. I'll be right back."



Bright blue over bright tan. Bright blue sky over bright tan sand. He looked at it and didn't blink. He closed his eyes again.

"Thank you, sweet sweet Iris."

He opened his eyes and looked at the shadows of Mirka and Iris. They weren't shadows. They were silhouettes.

Mirka stopped and held out an arm. "Two cee-cees for me." She injected herself with Iris's blood. "And Two cee-cees for your master."

He tried to say, "I'm not her master." He didn't think it came out. Mirka started walking toward him. "She's my friend."

Mirka jerked upright. "Everett? Did you talk? You say something?" She swooped down on him. Her face loomed in his vision.

"I'm not her master. I'm her friend."

Mirka shook him and laughed and then cried. "Oh, Everett. Oh, Everett." She held him.

He concentrated and put his arm over her chest. Iris licked his face. "You're just after those spicy things." he told her.

Mirka sat up. "That was two days ago." She stroked his hair with her hand. "You've been asleep for six days."
I'm wondering if I should stretch out the coma days somehow. And, spoiler, the coma is the way the human body with dog antibodies is able to beat whatever is in the rain.

Sunday, August 2


I saw a character profile on another writer's blog. They went into great detail about the character as far as height and personal preferences for things.

Most of my situations are more dire than the standard "Favorite drink from Starbucks." But, that said, I did make a face for Betty from The Book of Gates. I used Squirlz Morph.

Thursday, July 30

One Seat LLV

After writing 1/4 of my 60k novel, I find out postal LLVs have one seat. There are several scenes written involving two people sitting in the front. When the dog is up there, fine, he could sit on the parcel shelf.

The MC might have modified it. But why? It's him and a dog. Unless the street gang he took it from installed a chair.

Wednesday, July 29

Critical Critter Overload

The writers group I belong to which is only for critiques just changed weeks. Yes, this is a different group than I mentioned before. The earlier one is Absolute Write. This is Critters.

The first time I submitted part of a manuscript, I had five people pick it up and review it. It was part of The Book of Gates. In the submission I identified it as the prologue and chapter one. That's a negative draw to me. I think my 'The X of Ys' title was a put off.

This time, my 'Lions vs Astronauts' joke of a short story had twenty-two reviewers. Most were favorable. One person just sent a one paragraph blurb saying he loved it. Most females didn't get it.

Here's the issue. I'm a nice guy. I believe in reciprocity. So, I keep a spreadsheet with all twenty-seven names for when they have their works up I'll review them. Until this last week's LvA additions, this wasn't a big deal. But this week I have four different ms to review, if I stick to my self made rule.

There's a fantasy short with 11k words, a 'horror' short at 2.1k, a SF at 8k, and a 4.5k fantasy. That's twenty-six thousand words of mid-to-Z-grade dreck. Oh, some of these are unreadable.

I think it really inspires me to slog through the passive-voice tales which tell rather than show their premise without plot. The worst I ever read was a Starship Troopers clone in flashback format...or was it flash forward? Important details were absent and doing the math on the giant bugs' weight you realized they were only four times heavier than air.

I'll see what I can do.

Tuesday, July 28

Rainwalkers Inspirational Pictures

Everett drives a modified Postal LLV, Long Life Vehicle and the rifle he keeps strapped to him at all times is a Herstal FN F2000, pictured below. That is a scope on top to compensate for Everett's poor eyesight [ooh, big spoiler there] and a grenade launcher on the bottom

The dustbowl of the 1930s show a good representation of the area near St. Louis where our book begins. The LLV can withstand dust storms, though they hide the road.

When they get to Florida they are confronted with sandstorm and dunes. Once they are halfway down the panhandle, near Kennedy Space Center and Orlando, the effects of the tentatively named Hurricane Drake can be seen.

When Everett and Mirka enter the swimming portion of their journey, they have 91 miles to Key West. This is the Seven Mile Bridge. You can clearly see some hiding spots to avoid the deadly rain. I particularly like this photo as it is overcast and shows no vegetation. It could represent exactly the world they live in.

Blogroll Tuesday?

I've become active in an online writers support forum. Wow, that sounds like such a confession. In any case, in the young adult area they have Blogroll Tuesday where you post part of your work in progress on your blog and link to it.

And, no, I'm not skulking amongst teens. I'm skulking amongst adults, writing a post-apocalyptic teen romance . My first book could never sell. This was designed to maybe sell.

  • Everett is a 17 year old who has survived two years in a world with no plants or animals.
  • Raging is caused if you are touched by the rain. You will rip yourself apart and attack anyone nearby.
  • Iris is a dog, Everett's only family.
From yesterday's [rough draft] writing:
Between Turrell and Gilmore, at a convoluted exit ramp system, a man stood in the path of Everett's truck, waving his arms.

Everett, still traveling only thirty miles per hour, stared at the man not knowing what to do. The man was clearly yelling at him, but showed no signs of raging.

Everett changed lanes to avoid him. The man moved over. Everett started changing back. The man shuffled back into the other lane, all along shouting and waving.

Scooting over in his seat, Everett took the pistol from its cubby in the dash. He stuck it outside the open window and aimed it in the man's general direction.

Everett moved to the side the man wasn't in. The man stayed put but still shouted and waved.

As the truck passed, Everett heard the man yell, "Help! Stop! I'm alone! If you..."

In his rearview mirror, Everett watched the man cover his face with both hands and shake.

Glancing at Iris who stared at him, Everett said, "He would have killed us. He was probably part of a group or something. Ambush, ya know." He nodded, trying to convince himself.

Friday, July 24


So, the other day, I installed the CPU onto the new motherboard. Then the heat sink and RAM and I hit a standstill. My limited knowledge was limited. So, Tom comes over and the extra fans, the motherboard, wires, and more wires go in to the case. Then we're done.

Windows installation crashes. On the second attempt, it tells us we have the wrong type of hard drive. We format and it's still wrong. There is the option to delete the drive. This makes no sense, but we do it. It deletes the partition. We make a new one and all is good.

Hours later, after Tom and Teri have left, I get on the computer and there's no internet. No network at all. It says my network card it claims is a Realtek has no driver. My Elitegroup motherboard, with the network adapter on board, has a driver. Though Vista is right. I does not have a Realtek driver.

That's where I stand. I downloaded a driver from Elitegroup at work and we'll see what happens.

The old computer which is 40 feet from the router is working fine.

Wednesday, July 22

Changes for the Better

My loving wife hogged the computer last night, making money with it. Her job involves sitting at a computer typing. Well, mine does too, but at work.

The new computer is here. The keyboard has not arrived but my wife's wireless network adapter did. Today, her computer, the computer formerly known as the old computer, goes to the rec room with the massive desk. All hail the new eight-foot desk.

My fear of putting the new computer together caused us to invite my brother-in-law over with his family. We will feed them barbecue and he'll show me how to put everything together. If I see him do one thing I would have messed up, then I did the right thing by waiting.

So, starting Thursday night. I can write at home.

Monday, July 20


I finished the first draft of chapter one yesterday and cranked out the first draft of the final chapter, chapter eleven, this morning.

Being the geek I am, I made a spreadsheet totaling word counts. Chapter one was 3.5k and chapter eleven a measly 860 words. Averaged, that gives us 2.6k, times eleven gives us 35,000 words.

What? This is supposed to be 60k, hitting the YA market squarely at the average length. Time to start describing landscapes. Eek.

Sunday, July 19

Quit Writing! Go to Sleep!

I finished the first draft of Rainwalkers' chapter one. It's been renamed from Iredell to Poplar Bluff. All the chapters have been renamed to locations. It's fun putting Covington, LA, where my sister-in-law lives, and Chipley, largest 'city' to where my mother grew up, into the book.

I'm a little worried about the final word count. I only have 11 chapters and my first is only 3.5k words. Since this is young adult, I am shooting for the 60k benchmark. Previously, I'd deleted one scene and with the way I've changed another it can't be added back in.

The next chapter I want to write is the ending. That way I have longer to tweak it to make it nice. I'm iffy on my transition from chapter one to two since my protagonist is going to make a six hour drive before noon. There's nothing wrong with this, but it will be the busiest day ever. Though, I only have this problem because I'm using real places and Google Maps to get the info right.

But who's been to Poplar Bluff, MO anyway?

I have an appointment with my sleep doctor tomorrow. I've been staying up too late since my last appointment a year ago. Before that, really. Now I have to trudge in and say, "I am dumb." for him.

Friday, July 17

Scorpio and the Haters: Not in That Order

RE: Haters
Friend-of-a-friend woman has taught her four-year-old daughter our current president is evil and kills babies. However, she has made racist remarks before his election. You do the math.

Re: Scorpio
We bought a new computer today. The case is a Raidmax Scorpio, hence the title. I bought an AMD motherboard and CPU, both "Black Edition," whatever that means. The motherboard's RAM, which I only ordered four gigs, can be expanded to 32 gigs. I picked up another Microsoft Natural Keyboard, the third in the family, and a seven-button OCZ mouse. The rest is cables and fans. My wife gets a wireless network blob for getting on the internet from the rec room.

The old computer, where I'm typing, as well as the 9x7 foot L-shaped desk, will be heading to the rec room. I've sawed the bottom 4.5 inches off two base cabinets, the bottom of my eight-foot built-in desk. My wife is leaning for me to choose a stock counter top, and I might, but I may want a custom top, though it can double the price.

"No one ever regretted buying a boring counter top." - Some Smart Fellow

Tuesday, July 14

ACE Hardware FTW

So, your post-apocalyptic postal LLV has fallen off a broken bridge on the south end of Upper Matecumbe Key in the Florida Keys. You need to get to Key West despite all the islands between your present location and Ohio Key are washed out. That's 41 miles of swimming, walking on sand bars, or magically ascending to the remaining bridges.

Considering the journey has swims of up to seven miles, my guys needed some floatation device. So, I asked in the sci-fi forum at Absolute Write. I let them know that all vegitation and 99% of all animals died two years ago. My first response was "Lumber."

Lumber? To prove him wrong I searched the area in Google Maps for lumber, and wouldn't you know. They passed an ACE Hardware less than a mile from their crash site. Though, of course, all lumber and useful supplies will be gone.

One main character says the foam sheets they put on buildings when they're being built would have been perfect. Female MC asks what it's used for. Male then says, "I guess to keep the rain out." She says, "So they take it off before they put the rest on?" Since the answer is no, they bust through the wall and get some kickboards out of it.

They also need a bucket to catch rain in. They'll take a paint can and pour out the paint.

Map of rediculous Florida Key journey is here:

View Rainwalkers in a larger map
There are no labels on the walking icons, but they denote where existing bridges start and stop.

Monday, July 13

The Overseas Highway Hates Rainwalkers

After outlining a YA dystopian adventure, I started research and found the bridge to Key West is all wrong. It should be as I imagined it. My action depended on it being a very long, two-lane divided highway.

The only way to fix this predicament was to make the land bridges between Upper Matecumbe Key and Ohio Key washed out, causing our protagonists to occasionally swim up to seven miles while avoiding toxic rain.

They'll be able to occasionally find a sandbar to stand on, but I'm trying to think of natural flotation devices available in a world where all vegetation died off two years ago.