Me Incognito

Does This Look Like the Face of a Liar?

Me IncognitoI mean, seriously. How can you not trust a face like that?

Well, there’s at least one lady out there that doesn’t. We’ll get to that, but first let me take you back to early February. I was driving home, minding my own business, when an accident decided to happen right in front of me. Literally (and I use the term correctly) an inch in front of me. I’m in the right lane and the car on my left decides my lane would be better for her car. Fuck all if another car is occupying it. With ninja-like reflexes and new tires, I was able to avoid the collision.

Rather unsatisfied in missing my car, she clobbers the car in front of her which had stopped unexpectedly. I can still see the shattering plastic and glass flying past like confetti in a ticker tape parade.

In short, the paramedics come and haul Ms. Speed Racer off on a stretcher. The police come and take my statement. I go home.

So you can imagine my surprise when I get a subpoena to appear in court to testify on behalf of the state. Like there’s any way it could be contested that this lady was a crappy driver.

Fast forward to today.

While waiting for the judge to enter, I caught up with the officer that took my statement and the girl who got hit. He filled me in on what happened after I left. Apparently when he went to the hospital to give this lady her ticket for lousy driving, she refused to sign it, claimed she wasn’t speeding. It wasn’t her fault. He ended up having to drop the ticket on her hospital bed, “You’ve been served.”

Fifteen minutes after the assigned court time, she speed races into he courtroom. Mere seconds before the judge was going to give a default judgement. So we begin.

From the get-go it’s obvious she doesn’t have a full grasp of the English language. Just enough to choke on her own tongue. If she was at least Hispanic, I’m sure more than half the room could have translated for her. I don’t know where she was from and won’t try to guess at the chance of being mistaken as racist.

Before the officer can complete his details of the event, she has already tried to testify on her behalf three times. To the judge’s credit, he was patient with her and did his best to explain what she was doing, and why she couldn’t do that yet. After that she held her tongue.

Then the girl who was hit told her side of the event.

Ms. Speed Racer held her tongue.

Then it was my turn. I told my version of the accident just as I stated above, but without the swearing and all the courtesy owed the court (I’m no idiot). That’s when Ms. Speed Racer yells out, “He’s a liar!”

When asked to give her side of it, she obviously didn’t understand what I was saying. But she sure as hell knew the word liar and used it as often as she could with plenty of gratuitous finger-pointing. “I don’t know why he lies! He lies! I saw! He’s a liar!”

A diagram was emitted into evidence, showing the positions of the cars in the accident.with all of us standing in front of the judge he asked if Ms. Speed Racer objected to it being submitted as evidence. She said, “Yes.”

We all stood and stared at her. The judge took another tack. “Is it okay if I look at this for this case?”

As if he didn’t understand her the first time, she said, “Yes.”

Since I wasn’t actually in the accident, my car wasn’t depicted. Being sympathetic to the language barrier, I asked if I could show where my car was in relation to the accident to help clarify my account. I did, and everyone agreed my account was sound in what actually happened.

Except for her.

Thankfully it didn’t go much further than that. I think the last thing she said on her behalf was “…but I don’t know why he lies.”

Seeing that communication was an issue here, he didn’t fine her more than the original ticket (and court costs). We were excused out one door while Ms. Speed Racer was pointed to another door to settle up.

It’s been almost three hours, and I’m still in shock. Well, mild amusement, maybe. That is until I get another subpoena for the appeal based on a “liar’s” testimony.

Mustache on a Stick

Carrot Cake

Light the Candles

Carrot CakeJess lines the candles on the cake. First lining the sides with all twenty-three candles. Then randomly across the top, careful to cover up holes. Maybe it’s because she can’t decide. Or maybe it’s because she likes the excuse to lick the knife after filling the holes. Either way she sets and resets the candles until she’s convinced the cake looks like Swiss cheese under a layer of cream cheese icing.

Carrot cake was always his favorite. The texture of it made it hard for Jess to swallow, but Milo could shovel it down and be licking his plate all the while staring at Jess’s plate. He knew she would give it to him. She always did.

She spells his name with the candles.

Twenty-three years, but Jess had only been around for the last three. And what a three years. Excitement? Oh, yes. More than her fair share, she was sure.

He stole her heart the first time they met, and he refused to give it back. Not that she ever really wanted it back. She did wonder at times if she had stolen his equally. That’s usually never the case, is it.

She groups three candles in the center and places the rest to the edges.

Of course he stole more than that. Never from her. Well, nothing important, anyway. She learned too. Teaching might not have been his strong point, but she caught on easy enough. A trinket here. A snack there.

Without a doubt it always differed on what they stole. Milo thought it all should be his. No, that’s not it. He thought it all was his. it might be in your pocket, but it belonged to him. It was only a question on whether or not he thought he needed it at the moment.

Jess thought of it more like a game. A small game. If it interested her, she took it. Sometimes she would walk out of a store and not even realize until she got home that she had something new in her purse or pocket. Usually she only did it when he could see.

It was for him after all. She imagined it felt like lifting her skirt or opening her blouse where only he could see. Though she would never do that. That would be indecent.

She puts the candles in a straight line, one hiding behind the other. She almost lights them then.

Almost.

Jess watched Milo steal lots of things. Watches, cars, cash. Sometimes he even stole them for her. Not that she wanted them. Just him.

She always remembered his birthday. None of the other dates. Not the other stolen hearts. Not the last job. Not the media coverage. Why would she want to remember that? She even thought about adding more candles.

No. Twenty-three was the number. No other.

The knife clatters on the table. Done filling holes, Jess lights the candles. This year ending with them in the shape of a heart. A rather lopsided heart with one hump larger that the other, but unmistakably a heart.

***

This little piece of flash fiction differs from my usual brand of story. I took the prompts from the last 500 Club (I’ll let you decide which prompt I used), and decided to just go where the story took me. I think I might be as surprised as you to find a story devoid of ghosts, demons, aliens, action, or dialogue. I think it’s good enough to share though. Feel free to let me know what you think. It’s all for fun, but there’s no reason I can’t turn it into a learning experience.

Lights Behind

I think the blog is in need of some new fiction. Here’s a little some’in’-some’in’ I whipped up just for me, but decided to share with whoever wanted to read.

Lights Behind

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking from the sealed case on the passenger seat to the rear view mirror now filled with glowing lights, Vince knew this was going to end badly. He looked up in time to slam on his brakes. A sea of red brake lights filled the freeway. If the glowing lights behind him were confined to the ground like he was, he might have a chance of getting away.

Vince pulled onto the shoulder and tromped his foot on the gas.

Tammy yelled from the backseat, a leg flying up as he swerved the car.

“Watch it, Vince!”

“Maybe if you wore a seatbelt…”

“How the hell am I supposed to work this thing strapped in?”

Vince didn’t answer. He had a million responses to that, but knew better than to be baited into it. Instead he concentrated on the road ahead, and the lights from behind. If he didn’t get off this freeway now, the two of them only have seconds left.

The clank of latching bolts and sliding metal came from the backseat. Then the twang of a spring and something shot past him to ricochet off the windshield.

“Dammit,” he groaned into the steering wheel. “I can’t drive and put the thing together. If you couldn’t do it, you should’ve let me.”

“The hell is that supposed to–” she cut herself off. “No don’t tell me. Your almighty-ness would be more than I could take.”

Up ahead, a car began to pull onto the shoulder. Whether they had the same idea he had, or one of those jack asses that got off on blocking the way didn’t matter. Vince clipped fenders with the driver and sent a shower of sparks up along the guard rail in the process.

A variety of swears and curses came form the back in the midst of falling metallic pieces. Always dropping something. Couldn’t blame it on the pregnancy this time. Couldn’t tell her otherwise. Couldn’t so this or that.

Well, the fuck he could.

The off ramp came up quick and just as full of slow or stopped cars as the freeway. With more luck than skill, Vince jerked and spun the wheel to maneuver the old Chevy around and through traffic, though he’d never admit it to Tammy.

“I can still get this.”

He could hear her scrambling in the back seat reaching for parts. He didn’t bother with the piece that shot up front. He knew she wouldn’t get it together in time. His eyes dropped an instant down to the case in the passenger seat.

“You can’t do this.”

His voice barely audible over the revving engine.

“What? Just give me a… Dammit! Stop swerving!”

“I said,” and Vince took a deep breath, “you. Can’t. Do. THIS!”

Vince tugged the wheel had to the left and skidded to a stop beneath the underpass. Almost before the car stopped, he kicked his door open and stepped out. He hurried to the passenger side, but didn’t run. The look of blame, hurt, and yes, hatred, pierced his heart.

The lights started to fill the little underpass. Left, right, overhead. He knew there was no getting away. She knew it too. But this time it wasn’t up to her.

He yanked open the door and grabbed the case. As he flipped the latches open and stuck a hand inside. He couldn’t look at her.

“I’m done. With your way.”

I wrote this piece of flash fiction based on the prompts given at The Parking Lot Confessional. It’s been a while since I’ve played along, and frankly, I needed a little push to get me writing tonight. I chose the first prompt, but I think I managed both in one shot. It might not be pretty. It might not be great. But what it is, is writing. Getting the words out as I was thinking them. No revisions. Just raw thought and creation. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Molly

Things I Learned This Weekend

This Labor Day weekend I did the bare minimum in anything that could be considered productive. I vegged. I watched tv. I hung out with friends. But instead of calling it a lazy weekend, I like to think of it as my Internal Recharge.

Oooh. That sounds like a marketing campaign. Dive into your own Internal Recharge with <<insert product>> while supplies last. Just transfer all moneys to the following link.

So along with this Internal Recharge, I learned a few things. Things that might not be important to anybody else but me. So what better thing to do than force it on my one or two readers? Here goes.

Learned thing one:

All the world would be a happier place if we all danced on bubble wrap.

My youngest daughter taught me that. Or maybe she reminded me. Either way we danced to our heart’s content on a floor strewn with wrapped bubbles.

Learned thing two:

All the world does NOT include my dog.

This shouldn’t have surprised my as much as it did. Every year around New Year’s and Independence Day, my retardedly happy and over-sized black lab freaks out at the bang, pop, boom of firecrackers, roman candles, and snap caps. I now know this also includes the innocent crackle of bubble wrap.

Molly

The poor girl starts panting as if she’d just come inside from running through the park and attempts to fling herself into my lap. Now I need to convince the kids that this isn’t a funny thing to do to the dog. Not at all like feeding her peanut butter.

So add some enjoyment into your life by dancing on some bubble wrap. Just make sure your dog is okay with it first.

baker's yeast

Life After Yeast

baker's yeastIt’s been a while since I last posted about my newly found food allergy. I thought it might be time for a little follow-up. So let’s get up to speed.

When I first found out I was allergic to yeast, I went total extremist. If contained yeast, made from yeast, or turned into yeast when fermented, I cut it out. To my wife’s credit, she didn’t walk out on me during that time. To put it plainly, my limited menu I allowed myself to eat from, made grocery shopping and eating out a big pain in the ass. Here were my options: fresh meat, fresh veggies (minus mushrooms and olives (although I can’t honestly remember if olives were officially on a no-eat list or if I subconsciously put them on there because olives are natures little turds. Yuck.)), and fresh fruit (minus berries and all skins).

To look at the time positively, I’ve never eaten healthier. Seriously though, pain. In. The. Ass. Not to mention it was more expensive to eat like that. America loves its people fat and diabetic. ‘Murica!

Then I stopped listening the brand of crazy that only the internet can provide and went to see an allergist. Trusting ole me let them scratch the hell out of my back (and not in a fun way) so they can tell me that I’m pretty much allergic to almost everything that grows. So nature. I’m allergic to nature.

They did confirm the blood test result of a yeast allergy, too. Fortunately they let me leave with some good news. She said I only needed to avoid foods with yeast as an active ingredient. So I reintroduced lots of food back into my diet. So I’m down to mainly avoiding breads and beer (I know, I have the hardest time with this one. Thankfully wine is back on the list).

I still need to read the ingredients on any packaged item I buy, but really everyone should be doing that anyway. It might scare you out of eating that crap food you can’t seem to keep your tongue off of. It also made me rethink if it might not have been such a bad idea to let Twinkie factory just die out.

Lately I’ve been testing my tolerance. Beer still hasn’t been tested, but brats soaked in beer. So far no reaction. See with me, eating yeast won’t kill me. I’m not at risk for anaphylactic shock. It’s all going to depend on the level of discomfort I feel and whether or not the offending food or beverage is worth it.

Really it’s a matter of figuring out new core meals. You know, the ten or so things you eat most frequently. The go-to goodies. Once I figured those out, life pretty much went back to normal. And, I eat better without having to make a conscious effort at it.

See. Life went on. So I plan to enjoy it.

Dragon Haven

Dragon Haven [HTBR: UPDATE]

Dragon HavenHere are my quick thoughts after finishing Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb. The original HTBR is here if you’re interested.

I’m happy to say that after breaching the halfway mark, the book finally picks up steam and holds a respectable pace to the end. I’ll admit it was rather predictable, but satisfying.

I would only recommend this series to established Robin Hobb fans. Which seems pointless, as they’ve probably already read it. For the rest of readers new to Hobb, I don’t think they would be willing to wade through a book and a half before things got exciting. For them I’d recommend Hobb’s The Farseer Trilogy.

As for the rest of this series, I’ll get to them.

Eventually.

Spacing them out will help me forget what annoyed me about them. That mainly being the over-repetitiveness that drags the novel’s forward momentum. Other than that, the writing is superb and paints vivid portraits of the characters, places, and yes, dragons too.

Dragon Haven

HTBR: Dragon Haven

Dragon Haven

It’s about time for another Halfway Through Book Review where I give you my opinions with minimal chances of spoiling the ending. The follow-up should happen in the days to comes. That is if I deem the book worthy of finishing.

This time I’m tackling Robin Hobb‘s second book in her Rain Wilds Chronicles, Dragon HavenI’ve mentioned before here that I’m somewhat of a fan of Hobb. She has written plenty of trilogies, and I own almost all of them. With that in mind, I still try to be objective in my reviews.

In this installment, we find the cast of characters right where we left them in the last book. A group of physically stunted dragons, along with their keepers, are heading up the toxic Rain Wild’s river to a city once renowned for its dragons and Elderlings. Because the dragons were deformed since hatching, they are unable to fly or provide for themselves.

The first book covered their hatching and trickery to get the townspeople to move them to a new location. I also recall the book ending right at the inciting moment, something that generally happens in the first chapter or two in most books. I’ve since come to find that the original book became so long, that it was split in two and published separately, this being the second part.

As I’ve said, this picks up right where it left off. And in the course of just half the book, little to nothing has happened. Only one big event happens just before the midway point. The rest is strictly character development.

Hobb’s style of fantasy writing has changed since I’ve first started reading her works. I’ve come to understand epic fantasy as action-packed and filled with extensive journeying. Hobb is breaking away from that. There is still action. And a journey is taking place, but the pacing compared to other epic fantasies I’ve been reading, can be mind-numbingly slow. I also find that she’s repeating herself repeatedly (see what I did there?). Although it might make sense that a particular subject or conversation would happen to multiple people, as a reader, it becomes boring. I kept finding myself saying, “I know this already. Keep it moving.”

That being said, this slower pace allows the characters to become more real and less stock. They act like people would act, even when we don’t want them to. The stupidity of some (one in particular) drives me completely mad, just like the stupidity I find in real life. Hobb draws out critical moments, creating a tension so taught that by the time it plays out, the outcome is overwhelmingly satisfying. None of these characters are stock. In most epic fantasies, you have the wizard, thief, elf, or some other common fantasy trope. Not here. Though there is magic, though there are dragons, and though there is intrigue and backstabbing, there is nothing– I repeat –nothing, common about this story.

So I’ll continue this tale to its end. When I finish, I’ll give you my final thoughts and whether or not it was worth completing. Till then, read something good. And share.

VeronicaMarsSeasonThree

Calling All Veronica Mars Fans

Or at least the ones with spare money on their hands.

Rob Thomas has started a Kickstarter campaign to get a Veronica Mars Movie going. That’s right.

Veronica Mars Movie

VeronicaMarsSeasonThree

I loved this show. I’ll even admit to buying a season or two on DVD.

*You can skip the last season. It broke the mold of the working first two season to its own demise, but I won’t hold it against them.

And truthfully I tell you, I had a hard time sitting still when I heard the news just minutes ago. So without further ado, I pass it along to you.

Link to the Kickstarter

And for those that can’t help fund them, but want to see the “commercial” for it, here you go:

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

Heard of a Blog Hop? I have, and I’ve been invited to participate in one. Go figure. So let me give you the run down.

The Next Big ThingIf you haven’t guessed already, this blog hop is called The Next Big Thing. Hopefully this ensures you, the reader, that some day I will be the next big thing. No harm in that. I rather like the notion. I like it even more because I was asked to participate by someone whom I enjoy reading the work. Which brings us to the first part of this blog hop:

From Where It Came

This opportunity was given to me by Dex Raven. Dex Raven writes primarily dark fantasy and horror, when his muse, Violet, cooperates. When she doesn’t, he still attempts to write with varying results. He has a thing for classic monster legends, Egyptian and Nordic mythology, coffee, sarcasm and words that end in “esque”. He is currently working on two books: a fiction/non-fiction mash-up and his first novel. You can find his fiction as well as his thoughts on the writing process here (ravenspeak.wordpress.com).

Blog (fiction & writing) | Blog (life & ramblings) | Facebook | Twitter

Next in the Blog Hop business:

A Q&A with Yours Truly

  1. What is the working title of your next book?
    I actually have three books in various phases from outline to second drafts. The closest to completion is Raven’s Mark.
  2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
    The origins of that idea can be traced all the way back to a song. More accurately, my misinterpretation of that song. I was so far off what the lyrics actually were that once I discovered the real lyrics, I liked mine better. Then created a short story based on it. That short story became the world in which my book now takes place. I wrote several short stories set in that world until I finally stumbled upon one that wouldn’t be appeased in short form. It needed a full novel length to tell its story and hinted at two more after.
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
    Genre can be such an ugly word. It helps draw discriminatory lines. But if you want to sell within a bookstore, they need to know where to stock you. I would say its a nice fit as urban fantasy, crime fiction. If I could make Urban Science Fiction a thing, it would probably fit under there a bit better, seeing as there are no monsters in it other than ones made from human nature. The is science that comes off as magic, though. So there’s that.
  4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
    The only character I have picked out is my main character, Jake. I can easily see him played by David Belle. Not only is he skilled in parkour, which my book is filled with, he closely resembles how I envisioned my main character. Other than that, I’ll let the Hollywood-ites fight over the remaining rolls.
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    Covered in rune implants, Jake uses their odd power to steal whatever he likes under the auspices of the Ravens until he is caught on photograph and is left unsure on who to fear more, the cops or the Ravens.
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    I’d prefer it to be represented. If I ever take the self-publish route, I’ll use other stories.
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
    The first draft took me a little over a year to complete. I was a total pantser in regards to writing style. I only had three scenes I knew were going to happen, the beginning, the tunnel, and the light at the end. I don’t think I’ll ever go that route again. I found myself writing my characters into corners they couldn’t get out of, in turn forcing me to rewrite entire sections.
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
    Uuuuuhhhhh…
    Can you repeat the question? No? Okay.
    In regards to pacing and excitement, I’d like to compare it to Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. In regards to the crime element and magic-like science, I haven’t read anything comparable. That might be why I decided to write it. Simply because I know I’d like to read it.
  9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
    To pinpoint a single thing to credit for inspiration is like asking an actor to give  a short acceptance speech at the Oscars. Not possible. A number of people encouraged me to write, from my wife and family to The Amys to writing instructors and critique groups. Inspiration was found in stories, the mundane, conversations, music, and countless other things. Inspiration was found wherever I was willing to look.
  10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
    I don’t think I mentioned secret societies or the serial killer. My book has those, too.

Did you make it through all of that? Good! Now it’s time for me to pay it forward with:

People You Should Be Watching

Amy K. Nichols
Amy’s stories have been published by Plain Spoke and See Spot Run, and have been performed by The Liars League. Her children’s story “Harvey and the Horrible Sneeze” was published in the 13th Annual Bedtime Storybook. She earned an honorable mention in the WOW! Women on Writing Summer 2009 Flash Fiction Contest, and won third place in the 27th Annual 3-Day Novel Contest. Amy is represented by Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary. To read samples of her work, please visit www.amywrites.com.
Blog1 | Blog2 | Twitter | FacebookWebsite

Amy McLane
As Amy Beth Forbes, her work has appeared in divers locations, such as Flytrap, Kiss Machine, Realms of Fantasy, and LCRW. Her short story A is For Apple was reprinted in The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, a collection available at your finer booktuaries nationwide. She is currently slaving away at a multi-book epic fantasy, and often forgets to post at personal blog Smoldering Ink. Elusive and quixotic, she likes pie, but wouldn’t say no to cake.
Blog1 | Blog2

N. E. White
N. E. White was born in California to a Texan native and a Mexican immigrant. Her professional pursuits include environmental conservation and management, spatial analysis, and earth systems modeling. She writes everyday after walking her dog. One of these days, she’ll finish her novel. Until then, check out her blog at N. E. White.
Blog1 | Blog2

Rachel Small (aka faultlessfinish)
Rachel is  a freelance editor based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As an editor, nothing is more important to her than ensuring that a writer’s message is effectively heard and understood. As a writer herself, she understand the challenges writers face on a day-to-day basis and truly has their best interests at heart. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to as much music as she can get her hands on, reading the biographies of famous musicians, doing yoga, and drinking large vanilla lattes.
Blog | Twitter | Website

David Blackstone
David writes fiction. That’s it. Well, at least on his blog. There’s no explanations or intros. Just the fiction and nothing but the fiction. For a more thorough explanation on why he does it, check it out here.
Blog | Twitter | Google+

I’m not requiring any of these people to play along. This particular post took up more time then I had planned, and I understand how time is limited. If I had to choose, I’d rather these people continue posting the content that got me reading their blogs in the first place than for them to stress over a Blog Hop. Regardless, you should go check them out to see why I think they could be the Next Big Thing.