Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 13 books of Christmas 2010!

Dear Thursday Thirteeners,

Christmas 2010 has turned out to be very book-friendly for me indeed! I have at least 13 books to report on, and of those, I’ve already read 3! What can I say, I read fast when I’m in the mood to read.

Here’s the list, and yes, I’ve checked it twice. (I know there’s more than 13 here).

Books I purchased:

1. Star Fever by Kate Donovan (already read!) purchased from Samhain Publishing.


Donovan's 2nd book in the Fever series. SFR.







2. Space Fever by Kate Donovan (already read!) purchased from Samhain Publishing.


Donovan's 1st book in the Fever series. SFR.






3. I Heard Him Exclaim by ZA Maxfield (already read!) purchased from Carina Press.

Some M/M lovin' is always good.







4. Icecapade by Josh Lanyon (runner-up for next to be read!) purchased from Carina Press.


More M/M lovin' from one of the genre's reigning masters.






5. 7% and Rising by Kim Knox (runner-up for next to be read!) purchased from Samhain Publishing.

*drools*

SFR done the Kim Knox way.













Books I won:

6. Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (paperback copy) Won off the Alien Romances site, during the Science Fiction Romance Holiday Blitz! at TheGalaxyExpress.net


Can't wait to receive it/read it/drool all over it! SFR






7. Rebels and Lovers by Linnea Sinclair (paperback copy) Won off the site The Space Freighters Lounge during the Science Fiction Romance Holiday Blitz! at TheGalaxyExpress.net

Waiting breathlessly for some more of the Guthrie family to show up on my doorstep. You can call me a Phillip Guthrie fan any day! SFR

8. Captain’s Surrender by Alex Beecroft (runner-up for next to be read!) Won off the site ReviewsbyJessewave.com.



I've been meaning to read this one, but the lovely new cover makes it near impossible to delay any longer! M/M lovin'.






9. The Matelot by Ariel Tachna. Won off the ReviewsbyJessewave site.


More M/M lovin' by an author I've never read before. I boldly go!







Books I received as gifts:


10. Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane (paperback copy and I’ve been peeking….)



Urban Fantasy by a fellow Romance Diva. Go Stacia!








11. Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane (paperback copy and I’ve been peeking….)




More Urban Fantasy by a fellow RD!




12. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris (hardcover)



Humor. Sometimes witty, sometimes wistful. Contemporary. That's Sedaris for you.












It doesn't get much more sci-fi than the TOS series. Check it out!












Again, Sci-Fi and Star Trek = simply synonymous!






Now, that’s a great list covering lots of genres, no? Urban Fantasy, SFR, M/M Romance, Sci-Fi and humor to be exact, (though genre labels are far from an exact science as any reader knows).

But – and I hate to say *but* with all these great reads at the ready - the next book I read will likely be none of these.

Gasp!

I know. The next book I will read will actually be one that I checked out of the local library after hearing about it on N.P.R.:


“Seized: Battling pirates and recovering stolen ships in the world's most troubled waters,” by Max Hardberger.

And that is definitely a non-fiction book, which helps me cover even more genres!

Next week you can expect either a list of 1) ways to trick pirates off their ships or 2) ways pirates steal ships or maybe 3) what pirates really like to drink.



More later,

Bratty

P.S. After I’m done *gently using* the hard copies, I may have to have a giveaway of my own. Anybody want dibs on anything in particular?

And no, you cannot have the library book! I, unlike some others, am a very conscientious book borrower!

:)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Star Fever

Star Fever (Fever, #2)Star Fever by Kate Donovan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Unlike Space Fever, book #1 in the Fever series, Star Fever started out with a bang. Lots of dialog and a bad surprise all make for a heady decision for one young Zantress who's having some....medical issues.

From there, the dialog just gets snappier, and the conflicts ratchet up until something's just got to give.....at least for a little while.

In this story, the quick turns and about-faces keep you on your toes, but the characters, IMO, were much more suited to the rigors of their conditions than the first two star-crossed lovers from book 1. And for what it's worth, whiny Neel deserved what he got!

So...I guess the book proves my theory that it's always better to start in the middle of a series instead of the beginning, right.....?

Or something like that!

If history is correct, book #3 - if there is one that is - should be a grand one!



View all my reviews

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Win more books!

Hey Bratty Friends,

I thought you'd like to know that Marcella Burnard is also doing a little giveaway of her own and you might like to win some more books!

Isn't Christmas grand? :)

Go to The Galaxy Express site here and comment to enter this book:



I would love to read her work. She did an Author of the Month Workshop recently on Romance Divas and I have to say, I could have used more of her wisdom. She seems like a writer that one could really tune into 'cause she's easy to talk to (online anyways) and seems very smart and funny.

Good luck, and I'll be posting the books I got for Christmas on the next Thursday Thirteen.

Until then, happy reading!

Bratty

Book Reviews: Space Fever

Space Fever (Fever, #1)Space Fever by Kate Donovan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I was excited to read it, but found it didn't live up to expectations. The main issue, for me, was the more than slightly wishy-washy romance.

Oh, you lied to me about that? Well, um, okay.
Oh, you lied about that too? Well, um, that's okay too I guess.
Oh, and you also lied about that as well? Well, um, geez.

There were a few sobs of protest, but nothing serious. I kept wishing the heroine would JUST SHOOT HIM ALREADY!

While reading I found myself wanting for a more Susan Grant type heroine who, upon learning that she was to be tried out as a possible "lust-mate" for the Zentarr would fight to the teeth against it, not merely give in to the "set up" that forms the story's initial conflict.

By the end of the book, Torr should have been half insane in and pain, and Cabbie's feelings should have slowly turned from despise to tenderness. For that to work, she would had to have known from the get-go that bonding with a Zentarr would mean a loveless, prostitution-like pairing, which would have really set her teeth on edge. Then, the conflict between the two would have been very real. She gives in - and gives up her freedom and opportunity for future happiness, or she doesn't give in - and he goes insane or dies.

Her back should have been farther up against the wall with no good way out, and he should have suffered more to win her.

Instead, we got the mating done the first night (though the lie comes later), then a bit of internal conflict as the heroine absorbs everybody's lies, but not enough, IMO, to make the story strong enough to recommend. In the end, she fell for the whole shebang with nary a whimper.

I felt like bending her over my knee and giving her - and Torr - a damn good spanking.


View all my reviews

Book Review: I Heard Him Exclaim

I Heard Him ExclaimI Heard Him Exclaim by Z.A. Maxfield

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I found the beginning heavy on the back story and the dialog a little too female for me to believe it was coming from two men. This story should have clicked with me, since I think bears are sexy (!) but the relationship was just too sappy for my tastes and the sex read a bit like sex on a page.

That said, I think the author set herself a huge task for 159 pages, that of making merry christmas out of a tragedy that occurred a month earlier. I think more tragedy on the little girl's part perhaps, would have made the story more of a tear-jerker, but added some missing emotional elements that for me, needed to be there.

So, in other words, more character torture, please! :)



View all my reviews

Friday, December 24, 2010

Book Review: Count Zero

Count Zero (Sprawl, #2)Count Zero by William Gibson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I always start in the middle. Not sure why that is, but I never, ever start at the beginning of the series.

Sometimes, I even start at the end! Even then, I don't work backwards logically. Nope. Not me.

So, it was with some surprise that I read the wiki on this book and learned that the "cyberspace gods" referred to, hinted at, derided, and viewed with suspicion in this book are the leftovers of characters from the last book. Well. Nobody told me. It would have been nice if they had!

I may never go back and read Neuromancer. I may never get around to it. I have a TBR pile that is monstrous, and this may well have been Gibson's one and only shot at me! But that's another matter. Time flies and there's nothing you can do about it. It doesn't fly backwards, most days.

What I thought of it: If I had to call it anything, I'd call it "literary sci-fi." No kidding. There were so many ways he could have gone with this story, so many different avenues, but he chose the ones he chose and he chose to tell it the way he did. He doesn't write badly. Hubby picked up the book, read a few lines, and said, "He writes pretty well."

That's high praise coming from a Joseph Conrad man!

For me, though, the issue came down to time. It took a long time for the plots to weave together. Took time for the major events to take place. Took time to set it all up. It wasn't a wham-bam-thank you ma'am sort of affair. Wasn't a star bursting out of the gate, but rather a slow trickle of information, filled with 80's references (such as Bucky Balls), that in the end, left a lot of questions unanswered for the reader.

Among them, WHY in the end does he choose to go to Sally? What does that say about him deep down? About his goals? Needs? We saw just scraps and hints of his inner life throughout the book, not enough to make a whole vision of the man. In the end, he walks off the stage.

WHY in the end, is Marly willing to die? WHY are the rich man and Paco killed? Is the "god" that killed him a corporation? Do we ever really know for sure? For that matter, why the high body count during the book? Who's behind it and why? I was never 100% sure.

Maybe the issue is that the characters weren't ever deep enough to be totally real, or revealed to me, so that in the end, I knew what they'd instinctively desire. No?

And then there's the issue of time. Read a chapter, put it down. Read a chapter or two, put it down. NOt the chewiest thing I've ever read - Jose Saramago's "The Double" took a couple of months to read in comparison to the time spent on this one - but it was chewier than most sci-fi, though still very technology-oriented, as one would expect sci-fi to be. It just had this other literary-type feel to it that nagged at my senses, sort of like a guard dog that sat there with its beady eyes and said, "put this down and I'll bite ya, pick it up and I'll bite ya." I felt in between a rock and hard place the entire read.

In some ways, it's a no-win situation. If you're looking for high-speed and chills, this isn't the book to read. But if you're looking for awkward situations, a muddy plot, mysterious characters that are never really seen, and an impending sense of doom on every page, this is the book for you!




View all my reviews

Monday, December 20, 2010

Win Free Books!

Ladies and Gents - win FREE SFR books this week only! Go to The Galaxy Express blog and follow the links. Leave a comment on the sites with the books you'd like to win. Books such as:


































And many more!

*drools*

I've entered, what's stopping you?

Good luck, everybody! :)

Bratty

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Book Review: Hope's Folly

Hope's Folly (Dock Five Universe, #3)Hope's Folly by Linnea Sinclair

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I liked this one much better than Gabriel's Ghost. I just didn't like the two main characters in GG, and especially didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling for Sullivan. But Phillip is another matter entirely.



He's older. Yummy. Sexy. And an Admiral! Yes, and our lovely Rya is the kind of girl you'd want to have at your side in any kind of firefight. Somehow I found their romance more believable than Sully and Chaz's, but maybe that's just me.



P.S. I read this book in less than 48 hours. There aren't many authors who I'll put life on hold for, but this one of them. Good job Linnea!



View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 13 exercises for the new year

Dear Bratty Friends,

Here are 13 exercises I promise to do more of in the new year. Notice that I didn't promise to do them right this second! LOL

1. Running. Yes, it's been too cold and decidedly too snowy but the thighs and hips must get trimmed down again and for that, running's just the ticket. Plus, you get to see some awesome scenery. Sis and I like to run here:
The Nature Trail. This shot is from pretty early in the year as you can tell - no leaves yet.

2. Jumping rope. Now that, you can't do outside, but it does get your heart pumping - and I mean pumping!

Zuzanna had a challenge on her blog Bodyrock.tv the other day for 1,000 skips. Well, I only did 500, but my calves hurt for three days! It's a good hurt.

3. Side Plank. Yep. It's low impact, easy, and a good toner. Here's Zuzanna doing it:

Now, I'll never look like Zuzanna, and I'm not as young as Zuzanna, but a little side plank never hurt anybody!

4. Push ups. Yep, plain old simply push ups. They tone your arms, your back, and help strengthen your core as well. Plus, I learned a new one on Bodyrock.tv that I'd like to try - one that will whittle your hips at the same time. :)

5. Now, this isn't a workout, it's a piece of equipment, but who can resist? It's simple, fairly inexpensive - about $79 - and it looks oh so useful. Ladies and gents I give you the Dip Station:

Zuzanna uses it a lot in her workouts, so I know I could do something with it. But where will I put it?

6. Okay, back to exercises. How about some ab moves? The windmill sit up anybody? The one where you cross your legs and uncross, doing a crunch as your legs cross? This one is on a Shape magazine DVD that I have. It's got two pretty good ab routines. I should do them more often.

I notice it's now $3. Good deal if you can grab it!

7. Yoga. Okay, I know, this isn't an exercise it's a whole spiritual way of life. But there are some awfully good yoga moves to be done, and I can see myself doing some of them on that dip station up above. Something like this maybe:

Now that would be hot!

8. The Sleeping Crab. Yep. But not for the reasons you might think. *grins*
Zuzanna had it listed on her site and so I tried it - and I have never felt more uncoordinated in my life! No kidding! Rollerskating was vastly better than this.

You try it! I was tipping all over the place, forgetting which hand/leg to raise, falling backwards on my ass. Is it just me? Oh please tell me no! Please!

So...I want to try doing it in order just to make my balance and coordination better.

9. Walking. It's almost that time to strap on the walking shoes - okay, maybe it's a little too early yet since snow's in the forecast for the rest of the week - but a good long march will do you good in all kinds of weather. Besides you always see things you just don't see if you don't get out. Like these for instance:
10. I'm tempted to say sleeping, but as we grow older *cough* *cough* I've heard that we sleep less, not more. And I must confess that I've been rising earlier off and on for the last little while. That said, it still takes me (3) alarms to get out of bed in the morning. I'm not a good early morning person. Grroooowwwwl!

But sleeping, like reading, another favorite pastime does burn calories, so bring it on, I say!

11. More whole-body moves. Like the ones that combine squats with weight lifting, or even squats with twists. Sometimes you see these moves in fitness magazines. Sometimes I spy on personal trainers at the gym and steal their moves. :) Feel the love baby!

12. Rowing. I've been doing the 500 meter /1 Min rest routine for a little while now. Right now my best time is just under 2:14. For me, that's huffin' it! It's also embarrassing that I tend to wheeeeze when I row but oh well. I guess those lungs really get emptied when you are surging forward and crushing yourself against your thighs before rocketing back and the hard pull.


I did an awful lot of wheezing when I first started running as well. My sister, the CNA, didn't seem to mind. I think it made her feel like she was still at work though.... :p

13. And last but not least, since I am uncoordinated as hell and afraid to stand on my head lest I fall over, I have always wanted an inversion table. I know, it's not an exercise, it's a machine, but just look at it - doesn't look relaxing as all get out? I could fall asleep just looking at it.

ZZZZZ......

Happy Thursday Thirteen!

Bratty











Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cyberpunk type video

Dear Bratty Friends,

What else to put you in the frame of mind to write cyberpunk than a dark little 1984-ish video that looks eerily like some of my own story ideas come to life?


http://www.kuriositas.com/2010/12/nothing-to-fear.html

If I were you, I'd check it out!

Bratty


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ghost in the Shell fanfic - Chapter 1

A slight re-wording of the last part of the chapter. Still a work in progress. Lots of tense changes going on!


While she’s busy with the dog, Batou searches her bag. Clothes. Underwear. Makeup. A hairbrush. Is she on the run? Or does she have the mistaken idea this is a hotel? He grasps a black metal object no bigger than his palm and sniffs it. Not a bomb. A personal scrambler device. No matter who she is, she doesn’t want to be found. That endears her to him for reasons he can’t put into words. He stands down from alert mode but keeps the intimidation program active as he towers over her. “What’s with all the stuff in the bag?”

She shrugs again. “My landlord kicked me out.” She goes back to playing with the dog.

His lips twist in annoyance as he strides to the easy chair and sits, watching her. In her profile he thinks he catches a glimpse of another, someone he used to know. The medium-length black hair and too-slender body throw him off somewhat, but something in her easy grace seems to convince him that his guardian angel sent her. But how to be sure?

He asks her again who sent her, and this time she looks out the window at the black and neon night as she answers, “a friend. Someone you know.”

Figures. His stupid cyborg heart clenches a little at the way she says it, so matter-of-factly. After all this time, it sure as hell wasn’t matter-of-fact for him. In fact, this is kind of pissing him off. Just like her though, to not give a shit about how he’d take getting a message from her. She never did care what anyone else felt. His jaw tightened.

“Why did she do that?”

She sighed, and her whole frame seemed to grow taller and thinner like a shadow before collapsing back into a brittle white bird skeleton as she exhaled. “She thought you might need some protection.”

“Protection? From what?”

She didn’t answer, just sighed, looking past the dusty shades into the night.

Batou snorted and popped open a beer. Protection? What a ridiculous idea. As if this woman could protect him from anything larger than an ant. He had the feeling this whole set up stank of the Major’s way of keeping her eye on him rather than her concern for his protection. If Kusanagi thought she was doing him a favor, she was wrong. And he didn’t need the company. He’d be damned if he’d discuss the reasons why with this little wisp of a girl. How old was she anyway? Twenty four? Five? Six? It didn’t matter.

“You’re not staying,” he told her, maybe more roughly than he should.

She immediately looked down, tucked her legs underneath her, and picked at her thin dress.

He saw she wore no shoes. She’d kicked off her little ballet slippers and they sat neatly next to the ottoman.

For the next four hours, he sat and drank beer, watched her, and watched some telly.

She sat, yawned, stretched like a cat, watched some telly, and stayed on the ottoman.

At last Gabriel climbed up into the chair, laid down next to him, and went to sleep.

Some time later, he felt his own eyes grow tired. He rubbed them, told himself to keep them open since this could still be an attack, and then closed them for a moment just to see what would happen.

A few minutes later, the woman left the ottoman, crossed to his chair, and delicately laid her body along his other side. She snuggled up to him. Hardly weighed a thing. Light as a whisper, with her little breaths caressing his chin, her tiny arm over his chest and one of her legs tossed over his.

Batou hated himself for doing it, but he curled his arm around the small of her back, and with his other hand on Gabriel’s doggie shoulder, he fell asleep.

Photo Slide Show

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buy this book!

Sex, Sin and Surf by Lauren Fraser

Holidays are all about relaxation. And what better way to relax than with a hot holiday fling?

On vacation in Mexico with her two best friends, forty-one-year-old Celeste Kopp vows to break out of her middle-aged rut and live life to the fullest. Taking surf lessons is on the top of her to do list. However, when she meets sexy surf instructor Ben, the idea of a holiday fling with a younger man becomes the only thing on her list.

Ben is more than willing to live out Celeste’s fantasies as well as a few of his own. But their holiday romance turns out to be more than either of them bargained for when the connection between them deepens. Being with Celeste forces Ben to deal with his own baggage in a way he never expected.

As the vacation draws to a close, Celeste realizes she wants so much more from Ben than a holiday fling, but can she convince him that their future together is worth the risk?

Buy Link

For more info on Lauren visit her website http://www.laurenfraser.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 13 reasons to make scrumpy

Okay, here it is folks, my 13 - all very good and all highly applicable, I promise you! - reasons to make scrumpy.

What's scrumpy, you ask? Keep reading, because by the time we get to the bottom of the list, you'll have a fairly good idea or my name isn't Bratty!


Reason #1
Scrumpy is good for you! It's made from apples, and you know how the saying goes, "an apple a day ...." I don't know who first said that. Does anybody?

 Reason #2
Scrumpy is kind of like apple cider vinegar, which I'm always hearing touted as being the "fountain of youth." Apple cider vinegar, they say, adds years to your lifespan. Well, maybe "they" are right! Who am I to argue?
Reason #3
It gives champagne yeast something productive to do.  Yeast, those tiny little micro-organisms from the fungi world really love nothing better than to put their working gloves on and dig in to a nice sweet fruity drink.Support your local micro-organisms! Give yeast a chance!

Reason #4

It gives you instant cache with your English friends, who all know exactly what you mean when you say, "scrumpy." My English friends - Dave and Angie - just shake their heads at the Americans who don't know what I'm frigging facebooking about. But I know, and they know I know, so now I'm "in." I'm in the scrumpy club!

Here's Dave and Angie:

I took that photo btw, on the day I met them! It's now on their website. They run the Apple Country Inn B&B in Wenatchee. Welcome to my blog, you two!

Reason #5

It has alcohol in it. Um, duh! When hubby set out to make it, he said, it's not worth it if it's under 9% alcohol. It's pretty clear that we don't get bushels of apples, rent a press, squeeze them all, and mess up the house just to make juice. Nope. Not in this house we don't!

Reason #6
It tastes good. Yes, I've had home made scrumpy. Twice this year, in fact! Two separate parties, same house, same cider maker. Can't say that I had complaints either time. Of course, then I thought, well, if they can make it, so can we! And here we are today....

Reason #7
I live in the self-proclaimed Apple Capital of the World. Yep, no kidding. That's how Wenatchee bills itself. And you know what? There's a lot of apples in the surrounding area - maybe not in Wenatchee proper, mind you, but ALL OVER THE PLACE. Bridgeport, Chelan, Quincy, Leavenworth, Peshastin, all over! Our apples came from Quincy.

Some of you might recognize the name Quincy since that's where the Gorge Amphitheater is located. I went to the Gorge this summer - with Angie!- and saw Van Morrison.

But anyway, if you live in Rome - make Roman drinks - but if you live in Wenatchee, make scrumpy!

Reason #8

It's satisfying to see the scrumpy bubbling away, knowing that inside the glass carboy lays a science teacher's dream! All those chemical reactions! Lovely! Or as Dave would say, "Gorgeous! Simply gorgeous!"

The long and the short of it is, the yeast eats sugar and poops out alcohol. Yep, we are strange critters indeed to drink yeast poop and call it yummy, but there it is. Ask your local science teacher.

Reason #9
If you like, you can bottle it and store it for ever and ever and ever. Its got a pretty long shelf like, I think. Set it on the shelf next to your home made beer, right next to the potatoes from this year's garden.




Reason #10
Or, if you're feeling frisky, your friends are English or perhaps simply young and able to hold their alcohol, OR if it's maybe Solstice or some other Earthy-type holiday and you just wanna get down and funky and close to nature - skip the bottling and start the get together!

Reason #11
Support your locally owned hardware store by buying your beer, wine, and scrumpy making supplies from them and keep them in business. We've lived here 10 years, and only in the last 6 months has Stan's Merry Mart started carrying brew making supplies. Stan's has been in business for geez...I shopped there when I was leeeetle so FOREVER! - and though we have a Lowe's now and a Home Depot, we Wenatcheeites like our old haunts just fine thank you.

Besides, they've never changed their sign!


Reason #12
It's a lot cheaper to make it yourself than to buy it in the store. I recently ran across a bottle of cider for sale at the Sweetriver Bakery in Pateros. Made in the Methow, so regionally local, it sold for $14 per bottle! Yikes!

We figure we spent $0 for the apples and $30 to rent the press from Orondo Cider Works to make 10 gallons of cider. 10 gallons! I shudder to think how much it would cost to buy 10 gallons of it. A lot, that's for sure. So, you are helping yourself economically as well as staying healthy! *hic*

Reason #13
Be brave, nurture that back-to-lander voice inside you that's telling you to can food, make your own cider, re-sole those shoes, and lay in the wood for a long winter's night. The way things are going, you could do worse in today's economy.

And if the economy doesn't improve - well guess what? You've got cider!

Have a scrumpdillicious day everyone!

Love,

Bratty

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ghost in the Shell fanfic - Chapter 1

I should be turning in a story for a local magazine instead of posting this.

If I keep telling myself that, maybe I'll be good.

Nah!

As you know from the previous post, I did OTHER THINGS during NaNoWriMo than work on my novella. Shame on me! But hey, what's a girl to do?

Chatper 1 - The Dream Terrorist - Ghost in the Shell fanfic


At a soft rap on the door, Batou’s hand flies to his holster. He freezes into a deadly statue at the entrance to the kitchen and listens.
The same knock issues again. Then, a female voice whispers his name so low he doesn’t think he could have heard it without his cyborg implants.
“Batou.”
The voice sounds innocent enough, but what’s it doing here? Who knows his hideaway? This is likely nothing but trouble. Still, intrigued by the voice and curious to see the nature of the trap, he checks that Gabriel is safely tucked behind the easy chair and takes two steps towards the door.
“Who is it?” he calls.
Knock, knock, knock.
No words, only silence is emitted from the other side of the door.
He scans it, using both heat and infrared. If it is a bomb, it’s in the shape of a smallish young woman whose skinny young legs are one hundred percent human. He figures what the hell, he wasn’t doing anything tonight except feeling sorry for himself anyway, and turns the knob.
“Batou,” the woman says simply as they come face to face. She looks more girl than woman, fragile, the type to scare easily. Still, she lifts her chin as his gaze settles upon her and he’s immediately drawn into the silvery brown depths of her eyes. She’s definitely at the wrong door. Or she’s a bomb. Or maybe both.
Batou scans her body for weapons, finds none, then looks into her eyes and sees no guile. He grunts in disbelief, and scans her again for implants. No robotic parts. One hundred percent human. Letting out a tense breath, he raises his weapon towards the ceiling and stands there with his other hand on his hip, still not convinced this isn’t some trick. “What do you want?”
“May I come in?”
“Who sent you?”
“A friend,” she says too carefully, as though her words contain a hidden message.
He looks up and down the hallway, sees nobody, but spies the black duffel bag on the floor next to her. “What’s in the bag?”
She shrugs. “My things. May I come in? Please?”
“Who sent you?”
“A friend,” she says again. That’s all she says. It’s pretty clear she’s not offering more.
Batou sighs and stands aside. Still nobody in the hallway. No weapons register on any of his screens. Nothing out of the ordinary out here in the hallway - except her.
She enters and drops her bag, then goes to sit on the ottoman with her side to him.
Gabriel comes and checks her out, sniffing her legs, her short dress. He lets her pet him. She scratches under his ears and he likes that, falls onto the floor and rolls onto his back. She giggles and scratches his belly.
While she’s busy with the dog, Batou searches her bag. Clothes. Underwear. Makeup. A hairbrush. Is she on the run? Or does she have the mistaken idea this is a hotel? He grasps a black metal object no bigger than his palm and sniffs it. Not a bomb. He stands down from alert mode but keeps the intimidation program active as he towers over her. “What’s with all the stuff in the bag?”
She shrugs again. “My landlord kicked me out.” She goes back to playing with the dog.
His lips twist in annoyance as he strides to the easy chair and sits, watching her. In her profile he thinks he catches a glimpse of another, someone he used to know. The medium-length black hair and too-slender body throw him off somewhat, but something in her easy grace seems to convince him that his guardian angel sent her. But how to be sure?
He asks her again who sent her, and this time she looks out the window at the black and neon night as she answers, “a friend. Someone you know.”
Figures. His stupid cyborg heart clenches a little at the way she says it, so matter-of-factly. After all this time, it sure as hell wasn’t matter-of-fact for him. In fact, this is kind of pissing him off. Just like her though, to not give a shit about how he’d take getting a message from her. She never did care what anyone else felt. His jaw tightened.
“Why did she do that?”
She sighed, and her whole frame seemed to grow taller and thinner like a shadow before collapsing back into a brittle white bird skeleton as she exhaled. “She thought you might need some company.”
Company? Now that was a laugh!
At that, Batou snorted and popped open a beer. He didn’t really care if the Major thought he needed company or not. And he’d be damned if he’d discuss the reasons why with this little wisp of a girl. How old was she anyway? Twenty four? Five? Six? It didn’t matter.
“You’re not staying,” he told her, maybe more roughly than he should.
She immediately looked down, tucked her legs underneath her, and picked at her thin dress.
He saw she wore no shoes. She’d kicked off her little ballet slippers and they sat neatly next to the ottoman.
For the next four hours, he sat and drank beer, watched her, and watched some telly.
She sat, yawned, stretched like a cat, watched some telly, and stayed on the ottoman.
At last Gabriel climbed up into the chair, laid down next to him, and went to sleep.
Some time later, he felt his own eyes grow tired. He rubbed them, told himself to keep them open since this could still be an attack, and then closed them for a moment just to see what would happen.
A few minutes later, the woman left the ottoman, crossed to his chair, and delicately laid her body along his other side. She snuggled up to him. Hardly weighed a thing. Light as a whisper, with her little breaths caressing his chin, and her tiny arm over his chest and one of her legs tossed over his.
Batou hated himself for doing it, but he curled his arm around her back, and with his other hand on Gabriel’s doggie shoulder, he feel asleep.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

13 things I did during NaNoWriMo 2010

Thirteen things I did during NaNoWriMo 2010:

1. Read Moonstruck by Susan Grant. Yes, I did find time to read while writing 50,000 words last month. Amazing isn’t it? Of course, I also worked, did laundry, slept, etc. See the book reviewed here

2. Read Letting in the Light by Fae Sutherland. I won the book Beach House by Shawn Lane, and got this one as a bonus! I’d always meant to read it, so it was like a dream come true. Of course, Fae totally pounded my ass on wordcount during NaNo. I think she was over 77k by mid-month. My God! The woman is an animal! 

3. Read Overtime by Charles Stross. This was a freebie that I downloaded off the Sony eReader site. It’s a short paranormal Christmas tale that is humorous, and utterly British, especially in its overuse of  the word, “gibbering.” I recommend it as an x-mas night read! 

4. Read Transformation – a Firefly fanfic by Catherine Pike. Ms. Pike is a friend of Anita (see #5 and #13 for more on her), and has published some good Star Trek Voyager stories in the Strange New Worlds anthologies . She’s a girl you have to know to love, but unfortunately she lives in Calif. So I don’t get to see her too much. Phoey! BTW, she is also the one that got to me write my very first Firefly fanfic (see also, #5, #13).

5. Had Thanksgiving dinner at Anita’s house – drank their beer, ate their cookies, bacon-wrapped olives, stuffed celery, pineapple cheesecake, stuffing, salad, cranberry sauce, turkey, etc. and then tried very hard not to fall asleep on the couch in front of the roaring fire, while Hagred snored on hubby’s lap right next to me! For some reason, there’s nothing quite as hypnotic as a snoring dog. (See also #13).

6. Had another Thanksgiving dinner at my house complete with slide show – arranged by Dad. Saw shots of old Los Angeles, Tijuana, and Alaska. At one point, my great grandma Ida homesteaded a whole bunch of acres - that included a lake mind you! – along the Alcan Highway . She was a divorcee, quite a thing just after WWII you know, and moved from Wenatchee, WA to Alaska by herself to do this. She built her own log cabin and with help from the G.I.’s she knew from the Army base, built additional dwellings on the land as per the homestead agreement. Simply gorgeous place, and what a gal!

7. Making hard apple cider the old-fashioned homebrew way. Hubby picked the apples in Quincy, I washed ‘em, and we pressed them using a cider press we rented from Orondo Cider Works. Brrr. It was cold on the 28th of November pressing apples outside. I don’t recommend it. But we have two 5-gallon carboys of “scrumpy” bubbling away in the kitchen and who can argue with that?

8. Working on the Davis Specialty Printing website. When finished it will be located at DavisSpecialtyPrinting.com 

9. Going to the moonshine tasting at It’s Five O’clock Somewhere! Distillery in Cashmere, WA. We purchased a bottle of course! Yummy stuff, and don’t forget to support your local craft distillery! 

10. At the very start of the month, the computer experienced a problem and had to go into the shop for repairs. Result: no writing for a couple of days.

11. At the very end of the month, the computer again experienced a problem and had to go back into the shop for repairs. Result: one very crabby writer trying to get caught up!

12. Having done my outline ahead of time – which is surprising since I’m such a pantster! – it should have come as no surprise when the characters got all wobbly on me and the ending phased into different dimensions of plot that I couldn’t quite nail down. In other words, I lost control of the fucking story for several sequences. Grrrr! Then, I gave up for a little while (see #13) before coming back to the original ending in the end! Ha! That’ll teach those wiggly rascals to mess with me! Besides, the ending I had going was way too sappy. Gack!

13. About halfway through NaNo, being overtaken by some strange urge to write Ghost in the Shell – some hot Batou lovin’ to be 100% honest! - fanfic rather than stick it out with my original story (see #12). I also blame this on recently writing my first piece of Firefly fanfic – see #4 – which was about Anita’s dog that um…..well, it is no more let’s just say that. So, yeah, I wrote a story about her dog to make her cry, then went to her house a few weeks later and ate all her turkey!

Yep, this was a memorable NaNo all in all! At least I made it this year, notwithstanding computer issues, character issues, plot failures, and too much moonshine (or not enough, depending on how you look at it). The cider will be done in a few more weeks and you’ll know more then about how the writing progresses. Until then, keep writing!

Bratty