Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Steampunk Wednesday

More inspiration to get people ready for the coming feature.

Today's video is Honeybee from Steam Powered Giraffe.

Yep, I've posted these guys before and I still love them. In fact, they inspired this piece from a while back. There's been some changes around in the cast and I'm really looking forward to videos with the new robot, Hatchworth.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Health Journey: January 28, 2013

There's nothing quite like being sick and trying to lose weight. Add working full-time for a team leader who really shouldn't have gotten the job and massive dehydration and you get a really, really rough weekend.

I'll be checking my weight after work today but I'm still pretty darn miserable from this weekend. So, this week's health update isn't so much an update as a please forgive me if I occasionally suck at this whole being healthy thing.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: Molten Love

The best soil was on the side of the volcano and the man who decided to build his house there knew the dangers. Living in the shadow of the thing that gave the island life and death was a risk, but the soil was the best, the view of the ocean unparalleled and the view of the volcano as it lit the night was one of the few things in his life that set his heart racing.

The mountain has been rumbling for days and the smoke was growing heavier around the top. This close, the night was almost as bright as the day. The man would sit outside his house and whittle to the glow of the volcano. His neighbors came to tell him they were going, to beg him to leave with them and their families. There was always a chance to rebuild, they would tell him. He did not have to die with his farm.

While the man knew the volcano was dangerous, he loved it too much to leave it. He watched as the canoes holding his neighbors, their families and all their possessions set out into the ocean, heading to one of the other islands. He stayed and watered his yams until the ground was too hot and the yams were cooking in the ground.

When the lava started to flow, the man was not surprised. The sky glowed and the molten rock moved sluggishly down the side of the mountain. It would be a while before the lava made it to his house so he went inside to eat one of his cooked yams and wait.

He had just sat down when there was a knock at the door.

At his door was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Her hair was long and dark, with hints of red and it covered most of her body. He wasn't sure if she wore clothes or not but her breasts were large and her hips were wide and it was no hardship to invite her in to share his dinner.

"Why are you still here?" she asked him. "Don't you know the volcano is dangerous?"

"Dangerous?" he asked her in return. "How can it be dangerous? It gives this island life and makes the crops grow. It may destroy the things men make on it's surface but they are only man things, as temporary as the people who made them."

"Do you really think that? Wouldn't it make you sad if the volcano ended your life now, in your temporary little shelter?"

"I would regret the loss of my life, yes, but I would join the ancestors and my body would fertilize the next batch of yams the next farmer planted here. There is little truly lost and much beauty to be had."

"You find the volcano beautiful, then?" The woman blushed and looked down at her hands.

"Intoxicatingly so," he said. "I would wish for nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with the lovely volcano."

"You speak so well, for a man," she said to him. "I will lie with you and be with you until the lava takes you."

When the man's neighbors returned, they found him watering the ground around his home, touching gently the waves the lava had formed over his home. It had come right up to his door then turned away, as though it couldn't bare to touch it.

"What happened?" they asked him. "Did you turn the lava back on your own?"

"I turned nothing away," the man told them. "The volcano decided it loved me as much as I loved it and it would see me continue my mortal life."

The people understood and the man was left alone unless he sought out company. Though believed to be incredibly lucky, none of the mothers in the village tried to get him to take their daughters as his wife because he already had one. His children were said to walk the island when the other inhabitants left.

One day, when the man was very old, the volcano erupted again. None of the people came to ask him to go with them though they could see him watching them as they rowed away to safety. There were some, on the last boat and with sharper eyes than most, who say he was joined by a beautiful woman as the lava poured down the mountain.

His home was not there when they returned.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Steampunk Wednesday

Since the story I'm planning on posting on Wednesdays is Steampunk, I thought I'd share some videos to get everybody in the mood. So, Copper Visions is coming soon. Enjoy the videos:

Today is Sleep Isabella by Abney Park

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Health Journey, January 21, 2013

There's nothing quite like having every intention of working out this week and then being hit with a double whammy of flu and lady problems.


The flu wasn't as bad as it could have been and I made it through work without dying. There were times when I wished I didn't but this wasn't a long week and I survived.

The lady problems are a bit more interesting. I'd always heard you shouldn't do certain positions while menstruating and I wanted to find out why. There's some debate (there always is) about what it actually does but most people seemed to agree that it made the period more painful. I tried a couple positions and yep, that did seem to be the case. So, I'm off the yoga for a few days a month but it's still helping me out a lot.

With all this, I'm not terribly hopeful for my weigh in this week. But I'm still going to do it and I'll update this post with the results once I've done it.

Update: I lost 1 pound this week. Ya know, for eating like crap and feeling like crap, I'll take it. Any loss is a win this week.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: LIttle Green Clients

I was closing up early to mark a special anniversary for me when the little green men walked into my office.

I knew who and what they were and it pissed me off because I'd spent the last five years convincing myself they weren't real and my husband had merely run off with his secretary. Though, his secretary was a big, burly chap and I still ran into him around town occasionally.

There were three little green men and they came to my desk and sat down, looking at me expectantly while I was deciding if I should kick them out of the office or grab one of them and demand my husband back. I'd finally come to the conclusion that these weren't likely to be the specific aliens responsible for my husbands abduction when the one in the middle decided to break the silence.

"Ms. Carlisle," the first said, his voice strangely staticy and his lips didn't move right with the sound. "We would like to hire you for a case."

"Who says I'm for hire?" I asked.

"The girl in the other room said you hadn't had a case in months. We will pay in cash appropriate for this world."

Great, I thought. Brenda's been talking to people again. I really only hired her to keep people out of here and answer the phone. So what if I hadn't had a case in months, I was busy enough, and proof that I wasn't crazy had just walked into my office. Hmm, maybe I should buy her a new bottle of nail polish for that.

"She talks too much," I said. "What do you want?"

They looked at each other and started talking rapidly in their own language to each other.

"We wish to hire you to solve a case for us," the one in the middle said and the other two nodded.

"That would be the normal reason a human would come to a detective," I said. "Why do you want me to work for you?"

"Ms. Carlisle, we are aware of at least some of your situation and that has led us to believe that you would not be opposed to investigating some of our people. There has been a rash of incidents that we believe point to some criminal activities among our people but which are a bit too sensitive to bring to the authorities on our world."

Right, that was working my last nerve. "Get out," I said, pointing towards the door.

"Please, Ms. Carlisle. We had nothing to do with what happened with your husband. In fact, we're part of a group that is opposed to the capture and use of humans."

"You're a political group?" My eyebrow raised and I looked across the desk at them, amusement warring with irritation.

"Indeed, ma'am, much like some of your animal rights groups on this planet, we protest the capture and use of humans by those people who seek to profit from them."

"What, exactly, do your people do with humans? Some of the ones who claim to have been abducted swear they were experimented on."

"Oh, there have been laws against human experimentation on our planet for a very long time, though some of our people are not above breaking that law. We protest those who do, certainly, but the ones we object to the most fiercely are those who capture humans to sell them as exotic pets. They are very amusing, certainly, but they are at least minimally sentient and, thus, should be given the choice rather than be abducted."

Irritation won. "Get the hell out," I told them.

"Please, Ms. Carlisle, we mean no disrespect. Many people who buy humans hold them in very high regard," the alien almost looked panicked.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. This was a lead, a clue to my own personal mystery and I should definitely look into it. "What, exactly, is going on?"

"Many of our people are being taken ill but there's no known cause. In many cases, the illness comes on quickly but there's no environmental cause for the illness and no known disease that effects our people the way this does. We suspect that people are being poisoned."

"If you're so much more advanced than we are that you use us as pets, surely your scientists have the capability of detecting a poison?"

"Poison has not been used on our planet for quite some time and there are very few of us who would recognize it from our work. And it's the scientists who would, most of whom have made a transition into working with the humans, who were hit first."

My mind began to turn and I'm sure the smile that crossed my face did not do anything to reassure the aliens sitting across from me.

"Hmm, that does sound perplexing," I said, trying to keep the manic laughter away from my voice. "And you say you can't go to your authorities?"

"No, Ms. Carlisle, we can't."

"Well, then, I suppose the only thing I can do is take the case. Cash up front, of course, and money for expenses. You can work the details out with Brenda out front. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Oh, thank you, Ms. Carlisle," they said and stood. "We will come for you tomorrow."

"Yes, tomorrow," I stood and walked them out of my office. I listened to them talk to Brenda and began chuckling.

He was alive. The magnificent bastard was alive and he'd found a way to get out. Now, all I had to do was find him. I went to my desk to begin the list of things I was going to need to bring with me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Steampunk Wednesday's

So, my dear and faithful reader, I wanted to take this opportunity to explain what I have planned for the blog. Specifically, what I have planned for this blog on Wednesdays.

I'm writing a story.

A story with a robot.

And a death.

And doctors.

And steam.

I'm planning to release a chapter a week, and I'm planning on about 25 chapters. How that will actually work out, I'll know a bit better once I've gotten a little further into the process. As it stands, I'm working to build a nice, big buffer of chapters so I can have something up every Wednesday.

I guess an alternate title for this could be "Coming soon..."

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Health Journey: Refocusing

I gave up on writing The Heath Journey last summer because, to be quite honest, my life was falling apart. At this point, things seem to have stabilized and I'm back to trying to get my body into fighting condition.

I've actually been working at this for a couple weeks at this point but I thought I'd get back to updating the journey and keeping myself accountable.

What's new for this year? Not a whole lot, actually. I'm still watching what I eat, though I ate way too much sugar over the holidays, and I'm exercising. What has changed is the focus I'm giving to everything. Conscious decisions to eat better have changed what kind of food I buy a great deal and I've started a more focused, higher intensity workout routine and I'm doing it almost everyday. Yes, I do occasionally take rest days but I'm working out more days than I'm not.

Part of this is because I'm sick of only having a low to moderate level of activity on any given day. Yes, with my job I'm going to have more activity most days for a while, but I didn't want the first week back to work to cripple me for 2 or 3 days. Last week was my first full week back and I'm actually very pleased with what happened. There was pain but it wasn't as intense or long-lasting as it usually is.

I'm still debating putting up my "before" pictures before I have some decent "after" or "during" pictures but it might help. I don't know, if anybody wants to see them, let me know in the comments.

I may keep a running total of current weight and weight lost but weighing in is going to be a challenge with the job. Maybe I'll just put them up when I have them.

Right now, I'm sitting at 4 pounds lost in the last 2 weeks with 1/2" lost off my waist.

I'm glad I'm back and I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you again.

Update: So, managed the weigh in this morning and I'm sitting at 5 pounds lost in 2 weeks. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: The Weeping Fire

Once upon a time, there was a fire sprite who fell in love with a human. She came to life in the sparks of a fire he'd built, nurtured, and breathed to life with his own breath. Everything about him was wonderful to her, the way he moved, the things he did in her light. She stayed for him, hidden in the ashes when he ran out of wood, keeping him warm until he could find more things to feed her and she leapt to life once more to dance and amuse him in the darkness.

Then, one day, something had angered her human and stood before her fire, pacing and muttering to himself and she grew angry for him and burned hotter than she'd ever burned. The man sat in front of her glow and meditated on his hurts and water fell from his face until she could no longer stand it. She glowed so hot, she made the water evaporate as soon as it sprang forth from his eyes and she could see that he was comforted.

Soon, he decided to go out and he took her with him in a glass case to keep her from being put out by the wind. He stopped and stood in front of a house and they stood there for a very long time until he decided to let her out. He opened the case next to the roof of the house and urged her to go and catch the wood there on fire. The roof was wet and not easily burned but she tried her hardest and soon the whole house was on fire.

She looked for him, to see on his face that she'd done a good job but he had left her on the rooftop and run away. Something swelled inside her and the anger and betrayal she felt was seen in the way her fire leapt and roared over the roof of the house. When people ran screaming into the street, she laughed and decided to try to get to the next house. If she was to be abandoned, she would take the world with her.

The people below began to pour water on her but she was too quick and too strong for them to catch and she burned everything she could touch. Eventually, they were forced to destroy their own homes to keep her from reaching them and she laughed at the destruction. She stopped laughing when she started running out of things to burn. She raced to the bottom of the home and leapt onto everything she could reach but it wasn't enough. The weight of the damage she had wrought was slowly smothering her until she was huddle beneath the ash, against the earth and she shivered, waiting to go out.

The earth below the home spoke to her as she shivered; it told her of the humans, of the good they'd done and the bad, and how what her human had done was going to hurt many of the people who had tried to put her out. It wasn't her they objected to, it was the damage she wrought at the behest of a man who had abandoned her.

Her heart broke and she asked the earth to swallow her up so that she might never have to see the humans again. The earth did swallow her up and it took her down, down into the hot depths that swirl below it's depths where she could be with her own kind. Every now and then, she would burst forth from the earth and be overcome with grief at her lost love and she would run down the earth, covering it and laying it waste but also leaving the possibility of life behind her.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Dreaming Tower

It's done, finally finished and sent off to the editor who assures me she doesn't hate it. That makes me very happy. I'm nervous though, as excited as I am about this book, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be driving Jill crazy asking if she liked it. It's the longest thing I've ever finished and the birthing pains of bringing this book into the world are just beginning. (the cover art is going to be fantastic!)
I found myself, as soon as I hit send on the email, wanting to tinker; it needs 20 more pages, I need to cut out 3 major characters, I need to add 2 more. For some reason, I wanted to explain how the kingdom would function, what the economics were and how the fairies were going to be integral to everything that was going to come in the future. I had some awesome
world building details floating around in my head and, honestly, if I'm plied with enough alcohol, I may be induced to bore whoever asks me about them for hours. But they don't belong in this story. This story ends with a happily ever after and I like it that way.
I'm ready to walk away from this story for a bit and go play with some of my other imaginary friends. I'm hoping to have it out in the world by February, a full year after people started asking for a sequel. No, it didn't take me a year to write this book. It took me almost 10 months to want to write it and I'm glad I took my time. I couldn't have written this book a year ago.