Tag Archives: quarantine

Not really an oracle

You have to admit, life has been strange for a while now. I’ve been fighting with technology, old and new. Working from home, and all the learning curve that entails. I wish I really were an oracle, maybe I could make some kind of plans for the future. Here are a couple of interesting things that have happened across the last year. I’m not ready to pick lottery numbers or dive into the stock market, but they’re kind of crazy.

Back in September, on Friday the 13th, I released Viral Blues. This is a story featuring Lizzie and The Hat, and deals with tampering of the nation’s vaccine supply. Not quite the same thing as COVID-19, but maybe it’s just circumstantial. There is localized quarantine in the story. This is dark humor, so I’m not sure anyone is ready for that right now.

I released Grinders on February 18, 2020. This one is a cyberpunk tale that projects what I was seeing at the time into the future. It has cyber-shut-ins in the story. These are people who never leave home. They work from home. Play and gather online. Even take advantage of deliveries for every personal need. I had no idea we’d be living this mere weeks after I published it. It’s kind of starting to creep me out.

Recently I’ve been drafting HMS Lanternfish. This is the second book of a series about pirates in a fantasy environment. A gunpowder fantasy if you like that term. I don’t have a link for this one yet, but here is one for Voyage of the Lanternfish, book one in the trilogy.

A big part of the story is the environment they live in. This leads to what gamers call random monsters on occasion. The first book had a creature called Buwaya. This is like a mashup of a crocodile and a dinosaur. She walks upright on land. She never appeared in the story other than via some vocalizations and stories.

Part of her story is that one day her mate just swam away. Aptly named, Buwaya’s mate, appears in HMS Lanternfish and is a bit more active than she was. (Naming kind of reminds me of Grendel and Grendel’s Mother.) Here is the weird part. Scientists have just discovered a fossilized trackway in present day South Korea. It provides conclusive evidence of crocodiles who walked upright on land. I swear, I didn’t miracle this into existence somehow. It provides some of that reality I try to bring to my speculative fiction. I’ll take it.

Maybe they were in shallow water, and the article didn’t address that. I’ve seen photos of crocodilians standing up in the water with only their nostrils above the surface, but this doesn’t sound like what they discovered. There were no tail-drag marks like you would expect.

Maybe something like this? Maybe not?

If you’re interested, you can check the article here https://tinyurl.com/y7xxu96c

I wish I were an oracle, and these were more than blind-assed luck. I’d find a way to sell a few more copies of these books, and to end this infernal lockdown without making everyone sick again.

The only draft I have going is The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is a new book for Lizzie and The Hat. After that, my focus will move to publication and promotion for the new stories. I’m going to take a break from drafting new material to work on some storyboards.

With my recent string of luck, maybe we’d all be safer if I avoid anything too futuristic for a while. I have one historical piece I could move on next. Or there is the post apocalyptic tale I have roughed out, but it includes autonomous zones and some things you might not want me poking with a stick.

I’d appreciate it if you’d check out the links above. I think these are all good stories, and you might find something that appeals to you. You can also read about the scientific discovery and that might spark you to try out Lanternfish.

What weird circumstances have you stumbled across lately?

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Kind of crotchety today

Today was my flex day. This gave me a chance to write, and I did, but I don’t feel like it’s anything to note here. In both stories, I’m in one of those places.

Author visitors will understand what I’m talking about. Sometimes you just have to move the pieces around the board. You can’t get to the next big scene without putting the smaller bits in motion. That’s the kind of stuff I’ve been writing. It’s good to get accomplished, because then I can do some crazy things coming up.

It feels like the middle slog, and for the story about Lizzie and The Hat, it could be. I have no idea what it’s like for the Lanternfish trilogy. Technically, the whole second book is the middle slog, but it’s not going to read that way. There is some crazy stuff happening in this story.

Some of my attitude is just the general state of things in the world right now. I keep trying to focus on nice things, and do what I can here. I’ve posted cute dogs, ducks, and such. I even did a free day for Yak guy. (Still watching for a few reviews.) Today it’s another tree.

Frankie has a hard time avoiding cameras. The peach tree is finished for the year. This old crabapple is in the middle of its spring display. So is the Asian pear around the side of the house. It just doesn’t have the pleasing shape of this tree. It makes me happy, so it might help you, too.

In other news, we had one of my favorites tonight. It’s chicken and cheesy grits, drizzled with a bit of honey and hot sauce. I’m not selling it very well, so check out this bowl.

I’m working tomorrow, but there may be some cool leftovers for lunch. Might get some writing time this weekend, too. Hang in there everyone. Stimulus checks are coming, and this won’t last forever.

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Still trying to have a little fun

I got to work from the office yesterday. It was the best workday of the week. The view out my window involved this little guy.

I like him. He has this whole pompadour thing going on. If they don’t open all the barber shops back up, I might be giving him a run for his money in another few weeks.

Tomorrow is my flex day, and I hope to make the pixels fly. I haven’t done anything that resembles writing in a couple of weeks. Oh, I hacked out a few words last weekend, but they didn’t amount to much.

We have plans to go out Saturday afternoon for supplies. Other than that, we’re staying home and staying away from other people.

Do you think they’ll let me in the bank like this on Saturday?

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No regrets today

I had a reasonable opportunity to do some writing today, and squandered it away. This is my two day weekend, and Old What’s Her Face is off. That makes it kind of hard, but not impossible.

I dabbled. I switched back to Lanternfish, but it probably didn’t amount to 300 words. I also made some adjustments to an earlier part of the story. Nothing too Earth shattering.

Mostly, there were some decent movies on television. A couple of old James Garner comedies were on, back-to-back. I keep thinking I create wild characters, but I have a long way to go. Watching Harry Morgan and Dub Taylor yell at each other was hilarious. I’m calling it a study session.

Old What’s Her Face had to get her Toyota serviced, and I just kept watching movies. She was nice, and brought home an empanada and an apple fritter for me.

I also watched game 7 of the 2001 World Series. It’s one of my all-time favorites. It might be the only baseball I get this year.

In a few minutes The Invisible Man is coming on Pay-Per-View. I’m going to rent it and see what it looks like. Haven’t heard a thing about it, but the trailers look pretty good.

Hope all of you are staying safe, and enjoying the weekend.

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Trying for fun

While the world is in exile, it’s important to enjoy the little things. I snapped his photo when I got up this morning.

I think the dogs are trying to tell me something, but their penmanship is horrible.

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The Idea Mill #13

These posts come to me when they come to me. Sometimes it takes a couple of months, sometimes it's a couple of weeks.

For those who are new, these articles are pushed to me on my RSS reader and Zite magazine. I signed up for content that interests me, and share the good stuff here. Feel free to take away story elements or anything else that suits you.

The first one today is about a mini origami robot that folds itself. It also walks, swims, digs, carries small loads, climbs and if needed, dissolves completely in a solvent. This one even comes with videos. Read more about it here.

These kind of articles give plausibility to some pretty outlandish gagetry in our science fiction. Perhaps someone scattered papers that pass for garbage in a parking lot. At sunrise on Sunday morning, they activate and invade the museum. Gemstones, gold nuggets, small valuable items could be stolen this way. They dump the loot down a manhole and dissolve in the rain.

The next article is about an abandoned section of New York. It's called North Brother Island. What is it about New York islands? A previous Idea Mill post had an article about Hart Island. Hart Island is particularly creepy, so I used it for part of The Playground. (Which I need to start editing.)

North Brother Island holds an abandoned quarantine hospital. It's where Typhoid Mary spent her last days. To me, this is all about setting. The buildings are crumbling and overgrown with weeds. The walls are mossy and moldy. Check it out here, but it's the photos that speak to me.

Maybe you need a setting for your dystopian novel. Maybe you want a haunted location for your horror story. I'm sure this island will measure up with a bit of research. If nothing else, it makes for a good secret lair.

Finally, we have a bit of theory about evolution. In Eastern Africa the Ethopian wolves and gelada monkeys appear to be feeding side by side. These things don't look much like the wolves I'm familiar with, and the gelada monkeys look like baboons to me.

This may not seem like much at first glance. Both animals are omnivorous. Wolves being more carnivorous and monkeys being more herbivorous. These things only recently started getting along. Wolves used to grab baby monkeys and run. What changed?

The theory is this could be a view into how man first domesticated dogs. Take one highly intelligent primate, add one highly intelligent canine, who's also an incredible opportunist and I can see it happening. Read the article here.

What kind of raids could the monkeys pull off using wolves to help them? Maybe it starts with food. Maybe it progresses to the problem of over harvesting bush meat. It could even progress as far as attacking humans themselves. The folks who kidnapped all those young girls seem like a good target.

I share these articles in an attempt to inspire you. Take what you will and leave the rest. Now it's time for my corny story. This is part of the shtick on the idea mill posts.

Terrorists are hiding out on North Brother Island. It's a good location for their plan, and is centrally located. The terrorists are high tech and plan to steal a biological weapon by using hundreds of tiny origami robots.

Something has them spooked. Perhaps it's the ghosts of patients who died in quarantine. There have certainly been many creepy circumstances on the island. The rustling and noises belong to animals.

Before the authorities can catch up with the terrorists, the monkeys direct their newly domesticated wolves to attack. When the authorities arrive all the tiny robots have washed away in the rain. Only the rustling in the branches and weeds remain.

Okay, that's corny enough. It's speculative so I moved the animals to New York. Maybe they are feral pets or escaped zoo specimens.

Did any of these articles give you an idea. Either a plot or a story element, I'd like to hear it in the comments.

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