Monthly Archives: May 2014
INTRO: These next two weeks, we’re experimenting. I’ve started a story. My fellow authors are going to further the story and then finally complete it. But no pressure. 😀 We have not talked about our plans or compared notes on the characters or plotline. This should be a surprise for all of us.
“Ms. Smith? I’m Samuel Talbridge, the reporter you asked for.”
The woman pacing the faded, thread-bare carpet of motel room he’d been given a key to, glanced at him. The impression of pale, tawny hair, long, muscular legs, broad shoulders and a prominent jaw line made him hesitate in the open doorway. But it was the intensity in her amber eyes that whispered ‘danger’.
“Come in, Mr. Talbridge. Close the door,” she said in a rich, mellow alto. “Who do you write for?”
Forcing a smile to his face, he complied and then pulled his notepad from his pocket. Most reporters recorded interviews. He did, too, but he found the physical distraction of pen and notepad let him control the flow of information. Something about the woman studying him made him suspect he needed every advantage he could get. “I freelance. My stories are usually published by the local papers. A few have been picked up by the AP. If you have a story. I’d very much like to hear it. Even if Smith isn’t your real name.”
She lifted an eyebrow. “Is that an impediment, my attempt to protect myself?”
“Not if your story warrants it.”
“It does. I am a were, Mr. Talbridge. A were alone. I’d like your . . .”
“What sort of were?”
“One of the big cats.”
His shoulders drooped. He’d been trying to crack the werewolf packs for three years.
‘Ms. Smith’ laughed. “Restrain a puppy, Mr. Talbridge, and it submits, going limp in your grasp, whimpering to urge you not to kill it. Restrain a kitten and it fights to its last ounce of strength against the indignity.”
“Cats are fragile,” he said.
“It pleases me to have you think so.”
In a flash he couldn’t see she spun, lashing out with one hand at his cheek. He felt the breeze of her hand pass. She’d missed.
Blood sprinkled his notepad.
He blinked. His cheek burned. His heart thudded hard against his ribcage as he touched a tentative fingertip to his face. Scratches. She’d whipped her claws across his face. A tremor of belated panic flooded his gut.
He met her cool, amber gaze. Her nostrils flared and her lips curled.
“I see your point,” he said.
“Four of them,” she corrected, lifting her bloodied nails for inspection.
“Right.” He pressed his handkerchief against his face. The burn turned to a throb, but when he pulled the cloth away and glanced at it, very little blood marred the white surface. He put it away to hide the fact that his hands were shaking. “So. You – uh – you’re a solo? Driven from your – what? Pack?”
“Pride,” she corrected, turning away to look out the window again.
“I thought cats were solitary ani–creatures.”
“And nocturnal?” she supplied. “We are. In the wild. But the press of modern civilization requires that we adapt. When hunting territories can be negotiated and worked out, there are advantages in numbers.”
“But you were thrown out. Why?”
“Atavistic manifestation of traits that once existed, but which do no longer.”
The bitter, derisive edge in her tone made him stare at her, trying to discern some hint of what her words meant from the lines of tension in her back. Atavistic?
She glanced over her shoulder at him, amber eyes glittering. “I’m a throwback.”
He leaned forward, curiosity piqued against his better judgment. “How far back?”
His brain scrambled for footing. What cat had lived so long ago? “Sabre-toothed?”
“Smilodon populator. Huge. Native to parts of the world I’ve never seen,” she said.
She sighed, faced him, and shrugged. “I’m not a geneticist. I don’t know. Even those who proposed to study my DNA speak only in terms of hypothesis and conjecture. Am I a mutant to have become something that once existed in the world but which went extinct with the advent of the last ice age? Or is this some unlikely malfunction on the genome? One that brought fourth an ancient form in the modern world? No matter how you slice it, I’m a freak of nature. Something that can’t, shouldn’t exist.”
“But you do.”
“I don’t want your pity.”
“What do you want?”
“It is possible, if unlikely, that I am not the only legend walking around and taking on fur with the moon phases. If other prides have cast out their misfits and those misfits have survived, I’d like you to help me find them.”
Well, I must admit Wonder Woman and the Black Widow top my list of all-time favorite female superheroines. But since Viki and Tina had the same thought, I had to dig deeper, think wider and come up with another With some reflection, I decided to twist the topic just a touch–to look at a particularly difficult yoke all super heroes carry.
Isolation. The aloneness of an outstretched hand that never meets another.
While heroes feel it, in heroines it can take a very physical reality.
Two heroines in particular: Rogue and Red Sonja–both redheads.
Rogue, of X-men fame, drew me from the start. Her inability to touch another human directly without draining their power and the emotional toll it took on her encapsulated the soul-wrenching loneliness of the powerful, the special, the supremely gifted. No other heroine or hero ever captured that reality as well as she did. When she fell in love with Gambit, never to touch… The sad irony, that to use her powers she must touch another, built into the character, a reminder that that which makes us strong can be our weakest link. That cost has Rogue moving in and out of the dark side.
Red Sonja, created by Robert Howard who is considered the father of the sword and sorcery genre, was stunning, sexy and indifferent to it. That woman was in full control of her blade and herself. A warrior for hire in the Conan the Barbarian men-are-men-and-women-are-chattel world, she cut her own way, exemplifying that women indeed could. The deity who gave her fighting skills did so with a cost–Sonja could only bed a man who could best her in battle. She too was given strict limitations on her ability to connect with a lover physically. For the most part, she walked alone and slept alone. Rarely to be held.
What do you see as the burdens super heroines (and/or heroes) carry? Who’s your favorite? Any other Rogue or Sonja fans out there?
This week we’re talking about what Superheroine we would like to be and why. My superhero knowledge is rather limited, so I decided to go with two kick-ass ladies I always enjoy watching.
First up: Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow
I love the way she kicks butt, her one-liners and the way she reduces men to gibberish with just one look.
Secondly: Xena the Warrior Princess
She was the first woman I saw who could kick butt, who saved herself AND her friends and did not require a man to protect her. I love her relationship with Gabrielle and seeing her with Hercules wasn’t half bad either;). And she looks amazing in the worst armour ever.
Who is your Superheroine, your Lady in Charge?
Washington state is relatively young in the grand scheme of the United States. It gained statehood in 1889, so for the most part, historic buildings are thin on the ground. Except, we have our very own Victorian seaport. Port Townsend was founded in 1851 and at the time, was making a run at being THE port city for Puget Sound – a designation that ultimately went to Seattle and Tacoma. Port Townsend went bust in 1890 and the ambition to be a great port city crumbled along with a number of the buildings and docks. A few hardy souls clung on and the town endured. The historic buildings gained recognition and funding for preservation. Many of the fine, old Victorian homes have been converted to bed and breakfasts. The town has just short of 9,ooo residents these days. It’s about 40 miles north of Seattle and across Puget Sound. Close enough that a writer seeking a few days of quiet and dedicated writing time can get there via one ferry ride and a couple of buses. There are great restaurants, galleries, and shops to wander. You’ll also find beaches and loads of maritime distractions if you want them. Port Townsend achieved some status as a port – for pleasure boaters looking for a place and the skilled shipwrights to work on their boats. Play your cards right and you can stay in the Palace Hotel – a building with a checkered past that included serving as a brothel.
Here’re the pictures from my recent three day retreat:
First photo: Main Street through town (From the Palace Hotel doorway). Second photo: Beach at Point Hudson looking toward Point Wilson and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It was proximity to the not-so-friendly waters of the Strait (the entrance to Puget Sound from the Pacific Ocean) that made Port Townsend attractive as a port city, initially.
Lots to see – nice long walks to take. And when the writer is ready to get down to work, there’s a tea shop in town (not to mention a dozen or more coffee shops if that’s your poison). Treats, tea, and a WIP in a friendly, historic setting. What’s not to like?
Like so many of you out there, I love, love, love Lord of the the Rings. Its an ensemble story rich with sidekicks–all of which have a critical role to play in the story. And its in LOTR, we see the essential qualities of sidekicks–they ground the hero or heroine, hold their hand as they walk a perilous journey, no matter how hard that journey or how dark the road. My favorite, the one who sets the gold standard, is Samwise Gamgee.
Although set up as the sidekick to Frodo, Sam to me is the hero of the story. Frodo carries the ring, Aragorn sexily swings his swords and grows into the mantle of a king, Gandalf ascends to the White Wizard, Legolas is steady on his bow and beautiful to behold–heroes all. But its on Sam’s shoulders they all stand. He’s loyalty and love, faith and fidelity, hard work and dogged dedication. Sam is the ever present reminder of what they all fight for–home and hearth, good food, a loving partner, a family, the taste of strawberries, the scent of grass, the touch of a rose.
But the line and scene that encapsulate this, is when Sam picks up Frodo and carries him to the top of Mt. Doom.
Mr. Frodo, I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.
That scene epitomizes love and the foundational role of the sidekick. The grandeur of love and friendship is not in its opulence, but on the ground, when things look impossible, when the moment is darkest, it is the hand that helps you up.
“Play it again, Sam.”
Who’s your favorite LOTR sidekick?
I’m really into the Big Bang Theory. I’d say the friends of Sheldon are the sidekicks!
And, those wonderful friends soften Sheldon and make him a little more human.
I love this show. Maybe because I can relate to the characters. They seem to have so much fun doing those nerdy things that they do. I want to play games with them, go to the comic store and dress up for a Star Trek convention. Just hang out with the boys.
Thinking about my books, I’d say Angelo is a sidekick to Vincent in the Orbus Arcana series. In Formula For Love, Gayle is Rose’s sidekick. Friends that stick together, no matter what.
Love and Peace,
Formula For Love
Kenneth believes everything—even love—can be solved logically, until he meets a flower child who challenges him at every turn
Kenneth Hailey, an uptight conservative mathematician, believes he’s in control. After all, every problem can be solved in a deliberate and logical manner. Even love. When his fiancée dumps him for his best friend, he leaves Manhattan for the West Coast. What better place to forget his past. It’s 1967, and San Francisco is the place to turn on, tune in, and drop out.
But is he ready for Rose Red?
Rose Red, a free-spirited flower child, challenges Kenneth, thrusting him into her world of love-ins, protest rallies, and rock concerts. Kenneth finds himself falling down a rabbit hole, hanging on for dear life.
Old habits die hard, and he retreats, but Rose Red has other plans for him.
Excerpt: Formula For Love, copyright 2014, Viki Lyn
Rose patted his hand. “Forget it. You already said too much. You think girls don’t have the brains for math. We’re too emotional for such discipline. So do you want to sleep with me?”
Kenneth choked, and a spray of coffee spurted across the table, barely missing Rose. He wiped up the mess with his napkin, while muttering an apology. “I might be behind the times, but I like to be the one to invite the girl to bed.”
“If I waited for you to make the first move we’d never get past first base.”
“There’s the unwritten teacher-student rule.”
“You said our paths would never cross, so why worry about it? Do you always follow the rules? We can bend them a little. I’m not talking about a relationship here.”
“You’re talking about loving the one you’re with.” He smiled at himself for using her phrase. The sunlight broke through the window and Rose’s hair shone a burnished copper. Luscious, silky hair he’d like to touch again. “What do you mean by bend?”
“We can sleep together, and since we’re not looking for love, and we’re not each other’s type, and don’t want to—”
“—form any attachments.”
Rose sat back and crossed her arms. “Are you going to let me finish my sentence?”
Kenneth sank in his chair, uncomfortable with the conversation, but riveted.
“Yes, since we don’t want any attachments,” she continued, “it would be ideal. What do you say?”
He scratched his chin. “So I’m going to love the one I’m with after all? I don’t know.”
Rose waved off Kenneth’s worried expression. “Sex can be fantastic, and I’m horny, been without it—”
“—for a day?”
For your entertainment, see how well YOU know sidekicks. Eleven questions. The original had 53 questions (from a reader party held at the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention in Chicago. Don’t ask me which year – within the past five is the best I have for you.)
1. Which of the following was Superman’s animal sidekick, a member of the Legion of Super-Pets?
a. Krypto the Super Dog
b. Beppo the Super Monkey
c. Streaky the Super Cat
d. All of the above
2. Comet the Super-Horse was a sidekick for which of the following heroines:
b. Wonder Woman
c. Saturn Girl
d. Ms. Marvel
3. Wonder Woman had her own sidekick. Was it:
a. Wonder Man
b. The Wonderful Wizard of Paradise Island
c. Wonder Girl
d. Winged Victory
4. The sidekick of Xena, Warrior Princess, was _____________.
5. The Flash had his own boy sidekick. Who was it?
b. Kid Flash
6. In Futurama, Leela the one-eyed pilot has a pet. What’s his name?
7. Jabba the Hutt ha a giggling, gremlin-like sidekick in Return of the Jedi. Who was it?
a. Salacious Crumb
b. Lando Calrissian
c. Boba Fett
d. Darth Maul
8. John Snow in Game of Thrones has three sidekicks on the Wall. Who is not a sidekick:
9. Who is Frodo’s sidekick in Lord of the Rings?
a. Samwise Gamgee
10. Big Bird on Sesame Street has an invisible sidekick. He is:
a. Mr. Snuffalupagus
b. Oscar the Grouch
d. the Count
11. Bert is Ernie’s favorite sidekick on Sesame Street. Bert has a fondness for:
b. Bottle caps
c. Paper clips
d. All of the above
ANSWERS: 1. D, 2. A, 3. C, 4. Gabrielle, 5. B, 6. C, 7. A, 8. D, 9. A, 10. A, 11. D