Friday, April 29, 2016

Free Fic Friday: A Good Flight

Jay checked his watch. Again. Only five minutes later than the last time he looked. He readjusted his position in his seat. His back was stiff because of the paltry cushioning material. His knees banged into the back of the seat in front of him and he tried to find a position that stretched out his legs a little, but couldn't.

He motioned to the person next to him that he needed to get out. Being crushed in the middle seat of a fully occupied airplane always made him feel a little claustrophobic. At six and a half feet tall, Jay did not fit easily into spaces proportioned for the average man.

He avoided flying whenever possible, and if he did have to fly, he tried to get an aisle seat. But this flight had been impromptu.

The girl moved and Jay pushed himself into the aisle, grateful to be able to stretch his limbs. He still had to crouch a little as the ceiling crowded close, but he moved up and down the length of the plane and after a minute, felt better. He waited in line for the bathroom, even though he didn't need to go, but rather for something to do.

Only the ding of the seatbelt sign got him to return to his seat. The plane was twenty minutes out from his destination, so everyone needed to wait patiently for the end of the flight.

Squeezed back into his seat, Jay could see over the top of the seatback in front of him, but not much out the window other than some sunshine. He gripped the edge of his seat cushion and thought about all the reasons he'd had to make this trip.

Because Rob was at the other end.

Rob, whom Jay had known for over a year. They'd met at a conference and hit it off. Jay had believed in instant attraction, but not love at first sight. Not until Rob.

They'd both been in such different parts of their lives that finding each other had seemed like serendipity gone entirely wrong. Jay had been single, but nursing a recently rejected heart. Rob had been at the beginning of the end of a relationship, and he hadn't wanted to complicate anything. In addition, they'd both started brand new jobs. Rob had been promoted. Jay had moved companies. They lived five hundred miles apart.

So, they'd caroused the bars and talked all night, and kept themselves suspended in an odd position of available and sheltered. In the end, they had done nothing more than exchange handshakes, hugs, and contact information.

Then they'd e-mailed and called, visited through digital means, and gotten their lives in order. And now, Rob had invited Jay to his apartment. The other boyfriend was gone, and Rob had worked through the mess with his lease, and the mess with his heartache. It was time to move forward.

They still had a lot of decisions to make. Five hundred miles and two different careers didn't mesh without a lot of difficult choices--nor trust that this was the relationship that would survive past all those other things. But Jay had never felt quite this sure about anyone else ever before.

The plane touched down and the interminable wait to disembark made Jay nearly yell and shout, but eventually he escaped into the terminal.

He had only his carry-on bag and he headed directly for the curb. There was a blue sedan waiting, familiar from photos, and from the driver smiling at him.

"Rob," Jay said, as Rob exited the car and stepped up on the curb.

"Have a good flight?" Rob asked.

"No, but I have an excellent destination."

Thursday, April 28, 2016

oh, a lovely review!

I saw this today --

A very nice review of the entire anthology, and especially of my "Taking the Fall Line", which was one of the stories.

I don't think I've mentioned before, but the title does hold a double meaning. One, is the obvious about how people who meet often try to give each other a line that they hope the other will fall for. But in winter sports like skiing, the "fall line" specifically means the way the slope is pitched down the mountain. Imagine if you had a snowball at the very top and you let it go -- the way that snowball rolled down would be the fall line. On very complicated slopes, there can be more than one fall line: making it very difficult for beginners, and a lot of fun for more expert skiers.

sticking with a theme

I'm still thinking on the theme of 'flight', so I will have another ficlet for Friday on that same idea. In some ways, I keep thinking I should write about all the different aspects of flight as there are so many variations on it, but then as I start writing, the differences get all blurry, and I keep thinking that all those meanings are really just one meaning, at the deep core of it. So, it has been very introspective. And confusing in that tilt-a-whirl sort of way when you think too much on anything.

I think I may go for a walk, and try and clear my head.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Free Fiction: Not Flying Today

"You're a liar," Jeff said. He jutted his chin at the edge where solid ground plunged away into thin air with only jagged, sharp rocks at the bottom.

"Yeah." More than a few of the other kids chorused and grumbled, agreeing with Jeff as long as they weren't singled out.

"All year long you boasted about how you could fly. How you were gonna fly, if only you had the right conditions. Well, if these aren't the right ones, then nothing is." Jeff picked up a stick and launched it into the air. It spun end of end and sailed out into the vast nothingness and fell away.

Kaylen shrugged. "What do you know about conditions?"

"I know it's sunny with blue skies. If this isn't perfect, what is?"

"Not this," Kaylen said. "It's too still. The air is too thin. There's nothing to hold me up."

Jeff flapped a hand at Kaylen. "Ah, you're just a big liar." He looked at the group of kids that had gathered. "Let's get out of here. We can still get in a game of kickball."

Kaylen watched the kids trickle away. He hadn't asked them to follow him after school. And he certainly hadn't boasted about being able to fly. He'd mentioned it once, three weeks ago. But he'd probably been overheard. Or tattled on. He should have known better. His mom had warned him about these kinds of things.

Kaylen inched closer to the edge. He stared down at the rubble at the base of the broken away area.

"You aren't gonna jump, are you?"

Kaylen turned to look at the voice. It was Sammy, a scrawny kid one grade younger. He was too skinny, often begging for snacks and remainders from other kids' lunches. Kaylen was pretty sure Sammy didn't get breakfast or dinner, just the school mandated lunch as part of an assistance program.

"No," Kaylen said. "There's still not enough wind."

"Can you really fly?" The question sounded sincere, and held no tinge of mockery.

"Sometimes," Kaylen said.

"I'd like to be able to fly," Sammy said. "Is it something you can teach me?"

Kaylen shook his head. "No. You either can fly or you can't, and you'd know it already if you could."

"Oh." Sammy's face scrunched up with disappointment.

"I can't fly today either, it's too still," Kaylen said. "Want to come over to my house and play video games and have a snack?"

"Sure. I can do that." Sammy waited for Kaylen to retreat from the edge. "How come you came out here if you couldn't fly in the first place?"

"It's a nice place to walk," Kaylen said.

"But you have video games at home that you could play."

Kaylen shrugged. "Didn't have anyone to play against."

"Oh," said Sammy. "I guess that makes sense."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

still thinking about flying

I'm still thinking about the topic of flying, related to the SciFi contest here:

So, I've got another ficlet on this topic for Friday. I spent some time looking at quotes on flying, which are very thought-provoking. So much yearning for us earth-bound humans, and even when we have flown, it comes with conditions, not the perfect freedom we'd like to have.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

spring is here

I've seen crocuses blooming, a few early daffodils, and the first spear of asparagus push up through the dirt in my garden.

The dandelions are about to burst all over the lawn and I had to put on sunscreen today as the sun was bright and strong.

I cleared a very small patch of my garden and put in some radish seeds. I haven't ever had much luck with radishes, but hope springs eternal.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Free Fiction: The Long Ride Down

I've been mulling over "Flight" because of the Flash Fiction contest over at
so this Friday's story has a little bit to do with flight, although this particular ficlet doesn't have anything to do with scifi.


The huffing and puffing was done.

Jayce and Mike had pedaled their way up High Street all the way to the top and then beyond. High Street turned into Meadow Lane and snaked up for several miles through farm land with a lot of cow pasture on both sides.

The first half of the trip took the longest because biking uphill was hard, thigh-burning work, but the reward would make the effort worth it.

"This is it. The top." Mike unclipped his bike helmet and ran his hand through his sweaty hair. The short brown strands stuck up in little spikes. "It's all downhill from here."

"About damn time," Jayce said. He grabbed the water bottle from the holder and swished his mouth out. The fine particular dust on the road coated his throat. Everything tasted gritty, and everything felt gritty too. "This better be worth it."

"It will be. Are you ready?"

"Yeah." Jayce pushed the water bottle back into the holder. He looked down the road. It started mostly flat, but it would become steeper. Having just pumped his way up the impressive incline, Jayce knew the route intimately.

Mike clipped his helmet back on. "Three miles. All downhill. Be careful with your brakes. Keep 'em feathered."

"Don't forget to switch leader position halfway down," Jayce replied.

Mike rolled his eyes and hopped on his bike. He pushed off and wobbled down the road for two revolutions of his pedals and then his speed picked up and he moved like a rocket with a destination.

Jayce followed behind. He'd already done all the work, now there was only enjoyment.

The wheels on his bike made a zipping noise as he sped down the incline. The wind pushed over his face and whistled through the vents in his helmet. Faster and faster, he flew down the road.

Mike whooped and shouted with glee in front of him, but they were traveling too fast, and other than the sound of delight, Jayce couldn't tell what he said.

The road curved sharply, with a guardrail skimming the outer edge and a steep drop off tumbling out of sight on the other side. Jayce feathered his brakes.

Mike slowed and Jayce took the lead. They were halfway down. The trip took only a few minutes, compared with the long haul up, but it felt like a sliver of forever to Jayce. The road changed in composition and now the bike's tires hummed. The sweat he'd built from the climb up had been breezed away by the moving air and Jayce actually felt a chill. Still, his bike sped on, getting faster with every rotation of his wheels. His heart sang with the speed and his blood spiked with adrenaline. Everything was amazing. The speed, the freedom to ride, the danger of going too fast.

They passed an automatic, solar-powered speed counter designed to remind speeders in cars to slow down, and they actually triggered the sensor. 20 mph, it flashed. 21 mph, it flashed again, and Jayce grinned to know he was still picking up speed.

Less than ten minutes from the start of their downhill journey, he coasted to a stop at the very bottom of the long, long ride.

Jayce waited for Mike to pull up alongside him.

"Won't be dark yet for at least another hour," Mike said. "Want to do it again?"

Jayce gazed up High Street. It was a long ride back to the top, full of huffing and puffing. "Yes," he said, desperately craving that sensation of flying again. "Let's go."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ficlet for Friday

I was terribly sick last week and did not get a Friday fiction done, but this week I am recovered and I made sure to use the one free evening I have to good use -- I wrote a ficlet, and it'll be posted on Friday.

Monday, April 11, 2016

brain, very full

As a learning exercise, I've been doing some reading up on Smashwords. I've got a very short story pretty much read to go (with enormous thanks to AM Leibowitz who helped me out with the polishing -- check out her links! and )

I got through the editing, and 96 pages of the 117 page Style Guide (no where near as bad as I'd heard), and made the hard decisions about front matter and back matter (I think Bookmarks can wait for something that is longer than 8 pages, really, I hope a reader wouldn't get too lost), but now I'm up against...the cover.

I don't need anything fancy, but I've definitely reached my limit for the day on learning now things. (Even to the point of trying to pick a single color for the cover.) Since I'm still mulling over what might be a better title (also a problem!), I'm going to let it rest until next weekend.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

still fighting a cold

Something insidious grew inside me on Wednesday and has taken the form of sore throat, fever, achy muscles, and exhaustion. I had two days where I stayed home and did nothing -- all that time to write, and I couldn't even manage to work a can opener. I used pop-top soup cans, and praised the fact that I live in the future instead of the past where pop-tops didn't exist yet.

I'm starting to feel a little better today. There might be writing. After I clean up the giant mess of soup bowls, spoons, and tea mugs that accumulated around my sink.

Monday, April 4, 2016

apple pie

I made this pie yesterday, and gobbled the remainder of it up just this evening. When I'd licked away the last cinnamon-gooey apple bite, I wanted to make another pie. But I took the dog for a walk instead. Very virtuous.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rainbow Snippets: On Bear Mountain

I'm working on a better title for this one. I'd written it as a submission for a fairy tale styled submission and it wasn't accepted, so I have a nice 4k story that I'm determining what to do with. It's compact, and meant to be short, and needs an overall edit. (An edit by me to make it better, and an edit by someone who isn't me to see the things I can't see.) I may make it a free read, or do something experimental with it. I'm still thinking it over.


"Hayden, can you speak?"

Hayden gasped in air and shook his head to clear the crumbles of dirt from his eyes. "Russ?" The ground beneath his body was cold, and past Russ he could see the branches of the trees coated in ice. The freezing rain and hardened hail had ceased, leaving icy traces of its destruction.

"I'm okay," Hayden croaked out, and then wrapped his arms around Russ and kissed him.


Link Back to Rainbow Snippets so as to enjoy other author's creativity: Rainbow Snippets

not-so-lazy Sunday

The weather is in a weird middle ground. No snow, so I can't go out and snowshoe--although I plan to walk the dog later, a nice super-long walk to stretch the legs and the mind--but too cold to really be outside and making gardening things happen. I have a lovely early primrose blooming on my windowsill, from the gardener supply store, that I want to put out and also some fern bulbs, but the ground froze up again, so they both need to wait at least another week (probably two or three or four) before being put out.

So, amongst the many tasks on my To Do list, is obviously writing and catching up on my blogs. I've got quite a bit to catch up on, so I'd best get to work!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Free Fiction: Blueberries

Hyle mucked his way up the hill to the clearing. Mud squished under his boots and each time he pulled a foot forward an accompanying sucking sound issued forth. He squelched along the path, usually bone dry in the summer, and normally only a little tacky at this time of year, but the uncommon rains soaked the ground until nothing remained of the dirt except over-watered mud.

He moved the heavy bag he carried from one arm to the other, to give his muscles a rest. The weight unbalanced him just enough that he needed to choose his steps with care, lest the slippery mud release and carry him down the hill on his backside. The bag contained compost he’d made in his own bins, which sat at the back of the house and collected vegetable peelings and apple cores.

He intended to add the compost to the area surrounding the blueberry bushes he’d planted three years ago. He and Tony. They’d dug up the ground together and put the tiny little bushes—really more like sticks—in, and pulled the dirt back on top to cover their roots. They’d dreamed of a nice blueberry patch up here, out of the way, hidden from prying, hungry eyes. The birds might nibble a few, and perhaps the rabbits, too. The neighbors would be none the wiser. Hyle had dutifully wrapped fencing around the little plot of land where the bushes grew, to keep out the little critters.

It was a good dream. A nice dream.

Except Tony wasn’t around anymore. Tony dreamed big, but he didn’t wait around for things to grow. He found greener pastures and kicked up his heels with others who had thorny blackberry patches tucked away in the corners of their land. Tony flitted like a bumble bee from one blooming flower to the next.

But Hyle remained behind, and his patience was still intact. He meant to follow through on the dream, even if he did it alone. The blueberry bushes should come into their own this summer, and the berries should be plentiful. He could almost taste the ripe, summer-sun drenched berry.

He crested the top of the slope and the path dried somewhat. The runoff down the hill stayed wet, but up here, the dirt was rich and dark. The spot was perfect, with pine trees on the outer edge to provide a hint of shade and a touch of acidity. There was good drainage of the ample rain and the westering sun provided enough sunlight to keep any plant happy.

Hyle stopped to gaze on his patch. The bushes showed signs of coming back to life after a snowy winter sleep, with green leaves and branches stretching toward the sky. Hyle frowned. Three of the bushes looked washed out. He plopped the bag down at the edge of the patch and walked over to examine the bushes. Seven other bushes remained, healthy and hearty, but these three bushes had been ruined.

Hyle ran his fingers through the dirt. There didn’t seem any reason for the dead bushes, but dried out and stick-like, they were obviously dead. Except….

Hyle thought back to the day they’d planted the bushes. As usual, Tony had frittered the time away, joking and laughing. In the warm afternoon, his heart full of affection, Hyle hadn’t minded. But he’d done the bulk of the work. He’d dug most of the holes, and he’d covered over the roots, of exactly seven of the bushes. Tony had done three.

Hyle stood up and returned to his bag of compost. The taste of regret lingered in the back of his throat. The poor little blueberry bushes had deserved a better fate. But then again, so had Hyle.