Jan 29, 2015

Earth - Chapter Fifty-eight

This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~ Ch 44 ~ Ch 45 ~ Ch 46 ~
Ch 47 ~ Ch 48 ~ Ch 49 ~ Ch 50 ~ Ch 51 ~ Ch 52 ~ Ch 53 ~ Ch 54 ~ Ch 55 ~ Ch 56 ~ Ch 57 ~

Chloe stared at Gannon as though seeing him for the first time. Clearly he was letting his greed overcome his good sense. He couldn't possibly be about to suggest what she thought he was . . . could he? The sick feeling in her stomach grew as he slid a geological survey in front of her.

"This shows everything you'll need to know for the extraction of the ore."

She looked at him, shock written plainly on her face. "You expect me to extract pantarium? Just like that." She snapped her fingers.

"Why not? I heard from your own lips that extracting ore is one of your powers. This will be no different than any of the other precious ores we mine."

"You're insane! You must know that there's a reason robots are used to mine pantarium. The slightest miscalculation . . ." She shuddered. The slightest miscalculation could blow them all to hell at best, blow the entire world apart at worst.

"Which is why you need to be very careful," he said with a smirk.

Chloe opened her mouth to continue arguing, then snapped it shut again. There was no point - it was like talking to a wall.

Picking up the survey map, she studied it carefully. It was a huge deposit. She wouldn't be surprised if it had been earmarked by the mining companies for when this planet was mined out. Once everyone was gone one of the companies was probably planning on coming back for it.

Even a small portion would make Gannon a king. He'd marked an area close to the Righteous Angels where the pantarium could be drawn up. Still, it was an incredibly risky procedure.

Frowning, she traced the vein as it narrowed to a mere thread, winding its way downwards, many leagues beneath them until it ran off the page.

"Where's the next page?" she asked.

Wordlessly, he flipped through the pile and pulled out a second page. Chloe's eyes narrowed as she looked at it, then she paled.

"Do you see how far down this vein goes?"

"It's not a continuous vein," he protested. "There are . . . gaps."

"Not large enough to prevent a chain reaction should something go wrong!" The vein of pantarium snaked its way downwards until it petered out with only a thin crust of rock between it and the core of the planet.

"Then you'd better hope that nothing goes wrong," he snapped.

Chloe shivered at the maniacal look in his eye. There was no chance of him being swayed, no matter how dangerous this task could be.

"I want you to promise that if I do this for you, then no more games. I will extract enough pantarium to keep you in riches for the rest of your life, but you will let Zephryn take my mother to his ship and then you will allow us to leave this world."

"Extract enough pantarium to make it worth my while and you are free to do whatever you wish."

Chloe wished with all her heart she could believe him.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Da'nat watched Gra'anna as she shifted in her seat.

"It was no accident I was chosen for this mission, and by extension Zehpryn, is it?"

She hesitated before answering and he had the feeling she was choosing her words carefully.

"Though I am far removed from Illezaire, by virtue of my age I am still part of the great consciousness."

"And you can still affect it?" he asked.

"Only in the smallest of fashions. I am only one individual and I am light years away."

That wasn't answering his question, but he let it go for now. "Have you seen how this all will end?"

She gave a bitter laugh. "Despite my part in how this began, the future has become dark and I do not know whether it is because there is no future, or I just cannot see it."

Gra'anna sat up suddenly. "I can feel her . . . I can feel her fear. Soon it will begin."

"What can we do to help?"

"I have already meddled over-much," she admitted. "In trying to hurry things along, I may have made matters worse."

"I am not sure how things could be worse," he told her. "You've been patient for centuries, how can you be lacking in patience this close to the end?"

"You're a sharp one, you are," she gave a laugh, then her smile faded. "It is a terrible thing, to have been able to see the future all your life and then suddenly the visions stop. For centuries I have seen future possibilities spread out before me, the choices, the potentials, stretching out like a great web . . . It is disconcerting to see only darkness now."

"The body you're in, it's failing, isn't it?" he asked suddenly. It would explain much about what was wrong with her.

"Yes." No hesitation, no evasions, just one simple answer.

"Will you be able to return with us?"

"I . . . do not know. But I would like to see this through, if I can."

"I dislike waiting," he told her.

At that she cracked a smile. "As do I, my friend. As do I."

Jan 28, 2015

On Being a Pack Rat . . .

I touched on this a couple of weeks ago, the fact that I'm a bit of a pack rat. Specifically I mentioned my collection of PENS. You may also recall when I started working on my book nook I posted a couple of pictures of my books and office supplies. And I have to confess, that's just the tip of the iceberg as far as my compulsive collecting of "stuff".

And you know me, I couldn't just leave it at the fact that I'm a pack rat. I had to do a Google search to learn where the expression came from. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that pack rats are a real thing!

Isn't he cute? It's also called a woodrat. They live in nests called middens and are usually found in the southwest or the west coast. According to Wikipedia: A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying, for example a piece of cactus, and "trade" it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. These two traits have inspired an anecdote about a man finding his dime replaced by two nickels. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous.

Along with pens, books, and office supplies, I also collect fairies, dragons, unicorns, and windchimes. The fairy collection is small and is displayed neatly on a single shelf in my office. The dragons and unicorns are pretty much spread throughout the house, as are my windchimes. I have a beautiful carved wooden trunk in my office that I use for my sentimental collection - pictures, invitations, cards, etc.

Further research reveals that there's a fine line between being a pack rat and being a hoarder. Pack rats love to collect things. But it's the nature of the items collected, the meaning attached to the items and the way collecting affects their lives that makes the difference between being an avid collector and being a hoarder.

If your collection has sentimental value, is displayed efficiently, without creating clutter in your house or chaos in your life, chances are your an avid collector, or pack rat. But if your collecting has left your life in shambles and you're navigating along narrow passages through your collection, then you, my friend, are a hoarder.

Hoarding is a serious condition that goes far beyond being a pack rat. The hoarder takes collecting to the extreme where it interferes with their lives. They keep collecting things that they have no use for and no space to display them. They often become secretive, refusing to allow visitors in to witness how extreme their collection has become.

I think it's the inability to get rid of items that truly separates the pack rat from the hoarder. The pack rat can see the necessity of weeding out their collection periodically, if only to make room for newer items. The hoarder doesn't.

So by that definition I am definitely a pack rat. While I may be sentimentally attached to my "stuff", and I have several different collections, I have been known to thin out my collections every once in awhile. I'm not saying it's easy, and occasionally I regret getting rid of certain items, but there's always more to take their place.

Jan 26, 2015

Maieutics Monday

maieutics ~ midwifery

I kind of thought this week's M word was appropriate, considering my big news for the week is that I'm officially a grandma! :-D

If you're a regular reader of this blog then it shouldn't come as a surprise to you. I've been talking about this for a while now. Her name is Eleanor Catherine Anne and she was 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and 20 inches long. And I'll let the picture speak for itself on how beautiful she is:

The new mom's doing well, despite the fact that she went into the hospital Wednesday morning, had the baby by C-section, and was released Friday afternoon. It still boggles my mind. In my day I was in there for seven days and I would have stayed long if they'd have let me!

Remember how I mentioned last week that I normally write these Monday posts late Sunday nights? Well . . . not this week. I was so sick last night that although I started this post, I just didn't have the energy to finish. It kind of hit without warning and I really don't know what brought it on - I think it was something I ate, or a combination of somethings 'cause the hubby's okay and I seem to be better this morning. But it made me miss part of Lost Girl and all of Broadchurch last night. :-D

One of the more interesting things I did last week was a thrift store run - which is like a treasure hunt 'cause you never know what you might uncover. This time I uncovered three books for myself, and eighteen story books for my new granddaughter - can't wait until I can start reading them to her!

Got some reading and some writing in last week, although not as much crocheting as I'd have liked. I'm very close to being finished the draft of Earth. Close enough, in fact I should easily finish it this week. *knock on wood*

This week should be more of the same - reading, writing, crocheting, repeat as necessary. Maybe with a little editing thrown in. :-D

Have a good week everyone!

Jan 23, 2015

What I'm Reading

I have admit, I didn't get a whole lot of reading in this past week. Well, actually, that's not entirely true. I finished my Nora Roberts reading binge on the weekend, and then I didn't get a whole lot of reading in after that. But I have a very good reason why not. My very first grandchild was born on Wednesday:

Isn't she beautiful? And look at all that hair! Her name is Eleanor Catherine Anne. I can't wait to start reading to her. :-D

Electronic Books

So, a funny thing happened on the way to reading more electronic books . . . I, uh, didn't. Yeah, I'm pretty much a lazy bones at heart, so I haven't made it back on the exercise bike or the treadmill yet. Maybe this week.

Tree Books

I'm just over the halfway point in Horns, by Joe Hill. I'm still not sure how I feel about the main character, Ig, but I am curious to see if we ever find out where the horns came from. There's a lot of flashing back in this story, and we finally learn what happened (from Ig's point of view) the night Merrin was killed. According to Terry, Ig's brother (and who was under the strange spell that compels people to tell all their secrets), it was Ig's friend Lee who raped and killed her. So now Ig is off to confront Lee.

After reading Blue Dahlia, by Nora Roberts, followed by Black Rose, and then Red Lily, my hunger for Nora Roberts was pretty much satisfied. Which, honestly, is fine by me. While I enjoyed the books a great deal, by the third one I was getting kind of annoyed at this group of women for whom things always seemed to work out.

When all is said and done, I found the most appealing character to be Amelia, the ghost, whose story is a thread throughout all three books. Though she got to where she was in life through her own ambition, she didn't deserve what was done to her, and you have to wonder if she might have turned her life around in some way (despite her plans for the future). Her madness and subsequent death were heartbreaking.


So . . . since my reading glut seems to be over, I pretty much stopped reading Captivated by Nora Roberts, book one of the Donovan Legacy. And if I'm honest, I'll probably just put it back on the shelf where it belongs. I think I'm pretty much done with Ms. Roberts for now. :-)

I do like to have an anthology on the go, so I picked up an oldie but a goodie called The Fantastic Imagination II. This is an anthology of High Fantasy stories by the likes of Lord Dunsany, C.L. Moore, Lloyd Alexander, and Ursula K. Le Guin. And the best part is, enough time has passed since I read this that it's like reading it for the first time. :-D

With all those fantasy and science fiction books towering above me in my nook, it's hard not to start pulling them down and re-reading old favorites. But once I get my reference books moved to their new home, I can fix up my "to-be-read-bookcase" and you can see for yourselves why I'm manfully resisting.

Of course it doesn't help when I do a thrift store run and end up browsing through their books. You never know what treasures you'll find, and they're so much cheaper than a used book store! I found a hardback copy of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Acheron for a quarter. Sure, I have it in paperback, but that's because I couldn't afford the hardback.

I also came away with 18 story books for my new granddaughter, but that's another story entirely. :-D

So . . . what about you? What have you been reading lately?

Jan 22, 2015

Earth - Chapter Fifty-seven

This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~ Ch 44 ~ Ch 45 ~ Ch 46 ~
Ch 47 ~ Ch 48 ~ Ch 49 ~ Ch 50 ~ Ch 51 ~ Ch 52 ~ Ch 53 ~ Ch 54 ~ Ch 55 ~ Ch 56 ~

Chloe was ready to scream by the time Gannon finally sent for her. Although being confined did not unduly bother her, being cut off from the earth was making her extremely uncomfortable.

She and Zephryn talked, they dozed, they took turns pacing and sat in companionable silence. Having him with her made her confinement barely tolerable. She wanted to be outside with the sun on her face and Zephryns's wind in her hair. She wanted to feel the earth beneath her feet, to sink her awareness deep within it to make green things grow. Most of all, she wanted to make love to Zephryn, but she was all too aware of the camera's unblinking stare.

When the lock on the door disengaged, they were sitting side by side on the cot again, resting their backs against the wall.

"Gannon wants to see you," the guard said.

"Of course," she said, getting to her feet. Glancing back at Zephryn she said, "I'll see what I can do to get you out of here."

"Be careful," he said.

She didn't want to leave him like this. Too late she wished they'd spent more time trying to come up with some kind of a plan.

"Watch your control," he added.

His warning confused her, but she nodded anyway. Why would he tell her to watch her control, unless . . . maybe he was suggesting she pretend her control wasn't very good. It would be easy to make a mistake and blame it on lack of control. Was he only saying this for the guard's benefit? Or was there some other, hidden meaning that she wasn't grasping?

One last, lingering look and she was through the door, one guard locking it behind her while the other one led the way down the corridor. She paused outside her mother's room.

"You can tell Gannon I'm not going anywhere until I see for myself that my mother is still all right," she informed her escort.

The younger of the pair looked like he was about to argue, but the older one was already using his communicator to contact Gannon.

"She says she wants to check on her mother," he was saying. He listened for a moment and looked over at Chloe. "Gannon says she'll be fine as long as you co-operate."

"You tell Gannon I need to check on her for myself. If I'm worried about how she's doing I may make mistakes, and he wouldn't want that now, would he?"

He relayed her message and then closed his communicator. "All right. You can go in. But only for a moment."

He nodded at the younger guard who opened the door for her. It was unlocked - there was no danger of Tierra trying to leave.

Despite her insistence this was what she wanted, Chloe hesitated before moving slowly towards the life pod. It still looked too much like a glass coffin for comfort, but Zephryn assured her it would keep her mother alive, and she trusted him.

Her mother looked so fragile lying inside the case. She rested a hand on it - it was cold and hard to the touch. It would have been comforting to hear a shushing sound of oxygen being cycled through it, or the whir of machinery at work, but it was silent. As hard as she stared, she could detect no faint rise and fall of Tierra's chest. It was like she was frozen.

"Time's up," the guard said gruffly. "I'm sorry, but Gannon's expecting us."

Without a word Chloe turned away, suppressing a shiver as the door clanged shut behind her.

When they reached Gannon's office, the guard knocked on the door, waiting the order to enter. The door was opened for Chloe, but the guards stayed outside.

Gannon's desk was littered with geological surveys, as was the round table in the corner. Gannon himself seemed to be in a suspiciously good mood. In fact, he was looking very pleased with himself.

"My dear Chloe," he greeted her. "I hope you found everything with your mother to your satisfaction?"

"It's hard to tell, what with her being in that machine."

"You'll just have to take my word for it," he said. "Or perhaps your spaceman friend is familiar with life pods and can explain their workings to you."

"You need to let him go. He has nothing to do with any of this."

"Oh, indeed, my girl. That's just his bad luck now, isn't it?" He gestured towards a chair at the round table, taking the one opposite for himself. "Have a seat."

"Where's your new best friend?" she asked, noting Ulrik's absence.

"Never fear, he'll be along shortly," Gannon said. "He's procuring some special equipment for me."

"Why don't we cut to the chase," she suggested. "What do you want from me?"

He leaned forward, shaking his head slightly. "Chloe, Chloe, Chloe. There's no need for such hostility. With my knowledge and your abilities, we could have an extremely profitable partnership."

"It's never going to happen Gannon. Just tell me what it's going to take to release my mother and Zephryn."

He sat back with a sigh. "I didn't think you'd agree, but I had to try." He gestured to the report sitting on top of the pile of papers. "Are you familiar with the ore that's known as pantarium?"

She frowned. "Every miner is. It's the rarest mineral known - key in the production of fuel for transwarp ships."

"What would you say if I told you we were sitting on top of one of the largest deposits of pantarium I've ever heard of?"

Chloe started to get a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Pantarium was not only rare, its volatile nature made it the most dangerous substance to mine. Because of this it was never extracted from populated worlds. "I'd say there was probably a very good reason why no one's tried to mine it before."

"That's because no one's ever had what I have," he said, dismissing her concerns. "They never had you."

Jan 19, 2015

Mopsical Monday

mopsical ~ short-sighted

So here's a funny thing . . . I forgot all about this post!

Usually I write my Monday post on Sunday, or more to the point late Sunday night, but yesterday it completely slipped my mind.

I really hope this doesn't set a tone for the week, I've got a lot on the go. Including the arrival of my very first grandbaby, who's due to make an appearance at 8 a.m., Wednesday, January 21.

Isn't modern medicine grand? An ultra sound showed the baby was in breech position with no possibility of turning, so it was just a matter of when they could fit my daughter into the OR schedule. Me? I had to go through X hours of labour before they decided the baby just didn't want to come out before I got my Caesarean section. At least my daughter will be spared the labour part.

So on the weekend I finished the curtains I was making for the baby's nursery, and now I need to go to town on the cat-ghan. I wasn't sure of the colours - I didn't really like the variegated with the solids, but it actually looks a lot nicer than I thought it would. But then it's for my grandbaby, so why wouldn't it? ;-)

I didn't get a lot of writing in last week, but I did get a bunch of reading in. Just one of those things. Hopefully the reading binge is out of my system and I can get my focus back.

I think I've mentioned before that I've written far enough ahead on Earth that I could easily take a month off and still not have to worry about a new installment to post. Not that I would do that of course. But it's made me realize that the way the story is going, the book itself won't be finished until late March.

Originally I'd kind of had visions of releasing Earth and Lucky Dog at the same time, but there's no point in making people wait for one while I work on the other. If I finish Earth by the end of March, that means it'll be late April when it's ready to be released.

Lucky Dog, on the other hand, just needs its major editing and then its polishing and it's done. Needs a cover too, but that's a whole other kettle of fish that I'm not going into right now. :-D

In any case, when I'm not admiring my new grandbaby this week, I'll be writing on Earth and editing Luck Dog. Maybe I'll even start moving some of my reference books upstairs to the pretty bookcase so I can spread the books I have in my office out a little more. Maybe I might even get at some of the other things I've been neglecting of late.

Now where'd I put that goals list . . .

Jan 16, 2015

What I'm Reading

A few of you out there might remember how in the late spring I had the bright idea of converting the closet in my office into a reading nook. I'd seen a picture of one on Facebook and thought it would be a perfect use for the space behind my desk. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, and it took forever to catalogue the science fiction and fantasy books I filled it with, but the nook is finally done. And man, was it ever worth the work!

It's even more comfy than it looks and I don't have to fight the cats for it any more - they don't like the extra cushion I have in it for my back. :-D

Electronic Books

Still nothing to report here, sad to say. However things should pick up this coming week because I plan to get back on the exercise bike. And while the hubby likes to listen to music while he rides, I much prefer reading. And my Kindle is much easier to hang onto than a tree book.

Tree Books

I'm not quite to the halfway point in Horns, by Joe Hill. And to be perfectly honest, my interest in it is waning. It's divided into sections - the first section had the main character, Ig, waking up with a hangover and the horns starting to grow out of his head, and then as he learns about the new powers these horns give him, we also get some back story about him and the death of this girlfriend. The second section was a flashback to when Ig was a boy and how he first met Merrin. I'll probably keep reading, if nothing else than to satisfy my curiosity. So far I have rather mixed feelings about it. The story definitely pulls you along, but I'm not sure how I feel about Ig, and the situation he's in has no explanation so far.

I may have ignored my writing yesterday in favour of reading Blue Dahlia, by Nora Roberts. Yes, the whole thing in one sitting. It's the first in the In the Garden trilogy. It centered around a woman named Stella, who loses her husband in an accident and now has to raise their two young sons alone. She ends up moving from Michigan to Tennessee to be closer to her father, and finds a job working in a garden center. Of course there's a lot more to it than that, like the fact that the woman she works for is a kindred spirit, there's a hunky co-worker whom she's attracted to but who irritates the crap out of her, and there's a ghost who's seriously attached to Stella's two boys. Obviously it was a great read, and I can't wait to start the next one.


I started reading Captivated by Nora Roberts, book one of the Donovan Legacy. I've read these books before, but after finishing Blood Magick, I was in the mood for more of her magical books, and this was the first one I laid my hands on. I haven't got very far in it though, I kind of got distracted by Blue Dahlia.

I finished reading The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine Volume 2. I think what I liked best about this anthology was the variety of stories. Unlike her Swords and Sorceress series, they didn't revolve around a central theme. Not that I didn't enjoy that series, but sometimes it's nice to have some variety.

Considering the size of my to-be-read pile - more like a bookcase - I really shouldn't be indulging in re-reads. But sometimes the brain wants what the brain wants.

So . . . what about you? What have you been reading lately?