Friday, March 29, 2013

Rough Draft Friday

Here's the first sneak peek at the book I'm working on now, code name Mourning. It's the last book in the Flesh and Fell trilogy.


Winter held Abass’s breath in long, icy plumes. Around him, a dozen more men crouched, low enough that they were practically buried in the knee-deep snow. Moonlight limned the white-oaks, the sweet apple trees, and threw silver on the blue-green spruce. These were the trees that would survive the first winter of Nakhacevir—at least, that was what men who had traveled to Istbya and Cenarbasi said. When spring came, their leaves would come again. But the others—the line of orange trees ahead, for example, or the stand of limes that they had passed earlier that evening—they would not live again.
Snow crunched ahead, and Abass crouched lower. Tonight was not a night to worry about dead trees. Tonight was a night to worry about men who were not yet dead, but needed to be.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Novel Wednesdays

Today's bit comes from Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Although I try only to post selections from novels that I like, Cloud Atlas isn't just a novel I liked--it's a novel I loved. I highly recommend it. It's smart and beautiful and a lot of fun to read. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I don't know how they compare, but I suggest you at least give the novel a try.

Here's the first passage:

Composers are merely scribblers of cave paintings. One writes music because winter is eternal and because, if one didn't, the wolves and blizzards would be at one's throat all the sooner.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Poetry Mondays

Here's one last Wordsworth poem (for now). "The World is Too Much with Us."


          THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
          Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
          Little we see in Nature that is ours;
          We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
          The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
          The winds that will be howling at all hours,
          And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
          For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
          It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
          A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;                         10
          So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
          Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
          Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
          Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rough Draft Fridays

One last bit of "Thunder" before moving on to something else:


I worked nearby, at Benito Juarez Community Academy, aka Juarez High School, which was as glorious as it sounds. Summer air, hot and dry, hit me like the first blast from an oven when I walked out the door, down the rickety wooden steps, out the chain-link gate, and then west on 19th Street. The cleaners were open, the neon-blue sign flashing, the door open and the big fans already turning. The bookstore was closed—I hadn’t seen it open in days. Maybe it was permanent. Things like that didn’t last long here.
Left on Blue Island, which cut through Pilsen at a diagonal. I passed the tortillerĂ­a, which even this early smelled incredible, and then the dental complex. Juanita was at the door to the youth center, sweeping up broken glass because someone had decided it was more fun to smash the bottle on the sidewalk than use a trash can. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Novel Wednesdays

One more piece from Chandler's The Long Goodbye:

He went on down the steps and got into his car and left. Cops never say goodbye. They're always hoping to see you again in the line-up.

What I love about this line is how effective it is at characterizing Chandler's protagonist.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Poetry Mondays

Another famous Wordsworth poem, "I wandered lonely as a cloud":


          I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
          That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
          When all at once I saw a crowd,
          A host, of golden daffodils;
          Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
          Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

          Continuous as the stars that shine
          And twinkle on the milky way,
          They stretched in never-ending line
          Along the margin of a bay:                                  
          Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
          Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

          The waves beside them danced; but they
          Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
          A poet could not but be gay,
          In such a jocund company:
          I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
          What wealth the show to me had brought:

          For oft, when on my couch I lie
          In vacant or in pensive mood,                               
          They flash upon that inward eye
          Which is the bliss of solitude;
          And then my heart with pleasure fills,
          And dances with the daffodils.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rough Draft Fridays

Here's a little bit more of "Thunder":


“I told you,” I said to Bego. The words were familiar. It was a dream. “There’s no way everyone will fit back here.”
“Go get more ice,” she said. She’d had her hair done, big, loose curls that ran halfway down her back. And once I was halfway down her back, I let my eyes wander a little further down. Not that I needed much encouragement. God had done some fine work there.
“God,” she laughed, pushing me. “My mom and dad are here. And there are children. Don’t be a perv.”
I grinned and swiped the bills she was holding out. A man would go get ice for a woman like that, if that’s what she wanted. Hell, a thousand years ago, a man would have climbed up a mountain and hacked out a block of ice for a woman like that, if that’s what she wanted. Me, I just had to go to the gas station down the street.