Sunday, 28 August 2011

#SampleSunday 28th August 2011


I was on the bed. It was moving but I couldn't.
Luckily long experience has taught me to sit up, well propped with pillows, when I feel like this. A less experienced drinker would lie down and promptly throw up. I was tempted to do that, lie on my back, throw up and then breath in, but I wasn't drunk enough, or maybe I was too drunk to actually physically move. It was hard to tell. I had something important on my mind. Illusory spell forms. Thank god I had told Jocasta - if she was real, which I doubted - but then I doubted my own sanity let alone anything else. Illusory spell forms. It was brilliant. Genius. If a shaman called a spirit to watch, a sorcerer could then create spell forms - not real ones, but illusions that had the shape and form but didn't do anything - and the spirit could tell you what they would do if you made them in reality. If I was right about the nature of the perception of spirits, of course, and that was yet to be proven. But it would open up a whole new era of spellcasting research if I was right. Another good reason to die, I thought, and take the idea with me. At least the spirits could tell me if I was right. I giggled at the thought.
'Snofunny,” I admonished myself, waving a finger pointedly. “'ssherius.”
I became fascinated with my finger, holding it in front of my face and turning it around, remembering them breaking it, and breaking it, and... I waggled it experimentally. “Worksnow. 'sgood.” I turned it about again, looking at that one finger from every angle. I wondered how I would see it if I were a spirit. I wondered how soon I would find out. They didn't care if I died, they'd given me plenty of opportunity. They'd probably turn me into a zombie, lock up my spirit in dead flesh and interrogate me that way, or call my spirit back and enslave me as they had Jerek. That was a memory that wouldn't fade in a hurry. That poor, broken, pitiful child.
A tear dribbled down my cheek.
Death is no escape, he had said. I believed him. They didn't care if I died, not much. If I jumped out that window, the one with the shadowy figure in it... That was odd. I watched the apparition slide into the room. Wisps of fog drifted after him. It was the ghost of Sapphire come to show me the way. He put his finger against his lips. I had no intention of making a sound. There is no point in talking to a hallucination. Unless it was a ghost, of course. I could ask him about spell forms.
I laughed. He ignored me, taking a quick turn around the room, listening at the door, then heading back to where I lay propped up in bed, watching him. He crossed the room silently. Of course silently, spirits don't make any noise. No bodies. No noise. That's obvious.
He gestured for me to get up. I giggled and shook my head.
In death his eyes were just as I remembered them. Ice cold, to go with his glacial expression. “Get up, you fool,” he hissed. “We have to go now.”
I blinked blearily back at him, sure that spirits were not supposed to call people names or hiss at them. “You're alive!” I accused him
Hush, dammit. Get up.”
I tried. When I didn't move fast enough to suit him he grabbed me by the shirt front and dragged me up. He was definitely real. He didn't look that strong. Though, to be fair, I had lost some weight.
He pushed his face close to mine. “Some of us are risking our lives for your drunken, no good, worthless carcass, and some of us would appreciate it if you would cooperate a little bit!”
I nodded dumbly, chastened as only a drunk can be. A tear came to my eye and I told him I was sorry. Tried to give him a hug.
Oh, for gods' sake,” he seethed almost silently. “Come on.” He half dragged me to the balcony.
It was foggy out. I couldn't see anything. I wanted a drink. “Beer.” I started back in and he stopped me.
Wait, listen. Jocasta is here, down there, waiting for you.”
I looked over into the sea of fog, seeing nothing much more than a few feet of wall under the balcony. “Down there?”
Hush, dammit,” he hissed. “Yes.”
I swung one leg over the balcony and lost my balance. I would have fallen if he had not held me.
Wait. I have rope.” He swiftly looped it around me and expertly tied it so that it was snug under my arms. “Now try.” I did. I was barely over the edge before I lost my grip and fell. I didn't realize I was in danger so didn't make a sound. I heard the rope slipping through his fingers harshly, then I jerked to a stop. After that I descended more smoothly, swinging around in a slow circle and feeling sick and dizzy, seeing nothing but the fog and occasional flashes of wall.
I couldn't wait to see her. I had to tell her something important; what was it though? Her loupe! Damn, I'd lost her loupe! She was going to go crazy at me. I started climbing the rope. I had to go get it back. It didn't work very well, Sapphire was lowering me faster than I could climb, and I couldn't climb worth a damn; my feet touched the ground and a second later the rope fell out of the air on top of me. “Damn, damn, damn!” I growled, quietly. I didn't want her to hear me.
Hush, Sumto.”
She'd heard me.
I looked around. She wore white and almost blended into the fog, just her dark hair standing out around her pale face. Big green eyes met mine and held me spellbound.
I'm sorry!” I blurted.
Shussh,” She raised her hand and there was a flash of non-light so fast I couldn't see it. I caught a glimpse of a stone that must have been eighty carats.
I lost your loupe, they took it.” To my amazement, I couldn't hear myself speak. I hesitated a second, then laughed. It was bizarre, not a sound. I could feel the movement, knew I was laughing, but couldn't hear it. “What did you do?” I wasn't deaf, it was just that the sound made no sound. I stamped my foot to test the theory and sure enough, my shoes rang on the cobbles. Jocasta grabbed my arm and my attention. She really did have the biggest green eyes ever. “I've missed you,” I said and tried to hug her.
Sumto,” she hissed, “you're drunk.”
I nodded earnestly, remembering something important. I leaned back and shouted up to Sapphire. “Bring the beer!”
Damn, he wouldn't hear me. I gave Jocasta a little shake, pointed up and then made a drinking motion, my hand gripping an invisible glass.
I have never seen anyone flush with anger quite that quickly. I watched the process, fascinated. “You're mad at me, aren't you.”
You are a drunken fool, just like my father said.”
Under the circumstances, I think that was a bit harsh.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Invisible Hand

Well, it is a little later than I hoped, but The Invisible Hand is now 'live' on smashwords. I'll be leaving it there for a while, as I move towards getting Chris Steininger to create a cover for it. The current cover sucks, but that's becomes standard - I'm no artist or designer, that's for sure. Can't even blame the source photo's from the Dumnonii LRPG group and taken by Roy Smallpage - the source material is fine, it's just that I suck as a cover designer. And, as I'm paying Chris to make nice covers, I don't much feel inclined to pay someone else to make the pro tem covers.

I should have the cover for The Key To The Grave sometimes soon - maybe a week from now, possibly less. As soon as I have it I'll be making this, book II of The Price of Freedom, available on Amazon.

Thanks again to everyone who has bought The Last King's Amulet, particularly those who left comments - some of which literally brought a tear to the eye - and those who liked TLKA enough to seek out and buy TKTTG despite the less than beautiful cover. Every single sale means something to me, every kind comment is worth more than gold. Thanks again.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Why I Like Gregory House MD

House is a genius character. I don't mean that the character is a genius, that's clear. I mean that the writer who dreamed him up is a genius. Greg House is a fabulous character, once you understand him, once you grasp his deepest motive, which lies in the answer the the question, what is House addicted to?

Assuming that the pain drugs are a metaphor, which I do, then what he is addicted to is epiphany, that moment when the answer come to him in a blinding flash – it's a rush. It is why he chooses the hardest cases; the harder the problem the greater the epiphany. And it is why he chose medicine – after all, there are many fields where that rush can happen, but what often happens after that is that people will argue with your brilliant answer. In medicine there can be no argument: “Look, the patient is alive. I was right.” No argument is valid. There can be nothing to sully or diminish the epiphany.

What surprises me is how long it took me to understand that. It's masked by other complexities and never actually spelled out. There are whole shows dedicated to forcing the answer the question – why medicine? It's possible that even House doesn't really know the answer, as he offers others that are only partial answers. The writers for the show are that good. The character is that complex. Genius.

Deep and complex characters are difficult to do. Can't of hand think of any example of a character half as complex... but maybe you can?

Just thought of something else I like about him; he will use himself recklessly and without restraint. Just watched the Season 3 finale. Stunning story.