I don’t Seem to Have Either Promo Post or Vignette, So this Is my Post

Okay, guys, a quick update/admnistrivia and then a writing exercise at the bottom.

To begin with, we’re leaving on Wednesday for two weeks in Europe, i.e. for once not Portugal.  It’s complicated.  More about this later.  It involves research for one leg of the Black Tide book, though, among other things.

Older son will be staying behind, and we have someone come in to look after the cats in case he forgets.  (He’ll be doing his clinical year, so I suspect sometimes the cats will get fed five times a day and sometimes none as far as he’s concerned.)

Meanwhile I’m very late on books owed to people who won them, and t-shirts and Shwag to subscribers.  Honestly, the problem was that once I was ready to send them, I couldn’t find the fargin boxes because of our movers evenly distributed stuff that belongs in the office from the attic to the garage.

When I come back I’m taking three days or so to unpack my office properly (shoving a hodge podge of boxes into the closet is not unpacking) and clearing the garage, because older son will need to park in it in Winter, so he doesn’t have to scrape ice off his window on his way to hospital.  So mid September I SHOULD have everything I owe people in my hot little hands, and can then do a mass-shipping.

I’m going to request PLEASE that if I owe you stuff you email me not now but around Sept 12.  Sorry it’s been so long, but life has been way too complicated and is just starting to smooth out.

Needless to say I’ll be writing in Europe.  Yeah, we’re sort of trying to cram in a vacation too, but honestly we don’t know HOW to do that.  Our last “not seeing relatives/not convention” vacation-vacation was our honeymoon almost 33 years ago.

The only model for vacation we have is the weekends in Denver and those are very pleasant and we DO get a lot of writing done.  So we’re going to try this.  It will be mostly Guardian, which I hope to have finished when I come back.

Then I need to get Dyce 4 and the vampire musketeer II out.  And then well, there’s the black tide book, and I suppose I shouldn’t leave you guys waiting for years for the next Darship, let alone the Shifters which has been years.  So there’s those.  And that’s the rest of the year.  However, if I do those, it leaves me able to start in January with Dragons, and a couple of other things I’ve backburnered.

At least if no more disasters hit us this year. Let’s hope not.

Oh, and all of you are in charge of making sure I have a country to come back to.  Things have gotten distressingly silly out there.

Right, so your writing prompt is a beginning and remember this is NOT necessarilly romance (in fact, the three ideas I can think of all SF/F though mystery could work too):

I sat down, trembling.  He had touched me.  Nothing would be the same again.

65 responses to “I don’t Seem to Have Either Promo Post or Vignette, So this Is my Post

  1. Three deep breaths.

    Remember; TSA stooges get vicious if you give in to the pardonable urge to bite them.

    Have fun.

    Come home safe.

    • And remember not to wear the t-shirt that says ‘TSA: We make flying a touching experience’.

      For some reason they find that offensive.

  2. Once touched by the gnarled hand of Soros, I knew i was never going to escape.

    (I’ll just leave the rest of it alone rather than have Sarah put the kaputsie on my)

  3. Safe travels, and may your research bare wonderful fruit. Onto the writing exercise….(not 50, yet it’s a beginning and I think I needed this as it jogged something loose.)

    I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again. I had been the strength of the squad and the lieutenants right hand. Now? Now here I sat on the cold ground flames and screams all around me yet distant. I held the pistol he had tossed me in a mocking gesture with one round in the chamber. I saw the percussion cap on it and shakingly I lifted my hand holding the pistol. One round. I could have ended him, yet he had broken me. That single touch and I was lost. I could end it all. Right here, right now. Yet I didn’t even have the strength to do even that. Weeping, I flung the pistol away from me and fully collapsed to the ground. That’s where Corporal Matthews found me.

  4. ..I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again. Now I had the touch of The Fever. Johnny Fever. BOOGER.

  5. I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.

    Damned wight. How was I still able to move?

  6. Have a save trip. While it’s a good idea to have someone keep an eye on the cats with someone in clinicals, ours is pretty good at keeping us on schedule, not only with his food and medicine, but ours and our schedule as well. I think he considers us big, lovable, dolts who need his constant supervision.

    For icing, a garage is nice or even some sort of shelter. That said, they used to sell a sheet of heavy duty plastic that had magnets at the edges to stay secure on the windshield. It worked really well, and might be an option when parking overnight at hospitals. Unfortunately, they don’t do squat for iced-over doors and locks.

    Let’s see now:

    I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.

    He stooped, concern on his face. “Are you all right, ma’am?”

    “You touched me.”

    He looked confused. “Yes. I’m sorry if I-”

    “You can’t touch me, I’m, I’m …” I struggled to find the word in his language. “I’m taboo.

    His face was blank. Had I used the wrong word?

    “Ma’am, I’m a doctor. I’m here to help everyone.”

    “Yes, but, you touched me.

    Didn’t he understand? No one could touch me. Not since my mother, who was taboo as well, had anyone touched me. She was cursed, had done the unthinkable, and I, her daughter, was cursed as well.

    Now this kind American was cursed as well. Didn’t he understand? Didn’t he care?

    He still didn’t comprehend. “Ma’am, I can’t very well look at your arm without touching it. You have an infected wound. If I don’t treat it, you could very well die.”

    Still trembling, I raised my arm. He touched me again, this strange man from far away, so gentle, as though he feared his touch would hurt me, never realizing it was hurting him.

    Yet … he had touched me. The sky had not turned to black, nor the mountain rumbled, nor the sea rose up to pull our island back into it’s depths. He had touched me. If he could touch me, so could others.

    He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.

  7. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.

    He was hundreds of miles away and he had touched me with his mind.

    Now my telepathy was active and nothing would be the same again.

  8. Kevin — excellent!

    I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.

    The ground was cold beneath me, the grass wet with dew. I lay back, the trembling subsiding into a numb lassitude. My head rolled to one side and I could see the giant oak tree, perhaps ten long running strides away. So close. I’d been so close.

    The other kids, safe with one hand on the tree looked anywhere but at me.

    He had touched me. Now I was IT.

    It rose in unsteady jerks, unfamiliar with the lengths of its limbs and the strength of its muscles. It staggered towards the oak tree and the children scattered, screaming. It rested its head against the trunk of the mighty oak and cried out: “Ten! Nine! Eight!…”

  9. I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.

    My entire memory extended back to the cool darkness from which he stole me. Back there, I only knew I was conscious by he muffled voices and dull thudding that sometimes rose over the sound of the machine. I didn’t know I could see, until he flooded the compartment with blinding light.

    Now he stood over me, smiling, while I struggled in the stifling air. I had never known such heat. I didn’t know him, but I held firm. I held firm to his touch. I held firm under his stare, as he watched me wiggle. As he saw me jiggle.

  10. I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again. May the gods consign King Midas to Tartarus for touching me and mine.

  11. Hmmm — sent it again. Let me know if it doesn’t arrive.

  12. Have fun in Europe, wherever whatever country. I’ll do what I can on the this-country issue. Stay safe.

  13. She was illuminated by a single light shining from a recessed overhead, the surrounding walls dark for contrast. Her enigmatic smile reaching across space and time. All I could think was, “Damn you, da Vinci!” as I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.

  14. richardmcenroe

    Take your time, Sarah. We don’t want you coming back with Monster Hunter: Dyce or Guardian: Musketeer…

    • Maybe the musketeers had silver plated or wrought iron swords.

    • I really don’t care to see MHI: Goldport.
      Well, unless there is a remarkable number of PUFF exemptions for the area. Hrmm… “It’s not that MHI isn’t welcome there, just that generally MHI services aren’t needed there.”

      • Oh, I dunno. Maybe some sort of monster that is invisible to the shifters…

        • That was my thought — something is killing shifters, entities powerful enough they ought be able to protect themselves. So Dyce Dare is joined by her childhood friend*, Julie Shackleford Pitt to hunt down the killer.

          *Young Julie attended a wilderness camp near Goldport and discovered Dyce’s parents’ bookshop (and they used to binge on ice cream sundaes at The George.)

          N.B. – somebody at Wikipedia needs to do an edit on Larry’s entry:

          Correia, along with science fiction author Brad R. Torgersen were leaders of the “Sad Puppies”, a group of SF fans and authors who organized a slate voting campaign to nominate more works by conservative and libertarian authors, as well as classic “pulp” science fiction, for Hugo Awards. The Sad Puppies charged that these popular works were often unfairly passed over by Hugo voters in favor of more literary works, or stories with progressive political themes.[26][27] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Correia#Sad_Puppies

          as this (somewhat tendentiously) supports accusations of slate voting and neglects the fact that their efforts to broaden the voting base significantly increased Hugo membership sales.

        • “generally”

          I can almost hear/see the conversation…
          “Wait.. dragons.. weres… are the good guys? Or at least not the baddies?”
          “Right. Same for the minotaurs and unicorns and centaurs.”
          “Minot.. don’t they insist on being called bullmen?”
          “Oddly, not here.”

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Darkship Zombies

    • Shakespeare Hunter: Magical Darkships

      Which, obviously, is a mystery featuring abstracting dragons who refinish furniture.

  15. Hmm… sounds like the intro to a fantasy to me. Some sort of curse passed by the touch of some kind of fae or undead or something like that.

    Have to let that percolate a while to see what brews up.

  16. Professor Badness

    I sat down, trembling.  He had touched me.  Nothing would be the same again.
    An existence of lights and sounds; never feeling the softness of the wind or the rough sand.
    I had thought myself dead, the explosion throwing me into a non-corporeal torture. Losing track of time, the world changed around me; buildings rising and falling, seasons coming and going.
    Then he touched me, and I could feel, I could breathe.
    His eyes, full of compassion, tracked my movements as I wiped away the tears.
    “How?” I squeaked out, disbelieving the end of my personal hell.
    “Come,” he replied, holding a hand out to me, “We have work to do.”

  17. I ducked under the shelter to wait out the storm.
    Charismatic eyes met mine.
    “Do you know how lucky you are?” he whispered.
    Suddenly, the clouds parted, and rays of sunlight illuminated his face. I gasped and sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.

  18. I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.
    To my shock, I woke up the next morning. I was sure it had been a death sentence. The infection was spread by touch – ANY touch – after all. Was the mad doctor not mad after all? Did he find a treatment or even a cure? And if it was the “contact cure” he had boasted about, nothing would be the same again. Imagine, a world not based upon near absolute isolation!

  19. I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.
    Everything had seemed so easy when the people from Springfield Bible College had approached me. As the incoming agricultural attache to Codyland’s embassy here in Maroa, I’d have the perfect cover to make some quiet inquiries about the fate of Enfield Bible College and its staff. Worst thing the new Archon could do would be to declare me persona non grata and send me back home.
    Except that we Codylanders are engineers, not magicians. And Gorlath had found it amusing to disabuse me of the illusions of safety that had grown from that difference in mindset. With that one touch he’d placed his mark upon me. From now on he could trace me wherever I went, whether I remained in Maroa or returned home to Codyland.
    For all I knew, he might even be able to use it to spy on anyone within range of me. Suddenly I’d gone from comfortably secure in my diplomatic immunity to uncertain whether I dared even go to the ambassador and explain the gravity of my situation. Would it be safer to submit a written resignation and jump the first gate-transfer back home, buy myself a quiet little steam farm somewhere in the 708 and let Gorlath grind his teeth listening to farm reports?

    • Argh, missed the close italics at the end of “persona non grata.”

      Hopefully this closes it so that nobody else has uncontrollable italics in their post.

    • Springfield Bible College? Enfield Bible College? I attended Winchester Bible College, myself, although I did some post-grad work at Mauser Seminary. If I hadn’t gotten in there I had a safety option for research at the Glock Institute.

  20. “We need a distraction.” I’d said, softly, adjusting my cufflinks so they were a straight point in this whole crooked evening, their amber energy soothing and softly whispering I had more power than anyone suspected.

    “I could shoot the band.” Mick offered, not even looking up from pouring a splash of wine out of the decanter into his glass. I gave him a glance, and filled in before Boris could explode.

    “A cultured distraction.” Boris was very big on cultured. Boris was very deadly when someone wasn’t cultured, and I needed Mick to stay alive for six more days.

    “A cultured distraction? What, are you going to dance a little jig with Boris on the floor? I’d pay to see that.” Mick grinned at us, his remaining teeth as ugly as the gaps between.

    Boris grunted, and turned around the table full of giggling women behind him. He tapped a blonde on the shoulder, and tried to smile when she turned around. Given his smile could scare a boogeyman, I was unsurprised when the blonde squeaked, and tried to drunkenly scoot away to the next empty chair. “Ma’am. Would you care to dance?”

    “Um! Um!” She was definitely too drunk, and too terrified, to even come up with a proper denial.

    A brunette across the table in a long green dress that breathed class, with a neckline that drew the eyes and imagination, leaned forward. “You want to dance, sir?”

    Boris shook his head. “Not me. With Khavi, ma’am.” He waved a hand back at me, and I nodded to her. I did not try to smile; it only pulled on the scars and scared women more than usual.

    She smiled, and a wealth of wrinkles sprang to life around her eyes, adding an easy ten years and a spark of something missing in all the flash and trash of most golddiggers and other gigglage. She raised her cocktail in salute. “What dance, sir?”

    I really didn’t want to drag an innocent into this, nor have somebody near me that couldn’t cover my six. So I picked the least likely. “Tango.”

    Her eyes glinted as the smile crept all the way down to her lips, revealing a dimple. “Delighted.”

    There was nothing to do, then, but get up and pull her chair back, while muttering at Boris to go take care of the band. As I took her hand to help her up, I realized two things suddenly: one, that a pair of well-warded gloved lay discarded on her table, forgotten a cocktail or two back when they made it too difficult to eat the finger foods; and two, that she was a touch esper. She rose, smile frozen on her face and eyes thoughtful, tucking her hand into the crook of my arm.

    I tried to warn her off, but she whispered understanding through the skin to me as she patted my hand. A tango it would be, a dance of distraction. But as I took her hand on the dance floor, bracing the other on the small of her back, I learned why she had been drinking: a mass grave, fresh dirt and foul death, clung to her mind. The hostages we were hoping to release were already dead, freshly discovered and not yet ID’ed, because the death shock had hit too hard for her rattled nerves to think, until the cocktails gave her a drunken distance.

    And then I moved us both, interpreting the music with my body, taking the lead to command. We needed a distraction, and by Odin’s beard, I’d give them a the best distraction of the night. And through our hands I offered what tenderness I knew, what little softness had not yet been carved and burned out. Dance is a communication, a language of the heart expressed through the muscles, the skin… and I found her response seducing me as surely as the music wound us together, twining hurt hearts and wary souls.

    Seventeen years I had been alone, and bitterly satisfied. One soft little little touch, and everything changed. Soon, I would have sit down and figure out how to change our plans from rescue to vengeance, to hide her away and shelter her from the storm we’d let loose. But for here, for now, it was enough that there was nothing between us but the rhythm and the beat,

  21. I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again. Even better, I had it on video! Not only was his job forfeit, but that little shove would mean big bucks in a lawsuit settlement… never mind that I had been up in his face, screaming. Ka-ching!

    /SJW

  22. richardmcenroe

    ECLIPSE SAFETY WARNING: BEWARE THE SHADOW MUTANTS!
    Tomorrow’s total eclipse is not merely an historical event, a scientific oddity or casual entertainment, but a potentially apocalyptic occurence.
    The threat comes from a little understood effect: The Shadow Mutants. Shadow Mutants, a mysterious side effect of solar radiation, are not normally a danger, as they are usually washed out by normal direct sunlight. Even ordinary cloud layers admit sufficient sunlight to block them out.
    However, in the event of a total eclipse, this fringe radiation effect is left unchecked, with horrifying physical effects on once-normal human beings. Shadow mutant radiation swiftly penetrates the skin through soft membranes such as the eyes and nasal cavities, and begins making random, unpredictable and extreme changes in human cognition and behavior. These effects can be potentially life-threatening to individuals and those around them.
    During the eclipse, if you see a faint or unusual shadow from the peripheral illumination around the moon, especially one in contact with your person, you are at immediate risk of Shadow Mutant Infestation.
    The only proven protection from Shadow Mutant radiation is to hide in a totally isolated, windowless room. While there, it is important to make as much noise as possible, shouting, singing, praying, as Shadow Mutant radiation, normally not affected by sound waves, is easily disrupted by it in its tenuous pre-infestation state.
    Avoid other people as much as possible, even if they appear to be indulging in this preventive behavior, as it is impossible to differentiate it from early stages of Shadow Mutant Infestation while it reacts to the existential horror of taking human form.
    It is difficult to underestimate the dangers of Shadow Mutant Infestation. Germany had a total eclipse in 1932 and look what happened then. Be ready!

  23. Twosey today?

    Remembering the Past
    By Sarah Hoyt
    I grew up in a very old country. By this I don’t mean only Portugal, the political entity which dates back to the 11th century, but the land itself, the physical anchor of that political entity.

    It seems like there were statues around every corner. Some statues were so old that nothing was left of them but a vague shape of a human in weather beaten granite. Sometimes even the words on the pedestal were illegible. Sometimes you could read them.

    [END EXCERPT]

    SEE NEXT COMMENT

  24. Hah! Tried to trick me into posting two links and condemning the post to moderation, but it won’t work, WP!

    Make Mine Freedom
    By Sarah Hoyt
    In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, and the national mass hysteria that the media has been trying its best to promote – to turn two groups of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things into a national emergency – I’ve found myself in some very odd arguments.

    They usually start as all such arguments start with my saying both the antifa (named according to the same rules as the Deutsche Demokratishe Republik, of which the last two words were a blatant and invidious lie) and the Live Action Reich Players are not just generally unpleasant, ill informed and power hungry people, but that they are, as a whole, not representative of the whole nation.

    This usually leads to my being called Nazi, or White Supremacist or other epithets which remind me of nothing so much as of when we had a fight over what constituted quality science fiction and I was accused of being a Mormon White Male. One thing is as about as likely as the other, or possibly more so.

    The normal way of these arguments is that I’m then told my writings to this site are full of “dog whistles.” Since these are on the order of the “dog whistles” we’ve heard before, in which say, brown bag lunch suddenly became a racist nudge and wink, and in which “unemployed” is taken by the enlightened to mean “black” (which would logically lead you to believe the enlightened are racist themselves, but never mind.) I tend to respond that since I’m not a dog, I neither hear dog whistles nor feel any need to employ them. Besides, hearing “dog whistles” only your opponents can hear would seem to be daft.

    If the argument goes on past this – instead of the opponents telling me they were libertarian all along, and see how evil I am to think they’re Marxists, or demanding I justify the moon ferrets and flouncing off before I tell them they don’t exist – we enter truly weird territory.

    The favorite “clinching argument” of the last few days is something so bizarre, so otherworldly, that one has to wonder if one IS talking to moon ferrets.

    [END EXCERPT]

  25. analytical-engine-mechanic

    This might be a little long for a vignette, and it does use pre-existing characters and background events (which might be cheating); but in the end I just plain couldn’t resist!

    He had touched me.
    Touched me, and put a flower in my hair.
    “I dare to presume to think you might find this fair.”
    And thereby blown all the walls of the world outward beyond the horizon.
    I lifted a hand to touch it, myself, as it sat tucked behind my ear; but had to stop halfway.
    I’d ever been the one they’d all found so steady, and so strange.
    The odd girl sitting on the bare earth of the path, counting in triangles and higher.
    “A h-aon, a tri, a sia, a deich…”
    1,2,3,4,5+. 1,3,6,10,15+. 1,4,10,20,35+.
    I’d’ve gone further yet but I’d run out of both marbles and dimensions to stack them.
    I was barely seven. But the call of number was already like a faery song over the gleann.
    And though I’d been “only” a small-town girl of the ard-Gaeltachd then, none of the Five Houses of Marquesas has ever believed in wasting value, human potential least of all.

    I’d worked with a *real* genius, Carlotta Singh, just before she was killed. I’d become the custodian and lineage-holder of all her work, along with her co-wife Izabella. I’d turned a ship shield and some bombs into a survivable kilogee drive. I’d helped to save the world, literally, from a machine able to shoot a hole right through it. (And hitched a free ride myriaparsecs to the center of the galaxy with the antimatter energy of its explosion; but we’d had to do *something* with it…) Most of all I’d earned the friendship of people like Izabella Verkooerk and Ileana Borgia, and far more preciously, their respect.
    Not just as one more high-Highlands girl with an edge-and-a-half sgian geal by her side (1915 Lt. Patton pattern, more or less, with the slight curve of a Japanese-inspired heat treatment), but as something like an equal to their redoubtable natures. (“She stared into the abyss, till it stared back, till it blinked — then she looked away” said Izabella of me looking at that twenty-mile world-killer on the screen. But surely, that canna’ be me!)

    But now here I was, undone by a flower and a touch.
    Izabella always said Carlotta’s Adjacency Principle, that explains the Westenra sisters’ faster-than-light drive, really just says “there is no such thing as far away.”
    And I’d *thought* I’d believed it. Truly I had; that all along the loci of equal Newtonian absolute time, the spacelike surfaces of the Mach frame, those extra dimensions provide a potential but omnipresent shortcut from anywhere to anywhere within them.
    I’d killed the world-killer with it, identified all the points that way and scrambled it right down to the femtometer level, matter and antimatter alike. (As our last and vilest and mischanciest weapon, to “stand between our loved homes and the war’s desolation.”)
    But clearly, I’d never *believed* it at all.

    He’d called himself Alexander Schofield, calling over a vaudeo link that (like the Belters’ first overtures back to me and us) had a Data Transfer Framework origination address that couldn’t be consistent but still could be used.
    He’d been speaking from what looked like a 19th-century laboratory, like Doctor Jekyll might have had, in a flawless display of retro-punk chic; like 2040s Steampunk Baroque brought to life again. Wearing a right stylish frock coat. In real time and high fidelity.
    Yesterday he’d sent along a dozen images, in gorgeous gigapixel detail and multispectral color. Astrophotographs of a galaxy.
    Ours. From the *outside*. From the *exact* perspective of the Andromeda spiral.
    (We can *check* such a picture for consistency, knowing all we do about the stars we see and inhabit, sure. But fake such a thing? Not with all the computing power of the MIlitary Net on Zurichensee and a century to use it. It’s not quite exactly NP-completeness, but it sure acts like it.) And I’d thought *that* remarkable, at the time.
    Then, today as we were talking on the screen, he just did… that.
    Across that gulf of space and stars, he simply, directly — touched me.
    No ship, no Westenra Drive. A hole in the air.
    I had to break the link at that. Even knowing how little it might really do.
    I sat down, trembling. He had touched me. Nothing would be the same again.