24 June, 2014

So, the Muffin did a somersault...down the back steps. Thought he had broken his nose, but all is well. Shows two things: my child has a hard noggin and that my life is never boring. Yay for rwo year olds!
The lawyer was bewildered. It was carefully obscured by his dry professionalism, but Renee could tell. The quick looks to Colton as the estates were outlined, the barely noticeable hesitation before each ‘Mrs. Savage.’ Renee felt sorry for the man, more than anything, since Colton had noticed as well and was giving his best glower. That made the man, no doubt urbane and shrewd before a judge, visibly sweat.

“Are there any questions?”

Renee shook her head; she would never have understood it even if she had been paying attention.

“Then sign here, Ma’am.” The lawyer commanded, proffering a sheath of papers. “And here, here, here, here, and here.”

“Good thing I trust you,” Renee said with a weak attempt at humor. “Not that I have any money to sign away.”

Colton followed her example and inked his spiky signatures next to hers. He didn’t even half-smile. “I want notarized copies of this made and the original sent to my holding box. This as well.” The tattered, bloodstained paper declaring their marriage slipped into the lawyer’s briefcase. “There is to be no ambiguity as to the validity of this marriage, understand?”

The lawyer’s gaze flicked between them. “Yes, sir.”

“I’ll be ready in a minute.” Colton announced once the lawyer had left with the mound of papers.

Renee was dreading this afternoon. She felt stupid, since an afternoon of shopping at the choicest retailers in London with basically unlimited cash should be a dream come true. She wasn’t even into fashion and at first was thrilled at the idea. Now she felt sick.

Colton was back in a fresh shirt. Renee summoned up the courage everyone kept saying she had.

“Colton, I don’t want this.”

He looked up from his phone. “What do you mean?” He asked in sharp voice.

“Please, I really don’t need much. I can pay for some new clothes myself. And I don’t need estates and trust funds and things.”

He relaxed a little, it seemed like. “Oh. It’s nothing.”

“It’s not nothing.” Renee insisted. “You father worked hard for you and I don’t want to take it just because I am your wife.”

Surprisingly, he smiled; a real smile, wide and showing his teeth. “I never thought to hear those words from a woman’s mouth.”

“What, you expected your wife to be gold digger?”

“I never expected to get married at all.”

Renee flinched and did her best to hide it by leaning to retie her shoelace.

“Come on,” he said. “I know some places you’ll like.”

Her uncomfortable emotions made her sarcastic. “I’m sure you do.”

He had moved to help her to her feet and held her from walking away by gripping her elbow.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

She tried to recover. “Have you seen the way Alice dresses? I don’t think she gets that stuff at Sears.”

He didn’t quite believe her, she could tell. But nothing was going to induce her to bring up Felicia’s name or mention any other previous girlfriend. He examined her for a moment, then let it go.

09 June, 2014

500WC - what: two in row?

Renee had thought she had the man’s measure. But sitting at the breakfast table watching him absentmindedly eat scrambled eggs whites while reading his phone…if she had thought him unapproachable, he was now downright glacial.

“Do you have to work today?” she asked as he took a drink of mineral water. That seemed a safe question.

“No.” He shifted his focus to a slim laptop and typed, a crease deepening between his eyebrows.

“What are you doing?” She asked finally, once it seemed unlikely he would expound on his monosyllable.

He moved back to his phone, texting almost as fast as he had been typing. “Work.”

Another monosyllable and as enlightening as the last.  She shrugged and took a bite of her extremely unhealthy breakfast. Rosa had presented the steaming, aromatic dish with a flourish, waiting expectantly by the table as Renee took a satisfied bite. The woman’s beam of pleasure was worth every calorie of the concoction of pastry, cinnamon and cream. Renee had no idea what it was, but she could die happy having tasted it.

Piqued by Colton’s general terseness and unhuman adherence to spinach smoothies, Renee loaded up her fork and breathed a sigh of contentment.

“You should try this, Colton,” she said, a smile her parents would be wary of plastered across her face. “Its wonderful.”

He grunted, sparing a glance for the perfectly caramelized custard adorning the creation.

“It won’t kill you,” she cajoled, offering the fork. “Besides, all that rabbit food will cancel it out.”

A small success: he half smiled, one side of his mouth twitching up before he could stop it.

“No.” He countered. “But thank you.”

Well, she had tried. She ate the forkful a little rebelliously. She really should be eating better. But Rosa made such wonderful food and was obviously starved of appreciation for her talents.

“So, what are we going to do today?” Renee asked, assuaging her conscious by peeling an orange. And she had read that cinnamon was good for heart health.

Colton shut his laptop. “My lawyer is coming at 9. He will go over the estates with you.”

Before she could answer, Colton had dialed a number and was speaking Spanish much faster than she could follow. He repeated something several times, an order she thought, that the other person did not want to carry out.

Llámame cuando oyes la palabra. Then you’ll get some clothes.”

Renee didn’t have the stomach to make a quip at his rudeness. She set down her fork. “Clothes?”

“The best way to stop this lesbian nonsense is to be seen together.” He looked over her. “You need some different clothes.”

She knew she was blushing and was cross. “What’s it matter?”

He answered both implied questions with one answer. “Its bad for my company and the shareholders.

She seriously contemplated hurling her breakfast all over his very lovely suit, perfectly creased and worn effortlessly. Instead she took another bite.

“Won’t it be dangerous to be out in public?”

He always had an answer for everything and it was annoying.

“Any known links will have trouble getting into the country. I have hired some security, as well.”

Renee managed a smile. “Aren’t you handy.”

He said nothing and went out. Renee sat and ate another helping, just to spite the universe.

03 June, 2014


I think I figured out what will happen next with these two. Enjoy!

Renee knew if she allowed her smile to slip for a moment, she would start bawling her eyes out.

“You sleep in here,” Colton announced, tossing her bags onto the wide bed. “I’ll be next door.” He left the room and the door shut. The walls in this residence were diametrically different to the worn elegance of his Spanish home. No sound penetrated between the rooms.

Renee sat on the bed and simply stared at the floor. The carpet was beautiful, a soft grey with the faintest hints of a pattern in the weave. It matched the coloring of the bedding and the rest of the room. The monochromatic tones were soothing, easing some of her tension after the day of hectic travel.

She slipped off her shoes and crept into the hall. Peeking around the corner, she double-checked his door was shut, then went back out to the main room.

The condo was in the upper half of a skyscraper, looking out over the lights of downtown London. Giggles rose up inside her as she took in the view out the floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows. Real giggles, not ones dredged up to dispel her worry and fear.

She had not realized what Colton meant when he said he was wealthy. “Just my luck” she had quipped to her parents, likely now fast asleep in their luxury hotel. Rosa and X were lodged in yet another small house, commuting to work so Colton could have his condo to himself.

Not anymore. Renee scowled at her translucent reflection. She should have gone with her parents. No one knew her here and likely wouldn’t care if she was around or not. Especially if all his friends were of Felicia and Y‘s sort.

Remembered mortification made Renee cringe. What do you do or say when a six foot, one-hundred twenty pound beauty slinks across the floor and calls you a cow? Most of her, the rational part of her mind that didn’t have a constant headache, knew that her own weight was perfectly healthy, that she was pretty, and that personality was more important anyway. The other part of her…the other part of her needed to get some sleep and stop worrying about it.

Apparently the floors were built to be silent as well.

“What are you doing up?”

Renee jumped and whirled around. Colton turned on a light, scowling across the room at her.

“It’s late.”

Renee summoned up her tartness. “And since I haven’t had a curfew since junior high…”

His scowl only deepened.  “You need to rest.”

Of course he was right. He was always right, but she refused to admit it. “So do you,” she retorted. “Why aren’t you in bed?”

She had him there. He winced a little and looked away. He was really bad at lying. She wondered at him being a successful businessman. Didn’t that involve him making shady deals with unsuspecting buyers?

He sighed and looked sheepish now.  “I just wanted to check the front door.”

As she had been contemplating checking the door herself, notwithstanding the armed doorman, he keycode in the elevator and the electronic doorlock, she said nothing. He grunted and went to the foyer. Renee shook her head in disbelief. This apartment had a foyer. And cashmere throws on the leather couches. Silk sheets?

“What are the sheets made of?”

Colton looked confused. It made him look younger and endearing. “Sheets?”

“The sheets, in the bedrooms. What are they made of?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Why?”

Renee smiled for real for the first time all day. “Nevermind. Go to bed.”

He grunted and left. She sighed and went to her own room, hoping tomorrow would finally be better.


30 March, 2014

Book review and sundries

Well, my B-cells and T-cells (i.e. immune system) put up a good fight, but were in the end overwhelmed by the Muffin's germiness. Sick. :(

Compounding the general funk of my brain right now is my complete inability to write anything on Colton' and Renee's story. I'm really sorry. But I just can't.  I could give you 500 words, but they would be stupid words about them arriving in Heathrow and collecting their baggage and getting a Jamba Juice before leaving the airport. In a word: lame.

Instead, I will give you a book review! I am a member of a bookclub; we read a book every month and talk about it a bit, eat some snacks and then gossip while our babies are being watch by someone else. Its lovely.

Last month's was Divergent by Veronica Roth. The gal selected it because her daughter was reading them (a wise mom) and because the movie was coming out.

I did not like it. Reasons:

1. I am incredibly glad I am not a teenager anymore and I struggle reading about 16 year olds and their problems. A caveat to this: Ms. Roth did a fantastic job 'sounding' and thinking like a 16 year old. Her voice was spot on.

2. I won't give spoilers, but I read the synopsis of the second two books on wikipedia. Seriously? Seriously! That's what's behind the factions? Yikes.

3. There is no way I would go along with such a stupid idea for a structured society. Which I guess shows I would either be killed in the Dystopian War fighting for my freedoms or be...divergent. Which I guess is the big selling point of the book. If you feel like an out of place teenager (like Tris) then you would also be divergent! Again, kudos to Ms. Roth for nailing her audience.

4. Four. Sure, I like a tall strong handsome man (Husband fills that role nicely), but I thought it was a little lame that she fell for her 'instructor.' And they went through all the cliche first relationship misunderstandings.

5. The science! So bad, so bad.

So, if anyone wants a free copy of the paperback, not even creased in the binding, I will send it to you. My usual book trading partner is not interested at all.

This next month: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. I do like it so far. we'll see how it ends.
And just because:

Busily coloring a masterpiece! Notice the locks on all the cupboards: he is a one baby hurricane.

18 March, 2014

Germs and 500WC

The month of germs.

Right after my last post, the Muffin came down with a bacterial sinus infection that spread to his eyes. In a word: gross. Quoting his pediatrician: 'Wow. That's a lot of snot. Gross.'

So, a round of antibiotics finally cleared up that. Then he started teething, one of the fat ones in the back. He's a terrible teether, rash, fever, the whole shebang. Then he developed a staph infection which spread from his face to his whole body.

More antibiotics which were done a week ago and so far nothing else has reared up to complicate things.

I am cautiously optimistic that we may be done with infections for a little while.

Yikes. And poor Muffin. Oh, and a kid bit him at daycare. He hardly cried at all, they said. My brave little man!

But enough gushing about the baby.

This chapter took me a long time to write. Obviously Colton is physically attracted to Renee, but I felt it was more an emotional aftershock of the trauma of the explosion. Now, however, it is time he started getting his feeling sorted out.

Which is why I think I will shift the narrative to Renee. It seems like a good place to alter things. They're leaving the country. You'll see the Colton has started wondering what Renee's real feelings about all this are.

And maybe a change will provide some impetuous.

Here you go!

Word Count: 596

Now that Colton had imagined all the graphic scenarios that were possible, just walking out to the car made his heart race. The palm that steered Renee into the backseat was clammy and shaking. With quick looks up and down the street outside his gate, he slid in next to his wife.

Police cars blocked the lower end of the street, a mass of journalists beyond.

Renee looked amused. “All the mystery is only encouraging them.”

“Best I could come up with.” He clipped, as the car moved toward the gate. The heavy steel moved smoothly inward, achingly slow to Colton’s nerves.

“I should have worn those huge movie star sunglasses.” She continued. “And taken a separate car. Then you should let it leak you’ve fired Alice. The headlines!”

Colton turned to snap at her flippancy. The sharp words died in his mouth. Her smile was bright, but forced. Her brown eyes also darted across the road, her hands gripped together in her lap.

He placed his hand over them, trying to comfort her. Her smile faltered a bit, but she only gave a little laugh and subsided.

Moreno strode up to the lead police car. His grimace was obvious and Colton promised himself he would donate generously to the Policeman’s Fund this year. A legacy, if they could just get to the airport unmolested.

A wave, a fresh blast of sirens and they were off.

As they pulled into the street, Colton saw his overwrought imagination had failed him. There were no flashes of light from the media beyond the barricade. A sea of mobiles held aloft reflected in the rearview. It removed some of the drama and romance from the situation.

Colton had to control his breathing as they followed Moreno along the street so he wouldn’t hyper ventilate. An unexpected laugh bubbled up before he could stop it. He pointed out the tinted window, directing Renee’s gaze to the fashionable house they were passing. An old woman peered out from behind designer shades, a smart phone pressed to her ear as her lips moved rapidly.

“That house listed last year at two million Euros. Three million dollars.” He said, still grinning. Renee understood.

“I’d bet she’s going to tell her back fence neighbor all the details once we’re gone.” She agreed. “People are people, no matter the money, I suppose.”

“You’ve certainly upset the neighborhood. The old guard must be horrified.”

Renee’s smile was fake again. “’American trash,’ is what I’m called today. Another tabloid speculates I’m either some con-artist or a Russian operative. How they came up with both those theories from the same evidence…”

Colton had to bite back another bark of command. Perhaps his hypersensitivity to the possible dangers extended to his wife as well. She was trying to make light of it for his sake, showing a brave façade to cover her own hurt and fear.

Colton had thought of her actions that day ceaselessly since he woke aching the following morning. He empathized with what she had felt, why she had acted. But after? What was she feeling now? Her perpetual cheeriness tended to grate on him. Was that all an act as well, covering up how terrified she was? How terrified she was of him?

“We’re at the main road, sir.”

“Good. Get us out of here.” Colton ordered. Renee stiffened as he slid an arm behind her shoulders. He pressed a kiss to her head, smelling his shampoo in her hair once more.

“Don’t worry, Renee.” He said quietly. “I promise I will keep you safe.”


18 February, 2014

500 WC

Four tests done! That was a trying few weeks.
In other news: the Muffin started daycare today! His take home sheet listed his mood as "sad :( " But he was happy when I peeked in before announcing my return. Growing up fast!

500 WC
Word Count: 509

It was if the last few days had been erased. The small bit of camaraderie he and Renée had developed waned perceptibly. Colton was surprised that he missed it. He thought about suggesting a trip to the local town, getting some lunch. But as he stood looking out his bedroom windows, there were an unusual number of cars parked along the street. Their nonchalance was painful.
He sighed and drew the curtains.

Renée was reading a book in the living room, fairly bristling with warning to leave her be. Colton tried to read the newspaper, but the ticking of the clock grated on him. Disgusted with the New York exchanges, local media and life in general, he threw the circular down.
"Let's leave." he said, surging to his feet.

Renée gave him a scathing look. "Rosa said there are photographers up and down-"
"Yes, yes," Colt dismissed. "I mean leave the province. Leave the country! I have a flat in London ; let's go."
Renée stayed silent for a long moment, longer than he thought she would. Then she started laughing.
"What?" he demanded.
"Its just so ridiculous," she giggled.
Exasperated and with no incentive to stifle it, Colt snapped back at her. "Do you want to go or not? I'm leaving. And giving Rosa leave!" he added.
"Well, in that case," Renée giggled, abruptly all smiles. "Mom and Dad?"
"Everyone can come," he said. "Go get packed."
Her packing speed was proportional to the size of her wardrobe. She was back downstairs before he was done with the ticket arrangements.
"Mom and Dad are ready whenever you want." she informed him briskly. "question is, how are we going to get down the street without being mobbed?"

Colton was already dialing.
"Sergeant Moreno."
"Its Colton White."
"Ah.  How may I help you?" the man's tone was not the least inviting, but Colton plowed on.
"We're leaving the country. Flying to England. But there's an army of photographers down the street."
"I'm sorry, Mr. White, but there is-"
"I'm worried one of them might be a terrorist."

Renée's eyebrows went up and Colton waved her worry away. It was the best tactic he could think of to bully the police into escorting them to the airport. They had inconvenienced him enough; it was time to repay the debt.
Moreno spoke slowly. "Do you have any evidence of this?"
"Well, no," Colton admitted. "But if I were them and looking to harm my wife, I would hide in the press, maybe try to get to the door. Attack from a crowd." His stomach went queasy just thinking about it: the damage that could be done, how effective a bomb or gunman could be in a narrow street like his.
Moreno let out a breath. "I see your point. However..." Colton waited with crossed fingers. "Perhaps I could spare a few cars. Clear the street for you."
"I'd really appreciate it, sergeant."
"But only as far as the next arterial."
"That would be great. We're ready whenever you are."
"Alright. Good bye."

20 January, 2014

How to write with kids in the house

Ha...haha...hahahahahahahaha...phew...wipes tear...

That's a good one.  I was thinking I might have some great wisdom to share now that I have a wee one toddling around, but... basically no. At least my advice is: if you have a significant other, inform (beg) them that you need some alone time and schedule it. That's the only way I get anything done these days.

The actual clock time is not so important as the 'baby time.'  something like: after his bath, you will watch the Muffin watch Sesame Street while I (fill in the blank.). also multitask. As I write this , I am riding the recumbent bike. No other time to exercise!

Of greater concern is my braindeadedness for crafting fiction after a day chasing the Muffin. My thoughts go like this: it was a dark and stormy night. She was all alone in the house. So she took a hot shower with no baby beating at the bathroom door and then went to bed at 8 pm. It was glorious. The end.

Compelling, no?

So now I don't worry about actually making progress on one thing. I just write what sounds good and when that peeters out, I'm done. No stress. I have enough already.

Good luck!

16 January, 2014

When your characters astonish you

There is this long (like 130,000 words) story I've been working on for a while. Its a space opera.

I know, incredibly silly.

At least that's how it began. My method was to take every ridiculous thing from every space story I've ever seen/read and compress them into one place. It turned out awesome, no sarcasm at all. I love it.

And since I loved it, I kept working and refining, writing back story, etc. Suddenly, though, it wasn't silly anymore. It kind of turned into a interplanetary geopolitical military drama. Though there are still some silly bits, its now quite heavy.

And yesterday, as I was thinking about my main character, I realized something astonishing: he is autistic. High functioning, but definitely on the spectrum. He is a mathematic savant, required structure in his life, has difficulty with personal relationships and expressing his feelings, and when faced with emotional trauma reacts by either shutting down or lashing out in unpredictable ways.

This changes my whole view of him, the story and his relationship with the main female character (who is the queen of the solar system; like I said, still somewhat silly.)  I have experience working with children on the autism spectrum, but not enough to do it justice I think. autism is a fascinating way of thinking, a truly different view of life. Next step: go research autism spectrum disorders!

Moral of the post: allow your characters to be themselves. Many times they become something even more interesting than you could think of originally.

Now, the Muffin is trying to climb my leg, so I should go. :)

13 January, 2014

Triumphant Return!

Or not.

I was reminded today of my lack of activity on this bloggy thing and checked the last post.  "Its not so bad," I thought, "November 9...of 2012!!!"


So, the Muffin is less of a muffin these days and more of an extremely speedy layer cake. Chubby, loud, and given to sprinting to the things he wants. He regularly runs so hard into the couch, he bounces back and lands on his butt. But, he has started this wonderful thing called 'independent play.' Never for very long, but enough that it only took me four separate sittings to write this post. :)

So, new resolve, appropriate for the new year! Now I must go. Silence has fallen and that's generally bad...