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My Epiphany of the day: Big Bang Theory = mothership for forever nerds, people who look, speak, and act nerd from the time they were born to the moment they die, have geek, jobs, and smarts pouring out their eyeballs.        

 

Supernatural= mothership for closet nerds, people with ordinary jobs, IQ’s and life tracts but underneath the surface hide fangirls who while checking out your groceries wonder if she can pull off a Princess Leia hairdo, or guys while collecting the trash wonder which is better a sonic screwdriver or a magic wand?  

 

Still both groups know that, The spice must flow, the Shadow knows, the Force is with you; sliver is for were-creatures, iron is for faeries (and sometimes witches), holy water is for demons, its always bigger on the inside, crossroads are dangerous, pirates are swank, Loki is a puny god, and clever and passionate is always better than dumb and pretty.

 

Nerds United!

Winner!

My WIP Azuela & Vaughn (aka Contracted Servant) is already getting noticed and I haven’t exactly finished it. I submitted the first three chapters to the Critique My Novel contest. The pitch for the contest intrigued me because it said; For the 25$ entrance fee you get exposure to agents and note on your work from people who’s life is books. It sounded to good to pass up. The extra prize of placing in the top three feels like an added bonus.

I’m done rambling now. If you wish to check it out here’s the link.

 http://critiquemynovel.com/2013_winners_page

Women in Fantasy Art

I wrote a post (as my alter ego) about the quality of woman in most fantasy art and I figured it would be appropriate to share here.

http://kylafantasyforum.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/women-in-fantasy-art/ r169_457x257_5049_Fnpc_2d_knight_warrior_girl_woman_fantasy_armor_picture_image_digital_art

Nanites as internal Doctors

In researching for Azuela and Vaughn I’ve come across some weird things but this is the best.

The Dark Unwinding

The Dark Unwinding is a Steampunk story about a young woman struggling to do the right thing weighed against her own possible destruction. It’s about and eccentric genius who’s world may come crashing down because of the greed of another. The Dark Unwinding weaves and complex web of plots in a beautiful pattern.

The story of Katherine Tulman and her brilliant yet childlike Uncle Tully serves as the catalyst for a vibrant world filled with brilliantly crafted toys, a community built on fierce loyalty, and a plot to destroy the British navy.

Katherine Tulman isn’t your typical young female heroine. She has a strength and intelligent beyond her years. As an engineer myself I really appreciated her skill and appreciation of numbers and geometry. Beauty and brains, what more can you ask for in a heroine.

It’s a fast read but it may be hard to keep up with all the twist if you’re not paying close attention. The ending satisfies all the plots. I would definitely recommend it to any Steampunk lover or anyone who likes a strong character novel.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Unwinding-Sharon-Cameron/dp/0545327865/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360783638&sr=1-1&keywords=the+dark+unwinding

Paper Money

 

Ken Follet’s Paper Money follows the tangled web of events during a single day in London with a host of diverse characters. Keeping track of who’s who can be tricky at first but it pays off in the end. The essential question that this book brought up to me is, do all our struggles really matter at the end of the day.

Paper Money trails the life of hoodlums, reporters, captains of industry, and a frisky housewife. Good or bad most of them gain a little here and lose a little there. Some of what is lost is irreplaceable and tragic. Other’s win dignity, love, or just and insight into the struggle that is life.

The most resounding thing that Follet brought out in his book was crushing in its truth. After all their scheming, planning, contingency plan upon contingency most won or lost because of some event totally beyond their control. How many times have you asked, how did I get here, and realized it was through no brilliant play or your part but because of some outside force limiting your options. Hard truth Ladies and Gents, 90% of our lives are out of our hands. It’s up to us to make the rest right with our 10%.

Next on my reading list is The Dark Unwinding, by Sharon Cameron and The Great Gatsby. I might even go classic SciFi with a Heinlein book (if you don’t know Heinlein go find out, NOW).

Misunderstood Monday

Another Monday destroyed by the stresses of a weekend past. All this time I thought Monday’s were evil. I misplaced my anger and loathing. It’s not Mondays I hate so completely; it is the unfulfilled promises of the weekend that makes Monday such a chore.

If the weekend stood up to all the great ideals I have for it Monday would be just another day that goes by, another opportunity to commune with work mates and put effort into the career path I’ve chosen. The weekend never lives up to its potential. It always leaves me bare.

I start on Wednesday thinking of all the things I’m going to do in that glorious upcoming weekend. Maybe I’ll reorganize that closet I’ve been meaning to get to. Or I’ll finally finish reading that book that had me so wrapped up last week. Better yet, I could go to the park with my dog and let her run wild the way she wants to. She’ll love me for weeks after that.

Then the weekend comes and there’s a million possibilities and little time. My brain becomes overloaded. A few necessary things pop up that eat up more time than should be allowed. I get frustrated and aggravated.

Sunday afternoon comes and I’ve done nothing to whittle down the list of fun things to do. Monday looms like a hungry dragon ready to devour all of my time and hope. I give in, forget it, I chide myself. So I plop myself in front of the TV and let it lull me into oblivion.

Another weekend wasted and another Monday abhorred.  When will the cycle end? When will Monday get the credit it deserves? Sorry dear Monday, I will learn to love you before the end.

Genetic Engineering

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     In the world of Azuela & Vaughn, every human being has been subject to some form of genetic engineering. Most are as simple as removing certain chromosomal mutations and ensuring the child is free of genetic markers for diseases and mental instability.

The elite take it a step further. Azuela comes from a long line of genetically elite. Generations of her line have been pair to produce the best offspring with the best physical and mental abilities possible.  Unlike most of us who have a family history of some type of disease or condition (diabetes and asthma in mine), Azuela comes from a line of physically perfect individuals. On top of that items like height, weight, muscle tone, where optimized before implantation.

Lord Vaughn too has a complex family history of genetic engineering. From his line, different characteristics were focused on. Height, weight, muscle tone were all carefully manipulated.  The rarest feature on him are his blue eyes. Due to a virus that wiped out more than half the population, blue eyes are literally one in a million. Less than 2% of the population has blue eyes Vaughn’s blue eyes automatically label him as a royal.

Real World:    

Genetic Engineering has affected all of our lives. Much of the food we eat today has been manipulated to be high yield, from the plants to the animals we consume. Stem cell medicine and gene therapies are used to treat and even cure genetic malformations and damage due to injuries. Animals have been cloned, most famous is dolly the sheep. Scientists have cloned human tissue as well. So far, cloning humans is hot button issue but many say it is a matter of time before people have designer babies or clones.

 

TheCage

ImageWhy?: I wrote the cage to take some of those dark fantasy ideas in my head and put them in a cool setting. This piece is all about the power symbols. If you are a fan of the genre you get them right away, if not then you’re lost in an unfamiliar world. Either way I hope you enjoy the ride.

THE CAGE

I knew I shouldn’t have come back. Two weeks away for recovery wasn’t long enough, but some addictions you can only fight so long. The Cage was my worse by far.

The cage looked like one of the dozen clubs party row. It was supremely more exclusive than the others. There were no velvet ropes and long lines keeping wannabes out. Its unassuming façade and the keeps those not meant for its walls away.

Stepping through those double shiny aluminum doors, was like stepping back into sin. The good, the righteous, they don’t venture past those doors. Sex, violence, destruction lay in the shadows, swaying gently to the hard rock music pouring from the surround sound speakers.

I didn’t come for the sex, or to fight, I came for the food. During my short hiatus, one thing remained on my mind, orange glazed lamb chops and rice pilaf with mushrooms and jalapeños.

It wasn’t the rarity of the dish that made the dining experience so special. It was eating with the sounds of the pit in the background. The smell of fresh blood in the air. The company of those with a like mind.

 A young nekko, in a pink miniskirt and black skull-covered tank slid into my favorite booth. She spotted me coming and promptly moved. Her purple tail curled up around her leg in apprehension. I acknowledged her with a nod.

Despite my recent defeat, the respect I earned wasn’t tarnished. I won ten matches in the pit, tying the human record. I would be an Equalizer for life even if I never fought again.

“Welcome back, Nakari. Wasn’t expecting you for another week at least.”

“Umm, Jocelyn, my favorite girl. You know I can’t resist a good meal,” I said, giving her offered cheek a kiss. She smelled of fries and cookies.

Joce and I flirt every chance we get. As the one person, I knew I could tease and touch without consequence; it was a good way for both of us to relax. She’s the best waitress the place has which made her my first choice for recruiter. Without her, I wouldn’t have the excellent reputation I now enjoy.

“Please tell me Cael has lamb left.”

“No prob hun, I’ll tell him it’s for you.” She stroked my hair before leaving.

Coming to The Cage was like coming back home. Outsiders didn’t get it. They wondered why we spend so much time and money dressing up, playing foolish games, immersing ourselves in iniquity.

They failed to realize not all of the tails they see are custom made attachments. Not all of the red eyes they spot are contacts, or the fangs dental implants. And the magic tricks, most are more magic than trick.

For the rare human in the know, like Jocelyn and I, being up close to the supes is intoxicating, thrilling. Testing myself in battle against their like was the best experience of my life. The scars were badges of honor, sources of pride.

A church group picketed the doors one evening. The spokeswoman screamed about how The Cage was a place of sin, a place of darkness. She was taken aback when I agreed with her. After all, Sex Rooms  took up the entire upper floor.

Still it’s the only place the freaks and outcast can be themselves, with impunity. We accept each other, no matter what. Everyone deserves a place to call home. Why is ours considered socially unacceptable?

Joce brought the steaming plate in quick order. She included a tall shot of rum. The girl knew me too well. The smell of rosemary and orange glaze trickled into my nose, making my mouth water.

“Anythin else, just holler,”

“Of course, thanks.”

Knife and fork in hand, I sliced into the succulent meat. Before I could bring a bite to my mouth, Drade came into view. His miss-matched eyes, one violet, and one silver mesmerized me. Time was swallowed whole by his gaze. When I broke free, he was leaning against my booth.

“What,” I barked, feigning irritation to hide my worry.

“We must talk,” he replied, evenly.

The leather of my black, knee-high boot groaned, as I stretched it across his way. “No thank you.” I lowered my face to my meal, hoping he would go away.

He slapped away my foot and slid into the seat before me. I reached for the dagger, tucked in the belt on my corset, before remembering whom I was dealing with. I took a few more bites of my meal before acknowledging him, trying to retain as much control as possible.

“What?”

“We are to fight,” he said.

My stomach flipped and my blood went cold. Fighting a death-dealer would be the end of me. The rare daemon-human hybrid was notoriously hard to kill, shoot, hard to injure. Drade’s reputation was for crippling opponents, killing the ones that didn’t know how to back down. I had no desire to be on his list.

“I’m not here to fight, I’m here to eat.”

Drade leaned in. The musky scent of cologne, a hint of cigarettes, and a faint undertone of cinders that all daemons gave off, clung to his skin. The hard set of his jaw demanded my attention.

“The overseer wishes to regain face. The damage you inflicted to his Equalizer cost him greatly.”

 It was a matter of pride.

Refusing the fight would label me a coward. No one would hire me to fight their case for them ever again. Worse of all the, the only haven I knew would be stripped from me. That was worse than death at the hands of a warrior like Drade.

“Was my defeat not enough for him?” I threw the fork down, splashing sauce on the table.     

Drade snatched the knife from me, twirling it with one hand. “I thought your case to be honorable and your passion for it admirable.”

I couldn’t read his face. I was reasonably sure he was trying to placate me. Not knowing for sure had me on guard.

“Him making an issue of it is a sign of his weakness, not yours.”

“I don’t know what you’re playing at, but I’m in no condition to accept your challenge today. Give me your terms and be on your way,” I ordered with a strength I didn’t know was in me.

The muscles in his square jaw twitched. His eyes glowed with constrained rage. I sat back, afraid I had pushed him too far.

 “I’m not without heart,” he confessed a twinge of regret softening his husky voice.

It was so abrupt I almost laughed, until I realized he was serious. Never having spent time with the man I didn’t know what I was expecting. This wasn’t it.

The reputation of the death-dealers was brutal, cold. Drade was at the top of his game, the favorite Equalizer for the overseer of the pit. The man before me didn’t seem like a coldblooded killer. Why he felt to need to reveal this side of himself to me was beyond comprehension.

 “If you don’t want to fight, then don’t. I’d really appreciate not having you break me in half.”

He didn’t smile.

“Honor is important to me, as it is for you. My father and the overseer owed debts to each other. Those debts have been passed to me. Would you do differently? I have not heard you refuse the fight.”

“Then why the speech? If our fate is set, why discuss it?”

The silence between us was long and thick. I gripped the rum glass, the single ice cube still the size it was when it went in. They always kept it too cold inside for my taste. That’s the problem with having fairies run the place. It could be minus ten and they’d be perfectly comfortable.

The dark liquid burned my throat, much like the words defeat and destruction. They were barreling at me like a runaway train. I stood to face them like Don Quixote and his windmills. While he was immortalized because his life had a touch of bravery mixed with tragedy, I would be erased.

Erased because the overseer was too arrogant to let a perceived slight go and too powerful to be ignored. Because Drade and I lived and died on the reputations we built. Erased because I dared to be a fighter, in a world of magic, instead of to merely exist, in a world of humanity. 

“I am unsure how to explain,” Drade said. “I am rarely unsure, which makes me all the more confident you are the woman I thought you to be. My desire was to let you know, I respect you. No matter what happens between us, Selena’s case is mine as well.”

Anger swelled in me. I didn’t need his pity, his condemnation.

“No, I lost that fight. I lost her right to dispute the matter.”

I was reminded of the Equalizer’s credo. We are champions for hire. To give our lives in defense of a cause we think just is the highest honor our profession has. There are no courts in the realm of magic, just two fighters praying to whatever gods they believe in the truth is on their side. The master of the pit – the fighting stage at the rear of the restaurant, makes sure each match is settled according to the terms.

When Selena chose to marry a human, against her clan’s wishes, I volunteered to be her champion. Draco blood was passed from mother to child. They had no basis for denying her request.

The thick claw marks on my back and the scorch mark marring half my right leg was nothing compared to what Selena lost. The law of the pit ruled. She had to say goodbye to her true love. Drade couldn’t overturn that, no matter how strong a fighter he was.

“In the arena, yes the matter is settled, but there are other ways to change a Draconian’s mind.”

“You would do that?” My desire to see Selena happy overrode any worry I had for my own well-being.

There was a tortured look in his eyes that excited me. Couple that, with the way he continued to twirl the blade and I couldn’t help but imagine us in a more intimate situation.  I would have given my left breast if dangerous, tortured men, didn’t attract me so, but it did have its rewards.

“Can and will. I need, for once, to risk everything for a truly worthy cause. I need to do something for someone other than myself,” Drade said with confidence.

I wanted to be pissed at him. He was doing it to clear his conscience. There would be no need to assuage his guilt if he took it easy on me. That kind of thinking wasn’t worthy of me, so I swallowed it, with a healthy dose of rum. 

If he could save Selena, who was I to complain?

“I’m grateful for your compassion,” I said. I reached out for my knife. He laid it in my palm. Our rough hands brushed against each other.

“To terms,” he said ruining the tender moment.

“To terms.” I nodded before returning to my, now cold, meal.

“Two weeks to the hour.”

We both glanced at our watches, 6:15.

“Blades only,” I said, over a mouthful of rice.

“As you wish. One on one. Armored.”

“To the death,” I asked in barely a whisper.

“Not necessary,”

I wasn’t sure if being crippled was preferable to being killed, but I rather have the option for now. “Agreed.”

I offered up my hand. He shook. The deal was set.

I shouldn’t have come back. I should have said goodbye to this way of life the last time it nearly killed me. Some addictions you can’t defeat. The Cage is my drug of choice even knowing it will be the death of me.

End

 

 

 

 

Pulse Gun

In my new Work in Progress my first titular character, Azuela is a bodyguard. Protecting a high profile, wealthy individual she comes up against well-funded criminals at times. In turn, she has to be well versed in weaponry and fighting techniques, as well as adequately armed to deal with differing situations.

Azuela has two main weapons; her semi-automatic pistol with laser targeting and her pulse gun. The Pulse Gun is where the SciFi shows up most so I thought it was worth a more in-depth look.

The Pulse Gun has generally the same body still as a semi-automatic pistol though the squared off barrel is more distinctive. Instead of projectile rounds, the Pulse Gun uses small, self-contained electrically charged rounds that can disable an opponent.

Real World Link: The Taser

The Taser is a less than lethal option used by both law enforcement and civilians. Taser (often marketed as TASER) is a brand name and registered trademark of Taser International.[1] The word most often refers to an electroshock weapon marketed by that company which uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. The device functions by effecting “neuromuscular incapacitation”[2] and the devices’ mechanism “Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD) technology”.[3] Someone struck by a Taser experiences stimulation of his or her sensory nerves and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions. Tasers do not rely only on pain compliance, except when used in Drive Stun mode, and are thus preferred by some law enforcement over non-Taser stun guns and other electronic control weapons.[1]


[1] Taken from Wikipedia July 14, 2012