Question of the Day 2-11-2018

Please feel free to answer these questions on your blog or in the responses. If you leave me a link to your post, I will re-post it on my blog. You can also feel free to forward these questions to anybody who might be interested. Thank you to those who have already shared their thoughts.

Who are your three favorite characters in a book?

While this question seems easy, it is hard to think back over all the books I’ve read and pick out my three favorite characters. So here goes…..

  1. Strider/Aragorn
  2. Vlad Taltos
  3. Matt Scrudder

Quite a range of characters there, but as different as they may be, they also have characteristics in common. Male for instance (obviously).

I expect everyone knows who Strider/Aragon is. He is one of the first characters with whom I ever fell in love. I read the books in sixth grade and never looked back. He is, in many ways, my ideal character. Strong, mysterious, loyal, courageous with a side-dish of destiny to make him a king. In fact, as a writer, my favorite part of all the books is the opening of The Two Towers.

Aragorn sped on up the hill. Every now and again he bent to the ground. Hobbits go light, and their footprints are not easy even for a Ranger to read, but not far from the top a spring crossed the path, and in the wet earth he saw what he was seeking.”

Thees ares the lines I read when I feel my writing is rubbish, because reading them reminds me of how great writing can be.

How many of you know Vlad Taltos? If you don’t, and you love fantasy, you might want to make his acquaintance. He stars in the Jhereg series by Steven Brust. Smart, wily, sardonic, wise-cracking, ruthless, heroic and I’d love to be his friend. He is a human who has risen fairly high up in a society where humans are the ‘dregs of the earth.’ He is an assassin. I wanted to say ‘with a heart of gold,’ but I didn’t want to be redundant.

“There was a sergeant at a desk. I knew he was a sergeant because I recognized the marks on his uniform, and I knew it was a desk because it’s always a desk. There’s always someone at a desk, except when it’s a table that functions as a desk. You sit behind a desk, and everyone knows you’re supposed to be there, and that you’re doing something that involves your brain. It’s an odd, special kind of importance. I think everyone should get a desk; you can sit behind it when you feel like you don’t matter.” 
— Steven Brust (Iorich (Vlad Taltos, # 12)

“He got up and walked out, so I missed seeing the powerful sorcerer doing his powerful sorcery, which would have involved him closing his eyes and then, I don’t know, maybe taking a deep breath or something.” 
— Steven Brust (Iorich (Vlad Taltos, #12)

“But we’re assassins: when we make mistakes, people live” 
— Steven Brust (Iorich (Vlad Taltos, #12))

And, finally, Matt Scrudder. I have written about Matt on this blog before, how reading the newest book in the series made me feel like I had come to visit an old friend. Matt is a private detective created by Lawrence Block. Mr. Block has a knack for writing great characters and putting them in great stories. If you haven’t read about one of Matt’s cases, you might want to check them out.
“You don’t die all at once. Not anymore. These days you die a little at a time.” 
― Lawrence BlockA Drop of the Hard Stuff

I looked down into my glass. It held club soda, but the way I was gazing into it you’d have thought it was filled with something stronger. I used to stare like that into glasses of whiskey, as if they contained coded answers. All they did was dissolve the questions, but there was a time when that was enough.” 
― Lawrence BlockThe Devil Knows You’re Dead

FFfAW Challenge 7-1-2017

She walked out of the hospital as dark mapped a rainbow-colored sky. Exhausted after a double shift. She thought about napping in the car before driving home, but knew she wouldn’t. She didn’t need the questions which would be asked.
Yawning, she slid into the driver’s seat, closing her eyes for a moment. Would he be home tonight?
Or was he out drinking…. other things.
The marriage was over. She knew that, but pretended she didn’t. She still loved him. Her first boyfriend. First love. First lover. Only husband.
There was a light on in the living room. When she stepped inside, he was standing in the hallway.
“I thought,” she said.
“I know.”
He looked down, back up at her. “Is it possible?”
“Possible? What?”
“Yes,” she said softly. “Yes.”

Response to JSW Prompt for 6-5-2017

Feel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response under 300 words. If you reply, I will re-blog your post to my site (sometimes I am slow at this, but I get there!)

I don't get mad...

“Damn it, Jason, where the hell are you?”

“Right here,” his brother replied, close enough to make him jump.

“Frick. You almost gave me a heart attack.”

Too bad I didn’t. 

Marcus rubbed dirty hands on his pants. “Can you please stay here? Where I can see you?”

Jason shrugged. “It’s not my fault.”

“I know, I know,” Marcus sneered. “It’s the witches fault. She put a curse on me,” he complained in a fake high-pitched voice, not like any witch they’d ever come across. “At least appear in front of me.”

“Last time I did that, you almost shot me,” Jason pointed out.

Too bad I didn’t.

They smiled at each other.

“Well, shall we carry on?” Marcus asked.

“By all means,” Jason replied, sweeping his arm in a go-first gesture.

Satisfied, Marcus walked down the path. Behind him, Jason slowly faded from sight and disappeared.


Sunday Photo Fiction 6-1-2017

Each week a photo is used, donated by one of the participants of Sunday Photo Fiction, and the idea is to write a story with the photo as a prompt in around 200 words.

201 05 May 28th 2017

“What the frick-n-frack is that?”

“It’s Krakus, Lord of the Anggawho,” Donny replied.

“Ugliest thing this side of… well, forever.”

“Come on, Uncle B. It’s way cool!” Bouncing up and down, Donny started an unbreathable, unbreakable, chatter about the toy and it’s origin and….

B looked around. Caught the eye of a mother who frowned. The sales clerk who shrugged.

Yeah, lots of help ladies, thanks.

No way he was going to get this freaking-fracking ugly crap for his nephew’s birthday. For one, it was ugly as sin, and for two, his bro’s wife would kill him. Or, at least, give him that ‘I-knew-you-be-an-asshole’ look he’d been getting way too often lately.

“Hey, bud! I hear there is a two-foot tall, live-action, GI Joe at the front of the store.  Wanna go see?”

What? It was the first thing which came to mind.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!” Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

The toy shrugged and waited for the next little boy. He’d get dinner yet.



Sunday Photo Fiction 5-27-2017

Each week a photo is used, donated by one of the participants of Sunday Photo Fiction, and the idea is to write a story with the photo as a prompt in around 200 words.


He stood outside Traitor’s Gate, waiting, watching, thinking ‘traitor’ wasn’t necessary the best name for the place. Upsetting-the-King Gate might be the better title. Either way meant death.

The stink from the river rose up around him, a smell he’d known every day of his life, but had never grown accustomed to smelling. The river, the heat and the stink of unwashed bodies defined his world.

The sound of the boat coming down the river came to him, sharp and clear. Wood on wood. Water on wood. Oar by oar by oar.

The Prince sat quiet in the center of the boat, hooded, head bowed, resigned to his fate. Once he was dead, nothing would stand in the way of the Pretender. And that would be the end of Britain as they now knew it.

The Gate creaked upwards. The Prince’s body shivered. The Gate closed.

He stood for another moment then turned away. Just because Britain would be different didn’t mean it would be bad.