Old School: Both the Snippet and the Music

So…

I’ve got three writing projects going.  I’ve got three writing projects, a more-than-full-time responsibility to get my brewery off the ground, and a full-time job to, well, pay the bills* in the meantime.

*Mainly for the health care, to be honest.  No matter what the pay, you have to “add” several hundred dollars a month to account for the savings on health insurance…which is just freaking wrong.  A person should not have to take a shitty job just to go to the doctor once in a while.  That, however, is a rant-post for another day…

Anyway…I’ve got three projects going.  The first is to finish Connor & Oz’s stories.  The second is the prep-work for the fantasy series about which I have dropped a number of hints.  The third is a re-write of an old cycle of trunk-stories I have had sitting around for many years now.

Oh yeah, I still have to turn out the occasional article every now and then.

*sigh*

I really, really need an assistant.  Anyone out there want to work for…well…nothing?  I’ll gladly pay in beer next Tuesday for work today!

Ahem.

So, my trunk-stories…

I started thinking about them a while back, actually.  I started thinking about them because one of the characters in Somewhere Peaceful to Die — and who reappears in The Flicker of Ghosts — had his origin in these older stories.  Originally, I just wanted to re-read this character’s origin in one of these old stories.  I wanted to re-read, then I started to re-write based on what I knew about this character from his reappearance (10ish years laters) in Connor’s life…

Then I couldn’t stop the need to re-write…I had to think about re-writing not just that story, but also the one that preceded it in the timeline…

Yeah, welcome to my hell.

At any rate, I thought I might do a totally different snippet (since I am holding off any more snippets from Connor & Oz’s stories until Flicker is ready for it…)

Please note, my standard snippet warning applies in that this is a rough-ish draft.  Added to that warning is the caveat is that I have not yet re-written this particular story, and the current version I am snippeting went into the trunk for some very valid reasons!

Anyway, here we go:

“Blood on the Snow”

Blood dripped on the snow.  Drew could not tear his eyes from the slowing trickle of red, could not tear his eyes from the corpse of his friend.  Ekala’s dark skin was already waxy and pallid…or was that his imagination?  Drew had seen death before — had given orders that led to death, in fact — but that had been in the heat of battle.  He had never witnessed a cold-blooded execution, never seen a throat expertly slit in a display of power and control.

He knelt stiffly on the ground and barely felt the cold through his shock and fear.  Stifled moans and shuffling movement from the forty people kneeling behind failed equally to penetrate that numbness.  Drew could hear only the pounding of his own heart and the gasps of his own breath.  Even the clubs and electric shocks from the guards were distant sensations.

Just hours before, his sleep had been shattered by a kicked-in door and an avalanche of black-clad soldiers.  His hands had been bound and a heavy hood thrust over his head before he knew what was happening.  He was marched from his room to the sound of crashes and voices echoing up and down the hall of the hotel.  He had struggled and pulled, only to have his resistance cut short by a savage kick to the groin.  Worst of all, he remembered, had been the anonymity and silence of his captors; they had had no words for their prisoners, just shoves and blows to direct them into waiting transports.

Drew was no stranger to fear’s bite.  Even in the midst of the chaos and terror of combat, however, he had maintained the ability to focus and function.  His sudden arrest was different; it had left him weak and dazed, all-but overwhelmed by uncertainty and fear.  Packed inside those overcrowded transports, Drew’s fear had churned under the stifling isolation of his hood and he drifted very near to the edge of total panic.

“Stay strong!  Ey Ukhnem!”

The sounds of heavy blows told the cost of the words Ekala had yelled.  In spite of that cost — or perhaps because of it — that reminder of their ship’s motto was enough to breathe strength into the captives for the long flight to their new home.  The long flight to the frigid prison camp where Lieutenant Commander Garrett Ekala, executive officer of the destroyer Volga, paid the bloody price for his defiance.

Drew finally lifted his eyes from Ekala’s body to study the one who had ordered the execution.  Short and powerfully built, as were all the inhabitants of this world, he projected a sense of menace and intimidation at odds with his carefully combed hair and spotless uniform.  The brown hair and fair skin could have been found anywhere on Earth, but his sloping forehead and elongated skull showed just how distant were humanity’s cousins on this world.

Every muscle locked with dread, Drew could see nothing else as that figure began to speak in a harsh, guttural accent that was at odds with a surprisingly high-pitched voice.  There was an odd rhythm to his speech, but not enough to prevent understanding.  “Prisoners!  I am Ceked Mirko, commander of this facility.  Your invasion of this system is a crime against the Kasdech State.  You have been tried and convicted, and will be held until the threat you represent is removed.  This camp and its staff are here for no other purpose, and you will obey every instruction and regulation without fail.

“We are aware that you are soldiers in your military, and you will be treated as such.  You will maintain your own chain of command.  Your officers will be responsible for the actions of each of you.  Be warned, we have no patience for foolishness or games.  If you violate the rules, if you cause problems, you will be punished.”

Mirko paused to gesture at Ekala’s body, lying motionless in his own rapidly freezing blood.  His voice was cold as he continued, “This man was an example.  Test me and you will share his fate.  You will be housed and fed, in spite of your crimes, and in return you will obey and cooperate.  Printed rules have been left in your barracks.  Learn them.  Dismissed.”

The squat, bulky commandant turned and marched towards the large gate in the high fence surrounding the prison yard.  Drew’s grasp of the local language was truly limited, but still enough to understand the words the ceked barked to a much younger aide, “Process them.”

Even with the ceked’s menace and threat still wringing in his ears, Drew surprised himself with an ability to note seeming minutiae — his own people had learned the Kasdech language through intermittent observation and study, but who had taught those of this world English?

Drew’s legs were numb from the icy slush and he struggled to control his body’s increasingly urgent demands for warmth.  He wanted to stand and move, if only to get his blood flowing.  The commandant, Mirko, paused at the gate to bark more orders at his staff.  He ignored the nods and salutes that followed, and instead took a last look over the assembled prisoners.  Drew’s green eyes met Mirko’s brown and a shiver ran down his spine.  Behind that impassive, near-human face lay a calculating menace that scared the hell out of him.

He still could not grasp what was happening, could not focus enough to regain even a semblance of mental balance.  Every time he tried to think through the implications, tried to imagine what the Kasdechs could hope to gain by imprisoning them, the terror of the prison yard snapped him back to the present.

Survive first, commanded the small voice of wisdom and memory at the back of his mind, worry about why later.

The sky was a quilt of black and grey that promised yet more snow and rain.  From the comfort of their ship in orbit, even from their hotel near the planet’s capital, Kasdech’s cold climate—not much more than freezing, on average—had seemed of little concern.  Outdoors in the wind and mud, wearing nothing more than ill-fitting slops thrust on them during the long flight, that cold was a brutal, punishing force.

Drew was beginning to shake uncontrollably when a new voice, even higher and lighter than Mirko’s, bellowed an order to stand.  Drew’s eyes would not focus properly and he struggled to fix them on the small tables now set up at the front of the yard.  A Kasdech sat behind each of those tables, with small screens in hand and hard-shelled, black cases beside them.  The harsh floodlights made a nightmare scene, the stark contrast between shadow and light carrying an air of surreal doom.  One glance told Drew the number of guards had not diminished with the commandant’s departure; there were at least dozen inside the fence armed with clubs and shocksticks, while many patrolled outside with compact, lethal looking rifles.

“You will step forward and address the appropriate officer when your name is called,” the same, light voice ordered.  Drew looked past his fear and saw the speaker was young, barely more than a boy.  His thick accent only emphasized how weak was his attempt to emulate the commandant’s cold menace.  “When they have finished, you will be escorted to your barracks.  You will stand in silence until called.  After all are processed, the normal rules will be enforced.  Until your name is called, remain standing at attention.  Any deviation will be punished.”

Drew watched in helpless frustration while several of his shipmates were called forward to stand in front of those tables.  The three spacers were stripped and left to stand naked, offering short answers to terse questions.  The information sought was only the most basic and it was just minutes before the first three prisoners were manhandled aside, to be hosed down a few yards away.  That there was more than simple water in those hoses became immediately apparent when the spray stopped.  The dripping spacers stared in horror as every hair they possessed lay in the mud, washed away by whatever chemical had been sprayed over them.

Even as more names were called, the guards drove the newly processed prisoners into the first of the large wooden buildings at the yard’s far end.  Resistance and curses were met with yet more blows and shocks.  Spacer after spacer was called forward to be processed, any resistance easily overcome by the guards.  All were stripped, questioned and washed raw.

The march of spacers continued until at the tables stood the group’s only female.  The Kasdech officer wore a look of discomfort as he barked his questions, and his eyes seldom left the small computer in his hand.  Marine Sergeant Sandra Coombs was anything but delicate, however, and her growling answers seemed finally to satisfy him.  She was led away, naked and fuming, with an expression that told of the obscenities and insults boiling inside.

Drew remained at silent attention throughout the entire process, and the shivering numbness built until he began to fear a collapse.  After what seemed an eternity just two others were left with him, awaiting their own turns under the Kasdechs’ brutal handling.  Next to Drew stood Max Howard, a newly commissioned ensign and the only other officer among the prisoners.  Beyond the ensign, Drew was relieved to see, stood the familiar, friendly figure of Sam Athos.  Sam was more than just a senior spacer in Drew’s own shipboard department, he was a friend known and trusted for more than a decade.

Finally, their names were called and each marched to a separate table.  In front of Drew sat the young Kasdech who had tried so hard to ape the menace of his superior.  He unconsciously measured the seated young officer and knew he towered over the other.  Drew was a big man, tall and broadly built, but even with that advantage in height, he doubted if he much outweighed the short, stocky Kadechs.

“Name?” the boy demanded in his harsh, high-pitched voice.

A moment for study and Drew decided the kid was no more than eighteen or nineteen.  He tried for terse contempt, but was betrayed by a voice shaking with cold, “Andrew Nolan.  Lieutenant, Imperial Navy.  Serial number 1783-SH2700-B735.”

Pain overwhelmed Drew.  His body went rigid and he gasped, unable to move or to breathe under the pain.  The pain disappeared in an instant, and he stumbled weakly against the table.  The guard at Drew’s shoulder pulled away the shockstick he had just administered and growled an unintelligible threat.

“Answer the question I ask.  Do not forget your place.  What is your position aboard your warship?”

“Weapons officer,” Drew replied, still fighting to recover from the punishment.  He hated these people, hated this camp.  Hell, he thought, I hate this whole damned world.

“Strip.  Appropriate clothing is waiting inside the barracks.”

Drew’s shaking hands struggled to remove the thin sandals and too-small clothes he had been given, even as he tried to focus on the questions the young Kasdech continued to bark at him.

“You are the commander of this group?”

That brought a surge of anger.  Ever since he had landed on their world, Drew had answered the Kasdech’s questions about his position and role aboard Volga.  He had reiterated the information his ship had shared with them before he and his crew had ever set foot on this planet, but that last was too much.  “You son of a bitch,” he snarled, “you just murdered the commander of this group.”

The waiting guard stepped forward, shockstick rising, but the officer’s upraised hand halted him.  “He is dead.  You are now the commander, yes?”

Drew eyed the squat Kasdechs and guessed he could take both guards in a fair fight.  With reinforcements just steps away, however, and with a body half-frozen and exhausted, he knew such a fight would be anything but fair.  He would gain nothing but a vicious beating.  

“Yes, I’m in command now,” he spat, biting back the rage and venom.

“Place your hand here,” the officer commanded as he held out a small screen, glowing palely blue.  Drew did so and watched as the light pulsed under his palm.  Before he could even twitch, the guard grabbed his arm and immobilized it with immense strength.

Maybe I couldn’t have taken him, Drew thought in frustration as he struggled to move his arm even minutely.

There was a sharp pain at his elbow as the officer jabbed a needle into the appropriate vein and drew what looked to Drew to be a liter of dark blood.  The sealed vial was placed alongside many others in the black case then the officer ordered, “You are dismissed, lieutenant.  Go to your barracks and learn the rules.  You will find the punishment for violations…unpleasant.  Remember, you are responsible for the actions and behavior of your men.”

The boy waved and the guard’s grip on Drew’s arm loosened, but did not disappear entirely.  He looked over to see Sam and Max already moving, then felt a sharp tug to start his own progress.

Kedai!” the guard snarled.

Move.  The meaning was as apparent from his tone as it was from Drew’s limited vocabulary.  His turn under the hoses was a misery of more than just cold and wet, it was the loss of dignity and distinction.  Drew was not particularly vain, but to have his hair so casually washed away seemed a violation of the worst sort.  Finally finished, he stumbled on numb feet towards the barracks.  The mud through which he squelched was already freezing into solidity.  A long roll of thunder accompanied his walk, and a heavy, freezing sleet began to fall just as he reached the steps leading up to his new home.

The guard had kept a grip on him the entire time.  With a final grunt, he pushed Drew forward and turned to move back to his comrades at the main gate.  Drew tried to follow his progress across the yard, but lost sight as the floodlights snapped off to leave the night broken only by the blinding flashes of lightning.

{Musical Note — well…let’s be honest here: I thought about the perfect song. I looked for the perfect song. Then I saw a squirrel. So…well…yeah, we’re gonna go random, and go back…way back. Way back to a song I love that has nothing to do with anything. I just happen to love it. And, yes, I also have some specific school memories around it. And, no, those memories are none of your business. I’m not drunk enough for them to be your business! There is more music, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy…}

Swearing-Nerd is Evil, So Let’s Snippet Instead

I feel like I’ve been missing something lately…

Hmm…let’s think back over the list of my (relatively) recent nerdy posts and see where we stand:

History-nerd?  Check.

Anime-nerd?  Check.

Sci-fi/fantasy-nerd?  Check.

Astronomy-nerd?  Heck, even that one gets a check by it, if only for my effort to throw some cold water on Elon Musk’s rush for a manned flight to Mars.

Well…shit.  What nerd-isms do I have left?!  Booze?  Uhhh…I’m still in the coffee phase of my day, so I think I’ll leave that one alone, thank you very much.  How about sailing-nerd?  Not even other sailors want to read random thoughts about sailing!  Politics?  No.  Just…no.

Okay, this is getting frustrating.

Harrumph!

Pretty soon, if this keeps up, we’re gonna end up with swearing-nerd.  While that’ll be fun for me, I’m not sure anyone else wants to read about just how many ways you can tell the world to get bent if you speak several languages.*

*I especially like to mix and match my swearing — a bit of Japanese to leaven a good Czech “fuck off” is always entertaining…

Well, since I couldn’t come up with a post if you held a gun to my head this morning, I suppose it’s time to throw in the proverbial writer-towel and just go with an old standby…

The bit below is not a part of the DockRat cycle of stories (the Connor & Oz series), but it is a random scene from the background material to those stories that I have been toying with expanding into its own story:

Snippet: “First Flight”

Michael Brady was out to get drunk, and nothing was going to interfere with that.  Not the girl sitting next to him — the one trying to distract him with conversation and jokes — and certainly not the bartender who had short-poured his last drink.

He tried to watch intently while she poured a new one, tried to keep track as she mixed the different types of booze.  He tried, and he failed.  His eyes refused to focus and his brain was barely able to keep up with even the most basic of movements.  The empty drink at his elbow certainly had not been his first of the night.  It hadn’t even been his fifth.

The girl touched his arm, her voice bright and cheerful, “So, Mikey, you were about to tell me what you’re doing here at the beach.  No one comes to Coronado anymore.  Not after the war…”

Mikey?  Shit.  Brady would have walked away if she weren’t so completely gorgeous.  And if he could have walked, after all the drinks, without embarrassing himself.  A quick glance around the half-empty bar and he the saw bouncer glowering at him, trying, evidently, to decide when enough was enough.  Brady quickly looked away; he’d been thrown out of far too many bars over the last six months.

He turned back to the bartender just in time to receive his drink.  A long pull, then, and he turned finally to the girl next to him.  He wanted to be contemptuous, to sneer at her naivety and foolishness.  But he also wanted sex.  He wanted sex, in fact, considerably more than he wanted to feel superior, so…”I’m takin’ a break from workin’ for a while.  I’ve been followin’ the coast road from Alaska, and this is just my latest stop.”

“Wow, that sounds like fun!  How long’ll you stay?  If you came for the ocean, by the way, you got a problem.  The water just ain’t all that safe, not with all the radiation pouring out of the San Diego ruins.  I do know a couple places, though, that aren’t so bad…”

The invitation was there, written in her hesitation and in her eyes, and Brady weighed the benefits of one more drink against his fairly urgent need for physical companionship.

The drink won.

Another long pull, then, and he rubbed a hand over his freshly shaved head.  Intricate vines and leaves writhed and shifted on his arm, the ever-changing designs and colors running from wrist to chest.  He’d found the artist in Florida, one of the few who could make the new high-tech inks and techniques stand out clearly against Brady’s dark sepia skin.

Between the heavy tattooing, the freshly broken nose, and the loss of his long braids, he doubted even his own mother would recognize him.  He certainly hoped his ex-employer wouldn’t.  God help him if they managed to track him down.

Finally, he answered her, “Oh, I got no plans.  Not really.  I’ll stay ’til it’s time to move on.  A good swim does sound good, but not if I’m gonna grow an extra eye or somethin’.  I’m actually doin’ my best to swim in every ocean in the world.”

Voices at the bar’s door, then, arguing.  The deep bass rumble of the bouncer, followed by another voice too low to hear clearly.  Brady didn’t bother to so much as glance back.

Fuck it, he thought, who cares?  It’s time to get laid, not get in some bullshit bar brawl.

He’d had enough of those.

He leaned closer to the girl, lowered his voice, “Tracy…right?  Tracy, let’s get the fuck out of here.  You can show me the sights…”

And then it came, the voice he least wanted to hear.  The voice he’d been avoiding for the last six months.

Hiding from, a little voice at the back of his mind corrected.

“Dr. Brady?  I think you’d better come with us,” that voice said.

“What?  Wait…DOCTOR?” Tracy asked, her voice inching towards a squeal.

Brady spun on his stool, rather gracefully he thought.  “What the fuck do you want, Paul?” he barked as he turned.  When he tried to stop…when he tried to stop, the world kept turning.  And not just turn, it started to whirl and spin and hop up and down like a crazed wombat in a chorus line.

Not even the crack of his head hitting the floor was enough to stop the spinning.  That fall, in fact, just made it worse.  Brady decided at that point that he didn’t want to be drunk anymore.  No, sir, he just wanted the acid and booze in his stomach to not try so aggressively to come up again.

Hands on his arms, impersonal and efficient, hauled him to his very unsteady feet.  He looked up, then.  Looked into Paul’s face and saw the briefest flair of irritation at the back of those blue eyes.  Any other man would have been screaming threats and obscenities after what Brady had done six months ago.  But Paul…Paul’s eyes barely hinted at the tiniest bit of irritation.  Brady shuddered at that hint of irritation; Paul was one of the most dangerous men in the world.

“Kinda pullin’ out the big guns, ain’t they, buddy?” Brady slurred, finally.  “You got better things to do than chase my black ass all over the world.  When the fuck did I become a fish big enough for you to arrest?”

“Whoa…wait a second,” the bartender complained, her voice bordering on a whimper.  One glance at Paul, and at the two goons holding Brady at something approximating the vertical, and she was terrified…but she also had a job to do.  “Someone’s gotta pay his tab before anything happens.”

There was no reaction on Paul’s face, just the stoic blandness of a hardened, lifelong warrior.  He leaned forward and placed a slim, matte-black card on the bar.  His voice betrayed not the slightest hint of emotion when he spoke, “Use that for the bill, and add the same again as a tip.  Dr. Brady will not be returning.”

Paul’s icy eyes shifted back to Brady.  The barest flicker of a smile, one that no one — certainly not Brady — could ever swear was actually there, then he said, “I’m not arresting you Dr. Brady.  I was sent to bring you home.”

Brady wished the booze would fade faster.  Something was happening that he didn’t understand, and he did not like that.  Brady was always three steps ahead of everybody else; he was always the one calling the shots.  “What the fuck?  I ain’t goin’ anywhere near Oxford again, that place sucks ass.  Shit, why the hell wold they want me back?  I pissed on the fucking Vice-Chancellor’s desk, ferchrissake!”

“The Beagle failed her flight tests, professor, and she needs her designer.  You’re the only one who can fix her FTL drive at this point,” Paul explained, his voice still flat, still emotionless.  Then, a final twist to the knife, “You did steal the designs, after all.”

“Shit.”

Lizard People’s Lives Matter!

Okay, look, the US has been nuts for a while now.  I mean, c’mon, just look at the last year or so!  But let’s be honest here, in spite of all the frustrations, life goes on.  In spite of all the anger, there still is enough of the ridiculous to make us smile.

Jewish space lasers! Wait…hold on…that needs more emphasis…

JEWISH SPACE LASERS!!!

There, that’s better. There really is nothing to do other than smile, take a drink and offer the most profound and heartfelt of thanks that the universe still has a sense of humor.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this particular moment in time is just crying out for a new Mel Brooks to come along and absolutely skewer, well, everything.  I mean, after the “JSLs” there just has to be a sequel to his “Jews in Space” bit!

It is, by the way, about time for this level of ridiculousness. More than that, it is about time the QAnon crap finally turned out something to benefit normal, sane people. The latest round of Q-inspired silliness is beginning to breath new life into a conspiracy-theory-world that was starting to get pretty moribund and boring.  It has been decades since a new conspiracy really gained ground.  Hell, the best we could do until now has been the 9-11 Truthers and Obama Birthers, and neither of those conspiracies is worth a damn.

Honestly, conspiracy theorists are still relying on the old-hat “truths” of the lizard people and alien greys, of the Illuminati and Rosicrucians, and — of course — of the Rothschild-Soros-Gates-Zuckerberg-Jewish cabal running the world from some underground lair.  Sadly, the Flat-Earthers are nothing more than a Youtube channel at this point, and the Fake Moon Landing folks aren’t even that.

Of course, you also have to ask yourself: did we really have to sink all the way down to Satan-worshipping pedophiles eating babies in the basement of a NY pizza parlor in order to finally get some new conspiracies going?  I mean, sure, that one has a certain humorous ridiculousness to it, but it really only works as a stepping stone to the Jewish Space Lasers.

You have no idea just how much recent events are pushing me to search (again) for that compelling voice and character that would allow me to pick up the conspiracy theory stories I shelved a few years ago.  Until that voice and character come to me, however, all I can do is dust off a few of the more entertaining conspiracy theory books in my collection and start reading.  Ah, what would I do without Foucault’s Pendulum?  God, I love that book…

And remember — the Air Force only pretended to decommission Cheyenne Mountain.  I mean, do you really believe that massive complex, with its secret chambers a thousand feet below the fake command center, is just sitting there collecting dust?  Not with Jewish Space Laser out there trying to burn the country!

Err, excuse me…I seem to feel some flashfiction coming on…

How Do You Choose?

Random writing, today.

I’m working on the fantasy series I want to write.  Unfortunately, the series I have in my mind is…well…it’s at least two different series.  Two different ones, but both do I want to write.  Both have characters I like, and stories I believe in.

How do you choose?

The worst torture the Romans could ever dish out was simple: line up the entire the family, then ask the father which child lived and which died.  The father always gave the Romans whatever they wanted.

So, for me, which story lives, and which dies?  Into which story do I plunge the dagger?

Okay, so no story every really dies…but putting one off for a couple of years (at the minimum) feels a whole lot like killing it…

Like that father, how do you choose?

No, really, how do you choose?

The story not of the young kid who wields a magic sword to become king, but rather the story of the sword so dedicated that he seeks out the last survivor of “his” family…

Or the story of the bitter immortal — the “angel” exiled for his part in the lost war in heaven — who wants nothing more than the grey numbness of oblivion…

I love Connor and Oz.  Err…well…Connor is a great character, and a great narrator, but it is Oz who I actually love.  It is Oz who is my favorite character.  But their time is coming to a close.  Once their third story is written, that’s it.

Hell, if I’m honest, there never should have been more than one.  Somewhere Peaceful to Die was written to have no sequel…but I couldn’t let those characters go.  The Silence That Never Comes and The Flicker of Ghosts came (are coming) because I couldn’t let go of those two characters.  But the time has come to finally let go…

So what fills the blank?  The stories of devotion and innocence that drove my youth?  My take on the Belgariad and the Chronicles of Amber and the Lord of the Rings?  Or…

Or…

Or, a more deeply personal tale?  A tale built on experience and reality?  A tale of a weary life lived among those far younger?  A tale of bitterness and loss amidst the joys and innocence of youth…?

It would help, of course, if one had a character that stood out more for me than the other…but both call to me:

Finntan’s hope, the innocence of his life, and the dedication of the magic items that dedicate themselves to him…

Versus the world weary insouciance of Runae…versus the concept of the once-great wanting nothing more than the forgetfulness of death…

How do you pick which child lives and which dies?

How do you choose between the hope and love that you wish the world was, and the bitter pain that you know the world actually is?

I tried conflating them, I really did.

Yeah, it was worse than you think it was.

Those two cannot be combined.  Not in any way.  I tell either Finntan’s story, or I tell Runae’s.  I can’t combine the two…not any more than I can plan out to a third series!

*sigh*

This is why, of course, writers get paid the…ahem…small bucks.

If I had wanted to get rich, I would’ve been a plumber.

Musical Note — the song below is one I love. It is a song that has not specifically been a part of anything I’ve conceived or written, but rather has elements that touch on everything I’ve written (not to mention having the best song line ever: “If you’ve never stared off into the distance / Then your life Is a shame”)…