Bad Day (freewriting)

In a competition for shittiest day, Ludy knew she wouldn’t win. She watched the news. Read books. People survived bombs, spousal abuse, and hurricanes. Her day had merely been a personal black cloud. Cartoonish. Still enough to soak her through and dampen her smile.

A literal rain storm brewed overhead, threatening to reward her imagery. She had an umbrella, but it was busted. Barely good enough to beat off a mugger, which had busted it even more. At least it still added to her outfit. Cheery pink and dotted with tiny white flowers. The perfect addition to her light blue sundress and grey jacket. Scarf with a duck pattern.

The scarf was the only thing that had survived her day. The jacket had lost a sleeve, and a rakish tear in the dress’s neckline prompted her to walk with her arms up. As if she were a boxer about to begin a match.

The skies opened up, weeping with a thousand unseeing eyes. Ludy stared into the rain with wide open eyes, baring her teeth like a wild animal.

And got a mouthful of dirty water.

Choking and cursing, she lashed out. She spat. Her arms swung, fast and hard. Her tantrum cut off suddenly as she realised that she had struck something. The way her day had gone, she should have expected a wall, but it was too soft. Something living. Not a stray dog with rabies, which she also should have expected.

A human man wearing a crisp business suit and a shocked frown. He held a cell phone to his ear, hovering as if it were more important than a crazy woman hauling off and smacking him in the street while she swore like a hobo.

She scowled at his umbrella. The source of the waterfall that had gushed over her face. “You should watch where you’re going,” she snapped.

“You hit me.”

“You nearly drowned me!”

He stared at her, clearly uncomprehending. “We’re on the sidewalk.” He looked around, as if he honestly had no idea where they were. “In front of a Chinese restaurant. How could I drown you?”

Words did not come. She spluttered for a few seconds. While her day had not been car-bomb bad, it had certainly been spread-the-misery bad. She snatched his obviously expensive black umbrella out of his manicured fingers and held it at just the right angle to show him exactly what he had done to her.

To his credit, he did not flail about and strike her. He coughed and spat water onto the sidewalk.

“Like that, you bitch.”

It would have been a good exit line, but he was still bent double. She didn’t want to just drop his umbrella and run away like a criminal. Her patience was rewarded when his coughing turned to laughter. An apology lurked in there, even as his suit went shiny, ruined in the strengthening downpour. “I’m sorry.” He held out his hand. “My name is Ivo.”

“Ludivine. Ludy.”

As she shook his hand, his eyes widened. “Are you okay?”

She laughed. It didn’t sound as good as his laughter. Her voice, always high and reedy, had become raspy in the freezing damp. “If I were any less okay, I would have to start screaming.”

“Do you need a doctor? Your dress…”

“You should see the other guy.” She held her hands up to her chest again. Jumped when Ivo covered her shoulders with his jacket. “Hang on, I don’t–”

“It’s the least I can do after I almost drowned you.”

He had already done the least. He’d apologised. It had been the first time she’d heard the word ‘sorry’ since she’d caught her ex in bed with two other women. It sounded better coming from Ivo. “I guess it is.”

“Are you hungry? We’re still standing in front of a restaurant. We could go inside it.”

Even wet, the jacket was warm. Her ducky scarf tickled her nose, pressed sticky against her skin. “Why not? I like Chinese food.”


Compressed 2 session recap

I’ve been a bit remiss in blogging, so I need to smash together a recap for both last night and the previous Tuesday.

Viva-3 pursued her kidnapped boy-toy with furious determination. His parents had received a note forgery in Henry’s handwriting that spun a story about running away with an opera singer. When Viva convinced them that he’d been kidnapped, they allowed her to speak with their solicitor to hire her on retainer. Her only clue aside from the notes was the Knot-Brummels’ footman Benjamin Coates, who had received the forgery.

As it turned out, he had written it on the instruction of strange humanoid creatures that used hypnotism and drank blood. Benjamin seems to be a neverending fount of revelations. The crew hired him on as he intended to leave the KBs’ household and learned that he has devastatingly beautiful handwriting and likes to read. With no formal education.

While investigating Henry’s other paramours, they came across a haunted house full of indestructible little girls and a chimera. They killed the chimera but fled from the little girls and set the house on fire. Fire is a bit of a go-to for this crew. A different, less crazy paramour gave them a note that actually helped them find the place Henry was being held.

Long story short, a cult of Moreau-idealists had him strapped to an altar to be killed so the beast god could use his body as a vessel. The crew balked at the numbers, but then Captain Pico came up with a brilliant plan that drew from The Princess Bride. They set fire to Victor’s cloak to keep the cultists back, while Captain Pico shot the head priest in the head. Penny Dreadful swung on a rope to grab Henry. She rolled so well, she would up kicking the head priest as he fell dead to the ground and stealing his hat into the bargain.

Once Henry was conscious and healed, he was able to fill in some gaps. The little girls, who are quickly becoming a legend in this campaign, are not automata. They’re steel golems. Living, breathing creatures who are affiliated with a crimelady who is known only as The Profile.

After that, they went to Russia, with several goals. It’s the only change cage city that does business with Sky Folk, usually in the form of booze. Scrimshaw wanted to take advantage of this, and wound up with an honest business liaison called Matvey who smoothed the way for them quite a bit. Ace Cardinal continues to be the face of Scrimshaw’s product.

Novella sought out Russian vigilantes, with mixed results. A crazy stunt with a blind man brought her to the attention of Jack of Hearts, a very young vigilante with, it was decided, an adorable aspect highly reminiscent of Jacksepticeye. At first he thought she wanted to be his sidekick, but even after she set him straight, he was well-disposed to her. When she actually decided to take him on board with her–which would involve smuggling him out of a change cage city–he was over the moon.

Thanks to Jack’s contacts, Viva and Victor were able to find lightning guns on the Black Market, sold by a man called Innuendo Willy. He jacked up the prices, due to their being misbegotten and mechanical, but he’ll regret a missed business opportunity thanks to snubbing Viva.

Captain Pico hired a male escort and used her highborn family’s connections to set herself up among the elite. Using her sister’s name. When the ball finally came, everyone was in high alt. Everyone was able to attend. Scrimshaw found a place on the catering staff, Victor acted as bodyguard to Shadow Pico and Sergei (the escort), Ace escorted Novella–who brought Jack with her–and Henry is Viva’s arm candy.

Viva wowed the entire court with her dancing. Novella was treated like a proud mama thanks to Jack’s sweet face, which the assembled aristos complimented as if she had created him from the clay. Ace entertained a flock of bird-fanciers who liked his shoulder hawk.

Jack tried to hoard food and sneak a drink of the harder stuff. Novella caught him at the first, but not the second, and he succeeded in getting tipsy. She did, however, manage to stop Ace from picking pockets at the table, with Viva’s help.

Shadow Pico charmed her way to the czar’s table and his side. There, she learned that there is no chance of his paying them to rescue his daughter as Pico had hoped–Princess Bogdana is a beloved KPop Idol, and he’s proud of her.

However, he is not proud of his sons. In a bid to recoup her losses and still do business, Pico convinced the czar to take a pleasure jaunt on their ship and pretend to be a pirate for a day. He fought this hard. He may have been a jolly, dorky Santa Claus of a man, but he had a strong sense of his responsibility. In the end, the czarina convinced him to go. And to take one of their stupid sons with him.

She later worked out with Victor an agreement to assassinate Prince Stupid by pushing him over the side.

This plot was executed beautifully.

First, Viva piloted the ship through pockets of turbulence, ostensibly to make the ride exciting for the czar. Then Scrimshaw got Prince Stupid thoroughly bladdered–while himself as legendarily unaffected by alcohol as usual. Finally, Victor did the job he’d been hired to do. He convinced Prince Stupid that swinging around on the ship’s ropes would be the greatest fun.

Perhaps it was. Perhaps Prince Stupid died having a grand old time.

They were paid He6,000 all told. The czarina was pleased to have her less idiotic son in the position of heir, and the czar enjoyed himself immensely.


Wrong Number

I might continue this. Probably without using graphics.


Liam rolled onto his side and cursed. Every nerve blazed with pain. His pillow was crusty with blood, hopefully just from his nose. When he reached up to check, his fingers came away bloody and trailing bandages. He could remember cleaning himself up–clearly he had done a shitty job–as well as some of the fight. “Gotta stop getting into bar brawls.”

His phone chirped on the bedside table, the screen lighting up the room in an explosion of unwelcome light. After two halfhearted waves of his arm, he banged his wrist on the edge. A wrist that he had apparently not broken, but a sprain wasn’t out of the question. Especially after whanging it like that.

If the damn phone hadn’t gone off two more times, he would have left it for the morning. He sat up slowly and inched himself closer to the bedside table before reaching out, again slowly, to pick up the phone like a human rather than a blind monkey. Head throbbing like an unremittant club bass-line. It took a few minutes for his vision to clear away the purple splotches and allow him to actually see the screen.

The number was unfamiliar, but he was used to that. He used his phone for work, and since he worked mostly on commission, most of his calls came from unknown numbers that didn’t stay in his contacts list afterwards. What was strange was the amount of digits. Sure, he had a hangover, but that number was too long. The message didn’t seem to be about a commission either.


Having been in similar situations, Liam typed the first thing that came to mind and jabbed send without thinking.


A reply came in immediately.


Nobody went to clubs to dance. People went to clubs to lose their minds and fuck someone up against a bathroom sink.


Talk about a wrong number. Liam turned off his phone and dropped it on the bed. At least it hadn’t been a real emergency for someone he knew. And he’d even helped. How long had it been since he could say that he’d helped anyone? He tossed the bloody pillow onto the floor and tugged the bandages off. The blood had dried. It’d be a bitch to wash off in the morning, so he lumbered over to the bathroom to shower.

His skin hated him by the end of it, and his head would never speak to him again. No loss. They were bastards.

Somehow he made it back to bed, although he couldn’t bring himself to even look for fresh clothes. His apartment windows all had curtains. He could get away with sleeping in the buff. Especially since L.A. never reached a temperature that he would personally call ‘cold.’


Write Positive


Listening to: 하드캐리 Hard Carry – GOT7

The other day, I read an article… I don’t even remember what it was about now. I want to say it was about being productive as a writer, but it could also have been about managing chronic pain. They’re kind of the same thing.

There was a list of suggestions/tips, but the only one I remember was Be Positive. It’s so true, but I forget it. I’ve always had this curse of being too negative–I’m way worse in life than I think I’ve ever been on my blog. And I know it’s not a good thing. Is that ironic? I don’t know, it’s like in the past, it was this loop and I couldn’t break free.

People who are happy are more productive. They experience less physical pain from certain conditions. I have RA and I know that when I’m happy, active, and productive, my pain level is more manageable. So this isn’t a hum. I know how this works and I’m qualified to judge that it does.

When I read this, I thought about what a good mood I’ve been in. It’s been at least this past week, but it might actually go back to when we started dog-sitting. If this positivity is a side effect of living with pets, I might need to get my own dog.

Anyway, after I read the article, I decided that I wanted to actively pursue a positive mood while writing. I decided to listen to a GOT7 album or watch an M/V every day before I set in to write or edit. Sometimes I write with it in the background.

If something makes you happy, it has value. I feel kind of silly saying that something that unfailingly makes me intensely happy is KPop, but it does.

That song about a dysfunctional relationship makes me happy. It’s the choreography.

It is a joy to watch people move like that. Sometimes when I watch big dance numbers, either in M/Vs or Bollywood movies, I cry. I can barely walk most days, but I love dance.

It was just a joke, but I went ahead and did it. My good mood has persisted. I want this to be who I am all the time.

Editing Sof Ha’olam Smola is going insanely well. It’s a lot of work, but I know what I’m doing. I have invaluable beta feedback. That gave me a direction, and now the biggest thing I’m working on is repairing a weakness I’ve always worried about.

I was up til half past 2 writing a 2156 word note planning revisions. I remember way back in (what, July?) when I was worried about Itamar’s character development and motivations. I’m finally confident that I have it well in hand.

Right now, the MS is flawed. But it’s sort of glorious, because I know what’s wrong with it. I know what’s wrong with it and I know how to fix it. I’ve trimmed 3000 words in tightening the prose and removing superfluous words.

I might actually have this done by November. WHICH WOULD BE PERFECT BECAUSE I HAVE THE BEST IDEA. Seriously excited about this.


Editing and Thinking about NaNo


Listening to: Old T-Shirt – Jake Coco

After spending considerable time and journalling/brainstorming several thousand words, I think I know what I’m going to write if I do NaNoWriMo this year. The easy, natural decision is to write Fenris’s book, the second in the Untranslatable series. Still affectionately called Tanketorsk, although I’ll have a better working title by Nov 1. Most of my journalling on the topic of which project to work on was due to having a character concept that I desperately wanted to write with and that is the kind of thing that I have done NaNo for in the past. That guy is going to have to wait, I think.

I came up with and discarded at least three different settings and plots for him. He’s even gone through two different names and three fellow protagonists. I just can’t seem to get something to stick to him. But knowing me, in three or four months, I’ll have a plot idea pop half-formed in my mind and then it’ll be this guy’s turn.

Editing Gideon and Itamar’s story continues well. I’m sliding a bit into revision, as Itamar’s character development needed work and my solution involves grafting a minor subplot. It suits him, though, so it isn’t hard. Sometimes I lose track when I’m just line-editing, because it makes me feel adrift between bigger issues. I’m not worried, though. All day, I’ve been forgetting to do things because I’ve got a Civilisation mindset. “Just one more paragraph.”

As usual, there are fun things I keep meaning to do to take a break. But then half an hour later, I realise that my hands effing ACHE, my shoulder is killing me, I finished another chapter, and I can’t even remember what the fun thing was. (The Longest Journey? Watching Markiplier play FNAF 3? do not recall)

Perhaps I am a titch consumed.




Beta reader notes on one side, checklists and bullets derived from beta on the other, using iCloud to write in the middle. I’m getting a lot done today.

I’m also trying to decide what to write for NaNoWriMo. There’s an obvious idea and one that I can’t really pin down but really want to do.


Break to Journal


Listening to: Sorry Jack – Scratch21

Still house-sitting. Aside from Owen occasionally being a complete terror, it’s been amazing. I’ve never gotten to have indoor pets other than snakes, and I love sleeping in the big armchair with a dog in my lap. Probably won’t be able to get my own dog (or cat, which is Owen’s vote) for a few years, but I want one…!

My editing should probably be much more rigorous in every way, but I swear that I am working on it. Today, I took out all of the unnecessary “very”s by using search. I also made some edits around those spots. I should make a list of curses so that I can remove them from the dialogue of characters who aren’t supposed to swear, but that sounds like a lot of work for something relatively minor.

Overall, I’m going through the manuscript from beginning to end. Since Evernote took umbrage to a 1.8 MB note, I abandoned it and am now using Pages so I can edit on my computer and switch seamlessly to the iPad. Nothing seems to remember placement in a document, so I type a note in brackets to keep track of where I stopped. I now have so many iterate saves of this story, I don’t even know where all of them are or if I need some of them anymore.

I started this story in July, you guys. This is the longest I have taken to finish a book without failing to finish it. My shoulders are sore, but I’m exhilarated.

It’s been nice to have more time to read, though. Merge Ahead was really good, and the Travelling Matchmaker is my favourite Marion Chesney series since the School for Manners. (I even got my mum to read these books, she loves them!) I have The Shamer’s Daughter waiting for me when I take another break from editing. Hopefully in a couple of hours. I want to clear the halfway point today.

Because I am an effing dreamer, that’s why. OPTIMISM