Brain Clog?

Sometimes my mind does not want to focus on what it is I should be working.  Now is one of those times.  I should be working through my task as I sit here at my desk, but I’m a little tired and my mind just doesn’t want to wrap itself around the task at hand.  Why is that?  I’m obviously coherent and focused enough to be sitting here banging out these words on the keyboard.  I don’t dislike what it is I’m supposed to be doing at this moment.  I dunno…

Anyway,  I am tired.  I was awakened multiple times last night by a puppy that apparently had had enough sleep during the day yesterday.  He was less than pleased about being kept in his bed/crate for the night.  I’m tired…

I just nixed the page on this blog site that contained the first part of Mind the Shadows.  It’s a story I’ve been working on now and then for a few years now.  I found a couple of mistakes as I was looking at it, so I decided removal was the best course of action until such time I decide it’s worth fixing and putting back out here.

Besides, I never got a lot of feedback on it.  There are likely a couple of reasons for that…

The first reason was my naive presumption that I could create a page, mention that page in a couple of blog posts (a WHILE back) and simply get some “interactive traffic” there. Live and learn 🙂

The second reason was my lack of motivation/promotion for it.  It kind of ties into my lack of blog site experience.  The truth, though, is that I didn’t realize that I actually have to work to promote my work… go figure O_o  😉  Now that I’ve seen how folks like Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha (Kent Wayne) promote their literary works, I now know that I have to be more like that to get my stuff noticed and hopefully get some feedback.  I also welcome any advice on how to go about that and not lose followers.

Well enough of being off task for now… thanks for taking the time to stop by and give this a read 🙂

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Mind the Shadows Scene

So, I did a little rework on a scene I wrote a while back that is meant to be part of Mind the Shadows.  I don’t think it’s completely reworked, and I know it’s NOT finished.  But I wanted to throw it up here for y’all to see.  I’d appreciate some feed back 🙂

I gestured at Vurp to get started.  He began working at the security sensor on the door.  I activated my stopwatch and took a steadying breath.  The adrenaline had started to flow.

Breathing and watching the clock was what kept me focused and level-headed in situations like that.  For Vurp, it was the work that kept him squared away.  He was all about solving the problem in front of him.  He was going to have plenty of problems to solve that night.

I glanced behind me – toward the other corner of the building, down the alley. Chance was there.  She was crouched near a line of dumpsters.  The only sign of her were the dim points of green light coming from her enhanced eyes. She had switched them to low-light mode. Tucked in the darkest recesses of the night, only by looking directly at her could anybody see that someone – or something – was hiding there.  She could have easily been mistaken for a rat, I suppose… heh… but Chance was a rat with teeth.

I started at Vurp’s grunt and turned to see the progress he had made.  He had jammed something in the crevice between the door and its frame where the security sensor was located.  It was attached to a tiny jumble of wires and a circuit board that he had stuck to the door frame with one of his crazy sticky concoctions.  I had quit asking what was in them.  Remember, it was Vurp after all.  I took that as our sign to head in, so I motioned for Chance to follow.  Vurp strained a bit more against the disabled sliding door to get the opening wide enough to slip inside.  I was the first through the door.  I moved to the left of the door, drew my gun and switched off the safety.  Chance came in next and moved right. I caught a glint of metal from one of her trusty throwing knives. She held two at the ready.  Vurp squeezed his bulk through the opening then grabbed the door’s lip and pulled it shut.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny gadget.  He licked a portion of it and stuck it to the wall near the disabled security sensor.  As he pushed on it to make sure it adhered to the wall, it began to blink like the original L.E.D. that was on the door sensor.  Only close observation would have revealed it was a fake indicator.

Mr. Smith’s building plans appeared to be accurate. We had come into the main lobby through a kind of side entrance near the front corner of the building.  It was about 10 meters from the main entrance.  According to Mr. Smith, the door was no longer used.  He had explained that the door’s only sensor picked up when it was open, and it was not covered by any other kind of surveillance.  That obviously made it a good choice for entry.

We took a moment to look around the lobby.  We were in a small alcove with four easy chairs and several potted plants. Business folks took their ease there while waiting for meetings or something.  The main portion of the lobby was an open expanse that had a circular kiosk-like desk in the middle. Receptionists and a security guard or two would spend their weekdays dealing with the comings and goings of those that had business there.  About 3 meters behind the desk – against the wall – was a large decorative piece of worked brass and carved wood. It was a giant “L” in a fancy font. It was the logo for Lyric Financial.  I could only imagine what that had cost…

I heard one of their commercials once.  Lyric Financial worked with independent business owners and investors helping them invest and manage their money for a “nominal” fee.  The building housed hundreds of accountants and financial gurus that manipulated numbers all day for their customers.  I also knew from the research Jammer had done that Lyric Financial worked with owners and investors that were… less than upstanding citizens of the community.  Rumors abound that Lyric was involved in money laundering. They apparently helped set up and maintain shell companies to make illegal activities look legitimate.  But since nothing official about illegal activities had ever surfaced, Lyric Financial was left to operate as it saw fit.  It was the “unofficial” stuff, though, that had something to do with why we were there.

“Now for the fun part…”  Vurp’s sub-vocal whisper was followed by the quiet rustle of his pack.  He rummaged through the inside pockets in his “bag of tricks” looking for the next gadget that would help us get further inside.  A few breaths later Vurp was holding a small box with some controls on one side and what looked like a shooting scope mounted on the other.  He held it up and started looking around the lobby through the scope.

“Print said there was only one camera in the lobby.  Must be one of those 360-type cameras…”

“Yepper…”  Vurp searched back and forth, panning across the lobby, changing his elevation every pass.  On his third sweep he stopped and started working the controls as he kept a steady aim on his target.  The camera was in a very inconspicuous spot on the wall.  He must have had more than night vision in that box of his to spot it.

“What’s the word, ace?” Chance was antsy.  She was shifting her weight from side to side.  Her night vision enhanced eyes danced eerily in the shadow of the alcove.  “This ain’t a real good hiding spot.  We’re a bit exposed here in the lobby.  All it’ll take is one observant bloke driving by and we’re in deep shit.”

Vurp was still fiddling with his device as he replied, “Keep your big girl panties on.  This one’s a toughie.”  He paused a second and looked over at Chance. “You are wearing panties, right?”  He chuckled quietly, and I didn’t have to see him leering at Chance to know that was exactly what he was doing.  I had to work to keep from laughing.  Leave it to Vurp to start hitting on the deadliest person in the room right in the middle of a tense situation.

“Get on it, pig!”  I could hear the growl in her sub-vocal response.  Chance was not in the mood for banter at the time.  I didn’t want to see the look on her face.

“Yeah, yeah… I got it.  Just… another… second or… two…”  Vurp manipulated the controls a little bit more and then grunted with satisfaction.  “That oughta do it.  That bugger is a ‘360-by-360’ cam.  I’m glad I installed that 3D processor last week or we’d be going right back out the door.”  He was obviously pleased with himself for being so sharp. I’d give him shit later.

“Okay, let’s move in, folks.”  I stepped into the lobby and headed straight for the central column that contained the elevators.  Vurp followed, and Chance slipped across the front of the lobby to cover us if someone saw us moving.  I could see the glint of the knives again as she skulked to the opposite side of the lobby.  Anything in her throwing range was dead.  I never saw her miss… except once…

Vurp and I got to the central column and worked our way around to the side where the elevator doors would be.  The area was cast in deep shadow.  Only the soft light from the elevator controls was easy to see.  That’s when I noticed that the middle elevator was moving down from just two floors above us.  We had seconds to find and get through the stairwell door before there would be a very surprised – and ultimately, unhappy – security guard or two stepping into the lobby.

I sub-vocalized, “Chance, we got company coming.  Hide someplace, and remember, NO killing.”  Smith had been very specific about that.  The problem I saw now was the fact that Chance was not the type to follow orders from somebody she didn’t know.  She didn’t know Mr. Smith.  She also had no scruples whatsoever about killing.  If a security guard got too close for her comfort…

Vurp hurried around the corner ahead of me and started working on the locked door that led to the stairwell.  It had a badge reader on it.  That meant it would only open for someone with the right badge.  Mr. Smith couldn’t get those for us…

I stayed at the corner waiting for the elevator to open.  I hoped to be headed upstairs before that happened, but I kind of wanted to know how many guards were in that elevator.  If it was just one or two, they might just survive the night.  If it was a squad of four, and they were serious about their jobs, then I was probably going to have to dispose of four bodies before I got to bed.  There was no way Chance would hesitate to eliminate a threat like that.

“Vurp?”

“Almost there… couple more seconds.”  I looked over my shoulder to see him working furiously at the door.

“Vuuurrrp?”

“Damn…”

“What?”

“Gimme a second…”

“We don’t have those anymore.  Elevator’s here.”  The elevator door slid open, and I could see the glow from the light inside.  Two guards stepped out of the elevator.  They were wearing Fortress Security uniforms.  I could tell by the light green shirts with the gold arm patches.  I knew then that they were well trained AND armed.  Fortress Security produced excellent night watchmen.

Fortunately, it was just two of them.  I got my head out of sight right before one of them turned to look in my direction.  I hoped their vision enhancement glasses weren’t too sensitive.  I sub-vocalized the word “Fortress” as quietly as I could to let Chance know who we were dealing with.  Then I jumped as I heard a click.  As the goose bumps washed over my skin I saw Vurp open the door and slip into the stairwell.  All I could do was hope I moved quickly and quietly enough to make it through the door unnoticed.

I slipped through the stairwell door as it began to close behind Vurp.  Vurp had the presence of mind to push me aside –jamming me against the wall, no less – and grab the door right before it clicked closed.  I felt like a complete idiot.  I had nearly gotten us caught… or worse.  Vurp’s iron grip was a bit uncomfortable, but I relaxed, so he relaxed.  He held onto the door so it was just shy of being latched closed.  We held our breath as the sound of footsteps approached the door.  All we had to do was wait until the guard walked by so Vurp could ease the door back into its latched position nice and quiet-like.

Vurp’s grip tightened again, but now to the point of being painful.  I was about to struggle a bit until I realized what was happening.  One of the security guards was testing the door.  I guess all that time Vurp spent pumping iron paid off.  He was like a rock, or rather like a solidly latched and locked stairwell door.  I could almost feel the door handle wiggle through Vurp’s body, he was so tense.  The guard must have decided the door was secure.  Vurp and I heard footsteps moving away.

I patted Vurp’s arm to remind him that he was less than a centimeter away from crushing my sternum into my heart.  He relaxed and deftly let the door settle into its latched position with almost no sound.  I patted him lightly on the shoulder and nodded to him to let him know I was very thankful for his quick wits.  Remember, I’m just a guy who knows a few tricks and can talk to folks.  The “brains” and the “brawn” came from the rest of the team.

“Headed to the fourth floor; sit tight.”

Vurp let me go up the steps first.  He paused a second or two by the door to deploy one of his mini alarms.  It was a little ball with motion sensing and transceiver electronics in it.  If the ball was disturbed after it was armed, it would transmit a signal to our com units to let us know somebody had opened the door.

“Number One is set at the stairwell door.  Let’s go.”  Vurp started up the stairs behind me.

Let me know what you think.  As always, thanks for reading 😉

Mind the Shadows… again

So, I’ve decided to put the beginning of Mind the Shadows back out here.  I’ve gotten a few more followers that I hope will give it a read and tell me what they think (hint, hint) 🙂  I just got done reading what I put on the page, and I liked it.  That said, I might be a little biased, heh, since it IS my idea.  So, please, tell me what you think.  Do you want to read more?  Does my writing suck or kick ass?

I’m undecided about putting more on the page in the future.  At one point, I thought about just adding to it until I was done and just calling it a freebie.  Instead, I have this crazy notion about letting that be a teaser for the rest of the story that I’d like to maybe publish.  I seriously doubt I’d sell it for much, but it would be very cool to me to actually sell my story.  Again, let me know what you think.  I need a little help/advice.

Mind the Shadows page.

Thanks, folks…

BTW, meet Marek and Jammer… well, concepts anyway 😉

Marek Concept

Jammer Cartoon Portrait

Marek Concept

So, in my attempt to… rework??? Mind the Shadows, I’ve been doing a little brainstorming.  During one of those sessions, I went out to Hero Machine and attempted to come up with a likeness of Marek.  What appears below is the result and what I see as a possible “future” Marek if/when he embraces what he could be.  I know that’s very vague, but I don’t even know just yet how Marek is going to deal with all that is about to be thrown at him or how he will evolve.  Keep in mind that this Hero Machine is meant to be cartoon/comic like, but I was fairly pleased with this result.  The fact that I’m no artist puts me in a situation where I have to make use of the tools I can find or beg others for their time and talents.

Marek Concept

I do think this gives a good base concept of who Marek can be.  Capable of magick, but not adverse to making use of more “mundane” means of self-defense.

Let me know what you think.

 

Rework or Rebuild?

MadKeyboarding

As you may have noticed, I took down Mind the Shadows.  I felt compelled to pull it and… well… decide, I guess, what to do with it.

The truth is that I think it kind of got away from me.  I was more concerned about cranking out words and “action” than with understanding what I wanted for my characters – not to mention, among other things, what my characters wanted for themselves.

It started feeling like doing a job versus just being a story I wanted to tell and being something fun to do.  So, as you ALSO may have noticed, I got sloppy when I did produce words, AND I started producing less often.

I’m at a crossroads for either reworking (my term for doing some editing) the existing story or rebuilding it.  I’ll likely keep the general story line that I started, but I’m not sure if I’ll pare it down to being part of Marek’s background, or if I’ll rework and streamline it, then continue on from there.

I would like to get a bit more “future history” in there for a better description of the setting.  I felt like that was lacking.

I’m still learning how to do all this, so I don’t know what you should expect.

I wouldn’t mind some advice.

I did get one great piece of advice. It was part of what prompted me to start down this path for Mind the Shadows.  Dirty SciFi Buddha posted one of his musings that really got my attention.  Here is the link to the post.  He’s right, too.  I was cranking out “stuff”, but I wasn’t paying attention to my characters.  I wasn’t letting them become the living breathing people they need to be.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts about Mind the Shadows.  Let me know your thoughts about anything.  As always thanks for your comments and feedback.

WTF? Author? NOT!!! :-P

MadKeyboardingSo, I just re-read

the chapter 8 post for Mind the Shadows.

I’ve done better… way better.  I usually don’t make those kinds of mistakes in my writing.  Missing a word or two, grammar problems… wtf?  I know I’m amateur, but damn.  Even I should do better than that, especially if I’m going to “publish” what I write.  I have done better than that.  I need to do better than that.  Sorry to those that have read it.  I’ll definitely try to do better.

I think Mind the Shadows might need some changes… maybe an overhaul…  an enema? I’m not sure what specifically is missing, but I think I lost interest because of some sort of self-imposed “barrier” I could not figure out how to get past.  I know it’s first person, and describing what Marek is/was feeling and how he sees/saw things is a good thing.  BUT…  I’m wondering if I’ve written too much of that “good thing”.  I need some more action in it.

Please, tell me if you think I’m right.

I don’t think I’ll change from writing as Marek (1st person) just yet, but I might get a little more “shallow”(???).  I’ll try to create more action and story progression versus interaction and, what I think is, character development.  Remember… AMATEUR.  This is where I could use some help/feedback.  Ask questions.  Tell me it sucks, if you want, but tell me why you think it sucks.  I would actually appreciate that.

Friday…

friday Another weekend in view.  Can’t say I’m complaining.  I work to live.  I DON’T live to work…  well… unless it was work I really liked to do… then it wouldn’t necessarily be work for me… things that make you go hmmm.

So, here’s a throwback for ya.  I just felt the need to listen to it.  I hope the link works for you.  I’ve never put a link like this in my posts.  The Last Starfighter.  I still think it’s a good movie, and I love the theme music.

Okay, on to other shit…

Mind the Shadows

I’ve got 7 chapters out there.  Who has read them? Huh?  I can’t HEAR you!  I need feedback folks.  Is it too slow?  Is it amateur?  Does it suck?  Come on, folks.  I’m  giving a freebie story here.  If it’s worthless, so be it.  I’m writing it anyway because I’m enjoying the experience, and I’m learning how to just maybe get better at this word-smithing thing.  If it’s worth a shit, though, I’d like to hear that, too.  ‘Cause I might charge something for the next one. <grin> I think it would be totally awesome to get paid for my creativity.  I loved running tabletop RPGs, especially the looks in the players eyes when I was helping get their characters (and them) into a good story that I cooked up.  I would love to do the same thing with my stories for readers.

I’m not looking to make a living on it (that would be freakin’ great), but it would be real cool, however, to get published and make some money to support my “bad habits”… you know gaming, iRacing, more RPG game stuff or maybe have some fun money for the wife and me.  We could use a little extra money to fix up the house the way she wants it.  I could maybe get back Home more often.  You know, crazy stuff like that 🙂

Anyway, it would be very cool to hear that folks have given Mind the Shadows a read and what they think about it.  If everybody hates it, bear with me.  I’ll try other things.  I got other crap rattling around in that squishy grey glop I’m supposed to call my brain.  Besides, it’s the DM (Dungeon Master) in me that does this stuff, and the DM needs to know is spinning a good yarn for his players.  😉

Wow, I haven’t seen this movie in a long time.  I’m listening to the main theme for it now.

It was a most excellent sci-fi movie.  I think Disney made it.  I loved it as a kid.

Oh yeah, I think I mentioned that my buddy is setting up to run a Shadowrun 4th edition game for a small group of us.  We’re going to be using Fantasy Grounds to play our tabletop RPG online.  I probably also mentioned that I’m looking very forward to it.  In fact, I got motivated/inspired the other day and came up with a character concept.  I’m running a dark character for a change.  He’s a hacker (known as a decker in SR).  He also dabbles in using drones.  I whipped up a background on him that I’ll have to post after we get the game going.  I’m not ready to reveal E.D.I. just yet, in case any of the folks in the gaming group happen to follow my blog thingy here.  Yeah, ‘Eddy’ is going to be fun to play.  He’s going to be pretty hardcore.  I thought about using him – or someone like him – in Mind the Shadows as a villain.  Marek would not like this guy.

Okay, I’m outa here for now.  My buddy just got online to stream.  I’m part of his “Peanut Gallery”.  Check it out on Twitch.  I’ve got some other ideas to ponder, too, now that I’m sitting here thinking about Shadowrun and Mind the Shadows.  Remember, I NEED FEEDBACK for Mind The Shadows.  I’ll love hearing from you, and I’ll really appreciate it.

Later… 🙂