paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
 I know really good writers take the time to set up their backdrops with excellent descriptors and little details about the furnishings or the clothing or the texture of the environment to make it pop for the reader and convince them the writer actually did some research, but honestly, I don't have the patience for it. I just want to get to the plot already. I'm that kind of reader as well.

So I'm "finished" with chapter 6, but not quite. It's a very important chapter to the B Plot, and I'm really struggling to get the voices right. Heavy ground has to be covered, but it can't teeter off into melodrama and get lame. And at the same time, chapter 7 will absolutely require some description to get started, and I'm not particularly looking forward to that.

So, back to chapter 6. I'm going to rework it again. I'm not there yet. Happily, I took the whole week off work (no, not to write, but to watch littler kids while bigger kids are off on a camping trip), so I'm sure I'll get some work done on the story. Alright, enough stalling. Time to get back to work.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
Chapter 1 is up and running, and now I'm on to chapter 2. I still think I can revise it rather than start it over. Chapter 3, not so sure about, not yet. Anyway, I developed my murder mystery plotline more today and came up with a feasible and actually kind of disturbing direction to take it. It brings things to a new level of urgency and suspense, so I'm trying to develop that idea some more and see what comes of it. This is holding my attention pretty good now.

My favorite part of writing fiction is undoubtedly the dialogue. I can usually produce good dialogue that is faithful to the canon voices. So for fun, I'm posting just a snippet of chapter 2 that I'm particularly pleased with. And then I am getting back to work. I've got some time and space on my hands tonight, and a good amount of caffeine. Productivity looks favorable.
*                 *             *              *                *             *              *             *               *    

By the time he had parted ways with Graham and reached the main entrance, he found Mickey had been there long enough to have given up on waiting for him in the fire lane and parked. More precisely, he observed her sitting on the flagstone ledge bordering the outdoor reflection pool with one leg crossed ankle over thigh and her long skirt hanging in pleated folds all around her. She was twisted sideways to face the pool and its collection of fountains as she placidly tossed in a coin near the end point of one arc of spouting water. Management might discourage the practice, but it would take a direct order to keep the young woman from exercising her right to engage in the harmless superstition of wish-making on small U.S. coinage in corporate fountains. Austin had no intention of wasting good-will on any such order. The dimming late afternoon sun highlighted the more golden tones in her shoulder-length curls and bathed her face in a soft glow, a rather picturesque effect. He paused long enough to commit the scene to memory before striding up to her and giving her shoulder a quick double-tap.
She startled and looked up at him, smiling. “You’re late,” she declared, sounding triumphant.

“What did you wish for?”

She lowered her leg and stretched the both of them together before launching herself to her feet. “Italian for dinner tonight.”

He stared at her. Often, he had to stare a moment before he spoke, because so often her responses were so impossibly simple or unexpected or outlandish, he found himself feeling like he must be missing something. “Why appeal to the magic fountain? Why not just say, ‘Austin, let’s get Italian?’”

She giggled and moved past him, keys in hand, heading toward the parking lot. “Alright then; Austin, let’s get Italian.”

“Hold up,” he ordered, taking hold of her under her arm before she got too far. “I need to go somewhere first.” He let go and charged ahead purposefully, opposite the lot, assuming she’d follow along and not really considering otherwise.

She trotted along and caught up to him quick enough. “Where?”

“Back nine,” he quipped. Her face only registered confusion, so he relented and elaborated. “The topiary garden out back; I need to see someone.”

new fic

Jun. 16th, 2017 09:07 pm
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
I had such a good head of steam going up until now, 11k words in this new one, and I was liking it...until...
I don't know what knocked me down, but I have no one old enough and willing to be a sounding board while I work through this, so I'm turning to the old on-line journal to talk to myself. Sometimes that works.

Everything was going great until I was almost done with chapter 3, where Mickey has the new Serendip position, and I realized I don't know anything about the corporate secretary pool vs. executive assistant, vs. administrative assistant. Give me an ER at 3 a.m. or a retirement center or a plasma donation center and I can write a scene that pops, but what I'm doing now is flat and fails to convince me it's authentic. If I can't even convince myself, I am incapable of enjoying that particular item I've written.

But I so don't want to give up. Here's the good about it (aside from being the first genuine fiction effort I've made in 3 years): The "what if" element is intriguing: What would happen if Austin up and quit Serendip? Where would that leave Mickey? Serendip employs her, not Austin. So would she be absorbed back into the general secretarial pool, or what are the chances another executive would be needing a personal secretary at that exact time? And what, then, is the nature of Mickey and Austin's relationship? Was it just a professional based phenomenon, Mickey at the service of Austin by virtue of her paycheck, with some personal gratification (excitement) and maybe some genuine friendship to sweeten the pot? Or is there a deeper connection that transcends the paycheck?

Secondly, there is the murder mystery aspect, with the scientific twist. I'm working on a premise that involves a synthetic virus infused into a plant, then crossbred several times over until a particular mutation occurs with the foreign dna that causes havoc. The original instigator is a sort of semi-innocent bystander, but there's a real villain who wants to possess this technology and mass produce it for personal gain. I have Austin, trying to solve the initial murder of the semi-innocent bystander, getting sucked into a bigger situation with the villain where he is simultaneously helping his scheme and trying to subvert it.

To connect the two plotlines, I have Mickey being forced to choose for whom she works: Serendip for a career, pay, and benefits, or Austin for good-will and great uncertainty. He promises adventure. Maybe the sky is the limit, but nothing with him is guaranteed.

Okay, now re-reading what I've written here, I have a clearer idea of my goals and objectives. That was helpful. I can also see a little better where I want to position Mickey. So I do not want her working for a particular boss, but for a supervising secretary of an entire division pool. That would guarantee her new job would be exceedingly boring and unchallenging compared to what she's been used to.

The problem here is I think if Mickey had a truly lucrative, stable position that made good use of her talents, I don't know that she'd be willing to chuck it to go follow Austin. The way I've written this up to now, Austin has not been too considerate. He betrayed her, and he's got to see that and come to grips with the part of himself that acts on pure intellect without the input from feelings, particularly empathy. Is he capable of being empathetic? To what degree is he capable, and will it be sufficient for Mickey to gamble on choosing him and a new geography vs staying with what she knows?

OK, what if I have Mickey being offered either a downgrade in position or a severance package? That would take me back to chapter one and significantly change her direction. Ummm, yeah...yes, I'm liking this idea better. OK, that removes my quandary about chapter 3 and the dumb scenario that falls flat. I know all about being between jobs. I've had severance before and God knows I've been on job hunts. I can write that. Of course, now I have to go back and figure out what Austin assumed Mickey would do when she was suddenly out a job. Was he planning to cut ties. No. Absolutely not. He knew she'd have severance, and he planned to "come to the rescue" before the severance ran out. He just didn't bother to explain it to Mickey.

I'll keep on thinking on this. I'm glad I thought of this account. This was way more productive than I thought it would be. OK, time to call the kids in and get everyone to bed. I'll revise and push forward tomorrow.

Return

Aug. 20th, 2016 08:30 pm
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
Just wandering through, taking a different route. Hadn't been over here for a while and thought I'd drop down a few words, leave a mark.

I wish I could say I've created something new since last October, but that is not the case. I've been focused on maintaining the work I've already put into motion, the home. I wish there was a way to represent it on the page, because that, truly, is a labor of love and an awesome feat.
paulak_rumin8: Robert Frost (miles to go)
Once in a while a mood grabs hold of me and cranks up the volume on something raucous with a lot of cymbal, like Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll," instead of unceremoniously changing the channel. For a little while, I just sat, driving the car, the part of me that craves contradiction smugly enjoying the noise at the expense of the gentler, less edgy part of me. It was a kind of symbolic bludgeoning of that other part of me that is conscientious and responsible. Some sort of existential rebellion, I guess.

Anyway, my sister graciously volunteered to take my GMC Yukon and seven children downstate with her for the week, which leaves me with a big, quiet house. Not quite free, I am still encumbered by my full-time job and my sons' evening paper routes, two fairly low-key cats, and one un-dead frog. The thing has been with us for coming up on sixteen years. Seriously, I don't know whether it will die, or it did some years ago and I live with a post-mortem, perpetually animated pseudo-amphibian. The frog hatchery kit claimed I would be a frog-owner for five years max. Hah! The little creature has outlived the store I got him from by at least a decade.

I'm riding that line between seeking social interaction and "why bother?". The latter has carried me for the past several months, at least, and maybe the majority of my life. Ideally, I'd have one deep-rooted friendship, a soulmate. I know, sounds cliché, but I mean that. I do great with just one best friend. I even appreciate peripheral friends and friendly acquaintances better, armed with a solid best friend. I had one, for probably a good 15 year stretch. That may happen again. Who knows? But I can see from here it's a hell of a long way back, and I don't know how much time it's going to take to get there.

In the meantime, I write. That is a safe, sufficient outlet. I have nothing profound to say. This doesn't even approach "art." Maybe it more appropriately belongs in a journal somewhere, but at least here, online, it's going somewhere. Even if it's a pebble toss in a canyon, at least it's traveling. And I don't have the time or the heart to put the requisite effort into a work of fiction right now. No, throwing pebbles into the abyss is sufficient for one night.
paulak_rumin8: (cake face)
I've been trying, again, to get cracking on a writing project. It has been several months. I had a couple of false starts since January. Then, just last week, I caught a whiff of inspiration and pounded out a 3000-word one-shot for ff.net. I think it's the finest piece I've produced so far. It's unique. I wrote it from the point of view of a lounge-singer/bank robber with mob connections, a live-in girlfriend, and a 5-year-old son. It takes place within a week of when the man ditched his family and didn't see his son again for 25 years.

Believe it or not, it's a canon-faithful backstory to Mark McCormick from Hardcastle and McCormick. Next time I might actually include the title characters in my story.
paulak_rumin8: Robert Frost (miles to go)
I used to work in a jail. I spent two years at the county lock-up, the sole nurse for the place, 23 years old and crazy oblivious to the fact I was quite clearly in over my head.

I was game for anything that came my way, which probably proved helpful. I was a very nice nurse. I had the tendency to see inmates as ordinary souls wearing a lot of orange and carrying unfavorable back stories.

The jail was deceptively large. It looked like a squat, single-story, brown brick extension of the much older, much larger, much more elaborate courthouse next door. But as it turns out, about 2/3 of the jail is underground. And about half of the inmates are not local. The county recoups a little of its criminal justice expenses with some (mostly) federal cell rentals.

The locals were primarily people with addictions doing what addicts do to score their substance. The Feds were of a different ilk. Some of them were street hoods, gang-bangers. Some of them were in all likelihood involved in gun-running and crime syndicates. Allegedly. At the county jail, they weren't convicted. Not yet.

I had an office downstairs. The walls were grey, painted cinderblock. There was a closet where I stored my files and a few supplies. There was a med cart that held the inmates' prescriptions and all the OTC stuff they seemed to crave (Tylenol, Benedryl, etc). There was a desk, also gray, up against the wall in front of the room's only window. It overlooked the F block across the hall. I kept the blinds shut. Too much orange looking my way otherwise. There was a desk calendar on which I daily crossed off the days, counting down to my wedding day. It was eerily similar to doing time.

Except I could get out and go for lunch at the wonderful little sub sandwich place across the street. And when I rapped on the dispatch room window, someone released the latch and let me out of the place.

Every morning, I would greet everyone, get a report form the officers on duty about what was up, healthwise, with the inmates, and receive an updated roster sheet. From that, I would compose a list of inmates who were due for their obligatory health intake and TB test, and the TB test reading 2 or 3 days later.

I spent a lot of time just waiting in my office to see people. You see, in corrections, and probably even more so at the county level, the health needs of the inmates are of minimal concern to the corrections staff. These people, from the law enforcement perspective, are already getting free room and board on the taxpayers' dime, and now I want to appropriate even more toward optimizing their health. What were they doing about these pressing health concerns on the outside, anyway?

The argument did have some merit, I can't deny that. The one line that always galled me, though, was the officer who used to declare with some regularity, "Too far from the heart to kill 'im." That was the typical response I would get from that guy to my requests for the contracted doctor to come see someone for a genito-urinary concern, or for someone with an abscess to go out for a tooth extraction.

I carried a pager at all times. Whenever someone was booked who was carrying a prescription med, I was paged to verify it and give the officers the okay to let the guy take the med. Sometimes people with diabetes get arrested. Sometimes people with seizure disorders, or heart conditions, or asthma go to jail.

One time I was paged because the booking officer believed the inmate was having a heart attack. When I asked him why he was calling me instead of 911, he responded that protocol said I was the first to be notified in an emergency. I had absolutely no sway over protocol, which was both frustrating and a little scary.

I've been thinking a lot about that period of my life lately. It coincided with a passing interest in public health. I pursued a graduate degree in that area for a time, before I read between the lines and saw that the answer to programs and policies geared toward public health that sucked up tax dollars like sodium polyacrylate was to keep throwing more dollars at it. Maybe I didn't know where my talents were best applied, but it couldn't be in an endless parade of grant applications and politicking.

I've been mining my past a little more deeply lately, remembering things and landing on interests that haven't crossed my mind in decades. For pity's sake, I'm listening to 1970's easy listening these days...CCR, John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel, The Velvet Underground. I'm digging in deeper, poking around in the more shadowy places, hunting down perspective. So far, it's led me back to jail. Sounds ominous, doesn't it?
paulak_rumin8: Hardcaste and McCormick (Pulse Rate)
It begins with a recollection of a scene, which leads to obtaining the footage so as to re-experience that scene, which leads to contemplating, internalizing, and self-narrating the scene, which ultimately leads to a strong inclination to write it. That's what I did today.


Rescue

Judge Hardcastle surged out of his truck, not bothering to close the door behind him in his haste, not thinking to take the key from the ignition in his distraction. He was peripherally aware that his passenger was following close behind, although she stopped and hesitated a few beats before he did. It figured. She was psychic, after all.

Not until Hardcastle had ventured about three long strides into the brush off the shoulder of the road, poised at the lip of a fairly steep drop-off, did his frantic gaze land on its long-sought object, some twenty feet down.

The judge recoiled viscerally and stopped breathing, convinced for a horrible instant that Millie was right. McCormick hadn't just gone missing. He wasn't just shot.

The kid lay sprawled in an unnatural pose at the base of the ravine, face-up, much too still.

Cold fear cleaved to a single shard of hope to propel the judge forward, and he was descending the hill, grasping at tree limbs and the rocky edifice for support. His breath returned, ragged and labored, only partly due to the physical demands of climbing at his age.

He was still a stone's throw away when he raised his eyes to catch the fear-assuaging sight of the rapid rise and fall of the kid's chest. Where there's breath, there's life, however tenuous it may be. He clambered down and closed the remaining distance with renewed urgency.

The kid still didn't move, didn't turn his head or even blink. His eyes were open at half-mast, dull and unperceiving, swollen under the left where he sported a deep gash matted over with congealed blood.

But it was the blood-soaked patch over his left midriff that drew the judge's grim attention and brought him down heavily on one knee at the kid's side.

Better the gut than the head; it could've been worse. But not much. Hardcastle returned his worried gaze to the kid's face, and there received his reward for his dogged perseverance.

McCormick moved. True, it was only his eyes. Somewhere inside his battered body he rallied enough strength to focus his mind and his sight on the judge. Slowly, ever so slowly, the helpless resignation that had seeped in and consumed him during the course of the bleak night gave way to a reasonable hope that his latest near-miss would be, in the end, a miss nonetheless. He was saved.

He couldn't smile his relief and gratitude; too weak. He could do nothing to remove that haunted look from the judge's weathered face. Just staring back at him wasn't cutting it.

With all that was left in him, McCormick gave his best friend the best reassurance he could hope to offer: a solid wisecrack.

Under his breath, hardly audible, he intoned thickly, "What took you so long?" Then, satisfied with the favorable result of his effort, he closed his eyes and fell fully into the encroaching exhaustion. Hardcastle would manage everything else.
paulak_rumin8: Hardcaste and McCormick (Pulse Rate)
In the interest of pulling myself out of a slump, I visited the fanfiction.net site for an old, forgotten favorite of mine, Hardcastle and McCormick. I used to tape those episodes in...let's see...probably about 1990-ish. No, 1991. Summer. It was after my Scarecrow and Mrs. King phase.

Anyway, someone just posted a terrific filler for the season 3 episode called "If You Could See What I See," about a psychic who foresees Mark's apparent "death." Anyone familiar with my fan fiction may recognize the episode title and loosely, the premise, as suspiciously close to a Probe fic I wrote a few years ago. Shameless, I know. Ahem...it was a particular favorite episode of Hardcastle and McCormick. And it guest-starred Rosemary Clooney. Bonus.

This particular fan fiction was such an angst-y, satisfying read, and it was written by another RN like myself, making the medical references gleefully realistic. Oh yes, I recognize your hypovolemic shock! Medically-induced coma during post-op intubation, Dopamine drip titrated to preserve renal perfusion, broken bones being a tertiary concern, after stabilized vital signs, extubation, and infection control (well, it does no good to resolve hypovolemic shock only to succumb to septic shock).

So, a big kudos to Voyager Tip for this one: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10574615/1/From-the-Ravine-to-the-Cookies-Missing-Scenes-from-If-You-Could-See

One thing led to another, and I was ravaging the Hardcastle and McCormick stories, until I found more great reads. There are quite a few in this fandom, actually. Quite a few very talented authors. The whole thing inspired me to climb into the crawlspace and root out my old VCR tapes with the show on them. I was looking for the Rosemary Clooney ep, in particular. Did I find it? I found the right season and a number of episodes aggravatingly close to this one, but unfortunately, I have tape 45 and tape 47, but no tape 46. Dang it. Well, there's always Christmas to look forward to. I think Season 3 will end up at the top of my wish list.

In other news:

1. I am not now, nor am I soon to be...writing. It's just not happening. The well's dry.

2. Husband's Greek cooking has reaffirmed my faith in his inherent worth as a spouse and as a cook. The man is a genius in the kitchen, I swear.

3. Parker Stevenson day approaches, and anticipation increasingly turns to dread. I hate crowds. The event is too formal and controlled; I won't be able to be natural. I don't shine in these situations. I'd do much better at your average Comic Con, I think. What the hell was I thinking, anyway? Gaaah!

4. I really need something...perspective, I think...to pull out of this funk. Sleep probably would be a good start. I'd better wrap this up and go to bed.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
As we approach the impending face-to-face with Parker Stevenson, a peculiar side of me has emerged...the fangirl. I truly believed I was immune to the phenomenon, but, as recent events suggest, that would be incorrect.

It began with the purchase of the ticket, which led to the need to replace myself that day at work, which led to the realization that...Dear Lord, what do I say to him? I can't waste such a unique opportunity receding into introverted oblivion that wouldn't dream of imposing anything so bold as EYE CONTACT.

So I did the only thing I could think of to prepare myself. Research. With the aid of Google, I researched Parker Stevenson. That was fun. Out of sincere respect, I steered clear of the obviously tabloid garbage and tried to stick with recent photos and interviews. I also took in his photography web page, which is thought provoking in itself. I caught the episode of Longmire he guest starred in last week.

Then the thought occurred to me: I don't want to meet him empty-handed. I should give him something, some token of appreciation. How about making a gift of one of my creative efforts in appreciation for one of his creative efforts? But not one of my stories. At 50K words or more, that's a commitment, not a token. And that would be weird. I had one other project in the works, my piano arrangement of the theme song for Probe. Perfect. So I spent some time completing and embellishing it, with much unsolicited assistance from a number of my children.

Oh, it turned out nice, though! I've been practicing it, to make sure it actually sounds decent. It's a swell rendition, if I do say so myself. Then came the problem of how to present my gift. I can't just hand him a stack of paper. So I copied the work onto three sheets of good, matte stock paper and bought a glossy folder to stick them in. Black would have been fitting, but it wasn't available. I ended up with a deep, blue-green that I imagine resembles the Pacific Ocean in full sun. Appropriate.

This is pathetically "fangirl." Who would have thought I'd sink to such lows. Aie! I am 41 years old! And the countdown continues.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
Random thoughts...

I have a terrific idea for a psychological thriller, but I don't relish the idea of immersing myself in such a depressing project. Therefore, it will have to be made manifest by somebody else, somebody I'd probably rather not know personally.

The greatest reservation I have about taking on a writing project is spending all that time and energy and ending up with an awesome read no one will crack open. That's like Cinderella showing up at the palace ball only to find out the event's been cancelled for lack of interest.

Interesting. This chicken sandwich that wasn't doing much to inspire me to eat a hearty lunch is magically being consumed under my conscious radar while I am occupied with writing. This is good to know, for future reference.

Today, in Myers-Briggs-speak, I'm letting my extraverted intuition (Ne) out for a romp. It's such a pleasant way to be me: energetic, witty, sociable, fun. It sure would be nice if I could turn this on at will.

Also in Myers-Briggs-speak, I've landed on the notion that if I could just get my introverted feeling (Fi) and extraverted intuition (Ne) to get together and sack and bludgeon to death my pesky last function, extraverted thinking (Te), life would be so much sweeter.

And finally...Something to look forward to. Next month I'm taking a day off work, driving into the city, and meeting Parker Stevenson. What are the chances of him blowing through town twice for a public meet and greet? I already know what to say. "I was a shade young to appreciate The Hardy Boys, and I never really got into Baywatch, but between those two you had another show. That's what brings me here..."
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
I just posted chapter 10. I think it's the most evil cliffhanger I've ever offered. Makes me smile. I really enjoyed writing this story. It actually came a little easier than the last one I did. I might have enough nerve worked up to see about writing original fiction. I've said so before, I know. I'm still trying to talk myself into it, I think.

Writing is my second greatest joy right now. Tops is my children. They are such blessings. Tonight, my eldest 2 are away on a camping trip with scouts. So I have the four aged 3 to 8 having a sleepover in the den. It's adorable. And little guy, Leo, went to bed without a single fuss. I'm just so grateful.

I'm going to post a writing sample to end this. I have one particular scene from chapter 10 that I think stands out. That'll do.



Alonzo guided her back down the hall to the kitchen and motioned for her to sit in the same chair she had used earlier. Vinnie was standing nearby, holding a telephone base in one hand and inspecting a watch in the other.

“All right, Secretary. We have a phone call to make.” Vinnie joined them at the table and set a paper in front of Mickey. “You will read exactly what is written here, and then I will hang up. Don’t answer any questions. Don’t offer any information. Understand?”

She nodded. “Yes.” Her voice was a mere whisper. She cleared her throat. “Yes,” she said again.

Vinnie dialed the phone with the eraser end of a pencil, while Alonzo held the receiver to her ear. It rang only once and was immediately answered.

“Mickey?”

She thought she had been holding up well, feeling numb, if not absolutely calm. But at the sound of Austin’s voice and the alarm implicit behind it, tears sprang to her eyes. But Vinnie was staring at her, a deadly serious look on his face, and she didn’t want him to hang up. She tried to launch right into her message. “Austin! I have—“

“Tell me somebody pulled a gun on you, at least. Tell me you didn’t just hop into the car with them.”

She exhaled, making a sound that was equal parts laugh and sob. “I’m sorry, Austin.”

“Didn’t I tell you to stay home? Isn’t that the one thing I kept telling you while you were arguing with me?”

“I know…”

“You didn’t do what I told you to.”

“You’re right. You’re always right.”

“When this is over, I want you to make that your personal mantra. Repeat it to yourself every time you start to question my judgment.”

Vinnie’s expression grew darker. “Get on with it.”

“Austin, I really need to give you this message.”

“Go ahead.”

“Do you have the drug they want?”

“Yep.”

“All of it?”

“Yep.”

She read off the paper. “Get on Route 60, go East as fast as you can. You will receive another phone call in twenty minutes.” That was it. The message was complete. Her eyes began to fill again.

As though he was standing right beside her, seeing what she saw and knowing what she knew, Austin’s hastily added last words fell on her ears, low and composed. “Try and relax, Mickey. Just do whatever they tell you. I’m coming.”

Vinnie disconnected as Mickey answered. “I know you are.”
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
I've been busy with this. I'm working on chapter 10, and it's challenging, pretty exciting, and fun. It's mostly a challenge because I keep shifting perspectives, from Mickey to Austin and back. They're in two different places at the moment, but coming close to intersecting. It's really a fun chapter, as the author of it. I'm going to end today's post with a little piece of it, just because I'm so eager to share the thing.

I do believe I'm going to try my hand at original fiction next time. I've said before, and I stand by this: every bad day makes a great story. Man, I've got more stories at my disposal lately. I've got to channel all this for good and put it to work for me. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of wasted drama.

I'm really going to make an effort to finish up the current project this week. It's probably within about 3500 words from the end. I'm definitely past the mid-story slump, where I'm in danger of abandoning the project. It's the home stretch now.


Chapter 10

They fell silent again, and Mickey’s mind was racing, trying to come up with something to say to him. It was supposed to be a good thing to do in a hostage situation, to keep your captor talking, build a relationship with him, make it personal. She bit her lip and thought about relationships. “So, how long have you known Lydia, Alonzo?” Calling the captor by his name was a good idea, too. Austin would be proud of her, keeping her head together like this.

“Don’t talk to me about her. She’s none of your business.”

“Oh. Okay.” So much for that idea. Mickey tried again. “I’ve known Austin since I started working for him last March. He gets me in trouble, too, but you know what? I’m not sorry.” I’m really not, she thought, surprised at the truth of her words even as she was speaking them off the top of her head. “I’m glad I work for him, and I’m glad I get tangled up in the things he does. I don’t even know what I’d be doing anymore if I didn’t have him to follow around. He’s the most fascinating, most noble person I’ve ever known.” She laughed to herself. “I guess sometimes you men are worth the trouble you cause.”

Alonzo stared at her thoughtfully. He was quiet for a moment, and then his eyes narrowed. “Do you love him?”

She colored. “Um… do I…?”

“Austin James. Do you love him?”

She looked down, angry with herself for being flustered over the question when she had bigger problems to worry about. She didn’t know how to answer him. She wasn’t quite sure of the answer herself. Stammering, she finally blurted, “I work for him.”
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
At the rate I'm going, chapter 8 is going to be posted before a lot of my followers read chapter 7. This is a good thing. It makes me happy. The only downside? My children are complaining that I'm obsessed. Maybe I am. I do enjoy getting on such a role, though. I can't be too apologetic about it.

Anyway, they have no cause to complain. Today I took the three older boys bowling and out for blizzards at DQ, in honor of #2's birthday. It's getting to be quite a lot of fun to hang out with my men.

I'm going to post a tiny fragment of chapter 8 thus far...no spoilers, just enough to whet the appetite for the rest of it, hopefully. :)


Austin was trying his best to keep his manner aloof, but Mickey had to chuckle at his miserable attempt to suppress an appreciative smile. It was impossible not to be charmed by the old gentleman.

So they broke the gravity of the conversation for rich cannoli and sweet wine, and afterward, Uncle had another request of his host. He left his seat and returned to the kitchen for the wooden box he had brought. He carried it to the table, now cleared of dinnerware and wiped clean. There, he unfolded the box, which was hinged at one end, revealing a chess board. From the two compartments under the board he poured out the carved stone playing pieces. He proceeded to set each piece in its prescribed position. This accomplished, he raised his eyes to extend a wordless invitation to Austin, and the two shared a smile.

“Black,” Austin said.

Uncle nodded. His dark eyes gleamed, and he turned the board ninety degrees. “As you wish.” Holding Austin’s stare, he placed his hand on a pawn and chose his first move, and the game was begun.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
Chapter 7, complete and posted. Whew. The hardest thing about it was filling up that space in time, because I already knew what was going to happen that night. I just had to get there first. The cool thing is I managed to include a couple of things that sort of presented themselves and surprised even me. The theme of family, and of dysfunctional family coupled grotesquely with fierce loyalty, is provocative. My husband suggested--in jest, I think--that I got my inspiration from his family. If that was the case, it was not consciously done. And really, my in-laws are not so very scary. At least, not like the Gilbertinos!

Otherwise, how about The Mentalist season finale?! I was listening with my ear buds here, and at one point I was scrunched down in my seat with my eyes squeezed shut, tittering like a middle-schooler...Jaaaaaane! Bad move, buddy!! Sure was a fun episode. I used it to reward myself for finishing chapter 7.
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
Okay, first of all, I am back to writing, and chapter 7 will come to completion just dandy as soon as I have the time to write it. I'm not too worried at this point. Secondly, I have a little sketch I tossed out this evening, just for fun. It's not really a spoiler, since it's simple, self-indulgent fluff that probably won't ever be part of the current story, but it might fit as sort of an "afterward." I enjoy my little afterward sketches.

I didn't intend to share this one, but it gives me warm fuzzies, so who am I to deny the opportunity to others? Ah, dear, Morning Paula is going to be very cross with Night Paula come 5 a.m. Oh well.



Probe Fluff

“I told you I couldn’t stay because I knew you wouldn’t want me to. And I left.” If she had hoped he would ask no further questions about it, she was disappointed. He wasn’t quite ready to let it go. Not yet.

“And what did I say?”

“You said I have a great attention span.” It wasn’t a lie. She discreetly failed to mention the whole of it, how he’d prefaced the declaration with, “You know what I like best about you, Mickey?”

“’Great attention span.’ Those are the words I used?”

“You may have used the word, ‘phenomenal.’” She smiled sheepishly, but he hardly noticed. He looked away, a troubled expression building on his face.

“That’s awkward,” he muttered under his breath.

“I thought it was a really nice thing to say.” But even as she spoke, he was turning and walking away, ready to bury himself in the bowels of his workshop, no doubt. Something inside of her balked at the idea of ending the conversation here. Something was coming to a head, and this time she was in no mood to prevent it.

“Hey!” she cried, stopping him short. She advanced toward him a few steps.“Don’t go.” She waited until he turned around and faced her again. His expression was neutral, guarded. One hand buried itself in his pocket and the other remained clenched at his side. Mickey crossed her arms, leveled an intent stare at him. “Do you mean it?” she demanded. “Do you really think my attention span is phenomenal?”

He licked his lips, hesitated much longer than the question warranted. Then he answered, in a voice so low she could hardly hear him. “Yes.”

“Good,” she blurted, arms still crossed.

He looked startled, almost offended. “Good?” He let out a humorless laugh and shook his head.

“Because I love you, too.”

The jaded smile dropped from his face in an instant. His mouth hung loose, blue eyes piercingly attentive. But he didn’t speak. Maybe he couldn’t.

She plundered on. The floodgates were opened, and words fell out of her mouth like a springtime rain. “I don’t know when or how, but I do. And I didn’t like Belinda any better than you liked Tristan; same reason. And don’t look at me like you don’t know what I’m talking about! I wanted to dump her drink on her a couple of times, just so she’d cool it.” His confusion had faded, to be replaced by slow, growing amusement illuminating his eyes and playing at the corners of his mouth. And still, he said nothing.

“And I know you keep saying the universe is all you need, but I don’t believe that anymore, and I don’t think you do either. I think you’re just too afraid to admit it, because that would mean you’d have to depend on somebody to stick around, when you even call yourself ‘slightly schizophrenic’ and ‘maladjusted.’ What rational person is going to put up with that?

“But you’re neither of those things, Austin James. You’re brilliant and sometimes you’re crazy. But I think you’re phenomenal, too, and I love you.”

She ran out of words, and in the lingering quiet that followed, she wondered whether she should have stopped after ‘good.’ He still stood some feet in front of her, intimidatingly silent. His eyes left hers and seemed to study a point on the floor for an interminable moment. At last, he lifted them to hers again, still wearing a mildly perplexed expression on his face.

“There is nothing rational about you, is there, Michelle Castle?”

She smiled at him, though her eyes smarted. “Nothing.”

He stepped forward, close enough to hold. He gently clasped her arms above her elbows, and settled an ironic smile on her face. “Lucky for me.”

Hiatus

May. 7th, 2014 12:02 am
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
Reasons I am taking a writing hiatus:

1. It's all Annabeth's fault. I'm watching The Hardy Boys right now.

2. Man, projects like this are a lot of work, and it's a lot of work to maintain the energy necessary to keep on track.

3. As usual, I do have other obligations to attend to.

4. My 2012 fic continues to reap in the hits, while my current project languishes. Drives me nuts, I tell you. Drives me absolutely nuts.

5. Where the hell am I going with this story line, anyway? I can't remember. At this point, I'll have to reread what I've written to figure out what I was doing. That's a lot of reading.

6. I don't like my own writing quite that well.

7. Must do something about this growing sleep debt. I'm starting to lose focus on more than just the writing.

8. I've already lost weight I never intended to lose with my preoccupation with writing. Maybe I should just put it aside and actually eat a meal once in a while.

9. Cabin fever. I am sick to death of being cooped up in the house, trying to finish out the year of homeschooling and keep laundry at bay. Must do something physically engaging.

10. Perhaps I just need a short break and a new perspective. With any luck, I'll change my mind by the weekend.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
Why, why, why, why, why did I think it was a good idea to invite over the whole family to our house for a Cinco de Mayo-themed birthday party for a 1-year-old? My house is not tidy, and only a little bit clean...scratch that, it's not clean. I have more incontinence issues happening at home than I encounter at the retirement facility where I work. I have no sense of smell, but I am quite sure the house reeks of urine, cat, and grease smoke. The weather's been crappy and husband still hasn't mowed once this season. The kids dug a three-foot deep hole in the backyard.

On the bright side, I finished chapter 6 tonight and got it posted. Also, I'm in a psychological place where I'm simply not dwelling on all the angst, and I'm just content to be. In fact, I think I will treat myself to a little DVD viewing and go on to bed. Nothing to be accomplished tonight by fretting.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
I did it, I did it, I did it! Chapter 5 is done. I had a great couple of days of writing inspiration, and today in particular I made a terrific break-through. I came up with a great piece of drama to inject life and a fair amount of anxiety into the end of the chapter, and it came together better than I had hoped. So now, with that behind me, I can move on and accomplish the next phase of the project. There are a couple of scenes existing solely in my head right now that I just can't wait to put down in print.

Now, off to post chapter 5. :D
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
Drat you, chapter 5! I can't say how much I hate the middle of the story. It's right about then I start losing my momentum and stall out. Chapter 5 is coming; I have about 2300 words of it, provided I don't decide to scrap it and start over. It's just coming so slow. I wish I needed just 5 or 6 hours of sleep to function optimally. That would be great. As it is, I am tired. I have the next scene all plotted out mentally and I'd love to take the time to at least get a first draft down, but I think I'm going to have to stop. I'm such an idiot, when you think about it. This is a terrible time of the year to start up such a large-scale project. Glutton for punishment is what I am. Just couldn't wait for the end of the school year. I'm a little afraid of how this chapter will turn out because it is accomplishing what it needs to, but I don't think it's as much fun as the previous chapters.

Writing Austin with his pinball machine attention shifts and constant motion is difficult. And the more I study the episodes for Mickey's character and mannerisms, the more I recognize the subtle differences in each writer's interpretation of her. For instance, in the pilot and Plan 10, Mickey is a little more cranky with Austin's quirks, and stands up to his bluster tit for tat. But in Black Cats, she assumes more of a hero-worship attitude. In Quit It and to a lesser degree, in Black Cats, she seems to entertain a rather romanticized vision of Austin, and in MAPe Over You and Now You See It, she conveys a protective and almost territorial vibe. There's no particular character arc happening--granted, we're talking about a very small sample of episodes to analyze--but simply differences among the episode writers' particular visions.

Now this is funny. Half an hour ago I was too tired to write another section of a chapter, but that didn't stop me from giving an exposition on the program at my blog.

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