31 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #26 - 198 Addison Avenue

St. Louis, Missouri
198 Addison Avenue
30-JUN-2007  1003

    Rose knocked on the front door of the modest home.  Elena stood beside her dark red Mercedes C230 Kompressor, the driver's side door still open.  Glancing back, Rose asked, "See anything?"

    "Her car's still here."

    With a grimace, Rose pounded on the door.  She waited, listening at the door.  "I don't hear anything."  She stepped down off the porch.  "Car's here, no paper waiting outside."

30 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #25 - Commentary

Again, please read the chapter first.

After the excitement of the previous two chapters, it's time to slow the pace down and give readers a chance to catch their collective breath.  Not for long, though.  Sexton is still out there and wounded.  Just as important, the Ladies are finally back together and rested.  Amber now gets to go through withdrawal.  Fortunately for her head, the painkillers for her shoulder will help ease the caffeine shakes.

The first scene also gives a glimpse into Rose's home life and the intrusion her work has on it.  It also gives a look at the how the Ladies get along with each other.  Allison does like Amber; the computer tech just prefers to keep things professional instead of Amber's laissez-faire approach.  Still, Allie does find the girl annoying.  The family analogy was completely unintended at the time of writing.  However, the comparison works, with Rose as the mother figure of the group and Allison and Amber squabbling siblings.  Elena doesn't quite fit the analogy well, though.

The next scene has Rose and Elena back at the investigation.  Rose's approach on the phone is simple, overwhelm with too much information until it's easier for the person at the other end to just give in and look to get the caller off the line.  This won't work at a call centre; the agents won't go anywhere without verifying information and will end the call if the wrong info is given.  However, someone without that training and without the fear of unemployment can be badgered.  If that person is busy, threatening to waste their time works to get information, and Rose isn't looking for personal data, just a person.

Elena has it easier, especially when security theatre rules airports.  All she needs to do is check for last-minute ticket sales for outbound flights.  While there have been security breaches where weapons have gotten through undetected*, Sexton's government access should be invalid and prevent him from using his regular channels.  Today's security adds a new challenge in planning escape routes for characters.  Flights, especially in the US, are essentially off limits; there's just too much paranoia in security to risk going to an airport.  Trains aren't as locked down, mainly because it's difficult to hijack one and run it into an office tower.  Of course, there's always the option of driving.  Driving works early when word is just spreading, when the pursuer has no idea who or what to look for.  Once that advantage is lost, it's best to be well out of town and ideally across the closest border.  If the pursuers are law enforcement, radios and telephones are faster than any car in existance and other agencies will be looking.

Admin assistants are people to be on the good side of.  They keep the office running by tracking the needs of everyone in it.  Get on their bad side and watch as needed supplies just don't get re-ordered in time, or the wrong supplies get ordered.  Nothing major, but little annoyances, like the wrong size Post-It or pens that aren't comfortable.  The admin assistant also handles most travel arrangements and purchases.  Even the Ladies depend on their admin, Tyler.  So, remember to be nice to your admin assistant and get her or him coffee and doughnuts from time to time.

Tomorrow, finding Donna Lund.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, why movie adaptations aren't the best for books.
Coming soon, more fun with Traveller.

* Adam Savage has managed to take a blade on board aircraft without it being detected, while forgetting he had it in the first place.

24 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #25 - 3175 Cinnamon Teal Way

St. Louis, Missouri
3175 Cinnamon Teal Way
30-JUN-2007  0813

    "Pascal, stop dribbling the ball in the house," Rose said, her mom voice in full force.  The sound of a basketball hitting linoleum stopped.  "Get dressed.  Dad's taking you to the mall."

    "Aw, Mom," the boy began.

    "Don't start with me.  You need new clothes.  You've grown again."  Rose disheveled her son's hair.  "Now go upstairs and get ready.  And be quiet.  Amber's trying to rest."

    Amber shuffled into the kitchen.  "I am?"

    "You should be in bed."  Rose kept using her mom voice.

    "I can't sleep anymore, Rose.  And my shoulder hurts too much."

    "Sit down, then."  Rose maneuvered the woman to a chair.  "What do you want for breakfast?"

    "Coffee, please."

    Rose shook her head.  "Not now.  Dr. Ellison left some pills for you to take, so no caffeine."

    Amber held out a hand.  "Rose, look at me.  I need something to steady myself."

    "No coffee for you until you have your shoulder looked at."

    "Can I have a Coke?"

    Rose leveled a gaze at Amber.  "No.  Nothing caffeinated."


    "Honestly, Amber, you're worse than my kids."  Rose walked over to the refridgerator.  "I'm making omelettes.  How are you feeling?"

    "Decaffeinated."  Amber saw Rose's glare and added, "Hungry."

    Rose smiled.  "I'll make an omelette for you, too.  Were any of the other girls up?"

    "Nah.  I think they need the sleep."

    "Okay."  Rose started preparing the eggs.

    Allison walked into the kitchen, stifling a yawn.  "Morning, Rose.  Amber, shouldn't you be in bed?"

    "Can's sleep."  Amber grinned at the younger brunette.  "What about you?"

    "Stiff.  I forgot what it's like to sleep on the floor."  Allison sat at the table opposite to Amber.  "I need a shower, clean clothes, and the day off."

    Rose slid a plate in front of Amber.  "I can give you two of the three," she said to Allison.  "I need you today."

    "For what?" Allison asked.  "I don't think I can drive like I did yesterday."

    "Nothing like that.  I just need you – not so fast Amber – to use your computer skills to find Sexton."

    "That, I can do, if you have a computer here."  Allison looked over at Amber.  "What?"

    Amber kept grinning.  "Nothing."  She went back to her omelette.

    Rose set a plate in front of Allison.  "Effect of the painkiller?"  She shrugged.

    "I hope so," Allison said.

    Elena entered.  "Started the party without me?"

    "I thought you were being fashionably late," Rose joked.  "Breakfast?"

    "No thanks.  I'll get a danish later."

    "It might be a long day."

    "I've survived on coffee before."

    "I'm not allowed any," Amber grumbled.

    Elena patted Amber's good shoulder.  "There, there."

    Rose started making another omelette, this time for herself.  "Now that we're all up, I want to go over today's plan.  Allison, I want you to find Sexton.  Make sure he hasn't left the city.  There's nothing we can do if he's driving, but we'll know if he's taken the train out.  Elena, we'll be making a few calls from the office.  What Allie can't find online, we might by making calls around town.  We can get some supplies and one of our own cars.  Questions?"

    Amber raised her hand.  "What about me?  Shouldn't I be doing something?"

    "Resting," Rose said.  "Amber, you were shot yesterday."

    "Duh, Rose.  I was there."

    Allison raised her hand, poised to cuff Amber.  "Want me to smack her, Rose?"

    "No, Allie.  Amber, you need to rest, really.  Sit on the couch and watch TV."

    "Come on, Rose.  I'll be bored.  I could, um."  Amber racked her brain for an idea.  "What about manning the phones?  You wouldn't want Allie here distracted if you called."

    Allison shrugged.  "It'll keep her happy, Rose."

    "Okay, Amber, man the phones.  We'll check in to coordinate with Allie."

    Amber smiled.  "Yay!  And you get to spend more time with me, Allie."

    Allison looked heavenward.  "What have I done?"

St. Louis, Missouri
Velasco Investigations
30-JUN-2007  0937

    Rose put her feet on her desk as she waited for the call to be picked up.  The hold music over the phone was a classical piece Rose was certain Elena could name.  "Thank you for holding, my name is Alicia, how may I help you today?"

    Picking up the receiver, Rose said, "Hi, I'm trying to track down my husband.  He was running late and I had the kids and, well, you know how that can be, so, I was wondering if my husband made his train."  Rose nodded.  "Can't you take a look, please?  He's checking on his mother, the poor woman, she's had such a hard time lately and now the broken leg and--  Oh, thank you."  She gave Alicia Sexton's description.  "Not at all?  Thanks, you're such a dear."  She hung up, then struck the train station off her list.

    Elena entered the office.  "No luck at the airport.  You?"

    "He didn't take Amtrak," Rose answered.  "I don't think he's left town.  Well, maybe gone over to East St. Louis, but that doesn't count."

    "Have you called the casino?"

    "I think they're more paranoid about security than we are.  Might be a place to check, though."

    Elena shook her head.  "They might wonder about someone with a gunshot wound.  He's probably not there."

    Rose sat up, putting her feet back on the floor.  "He has to be somewhere.  Sexton couldn't have dropped off the face of the planet."

    "Bucharest, 1981."

    "That was different."


    "Sexton doesn't have the same organization backing him that you had."

    Elena sat on the edge of the table.  "How do we know that?"

    "I spoke with his boss and . . .."  Rose grinned.  "I should have remembered her."

    "Remembered who?"

    "Donna Lund, Sexton's admin assistant.  Elena, think about it.  How much does Tyler know about what we do?  Who books our travel arrangements, our hotels, sets up our meetings?"

    Elena nodded as she processed the information.  "Where's your phone book?"

    "Wherever Tyler left it."

    The Russian ran out of the room.  She returned shortly after, white pages in her hands.  "Guess whose this is."  Elena flipped through the pages.  "There, got an address."

    Rose picked up the phone.  "I'll let Allie know.  She might be able to do more traces with this info."

St. Louis, Missouri
3175 Cinnamon Teal Way
30-JUN-2007  0945

    "Okay, thanks, Rose," Amber said.  She shifted the receiver from her left ear to her right.  "I'll tell her."  She hung up the phone.  Being careful of her wounded shoulder, the green-haired girl rolled off the couch.  Padding along with bare feet, she walked
into the dining room.  "Allie, Rose called," Amber reported.

    Allison's face was bathed in the glow from the computer monitor.  Without looking up, the brunette asked, "And?"

    "They haven't found anything, but they asked me to ask you to look for someone else.  A Donna Lund."

    Allison's typing slowed.  "Donna Lund?"  She opened a text file and typed the name there.  "Got it.  Anything else?"

    "No, that's it.  Want a coffee?"

    "Amber," Allison warned.

    "I'm just asking."

    "No, Amber.  No coffee.  Go do something.  Read a book or watch TV.  You're supposed to be resting."

    "Aw, Allie, I'm bored!  There's nothing on."

    Allison turned away from the computer and toward Amber.  "What would you be doing normally this hour of a Sunday morning?"


    "Then go back to bed."

    "I'm not tired.  Allie, I go to bed at 4am Sunday mornings."

    "I don't need to know what you do on your own time, Amber."  Allison turned back to her work.  "Find something to do that doesn't involve a lot of movement of caffeine.  Maybe there's a game or a jigsaw puzzle somewhere you can do."

    Amber sighed loudly.  "I want to help, though."

    "You helped yesterday."

    Amber flopped into a chair.  "But that was yesterday."

    "And I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you yesterday."  Allison stood up and walked behind Amber's chair.  "You saved my life and could have lost yours.  You deserve a vacation."

    "But I want to be useful today, too."

    Allison massaged Amber's uninjured shoulder.  "You are useful, Amber.  But even you have to rest at some time.  Especially now."  The brunette tousled Amber's green hair.  "How about this:  You go listen to the radio and keep an eye on the TV and pay attention to the news.  Maybe something will come up there."

    "I suppose."

    "It'll give you something to do and someone should be monitoring the news."  Allison patted Amber's head.  "It'll be useful."

    Amber got up from the chair.  "Okay."  She turned and grinned at Allison.

    "Don't start that again.  Go."

23 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #24 - Commentary

As always, please read the chapter before continuing.

The big showdown between Rose and Sexton has arrived.  Problem is, still not at 50 000 words.  Oops.  So, the climactic build up and big action scene.  At the very least, I managed to choreograph a fight scene.

Fight scenes are different from other scenes.  Positioning becomes important.  Sentence structure has to match the pace of the scene.  Elements that could be used need to be placed.  While writing by the seat of the pants is encouraged during NaNoWriMo, a fight scene does need to be thought through.  In Lethal Ladies' case, what I wound up doing was picturing the scene in my head.  Not only did I play the scene out in my head, I rewound the difficult sections to zoom in as needed.  Yes, that means I use a cinematic metaphor when plotting.  It works; once I have the scene worked out in my head, I can then describe it.

The weapons used were mostly set up in previous chapters.  The MAC-11 and the Colt Python came from Sergei, Elena's contact.  Sexton's gun was kept nondescrept; from Rose's point of view, all she saw was a semi-automatic pistol.  Thompson's M-16 is more distinctive and is a typical US government issue weapon.  Not the best choices for reaching 50 000 words; the Ruger Super Blackhawk would have been better for Rose; three words, not two, and two when dropping the company name.  Just like the car choices, like the Grand Am.

The arrival of Allison and Amber gave me an out to continue the story.  With Rose and Elena's attention turned to the wounded Amber and to the distraught Maria, that gave me an opening for Sexton to escape.  Naturally, Sexton left his henchman behind.  Good thing for him that dead men tell no tales.

The second scene, in Rose's home, is a much slower one, meant to let both reader and author slow down and breathe.  I took a few liberties with American law and with medicine.  Amber, by all rights, should be in a hospital.  Gunshot wounds do have to be reported to the police.  Yet, Rose has reason to believe that Sexton might not be done with the Ladies yet.  Detective Lepinski isn't really happy with Rose; he gets to clean up after her mess.  A future Lethal Ladies installment should show Carl and Elena dating, though.

One of the popular anime available in 2006 was Magic Knights Rayearth, available through fansubs.  There was still a length of time between the airing of an anime series in Japan and its licensing in North America that allowed for fansubbers to fill in the gap.  Today, either a series will be picked up shortly after the series begins to air or will already be licensed before anyone gets to see it.  That said, this is where Amber's desire for her Mokona plushie comes from, thelittle white rabbit-pillow from Rayearth.  And, wrapping up the chapter, Amber confides in Elena about Allison.  The doctor gave Amber the really good painkillers.  Her reasoning is sound, but lacking.

Like this, but white.  Pu!

Tomorrow, searching for Sexton.
Saturday, over at Musehack, Jurassic Park.
Coming soon, Shadowrun and the Sunshine Award.
If you look to the right, the Lethal Ladies page has been updated through to chapter 24.

17 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #24 - Warehouse District

St. Louis, Missouri
Warehouse District
29-JUN-2007  1715

    The gold Camero coasted to a stop.  Rose and Elena stepped out of the car, bringing out their gun cases with them.  They each opened their case and took the guns out.  "Stick to the plan, Rose," Elena said.  "Keep everything nice and simple."

    Rose slid the Colt Python behind her back into her pants' waistband.  "I know, Elena.  Just don't hurt Maria."

16 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #23 - Commentary

As always, please read the chapter before continuing.

Just one scene last week, but it was intense.  The younger Ladies are now in the clutches of Sexton's henchmen, and Sexton has a plan to double-cross Rose and kill everyone involved.  Allison is willing to let the situation develop; Rose and Elena are still out there, free, and should be aware that the younger Ladies are hostages.  Amber, well, part of her doesn't like being ordered around.  Her mouth already has Smith riled.  Believe it or not, Amber has a plan.

I'd like to point out that Allison never really answered Amber's question about being tied up.  Allison has a side venture that takes up her Thursdays, as has been mentioned previously.  It was going to be an element hinted at until a full reveal in a later book.  Speculation is welcome in the comments.

Rollins isn't that bad, all things considered.  Of Sexton's people, he's the idealist.  He believes what he's doing with and for Sexton is for the betterment of his country.  Smith is far more ruthless, though.  Sexton uses Smith as a blunt instrument, when subtlety isn't needed or wanted.  Every villain needs someone to do the dirty work, someone who will follow orders while the villain is establishing an alibi elsewhere.  Smith is the dog heavy, the guy designated to shoot the dog in a Western, a term I discovered after listening to the director's commentary to Die Hard.  That commentary taught me more about movies and movie making than anything else.  It's well worth listening to.

Amber's plan, such as it is, was simple.  Annoy the henchmen, separate them, and hope that Allison picked up on subtle clues.  Amber isn't good at subtle, though.  To point out the obvious, the kiss was to let Allison know she was up to something.  Allison, even though she didn't know what Amber was up to, used the distraction.  There's a difference in the women's fighting styles; Allison has one, Amber doesn't.  Allison has had formal training and is well aware of the vulnerable parts on a body.  Amber's style is a mash of all the anime she has seen coupled with wrestling moves with as much grace as a falling boulder.

However, when someone brings a gun to a fist fight, it never ends well.  Being in a small space doesn't help Smith, but he has two targets and no fear of collateral damage.  He probably wouldn't care if Rollins was able to stand up, but with Rollins down, Smith can shoot and stand a chance at hitting one of the Ladies.

Which he did.

Figuring out where Amber was hit took a bit of thought.  I didn't want the wound to be "just a flesh wound".  At the same time, I needed the wound to be dangerous but not immediately fatal.  Most gunshot wounds are just that, wounds, leaving the victim alive but in pain.  A shot in the abdomen, though, takes time to heal properly and requires the victim to avoid eating.  A chest wound could hit the heart, or just leave a hole in a lung.  The shoulder, though, bleeds and removes the victim's ability to use the attached arm.  In Amber's case, that means not being able to use a manual transmission.

Of everything I've written, I feel this chapter, with how it ended, proved to me that I can write, that I can go beyond a caricature.  The chapter let me write drama, even if I got to it with a gunshot.

Tomorrow, Rose meets with Sexton
Saturday, over at MuseHack, the adaptational news round up for January.
Coming soon, gaming, character building, and, hopefully, photos!

15 Jan 2014

Breaking News! Radio Appearance Thursday, January 16th!

I will be on the radio tomorrow!

CKCU's Literary Landscape will have a show about fanfiction, Thursday at 6:30pm Eastern. The show's page has a Listen Live link if you want to stream it online.

10 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #23 - 117 Herbert Street

St. Louis, Missouri
117 Herbert Street
29-JUN-2007  1705

    Allison sat on a beige couch that had seen better days.  Amber sat across from her.  The apartment they were in was stripped bare, the wallpaper darker where pictures and posters had been.  Agents Smith and Rollins stood behind the women, going through their hair strand by strand.  "Found it," Smith said as he pulled a lockpick from Allison's hair.  He pulled Allison's head back by a lock of hair.  "Think you're clever?"

9 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #22 - Commentary

Please read the chapter before continuing.

Back in Chapter 21, Sexton gained a couple more hostages.  Rose and Elena are starting to figure out that something is wrong; Allison is the more serious, more level-headed of the younger Ladies.  Amber not answering could be written off as too busy driving or even just distracted.  Allison, so far, has not been shown as distractable.  As for Rose, her family is important to her.  She isn't "Mama Bear" or "Tiger Mom"; Rose worries when her children are sick or in trouble.  The worry pushes Rose, but Elena points out that all Rose is doing is expending energy that could be used better elsewhere.  Speaking of energy....  The energy needed for burning CDs does eat up battery life.  These days, though, USB memory sticks would be used instead of CDs or DVDs; easier to transport, easier to copy files to, and far more space than a CD.  The scene at the coffee shop was Elena's way of getting Rose to refocus.  Distract the distraught woman so that she can recentre herself.  Elena is a little more ruthless than Rose; the Russian woman will keep her mind on the job when working.

Sexton's scene is brief.  Very brief.  Almost not worth keeping.  In 2007, I was still working out points-of-view, where the camera would be for scenes.  Unless I choose otherwise, I tend to default to placing a camera just above and behind the focus character's shoulder.  The method tends to work in shorter pieces, like short stories and serials like Subject 13*.  Novels, though, it gets tricky.  If a main character isn't around for a critical scene, then somehow I need to show that scene to readers, either through a flashback when the character can hear the tale or jumping to the scene and leaving the main character in the lurch.  Both approaches have advantages and drawbacks.  With an ensemble cast, like Lethal Ladies's, I should be able to get someone in.  Today, I probably would have, or have skipped the small scene altogether and implied it during the next chapter.  Eight years later, experience!

Tomorrow, Amber and Allison in Rollins clutches!
Saturday, over at MuseHack[http://www.musehack.com], back to the reviews.
Coming soon, gaming, character building, and, hopefully, photos!

* Though, even in Subject 13, I will move the camera around for effect.  In Issue 29, I wanted some reaction shots about the curfews imposed due to the Apocalyptic Horsepersons.

3 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #22 - North Florissant Avenue

St. Louis, Missouri
North Florissant Avenue
29-JUN-2007  1645

    Elena hung up the pay phone's handset.  "No answer," she reported as she returned to the Camero.

    "I don't like this," Rose said.  "Sure, if it was just Amber, she'd be too busy having fun with the assignment.  Allison, though?  Not a chance."

    "I can check with the office, see if they've checked in there.  Gives me a chance to see if Tyler arrived safely."

    Rose nodded.  "And ask her to get us some new cell phones.  We'll need them."

    Elena returned to the phone booth.  She dropped a quarter into the slot and called the main number for Velasco Investigations.  The call was answered on the first ring.  "Tyler, good, you're back.  Any problems?"  Elena nodded.  "Excellent.  Any calls for us?"  The Russian mm-hmmed.  "Nothing from Allison or Amber?  No, nothing to worry about.  Did Detective Lepinski leave a message?  I'll let Rose know.  Tell Amber or Allison, whichever calls, to get in touch with me.  Thanks."  Elena hung up.

    "Well?" Rose asked when her partner returned to the Camero.

    "Nothing from the girls," Elena answered.  "Detective Lepinski called to find out if anything official needed to be done."

    "Nothing he can do.  I may need to call Henderson at the Firm, though."

    "Clean up crew?"

    "He still owes me a few favours."

    Elena slipped into the car.  "How many CDs have you done?"

    Rose held up a stack of ten from beside her.  "Think this is enough?"

    "Good enough.  Take a break."

    "Not until Maria is safe."

    "Rose, this is why agents aren't allowed to work on cases when there is a personal tie.  You're going to use up all your energy before you need it.  Let me treat you to a tea."  Elena smiled.  "Or a shot."

    Rose glared at Elena.  "I'm fine, Elena."

    "You're worried.  You don't work well when you're worried."

    "Name one time when that happened," Rose challenged.

    "San Francisco, 2004."


    "You don't remember?  I had to get Allison to distract you."

    Rose shook her head.  "Just what was I worried about?"

    "Your husband called because Pascal had to go to the hospital."

    "That was different."

    Elena nodded.  "Yes, because, this time, your daughter is directly involved.  You're not thinking clearly.  What plan do you have to get her from Sexton?"

    "I . . .."  Rose's voice trailed off.  "I hate you."

    Elena laughed lightly.  "My point exactly.  And you only hate my Russian ruthlessness."

    "Point taken."  Rose sighed.  "Okay, a tea, then I call Sexton, hell or high water."

    Elena opened Rose's door.  "Good plan."  She led her partner to a nearby Starbuck's.  The blonde directed Rose to a chair before going to the counter to place her order.  A few minutes later, Elena returned to where she left Rose.  "Your tea.  I think that year you spent in London helped civilize you."

    Rose sipped her tea.  "English breakfast, thanks.  That year also made me appreciate my mother's cooking.  At least she used spices.  Overused, but better than bland."

    "How is your mother?"

    "Good, last I talked to her.  Still waiting for me to get a proper job or to stay home with the kids.  Or to move back to San Antonio."

    "I wouldn't mind moving the agency there.  I'm getting tired of the cold winters here."

    "And here I thought your Russian blood laughed at winter."

    Elena laughed.  "My blood does.  I, however, do not miss that aspect of my homeland."

    "What about your folks?"

    "They wouldn't miss it either if they left."

    Rose waved her hand like she was erasing a blackboard.  "No, I mean, do you miss your family?"

    Elena shrugged.  "I haven't seen them in some time.  My mother would be on my case about getting married and giving her grandchildren for her to spoil.  She was always asking for /babushka/ before I left Russia.  My father probably worked himself to death.  I miss them, but I am also very grateful that I am here and they are still back there."

    Rose took a larger mouthful of her tea.  "I hear you.  I hear from my brother from time to time.  He's still living near them and gets to hear everything.  I'll visit, but I'm not moving back, even with the winters here."

    "Once we're done all this, we're taking a vacation.  You, me, Allison, even Amber.  Doesn't have to be together.  Just two weeks to do what needs to be done and to just get away from the job."

    "Two weeks of vacation?  Elena, do you know how much we have to get done at the office?"

    "That's the problem in this country; everyone's expected to work to exhaustion.  Europe has it right, I think.  Maybe a little overboard, but everyone needs time to recharge.  Didn't the Firm have a place for field agents to wind down?"

    Rose shrugged.  "I think the office arranged for discount tickets to Disneyland."

    "I cannot picture you in the Eighties going on 'Pirates of the Carribean'."

    "No dissing Johnny Depp."

    Elena licked her lips.  "I can think of better things to do with him."

    Rose laughed sincerely.  "You're almost as bad as Maria."

    "There has to be some perk to being exotic."  Elena joined in the laughter.  "Feeling better?"

    "Yeah.  I needed that."

    Elena stood up.  "Finish your tea.  I need to use the ladies' room."

    Rose kept sipping at her tea while Elena was gone.  When the Russian returned, the cup was empty and sitting on the table.  Rose stood up.  "Ready."  She started walking to the door.  "And thanks."

    Elena smiled.  "That's what a partner is for."

    Outside the coffee shop, the women returned to the Camero.  Rose reached inside and picked up Sexton's Blackberry.  She dialed his phone number.  "Sexton, it's Velasco."  She glanced over at Elena.  "If you've done anything to my daughter, you're going to pay.  Yes, I've got the disks and the laptop.  When and where?  I can do that.  Just hold up your end of the bargain."  Rose disconnected the call.  "Think he believes the 'overwrought mother' act?" she asked Elena.

    "As long as it's an act."

St. Louis, Missouri
117 Herbert Street
29-JUN-2007  1700

    Sexton closed his cell phone.  He turned to Thompson.  "Things are coming together.  Where's the girl?"

    "Locked back in the bedroom," the henchman answered.  "She won't get away."

    "Go check.  We need to get to the meeting site before those bitches do.  And call Rollins.  Let him know where to go."

    "What about the girl?"

    "She's coming with us."

2 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #21 - Commentary

As always, please read the chapter first.

The first scene continues the car chase from the previous chapter.  I worked out what I needed to keep the story going, though even that won't be enough, as will be seen over the coming chapters.  When I wrote this part, though, I didn't have a map of St. Louis handy.  The location I worked out prior to posting the chapter here, not while writing.  So, whether the roads, the sidewalks, the traffic, or the alley exist or not in reality, they exist in the story.  The story needs them.  I pushed Amber's driving skills a bit.

The Wal-Mart of the next scene doesn't exist, at least not in St. Louis.  The store number appears to be in Hawaii.  One of the odd things about Wal-Mart, to me at least, is that it carries firearms.  In Soviet Canuckistan, hunting weapons aren't typically sold at The Bay[link] or similar.  Rifles are more Canadian Tire, a hardware and automotive store, or for specialty shops specific to hunting and fishing.  And yet, even the Canadian Wal-Marts sell hunting goods.  Naturally, Sergei doesn't have to use his shadow network to get the ammunition; he can get it from stock.  Meanwhile, Rose isn't happy about the hand cannon.  Her preferences run smaller.

The last scene of the chapter has the younger Ladies in trouble.  Amber doesn't do distress well; she is too active.  She's already sassing her captors.  The upcoming chapters will show what happens as a result.  Of course, last time these Ladies were handcuffed, Allison managed to get loose.  But, remember all my comments the past few weeks about the building climax?  Still building.  I had delayed the end, but a scene like this, with the closing line I used, still means an end is coming, too soon.

Tomorrow, Rose and Elena prepare.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, Lost in Translation looks at adaptations in 2014.
Coming soon, prep work for a new serial, Traveller planets, and Shadowrun characters.

1 Jan 2014

... and Hello 2014!


Welcome, 2014.  Make yourself comfortable.  You're here for a while.

My plans, and they are plans and not resolutions, for the coming year:

1) Get Lost in Translation compiled, cleaned up, and bookified.  Yes, I am planning on publishing the reviews and essays I've posted at MuseHack, at least as an e-book.  People have been telling me that I could even go all hardcopy, so that's an added plus.

2) Clean up at least one completed NaNoWriMo project for publication.  Top two right now are 2008's Crossover, based on the Subject 13-verse, and 2010's By the Numbers, a Shadowrun tie-in novel.  The latter is more limited to where I can submit; there's too many serial numbers to even think of filing off.

3) Start a new serial for Fridays.  Lethal Ladies will be ending in the spring, so I'll need a replacement.  Look for the prep work in the coming weeks.

4) Figure out how to incorporate more pictures in the blog.  The serials might not go that way; I can't draw consistently enough or fast enough to keep up with the pace I'm maintaining.  I am in awe of people who can.  If I can get people to dress up as my characters, then maybe photos will get added to the serials.

5) Save money for the inevitable end of my contract.  Reality ensues.  Having been on EI and worse, it'll be nice to have a cushion.

6) Get out to more conventions.  I'm usually at CanGames and I do want to go back to CanCon.  I'm thinking about getting out to at least one out-of-town convention, ideally to hook up with other MuseHack contributors.

7) Enjoy life.

Happy New Year!