Thursday, July 14, 2011

First draft of a dream inspired story-anyone think it's worth working on?

This came to me in a dream one night. Don't try to steal it because you'll never be able to finish it-this is not another fabio cover romance novel.

Though Betty’s mother was herself a whore, she always told her daughter that she wasn’t going to be one. “We’re going to get you married,” she would say, when she was in her cups as the genteel said it, or as Betty put it, smashed out of her mind, “to a nice man, a rich man.”
            Rich didn’t mean very much to Betty as a concept. The Swathhawks (well her mother had been a Swathhawk, she herself was of dubious parentage and her mother was fast approaching the age where her hard living forced herself into retirement with the nice respectable name of Smith) had always been dirt poor, living in the cheapest rooms they could rent, with every extra penny going to Mrs. Swathhawks gin. Betty would fetch the liquor, smelling of what she assumed where pine trees though she had never seen one herself, while her mother was working. Though many of the children who were sent on such errands partook of the potent drink themselves, Betty was forbidden on pain of a beating. “It will ruin your teeth” her mother had told her, displaying her own blackening mouth as evidence, “and then who will marry you?”
            Truth be told Betty had little faith that her mothers dream would come true. All children in similar situations as hers, the children of the “women of the night” be they male of female worked as their parents did to supplement the household income. Betty had herself received more than a few offers since she had turned twelve and developed into what resembled small, beautiful and innocent looking women. Like her mother she had dark hair (though again on the threat of a beating she was forced to wash hers occasionally) and light eyes (though hers were unlined and not so full of misery clouded by alcohol.) She had been told she was beautiful but was skeptical of this comment, being as it was always made by men in search of something or her mother when she was going on about her grand plans. There wasn’t much Betty did believe that anyone told her-she was mistrustful by nature and had found nothing in the world to change that particular aspect of herself. Though her mother was a lapsed catholic Betty herself had been instructed at a very early age (by a particularly nice University math professor who saw her mother twice a week and always brought sweets for Betty) in the art of probability. The man had told her that the particular chances of her even existing where beyond human comprehension, that the chances that he, her mother and she would ever be in the same room at the same time where even larger. For a brief shining moment the four year old Betty had the giddy sense that anything at all was possible, and then the man had said like followed like. So she knew, for the prothaltizing her mother did, what course her life would take. She would be a whore, unnoticed and uncared for until she too was used up and no longer desirable even to the seediest of customers.
            Only it didn’t happen like that.  
            Later, when she was older and had acquired more “book knowledge” to augment her street smarts Betty had thought through the chances that she would meet Rick at the particular time she did, that he would be in need of a wife when they meet, and that she herself would appeal to him. She concluded that the fact that they both existed was beyond her comprehension and the rest must have been some odd quirk of fate, a mix up in the perfect logic that probability offered.
            Rick Sherwood himself was a sailor, and as such was superstitious and a believer in destiny. It wasn’t safe to be on the seas and not believe in the forces that governed them-not when you where in a wooden ship that could be swallowed up by any chance storm like it had never existed. If he had ever met Betty’s math professor and learned about the probability of life he would have called it destiny-he was meant to exists, meant to sail safely, meant for everything that happened in his life. Road bumps, sea squalls, thy happened, sure, but there were ways to get around them and back to destiny.
            Betty was one such way.
Rick was an American, the only son of a wealthy man who had owned a fleet of ships that did trade to the most exotic ports. From an early age he had lived on ships, and then captained them, running the business from the practical side. He had always assumed this was enough for him, or rather enough for his father. But when the old man, who had sat behind a desk and ordered trips and purchased cargo and traded from afar, finally died Rick learned his life was apparently not sufficient to be named the sole heir of his father’s business. His father wanted him to settle down, he had known that, to marry, have children and run the business rather than just participate in it.
            Annoyingly this was in his will. Rick had to marry, or he would not have sole control of the business, the massive inheritance he had always seen as his destiny.   
            And so he got to the business of picking a wife. There was his mistress, Matilda, a complicated woman who reminded him of the wind or a pirate in personality (changeable and dangerous) and traveled with him aboard his ship-but she was unsuitable and unwilling in any case to commit to him forever.
            And so it happened that Rick was in the docks of London, pulling in and a non-exotic and by his standards uninteresting port to repair a mast broken by a recent storm, when he was Betty.
            She was on a gin run, he was exploring. Having been traveling for most of his life he was restless by nature, and anyway he was pondering the question of his inheritance. He had absolutely no desire to marry, and a competing desire to not be poor or be ruled by anyone other than the wind and the tides.
            Making the most of his time off ship he set out to find a cheap tavern. Waltzing in the door to this first one he found (“The Pewter Mug” which would have been more aptly named “The Rusty Mug”) he bumped start into Betty, slamming her into the bar, which spilled the gin she was buying all over her.
            “Fuck!” Betty exclaimed, rounding on whoever had caused her to waste such precious money. The man behind her looked apologetic and slightly bewildered to be so confronted. Betty was only fourteen but looked older and years of putting off men who had assumed she worked like her mother had made her formidable in a rage.
            “I’m sorry” Rick said, being polite though the woman was obviously below his station and probably a prostitute, “I’ll buy you more” he wrinkled his nose at the overpowering smell of juniper berries emanating from Betty’s clothing, “Gin.”
            “It wasn’t mine” Betty explained angrily, brushing off her clothing which only succeed in getting the sent on her hands, “and I don’t except money from men.”
            At this everyone in the bar hooted. Choruses of “she’s thinks she’s too good for us” and “maybe you try your luck elsewhere” came from the dark, dank recess of the tavern.
            Betty glowered at the people shouting and pushed past Rick out into the relative sunshine of the street. He followed her.
            “Didn’t you hear them?” She asked, turning to face him again, “I’m no whore, so back off!”
            “I’m sorry” Rick said again, because he had been raised in the south and women were treated with respect there, “I didn’t think you where” he added for good measure, not sure he believed his own words.
            “Of course you did” Betty retorted, turning her back and walking away so he had followed her to hear, “what else would I be doing buying Gin?” Rick opened his mouth to speak but she went on talking, “Unless I was just a drunk of course in which case I could probably be persuaded to be a whore for the right price.”
            Rick, who was not completely sure why he was following this Gin soaked women down the street decided to get a word in edgewise. “I don’t understand” he said, “do you mean…”
            But before he could get another word out she was on him again, staring at him with eyes the color of old snow. “That I might be a whore?” she finished his sentence. “Not really, but you could check back next week.”
            The first thing that came to mind blew out of Rick’s mouth. “I won’t be here next week” he said, and as she gazed contemptuously at him he continued, “and anyway, I don’t…I mean…I just want to pay you for what I spilled.”
            “I guess that’s one way of putting it.” The woman said. “But the answer is still no.”
            “That’s not what I meant.” Rick said, angry now. Usually he didn’t have this much trouble getting his point across. He was charming, everyone said so, but this woman would not be charmed.
            Betty stopped long enough to do a once over on the man. She spoke out loud her observations, as was the norm when she and mother accessed people from their solitary window. “Young, relatively good looking, American (this word was said with some contempt) defiantly a sailor….but” she scrutinized him more closely, “too well dressed and taken care to be just a sailor. My guess is you’re the captain, and you have a mistress on board. You’re too young to have really earned that so must mean you own the ship.”
            ‘I did earn it” Rick said, “but you’re right, I do own the ship.”
            Betty looked triumphant. She knew she was good at accessing people. She had long been able to tell her mother which men to stay away from.” Then what” she asked, gesturing around at the dirty and squalid neighborhood, “are you doing here?”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Total Book lover Happyness!

Joy! The time has finally come! The book is in my hands! George R. R. Martin's "A Dance with Dragons" has finally been published! After so many promised dates and led on readers, the book has finally appeared!

Now the only issue is weather or not to go back and re-read the first four books so I remember everything. I would have done so in advance had I had any faith this book was actually going to be published but...

Thank god my childhood desire to learn how to read manifested itself in adulthood as a speed reading ability. I may have to go back after all-I loved those books. Here's to another good one. If you've read it by the way, let me know what you think.

A feeling of actual respect-how very, very rare

  Being among the percentage of the population who were screwed out of their college dreams (I'll admit, some of the screwing was my own doing) and thus are forced to live at home due to health problems, one of which, seizures, keeps me from driving (or having a driving license) in an area of town were the nearest bus stop is miles away-and are thus treated like a child in every way including having medications, prescription and not, hidden from me and my brother threatening to "beat the shit out of me" if I didn't tell him the truth about something (like he has the right to know everything!) I was awed that my normally slightly less condescend than my father primary care doctor Doctor (lets call him Dr. L) actually had a respectful appointment with me today. Treated me like an adult. Unlike my mother who is yelling at me every three seconds to drink my tea and telling she'll be really mad at me if I have a Seizure tonight ( admittedly I am a person who doesn't drink enough and there is a possibility that correct hydration may fix this problem.) Apparently typing when I should be drinking-which is her latest theory as to the cause of my dilemma-is "not right" and something to deeply resent. It's not like anyone knows being supper hydrated will help anyway.

I'm 23. TWENTY THREE. Will someone please treat me like an adult aside from this one instance with Dr. L? I know my brother pretty much can't because asperbergers makes him think he's always right and thus he think's it's totally ok to act like he;s my father.

I don't need this. The seizures and the injures they caused are problems enough. I deeply, deeply, wish I could move out.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Blackout by Connie Willis review- A butterfly flaps it's wings in the future causing the same butterfly to flap its wings in the past and the again in the future and again in the past and it all causes time travelers to get stuck in the blitz

Ever since cracking open “Doomsday Book” I was in love with Connie Willis’ kind of time travel. Every other book you book you read has heroic people going back to rescue lost treasures or stop assassinations-but in Willis’ world time travel is meant solely for one Exclusive group of people. The historians

You see, past events can’t be changed. Things from the past cannot be brought to the future. And people in the past would naturally be very suspicious to be someone walking around in modern garb and speaking a language they did not know (yes, even English has changed so much you wouldn’t recognize its early forms) asking all kinds of questions any idiot should know the answer too. So since the past is off limits for plunder or changing, it falls to what is left. Observation.

But you can’t go just anywhere. Times are ranked according to the danger the historian will be  in (The Black Death, for example, where a girl was accidentally sent to in “Doomsday Book, ranks a 10) and the Blitz and parts of WW2 aren’t that much safer. But three historians manage to get permission to go back to the time period. Eileen studies child evacuees in the countryside under the guise of a maid. Polly works as a Shopgirl in London just as the Blitz is starting-but she has all the targets memorized and knows where to be on what night. And Mike goes to observe the civilian response to the battle at Dunkirk-until he’s pulled into one of the civilian boats himself and injures himself horribly saving a mans life at Dunkirk-something no historian should have been able to do. Something that may have changed everything.

Meanwhile Eileen’s evacuees come down with measles and her drop to the present refuses to open, being practicle-and really named Merope Ward, she decides to go to London where she knows Polly is working in the same time zone as a Shopgirl and use her drop-only she has to take one of the child evacuees with her.

Polly’s not having any luck either. Her drop won’t open and all of a sudden bombs are being dropped and people are dying who were not listed on the rolls she so obsessively studied for her prep.

But in the future (or the present) the big wigs seem to be concerned about a scientists’ theory that the more time travel there is the more slippage there will be.

The war is raging. The historians can’t get back home. And things that never should have occurred in WW2 are happening all over the place. The only hope our time travelers have is to meet up and somehow come up with a plan-before they’re stuck in the past in long no one in the future will every know they existed.

There is a major cliffhanger here- obviously, because there’s a sequel. The other three of Willis’ book’s (“Doomsday Books”, “To Say Nothing of the Dog” and “Passage”) all had multiple narrators but this one really takes the cake. And not only are we constantly switching between viewpoints but it’s often quite unclear what is going on. Not to mention the whole conundrum of time travel not affecting the past but the fact that time travel exists must mean it affects the past somehow.

The writing here is also a little dull for Willis. There’s none of the biting sarcasm from “Doomsday” or the humor from “To say Nothing” or the hopeless joy that filled “Passage.” It’s almost like was a book that someone ordered her to a write.

It was however, majorly educational on parts of WW2, I knew nothing about.

But then again, this is one of those annoying, money grubbing publishing company tricks to make you spend more money where they split one long book into two reasonable length ones. So maybe “All Clear” (the second half) will be better.

Four stars.

Review of Prima Donna by Megan Chance: Why is the Queen of historical feminism going all caveman on us?

Ever since my introduction to Megan Chance within the pages of “An Inconvenient Wife” I’ve been hooked on her style. The way she writes is so clean and mysterious at the same time- and so filled with emotion. Weather its that of a bound society wife yearning to break free, a lower class girl unexpectedly raised high by her marriage and then suspected of murdering the same man, the hysteria of the Salem witch trials or hear-the desperate yearning of young, talented Sabin Conrad for fame and music, or her older self’s’ desperate desire to hide as far as the railroad can take her-and never, ever sing again.

Instead Sabin takes on the name of Marguerite Olson and, almost unrecognizable with a deforming scar across her face, works as a bar maid in a sleazy tavern in Seattle. But the lure of the stage is strong and soon even the little platform the taverns owner, Johnny, has built, has her lusting after music. She can’t sing of course-she’s far too recognizable- but the “severing girls” who will keep company with men for a price can be trained to sing and play-badly. And at this point Johnny, a rough, harsh man who loves Marguerite, decides he wants to go bigger and bolder.

We watch Sabine’s life unravel both in the past and in the present as a lust for music and fame (in the past) and a fear of being found but a craving for the stage (in the present) prove to be her undoing. Her little tavern stage and the jewelry she sold to cross the country she sold from New York after a violent incident that left the scar across her face leave a clear path for her old manager, one time lover, and tyrant, Gideon Price to follow. And once they meet again the one sided story we’ve been told so far by Sabin opens up into a three dimensional tale where there is no clear bad guy and everyone may have done something wrong….

Like most of Chance’s novels this book  basically boils down to perception versus reality. That worked before, Salem witch trials-no better place for exploring such a thing. Female hysteria, bring it on. An innocent women being charged with murder because she wasn’t rich before her marriage-all the kinds of things where perception plays an equal or larger role than reality.

But here we have, through Sabine’s diaries of her days on the stage from the tender age of 16, her increasing unease ad unhappiness with Gideon as her manager;  there’s an element of fear when she’s around him-and a feeling of degradation at things she feels he makes her do. Lets be frank, there’s no doubt that Sabin will debase, beg, and whore her way to the top is she needs too-but Gideon is always in the wings, And just as Sabin in truly coming to terms with her new life as Marguerite there’s a big event which is kind of  a “here he comes to save the day moment”  only it’s really only it’s “oh you silly dear. I didn’t make you do those things. You just need a strong guiding hand like all women.”

Also the writing was pretty bad. The dairy entries were the most entertaining part of the novel and they were stiff and so coated with selfishness I wanted to gag. And in the present life is bleak-and Marguerite so depressed and withdrawn that getting through her sections was like wading through molasses.

The Queen of historical feminism goes all caveman on us? I was confused-and sad. Everyone loves a love triumphs in the end story but this was more than that. I gotta say, I’m not too interested right now in reading Chance’s new Novel, “City of Ash.”

Two and a half stars.

What would you wear to a cannibal dinner party?

I got this question on the profile page but the character limits seriously limited my creativity. So here is my full answer, assuming that you are the cannibal who has been invited to a "regular" dinner party.

according to "Fine Dining for the Homogeneous Eater" by Dr. Emily Repast

Assuming one is dining with savages who insist on eating those so clearly inferior to them, then one must wear then something unassuming and stylish enough to say my character is boring and nonthreatening. One wants to fit in and not stand out because it's important that the main course be put at ease-they are far more tender that way. And of course the color one wears must be one that does not stain easily. And how kind our hosts were to provide all this garnish! In a non-cannibal home one can find all one needs for a feast simple by relaying on the dinner the hosts prepared and the hosts themselves! It is best to get it over with quickly though. It’s so  terrible unpleasant an un-Lady like to fight with one's food after all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lonely, oh so lonely, lonely, waiting for love....Haoooooooooooo!!!

Ok, so now that we've gotten the obligatory Elvis (actually, it may be The Everly Brother's Ick.) refrence out of the out of the way it's way it's time for me to post my first every blog post (clearly you can tell I do not know the lingo around here.) I've got nothing against blogs but my online communications needs were always satisfied by my amazon review account (you can look me up under Lilly Flora) were until rrecently I was a top 500 reviewer until I was exiled from and thus cannot post my reviews there or get the more than nifty free books and other stuff I was gifted because of being a Vine voice (basically-you get access to things before their in stores)or even get into fights with authors who think they're better then they really are. Thus, I'm starting a blog.

I need somewhere to post the reviews that are accruing in the meantime. I'd also love to make to make some friends because-as the title should tell you-I'm a shut in (the sick kind, not the kind who mentally can't make themselves leave the house.) Anyway, hi to everyone, I hope to meet some of you soon!