Story recs: stories by other authors

Man, I haven’t done this in a long time!

First, an Olicity story!  What?  You don’t know what Olicity is?

Sheesh!

Well first, let me ‘splain to you JA fan fic devotees and even for you Star Trek fic lovers.

The CW show, The Arrow is the retelling/re-imagining of the comic book, The Green Arrow.

Oliver Queen is the rich, playboy son… (DC comics only has rich playboys as heroes, you know… ala Bruce Wayne… then again, Clark Kent is not a rich playboy… but I digress…)–is the rich playboy son of Robert and Moira Queen.

In the first episode: Oliver and his father and Oliver’s current squeeze: Sara (sister of Oliver’s actual girlfriend, Laural) are on the yacht the Queen’s Gambit when a freak storm wrecks the boat.  With everyone “dead” Oliver is shipwrecked alone (supposedly) on a desert island for five years.  When rescued he comes back home to Starling City after that time with a taste for fighting crime (hence, the Arrow)

The setup in the show was for Oliver and Laural to eventually be a couple (and they do reconnect at some point) but the fans of the show were NOT feeling it!  Oliver’s trusty sidekick (the technically gifted, cyber savant, Felicity, charmed us all and SHE was the one we all wanted Oliver with (see: Olicity!)

Flash-forward to now (Season three) and the Olicity love has not gone away.  The show constantly taunts the Olicity fans with these fleeting touches and long stares and almost kisses that the only logical outcome was Olicity fan fiction… which I highly recommend.  I am obsessed! Read it! Now! (Warning: sex scenes)

Let It be Me

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My other rec is a Star Trek Fic story (a 2009/reboot fic).  First, I feel I must say that the writing of this story is first class and is some of the best writing in and out of fan fic that I have ever come across.

However…

I just could NOT make it through some of it, especially the last chapter for the VERY, VERY, VERY! explicit sex scenes (not a criticism, it’s a preference thing). You all know that stories like Happiness At Least (which, as you know, is one that I absolutely adore) are almost too much for me.  But this other story I feel I need to caution you that it makes HAL look like a children’s story.  That being said, the story is worthy of reading for the STORY alone.  It tells the touching story of Spock and Uhura (the reboot versions, not the TOS versions) raising their two physically challenged daughters (one is deaf and the other has a lung ailment) on New Vulcan.  Their marriage is in crisis and they have a lot to overcome.  I absolutely loved it for that.  The daughter’s are charming, but have such terrible limitation issues that it almost moves you to tears sometimes.  But again, I stress, it’s not for everyone.

Waxing Crescent

In which I give you another J.A. story…

…a longer story, in fact.  This proves that I have been writing although I haven’t been posting them anywhere.

If you have nothing better to do tonight than to read 4-1/2 chapters of a story I have no idea how to end then you are welcome to it.

Author’s note: the story starts off in a typical JA fan fic way: taking a scene we are all familiar with and adding a slight twist to move the rest of the story in another direction.  As always, it’s a rough draft  (with type-o’s and sluggish dialog in places).  The story may change eventually, but at this moment I have no ideas as to the how.

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Victims of Circumstance

Part 1: Charles Bingley’s Story

It all came to a head on the Twenty-Sixth of November when we had last been dancing together at Netherfield.

My wife always chides me for my accurate memory, forcing me to retaliate by reminding her that at one time she knew me to be the very opposite. I cannot blame her, for it was too true: I once was such a sad, scatter-brained fellow.

And yet, those exciting, trying, madcap days had been a momentous time in my life: coming down to Hertfordshire to view Netherfield Park, the paint hardly dry on my embarrassingly new chaise and four. Back then I had such fanciful notions in my head about being Charles Bingley, Esquire: gentleman of leisure and master of all I surveyed.

Even then, the wild stories one heard, were rampant. If these rumours were to be believed, we were to be run over by the French any day now. Of course, my father had been telling his children of the evil doings of the French since before I was even born. Yes, it was true that the might of the British Navy had been crushed in a stunning defeat in the spring and it was said that the frogs were simply waiting for the return of the good weather to assault the shore. Yet, to me, it was all nonsense. To my way of thinking in those days was that one Naval defeat could be entirely overcome by one army victory and I had it on good authority, from the mouth of Darcy’s own cousin, that all would be well.

Adding to that, London had become unbearable. A gritty and oppressive fog had set in during the early summer along the coast, driving the holiday-makers, such as myself, away from the delights of Bournmouth and Brighton and reluctantly into London, making the city unusually crowded during the months of warm weather.

Venturing outside was unpleasant to the extreme. The odours were oppressive and even from the shortest of walks my eyes and throat burned constantly. My sister, Caroline, had taken to staying indoors, complaining of anything and everything, and naturally blaming it all on me.

“Last year, if you had only bought an estate when I suggested it, we could have all been in the country by now. And I cannot believe it, not one invitation to stay with anyone, not even an invitation to Pemberley. I thought Mr Darcy was such a good friend of ours.”

I judged it best not to remind Caroline, yet again, that Fitzwilliam Darcy was my friend and that he was spending his summer holidays with his family in Kent.

Louisa, also seemed to be at odds with everything and everyone. Her nerves were constantly on edge. When she wasn’t fretting over the sudden rise in the cost of food, she was at her wits-end over the two housemaids who had suddenly left their positions to return to their families in the north. To deal, or, in her case, to not deal with these harsh new realities, she had taken to sleeping a good deal of the afternoon. My brother Hurst was no help at all, disappearing to his club for the better part of the day or holed up in his bookroom no doubt drinking the cellar dry.

I begin to look upon my friends with country houses with something like envy. Darcy, had in fact, invited us all to stay at Pemberley, his Derbyshire home, after Michaelmas, and probably more out of politeness than want. Yet, again, I dare not tell Caroline. I alone, had noticed the way he sometimes winced  at the indecorous behaviour of my family, so I begged off, telling him that it was high time I looked for a country estate of my own.

I had the good fortune to meet with an agent in Town, who had just the house in mind: a country estate of manageable size in Hertfordshire. The price seemed amazingly low, and the proximity to London and its grim environs gave me pause, but I was assured that the neighbourhood was more than satisfactory and the locals welcoming and delightful. To seal the deal, the estate was offered up as a lease for a year on very reasonable terms.

All that was left to secure my happiness was be my friend’s approval. I wrote to him in Kent and begged Darcy to come to stay a few weeks with me to look over the place over. He handsomely obliged, but with the only proviso that he first settle his young sister, who was currently recovering from some minor complaint or other, safely at Pemberley before he would give me a firm promise. In the end, I was able to secure his company for a month complete before he planned to set off again for Derbyshire before Christmas.

My wife stirs fitfully, but I will let her sleep in this morning even though I am bound to hear some argument to the reverse. She was up all night with little Charley and she needs this rest, especially now, for I begin to suspect something is amiss with her. She tries to hide her sickness from me, but I can sometimes hear her retching in the next room.

Retching.

What an unfortunate word—unfortunate and altogether too common, but I am too tired to find something more appropriate for sensitive ears and really, we have both stared down far uglier words together.

I look around our bed chamber in this house that is not my own. Not perfect, but made more comfortable by my wife’s very capable hands. And yet, I feel the pull to be gone from this place and soon. The tedium which has been visited upon us begins to distress me and no doubt my wife’s good and kindly heart.
There, I have made up my mind: we have tarried in this house too long and something better in another country can always be found. Yes, I am quite decided on the matter; I think my friend Darcy would have been quite proud of me.

I feel her eyes on me as I bend down to tug on my boots. I wait to hear what she has to say.

“Come back to bed. I’m cold.”

I glance up and slowly raise an eyebrow sceptically; a mannerism I know I could have only picked up from her. She has all sorts of them and I briefly wonder which one I can tease out of her next. I play the flirt, if men are allowed to be something of that sort with women they have long been married to.

“Cold?” I say. “Do you require me to do something in particular to bring heat to the room or do you require the warmth from my body alone?”

Her eyes ignite with a desire I have not seen in a good, long while. Caring for a young child had taken away much from her; I would need to do better to lift some of that burden.

“Sir,” she says, equal parts the innocent and the coquette, “Are they not one in the same?”

“Tease,” I laugh, seeing through her ploy at once.

She reaches out with her small hand and I come forward. She is a siren of old and I can do nothing but heed her call.

Once back in our bed I curl my body behind her, burying my nose in her hair. She smells a little of soap and a little of Charley’s sick. I immediately feel guilty that I left her up on her own. I remember a time, two years ago now, when she always smelled of rosewater and her sister smelled of—Oh, I have no idea, it all seems so long ago. I would look out some rosewater on my trip into the village this morning. She would like that, I think. There, I have decided.

She then yawns deeply and I settle in closer, closing my eyes, just living in this moment when it is quiet and still and we can just think of the two of us.

“How long did Charley keep you up last night?” I ask.

“His fever broke just before dawn.”

I heaved a great sigh of relief. Apparently he didn’t have the winter sickness after all.

“I apologize. I should not have left you on your own to nurse a sick child.”

“Charles, you were exhausted. You did so much yesterday. Besides, who better to nurse a sick child than–than his own mother?”

At the word mother, I kiss her neck. I like to hear her say that.

We are silent for a good long while then, each, no doubt, thinking of his birth, of our anguish and pain, only to be soothed by his healthy and lustful cries announcing himself to the world. After this long silence her non-sequitur takes me a little by surprise.

“I daresay our nursery full of maids would have been quite put out to stay up half the night with cold compresses and… and retching.”

We both giggle at the thought. I wonder if this was a good time to bring up her own retching. But I do not wish to cause her any distress.

“Exactly how many nursery maids do you still require, Mrs. Bingley?”

“Oh five, undoubtedly.”

“Only five. Apparently, I am a very neglectful husband.”

She turns over and takes my face in her hands and kisses my lips after every loving statement.

“Oh yes; a very neglectful husband… who keeps me safe… and warm… and well-fed… and loved.”

I move my lips against hers, ready to love her now if she requires it. My hand instinctively searches out the curve of her hip and thigh as she places her leg on top of mine. At times like this my ability to make decisions is challenged and she knows it. And if I had any self-control at this moment I would sternly say to myself that this is no way to start the day. My ruminations are thrown out the window as she nips my ear; I now know I will be a useless lump long before ten.

Her fingers expertly searches for the opening to my breeches; the unskilled maiden of two years ago long forgotten in her now passionate displays of affection. From somewhere, and I have no idea from where, I think of my selfishness and summon the last dregs of my will-power to stay her hand.

“We cannot.”

“You cannot?” she asks, amused and giggling girlishly as she continues with her efforts to throw me off my guard.

“No,” I say in a strained voice that in no way belongs to me, “We must not.”

“Charles?”

“I am only thinking of you and–.”

“And—“

I rest my hand on her abdomen.

She stares at me for a long moment, playing with the buttons on my flannel waistcoat.

“I heard your retching yesterday morning,” I finally say.

“Oh that? That means nothing, sir! In fact, I begin to believe I only have a little of Charley’s illness.”

“I only mean we should be careful. Last time–”

“It’s Charley’s cold! And I don’t know why you are at all surprised, all of us cooped up in here together like a den of rabbits.”

“I think you mean a warren of rabbits.” I kiss her nose.

“Oxford showoff!”

“That would be Cambridge, madam.”

“Exactly! A showoff!”

“I really need to get going if I am going to find anything of use in the village.”

I get out of bed and put my coat on. I then drape my saddle bags across my body, place my pistol in my belt, and search out the woollen cap my wife has knitted for me. I smile when I see my wife disentangle it from the bedclothes and brandish the cap above her head, as if enticing me to come back to the warmth of our bed.

She then comes to me, her bare feet silent on the cold floor. She reaches up to touch my hair and trails her fingers down to my chin before settling the cap upon my head.

“When you come back, a haircut and a shave are in order, I think.”

“I will ask one of my many valets,” I joke.

“I am serious, Charles; you begin to look quite the savage.”

My hair had long since reached my shoulders and no one from my past would ever recognize me for the beard.

We touch foreheads and she grabs my lapels: our usual custom before we part.

“Be careful, my darling.”

“I will. And you lock up well, my love.”

We kiss.

“I love you, so much, Charles.”

“I love you, too, Lizzy.”

——————————————————–

NOTE: OK, so not the first story with Charles Bingley & Elizabeth Bennet together, but I bet it’s the first post-apocalyptic J.A. story with Charles and Elizabeth together.

It actually took me four tries to log back in

Yes, your blog reader is not deceiving you, I am actually making a post. And no, I am not going to tell you some sob story about why I was not posting. I am sure you don’t care and are sick of me. But what I will say is I think when you live your life on Twitter and Instagram sometimes you feel that a blog is superfluous.

That being said, I did want to run a story by you. That is, if anyone is around to read it. But I’ll post it and see what happens. It’s only one chapter (one very rough chapter) and it is a story not typically associated with J.A. fan fiction, but I want to write it none the less. Stay tuned… for about five minutes.

My pissed-off job search observation of the day OR why your Social Media “strategy” sucks

Just for “giggles” I was perusing the Social Media job listings on Linkedin.  (and before I go any farther, let me just say that Linkedin has ruined all job search attempts for me forever, however, that is another pissed-off post… but I digress).

So back to searching for social media jobs…

Everyone knows that the BEST purveyors of fine social media are ordinary people with a really interesting story to tell.  And the worst users of Social Media: Corporate tools with degrees in “marketing”– positions where you are expected to do “media planning” and “drive strategy”.

Beyonce cuts her hair at 8am and by 8:30 Twitter has ignited into a frenzy.

“Fred” the Social Media Manager announces a sale on widgets at XYZ Corporation to its 100 followers at 8am, and the world sleeps on.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. is about the now, about the moment–you can not “strategize” the moment.

My advice to corporations:

1) Follow a few social media users who work in your area of expertise for a month or two. Example: you make fine furniture… follow a few design bloggers; you make wine; follow a few wine tweeters. (that’s not very hard, is it?)

2) Make sure they never make a fool out of themselves.

3) Make sure they know how to spell… and are not illiterate assholes.

4) Make sure they know how add photos or video clips or hashtags, etc.

5) Open up a dialogue and engage (or as my friend Cara, from Social Media Club always says: take that online relationship, offline).

6) Do not hire a “Fred” with his Ph.D in statistics and analytics. Fred is boring.

7) Have FUN with it.  Using social media is not a time to “synergize backward overflow.”

Heart Guardian – Chapter 12 (but only half of it)

The author Nora Roberts was on TV yesterday talking about how difficult writing is for her.  If it’s difficult for her (with all of her bestsellers, money, and awards) imagine what it’s like for people who are unsure of their writing… who stare at the computer screen some days and just cannot get it together.  That pretty much describes me.  I have been looking at this chapter for months (and months) now and cannot get pass the block that it always causes.

And I know what’s causing it.  It’s one of those little secondary plot lines which takes you away from the main story and gives you a glimpse of what’s going on elsewhere.  I can’t seem to move past this chapter because I can’t resolve it all in my mind. Plain and simple it is the Jenusia character; Something is off… just not enough character development has been devoted to her. So, to push past it, I am going to dump her little side story here as chapter 12 (well, half of it) so I can just get on with it already.

———-

Anyway… where we left off in Chapter 11…

The gardens at the opposite end of the complex were slightly more colorful and showy than the gardens adjacent. Clearly her guide’s tastes leaned towards the vibrant. She could just make out a male figure bending at the waist in order to smell a flower blossom. But when he righted himself there was something very familiar about his carriage: the finely chiseled jaw, the noble slant of the brow, and the delicate curve of his ear all marked him out as someone she knew well–very well– and had thought dead.

She stopped on the dirt path and released a strangled cry. The figure stood tall, turned and fully revealed himself to her when he stepped through the plantations. However, before he could bow in greeting, Uhura had taken off in a run, barreling towards him, her arms open wide to receive him, all the while sobbing loudly at the same time.

Her body slammed into his and her arms had him around the neck so tightly that he was at a lost on how to breathe.

“Selkek,” she cried.

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