Original Bento Box – Flash Fiction!

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Okay, fans, this was the piece that launched a novel. Almost none of this made it into the book, but that’s what inspiration does. It takes you where you don’t expect.

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The emergency induction port funneled strawberry ice cream shake into her mouth and chilled her tongue. It was too sweet. She longed for a Tequila Sunrise, but the body she wore had an abysmal fake id. Younger bodies were by far more flexible, which she preferred. Carnelia hated being treated like a child; it was the tradeoff she made.  To keep up appearances, she couldn’t turn down the generosity of the older woman with the voice that sounded like cigarettes and whisky. So, here she sat, infusing herself with sugar and waiting.

A trilling noise incited no interest. Everyone in the small diner had a cell phone. She slipped a peek at her locator tracker. The LT showed a red dot, slowly approaching a blue dot. A smile touched her lips as she clicked the LT shut. She did the math and estimated that he would arrive in six minutes.

She stuffed her hand into her purse. It brushed past sharp objects, dangerous items, ammunition, a lipstick, and finally the grip of her LazrGn™. It was sized perfectly for smaller hands and had the benefit of looking like a toy.

The door to the tiny diner swung in, setting a bell set above the door in motion. The tiny chimes drew people’s attention. The figure stepping through the door held it. He filled the door frame at seven foot two. His hair was shaved on the sides, and a noxious green Mohawk flared upwards. His heavy black coat swirled around his ankles. He held a bento box, and had a wonton halfway to his mouth when he barged through the door. He flashed a toothy grin to the horrified folk inside.

She pulled out her LazrGn™ and aimed it beneath the bar. She whispered in her throat mike. “Orochi confirmed.”

Orochi seemed to be enjoying the horrified looks on everyone’s face. He popped the wonton in his mouth and chewed thoughtfully, his gaze strolling over their mingled fear and growing concern.

“Got any soy sauce?” He asked the nearest waitress.

The older woman appeared unimpressed. “You get outta here, son. You got trouble in you and I don’t want it in here.”

“I just want some soy sauce. Is that really so much to ask?” He gave her a wounded look. Then he drew a BFG 300 from his side holster, concealed by the big leather coat. He aimed his gun at the ceiling and shot it, deafening the closest patrons and causing panic to erupt.

Carnelia dived under the table, taking cover behind a booth. She aimed, but a panicked civilian ran for the door and right in front of her path.  The civilian was rewarded with a BFG 300 clipping him in the temple. The civilian crumpled at Orochi’s boots.

The big gun went off again. “Shut up!” Orochi yelled.

At the sight of one of their number going down, the civilians had found cover. They huddled in small groups in the booths.

Carnelia had an idea. She slipped her gun into the waistband of her panties and hid the bulge as best she could under a hoodie. She grabbed her Hello Kitty backpack and peeked at Orochi over the booth top. Her blonde and pink hair stuck up like two antenna.

Orochi saw her and smiled. “What’s your name?”

“Carnelia.” She pushed herself up, leaned over the booth. “What’s yours?”

“Call me Orochi.” He looked down. “My bento box broke.”

Book Launch Express

Signing

I had my first book launch this past weekend. We were in a comic book shop that graciously ignored the fact that I had no pictures in my book and let me set up an event anyway. We had the back corner of the shop, which is how it should be – there was no cause to interrupt their flow in traffic. My business partner Allie was dressed to the nines. I felt a bit silly in my Avengers tee and denim capris, but hey. I know my audience. They go to con, they read comic books, and they wear shirts with pithy sayings. Either that, or colorful depictions of Deadpool draping himself over Skeletor. I was among my people, and I was comfy.

Which was important, because inside I was a mess. I hadn’t done any public speaking for years, and I was out of the habit. As people gathered in their seats, I kept having those undermining thoughts. Are these people really here to see me? To hear me read? From my book? Are they crazy?

I managed to push past the huge case of nerves. After launching into my chapter I remembered to take a few deep breaths. I’d practiced, so I didn’t stumble too often or too badly. My audience was there for me, really there, in a way I hadn’t experienced before. They were small business owners, artists, poets and musicians. People who knew how important supporting the arts is.

We handed out prizes, and that was fun. My son read the ticket stub numbers and did a great job.

There was a Q&A session that felt like it was scripted, it went so well. The interest in my work and Allie’s & my business was there, real and solid. We felt so proud and so humbled all at the same time, and everyone there was just great.

During Q&A, the original short story for Bento Box came up in conversation. I promised that I would post it on my blog for people to see. It will not be edited, because at this point the idea of editing anything to do with Bento is beyond comprehension. I wooed, I won, I’m done. So, keep in mind this was written 2 ½ years ago or so, and it was inspiration for Bento, not slavish devotion.

I’m going to post it on a separate post, possibly broken into 2 for size. I hope you enjoy it!

Flash Drive – a teaser

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Tracy reviewed the report on Abigeal from the handheld AIs screen. 97216-A noticed her yawn, but human affectations did not distort its operations. It waited with a computer’s patience as her owner scanned the report.

“BORING!” Tracy dropped her AI on the dorm room’s futon, waving her hand to dismiss the rest. “This is boring! Who cares about some medieval lady getting burned at the stake? She lost, hello! I don’t want to read this and have people think that I’m from a family of losers! You didn’t even say if she had a kid. How could I be part of her family if she died without making a kid? They didn’t have clone banks until 2291!” Tracy stamped her foot on the smoothed concrete floor and then winced as her enthusiasm sent a shock wave through her knee. “This is a disaster! You are the Worst. AI. Ever! I can’t even believe I bought you!”

With that, she stormed out, her proud bearing disrupted by the slight limp.

97216-A didn’t know how to respond. It had done what it could to bring Abigeal’s plight to life, only to create a negative response by her owner. How could it resolve the issue? It didn’t want to be the worst AI ever. What could it do to make the human happy? It needed to query. It wasn’t certain that this query fit the parameters of research. However, it was necessary to save the report and make the human happy again. 97216-A was so busy querying that it did not notice when the human returned with a hammer.

Are We There Yet?

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I’m hot.

It’s 7 pm and it’s 87 degrees with not an air conditioner in sight. My kid is trying not to melt into the couch as he plays Pokémon to ignore the world around him. I know it’s too hot for him because he’s quiet.

It was a good weekend. It was my business partner (affectionately known as my “Book Wife”)’s birthday. While I was there, I had an exciting conversation with a friend I’ve recently connected with. He told me that after reading my book, he thinks he wants to write one. This is a little unexpected and a lot flattering. Especially since he’s the third person who has credited me as their inspiration to write a book.

I’m going to start putting warnings on my books. “Caution: May cause authorish urges.”

It’s awesome and inspiring and I am a little intimidated. I feel like the Queen of Spain commissioning some ships to find the New World. Of course, that bitch is responsible for some serious destruction of indigenous cultures, but that’s another blog post.

Following a dream is WAY harder than I thought it would be. I always thought that it took about an hour and a half to achieve a life’s dream. That’s what the movies have taught me, anyway. No matter how hard the struggle, no matter what bullets you have to dodge or Russians you have to defeat, you’ll win in an hour and a half. Two hours if you’re particularly epic.

I’ll tell you, it’s been years and I thought I’d be further than I am. But then the idea of having published two books when most people never publish one seems like a big deal. I’m out in a land of unfamiliar, and I don’t have a base normal to work from. My entire life is changing, and it’s so big and so fast sometimes and so slow and so tedious other times, I find myself constantly fighting for balance, which is pretty weird because anyone who knows me will assure you I’m neither patient, nor a creature of balance.

I’ve got two half stories going – a misnomer as one is a short story and one is a novel. The novel I know where I’m going, the short story not as much, so even though one is longer, one is harder to get into. Neither one are going as fast as I’m used to. I feel as though there is a time clock ticking in my head and judging me because I’m not hitting my word count.

I don’t know what else to do but write about it. Try to get the words OUT. Try to clear the decks for creativity to flow. It’s not writer’s block, it’s a blocked writer who wants nothing more to be at her desk churning word count.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, it’s time to put my son to bed.

Whirlwind

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So, I wrote a book. 

Then, I started a Kickstarter for my dad’s photography. 

I’m also enrolled in a class for learning accounting. (Yuck, I know, but if I’m going to run a booming business, I need to document the boom.)

I’m going to school in the fall. (Full time, not a free online course kind of thing.)

There’s a podcast in the works, although I’m going to be a minor contributor.

My ten-year anniversary is coming up, and my husband has the details under lock and key. Which left me a little flat footed when I reminded him my writer’s group was on Sunday, and he looked shocked and dismayed. So, a little scheduling snafu there. Fortunately my writers group is forgiving.

I’m still trying to find work, but the reason I can’t find work is the reason I’m going back to school. Everyone in this town is better educated than I am. Want to find someone with a four-year degree? Throw a rock. If you hit someone who doesn’t have one, chances are because they’re in school to get one.

My son is learning how to swim. He spent years terrified of the water, and this year he decided he was over it, and he’s in the pool every day. I wish adult brains worked that way.

For his birthday, my son got enrolled in a Legos robotics class. Robotic Legos? Man, I would have killed for a set when I was a kid. He took to it like a duck to water, and had the best time.

It was nice having a little quiet time in the house, for my online class and my writing. I’m working on a short story. I’ve been working on my sequel but the beauty of short stories is that they’re not as time consuming.

So, there it is. The quick and dirty update. More projects than a dystopian urban sprawl, punctuated with doing fun things with my kid. See you next post!

Remiss

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My book, Bento Box, came out on the last day of June.

And I have not stopped since then.

I have been trying to get the word out. Arranging readings, sending .mobi files to possible reviewers, I’ve been doing everything to drum up more interest.

In the midst of this, I took on a big project in its own right. I have started up a Kickstarter campaign. My father is a weekend warrior, a man who has a day job and a weekend calling. He is a nature photographer, and a damn good one too. I’m trying to get enough pre-orders together to publish a book of his work. I’ve published two of my own, I at least have a little experience at it now.

Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1816539246/from-the-big-horns-to-the-black-hills

If you love beautiful wildlife photography, you will love it.

And someday I will get back to regular postings. Someday.

In case you missed it – Five Flash Fictions for Bento Box

Over the past five days I’ve shared five flash fictions in the world of my book, Bento Box. Here they are in one easy location:

http://tinashelton.com/2015/06/25/flash-fiction-1-nathan-meets-orochi/

http://tinashelton.com/2015/06/26/flash-fiction-2-sibling-rivalry/

http://tinashelton.com/2015/06/27/flash-fiction-3-lizbet/

http://tinashelton.com/2015/06/28/flash-fiction-4-too-close-for-comfort/

http://tinashelton.com/2015/06/29/flash-fiction-5-rascati/

This flash fiction is based around my new novel, Bento Box. It is available now, on iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and everywhere else I could find. :) I hope you enjoy the fiction!