Stink Cake

original photo: Gary Alpert @


Rhic hops off the bend in the U-trap, squeezes through a crack in the cabinet, and slowly drops onto the kitchen floor. His brown carapace is flecked with white diatomaceous powder, and his thorax is caked with borax. From the middle of the kitchen, he lets out a low hum that gradually builds to a loud hiss.

Three dark brown roaches emerge from under the oven drawer.

They gather around Rhic, chirping and sniffing, their antennae dancing in unison.

“The poison-givers and the body-smashers are gone. You are safe. But you have limited food. The outside warm is far away, so for now you must stay here and ration what is left. I will judge your worthiness.”

Rhic polishes his lenses with his forelegs, clearing some of the dust.

The three dark brown roaches turn and show off their oothecae. Rhic sniffs and strokes each ootheca with his antenna. He takes a few steps back, waves his antennae, and hisses.

“Ain brings me honor with a plump egg case. Ain and her progeny shall have the good eat,” Rhic hisses.

Ain hisses in delight.

“Yehr has a small egg case. Yehr and her progeny shall have the flat crisp,” he hisses.

Yehr chirps in pleasure.

“Ayem has a tiny, deformed egg case.” Rhic shakes his head. “Ayem and her progeny shall have the stink cake.”

Ayem waves her antennae and runs in circles.

“None may have what another has been bequeathed,” Rhic continues. “If any disobey, all will die. That is my final knowledge. I will leave now.”

The three wave their antennae in unison.

Rhic crawls into the living room and up the wall. He squeezes behind the thermostat control and dies.

Ain, Yehr, and Ayem claim their inheritances. Ain swallows bits of the cracker between the refrigerator and the cabinet. Yehr rips and chews on a corner of the work order on the kitchen countertop. Ayem waves her antennae over the soap next to the kitchen sink, then runs in circles. After two days, Ayem gorges on soap, which she immediately vomits. She gorges on her vomit, then vomits a lesser amount. She continues the cycle until she has a full belly. The next day, Ain, Yehr, and Ayem squeeze behind the thermostat control and lay their oothecae on Rhic’s body.




“Step right in, Ms. Fischer. All Lake View apartments have fresh paint, new carpeting, and a lovely view of the lake.”

“That’s all very well, but that doesn’t concern me. I need a place that’s clean, with no surprises. Are you sure the former tenants were clean? In my last apartment I found a piece of gum under a corner of the carpet.”

“How unfortunate. I assure you, the former tenants of this apartment were extremely clean and gum-free. No kids and no pets. Non-smokers.”

“And no bugs? None of the apartments in this building have ever had any bugs?”

“That is correct.”

“You don’t mind if I check out the caulking and sealing job on this place- you did say this apartment is air-tight, except for the doors.”

“Go right ahead. Every crack and crevice has been sealed per your request. The work order is right here if you’d like to take a look.”

“No thanks. I’ll inspect the place with my own eyes. I’ve moved five times in the last two years because of other people’s bugs. I don’t want any more creepy-crawlies invading my home. I’m allergic to insecticides.”

“I assure you, no bugs will be getting in this apartment.”

“At $2000 a month, they better not be.”




“Hello Ms. Fischer! How is your apartment working out for you?”

“It’s perfect. Two months and not a single bug. Paradise. Thank you for asking.”

“You’re very welcome, Ms. Fischer.”

“Just a quick question- are we allowed to seal the back door with caulk? Now that spring is here, I don’t want any creepy-crawlies coming through cracks around the back door. I don’t use that door anyway.”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“I love my apartment, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep it immaculate and sterile. I don’t even keep food in the place. Too risky.”


“Yes, food attracts bugs. They smell it. Disgusting. I simply eat out every day, then shower and wash my clothes immediately when I get home. No smelly food in my apartment, no extra furniture for nasty bugs to hide in, not even any paper or boxes. I read the nasties even eat paper and boxes. It’s just me, my clothes, my bed, and soap. Plenty of soap- everywhere. The nasties don’t like the smell of soap. A clean home is a bug-free home. And my home is-”

“Got to be going, Ms. Fischer. Have a clean day- er, nice day.”




The tiny progeny of Ain and Tehr crawl out of the thermostat control. The soap smell is noxious, and there is no food. They hide in Ms. Fischer’s clothes, and day by day, they escape into the warm spring world.

Two weeks later, the minute progeny of Ayem crawl out of the thermostat control. The soap smell is delicious, and they are ravenous. They feast on soap in every room by day, and hide between the refrigerator and wall by night. Paradise.

The next winter, Lake View gets hit by a blizzard. Ms. Fischer tries to open her front door, but the snow is too deep. Her back door is sealed. She runs a bar of soap along the kitchen countertop, collecting black specks. Every day for the next three days, she scrubs her kitchen from ceiling to floor to get rid of the mysterious black dust. She drinks a glass of water every hour to ease her hunger pangs. At night she washes her clothes, takes a shower, and collapses on her bed. On the fourth day, Ms. Fischer is too weak to crawl out of bed. On the fifth day, the population reaches critical mass. Ms. Fischer can eat.



Thanks to Dan O’Shea for this flash fiction challenge!



Funny? Freaky? Forgettable? Let me know below!

Grey Goo- Flash Fiction plus Science Fact


This story is PG.


On a hot summer day, just west of Boston, in the dim basement of an old brownstone building, Professor Dole sits slumped over a table. An interstellar radio receiver amplifier rests against his ear. A scanner cycles in a loop, looking for anomalies, finding none. The professor snores. A map of 92 stars of the Libra constellation lies on the table, sweat-smeared and stained. A well-worn Playboy magazine rests in his lap. His pants are jumbled around his ankles, and he smiles and giggles in his sleep.

“Thora . . Thora,” he whispers.

His eyelids twitch and he starts breathing heavy.

The scanner locks on a frequency.


bzzz bzzzzz bzzz


The professor wakes, gasping. He fiddles with the scanner controls and checks the connector wires, then lets out a nervous squeal.

“Start of communication. Attention Professor Hiram Dole. We are what you call the Greys.”

The professor stands and gasps, pulls up and zips his pants, and kicks his Playboy under the desk.

“I can’t believe this is happening. Please, call me Hymen. Hiram. My name is Hiram. I’m very pleasured to meet you. I mean, I’m pleased to meet you. I’m hornied. Honored! Honored to meet you. Excuse my stumbling speech. I just can’t believe this is finally happening- to me! A retired university professor. I’m not a crackpot after all. And they said I was penile. I mean senile. Please excuse my ramming. What the fuck. Make that ‘rambling.’ I don’t know what’s gotten into me.”

“You contacted us.”

“Yes. Yes I did.”

“You want to mate with us.”

“Huh? Er . . no, I mean, what did you say?”

“As a show of good faith, we are complying with your request and are teleporting a sample of our mate fluid to your research laboratory.”

“Er, my laboratory? I’m in my basement.”

“Because our mate fluid and your mate fluid are biologically incompatible for conventional reproduction, our mate fluid will combine with your most advanced replication technology.”

“My basement doesn’t have anything more high-tech than this interstellar radio receiver. I purchased it from SSAU when they abandoned the Message from Earth project in 2030, and-”

“We have corrected your most advanced replication technology, and the teleportation is complete. Our monitors indicate the mating has produced viable, reproducible Grey-nano hybrids.”

“Er.. did you say ‘nano’? Grey-nano hybrids?”

“Please offer a reciprocal show of good faith, and we will be allies.”

“Er- reciprocate? Well, sure, but I’m a bit concerned about that nano-Grey hybrid thing. Could you explain that a little bit more?”

“As you have chosen reciprocation dishonor, we have chosen non-alliance. Stop of transmission.”


bzzz bzzzzz bzzz



“MIT NanoLab, this is Ally-Anne, may I help you?”

“Hello Ally-Anne, this is Professor Hiram Dole. Please connect me with Dr. Ty R. Friar. It’s an emergency.”

“Dr. Friar speaking.”

“Ty, this is Hiram. Please, could you check your nanobot project? The one that Dr. Devin St. Tan started?”

“You mean Calypsis?”

“Yes. Please go to the lab and see if there’s anything unusual going on.”

“Why? We disabled that software last year because it was too risky. Now we just use the hardware as a teaching tool.”

“Please, just check Calypsis. And call me back right away. It’s urgent.”

“Hiram, is this a jo- AAAHAHAHARRRRGRG!




“Police department.”

“Hello, is Lucy Furman available?”

“She’s on lunch break.”

“Okay. I’ll try later, I suppose.”

“Is there something I can help you with, sir?”

“I’m not a crackpot, you know. But I think the apocalypse is here. Greys’ goo.”

“Excuse me?”

“Never mind.”





“Hello, Odie?”

“Hey, dad!” Whassup?”

“Oh nothing, I just want to say hello.”

“Oh, okay. Guess we haven’t talked in a while, and I was thinkin’ ‘bout-”

“I love you, son.”

“Aw gee, dad. Love ya too. I was thinkin’ maybe we could-”

“Gotta go. Good-bye.”





“Hello, Thora?”


“This is Hiram. Hiram Dole. You were my research assistant at MIT from 2018 to 2021.”

“Oh hi, I remember you. Nice to hear from you.”

“I don’t have much time. But I want to tell you I never got the chance- well, I never had the nerve to . . to tell you-”

“Excuse me Hiram, I’ll be right back- I hear a bunch of screaming outside.”

“Thora? Thora? I love you, Thora!”



Hiram slumps in his chair.

A low rumbling, and the house vibrates. The window cracks, then shatters. Shrieks and cries from the street spill through the opening.

Hiram’s dog barks at the top of the basement stairs.

“Doggie door, Lucky. Doggie door,” he calls up the stairs. “Good dog!”

Lucky turns and trots across the kitchen and jumps outside through the pet door, growling and barking.

The scanner cycles through the frequencies in a loop, looking for anomalies, finding none. He switches it off. He scoops the Playboy from the floor, rests it in his lap, and feels for his zipper. He leans forward, then sits back down, and his pants fall around his ankles. He flips through the magazine, then closes his eyes and gets to work.

“Thora . . Thora,” he whispers.

His eyelids twitch and he starts breathing heavy.

The brownstone house shifts and liquefies, and the new goo replaces the old.




Thanks to Chuck Wendig for this flash fiction challenge!

Do you think trying to reach outer space aliens is dangerous? Are we going about it the wrong way?
Will alien goo get us?
To hop onboard the “call ET” bandwagon, click herehere, or here, or even here.

HOT! Funky Salsa and Caipiroska- Recipes

Whoo-Hoo! Most of you reading this are in the heat of the summer, so it’s time to take a break from writing or reading or working or doing nothing and turn up the heat even more with some Salsa . . or cool off with a Caipiroska. Or both (I recommend both). These recipes are quick and easy once you have the ingredients gathered.

First, an instructional video I found on youtube on how to de-seed and peel a mango. It’s the quickest and easiest method I’ve seen (the video has no instructional audio, turn down the volume unless you want to hear a dog growling and barking):

Or you could just hack away at the mango like I do.




Quick and Easy HOT! Mango-Avocado-Tomato Salsa

The following combination of ingredients may seem odd to the un-funkified, but trust me, it’s AWESOME. Like spicy-hot candy.

1 Mango, de-seeded, peeled, and diced

1 Avocado, de-seeded, peeled, and diced

1 cup diced Tomatoes, well-drained

½ cup Red Bell Pepper, diced

½ cup Purple Onion, diced

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 bunch Cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons Sea Salt

1 tablespoon Lime Juice

generous sprinkle of crushed, mixed Peppercorns

generous sprinkle of dried Red Pepper Flakes

generous sprinkle of Cayenne Powder

Tortilla Chips

Note: I like my salsa hot and salty. Adjust the ingredients as you see fit.


Thoroughly mix all ingredients, except the tortilla chips, in a large bowl. Done!




QUICKEST & EASIEST Caipiroska AKA Caipiroshka AKA Caipivodka

2 ounces Vodka

1 tablespoon Lime Juice

2 teaspoons granulated or Turbinado Sugar

Crushed Ice


Mix juice and sugar. Pour in vodka and stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Add crushed ice and stir to melt some of the ice. Done!


Jacket Hanger- Microfiction





“Hang your jacket.”


“Yeth, Me’em.”


“And hurry up, company’s coming. Hang it and scoot yourself back in the closet.”


“Yeth, Me’em.”


“Worthless retard- no drooling! You’ll rust the hanger.”


“Yeth, Me’em.”


“Not like that- how many times do I have to tell you? Fasten the straps on your jacket first, then slip the hanger up through the bottom and out the top. If the buckles are hanging loose, the weight will make the hanger bend.”


“Yeth, Me’em.”


“Don’t bend the hanger! Can’t you understand anything? The hanger failed me once. Now it’s your job to make it do something right.”




Thanks to Albert Berg for this microfiction writing prompt!


Round of 3 Rs…80 Days

I’m back again for more self-flaggelation structured writing progress via ROW80.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from editing my WIP is I have so much more to learn about editing. Going in, I kinda thought I kinda knew how to edit, but . . no. Yes, my WIP is much better than it was as a first draft, but after several edits, there’s still a lot that needs correcting. So I am relieved I have the time and patience to not rush into querying or publishing. With luck, by the end of this round, my WIP will be ready to send out to a beta reader, an editor, a critiquer, or whomever.

For Round 3, in a chunk-measure-blog format, I will be . .

1. Reviewing (readin’)

Painstakingly and critically reading (again) my WIP, and

2. Revising (‘ritin’)

slashing and burning and rebuilding from the charred wreckage making adjustments as necessary, and

3. Researching (‘rithmatic)

researching potential agent / agency / publishing options.

I’ll combine goals 1 and 2 for one hour of editing 6 times per week. For goal 3, I’ll do 1/2 hour of research per week.

You want more? I’ve got more!

1. My email inbox is overflowing, and it’s been overflowing for a loooong time. Each day, process (delete or read and copy to a permanent file) that day’s email, plus at least the next previous day’s email every day until my inbox is clear.

2. Also gonna ramp up the French even more. 2 French lessons 6 times per week.

3. And find even more time for fiction reading. An average of at least 1/2 hour of fiction reading every day.

Now, after traipsing from Massachusetts to the Wild West and back, it’s time for me to SIT DOWN



First check-in–  I started my Round 3 on July 6, so I’m two days into it. Dove back into editing. I love that I’m still laughing (in appropriate places) as I read my WIP aloud. Still fresh. (But then again, if I think a joke is funny, I will genuinely laugh at it *every* time I hear it. I’ll laugh at it when I hear myself tell it.) The email thing- so far- is easier than I thought it would be. French is back to kicking my derrière, but I’m keeping up with the lessons. And I started reading yet another novel. My MIL is fond of giving me books to read, and I’m fond of reading. So I have many novels I’ve started to read, and as many novels I need to finish reading. Just like the novels I’m writing. Go figure.

Second check-in–  Still playing catch-up and trying to get back into my routine since returning from my Wild West adventure. Managing to keep my head above water. I finished the aloud editing, now I need to make the corrections on my master copy. Yes, I didn’t correct on my master copy as I read aloud- I wrote out the corrections by hand, as I was reading from printed pages. It really does make a difference in what you see. In other news, I’m Frenching* through my email, pounding away at the French, and becoming engrossed in my French-Canadian MIL’s novel (one she let me borrow, not one she wrote herself). And I researched agents / agencies for about an hour.

*Not French kissing. French glove-slapping.

7-13  Kinda caught up now. Making my editing corrections to my master copy is easy when I can read my scrawl. My handwriting looks like that of an intoxicated chicken. Zipping through email, though I’ve started to put a few links into a “read later” folder. Maybe I’m interested in too many things. French is un step back, deux steps forward, or something like that. Almost finished reading one novel, and about to start another MIL-lent novel.

7-17  Steady progress. Discovering I still need to shuffle some scenes as I make corrections to my master copy. I need to figure out how to process my email faster- I’m saving too much to read later. French is a rollercoaster. The highs are the vocabulary lessons and the lows are the pronunciation lessons. I wonder if that’s related to my comprehension of music- I recognize notes, but am tone-deaf when it comes to singing them. Ahead on fiction reading. Current book is a novel written from a dog’s perspective- the third book I’ve read written from a dog’s POV. Dogs- like cats, dolphins, whales, birds, and apes- are people too, right?  And . . I researched agents / agencies for about an hour. I’ve found researching your potential future is easy, oddly enough.

7-20  Rolling along with editing. I’m so glad I’m taking my time with my debut novel. I more I learn about editing, the more I learn I need to learn more. Does that make sense? It’s late. Email- argh. I’m doing it. But still saving way too much for later, which kinda defeats the purposes of clearing my email. I need to take a slash and burn approach. No mercy. Slash and burn progress will be my goal for the next check-in. French- pretty good. I’m not obsessing over the tricky lessons, I’m just moving on. I can alway go back to the hard ones after doing a bunch of easy ones. Fiction reading- read half-way through IMO a trite, clichéd, lackluster book. Not going to finish it. Inner-critiqued the heck out of it. And it’s a best-seller. So I’m either getting good at critiquing or bad at critiquing. Or maybe a lot of people want trite, clichéd, lackluster stories.

7-24  Editing is nightmare, again. I’ve read this WIP so many times, my brain no longer sees it as a lineal story. It’s circular. When I originally wrote it, I didn’t have an outline, and I wrote some scenes out of order. I thought I had fixed that issue, but now I’m reading some passages that seem out of place, and some passages that seem familiar, as if I’ve repeated myself. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have dyscalculia. “Steep learning curve.” That’s my motto. Anyway, my email elimination is marching along, and so is my French. I started to do my 1/2 hour agent research, and it morphed into a 1/2 hour “things I have to add to my WIP research.” But I gave myself permission. This *is* my debut novel. “Steep learning curve.” Hmm . . did I say that before? Oh yeah- fiction reading is on schedule, thanks to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges.

7-27  I *think* I’ve worked through the editing nightmare . . for now. Finished making the corrections to my master copy, and now I’m doing a silent read-through to add technological detail (this is a futuristic novel). Email is so very slowly being eliminated, but is on schedule. It’s amazing what you can find in your email from months ago. French is so very slowly being drilled into my brain, but is on track. I might consider a brain implant at some future point. Fiction reading is on target. Anticipating a round of “dysfunctional” flash fiction from Dan O’Shea’s latest challenge.

7-31  Having a great time editing again! I spent the last 2 days of editing developing a Sensory Psychology Character Chart and applying it to my WIP. The chart helps fiction writers develop psychological interactions between their characters via the 5 senses. My chart will debut on Manon Eileen’s blog next month as a guest post. Up to date on the email, though I’m still filing some of it. But my goal is to eliminate emails, not files, right? Surging ahead on French, and absorbing what I can while shrugging my shoulders at what trips me up. I’ve decided I prefer to roll-with-it method to the obsess-over-it method. Read some delightfully and disturbingly dysfunctional flash fiction, thanks to Dan O’Shea’s last challenge. And I started researching a specific literary agent via an instructional book he’s written . . hmm . .

8-3  I’m now working on filling in yet another character survey for each of my main characters. I have already done this with previous worksheets, but I want to go really deep, so I’m using Manon Eileen’s “Main Character Survey.” My own “Sensory Psychology Chart”- which helps uncover and develop sensory-based psychology between characters- debuts on Manon’s blog Friday. Doing great on the email, but I seem to be getting less email per day. I recently signed up for a Gmail account, and opted to have my email forwarded. The glitch was confirmed when an email buddy told me his emails weren’t getting through. In any case, less email to wade through is nice, I guess. As usual with me, French vocabulary is a snap, and French pronunciation is kicking my derrière, especially long sentences where the words seem to run together. Read some Moon-inspired flash fiction in the fantasy genre that completely went over my head. If the story doesn’t “ground” me, I get lost.

8-7  Lately my editing consists of doing Manon Eileen’s Manon Character Surveys and my own Sensory Psychology Charts. My basic story is already written, but these tools are helping me develop much-needed width and depth. I’m up to date on my email, even as I’m transitioning to a new email address. Crashing and burning in French, but I’m still doing the lessons on schedule. When I can pronounce a sentence, I don’t know what I’ve just said. When I know the meaning of a sentence, I struggle with typing it correctly. I guess I can only get better from here. Still reading a particular literary agent’s instructional book. The book has some fiction passages, so I’m also including that in my fiction reading quota for the past few days. It’s been a busy weekend.

8-10  Pounding out the Main Character Surveys. They are in-depth, and so they take awhile, which is a good thing. I can see where and how my WIP will be fuller and richer. Email is A-OK. Still working on the transition, though. I’ve gone back to repeat a few lessons in French, and my scores are slowly improving. I’m also back to reading “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.” It’s not an easy read, and it’s definitely stretching my sensibilities, which is a good thing. So all in all, this check-in is good.

8-14  I’ve completed the surveying and the sensory psychoanalizing of my WIP characters, and have moved to reading about ways to strengthen my novel even more, thanks to my book authored by a literary agent. So I’m editing and researching this agent at the same time. Convenient! Still slowly but surely clearing out the email. My latest French lesson was “reading comprehension.” I did very well. I read a bunch of Wendig-inspired flash fiction in which the protagonist gets beaten . . and then beaten again, and then gets a beating as a climax, and then again as a denouement. Perplexing.

8-17  I’m going to a wedding this weekend, so I’ll be off-line and in another state for a few days starting Friday morning. So in the meantime, I’ve been cramming in extra editing sessions, French lessons, and fiction reading time. By the end of tomorrow, I’ll have a good “goals accomplished” padding. Of course the email will have to wait, but blasting through my email has proven easy. My French is taking a gradual upswing. And I read through the first turning-point in Heinlein’s Moon book. I actually care about this book now. It’s such a relief.

8-21  I spent the last few days out of state for a wedding, so I’ve really nothing to report for this check-in. I’ve done nothing but sight-see, shop, eat, drink, party, and dance since last Friday. Still recovering. But the week before I left, I fit in extra editing, French, and fiction. So I’m still basically on top of my goals. Right now I’m trying to catch up on eliminating my accumulated email.

8-22  Back to my routine. Editing is going great- I’m learning even more about how to write a strong novel, and incorporating that info into my WIP. Struggling with French sentence comprehension at the moment, but I don’t mind, because that means I’ll be breezing through something French for the next check-in (French-pressed coffee, most likely). Reading out of my comfort zone- “gun” flash fiction- thanks to Wendig. I even wrote a “gun” story, inspired by the Spector-Clarkson case of a few years ago. Bamming out my email. Finished reading my specific literary agent-written book (served double duty as an editing tool). Next I’ll be researching literary agents in general, and in-depth.

8-28 IRE(of)NE 8-29 ‘Twas an exciting weekend on the east coast of the USA. I mostly kept my desktop computer off and my iPad on. But I do my French lessons on my desktop, and when I was about to do them yesterday, the lights started flickering. So I turned off the desktop computer to save it from potential power spikes. (Happy to report there’s no damage to my abode and FJ. Plus my hub unit gets to stay home today, before leaving on another business trip tomorrow.) So I’m checking in on a Monday, having just now caught up on my French. In other news, I found several mysterious characters questionnaire sheets I had printed several months ago and had misplaced. So now I’m filling those out as “editing,” and gaining even more insight into my characters. (I’m hoping all this insight-gaining will be second-nature be the time I start working on the edits of my second novel.) Doing great in French listening comprehension and French writing, but still not so great in French pronunciation. Still reading the Moon book. Email clearing is steady.

8-31  I’m thinking of even more crazy questions to ask my characters. I’m going deep, deeper than I’ve ever gone before. Whatever I find, I’m gonna grab and pull up and expose to the light of day. My characters will be left gasping and clutching their abdomens. Speaking of abdomen-clutching, I’m churning out the French lessons, and wondering how many répète it takes to get to Épiphanie. Nearing the end of the Moon book. Email is on course. I dove into a literary agent guidebook. Still so much to learn. Lucky for me, I love learning. Hmm, that sounds familiar.

9-4  I’m realizing my WIP, as a futuristic novel, needs futuristic language, thanks to Heinlein’s Moon book. So I’m editing it to subtract and add as required. Lucky for me I know how American English will look and sound in the year 2045. I’m at another plateau in French, which is fine, because after plateaus come peaks, right? Or maybe valleys? Either would be acceptable, as long as I get off this plateau. The Moon book is nearly done. My email is nearly obliterated. I’m pretty pleased with myself, overall.

9-7 “Dude, where’s my internet service?” 9-8  My Verizon internet service crapped out, and I won’t have Comcast service until Friday. So in the meantime, I’m using “free” internet, courtesy an unsecured network. Yes, I know I’m a heathen. But the virtuous among you can take comfort in the fact that the signal is spotty at best, hence the late check-in. Moving on- 1 step backward, 2 steps forward with figuring out my futuristic language edits. My WIP is set in 2045, so the language needs to be tweaked just a little. That’s something I learned from the Moon book. BTW I finished the Moon book, and I highly recommend it to science fiction authors, speculative fiction authors, and cyberpunk authors. I recommend it to writers and readers in general. In other news, I’m doing better with my French pronunciation. Maybe that’s because I skipped ahead a bit. Now I can say a phrase and guess at its meaning. So for the next check-in I’ll be back to knowing the meaning of what I’m *attempting* to say. Like a see-saw. Still clearing my email backlog, though the more recent email will have to wait until I get “official” internet back. Lastly, I’m reading the “dos and don’ts” of querying. Giddy stuff.

9-11  Still no official internet service, but I’m lucky tonight. Still fine-tuning the language in my WIP. French is all over the place. I’m thinking about supplementation. If nobody has any suggestions, I’ll resort to supplementary French-English audio. Back to reading Stephen King’s full-length “The Stand.” The more I read of this novel, the more I think I’m reading his mind circa 1978. According to King’s book “On Writing,” I am. Email is accumulating, though not as fast as it had been before this round. I’ll have some catching-up to do after I get official service- hopefully tomorrow.

9-14  My internet service is back on! Faster than ever. I’m still combing through my WIP, adjusting the language. Funny how if you change one thing, you have to change a related thing. And if you change the related thing, you have to change another related thing. Patience, Grasshopper, the writer must strike a fine balance. As for email- I’m now focused on transferring what’s left of my MSN (going bye-bye) backlog to my Gmail (you can’t stop the Google). I discovered whatever the Comcast technician did to my computer blew out my French lessons. And my French lessons-shove-back-in-er AKA hub-unit is away on business. So I’ll be taking a wee break from French (Thank you Adi Parashakti!) and catching up later. Still reading “The Stand,” and nearing the end. (“Can’t you see Lauder is evil?! He’s evil!!” I mentally scream at the good guys, throwing my hands up in the air for emphasis.) And after a couple of days dealing with severe endo, I’ll be catching up on reading more of my literary agent advice book tonight.

9-18  Yep, still in WIP comb-mode. Fixing all those pesky little syntax glitches- but not too much. This is still futuristic language here. Kinda like Heinlein’s Moon book. Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah . . Moving on, I cleared out my MSN email- all of it. Praise Mithra! But of course now my Gmail is overflowing. heh heh One dubious step at a time, OK? All caught up in French. I’m going to order some French-English translation . . whatever’s-the-latest-technology-they-have-nows . . is it still spinny things? Can you tell I OD-ed on French lessons? Ha! I even OD-ed on Sweet Potato French Fries. Couldn’t help it- I was on a roll. Oh yeah- by the next check-in, I’ll have the complete, unabridged conclusion of “The Stand” steeping in my mind.

9-22  Hooray! Tom Cullen made it! He was my fav. Oh yeah- I finished this round strong with an editing and fiction reading marathon. Also met my french lesson, email, and literary agent research goals. I’ll see you in Round 4!