Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sharpshooter

Now, there’s some background information I’d like you to know about this. It’s set in a world that I had been working on at the time. Whether or not it’s any good remains to be seen. I did kind of pull it together almost on top of the deadline for submissions. It was written as an experiment with time and tension, and though it never saw print, it was accepted for publication a couple of years ago.

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Edward Sun stood still. The sharp featured man looked down the street at the gathering locals of Rachette. A faint breeze didn’t stir his straight, short hair. It looked an even lighter brown in the mid-day sun. He took a deep breath and waited expectantly. A bell sounded noon’s arrival, and everything in the area went dead silent. Finally, a feminine voice called out, “Back’s to each other!” People stopped on the paved stone streets. A crowd was gathering. This wasn’t an irregular occurrence, but people always wanted to see who went down. “One!” He took a step forward. Erin always did this for people. It was like a second job for her, as she usually got paid for it by the winner. He’d done this so many times now, that the routine was perfectly ingrained into his body.

“Two.” He took another step forward. He pictured Erin once more in his head. The barmaid wasn’t the most beautiful woman, tired brown eyes in her twenties, with chocolate curls hanging down to her shoulders. She was a little on the husky side from lots of hard work, but there was a simple charm to her that he had always admired in his friend. There was no time to thank her any other way than a memory if this was the end.

“Three.” He stepped forward once more. His heart was beating faster.

“Four.” He flexed his hands around the six-shooters in his belt holsters, knowing he had to draw at a moment’s notice.

“Five.” His muscles were tensing. Adrenaline started to rise. He had to force calmness on himself. He’d done this so many times before.

“Six.” This was when he always contemplated his life. No regrets, as usual, not that there was any time for them. He’d lived his life on the skies the way he wanted. He did what he was good at for money, and nothing stopped him from being happy. He stepped forward in time to each count subconsciously as he mentally prepared himself.

“Nine!” The count was drawn out and Edward was back from his thoughts. He stopped and readied himself.

“Ten!”

The world was shut out from his senses. Only the other man and the nearby terrain were in his awareness. He dove to the side, turning in the process as he drew the revolvers. It was a quick escape from what he knew was coming. The first shots were fired at where he’d been moments before and they ricocheted off somewhere, or buried themselves in the stone. As he fell, he managed one shot that missed, and the impact with the ground sent the other off through something glass, most likely a window. Edward curled up and rolled as he landed; fluidly rising to his feet, and cocking back the pistols. Shaking off the impact was just another part of the job. His shoulder would hurt later if he won; otherwise it was nothing in the larger scheme. He continued to move as he fired again. This time, his shots were dead on. The first shot went through the arm, a stunning hit preventing next round of shots from coming. The second shot just barely hit the heart enough to kill. The man opposite Edward’s eyes widened and he fell over dead, or very soon to be as sticky redness pooled around him.

Cheers erupted from the street and Edward spun the pistols in a flashy victory move before holstering them as a cart, pulled up. The body was loaded in the back and that was the end of it. Edward smirked and looked at the Golden Gear Tavern. Then he looked at Erin, her smile bright with excitement. “Tell Sparks he has to clear my tab again.”

Erin nodded, certainly relieved. “He needs to stop betting against you.” She went inside to get Edward another drink.

“The day he does, is the day I die,” he called after her with a chuckle. Ed stepped into the tavern and was welcomed by another round of cheers and applause. He shook his head and laughed as he sat down at the bar.

The old mechanic, Sparks, looked at him and shook his head. “I don’t know if I should be happy or not that you keep cleaning out my wallet.”

Ed laughed. “Your contributions to my drinking habit are much appreciated by the town at least. One more bit of trash isn’t going to be bothering anyone,” he said with a smirk. Today’s win meant one more night of binge drinking, on Sparks’ tab of course, lay ahead of him. Clapping his hands together, and with some sleight of hand, he produced a rose that he handed to Erin, as a thank you for her work outside. “Erin. Get me some ale.”

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That Miserable Feeling – My Apology

You know that miserable hungover feeling after a night of too much drinking. The regret that you could’ve had water or soda, but somewhere in your mind you said it was okay. Well, it’s not exactly like that, but the regret is there. I didn’t get to a computer last night, mostly because there’s no internet where I was (the shock and horror, I know). Unfortunately being a good friend trumps writing to a blog, even if I’m noticing a growing audience that I don’t want to lose.

On that note, thank you to everyone who shows up, keeps returning, and all of that. I decided that today will have to be my first venture into publicly shaming myself. On top of this apologetic post, I’ll post up something of mine that maybe a few of you will find entertaining, a peace offering if you will for not getting up that lengthy post like I had hoped.

On that note, I’ll see you shortly.

~ Underdog


Monday Madness – Schedule Time!

Alright, so it’s Monday again. I suppose it’s about time I made a schedule and commit to it… I’m hoping to post 5 days a week, but there’s no promises on that. Some days you just can’t get to a computer to post (at least not if you want to write longer posts like I do). Unfortunately, this might be it until later tonight, a quick post on my lunch break, as I’m helping someone move some more this afternoon. I hope to get a full post up tonight. Thanks for your patience!

~ Underdog


What’s in an Idea?

I think my name might give it away, but I am a writer. Published? Yes and No. I was accepted not long before the publication fell through, and when it came back they had lost half of the work they had accepted, mine included. No e-mails were sent or anything, so you can bet I wasn’t exactly happy. But that is neither here nor there. I just wanted to state my qualifications.

Anyway, so “What’s in an Idea?” Well, lots of things, really. Everything and nothing at once with a dash of optimism, pessimism, and cynicism for flavor. With that vague description in place, we can move on. No? You want something less philosophical? Fine.

An idea according to the dictionary is:

  1. A thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.
  2. A concept or mental impression.

Let’s take William Golding’s Lord of the Flies as an example. My more recent interpretation has a religious spin on it, and I’ll tell you how I got there. The title of the book is also a title for one of the 7 Princes of Hell, Beelzebub. Each Prince was also aligned with a deadly sin. Satan was Wrath, Lucifer for Pride, and Beelzebub for Gluttony.

What does that have to do with anything? Well, at the end of the book, Piggy gets killed. He is the glutton, the fat kid, and it’s only after this happens that they are saved. So, from a religious perspective, they had to kill a devil among them in order to be saved?

But wait? Piggy’s a devil now? It’s something I could write a paper on, and there’s so much more, but I wanted to give the most basic of descriptions. The point is, how did I get to this interpretation away from the traditional microcosm of society approach? Well, I was bored one day and decided to look up Christian Mythology. (The root of Mythology is Mythos, the Greek word for Story. So I looked up Christian Stories. Don’t panic!) I read about the seven princes, and Beelzebub, and an idea sparked, changing my opinions of this book forever. That is the power of an idea.

Now the tagline for this blog is “Ideas are dangerous, so let’s play!” The basis for this is from Oscar Wilde who said “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” I’m not the biggest fan of his works, but I appreciate the sentiment. Ideas are what pushed humanity forward. Without them, we would never have the wheel, or electricity, or aerosol spray; and any idea that would change humanity is almost always challenged and fought, tooth and nail, as we, as a society, fear drastic changes.

Copernicus changed everything when he states his theory on the heliocentric model of the universe. Had Charles Babbage completed his Analytical Engine, we might have had a semblance of computers nearly 100 years sooner. When the CD came out, people fought for the tape cassette. Then the same thing has happened in the change to .mp3 files. VHS to DVD wasn’t all that long ago either, and people still fight.

Ideas are a powerful thing, and so now, I want to get to them in regards to writing. There’s no such thing as a bad idea in what you want to write about. The only thing bad about it, is how you approach it, and even that is debatable.

In particular, I’m a writer of fantasy and science fiction. Now, there are a lot of archetypes, tropes, themes, etc… that run their courses through all of them. Let’s face it, Elves are here to stay, and so are the Dwarves. Should they ever stop bickering, we might be in trouble. What about new ideas though? Where’s the fantasy about someone struggling to survive in a dominating religion? What about a fantasy with ugly Elves and seafaring Dwarves?

In writing, our ideas can push boundaries to expand the genre into something bigger, broader, and better. Let’s look at Steampunk for a moment. In a way, it has a foundation in science fiction. It is all foreign technology, or tech that has advanced a particular way from what we know, and yet we find it fantastical in nature. It tends to be adventurous, and exactly what we’d expect in Fantasy. And thus, the genres overlap. George R.R. Martin and some of his friends work on the Wild Cards mosaic novels. Here we have alternate history and super heroes wrapped together. Alternate history is a type of fantasy. Super heroes, and how the come into their powers tends to be in a science fiction realm. So now we broaden the fantasy genre once more. Let’s leave fantasy and look at horror. Dracula was based on Vlad the Impaler, and actual historical figure. We saw the vampire story broaden into something iconic. Now let’s throw some glitter in there, and we get something else that was (unfortunately) iconic in our lifetimes.

We could spend hours on this and never be near completion. The UK news site, The Daily Mail, posted an article on Fifty Shades of Grey. It became the best selling Kindle book ever. “Sales of the book, the first in a trilogy, have overtaken the Harry Potter books and The Da Vinci Code.” It started as Twilight Fan Fiction. That is the power of an idea.

Finally, let’s get to the heart of the matter. “What’s in an idea?” Honestly? Everything. Nothing. My vague description from before is the best answer that I can give. That’s why, no matter what the idea, keep writing. Maybe it’ll be a flop. On the other hand, you might change the world, create a best seller, change someone’s mind on a topic, or at the very least get one more burning itch out of your brain.

So, yeah… Keep writing.

~ Underdog


New: Humble Music Bundle!

I just checked my e-mail to find a new Humble Bundle waiting for me to look at. For those of you who don’t know, Humble Bundle regularly gets a bunch of indie developers/artists together, and sells their work for whatever you want to pay for them. The money can go to charity, the developers, or the bundle group itself. There’s almost always a bonus if you pay more than the average when you buy the collections, and $1 or more gets you Steam keys for the games.

It’s a great opportunity to help artists, or charity. It’s rare we’ll see someone come up like Minecraft did, and these people are making works on a lower budget with the hope that they’re crafting something memorable.

~ Underdog


Accessorizing Your Book

Well, I’ve been trying to think of a good way to start this blog. I’m not exactly a paragon of writing, literature isn’t my strongest point, and, quite frankly, my confidence isn’t so great. I figured I’d start with a real life story of something that happened to me.

So I was working in retail at a Follett for a short time. For those of you who don’t know them, they are a book store specializing in textbooks for college students, and the other miscellaneous, over priced things that they feel college students will want to buy. Now our store was unique. It was set up, by contract, to operate as a regular book store, and not for textbooks. You can imagine the confusion that caused.

Anyway, one day we had a girl come in. She strode right up to the register/counter and asked if we had any bookmarks. Now, this store had only been open for maybe two weeks. We were still getting in shipments of things due to some delivery mix-ups that I don’t want to get into, but we hadn’t received any bookmarks. We had those advertising, giveaway ones that most bookstores had, printed on cheap paper. It was something.

This girl was furious. “What do you mean you don’t have any bookmarks?” She said a few other things, but I couldn’t help but laugh a little in my head. She was right. We were a book store. We needed bookmarks. We offered her the cheap freebies, but that was no good. It was what she said next that startled me. “I need a bookmark that goes with my book.” She proceeded to rant for a few more moments about how she was disappointed with us, and then promptly left.

I didn’t even know you could accessorize a book. The entire concept was ridiculous to me. Then it hit me. She’d been in the week before. She was the one complaining that we didn’t have Snooki’s book in paperback while her dad kind of sulked around the store. It was then that I realized there might be more people out there like her. It made me scared, folks. I was scared for the future.

~ Underdog


Introducing Tim!

It’s with great pleasure, I introduce Tim. He will be my imaginary voice that I’ll be conversing with from time to time.

Tim is a Miniature Giant Space Hamster (+50 internet points if you get the reference) who will generally be helping me converse my way across my posts.

Tim: …

That’s right, Tim. You are a featured voice here.

Tim: …

Hopefully our audiences will be accepting of you.

Tim: …

Oh, right. Hamsters, even the Miniature Giant Space kind, can’t talk. I guess I’ll have to find someone else to talk through my blogs with me. Come on, Tim.

Happy pondering.

~ Underdog


Time to introduce myself

So I’m Writing Underdog. WU for short, I guess. Maybe Underdog, though I’m not nearly as awesome as the original. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to write about here. It’ll have a focus towards writing, but honestly, I’m just happy to be writing anything, and I’m using this as an opportunity to get my name out there… sorta.