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Messages - JMack

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A spectacular typo!  ;D ;D ;D ;D
That I fell in love with the moment I saw it.
Not modifying that post!  No indeed.

I may just have to start with “It was a dark and story night.”  ;D

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: August 06, 2019, 11:25:00 AM »
I don’t even want to go back and read what I’ve missed.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Best book/series you ever read
« on: August 02, 2019, 03:43:35 AM »
I have to third Lies of Locke Lamora as a wonderful nearly perfect book.
Favorite series: Chronicles of Prydain, for its impact on me as a youngling, and it’s just... wonderful.
Big love here too for the first chronicles of Thomas Covenant. And LOTR.

[JUN 2019] 2TTDFT / Re: [Jun 2019] - 2TTDFT - Voting Thread
« on: August 01, 2019, 09:07:51 PM »
Well, that’s great fun to get the votes. I chose the Goblin story, but as everyone’s Beene aging, all the stories were really good this month. @ScarletBea, I’ll need an editor...  ;)

Meanwhile, Mrs. JMack and I are going on a moose safari in a few minutes. Google: Moosehead Lake, Maine.

Just under 1,500 words and just under the wire.


Spoiler for Hiden:

Fig slipped through the crowd of boys like sand gliding under a door. She’d arrived late after trying to scrounge a bit of last night’s garbage from the back of a tavern. A gang of homeless men beat her to it and almost beat her bloody for grabbing half a wrinkled apple. So she was back at the Leak to earn a copper if she could, delivering water wherever Gilgam told her to go.

At this time of year, Lankhoor, city of oranges and breezes, became Lankhoor the oven of the south, as much a part of the desert as the rolling dunes beyond the Waste. The temple monkeys retreated to who knew what shaded nooks. The flat plains of the middle sea in doldrums sat on its shores like a mockery of plenty. Salt crusted everything and plants and people went thirsty for any drinkable water at all. In just a few weeks, the rains would come. In the meantime, the residents of Lankhoor drew on the silver waters saved up against the dry season in great cisterns beneath the city. Everyone except the poor, that is, who lived where pipes never reached or were never repaired. For them, there were the waterboys and Gilgam the Hook.

“Alright! Alright! Stop pushing!” Gilgam swatted the nearest boys away from the Leak, his metal hand gleaming under the blazing sun. Lads who didn’t move fast enough regretted it.

“Pigface, you’re next.” The boy so-named by Gilgam thrust a misshapen crock forward. The old man dipped it into a barrel and handed it carefully back.  He screwed up his face, going through lists of customers who’d paid up and those who hadn’t. “Take this to Wint ap Nogar’s place, boy. Spill a drop, and you’ll not get another dip this week.” Pigface took the precious delivery and paced away, one foot directly in front of the other, staring cross-eyed at the miniature wave moving back and forth across its surface.


“He ain’t made it!” called a voice from the back of the group.

“And why’s that, Gaptooth?” Gilgam focused his good eye on the speaker.

“He had an accident. Or so I heard it.” A low laugh went through the boys. Gaptooth smiled meanly.

Gilgam smiled back. “Step up here, my boy.” Gaptooth pushed through the crowd. The laughter turned to jealous grumbles.

Gilgam’s hand flashed out, slicing a shallow line across Gaptooth’s cheek. He grabbed the boy and pulled him up to his furious face. “Get this straight, boy. You work for me.” He lifted a vicious stare to all of them. “All you little parasites work for me. You’re my employees, right? Like any business. Someone owns it, and everyone else works for him. That’s me, and that’s you.” He shook Gaptooth hard enough to rattle his brain. “Anyone does any accidents around here, it’s me.” He pushed the boy away. “Get out, and don’t come back!” Gaptooth scrambled off, dodging kicks from his fellows.

Turning back to business, the old man called the next name and the next. Slowly, the day’s deliveries spread out across the city. At the end, Fig was the only one left. She’d found a tiny piece of shade in the corner where two walls of the Underbridge cistern building met and nearly fallen asleep.

“Fig!” Gilgam looked around, making sure none of the water boys were hanging about. He scraped a cup across the bottom of the nearly empty barrel and handed it to her.

“I ain’t got any more deliveries today, girl.” Fig stared up over the rim of the cup. “No more water. And no money for you.” Gilgam folded the stool he carried around with him. “It’s a hard life, girl,” he said. “I got people to report to, money I got to give over whether I’ve got it or not. Everybody works for somebody, right?”

“Now, you take today,” he continued. “They didn’t give me enough for all the deliveries I had to make. But people paid me honest, and here I am with no more water until tomorrow.” He snapped his fingers like he’d just thought of something.

“Say! A smart girl like you could help me out.” Fig looked at him with wary interest. “If a smart girl like you knew where you could find a little water no one was watching, well then, that water could get to someplace it could do me good. Like, say, Patwat’s shop over by the Old Gate.” Gilgam took the empty cup, and held out a large clay pot. “There’s a copper in it.” Fig met the water seller’s black eyes, sealing the deal.

Just one street later, the blazing noon had Fig hunting shade. The packed dirt of the road was a frying pan. She wanted just to go back to sleep until night came, but a job was a job. If she didn’t do it, Gilgam would never give her another.

But she knew where she was going, the thought of Gilgam’s coin overcoming her fear. Fear had ruled her life since she woke in their single, dirty room to find her mother’s body cold even in the morning heat. Her cries summoned the block warden; the warden summoned the death wagon. She took and hid the gold pin her mother had saved from an earlier life whose stories Fig only recalled in blurred snatches of her mother’s voice. She sold the pin for food, and after that she learned the streets.

One thing Fig learned was watching. Most people just saw, but she watched. And one thing people saw but didn’t watch were the temple monkeys and all their comings and goings throughout Lankhoor. Where did they sleep? Where did they meet? Most of all, how did they survive the long, hot month before the rains came?

Fig watched and knew.

The first difficulty was entering the temple district. A street orphan in ragged clothes and bare feet would stick out like a coal smudge on linen. Fig sidled up to the broad bronze-clad gates that pierced the great wall, but a soldier dozed at the picket, waiting to take the toll.  She turned into a passage - barely an alley - left between the wall and the backs of green gardens glimpsed through iron bars and smelling of moisture. Fig knew she could be up and over their fences in moments, but there would be guards there, too, at this time of year.

The gap narrowed so that even small-shouldered Fig had to squeeze through, holding the empty pot over head at an awkward, heavy angle. Where the passage finally stopped, she climbed.

Fig didn’t know the name of the temple; she only knew that monkeys used its walls and roof as a kind of staircase to the heights. The unexpected challenge was holding onto the pot with one hand and pulling herself up with the other. Stupid, she thought. She should have risked the gardens below. The guards were probably hiding from the sun themselves.

Still, she climbed. At last, breathing hard and unable even to sweat anymore for lack of water, she reached the broad roof of the ancient limestone building and found a sight that made her dizzy with desire. Like an oasis from her mother’s stories, a tree-lined pool of glistening water reflected the sun. Around it lay the lazy forms of monkeys basking in the cool shade.

The monkeys didn’t seem to have noticed her, so Fig moved as quietly as she possibly could until she reached the edge of the water. It was mesmerizing. It undulated - a gentle, hypotonic dance of light. Forgetting caution, Fig plunged her head under the surface and held it there for one glorious minute before stretching lungs forced her to remember breath.

“You’re not a monkey.”

The voice startled Fig so badly, she sucked in the water streaming from her hair and coughed it out again in spluttering gasps. Her first thought then was to run.

“Don’t be afraid.” Sitting in the crook of a tree, a girl about Fig’s age looked down at her. “I won’t hurt you.” There was an emphasis on the word ‘I’. Fig looked around and saw that the monkeys were awake and staring at her. The strange girl tilted her head, and now Fig realized she had a cloth bound around her eyes, like the blind beggars in the market.

“Who are you?” Fig managed.

“I’m a sort of god. I think. It’s a long story. Who are you?”

“Fig.” The girl - god - waited, so Fig added, “I’m a waterboy.”

The girl’s blind gaze lingered on Fig for some time, seeming to read her whole life. “You have a choice, Fig the waterboy. You can join my story. There’s a place for you. Or you can fill your pot and go.”

Fig thought about her mother’s stories and her mother’s death. The stories hadn’t helped, had they? Doing work, earning a copper - they kept you alive.

She filled Gilgam’s pot, and left.

I had a terrible fever last night, I was literally shivering but I'm OK now :)
glad to hear it.
If you ever need to rant, whine, or simply get something out there, check out our thread on “Depression and the Light at the End of the Tunnel.” It’s sort of our group hug area.

Introductions / Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread
« on: July 11, 2019, 12:47:05 AM »
Hi, my name is Rebekah and I am from North Carolina, USA. I am new to the fantasy, but I have quickly fallen in love with the genre. I have read a couple of the more popular series, such as Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings. I am currently reading The Wheel of Time series and I am loving it so far. I am excited to be a part of this community.  :D

Hi, Rebekah (@AGleemansTales)! Welcome to F-F. We’re really glad you found us. We have so many great folks here, and great places to post and discuss. I hope you enjoy it.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« on: July 07, 2019, 11:39:14 PM »
One of the most important things, I think, is that authors and publishers be open to the diverse characters that spring up in their imaginations and their books. “Black Panther” is the example of a movie that would not have been made ten years ago, but which is both excellent and not starring a “mainstream” cast or storyline. No author should be criticized for omitting diverse characters that don’t fit her purposes or her art. But publishers should be criticized if they ignore true, marketable excellence in art out of a knee-jerk set of assumptions and prejudices.

Fortunately, this too is in better shape than prior, as witness many wonderful and successful recent movies, books, etc.

[MAY 2019] Earth / Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Voting Thread
« on: July 06, 2019, 10:07:39 PM »
Finish this story Matthew, but don't miss this month either!! I really liked your style, I'm curious to see more from you.

Now how do you guys feel about a critique thread for this month?

I’m for it! I was kind of thinking of doing a D_Bates and putting in a mini-crit for each story. Would you want to do that too?

General Discussion / Re: Mom or Mum
« on: July 06, 2019, 05:14:01 PM »
I've rarely seen Mam used outside of England. Maam is what polite address for teachers and elderly women.

Ma, Mom, and Mother are quite common all across imo. In hindsight Mum ain't that bad.

grown up people calling their parents Daddy and Mummy is really weird.

Calling them “mother” and “father” is weirder still. An FBI profiler might be needed.

Have to move apartments again end of this month. 2nd straight year we have to move. I hate moving as it's a 3 month disruption and then I have to change address for everything else (banks, delivery service etc).

The naked pool parties really do have to stop. Naked pool parties = eviction.
Just saying.

@J.R. Darewood:

Yes, I agree with the others, much better.
I also agree you should replace this numbers with simple bullets.

Meanwhile, here’s a question: What is the biggest challenge currently facing the organization? I note their revenue for 2017 was much higher than 2016, and I think I saw their expenses ran below revenues? So is money good and their challenge is how to effectively deploy it? How would you measure success against key challenges?

On their website, what does it mean to saw they are “indigenous-led” when the acting director doesn’t have an indigenous name in parenthesis after his English name? For that matter, why did the last director leave? I ask in case there is any clear issue that you can address in some way - either explicitly or in a way they can infer.

Something I want you to think about. You aren’t applying for a staff job there. Head of programs or something. You’re applying for Executive Director. You’ve included the fund-raising part, which is key. But what is your vision? How do you lead?

NOTE: I am well-known for complicating simple things (“boiling the ocean” and “straining at gnats”). My thoughts above may be more useful for interview than letter, but there might be something there to consider.

I’ll add other comments here in a series of post-modify-post. These are not in precise order of letter.

1. Replace “chance” with “opportunity.”

2. Look for a better word than “parlay.” Parlez vous? ;)

3. “Align perfectly” goes against my grain somehow. I was looking for “core values” on their site as a thing, but found vision: “Cultural Survival envisions a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance.” Can you say, “I fully share CS’s vision of self-determination and self-governance for indigenous peoples, and have spent my professional career working toward this goal...” Or something like that?

4. Is your network frequently based in LA? (Which would imply your network is sometimes based elsewhere.) That’s how the grammar parses. You are frequently based in LA, or you have a largely LA-based network, or...  Does it matter? Can you just talk about the network without the location, or is the location somehow important? Maybe” I have a broad network of [people like this and that], many in the environment of Los Angeles where there is a growing support for this type of [blah blah].”

I may come back later, but I hope this is helpful for now.

Writers' Corner / Re: How do you keep your characters realistic?
« on: July 06, 2019, 04:25:15 PM »
Recently saw best possible advice in reply to this title question, worth passing on, think it was from Neil Gaiman

" Don't use them as characters in your plot, think of them as people living a life of their own."

Makes so much sense.

Waving a hello to all friends in FF. Stuck in bed and flying high on amazing meds so all is well and I began to plan a shopping trip to Singapore.  ::) Downside is I know I have to come off them again and back  to Earth  ;D ;D ;D ;D

I thought you were on something all along.  ;) ;Much love to you, Rx.

General Discussion / Re: Mom or Mum
« on: July 06, 2019, 02:49:19 PM »
“Ma” or, many times for me to mine: “Mamasan”.  :)

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