Holiday Magic

I believe that magic truly happens sometimes, and when you’re a writer, that sometimes occurs on a more regular basis. I had one of these moments the other day when I was (finally) working on Chapter 17 of Resistance.

I won’t give any spoilers away, but my MC was thrown into an extremely trying scene unexpectedly. I puzzled for a lot longer than I should have about how he would handle the challenge. Finally, I sat down to write still not knowing what would come about but putting my mind to the task anyway.

What happened was something unexpected and great. A plot twist came flying out of my mind and onto the computer screen as if by…magic. It was a crazy turn of events, the kind of thing that makes a reader say, “Oh my gosh, what are the chances?? Yikes!” Plus it added depth to my MC. Thus, I overcame both the fear of the blank screen and my difficulty to implant truly larger than life twists or elements into my book for the sake of realism.

The twist got me excited about my book again. The product of my mind reminded me why I enjoy writing fiction–it pushes my mind to amazing limits and surpasses them. It also instilled a sense of peace about my inability to agent, sell and publish Capacitance as of yet–if I had a published book 1 in this series, the twist/element I just introduced would not be viable as it would contradict character development and history introduced in the first chapters of Capacitance. In fact it contradicts information that you all have already read if you’re keeping up with my chapter posts on here (don’t worry it doesn’t totally change the story, it’s just one of those minor details that isn’t vital but would be noticed if it didn’t match up).

True to my prediction, the holidays have put the printing press that is my mind to a standstill, but it feels good to think, “I can’t wait to write again.” If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. Happy Holidays!

Capacitance: Chapter 12

It’s a day late on the bi-monthly (I have decided 2 posts a month instead of 1 every week) Capacitance chapter post, but better late than never I suppose! 🙂 Enjoy Chapter 12! I probably should have been doing this a long time ago, but I linked the post which subsequently has links to all the previous chapters below.

Links to Ch. 1-11:

Chapter 12

Runey remained in Room 6 of the Underground until an hour after noon when he finally saw the obviously distraught Juleia give his dorm room door what was surely a satisfying and window-rattlingly loud slam and then exit the hall. He couldn’t help but note her eyes were red and puffy from crying, but he tried not to think about it too much. During his sojourn in the small room under the hum of the ghastly fluorescent lights, he had mainly considered the Professor and how deeply he had infiltrated the University system. Runey had been a member of the Restorationists since shortly after he had arrived at the University, but he had no concept of the overall progress of the group. Keeping individual members in the dark about the organization’s overall strength was a key way to maintaining secrecy and lessening the risk of exposure should a student be caught and questioned by the wrong people. However, now Runey was realizing that he might be involved in something truly large; the Professor had said the Restorationists had caused the university-wide group projects to occur—that demonstrated an extensive level of influence in all the colleges as well as the University Board of Directors. The Professor’s own access to the dorm security cameras suggested another kind of power; if the Professor could tap into the security footage from Design, what else did he have access to?

Runey’s mind was vacillating between a sense of triumph and deep unease; he reveled in the fact that he belonged to a group that had an under-the-radar sort of pull and access, but at the same time he did not relish his every move being watched. He knew there were ways to tap emails and messages on phones, ways to spy on phone conversations, ways to plant bugs and trackers on an individual—the possibilities were endless. It thrilled him and chilled him simultaneously. He knew his assignment was important to the Restorationists, but he hoped that every aspect of it wouldn’t end up being monitored; surveillance on him personally indicated a level of distrust, in his opinion. Runey couldn’t help but feel wounded by the Professor’s harsh treatment of him after the tryst with Juleia; sure, he knew he was wrong, but his self-confident nature made it difficult for him to understand how the Professor couldn’t just trust his process. There was no need for stern lectures and vague, veiled threats to Juleia.

As much as the threats to Juleia made Runey nervous, they also clued him into just how important his mission was. Clearly, he was expected to succeed and the Professor and the Restorationists would go to any lengths to make sure he did not have any distractions in his path. The Professor might be just as good at reading people as I am; by threatening Juleia he knew I would endeavor to steer clear of her since I don’t want anything to happen to her, but he also knew it would remind me how important this is. Remind me of the challenge… he thought. Armed with the realization that the Restorationist organization and his own personal mission were both, more likely than not, bigger in scale and more important than he had realized, Runey once again was consumed by the thought of the challenge and his sense of dedication to the cause. He knew now that he absolutely had to avoid Juleia at all costs. He hoped the Professor would help him out on that front; surely it wouldn’t be hard to put one of the many Restorationists in Design on Juleia and try to keep her out of Runey’s way? Runey certainly hoped so—last night had shown him that when it came to Juleia, he had a great weakness. He had acted almost without thinking, out of pure impulse, and—admittedly—desire. Still, he wanted to somehow get a message to her that would explain things; ruthlessly, he tamped down the thought—he had bigger things to worry about.

Runey needed to find Mara. He still hadn’t received a reply from her. He thought about calling her, but a call was just as easily ignored as a message, and instinct told Runey she wouldn’t answer. When the laptop screen in front of him showed Juleia leaving his dorm room, Runey waited till she was off the screen, then snapped the laptop closed and left the room. He had decided to go up the hill and pay a visit to the Science compound. Perhaps he would get lucky and run into Mara; at the very least he planned to ask around and see if he could find a directory or someone who could tell him where Mara lived and worked. If he came to her on her own ground, there was really no way she could walk away from him like she had the previous day. And, deep inside he had an intuition that she would not want to walk away from him; Runey once confident, once given the chance, he could make Mara warm up to him, like him, and eventually fall in love with him. The events of the night before and the dressing down by the Professor that morning had not wounded his self-confidence in the slightest—rather, they had served to make him more aware; and for a resourceful person such as Runey, awareness was a most valuable condition.

Runey climbed the steep steps up from the Underground, and listened carefully at the entrance to the storage closet; hearing no overt noises indicating people in the room beyond, he pressed a green illuminated button on the wall which released the back wall of the storage closet and allowed him to step back through to Studio 4b in Design Block A. He took a moment to listen again before opening the old wooden door of the storage closet, but only silence resounded beyond the door. Stepping out of the door and locking it behind him, Runey experienced the rush of relief he felt every time he exited the Underground undetected; he felt sure he would be able to talk his way out of it were he ever to be discovered, but the thought of the Restorationists being exposed sent a chill through his body—especially after his realization today at the true threat the organization could pose to the government. However, the small rush of adrenaline faded fast and Runey was quickly up the steps and out the door of Block A. He walked quickly up the hill, through the colored arch and out of the Design compound, wanting to put as much distance between himself and Juleia as possible.

The massive oak trees made dappled designs on the lush grass of Campus green as Runey walked up the hill from design to merge with Oak’s March; this main thoroughfare would take him directly to Science. Runey was curious to get a closer look at the Science compound; he always saw the towering buildings looming in the distance like a mountain range of swirling glass and stern granite, but he had never actually been up the hill to see the place in person. In fact, he wasn’t even sure he was supposed to be there; the eminent Science department was not a place that came off as very welcoming to visitors. The three buildings came into sharper clarity as Runey climbed up the steep hill, his long legs making the trek up with ease; finally he crested the hill and knew he was in Science as the sidewalk was obviously of freshly poured cement and the grass was still a deep green, plush and perfectly manicured. Yes, they cater to Science in every way; even their lawn is perfectly groomed. Although most of these people probably don’t even notice. As opposed to the Design compound, where students flocked to the (not nearly as well-kept) lawns any day the weather permitted, there were no students outside in the Science compound. Runey supposed they must all be in the buildings in front of him.

To his left was the shortest—but still monolithic—of the three buildings, a solid looking structure more of granite than glass, with a sign out front that said Seminar Hall. In the middle was the famed SciSky; Runey didn’t need a sign to recognize the architectural marvel of glass and steel soaring up to the sky—architectural drafting being Runey’s preferred type of art, the elegant design of SciSky always took his breath away. On the right was an unmarked building whose structure of rough granite and smooth glass created a harmonious marriage of modern and natural elements; this particular building was the only place Runey could see any sign of life on top of the hill as he watched a few students entering its tall glass doors. Briefly, he debated whether to go into the building on his right or SciSky first, and decided to try SciSky, simply because he was innately drawn to it in a design sense—his intuition told him Mara would be in the building to his left with all the other students, but SciSky couldn’t go unseen for Runey.

Runey strolled purposefully toward the gleaming building, marveling at the front steps which featured a pebbled trough in their center which water flowed down; as Runey got closer he saw that the water was coming from a modern fountain indoors and then flowed to the outside and down the partition in the steps, creating a marvelous indoor/outdoor feature. Runey shook his head with a chuckle of disbelief as he compared his bland, outdated dormitory in the Design compound with this work of art. He reached one of the thick plate glass doors and grabbed the brushed nickel handle—the door wouldn’t budge. Of course it is locked, they aren’t going to let just anyone wander in, he thought. The clear glass of the door afforded him an easy view of the lobby of SciSky; Runey didn’t think “lobby” was a word on a large enough scale for what he saw inside. Beyond the gorgeously understated, zen-like water feature was a bank of elevators, arranged in a quadrant enclosed in glass that, free-standing, soared up through the high ceiling of the lobby to the residences above. Around the fountain and the elevator, the walls were ringed with shops and restaurants that Runey could see, even from this point, sold wares that were of premium quality and boasted interior finishes that were just as lavish as the products they sold. To Runey’s right, the entire corner of SciSky was an open expanse of windows, exposing a gym full of state of the art fitness equipment. Wow…no wonder they never leave, Runey marveled as he took in what he could of the lobby from his limited position outside.

As Runey stood lost in reverie at the luxurious world of Mara and the other students in Science, someone walked up the steps on the other side of the waterfall; Runey watched as the young man simply grabbed the handle and swung the tall glass door open. Quickly hopping over the waterfall and dashing to where the student had entered, Runey attempted to grab at the door as it swung back closed, but he was too late. He pulled on the handle which had just allowed entrance so easily, but it would not budge for Runey. The handles themselves must have individual palm print recognition or something, Runey realized, and didn’t know why he was surprised. He laughed to himself again, thinking about the juxtaposition between the impenetrable fortress that was SciSky, and the headphoned, oblivious warden of the front desk in the Design dormitory.

Undaunted, Runey loped back down the front steps with easy, loose strides and turned towards the other, unmarked building. Approaching the entrance, he tried one of the doors and was relieved to discover that it was not locked. Once inside, he found himself surrounded by pure white marble, shining chrome and delicate glass; the elevators, once again sheathed in glass, led up and down to parts unknown, and the stairs were a maze around and above him—the room was purely a hub for students to go elsewhere in the building. Runey could see no other doors on this level, not to mention an information desk or kiosk. He wandered through the maze of stairs, and all around the bank of elevators and didn’t see anyone or encounter any directory. After wandering up a handful of the twisting staircases, and finding no help at the top of those (usually it was another elevator, or a key-card access door, or, most frustratingly, yet another flight of stairs), Runey decided this building was also a lost cause. Most infuriating to him was the lack of people out in the open in the Science compound—other than the students walking into this building and the one who had entered SciSky, Runey had seen no one. It gave him an eerie feeling to be walking around in all these places of sterile, modern beauty, yet seeing no people.

Hoping this condition would be different in the Seminar Hall building, Runey walked across the Science compound once again. The door of the Seminar Hall was also unlocked. The interior of this building—while still lavish in its appointment of silvery granite floors and doors of clean natural wood and glass—had a more down-to-earth feel than the other two buildings Runey had visited. He found himself in a lobby, facing a phalanx of double doors in front of him. Curiously, Runey pushed open one of the doors and found himself staring down into a large amphitheater with rows of sleek silver desks which appeared aesthetically pleasing, but also terribly uncomfortable. Letting the door fall back into place, Runey noticed a flight of stairs in the far right corner of the lobby; he followed them up and was delighted to see they led to a pale wood door marked “Student Services.”

He opened the door enthusiastically and entered a waiting room area, appointed with stylish cream colored leather sofas and pale wood side tables, carefully arrayed with scientific publications. In lieu of a reception desk, a stand mounted with a tablet computer stood in one corner of the room with a sign above which said “Check In.” Runey walked over to the tablet and read, “The Director of Science Student Services is in and has no appointments at this time. Please tap the screen below and you will be seen to momentarily.” That’s convenient¸ Runey thought, and pressed the “Make Walk-In Appointment Now” button as indicated on the screen. He had barely settled down into the comfort of a cream colored sofas when a small woman appeared from behind a door to his left; Runey recognized her instantly—it was the woman who had been in the neon orange get-up yesterday at the gathering on Campus Green. Today she had traded in neon orange for a more casual look featuring a bright red fur vest which matched her plastic framed glasses. “How may I help you?” she asked, looking at Runey with an odd look. Runey couldn’t quite place it, but he could swear he saw recognition in her eyes. Maybe she saw me on the Campus Green yesterday and knows I am not Science.

“I had a couple questions about locating a student,” Runey began, getting up and heading towards her office. He didn’t want to have this conversation in the lobby, but rather where they could both be sitting down—on more even playing field she would be more likely to give him the information he needed. Moving into her office, he saw a nameplate on her desk, “Dr. Melinda Beliz.” “Dr. Beliz, I really need to talk to this girl I met during the group meetings for the new project yesterday. Do you know how I can find her?” He asked with a smile, after the two had settled into Beliz’s office, Runey in a cream colored armchair in front of the desk, Beliz behind the desk in her swivel chair.

She smiled at him with orangey-coral lips, “Well, I don’t know why you had to come to me; you could just use the Student Directory. It includes each student’s dormitory apartment number, their lab number, and their telephone number. The directory is available to all Science students, surely you know this. What did you say your name was again?”

“I didn’t. It’s Runey,” he extended a hand to her, and included his most winning smile before he continued, “And if I understand you correctly, the Student Directory is available only to students of Science. That’s where we have a problem—I’m from Design. So I was hoping maybe you could help me get the information I need.”

Beliz’s eyes narrowed and she said, “So, you want me to help you track down one of the students in my college, when I don’t know you at all?”

Runey tensed, he could tell she was getting defensive, “I just thought—“

Beliz cut him off, “No. No I absolutely cannot and will not do that! You are a young man I have never seen or met before, coming into my office asking me to help you track down the location of one of our female students—if I heard you correctly. Now I am sure you can understand and comply when I ask you to leave immediately!” The small, brightly clothed woman’s voice was surprisingly strong given her stature, and Runey was taken aback. Once again, his intuition had failed him; he had seen someone he thought could be easily swayed into doing what he wanted, but she had proved stronger stuff. These Science people are a hard bunch, Runey thought.

He decided to try one more time, “I know it looks bad, but I promise I don’t mean her any harm. Honestly, I met her in my group yesterday and I wanted to ask her on a date. I wanted to do it in person,” he said hanging his head slightly while at the same time giving Beliz a guilty smile, trying to play on any sense of romanticism.

It didn’t work. Beliz stood up, and walked to the door and opened it, clearly indicating Runey should leave. “Well, if this young lady is in your group, you will have ample time to see her in person next Tuesday. In the mean time, there is nothing I can do for you. If you don’t leave this building and get off the Science compound this instant, I will have no choice but to have security forcibly remove you, and I will report you to the Board of Directors personally. We simply cannot have this type of…stalking behavior up here; our students are busy doing important work. I have said it before and I will say it again, access to this compound should be restricted!” She seemed to grow a couple of inches taller in her fury—Runey had to give it to her, she really cared about her students. He was starting to fear a little bit for his person, so he felt no qualms about leaving her office, and heading down the stairs as fast as he could. Sighing, he chalked his trip up to the Science compound as a loss, and turned his back firmly on the buildings and walked down the hill as quickly as he could; he had the acute sensation that Dr. Beliz would somehow know if he didn’t leave the compound immediately. His retreat was ill-timed; unbeknownst to Runey, at the very moment he was walking down the hill, and the Science buildings fell out of view, Mara was crossing from SciSky to the Portal after finishing her lunch. This had been one of the rare days when luck was not on Runey’s side.



It is Wednesday, and on this Wednesday I am going to take the theme of a book that inspired me as a writer and twist it a little bit. Today I am going to talk about a book that didn’t exactly inspire me, but it definitely made me think as an author!

The book–or series, rather–that I am going to discuss is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. My unpopular opinion: it wasn’t that great. However, I did (eventually) feel compelled to read all 8 books that the series has so far. And it did inspire me to write an entire blog post on the series, so there is something to be said. Let’s dive into it.

First of all, I picked the first novel in the series up at an airport (on my way to the Vegas writing conference), and I nearly ditched it in the plane when I landed. The writing was slow and wordy, the plot didn’t catch me right away, for the first time in my life I was about to abandon a book! But I didn’t. However, it took me a long time to get through the first book for reasons I already named added to the fact that I found the story line implausible. Maybe this is my cynical side taking over, but who would stay in the 18th century over the 20th century simply for love? This isn’t very generous to more romantic sensibilities, but throughout the entire series I found this to be a hard hurdle to get past. If it were me, I don’t think I would give up present day safety and technology advances.

Secondly, the books made me angry and frustrated on my journey as a writer. Here I am all year desperately trying to get published while reading these books that have been wildly successful. Should have been an inspiration, right? It was not. While I got back letters from agents admonishing my use of adverbs and exposition, Gabaldon’s prose mocked me with its casual use of verb modifiers and excessive description of her characters’ hair color. Most pointedly in contrast–her characters used elevated language and highly eloquent word choice, while Capacitance was being criticized for characters “not talking like actual people.”

Essentially, it seemed that Gabaldon does not follow the so-called “rules” that are supposed to apply to aspiring authors. While I admire her intelligence and obviously vast knowledge of the historical periods about which she writes, I found her characters and her choices for the plot a little hard to swallow and, at times, to stay awake for (over 100 pages dedicated to the events of one day, hmm..).

Now to give Gabaldon credit, which I must do! I did read every one of the books, and I will read the subsequent books when they come out (I believe there are supposed to be 2 more). This speaks to her as an author because she has created a compelling story line (even though the plausibility doesn’t sit right with me at times). I want to know what happens to these characters and I will slog through the slow parts just to finally see what happens. At the end of the day, Gabaldon is a successful author and businesswoman because of this–she has created a marketable product and essentially has free range to “break the rules” and write however she wants, and isn’t that the ultimate goal?

First Page Trepidation

I’ll be the first (and not the last *ahem, agents*) to say it, my first page and pretty much my first chapter of Capacitance blows. It really sucks. There is too much exposition, it lacks any immediate grip to draw the reader to turn the page, and it contains a confusing flashback.

I’m somewhat embarrassed that it is included here on this blog, bar the fact that I hope to one day post a marvelous revision that will showcase my growth and effort as a writer. Someday.

For now, all my attempts at re-writing my first pages have been second rate at best. At worst, they haven’t even happened and have resulted in me staring obstinately at the computer screen refusing to mutilate the first stirrings of life in the brain-child that is my book.

There is a huge mind block for me in revising my first pages. In fact, there is a block in writing them in general. Each of my three books (perhaps with the exception of Inductance) the beginning is very weak. The writing is insecure and it’s obvious that I am just trying to get past that blank page anxiety and get my words on paper. Fast forward to the middle of the book and the prose is clean and engaging, things are moving much more quickly.

However, even if I am in this great writing style flow, the moment I go back and try to write the first chapter in the same style, my brain freezes up. I wish this post could turn from the struggle to the solution, but as of yet I have not been successful in revamping my shoddy first chapters. Does anyone out there have tips?

Capacitance: Chapter 11

Let’s jump right back into it, shall we? 🙂

Chapter 11


Although mutually unaware of the fact, Mara and Runey were both spending their mornings in a similar fashion—staring at computer screens. Mara’s head was beginning to swim from reading documents on the computer screen for too long; she rubbed her eyes as information about genetic mutations swirled in her mind. None of what she had uncovered was of any help to her—in fact, most of it was information she was already aware of. Even more frustratingly, she had not been able to uncover any information at all about hostile takeover mutations or anything about a mutation on a massive scale. She surmised that these problems simply hadn’t come into play over the past half a century; Meditrinum erased the fear of genetic mutation completely in those that took it, and genetic therapies had stepped in to provide almost instantaneous cancer cures for the rest of the population. No, in the last decades, genetic engineering had become more about finessing a finished product than about making new headways—this was what had drawn Mara to the field in the first place; no messy, expansive experiments, but instead tight, detailed fine-tuning that required an intense focus to the most minute of details.

However, on the other hand, she knew she had scoffed to herself at those people that thought Meditrinum was a “case closed” type of situation; she had set out on her research to find flaws in the formula. Now, when she had found a flaw, she was ashamed at the way she was acting; her usually highly capable mind was now—she could tell—truly overwhelmed with this discovery. Mara was finding herself avoiding problems and putting off tasks like she never had before; just now, she had set the slide drive reports to “save for later” instead of “display report at finish.” She had told herself she wanted to review all the reports at once, as an excuse for why she was delaying the investigation of the outcomes of the DNA sequencing, but truthfully she knew there was going to be a fresh wave of dread once she saw the inevitable mutated results, and she was not ready for that. Warily, Mara eyed the final slide drive in the queue, glowing ruby with her own blood. She had scanned three slide drives already, and the fourth was in process, each finished drive leading her closer to a much more personal examination.

Suddenly the computer made a benign chime, signaling the current slide drive was done being scanned. Mara ejected the fourth drive, and clicked the fifth slide drive into place and restarted the scanning and sequencing process. Realizing she was hungry, Mara got up stiffly from her desk and left the slide drive to scan while she took a lunch break. Usually she brought her lunch with her to the lab, but today she had forgotten; a part of her was glad of this as she felt an inexplicable need to be around other people—she had been isolated just her and the mutation, and she needed to get away. As she rode up in the elevator and stepped out into The Portal, she felt herself scanning the crowd, actually hoping to see Langdon or another familiar face. However, the portal was empty; it was mid-afternoon and most students were deeply labbed down for the day. Mara realized that even if she saw other people, she wouldn’t know most of them; after all, she did keep herself quite cloistered in her lab for the majority of the time, and eschewed most social functions. For the first time, she felt a pang of anger at herself for not making more social connections; the self-chastisement startled her—what is going on with me?

Seeing no one on the sidewalk from The Portal to SciSky, and encountering a similar emptiness in the cafes and shops in the SciSky forum, Mara decided to go up to her apartment for some food. The late afternoon sun blazed through the plate glass windows of Mara’s apartment when she opened the door, hurting her eyes; touching a couple keys on a screen by the door, she tinted the windows slightly to cut the glare. As she walked into her kitchen, she realized just how hungry she really was; grabbing a large, prepared salad of spinach and strawberries and a tuna sandwich on foccacia bread from her fridge, she sat down at one of the calfskin upholstered bar stools at the obsidian topped bar peninsula which linked her kitchen and living room. As she ate, she cautiously let her mind tiptoe back to the mutation problem. Mara knew she needed to be more rational about the situation—she was getting worked into hysteria and needed to rationalize herself out of it. She forked up a mouthful of salad and, chewing, thought about what she knew about the situation to date.

She knew there was a mutation in the Meditrinum blood. She knew this mutation happened in the future. Putting it in those terms simplified the problem in her mind because it highlighted the fact that she truly did not know much at all right now. Realizing she should consider this a cause for organized, controlled alarm—but not the fear spiral of panic she was currently in—Mara found it much easier to delineate her next tasks: find out when the problem will occur, and then develop a treatment for the mutation. The voice of reason and logic had taken over in her mind, but fear threatened on the edge; Mara found it disconcerting. I am the top student of my class; I have studied science my whole life—I know I am more than capable of finding and solving this problem. What is there to be afraid of? She thought, rationally. Yes, but what if you can’t fix it? Then what? You still haven’t tested your blood sample, because you know you’ve got this too. And if you have it, and you can’t fix it—you die! The fear hissed hysterically in her mind, but she countered it coolly, If I have it too, that will just make me even more motivated to find a cure. And when I do find a cure, I will have more success than I ever imagined—the success will be worth the challenge. I am not going to let some fear hold me back from the prestige of saving the government, the world’s top scientists…and myself.

The fear was silent now, subdued to cowering in its own small corner of Mara’s mind. She hoped it stayed there. Finished with her lunch, she dropped the plastic containers her food had came in into the sleek, cleverly concealed trash incinerator by the sink, and reached for her phone to check the time. As if the device had read her mind, a distant ping sounded hopefully from the other room—her phone! She had forgotten completely that she had left it in her bed that morning. She walked through to her bedroom and retrieved the phone, seeing that she had just gotten a message from Travers, “Mara? Just checking in. I didn’t hear back from you this morning. –P.T.”

This time Mara responded, “Sorry. Was in lab all day and forgot phone. Heading back down soon. –M.” Then, reminded as she scrolled through the previous messages, “No time to think about Runey. –M.”

However, suddenly she was thinking about Runey; scrolling through her messages, she had forgotten the lines he had sent her that morning. He wanted to meet her this evening. And do what? she thought. For a few moments, she let her mind idle on the thought of spending the evening with Runey; maybe they would meet here in her apartment, curled up on the leather chairs by the modern glass fireplace which rarely got used, sipping glasses of wine from Mara’s fully stocked but rarely used wine cellar. Or maybe he would ask her over to wherever it was that Design students lived; she caught herself curiously wondering what their living quarters were like. Maybe she could tell Runey a skeleton sketch of the problem she was faced with and—suddenly she jerked herself out of a fantasy she could scarcely believe she was even having. Of course she couldn’t tell Runey from Design about the mutation—she had decided against telling even Travers about it during their fireside chat the night before!

Plus, she was failing to consider Runey himself—arrogant, self-assured—what made her think he would even care what she had to say? If he was interested in her she was sure it was because of her body and looks (she remembered the head to toe grazing stare he had treated her to in Studio 76); she doubted he was interested in her knowledge or research. However, some instinct was quietly telling her that he would want to listen, that he would care very much—that she was misjudging him. But skepticism snuffed that train of thought completely. Surely I am just having these notions about Runey for the same reasons I was hoping to run into Langdon or anyone else on my way back to SciSky from the Portal.

Mara realized during her reverie, she had opened up a reply dialog box to Runey’s earlier message; disgusted with herself, she closed out of the draft and instead swiped to open her mobile lab files. She saw that the current slide drive had only half an hour left before the sequencing was done; sliding her phone into her pocket she walked through the kitchen, grabbing her leather tote, and out of her apartment. As she walked down the broad sidewalk to the Portal in the gradually building twilight, she got another message from Travers, “You’re never too busy to have a new experience. If you value my advice, trust me on this. –P.T.” Mara sighed; Travers knew how to get to her—he knew how much she valued him as a confidante and would put his advice above all else. As she entered the Portal, her fingers once again drew up the message to Runey and considered replying; she was quite tempted after Travers’ most recent message and debated back and forth in her mind all the way down to her lab. Reaching the door of her lab, she was reminded that she still had hours and hours of slide drive scanning to complete. Even if she did want to meet with Runey tonight—and some infuriating and inexplicable part of her did want to (she suspected the part that kept analyzing the charms of his smile)—she would have to put it off until another time.

Mara went to the change out the finished slide drive for a new, untested one. As she did so, her green eyes kept straying to the eleventh slide drive—the one with her blood—nestled at the back of the mini-refrigeration rack. She inserted the sixth drive into the computer and pressed start. Don’t worry about it Mara; if it comes back negative or positive, there is still nothing you can do about it. You’ve still got a problem no matter what. Drawing up another scholarly journal article on mutations, Mara tried to focus on the text, but her mind kept becoming preoccupied with the slide drive. Finally, she abruptly stood up, removed her specimen from the rack, and took it over to the main refrigeration unit. She would eventually test her blood—just not today. Finding out if her Meditrinum treated blood was destined for mutation was another new experience she just simply didn’t want to have today.




Even though I haven’t been the best at maintaining my blog and Facebook page lately, I’ve been getting likes and views despite the drought of posts. To thank you all for the continued support, I am going to post chapters from my first novel, Capacitance, again! Chapter 11 will be posted on Monday. Since it has been so long since I have posted a chapter, some of you may want to catch up on the chapters that have already been posted. Below are links to each chapter. Be on the lookout for Chapter 11 on Monday! 🙂


Tolkien & Allegory

Last week, I started re-reading Lord of the Rings for probably the fifth or sixth time. It has been about three years since I’ve read it, so I am definitely due for a read. That the series is my favorite work ever is reconfirmed every time I give it a read. Although I know what will happen, the writing draws me in every time. It feels like a sort of coming home, a tradition of familiarity in the comfort of immense talent–a perfect nostalgic sense to evoke during the holiday season!

This go-around, I actually read something new in the book–the author’s note in the forward. I claim to love Tolkien, but for some reason my anxious mind always wanted to get to the story and skipped over this part. Now, being an author myself, I found this segment fascinating to hear another author’s perspective. One quote really stood out to me. Tolkien was speaking about readers’ questions about whether or not the story was an allegory to the current events during the time of writing (WWII). Tolkien had this to say:

“I think that many confuse ‘applicability’ with ‘allegory’; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.” –J.R.R Tolkien

This quote really spoke to me as a former English major. I couldn’t begin to guess hour many hours of explication and class discussions we spent trying to figure out the “author’s true meaning” in everything from works of poetry to novels. Admittedly, historical evidence does show that some works are meant to be allegorical (Spenser’s “The Faerie Queen” comes directly to mind), however, I like Tolkien’s view to consider applicability. Part of the beauty in a work of literature lies in the unique impression it gives to each individual reader. If a Lord of the Rings fan wanted to apply the context of WWII to the trilogy, and that gave the work more meaning to them, they are free to do so (although Tolkien might argue some of their points on the matter!).

Literature is not only the author’s freedom to write what words he will, but also the reader’s freedom to interpret or apply the words in the way that makes sense to him. It should not be the author’s task to move every single reader to the exact same conclusion or interpretation as that would take the magic of the human mind out of the equation.