Camp Nanowrimo Day 6 Update

Hello campers and regular people with other things to do this July,

I’m not going to lie, it was hard to write today. It was hot, AGAIN. Too many hot days in a row turns my brain to mush. And then just as I got into a really good flow I hit a geographical quandary. I had to stop and consider my options. I’ll sleep on it and hopefully know what I am about tomorrow.

I did write 477 words today. (A little shy of goal but I really need to figure out which port makes the most sense for my terrorists to be landing their ship at before I go on.)

Total 3881/3000 I’m still ahead. Holy Cow Bat Man!


Galatea returned to the work room in time to hear Stanley yip gleefully. “There you are.”
“You have something?”
Gareth and Talon both sat upright.
“Yes, I have your ship.”
“Do tell.”
“The Al-Uzza is a Liberian ship based in the port of Monrovia. According to known intel it is a ship for hire if the work is dirty and the money clean.”
Talon opened his mouth to tell Stanley that was information they already knew or could have surmised given the situation but Galatea forestalled him with a quick shake of her head. “Go on, Stanley.”
“It last left Monrovia 22 days ago and is not expected to return.”
“Wait they filed that they don’t intend to return?” Talon needed clarification.
With a sigh, Stanley went on, “They didn’t file a return date, so they are classified as no expected to return.”
Talon nodded but didn’t feel particularly put out by Stanley’s insinuation he should know this, he was SAS, what did he know about boats.
“It was last spotted in the North Pacific about five days ago.”
Galatea nodded and smiled hoping he would get to something relevant.
“And that’s about it unless you want to see the floor plans now.”
“That’s it? No information on where it might be or where it might be going? Who’s running it?”
Stanley shook his head. “It’s not like boats file flight plans or carry beacons like airplanes. Once they leave port, they’re invisible until they pull into the next one.”
There was stunned silence for a few beats. Then Gareth cleared his throat. “That’s not necessarily true.”
All eyes turned to him. He opened his eyes, slowly lowered his legs from the coffee table to the floor, and sat up. “They pull Local Notice to Mariners, right?”
“I suppose so. I thought those got sent automatically from the map company.”
“Notice to Mariners and Summary of Corrections do but you can radio in for a Local Notice to Mariners. When you’re approaching an area and you aren’t sure how up to date your map is.”
Stanley frowned and began typing like a hacker, which was essentially what he was preparing to do.
Galatea returned to pacing, Gareth leaned back in the chair and closed eyes once more. Talon attempted not to watch Galatea’s body as it roamed the room with her usual casual grace.
The assistant breezed through with take away which they fell upon immediately with gusto. It took Stanley long enough that mere remnants remained in the bottom of the cartons when he announced he had something.

Monday Book Review: Mad Science Institute

I just finished this fab book by Sechin Tower.msi_front-cover

I have to figure out some sort of ratings system, I know, I know, but if I one, Mad Science Institute, would be up there.

First off, I love his straight forward style. There is no extra malarkey. You get what you need to be there in the story, no extra puff, no extra wall paper.

He writes in a rapid fire way that really propels me through the novel.

His characters are intriguing. I like that he spends some time weaving in a bit of back story for the characters who really matter and giving you pure personality for the ones who are less important. Saves time and effort in remembering extra stuff that won’t matter when the character dies. Red shirt alert without being quite so obvious. (no offense to Star Trek).

Sophia, affectionately known as Soap, is accepted to the Mechanical Science Institute, less affectionately known as the Mad Science Institute. Housed on the campus of another university, the institute is devoted to the exploration, adaptation, and expansion of Nikola Tesla’s inventions. But as usual with massive power comes some asshole who wants it for himself and rather than settle into classes Soap is forced to do battle to protect the world with the help of her robot dog scorpion, her cuz, and some mad scientists.

I suppose one could classify this a YA work but I didn’t find it YA ish in the negative connotation. Yes, Soap is a young protagonist, her cousin however is not and this is half his book.

There is a lot of science jargon going on. But Sechin writes it in a way that I can almost believe is possible. However I will deduct half a milk dud, dog bone, or other ratings item for one of my pet peeves. He references a picture of Mark Twain holding a light bulb that isn’t connected to a wire because supposedly he was in Tesla’s lab testing wireless energy, I googled the picture, you can see the wire large as life. Bah. Historical lies. Minus half a light bulb.

On the plus side I did actually stop to read out bits to my husband who laughed so maybe he gets half a light bulb back for that. I’ll have to sleep on it.

I leave you with the link to Sechin’s page. The link to buy this book on Amazon. And a quote from Soap, “It’s much better if we keep it secret, because a bunch of teenagers and college students who answer to no higher authority would never misuse infinite power.”

Camp Nanowrimo Day 5 update:

525 words written while watching the old pink panther cartoon with my son, is it any good? I have no clue. But I did manage not to write dant dant dant dant dant anywhere but here so that counts right?

Total 3404/2500. Still ahead. How did that happen?

Weekend Workshop: Sunday Edition: Chapter 3 Exercises

I really wanted to do these exercises on this amazing book I read this week (tune in tomorrow for the review) but then I realized I would totally be giving away the entire novel if I did. No bueno.

So, I decided to do as Lucey suggests and answer the questions on a film. Three Days of the Condor (1975).

1. Jot down a beat by beat summary of the film studied. Note how the action-reaction dynamic develops the beats of the story.

Background establishing shots of the office and the city. Bit conversations revealing the nature of the work at the American Literary Historical Society. Analysts talking about gun shot and slugs hitting the wall. References to unauthorized research, lack of proper channels. Its the hero’s turn to bring in lunch. Uses the non proper exit which saves him a block because it is raining. waiting for the lunch order, talking about artists and the number of rejection slips he has had. men watching the proper entrance. Approaching. shooting everyone in the office as they come across them. Pulled something out of the book carousel in the front office. Hero returns with lunch order, finds front door open. discovers the bodies (cigarette still burning in the hand of one of them), takes the gun from the receptionist’s desk and exits, leaves his bike behind, runs to phone booth calls the “major”, who asks a lot of questions, tells him to leave the area but not to go home, call back in two hours, cleaning service arrives at the office, hero in an art gallery/museum, Hero gets a pretzel, goes to missing agents home, door is open, agent is dead in his bed, men coming up the stairs, hero runs up, waits till they go and then leaves, goes home and his neighbor tells him his two friends are waiting for him, he runs, calls in again, gets directed to be in the alley to be picked up by the head of his department, but he refuses to go unless someone he knows is at the meet, mutual friend gets a bullet proof vest and some nasty questions about his relationship with hero, head of department checks out a 45 gun just like the one condor is carrying, head of dept tries to kill hero, hero wounds head of dept and flees, head of dept kills friend, hero hides in store, kidnaps a woman as his exit, man arrives by helio, reads report, Five Continents Imports staffed by marines, hero takes woman back to her home, dept head made statement that condor shot them both before going into surgery, despite not being qualified with a handgun the committee believes he did the murders, their only suggestion is he is not the man he appears to be, hero explains his background to the girl, explains what the agency does, appeals for help, he makes her sleep next to him so he can nap, hit man discussing the finishing off of Condor and the tying up of loose ends with the head of dept, hero discussing the photos the woman takes, lonely pictures, news report hero thinks friend is dead, calls friend’s wife, argument with woman about his  treatment of her, ties her up in the bathroom, hero goes to friend’s house, interrogates his wife about who called, then shoves her in the elevator to go up to friends as the hit man steps off, they both get in a down elevator, the ride is prolonged by teenagers who push all the floor buttons before they get off, hero talks a group into going with him to his car, which creates a barrier around him that foils the snipers plan, but the hit man gets the license plate of the car he is driving, he unties the woman and makes her answer the phone, prolonged conversation with rude boyfriend who doesn’t catch on that she is being held hostage, more conversation about hero’s treatment of woman, her art, her prediction of his imminent death, heavy sexual overtones, oddly shot sex, facial expressions, and close ups of body parts interspersed with her black and white photos, flash back series as the hero works out the overall conspiracy, background talk, hospital nurse monitoring a flat lining monitor, mailman delivering a package, pen fails so the main follows hero into apartment while he looks for a pen, hero flings coffee pot at man who has gun, fight ensues, hero shoots villain, hero searches villain, gets key and a paper from Five Continents with phone number and ext, hero dials it immediately, its the CIA, he and woman drive somewhere, conversation about figuring it all out, she does into the CIA as a visitor, pretends to get lost and goes into Higgins office, ts a face check so hero can follow him, woman joins Higgins at lunch, woman delivers message for Higgins to follow her out to the car, hero interrogates higgins, finds out hit man used to work for the company, Hero finds out Wicks is dead, hero wants Higgins to bring him in, Higgins says he’s sorry, hero realizes that he’s being hung out as bait, hero uses distraction to steal something from a new york telephone repair truck, gets key identified, and goes to the hotel to call in on the line, records the next call the hit man makes, then calls into langely to get the phone number and gets a name and address for the owner, Higgins mean time checking out the mailman and wicks, hero goes to the phone company, calls in to the major for route to Higgins, tells higgins where to find the hit man, because he used the phone company the trace is useless, background with woman, more about her art, hero gets on a train to washington, emplores woman not to give him up, which makes her cry, higgins in conversation with superior, about careers/history, someone is being held at New Yprk Center, hero sitting in someone’s office blasting the music, man comes down stairs, confrontation with the big bad, it’s the deputy director of operations middle east section, hero figures out it is all about oil, hit man shows up in the door way, hit man kills the deputy with condors gun, puts the gun in his hand and wipes down all the prints, hit man is back with the company, hit man explains why he is not going to kill the hero, hit man wants to know about the girl, how hero choose her, the hit man offers advice, they will kill you, it will be someone you know, soon, the hit man suggest he go to Europe and become a hit man like him because it is so restful and someone is always willing to pay, hero says he would miss the united states if he went away too long, the hit man gives hero a gun “for that day,” hero meets up with higgins, a car is there to take him to debriefing, hero wants to know if we are going to invade the middle east, you think not getting caught in a lie is the same as telling the truth, he walks higgins to in front of the new york times building and tells him he told them the story, higgins say you’ll be dead if they don’t print it, hero says they’ll print it.

2. How does the film deal with subplots and continuity? Analyze how the subplots are used to fill out the span of the second act.

Subplots are minor, a bare relationship that actually feels like it drags the film down. I really don’t care about Cathy’s art. I certainly don’t care enough to talk about it four different times. And I don’t know about you but I don’t willingly have sex with the man who’s holding me hostage after talking to my significant other.

3. What strategies of time, logic, editing, sound, music, dialogue, and action link the scenes into a story? How much story time passes between the scenes? How does the film create momentum?

The entire film is three short days. They use simple light versus dark for day and night passage. Verbal queues such as how long till the 6 o’clock news and in the morning I will…I need 12 hours, just till noon tomorrow.  The film uses a pretty standard ramp up the intensity, then allow it to drop but not quite to the bottom, then up a little higher, drop but not quite to the previous low, etc. Each time getting edgier with the break less down.

4. Work out the story armature that organizes the film.

Someone has killed his entire office and will kill him. the hero had no one to depend on and can trust no one.

5. Summarize the first act set up in the film. How does the set up  invest the story with dramatic potential?

The entire office is killed, he doesn’t know who to trust, then his friend is shot by someone he thought he could trust.

All in all not a bad movie. A little slow moving in some places but a fun thriller. I suspect the hero will soon be dead and sadly I don’t much care about his fate so I suppose the movie failed in some respects.

Yesterday was Day Four of Nanowrimo and I chose to spend the day with family and friends. 0 Words written. But I am still ok because the first three days were banner awesome. 2879/2000

Friday Fun/Camp Nanowrimo Day 3

I think by some strange gift of positive typing, writing my spy novel has become marginally fun. I still find myself getting really angry, like when I forget a scene I am supposed to weave in that the rest of the novel hangs on. sigh. But the last two days have gone well. I am even toying with the idea of killing one of them off. I’ve already written the ending, true, like three years ago, where they all survive. But it’s not too late for a rewrite. LOL

I wrote 1035 today. Bringing my current total to 2879/1500. I’m still ahead. At this rate I will finish July 16. Wow.


The interrogator had worked herself up into quite a little temper tantrum. She had resorted to slamming the chair out of her way, then picking it up and slamming it into the table moments later as she went on ranting at Galatea who had yet to say a word.
Someone rapped on the glass behind the interrogator and she glared at Galatea for a long moment before stomping out of the room without a word.
Galatea did a few mental calculations. It had been long enough.
When the interrogator returned she seemed to have calmed down. “You’re being transferred to (british federal agency). This is your last chance for me to help you.”
Galatea smiled.
“Do you want to go to prison for life. They’re saying you’re a terrorist.”
Galatea snickered at the preposterousness of the situation. Many countries in the world probably would consider her a terrorist. But as far as she could remember she had not done anything terrorist worthy in England or even Greater Britain for that matter.
“Whether or not you talk, they will prosecute you. Tell me something I can use to help you.” She implored.
Galatea shook her head. “I’ll wait.”
“Where have I heard that accent before?”
Galatea returned to her bland smile.
There was a rap on the door this time and a head popped in, “They’re here.”
The interrogator shook her head. “I wish you had let me help you.”
Galatea stood and moved to the door with no further response. The gentleman took her arm and directed her along the hallway. At the office area Talon was waiting.
“Are you sure just one of you can handle this?”
Talon flashed a look of scorn and reached for Galatea. “Her belongings?”
As the man turned around Talon reached down and unlocked her handcuffs. He took the bag and tossed back the the cuffs. “Thanks.”
Without further ago, he walked out the door with Galatea in one hand and her bag in the other.
As they cleared the airport door and crossed the side walk to the waiting Rolls, “Took your sweet time.”
Talon chortled. “Because getting someone out of security is such as easy task.”
“You did it now didn’t you?”
Talon exhaled harshly. “Try to find a little gratitude.” He opened the door and used the arm he had to propel her into the backseat. She slid in and found herself face to face with Penelope. “Good evening.”
“Good evening to you.” Penelope took a long look at Galatea.
“Do I have you to thank for my release from that boredom?”
Penelope nodded. Talon slid in after stowing Galatea’s bag in the trunk. “I had a bit to do with it.”
The two women looked to each other and burst out in laughter. Talon swallowed and tried to prepare himself for a long ride to ops headquarters.

Camp Nanowrimo Update Day 2

Good morning, I have written 1118 words already today. Kiddo is at camp and I am in an air conditioned and blissfully quiet library. Hence the word flowage. According to the Nano stats page I will finish on July 17th if I maintain the rate of work. I don’t think Nano has ever predicted I would finish early. LOL.

Officially I have written 1844/1000 words. That’s +844 words. Nice to be me today.

I share a snippet I wrote this morning. Keep in mind I know it’s rough. It is a nano after all.

They landed at Heathrow, Talon breezed through customs, he assumed Gareth was not far behind. Galatea he could see loitering to the back of the foreign nationals line. He moved on straight out of the airport without a backwards glance. He grabbed a cab and headed straight to the office, hoping to catch Penelope before she left for the day.
She was on the curb about to step into her butter yellow Rolls Royce.
Talon leaned forward to the glass partition, “Lay on the horn, eh? I need to get my mother’s attention.”
The cabbie complied.
Talon smiled to himself, the mother card worked every time. Penelope glanced up at the cab which slid to a stop just behind her precious Rolls. Talon tossed the obliging man some cash (whats appropriate?) and leapt out. “Mom.”
Penelope’s eyes narrowed. She hated when the agents did that. She smiled at the cable driver as he pulled back out into traffic.
“Sorry bout that.”
“Let’s just get in shall we before anyone else wants to be adopted.” Talon took her arm and slid her into the back of the car. The door barely closed behind Talon when the driver pulled away from the curb.
“How was your sight seeing trip?”
“Interesting. But I can’t get into that right now. We ran into a little snag on the return part of our journey.”
“Is that so? You seem to be in all one piece but your decision making skills do seem impaired.”
Talon smiled, “Next time I’ll tell the cabbie you’re my mistress.”
“Milo Sterling, you will do no such thing.” Penelope sounded shocked with a small dash of flattered.
Talon laughed and attempted to kiss her hand but Penelope was having none of that.
“What do you need?”
“The mossad agent on our team, she ran into a little trouble with her passport upon entrance at Heathrow. She’s being detained and we need her back.”
“We need her back or you need her back?”
Talon studies Penelope for a moment. “Does that really matter? You’ll help me.”
“I will.”
There was silence as they say at a stop light, then Penelope slid forward and directed the driver to reroute them to Number Ten Downing Street.
“The PM?” Talon was surprised.
“Big problem calls for a big solution.”

Wednesday Writers Cafe

Just got home. Why am I posting once I am back at home you ask? Because once again the internet was inaccessible at the cafe. Bleh. I got 688 words written for my spy novel tonight, but I bet at least 200 of them are notes to research things once I have an internet connection.

Tell me how does it help me to pay good money for a baby sitter so I can go and work in peace if I can’t do any work while I am there?

Sigh. Quiet night at the cafe, for writers anyway. We talked about life, love, and the pursuit of movies that make you want to talk about them after you watch them. smiles.

If only the internet had been working it would have been almost idyllic.