Stories

Concept story – CR1515

I can’t help but jokingly think of this as “Beauty and the Beast with robots”.

This is still massively underdeveloped, of course, but I find it to be a thoroughly fascinating idea.


Aurora’s eyes closed, and for a moment she drifted into sleep before she snapped herself back into consciousness. The horizon was growing lighter, and he still hadn’t appeared. While she was doing her best to maintain the vigil, it was difficult to feel a sense of urgency when the fate of humanity rested on someone who was now hours late.

“He’s not coming,” Talon murmured, closing his hand around Aurora’s. His skin felt burning hot over her cold fingers, so she snuggled up against his side to soak in his warmth.

“He has to,” she replied quietly.

“As soon as the first sun rays appear, we’re out of time.” Talon motioned to the frozen mecha that stood some yards away, still poised in mid-attack. “The artifacts won’t hold it after daybreak.”

“He’ll be here,” Aurora weakly insisted. “He’s the only one who can stop it.”

“We need to leave before we get killed.” Talon stood then pulled on her. “Come on.”

“But what about the artifacts?”

“They’ll probably be destroyed. We’ll have to worry about that later.”

Aurora reluctantly followed Talon, but she couldn’t stop herself from looking back. Recovering the three golden artifacts had been a long and difficult process, and activating them to imprison the mecha had cost them the life of a friend. The thought of being abandoned by CR1515 at the last minute was too much to bear.

“Let’s go find him,” she suggested hopefully.

“If Robot Boy was coming, he would have been here hours ago,” Talon snapped, using the derogatory nickname for CR1515. Even though he was humanity’s protector, there were many people who resented and feared his abilities, and consequently sought to drag him down in petty ways. Despite the intended disrespect, CR1515 had never given any indication of noticing the nickname or the negative attitudes towards him … until his failure to appear that night.

“The Gate isn’t far from here. Let’s just go see if we can contact him, at the very least.” Aurora hated the thought of giving up, and even though she knew her idea sounded silly and irrational, it was far better than doing nothing.

“You go then, if it will make you happy. I need to tell the others what’s happened.” Talon stopped and turned to Aurora, put his arms around her waist, then kissed her lips. “Don’t risk waiting around, though,” he whispered. “If he doesn’t answer in two minutes, get underground.”

“I promise I will.” Aurora closed her eyes as they kissed farewell again, then continued to the Gate alone. She approached the metal door, standing in the middle of an empty lot free from any buildings or walls, and pushed the small button next to it. Silently, she began to count the seconds, feeling the weight of fatigue build with every number.

At 64, the door swung open.

She hesitated, then stepped through.

Aurora was no longer in the empty lot with solid earth beneath her feet. She was inside a large room with windows on every side, looking out at a dark sky that was speckled with innumerable stars, and her breath caught in her throat at the realization that she was no longer on the planet, but far above it in space.

Metallic footsteps came towards her, and she turned to face CR1515. It hurt to find him home, staring at her with his expressionless face, and she couldn’t stop herself from crying out, “How could you?”

He stopped. “Have you never questioned whether or not you are worthy of my help?”

“Aren’t … we?” Aurora was lost for words. The truth was, through all the hard work and sacrifices that they had made to reach their goal, it never once occurred to her to wonder what CR1515 thought of them – she had assumed that he would assist the moment he was needed, because he always had before.

“I have grown tired of humanity. Save yourselves.” He turned to walk away, but Aurora jumped forward and caught hold of his back, pressing herself against him as she begged,

“Please. Please. We’ve done everything we can, but that mecha is … a lot of people will die if you don’t do something right now!”

“No,” came his harsh reply.

“I swear that I’ll do anything you ask, if only you’ll kill that thing!”

“You swear?” CR1515’s metal hands pressed down over her wrists, holding her in place with her arms around him.

“I swear!”

“I want what your species takes for granted.” He thrust Aurora’s arms away from him and once again turned to face her. “I want to touch, and to love.”

She stood, numbed by the words, unable to stop the thought, He’s a robot, from repeating itself over and over in her mind. CR1515 possessed the likeness of a human, but he was undoubtedly made of hard metal. How could he touch?

“Will you be mine?” he asked.

“But …” Aurora’s voice faded.

“Those are my terms. If you won’t accept, then begone.”

“…Yes.” Her lower lip trembled, and she wondered if she should try to take back the word despite having said it.

About Writing, The Scion Suit

Hartmann

We’ve finally hit December.

This year has been very draining for a number of reasons. I don’t even want to get into them, because of the overwhelming, “Ugh, just get everything over with already,” feeling that comes with them.

So, along the lines of Things That I’ve Been Thinking About….

Mandatory Exposition: I wrote The Scion Suit in 2019 as a response to a Reddit writing prompt, and it ended up becoming mildly popular, etc. This year, I’ve been working on an expanded version of it.

Given the circumstances of when I originally wrote the story, MSG Hartmann’s character ended up being regretfully underused. I wrote some other thoughts about that. With rewriting and expanding The Scion Suit, I’ve had a lot more time to further develop his character.

At some point during the last several months, I decided that Hartmann coped with the stress of military life through womanizing (specifically PUA), and it’s had a rather interesting effect on his overall characterization.

In 2019, I wrote, “Brooding, he hung around to watch Carol work on his beloved Suit, and his heart stung with jealousy when he saw how tenderly she touched the metal. When she opened it up to wipe down the leather interior, he couldn’t stand it anymore; it was worse than walking in on a spouse in the thralls of another lover.”

But, this new course in characterization has resulted in a fundamental shift.

Instead of feeling possessive ownership over the Suit, Hartmann instead sees himself as The Other, who has no choice but to return the Suit to its loving spouse (Carol) after every excursion. He uses the Suit, but he knows that he doesn’t belong to it — which adds an element of pain to his actions and motivations (and all that jazz).

His development and redemption now involves learning to see himself as a person worthy of an actual relationship and future goals, instead of simply being a military puppet with zero long-term prospects.

But he still has to give up the Suit in the end … because of the aliens… >.<

About Writing

Negative Attitudes Towards the Romance Genre

A few months ago I wondered if I should pull back on the romance label to help broaden the appeal of my writing, but recently I saw a youtube comment (on this year’s overtly capitalist re-imagining of Cinderella of all things) about how women are constantly attacked and shamed for liking romance.

I thought about my own personal experiences, how I was treated like I was too stupid to appreciate more sophisticated story lines, and how I was told repeatedly through my childhood and teenage years that I needed to settle on a career because no one was going to find me lovable. Not to mention, the frequent accusations of romance novels being nothing more than porn …

So I decided that the world needs to change. What I went through is messed up, and society needs to stop inflicting that on women and girls.

And I can’t change the world if I don’t own the fact that I write romance novels.

I love romance. I love deep emotional connections. I love happily ever afters.

This is a subject that I have researched and lived, and despite romance being considered a “stupid” genre, it takes an enormous amount of knowledge and skill to write emotionally engaging relationships that don’t fall flat.

A good romance novel is inspirational.

I’m not going to downplay the nature of the novels I write. I’ve already endured an enormous amount of criticism for being who I am, so there’s no reason to back down now.

About Me

Rambling

I sat down and read an entire book in two days.

It’s something that I haven’t done in years, but I like that I still have it in me to pull it off. I usually bounce from activity to activity, fulfilling an obligation here, stealing ten minutes there, trying to make the most of my day. I haven’t spent so much time on one activity in ages.

The funny thing is, as soon as I finished, I launched into an analysis of the author’s psychological problems. I couldn’t resist — the romance was so badly tacked on, it just screamed to be probed and dissected.

At some point, I decided to experience novels beyond what was written on the page. I try to see the authors behind the words, and can get a pretty good idea of what they’re like before I go searching for the bio. Unsurprisingly, the above author turned out to be divorced, and currently lives alone with two cats — which is probably why she failed at portraying romance effectively.

But otherwise, the story was very enjoyable. After all, I finished the book in two days.

That’s also why it can be so hard to share my writing with others, because it feels like I’m exposing huge portions of my insides to anyone who bothers to look. Guess why there’s a reoccurring theme about social outcasts? Obviously it’s because I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by a group of BFFs who love and support me. /sarcasm

As serious as I am about the craft of writing, I’m a flake about marketing. Big time flake. Heck, I worry that developing that part of my brain would hurt my artistic integrity, so it’s easy to shrug it off. My goal isn’t to become an entrepreneur.

Actually, there isn’t any real point to this post. I’m rambling.

Before 2020, I had been planning on some real-world marketing strategies to get my name out there as an author. Obviously when people started wearing gloves and hitting the hand sanitizer hard, I put those plans on the back burner. It still doesn’t feel like the time is right to engage with the real world yet, and I don’t want to fuss over stats on social media.

I don’t mind biding my time.

It’s nice to take a couple of days off for an indulgence, just because I felt like it.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com
About Writing

Readers’ experiences matter too

There’s some famous micro-story that goes something like, “Baby shoes for sale. Never used.”

As a mom, my immediate thought was that the parents forgot about getting the shoes because they were sleep-deprived, and the shoes ended up buried at the bottom of a drawer during the week the baby was the right size to fit into them — I have all sorts of baby items that were never used for that very reason. Heck, I was rather shocked when I realized that most people were so morbidly eager to mentally kill the baby based on so little. Ya sickos.

Writers cannot control what the readers imagine and assume while they read. They can appeal to the mainstream and draw on the experiences that people try to conform themselves to, but there’s always going to be someone who takes away something different.

I recently watched a movie, where some guy was wondering whether or not he was engaged to the right woman. Some other man decided to chip in, and talked about how he had been married for over 20 years, then went on to tell about how long ago he had met the most perfect woman ever and fell madly in love right there and then, but then was separated from her a couple of days later. The first guy was like, “So how did you find your wife again?” and the second guy replied, “I didn’t. That woman isn’t my wife, but I always think about her.” Cue sentimental music.

And I was like, “Wow. You are a horrible person for forcing your wife to live in the shadow of a fantasy for over twenty years, instead of appreciating her.” I definitely didn’t take away the message that I was supposed to.

I read reviews for books, and often see wildly different reactions to the same story. Where some people see virtue, others see emotional blackmail. Where some see strength and empowerment, others see discrimination and marginalization.

For me, that’s part of the magic of writing: everyone experiences the same story differently.

I think that it’s something writers should embrace.

Instead of seeking singular control over everyone.

About Me

Slacker

I’ve been such a slacker lately.

I actually do have a reason for it, which I am keeping personal for the time being. I will say that the echoes between this year and 2011 are rather eerie.

When I decide I’ve had enough of being a hermit, I plan on re-releasing The Black Magus on Smashwords. I’m also undecided about whether I should put The Scion Suit on the back burner for awhile, or push ahead with finishing it. Though come to think of it, I’ve never put a project on hold before, so that probably answers that question. Besides, writing Hartmann should be fun, with him being so cavalier.

Once that’s finished, I’m going to start the sequel for BOTH The Black Magus and Alice and the Warden. A series of cheesy and highly contrived events cause Hackett and Ainmire to cross paths, and they form an everlasting friendship based on their mutual proclivity for younger women. LMAO.

Or something like that.

I never take myself too seriously.

Anyway, I also need to finish transcribing the Miranda and the Convict letters, which I have been procrastinating on horribly. Stuff to do, and all that jazz.

Not to mention, it’s that time of year for baking apple rolls and pumpkin cookies.

About Me

Musing

The other day I was musing over how all of the creative sorts that I used to follow back in the day all dropped off the face of the planet, when it hit me: I dropped off the face of the planet, too. Talk about a blind spot, lol.

Though I didn’t have any adoring fans that I let down. There are people out there who are very good at commanding attention and getting noticed … and I am not one of them. I tend to become shy. So. Very. Shy.

Anyway, my absence from the planet is why I sit here saying, “I’m super passionate about writing,” with so few titles attached to my name.

Those lost years were essential. They added depth to my ideas that I wouldn’t have developed otherwise, and broke me out of the standard tropes. They gave me life experience.

They also left me too scattered for awhile afterwards to finish anything. I had no focus or consistency.

And I don’t like talking about it, so don’t ask.

Thankfully, in this part of my life, I’m a lot more solidly grounded, so I’m much better at writing nearly every day (I say after I took a full month off just because). That’s the part that really matters to me, but dang do I wish I was working faster sometimes.

Like, it would be so sweet if I was finishing TWO novels every year, instead of just one.

Because sometimes I feel like I have too many stories inside of me, waiting for their turn.