30 March 2012

Time Snatchers

by Richard Ungar

When I first heard about TIME SNATCHERS I wasn't sure what to expect. but the blurb talks about time traveling thieves. That has a lot of leeway and I imagined people going through time and the problem they need to solve is something they created by screwing up the time line. I was also expecting cool technology. I am a sucker for cool technology.

This story does have cool technology including fingernail clocks, ocular implants for night vision, and of course time machines. The story is actually about a bunch of kids whose job is to steal important artifacts from time and replace them with replicas. Though I really enjoyed the idea of stealing things from history, I read the book because of the characters. The main character is a boy named Caleb. He is 13 and one of the best time snatchers working for a man named Uncle. Uncle has a crew of five orphans who run through time stealing whatever is asked. Some of the items include flags, the first Frisbee, and even an important umbrella. No task too small or too large. Those who try to get out are subject to mind wipes and/or banishment to The Barrens. Most end up dead. Caleb is put to the test when he learns of what Frank, his competition, is stealing for Uncle.

This book is intended for middle grade, the characters are 13-years-old. I was expecting a happy, fluffy book which this is not. I'm not saying that this book isn't appropriate it just has some parts that were a little more intense than I was expecting. But it was all done in such a tasteful manner. This book is a good introduction to science fiction and I highly recommend it to anyone of any age.

28 March 2012

Life is Good

Last week I had a really short post. That is because on Tuesday, when I started my new job, I was suppose to present to forms of identification. I thought I knew where they were. I was wrong. I convinced my husband to drive back up to Logan, roughly 2 hours one way, to look for it. We couldn't find it. When we got back to our house that night, around 11, I ordered a new birth certificate. I was terrified. I was convinced that if I couldn't produce my identification then I would be fired. When I talked to the HR lady at work she laughed. Apparently she had also recently misplaced her birth certificate and had to order another one. My birth certificate came in on Friday and I am now official.

Not only do I like my new job (that pays more than my last one) but we have had some other good news recently. Our house is now under contract. When we moved down from Logan last year we put our house on the market. It has been on the market for almost 10 months now. We have been a little frustrated at paying both a mortgage payment and a rent payment. (This was why I was so panicked about being unemployed.) We have our fingers crossed that it will go through. Life is good.

26 March 2012

Writing Dialects

There is a lot of different advice out there on writing dialects. Some people say they are fine, others say not to use them because they are too much of a distraction to the story. I think if they are done well then they really can add a flair to the story. I think that Brian Jacques, author of the REDWALL series, is a good example of this. Anyone who has read his stories understands that each species has a different dialect. While I love the different dialects I think it is a good thing that the characters with the strongest accent, the moles, aren't used by characters that are in every conversation. Another good example of strong dialects are the UNCLE REMUS stories which is similar to the accent Jim has in THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. When you read them you know how to picture the speaker but at the same time some of the nuances of the conversation may be lost and some readers may not appreciate the extra effort that is needed to understand what is being said. You just have to know who your audience is and what they want and are willing to read.

I am not one who tries to write the dialect using apostrophes and phonetic spelling to distinguish dialects. I try and play with word order and word choice to show the differences between characters. For example if I use the word mate people imagine a different type of person than if I use buddy. When it comes to word choice the best example is Yoda. Everyone knows when you read something like "Judge me by my size, do you?" you don't picture the same person who says "Are you judging me by my size?" or maybe something like "Your little brain dwells too much on my physical appearance." If you don't feel comfortable doing a complex dialect you should look into word choice and order because it is the little details that make the character. Just make sure that you are consistent.

25 March 2012

*Night of Thunder

Intro: I wrote this for my friend's blog. This is the sequel to my story from last week. I actually wrote this one first. Next week I plan on having one more story in this world.

Georgia traced her finger along the glass following the path of a raindrop. The lightening illuminated her small room. The computer console blinked red in the aftermath of the flash. She watched the reflection of the blinking light in the window. The shadow below her window scuttled closer but stopped moving with the next streak of light across the sky.

Shadowalkers weren't uncommon in her life, which explained the force field across the window. When it rained they drops gave it away but all it would take is a few explosives to destroy the generator. She turned away from the window. As she walked out the room she pressed the alarm.

"Madam President, what's wrong?" Her head of security ran down the hall, his hand resting on his gun.

"There was a guest under my window. I thought I would give it a scare."

Joseph motioned for the soldiers behind him to enter the room she'd vacated. "I wish you would let us know earlier. Until we catch one of these guys we won't know who sent them."

"You already know plenty of people who want to kill me. That's what happens when you are a dictator."

"These people should treat you as a goddess. You saved us all from destroying ourselves."

"At what cost? Did you really want to become a security officer. I understand that at one point you showed quite the talent for diplomacy and legal practice."

"Who am I to complain at my success? Unless you have some new arguments for me, might I suggest we drop this topic."

Georgia sighed. After twenty years and seven chief of security officers, she wanted to contradict him. Unlike everyone else who surrounded her, Joseph only refrained from contradicting her in public. But, that was more than anyone else. She had groomed him and he didn't even know it.

"Madam President, we need you at the press conference," this was from her PR expert.

The sound of thunder rolled down the hall. She ran a hand along her skirt, feeling the trigger in her pocket, and nodded.

"We can always cancel this and wait for a better time," Joseph said.

"We do this now."

"Of course, Madam President." Joseph's voice came out as a whisper and he fell in step behind her as they walked down the hall. At the checkpoint Georgia waited while Joseph checked his gun. She picked it up and inspected it while he talked with the checkpoint attendant. She slipped the cartridge case out and slipped the new one from her pocket in before handing it back to him on the other side of the metal detector. He holstered the gun and they continued towards the auditorium.

The crowd roared as she walked in. She made her way to the podium and the glass around the top of the room flashed with another lightening strike. For a moment it looked like a shadow stood at the glass and looked down on them.

"Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the twentieth anniversary of peace," Georgia said with a small smile. "The future has never looked brighter." More lightening, louder thunder. The floor seemed to shake, though no one thought it odd that there were two claps of thunder. She kept her hand in her pocket as she continued.

"As you can see I am getting on in years." This was another topic people didn't talk about. When she started her campaign she had been almost fifty. Her gray hair proclaimed her age but everyone ignored it. "I want you to know that I intend to stick around for a long time."

This time, when the thunder struck, the force field fizzled out and glass windows shattered. The crowd screamed as dark figures streamed into the audience hall. Joseph moved in front of her, his gun at the ready. He fired three times in rapid succession and the bullets took two of the Shadowalkers in the head, a third in the shoulder. All noise stopped as the bodies tumbled down. Rubber bullets didn't kill especially at that distance. Joseph dropped the gun and stared at the bodies. The Shadowalkers remained frozen in place. Georgia moved forward and picked it up.

"A death for a death." She leveled the gun at him. "Now what are you going to do?"

"It was an accident. I didn't mean to kill them. I was just doing my job." He was young enough to be her grandson and the terror on his face was replaced with anger. "You. You set this up." His voice hissed out. "Just like all of the others before me. Each one was killed according to the law, but you set them up to fall."

"And what are you going to do about it?"

Joseph scrambled for the gun and wrenched it out of her hand. She closed her eyes, not quite keeping the smile from her face, but he didn't fire.

"Call security!" someone yelled.

Georgia opened her eyes and watched as Joseph ran towards a door. People moved out of his way since he still clutched the deadly weapon. The security team was still in her room, checking on her alarm from earlier. If Joseph hurried he could be out of the compound and hiding in the city with the rebellion before the soldiers even arrived. She accepted the helping hand of the PR executive and walked from the room. If all went according to plan, her government would fall in ten years. If she was lucky, she would live long enough to see her wrong righted.

23 March 2012

Seeds of Rebellion (Beyonders #2)

by Brandon Mull

I was so excited for this book and it did not disappoint me in the least, but now I have to wait for the next one. One of the things that I love about Brandon Mull is the fact that his characters develop as the story progresses. I liked Jason and Rachel in the last book but in this one we really see who they are. Sometimes it is when the character's don't have as much of a choice in what they do that you see their true character.

The story starts with Jason back at home. He is worried about Rachel who is still in Lyrian and he has to get word to Galloran about the Word. I love the fact that Jason makes the choice to go back especially since he doesn't know if the hippo will work again or just kill him. When he is back he gets right back into the swing of things. He meets back up with some old friends and makes some new ones. Their goals revolves around ousting Maldor from his seat of power though there are few people who are willing to stand up to the wizard.

I mentioned that I like this story because of the characters. The plot line is what you often find in fantasy books where an all powerful overlord needs to be overthrown. But, it is the races (half-giant, seedmen, and displacers) that really make this story unique. I love the fact that it isn't only the teenagers that are important. There are adults that are competent and useful. I can't wait for the next one, and not just because of how this one ends.

21 March 2012

Guest Blogging

Tuesday was hectic and I ran out of time. Sorry there isn't a post today. My friend Josh posted one of my short stories on his website today. You should go check it out.

The Blog That Helps You Diagnose Your Characters

19 March 2012

Adults in Young Adult Stories

I read a lot of young adult books, if you look at my books in Goodreads you'll see how many I read. I have always enjoyed young adult books but for me there is one big turn off. Granted I don't know how big of an issue this is with teenage readers but it is something to keep in mind when writing for young adults. Don't alienate the adults too much because there are a lot of adults out there who read YA and there are a lot of adults who purchase books for teens.

Why is it that in YA books many times the adult characters do nothing but hinder the protagonist? The adults are too stupid, don't want to believe, too controlling, the antagonists, or even non-existent. For example, in A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS the adults that are helpful end up dead (though there aren't many) and all the rest are conniving or spineless. I'm not saying that the adults have to be the heroes, but they should at least be more than 2D characters. An example of a series that has intelligent adults is 13TH REALITY, by James Dashner. Teenage protagonists are a good thing but don't make them seem more intelligent by stupifying the adults around them.

18 March 2012

*Day of Fire

Sorry about the late posting. It was saved as a draft and so didn't post when I scheduled it.

Intro: I wrote this story while thinking about various dystopic novels I've read. I actually wrote another flash story, Night of Thunder, for my friend's blog. This can be considered a prequel to the story that will be posted on Wednesday at Josh Hoyt's blog. You will find he writes really good posts about applying psychology studies when creating fictional characters.

Georgia smelled the sulfur from the gunpowder as she drove into the city. There were a few survivors holed up in the rubble. She saw dirt stained faces looking out as she passed. They wouldn't know who she was and instead were looking at the soldiers filling the streets behind her truck. The black and gray uniforms stood out stark against the brown stone. This was probably the first time anyone had seen the soldiers in the light. Her troops were called Shadowalkers, taken from a children's story about assassins who walked the night.

A young man ran into the street, gun raised. He fell dead a second later. One of her personal guards ran forward and dragged the body to the side. Most of the time the body would be left, but since it was in the path of her truck the man risked his life if there were a bomb. She kept her face forward so she wouldn't have to look at the hunger in the eyes. Food. Life. Hope. These people starved.

Thousands of people milled around the town square. They fell silent as the truck rolled in. More hungry people. They almost salivated at the sight of men marching in straight lines. Though there were only a couple of hundred men in the city, thousands more surrounded the city and that was less than a tenth of her army.

Guards flanked her as she climbed the broken staircase to a wooden platform.

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the dawn of a new day." She made sure to meet the gazes in the crowd as she spoke. "None of us living have experienced anything but a war torn life. I am here to bring peace."

Silence. Exactly what she expected when she spoke of fantasies.

"My name is Georgia Price. I am the price of peace. I am the one who can bring your fantasies to life. These troops are only the beginning. Everyone will have a job. Everyone will have a future. Everyone will be satisfied. Join with me in creating a new world."

"And how do you expect to do that?" a woman yelled from the crowd. "In case you haven't noticed, there is nowhere left to live."

Georgia smiled a little. She held up a lighter. "We are phoenix. We rise from our ashes. Come with us to the new city we've built. There you will be provided with homes, food, clothing, and education." She waved for her first in command to get things organized. This was the last major city on tour. Already there were close to three million people living in their town, living by the martial law. For now it was enough to promise food and shelter to keep people in line. When that was no longer enough the soldiers would be the incentive. Her government wasn't perfect, but it was the start of something greater.

As the last of the refugees streamed out of the city, Georgia opened the lighter and flung it at the fuel casks. The fire warmed her flesh even as her mind calculated her next move. Now the real training would begin. Three hundred years of war did not end easily.

The three month trek back to the compound gave her the time she needed to bestow her benevolence on the new group of people. When she walked by they recognized her face. They clamored to touch her and shared their food with her. She said blessings over them and practiced fair judgment. Back in the city the others she'd already gathered welcomed her back with a celebration.

She left the celebration early and under the cover of darkness. The people were too drunk to realize she was gone.

"Madam President." Her chief of security, Kyle, stood at attention. "We have the road blocks in place. The last casks have been distributed as you ordered, and we have the testing centers set up."

"And the Shadowalkers?"

"We have moved the weaker soldiers to other government positions and they will be part of the testing."

"Have the uniforms recycled. The soldiers are no longer to be called Shadowalkers. They are to be called Security Officers. Remind people gently but if it persists for more than a few months you can use force. At the beginning of the year we will be instigating prohibition."

"The people may revolt."

"Then you stop them. It's not like they can leave the compound. All you have to do is remind them what war costs." Georgia shuffled a few papers on her desk. "Besides, they don't have anywhere else to go."

"Of course." Kyle bowed and left.

Georgia looked out the window and sighed. If the people wanted government, she was going to give it to them. She was going to shove it down their throats.

16 March 2012

The Name of the Wind

by Patrick Rothfuss

I'd heard about this book for quite some time before I actually checked it out from the library and I am almost sorry that it took me so long to read it. I wish I would have read this book when it came out but now I don't have to wait for the sequel, so I'm not complaining too loudly. This is one of the books that I will purchase so I can reread it as many times as I want.

This is a fantasy story that takes the best elements from all of the best stories and makes them fresh. The story follows Kvothe who is first introduced as a bartender going by the name of Kote. There is something exciting about him and his mysteriousness but you can tell something is just a little off as well. When a collector of stories shows up asking after the legendary Kvothe the tavern owner decides to tell him what he wants to know. Kvothe's story is filled with adventure. He goes from living with a traveling troupe, to scavenging on the streets, to being the top student at the University. His character is loveable and relateable and you can't help but cheer with his successes and laugh at his antics. There are times that I didn't agree with what he was doing but since the story is told from the perspective of his adult self it was pleasing to see that the character knew what remorse was and understood consequences.

Even halfway into the novel I knew that this was going to be one of my new favorite novels. It read quickly yet there are some deep thoughts throughout. The characters are human with desires but I was pleased at the clean behaviors and language. I highly recommend this book to anyone who love fantasy and wants a fresh take. The size of it may dissuade people but all seven hundred pages kept me entertained and though it didn't have a lot of action sequences the story was gripping and I wanted to know what was going to happen.

14 March 2012

Happy Pi Day

This weekend Moose and I went to Logan. While he fixed his brother's car, I went to get my hair cut. When they took me back to the chair I decided to have it highlighted. I've never had my hair highlighted before and I thought it would be a fun change. I am fairly easy going about my hair. It grows back even if it is cut and dyed. When the hair dresser asked what color for the highlights I told her I didn't really care and what would she suggest. She hemmed and hawed for a bit but eventually suggested that I go with blond highlights. As she added the tinfoil we talked about a variety of things, but most especially what I had done with my hair. I kept telling her that she was the expert and that it didn't matter what she did, I could always grow it out if I didn't like the style. I went on to explain that I had dyed my hair blue at one point so anything else would seem tame. She laughed and I could tell she was relaxing.

She tensed up again when it came to washing the color out and for me to see how it looked. When I sat down at the mirror I was surprised. I liked it but it wasn't anything like I had done before. The blond is very blond and it steaks my hair in stripes, because they are highlights. She cut my hair and the longer I looked the more it grew on me. I would chuckle and she would pause in mid cut and ask if everything was all right. Come to find out the woman before me had wanted her hair bleached, but her style of hair didn't lend to bleaching very well. The woman had argued with the hair dresser and practically stormed out. Then I came in, sat down, and told her she could do what she wanted. I can see why she was so nervous. I felt bad for her and it bothered me that the woman couldn't be more courteous. I just hope that the hair dresser realizes she is good at her job.

12 March 2012

Writing a Good Short Story

Here are some tips I picked up at a conference I attended. I don't follow all of these tips but they are good to keep in mind. The first few things (which I often break) is that the story should stand on its own. It is about a person with a problem who takes an action to solve the problem. It should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Now this may seem pretty obvious but especially when it comes to flash fiction this can be easy to forget.

For these particular stories this is just a basic outline which can be adjusted as you want. During the beginning the character realizes there is a problem and takes ownership of the problem. The middle is where the character attempts to solve the problem but in the course of trying they realize it is bigger than first anticipated. Every attempt that fails is part of the middle of the story. The end is when there is a solution to the problem or there can be no more attempts for any reason.

Short stories don't always have to revolve around characters but they can be about setting or an idea. Wherever you decide the focus is that is where you start your story. This is where the in late out early comes in handy. With a novel you have to know what to put in. With a short story you have to know what to leave out. Stories need to have a setting and when it is a short story that should come fairly early so as not to lose the audience. The last thing to remember is that you don't just have one hook in the novel it should happen throughout to keep the readers interested. Use emotion to keep up the level of tension.

11 March 2012


Intro: I hate it when I am tired and am trying to decide whether to take a nap or just push through it. This story is about that time when you are in the haze right as you are falling asleep.

Maya's eyes flitted closed and she forced her them open. The other slaves were shifting in their beds, no doubt trying to stay awake as well. When she was first brought to the room she couldn't believe that anyone could sleep with a metal collar around their necks or their hands chained together. She learned that working in the field all day gave plenty of reason to sleep. Some of the other slaves were convinced that their captives drugged the water. She wasn't surprised but the labor in the field gave everyone a reason to drink it, drugged or not.

"Are you still awake?" The Master ran a hand across her cheek. His hand was the only one who touched her that was smooth. He brushed some of her pale hair away from her forehead. "Sleep, little one."

She nodded and let her eyes drift close. The collar around her neck pulsed with every heartbeat. It took slaves weeks to get use to the device. Maya had been different, the first night she wore it had been a success. The Master treated her well because of it. He never struck her and occasionally she got an extra piece of bread with dinner. That put her on the bad side with some of the other slaves but most ignored her. They all had their fair share of receiving tender mercies from the Master.

The pulsing sensation made her feel warm, it was the only time she felt warm. Even as she sank into the embrace the power surged through her. The time before dreams was when the mind was the strongest. The collars enabled communication between minds. Those awake wearing the collars were limited by telekinetic. Those asleep with the collars were more. It was as if their spirits floated free for a moment.

"Maya, are you ready?" The voice was the Mistress. She never met with the slaves in person, instead she only talked with them before the dreams. No one was on the good side of the Mistress. Not only did the collars enable people to enter the dream state, but it allowed the Mistress to have control. When she took control your body suffered for it. "You will be working on the heist this evening."

The images of a large city flashed through her mind and just by thinking Maya found herself there. Her small village was on the other side of the world from America, but it seemed as if she'd lived here her whole life. Every night for years she had come to one of these cities. Tonight was in the area called California. This was her favorite place. So many people of different colors. She focused on the building below her and it drifted closer. A dark shadow caught her attention and she watched several figures detach themselves and run across the roof.

"Get them to the vault. One of them wears a collar."

The Mistress's presence disappeared from her mind. She shivered in relief. The Mistress was just harsh. Minds were delicate and the Mistress didn't do delicate. Too long and everyone came away with a headache. Maya turned her attention back to the roof. The figures hovered around the door. She opened it for them.

"Thank you." The voice was a middle-aged man. He was the one that Maya worked with most often. She didn't know his name but he was the best at what he did, acquiring items that belonged to others. Even though the slaves considered him old, Maya liked him. People over the age of seventeen did not use the collars when dreaming.

She followed after the group opening the doors when directed. When the man could open the door himself, he did. She liked to watch over his shoulder as he fiddled with the lock. She could never do something like that. Her hands were clumsy. There were nights she had a hard time holding a spoon.

"The vault is coming up. I need your help to open it. If you could disable the alarm I will take care of the rest."

"It will be done," she replied.

She flitted ahead and found the alarm system. The inner workings were a mass of wires and computer chips. Years of training taught her that cutting all of the wires often set off the alarm. Careful study showed her the combination of microchips to fry and rearrange.

"It is done."

She watched the man and his team set up their tools to cut into the vault. A headache built behind her eyes but she tried to ignore it. She was suppose to stay until the job was done because she could take care of any guards more easily than the flesh and blood could.

"You're drifting. Is everything alright?"

"Be safe. Get out. I can't hold it—"

Maya screamed as the pressure built. She was sure her eyes, ears, and nose were bleeding. In an instant she was back at the hovel staring down at her body. It didn't look like anything was wrong.

"Pull harder." The Mistress's voice sounded like the shrill farm bell.

The pain redoubled.

"I want her, now."

As the pain overwhelmed her senses the last thought Maya had was maybe they would let her have one night of dreams before. Her vision blacked out for a moment and when everything came into focus the pulsation around her neck was gone.

The Mistress called, it felt like a fly buzzing. Maya smiled. She stretched. And she let herself slip into the land of dreams. For the first night since she'd been enslaved, Maya slept.

09 March 2012


by Brandon Sanderson

WARBREAKER was the first Brandon Sanderson novel I read. He had it available on his website and I found myself reading it on my lunch break instead of the book that I brought with me. If you want to see if you would like Sanderson's novels this might be a good place to start with because it is a stand alone novel that gives a good example of the variety of characters as well as the unique magic system.

WARBREAKER starts out in a prison with a man named Vasher. Though it might not make sense what he is doing you get an idea that the magic is cool. Everyone is born with a Breath. That Breath can be given away, not taken, but you can live without your Breath. Breath is use to animate objects. The more you have the more you can do. The two main characters are two princesses, Siri and Vivenna. Siri, the youngest daughter takes Vivenna's place to marry the heathen God King to bring peace to the two nations. Vivenna, not sure what to do with herself, decides to go rescue her sister. In addition to the God King, there are plenty of other gods running around the city. Gods are beings who have died and then come back. They need a Breath every week to survive so their follows sacrifice their Breaths for compensation.

One of the reasons why I like WARBREAKER is because of the variety in characters. I can also say one of my all time favorite characters comes from this book. His name is Lightsong and what he brings to the story is a lighthearted look at serious topics. The idea that a god is questioning his divinity is something that I haven't come across very often.

07 March 2012

Daily Dates

I have decided that there are some advantages to working from home. It helps that I know I will start a new job in a few weeks. The best part of working from home is the fact that I can have lunch with Moose. I was always jealous of my co-workers and siblings when they were dating. Most of them were able to spend a lot of time with their significant others. When Moose and I were dating between his work and school schedule and my work and school schedule we pretty much just saw each other on Sundays. These last two weeks have been so much fun to visit him every day at work. It isn't much. We eat whatever I bring and watch an episode of a cooking show on his laptop. I am pleased to have a job again but I will miss these cute little daily dates.

05 March 2012

Geography in Fiction

These come from two different conferences I attended. It always amazes me that I can attend two panels about the same topic, geography, and come away with completely different notes.

Geography is important but the story should be about the characters and not the world. Don't feel like you have to build the entire world, just build the portion that you need. When it comes to maps, only draw the map to tell the story. If you have to have the map in order to understand the story then you've failed.

Don't feel like you are limited to what we have on our planet. Instead of having a frozen north try having a frozen east. So long as you explain why something happens, like water running uphill due to a magical accident several years earlier. You can use geography to determine pints of conflict. In a feudal society people will fight over water rights, fertile land, and trade routes. This is also where you can have here there be dragons. It is motivation for exploration. Geography is not just about the unknown but the unknowable.

Once you have your geography figured out, then there are a few other things to take into consideration. Make sure that the characters where the correct clothing. When traveling make sure you know how much food and water is needed for traveling. In addition to that, make sure you know how far people can reasonably travel with their methods of transportation. You can't have a horse travel as far as a car. Transportation evolves and it isn't always the most effective or efficient. And lastly, communication between cities is just as important as traveling.

04 March 2012

*An Apple A Day

Intro: I just read a story about a time machine. I wrote this story while thinking about that one.

The time lapse made Benjamin vomit, just like it did every time. Going to the future was worse, it made his body feel heavy, the weight of the years pressing down on him. The past was opposite, but still uncomfortable. It felt like he wasn't truly attached to the planet anymore. The worst was the constant headaches from being lightheaded.

He rinsed his mouth with the water bottle he always carried. The headache was especially strong this time but he wasn't surprised. Two thousand years tended to be rough on anybody. He looked around at his surroundings taking in the trees and the sounds of the birds. The air smelled of grass. It was worth the headache.

Spending time outside of the predestined time stream wasn't recommend by any physician. There hadn't been any known repercussions on history by people time traveling, but it was the mental distress. People worried and nothing made people worry more than the idea that something they did in the past would erase themselves in the future. Some people argued that if changes were made, when people went back to their own time they wouldn't know if they had changed anything unless it related to them directly. The law prohibited anyone going back less than 100 years into their past trying to reduce the possibility of that happening.

Benjamin moved through the trees, focusing on his mission. He worked for the government and this mission was of the utmost importance. Three other people had already tried but each time they were unsuccessful. He wasn't the normal type of agent. Instead of focusing on the criminology aspect, time travelers often wanted to take mementos from the past, he was on the cultural side of things. He spent a day with Michelangelo and King Solomon. Now he was on another mission. The breeze picked up and he sneezed. Never before had he been plagued by hay fever before. It was an enlightening experience. No wonder people wrote odes to the tortuous effects. But, that meant he was exactly where he was suppose to be.

Though he had more experience in this than the other time agents, he wasn't the perfect person for the job either. He stared at the apple buds intermixed with the blossoms. The anthro-agriculturist had explained the whole process. But he had explained the whole process to every other agent before him. Every time the agent came back it was a failure. His tweezers hovered between the various buds. If he screwed this up they wouldn't try any more.

He stuffed the tweezers back into his pocket. The knife at his back was another tool he always carried. The serrated blade cut threw the whole branch in roughly a minute. He sheathed the knife and activated the return feature on his device.

He handed the branch off as soon as he arrived and just made it to the garbage. This was his third and last mission of the day. He walked out of the office and stared at the buildings. It was a sad day when the government had to make the choice between living space and trees. Now that the colony on the moon alleviated some of the pressure the government was bringing farms back. That, and maybe with fresh food the birth rate would be positive again. If the scientists couldn't figure out how to grow apples from an entire branch, then the humans didn't deserve to have them.

02 March 2012

Dear Frankie

with Emily Mortimer & Gerard Butler

I decided to shake things up a little and review one of my favorite movies, DEAR FRANKIE. I was introduced to this movie back in college. I saw a preview for it and I must admit what really drew my attention to it was the fact that it takes place in Scotland. Like a lot of people, I am a sucker for accents. At the same time the accents were fairly strong and it can take a minute or two to understand what the actors are saying. I also just want to add that there is some profanity.

This movie is about a single mother and her son. The son, Frankie, writes letter to his father who is a sailor. He has no memory of his father beyond the letters. Come to find out the mother, Lizzie, is the one who is writing the letters pretending to be Frankie's father. Then the ship docks and Frankie expects to see his father. Lizzie then decides she will find a man to pretend to be her husband and then once the ship leaves that will be the end of it.

This isn't the most original story to ever exist. In fact you may think you know exactly how it is going to end. But in all actuality I like this movie because it doesn't go how I expect it to. I have recommended this movie to more people and all of them have liked it. One of my movie buff friends actually said that it amazed him that this movie had more silence then most movies he'd seen. DEAR FRANKIE is a feel good movie that is just as good the second time.