Thursday, April 24, 2014

10 Most Brilliant Lines From "Slaughterhouse Five"

Kurt Vonnegut has a wonderfully sparse and minimalist style. With a handful of words, he can conjure up imagery most authors require hundreds to create. He also has a dry and macabre sense of humor, based on saying the most horrifying or incredible things with simple words. Here are some of my favorite lines from his signature novel, Slaughterhouse Five.

10. When we saw a river, we had to stop so they could stand by it and think about it for a while.

9. Mary admired the two little girls I'd brought, mixed them in with her own children, sent them all upstairs to play games and watch television.

8. That table top was screaming with reflected light from a two-hundred-watt bulb overhead.

7. Billy turned on the Magic Fingers, and he was jiggled as he wept.

6. Through the valley flowed a Mississippi of humiliated Americans.

5. The hallway was zebra-striped with darkness and moonlight.

4. She upset Billy simply by being his mother. She made him feel embarrassed and ungrateful and weak because she had gone to so much trouble to give him life, and to keep that life going, and Billy didn't really like life at all.

3. The girls screamed. They covered themselves with their hands and turned their backs and so on, and made themselves utterly beautiful.

2. She was a dull person, but a sensational invitation to make babies. Men looked at her and wanted to fill her up with babies right away.

And my favorite line requires a little explanation. As a reporter, the author is sent to tell a woman her husband was just crushed to death by an elevator. The whole exchange between them is: 

1. She said about what you would expect her to say.

Have you read the novel? What other lines stuck in your head?

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "Freeze"

Every week, I write a hundred-word story inspired by a random word. Today's word is "badge." 

Freeze 
By Nigel G. Mitchell

"Freeze," John Taylor yelled while holding up his badge. "Federal agent!"

The man took off running down the alley.

Taylor slammed his badge into a slot on his chest. The badge activated his cybernetics, causing his muscles to swell and his reaction time to increase. He ran, easily overtaking the man in a fraction of second.

The man tried to shoot him, but Taylor whipped to the side to dodge the bullets, and crushed the 9mm in his fist. With his other hand, Taylor lifted the man by the collar into the air.

Taylor grinned. "You really should have frozen."

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Missing Comments

Just a little blog business.

Good news: after numerous complaints about the Google+ commenting system, I've decided to switch to the universally popular Disqus system. It took weeks of tinkering, but I finally got it working.

Bad news: apparently, the reason Disqus wasn't working is the G+ comments overrode it. The only way to fix it was to remove G+, along with all the comments associated with it. So all the comments on the blog have been deleted. I didn't delete them on purpose, but there was no other way.

You should be able to comment now. Let me know if you have any other problems.

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100-Word Sci-Fi: "Twist of Fate"

Every week, I write a hundred-word story inspired by a random word. This week's word is "knitting." 
Source: Wikipedia
Twist of Fate 
by Nigel G. Mitchell

Timothy Landon approached the old ladies knitting by the window. "You know why I'm here."

One with a pair of scissors nodded. "You know we are the Fates."

Timothy surveyed the three women. "You've got the yarn, so you're Clotho. You're doing the knitting, so you're Lachesis. And you've got scissors, you're Atropos."

"We prefer Cloris, Laura, and Agatha these days."

"What are you doing here in a retirement home?"

"We've retired. All us gods did. But we're still spinning the thread of life. And yours has just run out."

She cut the yarn and watched Timothy fall down, dead.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

10 Funniest George R. R. Martin Jokes

With the new season of Game of Thrones airing on HBO, it's also a new round of gags on the Internet about the show and the books. One thing George R. R. Martin's fans have discovered is that he kills off his characters with disturbing regularity. Here's 10 of the funniest jokes about him online.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Short Story "Man Overboard" is Now Free on Smashwords

So far, I've been exclusively on Amazon's Kindle store, and haven't done too many free promotions. But I've been hearing a lot about authors leaving Amazon, and offering their books for free permanently. So I've decided to dip my toe in the waters with my short story, Man Overboard. Here's the summary:

The two words no quanta fisherman wants to hear: "man overboard." A crew member aboard an interdimensional fishing boat is lost in space, and the captain will do anything to rescue him. But it's not just any crew member - it's the captain's son. 

You can download it for free at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/425900

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Friday, April 4, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "Leviathan"

Every week, I write a hundred-word story inspired by a random word. Today's word is "octopus."

Leviathan
By Nigel G. Mitchell

James Woolbright ran through the ship, pulling Ariana Reed by the hand. "The serum mutated the octopus. It grew bigger."

Ariana gasped, "How much bigger?"

An airlock exploded, propelled by a tentacle as big as a firehose. An octopus the size of a car slithered into the corridor.

One tentacle wrapped around Ariana's ankle, and lifted her screaming into the air.

James swung his fire ax to hack off the octopus' tentacle. It squealed as Ariana fell into James' arms. He rushed her through the nearest airlock into a storage room.

He kicked it shut as Ariana gasped, "Now what?"

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

4 Brilliant But Insecure Writers Published After Death #IWSG

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Excerpts From the TOONS Apex Catalog

The third book in my TOONS series, Friendly Forest, is now available for download. To celebrate, I present these pages from the never-before-seen Apex Corporation catalog.

In my series, TOONS, the Apex Corporation has furnished active Looneyville citizens with the the latest gadgets and accessories to wreak havoc or enhance their lives. Here's are some sample listings from the 2014 Apex catalog...

Item #8463 - Apex Feather Suit

How many times has this happened to you: you set up a bomb to blow up your worst enemy when suddenly it goes off by "accident." Now you've been reduced to nothing but a smoldering cinder, which wouldn't be so bad, except you've burned off all your feathers! And we know how long those take to grow back.

Well, now you don't have to wait for them to grow back! Just order an Apex Feather Suit. It's available in a wide variety of colors and styles to match your specific plumage. Just pull it on, zip it up, and you're ready for a night on the town. And for the active bird, they're also available in six-packs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cover Upgrade: "Flying Saucers," "Operation: Masquerade"

One thing I've learned in my self-publishing journey is I'm not a good cover artist. For budget reasons, I've been working with some cover artists on Fiverr, but haven't been 100% happy with the results...you get what you pay for. Well, I was finally able to connect with some really great cover artists at Goon Write and Author Marketing Club to improve the covers of two of my books. I think they're a big improvement. Check 'em out!

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