#45 The Seduction of Lady Phoebe by Ella Quinn
Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a 30-something writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.
I finished There Was No Second Date on Friday, weighing in at 52,208 words. On the NaNoWriMo validator, it shows up as a lot less, but I blame the email headers in the Interludes.
Anyway, here is a lively excerpt from the book, for your enjoyment.
The Wild Side docked at a nearby space station and, almost immediately upon arrival, as soon as the cargo door had shut, explosions on the other side of the docking bay rocked the station and our ship!
Boost, Axel, and Ashleigh were still on board. Ashleigh was unconscious, and Boost and Axel were waiting for us to handle a cargo manifest issue before going off-ship to complete Boost’s side delivery job.
A mob of New Ireland supporters flooded the docking bay, while two of the “coppers” from the United Earth Government tried in vain to protect us. One of the guards went down to the mob’s fists and boots, and the other fled.
Grace dove into a pile of boxes, quickly tunneling upwards until she was well-shielded in a fortress of cargo boxes… with turrets.
Dr. Jules grabbed the downed guard and hauled him into the relative safety of the ship… via the only currently open entrance, the garbage chute.
Meanwhile, the New Ireland bomber, his body covered in multiple incendiaries, threw an explosive at the ship.
“That’s my ship!” roared Captain Judson as she pulled out her gun, seemed to take careful aim, then shrugged and fired wildly. The bullets struck the bomber’s ammo, igniting and exploding some, removing him and a few of the mobbers from this Earthly plane.
Unfortunately, the backlash from the remaining incendiaries caught everything in the docking bay in its shockwave, including the captain, who at the time did have the benefit of several human shields. They were quickly incinerated, and the captain found herself on fire.
Suddenly, red lights and a klaxon went off, warning of the fire danger and the imminent opening of the docking bay doors to suppress the flames.
Well, at least I won’t be on fire for much longer, Lou thought as she rolled around, trying to put the flames out. Dimly, she sensed a troop of mobbers running into her ship, the fog of the knockout gas filling the cargo bay, and Grace flitting past her to hop into the ship. Good girl, she thought, glad that Grace would survive this nightmare.
Flames out, Judson felt a surge of adrenaline and hopped up, seeing with a clarity what must be done. The men must be expelled from her ship. She ran into the cloud of gas, grabbed one of the loading bars, and held it at the ready. As some of the mob moved up to attack her, she fended them off with the bar.
Startled and yelping in pain, she felt slim arms grab her from behind and a strap wrap around her waist, two, then three times. The klaxon blared one final time, then the docking bay doors opened. The gas in the cargo bay flooded out, leaving several startled men who were rapidly decompressing. Judson exhaled, slowly, aware that this rapid decompression was going to kill her in just a few moments. She held tight to her savior– Grace!– and watched the men fly out into the darkness of space, a few frantically grabbing at untethered debris. One was impaled by the loading bar. Another took a stiletto to the eye before the silent blackness of beyond turned him into a tiny, floating speck of nothing, disappearing into the void.
The Wild Side continued its adventures last week, with the appearance of Grace and Axel. Grace is a conflict-averse engineer who was sold to our pilot from her position as a slave on one of the cartel ships. Axel came unwillingly when Captain Judson won his grandfather’s watch in a bet, and Axel came along to earn it back.
There was a scuffle when the galactics decided to board the Wild Side with trumped-up charges against Boost. Something about a photograph on the net implying he’d kidnapped and manhandled Ashleigh. Doctor Juels got it sorted out for us with a quick call to Ashleigh’s father, and we reminded the galactics that, without a warrant, we weren’t going to show them anything in the cargo hold, thanks.
We ran into some trouble further out-system when we encountered a barricade before reaching SS-0. Apparently, the Catholic consortium has formed a labor strike against the new slingshot station, and we’re unable to get through. We docked at a nearby space station for refueling and so Boost could complete a transaction.
My mom likes to tell this story as an example of what it was like to parent me. We had this tradition where my parents would buy a bunch of toys, wrap them up, and give them to us every couple of hours during road trips, so we wouldn’t be utterly bored out of our skulls.
It worked, kept us from fighting, and was probably $10 worth of toys. Any parent will tell you that $10 is worth to cost for 2 days in a car with two girls with minimal fighting.
One year, we were preparing for a road trip to take me to camp, I think. Mom had all the toys bought and ready to go, and she said something like “I have something for you for the car tomorrow!” In that cute, half-teasing way that builds anticipation.
My eyes lit up. “Is it books?”
According to my mom, she went completely agape, smiled, and took me to the library to check out a bunch of books for the trip. She took the toys back to the store, since her daughter would rather have a library than a toystore.
(For the record, this is only partially true. I would also like the toys, because toys are a great way to start telling stories and getting inspiration… inspiration which you then use to write… books.)
Just before high school, I sprained my ankle and couldn’t go to summer camp. Two weeks of immobility. Lots of TV-watching and doing paint-by-number kits out of boredom. I am sure I was driving my family nuts with my self-pity and wallowing. My mom had certainly been counting on me being out of the house for that time so she could get some of her own projects done.
Eventually, my aunt came and packed me up and took me up to Wisconsin to spend the week at her place. For no particular reason, other than giving me a different house to be bored in, really.
But, see, my aunt had an IBM Selectric, a ream of paper, a cassette player that auto-looped, and a full-time job.
From some time after I got up in the morning until sometime before she came home in the afternoon, I entertained myself by writing on her Selectric. Tacka tacka tacka tacka tacka tacka went the keys as my fingers flew across them, spinning out the fantasy stories that had been in my head all year. The Princess Bride soundtrack played on a loop (whenever I didn’t have Dirty Dancing playing), nonstop.
I was, in short, in heaven. This, my friends, is what a wonderful vacation is for me– unending amounts of time to write fiction for fun with absolutely no restrictions or expectations. When I got into high school, I would take a spiral notebook with me on family vacations and write more stories, endless stories, about strange worlds and strange people. To this day, it is hard for me to pass up a well-made journal or blank book, even though I do almost all my writing on the computer.
It’s different from writing fiction for publication, which has a set of stresses and editing and revision and expectation that you cannot be entirely free from. But it’s not different from writing for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo recaptures the pureness and joy I used to get from writing.
And that, my friends, is why I reached 25,000 words today, on Day 8 of the month of November.