Blog of author L. S. King
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Deuces Wild - 50% off!
If you haven't read Deuces Wild: Beginners' Luck yet, now's the perfect time!
50% off the e-book through July!
With gangsters hot on their heels, a bereaved cowboy and cynical space pirate are forced to work together for their own survival.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Fun with Comcast
We had to swap out our cable box, and when we picked up the new one, we were told the converter box number (why do we call it a serial number when it's not got any numbers in it only letters? - but I digress) was on the receipt as was an automated phone number to call to get the box activated. The info was even highlighted in yellow to make it easy to find the phone number and converter number. Easy peasy. I like it!
Got home, called the number on the receipt. It wasn't automated. Talked to a rep. Gave her the converter number listed on the receipt. She said she sent the signal to activate the box. After about an hour, the screen still said the box wasn't authorized. So I called again.
This time a chap said, oh you can call an automated number to do that for you. Let me give you that number. And he gave me a number - not the one on the receipt, which was supposed to be an automated one and wasn't. Just sayin'.
Rolling my eyes, I called that number. Guess what? It was automated. However, the initial question was misleading. Did I want to activate a new service? I said no. (It wasn't a new "service" - the service existed, I just wanted to activate a new converter on my existing service - isn't service what you receive from a company, not equipment? Oh, I guess not. Silly me.)
So, after saying "no" and going through a long menu of "something else," I hung up and tried again and said I wanted to activate a new service. Guess that was the right answer. So - got to the part where I had to give the converter number, and the Voice said the serial number required began with SAB. I looked at the receipt. No SAB. I stared hard.
I looked at the converter box on the shelf under the television. I looked at the floor. I thought about the fact I have rheumatoid arthritis and how hard it is to kneel or sit on the floor, and how hard it is to push and pull on things, and how I had stupidly thought I could just sit on the floor *once* to hook it up and not have to worry because all the information was on the receipt.
I slowly lowered myself onto the floor and pulled out the box. Twisted it around (further pain due to RA in hands, thankyouverymuch) and squinted at the numbers. Found the SAB number. Repeated the last four letters into the phone as instructed. Said "I'm done" as instructed (and by then I was, believe me!).
Box is now working, but only time will tell the cable still blacks out. If it does, they'll want to send a tech. He'll say we have to replace the line. Then, like the last time, he'll leave the whole mess for us to do because he won't climb into the attic. But that's a whole 'nuther topic.
Would it be so hard, Comcast, to make certain the info on the receipt is really what we need? That would have solved most of it, although I still would have been thrown off by "Do you want to activate a new service?" No - the *service* I had, it was new *equipment.* How about "Do you want to active a new service or new equipment?"
Okay, I'm done venting.
(And please, no one respond with "switch" - this is the only show in town for fast internet. If I had my druthers, I'd not even have TV service, but internet, I need.)
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Lucky Seven Game
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Young Authors' Conference
Boy, did I have a blast today. The kids in my class were great - smart, funny, and real writers!
I wish the session had lasted all day just so I could spend more time with them. Fun, fun group!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
A Reminder on Thanksgiving:
Thank you, Mr. Lincoln (and my friend philangelus):
Sunday, November 13, 2011
This is #SampleSunday, so I'm offering a sample from my book Deuces Wild: Beginners' Luck.
= = =
Muscles trembled and ached. His head thudded. Nausea passed through him in waves, making him swallow convulsively. Brago's Bands, what happened? Slap opened his eyes and blinked twice before realizing the room wasn't sideways, he was. The side of his face pressed against a cold floor. His hands were tied behind him, the bindings cutting into his wrists.
Tristan lay across from him, eyes shut, a slightly glowing net wrapped around his torso. Where were they? From the metallic, slightly oily smell, he'd guess a ship. And from the narrowness he could see, they'd probably been dumped in a hallway.
Boots appeared near his face.
"That's the one he wants all right. Keep that energy-mesh on him—he's a slippery one."
"We got him easily enough," a second voice said with sneering disagreement.
"Don't underestimate him. I won't rest easy till he's off our hands and we've got the reward."
"What about this other one?" A boot prodded Slap's forehead. "There's no reward on him. Shall I kill him?"
"When we could make a side profit? Look at his size! Sell him to a press gang. There has to be freebooters in port. Now help me get this one locked up. Then you can get rid of the big one."
Several men lifted Tristan. Footsteps faded away.
Slap struggled against his bonds and a hand grabbed him by his hair.
"He's awake." Laughter. A foot nudged against his ankles. "You're going on a trip, boy. A real luxury cruise."
Fury rose in Slap. He swung his legs and contacted flesh. A yell and thump. He lifted his head to see his victim scrambling against the bulkhead, holding a hand to his bloody nose.
Hands grabbed Slap's shoulders from above his head. He sat up and twisted. A body flew over him and flipped, landing on his back. Slap shoulder-dropped onto the man's chest.
The other man leaned against the bulkhead, one hand still on his nose. Blood dripped through his fingers. He dropped his hand to his holster.
Slap scrambled to his feet and dove at his captor. They crashed to the deck—the man softening his own landing, but Slap still struggled to get his breath. His cushion wasn't so lucky; he was out cold.
"Good for you, lizard," he muttered. He rolled off the body and managed to get to his feet again. His first victim lay unmoving, gasping shallowly. He bet he broke the man's ribs and sternum, and despite everything, he winced in sympathy. He'd been kicked by a horse once and suffered broken ribs. It'd been agony. He'd been unable to move or breathe without it feeling like knives were driven into his chest.
He strained his arms, but couldn't loosen the bonds. He eyed the corridor. Not far down to his left a hatch promised a way out. They'd likely been brought aboard and dumped unceremoniously until the captain, or whoever, had checked them over. So—that was the way out. But he needed cover, and a knife. His knife! He could feel the sheath on his back, but he'd bet it was empty. No way to tell with his hands tied—Brago's Bands, how was he going to get untied?
He looked down at the gasping man with what he hoped was a convincing snarl. "You gotta choice. You untie me, or I stomp you."
The man's mouth worked like a fish out of water, and he lifted a hand. Hoping he wasn't going to be stabbed in the back, Slap knelt next to the man. Fingers fumbled at his bonds, and as he felt the cords slacken, he strained and pulled his arms free.
Blood welled from gashes the cords had made in his wrists. He rubbed the circulation into his hands as he stood. "Thanks," he said to the downed man. "Maybe when we're through with you, we won't sell you to the freebooters."
Empty bluster, but perhaps because of Tristan's reputation he was at least half-believed; the man on the deck turned pale. Slap remembered his sheath and felt for his blade. As he thought, gone. "Who's got my knife?" he asked himself aloud.
"Braddon," whispered the man on the deck.
Slap grinned and bent over, taking the man's stunner. "Amazing how a little pain can make you rethink your position, huh?" He stepped to the unconscious one and relieved him of his stunner as well, tucking it in his waistband. "These'll do instead of my knife for now." He looked down the corridor and back down at his ersatz helper. "How many men are on your ship?"
"You two down, that's nineteen to one." If the man were telling the truth. Slap would soon find out. "I wonder what Tristan would say to these odds?" Without a further glance down, he muttered to the man, "Wish me luck."
This ship was larger than ol' Bertha, and who knew what doors led where. Hefting the stunner and starting down the hall, Slap wondered where Tristan was locked up. Two men came out of a door ahead of him, and Slap shot them. One fell immediately, the other staggered against a bulkhead, his hand fumbling at the gauss gun holster on his back. Slap fired again and snorted at the heavy thud. "Sack o' potatoes. Seventeen."
The first man wore a stunner. Slap tucked it in his belt. He swallowed taking the gauss gun—a nasty weapon. He gazed about. Where might they have Tristan? He opened the door the two had exited. Tristan! Blind luck!
His dark companion leaned upright against the bulkhead, awake, dark eyes glaring. The energy-mesh hissed, almost a sizzling sound. It must be set to max.
"What are you doing here?" Tristan asked.
"Looking for you, what else? How do I get this thing off you?"
"The controls are on a belt."
"Gotcha. I'll check the two guys who just left here." Slap peeked around the doorway and dragged one then the other into the room. He found a small box with several switches on it and yanked it off the belt. He thumbed a switch and the hissing stopped.
Tristan tossed the thing off with a look of disdain and rose. "What are you doing here?" he repeated. He took the gauss gun from Slap.
Slap scowled. "If it slipped your mind, we were both stunned and brought here."
Tristan narrowed his eyes. "I meant, why did you come looking for me. No time now. Let's go." He started through the door and jumped back—a blinding flare hit the left side of the doorframe. The entire edge of the jamb twisted in glowing ruins—the door within the scorched bulkhead destroyed. Tristan muttered a sharp word in his native tongue.
"PBG?" Slap hissed, fear rising through his gut.
Tristan eyed the damage and shoved backwards into Slap. "Or rifle. Get back."
"You're trapped in there," a voice called. "It doesn't matter to us if you give up or not. We get our reward dead or alive."
Slap's gaze darted around the room—no other doors. He grabbed Tristan's arm. "What do we do now?"
Tristan jerked free, lips thinned into a line. His gaze went to Slap's waist and he snatched one of the stunners from him. "Play them," he whispered. "Stall. Tell them the PB got me and you'll give yourself up, but only if they let you go free."
Slap licked his lips, a feeling of certainty, of trust in Tristan welling up in him. "You got your reward then," he shouted. "The particle beam got him. But I have stunners and a gauss gun, and I'll use them if I have to. Let me go, I've got no part in this."
"You'd just walk out when we killed your friend?"
Slap eyed Tristan prying the stunner's case open as he answered, "He wasn't no friend, just someone I hitched a ride with. 'Smatter of fact, with him dead, I can take his ship. I figure you've done me a favor."
Silence for a moment. Tristan was still diddling with the stunner, his slender fingers working quickly, face intent.
Then, from the hall, "And if we don't want to let you go?"
"Well, I figure being dead now is only hurryin' what I'd get in a press gang. And I reckon with this gauss gun I'd take a few of you with me, anyway. So what's say? You get your reward, I just inherited a ship. Call it square."
Tristan looked up, his voice low, urgent. "When I say 'now,' you rush with me, cover our backs—stun anything moving."
"Thing is," the voice called, "how do we trust each other?"
Tristan gestured as if tossing the stunner out the door and winked.
Slap grinned. "For starters, how about if I throw my stunners out to you?"
From an angle, Tristan lobbed the stunner to the right, the direction the particle beam had come from. Shouts of alarm—a burst of light.
"Now!" Tristan hissed.
Slap almost tripped charging out the door, one hand on Tristan's back, spraying stunner fire behind them. Bodies fell, and he turned to see where they were going just as Tristan skidded and pushed against him. "Back! Back!"
Slap needed no urging—he could hear footsteps running their way from beyond the curve in the corridor. He trampled over bodies and felt a pull on his arm.
He saw the stairs and leaped up the steps, his breath ragged with panic. Behind, below, he heard a scream. He jumped up to the deck, belatedly checking for people. Tristan surged up to join him, eyes darting about. He waved a command to follow with the gauss gun and sprinted to their right. Slap stayed on his heels.
Tristan pulled up by a door. "Get ready to stun."
Before Slap could nod, the door slid open, and he peppered the room—the bridge from the look of it—with stun bursts. Two men slumped in chairs.
"Overkill, but effective," Tristan said, as he locked the door, glancing around.
"What do we do now?"
Tristan went to a small cabinet embedded in the bulkhead and pulled out several tools. With one hand, Tristan hauled a body out of a chair and let it flop to the deck. Falling into the seat, he began working on the console's cover.
Slap leaned back against the bulkhead on the other side of the room. The better to keep an eye on Tristan, the unconscious men, and the door. "What are you doing?"
"Taking advantage of opportunity and buggering their ship."
"Do we have time for this?"
"You have any place to go?"
"Yeah. Away from here." Slap put his hand up to push back his hat and realized it was gone. Great. He ruffled his curly hair instead. "Preferably alive."
"This won't take long. You have a few moments to catch your breath before we make a run for it."
Slap jerked a thumb at the door. "Just don't forget there's eighteen guys standing between us and a way out."
"Most are piled up on the deck. Just wait."
Wait. Right. Like Slap had a choice. He twirled the stunner then stiffened. "Hey, one of them has my knife!"
"If you want to go out there and ask kindly for its return," Tristan said, head bent to his work, "be my guest."
"They took my whole bloody vest." His voice sounded bitter. Slap could understand why. Tristan's vest had lots of little secrets and unusual devices hidden in it. "We can replace whatever we've lost, but not our lives."
Slap leaned against the bulkhead. Tristan was right. But still, it burned. That had been a good knife.
"So what are you doing, anyway?"
"Let's just say I'm increasing the odds that they won't get this ship off planet any time soon." His lips spread in a grim smile. "Just in case we don't escape, they can't either."
Tristan set the cover in place and swiveled to access the communications console. He studied something for a bit, then seemed to be nosing in files.
Finally he stood. He returned the tools to the kit in the wall and turned. "Get ready!" Lifting the gauss gun, he walked toward the door.
Slap pushed up from the bulkhead.
A deafening flash—shock knocked him back against a console, his neck and spine recoiling like a whip. He blinked, unable to see, his body tingling with electricity, his back screaming with pain, his ears ringing. What? What? An explosion? He tried to straighten and fell to the floor. Smoke and burnt-metal tang invaded his nostrils, choking him. Crawl. Move. His hand bumped into something and he grabbed, felt. An arm. He squeezed his eyes shut and opened them. Things seemed furry and like negative images, but he saw Tristan, face pale, eyes closed, bloody. No!
Hands jerked him to his feet. With a roar, Slap swung fists, connecting with flesh. Three men, two down. The third he grabbed by the throat and crushed until he felt soft tissue and cartilage give before throwing him against the far bulkhead.
The ship fell silent except for Slap's gasping breaths. He looked down at Tristan and knelt by him. Blood poured from a wound in his chest. Fingers felt for a pulse at his throat. Weak, but there. Brago's Bands, Tristan, don't die on me! He pressed his hands against the wound, trying to staunch the flow of blood.
Footsteps thudded in the corridor. Slap fumbled on the floor with one hand for a weapon, any weapon. He snatched up a stunner, but before he could aim it, the first of two men skidded to a halt and called, "Don't shoot! We're here to help."
Slap didn't lower the stunner. He looked over the two intruders. They weren't dressed like the mercenaries. No space vests, and their dark blue clothes had straight lines, the jacket a high collar. They had a military air about them. "Prove it."
The man nodded toward Tristan. "He's hurt. We'll take him to a hospital."
= = =
Slap looked down at the bloody, still figure and licked his lips; his worry for Tristan battling with his fear to trust. He looked up and nodded. "Help him. Don't let him die."
If you like what you read, you can get Deuces Wild: Beginners' Luck in Kindle, Nook, and other e-book formats at Smashwords. The second edition of the print version will be available in the near future.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Writer's Cramps: Why Do You Write?
So - why do you write?
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Writer's Cramps: Emotional Connection
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I've been a fan of Downhere and Marc Martel for some time. I'm thrilled at the coverage he's getting with his "Somebody to Love" audition on YouTube. Go Marc!
Writer's Cramps: Are Publishers No Longer Necessary?
Posting the link to this week's Writer's Cramps:
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Deuces Wild: 50% off!
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Deuces Wild - 50% off in July!
If you haven't gotten a copy of Deuces Wild, now's your chance, with 50% savings throughout the month of July.
And it's available in all e-book formats.
Deuces Wild: Beginners' Luck
With gangsters hot on their heels, a bereaved cowboy and cynical space pirate are forced to work together for their own survival.What are you waiting for?
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I haven't been able to care for my gardens and flower beds these last few years, but with the new medications I'm on, I will be able to do some gardening this year (with help from my kids). I'm looking forward to it!
Today, under the maple tree in my backyard, I saw Hosta peeking up through the ground, and Zephyr Lilies, and lily-of-the-valley, as well as new shoots of the Liriope. The Dicentra are blooming already, as are the tulips and the violets. The Aquilegia is up and the lamb's ears. It's looking so lovely, and knowing I'll be able to tend it this year has really made me feel alive.
(Now to figure out how to keep the wiregrass out of it!)