A QUICK LOOK

 

ABOUT C.K.Gurin:

Professional editor, author of eight books and co-author of six others, Cynthia Gurin is a native Floridian. After college (Miami-Dade) she worked as a Licensed Real Estate Broker and Appraiser of multi-million dollar residential properties.

She has been writing, ghost writing, editing, and also mentoring talented authors since 1996.

C.K. Gurin has been pro-bono director of The Bedtime-Story Literacy Project, and the award-winning children's story site, since 1996. Yahoo! proclaimed Bedtime-Story the number one children's story site on the web and it was featured by MSNBC, the BBC, MIT's Invention Dimension, and earned the Reader's Digest Editors Choice Award.

She moved to Europe for several years after her husband accepted a position as Managing Director of a large Swiss holding company. They now live in Stuart, Florida, about 45 minutes north of Palm Beach, and share a home with a pair of very opinionated cats.

A more detailed professional history may be viewed by clicking on the following link
http://the-office.com/THEQUANTUMCAT/about2.htm

WRITING PORTFOLIO: SAMPLES IN VARIOUS GENRES AND SCENES PROVIDED BELOW:
(Additional examples along with client feedback may be found on her website TheQuantumCat.com)

SAMPLE # 1
Genre: Medieval Fantasy

A solitary figure in light blue and white leather attempted to remain unseen as he climbed through the snow, ascending the cloud-shrouded mountain. He paused to catch his breath. Looking upward toward the summit he saw ice covered rocks, and jagged peaks treacherously blanketed in snow. He inhaled deeply, quickening his pace, gasping in the altitude's thin air. He was almost there. Dusk had already begun turning to dark and stars were beginning to glitter in the distant heavens. It was still light enough to make out the ruins of Guylin Temple. Its stone stairway was no more than 100 yards distant.

A sound from lower down the mountain captured his attention. The click of a rock, accidentally dislodged by a careless footfall. He was being followed. Pursued would be a better word. He shivered slightly beneath his long cloak. He was running out of time.

A band of armed men briefly emerged from the cloud cover, following the trail he was inadvertently blazing for them. They faded back into the cloud but he knew they were there. He knew they were coming. For him. And for what he had taken from the Bellus Guild.

He quickened his pace. He could see that part of Guylin Temple's staircase was missing. A section of mountain had given way at some point in the distant past and taken a large portion of the stone steps with it. The remainder of the stone staircase was visible across a deep gorge, the base of which was littered with a jumble of broken stones and icy boulders.

There was moonlight now, enough illumination for him to see that the remainder of the stone staircase led directly into the side of the temple which sat on the other side of the gorge. Desperate, he could hear the footsteps of his pursuers. He glanced around. No way to climb and an impossible jump to cross the gorge.

No. Not impossible. The climber took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and exhaled long and slow.

And jumped.

It was a rough four point landing on stone steps on the far side of the gorge, causing him to stumble before managing to regain his balance. He took the stairs at a dead run, crossing the snow covered courtyard, slowing only when he saw stone statues, suddenly imbued with life, temple guardians, armed with stone spears and swords, blocking his entry to the temple.

The newly animated statues, armored and vaguely humanoid in form, had begun dismounting from their pedestals. The stone statue's eyes, now trained directly upon him as the intruder, were filled with a piercing white light.

What strange magic was this? Who cast these spells? Instinctively he knew.

The climber, himself a sorcerer, slowly raised his right hand, signaling for them to halt, while allowing a bluish-white light to begin to glow in his palm. It was a signal to the temple's stone guardians that he meant no harm.

SAMPLE # 2
Genre Science Fiction / Fantasy

I thought last night's view of the city had been spectacular, but I was totally unprepared for what the daylight view held in store for me. It felt as if I were attending the unveiling of a jeweled canvas. The golden sky formed the backdrop for a veritable rainforest of living breathing, blooming colors. There had to be at least a half-dozen shades of green alone. Cascading waterfalls and waterways added a shimmering touch of aquamarine to the scene, while fruiting and flowering trees and shrubs joyously erupted in vibrant splashes of color.

High-rise and mid-rise buildings throughout the city had been constructed in a variety of geometric shapes and hues, which took their design inspiration from nature. A sprinkling of towers and domes and minarets added a touch of the exotic to the supra-modern architecture of the city.

I had no idea what construction materials had been used for the various exterior finishes, but one building, a massive, open centered octagon shaped high rise, the base of which spanned one of the many waterways, particularly fascinated me.

I couldn't decide whether it reminded me more of a stained glass Ferris wheel, or a giant, blueberry colored candy Lifesaver, balanced on end. I simply shook my head. This approached sensory overload. The underground city on Mars was nothing short of breathtaking.

SAMPLE # 3
Genre: Romance

I ran my ad for just that one day, just that one Sunday. My ad wasn't very long, and unlike other advertisers, I didn't specify what I was looking for, I simply tried to give enough of a description of myself, so that the right person would be able to recognize me.

My ad read;

"Long auburn hair, longer legs. Personality shy to outrageous. Blue jeans to ball gowns. Enjoys sailing, power-boating, quiet evenings at home. Plays terrible tennis. White horse, shiny armor and vast kingdom considered charming in a respondent. Former Boy Scout given equal consideration."

SAMPLE # 4
Drama - Overcoming all odds

The last thing sitting on the lace tablecloth which covered the dining room table was a small but valuable old vase.

Sarah was only seven but she knew to be extra careful. She had done this before. She would carry it into the kitchen and carefully set it on the breakfast table.

Sarah had firmly grasped the little vase with both hands and was walking slowly, headed down the hall to the kitchen. Her spoiled and spiteful five year old sister Jackie had snuck up behind her and deliberately lodged a vicious kick at the back of Sarah's right knee. Sarah had screamed in pain when the hard-soled patent leather Mary Jane shoe struck, rupturing a small vein in her leg in the process. Her leg had buckled, pitching her forward, and the valuable old vase had gone flying, jettisoned from her hands onto the cold porcelain tile floor, shattering into a thousand pieces.

Five year old Jackie had launched the sneak attack on her sister, then turned and sprinted stealthily back into her own bedroom to establish her alibi. She had kicked off her Mary Janes, thrown herself on the floor, and pretended to have been playing with her dolls.

Naturally everyone came running at the sound of the scream and the crash. Everyone but Jackie, who finally padded out of her bedroom, wearing her lace-edged white socks, timing her arrival on the scene about a minute after everyone else had shown up.

"What happened, Mommy?" little Jackie had asked her mother, feigning wide eyed innocence as she looked at the debris field. "Oh NO! Did Sarah break your special vase?"

Sarah was gasping with pain and shock. She was literally covered with streaks of blood, having landed on the sharp porcelain shards.

There was much screaming and gnashing of teeth, and when Sarah had struggled to her feet she tried to explain that Jackie had run up behind her and kicked her with her hard Mary Janes.

Pauline had flown into a full blown rage, screaming at the top of her lungs, and slapped Sarah so hard the blow had literally knocked her halfway across the room. Her father had run over to her, yanked her up by the arm and whaled the living daylights out of her butt, screaming in outrage that nobody had wanted her and he wished she had never been born.

Seven year old Sarah had washed the blood off all by herself, applied iodine and band aids to the largest cuts, put her jammies on, then crawled into bed and pulled the covers over her little head.

She dared not allow herself to cry. She didn't want to make anybody mad.

SAMPLE # 5
Excerpt: Heartache

"David, my other Vet Tech and I will come by after the clinic closes. Around six thirty."

"And then?"

"We'll take Sylvester back to the clinic with us afterwards. You're going to want him cremated, right? And his ashes returned to you?"

She nodded yes to both.

"The office will arrange that for you," he said.

"Are you going to be OK?" he asked gently.

She shook her head. "No," she said sadly. "No. I'm not."

Sarah dialed the phone.

Dr. Wilson and his assistant David had just come and gone. He kept his promise. Sylvester's passing had been both peaceful and painless.

Sarah had been sitting on the floor, Sylvester cradled in her arms, his tail gently wagging. His eyes were peaceful as the Vet administered the shot, and she watched as the light, that lovely dancing light in his beautiful brown eyes quietly went out.

The loss of Sylvester, her buddy, her best friend, her baby dog, had been devastating beyond words for Sarah. She was emotionally shattered.

Sample # 6
Setting the scene

It looked like a dump. A sprawling old flat-roof weather-beaten frame building, reminiscent of a B-grade western movie set. The façade boasted a six by twelve foot covered porch slapped on the front as an afterthought some fifty years earlier, and whatever paint the building might once have benefited from had long since peeled off. An assortment of Harley and beer signs haphazardly festooned the exterior, accurately setting expectations for the interior.

A vintage orange neon sign proclaiming SALOON was mounted atop the rickety covered entry porch and broadcast a permanent bzzzzzttttt sound when it got dark and somebody eventually remembered to switch it on. The sign threw off just enough of a glow to keep patrons from tripping.

A blast of cool, liquor-scented air and a pounding beat from the juke box as it switched from the toe-tapping redneck rhythm to a selection of vintage rock greeted them as they walked through the door. The bar’s patrons were an eclectic mix of rednecks, weekend bikers and serious bikers. They were eating, drinking, shooting pool, playing penny-ante poker, slamming vintage pinball machines, and a handful were on the dance floor.

Sample # 7
Genre: Fantasy

"Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" asked the cat who had accidentally tumbled through a dimensional portal and inadvertently landed on my doorstep.

It was Monday morning and I was pouring a glass of orange juice, while browning a couple slices of some off-brand corned beef hash I had decided to try. I looked up. The cat was seated on one of the stools at the tall wooden breakfast table.

I shrugged. "Go ahead, ask away."

"How can you eat that crap?"

I burst out laughing. "This from the guy who just ate a bowl full of something that smells like roadkill."

"I'd have preferred bacon and eggs, had it been offered," he replied haughtily.

"Well why didn't you simply say so? I thought you liked it!"

"I attempted to bury it," he replied.

"I thought you were just being sarcastic."

"I was," he said flatly.

We stared at each other.

I turned back to the stove to flip the sizzling corned beef hash patties in the frying pan. "What are your plans for the day?  I inquired politely.

He yawned. "I'm going back to bed," he said. He jumped down and stalked out of the room.

He's right, I realized, as I took a bite of the corned beef hash. This stuff does taste like crap.

Sample # 8
Genre: Adventure / Character Description

Jeremiah Reason was thirty-two years old. His parents, a handsome, well-educated bi-racial couple, had adopted him in Paris immediately upon his birth.

Adoptions of French orphans by American citizens are virtually non-existent. France is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, which basically ensures that French children available for adoption will be adopted by French parents.

Jeremiah fell into a different category. First, he wasn't an orphan. Second, his biological mother had been an American student living abroad and studying at the Sorbonne. Both of Jeremiah's adoptive parents had been American educators who spent a year teaching English at the Sorbonne.

The Paris-Sorbonne or Sorbonne, as it is traditionally known, is the largest institution in France dedicated to the study of literature, languages, civilizations, arts, humanities and social sciences. The university encourages its students to think freely, to construct their own judgment, "so that they may become responsible and inventive citizens who can promote dignity and a culture of peace."

Detailed information about Jeremiah's biological father had never been forthcoming from his biological mother, but for the sake of the adoption proceedings, a notarized statement from the mother had been provided, stating that Jeremiah's father had also been an American citizen. There was no way of knowing whether this was actually true or not.

She confided to Jeremiah's adoptive parents that Jeremiah's biological father had never known that she was pregnant. There was only that one memorable weekend together in Paris. The only other tidbit volunteered was that Jeremiah's father was a tall, good-looking pilot with a sky high I.Q. He had mentioned in passing that he flew jets, but she hadn't thought to ask which airline he was with.

Jeremiah's biological mother, a very bright, and very pretty, blue-eyed blonde, had died in an automobile accident in London, a mere six weeks after his birth. The attorney who had handled the adoption recognized the name and photograph in the French daily newspaper Le Monde. The article mentioned that an American student studying at the Sorbonne had been killed instantly when a vehicle she was a passenger in was broadsided by a taxi during a visit to London. He had mailed a clipping of the article to Jeremiah's adoptive parents who were back in the U.S. by then. When Jeremiah was old enough to understand, his adoptive parents told him what little they knew about his biological parents.

As to Jeremiah's actual heritage, it was anybody's guess. He had an exotic look about him. He was 6' 4", weighed 220, and worked out on a regular basis. His skin tone was bronze, his hair was jet black with loose waves, and he had inherited his mother's striking, cornflower blue eyes. His IQ was literally off the charts. From a biological standpoint, the child of that amorous union in Paris had basically won the genetic lottery.

Jeremiah also lucked out with his adoptive parents. They had simply adored him.

After college, having achieved advanced degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics, Jeremiah earned his pilot's license and then spent a few years in the military, doing some covert work and learning to fly things that most people on this planet firmly believed were just science fiction. He had also traveled to places that few people imagined even existed.

After leaving active military service, Jeremiah had become a private consultant to several of the nation's most powerful aerospace firms. He held a Top Secret security clearance, which, along with his specialized knowledge, experience and expertise, allowed him to charge his clients accordingly. Financially speaking, Jeremiah was, as they say, extremely comfortable.

Up until a year ago, Jeremiah had been in a long-term, and what he had naively assumed to be a happy relationship. He and his fiancÚ had shared his spacious home on the water in Palm Beach.

Jeremiah had come home from a business trip one day, to find the joint bank accounts empty, the house newly devoid of all its expensive furnishings, and a six week old black and white tuxedo kitten, who had apparently wandered in through a door left ajar by the movers, sitting in the middle of the cavernous living room.

He had taken a deep breath, christened the kitten F.U.B.A.R., a name aptly reflective of the day's events, put the house on the market, and moved to another county in Florida.

Jeremiah actually counted himself lucky. He had been just about to suggest to his fiancÚ that they set a wedding date.

Sample # 9
Excerpt: Mystery/Crime

The front door was the only way in, and Barry was extremely security conscious. It was a pawnshop after all. His exterior polycarbonate display windows were indistinguishable from glass, but they'd take a shotgun blast, or a sledge hammer, or even a .44 Magnum bullet without yielding an inch to a smash and grab robber. His transparent bulletproof door was similarly protected. It was fabricated from ballistic glass, and mounted in a bullet resistant frame with both a standard bolt lock and an automatic magnetic locking system.

Barry eyeballed and mentally screened everybody when they first approached the bullet-proof glass door before hitting the under-counter button that released the magnetic door lock. He'd had an uncanny knack for judging people. If you didn't look right to Barry you simply wouldn't get buzzed in.

There wasn't even a way for anybody to get behind the counter once they were inside. One literally had to back up to the chest high counter, put his hands on the edge, hoist himself up, spin around on his butt and then hop down on the other side.

There was no way in hell that Barry, even though he was in his sixties, wouldn't have sensed that kind of movement. Barry still had the reflexes of a cat. He'd have instantly spun around and confronted an attacker, yet the police report had attributed his death to a point blank gunshot wound, effectively a contact shot, into the back of his head.

For some reason the cops who responded to the call had also made no attempt to preserve or recover fingerprint evidence either from the front door or from the countertop.

Barry's ex-wife, with whom he had still been on good terms, hadn't been asked to identify the body. It appeared that nobody had. No autopsy had been ordered, which Jeremiah thought particularly strange, and bizarrely, the body had immediately been cremated, without the family's permission. They had simply been handed a white cardboard box full of ashes. OK, Jeremiah reasoned, with that close of a shot, it certainly wouldn't have been an open casket funeral, but still...

Sample #10
Genre: Humor   Bernard Bearcat - "I Found Your Phone" and advice column "Go Bother Bernard"
("I escaped from an exotic animal pet shop. I had the run of the shop. The guy who worked there had a smartphone. He let me play with it. He wanted to see if I could be taught to communicate, you know like that gorilla, but typing instead of sign language." )

  Sample # 11 - Excerpt: Tragedy/Heartache

Timothy Gray and his sister Amanda burst into their grandmother s den.

"Gram...on the news..." Amanda began breathlessly.

"There was a news report, Gram," said Timothy, his eyes wild. "We were at Billy s house...and Billy s father said we should come home right away...because...he heard...we heard...something happened...and it was on the news...and they...they said that...that..." faltered Timothy.

Timothy's face was flushed. His heart was pounding wildly, and his hands were beginning to shake.

"Gram?"

Timothy and Amanda's grandmother sat very still in her big wingback chair. She stared out the window at something very far away. As if frozen in place, her hand clutched the telephone receiver that lay in her lap. It was making those beeping sounds, the way it does when you forget to hang the phone up.

With a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, Timothy quietly took the receiver from his grandmother's hand and hung it up.

"Gram" Amanda rattled nervously, "It happened where they are, right? So we better call to make sure they're OK, hadn't we? Gram? We'll call them up and see if maybe they knew the ones it happened to...I mean, because...because...we know that it was some other people this happened to, right, Gram? We've gotta call right now, because...it's not...it wouldn't be...it couldn't be...them..."

"It was, honey," she whispered.

A tear rolled quietly down Grandma's cheek as she fought for control.

Amanda gasped, trying to understand.

"This is not happening," Amanda's mind said calmly. "Rewind. Select alternate ending."

"So...so...when...this happened...they...they got hurt...right? Amanda's voice began to shake. "But they're...they're gonna be OK, right, Gram? And we'll go to the hospital, right? And we'll tell them they're gonna be OK."

Amanda was finding it hard to breathe. "They're gonna be OK, aren't they? Gram? Grandma?"

Amanda's grandma turned to the two of them, and her eyes were filled with pain. She shook her head slowly.

"No, honey," she said softly. "They're not going to be OK."

"They're not dead?" blinked Timothy, shaking his head as if to deny this was happening. His anguished grandmother closed her eyes to the words.

"They're dead?" he said, dazed. "They can't be dead, Grandma," Timothy said firmly. It was not possible to comprehend this. His head was beginning to spin.

"They can't be dead," he said again. "Grandma, they're young," as if the inherent logic in that statement could somehow overcome the horror of the news he was struggling to deal with.

"Grandma, they're young," it was a whispered plea.

Timothy's knees went weak. He doubled over as if he'd just been hit in the stomach. The pain was so awful it made him want to throw up.

Amanda's hands curled into fists, instinctively rising to her head, as if to ward off invisible blows to her mind. "NOOOOOOOOO!" she wailed. "NOOOOOOO!"

Amanda's scream was like a knife to her grandmother's heart. She held her arms out and gathered the pair to her. As she did so, she closed her eyes and offered a silent prayer.

"Dear God, help us get through this."

Amanda leaned back and took her grandmother's face in her both her hands. "You make this not happen, Grandma. You make this not happen," she pleaded with a sob.

Amanda's voice began to rise.

"Make  THIS NOT --- HAPPEN--Grandma!!" Amanda commanded, her voice shaking.

"MAKE ...THIS...NOT...HAPPEN!!" she shrieked hysterically.

Her grandmother cradled her in her arms.

Timothy sat down on the floor with a thud. He drew his knees up and wrapped his arms around them, absentmindedly rocking to and fro as he sat there.

"Not even Grandma can make this not happen, Amanda," he said woodenly.

His body felt like lead. His mind was numb. His rested his forehead on his knees. He couldn t think past the words "This can t be happening. No way can this thing be happening."

"I'm so sorry, love," said Grandma, with a sob. "I'm so sorry. For us, and for them. For everybody." She reached out and touched their faces, stroked their heads.

Timothy drew back, looking at his grandmother with fury in his eyes. "You can't be sorry for anybody who did this?!" he demanded.

Amanda collapsed onto her knees on the floor and sobbed uncontrollably. Her head lay in her grandmother's lap, and like a drowning child, she continued to hold on to her grandmother's hands for dear life.

"Everyone's family is going to have to live with what happened, Timothy," she said with a ragged sigh.

"Why did this have to happen?" he shouted angrily. "How could it happen?"

Timothy balled up his fist and hit the arm of the chair as hard as he could. "Why would somebody want to hurt innocent people?"

"Why them?" he screamed.

He rose up on his knees and hit the arm of the chair again, this time with both fists, screaming "Why hurt people WE care about? Why would somebody do this? What did it accomplish except to hurt us, and everybody else this happened to?"

"Grandma..." Timothy wailed in helpless anguish, "What's the matter with somebody's head? What would make them do this?"

"Damn them!" he raged. "Damn, damn, damn!" Timothy hit the chair again and again, sobbing, overcome with rage and grief.

"Timothy..."

"Bad people," moaned Amanda. "Bad people did this."

Amanda's grandmother held them close again.

"So many lives shattered," she thought wearily. "And for what possible purpose?"


Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
God Bless Mommy and Daddy and Everybody.
Amen.

Goodnight, sweetheart.
We love you.


 

 
Sample # 12
Excerpt: Carefully researched descriptive passages


Jeremiah pulled the Mercedes into the empty hangar, shut off the engine and dialed his cellphone. "
Stanley? You ready? I'm here. Let's blow this pop-stand."

At only 723.5 miles from Witham Field to
Nashville, this was going to be a fairly short trip.

Jeremiah's Learjet Bombardier 45XR had a top speed of 535 mph, with a range of 2,301 miles and it could reach an altitude of 51,000 feet. Whatever Jeremiah was likely to need in the air, the Bombardier 45XR, considered the "Swiss Army Knife" of jets, probably already had it. It comfortably sat 8 but it could carry 9 passengers in a pinch.

It fell into the "very light" class of jets, which require less runway space. The operating cost for fuel was economical and the 905 gallon tanks could be filled and ready for takeoff in a mere ten minutes. Since very light jets also have access to a network of over 5,000 smaller local airports, that made for a pretty user-friendly personal jet.

Unsurprisingly, the Learjet Bombardier 45XR came with a bear of a price tag. New, the price was eleven million dollars. Jeremiah had picked up a mint condition two year old 45XR at a government auction a little over a year ago.

While lying in bed casually browsing through auction listings late one Sunday evening, the online notice for the 45XR had caught his eye.

The U.S. Treasury Department doesn't fool around with their weekly auctions. Bidding instructions state "All Offers Must Be Accompanied By The Entire Purchase Offer Amount."

On a whim, his gut instinct telling him to go for it, Jeremiah had emailed a buddy and arranged to have the jet inspected first thing the following day. By
8AM Monday morning he had already received word that the plane checked out and that it was in pristine condition.

Jeremiah downloaded the bid form, filled it out, faxed it back, and wired the full amount of his bid, a lowball offer of five hundred thousand.

Serendipitously, as a result of a clerical error by a new government employee, a typewritten zero had been missing on the government's original auction authorization, which specified the minimum reserve.

Instead of a minimum reserve of five million dollars for this auction, the minimum listed in the government's file had been typed as $500000.

Jeremiah had been the only bidder. The Treasury Department's paperwork showed a 5 and a bunch of zeros, Jeremiah's wire transfer payment showed a 5 and a bunch of zeros. The two numbers matched. His offer was accepted. The aircraft title was delivered to him, and the document was properly recorded.

The Treasury Department eventually figured it out of course, but by then it was too late. The Learjet Bombardier 45XR was his fair and square.

The 45XR taxied up to the hangar and
Stanley dashed down the steps to help Jeremiah with his bags. When he saw Fubar on Jeremiah's shoulder he burst into a wide grin and held up his hand. "Fubar! How the hell are you, man?"

"Rowf," the cat replied, and raised a paw to high-five the Captain.
Stanley shook his head. "That is the weirdest damn cat I have ever seen, Jeremiah."

"Thank you. I think," Jeremiah replied.

Sample # 13
Genre: Fantasy


Logan Forrest of Forrest Robotics had been putting in long hours lately. It was after
midnight and he was still sitting in front of his computer in the den. The weather was pleasant so he had the sliding glass doors to the floodlit pool patio area open.

That's probably why he heard the splash.

Rufus, a zaftig rescue dog of indeterminate parentage who had been peacefully napping until the sound of the large splash, quickly leapt to his feet.

Rufus was affable, he made good company, and he was a reasonably decent guard dog, but his spatial reasoning was markedly deficient.

If you grabbed a yardstick and measured Rufus's height from the floor to the top of his head, you'd notch the 20" mark. The height of the glass-topped coffee table he often napped under was 18". The problem was self-explanatory. Fortunately the glass was thick.

Rufus shook his head and made a beeline for the dog door in the screened slider.

"Bloody hell," came an annoyed voice from the pool.

Startled, Logan grabbed an old wooden baseball bat that was leaning against a wall and headed for the patio.

Rufus stood at the edge of the pool steps, his entire chubby butt wagging with absolute delight as he watched a lone figure slogging its way through the water, heading for the pool steps.

The figure in the pool appeared to be female, slim, petite, and highly annoyed.

"Where am I this time?" she demanded.

"Excuse me?" Logan asked as he extended a hand to the sopping wet intruder.

"Who are you and how the hell did you get in here anyway?" he asked. "There's a six foot wall and the alarm system is on."

His dripping wet guest sighed heavily, and gratefully accepted the large beach towel he'd retrieved from the back of a patio chair.

"I don't suppose this is part of Cliffside Castle, is it?" she asked dejectedly.

Logan shook his head slowly. "You haven't answered my question," he said suspiciously. How did you get over the wall?"

Sample # 14 - Fantasy

 

Sample #15  Humor in a Fantasy novel.

Background and cast: Dimitri is a gender-selectable android. Jeffrey is an old friend, talented inventor, and interim bodyguard. Boyfriend is a cat. Sort of. His first name is actually Brendan. I named him Boyfriend on a whim when I thought he was just a stray cat who turned up at my front door. He was something else entirely. He hails from a parallel dimension in which cats are the dominant species. His profession there is that of a theoretical physicist. He had been engaged in a research project when he accidentally tumbled through a dimensional portal, and somehow landed in my world. As it happens, Boyfriend is also independently wealthy. He inherited, as he describes it, several titles, a Dukedom, and an obscene amount of money. Amongst Boyfriend's vast holdings is a timeshare on the planet Mars.

After a failed attempt on his life, Boyfriend quickly arranged for the four of us to depart Mars City, so here we are, aboard the luxury Starship Athena.

The brand new, never before occupied, and hugely prestigious Zeus suite aboard the Starship Athena was . . . strangely fascinating, even weirdly beautiful in its own way. It had sort of a Star Wars Hogwarts Disneyworld Titanic thing going for it.

Jeffrey simply burst out laughing.

Possibly they changed interior designers three or four times while it was under construction.

And truthfully, until after nearly having a heart attack when a colorful school of parrotfish suddenly materialized underfoot and swam up the sweeping staircase to the second floor, I didn't even know that animated three dimensional virtual reality floor art even existed.

Boyfriend, Jeffrey and I decided to begin exploring our curiously decorated new suite.

The place was huge. According to the brochure in the Foyer, it contained over 6500 SF of living space, spread out over two levels, and that space was made to feel even larger with the addition of fifteen foot ceilings throughout.

It became obvious in relatively short order that animated three dimensional virtual reality floor art had been a favorite of one of the interior designers, and that the stuff had been installed all over the place.

Not only were we presented with a diverse collection of images tearing about, meandering, or sometimes gently floating underfoot, we learned that those images had the run of the entire suite. Not just that, mind you, but we also learned that some of the bloody things had even been equipped with sound effects and low resolution vibration.

We discovered this accidentally, when most of the perfectly normal looking marble flooring underfoot in the main hallway suddenly became transparent and we found ourselves perched on what resembled a narrow ledge overlooking a thundering and mooing herd of cattle rumbling through a narrow canyon beneath the main hallway. Even the walls were vibrating. Jeffrey and I instinctively flattened ourselves against the walls, precariously balancing on what looked like a narrow ledge overlooking the stampede. Moments later, as the thundering herd turned a corner, the floor promptly resumed the appearance of marble.

Jeffrey was clasping his heart and laughing so hard he was crying. Boyfriend had instinctively extended his claws and climbed halfway up the nearest door frame, and I was shrieking with laughter while desperately trying not to pee my pants.

"There has GOT to be an off-switch somewhere," muttered Boyfriend, as he shimmied back down the doorframe with as much dignity as he could possibly muster.

We were still giggling when we opened a door and walked into Jeffrey's bedroom. We could tell it was Jeffrey's room because his bag had been placed on a white canopied, king-sized bed, cleverly designed to look like a half submerged boat.

The first few steps of the floor in his bedroom had the appearance of soft golden colored sand, the kind typically found at the edge of a tropical seashore. The bed's white canopy resembled a softly fluttering sail. "Oh, how pretty!" I exclaimed.

The boat bed was sitting upon another example of animated three dimensional virtual reality floor art, which in this room, resembled roughly two and a half feet of crystal clear sea water, gently rippling above a sandy sea floor.

You could look through the virtual sea water and see coral. And seaweed. And starfish. And pretty little neon colored tropical fish happily darting to and fro. And a six foot shark, whose nose could just be seen peeking out from beneath Jeffrey's bed. We heard the sound of a large tail slapping the water. It was very realistic.

"Fuck this," muttered Jeffrey.



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