Being the first Wednesday of the month also means it's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.
Hosted by the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG is a time for reflection and introspection about the things that, as writers, make us feel less than secure in ourselves and our writing.
Today I'm going to double up, just a bit, and throw in another Wednesday Re-Wind offering where I
re-cycle 're-position' (as Mr. Koopmans might say :) ) an old post for newer followers, who might have missed it the first go round.
Sharing my stories (again) ties in with some insecurities I have about people reading my stuff. I know that I'm by no means alone in this. It's something I think we all go through and is part of writing for public consumption. People, at some point, are going to read your work and not everyone is going to like it.
It's just a fact.
Back when I first started this blog I, of course, had zero people checking in and leaving feedback, so I felt o.k in posting my flash fic, short stories etc. here. Now, though, I'm getting a little bit of traffic and, honestly, I'm not sure just what sort of responses my stories will get. Not that I worry about people being mean or anything....this community is great and extremely supportive all around.
I just, sometimes, fret about the constructive criticism falling more towards the criticism and less on the constructive. Not because people are looking to be cold or hard, but because my writing needs work. A lot of work.
I just wonder, though, if I have what it takes to get that work done. Doubts and insecurities abound, but I just have to keep plugging away and see if time will tell.
On that note, I'll shift gears for another Wednesday Re-Wind. This story is in the same vein as the first Fortune Society tale, using the same pulp setting, some of the same character types, beats, and gags. This time, though, it's the ladies' turn.
The Fortune Society in:
(Diamonds aren’t just a girl’s best friend…)
Aphrodite: Self-professed demi-goddess with the power to cloud men’s minds….with love. Blessed with mystical senses, she’s one of The Baron’s most capable Team Leaders.
Libby “The Librarian” Langley: Thanks to a near photographic memory and growing up in a library, if she’s read it….she knows it. One of the smartest people on the planet….also one of the most annoying.
Amanda Oakley: Just like her great grandma, Annie, Amanda is one of the best shots in not just the West, but the entire world. Always up for a challenge, there’s no weapon she can’t shoot and no vehicle she can’t pilot.
“Prima” Donna McGurk: A one time Olympic track and field hopeful, destiny took her in a different direction. Becoming one of the ‘Jet Set’, her lifestyle affords her to travel the globe, picking up all sorts of different skills while living the high life. Marrying a djinn (genie) didn't hurt, either.
“Duly noted Amanda”, Aphrodite said with a wry grin on her beautiful features. She moved a mass of thick, blonde hair from her face as she quickly turned to see another wave of Mr. Lee’s men approaching. “Orders are orders and clients are clients. Oh, and by the by, remember….don’t kill our lovely welcoming committee….”
“Ah ain’t….just wingin’ ‘em is all…”
A shrill scream to her left almost made Grammy Oakley’s favorite granddaughter, with the nerves of steel, flinch….almost.
Glancing to the side, between shots, she saw four of Mr. Lee’s well dressed, hooded, goons slowly surrounding Libby. The smaller, thinner, librarian had her left arm out as if to shoo them away with a wave of her hand. Her right hand was digging into a messenger bag which slung over her left shoulder.
Her shriek also got the attention of the fourth woman in the group. A larger than average woman, one that looked as if she spent a lot of time outdoors, lifting heavy things. The curvy redhead was engaged with two other hooded goons, kicks and punches flying as the two, even larger goons, looked to want to do her physical harm. A look of concern marring her attractive features, Donna grunted out “Let me show you fellas something I picked up in Paris, France…” and, with that, she spun on her heel twice and delivered two, hard, savate kicks to each side of the hooded goon’s heads….dropping them to the ground while she rushed over to give Libby a helping hand.
The slimmer woman, who bore a striking resemblance to Myrna Loy, seemed to have recovered her wits. Quickly, she pulled her hand from her messenger bag and, in it, was a large can of Morton’s salt. She flipped the lid up with her thumb and spun in a circle, dousing the goons surrounding her with the white flakes while they, in turn, proceeded to burst into flames.
“Wights” she said, catching her breath and moving away from the now dying, open flames.
“White, black, Asian, Moroccan, who cares?”, Donna said, her eyes still wide in amazement.
Giving her a confused smile, Libby shoved the salt can back into her overstuffed bag.
“No….they’re called ‘wights’. If you check the small amount of skin that shows between their cuff and gloves, it looks gray and scaly. Added in the slight stiffness of their movements and the rabid fervor in which they follow orders and you can tell they’re the newly deceased.
Donna just shook her head as she glanced over Libby’s shoulder, then ran over to Aphrodite as more goons approached.
“What? You didn’t know that?” Libby called after her.
“Hey Boss”, Amanda shouted as she continued pumping lead into shoulders and knees, the goons were being slowed, but not halted and there were more waves pouring into the large room, “ah’m runnin’ outta lead here!”
Giving her a slight nod, Aphrodite concentrated on the moving throng approaching her from the glowing circle of energy on the wall. Their arms out, fingers flexing, they prepared to rend her limb from limb. Shoving another mass of thick, blonde, hair from her face, she smiled and pursed her lips. She extended her arms wide, her clingy tunic fluttering in the air that was coming from….somewhere, no one was quite sure as there were no windows in the room containing England’s crown jewels. She began to levitate as she surveyed the mass of tuxedo clad, hooded, figures approaching….her strappy sandals leaving the ground.
“That’s it boys, come close and feel the love!”
Aphrodite began to glow and the air filled with little sparkles of light. A wave of that same light rushed over the approaching goons, halting them in their tracks. They just stood there as if unsure what to do next.
“Dazzling…” Libby murmured in awe.
“This won’t last long, ladies, so grab what we came for and let’s hop the next chariot out of here. I sense the Beefeaters are on their way.” Aphrodite said, still holding her arms out wide, a look of concentration etched on her pretty face.
“Ummm…just where, exactly, is the thing we’re here for?” Donna asked, looking at the vast and varied types of jewelry and cases in the room.
Libby pointed to the far wall. Sitting on a small pedestal under glass, a tiara made of bright diamonds shone in the darkness.
“Right there. I once read that the Princess’ crown was placed near the back of the room as to not take away from the Queen’s jewels.”
“You’re sure about that?” Donna said as she sprinted over to the case, bashing in the glass with a gloved fist before Libby could confirm.
“Of course, I’m sure. What? You didn’t know that?” Libby asked while Donna just rolled her eyes.
With the tiara in hand, Donna yelled “Got it!” and made her way over to a still floating Aphrodite. Libby and Amanda, salt can and guns holstered respectively, followed suit.
“Ah still don’t like workin’ fer that lil house painter fella….gives me the creeps.” Amanda intoned as they huddled up.
“Well, we’re not so much working for him as we are against him. He only thinks we’re doing him a service. Uncle Adolph’s blind faith in supernatural artifacts will, one day, be his undoing.” Aphrodite smiled. “This may look like a princess’ crown but, in reality, it’s the Crown of Verwechslung….the Crown of Confusion. His so called ‘scholars’ were a touch off base on this one. Once he puts it on, his judgment will be forever clouded and, the best part is, he’s paying the Society for doing it.”
“What? You didn’t know that?” Libby nodded towards the other two girls who had perplexed looks on their faces. “Mr. Lee’s after it to give to the Empress of Japan, hoping she’ll finally accept his proposal of marriage.” the librarian added.
Again, Donna rolled her eyes. “Put it on? What makes you think he’s going to wear a girly tiara?”
“Oh, there’s intelligence out there that says Hitler has some…let’s say…odd traits.” Aphrodite said, though clenched teeth, the smile fading as she continued to concentrate. “Good thing these…wight things still seemed to have some vestiges of manhood still left in them…”
Libby nodded again, opening her mouth before Donna cut her off. “If you say it, I’m gonna throttle you…”
Libby, promptly, closed her mouth again.
“Awright, Donna….yer up….” Grammy Oakley’s favorite granddaughter said, “git us outta here.”
And, with that, Donna held her left hand up and removed the expensive looking leather glove that covered it. A huge diamond, wedding, band sparkled on her ring finger. She kissed and whispered to it….
“My love, I wish us home.” her voice taking on a haunting, sing song, tone as she spoke.
The four women began to shimmer and fade from sight. As they glowed brighter, Libby cocked her head towards Donna.
“So....ummm.....how many wishes do you have with that?”
“I honestly have no idea.” Donna smiled wistfully and winked.
“So then….we could’ve been stuck here and….” Libby gulped.
“What? You didn’t know that?” Donna winked, patting Libby on her cheek.
Aphrodite’s hearty laughter was the last thing heard as the four women blinked out of sight
So, what are your writing insecurities?
Would you like to see any more tales involving The Fortune Society?