Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Let Me Show You The Thing (Neo by Alphasmart review) and A Chapter.

Have you seen the $300-$500 dollar writing machines that are just word processors? They look cool, and being able to type without the distraction of dealing with either the internet or fighting with a typewriter sounds great. But, don't buy those. 
Best Mother's Day gift. 

Get one of the Neo by Alphasmart models. It's just over thirty bucks. It doesn't load anything to a cloud, but transfers the text you type in line by line, all you do is open a word processing program and use the USB cable to plug in the Neo. It does look a little weird to see it type in the text, but it is relatively fast and works well. It saves in 8 different file locations so you can go through multiple chapters without uploading if you need to. 

You can only see a few lines of text at a time, so you can't get hung up on editing. And the battery life is amazing. 

This has helped me a lot. I know I've mentioned I generally had to revert to handwriting chapters because I couldn't find time on the computer. But man is that discouraging to go through that and still need to type up everything. Somehow it always takes me forever. 

I needed something portable that was of genuinely no interest to my kids. I needed typing not to be another thing on my list, and I needed the gadget to be within my budget, and the Neo helped me with all of it. It's particularly nice now because I'm spending so much time in MD offices and in testing centers that I can get even more writing done. 

I figured I'd share one of the Chapters I'd written with it so far, too. The formatting went fine other than straightening the titles. It's unedited, but I wanted to show how well it transferred over. You'll still be doing clean up, but it's minimal. 

Chapter One

The thing was cornered, but it didn’t have any idea yet. I watched it crawl sideways so quietly I could hardly detect the grating of soft skin on limestone rock. The Carrier was barely breathing. It was just three feet away from Bainbridge.
            That was close. That was too close. A single drop of fluid, a mouthful of breath even, was enough to infect hundreds of human beings. Bainbridge was covered, decked out in the heavy plastic suit and face guard standard issued for anyone dealing with medical waste in the field. But it would take a drop of that body fluid rolling the wrong way when a suit was peeled off: one needle-like tooth puncturing that plastic, and Bainbridge would join the ranks of the zombified Afflicted.
            Three feet was too close.
            The carrier noticed me, smelled me and I saw the grotesque eyeless face star upward as I jumped down upon it. I’d crushed a part of its jaw with the dark gem handle of my dagger on the way down, but the lop-sided mouth fastened around my arm, anyway.
            “You go right ahead, fucker, that won’t save you,” I pushed the dagger so far into the soft spot of the sensing organ in its I lost grip of the handle. The carrier spun backward. It was leaching out the pus from its boils and the inky blood was like a broken fountain spraying in every direction.
            I was breathing so hard it hurt. I looked to make sure Bainbridge had gotten away. It looked like he was approaching and I motioned for him to wait. He was a safe distance and he needed to stay there.
            The Carrier wasn’t moving anymore, the wetness of it soaking into the dusty ground and the flow slowed to a trickle. I felt the familiar sting of the venom sloshing around in my bloodstream from the bite.
            My arm had been padded with a bite guard and the damn thing had broken through it even with a broken jaw. Ridiculous. I sighed and tried to shake it away, shake the pain off. I had little more than four hours before the Heartsease.
            Working off a bite from a Carrier was going to seriously slow me down.
            It hurt, everything hurt acutely. My vision kept trying to gray out, but I’d collected venom so often that I could do this part blind.
            I took the vials from my backpack, they each sat in insulated cases to avoid breaking, but werewolf packs were tightly wrapped cattle skins with ingenious amounts of lacing and pockets and they probably would have been fine riding around.
This Carrier was still juicy. All I had to do was press the vials to the broken skin and blood drained quickly.
            I capped each vial and tucked it back into its insulated casing. Naked empty vials were one thing, naked vials of super infectious agents were another.
            I pulled out my dagger, it would need to be cleaned before I could even walk near Bainbridge. I flipped the corpse back over.
            It wasn’t until now that I saw how skinny this one was. Like it hadn’t eaten in months. It was a positive thing, considering what they ate, but very strange. “You really should have been easier to kill,” I said to it.
            I used my dagger to slit open the unruptured boils from the Carrier’s back and filled the rest of the vials with the pus. I managed to get everything back in the pack but was too weak to stand up.
            “Calling in help, just stay there,” I heard Bainbridge yell faintly.
            My head was killing me. Some werewolves ended up with swollen brains from Carrier venom, and I’d forgotten to worry about that until now.
            A recon team, all wearing the same flimsy crap they’d given Bainbridge, began preparing the Carrier for incineration at the spot. One of them tried to help me up, probably to get me out of the range of the fire so they could get started. I waved them off. I was splashed and nobody needed that risk.
            Finally, another werewolf, still in the same gear, came with the cleaning stuff. I was hosed off and my clothes were taken to burn with the dead creature. My dagger was drizzled with antibacterial and antiviral goo, then rinsed with water from the same portable tank they dosed me with until nothing stank of infection.
            I was having trouble trying to put my new shirt on. Bainbridge, always too dumb to be scared of this stuff, came over to help me get dressed.
            My black wolf ears, unchangeable even in my human form were tightly wrapped and packed down with bandages. Those had been covered by my now ruined hood, but the bandages were clean, and there were three layers of cloth so that if one needed removing, I was not exposed.
            It was not uncommon for wolves changed by the sentient virus Blight to find that parts of their werewolf skin never faded from the human body. But advertising that meant trouble.
            The story we gave was a head injury combined with being born with limited hearing so that using sign language was inconspicuous. I could hear somewhat, but it was limited under the packing. Bainbridge and I were fluent in wolfen signing, having been taught together as small children the rare knowledge of it.
            Bainbridge signed “They say you (were) careless. I had (a) gun. Could have taken a shot if you had gotten away from (it) instead of standing like a giant blockade in front of the world’s skinniest Carrier. People have told (you) you’re not that thin, right?” He let the werewolf with the water tank rinse off his suit and mask before he peeled out of them. Bainbridge hadn’t come in contact with any fluids from the creature, but it was protocol. His clothes were light and bright colors, but that many layers under that suit still cooked humans in this heat. His blonde hair, normally a blue mohawk, was just a wet mess against his face like a short waterfall, and it hid the small black mark under his left eye. That was a mark given only to humans who’d been accepted as werewolves.
            “And if (you) missed, if (you) hit it and pissed it off, it would have zeroed in on you. The things go through humans like sheets of paper. Not worth it,” I signed. I rubbed my head and my burning eyes. “You shouldn’t be out here as bait," I was having trouble moving my hands without shaking. 
            “We’re here together, that’s just how it goes,” he sighed as he signed back. “Just need to trust (me) more,” he said.
I heard one of the field techs say we had collected enough today and that we were free to go, but Bainbridge signed back what she had said to me anyway and I nodded. 

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