What won’t you say on your deathbed?

I wish I’d hated more people!  I think it really, you know, helped me – and it sure changed THEIR rotten ways!

I wish I’d spent more time brooding and sulking.  That stuff was REALLY satisfying! Uh huh!

I wish I’d rationed my love a bit more.  I mean, the way I handed out cuddles and compliments and affection and all that, you’d think they were free!

I wish I’d spent more time being miserable.  Of course, in every life a little misery comes along – sometimes a lot – but I could have gone out and LOOKED for it!  If only I’d had more initiative with that kind of thing.

I spent a lot of time whingeing and, you know, it really paid off!  I wouldn’t be where I am today without all those hours selflessly spent listing my woes to my nearest, dearest and that guy on the bus.

Any additions?

Darla at Blatherbabe’s just written a brilliant parody on a hitwoman with a headache – check it out.

And here’s another excerpt from my new novel, Monopoly.  If you’d like to read it when it comes out, feel free to send me your email, and I’ll give you a free electronic copy.

The small girl rolls on the grass, naked. Her mother watches from the shade of an oak tree, marvelling in her pink and white delicacy. Soon they’ll have to go in, before the ultra-violet gets too strong, and spend the hot summer day in front of the air conditioner in the living room. The rented house in Melbourne’s inner suburbs is weatherboard, and the tin roof cracks and rustles in the heat like a small storm.

There’s a dog, a puppy really, like a tiny golden snowball, darting and pouncing around the child. In one moment its teeth are around her wrist, tiny and sharp, but they don’t break the skin. It’s only playing. It growls, shakes its small snout, leaps backward in sudden alarm.  The baby laughs uproariously. The sky darkens.

“Shall I do it now? Let me do it, let me be the one!”

The Game Council cannot agree. Any one of them could have ended the life of this little being, in less than a heartbeat, less than a blink of her dark blue eyes. But instead, they have sat in the long white-stone hall, speaking at length on the matter, as if she were not just a small, insignificant creature, created in a millisecond and gone in the next, but a being of importance.

Set is eager. He is a creature of cunning and violence, his blazing eyes shifting from fire to ice, as changeable as a tornado. He likes to kill. They all know this. But nothing pleases him for long. There must always be more.

“She is very young,” says Frig, with some tenderness.  “What harm can there be in her?”

She remembers her own baby, Baldr, rolling in her garden in just such a way, playing with the shadows that glanced from his white gold hair. But now Baldr stands silent, looking down on the child as she chews on a stem of grass, the dog belly up beside her. He is very beautiful, her Baldr – the most beautiful of all the immortals. The humans, when they catch a glimpse of him through the fog of their inferior consciousness, call him god of the sun, of love, of happiness, but they do not know him. He is not happy. He has his wife, his Assigned, Na’ana, but the god of love does not have love.

“Let be, Set,” says Isis, tall and serene., “This mark has a meaning. If she dies now, it will be a question forever unanswered.”

The child, lying still on her small round belly, looks towards her mother. On her back is a birthmark. It covers her skin from shoulder to hip, as if someone has held a hot iron board to her back, engraved with a strange scarlet script. In the language of the immortals, it spells a single word. It’s a message, says Zeus-Ra – but from whom? Perhaps someone is playing a joke, but who would dare?

Set laughs, a deep, melodious sound, like the ringing of a cold iron bell.

“Forever? What does that mean to us! We are immortal. You forget that these humans are mere fodder and nothing more. I say kill her now and be done with it.”

“And I say,” says Zeus-Ra, wearily, for he has lived longer than any of them, “let her be. Time enough to put an end to her when we know more of what she is. Being human, she will die soon in any case, even if we do nothing.”

Baldr smiles at last, and his blue eyes are alight with warmth.

“Look,” he says, “she sees us.”

The child has turned on her back as if she’s floating in water, arms outflung, palms upward. She is gazing up, towards the sky, through the blue layers, with a curious intensity, as if she knows that she is being watched. A balloon drifts overhead, pink, with a smiley face drawn on.

The elementals have already turned away, bored, but Baldr lingers. Something about her draws him.



      1. well,I suppose Publishers are readers, so…
        Jane, you are an amazing writer, and I have to think that someone is going to be smart enough to publish you!

      1. So, look, I’m in an online intensive writing class for summer session and part of our work is online “workshopping” of fellow students…and, I have to say, that’s been painful! Even those with great ideas lack basic punctuation and grammar skills.much less the ability to weave it all into one cohesive story.(and I’m in the SF/Berkeley, CA area, a hotbed of literary skills),..you have all of that, as well as the ability to actually FINISH something (my downfall) You will do well in the literary world, I promise/predict it!

      2. I’ve noticed that at writers’ circles and stuff too. You have to remember though that at the other end of the spectrum are Jody Picault and Michael Crichton and George RR Martin, people who can write better than I ever will.

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