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Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Flash Fiction: S.O.B.

Now that Always a Bridesmaid is over, I'm going to return to self-contained stories for my Friday Flash contributions. I'll be starting a new serial for The Penny Dreadful within the next month once I get some groundwork laid, but I plan to keep the serial separate from Friday Flash. Stay tuned!

I've never written anything in second person P.O.V. before, so feedback is welcome as to whether this one worked.

Friday Flash: S.O.B.

I just had a perfect evening out with my wife and daughter, and now you're going to jump out from behind that dumpster and point a gun at us? Damnit, yes, Jenny, you told me not to take this shortcut to the car!

Yes, I know you want my wallet and my wife's purse. Go ahead and hand it over, Jenny. I told you to upload those pictures of little Tommy to the computer from your phone. Now what pocket did I put that wallet in?

There's no reason to yell. As you can see, we're being quite cooperative.

I couldn't help but notice that your hand shook slightly when you took Jenny's purse, and I see the corner of your eye twitching. I'm a neurologist – that's a nerve doctor, you know – and I've seen those signs before. Yes, yes, I'll make the explanation quick. I understand you have credit cards and identities to steal.

Well, those nervous twitches could be early signs of a stroke or pulmonary embolism, where a clot dislodges from a blood vessel and then re-lodges in the lungs or brain, which blocks the blood from where it needs to go. Tell me, are you feeling a little tight in your chest? I see the gun is trembling – would that be from a sudden pain in your right shoulder? Your breathing sounds labored. We call that S.O.B., or Shortness of Breath in the medical world. Yes, it's a little medical humor to set you at ease. It wouldn't do for you to stroke out after such a good haul, now, would it?

What if I told you that you look just like the guy we treated in the E.R. yesterday? He'd come in with a lovely P.E. That's the clot in the lungs. I've heard it's quite a painful way to go, like suffocating on land. Is your throat feeling a little sore? That could be another early sign, especially if your breath is short.

My, that's a nasty wheeze you've developed! Go on, back away into the shadows. Seems your date with the Grim Reaper is coming sooner than you've expected. You're blinking rapidly – vision's swimming, is it? And that wheeze is much worse. Your heart must be going a million beats a minute. Don't worry, I've never heard of it exploding in someone's chest – yet. Go on and have a seat. We won't bother you.

Maybe you should let me take your pulse. You'll have to put the gun aside first. Yes, let me feel on either side of your neck. There!

Okay, Jenny, I found the carotid arteries and knocked him out. You can get your purse and call the cops on your cell phone. I've got my wallet. They don't call me Doctor Vulcan Death Grip for nothing, even if I am a psychologist!


  1. Dr. Vulcan Death Grip! Oh, my, that's priceless!

    You had nothing to worry about, you did a great job with POV here. It's a thoroughly great piece.

    Loved it.

  2. Absolutely brilliant - that's a seriously practical use of his psychology studies! Did he major in Mental Manipulation 101, by any chance?

    Loved it. :D

  3. Totally loved this! POV worked quite well, so no worries about that.

    And I have a particular appreciation for the background you've chosen for your writing blog :D

    Well done! Raise my glass of wine in toast to you.

  4. Very nice! I think the POV worked really well and I love how the emphasis shifts gradually through the piece. The Vulcan Death Grip made me laugh.

  5. As everyone has already said - you have nothing to worry about with POV here - very well done. This left chills Cecilia. Super work!

  6. Oh that was great! I loved it! :)

  7. Good story! Had good humor in it. The POV worked well, but it's more 1st person than 2nd.

  8. Terrific story and I loved the ending, too. I think the mixed POV worked for you. I found it very entertaining.

  9. Thanks, y'all! I'm glad it worked. Please let me know if any of you are successful with self-defense by induced panic attack. :)


  10. Cecilia,
    In contrast to the other readers I'd like to say that I found the POV quite confusing, because the person the 'you' referred to kept changing.

    As I understand it, in second person POV the 'you' is the reader - so the reader (whether he or she wants to or not) becomes a character.

    I hope that's helpful feedback.


  11. Thanks for your comment, David! I think that Eric was right -- it's more first person than second. Oh, well, I shall still give myself credit for trying something new. :)

    Thanks as well to Jon!


  12. This was brilliant. He sort of reminded me of Doctor Who, if DW talked people to death. Awesome!

  13. Ha! Thanks, Ganymeder! I think sometimes he tries to in a very nonviolent way. :)