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  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 16 January 2018 · 12 views




A free pass allows you to skip the slush and become an instant pick. You’ll get to work with a mentor to improve your query and first page (first 250 words). Your entry will be seen by our 21 agents and maybe some ninja agents!

You must do two things to enter:

  • Leave a blog comment on this post and use the rafflecopter to record that you commented. If you aren’t in the rafflecopter, it can’t pick you as the winner. This ensures the winner is random and no bias slips in.
  • Answer this question:

How would your main character handle a day with a 100+degree temperature? Would they wilt in the shade or revel in the heat?

Please be as fun or creative as you can with your reply and try and stay under 200 words.

Use the rafflecopter for additional optional entries and to help spread the word via Twitter.

The free pass will stay open until January 22. 

Thanks and good luck! I hope to see one of you on TEAM SUN!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



BEING FISHKILL Author Ruth Lehrer On Stumbling Into Inspiration

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 16 January 2018 · 2 views

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to us like a lightning bolt, through the lyrics of a song, or in the fog of a dream. Ask any writer where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and in that vein I created the WHAT (What the Hell Are you Thinking?) interview. Always including in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewees mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.

Today's guest for the WHAT is Ruth Lehrer whose debut YA novel, BEING FISHKILL, is set against the stark reality of an impoverished rural landscape, and offers a stunning, revelatory look at what defines and sustains “family.”

Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?

Several years ago my partner’s mother was sick and we were commuting to Queens NY every weekend for months. Up and down the Taconic Highway, several times a week. Both ways you see the exit sign for the towns of FISHKILL/CARMEL. “Wouldn’t that be a funny girl’s name?” I said, “Some deluded mother naming her kid Carmel Fishkill ...”  Once she had a name, Fishkill easily stepped out into the world. 

Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?

I didn’t really build the plot. I was lucky enough to have the characters, Fishkill and Duck-Duck, knock loudly on my creative door. I wrote the first sentence in the car outside a writing group and then wrote the first couple pages when I went inside. Fishkill and Duck-Duck were fully formed people who walked up and pretty much dictated their story.

Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?

The plot of Being Fishkill shifted in small ways during the process of writing and editing but my second book, which I am in the process of writing, is a squishy slimy animal and seems to change every time I sit down to write. 

Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?

Poems come to me often, mostly whenever I sit down and let them. (They’re not always good poems, but hey ...) Story/novel ideas are harder to come by. I wish I knew where that particular place was where characters like Fishkill are just waiting to latch onto an author. I seem to have stumbled there once. Maybe it will happen again? 

How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?

Usually I have one main project I’m working on and various stray poems. I don’t seem to be able to juggle more than one novel. I envy folks who can. 

I have 8 cats (seriously, check my Instagram feed) and I usually have at least one or two snuggling with me when I write. Do you have a writing buddy, or do you find it distracting?

No cats, no dogs, no birds, no lizards. Sometimes I write with a human friend, either in person or virtually. I have a drawing of an owl on the wall near my desk. 



The Fire that Inspired Flaming Crimes by Chrys Fey (Part 7)

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 16 January 2018 · 11 views

Please welcome the lovely Chrys Fey to the blog today!!!

AUTHOR NOTE: Many scenes in Flaming Crimes (Disaster Crimes #4) came from real life. For this short blog tour, I am sharing my memories as a ten-part continuous story, so hop along for the entire experience.

Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304
Digital Price: 4.99
Print Price: 16.99
Rating: Spicy (PG13) 


I returned home at dusk. When I walked in the house with my family, the first thing we saw was one of our cats lying right there in the walkway, as if nothing had happened. I remember thinking that if the house would have burned down, this cat would’ve died.

Before we went to bed, Monkey, the pregnant cat who had run out of my sister’s arms came back home. She was okay. But…another one of our cats had run out the door in the chaos and was still out there, somewhere.

When I went to bed, I had been afraid. The house stank like burned wood. A brush truck purred loudly in the woods next to my bedroom, making sure the fire was out and no hotspots would flare up. I woke up several times in the middle of the night, thinking the house was on fire, because smoke was imprinted on my sight. I could see it in the darkness, filling my bedroom. It wasn’t real, but it was to me. 


Trying to walk quickly, but not too fast to frighten the cat, was tricky. Beth made shooshing noises, as if she were comforting a baby, and fluffed the fur on Misty’s chest with her fingers, hoping the contact would soothe her. At Mrs. Caraway’s car, she slowly lowered her right hand to open the back door. Her plan was to gently toss the cat inside and shut the door before she could escape. She pulled on the door handle and had the door cracked open when Misty panicked. The cat fought her. Claws pierced through her T-shirt and sliced the skin on her stomach. Beth attempted to keep her hold on the lashing cat, but Misty let out a yowl and ran her nails up Beth’s arm. She let out a startled cry and instinctively released Misty, who darted across the lawn and into the woods. In her fear, Misty ran right to the thing she should’ve been running from—the fire.

The story will continue on these blogs:

1/8Circle of Friends Books - Part 1
1/9Sandra CoxPart 2
1/10Elements of EmaginettePart 3
1/11Julie FlandersPart 4
1/12I Think; Therefore, I YamPart 5
1/15Alex J. CavanaughPart 6
1/16Just JemiPart 7
1/17Sandra DaileyPart 8
1/18FundinmentalPart 9
1/19Elizabeth SeckmanPart 10

About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:

Thank you for reading this post! Don’t forget to hop along to the other posts on their designated days for the full fiery story.

SHARE: Your fire story with me.

Thanks Chrys! What a fascinating story. Looking forward to the next few posts to see the whole story!

We've luckily been untouched by fire (with one close call). How about you? Any fire stories to share?




Posted by Joshkatzauthor89 in Joshkatzauthor89's Blog, 13 January 2018 · 30 views

Introduction Hello, everyone,

My Name is Josh Katz, recently started on this site and I am an aspiring author hoping to share my many stories with the world.

As far back as I can remember, I was always a story teller. Like most kids growing up, my imagination would fly. I invented my own special heros and dubious characters, creating worlds and places where the Good-Guys, and the Good-Girls, battle witches,
monsters and evil-doers. I loved telling stories to my mother and father, my friends, and my neighbors. As I grew up, my natural creativity expanded and my talents led me to the performing arts and the theater. As an actor, I enjoy doing theater and musical performances at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, the Washington Savoyards, and with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company. The discipline of theater and my love of storytelling cultivated my craft for creative writing. When I sat down to write my first novel series, "The Enchanted Destiny Chronicles" I composed a band of graphic, bigger-than-life protagonists and champions. But I also wanted to bring out the qualités spéciales de vivre in their personalities. How this mix of diverse beings are able to handle adversity amongst themselves journeying through an elaborate myriad of frightening, out-of-this-world situations and contesting adversaries along the way and surviving, well, that's what makes it interesting! It's a pretty good tale of good versus evil. And yeah, there's a lot of adventure, tragedy and mystery.


Sneak Peek from Upcoming Book Accidentally Married

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 13 January 2018 · 33 views

Seven Lines! I was tagged for a game on Facebook where you share seven lines from the book you are working on.

Accidentally Married romance Veils and Vows by Jean OramI’m currently working on Jill and Burke’s story, Accidentally Married, which is Veils and Vows book 4 and will be released everywhere March 22. (It is already up for preorder on iBooks.)

I’m excited about this book as the idea of accidentally marrying someone tickles me to no end! (And then, of course, having these characters fall in love before they can separate is even better!)

This is a snippet from Burke Carver’s scene–he is sooooo not into marriage. And guess what? He and Jill accidentally got married.


* * *
The stress had to be getting to him. His quest for market expansion being blocked by Jill and her inability to immediately free up his credit was making him twitch. His team had invested heavily in creating valuable momentum and now it would be all for nothing. Lost.

He had to find the answer and it was most definitely not marriage. That was never the answer. Women left. And when they did, they had a tendency to take down as much around them like an angry kitten with a vendetta against draperies and glass vases. Absolute and total destruction.

What had he been thinking uttering “I do?”

* * *

Reserve your copy on iBooks or subscribe to my newsletter to get an email notice when Burke’s story is ready!

Thank you to romance author M. Jane Colette for tagging me. She has a new release coming next month called Screw Chocolate. Her books are spicy and her hair colour is FABulous. Check her out!



The Ritual of New

Posted by JordanTheNinja in JordanTheNinja's Blog, 26 December 2017 · 56 views

As with all things, an ending comes sooner or later. And we are quickly approaching the end of another year. My, time really flies. It seems that as each year comes, it goes by faster and faster, and pretty soon, I’ll be an old man, wondering where the hell my life has gone.

Maybe that’s the curse of adulthood. Once you reach a certain age, time speeds up. Maybe the key to being youthful forever lays within childhood. Maybe it has to do with being carefree, and seeing the world in a more innocent—yet raw—light. I’ve been writing again. I’m back in cycle, and I have to say I’ve never felt more carefree and excited than I have now.

Writing this novel has made me reevaluate my entire life. It’s made me step out of my own metaphorical box and really broaden my thinking. I’m taking the whole world in, and it’s a mind-blowing concept for me. I think that’s how you know you’re growing as a writer, and as a person, when you stop thinking about surface level ideas.

It’s the time of year where people want to change themselves, they initiate the cycle of New Year, New Me. And what more ritualistic concept is there? There’s nothing wrong with this thinking; I find that it’s a very awesome aspect, to want to change and want to grow. It makes me wonder what other rituals we as humans engage in. From now on, I’m going to refer to the beginning of a new year as “The Ritual of New.”

So, whatever plans you guys have for The Ritual of New, I hope they are fantastic and that they change your life for the better. I wish good health, prosperity, and love as we go into the New Year, and I want to see all of you thrive. May all the changes you want to make come to fruition. May whatever fears you hold be vanquished as you realize your inner power.


P.S. If you guys want to know more about this new novel, or just writing things in general, feel free to check out my Twitter and Instagram pages. I post excerpts of writings on both. Thanks!



Posted by missmikan in missmikan's Blog, 19 December 2017 · 90 views





Evelynn opened the door to her apartment only to find hundreds of roses. Rose petals on the floor, bouquets on every table she owned, and petals down the hallway into her room and onto her bed. They were everywhere. A strong feeling of dread welled in her stomach; she knew where the flowers came from and she didn't like it. She'd spent almost a year successfully hiding and now he'd found her.

She stood in the doorway, frozen, fully aware that he was still in her apartment, somewhere, just waiting for her to walk in. She couldn't move. She felt his presence the way the wind blew; all encompassing. As she held her breath, she stepped forward into her apartment, needing to remind herself how to walk. 'One foot in front of the other.' She set her purse on the rose petal covered couch and kept going with the knowledge of this never-ending hell propelling her forward.

Evelynn stopped in the doorway to her dark bedroom. Other than the hundreds of roses and rose petals, the only evidence that he was there was the gentle breathing coming from her right. She held her breath and gripped her phone a little tighter as he turned to face her.

'Evelynn, darling, I miss you. Come lay in bed with me and forget all this leaving me nonsense.'

Evelynn looked at him as though he'd grown another head. She took a deep breath, looked him in the eye, and said, 'I thought you hated me. At least that's how you made it seem when I left.'

Now it was his turn to look baffled. He stared at her, not knowing what made her think that.

'No but I want to be in a relationship with you. I guess you don't want that though since you're the one that left me. I wish you'd come cuddle me. I don't see why you wouldn't unless you're in a relationship, which you're not, so I'm not sure why you freaked out. Let's do something for Valentine's Day since neither of us have ever done anything for it. You showed all the signs that you wanted to try with me and then you just leave? It's breaking my heart. I can't sleep, can't eat, can't anything.'

'Jax, I'm just so afraid of getting hurt again. Believe it or not, leaving you hurt me too.'

With that response, he quickly turned away from Evelynn and angrily stalked into her dining room, where rose petals followed him. She followed behind him and what she hoped was a safe distance and waited. He looked at her with an intense fire behind his ocean blue eyes that she'd never seen before.

'What do you mean 'get hurt AGAIN'?! What made your decision; what made you leave? Because things were going so well and you just leave? Tell me what really happened. Let's please do something tomorrow since you don't have work anyways.'

'I can't. I have plans tomorrow,' was the only thing she responded with.

'What plans do you have with someone else that you can't see me tomorrow? Are you going somewhere to see someone? Why did you think it was a good idea for us to stop talking after all the love and emotion you showed me, Evie? Tell me how that's fair.'

Surprised at the audacity of what he just said, Evelynn slowly turned to walk into the kitchen. She'd had a long day at work and the last thing she'd wanted when she got home was to see Jax. She poured a glass of her favourite sparkling pink wine before saying anything to him. What she finally replied with surprised him.

'I actually do work tomorrow and after that, I'm going to see a movie with Shantelle. That was what I was going to do, because, even though it's been eight months, I haven't been able to stop thinking about what happened and how afraid I was. I don't ever want to be that afraid of another human being ever again in my life.'

'You said you wanted to try and make this work, so do you or not? You're overthinking about it again.'

'No, I'm really not overthinking about this. You used to always tell me you hated me and I was constantly afraid of you. I don't want to be afraid anymore Jax.'

His expression softened. Evelynn could tell that what she said had finally sunk in. He understood what she said. Whether or not he cared she didn't know. All she knew was that she'd hit a chord and that was good enough for her.

With a saddened expression and a voice like a whisper, Jax said, 'please Evie. Please. We were doing so well and now you're telling me off. Do you have any idea how heartbroken I have been, how heartbroken I still am? Please, let's just talk like we used to. I don't understand what I had done for you to turn such a cold shoulder to me. We were so affectionate before. Where'd it come from? Was it someone else that made you change your mind about us? I think I have a right to know what happened don't I?'

Evelynn was furious. 'Why does it have to be someone else that changed my mind? What is it in your head that makes you think I can't make my own decisions? I'm a big girl Jax. I know how to decide things for myself but thanks anyways. Now, will you stop accusing everyone else for me deciding to leave?'

'Okay cool, so are we going to try to make things work or what? We could fix this right now if you wanted to. Because honestly, things were going so well for us.'

'Well, maybe I'll come by later but for now, I don't know and I need you to leave. I can't decide if you're standing here constantly harassing me about it and I need space. I've stayed away from you for so long, you can't just walk into my apartment unannounced when I'm not even home and expect everything to be fine.'

Finally after escorting Jax out of her apartment, Evelynn needed to lie down. Her head was pounding from the shock of seeing him there. Knowing there was a mess of rose petals that needed to be put in trash bags and taken out, she walked into her room, pulled the covers off her bed, and laid down.

Hours that felt like seconds passed when the alarm on her phone sounded. Evelynn looked at the time; 4:30 am just like every other morning. She was supposed to think about what Jax had said last night but had instead slept through the entire night. Well, she thought to herself, time for work. Get up and go and then you can come home and get ready for your movie with Shantelle tonight and forget about it all until tomorrow.

She climbed out of bed and started to get ready for work. She threw her hair into a tight bun on top of her head, put her uniform on, brushed her teeth, and smudged eyeliner around her deep brown eyes

As she got to work, her phone rang in her pocket. An email, which upon further inspection, and reading of the email, Evelynn noticed that Jax still wanted to see her.

'I don't work today so you should come over in a few minutes before you go to your movie and cuddle with me.'

'So much for being able to forget about it until tomorrow,' muttered Evelynn as she clocked in for her early morning shift.

'Hey!' Shantelle said far too cheerily for the early morning drudge that surrounded them. Then, when she saw the look on her friends face, 'what's going on? Are you okay?'

Evelynn rolled her eyes, looked at her best friend, and said, 'it's nothing. Just Jax. He showed up at my place last night before I got off work and my entire apartment is still covered in the rose petals and bouquets he left everywhere because I haven't cleaned it yet. I can't even see the floor or my table tops. I don't know how he found me Shantelle.'

Shantelle's face fell. She didn't know what to say. For the first time since Evelynn had known her, Shantelle wa speechless. She finally met Evelynn's eyes with a sad defeated expression.

'Evie, I'm so sorry. I don't even know what to say.'

'I don't know what happened. He wasn't supposed to be able to find me; that was why we moved and changed my phone number. He's trying to get me to come over right now and I haven't said anything to him because I really don't want to see him but I'm so scared of what will happen if I say no.'

Evelynn looked at her friend with an indescribable terror behind her eyes that she couldn't mask and said, 'I need to respond to this email though. He knows where I live and I can promise he'll show up at my apartment and keep me from going to the movie if I don't respond.'

She sighed and started to type out a message that read, 'Jax, you may not work today but, I'm already at work and I told you that I have a movie with Shantelle tonight so it's not likely I'll be able to come over later.'

He replied almost instantly. Evelynn sighed once more knowing this wasn't going to be over anytime soon. She opened the email as Shantelle walked behind her with the ice tub and read it aloud.

'Okay so, why can't you early in the morning tomorrow? You used to always love to cuddle in the mornings.'

She knew this wasn't going to be an easily won battle and it scared her. Evelynn took a deep breath, reread the email and responded with what she hoped was reasonable enough to get her out of being harassed into going to his house instead of the movie with her best friend.

'I do love to cuddle in the morning but that doesn't mean that I can just drop everything else I have to do tomorrow just so I can have a moment of what I want. I have a crazy busy week, and likely won't even have a minute to come over and see you. I have to work until six, the tomorrow Shantelle has physical therapy right before I go into work, and then we have our movie tonight. I will not have time.

Immediate response. Of course. She should have known after all. It was always one of his traits to respond immediately when he wanted something from her.
'Why do you have to go to physical therapy with her? To drive her? Can't she drive herself? Have you gone on any dates with anyone in the past few months since we've been apart?'

Evelynn avoided the last question by only answering the one that she wanted to.

'I'm going simply because she asked me if I would. Simple as that.'

As she put her phone into her apron pocket, Shantelle walked into the drink room and said, 'looks like everything is done so now we have twenty minutes to sit at a table and figure out why Jax is here and won't leave you alone. Tell me everything.'

They walked into the small interior of the restaurant and sat at the table closest to them. The dim lighting and empty dining room made the early morning feel like late at night. With opening being the ungodly hour of 5:30 in the morning, they weren't supposed to use the lights until late at night and absurdly dark outside. The old chairs creaked as they sat down just like they did when anybody else tried to sit.

Evelynn pulled out her phone to read yet another email from Jax. Shantelle looked at her with a pointed expression as she read it before she said, 'well tell me what it says! I want to know what's going on too.'

Evelynn startled at the sound of her voice. Instead of reading it aloud, she showed her the email that read, 'okay....when is her appointment? When does she have class? Is there any other way we could message each other?'

Shantelle looked at her in shock.

'Who does he think he is?! He can't just show up here and expect you to forgive him of every wrong he ever did. There's nothing you can do about the fact that he hurt you and you need to tell him that. Don't give him your phone number or you know he won't leave you alone about anything ever again and you'll just cave and start seeing him again. Just reply and don't answer the question about whether or not you could message each other a different way.'

She turned he phone back to herself and started typing out a response that included the time of Shantelle's physical therapy and class. All the email read was, 'appointment at nine, class at eleven.'

Shantelle looked at her friend with a sadness in her bright green eyes that Evelynn had never seen before. She was worried about her best friend getting hurt but couldn't find the words to tell her. She stuck with what she knew and said, 'look Evie, I know you're scared of him but you really shouldn't be talking to him at all. You know it's just going to hurt you more in the long run.'

Evelynn looked at her phone and sighed. She knew she shouldn't be talking to him but the fear of what may happen if she stopped was the only thing that kept her responses going. She looked at her phone again and watched it light up with a new email from Jax, who, of course, wasn't going to let her off that easy. Evelynn read it aloud so Shantelle knew what was happening too.

'Okay...so you'll be here at like 11:30 and we'll just keep everything casual between us like nothing happened okay?'

Shantelle looked at her and sighed. She knew there would be a response to the email that was just opened. She knew there would be more heartache, and she knew Evelynn wouldn't be able to stop talking to him solely because of the fear he impressed into her mind so early on.

As Evelynn clicked the reply button, she felt a sudden knot in her stomach. She typed out the reply anyway and slowly glanced up at her friend. She knew Shantelle didn't agree with her even though she never said anything.

She slowly typed out a reply that read, 'J, I don't actually want sex...'

Again there was an instant reply. Shantelle looked at her and simply said, 'don't even bother with it. Let's get back to work. We still have to open the damn place. We can deal with him later.'

Evelynn looked at her phone and read the most recent message that said, 'uhmm...okay...why? Why not? What's changed in the past two days, when it was going so well?'

By the time she looked up, Shantelle was long gone, unlocking the front door and seating the large group they always had for Sunday breakfast. Even though the hour was early and the sun was just barely rising she felt a new sense of energy as more people walked into the restaurant.

Getting up from the table she was sitting at, she approached the very first table that had walked in the door; her regulars she counted on every Sunday as soon as they opened.

Already feeling the weight of the events that had played out that morning, she walked up to say hi to the rather large party of women waiting at the table. They knew immediately that something was wrong and didn't hesitate to ask her.

'Evie, honey, what's wrong? You look like you just saw a ghost,' is how she was greeted by Anita, the sweet lady she had always thought of as a grandmother figure although she was probably only about fifty.

Evelynn only vaguely heard her question as she was transported back to when she was with Jax; back to when they celebrated his 21st birthday.


He was so excited for that night. For the night he could finally drink alcohol legally; not that his age ever stopped him before.

His sister was having everyone over for dinner and drinks. The two of them left for her house by about 2:30 that afternoon. When they arrived, there were cars lined up and down the street.

As they walked up, Jax looked at her and said, 'Whitney said she made me a cake and wants me to see it before everyone else gets here.'

Evelynn looked at him in utter surprise. She didn't think there could be any more people coming.

'J, can she even fit any more people into her house? Who else is even coming?'

Just as Jax was about to reply, Whitney walked out the door and exclaimed, 'it's about time the two of you get here! Everyone has been worried about you guys! Didn't I tell you to be here at one? Oh well you're here now come see my cake, it's badass.'

Jax drug Evelynn into the kitchen to look at the cake with him and she reluctantly followed. As she walked into the kitchen, she ran directly into Jax, who had stopped in the middle of the doorway to admire his cake.

It was a rather small cake considering everyone that was there with more supposedly coming still. It was an eight inch round white cake with vanilla icing and sprinkles. Had she left it like that, it would have looked presentable but she added a plastic toilet to the top of it with a plastic action figure bent over the toilet throwing up into it; it seemed as though she had arranged the sprinkles to look like the vomit.

Evelynn was repulsed. But because Jax and Whitney seemed to genuinely love the cake, she put up a façade and acted like she loved it too.

A couple hours later, Jax was six shots and four beers in.

'Jax are you okay? You don't look so great. Maybe you should have some water for a minute. You're worrying me.'

'Stop Evelynn, I'm fine,' he replied, words slurred together in a drunken state.

He immediately stood, wobbled on his feet, and stumbled into the bathroom rather ungracefully.

Evelynn felt a look of terror flash across her face and hurriedly relaxed. She hoped no one noticed.

She felt a gentle tug on her arm. When she turned around, she saw Whitney gesture for her to follow her into the spacious kitchen of her extremely modern house. Evelynn knew immediately her fear was seen.

'Evie, I saw that. What's wrong? He's still okay; it's only been a couple drinks,' said Whitney as soon as the door closed behind her and they were alone.

Evelynn couldn't help but feel herself being saddened by the fact that Whitney knew she was extremely worried and Jax didn't. She couldn't explain exactly why it was she felt like Jax didn't care but the feeling consumed her and she felt herself wanting to open up to Whitney and tell her everything she was worried about.

She could tell Whitney knew something was wrong. It was in the way she looked at Evelynn. She knew she was going to have to tell Whitney whether or not she wanted to. Whitney was the type of person that was very easy to talk to and always seemed to somehow get the things she wanted to know from people without them realizing what she was doing. Maybe it was the long, dark brown hair, or the eyes that were so dark it felt like they could read your mind but there was something that made it hard to keep anything to yourself when she was around.

'It's just that he always drinks more than he can handle, but because he's drunk, he thinks he can handle his alcohol, when in reality, he can't. He's much easier to anger and it scares me when he gets like that.'

Evelynn told her everything she was always afraid to say to Jax, and Whitney looked at her with an understanding Evelynn longed for from Jax.

'I know it scares you Evie, but he's an adult and you have to let him make his own choices. He's a good kid; he's not going to hurt you. He may get angry but trust me, he wouldn't hurt you. He loves you. He talks to me about you all the time. I promise you have nothing to worry about. Just let him drink tonight and you try and have a good time too. Everything will be okay.'

As Evelynn took a deep breath, she nodded, smiled, and turned to walk out of the kitchen. Whitney stopped her to wipe away the small smudge of mascara the puddled in the corner of Evelynn's eye as they started to water.

'Thanks Whit. For everything. You don't know how much it means to me that I can talk to you about things like this.'

'I'm here whenever you need anything. You have my phone number too so you can call or text me whenever. Don't think it's weird for you to talk to me about problems with Jax too. I love to listen and help as much as I can.'

They turned and walked back into the dining room where Jax had placed himself back at the table to take another shot. A shot he chased with a beer.

He looked even worse than he did before he stumbled into the bathroom. Evelynn knew something was wrong but she couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was. He seemed to be less himself than he was five minutes ago but Evelynn didn't say anything.

As the afternoon went on, Jax had more and more to drink and Evelynn began to wonder if he was intentionally avoiding her or if he just didn't realize he was doing it because he was so drunk. She tried to give him as much space as she could so he could enjoy his night but found it more and more difficult to be so isolated since she didn't know anyone other than Jax.

Evelynn started to wonder if Jax would turn into an alcoholic like so many of her family. She chased the thought away as quickly as it came; it was something she didn't want to believe as a possibility.

Suddenly Jax was by her side telling her to go outside with him so his dad could take a picture. Evelynn followed him outside into the blindingly bright light. She had almost forgotten it was the middle of the day with all the drinking and the dim lighting inside Whitney's house.

The two of them stood in the middle of the lawn as his dad took several pictures; just a Jax instructed. Finally, after what felt like hours to Evelynn but had probably only been about five minutes, they were done. To her surprise, Jax stayed close by.

They walked to the pool where most of his family was having drinks. As they got closer and Jax realized everyone was swimming, he pulled his shirt off, drunkenly stumbled into the pool, and tried to take Evelynn in with him.

Fighting to stay dry, she said, 'Jax, hold on, let me put by bikini on and I'll come back out. I can't get in fully dressed though.'

'Okay fine but hurry. I want to be with you but I also want to be out here drinking and having a good time with everyone.'

Evelynn hurried inside and changed as quickly as she could so she could go back outside and be with Jax. She liked that he wanted to be with her. She started to think that maybe if he was an alcoholic, it wouldn't be so bad because at least he would eventually want to spend as much time with her as he possibly could.

Once she had changed, Evelynn walked back outside but, before she got there, she saw Jax through the sliding glass door, smoking his first cigarette in almost three years.

Sadness pulled at the back of her mind. She knew something was wrong now. 'He never smoked before so why would he suddenly pick it up again?' Evelynn thought to herself. She looked out the window one last time before turning and going back to change into her street clothes.

Once she had changed for a second time, she walked into the living room where Jax was now sitting, seemingly unaware that he had just smoked his first cigarette in almost three years. It was strange to see him like that, so unaware of what he was doing and the people around him.

Evelynn made herself a drink and sat next to Jax. They sat in the large living room and talked with everyone for what felt like minutes but in reality was probably an hour.

As the sun started to set, everyone was eager to get up and see the sunset. There were few evenings in the little town of Hillsborough without a breathtaking sunset to see.

Looking at the sunset, Jax moved closer to Evelynn, leaned in, and kissed her on the cheek. She was surprised; Jax never kissed her when there were this many people around. She couldn't help but dread what was going to happen in the morning when he woke up extremely hung over.

After the sun had mostly set, everyone stayed outside on the patio to enjoy the gentle breeze from the warm ocean air. Whitney was sitting next to Jax but quickly stood when she saw Evelynn. Straddling the bench, she sat facing Jax so she would be able to talk with him. She felt like she hadn't seen him all night.

As they started talking, the dark sky made Evelynn feel tired. As she yawned, Jax put his finger in her mouth as he always did. This time though, he didn't move it like normal. As she caught herself, Evelynn pulled her head away and asked, 'why didn't you move your finger this time? I would have bit you and I don't want to hurt you.'

'Evelynn, I don't think you know how much pain I can handle. You biting me would not hurt.'

Jax reached up and tried to put his finger back in her mouth to show her a bite wouldn't hurt him. She was a little hesitant but eventually opened her mouth and let him. She slowly started to close her teeth around his finger and apply a slight pressure.

'Harder, I can handle the pain. Just bite me!'

Again she hesitated but did as she was told. She applied a little more pressure, then released her jaw.

'Jax, I don't want to hurt you. I'm not sure you realize what it is you're asking for. If I keep biting you harder and harder, you're going to get hurt. You don't realize what it is you're doing.'

He was angry now. Evelynn didn't want to hurt him, but she was more afraid that he would hurt her if she didn't listen. She slowly opened her jaw again, just enough for him to slide his finger between her teeth. She started biting again, gently at first, then slowly harder.

'Harder. Bite me harder you pussy!' Jax yelled and she finally gave up trying to keep him from getting hurt. She bit him. Hard.

He didn't react at first but Evelynn knew the exact moment it hurt him. His finger started to curl down and his nail dug into the soft palate under her tongue. She started to loosen her grip but the look on his face told her she'd be hurt if she let go. So, gently, she pressed even harder.

She was worried about drawing blood as his free hand reached up and grabbed at her long black hair at the base of her neck. As she unclenched her jaw and tried to get away from the grip that pulled at her head to go up and the grip on her jaw that pulled her head to go down, Jax tightened his grip on her hair as he pulled her jaw down.

Evelynn braced herself for the pain and turned her head to the side and pulled away. Finally free from the grasp Jax had her in, she looked to Whitney who saw the fear in her eyes and walked to the other side of the yard where she sat down alone.


Evelynn was pulled out of her memories rather suddenly by her phone buzzing in her hand with what she knew was another email from Jax. She looked up at the group of her most favourite people in the world that, for the first time in what felt like forever, genuinely cared about her.

Anita finally broke the silence by saying, 'well, we all heard it, so are you going to read it Evie? Tell us what's going on.'

Evelynn looked at Anita for a minute before unlocking her phone and reading what the email said. She was dreading it, knowing he'd be angry that she didn't reply to the last one he sent.

As she read the email, another one buzzed in. The group of ladies, obviously curious to what was happening, looked at her expectantly. Finally giving in to the expectant eyes of the women she cared so deeply for, she read the messages aloud.

'Tell me the REAL STORY. Like, you never want sex...ever again?'

Every single woman sitting in front of her looked baffled. Finally Carol said, 'honey, why don't you go get us all some water, including yourself, and tell us what's going on.'

Evelynn looked around nervously as she went to get the waters to see if there were a lot of tables Shantelle was helping. Luckily, it was a rather slow morning for them and Shantelle only had one other customer to help. As she started filling glasses with ice, Shantelle came back to get the coffee Christopher always asked for.

Christopher was Shantelle's favourite part of Sunday mornings because, even though neither of them would admit to it, they both wanted to be with the other.

Reaching behind Evelynn's head for the biggest coffee cup they had in the restaurant, Shantelle looked at the tray Evelynn was putting full glasses on. As she counted them, she noticed the extra glass Evelynn hoped she wouldn't see.

'You know, you better be careful sitting with them. Vickie just put cameras up and she hates when we do that. The last thing you need right now is to lose your job over something as trivial as Jax being back. Because, while I understand it's a huge deal and crazy scary, Vickie wouldn't care.'

Evelynn looked at the glasses on her tray, then back to Shantelle and said, 'I know she doesn't like it but, she isn't about to fire me over something like that. Even if she was going to try, she knows that if she loses me, she loses you and she can't afford that. It's fine.'

Evelynn expertly put the tray of seven water glasses on her shoulder and started to walk away from the drink station they'd set up. She turned and looked behind her before going to sit down.

'Will you be alright if I sit with them for a while and tell them what's going on? They all know something out of the ordinary is happening. They've asked me about it about it at least three times now. I'll still be here; just come get me if it gets busy and you need my help.'

'Of course that's okay with me Evie. I know Jax showing up and finding you in this city is really hard and you're scared. If it gets busy and I need you, I'll call.'

After she placed the glasses on the table and pulled up another chair, she pulled out her phone to respond to him before starting her story.

Evelynn sighed down at her phone. She could already tell it was going to be a long day just by the way he was talking to her. She almost felt bad for him; he tried so hard to make her believe he would change but, Evelynn knew better than to believe him. He'd promise over and over to change only to go back to doing to exact same things he did before.

Unaffected by his emails, she typed out a response to him that read, 'this is the real story. I just don't want sex right now; I have other things to worry about.'

As she set her phone on the table, it lit up with a new email. She ignored it and began telling her table what happened the night before.

Once she had everyone caught up, she took a drink of water and braced herself for what the new email said. She stirred the strawberries and ice in her water as she put off opening it.

'Stop putting it off honey. You're going to have to read the damn thing eventually anyways. You may as well read it right now since we all want to know what it says too,' said Carol.

As she looked up from her water glass, Evelynn saw that every woman was looking at her phone, waiting to know what the email said. She looked back to her water and the strawberries floating at the top and wished she could shrink back into her chair.

She sighed and picked up her phone to read the email she'd left unopened about five minutes ago.

She took a deep breath, opened the email, and silently read it before she read it to everyone sitting in front of her.

'It says 'uh, okay. What in the hell do you have to worry about? When we cuddle and kiss, etc. - which we can for four hours before you go to work - we can have sex, make love, etc. and have all that affection. You were ALWAYS down for it before...what changed...?' He really doesn't know what changed?'

Her jaw dropped. Either he really didn't know what he'd done or he was really good at faking dumb. Evelynn, unfortunately, assumed it was the latter and he did in fact, know exactly what he'd done the first time.

After taking a couple of steadying breaths, she decided to reply to the email. She knew she shouldn't be doing it but she couldn't help it. She felt addicted to him in a way. Afraid of him, but addicted nonetheless.

She hoped no one noticed she was still talking to him as she typed out an email that read, 'I'm sorry okay? We'll see.'

She didn't want to have to explain to everyone why she was apologizing to him.

His reply was fast and short. A simple, 'what time will you be here.'

He'd said it like a statement, not a question. Like she didn't have a choice anymore and she had to go. Like if she didn't go, he was going to come for her.

She looked at her phone as though she were searching it for answers. Finding nothing but the passive aggressive email she just read, she decided to email him in short sentences to, hopefully, make him realize he was doing the very thing that made her leave in the first place.

She stirred the strawberries in her water again, took a drink and slowly started typing out a reply.

'I don't know.' Send. She took a deep breath. She knew she should get back to work but the gentle buzz that came from her phone on the wood table kept her there longer than she wanted to stay. But she had to see what this new email said.

She slowly opened the email to read, 'so at 10:00? Cause Shantelle's physical therapy is at 9:00?'

'Jax, I said I don't know.'

It seemed as though he were waiting for her to respond with how quickly he replied to her last email.

She read the obviously frustrated, 'well why don't you know? You have NOTHING to do after you're done with her therapy which ends at 10:00, then she goes to work or school...so why couldn't you?'

She ignored it and proceeded to get up for her order book and pen so she could get breakfast started for everyone.

As the ladies rattled off the usuals she'd memorized shortly after she'd started working there, she started to think about all the good times she'd had with Jax. She felt what she thought might be a longing to be with him again.

She received another email from Jax before she was completely consumed by her thoughts and a longing of familiarity.


Suddenly she was back in Hillsborough driving home from the Sunday dinner at her parents. Her phone rang with the ringtone she'd designated for Jax when she pulled in the driveway of the house they lived in.

'Hey baby. I just pulled into the driveway, what's up?'

'Evie, baby, I miss you. Hurry inside and come cuddle with me.'

As soon as she got off the phone, Evelynn jumped out of her car ran inside, left her heels at the door, and crawled into bed next to Jax.

He wrapped his arms around her and she folded into his always warm embrace. There was something about Jax and the way he held her that always made her feel safe. Evelynn never thought Jax would hurt her. She looked up to see him smiling down at her.

'What are you smiling at?' She asked as she felt her cheeks get warm, the way they always did when he looked at her like that.

'I'm just thinking about how much I love you and wondering how I got lucky enough to have you. You're something special, you know that?'

She dropped her eyes as she felt her face get hot again. She never imagined loving someone the way she loved Jax.

Everything with Jax felt like it moved so quickly but still never felt like the wrong thing to do. Evelynn often thought about how things were between the two of them. It felt like something she could only ever dream of. They were best friends when they were out, but when they were at home and alone, he was more than she ever thought she could want. She knew without a doubt that he truly loved her.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Jax slowly running his hand up and down her arm and whispering, 'what are you thinking my love?'

'Oh, nothing of consequence. I'm just thinking about you and how much I love you. How I never thought I'd have what we have now.'

He looked at her with such deep adoration in his eyes when she said that. Something she knew was deeper than what she thought she felt for him.

In that moment, Evelynn knew she loved Jax more than she ever thought was possible to love another person In that moment, she knew Jax was the man she wanted to marry and start a family with. In that moment, everything in her life suddenly made sense.


Evelynn wasn't given much time to think about all the good things that came with Jax before Shantelle was gently touching her arm, reminding her where she was.

She startled at the touch but quickly recovered and finished entering her order. As soon as she finished, Shantelle was tugging on her arm to pull her back to the drink station to, no doubt, give her the latest gossip on Christopher.

To her surprise, Shantelle seemed to be very concerned about something other than Christopher. Looking her friend over, she finally asked, 'what's going on Shantelle? I can tell there's something you're not telling me.'

Shantelle looked at her friend and sighed as though she were unsure whether or not she could say everything that was really on her mind. Finally giving in to the unrelenting gaze of her best friend, she said, 'I know you're hurting and I know you're scared because Jax is here but Vickie just called and said she was coming in to get the end of day reports from yesterday. You know she'll be pissed if she comes in and sees you sitting with your table staring off into never never land.'

Evelynn looked at her friend as though she were amazed Shantelle thought she couldn't tell her that.

Still stunned by the fact that her best friend didn't want to tell her their manager was coming in, Evelynn said, 'why didn't you tell me as soon as she called?!' She could feel what she thought was anger start to bubble in her stomach as she continued her thought.

'I could have helped you get everything ready for when she got here. I may have a lot going on right now but, I'm at work and that's my number one priority.'

Evelynn sighed in an attempt to calm herself down. She knew Shantelle had good intentions but couldn't help feeling like she was being treated like a child.

'E, look, I know how hard this is for you and I want to make this as easy for you as I can. So, if I can get things ready before Vickie gets here and all I have to do is tell you to get up, I'm going to do that. I could handle this day on my own but you know Vickie thinks I'm incompetent.'

In the very moment Evelynn was going to respond, Vickie walked in the door and, without saying a word, immediately handed each girl a list of chores they knew were expected to be finished by the end of the day.

'Why are the silvers not being folded?! Evelynn, you need to wake up! You shouldn't be sleeping when you're here; you need to be awake. You're never here when you're here.'

Evelynn didn't even have a chance to catch her breath before Vickie had made her way to the kitchen so she could try and tell the cooks what exactly it was they were doing wrong.

Relieved she no longer had to try and understand what Vickie was saying through her incredibly thick Filipino accent and extravagant hand gestures, Evelynn walked into the dining room in an effort to get as far away from Vickie as possible and to appear as though she'd started working on the mundane tasks she was given.

Keeping her distance from Shantelle, she strategically avoided her table of talkative women so as the avoid the lecture she knew Vickie was planning as she shuffled her feet around the restaurant.

As Evelynn walked around the counter, scissors in hand to trim the dead edges off the plants Vickie had scattered around the building, she felt her phone grow increasingly heavy in her center apron pocket.

Without pulling her phone out of her pocket, Evelynn subtly looked down to check the time and saw, not only one but now, two emails from Jax that remained unread.

Making sure Vickie was out of sight and earshot, Evelynn made her way to the dish pit where Shantelle was deep cleaning the cup racks.

'While I was telling everyone what happened, Jax sent me an email I read but didn't respond to. Since Vickie has been here, he's sent another email that I haven't been able to look at. Will you cover for me if she asks?'

Shantelle didn't have to think before she replied with, 'of course I will, E. You know I would cover for you even if I didn't know where you were. Go find out what he said so you can come back and tell me!'

'Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I'll be right back, you're a lifesaver!'

Evelynn hurried to the back of the restaurant where she walked out the back door and toward the bathroom where she could read the ever pressing emails from her terrifying ex-boyfriend.

As she rushed into the bathroom, phone in hand, Evelynn had already read the blatantly irritated 'kay, well let me know what's up when you're at her doctor.'

She rolled her eyes at his petty frustration and opened the next email.

'Is there anyway I can reach you other than email.'

She sighed. She should have known he'd keep pushing for another way to reach her.

She hoped she could get away with ignoring the last email again and simply wrote, 'actually I don't know when her therapy ends.'

As that email sent, Evelynn thought to herself, 'if I keep ignoring him, he's going to get pissed and freak out on me. Better to tell him no and let him be pissed in an email rather than at my apartment tonight.'

She quickly typed out a 'no, not right now, I don't think so,' and sent it shortly after the other.

She knew she had some time before Shantelle texted her and told her to come back because Vickie was looking for her. Evelynn decided to wait it out for a few minutes to see what Jax had to say.

Her phone buzzed in her hand and when she read the 'you said she goes to school at 10:00 and you work at 4:00...' she could feel his skeptikal gaze on her back and spun around in fear.

When no one was behind her and she felt safe again, Evelynn typed out her response of, 'she has school at eleven,' completely unaware that he somehow knew when she went into work the next day.

Almost as soon as she pressed the send button, Jax had replied. She sighed as she whisper read the new email.

'Oh...so at like 11:00 you can come over, and we can cuddle and kiss and such.'

In the moment Evelynn was going to reply, Shantelle texted her saying, Vickie's looking for you, hurry back.'

She hurried and typed out a quick 'sometime around there,' and ran out of the bathroom.

As she walked down the hallway, her phone rang in her apron pocket with yet another email from Jax.

Evelynn rolled her eyes again as she read the 'okay...so you're not going to try and get your things...we're just going to have a chill day...fod, cuddles, sex, etc.'

'Get back to work Evelynn. You can deal with him later; you have to handle Vickie first.'

She put her phone back into her pocket and braced herself for the whirlwind she knew Vickie would be.

Evelynn stepped back into the restaurant where Vickie was immediately in front of her.

'What were you doing? You were out there too long; we're busy in here. Shantelle has three tables.'

Evelynn gave a half smirk as she held back a chuckle then said, 'Vickie, you underestimate Shantelle; she can take care of her three tables and more if they came in. Look how happy she is out there. All I did was leave for a couple minutes to go to the bathroom.'

She put her hands in her apron pocket carefully so as to avoid her phone. She shied away from her phone as though it were toxic.

Vickie looked at her as though she were going to retaliate but saw something in Evelynn's eyes that told her not to.

Evelynn walked past Vickie into the dining room to see Shantelle at Christopher's table, her party that she got as soon as they opened, and one other small table of three.

Evelynn sighed as Shantelle walked up to the open kitchen counter where six hot plates of food sat, waiting to be run to her table.

They took three plates each and loaded them onto their arms to carry to her table.

When Shantelle set the last plate down, Christopher stood up, and, like clockwork, Shantelle appeared at his side.

She checked over her shoulder to make sure Vickie wasn't around before she stood on her toes and kissed him goodbye.

Evelynn ignored them as they started discussing the plans they'd made for that weekend and focused on the task at hand. Vickie's long list of chores.

As she walked away, Anita gently grabbed her wrist and said, 'Evie, baby, you're going to be okay. You're a strong girl and you can do hard things.'

Evelynn smiled to let Anita know she heard her and was appreciative of the sweet comment, and continued to the back of the restaurant for a tray to gather the salt and pepper shakers. She put thirty two empty salt and pepper shakers on her tray, even though she knew she only needed thirty. She knew from too many past experiences that Jacob, the coworker she rarely worked with since he was only scheduled nights, put the caps on too tight and untwisting them had the potential to crack the glass.

She tossed the buckets of salt and pepper onto her tray, grabbed a pair of gloves, and walked out of the back room to fill new salt and peppers and eliminate at least one task on Vickie's mile long list.

As she walked back into the dining room, Evelynn noticed Vickie was out talking to the few tables that were trying to eat. She felt a slight pull of sympathy for the guests in the restaurant as she used to be in their place; but, the feeling was quickly overpowered by relief that Vickie wouldn't be hovering over her while she worked.

She put her gloves on, started to unscrew caps, and, like clockwork, two of her salt and pepper shakers cracked and she had to throw them away.

Shantelle walked behind her and quickly whispered, 'is she ever going to leave? These chore lists, are getting to be unrealistic.'

Evelynn softly laughed to herself but didn't say anything. She knew if Vickie saw them stop long enough to have a conversation, there would be a twenty minute lecture about how it looks bad if employees are standing around talking instead of doing small side jobs that need to be done.

As she finished pouring salt into the fifteenth shaker, she looked up and noticed her table all needed new waters. She usually just put a big pitcher of water on the table for when they needed it so she wasn't filling water glasses too frequently. Her strategy when Vickie was around though, was to get them all new waters as often as possible so she had an excuse to be at their table talking with them.

She dropped off six new water glasses and when she set the last glass down, Vickie seemed to have materialized out of thin air. Evelynn ignored her and asked her table if they needed anything else, knowing full well Anita would make small talk with her about her family or school or her plans for the weekend until Vickie left so none of them had to hear about how 'nothing was ever done correctly and she would just have to come in and redo it all when the restaurant closed anyways' for what felt like the millionth time to everyone.


dreaming a reality

Posted by Les Rhynox in last call, 11 December 2017 · 95 views
dreams, blogger, writing, reality and 2 more...

last night I dreamed a dream so close to reality that I had to confirm if was a dream when I awoke. the world was burning, the sky was falling, but the people were frozen. birds and pets were on fire dying in the streets. I walked up to the first frozen person and stared at their face. it was someone I once knew, or at least she looked like her. then I glanced around and realized, these are all people I once knew. I even saw my self. at that time I was trying to piece things together. "Maybe I'm dead and this is me looking back on the past?" I walked through the streets of stillness. it was lonely. everyone was "there", but they weren't "THERE". then I saw a house. it was familiar to me, even though I've never seen this house before in my life. I walk up to the door, started to knock, but then remembered I'm alone and just walked in. Once I get in, there's a person! she was the first person I saw when I came into this dooms day '17, but she wasn't frozen anymore. she's sitting on the couch crying. I walked over to her and instantly started to comfort her. Forget everything else, forget the world crashing all around me, forget the frozen family and friends, it was her time now. "what's wrong?" I asked. she looked up at me with the eyes of everyone I know and said "You're so worried about me, everything else is falling apart. you have to forget about me." the sentence stung my heart, but my eyes were paying the price. I looked over her head, out of the window, and watched as the sky fell and set fire to the bodies of ever body I once knew. she was right. then I woke up drenched sweat and tears. I immediately ran out side in just my boxers to feel the cold are and feel something to let me know that it was just a dream. but was it? 


Do You Dare To NaNoWriMo?

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 10 December 2017 · 52 views

Just in case you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, it's an acronym for National Novel Writing Month. Each November, intrepid writers of all ages and genres (including fanfiction) attempt to do something wild and adventurous -- write 50,000 words of a novel in one month. That works out to about 1,667 words per day in order to reach that goal. You can do word sprints with others to challenge each other to write more, hang out in the forums to chat with other writers and get inspiration and help resolving plot issues, even track your daily progress. Oh, and consume copious amounts of caffeine.

The classic way to do NaNo is to start fresh with a new novel, but you can also use your time that month to complete, or at least make a lot more progress writing, a novel you've already begun. And whether you reach that goal of 50,000 words or not, you can feel great about having participated. You'll have had fun, connected with others, and experienced the exhilaration of stretching yourself as a writer. You'll have written more amazing words than you otherwise would, or imagined you could, and you might even find the month has helped you develop a good writing routine that will carry over long past November. Oh, and in my inbox at NaNo, I just discovered they have a new goal tracker you can use to set your writing goals for other projects, like editing that NaNo novel, and track your progress toward your goal.

Did you do NaNoWriMo? If you did, how did it go, and what did you write? I'd love to hear from you. This was my third year doing NaNo. On November 1, I decided on the spur of the moment to jump in and start writing a Harry Potter fanfic that's been swirling around in my head for awhile and managed to achieve about 18,000 words, most of which came in the initial days of the month. I'm not the fastest writer, and it's super hard for me to turn off my inner editor. Here's the summary of my story and a little excerpt for you:

Fem!Snape Selena has other plans for her life than becoming a Death Eater, but her skills in spellcraft and Potions have placed her in Voldemort's sights. Meaning, she has to walk a fine line in Slytherin house and play politics if she wants to survive long enough to escape his clutches. For now. On her worst day, after THE fight with her best friend Lily, a new ray of hope comes into her life. Her mother is finally leaving the abusive situation with her father, and the Prince family has welcomed Eileen and Selena back into the fold. Now, with a new last name and a wonderful opportunity to complete her education on a Caribbean island that is the Prince's winter home, a tropical paradise far from Voldemort's reach, Selena may just manage to reach her dreams. Unfortunately, Voldemort's forces are not so willing to let her go, drawing Selena inexorably into the coming war.

Chapter 1: The Worst Day
The sun burned into Selena’s back as she trudged across the grounds of Hogwarts to her favorite tree by the lake. Echoes of the Marauders' taunts at the end of their Defense Against the Dark Arts OWL followed her, crowding out any joy or pride she should be feeling right now after acing the exam. Her greasy, hooked nose had been buried in her paper as she wrote, they’d said. All that black hair hid her ugly face like a mop of moldy limp noodles, they’d said. She had skin as pasty as the school ghosts, and any day now she’d start to float away with them – not like the ghosts would want anyone as horrible as Slimy Selena  among them – they’d said. It made her blood simmer and bubble, a poisonous potion corroding her insides. Okay, so she wasn’t pretty, vivacious, and sparkly like her best friend Lily, but her marks placed her near the top of their class, right up there with Lily. Sure, Potter and Black did well enough without even studying, but Selena far surpassed them in intelligence and magical skill, not to mention an insatiable appetite for learning, and they all knew it.
Oh, how she loathed the Marauders! They’d made her life at Hogwarts, a place meant to serve as her haven, her refuge from her drunken father’s abuse, almost as miserable as her so-called home life. Just the thought of what awaited her when she returned to Spinner’s End in a few days caused knots of anxiety to twist in her stomach. Selena did not want to return there, not now, not ever again, but she had no other option. Some of the Slytherins had offered to have her stay for part of the summer. That would get her out of her predicament for maybe a week or two here and there, if her parents let her go. It wasn’t enough. Her father, as controlling as Tobias Snape was, wouldn’t allow her to get a job to escape the house. No, he wanted her there under his thumb, helping her mother Eileen keep the house and prepare his meals. Which really amounted to it all falling on Selena, as had been the case for the past few years. Her mom had become so beaten down by life, by her father, that she’d become an empty shell of herself and tiptoed through life meek as a mouse, as though she’d break into pieces at any moment.
Just two more years, she reminded herself. Two more years and she’d never have to see them again.
Selena reached her tree and heaved a sigh of relief to find it unoccupied. She slung her tattered backpack, with its faded grey and black stripes and tattered seams, off her shoulder and dropped it to the ground. Unburdened of its heavy weight, she sank down beside it and rested her back against the tree trunk. Tomorrow, she had her Potions OWL, her best subject next to Defense, so this year should end on a high note for her. Maybe she should find a way to quit listening to anything the idiotic Marauders said about her. Or did. After almost getting killed by Black’s thinly disguised murder attempt, which they tried to pass off as a stupid prank of all things, she probably should ignore them. What did she care that Lupin was a werewolf, anyway? If the Headmaster wanted to risk the lives of students because of some bleeding heart need to see the spineless prankster get an education, far be it from her to argue. Selena cared little what he was. What she cared about was that he was too weak to keep his even more monstrous friends in check, which led to their latest prank that could have gotten her killed. Obviously, Lupin had already forgiven them for setting him – and her – up, even though it could have cost him everything, too, by exposing him as a werewolf. A killer.
Having time to herself to think about all these thoughts swirling around in her mind was giving her a rather nasty headache. Selena rubbed her temples before reaching into her book-laden backpack to retrieve her Potions text. Finishing an exam early had its advantages, as it gave her the chance to get a head start on studying. Not that she couldn’t recite the exact recipe for every single potion they’d covered this year, and every single interaction among the various ingredients to an intuitive degree way beyond any of her year-mates. No, Selena didn’t have a need to study Potions. She had a need to distract herself, and immersing her mind in one of her favorite subjects was the best way to do that.
“Hey, Lena,” a cheerful voice called sometime later, drawing her out of her reading. The owner of that voice plopped down beside her in a flash of red hair, brightened to a golden glow in the afternoon sun. Lily grinned at her, tossing her books onto the grass between them, already forgotten, and leaning back onto her hands with her face tilted upward toward the sky.
“Lils, hey.” Selena returned the grin with a true, genuine smile of her own, one rarely given and only in the company of her best friend. The two girls had been drifting apart in recent years, their friendship strained by their housemates pulling them in different directions, trying to poison them against each other. More and more, it seemed to be working, so it came as a relief that Lily had actually come over to talk to her. “Took your sweet time finishing up, I see, not that you had to.”
“How did your exam go?” Squinting, Lily turned to her, sitting upright now that the subject had come up. She twisted her hands together and worried her bottom lip. “Not that I need to ask. I’m sure you got top marks, and don’t think I didn’t notice you were one of the first ones done. I’d have been out here sooner, but it just made sense to take the time allotted to check everything over first.”
That was Lily, exuberant and carefree in spirit, yet meticulous and detailed when the situation called for it.
“Well…yes,” Selena admitted, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “It did go well. Hey, don’t be nervous, and stop fidgeting, will you? I’m sure you scored almost as high as me. Are you ready for Potions tomorrow? I was just starting to study.”
Lily waved away the question and lay back on the grass with a sigh. “Argh! Can you think of nothing but exams? It’s getting me all anxious when I really need to relax before I even start thinking about the next one. Let’s talk about something else.”
Selena chuckled. “You have no reason to be anxious because you’re more than ready for tomorrow, but fine.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Lily said with a snort.
Laying back next to Lily, just like they’d done years ago, when they’d whisper their secrets to each other, Selena grew serious and met Lily’s skeptical but amused gaze. “It’s true. Anyway, believe me that I have way more than mere exams on my mind. Listen, Lils, there’s so much that I want to tell you about what’s really going on. What my plans really are.” Now, before too many other students gathered out here, especially the ones she could ill afford to overhear this conversation, seemed like the perfect time.
Following her lead, Lily’s voice fell to a hushed whisper, “Like what?” Shock and confusion warred for dominance in Lily’s brilliant green eyes, and Selena understood why. They didn’t talk about this stuff usually, except for Lily complaining about the awful curses Mulciber and Avery used against Lily’s Gryffindor friends, and Selena pointing out that the hexes the so-called Marauders used were no better.
“Like the fact that I don’t…”
But a snide voice, that hated voice of Potter, interrupted what Selena was about to say. “Well, if it isn’t Slimy Selena. Can’t you leave Evans alone, you snake? She doesn’t need the likes of you clinging to her.” He ran a hand through his hair, as if he thought the manic-crazy, windswept look actually made him look cool. A gentle breeze blew through the tree branches, causing a rustling sound as they swayed in the wind. A few petals from their flowers drifted down into her hair and Lily’s.
“Hey, let’s teach the slimy snake a lesson,” Black chimed in, slinging an arm around Potter.
“Go away,” Lily declared, sitting up and brushing a petal from her face. “What’s Lena done to you, anyway?”
“It’s more the fact that she exists, you see,” Potter said, flashing Lily what he must have thought a winning smile before turning a sneer on Selena.
Selena rolled her eyes. She had no patience for fools, and Potter had time and again proven himself the biggest fool of all. “Or maybe you’re just jealous that yet again I beat you at your best subject, transfiguration, and I’m going to beat you at Defense. It would be such a shame if your marks didn’t earn you the NEWT level classes you need to become an Auror. Oh, and with Potions tomorrow, can you really afford to be spending time blathering at me when you should be focusing on your weakest subject?”
While Lily tugged on her arm, saying, “Let’s just go, Lena. It’s not worth antagonizing them,” a look of rage crossed Potter’s face.
Distracted by Lily’s attempt to drag her away, Selena reacted too late to protect herself when she heard James’ spell: “Levicorpus!”
Her shout of “Protego!” didn’t work in time, and Selena found herself toppling upside down, suspended by her feet and hanging in midair as from an invisible rope. To her dismay, her robes fell down her body, displaying her underwear beneath. As she fought to cover herself and reach her wand, her face warmed, and not just from all the blood rushing to her head. Great. Now her cheeks must be turning beet red.
“Much better,” James laughed, a loud, hearty, obnoxious that made Selena want to punch that smile right off his stupid face. Except, she couldn’t. She hung there in helpless fury, unable to do anything against him or Black. “That should teach you to talk back to people who are better than you. And really, such language. Didn’t your parents teach you to talk to people in a more civil manner? You should wash your mouth out with soap. Scourgify!”
Soap bubbles filled her mouth, choking her, drowning out any of the words she wanted to hurl at him. She wanted to tell him that she’d do much, much worse to him as payback. That he was a pathetic, insecure little person if he had to go around insisting that he was better than others, because after all, people who actually were better didn’t have to point out that fact. Oh, and he should be careful because that line of thinking, placing himself above others, sounded very much like something the dark lord would say. He’d hate that comparison.
Selena had no choice but to open her mouth, letting the foam drip to the ground. Still more bubbles formed, a never ending torrent that soon ballooned to cover her nose, too, and now she couldn’t breathe.
Now, true panic set in, even as other students gathered around to stare and laugh at her. The sight of her gagging and convulsing, at Potter’s mercy, must be truly hilarious. Lily locked eyes with her, emerald eyes going wide.
“Let her down, right now!” Lily shouted, grabbing for Potter’s wand arm. He danced away from her, grinning at the chase. Gasping for air that wouldn’t come, inhaling soap bubbles that seemed to fill any available space inside her, Selena could only watch the scene dim and her vision fragment to pieces. Even her eyes were covered with soap now, and she had to close them. Too late. Her eyes stung and burned, even when tears — from the stinging soap, not the humiliation, mind you — leaked from beneath her lashes. “Can’t you see she can’t breathe? This isn’t funny.”
“Aw, Evans, go out with me. Then I promise I’ll leave old Slimy Selena alone.”
“I’d rather go out with the Giant Squid,” she heard Lily say. “Anyway, unless you and Black here want to get expelled, or worse, sent to prison for murder this time, you need to end the spell now and let her down. Wouldn’t want that on your record to keep you from becoming an Auror, would you?”
Potter huffed. “Fine. As you wish, milady.”
The next thing Selena knew, she was falling, falling, and struck the ground hard. She lay in a crumpled heap, her body aching everywhere. At least the soap bubbles had dissolved, and Selena gasped for breath with lungs greedy for air. When she could manage to move her limbs, she reached up to wipe away the lingering soap from her eyes. Her vision swam into focus, and now an even larger crowd had gathered to witness this. Heat and rage flamed her cheeks again, and she glared at them all, defiant, as she stood and tried to still her trembling hands. Of course if she retaliated right now, she’d get blamed for the whole thing. Potter might not even get into trouble. Dumbledore had too much fondness for the Gryffindors to punish them for their misdeeds. No, it would be better for Selena to bide her time and strike when she wouldn’t be caught in front of witnesses. Revenge as a dish best served cold, and all that.
A clucking sound from somewhere in the crowd caught Selena’s attention, and she turned her head to the right to find Avery and Mulciber at the back, shaking their heads in dismay. Just wonderful that they were here to witness her humiliation. Well, at least they might help her plan her retaliation later, but if they caught her here with Lily, Merlin knew what they’d do to her muggleborn best friend. They didn’t like Selena hanging out with muggleborns like Lily, and had begun to torment Lily’s closest Gryffindor friends to drive a wedge between the two girls.
Their threats against Lily had been the reason Selena drifted away. So long as Selena stayed away, Mulciber and Avery would set their sights on other targets, and her best friend would stay safe.
Lily, unaware of the threat, rushed to her side. “Lena, are you okay? Oh, what am I saying — of course you’re not. I’m so sorry. Those guys are such arrogant toe rags, and —“
“Don’t touch me!” Selena hissed, jerking back out of Lily’s reach. Her gaze strayed to where Mulciber and Avery watched the interaction with interest, and she prayed that Lily would follow. Hating herself, but having no choice, she bit out her next words. “I don’t need help from a filthy mudblood like you.”
Lily blinked. “Fine. Oh, just so you know, you’d better wash that underwear, Slimy Selena. They’re stained. Better yet, do yourself a favor and buy some new ones that aren’t granny panties.”
I will not cry, Selena told herself. I will not cry.
Laughter erupted among the crowd, with Potter laughing the loudest of all. It didn’t drown out the sound of her heart turning to glass and shattering into a million pieces, broken and irreparable. She’d officially lost her best friend. Even when things were strained to their worst between them, Lily had never turned cruel like this. Maybe Selena deserved it for what she’d just said, but it still hurt more than anything in her life, more than all the insults and bruises heaped upon her by her father over the years put together, that Lily couldn’t see why she’d had to call her that hateful name.
For a second, Selena allowed herself a thrill of hope that maybe Lily had caught on and was playing along, but she quickly quashed that hope. And anyway, Selena couldn’t talk to her here in front of everyone to find out.
“Whatever,” she said, her voice turned ice cold. Raising herself to her full height, she stared Lily down. Being tall had its advantages. She hoped her face masked her pain so nobody else could see it. Spinning on her heel, she stalked away from Lily, pushing her way through the crowd and back toward the castle. Nobody tried to stop her.
“All right, what was that?” Mulciber demanded, trailed by Avery as they fell into step beside her.
“What do you think? Potter being his usual self.”
“No.” Avery said, a hard edge of disappointment in his voice. “The point is, you let him catch you off guard.”
“No,” Selena retorted, fixing him with a stern glare. “Potter attacked when my back was turned. I was leaving before…all that.” True enough. Mulciber and Avery didn’t need to know she’d been about to leave with Lily.
“A coward’s move,” Mulciber observed. “One wonders how he ended up in Gryffindor. So, let’s go plan our payback. It’s time to make the so-called Marauders regret ever messing with you. And I have something very special in mind, something they won’t see coming.”
Despite her morose mood, a smile quirked Selena’s lips upward. “I appreciate it. Let’s go.”
“Hang on,” Avery said, and stopped. The others followed suit, staring expectantly at him. “You weren’t going to leave with the mudblood, were you?”
Selena arched an eyebrow, though inside her stomach was doing a somersault. “Just because she was there, don’t read too much into it. It’s a nice day outside. Everyone’s out enjoying the weather.”
Except for herself, of course. Oh, no, Selena didn’t get that luxury, and fate would see fit to ruin what was supposed to have been a great afternoon.
“Don’t worry about it. We’ve got more important things to do.”
With a tightness in her throat and chest, as if a noose had wrapped around her, Selena followed them inside.



the explorer

Posted by kkwhatkk in kkwhatkk's Blog, 08 November 2017 · 81 views
#story #review

Hey, Guys so i'm really new to this platform and i have no idea what I'm doing. Anyways i was given a creative task to do and i would love to anyone to review my work thank you.

When I was just a young boy, my father and I would go out to the coast to explore the white sparkling sand that resembled thousands of stars. We would spend hours jumping and dancing in the icy blue sea that was so clear, it was clear as glass. When we became tired, father and I would watch every cloud forming their mysterious shapes and we would use our imagination to guess what it was. These monumental days went on forever. A never-ending journey of exploration of the golden beach that my father and I have once claimed land, the land once we cried with laughter and understanding the beauty of the fiery sunset. As 20 years have passed, I’m standing on the very same beach with the same dancing flames of sand, radiating my toes as I admire the beauty that nature as created. I cannot help but think of him. He would always carry a map and would say “the gods are always going to trick you Charles, that’s why we follow the map.” And now what’s left is grief and pain inside of me as if he had shared his feelings and disappeared.

To me, I admire him as an explorer not some kind of Geologist or Cartographer. He would often go out to the world for months and each time he came back he would tell me stories of mystical creatures he had found and fought, treasures he swore was made from diamonds that was too blinding to take. Even though I loved his stories and I screeched with excitement whenever he told me. I would hide my annoyance of him leaving me again and again. “Pa, why are you leaving again and why does it have to be so long?” “Well son I don’t want to disappoint you with my stories, besides explorers go out with a bang,” he said with a cheeky wink.

The harsh reality behind my father’s stories was never up to my expectations. Every trip he made he became more obsessed with his projects; every trip he took his office would be filled with coloured post notes that would make you sick if you stared at it long enough. I would always be waiting for him to get home. My favourite spot was at the door whenever I would hear his footsteps I would be the first person to open the door and whenever I do I swear the door would get lighter. He would greet me and pick me up, spin me around as if it was just me and him in a different universe. When he was in his office, I would sit beside the closed door with my ear pressed on the wood trying to figure out what his project entailed. I would imagine that he was the only genius, figuring every riddle that had come to challenge him. Whenever he had figure out the riddle he would burst out of the door followed by a gust of wind and laugh, with me up in the air laughing with him we would dance and sing while he showed me his work of art; the maps. I’m glad that I had captured these moments, because as time has passed he had forgotten our tradition of summer days at the coast and even so, me too.

How I come to finally realise that he was gone when I couldn’t find my inner youth. How I realised time was playing games with me every minute, every second he would change into a different man, but obviously, I didn’t realise that I was just a simple child. As time goes by he would go for months in his “adventures” and lock himself in his office for eternity trying to memorise the ghastly post notes trying so hard to keep it fresh in his mind that he became obsessive. His sickness grew every second when he spent time in that room. When he finally opened his door, instead of picking me up and cheering for his victory he slammed me across my face. The burning and tingling sensation spread effortlessly while hearing the painful words of “go away, you are useless and distracting me from my work”. My mother rushed in and comforted me saying “It’s alright Charles he’s just tired, let’s just leave it”. After that, I never saw him as a man, as a father or even an explorer I had once admires and aspired to be. He was now just an obsolescence who is obsessed with rocks; he’s no one to me. He would occasionally let out a scream of frustration because he would have forgotten or couldn’t solve a text and worst of all he would pack his wrecked leather suitcase and not knowing where to go.

One summer morning mother and I smelt something burning. It was like a trail of black wings guiding us and once we open the door, the horror laid on display for us to see. The burning of his art turned into nothing but flames and he was lying in the middle of all the mess with the very first map he had ever created with an emotionless expression.

I’m now pulling myself out of the past and jumping back to reality, I now know I have the power of forgiveness. I knew he had a choice to stop, a choice to restart his life but he didn’t because he thought he was chasing his dreams and nothing could’ve stopped him not me nor time. Life is unexpected and people change: in my case, it wasn’t for the better but my father was suffering and I forgive him even if he decided to leave me forever because now he is in peace, I guess that’s what makes me human. How I can take this lesson and carry this through my journey. I brought out the urn of ashes and set it free with the crystal sea while I burned the once beloved map watching it float its way to the next destination.


Best Philip K Dick Novel

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 26 October 2017 · 145 views
Best Philip K Dick novel and 5 more...

Best Philip K Dick Novel
The Guardian ran an article on Dick’s Best Novels chosen by Nicola Barker, Michael Moorcock, and Adam Roberts on 27th August 2017 at Philip K Dick Best Novels. There's all the normal stuff you'd expect to see - Adam Roberts sensibly chose Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? You find out Moorcock's take on Dick –as editor of New Worlds, Moorcock sought out voices to flesh out his vision of Science Fiction, indeed Moorcock was one of the high prophets of New Wave SF. Nicola Barker's take set my brain into gear.
Dick: “the core of my writing is not art, but truth”, and – still more perplexingly: “I am a fictionalising philosopher, not a novelist."{C}
Nicola Barker: deny it as he might, he is a novelist
This misses the point; Dick didn't fit into the traditional author-publisher mould. Even now, a publisher would be itching to hack through his work.
In 1960 Dick was willing to take twenty to thirty years to succeed as a literary writer. His overtures into mainstream were declined - rightly so; his unique talent would have been destroyed by the editing process and, on a more selfish note, he'd have been lost to SF.
His work survives because he found a way through - first via the Science Fiction magazines and then Ace Books. Remember the Ace smaller format? they used to drive me mad while trying to force my makeshift library into some form of neatness. Back in 50s and 60s Ace was one of the big two US SF paperback publishers (the other being Ballantine). Ace books woes in the mid-1960s - they could no longer pay authors reliably - would have affected him (Ace were boycotted over a Lord of the Rings copyright infringement - they settled but their business was damaged). It's round about that time that Dick's output declined - I've always wondered if this resolved in some way to the question: how can you write with no pay? Upfront royalties were significant in the Ace business model. Bringing me to my favourite Dick novel.

Galactic Pot-Healer
I fed my early Science Fiction addiction via Burnley Library and, when I could afford it, used paperbacks from the second hand book stalls on Burnley Market. This gave me cross section of beat up (but treasured) US SF editions which is how I discovered Dick. Most of my 40+ collection of Dick's books are pre-1980. I read all Dick’s SF novels and most of his short stories.

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Philip K Dick: Solar Lottery
Arrow Books edition 1972

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Now Wait for Last Year
Macfadden Books 1968 edition

Eye in the Sky
Ace Books H39, 1967 edition

Clans of the Alphane Moon
Ace Books 1964 edition, F309

The Unteleported Man
Ace Books double (with Dr. Futurity) 1972 edition

We Can Build You
DAW Books #14 1972 edition

A favourite of mine is Galactic Pot Healer which came out in 1969. I had the 1976 Pan edition (sadly lost in a recent house move).
Joe Fernwright, the protagonist, lives in a future Earth with intriguing yet disturbing resonances to the here and now. He repairs art on a commission basis but has virtually no work (gig! gig! gig!. He is hired by a powerful being - Glimmung - for a one-off bit of art restoration. The restoration project involves beings from different planets and as it progresses, Joe strikes up a romantic relationship. In the background, Glimmung is in a struggle with the Kalends, which manifest through a book that foretells the future. This struggle is desire vs the inevitable but which is fake, Glimmung's words or the Book of the Kalends? I can so easily imagine the kind of Earth Dick describes (in my head we're almost there). The work transmogrifies via the gestalt... but Joe Fernwright chooses to go back to normality.
Telling the difference between the fake and the real is more than keeping up appearances, it's about preserving normality, without which people (beings) don't function. Galactic Pot Healer is a transitional work, yesteryear's mutants, ESP, precogs etc are well on their way to VALIS. It contains many of the darkly funny moments I like about Dick's work. He is an acquired taste but once you slip through the doorway, he writes an engaging tale. Dick's work evolves into his exegesis. He also did drugs. Are the two connected?

Dick and Drugs
Drug damage? Certainly - Dick acknowledged this. Did drugs invalidate his message? I'd say both yes and no and then as a rider, would add that this is up to the reader to decide. Importantly he put stuff in the public domain that stretched the genre. SF / Fantasy normally struggles when depicting metaphysical matters - with Dick it just works. It took me a long time to realise he was well read (I was a product of lower class inverse snobbery and despised arts, philosophy etc - it took some autodidact to catch up on where he was at). Most of his work is good - the early SF novels are the least 'Dick-like' but these are a must for those who want the journey.
The overall impact of drugs? I just accepted them as part of him as opposed to a separate influence. On the doing of drugs, I've seen it do damage to those around me - I see it as not too dissimilar to the continuous intake of media input of only one kind - it distorts your perceptions and leaves permanent marks that aren't too easy to shuck off. I get it that just as speed, or whatever, helps keep going on the job, it can help churn out wordage. Do drugs open the doors of creativity or just passive consumption? Of course a writer can interpret (words are his work) but all that's actually happening is for a few brief hours, the filters of everyday existence are slackened off. In my case (as a writer) I rarely write under the influence of alcohol - or even too much coffee.
Dick died as Blade Runner came to completion. Since then more of his works have leaked into the media and his reputation has grown. imho he died too soon.

Dick in the Media
They won’t let him alone. Can’t. Dick provokes cerebration. We’ve had Total Recall, Screamers, Minority Report, Impostor, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, Radio Free Albemuth, The Man in the High Castle and more. The upcoming series: Electric Dreams adapts some of his shorter stories interspersed with episodes inspired by his works. I've listed these and, for episodes adapting specific stories, shown year of publication. Episodes marked * are amalgams from various Dick works.

Episode 1 The Hood Maker (1955)
- other writing credits Matthew Graham

Episode 2 Impossible Planet (1953)
- other writing credits David Farr

Episode 3 The Commuter (1953)
- other writing credits Jack Thorne

Episode 4 Real Life
* writing credit: Ronald D Moore

Episode 5 Crazy Diamond
* writing credit: Tony Grisoni

Episode 6 Human Is (1955)
- other writing credits Jessica Mecklenburg

Episode 7 Kill All Others
* writing credit Dee Rees

Episode 8 Autofac (1955)
- other writing credits Travis Beacham

Episode 9 Safe And Sound
* writing credit: Kalen Egan, Travis Sentell

Episode 10 Father Thing (1954)
- other writing credits Michael Dinner

* Episodes inspired by Dick's work.
Aficionados will have the opportunity to debate respective influences, indeed it’s possible they may argue over how true Dick inspired episodes are to hiss work. When I originally blogged this, that was still to look forward to.
Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams airs on Channel 4, from 17th September 2017.

In Perspective
I well remember Michael Bishop’s Philip K Dick is Dead, Alas. Dickanian? Yes. Ultimately I read little beyond chapter 1. Then wasn’t the time to write about Dick in a Dickanian style. It wasn't the right postscript to Dick. A good postscript would be someone to carry forward the baton Dick let drop. You watch and you wait. He, or she, must be out there, somewhere; meanwhile we look back to the Master. Ever decreasing circles.

Philip K Dick is Dead, Alas - Michael Bishop
Grafton edition 1988

I’ve read a lot of Golden Age SF plus a fair sampling of authors up to the 80s: Aldiss, Anderson, Asimov, Ballard, Bradbury, Clarke, Farmer, Herbert... to name a few (there's 1,500 genre paperbacks in my library) eventually you get to a point where formulaic fiction begins to irritate you. I got my intellectual kicks from Idries Shah's works on Sufism. His Darkest England delves entertainingly into the character and mores of the English. Caravan of Dreams is a more general work on Eastern thought. For an eclectic takes on space fiction, Doris Lessing, who moved in the same social circles as Idries Shah, produced a 5 volume work: Canopus in Argos. I'm easily led astray by the history of other civilisations. At present that revolves around Central Asia, nomadic eruptions and the Khwarezmian Shahdom. I pretend to myself it's research for a Fantasy project but the reality is how can you write about the rise and fall of galaxy, or even star spanning civilisations if you haven’t grasped the emergence and subsequent collapse of our own great civilisations? The vicissitudes of life (kids, pets, writing groups) mean I don't write enough SF but here's a novel.

If you want to support my forays into SF, please check out my books. They've had good feedback and I consider them fair value.

# The Tau Device (space opera) POD, POD+ Kindle
The Slow Holocaust (collected dystopias) POD
Burnley (non-fiction, history & nostalgia) POD
Silt from Distant Lands (poetry) POD

Experimental narratives:
A Guide to First Contact (post apocalyptic SF) POD, POD+ POD++, Kindle
Brant (fantasy) POD
Ice Made (short stories) POD

# Recommended


I do not know how or what to do

Posted by Adam Tarawneh in Adam Tarawneh's Blog, 22 August 2017 · 123 views

Long story short, I have been writing poetry for as long as I can remember as it always has been my dream to make a book out of all the effort that I have placed into it. I shared it with a lot of my friends and strangers that I meet up with in person. Many encouraged me to publish my work and ever since, I have been looking for a way to publish.

The first thing that came to mind was to go to a university, and see how they publish their works. I then stepped upon an incident which was unfortunate for the lad involved, but fortunate for me, as I was planning to actually go to the same person who was included in the incident. Anyhow, the lad was furiously attacking the person that I was seeking for stealing the credit of his work by publishing his work under his name instead of the lad's name or something like that. That was my warning and first slap for publishing.

That was the only place in my region that actually publishes books. That out the choice pushed me to search for alternatives, some of which encouraged me to go to India and get it published there, however I do not know anyone in India or know where to begin, so my lack of knowledge about India marked itself out as a choice. Then VALLA!!! I found an online publishing office, which looked so good to be true, however it wasn't. It was your typical "Give me your money" kind of scam. I traced the IP address of the person contacting me, who claimed to be in California, which he was actually in Singapore, and then I googled the website, to find several warnings of it being a giant scam train for writers of all sorts.

I figured I would find a local community of writers and one of them would have a lead... I found a magnificent group of poets and they were beyond excellent, however, all of them were in the same shoes as I was. They were all looking for a way to publish.

What to do, where to go, how to do it...

That is why I am here, I hope that someone can give me a lead, or show me which star to follow.


Writing can get emotional!

Posted by Lara Rose Lee in Lara Rose Lee's Blog, 07 August 2017 · 125 views
Emotional Writing and 1 more...

Writing can get emotional! Okay, I needed a break from my writing. My book is doing so good that I just wrote a sad part. While I was writing it I felt the sadness and began to cry while writing. The people in the book becomes family that when something happens to one you feel it. A main character was just killed. It was so sadly written I cried. I sure pray it gets picked up and becomes a movie. It would make a great movie. It is a young Adult fantasy about other dimensional worlds.


My Novel Is Finished... Now to Find an Agent

Posted by Soreen Laythyn in Trinity: Death and All His Soldiers, 28 July 2017 · 163 views
queries, finding an agent and 2 more...

Hey everyone, this is my first post for this blog. I have another one on Tumblr if you want to see that one, but I'm documenting my journey to becoming a published author and I hope that you all follow me on it. So without further or do, my name is Soreen Laythyn and my Novel is called Trinity: Death and All His Soldiers.

It's about a teenage boy who can see, hear and speak the dead but wants to lead a normal life. When his life and the life of his family are put in danger, he finds out that he's not the only person who can do what he does. Enter the Reapers; half-living, half-dead superhumans who fight the dead and help them cross over to the Spirit World.

He'll need their help if he wants to figure out what happened to his family, and why he can see, hear and speak to the dead. Because the Reapers sure would like to know...

If you like it, drop a comment. If you search the title of my novel on the website, you'll find a few discussions on it. Thanks and stay tuned. Follow me on Tumblr at this website:



Does anyone feel as though they are directionless

Posted by lcjm1922 in Lavivian's Blog, 13 June 2017 · 186 views

I am 24 years old and yes there have been times in my life where I have felt so lost. This world offers so many different directions its hard to know which one to choose to go in. Since we have to choose a direction to go in all we can do is hope its the right one. Nobody wants to walk around feeling completely lost...Does anyone else feel this way?


Announcing THE STAR SHEPHERD – an illustrated MG Fantasy

  Posted by MarcyKate in MarcyKate's Blog, 29 April 2017 · 134 views

I’m so thrilled to share the wonderful news that I’m co-authoring THE STAR SHEPHERD with the incredibly talented author/illustrator Dan Haring! THE STAR SHEPHERD is a heavily illustrated middle grade novel and such a wonderful, special story. I’m so excited that this book will be published and that our agents had the brilliant idea that […]



26 Books

Posted by lbarry in Ideas and Incunabulae, 27 April 2017 · 169 views

Follow the Facebook page: https://www.facebook...32310180551492/

26 Books is a conceptual publishing collective. It is "collective" in the sense that there is a group of self-publishers of artist books, that make their work into a collectible set of 26 books.

A complete set of 26 books will span the colors of the light spectrum, from red to violet, book-ended by black and white [Titles beginning with A are red, to Z (violet), black and white are wildcards]. All books must be at least 100 pages, so as to produce a spine approximately 1 inch to clearly display the color and title. People can collect a complete set of 26, drawn from a library of contributing works organized alphabetically. Some of the books would be blank, and people would fill them with content as unique singular artist books.

You don't necessarily have to finish a book, you can simply choose a color and title it accordingly, and briefly describe what the book is about.

You can register it here, then write it later. It is your custom "Moleskine" book. (All topics are moderated and approved by 26 Books. "Tasteful" adult books will be accepted, such as nude art photography.)

N.B.: 26 Books is Not a Publisher. It is a group-concept of artist books, produced and published by you. It may decide to become a publisher at some point in the future. You retain all rights in your work.

If you decide to self-publish your work to print, contact us for formatting specifications. Currently Lulu.com is the preferred vendor.


My Blog Is Relocated!

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 08 April 2017 · 199 views

Followers of my blog can find it at this new address: https://www.joestephenswrites.com/blog.



Quality Monitoring Technology of Laser Welding

Posted by laserman123 in laserman123's Blog, 27 March 2017 · 225 views

Quality Monitoring Technology of Laser Welding
For 1mw laser pointer welding of diamond saw blade, the need for appearance, microstructure and welding strength and other parameters of the test. The appearance of the main detection of the existence of welding macroscopical defects such as hole cracks, undercuts and not penetration, etc., usually need to be 100% of the detection, significant organizational detection of the main parts of the chemical parts of the inspection, significant changes in the structure and phase structure, The results show that the fine chemical composition of the molten zone has a gradient diffusion, and the transition layer hardness is lower than that of the matrix, which is higher than that of the tip. The welding strength test mainly tests the tensile strength, bending strength, impact toughness and residual stress of the weldment. It is usually necessary to carry out 100% welding strength test, and the residual stress and distribution after welding seriously affect the service life of the diamond saw blade.

Posted Image

At present, laser welding diamond saw blade process there are still some problems, we need to conduct further research, to carry out special laser welding diamond saw carcass or transition layer material formula research, to carry out new ultra-fine or nano-pre-alloy powder research, The research on the mechanism of laser welding of diamond saw blades, especially the research of temperature field, flow field, mass field and stress field of 5mw green laser welding diamond saw blade and the on-line quality monitoring technology of laser welding diamond saw blade process are carried out. In fact, only a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism of laser welding diamond saw blade, it may be developed accordingly the new online quality monitoring technology; only master the theory of pre-alloy powder, it is possible to develop a new ultra-fine or nano-alloy powder and Better use of new ultra-fine or nano-pre-alloy powder to develop a dedicated diamond saw blade.

In accordance with the current theory of physics, the fastest speed of non-speed must go. Although the human in many areas to the development of the speed of light level, but has not yet applied to the semiconductor case. This technology requires not only a smaller 3D transistor, but its working principle is not dependent on the power to achieve, but the laser, it relies on ultra-fast laser pulse to move the electron. Scientists use gallium selenide crystals as their semiconductors and impinge on red laser pointer pulses at femtosecond speeds, and for "lightwave" electronic devices, the charge carriers move too fast and they no longer collide with each other, not only to increase the speed, And more energy efficient.

The promotion of the concept of lightweight automotive industry is growing. Lightweight, is to ensure the strength and safety of the premise of the car, as far as possible to reduce the quality of car preparation, reduce fuel consumption, reduce pollution, a concept and method. Due to the increasing importance of fiber lasers in highly automated, highly flexible production systems, the laser solution covers all applications in the automotive industry. We first look at the following in the General Motors as the representative of the US auto industry, aluminum body manufacturing laser welding applications introduced.

Typically, automotive laser welding is mainly used for suspension structures, such as the door and the back cover and white body welded together. Cadillac CT6 aluminum alloy roof and body connection and the trunk cover assembly connection is the use of laser welding process. The connection between the aluminum plates is achieved by the 50mw green laser melting aluminum material. One of the aluminum lid welding of the back cover is not required to be polished and other processing to carry out the subsequent painting operation, which shows the smoothness of the weld surface. And the ceiling and the aluminum alloy weld between the body without grinding, only in the coating before applying a layer of glue and scraping to ensure the quality of follow-up paint finish. In addition, the OEMs have recently begun to use laser welding internal components, such as aluminum alloy filter and steering wheel, as well as electric vehicle battery aluminum alloy shell, copper pole and so on.

Laser processing equipment demand continues to expand, the advantages of the platform to help Han's laser technology to fully benefit from laser technology has become an important means of advanced manufacturing technology and upgrading of traditional industries. Panel industry competition pattern is undergoing profound changes, the domestic panel manufacturers are playing a decisive role in the entire panel industry, the future of domestic production line panels using domestic100mw laser pointer equipment is the trend. Dazu laser with a full set of panel production line of laser equipment supply capacity, the domestic OLED production line panel production line and its related products is expected to be applied to the LCD laser equipment upgrades and subsequent batches of investment and construction, in order to become an important thrust of future performance of the company.





March PBParty Submission Day

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 25 March 2017 · 245 views


The agent round will be April 5th - 7th. See the list of agents here

Please be a follower of this blog. You can click the "Join this Site" button in the left sidebar. Or if that is stubborn and won't work, you can subscribe to my newsletter or follow @Michelle4Laughs on twitter. I imagine I will be tweeting hints as well as partying!

You may send two entries for different manuscripts in separate emails. That's two and only two, whether you have multiple pen names or multiple email addresses. Please be honest and not send more. Only one entry will be chosen per person. If you send two, still only one will be picked. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries thrown out (and sadly it has happened in the past.) 

On March 26 at noon Eastern the submission window opens. Do not send early or your entry will be deleted. You may resend at the correct time if this happens. I'm recycling an email address as I already have too many. Please send your entry to SunversusSnow at yahoo dot com

You should receive a confirmation email. If you do not, please contact me on twitter before resending.We want to get a good count of entries and duplicates make that harder. The window will stay open until we get 250 entries. However long that takes. It could be minutes or it could be days, but I'm betting there will be plenty of time this round.

This contest is only for finished and polished manuscripts. It has to be ready to go out to agents.

The Format:

Subject Line of your Email: PBParty: Title

Example:  PBParty: Hot Tub Santa

Inside the email please bold where bolded in my example. Single space with spaces between paragraphs. Use Times New Roman or equivalent font and the size should be 12. 

(Here's a trick to keep your paragraph spacing: copy and paste your entry into your email and then put in the line spaces. They seem to get lost when you copy and paste. It may look right but sending scrambles the spacing.)

Name: Sharon Chriscoe
Twitter Handle: @extracleansanta (optional)
Genre: (Here please tell us what type of picture book this is) Example: Board Book, Bedtime Rhyme, Nonfiction, Biography, etc. or List Chapter Book If this is OWNVOICES, please say so here!
Word Count: xxx (round to nearest ten, hundred for chapter books)


Your entire query letter here. Include your comps, bio, greeting, closing. Please be sure to note diversity and ownvoices in the query as well. (You may use whatever you want for a greeting. Dear Agent. Dear Michelle and Sharon.) 

Here is your chance to make your entry shine and make the agent fall in love with your words. 

First 50 Words:

Include your first 50 words for a picture book, 100 words for chapter books. Do not stop in the middle of a sentence. You may go over by one or two words to finish a sentence but not more than five. Single space and put spaces in between paragraphs. You may center or tab if appropriate.

Edit: For short picture books, less than 50 words may be submitted. Any count under 50 is allowed.

Also I will delete parts of entries after the contest ends, if requested. For those writers uncomfortable with their work being out there for all to see.  

Bonus: You may attach one illustration to your email to show an example of your artwork. If you don't have artwork, don't worry. 

Messed up formatting won't hurt you, but forgetting to include some part of the entry will. Double check before sending.

Now for the twitter party fun! Visit daily under the hashtag #PBParty to meet and greet and scout out slush hints.

Sunday, March 26        Tell us what genre you write and when you entered. Then share your muse. What gives you inspiration to write?

Monday, March 27th     Do you listen to music when your write? Have word count goals? Set aside BIC time (behiney in chair)? Share your daily writing routine.

Tuesday, March 28th     How do you handle writer's block? How many drafts do you write before finished?

Wednesday, March 29th  Animal, vegetable, mineral. Tell us if your MC is human or something else.

Thursday, March 30th     What picture/chapter book gives you the warm fuzzies? And shout out some books with diversity to spread the word on them!

Friday, March 31st       What picture book character would you like for a best friend? What picture book do you remember fondly from your childhood?

Saturday, April 1st       What's your best advice to get through querying? What keeps you sane?

Sunday, April 2nd         Look for CP partners and make more friends. What are your favorite writing craft books?

Sharon and I are not sure when the picks will be announced, but it should be around Friday. We are so excited for the fun to start. As you've probably noticed we have a great group of agents and editors.

Good luck everyone!  


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