Paul’s Story – A Story from 10 Words

This was what I was given:  Randy (aka: Mentor), Butch (aka: Gus), and Paul (aka: Lucky) – 10 words: trout, deer, bear, tent, fire, cold, snow, boat, cigars, beer.  Setting: Convict Lake

And this is the story I made from it:

(Today’s accent is going to be, “old west cowboy.”  Again, trust me, reading it in this accent will make it more fun!  Enjoy!)


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“Well ain’t this a happy heap ‘a horse shit you got us in to, Lucky.”

A shot rang out in the clear California morning and the bullet richoceted off rock, sending a resounding echo bouncing off the nearby mountains.  Snow had been falling for nearly two days and a thick layer covered the ground where three men crouched behind a cluster of fallen aspen trees. 

“We got enough on our plate without having to listen to yer bitchin’, Gus.”

“Ignorin’ me is what got us here in the first place.  We were supposed to be fishin’, that was the plan.  Drink some beers and catch some fish.  Then you two jackasses decided it would be a good idea to chase after ’em convicts made a run for it outta Carson.  Now I find myself knee deep if slush, freezing my balls off and likely about to get my fuzzy ass shot in the bargain.” 

Lucky turned toward Gus with a laugh on his lips.

“Two of us came out here to catch fish, that’s for sure,” he said in an harsh whisper.  “One of us came out here to bait the hooks and run his mouth.  You wanna take a guess as to which one that is, pretty boy?  Now, you don’t shut yer trap you ain’t gonna have to worry about them convicts blowing your ass off, ‘cus I’ma do it for ‘em.” 

The Mentor turned back to his two friends with a slow, steady glare.

“I don’t suppose it would be too much to ask of you boys to focus on the problem at hand.  We got six men out there looking to put us in the dirt and, contrary to the plans a’ you two princesses, I don’t intend on cashin’ in today.” 

More shots rang out and the bullets were getting closer to the target.  A deer bolted from the brush and rushed out into the clearing between the convicts and the three lawmen.  The convicts saw only movement and a chance to empty their cannons into a moving target but it proved to be the perfect distraction. 

Three of the convicts erupted from behind cover and the mentor twisted around the fallen trees and laid to.  He pulled the colt from his hip and fired six shots fast, fanning the hammer with his free hand.

Lucky spun around and placed his rifle across the barrier of trees, zeroed in on the nearest target and fired off three rounds.  He worked the lever action with quick jerks and fired with tried percision.  This was a man who knew how to kill when it was called for.

Gus turned the opposite way, bringing his scattergun to bear.  The blast boomed in that wide open space and birds peeled off into the grey sky.  A rabbit broke from cover and the other critters followed their lead, fleeing their homes to escape the sudden invasion of violence.

The three convicts who had presented targets all fell, bullets tearing them to shreds and painting the snow with their life’s blood.  The mentor had placed all six shots into his man’s chest, caving it in and throwing the man back into the tree behind him.  Lucky set his shots a mass, putting two in his target’s chest and the last right between his eyes.  Gus hit his man first, but it took his the longest to die.  The buckshot tore his chest to shreds and several pellets riddled his face as well.  An ear was torn off and the man was lying face down in the snow screaming as the three lawmen ducked back down.

“Three down, three to go,” Lucky said.

“Don’t reckon those other three‘ll surrender peaceful like,” Gus added, sounding resigned. 

“You could always go on out and ask,” the mentor said, grinning at his brother. 

“I’ll pass.  I got me a date with a nice fat trout in that there lake and I wouldn’t want the fate of the triple crown left in the hands of you two amateurs.” 

“Mentor, please let me shoot him.  I promise we can find you a suitable replacement.” 

“Ain’t no use, Lucky.  You shoot him he’ll only get more irritatin’.” 

“Don’t see how that’s possible.” 

“Shows how little you understand.  I been acosted by his stupidity since my first breath and I guarantee I got more sufferin’ commin to me.”  The mentor turned toward Gus and was greeted with a shit eating grin.  “God don’t let trials like him end easy.” 

“Yeah, old Job ain’t got a thing on you, that’s for damn sure.  How you put up with his mouth for this long I’ll never understand.”

“It’s a’cuz I’m so damned pretty,” Gus added.

All three men had a good laugh at that and the firing began again.  The lawmen ducked down instinctively and the mentor began reloading his Colt.  Lucky checked his rifle and Gus gripped the boom stick close to his chest as they waited for the firing to cease.

“You all gonna die, law dogs!  Come on out ‘ere and get your desserts, damn you!” 

That was Greer, the worst of the bunch. 

“Way I see it, we just cut your number in half, Greer.  Why not come on out yerself and we’ll introduce you to a nice California collar?  Least that way you can go God with a clear conciense,” Lucky replied. 

This was answered with more bullets.  These men wanted to go out guns blazing.  They had escaped prison and made it this far, the last thing they wanted was to surrender to three over-the-hill lawmen. 

“We ain’t gonna see no end to this but by blood my friends.  What say we get it over with?”  Lucky said without the slightest hint of fear.  This was a man who had stared death in the face more than once and he was not going to blink now. 

Gus and Mentor both nodded their heads.  It was time to take the fight to the devil.

Mentor bolted from cover, fanning his Colt and making for a small spread of trees off to his left while Lucky vaulted straight over the cover they had been crouched behind, firing his rifle as he went.  Gus followed behind, his shotgun barraging the surrounding trees with pellets and sending wood chips flying. 

The three men raced forward through the snow, guns blasting apart the trees and sending a roaring thunder of noise rebounding off the mountainside.  Canfield broke from cover first and Mentor venilated him before he could bring his iron around.  Maxwell followed and Lucky near took his head off at the neck with a shot that struck him just below the chin.  Greer was all alone and he decided to make a run for it.  He panicked and turned the wrong way, only to come face to face with Gus and his shotgun. 

“Guess you shoulda’ surrendered after all, asshole.” 

Gus put a hole in Greer’s chest the size of a man’s closed fist.  Greer dropped to his knees in the snow and then fell down, face first. 

Gus rested the barrel of the shotgun on his shoulder and turned toward the other two men. 

“Well, now that I got you two jackasses outta’ this mess, what say we find that boat and get to fishin’?” 

“It’s nearly sundown, we can’t fish in this.  So what say you set up the tent, your highness, seein’ as how you ain’t never caught anything out here but a cold? 

Mentor laughed and holstered his Colt.  “I’ll see to the fire, gentlemen, and I’ll leave you two to figure out who puts up the tent.” 

After some fuss the men had their camp set and a fire going.  Lucky passed cigars out to his two friends and the three men sat before the fire arguing over who killed who first, who killed the most, and which one killed the biggest man.  Little did they know that the lake they sat before would forever be named for this very shootout: Convict Lake.  That was not important to them then though, what was important was they would live to see another day, which meant one more chance to fish together — and argue like old women.

This is the meaning of friends.  It’s the ones who go to war with you.  They walk in knowing what’s on the line and they never blink.

Friendship is also about history.  The longer you live the more you will experience those moments that only your true friends understand.  Words are exchanged and simple phrases that mean nothing to anyone else, but everything to you.  In those moments your true friends are revealed and it creates a bond that stands the test of time. 

Here’s to true friends and the dangers we face in their name.  Here, too, is to simple pleasures like fishing, beer, and cigars with your brothers. 

Just beware the bears.

If you would like your own story, please feel free to contact me with 10 words, a theme (it can be a genre, favourite movie or book) and a song and I will write you a story as well.  They are posted every Sunday.  

Next Sunday (23 January) will be Rachel’s Story.  It is a very special edition of Stories from 10 words as the Rachel I will be writing the story for is the namesake and inspiration for the main character of my action fantasy novel, Sisters of Fury.  Look forward to it please!

Downfall VI: Insomniac


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What is it about dead whores that always reminds me of circus clowns? 

Is it the way their faces, ravaged by drugs and mascara, always seem somehow comical in their extremity?  Or is it just that the profession is so similar that my mind is putting the two together on it’s own?  After all, what is whoring other than parading around in a painted mask hoping for cash and a few smiles? 

This woman died happy though, which is more than the killer did for the last two.  Maybe she made him smile too.

Probably not, but she’s dead.  Let her dream. 

“If you want dead crack whores, I know at least ten more sitting in the morgue we can go poke.  Seriously, why the fuck are we out here?” 

“For a man who desires to do my job you should focus a bit more on your own before you open your mouth,” I tell the coroner.

“What the fuck does that mean?”  He hurls his cigarette against the wall, balls his huge hands into fists, and looms over me. 

Oh my stars and garters, I have angered him.

“It means, my dear doctor, that this woman was not a crack user.  Crack cocaine is smoked.  This woman was a needle user and, unless I am mistaken, more prone to the heroin crowd.” 

The coroner is shaking his head.  What difference does it make, right?  One drug or the other still makes for a dead whore and he doesn’t give the first goddamn.

I do.  The devil is in the details. 

“The point, detective, is why do we give a shit about this piece of human trash.” 

I have to bite my tongue.  I shouldn’t answer this question, it isn’t worth it.  So of course I will.   

“Because, you monument to hubris, none of the other women in your morgue were killed by our umbrella toting friend.” 

Three witnesses reported seeing a man in a dark suit approach the woman and pass her something.  She took it, injected it, and passed out.  She hadn’t moved since.  The woman was about to be passed over when I heard about it because who cares?  She was a prostitute, a drug addict, and generally seen in the same light as the coroner was now viewing her.  It also didn’t help that the testimonies of other drug addicts and street people were taken with less than a grain of salt. 

“If he did kill this bitch then good on him.  He did us all a favour.  Maybe we should start calling him the garbage man because he’s getting rid of our trash for us.” 

When dealing with bigots one must draw a line.  The more I address this neanderthal the more he will vomit his stupidity on me, and I like this suit. 

Why did he kill this woman?  What was special about her?  How did she stand out?  There could have been anywhere from five to ten just like her standing within a stones thrown when he killed her.  Why this one? 

Damn this guy.  He has to be saying something, so what is it?  Why be so cryptic.  If you have a message, out with it already you asshole. 

“Detective, can I speak with you a moment?” 

My headache has taken on a new aspect.  That spot right behind my left eye begins to throb and I feel my eye twitch.  Would that I could have gotten through this whole day without having to deal with the captain I might have lasted long enough to down something heavy and brownish to kill it, but alas my luck is not so hot these days.  Here we go again. 

“Yes, captain, what is it?”

“What are we looking into this woman for?  I don’t see the need for this many hands just to clean up a street walker.” 

At least he is addressing her with more political correctness.  Being the police chief means being schooled in the university of pretty mouth, and his is top notch.  I am sure this woman would have appreciated the hell out of him.

I stand up, fingers rubbing my temples, eyes shut tight and I can feel it growing.  This killer is getting in my head and it hurts like nothing I have ever felt.

“Another late night, detective?  Are you even sober enough to be out here?”

I have to laugh at this.  The assumption that I am an alcoholic is cliche to the point of being moronic.

“I have a headache.  That has nothing to do with drinking, it has to do with not sleeping.”

“The job is getting to you.  Maybe you need a vacation.”

I laugh again.  This is turning into a veritable tennis match of stereotypes.

“I don’t sleep because I am an insomniac.  I am not an insomniac because I do this job, I do this job because I am an insomniac.”

His one brow raises and he leans his head to the side, putting his hands on his hips.

“My mamma always told me, ‘son, know what you’re good at and use it.’  Only thing I’m good at is living without sleep and being able to look any horrible thing in the eye knowing it couldn’t possibly lead to nightmares.  You have to sleep to have nightmares.”

I pause and he sighs, shaking his head as he does so. 

“So here I am, not giving a shit if my life makes sense to you.” 

“This is a dead end,” he cuts in.  “The woman doesn’t fit the M.O.”

“For once, we agree.  She didn’t stand out like the others.  That does’t mean he didn’t kill her, it means the M.O. wasn’t correct.” 

He’s giving me the jaw. 

“Look, serial killers can usually be broken into two main types: the ones with a manic obsession who kill a specific type of victim in order to fill a need, and the ones who kill to send a message.  This man is the second type.  He’s sending us a message and we have to figure out what that is.”

“You said the message was about standing out and that appears to be wrong.  So what is the message now?”

I honestly don’t know the answer to that anymore.  That is why my head wants to explode.  It is so full of all the different things these murders could possibly be saying and I can’t sort them out or shut them up. 

“What I know is this: he planned this.  The others weren’t planned, or did not bear the appearance of being planned, but this woman’s death was.  Or perhaps it was simply a plan to kill the first drug addict he came upon, but he knew her drug of choice and brought it along with him.  He knew he was going to kill a drug user and he was prepared.  That means he could have known he was going to kill the others as well and is a master of making it look unplanned.”

The captain is looking as if he just opened his organic frozen yogurt to find that some plebeian has replaced it with pedestrian ice cream.

  “This is both bad and good.  It is bad because we were initially on the wrong track, but it’s good because that means these three victims have a stalker and possibly a connection we missed.  He’s given us another piece of the puzzle and we have to see how these three fit together.” 

“So a street walker, a day trader, and a high end fashion designer are all connected?” 

“It’s a mad world, captain.”

I turn from him and start walking toward the other end of the street, the sun assaulting my face.  The part I left out was that it had been a month since this woman had been killed, according to the coroner, and the killer hadn’t made a move since.  We found her on a nice sunny day because her death hadn’t lead us to her when the rain had been falling.  It’s rained a few times between then and now.  Either the killer has more presents out there waiting for us to find or he was waiting for us to find this one before moving on. 

My mind is telling me its the latter.  He’s watching.  He wants us to appreciate his work and understand.  He can’t move on until we find his little present, like a cat who shits in the living room. 

Well, we found it.  Now I have to check the weather report and see how long I have until he drops another pile for me to appreciate.

Othersiders: Arts of the Necromancer – Pt. 6

“Alice King?” Evelyn said, her voice clear and strong like a river. 

The middle aged woman at the door smiled with the corners of her mouth, gentle lines of old skin pulling and folding, making her face ripple out in waves.  Opaque shadows clouded her green eyes and she looked slightly confused to hear her own name.

“May I help you, young lady?”

“Yes, my name is Evelyn Stone, and this is,” Evelyn said, turning her head to the left and right to find that Finian had stayed a few steps away from the door.  Evelyn reached out and pulled him up next to her bodily.  “This is Finian Kelley.”  Evelyn was staring hard into the side of his face, daring him to take a step back.  Turning back to face Alice King, Evelyn continued with a sigh, “we would like to ask you a few questions about your son.” 

Alice King’s tired eyes began to blink rapidly and she raised her feathery eyebrows.    

“Son?  I don’t have a son,” Alice King said, clutching her hands to her breast and popping her knuckles as she did so. 

Evelyn watched as the two sides of Alice King’s nature began to battle.  The brittle old woman she wore as an exterior struggled to maintain control but the hardened warrior who had lost her most prized possession was fighting to get loose.  The white streaks of flyaway hair that framed Alice King’s face fell into her eyes and her smile slackened.

“I am sorry, you must be mistaken.”  Alice King said in a voice as cold and sharp as folded steel.

Evelyn licked her lips slowly.  Alice King wanted to play hardball.  Evelyn was battening down her own hatches while Finian, on the other hand, was pulling at her sleeve and trying to whisper into her ear. 

“Evie, maybe I was wrong about her.  Let’s just go.  I don’t think she want’s to talk with us.  Besides,” he added, “I am allergic to cats.”

“I don’t have any cats,” Alice King said, puzzled.

“She doesn’t have a cat, Finian,” Evelyn repeated, never looking away from Alice King.

Finian rolled his eyes and moved closer to Evelyn.  “Look at this woman, Evie.  If she doesn’t have a cat then she’s just the crazy lady.  At least being ‘the crazy cat lady’ makes you sound cute.  People can sympathise with a cat owner.”

Evelyn shook her head in a mixture of disgust and frustration.  Finian would either follow her lead or go home.  She had no time to humour him further.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. King, but my friend is a little strange.” 

“Really?  I’m not the one trying to strike up a dialogue with Mrs. Coo-Coo for CoCo Puffs,” Finian whispered rather too loudly into Evelyn’s ear. 

“Finian!” Evelyn shouted, finally turning to glare him into silence.

“Mrs. King, I am sorry once again for my friend’s mouth.  He can’t always seem to control it.” 

“It’s quite alright my dear,” Alice King said. 

“As I was saying, we’ve come to ask you a few questions about your son.  I am sure this is a sensitive subject and I know that we are strangers but I assure you we are very interested in anything you might be able to tell us about his disappearance.” 

Alice King blinked several times and took a deep breath.  She was wrestling again.  Her smiled returned again, only wider, and crows feet spread from the corners of her eyes like talons. 

“As I told you before, young lady, I don’t have a son.” 

Evelyn finally caught on to the game of semantics Alice King was playing.

“Of course.  You don’t have a son because he was taken.  You did have one before though, didn’t you?” 

Alice King’s knuckles cracked again. 

“Young lady, I really think this conversation has become inappropriate and I am going to have to ask you to leave.  I have been as patient as I can be with complete strangers.” 

Alice King made to close the door on them and Evelyn put her hand out to stop it.  She would not be so easily dismissed. 

“Mrs. King, please.  We need to see the album.  We need to know what you remember.  It might help us!  We’ve lost loved ones too!”  By the end Evelyn was shouting in the woman’s face. 

“Lower your voice,” Alice King rasped, her eyes flashing hawklike.  “Your shouting will draw it out!”

“Draw what out?” Finian shouted.

A chair was thrown from Alice King’s house.  It exploded from the front window near where Finian was standing in a shower of glass.  Finian ducked behind Evelyn and she instinctively put her arm out to shield him.  Alice King tried to use the distraction to slam the door shut but Evelyn was too fast.  She got her foot into the gap before it closed and then used her youthful strength to shoulder the door back.  Alice King went sprawling onto the hard tile floor with Evelyn and Finian tripping into the room behind her.

A glass frame came whizzing from a neighbouring room and smashed into the wall above Finian’s head.  He let out a high pitched squeal and dropped to the floor with his hands over his head.

“What in great holy hell was that, Evie!” 

Evelyn was looking around for their attacker and found nothing.  Then a glass vase was lifted from before her eyes and there was no hand holding it.  Whatever doubts she had before she entered this house were blown out like a candle in a high wind.  It was all true. 

The vase came pelting toward her and smashed into her face.  She had been so awestruck by it that she did not even raise her hands to defend herself.  Evelyn dropped to the floor on top of Finian in a shower of glass, violets, baby’s breath and cascading water.  The last thoughts she had before blacking out where of her brother and knowing that she had been right all along.

He was alive and she was going to find him. 

Of Blogging and Followers: Blogging 101

This is part II of assignment 9 for Blogging 101. 

The assignment for today was to build a post off of a comment that we made yesterday.  In thinking about that it got me thinking about comments in general and some of the things I have learned in my month on WordPress.  So I made you a list.  Here we go:

1 – There are a lot of fishers out there.

People who follow your blog just to get a follow back.  They haven’t liked or commented on any of your work.  Chances are very high they didn’t read a word of what is on your blog.  All they want is the guilt follow.  I give these people the benefit of the doubt and read through their blog until I find something that inspires me to comment.  If you don’t take the time to reply to the comment, or even worse, don’t take the time to at least like the comment (however inane it might be) that tells me you don’t really care if I am reading your stuff or not.  You tell me why I am going to keep reading.  Are you Kurt Vonnegut?

2- Building real followers is like building a friendship.

Along those same lines, I have found that the people really worth following are the ones you know pay attention to the people following them.  Why?  Because you make real followers the same way you make real friends.  Just because I am following your blog doesn’t mean I am going to buy your book or care about what you are talking about.  I can delete emails really fast.  If you don’t engage your audience the chances are high that they are not going to care about what you are talking about, no matter how well you write.

3 – Authors who muse are annoying to me.

Being an author to some people means that everyone should care about what you are writing because you are good at it.  Writing is your skill.  That is why you are here.  Here is the problem: that is why we are all here.  Why should another writer care about your random rambling?  If there isn’t a point or a lesson to be learned from your musing than tell me why I should care?  Because you are good with words?  Guess what?  Most of the people on this site are good with words.  Find another way to stand out or stop rambling.  Make your words count.

4 – Everyday posters who post multiple times a day are often not worth following.

One of the objects of Blogging 101 is to post something everyday and I know that many of us are struggling to keep up with that, and good on you for it!  Here is what I have learned though, if you don’t put enough thought into what you are going to post then it isn’t worth it.  There are some theories out there that say that no words are wasted, but here is my counter argument: Your posts go into the email inboxes of your followers.  Do you want to bombard them with 10 emails a day of your random thoughts?  I call these people Facebook/Twitter bloggers.  They are treating their blog like it’s a social media website and thus a place to post any random thought that pops into their head.  If you have something meaningful to say, think it out, type it out, read it, then post.  Don’t just post to get views.  It’s not really helping your cause like you think it is.  I feel this is as good a way to lose followers as it is to get/keep them.

5 – Shameless pluggers should be paraded around for their whoring.

I have had a mess of people comment or message me because they want to promote/sell me their book.  Please refer to point 2.  Why do I care about you?  If all you are coming at me with is, “here is my book! Buy it!  It’s totally awesome!” I will delete you and never speak with you again.  This is like walking up to a random person in the bar and saying, “here’s my naked self!  Let’s do it!  I’m great!”  Can you at least buy me a drink first?  Tell me your name?  Ask me any stupid thing about me, then we can talk about you and all your shameless self promotion?  Go away already.

All this being said, I will share my thought process on this site and how it works best if your aim is to expand your readership:

  • The basic tenant should be: Do unto others.  If they like something of yours, go read their site and like something back (really read it though.  Don’t be lazy and like the first thing you find).  If they comment, comment back.  If they follow, follow back… with stipulations:
  • If someone follows your site, click on their name, go to their site and read something of theirs.  Comment or like it depending on how well it suits your taste.  If all you ever get is a follow and no other communication over the course of a few weeks, they didn’t really like your site, they just wanted another follower. 
  • Same thing goes with likes and comments.  Bloggers should care enough about their readers to pay attention to what they are writing too.  Too many people are just on this site to write things and have everyone love them and read their fabulous words.  If they don’t care about you, ask yourself what about their site attracted you in the first place and if you want to keep reading it even though they have no time to address you.  Unless this is Neil Gaiman we are talking about, they have time.
  • Along those lines, if someone takes the time to comment on your work, comment back.  I would even say to go a step further and go to their site and find something to comment on.
  • I have 30 WordPress followers at this point but I only consider about 5 of them real followers.  These are the blogs I will read anytime I get an email and comment on right away.  Why?  Because I know that when I post something they will do the same.
  • Why is this a good habit to form?  It depends on why you are blogging.  My aim is to build relationships with my readers so that, if or when the time comes, I will have a base of readers to work from if I do ever publish my work.  I can then send it to them knowing that I have fostered a real relationship with these people rather than just spamming random people I have never spoken to about this awesome thing I wrote… and PS, I’m naked!

I would love to hear from the rest of you now.  What has your experience with this site taught you?  What is your impression of blogging?  You know what happens now if you don’t comment… and if you do 😉 

Side Note:  Really taking the time to read through blogs is very rewarding.  I read through nearly two hundred last night and found 3 that I really liked.  I posted about them and ended up breaking my site view record by over double.  I also doubled my number of visitors and gained 4 new followers… just for suggesting other sites that were good. 

The logic is, if you find something truly good that means you probably have good taste.  If you have good taste than it’s probably a good idea to follow you as well. 

This is evidence that the homework Blogging 101 is giving us is absolutely worth it.  Follow it and it will lead you in the right direction.

Music To Write To

Blogging 101 Assignment #9

I am building a post from a comment I made yesterday.  The strange thing is, it’s a comment that I made to a blogger who commented on the post I created to show the sites I had commented on for homework.  Did you get all that?  Good, because there is a test at the end.

The comment was about a song lyric she had posted on her about page.  It got me thinking about how music can spark memory and also, as a writer, how I use it to fuel moments of my writing.

So I thought I would share a short list of songs and soundtracks that I listen to while writing and why I use them. 

Most of the music I listen to comes from soundtracks.  Songs with lyrics tend to distract me while composed music from orchestras gets me into the moods and moments of the films they were created for and I find that can help stoke the fire. 

For intense battle scenes with buildup: Battlestar Galactica  Kara Remembers

Galactica is awesome for several reasons.  I love taiko drums, bagpipes, and the piano.  The combination of these things is more amazing than I could ever have imagined. 

For betrayal, anguish, and death scenes:  Braveheart – Betrayal and Desolation

This whole score is amazing, but the use of drums is also what gets me.  Awesome. 

For going on a mission or traveling and revelation scenes: Lost – Hollywood and Vines

I love Michael Giacchino’s work.  Again, he makes great use of the piano and strings.  Locke’d Out Again is another one of my favourites of his: 

My list of favourite soundtracks to write to are:

Battlestar Gallactica


Lord of the Rings

The Last Samurai


Avatar: The Last Airbender (again, the taiko drums are awesome)

So, what music do you use when you are writing?  What inspires you?  What helps get you into different moods or moments? 

Sisters of Fury: Prologue

This is the prologue to a novel I am polishing at the moment.  I have reworked this about ten times now and I would really like some feedback.  Is it too much of an information dump?  Does it catch your attention?  Would you want to read more?  Comments would be greatly appreciated!




My life has been defined by death.

Even before I was old enough to know my own name I knew death. My grandparents died in a plane crash while I was still teething and my parents were gunned down in our home before I had left elementary school. The official story was murder suicide. Official stories are never the real story –that is why they have to make them official. They cannot be anything else. I hold Christian responsible.

My husband, Blake, and my uncle, Daniel, were the next to go. My brother took care of them with a shotgun. The twisted part of Uncle Daniel’s death is that he had been the chief proponent fighting to keep my brother from being charged with my parent’s murder. Christian’s ingratitude knew no bounds.

The night Daniel and Blake were killed I walked into my uncle’s house and found Christian hovering over them with a sick grin on his face. That is right were I shot him, in his smug face. I gave that son of a bitch what he deserved.

That is the last moment I can recall with any clarity. I have been trying for nearly two years to remember exactly what happened after that but for the life of me the memory will not come back. The next thing I knew I had woken up in a compound full of refugee women somewhere in Asia with no idea how I got there. I would try to escape but where do I have to go? Everyone I have ever loved is either dead or despises me.

So I am here; haunted by vivid nightmares, isolated and confused.

Mine is a life damned, and only my pride propels me forward. I will find out why I was brought here and how. There is a reason and until I learn it I will keep fighting.

Death can have me after that.


3 New Blogs I Follow

Today’s assignment for blogging 101 was to find 4 new blogs to comment on that I had not ever done so for before.  This took an incredible amount of time, weeding through blogs that didn’t grab my attention.  It taught me the importance of titles and getting the reader’s interest in the first few sentences.  I also learned how few creative writers there are out there… at least ones publishing actual stories.  That being said, here is my list:

1: The Bent Elbow by girlatadesk.   I haven’t laughed this much in a while.  Very funny piece.

2: A Narcissist Writes Letters, to Himself:  So much awesome.  I couldn’t stop laughing.

3: Sara Bellanato: She’s in the same boat with me, trying to learn to self promote because we want to be writers but not really loving getting in people’s face about ‘following’ them everywhere.


PS – This post just set my record for views in a single day.  Okay karma, come to daddy.  🙂

Amanda’s Story -A Story from 10 Words

Amanda’s Story

These were the 10 words I was given:  Cheez-it’s, pizza, sleep, gym, laughter, music, rain, chocolate, sweatpants, love. In a log cabin

This is the story I wrote:  (Do me a favor and read it in a British accent.  It will help 🙂 )


The rain assails my cage whilst anticipation draws out as endless as the sea.  That a life can wither in such a way I had known not.  Had it come to me by word or by way perhaps I would have been better prepared for such desolation.  Alas, I am beset. 

Woe that a bird such as I could be so imprisoned, abjectly cast into the pit of suffering reserved for creatures of grey and black.  These colours were intended for grander presentation; the music of my life to be played before the masses. 

Whilst not my liberator come for me?  Knowest he not the way?  Hath dangers untold befallen him in the gallant quest to deliver this gem of ages into breaking dawn only to outshine it.  Weep, for truly my plight is unmatched in the annals of man. 

Speed, my love, speed.  Your flower withers evermore. 

Rising from my bed I chance to the window only to find that the downfall will not abate.  Even gods seek to prolong my exile.  I am cast from the eyes of both high and low.  Will my anguish never cease? 

A knock.  The door hath been struck.  Could it be fair prince?  Hath he braved the way to be at the side of his one true love?  Am I to be stolen away, loosed into the sky where I belong.  Oh, I pray it so.

Dashing to the door I fling it wide to bathe in the sight of my hero.  What hath fate rendered? 

The rain cascades off his magnificent form and I behold a creature made from sinew and fine silk, Michelangelo’s David hath come for me. 

“Pray, tell, my brave knight, to what end hath you sought this place?”

Silence fills the night.  His powerful mind spins from the perils he hath overcome to stand before me.

“Are we doing this again?” he asks, and I am less than pleased at his failure to grasp the weight of the situation. 

“Again, my love?  Surely this is the first our eyes have met!” I shout, pleading with mine eyes. 

“Right,” he says, shrugging his massively muscled shoulders.  “So, the first question was something about why I came here, right?” 

“I say,” I say, “thine words are vulgar.  Could it be that thou dost not seek copulation on this fair night?  Perhaps I would be better served to sleep, gods know I love it so.”

The musculature of his face shows that he hath grasped what lies in the balance should he fail in his task. 

“Most assuredly not, my fair princess.  I have traveled far in search of you and I just got finished at the gym so my, I mean ‘mine’, mine mind is not quite caught up to mine ass.” 

“Ass?  Really?” I query, disquietude getting the better of me.

“Yes, fair maiden.  I hath worked it to exhaustion for thine pleasure.  I present it,” he says, turning to produce his derrière.  “Is it not lithesome?  Is it not supple?”

“Your fortunes are turning for the worse I fear and I may have to seek solace in sleep after all.”

“But maiden, I have ridden long on the back of my great stead, Ford Bronco, to be at your side!”

That fate would send me such a creature!  He hath no even the wit or extravagance to choose the Mustang instead.  Miserly halfwit!  Be gone from my sight!

“I have no time for such games.  I shall pine away until my loins are of no use, certainly not to one such as you.”

“No, dearest damsel, do not turn from me.  Do not shut me away from this, the log-iest of cabins, to be cast out of your sight and denied the beauty of you and your finest of faded sweatpants.”

I pray he can see the vexation upon my visage.

“I have come, enduring wandering pathways with terrible reception and a lack of GPS whilst Siri, my ever troublesome companion, lead me to ways unknown.  I have soiled my finest raiments, purchased from the greatest smith in all the land – Dick, of Dick’s Sporting Goods.  He hath crafted this fine chest piece in the style of the very Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr., the noblest of all Patriots, so that I may woo you.  Do not let these efforts be in vain!  I pray you!”

“Seriously, Joe, you suck at this.”

“I can’t be good at everything.” 

His laughter undoes me.  I can’t help but smile, the big dope.

“Okay, so you aren’t prince charming.  How are you going to make up for that?”

“Well, I brought you chocolate, Cheez-it’s, and pizza.  How does that sound?”

I love this man. 

People think that love is complicated.  That it’s a grand gesture that can only be understood on a large stage in breathtaking moments with elegant words.  That isn’t true.  Love is in the little things.  The small gestures.  The minute understandings.  Love is being close enough to someone to know how much leaving the last piece of chocolate in the box for them will mean.  It’s driving out of the way to get to the store that sells their favourite snack just because it’s Tuesday and you love them.

Shakespeare wrote beautiful words and his love always died. 

Real life isn’t always full of beautiful words, but if you look hard enough you will find that it is full of something even better. 

It is full of simple love. 

Simple love is the kind that never leaves you.  It never betrays you.  Simple love is rocking chairs and holding hands even when your hands can’t hold anything else.  Simple love is grandchildren and forever. 

Here is to simple love and the hope that it finds you every day.

Here, too, is to real men who know that loving Tom Brady is never simple. 

Sorry.  I had to ruin it a little there. 

If you would like your own story, please feel free to contact me with 10 words, a theme (it can be a genre, favourite movie or book) and a song and I will write you a story as well.  They are posted every Sunday.  

Next Sunday (16 January) will be Paul’s Story.  Look forward to it please!

Downfall V: Super Heroin

Have to stay awake. 

Eyelids heavy like lead and my bones hurt.  Are they shrinking or growing?  I can’t tell but I’m going to keep scratching until I get them out.  Who the hell needs bones anyway?  Visions of super heroine-ism flash through my tired mind and I love it.  I’m smiling.  I think I’m smiling.  I think I shit myself as well.  That can be the only explanation for that smell.  I did it or the man next to me did it.  My bowels feel heavy and my mouth feels like a salt lick.  If I’m not the one who shit themselves than I am certainly the one responsible for the vomit on the sidewalk.  One way or another, something that was in me came back out and it smells like hell.    

God damn this itch. 

The rain is pissing down.  It’s been raining like this on and off for weeks now.  They say it’s good.  The earth needs water.  When you live in God’s ass crack you don’t care what the scenery is like as long as he wipes every now and then.  He doesn’t.  God is a hands off type.  Real hippy, that rat bastard. 

I’m sorry Lord.

There’s a man looking at me.  He’s thinking about it.  He wants it and I’ll give it to him.  I’m a swallower, sir, step right this way.  Or is it the vomit he’s looking at.  I feel sick.  I need to throw up.  Didn’t I do that already?  No, no, no.  That wasn’t me.  That was Bobby Brown Bag on my right.  He did that.  Vomiting is for supermodels and that is definitely not me.  I am not a runway broad.  I am the back alley bitch all the way.  And, yes, I do that too. 

Need to get up and move.

How can I be this hot?  It’s raining.  I shouldn’t be sweating.  This ain’t Florida.  Dammit all.  Damn this ran and damn this city.  Damn this life.  Right, that part we already had covered.  Shit.  I think I did it again. 

Please, I am begging.

The man’s back.  He’s coming closer.  I need to wipe my mouth, present a pleasant shopping experience for the customer.  He’s crouching down in front of me.  Jesus, the man is black.  His whole essence is black.  Shiny black shoes, black suit pants worth more than my life, black suit jacket, black shirt, black tie, black bowler hat, black gloves, black umbrella.  Wait.  Umbrella.  Something about that is ringing a bell.  I can’t remember.  I’m looking at his face though.  God, he’s beautiful.

Black eyes like death. 

He’s holding something out.  What the hell is that?  I can’t see with all this rain.  I have to sit up.  Oh, God.  Please.  Please tell me it’s what I think it is.  Please tell me this isn’t a dream.  I haven’t even had to prove my skills at the flute yet and he’s giving it to me.  He knows.  I’ve been so low for so long and he’s giving me  the elevator.  The key to the skyrocket.  The booster pack.  The Icarus Wings.  Oh, I’m gonna fly.  I can already feel the warm, happy centre of everything good. 

“For me?” 

I sound like a two dollar tramp.  I don’t even cost a quarter.  Where did I get such a fancy tongue?  He’s nodding so it must be for me.  I’ve never tied off faster.  The booster hits and we have ignition.  Ground control, kick the tires and light the fires, mama is coming home.  I can feel it coming, the heat.  The blanket of love and joy that I’ve been craving for days.  Sitting here in my own piss and shit I dream of all the places I will go when the love finally embraces me again.  I am going to be a super heroine.  Heroine.  I like that word.  I don’t need the ‘e’ though.  You can keep that.  No charge, baby, no charge.  Here we go.

Her heart slowed.  Her heart stopped. 

The man with the black umbrella picked up the syringe and placed it slowly into his pocket.  He leaned closer to the dead woman and whispered in her ear. 

“If you beckon death by spitting in the face of life it is only a matter of time before it finds you.  Wander, o soul, in the pit of damnation and writhe in suffering for a life wasted.  To hell with you.” 

The man with the black umbrella stood and walked away.  Not a single soul noticed the woman had died. She remained there, unmolested, for a month. 

Disney Princess Battle Royale: An Opinion Piece


Welcome to the Disney Princess Battle Royale!  This will be my first opinion piece so your comments are greatly appreciated.  I would love to hear what everyone else thinks as I am sure there will be disagreements. 

This will be a round robin style tournament featuring 10 contestants.  And the contestants are…

Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, & Anna. 

There is a reason only these 10 were chosen and I will explain a bit about that at the end.  The quick answer is, some of the exclusions you are probably thinking of were not, in fact, princesses but merely female lead characters in a Disney animation movie.  This is a princess only battle (sorry Elsa). 

Why do this?  Because I love Disney movies.  I am not going to lie.  I am a 36 year old bearded ruffian who likes animated musicals.  So?  That and I got into an argument with my 4 year old daughter last night about who would win in a fight between Cinderella and Belle and I feel that she did not fully appreciate my reasons for why Cindy got her butt kicked.  So I am bringing my keen logic to all of you fine people. 

Enough now with the preliminaries, let the first round begin! 

Round 1:  Rapunzel versus Snow White!  FIGHT! 

This is a no brainer for me.  Rapunzel as a character was cute, funny, and original.  She is a bit of a ding bat, but in a charming way.  She also go in there a bit with her frying pan.  Go Punz.

Snow White?  If you look past even how dumb she is in the movie to the actual book version of this character she is legendarily stupid.  She was told three times by the dwarves NOT TO SPEAK TO ANYONE.  And everyday the dumb butt took some new gift from a shady looking person she didn’t know.  Hello?  Stranger danger?  That, and I hated the old school, “I am going to sit around and brood about wanting a prince,” character.  Ugh.  Goodbye Snowy. 

Rapunzel wins! 

Round 2: Merida versus Aurora

Again, no brainer.  Merida would shoot Aurora in her sleepy face and walk away.  To be fair and explain this like a big boy though, who, developmentally as a character, is Aurora?  She’s a pretty girl who was locked away in the woods that spends her time singing about…. again… wanting a prince to come along.  Then what does she do?  Fall in love with the first boner that shows up.  Then what does she do?  Fall asleep for the remainder of the movie.  She has zero actual substance as a character.

Merida has some drawbacks and they went a bit overboard trying to make her into a not-girl-girl, but I really liked that film.  She never got a prince.  It was nothing about her needing to fall in love.  It was all about her and her mother needing to understand and appreciate each other.  It wasn’t a princess movie in the sense of having a love story.  And there were huge bears in it.  And they had Scottish accents.  Did I mention she also shoots arrows? 

Merida wins! 

Round 3: Belle versus Ariel

I know for a fact I am going to catch hell for this one.  Nevertheless, here we go.

Belle.  She loves books, this, for me, is a clincher in itself.  She has ambitions to do something better with herself than just be pretty, and despite being so pretty she never let herself turn into a ditz.  She could have been one of those girls, you all know them, that live off their good looks, but she didn’t.  She did develop a serious case of Stockholm’s, this is true, and that takes her down a notch.  However, not low enough to lose to….

Ariel.  The poster child for teenage rebellion and foolish idealistic love.  This whole movie should have been titled, “Daddy said no, so I am totally going to do it anyway.”  She went off and met a shady octopus witch, who everyone knows is a bad character – LOOK AT HER FOR CHRISSAKE!  – and makes a deal with her, even though the witchy woman showed her what she does to people who fail in their deals with her.  Really?  All because daddy said no?  Really?  Every time I watch this I want to make my own version where Triton comes up at the end, the part when Ursula has Ariel and Ursula offers to let them swap, and says no.  Ariel has made her decision and he will not allow the entire sea to suffer for his daughter’s immaturity.  How irresponsible was Triton?  Seriously?  All this not to mention that Ariel feel in love with the biggest Disney Douche of all time.   Uhhh, is your name Mildred?  Really, you jacka- –

Belle wins!

Round 4: Jasmine versus Cinderella

This was a tough one. 

Jasmine was a bit whiney for me.  I used to love her the most when I was younger but as I grew older I realised she’s a bit too self-centred.  Luckily for her the main character in the movie is actually Aladdin and the Genie is number two, so her part in the story is drastically reduced.  This also makes it a bit hard to root for her at times.  She’s not bad but she’s not awesome.

Cinderella.  She went through a lot of BS.  If you read the story as well she went through even more than she did in the movie.  Her mother and father both died and she was left in the hands of a bunch a nasty old bitches.  Excuse my language.  She is the poster child for rising above it.  She kept a good head about it throughout as well.  She never got nasty or bitchy, she just dealt with it.  I like the story version of her better because she sends her little helper birds to peck the eyes out of the stupid hags who gave her crap and I am all about vengeance, but that is not the Disney way.

Cinderella wins!

Round 5:  Anna versus Tiana

Okay, so I have to admit that I really didn’t enjoy The Princess and the Frog.  I know why it was made the way it was but for me it felt like Disney making caricatures of African American culture built on stereotypes rather than reality.  I don’t know.  I’ve never spoken with anyone else about it so I don’t know how everyone else feels, but that is not the point.  Tiana for me was a bit boring.  She wanted to be a chef and she had her memories of her dad and all that, but she spends most of the movie being a boring ass frog.  Ribbit.

Anna:  Hello Rapunzel’s clone!  Nice to meet you!  Anna was a shameless attempt to recreate the magic that was Rapunzel.  Her whole demeanour and style screamed Rapunzel.  As such she loses points for being totally unoriginal.  Outside of that she was, as her better version was, cute and sweet and funny at times.  I am uncertain as to why she wasn’t allowed outside when Elsa went all shut in, but that is just how the movie world goes.  She also did that uber stupid Disney move of, “let’s fall in love with the first man who is nice to us… or speaks to us… either is fine. “  Still, as a Rapunzel copy she was bound to be better than the froggy chick.

Anna wins! 

Now for the championship rounds: 

Our winners were:  Rapunzel, Merida, Belle, Cinderella and Anna

The losers bracket is:  Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine and Tiana

Losers first:

Snow White versus Aurora

This would be a toss up in my book.  At least Aurora didn’t prove how dumb she was by eating food from strange people.  And there was a dragon in her movie.   Aurora wins!

Ariel versus Jasmine

Teenage angst versus selfish stubbornness:  Jasmine wins!  Sorry, I really don’t like Ariel.  (and that is my wife and my sister’s favourite character… uh oh.) 

Tiana versus Snow White: 

The frog beats the apple munching dumb dumb.  Tiana wins! 

Aurora versus Jasmine

Jasmine had an actual character.  Aurora was a singing, sleeping bimbo.  Jasmine wins!

Tiana versus Ariel:

Okay fishy, you can have this one.  Ariel wins!

Tiana versus Aurora:

Frog.  All day.

So our losers bracket shakes up like this: 

10) Snow White

9) Aurora

8) Tiana

7) Ariel

6) Jasmine

Now for the winners bracket. 

Rapunzel versus Anna:  I did this on purpose.  One is the original version of this character and the other is the copy.  Copy loses.  For the first time in forever, you learn what it feels like to get whooped.  Rapunzel wins!

Merida versus Cinderella:  I am a sucker for girls who kick ass.  Merida wins.  It’s close though.

Belle versus Anna:  Belle is a brainy book lover.  Anna is a pie in the sky dreamer who falls in love with a total douche because, immaturity.  Belle wins

Cinderella versus Anna:  Who has a fairy godmother, a magical pumpkin carriage and keeps her head up no matter what those hating bitches say?  Say it with me now, Cinderella.

Rapunzel versus Belle:  Rapunzel.  All day.  She’s too cute and funny.  She also had by far the best Disney prince.  Belle has a thing for beastiality.  Yuck.

Belle versus Merida:  Again, arrows.  So many arrows.

Cinderella versus Belle:  Brains and books beat out the ‘nuthin’ gonna get me down’ girl.

Rapunzel versus Merida:  Oh, this hurts.  I can’t do it.  I have to though.  Rapunzel.  I can watch that movie over and over again.  She had a good heart and she’s so much fun to watch.  I love Merida too though.  Her accent and the bow and arrow, she’s a great character but Rapunzel was just a bit better.

So the winners bracket shakes out like this:

5) Anna

4) Cinderella

3) Belle

2) Merida

1) Rapunzel

Who got left out and why?  Pocahontas, Mulan, and Elsa (I am sure there are more, these are the ones I can feel complaints coming for.)  Starting at the end, Elsa is the queen.  Not a princess.  It’s different.  The movie is also more centred on Anna (unfortunately).  Mulan, also not a princess.  She may or may not get married to Shang at the end, but he’s just a general.  Not a prince.  Pocahontas.  Oh, the history major in me wants to tell you of all the hate for that film… but I will leave it at, she also was not a princess.   She was the daughter of a chief, sure, but it’s still a stretch to make that into ‘princess’.  It’s a different culture.  Live with it. 

Thank you all for playing.  Tune in next week for our next battle.  Who am I going to throw into the ring next? 


Upon further reflection I have come to realise that I gave Rapunzel the cup based on the strength of her movie more than the strength of her character alone.  Rapunzel’s movie is better because of Flynn Ryder – aka: The Animated Han Solo.  Merida would be my winner and Belle would be in a toss up with Rapunzel.