Tag Archive: fiction


Orville: An Adult Fairytale

Orville wasn’t the smartest. He was the first to admit it. He had made a lot of mistakes, though he would honestly tell you it wasn’t always his fault. His dad was partially to blame. There were a few things his dad never told Orville. Like don’t eat the bar food. Yea, now that would have been good advice. But Dad never told him and now Orville was hooked on the stuff. It was like his own personal drug. Not that Orville was into drugs, mind you. He wasn’t.

It all started one gloriously muggy night. He’d been scouting the area looking for a meal when the hum of the neon light above a bar door caught his attention. The light had that funny eerie glow that he liked and the sound of the humming bulb was like a siren’s song. It beckoned him, called him onward in a way that he couldn’t resist. He would tell you in his own way that that night had been a turning point for him. That summer night would always be with him.

The people outside the bar smoked their cigarettes and laughed obvious to what was going on. They paid little heed to Orville that night. Later, he realized that many of them might not have even noticed he was there. They were so high on alcohol he thought even a flying cow might have escaped them, much less a little brown bat.

Orville happily ate his fill that night of the mosquitoes humming about outside the bar. They tasted oh so good. In fact, they were the best tasting he’d ever had. His stomach that night was very happy and he went to sleep at the crack of dawn with a smile on his little face. He had found a new hunting area and he planned to go back the next night.

All that week Orville returned to The Drinking Shamrock and ate his fill and every morning he returned to his cave happy as a, well happy as a bat. He wanted so desperately to tell his family and friends about his new discovery but he didn’t dare. What if they joined him some night? There wouldn’t be enough mosquitoes for everyone. And while the people were so drunk they didn’t notice him fluttering about above them, he doubted very much that a swarm of bats would be unnoticed. Someone would look up, they’d scream and all the people would run away in terror and then those sweet mosquitoes would disappear forever. He couldn’t let that happen! So, Orville kept quiet.

Then one night something happened. He didn’t understand it and he found himself in a lot of trouble. He’d never had this kind of problem before and to say he was confused would be putting it mildly.

He remembered going to The Drinking Shamrock and eating the mosquitoes as they came off the people standing outside the bar. There was nothing unusual about that. Then he remembered flying away and heading home but the entrance to the cave seemed to have shrunk. He thought it odd at the time but he was so tired he’d decided to investigate it better the next night when he woke up. Only when he woke the next evening he found that he wasn’t in his cave as he’d thought. He didn’t know where he was or even what it was that he was roosting on. It felt squishy and his claws seemed to be stuck in it. He’d never been scared in his life before but he was scared now.

Orville tugged and wiggled this way this way and that until he finally got his claws freed but there was still something stuck between his toes. It was long and soft and skinny and he knew it would be a long time before he got himself free of it. The darn thing tickled too when he moved.

He circled, looking for the entrance to the strange cave he found himself in. Everything he bounced his radar at came jumping at him faster than he could register it. He was lost and confused. Something was very wrong. This new cave was not to his liking. Then he caught a signal and followed it out to what appeared to be another cavern in the cave. He thought it funny how the shapes of this new cavern was the same as the last.

Orville flew and flew but he remained confused. He couldn’t seem to find his way out. He’d never had this trouble before. Then, all of a sudden he found another a tiny exit. Actually it was more like a crack in the cave but on the other side he registered that he’d be free of the strange bouncing radar signals. Hurriedly he flew to the crack and wiggled his way to the other side. Everything was normal again. But where had he been? What was that confusing cave? He knew he never wanted to go there again.

He grabbed a quick bite to eat at the bar and headed home early. His stomach was still in knots. Whatever that place had been he never wanted to return.

This, he was not afraid to ask of the elders. “Where was I?” The answer he got was a scary one. “You were in a house,” they told him. If he wasn’t scared before, he was now. Suddenly he was  a little bat again and he could vividly hear his mother warning him to stay away from houses. She’d harped at him as many times as the mosquitoes he could eat in five minutes and Orville could eat a lot in five minutes. “Those are the most dangerous things in the world,” she’d told him. “Some of your cousins have gone into houses and never come back. If houses where good they’d have come back and told us and perhaps we’d all live in them.”

He shuddered just thinking where he’d been. It was the most dangerous place a bat could ever go. After all, it was light at all hours of the day and night in houses. Sleeping in a house could be very difficult. There was a decided lack of food too. A bat could starve in a house! And then there was the humans. Humans tended to hate bats. He couldn’t understand this part at all since his kind ate the mosquitoes that the humans hated. He would have thought that they would have been happy to see a bat but his mother warned him that humans didn’t think with logic. “Stay away,” she’d warned him. “They are dangerous. The humans killed your Uncle Hubert.” As a kid he’d never quite believed her but then Uncle Hubert never did return. So maybe she was right?

Orville went hunting again at The Drinking Shamrock and everything was fine. Nothing happened and he arrived home to his family cave, stomach full and ears dancing. Whatever had happened the night before he decided had been put behind him.

That’s what he’d thought. Until the next night when he again woke up inside a house! Fluttering here and there looking for the way out he suddenly found he had a new danger. The family who lived in this house had a dog and the dog was barking and chasing him. Orville was scared out of his wits. Things were not going well. He flew and flew until he thought his wings would fall off. His radar kept bouncing back too quickly and he was confused and the dog kept chasing him in erratic zig-zags and alternated between yipping and growling.

Then he heard the sound of a car door and the dog suddenly vanished. Orville gave up trying to find his way out and quickly hid in the folds of what he now knew where curtains. He’d be safe there. He went to sleep that night tired and hungry. Every time he’d lifted his head above the top of the curtain and thought it might be safe to try and escape the house he’d heard the dog enter the room and Orville burrowed deeper into the material that smelled of stale mothballs and wilted flowers. He vowed he’d make his escape as soon as the dog fell asleep.

When Chester, as he’d discovered the dog’s name was, finally fell asleep Orville slowly peaked around the curtain. No one else was about and the dog’s loud snoring confirmed that he was indeed asleep. Orville flew and flew until he found the exit and just about dropped from the sky in shock when he broke free and the sun hit him in the face. He was instantly blind and he lost all sense of direction. He hadn’t an antenna of a mosquito’s clue which direction he was headed in. He hoped the cave but his luck wasn’t good these days. For all he knew he was headed straight into another building. Quickly he found a tree and roosted there. It was safer. At night he would get something to eat and head home. At the moment he didn’t have any energy. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to focus his dreams on happy thoughts but all he could see was Chester barking at him. His little ears hurt and it was a long time before he fell asleep.

Orville wasn’t sure what to do when he woke that night. He flew around in a few quick circles until he got his bearings and knew where he was and then he headed back to The Drinking Shamrock. There was a huge swarm of mosquitoes and he thankfully gobbled them up. He hadn’t eaten in over a day and he was starved and lacked much energy. He decided to head home early. He’d be one of the first to arrive back to the cave but that was just fine. He didn’t really feel like talking to anyone.

For the next month everything was normal again. No more houses. No more barking dogs. No more waking up to confusion and not knowing where he was. Everything was normal. He got up at night, ate his mosquitoes at The Drinking Shamrock and headed back to his beloved family cave. Everything was as it should be, except for some reason there were less mosquitoes at the bar. He still was the only bat hunting there, so that was good.

Then one night he woke up and knew something was wrong instantly. His first hint was that he wasn’t sleeping upside-down. He wasn’t even in the folds of a curtain. He was outside, thank God, but he was sleeping on his side. His wing was stiff and when he moved to get up he almost rolled off the ledge he was on. How he’d gotten there he had no clue and where was there? He remembered going to The Drinking Shamrock and getting his full but he couldn’t remember anything after that.

Once in the air he did a circle and found he was still at The Drinking Shamrock. He’d never left. Somehow he’d slept on the windowsill. By the soreness in his shoulder and wing joint he knew that he didn’t want to do that again. Flying back to the cave he tried to remember the night before but he couldn’t. He decided that something was wrong but he couldn’t put a claw on what it was. He didn’t used to have this problem. So what had changed?

Orville went back in his mind to when the problems all began trying to learn what was new. The only thing he could think of made him sick. He prayed that what he was beginning to suspect was wrong but he had to know and he didn’t want to ask anyone just in case he was wrong.

The next night Orville didn’t head to his beloved Drinking Shamrock. Instead he headed to another bar and flew around. He was the only bat. His ears flicked with tension and he headed across town to another bar. Again, he was alone. There were plenty of mosquitoes but no one was there eating them up. He checked two more bars to find the same results, loads of mosquitoes present and not a single bat in sight. Here, he was afraid, was the answer. It looked like all his recent problems where related to his food.

He went home that night feeling rejected. It appeared that bar food was the problem and yet no one in his cave had ever talked about it. This he couldn’t understand. His family talked about so many things but not this. Orville went to seek out an elder. In minutes he finally understood. So many of his brothers, sisters and cousins had already discovered the side effect he hadn’t noticed and didn’t talk about it because they too had done strange things and didn’t feel comfortable talking about it.

“Bar mosquitoes make you drunk and when you’re drunk you do funny things,” the elder told him. “It’s okay to go for special occasions from time to time but then you simply eat responsively.” Orville was happy to hear this. He’d fallen in love with those sweet tangy mosquitoes and he couldn’t bear to give them up forever. He decided to eat only a swarm or two but not every night. That way he’d be safe from houses, dogs and apparently humans who set you outside on windowsills where you could roll off. Orville would be all right now but he would no longer be a drunken bat.

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You were waiting for it and now it has arrived.

When Florence Keenan stepped outside her door to get her mail she had no way of knowing the man asking for directions was about to kill her. As the arctic cold of a sharp icicle penetrated her flesh she felt her body weaken around her. When she opened her eyes later it was to see her body covered in blood, her blood.

As a ghost Florence decides to work with the police to solve her murder. She will not rest until her killer is behind bars and ghosts don’t sleep. Join Florence as she uncovers clues, leads Detective Bill Smythe over the next hurdle and learns that being dead has its own rewards.

Pick the version you need for all your ereader needs or print out a copy by choosing PDF when you go to Smashwords.com.

Or if you prefer, you can get it at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com as well.

 

Writing a story. Some find it easy, others not so much. There are hundreds of ways to go about it and every one is a maze of ideas and words all jumbled together. Some are accepted and have been for hundreds of years. Others brake the rules and are considered writing abominations. Still, writing for writing’s sake is an art form.

When writing is done by teams, a whole new experience comes alive. Two thoughts of thinking, two styles of writing and endless possibilities are produced. How these unalike minds will mesh together to create the perfect story is pure magic. It doesn’t always work like music team where one writes the melody and the other the lyrics. In writing a story, where there are two writers writing the same story and the same characters the process can easily get confusing.

I’ve heard stories where one writer took one character (the hero) while the other spent his time writing about the villain. That they came up with something seems fantastic but what is even more fantastic is another story I heard. This one was about two men Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre with a grilling writing pace. Their story was to be serialized and they had very little time to come up with the whole thing from idea to published article.

Their system was simply to spend one week figuring out who the characters were and roughly mapping out each chapter and giving each a name of its own. The second week was the week of writing. One man took all the odd chapters, the other the even. On week three they each read the chapters wrote by the other and added anything they thought was needed for transitions between the scenes of the two chapters. This version was sent to the publisher and published. They wrote 35 of these novels. The series was known as Fantômas. It’s no wonder that these stories are at times disjointed and slightly redundant but here in lies their charm and their lasting legacy. These stories were written slightly over a hundred years ago and yet they are still being translated from their native French and the concepts within the writing have inspired many future generations in their own story writing, movie scripting and television photoplays.

Today let’s concentrate on writing something, anything down. It doesn’t have to be wonderful; it doesn’t even have to be decent. No one will ever see it unless we let them so let er’ rip. Let the words flow and watch and see how many make sense today as well as tomorrow. You never know. You might have the makings of a novel on your hand.

 

Bleeding Ice-COVER ART - Grace RellieOutside the air was cold and inside Florence Keenan’s blood was cooling. It had been three hours since her heart had given its final struggle with the Angel of death and lost. With each final pump her pain had increased ten-fold until Florence prayed for death. With her last exhale she’d mentally screamed in terror as reality sank in. She was going to die. Her time had come and she wasn’t ready. She didn’t want to die. She wanted to live. So terribly bad did she want to live. And then it was all over but she didn’t immediately realize it.

…… Standing over detective Bill Smythe’s shoulder Florence began to read his notes. “They’re like reading chicken scratches,” she harrumphed . “Imagine a grown man whose handwriting is worse than a second graders.”

Slowly as she studied the page she began to see similarities and discerned his letter styling. “He thinks I was killed because of hidden money?” She felt like laughing. Her hidden money amounted to seventy-four dollars in the kitchen cookie jar. If the crook had killed her for that he was a desperate crook. She would have felt pity for him if he hadn’t killed her.

When Florence Keenan is murdered she finds that life doesn’t end with death. First she must grapple with the fact that she is a ghost and then with the knowledge that the only way her death can be avenged is to do some detecting of her own.

Detective Bill Smythe hates killers and those that kill little old ladies even more. As he works the Keenan case he frequently feels as if he’s being watched and those letters by an anonymous tipster keep him spinning but always on the trail of a killer.

Join Florence and Detective Smythe as they work side by side on parallel planes to bring a murderer to justice and cross the boundaries of time and space doing it.

Bleeding Ice is firstly a murder/mystery fantasy. At times you will be shocked and at others laugh at the antics of a ghostly lady who refuses to bow to conventions in life or in death. It soon will be available for pickup at both Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. Please stay tuned.

Do you dream of seeing your work published some day? Do you have a short story that needs a home and you’re thinking self-publishing may be the way? Ok, there are lots of places you can go to publish. Some are vanity presses where you pay to have your book in the hardbound/softbound format, print-on-demand or as an e-book. Other places will take your work for free and put it on their site. Still, there is the option of self-publishing your beloved story for money too.

All of the above options don’t follow the accepted form of the traditional agent/publisher route and therefore they all have the same thing in common. In order for these online sites to give you the respect your work deserves you must have a cover. With cover art, a whole new world opens up for you. For a time, many of these sites will give you free exposure on their Recently Published area. This could be you! It only will be you if you have a cover. No cover = no exposure and very little interest.

While the age old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” shouldn’t be true, it is. If you have a wonderful cover that sparks the imagination in some way, people are more likely to pick it up. When they read your synopsis, the deal should be sealed. That part is up to you.

Elizabeth Rye (who goes by the author name Grace Rellie) will read your story and let the images your words invoke lead her to a cover. She will not lie to you. It won’t look like all the other covers out there. She hopes that’s what you’re looking for, something that is unique and not canned. She firmly believes that a truly great cover is one that stands out in a crowd. It’s a cover that tells a story all by itself and lead the reader on a journey before they’ve turned to the first page.

Below are a few samples of covers she has designed for specific titles, one published on smashwords and the other soon to be published. If you are have a short story that you’d like to self-publish and are interested, please let me/her know and she/we’ll be happy to discuss completion times, prices and terms.

Cover Image - DJ Marcussen -The Tax Angelhttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/420881

Bleeding Ice-COVER ART - Grace Rellie

A World of Joy – Book Review

A World of Joy is a Christmas anthology of over twenty short stories written by writers across the globe whose simple wish is to spread holiday joy. Each story is charming by itself but taken together they represent all the gifts and all the wonders of the glittering Christmas world. As you flip through the pages, snow will twirl around you, lights sparkle through windows and the spirit of Christmas will be in the air. Inside gifts are being left under the tree, people you always wanted to meet are dropping by and hugs are being exchanged for flavorful aromatic cookies.

We hope A World of Joy will bring a smile to your lips as you journey through its pages and see that wishes do come true. This compendium of cheer is sure to brighten your holiday and remind you of that happy childhood feeling associated with tearing and shredding wrapping paper in anticipation of that long desired gift.

The goal of every writer is a work published. To see words we put to paper or blank screen on the page of a book that we can hold is a dear sight to us all. We long for that day and work constantly in hopes that tomorrow, next week, month or year will be that day. Today is that day for me. My short story, Weekend Wife is in this new book published by Grey Mouse Publishers under the name of Elizabeth Rye. I ts my turn to say,  “Yea, I did it! Im published!

 

Please pick up a copy of A World of Joy and enjoy reading from this collection of short Christmas stories. They have been specifically tailored to be wholesome and friendly to all ages and religions. You will find that they can comfortably be reading aloud to the whole family.

 

Available as a FREE download at the following locations on November 29th, 2013 (Black Friday):

  • Barnes & Noble
  • iTunes
  • Smashwords
  • Sony
  • Kobo

Please leave a review and let all these splendid authors know that their goal of holiday cheer was accomplished. As a fellow writer or a reader who appreciates the writing craft you understand how a few simple words does wonders for the soul. If possible, please drop me a line here and let me  know  what you thought of my short story. I had fun writing, Weekend Wife and I hope you will have fun reading it.

 

From all of us, thanks so much for your encouragement. You help make it all possible.

Publication is not for the faint of heart. There are many hurdles jumped through everyone of the takes time. It is a commodity that will not and cannot be a stingy one.

As with any business there are steps to being published writer first you must have something to say to know how to say it. Then there are two different paths to choose. Each is a busy throbbing partnering. One direction from the four belongs to the domain nonfiction all the other is reserved for flights of fancy, fallacy and fantasy. Like the writing, the direction you take is of the utmost importance.

If you go with nonfiction you can sell an idea but shall need to write a book proposal. If your heart throbs with fiction ideas you must first write to complete the book. No one will look at an idea in this arena.

Okay, you know what you’re writing and you’ve written what you have to. Either a book proposal or the completed manuscript is sitting on your desk. You have been accepted format in you get a few local people with good grammar spelling skills go over to, says the best can be. Good. Now it’s time to find agent.

All some of the smaller publishing houses will take “ unsolicited” manuscripts, the larger ones won’t. That means you need an agent who can talk to those people for you. If you have the right agent they will fight for you. They believe in you’re writing and their job is to sell it for you and get the best possible price. After all, they don’t get paid until you do, if the price is small than their pay is smaller yet.

So how do you get a good agent? Research, like anything else. Find out what they specialize in. What kinds of books have they recently sold? Will you are book look good in this line up?

Do not just look at the agent’s accomplishments. Look at them as a person. After all, if they agree to represent you you’re going to be working together. Is there something in their background that you can’t deal with? Do you have something in common? You have to walk away from your research with the idea that you found a good fit and possible friend.

All right. You found an agent. Now you need to write that all-important cover letter that will not only sell your book but you to the agent. Be personal. Don’t send a form letter! Let them know just by how you write that you did your homework. Just like there was a special format for writing either the proposal or book there is a format here to. It is important. If you don’t follow these qualifications you run the major risk that the agent won’t even read cover letter and if they don’t read that, they won’t read the other things you sent either.

Writing is a crap-shoot. If you don’t have the facts or don’t follow through on them, you lose. The winning streak begins when an agent picks up the letter and grins. They found a new jewel. You find out because you don’t get a form rejection letter, you get an acceptance letter. Now sit back and take a deep breath. You did it. You got an agent. You’re on the way to publication. Now write that nonfiction book or smile if you wrote fiction because you’re done.

 

Everyone wants to write a great novel. They have a terrific idea and a few intriguing characters but how do they prolong the short story in their head to novel length? They may also worry about keeping it real. The idea of writing 60,000 words alone can be terrifying. So my advice is not to think about it. As more scenes are added, your word count will grow. It has to.

So how do you write a scene that sounds real? For me I’ve found a few tricks. I’ve found they work best if you’re sitting in front of the computer. If you write longhand you can still do these, it’ll just take longer.

The first thing to do is sit down in a comfortable position. Next place your hands on the keyboard and close your eyes. Take in a few deep breaths. Then put yourself into the character’s shoes that owns the scene you want to write.

Feel the character’s emotions rising in you. See with your eyes the character’s surroundings. Then delve into the character’s memories. If the character ran into someone right now, what would they say? How would they act?

Put yourself into this character. With your eyes still closed, begin to type the scene. Don’t worry about the typos. You can go back and fix them later. Right now focus solely on the character and what’s going on. You are that character. It is you, that has been robbed. What do you say? Do you scream it? Do you throw something? What? Did it brake? How? Do you feel satisfaction? Fear? Anger?

Pretend you are up on the stage in a play. Your readers are the audience. A great scene will keep them in their seats. A great play will have them return for your next staring role.

Don’t just write the scene, own it!

Books like this that at the beginning tell you they are part one in a series of three right away leave the potential reader hoping they’ve found a diamond in the ruff. They want characters they can relate with and situations that are strong enough motivation to read not one but three books to completion to find that satisfying ending. Mike Wells has done just that.

He starts out slow but with enough clues hidden just beneath the surface to keep the reader flipping pages. When the decisive moment comes it doesn’t just drop, rattle and roll; it explodes.

The main character Elaine Brogan has been living under a power keg since before memory. When it blows it’s up to her to pick up the shrapnel and decide what to make of her life. It is a journey that keeps the reader enthused to the last page and on into the next, which happens to be another book plus one more.

It’s a good job done right.

This truly is a short story. Written in first person, we only know the main character as Maddie. Her boyfriend Jack Ramirez is referred to be his last name the entire time. Sadly neither character is very rounded. We don’t get a clear picture of what they look like nor what the pint sized apartment looks like either.

The whole story begins and ends in the same location. Their plans of quiet and getting it on are both non-existent. Perhaps Ms. Halliday’s feature length novels have more character development. I hope so. I also hope these tow characters are the same in her other books so that readers get to know them. This should be a piece of who they are and her loyal readers already know Maddie and Ramirez, because if this is truly stand alone, it didn’t do it for me.

It’s cute and at times funny but it needs fleshing out to transform it into a romping fun story.

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