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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

From despair to hope... #Romance #Literary

Waiting On Hope
by T.M. Souders

She stepped to the ledge of the balcony, welcoming death—and the mercy it offered.
Three more steps and she would be free. One. Two.
The sudden bang on the door made Lexie jump. She stood, her toes curling over the cool, rough, concrete, only inches from the edge of descent.
Gripping the chair next to her, she tried to concentrate. She raised her arms straight out from her sides like an airplane. The morning air, cool on her skin, wrapped around her in a soft caress. She visualized the jump, the slap of wind on her face and in her hair. She didn’t flinch from the thought of the agony of impact, which may come before the blessed numbness. After all, she was no stranger to pain.
Opening her eyes, she glanced down at her feet. Without a railing, the unguarded slab of stone made for easy access to the waiting street below. She straightened her toes, no longer supported by the balcony.
The banging on the door persisted, making it hard for her to think. She tried to ignore the interruption, but the caller’s persistence made blocking out the sound impossible. Behind the pounding she heard a voice—one she recognized.
“Lexie, open up. Let me in. What the hell are you doing out there? You’re going to get yourself killed. Lex?” Sienna continued to call through the door.
Lexie glanced from the inside of her apartment back to the street below. Traffic loomed, along with the occasional pedestrian. She cursed Sienna for interfering. Why did she show up now?
All she needed was one more step, but the insistent banging outside her door thumped in the background of her mind, jarring the still thoughts of death from where they perched. She would have to wait.

Friday, May 25, 2012

What's not to love about vampires and rock stars? #Paranormal #Romance

Blood And Guitars
by Heather Jensen

I gazed back at him, his blue eyes blazing, and I had to resist the intense urge not to look away for the ridiculous fear that he’d see right through me. See the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Then his lips were on mine and I lost myself, overwhelmed by the surge of Trey’s emotions as they flooded through me. I kissed him back wanting to forget my fear of being discovered, of putting him in danger, and focus only on how good it felt being in his arms. After all, relinquishing some control was a sacrifice worth making if it meant I could continue to live in this fantasy with Trey. But the dreaded tingling in my teeth started up again and I reluctantly pulled away. Trey closed his eyes and let out a slow breath, resting his forehead against mine. It was obvious he was trying to be patient with me.
“Trey, I…” I wanted to apologize but what could I say? I’m sorry but I’m afraid my fangs might freak you out. Oh, and by the way, my eyes sort of glow in the dark when I get excited. I hope you’re cool with that?
“It’s okay,” he breathed, resting his hand on mine over his heart. I wondered how long he would put up with me pulling away like this. It was selfish of me and dangerous for us both, but I wasn’t willing to give him up. I didn’t want to lose him, or the effect he had on my spirit. It was time to accept the truth. I was falling in love with Trey.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Twelve For 12 - A dozen dark stories come in if you dare.... #Short Stories #Horror

Twelve For 12
by Thomas Mackay King:
Twelve short stories that consider the darker side of life, murder,suicide,child abduction, no pink fluffy happy endings in here, well maybe one!

The perfect, precise, acute scalpel was on its way to penetrate my unsullied, unblemished, virginal skin, I erupted with one more silent scream, but my hell had commenced, the razor sharp surgical tool had sliced across my lower abdomen with barbarous efficiency, my nerves lay quiescent as the deep gouge opened my body to expose my infected innards.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kidnapped #MysterySuspense #YA

Kidnapped at the Midnight Sun
by Lisa Hall Deckert

“Oh my God, Nali, this says that somebody has Tori,” Kara said. “What if they hurt her? What if they already hurt her? Oh my God, what if they kill her? What are we going to do?”
I felt just as panicky as Kara did, but I tried to act calm. “Take a breath, Kara. Coach Kim is on her way up. The note is for her.”
Kim arrived quickly. “What is this all about? Did I hear you say kidnapped?”
“Look, here is the note,” I said. “Wait, don’t touch it!”
It was too late. Kim had already picked up the paper.

We have VicTorIA.
No Police and she won’T
be harmed. Tell no One.
InSTRUCTionS to FOllOw.

Monday, May 21, 2012

One woman's quest for tail-wagging joy starts with a shock at the vet's office #Comedy

What the Dog Ate
by Jackie Bouchard

The vet handed Maggie Baxter a plastic specimen bag containing a pair of size-tiny, lavender thong panties extracted from her dog; but they were not hers. Or rather, they were hers now since she’d just paid $734 to have Dr. Carter surgically remove them from Kona’s gut.

She’d come home late the previous night from a three-day conference. When she crawled into bed, Dave had muttered hello, but was snoring again within the minute.

Then, this morning, she’d awakened to the muted foghorn sounds of Kona heaving. As she’d hurried down the hall to the living room, knowing that was where the chocolate Lab would be, she wondered two things: how could Dave sleep through that horrid noise; and why, in a house ninety percent floored with hardwood and tile, did the dog always throw up on the carpet?

She’d made it in time and pushed the big brown dog out back. Standing stiff-legged on the lawn, he had heaved several more times but nothing came up. When she’d offered him breakfast and he wouldn’t even look at it, she’d known a vet visit would be on the day’s agenda.

Giving the waitress a hard time. . . #Comedy #MysterySuspense

Brett Aerobicizes
by David D. D'Aguanno

Sure enough, when our Chinese waitress came over to take our orders a few minutes later, Marilyn ordered some weird concoction with noodles, and then Tyler did the same – how cute! – and he even offered to split an order of chicken wings with her. Next, Ginger opened her mouth to place her order, and I quickly cut in, saying,
“Bring me an order of beef teriyaki, chicken fried rice, the horseshoe duck –“
“Wor shu,” the waitress cut in with.
“God bless you!” I said back to her, my infectious charm obviously at its considerable peak.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Truth About Robots (Androlibras) #ScienceFiction #Horror

Bone Machine
by CN James

A crowd of Haitian men stood over one of the Androlibras, looking down at it, obscuring what was going on. Then two of the men picked it up off the floor and carelessly plunked it down on the workstations that formed a sort of communal desk in the center of the room. Grayson could hear the men cheering. He watched as they raised their hands in victory.
One of the men stood with his back to the camera, and judging from the motions, it appeared as though he was trying to tug the head of the robot off. Someone handed him a knife, and Grayson could clearly see him cutting through the small tubes near the back of the neck. After the first tube was cut, the man repositioned himself, giving the camera a clear view. Grayson watched a white liquid gushed from the severed tube, as the man worked the knife against the second tube.
He cut it through and repositioned himself in front of the camera again. But Grayson could see just enough to know that the man was tugging and pulling at the head as the crowed encouraged him with an eerie sounding chant. The moment almost felt ritualistic, as if Grayson was watching some kind of documentary or had intruded on a private ceremony.
Finally, the man succeeded. Grayson watched as the man recoiled and took a few cautious steps, backing away from the Androlibra. At first, the crowd cheered and several men started dancing around the room. Then the mood shifted abruptly. The celebration stopped. The small mob went silent. The man with the Androlibra head finally moved out of the camera’s view, and there, in the middle of the room, the Androlibra slowly began to rise.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Diary of a Teenage Serial Killer #Thriller #MysterySuspense

Diary of a Teenage Serial Killer

by Jem Fox

“I have some questions for you about the geek.”

Unlike the thugs I’d been dealing with, Marcus had a fully functioning brain. He got on the same page quick. He didn’t pretend he didn’t know who I was talking about.

“How’d you find me?”

“Well, Marcus, that was fairly easy. I called the pizza places on campus and asked them if they had a customer who was a really fat guy on the young side. There were two of you, and the other guy didn’t have seven computers.”

He sputtered.

“It’s hard to go underground when you weigh 400 pounds, Marcus. That’s why they’ll have to bury you in a piano case.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Could Kaitlyn be the last native Earthling left? #ScienceFiction #YA

Alone I Walk

by Julie Wenzel

I would like to start off by saying that I wore the ugliest shirt I owned that day. And for that, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm not a fashionista by any means, but I do like to look at least half ways put together.

It wasn't that I was running late for class and grabbed the wrong shirt. I didn't even show up for class that day.

The problem was the washing machine...again.

I had the quarters. I went to the campus store, bought a notebook and a box of pens, and then asked the cashier to give me five dollars worth of quarters while she was at it.

But, like any other typical day there was an “Out of Order” sign written in faded marker on a notebook piece of paper, across the machine.

So at the end of my washing machine production, wearing my ugly shirt, with a pocket full of quarters, I missed my parents all the more. College wasn't the easiest thing in the world. It wasn't the classes, or making friends. It was the homesickness. I missed the home cooked meals.

As a kid, I took the washing machine in our house for granted. Laundry detergent and fabric softener always magically appeared the next day when we ran out.

I missed how my dad would fill my car up with gas every time I ran low in high school. For a while in my life, I was able to pretend that the world was a happy place. Sure there were bad in the world, but it was comforting to know my parents would be there for me.

Problem was, no one was there to take care of my parents.

Can Death by Volcano Be Romantic? #Romance #Paranormal

Out of the Ashes
by Lori Dillon

Pompeii AD 79

They crawled out an open window and emerged into a changed world. The ground now rose to meet second story windows and rooftops. It was impossible to tell what time of day it was. The sky was black with smoke, the sun gone from view as if the gods had plucked it from the sky.

Dacian and Sabina looked toward the mountain, unable to see its majestic peak in the distance. Floating soot burned their eyes, and they had to cover their mouths to breathe. They turned and followed the merchant’s family, stumbling over the debris filling the streets as they tried to make their way to the city gates.

They had taken no more than a few steps when an enormous blast rent the air, nearly knocking them off their feet. The sound of a thousand chariots roared closer and closer.

Panic seized them all.

“Run!” Dacian shouted.

The heat wave hit them first, the blast of hot air slamming them all to the ground. Dacian covered Sabina’s body with his own in a desperate effort to shield her. His large warrior’s hand cupped her head, pressing her face into his chest. A rush of searing wind surrounded them, the hot gases sucking the air from his lungs.

Dacian’s eyes stung, and Sabina’s image blurred before him. He could feel her thrashing beneath him, struggling for a precious breath of air. But there was none.

All too soon, Sabina went still in his arms, her eyes closing as if in peaceful slumber. Dacian took one last look at her beloved face, then laid his head down next to hers.

As they held each other in an eternal embrace, the ashes continued to fall, covering them like a gentle blanket of snow.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I entered this world covered in blood. #HistoricalFiction #Fantasy

The War Master's Daughter
by Elly Zupko

“This could not go on, Abern. A soldier is a part of the machine that is the unit. A unit is part of the machine that is the army. One soldier refusing to function can bring down her unit by simply neglecting the duties of her rank. But more than neglect, Borodin had put herself in a position to lead by example and was on the eve of bringing down the entire unit. We are at war, Abern, and this was treason.
“At first I beat her, then progressed to the cat. But I soon realized this would not solve my problem. Abern . . . you know intimately my passion for carnal justice. Messy deaths prove points. Blood stains prompt memories when time would fade the lessons. However, in the field we kill treasonous soldiers by breaking their necks. This is so no blood spills on their uniforms, because those uniforms can be worn by others. We waste nothing in the pursuit of the good of the whole.
“She screamed as I came to her.” Cashel sighed ruefully. “The weak ones always scream.”
Before Abern’s eyes, the room began to spin. He searched, wildly scanning the room. Found nothing.
“Sir, allow me to light the lamp.” He began to cough uncontrollably. “Please, Cashel. You needn’t do this. . . . Cashel, I held you as a baby.”
“Then you know more than any that I entered this world covered in blood, and I feel no remorse at my role in it. Farewell, Mr. Abern. It is for the good of the whole.”
Abern took his last breath and did not have time to exhale before the pillow was over his face, and his lungs gave out, his brain gave out, his heart gave out, and he was dead.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

History is never quite as real as when it is told by those who lived it #NonFiction

World War ll London Blitz Diary Volume 2 (of 4)
by Ruby Side Thompson
(Victoria Washuk - Author Rep and Editor)

Monday, January 6, 1941
Bardia has fallen. The news was received in London late last night. Prisoners captured exceed twenty five thousand including six generals. To the Australians go the first honors, for they led the attack. The Italians are crumbling fast, making Hitler’s first broken prop. The axis is now wobbly. Hitler gave London another bombardment last night. The alert was given about six o’clock, and the all clear came just before midnight. We have not been told yet what damage they did last night.

Sunday, January 19, 1941
Last Sunday night London received another bad bombing. One high explosive went down the escalator shaft at the Bank Station. All the people on it killed, of course, and all the people in the station. To make horrors worse, a train was just coming into the station, and the force of the blast blew all the people on the platform on to the lines, so they were killed by electricity, and then run over. They were unrecognizable. As for the debris, it isn’t all cleared away yet, and there are still many bodies not dug out yet. It is impossible to count the dead. The night shelter people were there, as well as travelers, the number must be many hundreds, perhaps a thousand. This is modern war, damnable hellish war.

Time traveller mistaken for runaway slave in Roman Empire #YA #HistoricalFiction

The Green Bronze Mirror

by Lynne Ellison

She could have sworn that they
were Romans, exactly like the ones pictured in 'Roman Britain'
which she read in school last term, but the idea was so impossible
that she tried to dismiss it. How could there be Romans in this day
and age? Unless... unless the mirror had taken her back-about two
thousand years. But that was preposterous. Perhaps the men were
just part of some sort of advertising gimmick. Still, that didn't
explain the disappearance of the castle. Maybe the men would
explain that to her. She'd ask them.
She stood up and faced them resolutely, waiting for them to
come level with her.
The officer saw her first.
'Halt!' he bellowed, and beckoned imperiously to Karen. 'Come
Karen stood before him, feeling rather foolish in her shorts and
striped T-shirt. What if they really were Romans? And if they
were, how on earth had she been able to understand what he said?
'Who are you and what are you doing here?' asked the officer,
in a tone which implied that he wanted a prompt and businesslike
'N-nothing,' said Karen, trying to think what to say. 'Only
taking a walk: Golly! she thought. I think they must be real
Romans. She wondered with a growing sense of panic how she
could explain that she was from the twentieth century. The man
stared at her suspiciously from under thick black brows.
'Only taking a walk, are you? Where are you from?' Karen shut
her mouth defiantly. 'I won't tell you!' This was the easiest way of
getting out of it.
'Oh? And why not? You wouldn't be a runaway slave, would
you? If you were, you'd not tell me, naturally. But there are ways
and means.'

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Harley's Father Has Just Committed Suicide... #Literary #Romance

The Boots My Mother Gave Me

(An Amazon Breakthrough Novel Quarter Finalist)

by Brooklyn James

Suicide, death, it doesn’t affect the deceased, only the living, those of us left behind. Death in any form is difficult, but suicide’s a real bitch. It’s demoralizing. Most of us put a high value on life. When someone close to us, someone we love, decides life is no more valuable than death, it contaminates our thoughts, makes us reevaluate life, its meaning, purpose, worth.

Some say suicide runs in families, like any other disease. Does that mean my fate is a bullet through my flesh by my own hand? Suicide used to be a topic distant from me, tragic and nonsensical. Now it’s forever a part of me, a little piece in the fabric of my family legacy. Writers like Shakespeare have glorified it, romanticized it. Others like Plath made it a part of their own destiny, suicide. Maybe it is the only way for some. I wouldn’t propose to tell anyone how to die, no more than I want to be told how to live. But their choices will forever affect those they leave behind.

All of my life, I have borne the weight of my father’s shortcomings. And of my own choosing, I probably will continue to do so, pushing myself, trying harder next time, fully attempting to prove worthy. My dad was one of the most capable, talented, intelligent people I ever knew. But he threw it all away. Chewed it up and spit it out. For what? Addiction? A lost childhood? He could have been so much more. He wouldn’t take responsibility for his life. He wouldn’t own it, but I do own mine.

*This book has an accompanying original music soundtrack (written and performed by the author).

A mystery in only 100 words? #Short Stories #MysterySuspense

Cops, Crooks & Other Stories in 100 Words: 101 Tales

By Mark S. Bacon

Each entry in this book is a complete story, usually with a protagonist, a challenge and an unexpected resolution. Here's one sample:

On the House

Starting her workday baking before sunrise always made Sophie’s concentration sag by 9 a.m., but looking across the counter at a gun barrel got her immediate attention.

“Gimme the money,” the gunman said.

Sophie glanced over the man’s shoulder, moved toward the cash register--then ducked.

The cop standing behind the robber threw him against the counter, while another officer grabbed the gun.

“You gotta be the dumbest crook I ever met,” said the first cop. “Okay, maybe you didn’t see our car in the lot, but really….”

“Thanks, Kelly,” said Sophie. “From now on, doughnuts are on the house.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Of cloaks, elk and Izax #ScienceFiction #ActionAdventure


by Paul M. Schofield

The cliffs began to narrow in the side canyon. The flat area Martin remembered was still there, the trees hadn’t taken over, but he saw no ship or sign of his companions. A huge boulder was near the base of the cliff. He couldn’t remember it being there when he explored this area as a youth, but that was five hundred years ago.
The boulder began to shimmer and lose its definition. It disappeared, unveiling the rotary-wing aircraft. The hatchway burst open and Janet and Kolanna ran out.
“Could you see us?” Kolanna said. “We could see you. What did we look like?”
“All I saw was a big boulder, the same color as the cliff. It’s amazing! Was this built into the ship, too?”
“No. Louis Franelli gave us this mini-cloak to try out. If you couldn’t detect it, it must be realistic. Louis programmed it to take on the form and textures of natural things around it.”
“Let’s go back in and turn it on again,” Janet said. “What did you find, Martin? Show us the images.”
Back in their craft with the cloak engaged Martin described the elk, the crew, and the ships he had encountered. “They’re planning to leave early tomorrow morning. By now they’ll have a full load of elk. Is there anything we can use as a locator to attach to their ship? There has to be some way to follow them or find out where they’re going.”
“I agree,” Janet said. “It’s possible they may be familiar with Galen Bestmarke or that character named Izax who we think has your father. They could lead us to more useful information.”

Reliance on Citizens Makes Us Great! #ScienceFiction #Thriller

Canvas Skies

by S.L. Wallace

In the sequel to Price of a Bounty, Keira has just caught Brody spying on her:

I grabbed Brody's coat sleeve and dragged him into the dark alley next to the cafe. “What the hell are you doing here?” I shoved into his gut with my left shoulder, pressed him against the wall and held a knife to his throat. Granted it was a butter knife from the cafe, but I'd had to improvise. His pale green eyes widened. “Are you following me?”

“Yes...well...I just thought...” He mumbled before regaining control. “What will it take for you to trust me? I've put in enough time, haven't I? I've given you free rides out of the realm whenever you've asked, not to mention whatever fugitives and contraband you've been taking with you. I thought maybe if I showed some initiative...” he faltered, but then spoke up again. “I've seen that before.” He was staring at my pendant.

Just then we heard a trill. “Is that a duck?” he asked.

“No, that's not a duck!” I snapped. “It's a grey treefrog.” I had to remind myself that I too had wondered about that sound less than a year ago. It was, in fact, my transceiver, and that would be Guy.

I sighed and pulled away. Brody dropped to the ground. He wasn't going anywhere. I dug in my purse and lifted the transceiver to my ear. Brody moved one hand to his throat as he eyed the butter knife. Then he casually raked his fingers through his dark brown hair. Without a word, I closed the connection and gestured toward the silver automobile that was rolling into view.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Master Capolitu selecting Tarlok as an acolyte of the Brotherhood of Warlocks #Fantasy

The Brotherhood Of Piaxia

by Michael Drakich

“Yes, I seem to recall now. Hmm, the last time I saw you, you were no more than a young boy running through the streets with the other urchins plaguing our alleys.”
“That might have been me sir, but as you can see, I have reached the age of ascension and am ready.”
“Ready you say. I decide who is ready. Still, there can be no doubt you possess the mana necessary.”
Master Capolidu paused, as if lost in thought then glanced at Avradiman and winked.
In the next instant the old man began a charade of wild gestures and loud pronouncements. “What do we have here? An aura so bright that I am near blinded by the sight of it!” He drew a large circle around the boy. “I am surprised that such an aura even exists! What is your name again, lad?”
“I am Tarlok, noble Master, son of Jurg.”
“Tarlok, son of Jurg, you say. I know a Jurg, a great fellow, commander of the guard, and his son Savan, a captain in the same guard. Surely you are not his son as well, are you?”
“The very one, Master. My father and brother are well known and they bring me great pride.”
“Well, won’t they be the proud ones when they learn of your acceptance into the Brotherhood as this year’s apprentice! Let it be marked in the records that I, Master Capolidu, select Tarlok, son of Jurg, brother of Savan, as my choice for the twenty-fourth year in the glorious reign of Lord Ramtok!”

Life of Death and the world of reincarnation Life of Death Nicholas A. McGirr Chapter 12 The man awoke to find he was n#Paranormal #MysterySuspense

Life of Death

by Nicholas A. McGirr

The man awoke to find he was no longer in his straitjacket. Instead he was strapped to some kind of bed with metal side posts. The wrists had strapped his arms down, his legs by the ankles and his head strapped by the neck. He then noticed that he was no longer in pain, that the straps were rather comfortable in their imprisonment, right down to the neck strap. He didn’t struggle to get out of them, he just yelled for one of the nurses, standing in a nearby glass office.
The nurse came immediately, and asked how he was feeling.
“What happened? Why am I strapped to this bed?” the man asked.
“You had some sort of seizure. The doctors in the lab are still trying to figure out what happened. Now you just lie there until we figure out what exactly happened, okay?”
The man nodded his head with the little slack the neck strap gave him.
“Alright, now let me go and get you some water,” the nurse said, and left the room.
The count was one hundred and one thousand, three hundred and forty-nine.