Friday, September 27, 2013

Everybody Run...Obamacare Is Coming!

For my international readers, this may seem unimportant to you--but you can at least stick your tongue out and say, "Ahhh!"  and also, "America, why do you make health care so complicated?"  In which, I would add, "Eww.  Close your mouth.  Your uvula is showing."  However, as for the question at hand there is a simple explanation for this, but it's complicated.  I actually have no idea why we have the health care system that we do.  All I know is that if we fix it, we threaten the livelihood of debt collection agencies who love shaking money out of those deadbeats who can't pay their child's $1 million dollar cancer bill.  We at least have a system of celebrities out there who are sometimes willing to put on benefit concerts, so if we had reasonable health care coverage, we risk losing one of our most cherished traditions.  

Anyway, why am I wasting my precious time as a fiction writer bringing all this up?  Well, Obamacare is a story waiting to happen.  And, you could end it with several different outcomes.  Conservative writers could go with what I would call the fear-based Fox News ending.  Progressives could write the utopian MSNBC ending.  For the CNN ending as long as it has bad-ass graphics involving holograms, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, and a Piers Morgan interview (can you believe Larry King is on RT television? Crazy, huh), it doesn't really matter.  So, I present my vision for four possible story-starters for any would-be authors anxious to take up these projects.

The International Version: 
"Hey, Charlie, why'd you wait so long to get that infection checked out?" asked Charlie's golf buddy Jim. 
"Well," said Charlie, "I didn't think it was a big deal.  The wife kept nagging me and said us men shouldn't always hold off going to the doctor's.  Doctors, blah, who needs 'em?  They're always like diabetes this and diabetes that.  I'm an American.  I can do what I want."
Jim chuckled, "Yeah, I hear ya.  So, didn't Obamacare help at all?"
"Obamacare?  Who needs that when there's Webmd?" Charlie scoffed.
Nodding in agreement, Jim answered, "I know what you mean.  I know what you mean.  Well, here's your house, Charlie.  Need any help?"
"Well, if you could just carry my head to the door and leave it on the step, Bev or the kids will eventually come along.  Life's just not the same since that full body amputation."

The Fox News Version:
"Dad, can I go outside and play?" asked Robert's 8-year-old son.  "We've been down here in our survival bunker for two years."
"Ah, Sammy, I wish I could let you do that.  But you know it ain't safe out there with all those marauding liberals looking to steal what we have.  Damn!  Why'd they shove Obamacare down our throats and ruin America.  It serves them right.  Now they have to eat their own children."  Robert hated to say no, but what choice did he have.  If only someone could have stopped Obamacare...
"What if Suzie and I bring our AR-15's along?  Liberals won't mess with us, then.  They're never armed.  Crazy.  Isn't that right Dad?"
"Well, let's think about it after dinner.  Hey, Carol," he hollered to his wife.  "Do we have any more of that freeze dried beef?"

The MSNBC Version:
"Hey, Dad, can Suzie and I go ride our unicorns after dinner?  The rainbow tonight is very bright this evening."  Sammy just loved riding his blue stallion of a unicorn.
"Sammy, ever since the Affordable Care Act signed by President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, there's a beautiful rainbow everyday," Robert mused in delight.
"Daddy, look," Suzie came in.  "I found a leprechaun."
"That's nice, honey.  And, once you find his gold, you can just tell him to keep it.  Thanks to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, why...we middle-class Americans, who have always played by the rules but are now out of work through no fault of our own, never have to worry about going broke ever again.  Hey, I have a great idea.  Let's all go ride our clean energy-driven unicorns together."
"Yea!" both Sammy and Suzie said together.
"Hey, wait a second.  Let's first eat our organically-grown, gluten-free with no gmo's dinner first, and then go ride our clean energy-driven unicorns," said Carol, Robert's wife.  
"That's a great idea, Carol.  I'm hungry.  And guess what kids, tomorrow we get to go to your Uncle Steve's gay wedding.  They're having organically-grown, gluten-free with no gmo's wedding cake."
"Yea!" both Sammy and Suzie said together.

The CNN Version:
"As you can see Wolf, I can send you a copy of the whole rules of Obamacare right through our new holographic system," exclaimed Anderson.  
"That's great.  But now, we end our coverage to bring you Piers Morgan."
"Tonight we have a crazy guest who always says crazy, incoherent nonsense about how twerking is destroying Miley Cyrus."

There you go.  Any writer interested in taking these situations and turning them into a novel, screenplay, etc, feel free to run with them.  So long for now.  Be good to yourselves.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One Fantasy Story...One Reviewer

Today, I review Bad Sister, Good Sister from the Heart of the Staff series by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps. Oh, do you need time to get your beverage of choice?  Go ahead...I can wait.  Don't mind the Jeopardy music.

Are you all set?  Do you have something to eat with your beverage of choice?  Can I suggest toast, an English muffin, or a scone?  Yes, one doughnut won't kill you, but you can always cut in half and save the other half for tomorrow.  Whatever you want to do.  

Now, are you ready?  Great.

A quick synopsis:
When a deadly plague threatens to spread through the land of Niarg and beyond, Razzmorten, a good but powerful wizard, sets off to find a cure.  Meanwhile, his two daughters, Minuet and Ugleeuh, stay behind at home, tending to the hired help and awaiting their father's return.  Minuet is a do-gooder by nature, but Ugleeuh is a self-centered, wicked trouble-maker.  Ugleeuh leaves her father's home to live with her evil uncle Razzorbauch, who is her father's twin brother and a powerful wizard in his own right.  Together they set off on a money-making venture to traffic a highly, addictive substance, akin to to meth or crack in the real world.  When an anti-drug campaign threatens to halt their business, Ugleeuh and Razzorbauch hatch a scheme to thwart the effort, even attempting to bring down the monarchy of Niarg in the process.

My review:
With plenty of wizard action, elves, dragons, and unicorns, this story has all the elements fantasy lovers crave.  The imagery the authors use are so mind-blowing, I felt like I was inside it all.  Although the story is delightful, The Kindle version was considerably full of bugs.  The paragraphs had no indentations and I would flip the "page" only to find a duplicate of the one I just read.  The story itself is worth five stars, but the reader may want to get it in a different ebook format or get a hard copy.

Well, that's it.  You probably still have your coffee (or beverage of choice) and your treat.  Spend time enjoying them.  Feel free to read any previous posts while you're finishing up.  My next post, which will be this Friday, so far has yet to be determined.  It could be about how to prepare for Obamacare, but for my international readers, that would be kind of boring.  Besides, that post would be short--I have no idea how to prepare.  And, it depends if you think it's the greatest thing in American health care or it signals that the end times are here.

Anyway, don't fret about Obamacare now.  For now, read more fantasy or science fiction like Good Sister, Bad Sister and disassociate from reality for a brief moment--just not to the point where it's classified as a mental disorder in the DSM-V.  Be good to yourselves.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fearful Friday Fun Facts

Perhaps you, my faithful blog readers, might be wondering, "What is it about this guy?  What makes him tick?  How did he become a super powerful writer?"  

Well, it all started when my father met my mother, two people who couldn't even stand each other, but...okay, that's too much information. Really, my first bout of creative writing was in fourth grade on one fateful Valentine's Day.  I wrote "I hate you" on the back of a valentine.  Whose idea was it to force a group of kids to give-out sappy sentiments to each other, even to those we despised?  By fourth grade, kids know not everyone is your friend, so why this nonsense?  Just give us the treats.  I had to apology in front of the whole class, but instead I threw a fit (swearing the whole time, including the f-word) and had to be escorted out--literally, a nearby teacher flung me on his back and carried me to the office.  I hate Valentine's Day. 

So, besides hating Valentine's Day, I will list ten additional factoids (was this word ever banned?) about myself.  This is not an exhaustive list or in any semblance of order. 

  1. I always drive the speed limit, sometimes slightly faster. Why? Why not?  Why be in a hurry?  Getting pulled over for a traffic violation--what a hassle.  If you get stuck behind me, then I've saved you a hassle, too.  You can thank me by giving me a one finger wave.
  2. I love satire, political or otherwise.  Dave Berry, Matt Groening (you know, the Simpsons), certain comic strips (Dilbert, the Far Side, Calvin & Hobbes, Bloom County), Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, are just a few satirists that remind us--life is sometimes sucky, so you might as well think of it as a comedy show.
  3. The only paranormal experiences I wish I had more of:  UFO's and Sasquatch.  They are the two things I wish were proven true.  Ghosts--not so interested.  If I saw dead people, I'm fine with that.  I know some people are really into ghosts and that's cool.  Or should I say ghoul.
  4. Lake Michigan is my favorite body of water.  It's one of the wonders of the world and I can drive to it in under an hour.  So much smaller than the oceans, yet I see it and just can't get over how impressive it is.  It looks like an ocean, but when I drink it...well, I don't drink right from Lake Michigan, it may be fresh water, but I think there's a few contaminants in it.  Watching the sunset over it, is amazing.
  5. I love the following weather events: a good thunderstorm, a blinding snow storm (where the snow is fluffy and not heavy, wet snow) or better yet, a blizzard, a windy, blustery fall day with a chill in the air, frigid temperatures, hot, humid weather, and rainbows.
  6. I love a good conspiracy theory and I am inclined to believe them.  For the longest time I thought the three countries of North America would come together in an E.U. type alliance.  All currency would be replaced with the Amero and a superhighway was being constructed that would stretch from the Yucatan Pennisula to the Yukon Territory.  It was supposedly being built secretly.  Then, I thought, how could you hide building a highway of that magnitude.  "Hey, what's that?"  "What?"  "Is that a highway?"  "No, you're just imagining things."  I am holding out hope for a New World Order, though.  Come on Freemasons, what's taking you so long.
  7. I am fearful that America has become a hobbled, grotesque giant that roars and stomps around threatening to pounce on tinier nations (See number 6).  We can't even see it.  Everyone else sees it, but we can't.  I hope I'm wrong.
  8. I am fearful American currency is worthless (again, see number 6) and no better than Monopoly money.  I hope I'm wrong with this, too.  I like our money.  It's artsy.
  9. I love pie more than cake.
  10. I wished I had a PH.D. level knowledge of physics and frustrated that I don't.  I watch "The Big Bang Theory" in hopes I might learn something.
Well, I hope this gives you better insight on me.  I figured you all already knew about my love of black coffee.  I have another book review ready for next time.  

If you have any great conspiracy theories in which you thought or wished were true but aren't, let me know.  Maybe I could believe in them if you can't. 

Until then, be good to yourselves.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Delicious Review

For this review you may want to grab your favorite Keebler snack, many of which make uncommonly good companions for your coffee, tea, or beverage of your choice.  If you have something from the competition, that's fine, too.  I'm not plugging for Keebler, despite the fact I live in the very city that is the playground for the world headquarters of the Kellogg Company, which as you may or may not know, owns Keebler.  I'm just saying, this review may provoke a craving for its products--chiefly, the sweet treat varieties.

Now, I have previously reviewed the Kindle version of Escape from the Hidden Planet by Julie Anne Grasso in collaboration with my precocious 8-year-old.  You can get to that review here: click this.
My 8-year-old and I have finished the second book in this series titled Return to Cardamom, also by Julie Anne Grasso.  

When the cardamom seed harvest goes awry, our Elven heroine, Caramel Cinnamon, suspects the wicked clone, Alexander222 and her Aunt Isabel, are behind it.  However, none of the other Elves will believe her despite the well thought-out arguments Caramel presents.  Meanwhile, Alexander222's evil clone partner, Lex, introduces to the Intergalactic Council a new, long-lasting energy source which will put the Elves out of business.  In the course of her adventures, Caramel will visit old friends and make a shocking, diabolical discovery concerning Lex's new energy resource.

My son is actually hooked on this series, even though it's meant for a slightly older reader (middle-grade) and it has a female protagonist.  Much like Book 1, this story immerses the reader into an imaginative world (or worlds as the case may be) where the villains are nasty, but the heroes persevere through teamwork and ingenuity.  The characters are likable and kids will certainly identify with their feelings and experiences.  I mean, what kid hasn't had adults doubt his word, even when he is right?  Whether you're from the U.S., Australia, or even the Planet frustrating!  Although, how very satisfying when he is proven right!

So, definitely, kids or kids at heart will delight in these two books.  The hard part...waiting for book 3.  Oh, and the Kindle version is totally elvo.

Next time I blog, I will list 10 facts about me that you may or may not know. My inspiration for doing so comes from Ann Bisky aka Bisky Scribbles.  She didn't just blog about her 10 things--she vlogged them.  (Check it out by clicking this!)

Anyway, that's all for now.  Until next time, be good to yourselves.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Super Powerful Highlights, the Sequel

Here it goes!  More scenes that may not be appropriate for younger readers:

 From Chapter 10: 
Then later that week Annie and her nana went to the bank to help set up an account for Annie’s mom, plus to get money for back-to-school shopping.  Since it was around 5:00 in the afternoon, the place was somewhat full.  All of a sudden Annie and her grandma heard a popping sound, when a man wearing a Halloween mask came in with an automatic rifle.  He ordered everyone to get down on the floor or he would start shooting people.  The tellers proceeded to give this man the money he demanded.  The police had been outside, but the man pointed his rifle at Annie and threatened to shoot her if they tried to come in.

“I almost peed my pants,” she explained as we both lay on our backs, watching clouds drift overhead on the trampoline in my backyard.  “But I felt this man had a certain sadness about him.  My nana pleaded with him to leave me alone.  Then, I told him the story of ‘The Ugly Duckling.’  Can you believe it?  At first, he tells me to shut up, but I kept telling him how nobody liked the Ugly Duckling and treated him terribly. I get to the end of the story, you know, the part where he’s a beautiful swan?  And this man started crying under his mask.  He took off his mask to wipe his eyes.  And then, I tell him in a calm, gentle, pathetic voice, ‘Sounds kind of like you.  Why don’t you put your gun down?’  And he did.  His unshaven, scraggly face all wet with tears.  Then I say, ‘Why don’t you go turn yourself in and get your life back together?’  And the guy goes out with his hands up and turns himself in!  They closed the bank down, and we just went out to the parking lot.  Police cars and news people were all outside and people were pointing at me.  I guess I made other people cry.  Over the stupid Ugly Duckling!” 
“Wow.  That’s incredible.  Somehow you turned him into an emotional wreck.”  I was struck with awe over her ability to do such a thing.
All right.  It was really a semi-automatic, so a bit inaccurate weapon description.  This scene was to introduce Annie's new empathic powers and to illustrate how effective it is in subduing bad guys, as opposed to the use of force.

Also from Chapter 10:  
 “Jimmy Miller?”  Miss Clarkston asked to get my attention.  “You look like you don’t quite understand.  You keep looking over at Annie.  You’re going to have to work on keeping your eyes on your own work.  I’d like to see you work on that.  Okay?”
I’d like to see you naked in the shower, Miss Clarkston.  I nodded in agreement with Miss Clarkston as I thought this.  One year ago I would never have thought such a thing, but ever since I snuck out of my room a few times and saw a few R-rated movies with female nudity that my dad would watch at night sometimes, something changed in me. 

“Jimmy Michael Miller!”  I heard Annie snap at me, suddenly standing on her feet in military-style attention.  This time it was her actual voice echoing throughout the classroom.  “That’s not nice to say at all!”

The class broke out in laughter at her.  With great confusion, I shrugged my shoulders at her outburst because I had said nothing.  What was that girl talking about?  At that, Miss Clarkston replied, “Annie, maybe you should mind your own business.”

“But, I heard Jimmy say he’d like to see you naked in the shower.”  Now the students were laughing nearly uncontrollably.
Miss Clarkston stood speechless.  I guessed this scenario probably was never covered in her teacher training.  “Okay, okay.  Can we just get back to our ice breaker?
When I was in fourth grade, I did not have a Miss Clarkston--that was the other fourth grade class.  I remember one boy making this same naked-in-the-shower comment about that teacher, and it just always stayed in my head.   Also, Annie is a bit out of character.  She wouldn't ordinarily snitch on someone, but Jimmy and Annie just developed telepathy between each other.

From Chapter 12: 
“What you do to my baby!?”  A voice boomed at the doorway to the classroom.  A six foot woman that was a larger copy of her daughter stood with steam practically coming out of her ears.  She hugged Mikayla.  “It’s all right, baby.”  Then she positioned herself next to Annie as Mikayla did a moment ago, threatening her.  “Let’s see you do something to me!”

Miss Clarkston endeavored to intervene, but Mrs. Jones towered over her.  The teacher was only 5 foot 4.  “Mrs. Jones.  You really should let me handle it.”  Mrs. Jones pushed Miss Clarkston with one hand against Joey’s desk.   Luckily, she caught herself before hitting her head on the floor.  Kenneth sprang into action with a comforting hug.

I expected Annie to beat this woman senseless or shower her with acid, but she did a very surprising move.  “Let me tell you a story, Mrs. Jones.”       

“What kind of nonsense is this?” 

Undaunted, Annie continued with her story.  “You see, there was this little girl named Mary and she lived with two older sisters.  Her family had very little money and often had to live on just bread for dinner.   Her mother and father worked hard for very little pay to send her and her sisters to a really nice school, the kind you had to wear a uniform at.  At the school she and her sisters were the only black students.  Every day the other students made fun of her and teased her.  The teachers always told her they didn’t think she would amount to much and didn’t know why in the world her parents would send her to such a school.

“However, whenever she was home, she tried to find a parent who would help her feel better.  Her mother worked the evening shift and was left at home with her father, who frequently drank.”

“Girl, you must be trippin’” Mrs. Jones said, but not as angry.

“But, Mary had a secret.  A big secret.  A secret she has kept for all her life.  Her daddy did stuff to her.  Touched her in ways she didn’t like.  How dare he do that to her?  He took turns with Mary and her sisters.  Mary could never tell her mom because her daddy said it would break her heart and she didn’t wanna break her mother’s heart.”  Mikayla’s mom started to wipe tears from her eyes.  I was completely baffled by all this.  “So, that is why Mary shuts out the world.  Made herself strong, so no one would ever hurt her again.  Made her children strong, too.  But inside, Mary is a hurt little girl.” 

Mikayla’s mom collapsed to her knees while deeply sobbing.  “I can’t believe he did that to me!  Why?  Where was my mother?”

Now, Mikayla came over, embracing her mom.  “What’s wrong, Mama?  What did Grandpa J. do to you?”

Annie placed her hand on Mrs. Jones’ back in a very comforting way.  “It’s all right to let it all out.  He can’t hurt you anymore.”

What am I gonna do!?  What am I gonna do!?” Mrs. Jones wailed.

“Go home.  Take Mikayla with you.  Call a counselor and start taking your life back.  Don’t shut the world out anymore and treat everyone like they’re all out to get you.  And, maybe you should go to church or something.”
More illustration of Annie's empathic power.  There are parents who do become bullies to kids in elementary schools.  Grown people!  Obviously, I'm implying Mrs. Jones is a survivor of child sexual abuse.  Hey, it happens unfortunately, but I didn't say what her issue was outright.  Although Annie had just cause to pound her into the ground, Annie instead offers a hand of compassion.  

From Chapter 13:
“Jimmy!  Get out here!”  I rushed into the backyard past the small birch tree, hesitating while looking around for her.  Mrs. Marshall had a small vegetable garden behind the detached garage, but over to the left of the tree was a large wildflower garden.  I could hear a trickle of water where an electric pond invited a small amount of peacefulness here in the backyard in the middle of the garden.  However, I saw no signs of Annie.  “C’mon, Jimmy!  Over here!”  I heard her voice in the wildflower garden, so I trotted my way there until I could see the pond with a decorative water fountain with statues of Cupid standing on top of each other.  Water flowed out of the arrow tip of the Cupid on top.  A red brick path encircled the entire pond, cutting the garden right in the middle.  A flat, almost yellow wooden bench with a black metal frame was over at the right of the pond.  I found Annie on her knees, shaking her mom in order to wake her, who lay slumped on the bench.  An empty bottle of some kind of alcoholic beverage rested on the grass beneath, along with several beer cans scattered about.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I don’t know, but she had been drinking.  She doesn’t look hurt or anything.”  A strong odor of alcohol flowed from her mom’s body, and she appeared almost lifeless. 

I stood there flabbergasted, unsure of what to do about any of this.  This was the first time I’ve ever seen someone passed out drunk, although an all too familiar scene for Annie, who witnessed this almost every day when she and Colin lived at that drug house.  Her mom’s breathing was so shallow that her chest didn’t even rise.  Terrified, I positioned myself, crouching down next to her.  Her legs dangled off the bench.  I placed my hand on her left knee which was stacked on the other one.  Before long, I had a visual in my head of the alcohol in her bloodstream, blocking out its ability to absorb oxygen.   Annie’s mom was literally suffocating from too much alcohol. 

“Can you help her?”  Annie asked in near desperation.

“I don’t know.  I’ve never dealt with this kind of thing before.  I’ve got an idea, though.”  I attempted to stimulate her lungs and heart, so that she could take in more oxygen.  Then I pushed the alcohol out of her red blood cells, forcing oxygen into them.  With her heart beating faster this newly oxygen-enriched blood began circulating through her body.  Meanwhile, the alcohol began rushing to her liver, flowing into her kidneys.  Eventually, the alcohol began reaching her bladder, and since she was still very much passed out, she ended up wetting herself.  However, the alcohol was out of her, finally. 
Annie's mother is a recovering addict and alcoholic.  She suffered a relapse after discovering Jimmy and her daughter have super powers.  I wanted to highlight the struggles people face with substance abuse.  When parents abuse, it affects their children.  On the bright side, Annie's mom missed getting abducted by Etyouth. 

From Chapter 16:
Then, I overheard Annie moaning, very weakly, “No.  Stop that.”   I came to a spot where the hallway made a sharp left.  Three heavy concrete doors sealed by several oversized deadbolts each confronted me, light switches attached just to the right of them.  Destroying the very first door, I exposed a bizarre empty room with a make-shift bed consisting of stacks of newspaper and carpet padding.  A bucket that once held industrial floor cleaner sat with water in it, and above it, a toilet seat with handles, the kind sometimes used by the elderly.  One darkened light fixture dangled from the ceiling like all the others back in the hallway.  Not finding anyone here I crashed through a wall built with a series of cinderblocks into the middle room, knocking over bedding similarly constructed as in the first area. 

This place conjured up images of dungeons in my mind.  However, I pinpointed Annie to the last space adjacent to this one.  Punching through the door from this compartment, passing back into the hallway, I forced my way into the third room.  I finally found her.  She lay on one of those beds made out of newspaper and carpet padding.  On her head earphone-type pads pressed against her temples connected to a machine, which hummed for ten seconds and then stopped briefly.  An average-sized man with scraggly long hair with a beard to match sat next to her on the bed with one of those suit-ripping knives.  Once he took a gander at me, he reached for a long, slender weapon of some kind, but I caught his arm.  I twisted it until it snapped and popped, his little-girl screams beat painfully in my head.  Then, I shoved him to the floor, pinning him with my foot.  Extending my fist hammer-like, I destroyed the machine hooked up to Annie with one sudden pounding.
This is the creepiest, most disturbing chapter, titled "The Underground Hotel".  

More from Chapter 16:
I picked him up off the floor by his neck, squashing his head against the ceiling.  He began coughing, gasping as I partially choked off his air supply.  “Tell me who you are!  Now!”  I demanded.  The guy spit in my face, refusing to answer.  However, he did manage to swear at me.

Annie in turn spit on his left thumb.   “Ahhh!  Why’d you do that!?”  He shouted a torrent of obscenities as his opposable digit liquefied into red, bubbly slime, dripping its way to the floor.  It was now nothing more than a bony sliver-like protrusion. 

“You want me to do the other one!”  Annie threatened.  “Answer him.  Who are you?”

“They…(ack)…told me I could have her!  She was supposed to be mine!  They made a deal with me!”

“Who made a deal?  Etyouth?” I demanded.  “And, you still haven’t told us who you are.”

“Yes…(ack)…Etyouth.  I’m the main engineer they hired to find a way to get rid of you.  They said once they had you, I could have the girl.  She’s mine…(gah).”  He stared at her.  “The minute they showed me a picture of you, I just had to have you…Ahhh!” he screamed as the disgusted Annie splattered his right thumb with a dose of her special saliva, and it too dissolved away into a gelatinous mess.  More swearing burst forth from his mouth.

Continuing with my inquisition, I probed, “What’s with all these dungeons down here?  Are you planning on bringing other people down here?”

“Just kids,” he blubbered as he confessed.  “Mr. McDonnell said I could in lieu of a paycheck.  He says he hates kids and didn’t care what I did with them as long as I found a way to stop you.”  He, then, abruptly cackled in a chilling yet amusing mock-advertisement and announced, “This is my special…underground hotel!  Yes, kiddies!  Where the fun never ends…right until you die!”  It took every ounce of my strength not to crush his trachea, killing him right then.
“This is a dungeon!  And you’re planning on abducting children and keeping them here!”  Then I inquired, “What was that machine you had Annie hooked up to?
Our heroes use their powers to outright torture this guy.  Later on, they blow him up along with the entire Etyouth complex. So...this is perhaps the most chilling scene in the story.

From Chapter 17: 
“Hey!  You better have a way to pay for that truck!”

Three barked savagely, ready to counter any problems from the gun-toting neighbor.  Annie confronted him, “You can’t go around threatening people with a gun!  You better back off!  We’ll help you with your truck as soon as we can!  But, you better not come closer otherwise our dog just might attack!”

Bam! Bam!  He fired two shots—one hitting Three, only to bounce off.  Another slammed Marcus right in the chest.  Marcus instantly fell backwards on the ground.  “Marcus!”  I screamed.  I instantly knelt down to begin healing him.  He was barely alive, but luckily not dead.  The impact from the shotgun tore apart his heart along with a large portion of his sternum. 

Three, feeling the need to protect us, launched himself at the man, and the dog reached for his gun with his mouth, snapping it in half.  With his cat-like claw, Three deeply gouged his face along the right side.  Instantly, he dropped to his knees, braced his injured face with his hands, and supported them against the pavement of the driveway.  Blood pooled underneath him as he pathetically whimpered over the searing pain he must have felt.  I would heal him later, but Marcus being both my friend and in critical condition required my immediate attention.

As soon as I touched him, his gaping wound began to mend.  An entirely new heart grew where the old one use to be along with new nerves, blood vessels and muscle tissue.  It went right to work, pumping fresh blood throughout his circulatory system.  I had to regrow a section of his left lung, and his breathing returned.  Finally, all the bone and skin tissue fused together, leaving no evidence that he just suffered a traumatic injury.  He looked like the same old Marcus.  The overweight boy opened his eyes and he seemed unaware of the gunshot to his chest.

“Why am I laying on the ground?” he wondered.  “It was weird.  I was just talking to you guys and my chest started to hurt and the next thing, I saw this light.  It came closer to me and felt like a very happy place.  Then I met…you won’t believe it!  I met Jesus and I saw my papa, you know my grandpa who died last year.  I wanted to go along with them.  But, my papa said it wasn’t my time yet, so I had to go back, but he’ll be waiting for me when it is my time.  I was really sad to have to go back, but then the light went away and suddenly…I’m on the ground.”

Meanwhile, Annie attempted to calm Three, who barked a savage warning of further bodily harm; except, the wounded neighbor’s muffled pleas for mercy made us take pity on him.  The bloody mess of a man probably regretted he ever attempted such violent actions—and who would ever get the notion to shoot at a bunch of kids?  If not for our powers, we’d all be dead now!

“Three!  Look!  Marcus is okay now!  Please, don’t kill that man!”  Annie begged.

Marcus asked me, “What does she mean, I’m okay?  What happened?”

He stood up.   “Uh.  Marcus, that guy shot you in the chest and I healed you.  You almost died.  In fact, you might have been dead for a little bit.  I had to completely grow you a new heart, muscle, bone, and blood vessels.”

“Really?”  His fascination for his near-death experience left me flabbergasted.  With a satisfied grin on his face, he acted as if this was the coolest thing that ever happened to him.  “So, maybe I did almost go to heaven.  That’s pretty cool!”  He examined his chest and twisted his head to see his back, which had some dried blood.
This scene used to be more graphic, but is considerably tame from what it was.

Okay, these are what I believe are the more disturbing scenes.  There is another scene in Chapter 18 where one of the antagonists splits in half and leaves a bloody mess on the Washington Monument.  So, once again, I caution, parental discretion is advised.
 I have reviews of some recent Kindle books I've read coming up. Be good to yourselves! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Super Powerful Highlights

Below are some of the scenes in book 1 that may be too intense or inappropriate for younger readers.  I tried to place enough of the excerpt to give some context in regards to what is taking place, but I provide some explanations to help.

Starting with the Prologue and it's first few sentences:
You should never swear on live T.V.!  Trust me…your life will suck if you do.
Should kids say that things suck? Well, they do, so get over it.

From Chapter 4:  
 Making it to Mr. Green’s office he invited me to have a seat while he propped himself behind his desk.  Clearing his voice, he sternly probed, “So, are you all healed from your surgery?”

“Oh, yes.  I definitely have a scar—”

“You know,” he interrupted without a care.  “I remember when I had my gall bladder out.  About two years ago.  Damn surgeons botched the job.  Pissed blood for a month before going back.  Found out they forgot to suture me in a spot.  Huh,” he muttered with a brief laugh.  “It was the damn-dest thing.”
Mr. Green has no idea Jimmy is 9 years old since he looks like an adult at the moment.  Jimmy can remain an adult for about 8 hours at a time.

From Chapter 6: 
 Now that I had my arms bound and my powers disabled, he finally placed Annie on the ground.  Tears streamed down her face with her hair a complete fright.  They planned on binding her with restraints, as well.  The commanding soldier signaled for another restraint, but Annie’s mind devised a stunning quick plan of action.  While his attention was diverted elsewhere, Annie plucked a hand grenade off the black thick belt one of the soldiers wore.  I didn’t know how much she knew about grenades, but she found the “pin” and yanked it out.  As the one soldier with the restraints approached her, I screamed, “Annie, no!”  With an orange flash the grenade detonated, sending a shockwave of shrapnel everywhere, which bounced off my face with a "ting."  For a while I couldn’t see or hear anything after the blast and my body flew back a few yards.  When the smoke cleared, I could not see Annie anywhere.  All eight soldiers disintegrated into bits and pieces with arms and legs lying here and there. 
I could have deleted the graphic description of the disintegrated soldiers, but I wanted the reader to fear that something dreadful happened to Annie, too.  Will she be okay or not?

From Chapter 7:
“You know, Jimmy, I’m afraid you won’t be able to spend much time with her.  She got sick overnight.  She’s been sleeping all morning.  I shook her, but she only moaned.  Must’ve had too much excitement, yesterday, I guess.”

“Oh,” I stood there, hesitantly, not sure of what to say.  My desire was to get to her and convert her back to normal.  If she was sick, I could help her with that too.  “Can I go see her?”

“Well, I don’t know.”  She pushed her curly grey hair up higher on her head.  “She really needs to rest.  I’d hate for you to get whatever she has.  You know, Colin has been dying to play with you.  Maybe you two can do something together.”

Colin came bounding out of the kitchen still in his underwear.  “Yea!  Yea!  Yea!  I ‘et to ‘o to Jimmy’s!  And Annie has to stay home ‘cause she sick!”

Oh, no! I really could have thought of better ways to spend my day, but he had been so enthralled that I found myself agreeing to entertain Colin.  He quickly found a red tank top with a grey monster truck on it along with grey shorts with red trim.  Slipping on his sandals, I then waited for him to retrieve his bike from the garage and away we went. 

That 5-year-old boy spent most of his time darting from the trampoline in the backyard, to dumping out all of my toys—action figures, Matchbox cars and airplanes, barrel of monkeys, and a large assortment of Legos.  Pieces from board games, including my classic Battleship, were strewn everywhere.  Pro wrestling cards and army guys lay scattered on my bed and carpet.  He managed to create an unrecognizable pile out of all my stuff in under a half-hour.

He found all my discs for my Wii and he littered the cases all over the floor of the living room.  Within a minute of playing one game, he became frustrated, so he would pop out the disc, randomly toss it, and replace it with another.  He did this several times.  This boy made me dizzy just watching him.  “Jimmy, Jimmy!  Wow, I can’t bewieve you have this…oh I have this. Can you get this Jimmy?”  I didn’t know how long I could take him.  No wonder his grandma wanted time without him! 

Down in the basement, he discovered my dad’s pool table so he had to try to play it.  With a cue stick in his hand, he spent more time jabbing the walls or hitting me in the gut.  The only balls I thought he might actually hit were my own.  By 11:20, I had had enough of Colin, so, I told him that my dad and I were going out to lunch, and he had to leave.
Okay, Annie's little brother is a hyperactive ball of destruction.  If you are male and this kid has an object in his hand, such as a cue stick, your "guys" are at risk.  Jimmy found this out the hard way, almost.  Jimmy may be indestructible, but he feels pain.

From Chapter 11:
Later that evening I had just finished my dinner, when suddenly I heard a crash from down the street, followed by hysterical screaming and the sound of a child crying.   I kneeled on my couch, peeking out the picture window through the drapes to ascertain the cause of the commotion.  At first I couldn’t see anything, but a crowd of neighbors seemed drawn to a house down the block.  Sirens began blaring in the background, and so I went out to do my own rubber-necking.   

Then I heard, “Annie.  Colin.  Are you all right?   Oh my gosh, Kathleen!”  I parted my way through the crowd only to stop at Annie’s yard where a man lay covered in blood amongst a sea of glass in front of the maple tree.  I did not recognize him, but a big bloody hunting knife rested near his head.  Both sides of his face had bubbly patches of skin with a trail of white liquid dripping from his closed eyes.

Bleeding profusely, Annie’s mom thrashed frantically around before collapsing on the driveway.    Jimmy, you gotta help my mom, Annie said telepathically.  Her grandma continued squawking as her daughter slumped on the ground, “Oh my gosh!  Oh my gosh!”  Mrs. Marshall caught sight of me approaching her daughter’s crimson-coated body.  “Jimmy!  No!  Go home!  Oh my gosh!”

Quickly, I knelt down next to Annie’s mom.  Kathleen hemorrhaged blood by the gallon, so it seemed, engulfing every inch of her.  She had six deep stab wounds—four in her abdomen and two in her arms.  Then, I touched her, immediately stopping the bleeding.  Her injuries began to mend as she quickly regenerated new cell tissue along with fresh blood, which flowed through her body.   She opened her eyes and regained consciousness.  No stab wounds were even visible, although she still looked like a waterfowl caught up in a scarlet oil spill.

The police arrived as did a set of paramedics from the fire department, trailed by an ambulance with EMT’s at the ready.  All the neighbors joined with Annie’s grandma with “Oo’s” and” Ahh’s” and “I can’t believe it” after the healing they had witnessed.  The paramedics and the police checked out Annie’s mom.   They determined that her medical condition was good, but insisted she get herself checked out by a doctor within 24 hours.  After attending to the man on the ground, the police grilled Kathleen with questions wondering who he was and discovering he had an outstanding warrant.  It turned out this was Darius, her estranged abusive husband.  From my perspective, it looked like he went through Mrs. Marshall’s front picture window with the glass pane completely shattered.

Mrs. Marshall drifted towards me, baffled.   “I can’t believe what you did.  You healed her.  How?”

Trying to change the subject, I asked, “What happened?”

“I don’t know, really.  I was down in the basement doing laundry.  I came up and found my window completely smashed and Annie’s mom was bleeding.  But, you…”

Annie came over to help with the explanation.  “I’ll tell you what happened.  Darius found where we lived.  Found my mom.  I was in my room, and then I heard my mom scream, ‘Darius, No!  He has a knife!’  I ran down and saw him stabbing my mom in the living room.  Colin ran down the stairs and cried out, ‘Daddy, don’t hurt mommy!’ So, I grabbed his arm, I mean Darius’ arm, not Colin’s, and held it so he couldn’t stab her anymore.  He slapped me with his other hand and called me a ‘little b.’ Then, I spit in his face and I heard a sizzle on his cheek.  He held his face screaming.  I was so mad at him.  I was hoping he would go flying through the window.  All of a sudden, he did.  He flew backwards through the window.”  I looked over at the injured Darius who was a very large man about 6 feet 6.   Every so often he would stir, grunting, but alive.  Mrs. Marshall, who was in earshot of Annie, was so baffled by me that she was oblivious to her granddaughter’s fantastic retelling of the whole incident.
Another graphic scene, but one where Jimmy's healing powers could come to the rescue.  This is when Annie not only discovers her power of telekinesis, but she now has an acid spit.  It's how all Lifetime movies should resolve domestic violence.

Well, that's all for now.  I'll include more excerpts in the next post.  Be good to yourselves. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ta-Da...Same Blog, New Name

As promised, the title of this blog has changed.  My description already underwent a metamorphosis.  Why?  Why make such a move?  I already answered that question in the previous post.  I will have more reviews coming up...more excerpts...and yes, even opportunities to get your hands on a free signed copy of the paperback version of my first published work, Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful: Forecast Acid Rain.  It's science fiction for the young adult reader (ages 12 up) and for the young adult reader at heart.  Blow 'em up action is what you get as you follow the adventures of our 9-year-old boy hero and his super powered 9-year-old girlfriend (okay, she does not acknowledge any such relationship.  They are just friends in her mind).  Hey, why do kids have to have boring, placid stuff to read?  Why is it no one bats an eye when kids go to a movie and watch this kind of violence or play it in some video game console, but oh my word, you put it in book format, and that's all wrong?

Details of the contest is still forthcoming.  Stay tuned.  

A word about Jimmy's friend, Annie.  She only has crushes on athletic-looking boys and Jimmy just doesn't fit that image.  He's a puppy in her eyes.  Not only that, but she has a huge, huge infatuation with pre-teen singing sensation, Jonathon Bubber.  Read how she hacks onto his secured fan website and downloads an exclusive preview of his latest hit.  

I hope you enjoy this new layout for this blog.  Remember, reading super powerful writing is best absorbed in a state of relaxation and a beverage of your choice. If you can't wait for the contest to start, feel free to snatch up an ebook copy in either Kindle or Nook formats for only $3.00 (well, $2.99 to be exact).  There should be a link along the side panel of this blog.  It may not show up in the mobile format, so see if you can switch views.  You can just Google the book title and that'll take you to where you need to go if all else fail.  Isn't that why Google exists in the first place?

Be good to yourselves.