Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Review and Another Story Ramble

All the short stories I've posted on this blog will eventually be made available on Wattpad.  So far I have "Fruit" and "Suzie and the Little Man" available there. I'm also looking to build an actual web site through a hosting company.  Then, I will make free downloads to the ebook version of Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful: Forecast Acid Rain for a given amount of time.  Stay tuned.

I will provide a quick review and then punch out another round of flash fiction, hopefully error free.  My recent read was The Returned by Jason Mott. It was not a Kindle version, but a hardback copy that I borrowed from the public library.  

People who have been dead, some for decades, have suddenly been coming back to life, only to try and find their loved ones who are still living.  For Harold and Lucille Hargrave, their long dead 8-year-old son, Jacob, is brought to their door step by an agent from an international bureau whose job it is to deal with these "Returned."  Chaos ensues as the "Returned" are not accepted by everyone.  Throughout the world there are those who harness their fear of the Returned into anger and hatred, including in the little North Carolina town that the Hargraves' live in.  When the Returned become too numerous and as fear and hatred for them increases, the bureau and world governments find ways to intern them away from the rest of society.

When I first saw the book, I envisioned something like "The 4400" television series.  The story is nothing like that and it isn't a zombie story either.  Jason Mott uses the Returned as a metaphor for many sides of the "human condition."  He explores the fear and anguish of death, the fear and hatred of people or things that others don't understand, the courage and compassion others take for standing up for what is right, and how quickly people are willing to deprive others of their rights by labeling them as something other than human.  While I was hoping the Returned would give the ignorant fools in the story a more Stephen King-type solution, Mott keeps everything down to earth.  The Returned do not have any special powers and they are not immortal, but they simply challenge the reader's notion of what it means to be human.  This book in many ways is a triumph for Mott in his debut novel.  The Returned has a poetic quality to it that is refreshing to read.  Definitely, check out this book--you'll be a better human for it.

And now time for a brief bout of flash fiction:

The Snowball That Ate Recess
Billy's fingers throbbed from the damp, chill from the snow that found its way into his water-resistant and insulated dark blue gloves.  His tongue hung out and he ignored his discomfort as he worked at finishing one of the largest snowballs he ever built in his young life.  Despite his mom making sure he had all the equipment for play in the snow, stocking cap, scarf, snowpants, gloves, coat and boots, none of this really gave Billy Young much protection.  When Billy Young played in the snow, he just dived on in.  He loved this stuff and since the temperature was expected to drop well below freezing for the next week, into the teens in Fahrenheit and negatives in Celsius, this snow would last for a while.

He was so disappointed that the snow storm wasn't as big as expected and only dumped roughly three inches.  School wouldn't be cancelled, but no matter, he would just play in the snow at recess.  Poor Billy.  No one wanted to help him except for Ashley Jones who was the only other student dressed in proper snow attire.  It was fun to build with her, even though she normally never came near Billy or any boys during recess.  That girl was head-to-toe pink and every bit as wet, chilled, and uncomfortable as he was.  They had managed to roll this snowball to the middle of the playground when it just got too heavy for them to move.

Ashley struggled, but eased up and stood straight up.  "Hey, let's just leave this and build a smaller ball.  Let's make a snowman."

"Alright," agreed Billy.  "You think we have time?"  Billy knew that lunch recess typically flew-by, especially when he was doing something exciting and fun.

Both of their cheeks were all reddened from melted snow and a north wind that had just whipped up something strong.  Ashley answered, "I don't know.  We can always come out tomorrow and finish it if we don't."

Billy shrugged his shoulders.  "Okay.  Let's get started."  

He and Ashley started to pat together another ball when Jake Collins, a fifth grader with a mean attitude, noticed what the two third graders were up to.  Only in sneakers and a thin jean jacket, Jake snarled, "Oh, look.  Jack and Jill are building a snowman.  Oh no!  My foot wants to destroy."  He kicked the snowball with his foot and it knocked a big chunk out.  All of his friends noticed what he was doing, and decided to join Jake in his snowball destruction.

Ashley whined, "Hey, we've worked hard on that."  She almost burst into tears.

"Yeah," Billy joined her in her protest.  "Stop!" he screamed and ran over to the boys.  However, those bigger boys just smashed the ball into a heap and Billy couldn't do anything to stop them.  Those fifth graders just laughed and ran off.

Jake chortled, "Oops.  Looks like Mr. Snowball had an accident."  Now, Ashley was totally crying.

Billy felt the same urge and fought back tears.  His anger mounted at those boys who just walked away, pointing back at them and laughing that laugh that bullies liked to make.  Ashley yelled at the boys, "I'm telling!"  She was on her way, fleeing to the nearest supervisor.  Billy just stood there completely at a loss for what to do.  With no outlet for his anger he chose to take it all out on that now ruined snowball.  He kicked at it and pounded it.  Billy even swore at it and now his tears were also streaking down his face.  Just as his foot went into it for the tenth time, suddenly he could not remove it from the snow mound.  He fell backwards, losing his balance.  When he looked up, he saw that the snowball had reformed, but his foot was stuck inside.  The thing growled quietly.  Billy could not pull his foot out.

Ashley almost made it to the supervisor when she turned to see the snowball was reborn and that Billy's foot was inside of it.  Perplexed, she dashed through the snow back to Billy, tears still present, but not as much.  She heard the thing growl.

"Did you remake it?  How? And why is it growling?"  Ashley stared down at his face.

"I don't know, but my foot is stuck.  Can you help?"  She tugged on his leg.

The snowball's growl turned into words.  "How dare you kick me!  How dare anyone destroy me!  It's my turn."  It rolled on top of Billy and sucked him inside of it.  Arms formed out of its sides, and one hand grasped Ashley by her waist, she screamed, and it pulled her in with Billy.  They both sat all scrunched against each other, but it was too dark to see anything.  Then, they felt the thing roll.

Billy yelled, "What's happening?"

"I don't know!" Ashley cried.  

As the snowball rolled, it grew as more and more snow packed around it.  The playground supervisor saw it as it approached her, and she screamed, blew her whistle, and tried running off.  But, she wasn't fast enough and the snowball swallowed her up as well, and now she was smooshed against Ashley and Billy in the dark.  "Who's in here?" she wondered.

Ashley answered, "Ashley Jones and Billy Young from third grade.  I don't know what's going on."  

Now the snowball increased its speed and bowled over every child and every adult on the playground, sucking each one on the inside.  The screams of all the people trapped inside could be heard and the snowball left the school grounds with the entire third, fourth, and fifth grade students of Madison Elementary School.  

Billy hollered, "Where is it taking us?  Are you dizzy, Ashley?"

"No.  Just squished and I can smell your stinky breath.  I can smell everyone's stinky breath."

"And someone has bad B.O." Billy revealed.

They heard the snowball growl, "Now we'll see how you kids like it when someone tries to destroy you.  Time for a little swim down by the river.  Or how 'bout rolling on down the railroad tracks."

All the kids screamed in terror, "No!  We don't wanna die!"

Jake Collins exclaimed, "Why do you want to kill us?"

Only, the snowball just laughed at the kids.  "Dead kids don't smash snowballs."

Only, as the snowball headed for the river down a field, the heat from all the children inside took a toll and it began to melt.  The snowball became more and more slushy.  Just as it neared the bank, it could no longer hold all 150 students, and they all fell out of the snowball as it collapsed into a mound of semi-melted snow. They had been at least ten miles from the school.

Everyone sat on the ground, dazed and confused.  Jake Collins was so terrified that he actually wet himself.  "It's just from the snow!" he yelled at the other kids who pointed their fingers at him.  Unfortunately, the scent told the other students something different, and he became the subject of ridicule.

Billy stood on his feet and grasped Ashley by her gloved hand and helped her up.  He smiled at her as he looked around the field and river with all that snow covering anything solid.  "That was so cool!  I love snow!"

The playground supervisors each called the school explaining where they were and how they got here.  A series of school buses would be dispatched to pick up the students.  It would take nearly a half-hour before they would arrive.

Ashley asked Billy, "What are we gonna do while we wait?"

"I know," he said with a smirk.  "Let's build another snowball."  They smiled at each other and knelt down in the snow, hoping that maybe they might whip up another adventure.

Have a great week.  Be good to yourselves!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Fourth Ramble

Next week I will have a book review to give.  My last post was a bit of a downer, but it's time to move on.  So, I have another story for you.  Please use responsibly.  I just gave myself a shot of coffee because I was doing the Feed My Reads thing on Facebook last night at Midnight Michigan time.  I'm a bit sleepy from all that.  If the following work of flash fiction makes no sense, at least no money was exchanged.  Again...no matter what happens in the story, it doesn't mean you should copy the actions of any of the characters.

"Now, the only way this will work is if we all talk one at a time.  Mr. Pineapple, how about you start off the discussion."  The pair of glasses that he borrowed from Mr. Potato gave Mr. Pineapple an air of wisdom about him.  He sat there in the chair next to me never dodging his gaze from me.  Mr. Pineapple was always the respectable one.

"Gladly."  I never figured he would have a British accent being originally from a farm on the main island of Hawaii.  When I first heard him at the supermarket, I just knew this guy had knowledge up the wazoo.  He continued, "As I was trying to tell you over the barking noise of that peasant woman droning on and on about her chest pain, you simply must avoid being irrelevant.  Once you step into irrelevancy nobody remembers you and you die a lonely old man."

Suddenly, that rude S.O.B. of a tomato all perched on the table butted in.  "Are you serious?" He had an obnoxious scream to his voice.  "You're never gonna be important.  You'll always be a loser."

I stomped my foot on the floor in protest.  "That's why I have to do this.  You're always criticizing me, Mr. Tomato."

"News flash, you just brought me home from the store two days ago, moron!"

"And ever since then, you've been telling me my plans won't work.  That I'll just be a guy nobody will ever take notice of.  Why can't you be more like him?" I pointed to Mr. Pineapple.

At this point Ms. Lemonhead chimed in with her tiny voice and I-don't-want-to-be-a-bother demeanor.  "Um, excuse me."  She was on top of the table directly across from me.

"What?" Mr. Tomato was often rude, but at least he could get Ms. Lemonhead to add some volume to her speech.  "We can't friggin' hear you, you old sour puss."

"Hey," I scolded him.  "Now, that kind of name calling is out of line."  Turning to Ms. Lemonhead, I wanted to politely explain Mr. Tomato's request that she speak up more.  "Ms. Lemonhead, you're such a lovely lady and you just smell wonderful, but you can certainly leave a bad taste in someone's mouth if you don't speak up.  Don't be afraid."

Ms. Lemonhead did increase the volume level, but not by much.  Although, by her standards, this was screaming her head off.  "I just wanted to say that you two have some of the same thinking.  I know, Larry, that you have these same thoughts of inadequacy.  If you go through what you're planning, the world just might not notice.  However, the adventurous part of you might be right and that you'll gain instant celebrity status."

"Now, Ms. Lemonhead, I admire you trying to get some peace here.  Mr. Tomato has a reputation for being negative.  You should've heard him.  I had to sit across from him in the same produce aisle.  You at least were a few aisles away.  Obnoxious little fruit... or dare I say vegetable."  Mr. Pineapple always knew how to rile up that Mr. Tomato.  He certainly deserved it.  How Mr. Tomato convinced me to bring him home, I never would know.

"Vegetable?  Vegetable?" Mr. Tomato was insulted.  I smiled at his distress.  "Look at you with your pretentious glasses that use to belong to a vegetable.  You think you're so smart with your prickly spine and high brow stem.  Why, I outta come over there and slap that ridiculous thing off your face."

"Oo.  I'm so scared.  You know you're just as inanimate as I am.  But, getting back to our original discussion, Larry, this is your moment.  A chance for you to really make a dent in the world.  You're mayor now, but you're meant to be a star...that's the role for you."  Mr. Pineapple had a point.  He was so encouraging, unlike that Mr. Tomato.

At that point, my wife entered the kitchen with her blond hair upswept, "Honey, aren't you coming out? Your campaign manager is...what's going on?"

"I'm having a focus meeting here.  What does it look like?"  I thought that was rather obvious, but my wife just stared silently, her mouth frozen or something.  That was odd because she normally never shut the hell up.

She looked at my tux crumpled in a heap beside me.  "Why aren't you dressed?  The press is all out there.  We got the podium and mike all set up.  You're just in a bathrobe and slippers."

"Mr. Pineapple, tell her."  I was just too tired to explain it all...and all nervous.  I still didn't know if I could go through with it.

"You see Mrs. Warner, your husband the mayor is planning a brilliant move into the entertainment business. From politician to celebrity.  Perhaps an invite to a certain dance competition could be in the works."  Mr. Pineapple stated this all too elegantly.

Only, my wife seemed to just ignore him.  "I don't know what the hell is going on.  But, Larry, you better move along..."

"I told you she wouldn't go for it!" shouted Mr. Tomato.  "But, no!  You just had to listen to that Hawaiian special with the fake British accent!"

That just really ticked me off.  My face felt beat red, almost as red as Mr. Tomato, and I wagged my finger at him.  "You just keep stirring everything up!  You're nothing but a..."

"Are you talking to that tomato?  What is wrong with you?"  Mrs. Warner said this, but I just was too upset with Mr. Tomato to notice.

For his part Mr. Tomato continued to yell out his constant barrage of nastiness.  "You're nothing!  You're a loser!  They'll just forget all about you!"

"Now, now."  Ms. Lemonhead trembled at the tension in the room.  "Let's all be respectful..."

"Ah, go suck yourself, Lemon-lady!" That was the last straw.  I wouldn't stand for that little red devil mocking a lady like that.  My momma raised me better.

I picked up the son-of-a-bitch and threw him towards the door between the kitchen and living room.  My wife ducked, but Hal Johnson, my campaign manager came in at that time and Mr. Tomato broke apart all over his face.  Mr. Tomato shrieked in utter agony and then...deadly silence.  Hal started wiping my friend off his face and cried out, "What the hell is going on?"

However, I was too shocked and ashamed at my actions.  I clutched my cheeks and tears burst out of my eyes, "What have I done?  Oh...my friend.  Why, Mr. Tomato, why?  I'm so sorry I killed you.  My anger...got the best of me."  I slumped to my knees and deeply wept.  Now, I was a murderer. 

I could hear my wife and Hal conversing.  "I think he's flipped his lid," my wife mentioned. 

Ms. Lemonhead also joined my sorrow.  I got up and hugged her closely.  "He was...not that bad.  A little rotten maybe, but aren't we all."  She said nothing but cried.

Hal muttered, "I better try and get rid of the press."

Luckily, Mr. Pineapple brought it all back to reality for me.  "Larry.  Go, now.  Before the press scatters.  They are the vessels of your jump to fame."

"You're right," I told him.  Gently setting Ms. Lemonhead down on the table, I pushed passed Hal and my wife and made a bee line for the patio doors.  This was my shining moment.  My wife and Hal screamed after me to not go out there or I'd be finished.  I simply yelled back, "I can't believe that you're wearing my friend and you say that!  This is my moment."

All the reporters were sitting in chairs waiting to ask me questions.  Cameras were all affixed on me.  However, they wouldn't be getting any responses from me, instead...they would be dazzled.  I snatched the microphone off the podium and I sang the first bars of "Tomorrow."  My wife tried to grab me from behind, but I simply pulled open my robe and dropped it on the ground, breaking free from her hands.  Now, they would see me.  They would never forget me.  I knew that I would be a star.  And I danced, I sang out, I wiggled my hind-end at them, and I let it all hang out in the front.  My little guy proudly bounced around.  Some hid their eyes while others were absolutely mesmerized--they couldn't take their big round eyes off of me.  They all feverishly typed away on their smartphones, obviously sharing the news of this mayor's great talent.

I couldn't believe my own police department hated my whole performance.  They tackled me to the ground and locked me up like a common criminal.  Worse, they covered the work of art that I was with ugly county issued orange.  However, the laugh was on them.  My picture had been in every newspaper coast to coast and I became the top subject of all the news programming.  I did it!  I had reached stardom.

As for Mr. Pineapple and Ms. Lemonhead, they never bothered to visit me--now that I was a big celebrity and all.  I wrote to them, though, understanding how my new career path would separate us into different social classes and noted their intimidation for the rich and famous such as me.  The city recognized how wonderful of an entertainer I was now and so, they dismissed me as mayor or recalled me or something like that.  Anyway, they promoted the vice-mayor which would work out quite nicely.  She'd never have the guts to pull off what I did that night in my own backyard.

As for Mrs. Warner, you know what they say.  Celebrity marriages never last.

Well, that's the end of the story.  Have a great weekend everyone.  Be good to yourselves!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Instead of my usual banter, I am just going to make a comment regarding the school shooting that took place in a middle school in Nevada Monday morning, October 21.  The shooter was a seventh grader who apparently snapped or who knows what went through his head.  He wounded two students, killed a teacher and then himself.  Read about it here. One week ago I posted a flash fiction story called "The Stand-In Guy".  You can jump to that story here. While my story dealt with a seventh grade student with school problems, he takes a different course of action than this young man on Monday.  Not young man--kid.  The reason most people will identify with the boy in my story is that we all struggled in some way with pressures in middle school (and in elementary and high school).  It can take an emotional toll.  Now, I used this very common human experience to write a story of a kid who dabbles in something that eventually ends poorly for him.  Personally, when I was in seventh grade and beyond, I retreated into fantasy, science fiction, and just writing to cope with these pressures, but yet, I had the same egging feeling that nothing would ever change.  I was too young to see the world beyond my life in middle school.  Isn't that how most kids are?  In my case, I never had access to weapons, so I secretly fantasized over supernatural solutions to my problems.  Of course, that would never happen.  It laid down the seed for me as a writer, however.

Kids, young people, teenagers are just by nature emotionally unstable.  They often cannot see past their current circumstances--to know that problems in school will eventually pass.  When we are adults, we understand this, but at the time we're kids, it's not always that way.  This is why kids need adult guidance in hopes they will get the reassurance that troubles in their lives right now are tough, but will not last forever.  How do we give our kids the ability to cope with these troubles?  Can we say at least guns and kids do not mix?  Like I said earlier, kids are emotionally unstable.  Emotionally unstable people shouldn't have access to guns.  Do we have to just keep fearing for the next Aurora, the next Columbine, or the next Newtown and hope it's someone else or someone else's kids that are the next dead or traumatized for life?  I don't think it's a matter of laws, but a matter of common sense, mainly.  

One of the big morals of Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful: Forecast Acid Rain is more of a question that asks:  What the hell are we doing to our kids?  When kids, particularily those who are so young, are in the business of going on shooting sprees, we have failed as a society.

I am going to say that there is no way my story would have caused this kid to go off the way he did, even with the off-chance that he read it.  Something else was going on or not going on in his life.  Too bad he didn't feel as if he could have talked to someone about his problems.  Parents should never assume everything is fine with their kids just because they haven't complained about anything.  Sometimes, you have to ask the tough questions and help your child find a way to cope.  My eight-year-old said it best yesterday--being a kid sucks.  If they won't talk to you, find someone you can trust that your child can also trust.  This is just very sad and tragic.  Will we learn anything from this?  Or just go on as if it's someone else's problem?  One thing is for sure, all kids need help, all kids need guidance, and all kids need adults to pay attention to them, even when they tell you to butt out.

Next post, I won't be so emotionally down.  Be good to yourselves.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ramble 2

Another bout of flash fiction is on its way.  Last time I introduced a young girl named Suzie who wasn't really all she appeared.  Today, I'm looking into the life of a young man named Nathan.  Grab some coffee, of course you don't have to, but it'll go great with this latest tale.

The Stand-in Guy
"It's like I'm looking in a mirror.  Every hair on your arm is identical to mine.  Your voice is exactly the same."  Nathan dangled his arms, while Charlie held up his in comparison.  "So, you think you can act like me enough?"

Charlie nodded his blonde, spiky hair.  "Hey, I've just been following you in the shadows, studying everything you do and every little action that makes you unique.  I guarantee satisfaction."

This was the closest Nathan ever had to having a twin brother.  All the troubles he had in seventh grade, Charlie was a true life-saver.  He just couldn't believe that summoning a doppelganger would have actually worked.  When he walked into the mall bookstore after he skipped his last hour class, the cover jumped out at him.  He thumbed through this book of dark arts filled with incantations of one kind or another, hoping to find the help he needed for his life at Wilson Middle School.  

School just sucked for Nathan.  All C's and D's on his last report card.  The teachers thought he was nothing but a total goof-off and didn't have high expectations of him.  Even in phys. ed.  He was the kind of kid who never ran, but always walked the required mile and a half.  Other students acted like animals in the locker room before and after phys. ed.  The more developed boys just made life a living hell for those whose puberty had yet to begin.  Middle school just sucked.  He understood why some students snapped and went on shooting sprees.  For Nathan, though, he wasn't the type to go on a rampage, and he didn't have access to any weapon, anyway.  He wished for a supernatural solution to his problems.

If only he had a smart twin brother that could go to school for him, while he stayed home and played video games all day.  The book on incantations had a ritual for summoning a doppelganger, so he followed all the instructions.  He was tempted to shoplift it, but he knew he wasn't slick enough to by-pass the store's security.  Nathan managed to write down the steps in his math notebook before the assistant manager got suspicious of him and thought he was a kid up to no good.  Security escorted him out by the elbow, threatening to call the police the next time he loitered in the bookstore. 

At first Charlie just hung out as a shadow on the wall, merely two dimensional.  However, a week later, last evening to be exact, Charlie peeled off Nathan's bedroom wall and entered the 3-D world to form a physical body that would shape itself into a replica of Nathan's.  Every feature, down to the fingerprints, was identical.  Nathan wasn't sure about their DNA being the same.  Nathan dressed the naked doppelganger in a T-shirt with a college football logo and blue jeans and ordered him to remain in his closet for the night.  This particular kind of doppelganger would do everything his "host" asked him to do.

Here they were standing face to face.  Nathan's parents were already gone to work, so he had to get himself up in the morning.  "So, are you ready to take over my life at school, Charlie?"

"Definitely.  I am now Nathan.  Good-bye, Nathan.  You're now Charlie."  Nathan screamed as his body slapped itself against the wall becoming merely a shadow of himself.  And, then he went into the black void where all the doppelgangers waited, hoping to be the next one called into service.  It's gonna be a hell of a long wait.

Be good to yourselves!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Story Ramble

Let's get ready to ramble!!!!  

Below is the first in a series of flash fiction to go with your coffee.  I don't even know the word count.  Hang on...it starts in 3-2-WAIT!  You forgot the coffee (or beverage of your choice).  Great, let's restart the countdown clock.  3-2-1 and go.

Suzie and the Little Man
"Stupid shoe!"  Suzie was on her way to school when she crossed the street, tripped slightly on a sewer grate.  Her black buckle shoe slipped off and the muffled splash said it all.  She knelt down to peek through the darkened grate, but there was no way she could spot it.  "Why didn't I look out for where I was going? I am such a klutz!"

"Hey, I could go down and get it for you."  A miniature voice harkened from a nearby fire hydrant.  Suzie stood on the curb and saw no one. 

"Must be hearing things," the curly haired 9-year-old sighed.  She almost cried because she didn't always wear dress shoes, and she was in a dress up mood today.  The cool morning air tickled her exposed foot wrapped in a white leotard.  Her home was only a block away, but that would mean an extra long walk.  She kept an eye out for a passing friend, but none came her way.  "Damn it," she said under her breath, knowing no one was around to cite her for swearing at a young age.

"Don't be mad!  You don't have to swear or curse!  I can go get it for you."  There was that high-pitched voice again.  

"Who are you?" wondered Suzie.  "Where are you?"

Out from the other side of the fire hydrant a little man, a really little man, skirted forth.  He held a tiny megaphone.  "Here I am," speaking into the cone.  The man wore a business suit.  "I can easily fit through."

Suzie didn't even bother to ask and plucked him off the grass.  With her palm open he stood on her hand.  She glanced around to see if anyone else was coming near.  "Oh my.  A shrunken man.  I know I shouldn't talk to strangers, but you couldn't possibly hurt me."

"Indeed.  But, I have teeth and am prone to biting.  A man my stature must survive somehow."

"Well, how could you even go get my shoe?  You could go down, but how would you come back up?  I doubt if you could even carry my shoe."

"Oh, I have my ways, dear," not using his megaphone.

"Alright.  Go get it then."  She set him down right on the curbed portion of the grate and sat her hind end down next to him.

"Yes.  There is just a matter of payment, my dear."

"Payment?  I don't have any money.  What if I just throw you down in there?  What would you do?"

 "You are quite the mean-spirited child," he said accusingly.

"I'm not mean-spirited, just...a girl who is practically minded."

"Practically minded?  Well...you won't have to pay with money.  All I ask in return is that you help me to remove a curse placed upon me by what you would probably call a witch centuries ago."

"Is that why you're all shrunken?" she wondered.

"Oh yes, my dear."

"Call me, Suzie."

"Yes, Suzie.  Do we have a deal?"

"It depends.  I don't have to kiss you, do I?"

"Oh no, nothing like that.  All you have to do is just spin around three times and say three times, Gordon is released...not hard, right?"

"Is that your name?"  He nodded.  

"Alright...It's a deal.  Now, go get my shoe."  

Gordon wrapped his legs around the first rail of the grate as if he was made of plastic.  Hanging upside-down he stretched his body until he grabbed a hold of the girl's shoe.  After pushing it through the large opening between the grate and curb, he sling-shot his body up into the grass and presented Suzie with the shoe.  Suzie held the thing, it dripped slimy water off of the sole.  The smell was like mold or something.

She tried wiping it vigorously on the grass, and satisfied, inserted her foot in.  Luckily, the inside remained dry.

Suzie forgot all about Gordon at first and started her way towards the school.  But, she heard Gordon squawking in his megaphone.  "Are you forgetting our deal?"

She turned to face him with a smile.  "Oh, are you forgetting who I am, little man?"  Her face suddenly twisted and contorted into that of a face that seemed carved into an ancient oak tree, but then went back to it's youthful "Suzie" look. 

Gordon recognized her and just froze.  Suzie smirked.  He shouted in his pipsqueak voice, "It's you!"

"You stupid fool."  She waved over to the house in front of the hydrant, and a cat came bounding towards Gordon.  He sling-shot his body to the roof of the house out of reach of the cat.

He shouted as Suzie slunk her way to the school.  "Damn you, you ugly witch."  She never even looked back, determined in her mission to find just the right unsuspecting kid to add to her stew.

Be good to yourselves!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cattle Prodding Your Writing!

So, there you are staring at your screen, keyboard, pen, or whatever writing apparatus you use, and you discover there have been no words printed.  And you've been sitting there for like at least 15 minutes and you think, "Why are there no words yet?"  What's really missing?  Your motivation, that's what.  Last post, I gave some pointed tips to help you jump start your career as a super powerful writer.  Some of it bordered on crude frankness, but needed to be brought out in the open.  Quickly, go review that list (it's somewhat NSFW), but be back in exactly three minutes.  Wait!  Did you remember the coffee?  

As you progress in your super powerful career, you are bound to hit a "writer's block."  Don't be ashamed.  It happens to us all, and no, masturbation won't cure it.  Running your forehead into a wall won't work and wacking your ears as if water is stuck in them won't work.  So...what to do.  I'll give you a prescription, even though I'm not a doctor.  

  1. Make sure you are reading!  Reading and writing are two sides of the same language coin.  If you're a fiction writer, then read fiction.  It can be outside your genre, but probably best to read mainly the same kinds of fiction you write.  This will stimulate your language portion of your brain.  Think of it as a mental enema.
  2. Listen to classical music!  Couple this with reading and caffeine, and your brain will be on fire.  Once in a while switch to hard rock, smooth jazz or any jazz, but mainly stick with classical.  Again, this stimulates your creative and logical portions of your brain.  Fiber for healthy mental processes.
  3. Don't eat crappy food!  If you eat poorly, you will think or do anything else poorly.  Your brain loves protein and complex carbohydrates.  Treat it right by feeding it what it needs. 
  4. Avoid obnoxious kid shows!  I won't list them, but if you have kids, you know which one's leave you mentally numb.  Tune it out at all cost.  (Think what it's doing to your kids, but anything to keep them away while you're writing, right?)  Pull out the classical music and head phones.  In fact, it's just better to avoid any or all TV while writing.
  5. Just spend time writing nonsense!  Why do you think I do this blog?  Actually, just writing anything as often as you can is good practice.  This is one good use of social media sites, especially Twitter.  It forces you to be concise and focus your thoughts.
  6. Have multiple projects!  If you get stuck with one, pull out another.  
  7. Have a notebook and pen handy!  Jot down ideas that come to you.  
  8. Make an outline!  I make my outlines by hand, but you don't have to.  It doesn't have to be formal and you can stray from it.  There's something about an outline that is freeing, at least for me.
  9. Find someone to hold you accountable!  In school, you had a teacher do this for you, whether it was your choice or not.  Well, you're grown now, so it's your job to find someone.  You won't get in trouble, but we were all kids once and some of those feelings of being in trouble with the teacher will suddenly come back to you.  And you'll get it done...unless you were a total goof-off in school.  Goof-offs are better at satirical writing or comic strips, if you can draw. 
  10. Get out of the house once in a while!  Go and see the Sun or just daylight.  For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere it's autumn and there's plenty of color on them leaves.  Hermit writers end up writing wacked-out manifestos and wreaking havoc like the Unabomber.  Don't let this be you!
If none of this works, try shoving a cattle prod...uh...use a cattle prod in a manner that will give you the right kick in the pants.  Now, you are all set to cure writer's block and any problems with motivation.  (None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA.  But it's okay...they're shutdown!)  Have a good week.  Be good to yourselves!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Super Powerful Writing Tips

Many of you are probably wondering how you can go about transforming yourselves into super powerful writers such as me. This is where I take off my author hat and put on my self-help guru hat.  Super powerful writing doesn't just happen.  Focus, effort, sweat, and maybe some rich, dark chocolate for, you know, it's health benefits are just some of what you need. So, below are some tricks of the trade that I offer for free because I don't have a Paypal link to charge $99.95 like I aught to do.  And since I'm offering it for free, if these tips don't work for you--too bad! You won't get a refund.  Wait!  I forgot the first rule of self-help--stay away from negativity.  Hmm...I didn't mean to sound so negative.  I guess I better put my future self-help book, Winning for Losers Like You, on hold.  Way too negative.

If these tips sound negative and harsh, let me spin it, I mean, it is only because to get positive results you must get rid of negativity.  Don't you just love self-help bullcrap?  No matter what I say, I can make it a positive thing.  As promised, here are Author David Lichty's Super Powerful writing tips:

  • Pretend time doesn't apply to you.  That way you can write for hours while justifying your total neglect of chores, shaving, showering, eating, sleeping, budgeting, children (just stick 'em in front of a TV or tablet in the back bedroom), etc.  If you have the will power, maybe put off urination as long as you can.  Adult undergarments/diapers might help.  Now, for Number 2, you could just rely on the diapers as previously mentioned, but it may get uncomfortable and that smell, too awful...so, avoid eating anything with fiber, drink little or no water, and just put off defecation until you become constipated. 
  • Stay Healthy with Proper Diet and Exercise.  Take the time to eat good food rich in protein, insoluble and soluble fiber, vitamins, and reduce fat and sugar intake.  Yes, salt/sodium, too.  Drink plenty of water and do the exercise that gets your heart rate going.  I know, you're saying, "But, Dave, you just said not to take the time to do this in the first tip."  And I say, "Contradiction is good for you.  I'm the pretend self-help guru here."
  • Coffee Up!  It can't just be the caffeine.  Bold rich flavor has to cue our brains that its favorite daytime jolt is on the way!
  • Twitter time!  You got a Facebook page and a blog.  You even said, "Oh, what the heck, Google + won't hurt."  Whoopee!  You ain't nothing unless you're on Twitter.  And, what's great is everyone is living in different time zones, so good luck if people you talk to are on it the same time you are.  But, you can do Twitter because remember...time doesn't apply to you.
Well, there you have it.  Now, you too can kick your writing up to the Super Powerful level.  I even figured out a new title to my self-help book, Winning: A Loser's Guide for People Like You.  Well, have a fantastic weekend and be good to yourselves (and not just in the way I describe in Tip 3).

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy Shutdown Day!

Alright...does everyone have his or her coffee ready (or beverage of your choice)?  What about a little treat?  Remember, this super powerful blog is a cyber coffee break to give you a pause...a chance to catch your breath. And to recharge yourself with all that caffeine goodness.  

Shutdown Business
I hate days like this.  It reminds me of how difficult being a fiction writer is.  We can't compete with the real world.  Fantasy writers may have an advantage because they just stay out of all that real world crap.  Everyone else, I don't know.  Consider Congress alone.  The members of Congress are such colorful characters, some of whom are hard to believe are not a work of someone's imagination.  That Ted Cruz guy--wow, what fun is he.  Whether you think everything he says is the equivalent of donkey droppings, it's hard to ignore him (just like you can't ignore donkey droppings if you step in it).  If only he had his own theme song...

Unlike other democracies that allow their prime minister or whatever his or her title to suspend parliament and just get them out of the way, our president can't do that (I have really no idea if this is how parliamentary democracy works, I just made it up).  He can't just say, "Screw John Boehner, I'll just suspend him and all of Congress." And then, just do whatever he wants from there.  We have a Constitution that has all these possibilities for extreme gridlock.  I think our Founding Fathers intentionally made governing deliberately difficult just to mess with us. 

"Hey, Ben (snickering), what do you think of these 'checks and balances'?"
"I love it, James.  It'll be a miracle if they accomplish anything."
"How do like this one about the President leaving feces on the front step of the Speaker's home? (more snickering)."
"I think that's going a little too far.  I think the veto thing is enough."

My own business
I am working on some more books to review.  I just have to read them first.  My fantasy horror short story I will be posting on Wattpad in the near future--definitely before Halloween.  Well, I'll see you all on Friday when I will have something to blog on and on about.  I need something to rage about, but what?  Okay, until then, be good to yourselves.  

P.S.  Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful: Forecast Acid Rain is the perfect gift for Christmas, Hanukkah, Columbus Day, birthdays, and Halloween (at least it could give you costume ideas).  Why wait, get it today!