Monday, October 31, 2016

The Mysterious Moving Grave





What better story to tell this Halloween than one about a grave that moves! Don't miss out on the Rafflecopter entry. Take it away, Bish









Thanks for letting me haunt your blog, Lee! Today I’m going to share a scene that was removed from my book The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands. At then end, I’ll tell the “real” story.

Like any writer, I had to revise and edit The Bowl and Stone… a lot. I changed POV and tense more times than I care to admit. Whole chapters and scenes were ripped from the pages, each one tearing at my heart. But when three beta readers say the same thing, one has to take a serious look. This scene, along with others related to it, was removed because ultimately they made Sam and her best friend, Nick, look rather mean and petty, which is not what I intended. Here the friends are explaining about a grave they believe moves from place to place, to two tourist kids.

***

The Mysterious Moving Grave

     The two tourist kids were so annoying we had to tell them the story of the Mysterious Moving Grave. 
     "Once there was this really mean man," said Nick. "He was so mean nothing grew on his farm."
     "He was married," I continued, "and had three kids. He drank a lot and blamed them for his not being able to grow anything."
     "One night he got really drunk and went into a terrible rage. That's when he did it." Nick paused for effect.
     "Did what?" asked the thin, pale boy who looked like an albino salamander.
     "That's when he killed his wife and kids," he answered.
     "With a machete," I said.
     "Hacked all four of 'em to bits." Nick waved his arm like he was slicing something up. "Scattered their body parts all over his land. He thought it would make things grow."
     "Gross!" The girl covered her mouth with a hand and turned green as genip.
     "It gets better," I said. "He was caught and tried and they hung him right here at Gallows Point, which is where they hung all the criminals and pirates back then. Even though he was a bad man his brother wanted to bury him all proper, so he built him a small concrete tomb."
     Nick continued. "The problem is he's restless. He keeps getting out of his grave and wandering around Gallows Point with that machete, looking for the people who hanged him. People have heard him scraping his machete along the walls of the cottages, particularly the one you're staying in. And because he keeps climbing in and out of his grave, it keeps moving. Sometimes it's up near the road, sometimes closer to the genip tree."

The Real Story
Since we had to walk by the graveyard on an almost daily basis my best friend Jay and I kept tabs on a grave that appeared to move from the genip tree, up to the road, and back down to the tree. As children with prodigious imaginations, we made up all sorts of stories about it.

The truth is rather mundane. The grave did indeed appear to move, but not because a ghost was climbing in and out of the small concrete tomb. Back in the day the road past the graveyard was dirt and just wide enough for two Jeeps to pass. During the rainy season, usually the summer, the tall Guinea grass grew thickly along the side of the road, making the road appear narrower, making the grave look farther from the road. During the dry season, usually the winter, the grass died back, making the road appear wider, thus making the grave look closer to the road.

I don’t have any pictures of Jay and me as children. But here we are in our 20s in the windmill at Annaberg, a sugar plantation that has small but important role in The Bowl and the Stone.


OOOOooooooOOOOOOoooooo. Happy Halloween, everyone!



About the Book:

Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.

It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them? 

As carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.



About the Author

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at Amazon.com.

Learn more about Bish:  Random Thoughts. Facebook. Twitter. Goodreads


ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER DRAWING FOR THE BOWL AND THE STONE.




Tomorrow is November 1 and that means my Email Connect Message will be going out. I have a new Featured Follower for the month, and some interesting stuff about Amazon algorithms and titles. Don't miss this one.



Quote of the Week: (In honor of election week!)  "There is nothing further away from Washington than the entire world." Arthur Miller.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Begonia House Trick or Treats!

The Begonia House. Knock on the Door if you DARE!


I kind of left people dangling about Pete's and Weasel's predicament in the story. If you visit the BEGONIA HOUSE, you'll see what I mean. Read the story and decide what's behind Pete and Weasel on their way past the cemetery?





Why the three cursed witches of Hadleyville, of course.


The question is does Pete save the two of them or does he send them plunging into another disaster like he did in The Great Time Lock Disaster? Want to help Pete out? How does he deal with these three witchy skeletons bent on getting him and Weasel?

Tell me and the best answer wins an eBook of Alligators Overhead!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Storytime Blog Hop October_A Beautiful Night in the Neighborhood

Welcome. Do come in. Enjoy. 

Just be sure to wipe your feet before you visit each of our StoryTime Writers. Thanks to Juneta for the sweet bedtimes stories she's collected for our. . . 

Halloween Pleasure.

Morguefile


A Beautiful Night in the Neighborhood 
 


C. Lee McKenzie 
  

   
Presley set out the last plate of appetizers and checked the vat to be sure it was full. This group drank a lot. 
      He surveyed the room, and was about to fasten the last Happy Halloween ghost balloon to the back of a chair, when he heard a knock at the door. 
      The first guest. 
      Eagerly, he rubbed his hands together. The party was about to begin. But when he opened the door, no one stood on the porch. He looked across the street, and then left and right at the tidy row of houses with reverse floor plans. No one in sight. 
 
Source
   At a gentle tug on his pant leg, he looked down. Three green and grinning faces with knife-sharp incisors and blunt noses stared up at him. 

      “Of course,” he said “Gremlins! And there are three of you this year. Lovely. Come. Come.” He ushered the short, red-eyed creatures into the living room, where they immediately found the special-sized table and chairs he’d set out just for them. The way they dived into the guacamole with abandon, he knew this party was going to be a huge success. 
     Presley had no sooner closed the door when the bell chimed. This time a dark-robed figure towered over him. “Death! And just look at that scythe. I’m impressed. You’ve outdone yourself this year.” 
     “Yes.” Death’s voice always came in rushed whispers. He glided through the door and into a corner where Presley had placed a coffin with a tall flickering candle. 
      Presley had a moment to admire the ambiance of the room before he heard the sound of feet dragging down the path to the house.  
     “Ah, the Zombies. At last.” 
     They never said anything, so he didn’t take it personally when they shuffled past him in silence and went straight to the vat. Two vampires came right behind them and elbowed their way to the straws Presley had provided. They dipped their straws into the juicy red beverage and the vat level dropped an inch immediately. 
      He loved it when his guests enjoyed what he provided.                             
      There was only one more guest before the guest of honor. And in that moment the door flew open and a golden-haired youth stepped inside. 
      “Tony!” Presley went to the fridge and found two cold beers, opened them and handed Tony one. “Cheers.” 
     “When’s he coming?” Tony took a swig of beer and Presley checked his watch. 
      “In about five.” Presley sipped from the bottle, and then asked, “You’re not changed. Problem?”
     Tony shook his head.  He held up the bottle. “I needed this before going for it, and,” he pulled the curtain aside and peered out, “the moon’s just now right.” He drained his beer and in moments his jacket ripped up the back, his jeans popped at the side seams, and long dark hair erupted from his skin. He lowered onto all fours and howled.  
     “Beautiful. Simply Beautiful,” Presley said, stroking Tony’s thick fur. 
      Another knock at the door silenced the room. No one moved. The guest of honor was here. This was what they’d all waited for. One year. A long time between welcoming new neighbors. The excitement grew palpable. The gremlins slipped from their tiny chairs and bunched together in front of the zombies and vampires. Tony crouched, a low growl deep in his throat. Only Death remained seated on the coffin. Still. Watching. Then yawning with a sigh.
     Presley folded his hands and took three ceremonial strides to the door. “Who is it?” he said, and his voice was as light as the Halloween balloons weaving slowly overhead. 
     “It’s your new neighbor, Raymond. You asked me to come by for a beer. It's kind of late, but--” 
     “Raymond! Of course, my man. One moment.” 
     Presley looked over his shoulder and surveyed his guests. “Ready?” he whispered. 
     A hushed, expectant “Yes.” came in reply from the company. 
     Presley opened the door and a loud “Welcome to the neighborhood!” blared from behind him. 


      About midnight, the 911 caller said he’d heard a terrible scream coming from the house across the street. He’d gone outside, but everything was as it should be. Most of the houses were dark, even the one he was sure the scream had come from.
       Police investigated and found the front door ajar, the house completely empty and spotless. The only sign of life was a long, coarse dog hair. 
      They ran the name of the renter and nothing came up, but in the data, there was another report from a year ago, and it was almost identical. Then they checked further. These very similar calls extended back to when the 911 system had been set up. And each year, a person new to a neighborhood vanished without a trace. 
      The following day, Raymond Miller’s brother filed a missing person’s report.



More Storytime Stories to rock you to sleep this Halloween!

Erica Damon  
J. Q. Rose  
Elise VanCise  
Barbara Lund  
Angela Wooldridge  
Katharina Gerlach  
Karen Lynn  
Sherri Conway  
Elizabeth McCleary
Canis Lupus  
Peg Fisher  
Bill Bush 
Benjamin Thomas  
Crystal Collier 
Voila Fury   
Juneta Key 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween Memories and October's Featured Follower

I went back into my archives to see what I'd posted on this holiday in the past. The first Halloween post was this one! 

Halloween 2007


It just ain't the same. I mean tonight it will still be light when the tiny ghosts trek to my door. How can a ghost be spooky in daylight? And my witchy costume is so shabby from years of use that I rely on nightfall to conceal all of the patched pieces and cider stains. Sigh.

Well, no matter what, we are having Halloween. It is my absolutely favorite holiday. I don't have to plan a family gathering, I don't have to be sure to seat Uncle Pete away from Cousin Sadie, I don't have to make a vegetarian side dish for Leah Ann who is sixteen and turning Zen on me. All I have to do is buy a few trinkets and candy and have fun. My kind of holiday.


2008 and 2009 Westside Books had me out and about launching my first book, Sliding on the Edge, and I didn't have time to post about Halloween.  But then 2010 produced this.
 

Halloween 2010
 
Happy Ghostly Halloween


It's the time of year to pull those pumpkin vines, bundle the corn stalks and put away the outdoor furniture. Fall is for coming to the hearth with a good book and a hot cup of cocoa-a time to look inward and reminisce about spring and summer days that warmed the garden and brought forth the crops for harvest. 

The sudden shift of light, the clouds with hints of a storm bundled inside, the night that comes more quickly . . . all of these are October, and there's a slight charge in the air as the old myths stir within our memory.

Persephone once again returns to Hades as she was bound to do. Demeter bemoans the loss of her daughter and the earth goes silent and infertile for the months they are separated. 

Now is the time for ghosts to walk among us, while our minds grow quiet in the long chilled nights.

I haven't written a ghost story in a few years, but I had a couple published a while ago in Crow Toes Quarterly, so I thought to celebrate the season, I'd share this one. It's written for middle grade readers, so I hope you'll print it and read it or give it to a young reader who would like to be a tad scared by the THE GHOSTLY DOUBLE





This has been fun going back to see what I thinking and writing. Now let's come up to date.

Some of you know I've started Email Connect as one way to organize my support for authors and give 12 of them extra promo during the year. I can't believe I'm almost ready to announce my Featured Follower for November! But before I do, here's one more bit about October's Yvonne Ventresca and her new book, Black Flowers, White Lies. 



FUN FACT:  Near the end of the Black Flowers, White Lies, Ella meets a friend at Sybil’s Cave. As mentioned earlier in the novel, the real-life murder of Mary Rogers near that spot in 1841 inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 story, “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.” 


To buy Black Flowers, White Lies: Indiebound | Amazon | B&N | AmazonUK | BAM
Bio: Yvonne Ventresca’s latest young adult novel, Black Flowers, White Lies was recently published by Sky Pony Press (October, 2016). BuzzFeed included it at the top of their new “must read” books: 23 YA Books That, Without a Doubt, You’ll Want to Read This Fall. Her debut YA novel, Pandemic, won a 2015 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for the Atlantic region. 





My Quote of the Week: "Memory is the way we keep telling ourselves our stories--and telling other people a somewhat different version of our stories." Alice Munro, short story writer and Nobel Prize winner.
 


Friday, October 21, 2016

Mobsters: What's Not To Like?


My Rap Sheet is one pretty piece of work. Take a look at what I done so far.



Source

Gang Name: Vinnie the Mug

Title: Head of the Hi Octane Gang, downtown Caffeine City
Main Disguise:
Source
Get Away Car: When out of Regular Coffee


Known Heist:
One hundred pounds of Starbuck's Coffee, ten Starbuck's Mugs and a handful of stirrers. Armed with napkin holder. Considered dangerous when confronted before coffee in the morning.

Catch Phrase: Hand over the beans. 


Now here's Officer Blake Herro. Watch out! He's infiltrating the MOB, and if we're not careful, he'll take all of us down.  



30 SECONDS BEFORE BLURB:

Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?

BUY LINKS:



To celebrate, 30 Seconds, the follow up story, is on sale for 99 cents!


Sale Oct. 21st – Nov. 4th

SALE LINKS:



BIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes), as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter



Want to see the other Mobsters? Here's your chance.




Monday, October 17, 2016

With His Cat's Help, Roland Yeoman Hijacks My Blog

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
 – Mark Twain



Here is the next stop in my DON’T BUY MY BOOK! Blog Tour.  Hey, don’t blame me.  Lee let me in.

Seriously, thank her for her generosity and kindness by commenting at the bottom of this post, will you?


We live life with no sure light but that which we carry within us.  We sail into the darkness with an uncertain map made of the perishable paper of our flawed perceptions.

“When you have made a mistake, think not: ‘This is misfortune’ think rather: ‘To bear this worthily is good fortune.’”  
- Marcus Aurelius

In the cursed Samuel McCord, I wanted to make, not a hero, not even a protagonist, but merely a man who finds himself with terrible “gifts” and a propensity to screw up when he wants to do right.

A lot like each one of us, right?

How many times have you gambled on forgiveness and been bitten by the act?
Samuel, too.

But when Samuel spares a coven of dragons and gives them a renewed chance at life, he sets into motion consequences that will trigger the terrible San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

How can he live with that? 

How do any of us live with the consequences of well-intentioned acts gone terribly awry?

Bram Stoker has Dracula say: “We learn from failure, not from success.”
But at what cost?



Samuel rescues a British girl from rape.  Being with him will be a death sentence so he leaves her with friends on rough Parisian streets.
Decades later, he runs into her again: the famous courtesan Cora Pearl


From the 1836 Sidhe kidnapping of Princess Victoria to a 1867 encounter with the Chinese Celestial Dragon, Qing Long to his Red Wedding beneath the Rouen Cathedral and betrayal by the werewolves of Paris to contesting with brutal Paris Surgeons in the Hotel Dieu …

Samuel strives to do the right thing and mostly fails epically  … much to the delight of Samuel Clemens and the dismay of 11 year old Nicola Tesla.

Excerpt:
Samuel is standing atop the dirigible, that is really a star-craft, holding up the Xanadu, considering if he should just step off into the stormy ocean far below.  
It would be but fitting punishment for screwing up royally, dooming San Francisco to the revenge of the celestial dragon, Qing Long.  Rind, the Angel of Death, whose blood flows through his veins, appears behind him:

     No.  I wouldn’t give my enemies the satisfaction of self-destruction.  Besides, Meilori would think I had believed she deserted me.
     A voice of icicles murmured behind me.  I should not have been able to hear it what with the howling winds shrieking all about me.  But you always hear Death’s voice no matter your circumstances.
     “Eternity is a long time to brood over what you should not have done.”
     I turned around, the gale force winds threatening to blow me off the dirigible despite my resolve to stand my ground.  The storms in my life always had that effect on me.  Rind, the Angel of Death, was in an odd costume.
     Rind, the name she asked me to call her, was clothed in a black uniform that I had never seen before.  In a time when it was scandalous to show a bit of ankle, the skirt was just above the knee.  The tunic was tight with collars studded with silver bent-arm crosses. The tunic’s buttons were silver skulls.  On her right sleeve was a red band in whose center was a circle of white blazing with another black bent-arm cross.  I had seen that symbol in India.
     The Sanskrit word for it was svastika. It meant “Lucky.”  Rind had a dark sense of humor.  But then, again, she was the Angel of Death after all.  
It was downright chilling to see that the hurricane winds didn’t even muss a single strand of her long silver hair which matched the color of my own that was flying like a mane of a winged stallion.
     I spoke to her with the assurance that she would hear me.  Death might not grant your pleas, mind you.  But she heard them all the same.
     “Suicide is running from your mistakes.  A man cleans the mess he makes, Rind.  I aim to go to San Francisco a few years from now after Qing Long has a chance to cool down some.  I’ll clean up this mess then.”
     “And if you cannot?”
     I shrugged, “Then, I will try to learn from this mistake to become a better man and go on to ease the suffering this mistake has caused in any way I can.”
     “How Marcus Aurelius of you, Samuel.”
     “I’ll try to be a mite better and not get poisoned.”
     “That was not how he died.”
     “Well, being Death, you would know.”

Despite the name of my tour, would you consider buying my book?  It is but 99 cents, has a free short story at the end, and a Readers’ Discussion Section at the back for book clubs.

Write an honest review for it and get a free Neil Gaiman audio book!  How cool is that?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roland Yeomans was born in Detroit, Michigan.  But his last memories of that city are hub-caps and kneecaps since, at the age of seven, he followed the free food when his parents moved to Lafayette, Louisiana.  The hitch-hiking after their speeding car from state to state was a real adventure.  Once in Louisiana, Roland learned strange new ways of pronouncing David and Richard when they were last names.  And it was not a pleasant sight when he pronounced Comeaux for the first time.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Psychology.  He has been a teacher, counselor, book store owner, and even a pirate since he once worked at a tax preparation firm.

So far he has written thirty-four books.  You can find Roland at his web page: www.rolandyeomans.blogspot.com  or at his private table in Meilori’s.  The web page is safer to visit.  But if you insist on visiting Meilori’s, bring a friend who runs slower than you.



And there's Roland! Doing what Roland does best. Spinning wild and captivating tales. Don't buy this book. Buy all of them!


My Quote of the Week: "Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining." Anne Lamott

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bloodwalker by Lexa Cain: Just in Time for Halloween

Anyone who knows me knows, I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday of the year. So having L.X. Cain here this month with her new book is a real treat. I'm so looking forward to opening that cover and diving into the horror that the cover promises. 

Take it away, Lexa!

New Release!

BLOODWALKER by L.X. Cain



Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he's determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.

“YA horror novelist Cain (Soul Cutter) steps right up to the center ring in this captivating shocker of children disappearing after the circus comes to town.” ~ Publishers Weekly

BUY Bloodwalker




L.X. Cain was born in the U.S. but now lives on the Red Sea and busily taps away at a laptop, coming up with stories to thrill and entertain readers. 

Contact L.X. Cain




There's still time to write a bit of Halloween horror yourself on the WEP for October. That or something about Constellations. Sign up and Trick or Treat us with your prose! I'm feeling very smug because I've already done MINE







Quote of the Week: "Your whole life passes in front of your eyes before you die. This is called living." Terry Pratchett, author
 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Surprise WEP Entry

   
Source
 The Surprise


C. Lee McKenzie

I knew the meeting place was going to be creepy. I didn’t think it would be a moldy crypt guarded by avenging angels, swords drawn.
     The thick door grinds open when I press against it, and a musty air brushes over me and into the October twilight I’m about leave. When I step inside, the door seals behind me with a solid, dull thud. Then silence. I blink until my eyes adjust to the darkness. And there he is perched on stone just as I’d imagined, but smiling. Not as I’d imagined at all.
     “You’re late,” he says, yawning. 
     I wasn’t expecting the yawn anymore than I was expecting the smile. Not pretty. I choke and put my hand over my mouth. “Traffic,” I mumble.
     The silence that follows unsettles me more than I am already.          Then he says, “Shall we begin?” 
     Like I have a choice? I’d say this to him, but I know better. I read the contract. I signed it, but before I understood what this was really about. I was twenty, for chrissakes. I never thought this far ahead. And I still had years before I had to think more about the terms. 
     This early expiration was all Fred’s fault. No. In all honesty, it was mine. I’d let him become a friend and not just my chief communications officer. When the call came, I’d been at his desk chatting, and he didn’t pick up. That call was meant for him, not me, and he knew it. He’d held up his Reese's Pieces and mimed “Peanut butter fingers. Can you get that?”
     The minute I picked up the receiver, I knew I’d been had. Fred sprinted to the men’s room, and I was left holding the bag--technically, a phone made heavy by the voice and the message it delivered. 
     “Ah, Stephen. It’s you. I expected Fred. Fate has intervened. It’s time we met.” 
     I heard two things after that, the lonely sound of an old digital clock’s second hand and, “Six p.m. tomorrow.”
Photo by Pierre J.
     Now, at just a quarter past six the next day, that voice comes at me again, only up close and with smelly breath. 
     “How do you see all of this playing out?” he asks.
     Again, he’s put me off balance. I wasn’t ready to answer a question like that. 
     “Surely you’ve thought about it.” He adjusts his position only slightly, and I flinch. “Nerves are understandable.”
     When I don’t respond, he says, “Hmm. So you don’t know how you’d like this to happen? Too bad. With contracts like yours I usually give choices. In your case, I guess it will be a surprise.”
     My voice finally returns. “Can I ask when,”--I have to swallow--“to expect the . . . surprise?”
     He seems to consider my question while staring blankly at me. 
     My leg jiggles, an old tick from pre-game jitters. Then for a moment I’m twenty and in my bedroom surrounded with my college baseball trophies. And I’m remembering why I signed that paper. The major league contract. The no hitter games I pitched--one after the other. The baseball hall of fame, only six years after my last game. Baseball Commissioner.  All before I was forty. That’s what came with a stroke of my ballpoint.
     His voice snaps me back to the dank space. “If I told you when it’s going to happen, that would ruin everything. That’s part of a surprise. You know that.”
     “Do I get some kind of warning?”
     “You don’t want a warning. Warnings only make humans edgy.” He strokes his bony chin and the sleeve of the cloak slips back. 
     I don’t want to see under that cloak, but I can’t stop staring at his whiteness. A thin drizzle of cold sweat slides down my spine.
     He rises slowly, almost as if he’s tired. “Bye. Bye,” he says. “See you soon.”
     With a terminal thud, Death’s door swings closed behind him. And I’m alone. 
     Waiting.


    This is the best I can do. I'm totally "hopped" out, and I almost didn't join the WEP this month. However, common sense didn't prevail, so here it is--my stab at the macabre. I really need to leave this kind of topic to Lexa and Holli. They know macabre. 

No critique, please. This is as far as The Surprise will ever go into the world. No thanks necessary! 



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Are You Still Searching for Gary? Or the Answer to This Month's Question?

Alex J. Cavanaugh Ninja Powered

The awesome co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley!


What would life be without laughter and IWSG? Answer: Kind of boring and lonely. So we can't have that, can we? I propose we borrow the idea of Where's Waldo and have a game of Where's Gary. Then, when we actually find him, we can stop SEARCHING! So here's the map. All you have to do is pick Gary out of the crowd. Enjoy.



Don't forget to check out the guidelines for this year's 

Now about this month's question: When do you know when your story is ready?

There are two things that signal FINISHED. 
  • I like the story again. Like most writers, I have a real love-hate relationship with my books. First, they're the most brilliant things I've ever penned, then they stink. It's after this phase and the love returns that I know it's ready.   
  • My three crit partners give it the thumbs up. If they like it after reading it umpteen times, then my thermometer jumps to DONE! Of course, they could be telling it's a go to get rid of me, but I hope not.