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Friday Fiction: Frank

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Marshal’s Sidekick Setting: Dodge City Genre: Horror


Frank Reynolds, Marshal of Dodge City, died with an arrow to the eye. The same arrow pinned to my pillow where turning my head had brought it to my attention. I immediately rolled off the bed and hauled the rifle from under the bed onto my shoulder with the speed of a viper.

Nothing stirred.

Bella was not in bed and it churned my gut like butter. How had I not heard the intruder enter nor Bella leave? I rose quickly, assessing the wooden shaft lodged within the feathered padding. The arrow was adorned in intricate gold and emerald fletching from our Indian neighbours. I recognized the design like I would Ma’s face. I, Frank’s second-man, was the one who drew the bow after all.

A screech resounded from the front room. I dashed out to a feverish Isabella standing under the streaming sunlight cascading her shimmering, tilted silhouette. Her frock was in disarray, bonnet clutched to fluttering bosom as she gazed at the floor. Her bare feet stood in a viscous pool of yolk-hued liquid.

“Bella, what’s going on?”

“Frank?”

Her voice gurgled as though under water.

“Bella? It’s me, William.”

I stepped closer, avoiding the spillage. Iced pins prickled my chest. I fought the thrum rattling my bones – smoothed the aroused hairs along my nape with trembling hand.

“William?”

She began a slow swivel, golden rays refining her locks to dazzling white tresses. The first thing the glare revealed was the braided tongue-like cord, and the dangling pulped egg that was her eye.  My gut lurched with the stench wafting from the gaping abyss that was the rest of her cragged, hollowed face.

“He’s coming Will.” a greyed tongue languidly dripped yolk rivulets to the floor. The muck broiled, a single eye floating to the surface. Frank.

Inspiration – Recreation into Writing

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Recreation is an important part of my life. When you spend 8 hours a day writing as your job, and then get home and plug into your own personal writing (or articles as a freelance writer), the brain can burn out very quickly. So I try to invest some time into other fun activities to clear the mind. This involves reading, watching movies or series, playing on the Xbox or my 3DS, listening to music, making music, playing tennis or socializing with friends. You may have noticed that I never post on weekends, because those are my “tech free” days when I put my laptop away and spend the time doing other things. We all need a break.

Inspiration

I spent the last week reading and watching movies, barely touching any fictional writing. I got to finally watch the Assassins Creed movie (better than I thought!), finally got around to watching the original Ghost in the Shell anime movies (mind blown), and delved into three really grand books. Here’s the fascinating thing that happened while I was engaging my mind in something other than writing; I got inspired.

This wasn’t the “I need to write this amazing idea.” kind of inspiration. It wasn’t a feeling of intense desire to create. It wasn’t incorporating what I’d just seen and read and wanted to translate it into my own novel. No, this was far more profound. I was inspired to be true to myself.

You Are What You Write

Think of the stories you have written. Think of the books you read. There is a part of you that is drawn to those particular genres, a part of you that wants to create stories around that specific topic or train of thought or idea. It’s your idea formulating, brewing, churning and growing in your mind until you put it down in a (somewhat) coherent form.

I realised, in my quest to write mind blowing stories with amazing characters and fantastical worlds, that I was losing what was most important in my writing: me. I was so focused on pleasing everyone else, I forgot about pleasing me. Two weeks ago I wrote the article “Appealing to the Reader“, and I said the following about my need to write:

I want my stories to mean something to everyone.

And I saw the following statement as a negative thing:

I was writing for myself and hoping others would enjoy the story as much as I did.

I forgot that I am part of everyone. If my stories don’t mean anything to me, then how true can I be to them? It would explain why I ended up hating the stories I was writing because at the end of the day I was writing them for everyone else and not for me. I think that’s a major mistake.

Inspiration from Recreation

I remember thinking I was fit, you know, physically, because I played tennis although at that point I hadn’t played in months. A friend suggested I join this training thing at a Nature Reserve close to where I live. So Saturday morning I drove up to the place, kitted out and ready to exercise. I actually did fairly well but I couldn’t move my arms for two weeks afterwards. I’m not exaggerating. Anyway, one of the things we had to do was run I think 5km, and I was so focused on the path in front of me, I forgot to notice the beauty around me. It was only when I intentionally looked around to take in the rising hills, the spreading flora surviving the summer heat, the gnarled trees covered in dried moss, and the varying plants around me that I noticed the surrounding beauty. Then I thought “Now I know how to describe this type of environment in my future writing.” and filed them away in my brain.

Watching Assassin’s Creed and Ghost in the Shell inspired my story telling. Both these movies have fascinating storylines that play on this idea of self. Who we are. How we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Although completely different contexts (historical fiction VS cyberpunk) they both touch on different aspects of this idea.

I read an amazing book this week called Killing Gravity by author Corey J. White. It was fast paced, written well, and carried a particular mood through each setting. I was noticing the writer’s style, how the environment was described, how characters were portrayed, the world building aspects and a number of elements that made the novella work. Not surprising that Corey stated the following for his inspiration:

I can’t remember why I decided the main character would be a psychic space witch, but when it came to thinking about how Mars’ telekinetic abilities worked and the scale of destruction she could cause, I took inspiration from Akira.

More generally, I’ll take inspiration from anything and everything, including song titles, lyrics, books, comics, articles, and graffiti.

 Yesterday I wrote a 1000 word short story while listening to Gothic instrumental music from YouTube. My upcoming novella “Innocence” was inspired by an online prompt and drew elements from a number of horror books I read. Dying multiple times in Dark Souls almost spawned quite a gritty short story. Images on Deviant Art and artists I follow on Instagram inspire some of my stories.

My point is this: don’t take the things you do outside of writing for granted. Everything feeds into everything else. Pay attention to the world around you. More importantly, love what you write!


What inspires you when you’re writing? What has that inspiration led to?

Mystery Thriller Week: Book Review – LifeGames Corporation

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Title: LifeGames Corporation

Author: Michael Smorenburg

Genre: Thriller

Book procurement: Received from the author for an honest review, and also for Mystery Thriller Week.

Synopsis:

Da Vinci Code—meets Paranormal Activity—meets The Matrix.

Ad-agency boss Catherine Kaplan is a danger junkie. Bold and brave, she’s cornered the juiciest prize in the global arena, a LifeGames Corporation contract. But now it’s time to pay the price—a dare to cross the forbidden line. There’s a deal sweetener of course—give a little… and enjoy some intriguing secrets.

The first… Artificial Intelligence runs the LifeGames operation. Key to the success is an automated hypnosis sequence that suppresses each subject’s mind, convincing them that the immersive Virtual Reality crisis they’re about to experience is reality. The training technique has been fabulously profitable, allowing company founder Kenneth Torrington to indulge his every perverse fantasy.

Governments, militaries and business are so reliant on LifeGames that it is said to control mankind’s future. Yet, nobody has realized—a door has opened and a character of unfathomable capacity and unknown motives is looking back, pondering the next move.

Review:

First Thoughts

Michael and I have sort of a history after I reviewed his novel The S.K.A at Carnarvon – A Trojan Affair. It was a great novel that touched on the very personal topic of religion. So here I was, reading LifeGames with that backdrop, and to my shock and awe the story spins in a completely different direction. Well almost haha, there is still a couple of shots to religion but this isn’t about that. Also, a couple of things from the previous novel that had been of a minor annoyance were addressed in how LifeGames was written and all in all, made for a really great thriller. Michael Smorenburg is climbing up my list of favourite authors.

Story

Virtual Reality is an amazing technology. One which has been on the forefront of human development and hopeful expectancy – to be fully immersed in a different world that looks and feels real is something we all want to exprience. We see it in the anime Sword Art Online, .Hack/Sign, Log Horizon, in movies like Surrogates, Total Recall, Gamer, and of course current technology is getting closer with the Playstation VR, Occulus, Samsung Gear and others. What Michael Smorenburg wrote in LifeGames, and the virtual reality system built is just next level stuff.

We follow Kenneth Torrington, founder and CEO of LifeGames Corporation. He is a pig, a male chauvinist, a manipulative, self-entitled man who only has money and power at the forefront of his ambitions. He has built LifeGames from a number of shady dealings and has wrought immense success. The governments of the world use the Virtual Reality simulation to train individuals. Lawyers, Doctors, Military personnel, and all sorts of people in power are fully immersed in a simulation of real life events that is so realistic, it actually helps prepare them for their job roles. Years of training condescened into mere days or weeks. The technology is brilliant, but of course with great power comes great responsibility.

Catherine Kaplan is a PR who has landed LifeGames as her biggest client ever. She’s a strong woman, bold and daring, but unaware of the dark secrets behind LifeGames and the sweet-talking Ken Torrington. She’s unaware of how close she is to the fire until it’s too late and she’s psychologically, and spiritually, thrown into the deep end. Something sinister lies deep within the system. No one knows what (or whom), and the truth of it will send a chill up your spine.

It’s more than just a story about the repercussions of technology, but perhaps a delve into horror?

Writing

The writing is good. Slightly disjointed at times when switching between the different characters but otherwise it flows really well. A few shocking moments keep the story engaging. The characters are written amazingly well, with unique quirks of their own. I had an enjoyable time reading through the novel.

Final Thoughts

Okay so I wasn’t expecting that end. It seemed to be hinting at one thing, then knocking it out for something else, then twisting it to something else again, then a cliffhanger ending to wrap it all up. I was completely thrown.

As a side note, my previous discussions with author Michael Smorenburg allowed me to glean insights that perhaps someone else would have missed. For example, the heavy skepticism is continuously bashing against the very idea of the supernatural, and the concept of God and how religion is borne, is given logical reasoning while there’s quite a bit of decent Christian philosophy too. I found it quite interesting.

Rating: A solid 4 out of 5


Michael Smorenbug

Michael Smorenburg (b. 1964) grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. An entrepreneur with a passion for marketing, in 1995 Michael moved to California where he founded a business consultancy and online media and marketing engine. In 2003 he returned to South Africa where he launched then sold a security company. He now operates a property management company and writes full time.

Michael’s greatest love is for the ocean and the environment. His passion is science, understanding the cosmos, and communicating the urgent need for reason to prevail over superstition.

Website: MichaelSmorenburg.com

Goodreads: Michael Smorenburg

Twitter: @SmorieTheWriter

Amazon: Michael Smorenburg

Mystery Thriller Week: Author Interview with Barbara Venkataraman

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Mystery Thriller Week is an amazing initiative to recognize the Mystery and Thriller genres. A number of authors, bloggers, book reviewers and more have come together for book reviews, guest posts, articles, giveaways and more. Today I interview Barbara Venkataraman, author of the Jamie Quinn Mysteries.


NM: Hi Barbara, thank you once again for agreeing to this interview. So first things first, tell us little about yourself.

BV: Thanks for having me!  I wish I could tell you I live a life of adventure and excitement, of death-defying heroic acts, and mind-boggling feats of strength and agility, but, alas, I’m just a writer who lives in her imagination and likes to take a walk in the park and a swim in the summer, someone who loves to read, write and share a laugh with a friend–as well as a glass of wine!

NM: So how did you get into writing? What inspired and continues to inspire you to this day?

BV: My first published work was a poem about ducks that my second grade teacher enlarged and posted on the wall. I was so proud! I must have been since it’s my only memory of second grade. Since then, I’ve written short stories and poems but I was inspired to write a children’s book, starring my own children, when they were little and refused to stop playing video games.  In the book, they are sucked into their video game and have to solve riddles to escape. My inspiration is different these days. First, I love to write and find it more creatively stimulating that anything else and, second, my readers inspire me. They are so wonderful and encouraging. Knowing that they’re waiting for me to finish the next book spurs me on.

NM: So you’ve been writing for a long time then (haha). How long have you  been writing professionally for and what was your first foray into the world of writing?

BV: After I wrote “The Fight for Magicallus” (with the help of my children) I began writing humorous essays about my life experiences. I’m a big fan of Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry and love humorous writing. When I had written a number of essays, I compiled them into a book called “Quirky Essays for Quirky People” and self-published it on Kindle. I’m happy to report that it won the” Indie Book of the Day” award and has been well-received.

NM: That is fantastic. So what do you enjoy about writing, and what do you hate about it?

BV: I enjoy the creative process, the fact that ideas seem to come out of nowhere, the joy of bringing characters to life. I hate that I am so easily distracted and feel the need to look for a snack or a drink every 15 minutes, right after checking e-mail, Facebook, my blog, my ratings, and all the news of the day. I love when I start a book and I love when I finish it.

NM: I can relate to the first two parts of that (haha). Tell us about your Jamie Quinn Mysteries – as a different take on the whole Thriller genre. What challenges and joys did you experience through the process?

BV: My Jamie Quinn Mysteries are cozy mysteries, so there’s no sex or on-screen violence. Also, I’m a big proponent for gun safety and sensible gun laws, so none of my books include murder by gun. Turns out that getting clonked in the head with a didgeridoo is also hazardous to your health! Writing a mystery is very different than simply telling a story in that the author is creating a puzzle and leaving clues for the reader. Those clues must be strategically placed and can’t be too easy or too obscure. Then, there are also fake clues, a/k/a red herrings, to throw the reader off the trail. It’s tricky–like weaving a cloth with invisible thread. I love when I think of a particularly good clue and I like to imagine the reader’s reaction to it.

NM: I’m sensing that humour is a big part of your life and writing?

BV:  I wish humour were an even bigger part of my life. We all need a good laugh. Sometimes I make myself laugh when I write. I was working on my new Jamie Quinn mystery, “Jeopardy in July”, trying to write a serious scene where Jamie is having a crisis and I end up with a ridiculous typo that just “cracked” me up. I also invented a new article of clothing! Check it out. 😛

Being a drama queen was so much easier than I’d thought. All those years, I’d assumed my clients had to work at it. The recipe was simple–take one mundane life, turn it upside down, shake vigorously. But, unlike my client who had chained herself to the flagpole in front of the courthouse, or the one who had smashed her husband’s prize guitar in his workplace lobby, I wasn’t into performance art. I was more brooding, angsty. When my mother had succumbed to cancer four years earlier, I’d found myself in a rut and for six months had hardly left the house. Butt hat wasn’t me anymore. Since then, I’d been through so much and faked it so often that even I thought I had my act together.

NM: Ha! I love it. Now, Jamie Quinn is a family law attorney as you are too. Are you secretly Jamie Quinn?

BV: Shh, I am Jamie Quinn… just without the crimes to investigate. Or the sleazy P.I. And I don’t have a tree-hugging, nature-loving boyfriend named Kip, but I do have a husband with those qualities.

NM: Your next instalment in the series, Jeopardy in July, what can you share with us about it and are we going to see Jamie Quinn and P.I. Duke Broussard together again?

BV: Yes! Jamie needs Duke Broussard’s help in a number of ways in the next book. With my dad living in an assisted living facility these days, I decided that would make an interesting setting. Here is the blurb:

JEOPARDY IN JULY

 Old people were dying at an alarming rate at La Vida Boca, a posh assisted living facility in Boca Raton, Florida. With its sterling reputation, dedicated staff, and top-notch medical care, none of the deaths are considered suspicious, but when her friend Jessie’s great-uncle dies under strange circumstances, attorney Jamie Quinn finds herself once again embroiled in a mystery. With help from her BFF, Grace Anderson, and her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie uncovers a crime that took place forty years earlier. Can she stop the killer in time? Or is she in danger of becoming the next victim?

 

barbara

Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. She is the author of “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy, “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place,” a humorous short story and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of an ongoing series entitled “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.”

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo,” “The Case of the Killer Divorce,” “Peril in the Park,” and “Engaged in Danger”. Coming out in 2016, “Jeopardy in July”. All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.


Thank you to Barbara Venkataraman for this fun interview. To find out more about Barbara, and her not-so-secret identity as Jamie Quinn, check out links below:

Website: Barbar Venkataraman.blogpsot

Goodreads: Barbara Venkataraman | Jamie Quinn Collection on Goodreads

Mystery Thriller Week: Book Cover Reveal – The Reading Buddy

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Bryce Gibson writes Southern fiction that takes readers to charming and oftentimes sinister areas of The South. He has a degree in Media Arts from the University of South Carolina, works full time as a farmer, and lives in South Carolina with his wife and their dog. Bryce is the author of the Young Adult thriller Perennials and the Southern mystery Unclaimed Acre. His next book The Reading Buddy will be available in 2017.

Website: Bryce Gibson Writer.com

Amazon: amazon.com/author/Bryce Gibson

Facebook: facebook.comBryce-Gibson-Author

Twitter: @BGibsonWriter

Instagram: instagram.com/bgibsonwriter

Pinterest: pinterest.com/bgibsonwriter

Community Writing: Critique Thy Neighbour

writing-group

I’m part of a writer’s group. Several in fact,  although I’m far more active in the more social group than the others and that’s just because it’s more convenient for me. The great thing about writing groups is being able to share writing and let others give insight as to what you wrote. A lot of times we talk through ideas, explain what an official sending address looks like, what sites are perfect for getting people’s names, and occasional debates about Twilight, Fifty Shades, and other heated topics. *I may have played the devil’s advocate on a number of occasions.

However, most importantly, we encourage each other to write. This include adding short excerpts and asking for feedback, because as a writer, feedback is important. Rachel Poli wrote a blog post some time ago about exchanging stories with her sister Kris, and how they critique each others work. It’s a great idea… unless you’re facing the Critique Monster.

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The Writer who Reads

If you read a lot of books, and you’re a writer, there are a number of things that you pick up immediately when reading someone else’s work. Here are a few:

  • Style: This is the way the person writes. Their word choice. The structure of their sentences. Whether they are descriptive or informative, narrative or argumentative.
    • If I were to read someone else’s horror story, my mind automatically starts comparing it to other horror writers I’ve read or even worse, myself.
  • Tone: The attitude or perspective of the writing. Whether it’s informal, humourous, melancholic, cheerful and so on. It is linked to style, through the choice of words the author uses.
    • Young Adult fantasy novels tend to be more informal and almost light in tone, while adult fantasy novels are mostly dark and morose. Telling the same story with a different tone can change the experience dramatically.
  • Voice: This is how the author tells the story. It includes perspective (1st person etc) and carries a particular point of view by either the charactes or the narrator.
    • The story told from a child’s point of view will be different to a teenager or adult. When reading about a twelve year old yet they sound forty, that’s voice gone wrong.

Critiqued: It’s not your story

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I recently read a friends story. I struggled to read through it the first time. As I was reading I kept thinking, “This isn’t how I would have written it.” and when I was about to give feedback I remembered a very important fact; this wasn’t my story. These were not my character, my world, my voice or tone or style. This was somebody else’s work and I should therefore treat it as such. I read it again and read it for what it was. Then I read it again to pick up any inconsistencies.

This is one of the mistakes of critiquing. We want to conform the story to what we want it to be instead of appreciating it for what it is. Writing book reviews has made me aware of these idiosyncrasies to reading other writer’s, and if the story doesn’t suit my particular writing expectations, I lose perspective and judge it unfairly. It has made me wonder how many others have done the same to me, read my writing and thinking the same things, missing the point of the story to focus on the faults.

It is a difficult process and thankfully Rachel (you’re a star!) wrote great articles for Critiquing a Novel. You should check them out. As for me, it’s a working progress but you gotta love writing communities and I would implore you to join one, even if it’s online. It’s worth it.


Are you part of a writing group?

Wednesday Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures

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Title: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures

Author: Multiple authors – Edited by Sean Wallace

Genre: Steampunk

Book procurement: Bought the book at the now defunct Exclusive Books The Glen.

Synopsis:

Looking to the future through the lens of the past, here is a second fantastic collection of over 30 typically anarchic mash-ups that push the boundaries of steampunk from the same editor of the bestselling Mammoth Book of Steampunk.

Review:

First Thoughts

I picked this up while I was writing my first Steampunk novel, hoping to get a glimpse into his mysterious world of amazing steam and clockwork powered inventions, and alternate universes where electricity was obsolete. I was hoping for grandiose descriptions, compelling characters, incredible machines, fantastical worlds, and grungy, sooty Victorian-Era stories. What I got was a little bit of that, but mostly it was other genres set in a steampunk world where you don’t see much of the steam. It wasn’t the greatest anthology but it was just enough. Just.

Story

There were 30 stories in this anthology, and not all of them were great, which is why I’ve been reading this book for over a year now. Haha *looks away guiltily* Some of the stories I ate up like a good double bacon and egg burger, and other’s I chewed over like overcooked steak. Here were a few that stood out:

Tanglefoot – Cheri Priest

Harry and Marlowe and the Talisman of the Cult of Egil

Edison’s Frankenstein – Chris Robertson

Green Eyed Monsters in the Valley of Sky, An Opera

The Clockworks of Hanyang – Gord Sellar

I Stole the DC’s Eyeglass – Sofia Samatar

The Collier’s Venus – Caitlin R. Kiernan

Final Thoughts

Eh I wasn’t severely impressed. A few stories were tantalizing only to end abruptly, while other’s dragged on forever and they weren’t the most compelling. I got a sense of the Steampunk genre but not enough to fall in love with it as I had expected. I think I’ll have to read a proper novel next.

Rating: A meh 3 out of 5

The Vulture

February 14, 1847

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Squalid streets buzzed with soot stained faces,

Bedraggled coats pulled against winter paces.

Dim lampposts illuminate shadowed vagrants,

Unwashed skin, waste, stagnant water – the fragrance.

 

Dazzling amber light washes over lonely streets.

Many, this night, have succumbed to their sheets.

Sleek carriage clops smoothly towards a juncture,

Where I shall meet him. The Vulture.

 

Damsel in distress approaches in glistening carriage.

I wait in shadow so none see this unholy marriage.

At the juncture I dart into carriage quickly,

She cringes at my sight, I merely smile thickly.

 

The Vulture nauseates, not only from stench.

Scarred face hidden behind long dark trench.

Sinister grin of missing teeth is bared,

Within his presence I am truly snared.

 

The warmth of carriage thaws prickling fingers.

Freesia scent drifts about like Lolly’s singers,

Yet this is a woman of class, so I present a souvenir

It is packaged carelessly, slick and dripping yet sincere.

 

He pulls stained parcel, pungent stench whirls.

It stains his fingers scarlet like lips of call girls.

Crinkling paper reveals plump flesh.

He grins wider “It’s his heart, still fresh.”


Happy Valentines day from the dark side!

Monday Book Recommendation: Norse Mythology

norse-mythologyIntroducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.

Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.


Drew The Tattoed Book Geek reminded me of this book. I’ve been meaning to get it and everyone is raving about it. Sadly I don’t own the book yet but eventually I’ll go get it. Unless someone wants to be great friend and gift it to me haha!

Friday Fiction: Birth of a Villain

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Sarcastic Butler Setting: Skyscraper Genre: Memoir


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The staples in his abdomen had ripped out again, this time purposefully. Master “Gestirn” Goldstein barely flinched as he removed blood drenched, clear plastic bags from his bulging gut. The carpeted floor of the penthouse loft was covered in vital fluids. Schneider Skyscrapers were going to need a good clean-up crew. As a butler, I cringed.

“Pass me the tray.” He wheezed.

I of course obliged, manoeuvring past dead FBI agents strewn about the sparse room to the tray angled awkwardly in one man’s skull.

“Will you be serving me then, for once?”

Master Goldstein merely smiled, and watched amused as I struggled to remove the tray. It was difficult with all the blood. It was also lodged quite deep.

“I didn’t know you took drugs, Kristoff.”

“Only when you’re around, Sir. I may need some after this.”

“You’ll get used to it eventually.” Master Goldstein stood then, skin flapping over the spandex pants he wore – the only item of clothing on him. He had no intestines.

“Well yes, when you were a caped crusader for justice. Who are you now, Robbing Hood?”

He laughed as he casually removed the tray from the man’s skull. His laugh was a breathy, whistling sound from the constrictions in his body; an internal scar and his arch nemesis’ greatest achievement.

“I’ve found other ways to make a living now. A new body with a new function. I’ve been brought back to life.”

“Well that’s good for you Master Franken-Stein.”

Master Goldstein placed the bags on the tray, crushed powder in some, pills in others.

“Franken-Stein. I like it.” He swept a gnarled hand through what was left of his golden mane. The charred scars of his face made him look like the monster he was becoming – or perhaps, had already become.


I may have missed the memoir part. *laughs nervously

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