Fiction Friday Short Short – Eraser

clip art of a pink eraserThe Department of Defense has perfected a new weapon, code named Eraser.

Much like Facbook’s Block Option, the US Government can find and make individual people disappear. Going beyond the limits of Facebook’s Block, this weapon makes the person vanish from everywhere. Poof. Without a trace. No records.

What are you writing about?

Fiction Friday – Character Creation

The Woman in the Featured Image is real, her remains were discovered in Montana in 2004.  She is waiting for someone to give her a name.  More information is at NamUs.

This week on Fiction Friday I thought I’d revisit one of my favorite writing activities.
Female
Potential Main Character

Fiction Friday – Character Creation

One of my favorite places to visit in search of characters is

Fake Name Generator

Fake Name Generator.

I let the site choose a random gender, American name, located in the United States.

Brenda W. Brouwer

2726 Chapmans Lane
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Brenda Brouwer has the following information generated with her name and address.

Phone:505-857-6647

Email Address: BrendaWBrouwer@teleworm.us

This is a real email address. Click here to activate it! 

Username: Imosed1951

Password: oVee7zoo

Mother’s Maiden name: Kent

Birthday: September 7, 1951 (62 years old)

Visa: 4539 0701 9976 2571

Expires: 8/2019

CVV2 196

SSN:585-58-XXXX

You should click here to find out if your SSN is online.

 Favorite color: Purple

Occupation: Water transportation pilot

Company: Schweggmanns

Website: SouthExposed.com

Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Altima

UPS Tracking Number: 1Z 290 686 15 2191 987 3

Blood type: O+

Weight: 207.5 pounds (94.3 kilograms)

Height: 5′ 1″ (154 centimeters)

GUID: 67d5b588-0d2c-4b73-9c93-10ee8c2c9313

Geo coordinates: 35.147928, -106.553079

QR Code: Click to view the QR code for this identity

I’ve disabled some embedded links.  If you were going to do something illegal, there is an option to make the email live for a limited time.  I am sure you can imagine your own ideas for using the information generated on this site.  I am not recommending anything more serious than fleshing out a character to use in your WIPs. 

I also interview characters.  I give them homes, favorite rooms, closets filled with good things and skeletons if the story calls for them.  I do a timeline of life events.  When did her first tooth fall out?  Where was she?

Does she have health problems?  Is she caught up in someone else’s personality disorder?

What is the last thing this character would do?  Sure, I can make her do it.  Do I wan’t to?  We’ll see when we get there.

Thank you for visiting with me on Fiction Friday.  Please, leave a comment.

I’ll see you next week.  Don’t touch anything sharp.

If I Should Die & Milk Carton People available at your favorite e-tailer for your favorite e-reader.

Timetables of History – Driven to Distraction

Today, I am planning to do some character development.

No, I am not going to put myself in a situation where I’ll be forced to sleep on a chunk of cardboard.  I am developing a character, not building mine.  Whoever made up the idea that abuse and want builds character probably had some troubles and said it was building character as a form of self-comfort.  But, I’ll leave him alone and get on with my post.

Character Development was Wednesday’s topic. 

Between Wednesday and today I have talked the good talk, opened a word processing file, brought out some blank notebooks and journals and climbed a small pile of fallen books to get to the 3 I wanted.

The Art and Craft of Novel Writing by Oakley Hall was published in 1994.  This book looks at the basics of fiction as art and as craft.  This was the smelliest book among the three I took down.

John Gardener’s The Art of Fiction came out in 1983 but my copy came out in 1991.  Gardener’s book has a bigger vocabulary than Hall’s book but covers many of the same things.

The third book I took down is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg written in 1986.  I had to laugh as I flipped through this one because when she mentioned computers it was quite obvious she was not using a word processor.  “The computer automatically returns the carriage.  The device is called “wrap-around.”  You can rap nonstop.  You don’t have to worry about the typewriter ringing a little bell at the end of a line.”  At this point, she did not have a computer but imagined using a Mac keyboard in her lap.

At the beginning of this post I said I was planning to do some character development.  To be quite honest, I was going to do some character development Wednesday and yesterday.

Instead, I opened yWriter and took a few notes about a potential character.  Then I made some character study templates to work with on my Word program.  I got out my journals.  I have as many blank books as I have ink pens.

Yesterday, I took down the books I mentioned earlier.   I got one last heavy book out of the other room.  The Timetables of History by Bernard Grun.  This is my second copy, updated from the copy that is missing a cover.  Timetables comes in two varieties, American and World History.  I chose American.  It is a Horizontal Linkage of People and Events.

This books is chock full of ideas and answers.  It is arranged by year.  Let’s say one of my characters was born in 1981, what did her parents hear on the radio as they went to the hospital to give birth to their daughter?  They might have been listening to the news that Sandra Day O’ Connor became the Supreme Court’s first female judge.  Cats was all the rage in London and the Best Picture was Ordinary People.

Today, I am going to work on character development.  I’ve created a stack of distraction.  Now, it is time to push those books aside and really get to work.  My goal is to get 3 character sketches done.

I talk a big story, let see if I can show up with the goods.

Don’t touch anything sharp…

It’s that NaNo Time of Year

NaNo Time of Year

NaNoWriMo started in July 1999 with just 21 participants.  The goal is to get people writing.  NaNo’ers attempt to write 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1 and 30. This works out to be 1667 words each day.

It is early October and we have about an inch and a half of snow on the ground.  The sun is rising over the foothills later each day.  When this happens, my thoughts turn to November.  I’ll be dusting off my Lightbox and gathering a supply of candy and snacks.  Stocking up. 

Nano’ers can plan the novel they’d like to write during the month of October.  I begin by jotting down ideas as they arrive.  I could be at the yarn rack inside the mall or at home peeling a banana when the muse strikes.  It might dump a full blown plotline or the edges of a character sketch.  A building downtown or neighborhood tucked behind a strip mall might suddenly urge me to include it in a list of settings.  During this time of idea gathering it pays well to have a notebook and pen or voice recorder close at hand.  Yes, my family tries to look unattached to me when inspiration strikes.  I cannot walk and jot at the same time, so I have to stop, put my service dog, Havan, in a sit-stay, prop a cane against a shelf and rummage through my purse for the notebook.  Even though my family is trying to look like they don’t know me, they hoover.  Then I feel pressured to move along.

Every year on the First of NaNo I abandon my notes and send my ‘internal editor’ or ‘shoulder vulture’ off to a four star kennel run by the NaNoWriMo folks.

Even if I never use a single note about plot bunnies, character sketches and wild settings, I know my October composting is priming my word pump and November is going to be a blast. 

Find out more about NaNoWriMo at http://nanowrimo.org .

If I Should Die, a novel that began as a NaNo project is on sale this month at 50% off.  Use the code 31Halloween2013 at checkout.  If I Should Die and Milk Carton People are also available at Amazon, B & N, FictionWise, iTunes and other e-tailers in e-copy and paperback.  Email me if you’d like a personally autographed paperback of either title.  sally@sallyfranklinchristie.com or use the form below.

Don’t touch anything sharp!

I just removed the form because I had 5 spam emails that came on after the other… I am impressed by the speed of the bots that use my page.  

 

A Quick Round of Applause for Eternal Press Authors

I just want to give all of the Eternal Press Authors, Editors, Cover Artists and Kim Richards Gilchrist a round of applause for yesterday’s releases.  You all rock.

  • For the Love of His Life  by Fiona McGier   

  • A Beautiful Liar…Book One of the Maggie West Series by Leanna Harrow     

  • Lotris’ Blood: A Carpathian Blood Novella (book 2) by Michelle Hoefle

  • All of Me, a McRaidy Son  by Em Epe   

  • Future Past by Robin Winter   

  • Born to Trouble                  by Rob Mancebo   

  • Midland by Scott Alan Wade     

  • Deadly Sin (Cassandra Farbanks Series) by Sonnet O’Dell

  • Silent Blood (Sequel to Silent Madness) by Roberta Hoffer    

  • A Sharp Dressed Man by Lawrence Montgomery     

  • Thereafter (Afterlife #2)  by Terri Bruce   

  • Lokians Book 3 For War and Glory by Aaron Dennis    

  • Weather by Isobelle Winter   

  • Berlina’s Quest by James Hartley    

  • The Last Time by Elodie Parkes   

  • Fairest by Beth Bishop   

  • Halo of the Nephilim (sequel to Halo of the Damned) by Dina Rae   

Fiction Friday presents A Mad House

I am a mad house.

I have been around since the late 1800s. I came out of the tail end of the poor house era. The people I housed then are much the same as the people who live here now.

I get the children who have mental and physical issues too big to deal with in a regular home setting.

What is a family supposed to do when their disabled children age out of the school environment and grow to big to be safely physically managed? It seems cruel to call it management, but in many cases if the children had kept their small childlike bodies with their small child like minds it would have been an achievable goal to keep them at home.

That is simply not the way it happens when a brain damaged human grows to be a big healthy strapping man. It is just as difficult to have an adult sized person who cannot walk or communicate. In this double income unemployed era it just isn’t possible to provide the care these folks need in a home setting.

The families commit their children to my care as grudgingly as the same parents commit their elderly parents to the nursing homes.

Did you know nursing homes are the last vestiges of poor houses left as county run places? I am sure the nursing home will tell you this when he has his turn.

I do more than long term care for physically and mentally retarded people.

I have an intake wing for people who have become unstable, mostly in the late fall and winter months when depression wraps its icy fingers around the sun starved population.

Police send people through intake to be evaluated when they meet some check off requirement that indicates they may become harmful to themselves or others but most of the time these folks end up doing a weekend in jail. Hard cases of anti social folks fill the prisons and jails, too. There isn’t any coordinated way of deciding who goes where.

I can tell you that my lock down wing is as secure as any prison you would ever want to visit. Some people are never going to leave.

In the earliest days the place had its humanity that would flicker from time to time depending on the management and employees and for those locked up here those brief times were forever.

There was a time when many people believed a fellow could be shocked out of his delirium or funck.

They used insulin shock.

Later, the good old electric shock therapy. Every one knows what that was about. They still do EST but mostly to the rich folks who are addicted to attention mostly, they get treatments every eight weeks.

In the earlier days there were forms of torture. I think they were put in place to discourage people from coming here.

There were tubs downstairs filled with ice water, big claw footed things. The ice water was kept cold and the patient receiving the treatment would be submerged, sometimes wrapped in sheets like swaddling clothes and left to the cold. I suppose it was supposed to be an attitude adjustment.

No one can hold a person’s mind in their hand and judging it is crude. How do they know what is working?

They don’t really. It is mostly about control and management.

Sure things seem better now. The ice baths are gone. People are mostly medically controlled. Not chained by restraints but locked down as sure as the world by regular doses of medicine.

They will tell you the success is in being able to release these people back into the world. Or back into the prisons who are in reality the front lines of mental treatment these days.

So, after a while most of the people who would have been kept here were restrained by something small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. The new world of chemical restraints allowed a sweep of what the outside world referred to as deinstitutionalization.

Now a days people are taken in, looked over, evaluated physically and mentally. A social worker may drop by but only the more seriously mentally ill stay and that is a short stay between two and eight weeks while the meds kick in. If they don’t take their meds it isn’t long before they return. The revolving door patients.

With the reduction in patients and staff a lot of this mad house has been shut down. Walled off. So much goes un used. Dark. Unvisited.

Did you know that something like a ghost or mark is left behind in places experiencing high emotions? I have rooms that echo sadness. A deep sadness of the souls of the people who lingered here. It is like the feeling people claim about being able to cut the tension with a knife. That is why some people who come to work here on whatever level, cleaning crew, art project directors, teachers, social workers, doctors, dentists and shrinks come in here experience a real crisis of faith. More than one new or aspiring doctor has come here only to change his mind and go into something with a brighter future. Working here is like working in a cancer ward, except in a cancer ward the fear is real.

They still do a lot of talk therapy, group therapy and such behind these walls. Many patients are discovered to have addictions and are quickly pointed toward a rehab unit that works with their heart and soul and body. Rehab, especially in America is a trend that has gained acceptability. Everyone likes a good come back story. The things they bring in here cannot be fixed by simple withdrawal and rehabilitation.

It is still a stigma to be put in these places, in a mad house.

Some families actually commit their loved ones for what they perceive as misbehavior. More than one woman has been put here by her beloved husband in a great effort on his part to punish her and gain control. Women do it to their men folk, too. And if you want my opinion, when the woman goes back to the man who sent her here she deserves some kind of treatment.
__Mad House

Fiction Friday Presents the Boo Radley House

The children in the neighborhood called me the Boo Radley House.

Boo and his house were fictional. Located in a small black and white town. A house in a movie based on Harper Lee’s novel entitled To Kill a Mockingbird. Boo was a battered mentally ill fellow who never came out of his house. Something to do with scissors. Boo was a very pale character.

Me, I’m just a beat up farmhouse that was absorbed by the town as it grew toward me. I was engulfed an amoeba of town houses.

I really didn’t have to do much to earn a reputation. I am like the lanky kid in school. The other houses around me seem to go together I look like a tooth. I feel like a sore thumb.

The kids like to be creeped out. I’m doing them a favor. They don’t need to know anything more than made up gore ever happened here. But it did. It is just that no one knows about it.

The idea of burying people in the basement did not come from the mind of a screen writer. It was happening long before someone thought it up and it will go on until human kind breathes its last.

I have four bodies down here. Interred one at a time. Who would want to tumble more than one body to a grave? Seems fitting that if they were born differently they should be buried in their own graves.

It all started out quite by accident. The old woman who lived here a long time ago died in bed. Not so bad, she wasn’t starved to death. She was nursed to death. The wife of the farmer started out being sincerely concerned and wanted to help.

The old woman couldn’t get herself out of the bed to go to the bathroom and took to yelling the most obscene things at people. Unnatural sex things that no one spoke out loud those days and these days they certainly wouldn’t share such things with family members.

The old woman had something wrong, it stole her shut up, her think it don’t say it control. She became more and more abusive. Toward the end, no one came near the room, not her son the farmer, not the kids or grand kids.

The farmer’s wife came in one morning and stuffed a pillow into her face and held it tight for more than an hour after the last stirring of the old bat. Her arms ached and her shoulders and back hurt from the effort.

The farmer came in that evening and didn’t ask after his mother. Then his wife decided it would mess up a perfectly good dinner to break such news, so she waited.

It took two days for the farmer to ask about the old woman and by then in high summer it was obvious she had been there more than a day.

He knew what horrors his wife had put up with and wanted to spare her the questions of the undertaker. He also had no money in reserve for the old woman’s burial.

He dug a hole in the cellar and he and his wife laid her to rest there. Mixed in some lime and covered her over. He did put her in deep. Really deep.

Deep enough that when the next owner moved in and buried his wife and kid down there, he never once suspected or even came near unearthing the old mother-in-law.

People pretty much see what they want and no one asked much about the man’s wife and daughter. Their departure didn’t raise an eyebrow. The fellow used up the rest of the lime that was down there left over from the previous owners.

It was six months later when a teen-aged girl went missing that the final body was dragged thump, thump, down the steps and this girl went unknowingly a few feet above the old mother-in-law.

The guy still lives here. He is terribly sick these days, can’t catch his breath. He is a quiet man, keeps to himself.

The kids, teens in the neighborhood quicken their step as they walk past me.

The old guy was outside yesterday, sweeping his porch. He got winded and went back inside. The man is pale, he doesn’t get out at all these days. Everyone in the neighborhood has joked about him at one time or another. They say he might be a serial killer. They kid each other about him being a quiet guy who keeps to himself.

Someday the old fellow is going to drop dead in here. When he starts to raise a stink I suppose someone will come clean up and resell the place. I really doubt anyone is going to go down to the cellar and actually dig up the dirt floor. It is just dirt. They will probably close that part off altogether. Who needs a cellar these days?

Yes, the kids call me the Boo Radley House. There is even a huge trunked tree out front causing a heave in the sidewalk out there. I suppose some well read kid will place some trinket in the trunk of the tree someday. But I really don’t think anyone will know the true horror that happened here.
__Boo Radley House

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes C. Hope Clark

Hope is at a BookSigning!

Welcome Hope!  

Hope has had an online presence as far back as I can remember.  She is famous for Funds For Writers.  I remember seeing a lot of her work during my short stent at Women on Writing.  Hope also magically appears in The Writer’s Chatroom on a quarterly basis.  

For all of us who have followed Hope on her writing Journey, we feel like her success is our success!  

 

Go Hope!

 

C. Hope Clark

Author
The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, Bell Bridge Books
Lowcountry Bribe, Feb 2012
Tidewater Murder, early 2013
www.chopeclark.com

-and-

Editor, FundsforWriters, www.fundsforwriters.com
Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers, 2001-2012

 

Writer’s website and buy link… ( www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com / http://www.amazon.com/Lowcountry-Bribe-C-Hope-Clark/dp/1611940907 – although all buy links to BAM, B&N, Amazon, and the publisher are at www.chopeclark.com

Bio – . Hope Clark was born and reared in the South, from Mississippi to South Carolina with a few stints in Alabama and Georgia. The granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, Hope holds a B.S. in Agriculture with honors from Clemson University and 25 years’ experience with the U. S. Department of Agriculture to include awards for her management, all of which enable her to talk the talk of Carolina Slade, the protagonist in most of her novels. Lowcountry Bribe‘s manuscript placed in several competitions to include third place in 2009 Alabama Writer’s Conclave Competition, honorable mention in The Writing Show Chapter Competition 2009 as judged by bestselling mystery author C. J. Box, finalist status in the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense sponsored by Romance Writers of America and semi-finalist status (top 100 out of 10,000) in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. In August 2012, Lowcountry Bribe won The Silver Falchion Award at Killer Nashville Conference for mystery writers.
Hope is married to a 30-year veteran of federal law enforcement, a Senior Special Agent, now a contract investigator. They met on a bribery investigation within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the basis for the opening scene to Lowcountry Bribe. Hope also manages FundsforWriters.com, a weekly newsletter service that reaches almost 40,000 writers to include university professors, professional journalists and published mystery authors. Writer’s Digest has recognized the site in its annual 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for a dozen years.

She freelances for trade publications, speaks at several writers’ conferences a year, and is a member of Sisters in Crime, EPIC, Mystery Writers of America, and MENSA. She is published by Bell Bridge Books.

Lowcountry Bribe by C. Hope Clark

Blurb – Carolina Slade’s a simple government employee offered a bribe by a two-bit hog farmer. She follows the rules, tells the authorities, then all hell breaks loose because she did. She could lose her job and her kids unless she breaks all the rules to solve a crime that’s nobody believes exists.
-or-
Threats, a missing boss, a very dead co-worker, a high-level investigation and a sinister hog farmer: Ag Department manager Carolina Slade is a bean-counting civil servant in hot water. She could lose her job and her kids unless she breaks all the rules to solve a crime nobody believes exists.

Excerpt(s) –

THE OPENING – O-positive primer wasn’t quite the color I had in mind for the small office, but Lucas Sherwood hadn’t given the decor a second thought when he blew out the left side of his head with a .45.

As the office manager, I identified Lucas’ body for the cops, and gave the poor man a quick moment of silence with thoughts to a higher power that he be let through the pearly gates. He died in a place he didn’t like, doing work he wasn’t very good at, having no place else to go. No mother gives birth thinking her child will end up like this. Reading the unexpected note scrawled across his desk pad, gripped me. “Sorry, Slade.” Apologizing for what, I didn’t know.

Damn it, Lucas. What were you thinking?

Lucas Sherwood was death number two. A year ago, almost to the day, my easygoing boss Mickey Wilder drove to one of the islands and never returned. I immediately stepped into Mickey’s job but sensed he continued to peer over my shoulder, my perpetual mentor. His leadership spirit still hovered in the office. The cops labeled his disappearance a probable suicide based on a string of personal factors I wasn’t privy to. The police moved on. We remained behind, shaken in our foundation of Mickey thanks to the whispers and innuendo.

THE BRIBE

Jesse drew me by my stretched sleeve to the truck bed, my face barely a foot from the nearest body. “There’s ten thousand dollars in it for you,” he whispered, draping his arm around my shoulders. “If you find a way to get me the Williams farm. We can iron out the details later . . . in private.” He winked and clicked his tongue. “If you know what I mean.”

Panic coursed through me at the altered state. Like hearing that your churchgoing mother liked bourbon straight and sex on top.

He’d offered me a bribe.

THE PROTAGONIST

My signature line read Carolina Slade Bridges, County Manager, United States Department of Agriculture. I made government loans on behalf of the American taxpayer to the rural residents of Charleston County, South Carolina. Problem was, I spent more time trying to get the money back. Poverty made repayment difficult. My job made for stories the average urban dweller would never comprehend.

Charleston County contains the stylish historic city, which everyone associates with culture, Southern charm, and plantation blue bloods living in antebellum splendor overlooking The Battery. No one envisions small-time farmers scrambling to make a living on Rhett Butler’s stomping ground, but the string of islands along the coastline offered them a reasonable subsistence with the support of federal monies. I admired their pride and tried to ignore their plight, so I could sleep at night.

Slade was my maiden name going back to my great grandmother from Mississippi. Only my Momma and Daddy called me Carolina and nobody who knew me used my married name, Bridges. I loved my heritage, but I didn’t love my husband. Slade was the best title for all concerned.

AN EXCERPT (MEETING THE AGENT)

The IG’s investigator gave me a hard look. “Tell me what Jesse said, Ms. Slade.”

“He said he’d give me ten thousand dollars if I found a way to get him the Williams farm.”

“Did he ask you in those exact words?”

“He didn’t say that precisely, but that’s what he meant.”

“Then let’s start over and you tell me exactly what he said, not what you think he meant.” His pen hand moved furiously across the pad, spreading too much blue ink.

“Don’t toss innuendos at me, Largo. You ought to be glad I’m honest and called the authorities, not dirty enough to take Jesse up on his offer.”

His steel blue eyes held me fast. He leaned back and rolled the pen between his fingers. “Why does he farm if he doesn’t make any money at it? Why do you let him keep farming then?”

My eyes narrowed. “I don’t dictate those half-baked procedures Congress pulls out of the air. I just follow the rules. Farming is damn hard work with ridiculously small rewards. The press eats my agency alive every time there’s a drought, a flood, a freeze or some freak heat wave. We don’t help the farmer enough, or we pour too much money into losing enterprises. I make agricultural loans for a living, and I’m good at it. I follow all the rules to do it.”

He shoved the notepad in his briefcase and stood. Dang, I should’ve mouthed off earlier.

“Tomorrow morning I’ll be at your office around ten with a colleague, Ms. Slade. Tell your staff we’re auditors. After all the agents who snooped around here last year on your boss’s disappearance and Lucas Sherwood’s death last week, a few auditors should mean nothing to them. The less they know the better.”

I saw him to the door. He reversed the car in the driveway and drove off. Overall, I suspected I’d done pretty well chatting with someone who put people in jail for a living, but I didn’t know for sure. And he’d left me with no clue what to expect for tomorrow. Amazing how a farmer’s whims of bribery garnered such quick attention from the IG.

There was a lot more to this than I was being told.

Interview

1. In three days, all power will go off, everywhere for a very long time. What will you include in your author survival kit?

This post is coming out on the heels of SuperStorm Sandy and power outages are very real for our East Coast American readers.

A pack of Zebra fine-tip black ink pens. Tons of spiral notebooks. Thesaurus. A mystery from each of Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich. A Pat Conroy book, probably Prince of Tides. A way to make sweet tea, probably sun tea since there’s no power. That’s it. Everything else is superfluous. It still only takes a pad and ink to make stories happen, and I can do that a long time. I MIGHT take a manual typewriter, because I love thinking while I type and I’m a much faster typist than writer.

2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?

Real life. Most writers’ first publication stems from something in real life. I was offered a bribe from a client when I was a manager with the Department of Agriculture. The ordeal was rough and NOT fun. My guest post at Friend for the Ride touched upon that part of my life. http://friendfortheride.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/guest-post-3/ . But I didn’t experience suicide and murder, so I took the premise and had a ball embellishing it. Regardless, the adversity and doubt was very real for both Carolina Slade and me. The next two books in the series are pure fabrication, but with such realistic characters, the plotting was remarkably fun.

3. What do you like to read?

Mystery, Southern fiction. I go through at least one a week. I occasionally read/skim how-to books, but they have to be superb because I love my life, and I love to tackle challenges to make it better. I’ve almost quit reading how-to-write books because I’ve read so many and they become repetitive.

4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?

The desert around Phoenix, Arizona where we lived for three years 2003-2005. It was a culture shock from South Carolina but I learned to love it, particularly the desert part outside the city. The beauty is phenomenal, and I love revisiting AZ, NV and NM at least annually. I feel like I must have lived there in another life.

Also, the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany and Mont Sainte Michel in Normandy, France. I visited both of these on the same trip. When you come from the US, with such a miniscule, naive history, walking in places like this dating back centuries before the US was a thought, just steals your breath. I could just stand there and close my eyes, letting history speak to me. Just amazing.

5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself?

I hate housework and love being outdoors. My yard will be neat while dust rolls across my floors. The sunshine and trees, the lake and garden, the song birds and my chickens, serve to keep me motivated and richly alive. When I’m down, doubting myself, or frustrated, I go outside and weed, edge, prune or clean chicken coops. My study window faces across my backyard to the lake so every few moments I can glance outside and take it all in, energizing me. I clean the house when someone comes to visit. Otherwise, it’s not a thought.

6. What scares you the most?

Losing my husband. He’s my mainstay and keeps me grounded.
Second? Dark water. I have a phobia about the ocean, lakes, ponds . . . anyplace with dark water. I’ll sit on the bank, beach or maybe the boat, but don’t ask me to get in it. I’m a great swimmer, but if my boat capsized I’d have a heart attack.

7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated.

I’m probably one of the few who enjoys January. It means the holidays are over, and that’s a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m not a big fan of the flamboyance of holidays. I prefer the everyday life with the exception of birthdays, at which time that person ought to feel special. But regular holidays have become too commercialized for my taste. I love simplicity in my life. Actually will fight for it, making sure I’m not over obligated or over extended. When it comes to being The Shy Writer, I’m it, personified, textbook, to the letter, a fighter of reclusivity and seclusion.

Keywords:

Lowcountry Bribe, C. Hope Clark, mystery, Southern, fiction, Bell Bridge Books, crime, South Carolina, Carolina, Slade, country, agriculture, bribe, Charleston, Edisto, farmer, romantic suspense, FundsforWriters

C. Hope Clark

Author
The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, Bell Bridge Books
Lowcountry Bribe, Feb 2012
Tidewater Murder, early 2013
www.chopeclark.com
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Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Tony Thorne MBE

Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Tony Thorne MBE.  

 

Bio – Tony Thorne MBE, a Chartered Design Engineer, built up a research and development company in Kent, England, specialising in 30000C graphite furnaces, liquefied helium gas pipelines, nuclear protection equipment and low temperature surgery instrumentation. The latter and its worldwide commercial success led to him being awarded the MBE by the Queen.

Now retired, he writes science fiction and macabre tales and has published over ten collections of short stories, including the award winning TENERIFE TALL TALES trilogy, ROBOTS INCLUDED, MACABRE TALES and TALL SF TALES FOR TEENAGERS, all now available as eBooks and paperbacks from AMAZON, B&N etc. His first novel, POINTS OF VIEW will be published later this year by ETERNAL PRESS.

Tony Thorne MBE

Blurb/Review –“ If you stop to think about everyday things happening in your life, and then turn a speculative. scientific, but definitely weird glare on that activity, you would begin to understand the type of stories written by Thorne. For instance, one tale describes how a man one day finds his wife frozen in place by fright, holding a knife, standing near their washing machine. The man had already been frightened by a strange creature on the way home, so he wondered if another was in the machine…After all, something was causing the glow and the strange wailing from inside his washer… I loved the ending of this one!

Consider the cell phone… Do you carry yours everywhere you go? Might you even take it to the grave with you? After all, you might want to, say, call your spouse and share a little…

Have you heard about nanotechnology? It is the future for medical surgical procedures according to some individuals… Thorne poses the question: What if nanophytes decide to take up residence in…your head?

A futuristic thought–individuals may become trained to work at Euthanasia, Inc. You’d probably never be out of work, right? Don’t count on it…

I found Tony Thorne more droll than truly gruesome. His concepts are clever, his writing sharp and quickly to the point and he closes with a quiet flourish. He delves into personal areas, our daily lives and asks you to consider the alternatives that are conceivably possible, if only…! Highly recommended for a true exploration of the macabre.” – GABixlerReviews

Writer’s website

Buy link…

Excerpt – From SHAPE SHIFTER, MACABRE TALES

Sometime later, it must have been well after midnight, something disturbed me. Raising myself up slightly, from the bed, I could see through the door into the other room. The moon was shining through the main window in the living room and I could clearly see my desk, which looked the same as usual. Then I realised that the idol was not where I was sure I had left it, certainly not now on the desk. I sat upright with a start and looked around the bedroom. Everything looked normal, until I glanced sideways and saw what I’d dreaded to see. There it was, propped close against my pillow, leaning forward slightly and grinning directly at me, with its arms folded. It didn’t move, but I certainly did.

I leapt out of bed on the other side and switched on the twin bedside lamps. The idol’s eyes lit up and for several long moments we just stared at each other. Then I moistened my lips nervously and croaked, “What do you want with me?” The idol seemed to grin even wider. Then, to my horror, it slowly unfolded its right arm and raised it to point directly at me. Totally unnerved, I collapsed into my bedside chair with my heart pounding. I stayed there for quite some time, my eyes fixed on the idol, which still had its arm raised, pointing towards me.

I got up slowly and tiptoed around the bed. Thankfully, the idol stayed exactly where it was, still pointing in the direction of the chair. I came around the other side of the bed and approached the little figure cautiously, and then I reached out and picked it up. It seemed to squirm in my hand, but I didn’t drop it. Then before my eyes, as I held it, it changed. I was astonished to find myself holding a clay replica of an occupied bedroom chair. I held it closer to the bedside table lamp and examined it. The figure sitting on the chair was clearly meant to be me. I took it into the living room and switched on the bright ceiling lights. The detail of the model was remarkable, from the wickerwork of the chair to the effigy of me sitting on it. I closed my eyes and felt the object all over. I soon decided I couldn’t be hallucinating. I could actually feel its shape, both the chair and the tiny figure of me in it. Or was my brain simply just interpreting the sensations in my fingers in such a way as to make me believe that? I opened my eyes again as I sensed the onset of a painful headache.

Dropping the object back on my desk I suddenly became very scared, what could the thing have done to me? There was a mirror by the door and, in what must have been a mindless panic, I rushed over to it dreading what I might see…

Interview

1. In three days, all power will go off, everywhere for a very long time. What will you include in your author survival kit?

A solar powered generator, and a big battery to go with it…plus my laptop of course.

2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?

Some of the tales in the collection I woke with, almost complete … others I just began and then let them grow by themselves…!

3. What do you like to read?

Science Fiction mostly… and the latest science news.

4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?

That has to be Singapore… twice. The atmosphere, the weather the people… I was fortunate to be there.

5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself?

I get the breakfast and do the washing up… most mornings.

6. What scares you the most?

The world situation… I suspect our grandchildren will be in for a rough and tricky time.

I think my grandparents had the same thought about my parents who thought that for us… It is difficult to watch this crazy world and not be able to do much about it….

7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated.

I’ve had a very full and interesting life and still do … I traveled the world, flew around it twice, visited America many times, once back to England via Concorde, patented several inventions, created a successful R&D company specialising in Applied Physics products, had a medal pinned on me by the Queen, set up the European Group of an American company specialising in Medical products. I set up a computer training school, pioneered intelligent software and animated graphics set to music, ran a military radio station in the 40’s with the British Army, sailed my own boat single handed from Finland to England, presented technical papers at conferences in various countries, had my first stories, and some poetry, published in the 50’s, and have published over 100 short speculative stories and a novel since retiring(!) at 75.

Writer’s website

Buy link…

Keywords:

Tony Thorne MBE, author, SciFi, macabre, speculative, fiction, Whortleberry Press, Books To Go Now, Eternal Press, Etcetera Press, FeedaRead, Amazon, Kindle, Createspace, Smashwords.

Thanks Mr. T. for letting me put you up on my blog! 

All Writerly Wednesday posts are at http://writerlywednesday.com .

House of Cards – Fiction Friday

Oh, wow, that Haunted House sure was long winded. I wasn’t so sure I’d be here for the end.

I should have been allowed to go first. After all I am the one most likely to go up in smoke, oh, wait, the smoke house hasn’t gone, yet. Sorry dude.

I am a house of cards. My deck is an actual deck. I am made of the regular fifty two cards plus the jokers in a regular bicycle card deck.

I’ve been built and rebuilt several times.

The kid who puts me together is a bit of a loner. You almost have to keep to yourself if you hobby in building a house of cards.

A draft takes me down, a misplaced or jiggled card placed wrong, takes me down most often.

The kid has patience. I am not sure what kind of paying job he will end up doing but he has a steady hand.

He could work at repairing circuit boards but these days anyone can do that. Maybe he can work in a lab inserting the ingredients of a zygote.

Whatever he does I know he will have just the right touch.

One day a cat leapt up and knocked me down.

Another day he opened the window to a good stiff wind.

An earthquake of all things happened to me.

He has built me back up so many times the slick has worn off of my faces.

That is it, forgive my rush, but I know my time is limited. Who was next?

Really you want more, well, as long as I can keep myself together…

I have the usual components of black and red cards, diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades.

He has never played even a game of solitaire with me. The kid probably won’t become a gambler. Rummy, war, spades, hearts, poker, 21, nope. He just builds and builds to see how broad and how high he can get. To see how many cards he uses before I come falling apart.

A house of cards is insubstantial. A house of cards has absolutely no integrity. A house of cards is a fleeting thing.

Thank you all for listening I think I feel a draft, so everyone, give a ‘hand’ to the Smoke House, I think I woke him up.

House of Cards

__ All of the Fiction Friday Posts are available at http://fiction-friday.com 

Don’t touch anything sharp!