Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Is It!

The last post of 2014 happens in the last half hour of the year.

I've decided to shut down Flowers of Mundelein.  I'll leave the blog up, but I won't be posting there anymore.  I can't keep up with multiple blogs.

I've been spending the last three months trying to ratchet up my Greek studies in an attempt to become conversational in three months.  I've failed, but I'm renewing my efforts in 2015.  I'll go into my goals for the new year in the new year.

I will post any thoughts and efforts here in this blog.  I still want to keep it professional and about my writing, but I'm also going to share goals, highlights and my thoughts.  I find this the best way to share and to organize original fiction and long form essays.

I owe you all the rest of the chapters of "Hate to Say I Told You So."  I do have them outlined, but not written.  If I can get in at least an hour of studying Greek and some other requirements and still have some time I will finish the story.

On the other hand I just may leave that up to the readers.  Maybe I should put up a poll to see how many want me to continue.  I think I need at least 10 people to want me to finish.

So here's the deal.  If I get 10 likes and/or Google+ pluses and/or comments on this post I will continue and finish "Hate to Say I Told You So."  

If there isn't even that much interest I will stop.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 7

Part 7:  Follow the Lollypop Guild

"Where are we?"  Abby asked while lying on her back in the middle of a green field of grass beneath a bright blue and white sky.  She was still dizzy from the transport and the kaleidoscopic colors still danced at the corners of her eyes.  Her ears still rang with, "miles and miles..."

"Shh,"Troy Green, Associate Professor of Ethnology and Comparative Religions scolded his buxom companion, Abby Bancroft, Krav Maga instructor, "We might be on the ramparts of the Wizardess' fortress."

Dartegnan Pneumann, father of abducted daughter, Susan,  managed to stick his head up.  With his long neck he managed to barely glimpse over the tops of the grass and saw an adorably quaint village to his right, "Do you think her fortress is in that village?"

"What?"  Troy sat up and immediately wished he hadn't.  "That's the last time I pick a song spell from the 60's" he moaned and flopped back down.

"Troy," Abby said with some urgency.

"No, leave me be a moment.  My head is spinning, but the kids will be alright."

"Troy," there was even more urgency and Dart had joined in.

"No."  Troy said emphatically and managed to slur the short word, "I need rest.  The Wizardess' fortress is in fact a castle, which is, as I saw from my very quick, but thorough, long distance recon, all the way over there."  He waved over his head in the opposite direction from the village.

"Troy, the village is - "

"Of no concern to us.  Our goal is the castle, though I admit I expected it to be much closer."  He propped himself up on his elbows, but let his head hang down to look backwards as the castle.  "Much closer and less pink."

"Troy!"  Both Dart and Abby yelled.

"Troy?  Troy Green?"  A small, high, wizened voice crackled.

"Where?"  Troy sat up.  "Who else has my name?"

"Who else indeed?"

The trio all sat up and looked around themselves.  They were surrounded by small people, each carrying a drum or flute.  They looked ready to use them.

The musically armed posse were each brightly dressed in shades of a single color, but none exactly like another.  One particular drummer seemed better fed and perhaps more muscular than the others.  He wore a star on his blue jacket.  The woman beside him carried a pan flute and wore a red sash over the red jacket of a reddish suit.  Beside her was another woman, taller, thinner, younger, with wild blond hair all dressed in yellow.  She alone had a national guitar.

It was from behind these three that at elderly voice came, fragile yet playful.  It laughed.

"Who are you and why did you come here?"  The man in blue demanded.

"Troy Green, I told you," the still invisible voice said.

Troy got to his feet slowly and cautiously, more because that was the only way he could move than from a fear of the villagers.  He looked around the field they stood in, "This is public land, isn't it?"

The woman in red puffed her chest and looked sternly.  The woman in yellow arranged herself like she was about to do a Pete Townsend windmill and lay some serious power chords on them.  The man in blue looked irritated and hooked his thumbs in his belt, "Listen here.  I'm Sherriff Rufus and this is Mayor Sallee and Wizardess Areelee.  Although you are on public land we reserve the right to question any transdimensional travelers within a five mile range of our village.  Who are you and why are you here?"

"Troy Green!"  The invisible voice shrieked.

"Sherriff Rufus, I am indeed Troy Green, and my companions are the lovely Abby and the dashing Dart."

"Why are you here?"

"Let me ask you a question, if it has nothing to do with your village then why do you care?  Why the armed band, what has you so concerned?"

"Do you know where you are?"  Rufus asked.

"Some land primarily administered by the Brixies, I imagine a valley tucked away somewhere.  It's delightful by the way."

The mayor smiled and said, "Thank you," before she regained her composure and returned to her stern gaze.

"Is that the way it works?"  Dart asked.

"Primarily," Troy turned to speak to Dart.  He wobbled quite a bit when he did and the group surrounding them all raised their instruments to the ready.  "Sorry," Troy said to them, "I was just going to explain to my companion that most Brixies prefer to keep to themselves in far off corners of the world, either that of hidden parts of cities.  Did you ever notice how most buildings don't have a thirteenth floor?  Or do they?"

"This is not a valley, or even Earth."  Wizardess Areelee said, he voice was surprisingly beautiful and musical despite her look which conjured up images of a screaming banshee.

The old voice finally broke through the three officials and he brought a face with him.  An ancient looking Brixie poked his mostly bald head between the hips of Mayor Salee and Wizardess Areelee, "It's a pocket universe, created by the Witch," the old man pointed a crooked finger toward the castle, "Hello Troy, my boy.  Good to see you again."

"Bukus, my dear old friend!"  Troy scrambled over and got on his knees to hug the old Brixie.  "How did you get here?   I thought you were living in Patagonia like a king."

"I was, but the village here needed help so I followed them here, though they don't appreciate my help."  He shot a sneer at the Brixies around him.

"We don't need another Wizard," Areelee said.

"It's not like you've been any help anyway.  We're still here," Mayor Salee said.

"Where is here, what is here, what's a pocket universe and why are you in it?"

"A while back the Witch created this pocket universe as her own personal domain."

"Or discovered it," Areelee said.

"The Wizardess has her own theories, which may very well be valid.  Regardless of the universe's origin, the Witch has made it her headquarters and fortress.  She ripped a chunk out of Earth to make it more habitable and stole this village to help keep the land."

"To be her slaves," The mayor said.

"More like serfs," Bukus said.

"But why?"  Abby asked.

"We think she's in league with the Guns of Brixton."

"Isn't she human?  What do the Guns want from a human witch?"

"She has a very powerful army -"

"See!"  Dart said, "She she's probably kidnapped Susan to try to get the Hammer of the Gods.  I'll be she doesn't even want you."

Troy shrugged, "Some women do."

"There's another thing, "Sherriff Rufus said, "She has a fleet of flying monkeys."

"Of course she does," Abby said.

"Flying monkeys?"  Dart asked.

"Yes," Bukus said, "Just like those." He pointed to the group flying in tight formation from the castle.

"That looks bad," Troy said.

"It is," Rufus said, "Run!"   

As they were running the villagers played their instruments haphazardly.  It was more cacophony than music and had little effect.  Before they made it to the village the monkeys were above them.  Rather than having separate wings they looked like a cross between flying squirrels, bats and baboons.  They all wore helmets with spikes on them.

One of the monkeys had three bright metal pips on his helmet.  He carried what looked like a megaphone.

"I see you're prepared to pay my ransom, even though I hadn't told you what it was," a woman's voice came from the megaphone.

"In case you didn't know, this is the Witch, Kirke and I am very pleased with my ransom reward, however since you did not pay him to me you forfeit your daughter."

Troy pulled out an harmonica while he ran.  He turned and planted his feet to play, but as he took a deep breath a monkey swooped down and knocked it out of his mouth.

Dart drew his sword.

Another monkey hit Troy in the chest and knocked the wind out of him before he could even sing.

Two more hit Dart and Abby in the back, tumbling them to the ground in surprise.

Three monkeys swooped onto Troy before he fell and carried him away, one on each arm and one holding his mouth.

The megaphone laughed, cackled a moment, then resumed laughing as Troy was flown off in the direction of the castle.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Autumnal Cthulhu

I just made a submission to Lovecraft eZine's anthology AUTUMN CTHULHU.  With any luck I'll be letting you readers know that I've been accepted and how to get copies of the book.

Failing that I may post the story here.  I really like it and think it is unique in a couple of ways.  I'll let you know more in the next couple of months as I find out.

It has been a real struggle to get it done in time and I only submitted it with 45 minutes to spare.

Being ill and several other priorities have kept me from writing as prolifically as I wanted.  My number one priority is still learning Greek.

I also wanted to post to give you one last Cthulhu, thought I had decided that this is not he place for it this year.  I'm regretting that decision and will reverse it for next year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh Dear Cthulhu, What Have I Done?!

I made a decision at the beginning of this month with which I am very uncomfortable.

I decided that I should celebrate Cthulhu Month on Flowers of Mundelein.  I feel this is very inappropriate, and the Flower Followers (I just coined that, you like?) are just not ready for such raw cosmic horror and insanity.

Next year Cthulhu month will return to Illini6.  For now, like being on a rollercoaster the only thing we can do it hold on and get through it.
They just weren't ready

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 6

Part 6:  Over Hills and Far Away

"Could I have a glass of water?"  Senaka Lincoln asked Maggie Pipp.  She stood shakily from casting her singing spell over the tiny droplets of blood.  Each droplet seemed to be vibrating in rhythm and Maggie wondered if it wasn't her imagination that she could hear the music they made.

"Were you successful?"

"I think so, but making magic always dries my mouth so."

Maggie fetched a glass of water from the kitchen.  When she brought it to Senaka the darker woman had been joined by the heavyset Jonny, the androgynous Sailor and a withered old man with dark leather skin and a ring of pure white around the back of his head.  He wore thick glasses and carried an ancient acoustic guitar.

"Ole-Man Rivers I'd like to introduce Margaret, "Maggie" Pipp, private detective and bedmate of Troy Green." Senaka said.

Ole-Man extended his hand and smiled broadly.  He had a full mouth of yellow, but straight, real teeth.  "Delighted to meet you Ms. Pipp.  They call me Ole-Man, though I've no idea a'tal why.  Ole-Man Rivers, and I must say it is a pure pleasure to meet someone so lovely as you, absolutely a pleasure."

"Thank you," Maggie took his rough and hard hand in a strong shake.

"Whelp, might as well get to hunting.  Where we headed?"

"I've cast a spell on the blood, I suspect it will lead us to the hospital or aid station they took the Gun."

"Guns, eh?"  Ole-Man adjusted his guitar on his chest and played a few notes.  "What tune we using to hunt them?"

"I was thinking of 'Further On Up the Road.'"

"Johnny Cash or Robert Jordan?"

"Why do you even have to ask?" Jonny said.

"Cash's tune is a good one, full of pain and longing, traveling and meeting."

"No magic stronger than Robert Jordan's," Sailor said.

"True, but I didn't want to assume nothing."

"Did you know Robert Jordan?"  Jonny asked with a smile.

"Stole this here guitar out his dead hands," Ole-Man quipped back and started strumming a blues progression.

Senaka touched Maggie's arm, "We're all going to cast a spell and travel by magic.  Do you have any weapons?"

"Um, some pepper spray I guess.  I'm not really that kind of detective.  I'm more the computer intelligence gathering type."

"That's fine.  Can you sing?"

Maggie's eyebrows did a bit of a dance as she struggled to decide how to answer, "Yes?"

"If you can harmonize and you know the tune then join in, but if you don't think you can, it's find you don't.  We'll all sit in a circle around the drops and hold hands.  No one will get lost."

They did exactly like Senaka described.  Jonny helped Ole-Man to sit.  They all crossed legs and took each other's hands except Senaka and Jonny on either side of Ole-Man each grabbed a belt loop so his hands would be free to play.

"Ready," Maggie said, but none seemed to be listening.

The song began.

Maggie was not that familiar with Robert Jordan.  She knew that he was a famous Blues musician who was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil for musical talent.  Maggie was only familiar with the Eric Clapton version of the song.

As Ole-Man played, Maggie wondered if he hadn't sold his soul as well, the music was every bit as good as Clapton and maybe even better.  When it was time for the singing part though, it was Jonny that actually led the group.

"Further on up the road
Someone's gonna hurt you like you hurt me.
Further on up the road
Someone's gonna hurt you like you hurt me.
Further on up the road,
Baby, just you wait and see."

His voice was soulful, throaty, manly and lusty.  On the second stanza Senaka joined in.

"You gotta reap just what you sow;
That old saying is true.
You gotta reap just what you sow;
That old saying is true.
Just like you mistreat someone,
Someone's gonna mistreat you."

The room started to vibrate.  It flowed like a hot breeze rising from the delta, swirling around, through their hair, through their clothes, into their souls.  It made Maggie feel lightheaded, but she bounced and swayed to the rhythm, just like the others.

Sailor joined in song, and Ole-Man hummed along, his guitar driving the tune, rippling through reality, opening eyes and minds and doorways.

"Further on up the road."

There was a road.  They spun round in their circle, cross-legged by floating on the music rather than sitting on the floor, the road stretched before them, but they moved along it, bouncing and sliding.

The road seemed to lead right into a room.  Their dirt country road spilled itself onto the wooden floor of a large bedroom.  The circle of singers suddenly found themselves seated cross-legged on the floor.

The room was full of Brixies.  Some were being bandaged, some bandaging, and others questioning the bandagees.  The questioners were the first to spot them and they did not look happy.

Maggie's head was full and wavering, like she had just had a very strong drink.  Senaka struggled to unfold her legs and stand up, cursing lightly under her breath.  Sailor and surprisingly Jonny sprang to their feet, seemingly ready for a brawl.

None of the Brixies were lavishly dressed, but one seemed more put together, cooler and more powerful than the others.  He turned slowly to look at the newly arrived, his arms folded.

Ole-Man had stopped strumming, but had made no attempt to rise.  He hung his head and said, "Too close, far too close.  Damn we're too good for our own good."

The Brixie leader gave a Shere Kahn smile, "So it would seem interlopers, so it would seem."

Friday, October 03, 2014

OMC - I Almost Forgot Cthulhu Month!


Here it is the third of October and I almost forgot Cthulhu month this year.  I'm so focused on learning Greek.

What a tragedy, a Greek tragedy.

I'll have to rectify that right now and catch up.  Here are three images to get you started.  I grabbed these pictures associated with H.P. Lovecraft's story, "From Beyond" because I am working on a story for an anthology based on this story.

These great pictures were the work of Christian Bravery.  He posted them on the Lovecraft Literary Podcast.  You should go to his site and check out all the other cool stuff he has done.  While you're there ask him to forgive Inner Prop for using his images.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 5

Bigger Hole to Fill

"I like that attitude, girl," Senaka Lincoln told Detective Maggie Pipp.  "Troy, did they bleed?"

"I'll show you," Maggie said.

"Sailor, go get Ole-Man up here, we're hunting Brixies."  Senaka instructed the androgynous person of their group who nodded and dashed off.

"Are just the four of you going to go after them?  There were a dozen of them and I'm sure there were more where they came from.  What about the rest of the band?"

"We'll keep them on call, just in case.  Jonny, would send the little bird?"

The flush heavyset young bald man nodded and pulled a ceramic bird from inside his jacket.  He held it close to his mouth and began to whistle.  The song was intricate and beautiful, whistled incredibly well by a master, but it was dark and full of menace.  Maggie had never heard a whistle with so much ill portent.  As the song grew Jonny's eyes seemed to take on that shine a drunkards do when he begins a bottle.

Eventually the bird sounded like it was echoing the song, in a hollow, clear flute of its own.  It matched Jonny's song until it began to move and floated out of his hand.  On a rainbow of music the porcelain bird darted out the window and into the sky.

"Homing pigeon?" Maggie asked.

"Something like that," Senaka said.  "When the others get up here we will circle some of the spilled blood from the Brixies and begin the spell that should take us to them."

There wasn't much blood, just a few tiny drops here and there, mostly from Dart's strikes to heads or from mouths struck by Abby.  Maggie let them to the only drop that still seemed wet.

"If it takes us right to them, won't they be expecting us?"  Maggie asked.

"They'll be expecting us to track them through the Hammer itself, still we will have to be very careful about our song so that we harmonize, not chorus.  Please be quiet now," she bent over the drop and began to sing softly to it.  It was a quiet call and response.  Senaka would sing and listen to the response.  She swayed as she did it and Maggie could see her lips move, but she could hear almost nothing.

"Right, "Troy whispered, "We'll have to do something along the same lines.  Abby, why don't you get dressed and meet Dart and me in the office?"

She nodded and was gone in a flash.

"What's in the office?"  Dart asked.

"It has soundproofing.  I trust you have something of your daughters by which we can track her?"

"I have photos, I don't think anything else."

"Digital photos are far less than ideal, however she has half your genetics, that should help."

"Just the three of us are going after a wizardess and a pack of goons?"

"She is after me, Dart, so I suspect she will not anticipate my getting closer to her, also, I am a very powerful wizard, very powerful indeed."

"Yes you are," Abby had returned and nuzzled him close to him from behind.  Troy turned to admire her.

She wore her medium length hair in a wide violet ribbon and a summer dress different from the long black dress she had worn to the wedding the previous night.  She had replaced her heels with ballet flats, and carried her purse.

"You are quick.  Where did those clothes come from?"  Troy smiled.

"I was a Girl Scout, don't you know," she patted her purse and kissed him.  He returned her kiss a moment before he continued speaking to Dart, "Finally, you are quite handy with the stick and Abby is a mistress with the kicks.  I've no doubt of our success."

He held the office door open.

"I did mean to compliment you on that hockey-stick play this morning, "Abby said impressed.

"Well," Dart shrugged, "With a name like D'Artagnan you'd better be able to handle a sword.  I started with high school fencing, then kendo, then medieval swordplay, quarterstaff, bo, hanbo, and finally a little hockey.  I've never seen moves like you pulled this morning.  That was truly amazing and stunning to watch."

Abby smiled, "In addition to aerobics, yoga, Pilates and tai chi; I teach jujitsu and krav maga."

"Impressive," Dart said.

"Very impressive," Troy added and kissed her on the neck.

"And you are sure this wizardess wants you as an erotic toy; there could be no other motive?"

"No," Troy kissed Abby on the lips, "It is plain as day, which is why we specifically must be the ones to go after her."

They were just entering the office, but from across the room Senaka snorted derisively.  Laughing she lifted her head from her song-spell, "Won't you get a room, all these jokes are breaking my concentration."

"She doesn't think it could be that," Dart said.

"She's jealous," Abby said.  Dart remained unconvinced.

They entered the office and closed the door firmly.  Troy went to a wooden display case next to the one that had held the Hammer of the Gods.  He handed the contents, a sword and scabbard to Dart.

Dart took them and looked the sword over.  It was a plain and simple yet elegant and exquisite small-sword.  He gave it two practice swings and two perfect tones sang from it, as if the greatest soprano were singing to her lover, or angels were blowing across the strings of a Stradivarius.

"It's a singing sword," Troy beamed.

"Really?"  Dart sheathed the sword.

Troy shrugged, "I'm a collector."  He looked around the room and clapped his hands.  "You can both sing, right?"

Dart and Abby nodded.

"Hmm, we need something strong, powerful, demanding, something we three can sing, I believe rock, hard, metal, yes, I think I have the appropriate song.  Do you both know, 'I Can See for Miles' by The Who?"


Troy didn't say another word, but belted out the opening line, "I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise.  I know that you have 'cause there's magic in my eyes."

They all joined in, "I can see for miles and miles and miles..."

The song went on, winding around them.  It didn't take long before the room was spinning psychedelia.  A kaleidoscopic tube grew round them opening on a scene of green and blue and white, gold and silver, ivory, ruby, emerald, sapphire.

The song twisted and turned for, "Miles and miles and miles and miles" as they slid through the tube of color and music up and down, round and round until the tube ended, gently dropping them through the hole at the end into a whole new world.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 4

Join Together With the Band

"What is that?"  Dart insisted as all the doors and windows of Troy Green's apartment suddenly, magically flew open.

"Hello in the house!"  Called an alto woman's voice, clear and melodic.   Then came a chorus of at least three harmonized voices, "Is everything alright?"

The four at the breakfast nook, Troy, Abby Bancroft, Maggie Pipp and Dart Pneuman suddenly felt safer and happier than they had before the doors had opened.  They followed Troy as he got up and all closed doors and windows as they moved to the front door.

Troy sang out, "Welcome to the band!"

In the front room, coming in the door were three people who couldn't have been more different.  They were led by a tall, leggy woman with ebony skin and caramel-cotton candy hair.  Her clothes were well tailored, but oddly mismatched in color.  She was followed by a young, but heavy bald man the color of an uncooked crab and covered with acne scars.  The third person was almost indescribable only because it was nearly impossible to say anything definite about the person, not hair, eye or skin color; not height or weight; not shape or even gender.  The only thing that could be said was the person looked healthy in a loose fitting top and jeans.

"This is your band?"  Dart asked.

"Don't I remember it being bigger last night?"  Maggie asked.

"This is just most of the rhythm section.  This is Senaka Lincoln."

The dark woman smiled and said, "Bass."  She held up the electric bass in her hands.

"Jonny Wales, piano," Troy continued.

"Pleased to meet you," the heavy man said in a tenor voice with a Welsh accent and yellow but straight teeth.  The others would have thought of it as a British accent.  He was carrying an amp for Senaka's bass.

"And this is Sailor Yamidori, our drummer.  I imagine Ole-Man Rivers couldn't make it up the stairs."

"He's in the van," Senaka said.  She was watching the women, and smiling at Troy.  "He won't drive it," she explained to them, "but he loves to sit in it."

"We all had attack nightmares and then this morning, we heard the didgeridoo and figured we best come straight away."

"That instrument is strictly defensive, and very powerful," Troy explained.  "We were accosted, but made good account of ourselves until -"

"I think your good account started last night."  Senaka smiled at Maggie and Abby, who both smiled back and each grabbed one of Troy's hands.  Senaka laughed.

"What's an attack nightmare?"  Maggie asked.

"Someone can enter your mind through your dreams and enchant you.  If you are familiar with magic you can defend against it, otherwise you might just wake up with a desire to do something you hadn't thought to do before."

"It's like long distance hypnotism."  Troy said, "What was the nature?"

"Trying to find you I think," Senaka said, the other two agreed.

"I got a feminine sense too," Jonny added.

"Then it's not likely our attackers.  I can't imagine they were only just trying to find my location the night before an attack like that.  They made off with the Hammer of the Gods."

"I thought you made a good account of yourself?"  Senaka was suddenly angry.

"We did," Maggie institsted, "They rescued me and drove off the attackers."

"None of that means anything if they use the Hammer.  Did he tell you about it?"

"He did," Abby said, "and we were just going to go after it."

"And my daughter.  If this attack nightmare wasn't about this Hammer, maybe it was about her."

"Yes," Troy said, his hand on his chin thinking, "Tell me more about the dream."

"Are you kidding," Senaka said, "We need to go after the ones that got the Hammer.

"We have to do both.  Jonny, what was that about a feminine feel?"

"There was desire there, I think, and sexuality."

"You always want sexuality in your dreams," Senaka said.

"I think there were monkeys and dancing."  Sailor nodded behind him.

"That's it, Dart," Troy said.  He turned to the bandmembers, "Dart Pneuman came to me this morning for help, as he daughter was abducted last night at a wedding by a woman and dark henchmen."

He turned to Dart, "The Wizardess has kidnapped your daughter and used the attack nightmares to find me."

"But why?"  Dart asked.

"Isn't it obvious?  She's infatuated with me and wants to trap me into a sexual prison of her own misguided desires."

Senaka laughed and Dart looked confused.  Maggie squeezed Troy's hand, stepped closer to him and batted her eyes while nodding.

Abby looked furious, "I am willing to share, but I will never let you be taken like that.  Just let the bitch try.  We are going after her!"

Senaka forced herself to straighten up and wiped tears from her eyes, "That actually makes some sense.  Jonny, Sailor, Ole-Man and I can go after the Hammer.  You don't know where they took it do you?"

"No, I'm afraid I don't."

"I'm going with you," Maggie said.

"Us?"  Senaka asked, "Who are you?"

"I'm Margret Pipp, Private Detective and I'm the kidnap victim that's going to come back and bite them in the behind."

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 3

Hammer of the Gods

"It is said that when one strikes the Bell of the Universe with the Hammer of the Gods the path between worlds will open.  Some devout Brixies want to do this in order to enter a parallel universe in which Homo sapiens died out and only the Brixies are left.  Such a world is like heaven to them.  They call it Brixton.

"Some say that ringing the bell and rending the veil between universes will destroy them.  Some say it will destroy only ours.  Could you please pass the butter?"

Troy, Maggie, Abby and Dart were all sitting around Troy's breakfast nook table.  Abby had made an omelet for each of them, but only Troy ate as the others just sat and listened to him.

Doctor Troy Green drank some coffee and delightfully chewed his mushroom and cheese omelet. 

They were all dressed: Maggie in the clothes she had worn the previous night, only at this time they were all completely on; Dart still wore the tux he came in on; and Abby was in Troy's robe.  Troy had washed and dressed in a tweed jacket, sweater vest, violet paisley tie, wool trousers with cargo pockets and boots.  The bulges of harmonicas were obvious in his pockets.

"This is delightful, Abby.  Everyone, eat up." 

Abby, sensing her food would freeze on the plate, took a bite.  Dart's cell rang and he took it in the other room.  While he was gone Maggie tried the omlet and enjoyed it so much that she nearly finished it by the time Dart came back.

"That was my wife.  They were waiting for them when they got back to my house.  They took Barb and said they would let us know how we could get her back later.  They were the same little men, these, what did you call them, Brixies.  What is a Brixie?"  Dart asked, "Why are they involved with my daughter's abduction?"

Troy held up his empty fork, "Complicated and I don't know."  He filled his fork, filled his mouth and chewed thoughtfully.

"Brixies are a race of people, not at all closely related to Homo sapiens.  They are at least as intelligent as us, and as old a race, but they are not in the genus Homo nor did they evolve the way we did.  They have been beside or with us for many millennium.  

"Often they've been mistaken for Little People, fairies, pixies and such.  They do know and are capable of magic.  In fact, I learned my magic from Brixie friends.  The ones that came here and stole the Hammer were from a sect that calls themselves the Guns of Brixton, dedicated to bringing about or even hastening the rise of Brixton.  Whether they or any other Brixies are involved with your daughter's abduction or who this wizard woman is, I don't know."  He shrugged, "The more pressing matter is, they've likely taken the hammer to -"

"Well, I'd like to know," Dart said.  "I thought you could help me."

Troy nodded, "I did give you that indication and I will help you.  The trouble is, I have very little information and two completely different sources.  You know your daughter was taken away and we have not been given the reason or ransom demand yet.  I know the Hammer of the Gods has been taken away and what they plan on doing with it.

"I can't take a chance with something of this magnitude.  I must go after the Hammer first.  I don't ask any of you to come with, but I would appreciate and benefit if Abby would."

Dart slammed his palm on the table and stood, "I realize the world MAY end, but I know my daughter is in trouble and needs help.  I don't want to wait on the ransom demand, I want action now."

Maggie spoke up.  She had been so silent it caused everyone to turn in silence, though she didn't speak loudly at all, "Why don't we do both?  Abby and I know Troy is very capable at handling two issues at the same time."  She was smiling when she started, but the blush blossomed on her face until even her ears were red.  She hid both her embarrassment and arousal by taking a large forkful of omelet and focusing on its delightful taste.

Troy cleared his throat and purposefully avoided Abby's smile, "Let's formulate a plan then.  The problem is, although I can handle, ahem, two issues at once; I cannot be in two places at once.  Only I know how to handle the Guns, and I'm the only one in the room that knows magic."

"Do we need magic to follow up on Dart's wizardess?"  Abby asked.

"What?"  Dart asked as he sat back down.

"You said you have too little information," Abby continued.  "Why not let us gather information from Dart's problem.  That's what we need now, so we will be prepared when the ransom comes."

"Yes," Maggie said, "I can lead that."

"You can?"  Dart, Abby and Troy asked.

"Yes," she said as if saying, "Duh!"  She took another forkful of omelet, chewed and let them lean closer and closer.  "I'm a detective, didn't you know?"

Abby and Troy turned and stared at each other, "I had no idea," they chorused.  "What sort?"  Abby asked.

Dart looked at all of them for a moment, "You three were sleeping together, weren't you?"  He asked, his face brightening in knowledge, "And none of you know who the other is, do you?"

"I work for a private detective firm in Chicago called Acme Ace Advanced Detective Service."

Abby smiled broadly, "This sounds like a good idea.  Troy and I will pursue the Guns of Brixton, and Maggie - "

"They know nothing of magic.  Despite what I'm sure are excellent investigative skills, young Detective Pipp would not know what to look for nor how."

"We have to try, don't we?"  Dart said.

Troy opened his mouth to answer, but he was interrupted by a bass chord at least as loud as the magical notes he had played on the didgeridoo.  The vibrations permeated them all and they could feel another magical spell winding its way around and through them.

The chord pounded again.  Then on the third time all the windows and doors, including the oven and microwave, opened at the same time.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So, Part 2

The Guns of Brixton

Troy put the didgeridoo to his lips and began to blow.  The tones came out with an unexpected power, a beauty entrancing.  He weaved the instrument through the air and the music followed developing, growing, becoming physical.  The colors of the room swam and time seemed to slow.

The invaders drew truncheons from within their hoods.  The ones holding Maggie Pipp yanked her back by the hair.  Others moved forward on Abby, who dropped to the ground.

Troy stood weaving a spell all around the room.  While it developed, slowing growing, blossoming, spreading; Dart stepped out of the office brandishing a hockey stick as a kendo shinai.  With a shrill cry he leapt at the intruders.

As four of the strangers neared Abby, prostrate on the floor, she spun and with a leg sweep took down two assailants.  In one graceful movement she was up with their truncheons in each hand.  She became beautiful mayhem.  Her movements were graceful, fluid, expert and precise.  She looked like she was dancing through the men, striking and bringing them down.

In their defense, it is quite distracting to get your butt handed to you by a beautiful naked woman using what looks like gymnastic ballet moves.

Dart too was having quite a bit of success.  His long, thin limbs in black tie made him look like a cross between one of Sinbad's fighting skeletons and Jack Skellington, but the reach and skill were masterfully effective.  The intruders fell left and right.  Though many of them returned to their feet, they didn't remain there long.

Even Maggie was fighting back.  She brought her foot up behind her to plant her heal in the groin of one of her restrainers.  She stamped down on the instep of the other, though in her bare feet the effect was painful but not debilitating.

The music Troy was knitting through the room was starting to envelope them all palpably.  There was a feeling of the magic through them, touching their souls.

Suddenly, just as Abby's foot arched to land on a face, the face was gone.  The owner of the face had vanished.

Across the room, as Dart was swinging down to waylay one of the interlopers still holding Maggie, that man too vanished, blinked away.

Maggie, finding a hand free, swung a fist at the other detainer.  Again, the blow was too light to make any real impact, but as it struck home he disappeared.

The music built up, layering upon itself.  It seemed that notes, chords, the tune itself was lingering and lacing itself around the gatecrashers.  Suddenly, in a great crescendo, with music filling the room, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, the climax was reached and every hooded ruffian ceased to be there.

The whirling Amazonian devastation came to a halt near Troy, who, as he took the tubular instrument from his mouth, pulled Abby to him and kissed her long and deep.  She came away smiling.

"Who were they?"  Dart asked.

"What did they want?"  Maggie asked.

"Hammer of the Gods, Guns of Brixton," Troy slurred slightly.

There was a crashing sound from the office.  They rushed into the room, led by Troy.  There they found a case shattered and a hooded intruder standing with a meter long bell mallet in his hands.  He threw his head back and sang a single note, pure and clear.  Then he vanished.

"That was the Hammer of the Gods?"

"Hammers, mallets, same thing, translation error," Troy shrugged.  "Let's have that coffee and brush our teeth.  I have to make a few phone calls.  Then I'll go after him."

"Coffee?  Don't we need to go now?"  Abby asked.

"Listen, I need coffee right now.  Also, I am brushing my teeth and getting dressed.   I have no intention of gallivanting around Arthur Dent-esque."

Saturday, August 02, 2014

End of Poll(s)

The last poll we had is going to be the last poll we're going to do for a while.  They are not generating as much discussion or replying as I had hoped, and I often have trouble coming up with ideas for them.

Our last poll was for what is your favorite movie/literary monster.  The results were two vampire types and one Other.  I like cosmic horror which I think would fall under other.

Thanks to everyone who has participated.  If you want more polls please let me know.  If you have ideas for polls let me know as well.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So - Part 1

Kiss Off

"Troy Green!"

The pounding was incessant.

"Mr. Green!" 

He wondered how on earth she was able to keep up that level of knocking on apartment door.

He rolled over and bumped into a girl.  He hadn't remembered there being a girl there, hadn't remembered bringing her home; but he had done a lot of magic the previous night.

When he bumped her she groaned and slid out her side of the bed.  The sound of it was like the toll booth warning strips to his hung-over ears.

"I think someone's at the door.  I gotta pee."  She stood and walked naked to the bathroom.  She was far too skinny for her own good and far too young for his.

"Mr. Green?"  The voice was plaintive, and he realized the pounding was mostly in his own head.  He took a deep breath, grit his teeth and got himself up.  His world spun for a moment.  He waited for it to stop before he put a robe over his boxers and went to answer the door.

In the front room of his Chicago two flat he found another girl, or rather he found a woman, healthier and older than his bedmate.  She was under blankets on the couch but he would have guessed she too was naked.  He had done a lot of magic the night before.

The knocking and calling had stopped.  He picked up his pace and answered the door as quickly as he could while fighting back vomit.

Beyond the door was no one, the hallway empty.

"May I help you?"  He called, cursing his esoteric oath under his breath.

"Um, Mr. Green?"  A woman called from outside his field of view.

"Doctor, actually; may I help you?"

A head appeared just above the floor from the stairway below.  It was not the head of a woman unless she was the kind of woman with a full beard and male patterned baldness.  His very high pitched voice matched his body like fingernails match a chalkboard (go ask your grandfather what a chalkboard is).

He walked back up the stairs, getting taller and taller until Troy expected him to have to duck or hit his head on the ceiling. The ring of hair starting above his ears was long and braided.  He wore a soiled, wrinkled and skewed tuxedo.

He smiled hopefully at Troy and stuck out a boat oar of a hand.  "I'm D'Artagnan Pneuman.  The "P" is silent."

"Of course it is."

"I'm so glad you're home.  I'm a very desperate man."

"Why don't you come inside and sit down before I fall down.  What did you say your name was?"

"D'Artagnan Pneuman, P-N-E-U-M-A-N, like pneumonia.  My friends call me, 'Dart' for short."

"I refuse to believe there is anything short about you."

Dart laughed and a girl slipped out the door while the men were trying to go in.

"I think you just lost a friend," Dart said.

"He has plenty," a deep womanly voice said from the kitchen.  Troy expected the older one would be difficult to dislodge.  It was the skinny one that had scampered out, wearing some clothes and clutching the rest.

"Can I get you two gentlemen some coffee?"  Her voice was deep and rich like Kathleen Turner eating dark chocolate covered strawberries.  She was at least ten years older than Troy, curvy but fit, she wore the blanket seductively off her shoulders and one ashen lock fell over an eye.  It made Troy stammer.

"In my office, please," Troy pointed in the direction of the office and then forced his feet to follow his finger.  He just had to remember her name, or at lease who she was. 

He led Dart into a book, artifact and musical instrument filled room.  Dart had to duck under each doorway.

"Have a seat, Mr. Pneuman and tell me why you're desperate."

"A curse has been put on my house and family.  My daughter has been put under a magical spell and I think she is going to be kidnapped today."

"What makes you think that?"

"I got this note," he handed Troy a small scrap of velum.  In a brown ink it said, "We're coming to get Barbara tomorrow."

"Can you help us, Dr. Green?"

"You got this at the wedding, no?"

"What?  How did you know we were at a wedding?"

"The tux."

"It was Susan's wedding, Barbara's sister.  We were all having a lovely time.  Everyone was dancing and then the music got louder and faster, and faster.  It was too fast but nobody could stop dancing.  Suddenly it stopped and a woman appeared on the stage with the band.  The room was also surrounded by dark, ominous figures in robes, or hooded sweatshirts.

"The woman raised a stick and waived it around.  Then she sang some chant I couldn't understand.  The hoodie guys sang too.  They started swaying until suddenly Barbara collapsed in the middle of the floor."



"She had a staff, not a stick.  Go on."

"Barbara fell to the floor.  The band tried to grab the old woman, but she snatched up the accordion, squeezed it and with a G minor chord she vanished.  One of the hoodie fellas gave me the note."

"A G minor chord, hmm."

"Can you help us?"  Dart asked, but his voice seemed to be deeper on certain words.

"Say that again."

"Help, can you help us?"

That time it was clear that the words, "Help" were far deeper and coming from the other room.

Doctor Troy Green sprang from his chair and snatching a didgeridoo from beside the office door he rushed into the front room.

The older woman, Abby, Abby Bancroft, mother of the groom, what a relief that was to Troy.  Abby was standing naked in the front room with the blanket she had been wearing fallen around her.

Also around her, around the room in fact were a dozen or so stocky short figures in hoods. One of which was holding the younger woman, Maggie Pipp, boy it was all coming back to him now.

"Give us what we want, Green or the girls get it," the leader said menacingly.

Troy Green Associate Professor of Ethnology and Comparative Religions brandished his oddly painted and carved Australian Aboriginally inspired musical instrument and said, "Kiss off!"

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Καλό Μήνα Ιούλιος - Good Month, July!

I've changed the background in the blog.  I thought I needed a change.  I love that picture I was using.  I took that picture myself, but I need to change my approach, my attitude and I'm starting with the theme.

I'll be changing it again.  I don't have much time tonight and I need to find the right picture.  Like a favorite song, a cherished aroma, comfort food, an inspirational picture can make a dramatic difference.

I'm going to write.  I'm going to post.  It may be sloppy, ugly and short at first, but I'm sure it will grow on me, and hopefully on my readers as well.

I went back and read, "Barfight at Simplicity Genoid" as well as the Empire Beyond Mars stuff I have on this blog.  I'm fairly inspired. I've also been listening to the Indiana Jones theme and the weather has been very inspirational.  This blog post is a good first step.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Surrender, June!

As June draws to a close I look here at this blog and realize that I did not post once this month.  That is inexcusable.  I had intended to post regularly, once a week. I wanted to post fun things.  I was going to post about world building through a character.  I didn't do any of it.

What was wrong; why didn't I?  I don't think I was moving in the right direction.  I am absolutely swamped with things to do.  I have family, work, scouts, etc and as it stands I relax maybe a few hours a week while sleeping about five hours a night.  I literally don't have enough time in the day.

That's still no excuse.  I get a great deal of pleasure from writing.  I am proud, entertained, happy, thrifty, accomplished, tickled and so much more.  I need to find some way to write here and share that in a way that is consumable by others.

I tell myself stories all the time.  That was one of the major reasons I started writing.  I figured I was already doing it, I might as well do it so that others can read and enjoy.  If I could make money doing it all the better.  I will never make money writing if I can't write regularly.  I won't even get to enjoy it unless I do it.

So, as we say goodbye to June, I also say goodbye to Zoso Angrybarn, at least for now.  She is a lovely girl and her country is a very nice and interesting place.  I just couldn't really find her, nor could I find an actual story for her to live in.  It just wasn't coming together.

I am itching to write.  I will be doing some writing very soon and it will be the kind of writing I can share here.

June?  I'm afraid I'm going
to have to let you go.
The good news is, I have been writing.  I finished a story this year and had some help editing it.  It is a rather long short story, but I was aiming at a particular market.  Unfortunately that market is not accepting submissions right now.  Missed that boat.

I may be throwing some questionable stuff on this blog in the near future.  It may not be my best stuff, but I resolve not to start something and not finish it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Movie Poll Review - New Poll (don't be frightened)

Gene Hackman as Polish MG Sosabowski
Our last poll was a movie one.  What is your favorite Chicago movie.  Blogger dumped our results lately, but if I remember correctly it was one Ferris Bueller, one Blues Brothers and one Other.

My next poll is regarding horror stories.  What is your favorite type of monster?

Stephen King in his non-fiction book, Danse Macabre describes four basic archetypal
"monsters."  He names them The Frankenstein, The Vampire, The Werewolf and The Ghost.  In our poll we'll look at them another way.  This other way perhaps may expand the tropes is (respectively):

  • The Thing that Should Not Be
    • Frankenstein
    • Cruel intelligences
    • Demons and devils
    • Evil incarnate
    • Mindless destroyers
  • The Thing that Devours Us
    • The Vampire
    • Animal predators
    • Parasites
    • Possessing demons
    • Succubi
    • Viruses
    • Zombies 
  • The Thing with Two Faces
    • The Werewolf
    • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    • Dictators
    • Serial killers
    • Transmorgifiers
  • The Thing that Would Not Die
    • The Ghost
    • Banshees
    • Liches
    • Slashers
    • Spectres
    • That which demands revenge
    • That which seeks death
    • Wraiths
I'm not sure where Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror falls.  I suppose some of it is Mindless Destroyers, but not always.  I just don't know.  If you don't know what your favorite monster fall under, please  put in a comment and we can try to figure it out together.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thursdays Are Right Out

Writing on Thursday is not working for me either.  I volunteered to help coach the local High School Rugby club as it is just getting started.  That's all my "free" time on Thursday.
Penoan flag

I'm going to make this a quick post, but I wanted to introduce someone you our blogging community.  Her name is Zoso (I hope she forgives me, I think her last name is Volvóodis-Lagenam Iratus-Phteris, but I could be wrong).  She lives in Chicago, but she emigrated from a small country called Penoa to the USA.  I would like her to share some of her native country's culture and history through interviews in the coming weeks.

She will likely say that she actually emigrated to the US from Canada.  In point of fact, her mother was expecting as they were coming from Penoa to America.  She went into labor when they had a layover in Canada.  They only stayed 24 hours before continuing on to the States, however Zoso maintains a duel citizenship, a fierce love of Hockey and all thing Canadian.

When I can get hold of her I will interview her and share her answers here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing About Not Writing

Here it is, late on another Monday and I've not written my blog post yet.  I am writing about not writing, which is writing, but there is certainly some tautology there.  It seems a little like going back in time and killing your own grandfather.

I realized writing and posting both on Mondays is not a good idea.  I moved my writing day back to Thursday.  That didn't happen last Thursday, or Friday, or ...

I have made writing daily work.  It is a proven method for me, and plenty of other authors (or maybe I should just say authors).  Writing one day a week, or some days a week doesn't seem to work for me.

By the way, I have two interesting observations about the picture I used.  I think that's Hebrew on the keyboard.  I don't write or speak Hebrew, and please don't take it as a political statement.  I just found and like the picture.  It seemed appropriate for today's post.

The other observation is I found this picture on a blog called Dreaming On Paper.  I took it without permission (shh).  The date he posted it was 15 April 2013.  I had misread it and thought it said 2014.  It seemed strange that it should be posted tomorrow, but then it is tomorrow in some parts of the world already, and I thought it would be cool if I could post it with a date before the original date.  Unfortunately I eventually saw that it said 2013 and I eventually remembered that this is 2014.

Back to the writing part.  This is not an excuse, but more an observation on what works for me.

I am reminded of a small island in the Caribbean I visited once, well, by visited I saw it while messing around with Google Earth and what with all the pov pictures it's just like being there anyway.

The island is called San Vita, and is named after the patron saint of lost keys (remind you of a certain temple?).  Don't bother looking for it.  It is so small you'd never find it and anyway I pulled the Wikipedia article and sent a note to Google that it is fictitious.  I want to keep it all to myself.  It is just so adorable.

The native name for San Vita is Goinoware.  It was the name the inhabitants of nearby islands gave to the Spaniards when they first arrived.  It means, "What island, that one, oh we never go there, don't bother, it's a complete waste of time, and no fun at all."  Surprisingly efficient these native languages are, aren't they?

Back in the 1950s the CIA set it up as a Wicker Chair Monarchy.  It's similar to a Banana Republic, but instead of being fronted by the United Fruit Company this was the Amalgamated Patio Furniture Co.  It was headed by the King of Savings for years.

It's now an autocratic economy (everybody minds their own business) under a Liberal Dictatorship where everyone is at liberty to be a dictator to everyone else equally.

I think I may retire there someday.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Atlantis Rising

I have a "theory" about Atlantis.
Is that the temple of Biro, God of Lost Pens, on the far left?
pic courtesy of

Atlantis is the lost continent.  It stands to reason that if it is The LOST continent then it should be associated with lost things.

What I mean by, "associated" is that I envision temples to Lost Socks, Lost Keys, and Lost Glasses.  These would be great stone temples the glory of the ancient world where these lost things would just appear, filling the buildings from across time and space.

These must of necessity be transient locations for many of these things, thus the temples would be very active and lively places with keys popping in and then back out to return behind your sofa.  A temple might be blessed with the appearance of grandpa's horn-rim glasses only to lose them again a moment later when they return to perch on his bald pate.

There might be other things there too.  I imagine the people are all fat, but beautiful, young and sane.  They are very wise as well because they have the vast store of our own lost memories to call upon.

This is, of course a continent, a world outside our own; in another perhaps parallel universe, or perhaps on a very slight angle.  Yes, I believe it would not be perfectly parallel because at some time it, if only for a brief moment, if only in Plato's dreams, it crossed paths with our universe.  For a time a man could walk the streets and find his dog.  Maybe the people would approach him with his wallet he was sure he had had in his left back pocket.

They must have been wonderful times, but alas, they are all lost to us now.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Poll and Poll

A Pole pole courtesy of
The Copernicus Center Google+ page
Our last poll did illicit much response.  Only two people responded and said their preferred method of writing is with something computerish.

I actually had this poll idea a while back and now I get to use it.

What is your favorite Chicago movie?

I'm not going to list movies that are about Chicago if they weren't filmed here (I'm looking at you Chicago!) and short shots that are essentially stock footage don't count either (I'm looking at you My Big Fat Greek Wedding).  I'm debating including The Dark Knight.  Gotham looks so much better in these films because of Chicago, and if you know Chicago you know immediately it was filmed here.  On the other hand they call it Gotham, which I always considered to be New York.

I looked for some sites that listed movies in Chicago.  Esquire had a good article, and I'm thinking I should be able to trust Chicago Magazine and The Chicagoist.  I also pulled a list of all the movies ever filmed in Chicago since 1896 from The City of Chicago's own home Website.

For the poll I'm only going to put my top 5 up there to vote on, and an, "Other" category.  If you want to add others you can put a comment on this post.

Here is a list of Chicago movies I like:

  • My Best Friend's Wedding - don't actually like the movie, but the City looks fantastic in this and it has the Cuneo Museum up here in my neighboring town of Vernon Hills.
  • Candyman
  • 16 Candles
  • Untouchables - you don't like this movie?  "Well, you're not from Chicago."
  • Backdraft - I don't think the firefighters will agree, but I like it
  • About Last Night
  • Stir of Echoes
  • The Fugitive
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Risky Business - I have lots of comments about this, North Shore, "Looks like University of Illinois!", "Sometimes you just got to say...", the El, "Get off the babysitter", my mom told me Tom Cruise reminded her of me
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • The Break Up - again, don't like the movie, but Vaughn loves the City and it shows
There are some others that I've heard fantastic things about and may have seen part of, but not the whole thing:
  • Ordinary People
  • Road to Perdition
  • Public Enemies
  • Color of Money
  • Call Northside 777
  • Hoop Dreams
  • High Fidelity
  • Source Code
  • My Bodyguard
What do you like?  What are your favorite quotes?  Please share and vote.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Cache - Bank - Cache

You would have thought I would have known better by now.  I've been doing this blog for years and yet I fell for a very beginners trap, of not having enough material banked in case of an emergency.
Imagine these are all blog posts

The last two days have been crazy at work and at Scouts, well, that's really just excuses.  I could not get to the computer to write a post for this blog on Mondays.  Regardless, I have committed to making posts each Monday and I should have.

The way you make sure you can post on a set schedule despite any eventuality is to have a cache of material which I do not have.

I tend to get so excited when I write a post that I don't hang on to it, I post right away.  Also, I've set Mondays as posting day and writing day.  What I should do in this case is to write two posts each Monday.  That way I will have one to post and one to bank.

I will make sure I do that going forward.

What I am going to do next is go through the 30 Days of Worldbuilding exercise I went through before.  This time I promise a story on this site exclusively.  My plan is for a lighthearted, serialized story.  I will do several, "Days" at a time and when I have gotten far enough along, when I write a post for a, "Day" I will also write a part of the story.

Just a slight preview, there will be a country called Penoa (located between Finland and Sweden) and another called Anoitoia (a floating island actually) the last colony of Atlantis.

I will, this week, post a second post (to help make up for a lack of a post Monday) to review the last poll and introduce a new poll.  What would you like to see on that poll?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Goal Slide Into the Box

I've completed my story, "The Figurine in the Box."  I've sent it copies to some people for review and comment, but I already know I'm going to make at least one major overhaul.  I'm going to edit it down about half of the 15,000 words it is now.

If you don't already have a copy and would like to read it please leave me a comment with an address to send it.

I think it is a good story.  It pretty much did what I intended it to when I started out.  My inspiration was listening to The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft.  I wondered why Lovecraft's gods always had to be so ugly.  Of course they are alien and un-understandable, but why does that always have to equal ugly, hideous and frightening.  Can't something be beautiful, desirable and utterly frightening?

Bradbury explored this same question in "Something Wicked This Way Comes."  Bradbury didn't make it incomprehensible though.  Also, I think it took it in a different direction than where it went for me.

It took much longer than I had anticipated to finish it, and there is still a long way to go in editing it before I can submit it.  I needed to finish it, and it was a good exercise.  Now, it may be an equally useful exercise to edit this smaller story before I try to tackle editing Hidden Temple to the Lost Gods.

This is why I am not completely disheartened by my progress toward this year's writing goal.  My steps are different and smaller, but still headed in the right direction.

Get Hidden Temple to the Lost Gods published by the end of the year.


  1. ProNoFiMo in January
  2. NaNoEdMo in March
  3. Research publishing in April
  4. Send it out to publishers starting end of April.
I'm going to have to add some steps:
  1. Write "The Figurine in the Box" - DONE
  2. Edit "The Figurine in the Box" - MARCH
  3. Submit "The Figurine in the Box" for publication - APRIL
  4. ProNoFiMo (Prop Novel Finishing Month) - MAY
  5. NaNoEdMo - JUNE
  6. Research publishing - JULY
  7. Send it out to publishers - AUGUST to DECEMBER
And where does that leave you, dear Illini6 reader?  I've promised Mondays as writing day.  Mondays are the day to come here and see a new post.  If I am seriously dedicating myself to these steps what will there be for readers of this blog to read?

I could write more jokes.

I could report on my progress.

I could be completely ambitious and write stories or chapters just to be read here on this blog, from a story that will only appear on the blog.

Something tells me the last option is the preferred one, but only if I can pull it off.  There is the gist, the crux, can I pull it off?  I say I can, but I must offer one caveat, it will be simple and unpolished.

I will promise this, I will never again publish anything on this blog for which there is no ending which can be posted here.  I have posted parts of stories that had no ends.  I've posted parts of stories for which there was an end, but I had no intention of posting the ending here.  That won't ever happen again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everybody!

I've tried in fits and starts to have a tradition of writing and posting a St. Patrick's Day joke each year.

This is my record so far:
2010  (actually in 2011)
2012:  missed

This is my attempt for 2014:

We've all heard that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, but did you know that the snakes themselves have always wanted to go back.

The snakes felt they got a raw deal and were unfairly discriminated against, victims of species profiling.  After several years of exile they decided to get together and figure out how to return to their beloved homeland.

They rented a conference room at a Ramada in Chicago and held a huge convention.  All day long the met and discussed.  Imagine if you will a huge conference room filled with snakes, green as the emerald isle itself, all hissing in a thick Irish brogue.

By the end of the conference they had worked themselves into quite a lather, every one of them spitting mad at the one man who had done them all wrong.  Every one of those snakes was ready to strike, all except one, Sean O'Shea.

Sean sat quietly curled up on a beautiful box he had brought with him.  Eventually all the other snakes turned to look at him in confusion.

"Why is it, Sean O'Shea that yer not angry at Patrick, the man who drove us out?  Don't you love Ireland?"

"Aye, I love Ireland same as you all.  I love the land, the green, the people, but most of all I love the music.  I've always loved the music, the jigs, the reels, the hornpipes, the ballads, and the laments.

"I've always loved the fiddle, the uileann pipes, the flute, the concertina and the badhrans.  All me life I've wanted to play in an Irish band.

"One fine spring day I was making me way through the glen when I spied a wee little man.  Quick as a wink I coiled round him, cuz I knew right then, he was a leprechaun.

"I got yeh, leprechaun, sez I.  Now yeh got to give me yer crock o' gold.

"'Oh, ya got me sure and fast.' Sez he.  'You must be the quickest and smartest snake in all of Ireland.'

"'I am.' Sez I, 'I'm Sean O'Shea.'

"'Ah, Sean O'Shea, you say?' sez he, 'Not THE Sean O'Shea, the snake who wants to play in an Irish band?'

"'The same,' sez I.

"'Well,' sez he, 'I think I might have somethin' even more to yer likin' than me wee crock o' gold.  How would you like a magic concertina?'

"What use have such as I with no hands, for any concertina?' sez I.

"'Ah, this is a magical concertina.  This concertina plays all by itself.  It needs no hands, just a guiding soul to give it the tune.  If you release me I'll tell you where it is.'

"Now, I'm no fool.  I made that leprechaun tell me where to find this magical instrument before I released me coils.  As soon as I did he disappeared.

"I followed his instructions and true enough there in the valley I found just what he had sent me after.  The case itself was amazing, airtight, water tight, indestructible, with brass hinges and clasps.  The interior was lined with the finest velvet and silks.

"Nestled in that case me befell on the most beautiful sight I could ever imagine.  The magical concertina was inlaid with gold and silver.  The buttons were gem stones and pearls.

"As beautiful as it was, and try as I might I could not get that instrument to play one single note, not a single chord.  After trying  everything I could think of, in frustration I sought out that leprechaun.

"I found him, back in that glen I had caught him before.  None the wiser, I caught him again, wrapped me coils round him and squeezed.

"'Ah Sean, how are you enjoying yer concertina?' sez he.

"'I'm not.  It won't play.'

"'Won't play?  Ach, where's me head?  If it weren't attached I'd lose it sure.  Of course it won't play.  You need to know the magic word.'

"'Magic word?  What is the magic word?  Tell me quick.'

"Now, I suspected that leprechaun meant to cheat me.  I taut he had kept that bit about the magic word from me on purpose all along, but I taut I was smarter and with me coils wrapped round his wee body I threatened to squeeze out the breath of life if he didn't tell me.

"He told me that there was only one man in the whole of the world who knew the magic word to make the concertina play, but he alas was no longer in Ireland.  The man with the magic word had immigrated to America, and if I wanted the magic word I would have to follow him there.

"Well, me friends I packed up all me belongin's and set off to find him.  I floated across the wide Atlantic Ocean on the watertight case.  I've been looking fer the man with the magic word ever since.  So, my friends you ask me why I'm not angry at Saint Patrick, the answer is simple.  St. Patrick didn't drive me out of Ireland.  I left on me own accordion."