Monday, October 26, 2015


Cover Girls Jax and Dani have come up with a cool way to entertain you.

Some rules:

Your Flash Fiction piece must be 400 words or less.

You must use all 13 Scattergory items in your flash fiction piece. Please highlight or underline each of them in your story, so we know where to find them.

Post your flash fiction piece any day from Saturday, Oct 24th thru Wednesday, Oct. 28th.

Be creative and have fun!!!

Your flash fiction piece can be spooky, comical, or whatever you'd like. You can use pictures to set the scene and/or a song to set the mood, if that helps.

The winners will be posted on Halloween!
We will each choose a winner. That’s right – two winners! And as an added bonus, we will also be selecting 2 runner-ups this year.  

That’s a total of 4 prizes! How awesome is that?!

2 Winners - $20 Giftcards each
2 Runner-Ups – Either, a book from our bookshelves OR a critique (first 10 pages)

Oh, and yes, this blogfest is international. So what are you ghouls waiting for?

Here is my 406 word piece.(sorry for the overage)

Loci darted his dark head into the fish pond and snagged a medium sized, orangish carp, then scampered up into the purple blossoms of a bonsai tree. On a third branch up he stopped to shake the water from his long black hairs and inspect his catch.

Three feet to the right a brown owl hooted a protest to the cat’s intrusion. Loci hissed, swishing his tail in agitation. The owl flapped his wings, whootled, and advanced towards the carp. Bristling and screeching, Loci stood firm on his tree space. The brown owl advanced again its yellow eyes twirling hypnotically. Unfazed, Loci hissed and sat on his catch.

The owl swooped, screeched, and flew on into the moonlight. When the night remained silent, Loci returned his attention to his catch. Grasping it firmly in his jaws he leaped, and using the shortcuts open only to his kind, reached his destination in three turns.

Justine seemed distracted as she opened the sliding door. Sounds of Johnny Janis singing LIVE UNTIL I DIE buoyed his steps.

“Where were you,” Justine chastised. She set aside her glass of Moscoto and plate of goat cheese. “Jezel and Argus have already left. Oh, what’s this?”

Justine inspected the carp, turning it over in her petite hands. “Not too old, pregnant, vibrant colors. So you’re looking for peace and contentment in your next life?”

Loci head-butted her ankle, then rolled onto his side and exposed his stomach. Ignoring him, she returned to her seat. Loci jumped onto the witch’s lap, kneading the loose robe and purring out his life stories of tragically lost loves.

“I don’t know,” Justine advised. “You haven’t earned this life cycle you desire. You’ve been cowardly, sedate in your prior two lives.”

Staring into her azure eyes, he preyed upon Justine’s own lost loves. The loneliness she suffered from betrayals and misunderstandings of her craft. He purred his acceptance of Justine’s usual terms; a hundred years of devotion regardless of his success.

Justine leaned forward and scratched between his ears. “Very well.”

Loci fell to the floor as she stood. Tossing the fish into her stew pot, she asked if he had a birthstone for the spell. Loci produced a multifaceted tourmaline.

Justine cackled, lowered goggles over her eyes, and wrapped his feline form in gauze. Loci tolerated the confinement with an anxious heart as he closed his eyes and waited for his spirit to be reborn.

* * *

What do ya think, ready to add your own story to the linky and possibly win a prize?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WEP: Halloween

October 21 - 23 WEP HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE: Youthful Frights Vs Adult Fears.

For this challenge, you will be asked to share a childhood fright that might or did turn into an adult fear, real or imagined.

To start the fun you can:
1.    share with us a favorite frightening tale, movie, novel or a photograph or painting that will leave us quaking in our boots
2.    in a short paragraph describe how it scared you, and why it did and or still does today
3.    then you can:
a.    write your own scary piece, 1000 words or less, in any format or
b.    share a photograph or painting that captures the horror you've felt.

The subject or theme is a childhood fright that might or did turn into an adult fear.

Since I didn't write a story - too much writing for IWSG and critting projects for other friends - I'm taking a couple liberties with the above format.

  I guess I was subject to the usual childhood fears, but nothing that scared me to the point of absolute avoidance forever. Vampires and Werewolves used to be spooky, and Mummy's. Frankenstein's monster, the monster under the bed. Bela Lagosi, Vincent Price and Christopher Lee are some of my favorite horror actors from childhood, and taught me the value of locking windows and doors before bed. Later came mutants, demon possession, Freddy Kruger, Jason and zombies. While the movies were scary, I developed more of a curiosity in scary things - stories and creatures - than a fear of them. And no, clowns do not scare me. Never have, never will. Well, maybe Pennywise . . .
  But Hobo's did. For me, the Boogie Man was a homeless transient that lived down along the railroad tracks. He dressed in dark clothing, had a shaggy beard and long, dirty hair, and walked stooped over from carrying sacks of bad children to their camp to put in pots and boil for dinner. At least, that was the story my parents told us. I only saw one man that looked like that; we drove past him one night on the way home from church. One sighting was enough for me to pray extra hard for a few months.

Part I  Some things that I saw in movies as a kid that scared me, and stick with me as an adult, kinda?
 - I'm a doll collector; movies about evil dolls scare me. Long before Chucky, there was this movie about a construction worker that dug up a buried porcelain doll, and took it home to his daughter. The little doll turned out evil. I collected very tiny dolls after that; ones I could crush with my foot. Later my sister got this three foot doll that would walk with you when you held her hand. She (the doll) ended up in the attic, staring out a window. Creeped us all out. Especially at night.
 - things that come up out of the toilet. Alligators and Crocs, snakes, demons. Yep, toilets can be fear inducing to the unsuspecting arse. I never sit on a strange toilet without flushing it first (difficult now with those auto flushers) and for years refused to use a port-a-pot in camp grounds. I'd rather drop my drawers behind a tree, and to hell with whoever sees me and is disgusted.
 - Dead people freak me out. I watched Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Dracula, Mummy movies. People buried alive, people who drowned and came back. Ghosts, burned witches, demons. I will not be buried when I die; I will be cremated. After I'm embalmed - no way to live through that process. Its not the dead (or resurrected creatures) themselves that scare me, its the thought of coming back. I may still haunt you as a ghost, but that is more natural than a zombie. Or worse, not being dead and waking up buried in a coffin. Do I like caves? Not so much. Sad to say though, I avoid funerals and cemetaries, and don't go to open casket viewings. The dead are gone - hopefully.
 - Strangers in the night. You ever watch Twilight Zone or Outer Limits? Really bad things happen to people who walk around in the dark. Pretty people mostly (so its a good thing I'm not pretty!), even monsters prefer a good looking meal - virgin or not - to the dregs of society. Beware world, minions are ugly, stinky, and liars; victims are honest, good looking and caring. Or at least having sex in interesting places. Just saying, based on the horror movies.
  But not all monsters are supernatural. Best not to tempt fate by being a hitchhiker, or picking up one, or going home with that good looking guy who talks so sweet and pays for all your drinks. I think I'd rather be eaten by a troll, alien, vampire, even a zombie, than be tortured and murdered by a fellow human being. I hate being out by myself at night, driving or walking. And truthfully, I don't like dark rooms in my home. When I open my eyes, for whatever reason, I want to clearly see what is sneaking up on me. Constant Vigilance are my watch words; my kids complain all the time because it is hard to sneak up on me to scare me - day or night.

Part II Pictures that invoke terror

Dr. Harold Fredrick Shipman was an English doctor and is one of the world’s most prolific serial killers in recorded history, proven to have been responsible for up to 250 murders. A trusted doctor, he was well respected in his community; however colleagues and local undertakers began raising concerns over the high death rate in the area and the large number of cremation forms for elderly women that he had countersigned. Several bodies were later exhumed and postmortems revealed diamorphine within their system. It was later established Shipman had purposely injected fatal doses of the drug in a huge number of patients, causing their death. He then forged their wills so he could inherit large sums of money and completed cremation requests to destroy the victim’s bodies. The trial judge sentenced him to 15 consecutive life sentences and recommended that he never be released. Shipman hanged himself in January 2004 in his cell at Wakefield Prison.

One of the United States most prolific serial killers, Gary Ridgway was arrested in 2001 for 4 murders though confessed to killing at least 70 women in Washington state throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He avoided the death penalty by providing detailed confessions and led police to the dumping sites of his victims, five of whom he dumped in the Green River leading to the press nicknaming him The Green River Killer. He was convicted of 49 murders and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

One of the most widely known murderers of the 20th century, Ted Bundy was an American serial killer and rapist who kidnapped or overpowered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s. Bundy typically approached his female victims in a public place and led them to secluded areas where he would sexually assault and kill them. He decapitated at least 12 victims and kept the severed heads in his apartment as trophies. Repeatedly captured, he twice managed to escape from police and court houses before going onto commit three further killings. Convicted of multiple murders he sentenced to death. He was executed by the electric chair in 1989.

A Chinese-American serial killer, Charles Ng is believed to have raped, tortured and murdered between 11 and 25 victims with his accomplice Leonard Lake at Lake’s ranch in Calaveras County, California. They filmed themselves raping and torturing their victims. Their crimes became known in 1985 when Lake committed suicide after being arrested and Ng was caught shoplifting at a hardware store. Police searched Lake’s ranch and found human remains. Ng was identified as Lake’s partner in crime and attempted to evade police by fleeing to Canada. After a lengthy extradition to the United States He stood trial in 1998 on twelve counts of murder and was convicted in 1999. Ng is currently on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

Known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer and sex offender who raped, murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. He also committed necrophilia and ate parts of his later victims, dismembering and cooking parts of their bodies within his home. Dahmer was eventually caught after a would-be victim managed to overpower him and alert police. In 1992 Dahmer was convicted of 15 of the murders and sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment. However just two years into his sentence he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution.

They look so normal, don't they? Go here for a longer list of human monsters.

I know Denise and Yolanda, there was a word up there I didn't incorporate into this writing: FUN. Sorry, this is where the writing took me at the time.

If ya'll would like to read more actual FUN participants, click here for the linky at Write..Edit..Publish.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Well, I had my apology post all scheduled for today's BATTLE OF THE BANDS (couldn't get my Nightmare post done properly), but I ran across this in my drafts and decided to post it. I've been on the road a lot since last Thursday, and when not driving and inventorying my stores I've had lots of paperwork and other stuff to do. I only work one week a month, but its sometimes more than 12 hour days when I run my route. Hectic and tiring is an understatement. The only thing I want at the end of the long day is a decent hotel (with a wine shop close by) and a shower that does more than sprinkle a couple droplets of soft, tepid water on my wide posterior.

Anyway - HOTEL CALIFORNIA by The Eagles has been overdone by just about everyone. Click the link to read all about it. According to Wikipedia:
The lyrics weave a surrealistic tale in which a weary traveler checks into a luxury hotel. The hotel at first appears inviting and tempting, but it turns out to be a nightmarish place where "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave". The song is an allegory about hedonism, self-destruction, and greed in the music industry of the late 1970s. Don Henley called it "our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles" and later reiterated: "It's basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about."

Watch an Eagles version here, if you're interested.

You're lucky; that's not the song I'm doing today.

Today's contenders will battle it out over your funny bone. Hopefully you find these two as hilarious as I did. Fair warning: put down the coffee or whatever else you're consuming before clicking on either of these - in case you find it funny.

Barry Poole (born December 18, 1964) is an American country music artist who records under the name Cledus T. Judd. Known primarily for his parodies of popular country music songs, he has been called the "Weird Al" Yankovic of country music, and his albums are usually an equal mix of original comedy songs and parodies. (source)

Cledus T Judd parody Motel Californie

Justin Hansen, better known as GISH, is one of the most popular comedians on the NZ ProComedy Circuit. With a wicked combination of original and popular song parodies and a healthy toke of comedy for the bro's, GISH is a a favourite headliner throughout New Zealand.

GISH has turned his song writing talents to comedy providing a unique alternative amongst his fellow stand-up comedians; for which he has been a previous Billy T Comedy Award nominee in 2006. He has also featured on "Pulp Comedy" and TV3's comedy special, "AotearoHA".

Want to know more about Gish? Check out this article in the Auckland City Harbour News.


OK, go vote in the comments. Then check out the list of other participants here at the blog of Lucky Saint Mac (aka Stephen McCarthy), and don't forget to wish Wilting FAE a speedy recovery.

I will continue to be busy the next few days too. I will attempt to visit all the posts, but with grandkids here, who knows what will happen - or not happen.

I still have lots to complete on my IWSG anthology story. How's yours shaping up? And no, I have not started on my WEP Halloween writing, or the Spooktoberfest flash. I'm starting to get a bit commitment phobic; or at least scared to turn on my computer and contemplate My Documents.

If I don't see ya'll around timely, have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


October IWSG: and my birthday month. Know what my birthday present this year is? Know what, know what? Ok, I'll tell you. New season The Walking Dead starts Sunday, October 11. Scrrreeeeaaam!!! Just for MEEE hahahaha

But seriously, this month I'm not going to expound on my own writing insecurities, as there are so many, the biggest being I'm not sure I will ever write anything publishable again. I have too many story starts, and nearly finished projects, and so many more procrastination projects. Typical  writer anxieties. Nothing new here.

Lately I've been watching TV and movies with people (no, not something I usually do). Things I don't normally watch, or stuff I've seen over and over during the summer since all my normal viewing is on season break. Even some movies I've wanted to see, and now that I'm not working during the day I can hit some tight-wad Tuesday theater times. With friends/family.

They really don't like to watch with me; a writer, aka story teller. If there is a plot hole to be found, trust me when I say, I'll spot it. You can shush me during the show (unless its soooo obvious I'm sure even the most unobservant can't help but take note) but in the discussion afterward, I'm a Siskel and Ebert wannabe critic.

Friends/family that enjoy reading the same books as me never ask my opinion of the story either. Cuz, I'll tell them exactly what I think of it - the good and the not so good. The disappointments. The obvious plot or story or character holes. When I discuss a book or movie and say nothing but good THEY of course look at me like I'm just saying what they want to hear.

And I have to wonder if I will ever write a story that I don't edit forever, or don't write an ending to because I know it has to be missing something. Some, minor point I forgot to flesh out, or a detail I mentioned in one segment and ignored in a couple paragraphs later. Something I didn't explain, like the movies/shows I watch or the books I read.

Do you have an overactive external critic as well as an internal critic?

Be sure to visit other IWSG participants on the linky here; and thank our host Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh. This months co hosts are:  TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Farris, and Eva E Solar.

And don't forget to polish up those submissions for the IWSG anthology. Deadline is Nov 1; coming faster than you can blink into a wormhole.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Recently I was contacted by a book promoter named Jessica Hardesty (Mind Buck Media) with a request to read/review a MG/YA novel Thee Links of Chain. I rarely read anything in this genre, but her pitch for the book was intriguing:

Just as parents are searching for those elusive last summer reading titles that are both exciting and uplifting, I'm working with Dennis Maley on his upcoming book release. Maley’s new young adult book, Three Links of Chain, tells the story of an escaped slave who makes his way across the Kansas Territory in the mid-1850s. Three Links of Chain provides a textured historical account of how Kansas struggled with becoming a free state and the importance of literacy to the individual at that time within a gripping adventure story. 
Intrigued by the themes of the novel, I accepted the challenge. I am glad I did. First let me introduce you to the author, Dennis Maley.


Born in the middle of the baby boom, 1948, Iowa. The best uncle a guy could have moved Mom to Wichita, Kansas, where my dad came once he got his walking papers from the Navy.
Just north of Wichita is a town called Valley Center. I was a mouthy underachiever K-12. Went to Kansas State University in the Little Apple, Manhattan, one semester, then transferred to Tulsa University where I met Mrs. Maley.

Mrs. Maley (Deliliah, Dee, Boo) was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She attended Edison High School in Tulsa (portrayed in the book and movie "The Outsiders" as the soshes). She and I married two years after the "Summer of Love." A bum shoulder gave me a 1-Y draft classification and I wasn't called to serve.

We moved to Oklahoma City where I worked in the income tax business. We have two kids. Our daughter was valedictorian at a good school, Phi Beta Kappa at Oklahoma University, suma cum laude. Our son won an award during freshman orientation for being able to put a condom on a banana the fastest while blindfolded. I am proud of him, too. He runs marathons. Because he graduated college, the odds against him getting incarcerated are 63 to 1. We're nuts about our three grandkids.
Mrs. Maley is a killer reading teacher. The part of "Three Links Of Chain" that is about literacy is a hat tip to her.

I started writing maybe 15 years ago. I gravitated to screenwriting as I didn't think my wordsmithing was good while my storytelling was OK. I love going back home to Oz, or Kansas as it is sometimes known. Mrs. Maley and I got a chance to visit the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church on a recent visit. Several years ago, out in the tallgrass prairie, I saw a roadside marker that sparked my curiosity and I ended up writing a script that involved Kansas history. People seemed to love a minor character, a runaway slaveboy. That's the genesis of "Three Links Of Chain."

I made four comedy short films with a couple of friends who have since died on me. Just as soon as I took over as dictator of my book club, one of our venerated members died. A theme is developing.
I sang and danced in a community theater production of "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," a minor role, the mayor. I got paid $6. I have a couple of guys hot to make a short film out of the first chapters of "Three Links Of Chain." If we didn't cut corners, the budget says $60,000 for 15 minutes. And if we caught lightning in a jar, maybe we make a feature length film. I organized a tax-exempt charity, raised $3,100, but have since run out of good ideas.

The number of ways to get $50-ed to death in this business are endless. I joined the Historical Novel Society six months ago, attracted to conference, but I didn't see any classes I liked. They all seemed to be for writers of bodice-rippers.

A writer from Florida accidently got himself born and was given my name. He's an ex-wrestler and boxer and to avoid conflict I've ceded the part of Florida south and east of Tallahassee to him. DON'T BE CONFUSED. It's the real me that has written "Three Links Of Chain," and I'm trolling for an agent to help me sell "Profane Fire At The Altar Of The Lord," a popular history about a couple of false Messiahs in the 16th century.

I don't want to tarnish my serious writing, so for my trashy humor, I borrow the name of a figment, T-Bob Corvus. A second e-book should be posted on Amazon in a month.

I play poker weekly with a bunch of guys I call my poker students. I like to walk when I play golf. I'm learning to play the banjo clawhammer style. People think I am eccentric.
Facebook: Dennis Maley

The flyer reads “One dark mulatto runaway, aged fourteen, well dressed and bright…”

Blanche thinks he has it good. He has risen above the field hands to a position helping run a printing
press. He's well fed, never physically mistreated, and he has taught himself to read, though he keeps the illicit skill a secret. Most importantly, he has been promised a chance at emancipation. Then, in a single bloody morning, Blanche’s world is overturned, his master lies dead, and his widow has no intention of following through with her husband's promise to free him.

Blanche would never have considered running away from his old life, but faced with the prospect of being sold as a laborer or worse, he forges his free papers and flees north, a fugitive, to create his own future. Only a few steps ahead of the slave catchers, he travels hundreds of miles across the violent backdrop of “bleeding Kansas” in the 1850s, a land torn apart by two very different visions of humanity.

This richly researched work of fiction weaves actual historical characters and institutions into the gripping story of a young man born into slavery but resolute in his quest for freedom.

Release: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: Jublio
ISBN: 978-0-9861158-0-6
Price: $11.95
Kindle Price: $2.99
Pages: 242
Distribution: Amazon and Ingram
Publicity Contact: MindBuck Media

My Review:
This was an intriguing book. I liked the voice and pace; it was written using the languge (idioms) of the 1850's. The story line was interesting, the setting was vivid and sometimes violent (as befits the "Bleeding Kansas" situation), and the main character Blanche was well developed with a large character arch. I liked the arrogance he developed as a skilled laborer, and how that arrogance was chipped away, sometimes in large chunks, as his life deteriorates and he finally determines to run away.

The journey Blanche embarks on to find the underground rail road leads him through much of the political turmoil in pre-civil war Kansas/Missouri, and the author expertly weaves in the corruption, violence, and debates of the times. My only complaint with the novel was the author's prolific use of research, often overly describing the uses and development of items and issues, and personal motives and histories of the famous individuals Blanche encounters.

Overall a well developed, well paced historical fiction, with authentic voice and personalities. The author note at the end of the novel was much appreciated, as it described which of the characters and events were historically accurate, and which were composites of much research. I highly recommend this novel to anybody who enjoys a rich historical content; but mostly for school aged children who don't enjoy a dry history lesson, but enjoys a good, factual story.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


October is a spooky month, one of my favorites. I love it when something really scares me, makes me jump clear out of my skin. My kids are always trying to sneak up on me; rarely works. Got that third eye in the back of my head that always tells me where they are. That played havoc with daughter when she was a teen, sneaking out of the house at night. I'd be standing there watching her crawl through her bedroom window and say "you could have used the front door ya know. You have a key."

She'd just say that was unnatural. Really??  I hope she remembers this when her own daughters are teens in a couple years.

She was lucky not to get eaten by any Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, general monsters, or other more human predators. Not to mention the Mommy at the door waiting to club her brainless - but I restrained myself and found other ways to punish her - hehuchehuc.

With THE WALKING DEAD returning Oct 11 (birthday present from AMC) you'd think my Battle of the Bands post would be about ZOMBIES. Buuut, there just isn't anything out there with covers that appeal to me. You'd be surprised how many instrumentals there are with "zombie" attached to the title. And yes, I considered Michael Jackson's THRILLER and Rob Zombie's LIVING DEAD GIRL. I have not found any covers for those, but of course, NOBODY could ever possibly do THRILLER as well as Michael Jackson (yes, I grieve for the fabulous artist he was).

The BATTLE OF THE BANDS list of participants is growing so big now I'm sure someone will find covers for all the usual Halloween monster songs. Here today, you get a Vampire song. I'm busy writing on a couple short stories for submission before the end of the month, so I'll just leave off the song/artist write-up and get strait to the horror.

Entombed: Night of the Vampire

Black Debbah: UPDATE; This is a German, metal band. Germans do not pronounce the letter V; instead, they us a W. Hense, this band is singing NIGHT OF THE WAMPIRE.

When you are done voting here be sure to haunt our hosts Stephen T McCarthy and Far Away Eyes. Give 'em all hell for me.