Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Secret Hiding Spot- Writing Prompt

Write about what happens when a little boy finds a secret hiding spot in his grandmothers house. What happens when he accidentally locks himself inside?

A Low-Town Walk- A Poem by Guest Shane Hogan

A Low-Town Walk
Shane Hogan 

A Low-town Walk
I see the sun
Above the sky so handsome
It shines all day down upon my face
As I look above
With all the power of my being
I have to sit down
Just to embrace my day

I kick a stone
At rolls and it does tumble
A tired rock
That takes all in its day
As it starts to stop
As if it was never moving
The dust starts to settle 

It has found its place to lay
Just to save our souls
Our spirits are freed
from our body's
Just to have a say

We sometimes cannot speak
When we walk along
We can hold our hands together

We can look at death to understand our life's
I feel the grass
The blades that grow so freely
A breath of green 
That does not rue my lungs
I taste the start
As it was in the beginning
The free grass grows
Around the land it loves

I take my time
Not to be ignorant and notice
That the road is stable to my feet
That the world and i knew
If it means noting
I'll be a thought to you
To think about one day

For More On Shane Hogan:

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Grisly Scene- A Poem

 A Grisly Scene
K.N. Lee

A grisly scene
Blood, bone, and mush
Teeth were scattered
Crinkled fur

Black eyes looked up
No soul
Just glazed
Just blurred

Tire tracks 
A screech
And a squeal
Poor little kitty
Poor little road kill

Fogged Mirror- By guest poet Shane Hogan!!

Fogged Mirror
Shane Hogan

I do remember I was in love.
There was an easy breeze 
That blew through all of those days.

Sight spawned from Naivety 
Allowed me to live in short spells
Of what I idealized.

Your word and scent was my addiction.
I arrived home drunk many nights
On thoughts of tomorrow.

You were my plant 
And I was your bee.
Then one day change came.
I did not understand how
But did not think, i was still drunk.
I believed the easy breeze would return.

It did not.

As my whole being entered withdrawal,
What was idealized started to crumble.
I was not the bee who found his plant.
I was the bee who was fooled by the jam jar
And only realized as i started to sink.
I could never have known
That ones beauty could so easily corrupt.

Inflicted with a disability i still care,
For a person who does not dwell within.
For my love was a one horse race,
That proved to be a very weak glue.
Although it is sabotage
I ponder on former actions.
It is treacherous to be a long since
Faded memory to someone,
When they are not to you.
I remember.

I have loved.

For More On Shane Hogan:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Promotion- Writing Prompt

Today is your big day! You're up for a promotion. You and your assistant are called into the bosses office and you learn that your assistant is given the job you wanted. What do you do?

The Prophet- A Poem

The Prophet
K.N. Lee 

Sticky situations
Arise in this land
He has the right weapons
But he has no hands
He thinks clearly
Yet runs with his heart
And worthy
Yet too afraid to start
The journey to discover
Who he who has brought the tide
This man is a prophet
Who has been to the other side
His face is fresh and young
Shielded in iron and gold
The sun shines
The moon glows
He was mine
And he knows
What futures were foretold   
Image by, Brandon Graham

Writing Challenge With Author, Ksenia Anske!!

In 3000 words or less, write about a girl, or boy, that discovers an abandoned house in the forest. What is inside the house? Is there danger, or a surprise? Perhaps it is a gateway to another world... 
If you took the wrong turn off the main forest trail, chances were, you could get lost. Anyone knew that. 

Dylan knew that too, but the need to go see what kinds of berries hung on that bush just a few paces away fromthe trail overrode his rational thinking. And who knows how to think rationally when you're ten and only had a couple hard-boiled eggs for breakfast? 

Pine needles crunched under his feet as he stepped in between roots and, avoiding racoon holes, finally made his way to what looked like a blackberry bush. But the berries weren't blackberries. Number one, they were golden in color. Orange, almost. Number two, they were shaped a bit differently, rounder, as opposed to a conical in shape.
He reached out for one and promptly plopped it in his mouth. A burst of tart sweetness tickled his taste buds and he proceeded at grabbing another one, and another, and another.
"Dylan, where are you?" Angie's voice pulled him to a halt. He froze with yet another berry barely touching his lips. His freckled face grimaced in exasperation, summer sun dancing across his cheeks.
"I'm coming! Just a minute! I need to pee!" Lying was easy, as always, and Dylan hoped that his sister would let this fly. After all, it was not his idea to go search for mushrooms, and he was tired of being a sidekick to her and her obnoxious friends. 

She dragged him with her only because she had to look after him while mom and dad were gone shopping. And, of course, on mom's insistence, she had to get him outside "to get fresh air and not be stuck all day long in front of computer." He hated these trips, always either serving as a punching bag for her soon-to-be-boyfriend or a repository for their jokes, starting from his red hair and ending with his jumpy gait.
"Well, make it quick then and get your ass over here. Got it?" Angie called. "Catch up, we're not waiting for you." A few choked laughs followed this.
"Sure!" That was directed towards Angie in a bright cheerful voice of a smaller agreeable sibling. "You can suck it." He added under his breath, and ventured further away, to the next bush.
It took less than a minute for Dylan to clear both of them, since there weren't many berries to begin with, but when he looked a bit beyond, there was another cluster of bushes in the grove, beckoning him. He shrugged his shoulders and decided that it won't do any harm if he quickly ventured out there. 

In a few minutes he was in front of them, grabbing at berries greedily. He took another step and saw a small incline lead to the base of the hill and continue into a clearing of sorts, with something dark standing hidden under the overgrown vines and more golden berry bushes. A hill? No, it was definitely not a hill, but a manmade structure covered with green.
"Whoa!" Dylan exclaimed and promptly forgot about his sister. "I think it's a house." His curiosity took over and he sprinted down, falling once and rolling on the grass, picking himself up and making his way to the object in question. The closer he got, the more certain he was it was, indeed, a house. A cabin, perhaps, or a shack, very small, maybe ten feet by ten feet by ten feet...
"Wait, it's a cube. Its roof is flat." He stood an arm length away from one of the walls, lush with greenery and completely hidden under a latticework of twisted vine twigs. He was afraid to touch it, afraid to push the leaves apart and see if it was made of wood or of metal, and if there is a door or a window in this wall. 

Instead, he circled the shack, carefully stepping around, in between what seemed to be a tree wall planted by someone. They grew to close to each other and too close to the shack, leaving only a corridor of about six feet between themselves and the structure. On all four sides. 
On the third circle Dylan worked up his courage and came up closer to one of the walls, to where he supposed a door might be, because it was facing the clearing from where he came, so it seemed a logical place to start. 

He slowly raised his arm, and, trembling, poked a finger quickly and retracted it. Nothing happened. He then pulled the leaves apart and saw that it is indeed made of wood, some old oak or pine, and painted orange and looking old, very old.
"This is so cool..." He muttered and looked back briefly, suddenly wanting the company of Angie and her friends like never before. "I'm not a coward, I don't need you." He turned back his head and licked his lips. "You will see. I can do it myself. I will find the door, look inside, and then I will run back and tell you what I found. All alone. You just wait."
Continuing to mutter, perhaps more for his own comfort, Dylan gently hovered the palm of his right hand over the blanket over vines. Growing bolder, he tore at a couple of them, exposing wood, orange painted wood. The paint job was ancient, peeling off and hardly looking like orange anymore. 

Dylan's heartbeat spiked to double the usual speed, pounding in his ears. His mouth has gone dry, and still he couldn't tear himself away from the place. A little bit above the line of his eye sight, to the left, he saw what looked like a gap. Sure enough, when he traced it with his finger, right about the height of his waist, he found a door knob, rough to touch. He grabbed it and turned.
"What the hell am I doing?" The hinges creaked its rusty song and the door opened an inch, held back together by the vegetation. A smell of berries hit Dylan's nose. No, it was better than berries, it smelled like berry pie. He expected a dunk odor of mold and old wood, so this delighted him and he broke into a smile.
"I'll only take a quick peak..." He said, and stuck his face close to the gap, simultaneously thinking back to all the R.L. Stine's Goosebumps stories and feeling his spine turn to ice at the idea that someone, worse, something, might grab his nose right this minute and...
He shrieked and without having taken a peak inside fell on his butt and proceeded to crab-walk on all fours, in an inverted fashion, suddenly terrified of the place. The door stood ajar, as if waiting for him to proceed, and the smell became stronger. 

Dylan waited a minute. No scary monster poked his head out of the shack, no undead being stumbled out, and Dylan's breathing returned to normal. He sat and brushed his dirty hands on his blue jeans, then licked the right one and smoothed his unruly red hair.
"Okay, okay, it's just a fig-ment of my imagination." Dylan loved new words and this was the perfect occasion to use the word figment which he learned from reading the other day. "I'm in a park. It's not even a real forest, so nothing creepy can happen here. Nothing." The insatiable need to know what smelled to deliciously inside got him on his feet and poking his nose inside again.
He took a deep breath and let it out, disappointed, grabbing the door and pulling it open half-way.
"That's it?"
Inside it was dark, but sheets of light broke in between the wooden slats of the walls and the ceiling, which wasn't so much a ceiling as it was a top side of a cube, because the interior was perfectly square in any way you looked at it. In the middle of the wooden floor lay a small colorful cube.
"What the hell is that? It can't be this thing smelling, can it?" Without thinking, Dylan took a step in and kneeled next to the object.
"A Rubik's cube!" He exclaimed and picked it up. "A scented one. Weird. I've never seen one like that before." The cube smelled deliciously, a fragrance that suggested it might be made out of the berries he just ate as opposed to plastic. And it was hopelessly scrambled.
"Whoever left it here, didn't know nothing about solving Rubik's cubes. But I do, ha!" Dylan said, without any premonition about how right he was saying it just this very moment, and how wrong he was saying it just this very moment. Because the next moment, he turned it this way and that, then fixed his stare on what he decided will be the top, with yellow center, and twisted the side that had an orange center. 

The cube's orange face pivoted, and for a second Dylan felt like the floor moved, but he ignored it, too concentrated on the puzzle at hand. He clicked the whole side in place, and simultaneously the same click, but amplified tenfold, emanated from behind his back. By the time he turned his head around and realized what was happening, the entire wall behind him, the one that was painted orange and had a door, shifted, rotated, and locked itself in a new position, door shut. 
"NO!" He screamed, dropped the cube and run up to the door. There was no door. In fact, the walls ceased to be wooden, they were plastic now, solid, with strangle colored light oozing from each of them, all mixed up. Red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and white.
"Let me out! Let me out! LET ME OUT! ANGIE!!!" Dylan pounded on the walls, screaming his head off and finding himself on the throes of panic, his legs feeling weak, his knees growing soft, his eyes filling with water and spilling on his face in angry tears. "I said, let me out! Please! I don't want to die!" 

He pounded on each wall in turn, to no avail. The only effect was dull sounding thuds produced by his fists and his face smeared with snot as he tried to wipe off his face. Finally, he lifted his t-shirt, blew his nose into it and decided to think straight for a second.
"I don't want to die. I don't want to die..." He sniffled, involuntarily picking up the cube and turning it in his hands. "Wait a second. Is this..." 

Understanding downed on him, and he looked around to confirm it, pointing at each wall and calling out its color, ending on the ceiling. "They're Rubik's cube sides, and I'm inside! So maybe all I have to do is solve it and it will let me out. Will you?" He asked out loud.
Silence greeted him. Dylan sat on the floor, cube in his hand, paralyzed, his eyes open wide in fear, multiple colors of light playing on his pale skin. His hands shook and his face got covered with a sheen of cold sweat. "If it's a joke, it's stupid." He said, thinking back to Angie and wishing with all his might to turn back the time and never venture out for those berries. "All right then. Let's see here."
He sniffed once more and set to trying to solve the riddle. Each time he turned the face of the cube, a wall shifted and he got thrown around to it, because gravity shifted and whatever wall corresponded to the face he was pivoting, became the floor. At first he shrieked, but after a few of these tumbles he got used to them and didn't even mind hitting his head on the walls. 

After all, they appeared to be made of plastic and didn't hurt that much. Puzzle solving frenzy took over him, especially because his father bought him one recently and he was spending all his free time reading tricks online and watching YouTube videos on how to solve one. The toughest part was the last layer, and it took him what seemed like an eternity. At last, exhausted yet exhilarated, Dylan clicked the bottom face in place, and the floor shook him off to the neighboring wall, opening up into a door. 
Fresh summer air gushed through it, and Dylan, beside himself, tossed the cube away and crawled out of the shack on all fours, crying and sobbing and continuing forward until he made it about ten feet away from the grove of trees at the bottom of the clearing. Then, and only then, did he turn his head back. 
The woods looked at him, wondering what exactly was he staring at. The shack simply wasn't there. In fact, the trees that grew in a strange fence-like manner weren't there either, replaced by an irregular growth of furs. 

Dylan gasped, but was unable to say anything, was unable to even call Angie for help, wondering if it was maybe the next day, because the sun was as high as when it was at ten in the morning, when he and his sister with her friends took off into the woods from the parking lot. His tongue simply wouldn't move, and in this state he proceeded to crawl until he made it to the bushes with fragrantly smelling golden berries on top of the incline.
"Dylan! Dylan!" Multiple calls echoed around and somebody nearly tripped over him. He could only turn around and lay down on his back.
"Dylan, Christ, are you out of your mind? Where the hell were you when I was calling? Jesus!" Angie leaned over him, her face contorted in a genuine mask of concern. "Are you all right?" She added, her voice scared now. 
"Angie-doll, did you find him?" Matt, her soon-to-be-boyfriend stepped out from behind her back. "Guys, over here!" He shouted.
"What happened? What--" Angie started.
"I... berries." Dylan said, pointing at the bush above, quickly weaving a story in his mind.
"You ate those??? Are you crazy? What if they're poisonous!" Angie exclaimed and proceeded to give out her botanical knowledge of all things weeds, which wasn't much. 
Dylan tuned her out and turned his head to the left, his gaze tracing all the way across the clearing. He thought that maybe for a moment he saw the cube-house and the grove of trees around it. He blinked and it was gone. 
I'll come here again. I'll tell Max and we'll come here together.
"Dylan, are you listening to me?" Angie's voice brought him back. 
"Yeah, sorry." Dylan said. "But those berries were good. Very sweet. And so... orange. I wonder if... I wonder if there are red ones on the other side, and maybe blue ones that way..."

For More On Ksenia:
My picture and bio: http://www.kseniaanske.com/bio/

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Hike of No Return- Writing Prompt

You reach the top of a mountain after a long hike. You see a huge wave come from the ocean and cover the city. What is your next move?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Red Glasses- A Poem

Red Glasses
K.N. Lee 

He wore red glasses
Wide brimmed and stylish
Newspaper in hand
And smirk on his lips as he gazed down at comics
He dare not look my way
For I might swoon
Could a man be so beautiful?
Could a day be so bleak?
The rain splattered his glasses
I laughed
Opened my umbrella
"You can join me...
If you'd like..."
His eyes met mine
That smile on his lips
Is for me

Thursday, April 25, 2013

An Interview With Author Sam Sackett!

Where are you from?
I was born in Redlands, CA, but have moved around a lot over the western half of the country.  I'm living now in Canton, OK, which is an hour southeast of Woodward, an hour southwest of Enid, an hour west of Kingfisher, an hour northeast of Weatherford, an hour northwest of Clinton, and an hour east of the end of the world.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?
Right now I'm a full-time writer, but for reasons of age and health that means I can put in about three hours a day.  The only way that affects my writing is that it makes me more impatient to get to it.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
After I got my master's, I taught for two years at Hastings College in Hastings, NE.  Then I went to UCLA for a doctorate, which took me off the market for three years. With all the class work done and only the dissertation to write, I went to what is now Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS, for 23 years, where I burned out on teaching.  I wrote full time for a year and made some money, but not enough to live on, so I was dean of Salt City Business College in Hutchinson, KS, for a year.  When the college folded, I went to Clinton, OK, to work as a reporter for a weekly newspaper; then I was hired away by an advertising agency in Weatherford, OK.  When the agency went bust, I went to a public relations agency in Oklahoma City.  After two years I was fired for incompetence and ran my own agency in OKC for two years until I was hired by my biggest client, a career management firm, full time. I went from there to another career management firm and then to the OKC office of Bernard Haldane Associates, where I stayed for 12 years until retirement.

Do you have any children? How do you balance family life with your writing life?
I have two sons, but they are both grown.  I am, in fact, a great-grandfather.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing when I was in kindergarten and never stopped.

Have you ever been to a writing conference, class, of critique group? How was that experience?
I took creative writing classes in college and also have taught them myself.  Looking back, I'm not convinced that they were useful.

What genre do you prefer to write in?
I am a historical novelist, though I think my books are more like fictional biographies.  I've also written some science fiction.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite, or which characters are your favorites?
I've written or collaborated in 16 published books, both fiction and nonfiction.  I have no favorites.

What inspired you to write your latest book?
The book I'm working on now is Rabbi Yeshua:  The Human Side of Jesus.  What inspired me was Jesus Christ Superstar.  It gave what Jesus did, but it gave no clue as to why he did it, what he thought in his own mind he was trying to accomplish.

How long did it take you to write the book?

I've been working at it off and on since 1976, writing and rewriting and doing research.  I hope to see it published in August or September of this year.

What books have most influenced your life?
I've got to say that the one book that has most influenced my life was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum.  Another very influential one was Becoming a Person, by Carl Rogers.  And I also have to list the books I consider the greatest: The History of Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes; and The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  Oh, and I can't forget The Greek Passion, by Nikos Kazantzakis.

What book are you reading now?
Right now I'm reading American Pastoral, by Philip Roth, and I'm bored stiff with it.  I'm 100 pages into it and I'm wondering when the story is going to start.  I keep going in the hope it will get better.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I haven't read any "new authors."

What are your current projects?
My current project is Rabbi Yeshua.  I think when I get that done I'll quit.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest in writing began when my mother bought me my first book, before I was in kindergarten.  I enjoyed that so much that I wanted to do something like that myself.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Particularly challenging?  I write fast, and I find that I have to go back and fill things in that I've left out.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is Henry Fielding.  I am attracted to his personality, as revealed in his books, and he looks at life pretty much as I do.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
One thing I have learned is that I get a great idea for starting a book, and I am pretty good at letting the idea work itself out, but then I need a strong ending and have trouble with that.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I'm too old fashioned to be comfortable with e-books, but I think they're fine for the people who like them.  It's better to read an e-book than not to read a book at all.  In general, I'm distrustful of technology; a lot of it is just a fad and doesn't last.  I remember when records were wax disks at 78 rpm, then vinyl disks at 33 and 45 rpm came in, and then there were 8-track tapes and cassettes, and then CD's.  I wonder when somebody will come up with something that makes e-books obsolete.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
The future of reading/writing?  I've read too much science fiction to predict the future; I know what science-fiction writers in 1953 thought 2013 would be like, and they were all wrong.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

I'm grateful for the trend toward self-publishing.  I've had too many of my books turned down by publishers who never even read them.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers: read.  You will find somebody that you'd like to be like.  So try to be that person.  Sooner or later you will find out how you are different from him or her, and from that you will discover who you are.  Once you know who you are, be yourself.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
What I want to say to my readers is what I've said in my books.  In Sweet Betsy from Pike I've told  young women not to trust romantic men; women don't need men to take care of them, they can take care of themselves.  In The Robin Hood Chronicles I've told them what I think Robin Hood was really like.  In Adolf Hitler in Oz I've told readers that goodness and love will always beat out evil and hate and that nobody is so bad that he cannot be redeemed.  Huckleberry Finn Grows Up is full of things I'm telling readers.

If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
If I could live anywhere, I'd live in The Netherlands.  I like the food and the people, and I don't know of a place on earth that values freedom as much as The Netherlands does -- including the U.S.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I don't want any superpower.  Given my age and health, I'd like to have back the powers I had when I was younger.  On second thought, I think I would like the superpower of being able to go back and re-live some parts of my life when I made the wrong decision, but still have the knowledge of where that decision leads so that I could avoid making it again.

For More On Sam Sackett:

The Woodland Girl- Writing Prompt

You find a little girl in the woods. She looks as though she lives in the wild. She asks you to follow her. What happens when you go with the girl?

The Hunted Ones- Chapter 1

How could I know I was going to die at eighteen? How could I know...my best friend was going to be the one to kill me?

Hayley was my best friend. Since middle school, we did everything together. Sleepovers were a weekly occurrence, and we even planned matching outfits for school. Sure, things changed when we entered high school together. We hung in different groups, but when the last bell rang each day, we always came back together. I like to think of Hayley as my...soulmate.

At eighteen, we were both ready to be free from our childhood homes, and planned to embark on an adventure.

It was summer, and I had money to spend. Who cares that it was the money my mom had been saving from my Dad's death.

It's my money now. I wanted a motorcycle, and I always get what I want.

Let me start by saying, I'm not your typical girl. I wasn't a cheerleader. I hate those girls! Except Hayley, of course. I didn't paint my nails pink and write my name in hearts with a boys in my notebook. I like to consider myself...a rebel.

Oh boy. That sounds so lame.

Moving on. I like to play the guitar and collect comic books. I like adventure. Danger. I enjoy being different.

Out of everything I like on this planet, there is one thing I absolutely love more than anything. That just happens to be my best friend...Hayley. She doesn't know it, but I plan on telling her on our little camping trip.

So, I bought the motorcycle. Hayley and I packed a bag and hopped on, ready for adventure. The plan was to drive out to Charleston and camp out on the beach.

Mom doesn't care. She works as an ER doctor at the hospital. I never see her. Like I mentioned before, Dad is dead.

It's okay. I didn't know him. He died when I was eight months old. Killed by a thief who tried to steal his car.

Hayley's mom...well, she drinks a lot. I don't think she even knows that Hayley is gone half the time. Hayley pretty much lives with me. We eat dinner together. We share a bed. I get to fall asleep staring at her pretty blonde hair. It's the kind of blonde that has just a hint of bronze. She snores, but I don't mind.

Life is good.

"Gwen," Hayley shouts in my ear as we race down the highway, cutting in and out of traffic, without a care in the world.

I enjoy the feel of her arms wrapped around my waist. I've been smiling for an hour now. My cheeks hurt.

"What's up?"

"Can we stop? I have to pee."

I nod. "Sure."

I notice a sign that says that there is a rest area coming up and veer into the far right lane. As the sun begins to set and as we approach a small town called, Fort Mill, there isn't much traffic anymore. I exit the highway and pull into a parking spot at the rest area.

Hayley hops off and stretches her legs. It hasn't been but an hour since we drove out of Concord, North Carolina, but she looks cramped already.

I watch her stretch her legs and pull my helmet off. Black hair falls free and softly brushes my elbows. Hayley makes a face and smirks as she looks at me.

I raise an eyebrow. "What?"

She giggles. Oh how I love her giggle.

"You know, you look kind of badass right now?"

I try to play it cool and suppress my beaming smile. Instead, I shrug. "Tell my mom that sometime. She thinks the piercings make me look like a juvenile delinquent."

Hayley laughed. "Oh my gosh. Did she really say that?"

I nod. "Yes. Like we live in some 90's movie or something."

She laughs again and looks past me at the one story building that housed the public restrooms and vending machines.

"I'm just going to run and pee. I'll be right back."

I nod and lean against my shiny, new, Harley. "Don't sit on the seat!" I shout over my shoulder. I suppose my moms germa phobia has rubbed off on me over the years.

It's quiet as I stare out at the large empty parking lot. It's surprising that no one is there. I put my earbud back in my ear and turn my iPod back on. Flogging Molly shouts in my ears. Irish music always gets me pumped.

I check the time, and cry out as someone hits me in the head and I fall, face first, into the asphalt...

(More next week...)- K.N. Lee

Pushing Forward- New Novel Checklist Part 2

I have one chapter of my new project, The Last Morai, completed and it feels good! I love the fresh faces of my new characters Asha and Viktor, and can't wait to see how their relationship develops. It is always exciting at the beginning of a book...

One thing that I will do differently this time around is push forward. I will try...and it will be hard...but I will not go back and edit and revise until the book is finished!

Tell me, do you guys have that problem as well?

I know I do. I always go back and go through every line, seeking perfection. This takes a lot of time! Imagine how quickly I could have been done with Rise of the Flame! Instead of two years, perhaps I could have been done in one. I think it is important to get the story out quickly, while its still fresh in the forefront of your mind.

Going back, stalls the creative process. It is difficult, but it can be done. I finished The Chronicles of Koa in six months...because I didn't let myself work backwards. Let's see how this technique works on The Last Morai.

Remember, writing is less of a science, and more of an art. Do what works for you!

Coffin Mystery- Writing Prompt

Who is in the coffin? Why do you have to protect it and make sure no one ever opens it?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Running-A Poem

K.N. Lee
Running free through trails and meadows
Fleeing from the pursuit of shadows
With quick feet
And a clever mind
I'll escape the past
And the guilt that binds

Wicked Wizard- Writing Prompt

It's been a long, hard, journey to make it back to your village. When you return, the villagers are oddly quiet and fearful. It seems an evil wizard has been forcing them to give him their first born children! How do you stop this wicked wizard?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm Writing- A Poem

Spreading joy on clouds of gold
Sprinkling laughter into the folds
Of each crisp page
And each bright screen
I'm writing
Simply writing
Like therapy for the soul
To share my voice
Is my goal

Monday, April 22, 2013

When the Gun Clicks- A Poem

When the Gun Clicks
K.N. Lee 

Heart beats thump
Blood clumps
He stands there
She's quite aware
Throat dries
Large blue eyes
Flicker up
With terror and surprise
Face pales
Skin tightens
Tiny blonde hairs stand on end
She's been found
And so it begins

Warnings scream
Inside her head
She should run
She should flee
He wants her dead...

He wants her to see
Her love is tainted
Her eyes too seductive
Her face too painted
He wants her to see
She's better off bound    
It would soothe his nerves
If she could not be found
If he knew she were safely buried
Kept safe from other men
In order to quiet the voices
And quench his desire
He wants to capture her
And watch the red fire
Lick her ankles
And creep up her thighs
Ripping the flesh as her screams rise

This is his goal
She knows it too well
So when the gun clicks once
She sends him to Hell

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Writing Challenge With Author, Sam Sackett!!

The Challenge:
In 2000 words or less, write about a spacecraft that has mistankly found a rift in time. They return to an Earth cast in Medieval times. What do the people on the ship do? Try to assimilate into this time period, or find their way back home?

The Result:
Sam Sackett

            In the year 6322 of the Common Era, the Matriarchal Council of the Planet Marsha, the fourth planet from Sol, decided to send explorers back in time in an attempt to avert a potential catastrophe.

            For long Marshan astronomers had known that the third planet was a burned-out cinder, incapable of supporting life.  But in 6321 researchers discovered, deep in forgotten catacombs in the Matriarchal Library, vids which established incontrovertibly that the original inhabitants of Marsha had in fact come from that third planet, the name of which, they discovered, was something like Urrth.  In fact, to everyone's amazement, it turned out that Marsha had originally been merely a colony of Urrth.

            Many Marshans drew from this the conclusion that some disaster had affected Urrth in order to turn it into the cinder ball which it now appeared to be.  But what disaster?  And was there a possibility that a similar disaster could destroy life on Marsha?

            After much debate, the Matriarchal Councilors resolved to try to find out what had happened to Urrth.  The method chosen was to utilize the spiral nature of time to send explorer capsules through space to Urrth to examine situations there and determine what factors might have resulted in its demise.  For the initial probe, the capsules were to be sent back five milennia at hundred-year intervals: 1022, 1122, 1222, 1322, 1422, etc.  Each capsule would be automatically set to return to Marsha after one hundred revolutions of Urrth upon its axis.

            Each capsule, it was determined, would be staffed with three researchers: one historian, who would serve as captain; one linguist, and one nexialist -- a person competent in physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and political science, but not expert in any one field -- who would serve as pilot. 


            The three researchers selected to go to 1322 were Marya 477, the historian and captain; Travoom 6, the nexialist and pilot; and Luckwai 38, the linguist.  All three were in perfect physical condition and experienced in research.

            All three women were, in addition to being experts in their fields, remarkably attractive.  Marya had pale skin, blonde hair faintly tinged with red, and lustrous blue eyes; Travoom's complexion was like dark café au lait, her hair was naturally wavy, and her dark eyes sparkled; and Luckwai was similarly colored, though with more lait in the café, and with eyes that smouldered rather than sparkled.

            As the capsule circled Urrth while Captain Marya sought a good place to land, the three marveled at Urrth's beauty.  Far from being a cinder ball, Urrth had oceans which glittered in Sol's rays, and much of its land area was a green which existed on Marsha only in the hydroponics gardens.  At last the captain's choice was made: just offshore from the largest continent were two large islands, the larger of which was shaped like an elongated triangle. 

 Marya hovered the capsule over the larger island, seeking a good landing spot.  She wanted to avoid being too close to the largest city, which was near the southeast corner of the island, and also she wanted not to land on a heavily wooded area, both to avoid damage to the trees and to protect the capsule's underside.  She chose a spot just a little west of center, about a quarter of the way north of the southern shore; since it was near what was evidently the main road on the island, stretching north from the large city she sought to avoid and a somewhat smaller city in the northern part of the island.  Probably there were habitations nearby where they might find sources of information.

            The capsule settled gently to the ground, mashing only a few trees.  Travoom immediately set about taking an air sample, which she analyzed.  "The air is breathable," she announced, "though it is much richer in oxygen than we're accustomed to.  It may make us a little giddy and euphoric."  Though Travoom did not know it, when oxygen was discovered by Joseph Priestley in the eighteenth century, he at first thought he might market it as a mood enhancer.

            The three women looked out at their new environment through the portholes.  It was not heavily forested, though there were trees in the area.  They began making preparations for exiting the capsule, when suddenly Marya said, "Look!"

            The other two rushed to the portholes and looked out.  Three bearded men were approaching the capsule; all were clad in green, and all wore swords buckled at their sides, bows slung over their shoulders, and quivers of arrows hanging at their backs from loops around their necks.  Yet their attire was different enough that the clothing was evidently not a military uniform. Two were of a height; one was a full head taller than the other two, and bulkier.

            "I wonder where the women are," Travoom mused.  "It's strange that they let these men out of confinement without warders."

            "We are in a time and place strange to us," Marya said, "and so we must expect the customs to be strange.  But there's no point for us to stand here trying to guess who or what these men are.  Let's disembark and see whether we can communicate with them."

            Though the capsule was equipped with an airlock, the women did not activate it but passed through it; opened the hatch, which automatically caused a row of steps to extend; and stepped for the first time on Urrth ground.  The air was much warmer than they were used to, and they noticed the intoxicating effect that Tavoom had predicted.

            The women could not help smiling at the puzzled expressions on the men's faces.  The two groups at first stood wordlessly facing each other.  Then Luckwai spoke in Inglis, hoping the language would be understood:  "Greetings, men of Urrth."

            One of the men stepped forward, removed his green hat, and bowed gallantly.  Then, straightening up: "And greetings to ye, fair ladies.  Welcome to Barnesdale Heath.  Whence came you?  And what manner of wagon is it that you came in?"

            Luckwai murmured to her companions:  "They use 'ye' for second person plural accusative."

            Marya replied, "We come from the planet Marsha.  Our 'wagon,' as you call it, is a space capsule.  My name is Marya 477,  and these are Travoom 6 and Luckwai 38."

            The man said, "My name is Hood; my parents named me Robert, the parish register gives Robertus, and my friends call me Robin.  He" -- indicating the giant -- "is John Little, whom for reasons you may guess we call Little John. He" -- indicating the next, who, Marya noticed, wore a red feather in his hat -- "is William Scarlock, whom we call Will Scarlet." 


            The spacetime travelers were not accustomed to eating meat, since on Marsha there were no animals used for food; Marshans ingested proteins in liquid or tablet form.  Thus chewing venison was a new and somewhat difficult experience.

            After the meal Luckwai asked Robin, "Where are your books?"

            Robin's expression was puzzled.  Evidently the word was unfamiliar to him.

            Luckwai tried again:  "What do you read?"

            Robin laughed.  "Oh, I cannot read.  I am not no clerk, nor no monk neither."

            The other men laughed with him, almost drowning out Luckwai's startled comment:  "Fantastic use of a multiple negative!"

            Marya asked Robin, "Where are your women?"

            Robin laughed again.  "Safe at home in Wakefield, we hope.  We dare not join them, for we are wanted men."


            "''Tis a long tale, lass, but mayhap worth the telling.  We four were foresters of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster.  Lord Thomas was among the lords ordainers, and I must needs explain who they were.  King Edward was become greedy for both money and power, and the lords ordainers forced him to sign ordinances renouncing his avaricious ways.  But o'er time the king began testing the ordinances, pushing first gainst one and then gainst another.  Lord Thomas lost his patience and rose up in rebellion to o'erthrow Edward. All his liegemen, including we foresters, were his army.  Edward's army beat us at the Battle of Boroughbridge; Edward imprisoned Lord Thomas in his castle at Pontefract and declared all his supporters outlaws.  Many of us went to sea to escape being hunted down by Edward's men.  But we three all had wives that we did not want to leave.  So, since we were named outlaws, outlaws we became.  And from time to time we creep to our homes to see our wives."

            Marya said, "So you fear that Edward's soldiers are watching your homes, hoping to catch you?"

            "Aye," Robin agreed, "'tis so.  But since thou seemst interested in the past, let me show thee Sandal Castle."

            Marya had seen that the shadows were lengthening. "Is there time before nightfall?"

            "Aye," Robin said again.  "'Tis not far off, and there'll be a moon tonight."


            In truth, Sandal Castle was not far distant, and Robin led Marya there quickly.

            "It's very beautiful," Marya said.  "Who lives here?"

            "At the moment," Robin replied, "no one.  It was the home of Earl Warenne.  I was one of the earl's foresters at the time.  But the earl  showed very poor judgement."

            "How did he do that?"

            "He ran off with Lord Thomas's wife.  Now he's dead, the castle is empty, and I became forester to Lord Thomas.  But come, let's go inside."  He led her across the drawbridge over the moat to the entryway and paused, inspecting the stonework.  

 "Ah, but the castle will not be standing in a century or twain.  See this crack?"  Marya came closer and bent her head to look.  "The water will get into that crack when it rains, and then in the winter the cold will make it greater.  Then the stone will split.  And the castle is built entirely of stones like this."

            It was dark inside the castle; the only light came from little slits in the walls.  "Why are there no windows?"

            "If the castle were attacked, it would be too easy to shoot arrows through them."  Robin drew closer.  "Ah, lass, thou'rt a beauteous wench in sooth.  And I have been so lonely these last weeks."  He put his arm around her shoulders.

            A tangle of thoughts rushed through Marya's mind. Robin was, after all, a married man, and she had known him only a few hours.  But she sympathized with his loneliness, she liked him, the touch of his strong arm was comforting, his manly scent was exciting, and the oxygen in the atmosphere was making her so giddy . . . 


            "Where is it that you come from?" Little John asked Travoom.

            She paused.  It would be hard to explain it.  "It is a place far from here," she temporized.

            "Use they the bow there?"

            "The bow?  Oh, I see what you mean.  No, we don't."

            "Robin prides himself on his skill with the bow," Little John said, "but I have won as many contests as he.  Come, let me show you how to shoot.  There is a little willow sapling not far from here that we use for a target."

            Travoom rose and followed him.  She was surprised at how lithe he was for so big a man.  It was hardly a quarter of an hour before they came to a clearing in which stood a willow sapling, no more than six inches in thickness.

            "I'll show thee how 'tis done," Little John said.  He stood some forty paces distant, took his bow in his left hand, notched an arrow to the bowstring with his right, drew his arm back and let the arrow fly.  In an instant the arrow stood quivering in the sapling.

            "Remarkable!" said Travoom.

            "Now 'tis thy turn," Little John said.  He showed her how to stand, with her left foot forward, pointing toward the target, her body posed so that her left side was facing it, the bow in her left hand, the arrow notched to the bowstring in her right, her eye sighting along the arrow.  As he arranged her, his hands and arms touched her in various places; at first she shuddered a little, but then she came to like the sureness of his touch, the warmth of his body, the man scent of him -- and the oxygen in the air was making her light-headed . . . 


            "Be there many deer where thou comest from?" Will Scarlet asked Luckwai.

            She noted the syntactical and morphological features of the question and then replied, "No, we have no deer at all."

            "I know a glade not far from here where they come to feed about this time of day.  Come with me, and I'll show thee."

            She followed him through the trees until they came to a clearing where the grass was lush and green.

            Will said, "Let us hide us here in these bushes and watch to see whether they come."

            The bushes were not very big, and by necessity they sat close together.

            It was not long before a herd of deer entered the clearing, a stag and four does.

            "What are those things on the head of the biggest one?" Luckwai asked.

            "Those are his antlers.  Antlers are the mark of the male.  There be one male and four females.  Now watch!  I trow we may see something magical."

            As Luckwai watched, she felt Will's arms tighten around her.  The stag was sniffing at the tail of one of the does; then he emitted a sound the like of which Luckwai had never heard before, reared up on his hind legs, and mounted the doe from the rear.  Luckwai's eyes were round and unblinking as she watched the deer mating.  She felt Will's arms, she smelled his man scent, and the oxygen in the air was intoxicating her . . . 


            And so the hundred days passed.  Many times the spacetime travelers went with Robin and his men to Sayles Plantation, from which they could see the traffic on the Great North Road; they watched as the outlaws stopped the nobles and clergy -- Robin explained that they were the ones with the money -- and let the peasants and tradesmen go by unmolested.

They also went with the outlaws to the village of Barnesdale and saw how Robin and his men helped villagers who needed help, and how they purchased goods at uncommonly high prices so that, as Robin explained, the villagers would not turn them in for the reward.

            And many times the six sat around the campfire while Robin and his men sang ballads such as "Edward" and "Sir Patrick Spens."

            Also many were the visits to Sandal Castle, the archery lessons, and the trips to the woodland glade.

            Then one day three loud hoots pierced the air. Robin and his men leaped to their feet.

            "By'r Lady, what is that?" Robin asked.

            The spacetime travelers also rose.  Marya said, "'Tis but the call our wagon makes for us to prepare to leave."

            Travoom said, "May I have your attention, please?" And when the outlaws' eyes were fixed on her, she wove the air with her hands hypnotically and said, "Now you will not remember we were ever here.  When we have departed, you will awake."

            The three men stood as statues while the three women entered their capsule.  Travoom launched it on its way down the spacetime spiral toward their home planet.

            "I saw nothing to suggest why Urrth has become a cinder ball," Marya said.  "Did either of you?"

            Both replied, "Nay."

            Marya continued, "I am taking a souvenir home with me."

            "A souvenir?" Travoom asked.

            "Aye," Marya said.  "I am pregnant."

            "So am I," Travoom said.

            Both looked questioningly at Luckwai.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The linguist smiled enigmatically.  "We are returning to Marsha with three stowaways," she said.

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