“Hey, why are you starting another story when you haven’t finished any of the others?”
Well, imaginary speaker for my fans – both of them – technically, with this, I am finishing one of the others. Or, continuing it, anyway. This is the continuation of The Chronicles of Carter Blake. I have a prologue and three chapters complete. Maybe posting them here will be the kick in the pants I need to finish.
A blond-haired, blue-eyed woman dressed in a beige pantsuit stood before them expectantly. Her chestnut hair was pulled back in a simple ponytail. She was shorter than Jennifer but seemed more imposing than the much larger Rob. A tentative smile slowly grew on Jennifer’s face as she stared at the tiny woman. Adrenaline dumped into her body, causing her heart to thump rapidly. Her skin tingled as the blood shot through her veins. Her eyes sparkled and flashed with happiness. She stepped forwards and pulled the little woman into a hug. “Oh, thank, god you’re okay, Danni.”
Danni patted her friend’s back. “Of course I am, my dear. Thank you for your concern. Though unwarranted, it is greatly appreciated.”
“I found your laptop, but it’s back in my car. I didn’t look inside.”
“Keep the computer. The Karo syrup will clean off rather easily. None was able to get to the insides because of the covering created by Mr. Stevenson. It should work perfectly. The password, incidentally, is the first 14 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence.”
I found this questionnaire online and decided: “What the hell. It might be fun.”
1. Do you ever doubt the existence of others than you?
Nope. I see evidence of them all the time.
2. On a scale of 1-5, how afraid of the dark are you?
That all depends on what I read before I turned out the light. One of the perils of having a highly active imagination.
3. The person you would never want to meet?
Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Think about it for a moment.
4. What is your favorite word?
“Fuck.” It’s extremely fucking versatile.
5. If you were a type of tree, what would you be?
A great bristlecone pine.
6. When you looked in the mirror this morning what was the first thing you thought?
I actively avoid looking in mirrors, and so, don’t have one.
7. What shirt are you wearing?
I’m shirtless at the moment.
8. What do you label yourself as?
An asshole. Hell, everyone else does, sooner, or later.
9. Bright room or dark room?
10. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Laying in bed, feeling like I was going to puke. It didnt happen, though.
11. Favorite age you’ve been so far?
12. Who told you they loved you last?
The person I love most in the world. April 10th, 2014.
13. Your worst enemy?
Myself. I always manage to screw everything up, sooner, or later.
14. What is your current desktop picture?
15. Do you like someone?
I like lots of folks, but I think this means romantically. I do. Shes actually a subscriber to my blog.
16. The last song you listened to?
This one: https://open.spotify.com/track/5Ox6cVMhvW5nl3UForWFHa
17. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up?
A fucking fucktard of a douchebag named Dan Boyce. The reasons are myriad.
18. Who would you really like to just punch in the face?
The same fucker I named above.
19. If anyone could be your slave for a day, who would it be and what would they have to do?
If it were consentual, as a type of role play that we’d talked about extensively before hand, it would be my love. And it would be the most onerous task she could imagine: Allowing me to pamper her all day. :)
20. What is your best physical attribute? (showing said attribute is optional)
My arse. It is magnificent.
21. If you were the opposite sex for one day, what would you look like and what would you do?
I’d have to be some sort of redhead, and I’d probably spend the day masturbating.
22. Do you have a secret talent? If yes, what is it?
Yes! Convincing people I’m a fair writer.
23. What is one unique thing you’re afraid of?
My fear is actually pretty pedestrian: Heights. To be precise, falling.
24. You can only have one kind of sandwich. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is at your disposal.
A bacon/pineapple sandwhich.
25. You just found $100! How are you going to spend it?
I’m not. It’s going on my prepaid debit card until I need it.
26. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, but you have to leave immediately. Where are you going to go?
Land O’Lakes, Florida.
27. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be?
The Greek Gods’ ambrosia. I want to be a diety, too.
28. You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place?
Only those I personally invite may come.
29. What is your favorite expletive?
30. Your house is on fire, holy shit! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno?
31. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
None of them. All my experiences made me who I am today and led me to the woman of my dreams, even if she doesn’t want me. I’d never risk losing that.
32. You got kicked out of the country for being a time-traveling heathen who sleeps with celebrities and has super-powers. But check out this cool shit… you can move to anywhere else in the world!
This one isn’t question.
33. The Celestial Gates Of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn’t think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person/etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back?
Issac Newton. Once he got over the time/culture shock, think of all he could help us create and learn.
34. What was your last dream about?
Walking along the beach at sunset, holding the hand of my love.
35. Are you a good….[insert anything you’d like here]?
36. Have you ever been admitted to the hospital?
37. Have you ever built a snowman?
38. What is the color of your socks?
At the moment, I am barefoot. The ones I own are white, though.
39. What type of music do you like?
My tastes are eclectic, but leaning more towards rock orchestra.
40. Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?
As a night owl, I prefer sunsets.
41. What is your favorite milkshake flavor?
42. What football team do you support? (I will answer in terms of American football as well as soccer)
American Football would be the New England Patriots and standard football would be Manchester.
43. Do you have any scars?
I have a few. Physical, mental & emtional.
44. Would you rather be immortal, but dependant on blood, or age 1000 times slower than everyone else?
Age slower than everyone else.
45. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Whatever it is that makes me unlovable after a certain period of time.
46. Are you reliable?
From a certain point of view.
47. If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?
Have we gotten used to the lonliness yet?
48. Do you hold grudges?
With both hands.
49. If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature, what new animal would you create?
Technically speaking, there are no laws of nature.
50. What is the most unusual conversation you’ve ever had?
This one. ;)
51. Are you a good liar?
I try my damnedest not to lie.
52. How long could you go without talking?
53. What has been you worst haircut/style?
In the 80’s (yes, I just dated myself), I briefly went with the spiked mohawk.
54. Have you ever baked your own cake?
And ate it, too.
55. Can you do any accents other than your own?
56. What do you like on your toast?
Depends on my mood.
57. What is the last thing you drew a picture of?
Squiggly lines. It was horrible.
58. What would be you dream car?
80’s model Corvette Stingray
59. Do you sing in the shower? Or do anything unusual in the shower? Explain.
I do not.
60. Do you believe in aliens?
Which version? From another country? Yep. From outer space? Also yep. However, we’ve not been visited by space aliens.
61. Do you often read your horoscope?
Only when I want a chuckle.
62. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?
63. Which is cooler: dinosaurs or dragons?
Dinosaurs, because they were real.
64. What do you think about babies?
65. Freebie! Ask anything interesting you can think of.
What kind of way to end is that?
I hope y’all found this bit a little entertaining.
The cancelled “Batgirl” #41 variant cover, illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque.
Earlier this evening DC Comics announced they would not publish a widely criticized variant cover for Batgirl #41. The cover, which paid homage to the equally criticized comic The Killing Joke, was designed by Rafael Albuquerque and was heavily condemned for supposedly glorifying violence against women, as well as portraying Barbara Gordon/Batgirl in a weak and hopeless state.
The statement from Albuquerque:
My Batgirl variant cover artwork was designed to pay homage to a comic that I really admire, and I know is a favorite of many readers. ‘The Killing Joke’ is part of Batgirl’s canon and artistically, I couldn’t avoid portraying the traumatic relationship between Barbara Gordon and the Joker.
For me, it was just a creepy cover that brought up something from the character’s past that I was able to interpret artistically. But it has become clear, that…
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Even today, machines that mimic human thinking surround us. As the intellectual feats of computing machines grow more and more astounding, will there be a day when their apparent intelligence approaches, or even surpasses, that of human beings? And what if these machines then become conscious, self-aware?
Get this latest title in the acclaimed Future Chronicles series of speculative fiction anthologies.
Thirteen authors confront the question of the Singularity: at and beyond that point of time when A.I. becomes more than simply a human construct. From first awareness to omniscience, these original short stories explore that territory where human intelligence comes face-to-face with what is either its greatest hope or its greatest threat.
How can you join the party?
Join us TODAY, March 13th, in celebrating the launch on Facebook from 5 to Midnight EST.
Dear Every American Who Doesn’t Believe in Science:
I know you are smart. I know you care about your kids, your family, your pets. I know you are a basically decent human being who wants to do right and contribute to society. And because I know these things, I’m going to try very hard to understand why you refuse to believe in scientific fact, rather than berate you and call you names.
But I still really don’t get it.
I wish we could sit down and talk. I wish I could explain my views without you getting defensive. I wish you could show me your proof without the hair standing up on the back of my neck. So I’ll admit – we both have a problem. We both are talking to answer, not having a conversation to listen.
The funny thing is, I actually think I’m reasonably good at seeing…
I want to say I’ve not posted here in a while because I’ve been writing, but that’s not 100% true. I mean, I have been writing, just not the whole time. I want to say it’s because my dad had a stroke, but that’s not 100% true either. He did have one, but that’s not the big reason.
To be honest with you folks, I’ve not been posting on my blog or writing like I should because I’m a procrastinator. Seriously, if there was an award for procrastination, I’d tell folks I was gonna send someone to pick it up for me, and then forget because something online caught my attention.
However, I think I may have it licked. I picked up a fan, somehow, who’s a complete stranger on Twitter, and she’s asked to see the rough draft of the sequel to my first novel. She’s promised to ask me every four days for a chapter update if I’ve not shared it with her.
What about the love of my life? She still inspires me and gets to read my work before anyone else, but her love for me makes her challenge me to do at least 1,000 words per day.
There we have it: Two challenges to get the procrastination kicked. If this doesn’t do it, I’m clearly not cut out to be a writer.
He moved through the house, picking up odds and ends scattered all over the place. Pizza boxes, beer bottles and dirty clothes littered the floor. ‘Christ, I’m a fucking slob. Why didn’t I pay attention to Tammy before now?’ The trash went into the can while the clothes went in the hamper. Twenty minutes later, the house looked more presentable. ‘What else should I do?’ A glance across the bedroom revealed both hampers to be full of dirty laundry.
He emptied her hamper on the bed and sorted the articles into separate baskets. “Bloody hell, she has a lot of different clothes. How does she wear them all?” He sighed and carried the load of panties into the laundry room. After reading the tags, he placed them into the washing machine with the detergent and fabric softener and then started the cycle. The phone went off, reminding him that Tammy’s flight was due to land in two hours.
Brett strolled through the house, wondering how to best start the process of winning his wife back. The bathroom was where the idea hit him. He nodded to himself and strode to the garage. Several minutes of searching revealed the location of caulking and tile. ‘She’d like the idea of me turning the bathroom into a personal beach.’ Gathering the tiles, caulk, tape measure and wet saw, he placed them on his tool cart. Half-way across the garage, he stopped. ‘What if she hates the idea? That would be too many hours of work for nothing. I should check with her first.’ Sighing, he pushed the cart to the far wall and checked the time. ‘An hour left. Time to go.’
A tall redhead with a marathoner’s physique approached him. Her auburn tresses ignored her ponytail to fall over her forehead. She dragged a wheeled carry-on behind her. Another bag hung crossways over her body. Even looking exhausted from her trip, Tammy was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. ‘How long has it been since I told her that?’
Her eyes widened in surprise. ‘That long? Damn. I really have slacked off.’ She then smiled. “Hello, Brett. How’re you?”
“Good.” He held his hand out. “Shall I take your luggage?”
She blinked a couple of times, and raised her eyebrow. “Sure.” After he slung the bag over his shoulder.
“What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?”
“Offering to carry my bag.”
“Has it been so long since I did?”
“For not offering to carry my stuff?” She chuckled. “It’s not that big of a deal. I’m a big girl.”
He looked over her body, taking in the hip hugging blue jeans and grey sweater which did nothing to conceal her C-cup breasts. “Girl? Not hardly, my love.”
She rolled her eyes and glanced away, but not fast enough to prevent him from seeing the pleased smile on her face. They reached his car and he opened her door for her. Ignoring her quizzical expression, he closed it behind her and put her bags in the trunk.
Sliding in and starting the car, Brett exited the parking area and headed to I-95. He glanced to his wife. “How was your trip?”
“Pretty boring, mainly.”
“Since when is negotiating boring for you?”
“That part was fun, as usual, but most of the trip was spent in my hotel room.”
“I know. I wish you could have come. You could use the vacation.”
“I’m telling Brianna I’m taking some time starting next week.”
“Really?” She turned to him. Light from the street lamps illuminated him in brief orange flashes. “Why is that?”
He looked over to her again. “To spend more time with you.” And then returned his attention to the road.
“Wow.” She glanced out the front window and then back to him. “Did you have a near death experience?”
“Oh my god. Are you cheating on me?”
“The fuck?” He whipped his head around to focus on her. “Why would you ask such a stupid question, Tamara?”
“Those are the top two reasons for someone to suddenly start paying attention to their spouse after years of ignoring them.”
“That is why.”
“What? Because you’ve been ignoring me?”
“Yes.” He reached over to take his wife’s hand. “I didn’t realize I’d been ignoring you until recently.”
“Oh? What brought me to your attention again?”
He sighed but didn’t answer. Coming to their exit, he took the off ramp and five minutes later, turned into their driveway. She maintained the silence which had fallen after her question. He turned off the car and turned sideways in his seat.
Brett strolled into the tavern and took his customary seat at the far end of the bar near the bathrooms. Both of his favorite bartenders were on shift. Lacy, dressed as always in all black, stacked up a stretch of longnecks, and popped their tops in rapid succession. The crowd of guys near her cheered in appreciation.
Steven strolled over and passed him a bottle of Bud without asking. He was an odd type: He dressed according to a theme. This week was TV cowboy.
Pushing his white Stetson back, he said, “Howdy, pardner.”
“Aw, you’re gonna talk like a cowpoke in addition to dressin’ like one?”
“Heh heh heh. Naw.” Steven picked up a rag and wiped the surface. “How’ve you been, man?”
“Not good.” Brett took a long pull of his drink. After wiping this lips, he set the bottle down. “I think Tammy is cheating on me.”
“Yikes.” The bartender flipped the cloth over his shoulder. “Why do you think that?”
“She’s more distant, spending most of her free time on the computer. She also recoils when I try to touch her.”
“Ouch. That sucks.” He turned to the rack of liquor, grabbed the tequila and poured a couple of shots. “On me.”
“I appreciate it.” Brett tossed back the alcohol and shuddered. It was harder than he was used to.
“Have you caught her?”
“What?” His brow wrinkled. “No. I’d have said I was divorced otherwise.”
“Do you love her?”
“Of course I do. She’s the light of my life. The literal, as well as figurative, woman of my dreams.”
“Want some advice?”
Someone yelled out.
“One moment.” Steven strode up the bar and spoke to the guy who’d shouted.
He pointed to Brett who stood to go to the restroom, allowing his coat to fall open, showing off the shoulder holster with the Sig Sauer 9mm, and most importantly, the gold detective’s shield clipped to his belt.
A few minutes later, he reclaimed his seat and finished off his beer. Steven strolled over and handed him another. “Where were we?”
“You’d just found out that I’d welcome some advice.”
“Woo your wife. Court her.” Lacy called for a whiskey sour, and he began to mix one. “Seduce Tammy.”
“Think back to how you won her over to begin with.” Steven took the drink to his partner and waited on some new people who’d come in. The place was getting crowded.
Brett thought back to when he and Tammy were dating. There was laughter back then. A lot more than now. ‘When did we start to drift apart?’ He took another swig of Bud. ‘Why wasn’t I paying more attention to her?’
She retrieved the bottle from the ice and set it on the counter. Steven beckoned her to his end of the bar before she could say anything else. Brett glanced up at the television, not really seeing the baseball game.
“You seem deep in thought.”
Lacy’s sudden words surprised him. He turned from the screen to see her leaning on the bar, resting her chin on her palms. “I am.”
“Penny for your thoughts?”
“I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong in my marriage.”
“May I make a suggestion?”
His eyebrow went up. This was unusual. “Sure.” She usually kept her thoughts to herself.
“Don’t dwell on how, or where, you went wrong.”
“What should I do, then?”
“Well, I don’t know of any woman who doesn’t like flowers. If she goes on a trip, and comes back, greet her with a bouquet of her favorites.” Lacy straightened. “You do know her favorite flower, right?”
“Of course I do.” He rose and fished out his wallet. Placing a fifty on the bar, he smiled. “She loves the wildflowers called Blanketflower and Blue Bell.” After adjusting his sport coat, he waved to his friends. “Keep the change.”
The two thanked him as he headed out into the evening air. ‘Call a cab, or walk?’ A glance to the sky revealed a full moon with some fast-moving clouds. ‘Walk. It’s a beautiful night.’
After a short hike, he stood in front of the thick oak door that marked his house. He unlocked the three deadbolts and stepped in. Once inside, he removed his jacket and shoulder holster, placing both within the closet.