Benny Tells Lies

“I met Michael Jackson before he died,” Benny said, embellishing the story. He had seen the King of Pop on a corner and waved at him. “He was super nice and let me listen to his new song. He did the moonwalk for me and they interviewed me for a national paper. It was cool.”

Maya nodded. “Cool,” she remarked.

Benny sighed. Nothing he said ever impressed Maya and he so wanted to impress her. She was gorgeous with her rich russet skin and large grass green eyes. Her hair was in long braids down her back and she had dressed conservatively today in a harvest gold dress with a floral print. Her expression wasn’t pretty, however. She looked irritated. He had no idea why. He’d tried telling her about his stint with Nirvana in the 90s and she hadn’t even acknowledged him. Sure Kurt hadn’t let him play guitar on stage, but he had done a soundcheck once when the sound guy was in the john. He had regaled her with tale after embellished tale making himself seem whimsical, intelligent, caring, and just plain amazing. Still, she never fell into his arms. She never loved him.

“Why don’t you like me, Maya?”

“Ben,” Maya said, her tone saying she was annoyed and about to disappear back to her desk. She was only talking to him now because the coffee hadn’t finished brewing and Maya loved her coffee. Benny knew that and had taken the last of the coffee, so she would get one from the fresh pot and maybe stick around and talk to him for a moment. “You’re full of garbage. You haven’t told me one true thing in the five years we’ve known each other.”

“That is so-I always tell you the truth,” Benny argued. Well, he did tell her kernels of truth. He just liked to add icing on top to make them better and more impressive so she would be impressed.

Maya rolled her eyes. “Tell me one true thing right now. No lies, no embellishments. Just pure, unadulterated truth.”

Benny frowned. “I always tell you the truth.”

She poured herself a cup of coffee before it was done percolating. Benny stood there listening as the coffee awkwardly pinged against the bottom of the maker. Coffee was spreading from the base to the table as she poured. She eyed him the entire time, daring him to call her out for making the mess.

“Admit you took the last of the coffee so you could terrorize me with one of your garbage stories, and maybe I’ll thinking about downgrading my hatred of you, to a rich dislike.” Maya dared him as she reached for the creamer. She had to reach past him because he had moved it farther away so she would have to reach past him. He had put new cologne on. He was convinced if she got a proper whiff of it, she would like it, and in return him. She leaned back and sneezed.

Benny worried the cozy on his paper cup. “I knew you wouldn’t want to drink the dregs.”

“Hm,” Maya said. He was blocking her way out of the room. “But you didn’t start the new pot. You waited for me to start the new pot. Yeah, think I’m going to stick to a deep-seated hatred of you if it’s all the same.”

“No Maya,” Benny protested. “Come on! I like you. Why won’t you give me a chance?”

“Because you tell lies, Benny,” Maya answered. “You tell lies and you make my life more complicated and annoying just to tell me these stupid lies. You never stood a chance, Ben.”

“But-but,” Benny sputtered. “I once saw Death eating a fudge pop!” he blurted.

“Eat a fudge pop, Benny,” Maya said in a nasty tone. “Talk to me again and I’ll call HR.”

“But that wasn’t a lie! Maya! That was true! I did! A woman had a heart attack at an ice cream truck and he took her fudge pop!” Benny chased after Maya.

Maya went to HR. Benny was outside holding his box of supplies by the end of the day. That night found him sitting on the Trenton Bridge looking down at the murky, polluted waters. A man in a black tracksuit walked up to him.

“Hey,” Benny called out to the stranger. “Do you like hoagies?”

“Sure,” the man in the tracksuit replied, slowing to a stop. “Why? Do you have one? I gotta tell you, I haven’t had a single thing to eat in forever. I can barely remember what it was…”

“No, well, I don’t have one on me. I was just going to say, I invented them. So, you can thank me for that,” Benny said, trying to perfect his breezy tone. There was something unsettling about the man in front of him. He had a shock of brown hair, nice features for a guy but his skin was a sick milk color. “I mean, you don’t have to thank me…”

The man leaned against the bridge’s rail and eyed Benny up and down. “Hoagie inventor, huh? Worked at the naval yard then…? Or are you just lying, Benny?”

“I-I no, I did work at there and it was after this guy Hogan, Irish guy and we…” he trailed off as the man stared.

His expression was a mixture of disappointment and disgust. “Seriously, Benny?”

“What-?”

“You want your last conversation ever to be about some urban myth about how hoagies got their name? Ugh, why do I even bother!” the man rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers, “Oh wow! I remember now. The last thing I ate and it was years ago now, was a fudge pop!”

End.

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Espresso

           “Emily, your lover the professor is here,” Amy sang out.

Emily’s popped up from where she was focusing on restocking the teas to see the tall lanky frame of her favorite customer. Today he was in check slacks and brown jacket with actual leather elbow patches, adorable. His brown hair was messy and his briefcase had bits of paper sticking out of it.

“He looks frazzled,” Amy remarked, serving black coffee to grumpy customers.

Emily ignored her. She was busy making her professor a double espresso.

“Jake!” she called and held her breath.

Her professor’s eyes slowly came to life as he smiled brilliantly at her. He took the cup she placed on the counter. Their fingers grazed one another over the cup. Emily’s heart raced.  Normally the tips of his ears would turn pink, he would keep smiling and beat a hasty retreat without saying a word. Emily would hum happily for hours afterward. Brian and Amy would laugh at her insisting she had scared him off but not today.

He opened his mouth to speak. Emily stopped breathing. He worked his jaw a few times and managed a breathy, “Thanks, Emily.”

Emily let out her breath in a whoosh as he slipped out of the coffee shop.

“He spoke!” Amy shouted startling Mrs. Clayton who came in every morning for an English Breakfast. “Hey, Brian! The professor spoke!”

Brian popped out from the kitchen covered in flower. “Emily’s Professor?? What did he say?”

“Thanks, Emily,” Amy repeated.

“He knows her name? It’s only been a year?” Brian said as an alarm went off in the kitchen. “BREAKFAST SANDWICHES ARE UP!”

A ragged cheer came from the line. Emily turned back to Amy. “It’s been a year?”

Amy nodded. Emily sighed. “A whole year?”

 ❤ ❤ ❤

“I talked to her today,” Jake said.

Diane stopped organizing her boss to gawp at him. “Coffee Shop Girl?You did? Did you ask her out?”

Jake flopped into his leather chair. “She uh, called out my name and I ahem, I ah, thanked her for the espresso by her name.”

Diane sighed in desperation. Her boss was a certified genius but he was painfully shy. “At this rate, you’ll be married in one hundred years. How did she react?”

Jake turned a brilliant shade of red. “I sort of… I um…”

“You ran away?”

“Maybe.”

“I love working for you,” she muttered. “But I can’t take this anymore. You go there every day. She makes you a drink; you come here to tell me how much you love her, and then you NEVER ASK HER OUT.”

Jake sighed. “She’s beautiful.”

“Oh, I know,” Diane remarked. “But enough is enough. Either go ask her out after work or I go in the morning and tell her I’m your girlfriend.”

Jake blanched. “What? No, you wouldn’t do that to me.”

“Damn right, I would. I will. You have twenty-four hours.” It was cruel. It was necessary. Jake needed a push.

❤ ❤ ❤

Emily wiped the tables down, humming to herself. Amy had gone to lunch and Emily was glad for the reprieve. Amy hadn’t stopped teasing her about her professor since he had first walked into the coffee shop and ordered his first espresso. Emily had remembered him, his name, and his drink. He hadn’t ever needed to speak. His smiles had been enough. But he had a nice warm baritone and Emily would have loved to hear a full sentence.

Someone cleared their throat behind her. Emily spun to face the customer ready to explain the difference between a macchiato and a cappuccino. Her professor stood there looking extra frazzled. His large dark chocolate eyes brimmed with emotion, although half those emotions seemed related to panic. He tried to speak for a few seconds before he started to retreat. Emily panicked and reached out to catch his arm. His eyes widened, flicking from her face to where she was touching him. He swallowed.

“Emily,” he began in a funny high pitched tone. He coughed and tried again. “Emily, I ah, don’t like espresso.”

“What?”

He grimaced. “No, I did that wrong. Emily, I don’t like espressos, I like you.”

Emily didn’t know what to say. Luckily, once started, her professorcouldn’t be stopped.    “I’ve been coming in here every morning for a year to get a drink from you that I don’t like because I can’t get enough of your smile. So if you don’t feel the need to call the police, wouldyouliketogetadrinkwithme?”

“Yes! She says yes,” Brian shouted from the kitchen.

Jake’s grin was blinding. “Tonight? I know it is short notice. Only I’ve wasted so much time being timid, I don’t know when I’ll get the courage to ask again.”

“Yes, I’m free after six,” Emily told him shyly, still holding onto his arm.

“Okay, great, okay,” Jake stammered. “Great.”

He moved away and right before he broke contact, she said his name softly. When he turned to face him, she reached up and pressed a kiss to his lips. He froze long enough for Emily to panic but before she could pull away his warm, strong arms had looped around her waist, securing her to him. The soft scent of his cologne surrounded her. His lips were warm against hers, as responded to the kiss. Pressing her luck, Emily deepened the kiss, exploring her professor’s mouth. Kissing him was like sinking slowly into a warm bath.

She broke the kiss to see his eyes slowly flutter open, his skin flushed and pupils were blown wide. Emily’s heart was racing. She glanced away. Embarrassed she had kissed him at work. Amy had reappeared and made it worse by clapping.

“So six?” he asked voice squeaky.

Emily nodded and he surged forward to kiss her again. His hands cradled her back and he kissed her with an intensity that sent shivers down her spine and left her fingers and toes tingling. Amy snorted. Emily pulled back, her face flushed.

“I’m sorry I made you drink all those espressos,” Emily told him.

He laughed. “I’m not.”

The End.

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Scott Spotson Friend to Wizards & Author of My Wizard Buddy

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I recently sent a lot of emails back and forth with self-published children’s author Scott Spotson. We met on Goodreads and decided to read one another’s books. He was kind enough to read and review my book: Spooky and The Ghost Chorus in return for me reading and reviewing the delightful My Wizard Buddy (Book 1) which he co-wrote with Brian Wu. After I was done I had so many questions I just had to badger Scott a bit.

Writers are curious creatures and I just had to get to the bottom of just what makes Scott tick. We’ll start off with my Amazon/Goodreads Review and follow it up with a short interrogation of Scott Spotson. Enjoy!

My Wizard Buddy by Brian Wu and Scott Spotson is an entertaining magical romp. Tyler is a sad lonely boy who never has any of the newest games and is terrorized by his older sister. But one day he decides to accept an invitation to be best friends with an odd boy named Dirk. That’s when Tyler’s life gets exciting because Dirk is a wizard! Dirk’s magic is more of the wish variety and he and Tyler cause all kinds of fun. There are no real villains in this story except the demons that live in our own minds. Ryan, a popular boy lost his father to cancer. Dirk seems to be dealing with issues he isn’t saying and of course Tyler is dealing with the urge to be accepted. I enjoyed the read. Fun book. I would recommend it to the YA crowd.


KK: Where did you get the idea for your series Wizards Wars?
Scott: The imagination that comes from having an imaginary friend was the impetus behind my wizard series My Wizard Buddy. What if you could have a friend who could make anything happen, but such a friend could be kept a secret from the rest of the world?

KK: What made you decide not to have an antagonist? 
Scott: Many children’s books do not have an antagonist. That’s because children are looking for a slice of life, to reflect their experiences to date. They’re not looking for an ultimate battle, they’re looking for something that perks their interests. Think of several books that show a slice of life, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Judy Blume books such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Ramona Quinn books; James and the Giant Peach; and The Phantom Tollbooth. 

KK: Why did you decide to self publish?
Scott: I think self-publishing is a good idea, rather than take up too much time of the established publishing industry. If your book is any good, prove it with your sales and reviews, then show the publisher what you’ve done. Makes sense!

KK: When we meet Tyler he is a very lonely boy. Was your intention to deal with issues like bullying and loneliness? 
Scott: I don’t think it was my intention to deal with bullying and loneliness, but rather than these nicely worked into the plot. Definitely loneliness, since that is a reason we often have imaginary friends. Also, I wonder if due to the increase in entertainment and tablet technology, if loneliness among children isn’t increasing. 

KK: In the first book Dirk uses magic indiscriminately. Are there consequences for each spell cast? Loss of energy?
Scott: No, there are no consequences for Dirk. This is not accidental. In all my wizard books, every wizard is infinitely powerful with magic. The only things wizards cannot do is bring people back from the dead, or control people’s minds, and if you think about it, these obstacles actually render wizards pretty powerless with controlling humanity.

KK: Self publishing is risky business. How are you using social media to promote your book?
Scott: I don’t rely heavily on social media. I do have it, but I find that the quality of the books–and getting them out there to start with–are more important factors. I’m very grateful to the marketing whiz of BookBub though, because they listed one of my books, Life II, twice.

KK: Are you currently working on any new books?
Scott: I am ghostwriting three books–one, an epic fantasy; two, a dystopian humour book; and three, a mystery/adventure novel (actually, that is co-authored with another).

KK: Where can people find your books?
Scott: People may go to www.scottspotson.com or just type in “Spotson” on Amazon or Goodreads. 


Bio: Scott Spotson is a novelist who excels in imagining scenes of intrigue and adventure within ordinary lives while daydreaming, then pulls together various plots to create a compelling story. He likes to invent “what if?” scenarios, for example, what if I could go back to my university days, and what would I do differently? What if I could switch bodies with friends I am jealous of, like the guy who sold his software for millions of dollars and does whatever he pleases? What if I had the power to create clones of myself to do my bidding? Scott then likes to mentally insert himself into these situations, then plot a way to “get out” back to reality. This is how “Life II” and “Seeking Dr. Magic” were born, within weeks of each other. He’s still working on dreaming up a situation where he gets to smash a pie in the face of his boss, with no justification whatsoever – how to get out of that one?

Interview with Indie Author Charlie Daye

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I want to be a paid author. So do most of the people reading my blog I’m betting. So why not learn from the people who are already out there doing it? So I sent Charlie Daye a bunch of questions in the hopes of sucking all the awesome knowledge out of her Indie heart.

Charlie Daye began writing at the tender age of thirteen. With an obsession for romance, happy endings and the supernatural she delves into your greatest fantasies and worst nightmares. She will have you laughing, crying, falling in love and getting angry. She will always give you a HEA but getting there is the journey worth taking. Charlie Daye has authored several Paranormal Romance novels including The Hunter Series, Breeders and Request. Going where her muse takes her, Charlie has ventured out of the steamy romantic PNR with her new fantasy series Children of Kria.

KK: What is your process for coming up with novel ideas?

CD: Truthfully, I don’t really have a process. Most of the time, my idea come to me because of something I’ve seen or experienced. And every once in a while it will be because of something crazy a friend has done.

KK: How has your life and personal experiences influenced the creation of your novels?

CD: It’s influenced it greatly. About 50% of my characters are based on people I know and about 25% of the stories come from real life experiences.

KK: So you do base your characters on people in your life?

CD: Absolutely.

KK: How long did it take you to complete your first full length novel?

CD: 3 Months

KK: How many drafts do you typically create?

CD: Just one. I don’t see the need in duplicating my work repeatedly.

KK: When did you decide to become an author? Was there a big ‘Eureka’ moment or was it more of a subtle stumbling into it?

CD: *Laughs* It’s something that just kind of happened, I guess. I’ve been writing poetry and short stories since I was a kid but the idea for my first full length novel came when I was working in a cemetery. I thought it would be cool to write a story about a haunted house and so The House was born.

KK: What made you decide to go Indie?

CD: The thought of signing my rights away to a large corporation for any length of time is unnerving to me. My books are like my children, so it just made sense to keep then with me. Not only that but I’m obsessively picky about the books covers which you don’t really get a say in with most publishers. I think my cover artist secretly hates me! *Snickers*

KK: What part do you think social media (twitter, Facebook…) plays in marketing your books?

CD: I think FB and Twitter are great for getting the word out about my books but think it’s an even better option for my fans and readers to connect with me. It allows them to ask questions or simply converse back and forth with myself or other fans. And yes, I do respond personally to ever post and email I receive.

KK: What advice do you give to new authors starting out or older authors who want to go it alone and publish on Kindle, Nook and other independents?

CD: For the newbies… Keep it up. It’s hard work but if you have the drive it’ll pay off in the end. Just make sure you have honest beta readers and a great editor. For the older authors… you guys know how hard it was to get started and luckily have had some assistance in getting your name out there. As in indie, all that work is now on you so be prepared for tons of leg work.

KK: Where do you write? Do you have a designated area?

CD: I write in what I refer to as my dungeon. LOL. My office located in the basement of my house.

KK: What sustains you through a Fantasy series? Do you plan a story arc or do you wing it?

CD: I write on the fly. I wait for the story starts to bubble over then sit down and right until every last detail is on paper.

KK: What made you choose fantasy as your genre?

CD: Fantasy is actually new to me. Most of my fans are used to my PNR (Paranormal Romance) novels. But when I started writing my first Children of Kria novel, it took on a life of its own which took me from the PNR world right into the world of Fantasy. It’s been a little nerve wracking and am I bit terrified but it’s a new adventure I can’t wait to start.

KK: What is the new series about?

CD: Children of Kria was something I came up with while having a bad day. And since killing people in today’s society is highly frowned upon, I decided to create a world of immortal assassins that seek justice for those who would never get it on their own. Each story focuses on a different character in the world of Kriation and each character responds to a different kind of heart ache. Let’s take the first three books in the series, for example… Fury (Book 1) responds to the betrayal of a man to a woman, Raithe (Book 2) responds to rape, Vengeance (Book 3) responds to slavery and so on.

The stories will differ from character to character. In some instances you made read about how the assassins came to Kriation and in other instances you may read about a hunt they go after already being a Child o Kria and in some instances you’ll get both. The books are action packed thrill rides that are dark and deadly. They deal with issues that some may consider taboo or just downright disturbing.

This will be a new writing style for my current fans who are used to my paranormal romance novels. You will find no romance in these books since they are considered fantasy novels, however, I’ll still give your happily ever after.

KK: How do you approach writing? Do you set a time to write each day or do you write when the mood strikes? Wear funny hats? Play music?

CD: I write when the mood strikes me. I find if I try and write when I’m not in the mood, the story turns out horrible and I have to delete everything I wrote. So, for me, it makes sense to wait.

Check out a sample from Charlie Daye’s new series Children of Kria:

 Whatever was left of my heart had just been destroyed. It was bad enough knowing he married that horrid woman but it was something else entirely when I had to listen to them make out over the phone. The pain in my chest became so intense that I couldn’t breathe. I sat up and reached for my shot glass and the bottle of vodka that was currently sitting on my nightstand. I looked at the glass briefly before tossing it aside and drinking straight from the bottle. I just wanted the pain to stop. I wanted my life to go back to the way it was before I got involved with Gyan. I sobbed. Who was I kidding? I wanted Gyan back. I wanted him so much that the thought of living another day without him had me pulling my pocket knife out of my drawer and bringing it with me to bed. I began to mindlessly slide the blade across my arm. With every slice, the pain of my broken heart began to lessen. I sliced until I couldn’t lift my arm to hold the knife anymore. I slumped over on my bed and stared blankly at the puddle of blood that saturated my floor. A tear rolled down my cheek as the pain in my chest once again reared its ugly head. I closed my eyes and pleaded to the darkness, “Please make the pain go away.” As the darkness began to close in and the pain began to fade, a bright light began to take shape. It was iridescent in color and seemed to twist and turn until a very distinct shape took form. It was a woman with bright red hair and a white gown that flowed around her body like mist. Here eyes were the color of the raging sea during a storm. She lifted me up and cradled me in her arms like a baby. It was the most comforting feeling in the world. I smiled weakly, “Are you an angel?” She smiled and brushed a piece of my long dark hair away from my face, “No child. I am Kria.” Synop: I am a seeker of vengeance; A mender of broken hearts. I respond to the siren call of loneliness and despair. I was once a human woman; Very much like you; Until my heart was destroyed by the man I loved. My only purpose now is to avenge those that have been betrayed. I am Fury… And hell has nothing on me. Tag: Welcome to Kriation, where the brokenhearted come to seek the justice society can never give them.

Author Pic

If you’d like to get in contact with Charlie Daye, check her out on Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads and on her website.

The End of The Red Mirror…

I wrote a story a zillion years ago called, “The Red Mirror.” I have mentioned it before… but anyway I wrote it when I was a kid and it is so heavily 80’s influenced that I love it. So I have been rewriting it for the last couple of months. Now it’s done! Woo! The story is now completely typed up into a neat little file on my computer. So now what?

The best plan is to let it rest for 2 weeks. I need to distance myself from the piece and then start the exhaustive task of updating it into something that might work for now. While transcribing it I found several things that only work pre-cellphone age. Also I needed to make my teens a little edgier. My teens were so…clean. So there’s that. Also my heroine doesn’t kill anyone. I have to fix that in the rewrite. Heroine’s need to kill the big bad. That’s storytelling page one. Also she needs to just do and be more. She’s not the only one thought, most of my characters need more personality. The grains of truth are there, they just need to be nurtured and expanded into real people.

Also I need the plot to be expanded. Need to add at least one subplot. The story is also only 25,000 words. I need at least 80,000 for most of the publishers I want to send it to so there is that too. It makes me wonder if I should self publish as a novella if I can’t get the word count to where it needs to be. But those are Future Me’s problems. Present Day Me is too busy celebrating that she took a story that was in ALL CAPS printed on Dot Matrix printer story and managed to get that sucker typed up and into a modern machine without tossing the whole project in the bin. Yay me! Celebrating the little victories of being a writer!

Tonight is a good night to be a writer. 

Learning Curve

I do not know how to use textbroker.com yet. I admit it. I was going to write an article today so I went to the site. They rated me at 3 stars (not bad for a 250 word sample but I can do better) and I can apparently only apply to 3 star jobs…I think. So I clicked on it and it said 11 jobs. I started researching for an article a little bit, clicked back on the article and it was no longer there. After that all the articles were not in my field. Debating on taking one and researching the hell out of it to get on the map at least. But I just do not know anything about corporate nonsense. Hopefully some home and garden articles will turn up.

Also I wonder… Am I supposed to reserve it somehow? Hmm. I will figure this thing out and then I will let you know if it eventually makes me money.

On the fiverr front, I may need to add another gig for writing. I got a great assignment to do 10 illustrations and a cover. Pretty excited. I’ve always been a split major: writing/illustration. So money in either camp makes me a happy girl.

I’m looking for a guest blogger exchange… Let me write for you and I will let you write for me. Let’s expand our clips and audiences. Just let me know what sort of post you are looking for from me. I am looking for some successful tips on breaking into fiction writing. Hit me up and we’ll talk.

Day 3: Writing Career

Today was a work day.

I meant to get up at 8:30 so I could go to the gym. I woke up at 9:20. I had no time for the gym. I ended up getting a shower and working on the illustrations I need to finish by Sunday Night. Then I worked with all my awesome friends at our min wage job. So that sucked up a lot of writing time. But do not be discouraged! Today I did some writing. (Other than the blog… which is me currently writing.)

I worked on a novel for NanoWriMo called Wolf Girls. It’s a fun coming of age story about werewolves…and murder. It needs a subplot in the rewrite but so far so good on the main story line. Anyhow, I finished that story while doing nano and Book 2. Well today I wrote almost 600 words in that story. That’s right, even after 8.5 hrs of work, oversleeping and the completion of the first of three illustrations I’m working on: I had time to write.

Feeling accomplished.

Also I opened a photobucket account. I am going to get into the Cracked.com Photoplasty contests. I want one of those under my belt and then I want to come up with a 5 Things Article… So step 1 complete.

Today was a good day. Even got some compliments on my book The Angry Rabbit.