29 April 2011


by Kenneth Oppel

AIRBORN by Kenneth Oppel can be described as similar to TREASURE ISLAND. This book takes place aboard the grand luxury airship Aurora. The man character, Matt Cruse, is a cabin boy trying to become a sailmaker aboard the ship. A young woman, Kate de Vries, and her chaperone come aboard the ship and turn Matt's life upside down in more ways than one. Not only does this story involve giant airships in a 1930s world but pirates, flying panthers, and all kinds of adventure. This story was a fun read and I was forever wondering what was going to happen to the characters and how the story was going to resolve. I was worried at first that it was going to be too much like some of the other stories I've read but it was so fresh.

The characters are believable and that was my only complaint. I wanted to strangle Kate on multiple occasions because she was acting too stubborn and pushy, which is how a lot of 14-year-old aristocrats act (or so I've been told). I enjoyed the story and thought the characters showed a lot of growth from beginning to end. (I didn't want to strangle Kate quite as often.) The pirate Szpirglas especially drew my attention because he was someone I could almost side with when I learned his reasoning. As I mentioned earlier this story reminded me a lot of the classic adventure stories. AIRBORN keeps everything fresh and you are never sure of where it is going to go next.

27 April 2011

Writing Tips – Part III

Importance of Short Stories

As NaShoStoMo winds down to a close (I only have three more stories to write) I decided I would write about the importance of short stories. I have wanted to be an author since I was young and all of my stories were long drawn out intricate plot lines. Ever since I started attending writing conferences I learned the importance of short stories. I am no expert when it comes to developing the concise yet intriguing plot lines but there are a few things I have learned about writing them.

1. People are more willing to read a four page short story then a three hundred page novel. It doesn't matter how much your friends or family love you, it is easier to convince people to read something short especially with how busy our lives are today.

2. There are more options for selling short stories. While we all know there are hundreds of publishers and agents out in the world, there are also hundreds of authors out there, some with a lot more experience and qualifications. Take advantage of all of the markets for short stories: anthologies, magazines, and contests. They will help get your name out there and can bring in a little extra money.

3. If you can't write a believable character in four pages, no one is going to want to read about them for four hundred. A story of any length should have relatable characters and interesting plot lines. Use the short stories to work through the rough patches of your writing craft. See the results faster.

4. Same goes for editing and rework. If you get bored editing a four page document good luck on your novel. This is also a great way to pick up on your common mistakes. Have people look through your short stories and if they pick up on common errors you can learn to catch them earlier and improve your abilities which will make the novel that much better.

5. Try out new genres. I claim to be a science fiction writer (that's what all of my novels are) but you can't tell that from the short stories I write. I enjoy writing in the different genres and seeing what I can do but I don't have to write an entire novel to learn that for some reason I just can't do horror very well.

6. And finally, it just feels great when you finish a story. Instead of waiting months to see the final product, you can do it in weeks or even days.

I am no expert on writing short stories but by writing one every week (and for this month almost every day) I can see an improvement in my skills. Granted there is still a big difference between novel writing and short story writing but there are benefits if you take the time to indulge in a short story now and then.

25 April 2011


Stupid program. Didn't publish my story when I told it to. Sorry it is a day late. I should have checked it yesterday.

Intro: Writing Prompt "In 300 words or less, write a passage you're scared and hungry, it's dusk, you think someone is following you, and just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: shimmer, saccadic, substance, and salt."

The sunset shimmered in the window in front of me, but my attention didn't last long on the bloody light. The heat from the summer sun still radiated from the sidewalk grazing my skin and growing more uncomfortable with every step. Every chance I got, I looked in the mirrored surfaces of glass and polished metal, my eyes saccadic and not truly focusing on any details. I picked up my speed, hurrying past the café on the corner. Though my stomach growled from the smell of penne and garlic bread I pushed on.

As I plowed across the street, a horn blared. The man behind the wheel of the car cursed. I stammered a reply and kept moving. A few seconds later another car squealed to a stop. With my heart threatening to rupture, I ran. The soles of my feet struck the ground hard sending small tendrils of pain shooting up my calves. The pedestrians on the sidewalk grumbled as I wove in an out of their bodies. My hands pushed past the substance of cotton, denim, and flesh. It does no good. I can't move fast enough. They crowded closer and closer. A scream rose in my throat as someone grabbed my shoulder.

I jerked away and fell to the hot sidewalk biting my cheek. The blood tasted like salt in my mouth and my stomach lurched. The crowd flowed around me, not looking in my direction but everyone knew I was there, lying on the ground. My burned and bloody feet ached but I pushed myself up. The shadows lengthen as I continue trying to remain invisible yet looking for a safe place to rest. The bloody footprints I left behind with each pain ridden step marked my passing. Yet, onward I ran.

22 April 2011

The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets

by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

Lloyd Biggle, Jr. had a doctorate in musicology and throughout all of his stories art, especially music, plays an important role. I would like to think that this book made me realize that not all science fiction stories are created equal. I never considered myself much of a techie person, even with all my technologically influenced jobs, and I just don’t have the mental processes for writing space opera, though I do love to read it. This story is a science fiction novel that focuses on art and music of the new race all the while trying to bring democracy to the populace. The main character of the story, Jef Forzon, does cultural surveys of planets and is sent on an undercover mission by the Interplanetary Relations Bureau (IRB) to the world to turn the planet to democracy without destroying the cultural identity. The mantra of the IRB is: “Democracy imposed from without is the severest form of tyranny” and everything revolves around that phrase. It almost makes me wonder what would happen if this were implemented in real life. This book is one of the Cultural Survey series but they are all stand alone novels, and this one is my favorite.

This story doesn’t have an overabundance of plots or twists but it keeps up a good pace in the story telling. If you want to read a fun story about a people changed by the introduction of a single technology and the effects of art over the populace, I highly recommend this book even if you don’t like the more traditional science fiction novels out there.

20 April 2011

Writing Tips – Part II

Is, Was, Were

One of my friends in writing group made me painfully aware of the verbs I use, especially 'is,' 'was,' and 'were.' These are lazy verbs. They are unavoidable in some cases but only give the reader the bare necessity of information. For example: Hannah was exhausted. Could be Exhaustion overwhelmed Hannah. Another common use of was and were consist of using them to change the tense of another verb. Instead of using a compound verb such as was listening you could just have listened.

Getting rid of was and were is a painstaking process in many instances. While you can occasionally replace one with a stronger verb, other  times you might need to rewrite the sentence. Here are a few more examples of changes you can make.

It was what he expected. Could be: He expected it.

There is always a line at the checking station. Could be: The checking station always has a line.

A guard was standing nearby. Could be: A guard stood nearby.

Sometimes you have to add more details. His diaries and his bicycle were destroyed. Could be: An accidental fire destroyed his bicycle and diaries.

It is nearly impossible to get rid of every 'was,' 'were,' and 'is' in a story but by keeping an eye out for them will tighten up your writing.

17 April 2011


Intro: This is my seventeenth story for NaShoStoMo. I wanted to try my hand at a fairy tale. I hope to expand this at a later time because I think it has some potential.

Gerard couldn't bring himself to kill the bear, but he couldn't say it was the love of his life who he hoped to marry. Gerard lowered his sword, resting the point in the ground, though he knew it wasn't proper. The bear never moved from her spot, instead she lowered her head, closing her eyes. Though Gerard knew he should say something, he worried that if he let on too much, someone else would kill the bear.

"Listen up," Gerard said, leaning forward and cutting the bonds with his knife. "I'll make an agreement with you. You don't kill anyone or destroy property, and you can continue living in the forest."

The minister of state made a choking noise behind Gerard but Gerard ignored him.

"Now, be off with you."

"Your majesty," the minister said as the bear lumbered off. No one tried to stop her. Gerard pulled his sword from the ground and sheathed it. He would meet up with her later, as he always did. He found great comfort in the bear and the companionship she offered.

"This is not a wise decision."

Gerard ignored the minister and walked back towards the horses. Though he knew releasing the bear was risky, he just couldn't justify killing her, especially when no one could bring any solid evidence as to why he should.

"The decision was mine to make, and I trust everyone will support me," Gerard said meeting the gaze of the five soldiers who had escorted him. The bear hunter folded his arms but didn't say anything. He'd already received his pay and Gerard knew the man wouldn't mind earning another small fortune if he needed to catch the bear again.

Back at the castle Gerard had a difficult time focusing. His mind kept straying to the bear. It had been around the forest for years and it hadn't been until recently that members of the town complained out it. When his father passed away from an infection four years earlier, he became king. That day he was to have been married but everything had gone wrong. His father had been injured which resulted in death, and the bear came in place of a bride. The oddest thing of all was no one seemed to care the bride hadn't shown up. Foul things, quite unlike the bear, called the forest home, and caused strange happenings. Gerard did not doubt a witch's hand meddling in his life.

In four years he'd managed to get the kingdom back into the profitability side of things but what everyone saw most was his lack of a queen. His thoughts went back to the bear. The bear hunter claimed the bear walked up to him, and never made a noise as he tied her up. There was something wrong about the whole thing. After his father's death, Gerard often went to the forest. There he met with the bear and their friendship deepened. The idea that the bear would willingly trap herself disturbed him. He wondered if the witch of the forest was behind it.

"Bother this," he said and climbed to his feet. "I need some air."

He climbed out of the window and dropped the five feet to the grass below. There was no one in sight as he jogged across the field, taking in deep breaths of the cool spring air. The sun warmed his back as he hiked towards the forest. Inside the forest felt cold but he enjoyed the sounds of the birds and other wildlife in the trees.

Someone screamed. Gerard turned and looked through the trees. A woman, dressed in a patchwork of red and white hid behind a tree as the bear approached.

"Dash-it-all," Gerard murmured before raising his voice. "Hold up, bear. We had an agreement."

The bear turned at the sound of his voice. She almost got a sheepish look as she back away from the woman.

"Help me," the woman cried.

Gerard absently patted the bear as he walked by. "You don't have to worry; she's not going to hurt you."

"It's a monster," the woman replied. "It tried to eat me."

Gerard replied with a laugh, "Most bears are omnivores but this one is strictly vegetarian. I keep track of everyone. The bear has never killed any kind of animal."

"That you know of," the woman added.

Gerard didn't say anything else. The woman clung to his arm. He flinched as her nails dug in further. He couldn't pull away from her. Her red and white patterned dressed now looked stained from blood. The cut and design of the dress gave him the idea of a wedding gown. Gerard was pulled backwards. The bear stood over him, her teeth bared and growling at the woman.

"The bear is dangerous, it needs to be killed," the woman said raising her hands.

Gerard got to his feet and drew his sword. "So much as touch the bear and I put an end to this dispute immediately."

"It will die," she shrieked. Gerard had just enough time to push the bear away before the dagger plunged into his chest. The woman dropped the knife, as if it burned her.

"You have your proof," another woman said, moving to Gerard's side. "And your power is finished."

The corpse let out one last shriek before exploding into rays of light. The pain in Gerard's chest lightened and he looked up at his bride to be.

"For as I said, this man who has my heart, will love me in any form. Be gone foul witch."

Gerard kept his gaze on the woman, his bride to be, as the witch scuttled back into the depths of the forest. It would be years before she had the power to move against him again.

"And now we get to live happily ever after," Gerard said, taking his betrothed in his arms and heading back to the castle.

15 April 2011

The Hound Saga

by Mette Ivie Harrision

Intro: I decided to post all three book reviews at once. I didn't want to have to wait like I did with the previous series I reviewed. That being said, this will be a long post.

The Princess and the Hound 
I read this book shortly after it came out a couple of years ago. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but I was drawn in with the book flap about the author, Mette Ivie Harrison. When she said she reread favorites such as THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA and THE BLUE SWORD I knew I had to give the book a try. The story is about Princess Beatrice, Prince George, and the princess's hound. Forced into an arranged marriage the two of them try to work together if only for the good of their kingdom. They all have secrets which could be the downfall of everything they have worked to achieve. Throw in a little animal magic that people mistrust and the story takes off from there.

This book is unique not just with the intricate little plot twists and turns but with the characters themselves. While this story is as much about the princess and the prince it is also about animals, in particular the hound and a bear. Most of the time when I read books involving animals they are humans in animal forms, (I have nothing against these books. I love BUNNICULA) but this story isn't about taking humans and giving them animal forms and saying, there you go, she is obviously a dog because she walks on four legs, likes to chase rabbits, and is faithful to her master, it doesn't matter if she thinks like a human. Mette Ivie Harrison captures the essence of animals and the motivations behind their actions and thoughts. While the animal magic and human characters are all unique and interesting, I will always use this book as a guidepost when reading, or writing, animals.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun fantasy story with a cute romantic theme. I also strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to see an amazing way of portraying animals not as humans on four legs.

The Princess and the Bear 
It is rare for me to say this, but I actually liked this book by Mette Ivie Harrison better than the first one in the series. That is because it has my favorite character, the bear, as one of the protagonists of the stories. Part of me was hoping this story would involve more of Princess Beatrice and Prince George but while they are mentioned in the book, they aren't integral to the story.

Not only does this book continue with the spot on portrayal of how animals think different than humans, but it showed me that dialogue isn't necessary to keep a story flowing. The chapters alternate between Chala, the hound and King Richon, the bear. While in their animal forms, there is no dialogue. The animals will act certain ways which shows their feelings or what they are thinking. Even without dialogue for good portions of the story, we still see the characters grow and develop. This story has few characters beyond Chala and Richon but the plot of the story is still strong and even more involved, I would say, than the previous book. The connecting thread of the novels is the green magic. While green magic is still not readily accepted in the land the "unmagic" is even worse. If the unmagic spreads everywhere there will be big problems so Chala and Richon try and figure out what is happening and how they can fix it.

While this book is called a sequel to THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND it can technically be read by itself. To me this book shows the best qualities of Chala and Richon and what they are willing to sacrifice for each other and the understandings they come to both as animals and as humans.

The Princess and the Snowbird 
This is the third book by Mette Ivie Harrison about the same world. While Chala and Richon are in the story, this book revolves around their daughter Liva. She is more animal than human but can take any form she wants using the aur-magic. The other protagonist of the story, Jens, has no magic whatsoever and has a pretty rotten life. Though he has an affinity for animals without magic, there is little he thinks he can do to help them.

While this book once again focuses on magic in a human society, to me the romance played a bigger role. Liva was raised by two people who had lived more of their life as animals, she doesn’t understand the feelings that she and Jens have towards each other. They just aren't logical to her. I am impressed that Jens has the patience to put up with her especially after everything he has been through. I was worried at the end for a while but everything was cleared up, better than I hoped and not in the way I expected.

After I finished reading this book it took a day for me to decide if I liked it as much as I liked the other books. I think one of the reasons why I wasn't sure I liked the book was because this was the first time you meet Liva. THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND introduces the characters to THE PRINCESS AND THE BEAR. I liked the introduction to the non-human characters before we were actually in their head because it is a little jarring to have characters who have animal behaviors. Jens balances Liva out nicely and after I got over the fact that Liva just didn't think the same way I did, I like everything the story has to offer. I hope that there are more books from this same world, especially since each story is stand-alone.

13 April 2011

Writing Tips – Part I

I have been involved in a variety of writing groups and critiqued a variety of stories. This will be the first of several posts where I give advice on improving writing.

On the Carol Burnett show there is a skit where someone falls sick and the doctor runs in right then. "How did you know she was sick?" "I heard the music." You get this situation as an audience member in a lot of movies. At the especially horrifying, depressing, or startling bit there is often music playing in the background. The good movies don't overdo the music, but there are others when you know something is going to happen because of the overly dramatic music and it ruins the surprise.

As writers, we don't have the advantage of soundtracks to pull emotions subtly, but we can overdo our writing just like poorly done soundtracks. The word 'suddenly' is one of those words that can ruin the surprise. If you want something to be sudden or startling, just tell it with strong verbs, don't ruin the surprise that something is going to happen.

For an extreme example: Suddenly, John pulled a gun from his pocket and shot Harry. Doesn't have the same impact as: John pulled out a gun and shot Harry.

Don't start sentences with 'suddenly,' start them suddenly.

10 April 2011

*Weight of the World

Intro: This is the first story I wrote for NaShoStoMo. (National Short Story Month created by author Dan Wells.) I didn't intend for this story to be mythological in setting. I have always felt bad for Atlas and when I finally decided to make it mythical, I decided to take it in a slightly different direction than what is normally shown.

Aegle scrambled further back into the alley and covered her mouth. She couldn't stop her ragged breathing but maybe she could dampen the sound. The lights of the night city spilled and danced through the puddles as rain continued to fall. People walked by, their coat collars pulled up and their gazes fixed on the sidewalk in front of them. No one even looked her direction. Water slipped down her neck, under her collar. She shivered. The world pulled at the chain around her neck, digging into her flesh, growing heavier by the moment. She touched the globe gently and closed her eyes.

Maybe she was wrong. Maybe the men hadn't seen her. She would leave the city and not look back. Nothing held her here anymore. The others waited for her at the orchard. This scheme no longer seemed like a good idea.

A figure walked through the people hurrying home from work. He didn't force his way, people avoided him. Where he walked, others flowed out of the way. His red coat thrashed in the breeze and rain, snapping like a whip. He turned down the alley. The puddles splashed up under his feet, the droplets of water cascading like bells, neon light dancing on the ground.

Aegle scooted away, her hands slipping in the grim and mud on the ground. Still the man in red pressed forward.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are."

This man, as well as all the others in red, were determined to have their way with the world. Aegle had promised she would do everything she could to stop it. Now she was having second thoughts. Continue running, or escape back to the orchard and turn a blind eye like everyone else.

"You didn't think you could escape, did you."

She moved further back, knocking over a garbage can in the process. The man laughed.

"You're the last one left. Can't you feel it? The world is starting to fall. You are the last bearer."

From the way the chain continued to pull her neck she didn't doubt him. She could barely lift her head.

"Just give me the world, and you'll be free to leave."

"Never," she said, surprised at her own vehemence. "I'll never hand it over."

"Give it to me. Or you die."

She lifted her head as much as she could and stared at the figure looming over her. Going back to the orchard was no longer an option. If she handed over the world, nothing would ever return to how it was. The mortals would suffer most of all, if any were left alive. After everything that had happened over the thousands of years, it was time someone thought of the mortals, like Prometheus.

"If I must bear the world on my own, then so be it," Aegle said touching the wet earth under her hands.

The red man raged and stormed but never touched her. She sat back against the alley, her head nearly between her knees.

"Fine," he finally said. "You'll quickly change your mind. It's not as if the mortals actually care about any of us. When you get sick of bearing them up, I'll be there to collect." He turned on his heel and stalked out of the alley.

Aegle sat there, the rain dripped down her back and already sopping wet clothes. After an hour she clawed her way to the alley entrance looking at the mass of moving feet. The storm showed no sign of letting up and a cool wind tugged at everyone, making it feel even colder.

"Such a fool," she said. With the last of her strength she leaned back up against the alley wall, staring out at the hustle and bustle of people.

"Wait," a voice called out and a pair of feet stopped at her knee. She didn't even have the strength to look up.

"What did you find, Vanessa?" Another voice called.

"She looks so cold."

Another pair of feet moved into Aegle's field of vision. The tall high heeled shoes looked ridiculous in the every growing puddles. Two women, probably in their mid-thirties, bent down.

"Are you alright?" A brunette asked. "She doesn't look very good, Vanessa."

"Come on, Jill. We've got to get her out of this weather. She's soaked clean through."

With a tall brunette on one side, and a petite red-head on the other, the two women hoisted Aegle out of the filth.

"It's like the whole world's on her shoulders," Jill said.

"Don't worry, a warm shower, clean clothes, and a mountain of chocolate will make all the difference."

As Aegle let the two women half carry her she felt a little weight lift from her shoulders.

08 April 2011

The Blue Sword

by Robin McKinley

Where do I start with this book? If I am every asked which book is my favorite, this one always makes the list. I have read and enjoyed the majority of Robin McKinley’s books but this one takes the cake. I reread it every year. I guess it is time to back up my words.

This story follows Angharad Crewe, called Harry, and her adventure with the hill-folk. In a very brief nutshell: two countries are trying to work out relations between them when another country threatens to attack and destroy everything. Harry has to decide where her loyalties lie and what she is willing to sacrifice to do what she thinks is right. Harry is the point of view character for the majority of the story though Corlath, the King of Damar. I’ve looked up to Harry ever since my mother read this book to me when I was a child. She is determined and intelligent. She is put in a variety of situations that make her uncomfortable, kidnapping being one of them, and tries to make the best of it. The characters in this book are what make it such a wonderful read, even after a dozen reads. While the story is told through Harry and Corlath and we see the inner workings of their minds and drives, the other characters also demand attention and develop throughout the tale. As someone who has lived in fairly green areas, even if the only green is sagebrush, the description of the land and nomadic lifestyle gets my imagination going. The great sand dunes and caravans are clearly pictured in my mind through Robin McKinley’s descriptions.

This book may have a heroine as the main character but it will draw in anyone who reads it, whether they are male or female. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a great story, fleshed-out characters, and a beautiful setting. Now I must be off to read it again.

06 April 2011


Because obviously I don't have enough to do in my life, I decided to participate in Dan Wells' National Short Story Month. By the end of April I will, theoretically speaking, have written 30 short stories. When I told my husband I was thinking about participating, he said, "It shouldn't be hard, you write short stories all the time." He's so optimistic it makes me happy. Writing one short story a week is drastically different than writing one a day. NaShoStoMo on top of everything else I try to do in my life is going to make things complicated. With all of that in mind, I signed up.

At this point I am right on track, and if all goes well, I'll have a nice backlog of stories to post if I ever fall behind on my weekly flash posting. Though I can already tell you some will never see the light of day unless I'm truly desperate.

03 April 2011


Intro: Let the punishment fit the crime.

The men and women milled around the small room. Some limped, others mumbled eyes rolling around, a few leaned against the wall their faces twisted with contempt and frustration. When the door opened a few of them saluted.

"Glad you could all make it," General Jarkin said. "I'm here to brief you on your next mission."

Jarkin expected the sneers and looks of disbelief as everyone in the room turned his direction. It took all his willpower to hide even the smallest of smiles. It wouldn't do to have anyone think this was a joke.

"Brief us for what?" one of the men in wheelchairs finally asked.

"You have all been called back to active duty. We need all of you in this war."

"But, I'm disabled," the man repeated.

Jarkin ignored him. He pulled his shoulders back, clasping his hands behind him, and cast his gaze over everyone, paying particular attention to the men and women standing and whole.

"We are pleased all of you volunteered. We need a strong team to break through the defenses. You will be the tip of the arrow. You will lead the rest of the men to victory."

A few of them absently nodded. Others whispered to each other.

"Let me just clarify," one of the women said from the back of the room. "You want us to lead a charge against the enemy soldiers."

"Yes," Jarkin said.

"It's suicide. I'm not volunteering. Get me out of here," she said pushing her way through towards the door.

Jarkin raised his hand and two soldiers in full gear came through the door. The door slammed closed behind them.

"You lost your chance years ago, Ms.—"

The woman shook her head, "You can't keep us here."

Jarkin allowed himself a small smile and snapped his fingers. One of the soldiers handed him a pile of papers.

"Now that I have your undivided attention, we need to get down to the business side of things. We weren't expecting so many to volunteer for this mission and our funds for equipment is a little low. All of you will be given a utility knife and a canteen."

Jarkin didn't even bother to look at the soldiers behind him. Every other eye in the room was fixed on the Swiss Army Knife and empty Gatorade bottle the two soldiers held up.

"What about transportation?" someone asked. He turned to the others in the room, "Surly this mission won't be that hard if they give us some tanks or something."

"You can't honestly think they're going to make us go through with this," another person hissed.

The tension in the air rose.

"What else?" someone finally asked. "What other equipment is there?"

Jarkin made a show of lifting up the top paper though it had absolutely nothing to do with the equipment. "Nope, I don't see anything else here in regards to provided equipment, or transportation."

The small room erupted with noise. A few of the people in wheelchairs stood up and made a move to the door. The two soldiers cocked their guns and everyone fell silent.

"I didn't say you couldn't have anymore equipment, just that I can't provide it — for free." Jarkin held up the stack of papers and smiled. "I have more information about opportunities here."

He glanced down the list and called out, "Peter Archibald Jones, I see something good for you."

A man sitting on the floor raised his hands. He was middle aged and wore serviceable clothes.

"I see that you are indeed up for a jeep, full combat equipment, and rifle with ammunition."

The man chuckled with a relieved air about him.

"Oh, but I see you claimed over thirty-thousand in veteran benefits. I'm sure I can work something out for you if you can see the money is returned."

The man's face paled and he bowed his head.

Jarkin picked another name off the list, "Katherine Billings Smith. You are up for a hummer, if you can pay back the hundred grand you collected through your campaign slogan."

The room grew even more silent as Jarkin went through the list rattling off the money each person had listed by their name.

"Anyone care to pay up? I promise, you will get the equipment before you have to make the run tomorrow morning." Jarkin looked around. "I'll leave you to deliberate."

He turned and walked from the room. The two soldiers followed him. As soon as the door closed a clamor of voices rose. Jarkin leaned against the door.

"Thanks for helping me out, boys."

One of the soldiers took off his helmet and held it under his arm. "What exactly was that for?"

"Maybe next time these losers will think twice before impersonating a soldier for gain."

"Are you really going to make them fight?"

"Though I wish we could, the prison is sending a bus over to pick them all up," Jarkin replied.

Someone started pounding on the door and Jarkin smiled to himself.

"Come on, I want to broadcast a few messages over the speaker system while we still have time."


"Have you ever heard of War of the Worlds?"

Jarkin and the two soldiers walked off already discussing the plan for the next group to come in and deciding what to tell the press to spread the word.

01 April 2011


by Daniel Coleman

I am attached to JABBERWOCKY because Daniel Coleman is a friend of mine. I was able to read several drafts of this story as he worked on it. He's always a good writer and the final product of this story is spectacular. He takes Lewis Carroll's poem and gives it a life of its own while remaining true to the initial writings.

JABBERWOCKY tells the story of a young man named Tjaden. His desire, beyond marrying his childhood sweetheart Elora, is to become an Elite. The Elites are the ultimate fighting force of the kingdom and Tjaden has a good chance of making a name for himself. Now throw in deception, action, mystery, true love, friendship, and not to mention the Jabberwocky itself and you will have an idea of everything this story entails. This novel is shorter in length and kept me entertained from the first page to the last.

I wish it could have been just a bit longer, it wasn't because the story felt unfinished but because I wanted to spend more time with the characters. This book is perfect for anyone who is entranced by the world of Lewis Carroll. Don't be dissuaded by the fact that this is a self-published novel; it is a well written story and is suitable for all ages. It is available at http://www.jabberwockybook.com/ in eBook format. You should at least check out the sample posted there to get an idea of how great this book really is. I hope someday to see it in print because it will be one I will read to my children. Though I will read it to them whether it is in print in not.