Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Xenophobia - Chapter 4

    "Well?" demanded Uu'lassna. "Are they a threat or not? Are we dealing with a hostile species?"
    The old judge turned his attention to Uu'lassna and looked back and forth at the different participants of the Consortium before letting out a long sigh. Darrian couldn't help but wonder if this was something the old robot had been programmed to do or had learned over the years.
    "They are, without a doubt, a threat."
    "What makes you say that?" asked the Yool.
    "Unfortunately, they have shown paramount hostility not only to the species of flora and fauna that inhabit the planet, but to their own species as well."
    "Their own species?"
    "Right. Over the course of the rotations that we've been able to observe, there have been hundreds, if not thousands of continually escalating conflicts. We've been attempting to understand the basis for these conflicts but have not come to any educated conclusions. Even more frightening is that as their technology advances, so too does the level of destruction, without any real recognition at the damage they're doing."
    "Surely there's some reason for this constant in-fighting." Darrian wondered out loud.
    "The best guesses we've come up with so far are both too idiotic to really accept as fact. The first has to do with disagreements over fictional characters created earlier in the civilizations. It would seem that some groups think these characters are more important than others and actively kill each other in the name of that character."
    "That's lunacy..." the Jigger observed with a hint of horror in his voice.
    "It gets better. The other 'reason' that we've identified seems to be on the basis that they believe they are not one species."
    "You heard me. For some reason, a large number of them believe that they are different species on the basis of things like mating preference and even flesh pigmentation. They take it so far as to enslave, punish, and murder each other under the presumption that they are somehow separate from each other despite being such superficial differences.
    For one of the first times in the meeting, Darrian could clearly hear whispers and quiet debate. They had never heard of a self-destructive species becoming space-faring. It simply never happened. Either a species eliminated themselves or they evolved past the need for destruction and focused their goals on the stars as a single unit. And yet, here they were with such unabashed aggression and somehow they had reached space.
    "Hold on. Perhaps this was some kind of accident? Maybe they have space faring technologies but it was just coincidental. They aren't aimed at space travel."
    "A welcome thought." remarked the judge. "But you'd be wrong."
    Darrian's heart sunk.
    "Actually, it was a competition."
    "A competition? The ability to escape to the stars and explore the universe was somehow made into a competition?" asked a Gorderian who looked legitimately disgusted.
    "Quite right. Several groups around the planet were racing and even sabotaging each other to see who could reach their moon quickest. In fact, that brings us to the only good news we might have for today."
    "Which is?"
    "Once one of the groups managed to reach the moon, their desire to explore the stars seemingly diminished. While some groups continued to work, the race being 'over' seemed to quench many desires to leave the planet's orbit."
    "So it's possible they might not leave their planet at all?!" the Cadrax asked with a little bit too much enthusiasm.
    He was met with many nods and agreements. It would seem that the entire Consortium was in favor of not having these warmongers joining them anytime soon.
    "It's...possible." the old judge agreed slowly. "For the moment they seem content to litter their atmosphere with satellites and war with each other."
    "You don't sound convinced it will stay that way." Darrian added.
    The old judge simply shook his head. This was met with a collective sigh and many sidelong glances around the table.
    "I suppose that brings us back to the original point of our meeting. What do we going to do about it?"


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Xenophobia - Chapter 3

    The next while was spent reviewing information that Darrian already knew but most of the counsel members had only briefly covered. The old judge went over the hellish conditions of the planet. Of the energy storms and contaminated water and poisonous atmosphere. He listened with a renewed sense of nervousness when they revealed that more oddities had been found including a recurring tendency towards cyclones.
    Little did he know, the best was yet to come.
    "And so that brings us to the so-called, 'Humans' that inhabit this planet." the old judge said.
    "I still don't know how anything can live there." one of Tulgucks muttered.
    "That's a great question." The old judge retorted. "Which brings us to surprising fact number one. They seem to have a heightened ability towards survival and regeneration."
    "Come again?"
    "Them, and many species on the planet, seem to have an incredible ability to heal and survive extreme injury. So much so that an entire facet of their 'medical' sciences rely upon it."
    "Even in our short observances of the planet, we've seen a multitude of species, not even limited to these 'humans', survive injuries that are too graphic to even consider. Creatures have had their limbs torn asunder. They've been impaled, gored, ripped, shredded, crushed, and more...yet many can simply get back up and heal these injuries."
    An eerie silence fell over the table. How could something lose an appendage and just keep on living? Darrian suddenly found himself thinking about a monster story his parents had told him when he was younger about a horrible insectoid creature from 'Planet P' that could lose a limb and still be 86% effective.
    "That's...horrible." Darrian finally said.
    "And you said some of their medicines are based on this very idea?"
    "Indeed." continued the judge. "This species is so confident in their ability to regenerate from damage that they have an entire 'medical' specialty that they refer to as 'Surgery'."
    "What's surgery?" asked the massive Jigger near the back of the table.
    "Put bluntly, it's a form of 'medicine' where humans cut into themselves with sharp instruments and actively manipulate their own internal organs."
    Darrian could hear someone get sick off to his right and flee the table. He didn't look. His eyes were glued to the robotic form of the judge.
    "You heard me." he said with just a hint of mocking. "Rather than developing a medicine to combat certain ailments, they'd rather stick their hands into the entrails of another and riggle them around a bit. Strangely enough, it seems to work. Many of these creatures recuperate without issue."
    "R-r-recuperate?" Stammered the Cadrax across from Darrian. "AFTER being cut up and played with?"
    "That is correct."
    "With regenerative abilities like this, these creatures must live for generations." Darrian said thoughtfully and doing all he could to force the image of someone rooting around inside him from his mind.
    "Actually, that brings us nicely to the next point I was going to bring up. They're incredibly short lived."
    "Not surprising with how their medicine works." Uu'lassna grumbled.
    This merited a good chuckle around the table but Darrian couldn't help to notice that it sounded strained. No one in the Consortium would be resting easy tonight with thoughts of these monsters floating about.
    "Perhaps." The old judge said with a nod. "But I believe it has more to do with the fact that they are naturally a short lived species."
    "How short are we talking?"
    "One twentieth to one tenth of a rotation. The oldest we heard of was barely over a tenth."
    "A tenth? These things are damned insects!" scoffed a Yool.
    The Cadrax, still looking sick, replied. "Right. Right... We could probably just wait for them to die out on their own."
    "I don't think that will happen." denied the judge.
    "Why not?" the Jigger asked from the back.
    "Because their short life spans are to their benefit. Not their fault."
    "What could be the benefit of a short life span? You have no time to accomplish anything." Darrian retorted more out of confusion than anything else.
    "You're right. Yet they do. Review of our archives show that this species has risen from the dirt to a semi-space faring species in a maybe a dozen rotations."
    Whatever merriment there was again slipped away. It normally took at least a dozen rotations to make any scientific discoveries of merit. How any species could literally come into existence to being on the brink of deep space travel within that same period seemed impossible.
    "On top of that, they use their short lives to their advantage when it comes to disease. What's it matter if one drops off early if another can be born with immunity at the same time? The parent might die just in time for the child to live. Disease simply can't stick to them. They're not unlike bacteria themselves. They simply adapt too fast to be conquered. There have been several instances where massive populations were decimated only to be reborn immune and healthy within a twentieth of a rotation."
    The thought of the insects from 'Planet P' drifted into his thoughts once again. If anything ever matched such a description, he thought these 'humans' didn't seem too far off.
    "So, these things are ridiculously short lived, have incredible regeneration abilities, and live on an all together hostile planet." stated the Yool. "I think I need to ask the question that's on all of our minds: Are they a hostile species? Are they a threat?"
    The old judge stared long and hard at the Yool. Darrian didn't think a robot could look scared, but something about his expression said it all.


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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Down for the Count and Recovering - Journal

Hello Lovelies,

So, based on a few e-mails that I've found waiting for me, I know some of you have been chomping at the bit for part 3 of Xenophobia. That said, I wanted to apologize for my absence in the last couple of days.

Unfortunately, I've been in the hospital.

While I won't go into the finer details, the last few days have been a rather unhappy rollercoaster of medical fun. I'm doing ok for the moment and have plenty of follow ups with OTHER doctors now that I'm back at home, but I should be able to return to the regularly scheduled program from here.

I'm going to be resting for the evening and potentially through tomorrow. My intent is to begin putting out content again starting tomorrow (probably Xenophobia so long as I can work out a good arc for it). IF I don't post tomorrow, I promise to put something out come Tuesday. I don't want to break my cycle over this but, unfortunately, it's not easy to put out content from a hospital bed.

Thank you for everyone's patience. Again, I intend to have something out by tomorrow but, worst comes to worst. Tuesday.

- RB

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Xenophobia - Chapter 2

    Darrian couldn't believe the number of people before him. He couldn't think of anytime he'd ever seen so many different souls in the counsel chambers, particularly of so many different species from around the galaxy.
    While the initial discussion about the "humans" and their planet had surprised him, it was how the Galactic Consortium responded that made him realize something was truly amiss. At any given time, the Consortium could take as long as one tenth solar cycles to arrange and host a hearing regarding a new space faring species. This new one was arranged within five rotations.
    Now, standing at the precipice of the room, he felt himself go numb with shock by the size of the turnout with such little warning.
    He could see ambassadors for the Gorderians and Tulguks already waiting at the counsel tables while a massive Jigger was doing what he could to get settled. A small group of Urreaneans and Kaeel were floating several feet off the ground, discussing something in the back corner of the room. The old judge and several other Merrinians were trying to help a gaggle of Yool, Bivvie, and Cadrax to their own seats. And those were just the species Darrian could readily recognize.
    "Alright, alright!" the judge called angrily, his robotic voicebox amplifying tenfold over the rabble. "Let's get this meeting underway. I know we're missing some people but we've waited long enough."
    The next fifteen minutes was a barely contained riot of activity as everyone did what they could to get to their assigned seats. Darrian was jostled several times before he could get settled and even got accidentally slimed by a passing Yool.
    "We're here to discuss the potential of quarantine for planet AV32784 along with reports of a species that might be acquiring space faring technology kno..."
    "EXCUSE ME!" yelled a creature at the far end of the table. Darrian didn't recognize the species but he thought it might but an Olgan?
    Ambassador Uu'lassna of Planet Olanta 23 has the floor spoke a robotic voice that Darrian had never heard in the regular counsel meetings.
    "Yes, Uu'lassna?" asked the judge, looking quite displeased to be interrupted.
    "We seem to have a mismatch in data. You're claiming that this species is developing space faring technologies, yet they don't seem like they're capable of flipping a switch."
    A confused babble of discussion and questions broke out around the table.
    "I'm not sure I understand Uu'lassna. Our Merrinian analyst team has clearly identified space faring technologies." the judge said, looking perplexed.
    Uu'lassna tapped a few buttons on the console nearest to him and the holographic imager gave birth to an image of scales and feathers and claws and teeth. A massive beast not greatly dissimilar to a carnivorous lizard species in the Ijulen system, but drastically larger and more terrifying looking. It stood on two legs and was in the process of tearing apart another scaled creature limb from limb in a horrific display of savage violence.
    "These images were captured just after you sent out the announcement about this planet. These beasts might look terrifying, but I doubt they can fly."
    The judge said nothing initially but instead responded with a secondary image of his own. This time of a primitive looking urban area made of stone and metal with mechanized transports zipping about on roadways. A number of bipedal creatures, strangely smooth and weak looking, lacking any obvious natural decoration or defenses, meandered about the sides of the roads.
    "These were also captured during that time period." the judge said with annoyance. "Now tell me, what kind of imaging technology was utilized?"
    "Lightcore telescopic lenses, of course." Uu'lassna said with a colorful photochromatic display under his mouth. Not readily knowing the species, Darrian could only presume this was some kind of show of pride.
    A number of the other ambassadors trying to contain their snickers.
    "Ambassador. Your planet is 67,000 light cycle from AV32784. While LTL scopes might be useful for something relatively nearby your planet, you are viewing images that are 67,000 cycles old! Even worse, the solar rotation is drastically intensified for that planet, so the images in question are something in the range of 67,000,000 rotations old!"
    The judge was clearly livid at being interrupted, particularly with such an impudent mistake. The other ambassadors couldn't contain themselves any longer and began to openly laugh. Uu'lassna sunk back and turned several shades of blue.
    "Now, before I continue, does anyone else have anymore terrible lizards that they want to show us or can we get back to the topic at hand?"
    Darrian resisted the urge to request more pictures.
    "Good." he growled out. "Let's begin..."


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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Xenophobia - Chapter 1

    "Uughhh...these meetings always take forever." Darrian groaned.
    "I know." said Ferris with a strangely happy lit to his voice. "But at least the best part is coming up."
    Darrian looked over quizzically at his friend. To his surprise, Ferris's expression matched his tone and he looked genuinely excited.
    "I didn't know you were such a fan of the Celestial Commission reports."
    "Really? You aren't?" Ferris looked almost offended. "They're great! We get to hear about all the new planets that are being considered."
    "Yay? It's a bunch of pencil pushers talking about which ones will be colonized and mined and such."
    "Yea, but who knows what they'll find out there!"
    As if on cue, the old judge at the far end of the table banged his gavel several times to garner the group's attention.
    "Alright, alright. Now before we start wrapping up, Cherryl, would you care to offer any new proposals to the counsel?"
    Cherryl was a mousey, timid little thing a few seats away from Darrian. He saw her nervously look up at the old judge and nod a few times. Despite this, she spent a few more seconds flipping through notes and pictures on her datapad.
    "Um, y-yes. Well, if you all remember, a little while ago the surveys team identified a planet in the AlphaVirgo Quadrant."
    One of the survey team nodded.
    "Right. AV32784." he said offhandedly flipping through his own datapad. "It was heavily aquatic, if I remember correctly. Something in the range of 70% water?"
    "That's right." Cherryl agreed.
    "Wasn't there talk of colonization?" Ferris asked excitedly.
    "W-well...yes..." Cherryl trailed off, suddenly looking disconcerted by the question.
    "They must of found something interesting." Ferris whispered to Darrian. Similar whispers were breaking out all around the table.
    "And is that proposal still on the table?" the judge asked, ignoring the scattered gossip.
    "No, sir. The results from the analysis suggest...well...quarantine."
    The table went dead silent. The judge looked nonplussed.
    "Quarantine?" someone finally asked. "That planet is mostly water! We can't just ignore a planet covered in water!"
    Cherryl was hastily looking back and forth from her datapad and making little squeaks of despair. She was clearly trying to find an answer but was caught between the panic of being put on the spot and not knowing where to even start.
    "I must agree." the judge said, having regained a bit of his composure. "Why would we avoid a planet that's 70% water?"
    "It's not drinkable." Another voice spoke up from the far end of the table. Harris, the lead of the analytics team, stood up.
    "The water is contaminated." he continued. "At least, the majority of it. There are some pockets here and there, but I'd argue that only 5% of the water on the planet is even usable."
    "Contaminated?! With what?"
    "Sodium chloride."
    In the center of the table, lights flickered on and the holographic imager gave birth to a beautiful green and blue planet that hovered just over the table's surface. Harris motioned to the mostly blue sphere.
    "The water is so saturated that consumption is impossible. We simply can't use it."
    "Damnit." Groaned the guy from the survey team, clearly upset at their misstep.
    "While I'm sure we all agree that's most unfortunate," replied the judge, "I'm not sure why that would make the planet up for quarantine."
    "That's not all." Harris said, seemingly enjoying the build up.
    "That's right!" Cherryl nearly shouted.
    Harris gave her a dirty look, clearly having accepted that he simply needed to explain at this point. "There's more problems than just the water."
    "Like?" Darrian asked, quickly becoming annoyed with the theatrics and still surprised at the fact that an entire planet's water source could be utterly useless.
    "Weather, for one." Harris replied. He tapped a few buttons and the holographic imager display boiling black clouds with bolts of energy arcing in every direction. The table erupted in frightened whispering and talking.
    "What the hell is that?"
    "An energy storm. Coupled with heavy buffets of air currents, these storms wreak havoc across the landscape. We've seen them kill flora and fauna and even start fires."
    "This place sounds like hell." Ferris whispered a little too loud.
    "Oh, you think that's bad?" Harris chuckled. "How about the fact that the planet's surface is unstable."
    "What? Are we talking tectonic tremors? That kind of thing?"
    "Well, yes. They've got those too."
    "This planet has MAGMA ON IT'S SURFACE!"
    "Wait, wait, wait." said the judge. "Magma, by definition, is in a planet's core. The exception is when a planet is forming."
    "I know! That's the craziest part!" Harris was clearly getting excited. "There are these great mountains that literally explode and spray molten rock everywhere!"
    "This is insanity..."
    "Are you ready for the final ringer?" Harris asked, looking even more excited.
    "How much worse can you make this place?!"
    "The planet's atmosphere..."
    The occupants of the table were unconsciously leaning forward now.
     The table went silent for several moments as they all considered what they'd heard. Energy storms, contaminated water, exploding mountains of molten rock, and, worst of all, an oxygen atmosphere. It was like someone had taken a nightmare and made it real.
    The judge was the first person to break the silence.
    "Fine. We get it. Oxygen atmosphere alone is enough to disqualify it for colonization. Why, then, do you feel the need to propose we quarantine this barren wasteland?"
    "Because it's not barren."
    "You're full of shit." Someone yelled. "Nothing can live in oxygen!"
    "That's the thing." Harris said quietly. "The planet has a full ecosystem and even a species that is playing at being space faring."
    "Alright. Stop." The judge had clearly heard enough. "If we're talking about a new space faring race, we need to get the Galactic Consortium involved."
    There were a few accepting nods. Darrian couldn't help but feel sick to his stomach. How anything could breath that poison and live was beyond him, and here Harris was telling them that somehow a species that breathed oxygen was becoming space faring?
    "We'll schedule a secondary hearing to discuss the implications of this species." The judge said curtly. "Does your team have a name for them?"
    "Nothing official. We hadn't even realized they were there until the analysis. But it would seem that some of the creatures call themselves 'human', so that's as good a name as any to start."


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Monday, September 19, 2016

For the Sake of Comdy - Open Book Discussion

Hello Lovelies,

Today I wanted to take a moment to talk about Comedy.

Anyone whose read my work for more than a few days can pick up on a very obvious theme. I tend to like the dark. I like horror and suspense and things that go bump in the night. I'm most comfortable when my characters have their hearts racing or when there's some kind of drama going on. Overall, the comfort zone for my writing is just in the serious and spooky.

That said, easily my weakest link in my writing has to do with comedy. Sure, it's easy to throw in snark and sass; hell, I have plenty of life experience to pull from on that one. When it comes to  experience, I've dealt with enough roguish devils with a sideways smile and a sharp tongue to make me want to beat them all to death with a lute. Yet, I don't have anything to draw upon for making a character legitimately funny.

With that said, I've been starting to look around. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link afterall and, while I can certainly keep my head in the dark and broody forever, I'd like to be a bit more well-rounded as an author. I've been reading pieces about writing comedy to little effect so far. I've been considering sitting down and trying to really watch and break down comedy movies and books to identify what makes funny...well...funny.

But here is where you come in. Obviously I can research all the livelong day (and have been), but it's always much more enjoyable to engage in a dialogue and build off the of the knowledge and the experience of all of the wonderful readers that we have. We have plenty of talented and amazing writers in our readers, so I wanted to ask for today's Open Book Discussion:

Do any of you have issues writing comedy? Yes? No? Likewise, what has helped you improve?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dean and Mort's Gym - DBTC

    Dean set down the crystal tumbler with a heavy sigh. It was empty, but his throat still burned with the scotch. His room was dark, as was the rest of the gym, except for the single neon sign that glew red and yellow in his office window.
    Dean & Mort’s Gym” it read.
    Most days, he would chuckle when he read the sign. Not tonight though. Not with the man across the desk.
    Normally, if someone asked about the name, he might recant the tale of how he and his friend Mort were so desperate for a place to box, that they went out and opened a gym of their own. He’d tell them how people started to show up just to watch them train with each other. Family and friends at first, but soon they had to charge admission and were putting on little boxing matches of their own.
    Depending on who the person was, Dean might go into more detail for them. He’d tell them about how he was the heavier hitter but Mort was tougher. He could never stay on the mat no matter how many times Dean put him down. Every time he went down, Mort would jump right back up. Every time…except once.
    “That one time.” Dean would say. “That one time it was all my fault…” his voice would trail off quietly. Theatrically. “I saw the opening and I took the swing. I wasn’t really looking. Wasn’t thinking. I caught him square in the temple.”
    Most people stopped asking after that.
    A few brave souls might want to know more. They’d listen to his voice crack as he told them how he tried to get Mort back up. How he screamed for a doctor or an ambulance, but by the time the men in white had arrived, it was already too late. Then he’d go on about how he took off his gloves and hung them up that very night and how they still hang in his office today, soaked with the blood of his only true friend.
    No one ever wanted to know more after that.
    Not one except the man across the desk from Dean.
    “What would you tell them?” the man asked Dean. “Would you tell them the truth or more of the story that you’ve practiced so well?”
    “Would you tell them about the money on the fight? Or about the offer from the loan sharks? Would you tell them how you sold out your friend for the cost of a debt?”
    “No.” he said to the man. “I would tell them I made an awful mistake.”
    “Some would argue pre-meditation doesn’t allow mistakes, only regret.”
    Dean had no response.
    His eyes drifted to the sign in the window. The neon flicked and buzzed. A constant drone that Dean had long ignored but now sounded ten times louder than ever.
    “You’re right, of course. I thought it was the right thing to do.” Dean said. “The business wasn’t failing but it was built on a snake’s nest of bad investments and back alley deals. There was never enough money to pay back the sharks.”
    “It’s funny. When you think that you’re looking death in the eye, you do some crazy things.” Dean said with a hollow chuckle. There was no happiness in that sound. It was a low, deep thing that sounded more sinister and sad than truly amused.
    “Irony.” Dean said, shaking his head.
    “So tell me,” the man continued. “How would you make it right?”
    “The gym never belonged to me. Not me alone, anyway. That was my only real mistake. As you pointed out, plenty of regrets…but only one mistake. I should have been the one to take that punch.”
    Dean felt his guts twist into a knot as the man across the desk rose from his chair. He knew what was coming. He deserved it. He’d always had. Yet he didn’t have the stones to see it coming. Instead, he turned in his desk chair so that he could see his gloves hanging on the wall. They were ugly and old and still splotched with his friend’s blood.
    “Before you finish it.” Dean said quietly. “Just one more thing.”
    “And what’s that?”
    “Can you forgive me for what I did?”
    The police didn’t find Dean’s body until the next evening. A concerned regular had called in when he happened to look in the office window and saw Dean with his head caved in, slumped over in his chair. They cordoned off the area, checked for prints, and did what they could, but never found any evidence that pointed to the killer. After a few months of searching, they gave up.
    The building is still there though. The landlord has tried to sell it, but no one ever wants to buy. There always seems to be the smell of blood and the sound of blows landing whenever you’re in there late at night. No one dares stay another night.
    And so it sits. An empty old gym with a half burned-out red and yellow neon sign hanging in the window of a dumpy little office.
    Mort’s Gym” it still reads today.

(Hello Lovelies. I hope you enjoyed today's little flash fiction. I was challenged by my friend to try out a writing prompt that she herself was working on. "Write a ghost story 1000 words or less that involves a neon sign." It was a fun little experiment for me. Personally, I think it might have come out a little too dark and broody, but I'd love to hear your opinions!)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Making Some Changes

Hello Lovelies,

So, as you may have noticed, there is no new fiction today. Instead, if you take a look around, you should notice that there have been a few changes. Some of these were inspired by commentary I received from readers, others were ones I've been meaning to do.

First and foremost, the current popular story "Smithy" now has an official main page where you will be able to find all of the book's chapters. It will be regularly updated as more chapters come out and, down the line (if and when I finish the book) it will have Amazon links and things of that nature. BUT, if you'd rather go piece by piece, all "Smithy" chapters will have links forward and backwards so that you may read at your leisure without the need to reference the "main page".

After that you will notice that we have added a number of tabs to the top of the website. Aside from the previously mentioned "Smithy" page, we now have "Don't Break the Chain", "Short Stories / Flash Fiction", "Open Book Discussions / Writer's References", "Site News", and finally "Writer / Editor: For Hire".

The majority of these tabs are pretty self descriptive and will take you to the main collection page of the associated pieces. Any pieces that are created to "not break the chain" will go under the DBTC tab. These can consist of literally any writing project that doesn't fall under a larger category. "Short Stories / Flash Fiction" has to do with any one-shot tales that won't be expanded upon any further. "Open Book Discussions / Writer's References" will act as a location for any articles that are set up having to do with the art of writing and is meant to help fellow writers. "Site News" will entail pieces like this! I.e. telling you what's up. Finally, "Writer / Editor: For Hire" is a tab for any individual wishing to commission my services.

Last, but certainly not least, you will notice two new icons there on the right side of the website. Again, very self descriptive, but the icons link to our website associated Facebook and Tumblr sites. In this way, those individuals that partake in either of these forms of Social Media might enjoy our updates and, for Tumblr specifically, our writing tips that we come across.

That is all for now. Thanks for taking a moment to read and we promise we will return to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow!

Site News - Main Page

Site News

"The only thing that is Constant is Change." - Heraclitus
 The world is evolving. Our writing is changing. The site is adpating.
Check here for updates with regards to things that have or will happen.
Easy as that.


Open Book Discussion / Writer's Reference - Main Page

Open Book Discussion / Writer's Reference

Not all writers come out of the womb with pen and paper in hand. Actually,
 I dare say that none of us do. Instead, we have to learn, we have to share, and
we have to experiment to find out just what works. Here is a collection of reference
pieces and discussions about the art of writing. Maybe it can help you too.


Short Stories / Flash Fiction - Main Page

Short Stories / Flash Fiction
Not all stories need to be 1000 pages long. Sometimes a few words is all you need
to make the skin crawl, the heart soar, and the mind run away in a world of words.
Take a moment to enjoy these short pieces who never felt they needed to have more
than a single chapter.

Don't Break the Chain - Main Page

Don't Break the Chain
A writer is only worth anything when they take the time to write.
Yet, not all writers can produce constant pieces of fantastic fiction.
This is where Don't Break the Chain comes in. DBTC posts are
writing done for the sake of writing. It keeps them fresh, keeps them
inspired, and can be anything from poems to journals to flash fiction
and more. We hope that you enjoy!
Repeating Myself - Poem
Looking Ahead - Journal
"Writing" - Flash Fiction
Don't Break the Chain in Favor of Perfection - Journal

Smithy - Main Page

(Working Title)

Summary Description to be Added Later

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Smithy - Chap 4

    “Thank you again for breakfast” Ailla said with that same soft smile that she always wore around him.
    Tristan smiled in return and nodded. He took both of their dishes away and set them aside before settling again at the table. His chest still felt tight and occasionally the room started to spin a little, but he felt vastly better than the night before.
    “So, I know that you probably don’t want to think about it…” she said, trailing off. “But, what are you going to do about Whitecrest?”
    He’d been dwelling on it and he wasn’t sure either.
    “I don’t know. That sword I was working on. It has to be done. Some great, shining lordling came by last week to commission it. Apparently he’d traveled all the way from Frothing Rock just to find Hagon and request the blade.”
    “I need to finish it.” He said, his voice lacking any of the conviction he’d hoped to muster.
    “Tristan.” Ailla said with a worried tone. “Please. You have to talk to Hagon. I’m sure he won’t have a problem if it meant you were going to get help.”
    “I can’t.” he rebutted, his voice cracking a bit. “If it’s not done when that lordling gets back then we’ll probably never resell it. We’d be so far in the hole that…”
    Tristan tried to think of a comparison, but couldn’t come up with one. The truth was, Hagon made enough gold that the lost commission would certainly hurt, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Yet, for some reason, he felt like if he abandoned the blade, it would be something he could never forgive himself for.
    “Then let Hagon finish it. It’s not like they came all the way to Oak’s Grove for the great and mighty Tristan Casterlan.”
    He winced at the sound of his last name and felt a burning in his chest again. She was right. It’s not like the lordling cared that he was even alive. He had sought out Hagon, not Hagon’s apprentice. His work equated to nothing when his name wasn’t on the woodwork.
    “Oh, Tristan.” Ailla reached out to softly touch his fingertips. “I know. I’m sorry. I forgot that you don’t like to be called that.”
    He shook his head. “It’s not that.”
    They sat in bated silence for what seemed to be an eternity. Ailla never seemed to stop watching him while he, instead, was more focused on mentally tracing the woodwork of the table. All the while, berating himself for thinking he mattered in the equation at all.
    Finally, Ailla broke the silence.
    “Come on, let’s go find Hagon. We’ll get it all worked out and then I’ll help you pack for the trip.”
    Tristan finally looked up to her again, a smile finally tracing his lips.
    “Alright.” He said with a nod. “And Ailla?”
    “Thank you.”
    Ailla responded with a wink and, a moment later, they were setting the table and making their way outside.

    They found Hagon exactly where Tristan expected him to be. Seated in front of his anvil, hammer in hand, pounding on a chunk of metal. In a heartbeat, however, Tristan felt his chest tightening again and the room closing in when he saw what he was actually working on.
    Hagon was putting the final touches on the lordling’s sword.
    “Boy.” Hagon said evenly, his deep voice reaching them despite the roar of the forge.
    “Hagon.” Tristan responded, his head unconsciously bowing. It was an old habit that was hard to break.
    “Hagon.” Ailla chimed in from his side. “Tristan has something he’d like to talk to you about.”
    He and Ailla traded sidelong glances and she gave him a reassuring nod and a smile before motioning for him to step towards the anvil. Hagon set down blade and hammer and watched them carefully with his deep black eyes.
    “Hagon.” Tristan repeated, feeling like a lump was in his throat. “I wanted to talk to you about going to Whitecrest.”
    There was no response, but Tristan had known the old man long enough to need no prompting to continue. He was listening.
    “After last night, you’ve both mentioned it to me and…well, you’re right. I just…just…I just don’t know what to do because I’m supposed to finish the sword and then there’s the other orders that are piling up and…”
    He was talking faster than he meant to and his voice was getting higher the faster he went. He stopped when he realized he was breathing hard just from talking.
    “Boy. Are you daft?” Hagon said simply.
    “I told you to go, but you’re asking permission.”
    “Uh…” Tristan sighed as he realized what he was getting at. “Yessir.”
    “I told you to go. That means go. I got along fine enough without ye. I’ll last a few days more.”
    Ailla smile brightened and she practically hopped a little.
    “See?” she said. “And you were worried.”
    She was right, of course. Tristan couldn’t get his head around why he was worried. Yes, it was work, but it wasn’t like he was trying to skip out. He was ill.
    He nodded again. “I’ll be back as fast as I can.”
    “You’ll take as long as ye need to get better, boy. Now go.” Hagon said, motioning with the hammer. “Tell me before you leave.”
    Nothing else was said as Tristan and Ailla slipped out of the smithy. He could hear Hagon return to pounding on the new sword and Ailla was alight with excitement and chatter. Yet, Tristan didn’t feel excited. If anything, he felt like he might throw up.


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