Pileated Woodpecker – A story ;)

Baby Woodpecker - looking out

Hey Mom! It’s me, Woody!

Baby Pileated number 2

Mom, were are you. Continue reading

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The Gondolier Went Home

venice-fatima

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

Meg looked around the room, taking note of the socks and boxers on the floor and the dirty dishes on the dresser.  She closed her eyes.

She remembered Paul as he was when she met him, smart, athletic and witty.  She thought of the fancy restaurants and the off-Broadway shows.

Life was a constant holiday, a gondola ride on a sunny canal.  Her head was in the clouds.

Married for five years she now only saw the piles of garbage and the infrastructure, the daily routine, dinners at home followed by TV.

When did the romance fade and reality intrude?

— —

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Fatima Fakier Deria.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

Yeah, a pessimistic view on life ;)  I’ll try to be sunnier next week…

If We Were Having Coffee on the 17th of June, 2018

Coffee in NH with Moog

Hello and Welcome!  Come on in and I’ll get you a nice large mug of very strong Sumatra Roast, a cuppa tea or some other beverage.  We’ll take them out back onto the patio and sit and admire my new grill ;)  The house is relatively cool, but it is perfect outside.  Fr now.  It will get hot this afternoon, though not terrible.  Tomorrow… well, they are saying 97 F/36 C.  If it is humid, it will be bad.  And were are we?  Some of you may recognize that photo as coming from my place in New Hampshire.

backyard

The photo is of my backyard this morning.  the view from the patio looks up into the woods.  It looks like we are a million miles from anybody instead of in the middle of town.

I usually post my coffee share on Saturday.  OK, Saturday I woke at 6:15, fed cats and dog and then took the dogs out for a long walk.  I got back had breakfast and then took the dogs outside so they could play.  Then I went running.  After my shower, I had to go pick up a few things, including the new grill.  I had car issues.  Maybe more about that later..  I had a late lunch and then did a few things with the car.  When the car was, I hope, healed, I started playing with the grill.  I recently put together a grill, but this one seemed to have a lot more pieces.  I don’t remember doing the wiring before…  It wasn’t hard, just time consuming.  I let the dogs out to play once.  After it was done, I cleaned up and did a few things inside for 15 minutes.  I then fed the animals, picked up a few things and then another long walk with the dogs.  When I got back it was time to make dinner.  And then I turned on my computer and did some editing for the rest of the evening.  Yesterday was my least busy day of the week… Continue reading

The Halley Branch – Tweaked Cover

The Halley Branch Cover

When I did my cover reveal for The Halley Branch, I had one person ask me if it was an alien.  What?  “The skull just seems flat to me, but what do I know?”  I checked by putting a photo of a skull in the same position over it as a layer in Photoshop.  Actually it was pretty close, but yeah, slightly too flat.  I wasn’t going to do anything about it, but then, you know, there will always be someone out there who will say, “I bought your book thinking it was about aliens!  That skull is so misleading!!”   It took me about 5 minutes in Photoshop to get a little closer to the photo of a human skull I had imported.  Not exact, but closer.

What do you think?  A little less like an alien?

An evil 300 years in the making.  A trap set 150 years in the past.

The day should have been a normal “family day” at the Hawkins’ Mausoleum, but a premonition followed Trevor into the crypt. To make matters worse, he couldn’t shake his morning vision of dead woman draped in a funeral-shroud.

After rescuing a girl trapped in the tomb, repressed memories forced him to reevaluate everything. Was his extended family a cult with roots going back to America’s colonial past?  Was the evil Benjamin Halley still stalking his tomb after 150 years? Was there any truth to the Power described by the family’s patriarch, Miles Hawkins?

Trevor realized that he was being manipulated and drawn into a trap set in the 19th century, and feared that everyone around him had already been ensnared.  Who could he trust?  The members of his own family’s Branch, The Bradford’s, like his cousins Bill or Stan?  Perhaps members of the Hawkins Branch, such as the beautiful but jaded Amelie?  The one Branch he knew not to trust was the extinct Halley Branch.

But the Halley’s were the ones who were welcoming him with open, if dead, arms.

Introducing Bethy – The Halley Branch

The Halley Branch Cover

Bethy was all Trevor could wish for in a girlfriend and more.  Although relatively uneducated, she was very intelligent and willing to learn.  In fact, when Trevor met her she was using a big chunk of her meager wages as a chain-restaurant hostess to take college classes.  She was also a talented writer with a handful of published works who appeared to be just on the verge of being discovered.  Bethy was very pretty, some would say gorgeous, the sexiest woman Trevor had ever met, a curvy blond with piercing blue eyes.  She had an “It Factor” that drew the attention of everyone in every room she entered.

Most importantly, she saw past Trevor’s social awkwardness and accepted him for who he was.

Trevor and Bethy had been together for more than six years and had never had a serious argument.  Well, Trevor vaguely remembered something, but it was always just beyond his grasp, so he could only assumed there were few arguments.  There was that time, but it was foggy, and.. well, if he didn’t remember, it must fine.  Their relationship was a trusting, each spending time with their own friends. Yet they were good together and often escaped the city for romantic weekends away. Continue reading

Beginnings – #writephoto

dawn

Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this is the thirteenth exciting episode of The Mad Quest!  You can start at the beginning, go to the previous chapter or to the table of contents.

Out of King Brinwald’s castle for a moment I thought the dragon had broken its promise.  The entire sky was glowing red as if an enormous fire was destroying everything.  I was about to say something but realized that it was just the dawn.

“Red in the morning, Snow Demons take warning,” I said.

“A new day a new beginning,” a voice said.  I spun.  It was Sirlriend.  “I think the poor people you call ‘Snow Demons’ will be happy with this new beginning we are going to offer them.”

“Where have you been?” I asked.

“Here, with you.”

“Were you invisible?”

“No, that is physically impossible.  Light still reflected off of me and Warph.  Confusing people, on the other hand, is simple.  People just chose not to see us.” Continue reading

Some Have All the Luck

meep-by-the-window

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

It’s like the world, or maybe God or some old-school god, wanted Jill to win.  Every time a question came up that I thought would stump her, a clue would pop up out of nowhere.

Like the question, “It took cyanide, drowning and a bullet to the head to put him down.”  Of course the TV immediately talked about Vladimir Putin and she said, “Vlad Putin, rad Putin, ras… ah! Rasputin!”

But this was too much!  The question was, “A 70’s TV family that formed a rock band.”

There was a sound at the window.

A partridge was looking in.

— —

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Jean L. Hays.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

I was ultra busy and didn’t have time to post last week.

If We Were Having Coffee on the 9th of June, 2018

Hello and Welcome!  Come on in and I’ll get you a large mug of a very strong French Roast, a cuppa tea or other beverage.  Actually, it is now after lunch and warm (not hot), so how about something cool and we’ll go sit out back or perhaps walk to the landing (about 100 yards/meters away)?  It is a beautiful day.  Some clouds have recently moved in,but it is partially sunny.  As I said, pleasant warm, but not hot.  And were are we?  Some of you may recognize that stack of Beatles mugs as being on Cape Cod.

The important thing this week is that I drove down here Wednesday night and worked fom here on Thursday and Friday.  Thursday was a long work day, but Friday was short.  Both days were beautiful.  Thursday was a little cool, but I loved it.  I was able to kayak on Friday and I did a long walk in the woods.  I got up early today, did a long walk on the beach, mowed my lawn (first time this year,so it was almost knee deep!), ran 4 miles, took and outside shower (one reason I love The Cape), ate lunch and read.  When I finish this post I will kayak for a couple of hours and then take a long walk in the woods.  Yeah, I enjoy it here ;) Continue reading

Introducing Trevor – The Halley Branch

Imagine living your life day to day almost by rote or routine.  Everything seems to be going great.  A super career, a great relationship with your significant other, a loving family, an ideal life.  But then what if  you discovered that it was all a lie?

Trevor woke up early on Saturday, August 15, and started his normal routine.  The day turned out as anything but routine.  Visiting the Hawkins Mausoleum might have been normal, but premonitions and visions of a dead girl or woman covered in only a funeral shroud cast a pall over the entire day.  And that was just the begining.  Within a few days he began to question everything.  Was his girlfriend Bethy really “the one”?  Was their relationship as perfect as he had assumed?  He was considered an “enfant terrible”  at work and skipped many rungs in his climb up the corporate ladder, but why had he stalled?  Was he really letting his coworkers down?

And then there was his family.  Were they really a cult with roots going back to colonial America?  And why were his memories from the “black side” of the family, the African American Hawkins Branch, so foggy, as if blocked from the outside? Continue reading

Remains – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this is the twelfth exciting episode of The Mad Quest!  You can start at the beginning, go to the previous chapter or to the table of contents.

We came to the top of a hill.  The stream of refugees had trickled down to nothing, making me believe not a person remained in the west lands.

The horse riders stopped at the crest and allowed us to catch up.

I stood in disbelief.  Although the entire horizon had glowed as if from a great conflagration, the actual fire was burning only around a lone castle on a hilltop.  The flames were blindingly bright, yet seemed to not burn any of the land around.

We went down into the valley and headed towards the fire.  Perhaps it would be much easier than we thought.

The ground shook and a dragon appeared before us. Continue reading