Tag Archives: Fiction

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


Fallen – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

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

I woke up with the giant wolf still curled around me.  I’ll admit, I never slept better in my life.  I started to move around and noticed that Merla was sleeping tucked tightly under the wing of Soe-Ar, the giant eagle.

At first I didn’t see Sirlriend, but I noticed a strange blob.  The amorphous glob shifted and then flew off in many directions leaving the little king in the middle.  I realized that he had slept at the center of a pile of pixies.

Sirlriend stood up, stretched and yawned.  He saw me and stopped mid-stretch.  “What?”

“I was just thinking,” I said.

“Dangerous pastime.”

“It is.  I know Merla is so much sharper than I am, so I typically leave the heavy thinking to her.  Thinking of Merla, did you notice that her sword, Froast, attracted, of all animals, an eagle?”


“And my sword, Trowr, attracted the very wolf we had been talking about?”

“Your point being?” Continue reading

If You Can Make It in New York…


I listened to the siren call of the big city, joined the huddled masses looking for their big break.  It’s hard to be heard over the cacophony.

The bums around me with their wine soaked dreams, did they once too search out the bright lights?  Broadway is that blur over there.

Someone swiped my trumpet.  Probably pawned it to buy a fix.  The Empire State Building sees all, but won’t give it up.

So I don’t care about that friend of your uncle who is looking for players, right now I only want to make it out of New York.

Word count = 100

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

The Great Speech Maker

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

“We have reached the mountaintops, the first step on our way to the stars.  With much effort we have scaled these heights, overcome these obstacles.  We can turn and look back across the dusty plain of adversary, the desert of our past, and be proud of our accomplishments.  We have done it on our own, with our own two feet.  We…”

“Dad, do you have to do this every time we go hiking?”

“Quiet dear, he’s on a roll.  This one might even be more epic than his “Pit of Despair” speech he gave when we visited the Grand Canyon.”

— — —

Word count = 100

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

What is It?


PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

It’s a torch, for occult ceremonies.  Skulls go in the tray

I say it’s exercise equipment for gnome children.

It’s a bird zapper.  Ten trillion volts and, pow! they’re vaporized.

I think it’s a beacon for space aliens.

It’s a ghost catcher.

No, a fairy playground.

Medieval torture device.  Looks wicked to me.

I think it’s a huge watch tower for ants.

No, it’s a… oops, here come some adults.

Hey kids, playing through.  Move aside.

Watcha doin’?

Playing Frisbee golf.  That’s sixth hole.

Frisbee Golf?  That’s weird.

Adults imagine the strangest things.

Yeah.  They’re funny that way.

Yep.  Odd.

— — —

Word count = 100

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

Midnight’s Flower


(Note – I wrote this in 2010.  You’ll see references to things from that era.  Back then I did not write poetry.  Ever.  So the poems in here are, well, they are supposed to be written by high school kids, so…  This is unedited, just as I “found” it.)

“What’s this?”  Zachary Wooldridge picked a spiral-bound notebook out of the weeds.  He was sitting on a rock in his favorite hiding spot, a small open area hidden from the main path that ran through the patch of woods behind his house.  Situated near the top of a hill the little private zone afforded a view out over town, though with the residential trees, the nearby river and more distant hills as a backdrop he often imagined he was a million miles from the nearest person instead of smack-dab in the middle of town.

Zack turned the notebook over in his hands a few times.  The front cover was an unadorned black.  The back was what drew his interest for a rose was inked in by hand, a rose all in black with the lines being created by un-inked areas of cardboard brown.  Care was taken to make every petal stand out, contrasting with the crudely drawn oversized thorns.  One thorn near the bottom had a large ink-black drop which Zack guessed was supposed to be blood.

Leafing through the notebook Zack found it to be full of poetry written with the same black ink.  The print was small and plain, but was tight, exact, somehow creating a sense of urgency or pain.  Because of the neatness Zack could only imagine a female hand creating the print, thinking of his own sloppy, spidery text.  In his mind he saw a tall, thin girl dressed all in black holding a black pen with a hand fringed with black fingernails gracefully sharing her innermost thoughts with the notebook, occasionally brushing raven black hair out of her eyes.

Zack read through a few poems at random.  He was amazed at some of the imagery and multidimensional facet of the poems.  For instance, “Forgotten Skin” seemed to be about walking around “dressed” only in bones – “When I went out today; I forgot my skin.”  The poet though, stays invisible – “Bony hand holds the door; he doesn’t see or care.”  And yet, to Zack, it seemed to say so much more, to cry out for attention. Continue reading

Shelter – #writephoto


Photo by Sue Vincent

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

I saw daylight in front of us and started to rush, but the little king held me back.  It wasn’t long before we could see the sky.  The butterfly flew out into the open and I watched it, half envious of its freedom.  Little hands grasped me.  Looking down at Silriend I realized that I was just one step away from a large drop.

“Follow me,” the little man said.

There was a hidden way chiseled into the stone.  After a very short passage, we found ourselves at the top of a stone ladder.

Silriend went first, then me, then the prince and Merla guarded the rear.

We stopped at the bottom to regather.  It didn’t take a genius to know that there would soon be Snow Demons crawling all over the land trying to find us.  We had to meet up with our people, with Thworn, and leave Slore as soon as possible.  But I hated to leave our little bit of shelter to search them out.

I shouldn’t have worried, for we walked for only five minutes before we saw our people.

“What did you find?” Thworn asked when he saw me enter the camp.  “Did you find a safe way into the stronghold?”

Prince Branfel pushed past me before I could answer.

“Ah, Thworn, my trusted lieutenant,” the prince said.  “I should have known that you would rescue me.  What a brave and daring plot you had.  I will make sure you are richly rewarded.” Continue reading

Looking for Beta-Readers!

The Halley Branch Cover - front

I’m looking for Beta-Readers for the Halley Branch.  You may have actually read this book!  Yes, I originally posted this as a serialized novel a few years back.  But it has changed a bit since then. Mostly some details have been filled in, characters made “real” and that type of stuff to make a bunch of blog posts become an actually book.

The Book

The book is a bit of a ghost story with “magic” and strange philosophy.  Paranormal?  I think of it as some place between contemporary fantasy and horror, perhaps closer to horror.  Not copying Stephen King, but in that vicinity.  I am posting the blurb at the bottom of the page.  The book is about 100K words.  There is some (not much) “bad” language and a few “adult situations”, though nothing in any graphic detail (if you make it past the first chapter, you are set).  Maybe one or two disturbing scenes, though these were posted on the blog without any complaints (as was most of the more sexual parts).

Where We Are

I finished the fourth draft of this two months ago.  Last week I read through it and made some minor tweaks.  After I get feedback I will do at least one more revision, perhaps a draft if called for.  After that it will go into editing mode, correcting all of those pesky mistakes that always show up. Continue reading

Valley – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

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

As our captors lead us from the middle of the depression I studied them closely.  The Snow Demons were material for our worst nightmares.  Few have faced them and escaped unscathed, none who were captured were seen again.  The tales and legends where horrific.

The truth was far from the myth.  To all appearances the Snow Demon were normal people, just plain folk.  They did have unusually pale skin and blue eyes.  But those blue eyes showed all of the emotions that any other human would have.

We reached a higher ridge.  Looking to the west, across a low valley, I could make out the ridge we had followed all day before being captured by Silriend’s band of wee-folk. There seemed to be a sudden drop and half I remembered seeing the jagged cliffs on this side.  Our tunnel underground must have brought us by the cliffs.  Looking to the east was another valley.  I could make out a village near a river.  There were other smaller villages scattered around.  The valley was growing dark as the sun set behind the ridge we were on.

Where these villages all there was to the mighty fortress? Continue reading

The Halley Branch Cover Reveal Part 2

The Halley Branch Cover - front

Yesterday I posted the cover for The Halley Branch.  Today I want to say a few things about it.

Several months ago I asked some people how early they do a cover reveal.  i was very surprised that most said 4 to 6 months.  I had someone say their publishing company did the reveal before the book was even finished!  So now that it is out there, I can use the image when I talk about it.

Some of you read the rough draft of the book when I posted it as a serial.  Do you recognize this image? Continue reading