Journeys into Possibility

Now that the past few years are behind us it’s time to come out and play! Are you ready to go on a journey to a place you have never been before? What would you like to do? Maybe a swim with dolphins, meet strange new creatures, or see John Dillinger behind bars? You could take a trip through time, visit a new planet, or hop on a train worn with memories. The possibilities are just a page away.

So, strap in and get comfortable as we travel into the imaginative realm of possibilities. Together, we will journey into all things possible and impossible. Once you’ve been there and back again, you won’t be quite the same.

Your copy is just one click away!

Amazon (paperback)




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Author Interview: James Quinlan Meservy


James Quinlan Meservy loves literature!  His favorite genre to read is classic literature (Charles Dickens is his favorite author).

He lives in Southeast Idaho with his wife and children, and spent his childhood moving all across northern Utah. He considers his home town to be Mendon, Ut, a small community near Logan, Utah in the Cache Valley.

Tell us about your book, The United: The Realm of Light Book 1.

TJ Parkinson and his best friends, Blaze and Byron, are camping when Blaze goes missing. The only clue they have to Blaze’s disappearance is an old pencil sketch of a wolf. TJ and Byron need to figure out the meaning of the sketch, and find Blaze before it is too late.

    Do you have a plan for the rest of the series (# of books, next publication date, etc.)?

    At the current time, August 2023, the Realm of the Light has 4 published novels: The United, Denizens Among Us, Perfectly Evil, and Shades of Mortality. 2 companion novellas: The Viscount of Sternboard, and Cross of Roses. Also an anthology of Realm of the Light short stories, Within the Shadows. I do plan on writing Book 5 of Realm of the Light at some point in the future, but I do not have a set timetable for that release.

    How/why did you start writing?

    My writing journey is a little different from other authors. I did not always want to be a published author. I had a couple short stories that would not leave my mind, and a couple characters who would not stop talking to me until I wrote them down. So, when I was about 25, I decided to take the stories and form them into a novel. After a few years, a lot of research, and several drafts, I began to actually enjoy the writing process, and here we are.

    What has influenced you the most as a writer?

    Honestly, I think what has influenced me the most as a writer is my connections with other writers, whether that be through personal friendship or social media interactions, or just reading the works of other authors. I often look at, talk with, or read another author’s work and think, “I can do that,” or “I want to try that.”

    What is your favorite time of day, and why?

    When I was 20, I suffered a concussion that literally knocked all curvature out of my spine, and I have been dealing with post concussive syndrome ever since. My most frequent symptoms are chronic headaches and chronic migraines, so my favorite time to write is whenever my head does not hurt.

    What is your favorite aspect of writing? What is the hardest part of writing for you?

    I think my favorite part of writing is creating a new world and seeing how my characters react to and interact with their world.

    The hardest part of writing for me is the marketing and promotions of books that have already been written. I would love it if after a book is properly edited, has a cover, then the book magically gets the blurb and magically shows up on ads and other promotional places when I hit “publish.”

    What writing advice has been the most beneficial for you?

    To read. To read everything. To read books that are in your preferred genre, books of different genres, and as you read, learn from the author. One of the single most influential series I have read is Wheel of Time. I did not enjoy Wheel of Time. But, somewhere around Book 5, I was talking with my wife and other authors, and decided that I can learn how Robert Jordan built his world, even if I am not a fan of his works, and I have a been a student of Jordan’s ever since. Let me be clear, I never became a fan of Wheel of Time series, but I did become a huge admirer of Robert Jordan’s writing style.

    What does your writing process look like? Do you have a routine? What is your strangest writing quirk?

    My process is bit unique. As I mentioned in a previous question, I have chronic migraines. And one of my biggest triggers is mental excursion. Right now, my routine is that I read scripture to clear my mind and help me focus, than I turn on my PC, open my word document, and set an alarm for 30 minutes. And I write. After my alarm goes off, I leave myself a comment or a note about what I am working on, and turn off my computer.

    30 minutes a day is not my ideal, but when I hold my time to just 30 minutes a day, I am able to write every day and not trigger migraines, headaches, or other lingering symptoms of my post concussive syndrome.

    How do you start your stories (character, plot, setting, etc.)?

    How do I start a story? You know, I am not really sure. I guess I have an initial idea, and as I think on the idea, I start dreaming about it. After I have a dreamt about the setting and characters, I start outlining a loose plot and begin writing.

    What does success look like for you as an author?

    How I look at success has changed over the years. As I regain my health, I am certain my definition of success will change, but for now, every day that I am healthy and clear minded enough to write, it is a small victory

    Is there anything additional you want to share with readers?

    Thank you for your patience with me. I am actively writing, but my process is slow as I focus more on recovering from my recent head injuries, and I appreciate your understanding and patience.


    Book Locations: Amazon

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      Author Interview: Donna Marie West


      Donna Marie West is a Canadian educator, translator, author, and freelance editor. She has published some 500 drabbles, short stories, and non-fiction articles in a wide variety of Canadian and American magazines, web sites, and anthologies. She loves the unusual, unexplained, and mysterious, and often finds ways to weave these themes into her stories.

      Tell us about your book, The Mud Man.

      Around ten years ago, I read The Man in the Ice, a nonfiction book about the body of a Neolithic hunter discovered in thawing ice in the Ötztaler Alps in Europe. After that, I found myself noticing news articles about discoveries of ancient bacteria and viruses and even the bodies of frozen animals like wolves, horses, and mammoths in thawing ice or permafrost soil in Siberia and other northern locations. Even more amazing, some of the bacteria and viruses, once thawed out, proved to be alive and well. I started to think, “What if a frozen human was found? What if they weren’t dead?”

      The Mud Man is the story of Dom, a man who lived 9,500 years ago and who, following his infection from mutated bacteria, was preserved frozen—yet alive—until his discovery by archeologists digging in northern British Columbia.

      As he recovers from his near-fatal ordeal and learns to communicate with his caregivers, Dom tells an incredible tale of his life as a prehistoric Native American. Eventually, he unwittingly reveals the source of his miraculous survival, something that promises unimagined breakthroughs in the fields of medicine and human longevity. Yet the question remains: will he be able to adapt to life in the modern world?

      What other books have you published?

      In 2017, I co-authored a collection of horror-themed short stories and poems called HAUNTED HORROR with New Zealand author John Irvine. In 2020, my first novel, NEXT IN LINE, was published by an indie publisher that subsequently closed its doors, so that one is currently looking for a new home. THE MUD MAN is my second novel.

        Do you have a set writing schedule (time, place, method, etc.)?

        Not really. I write when I don’t have any other work, or when an idea comes to mind that I have to write down before I forget it.

        What are you currently writing or what will be your next project?

        I’ve actually been doing a lot of editing for other writers lately, but I want to give a final revision to the sequel to NEXT IN LINE when I have time.

        How/why did you start writing?

        As far back as elementary school—back in the dark ages before the Internet, computers, or even electric typewriters—I loved reading and learning stuff and writing about it.

        I took creative writing courses in high school and later, enrolled in writing and editing courses by correspondence.

        I started writing seriously about twenty years ago, at first mostly about horses, as that’s where my expertise lay, but gradually expanding to paranormal subjects and Earth mysteries, which interest me immensely. Eventually, I branched out into fiction, publishing numerous short stories in a variety of anthologies and magazines, before trying my hand at novels.

        What is your favorite part about writing? What is the hardest part for you?

        Believe it or not, I like all the research that comes with writing both fiction and nonfiction. I also enjoy the revision process, improving my work until I’m (mostly) satisfied with it and feel it’s ready for public consumption.

        What is the best advice you ever received as a writer?

        To be honest, there isn’t one thing that stands out. One thing I’ve learned, however, is the importance of knowing how to revise and edit one’s own work. Also the importance of beta readers who will give you an honest opinion and often suggest things you didn’t think of.

        Your biography says you’ve published over 300 writing pieces. Are those fiction, nonfiction, or both? Tell us about them.

        I’ve published around 500 short pieces, actually, both nonfiction and fiction in magazines and anthologies, and I’ve even done some content writing for a couple websites. I like the learning process that goes with writing a variety of things.

        What is your favorite time of day?

        I don’t really have one, although I do like taking a few minutes of quiet time when I can.

        What does success look like for you as an author?

        I think success, to me, is when I know that readers have enjoyed something I’ve written, and maybe even learned something too.

        Is there anything additional you want to share with readers?

        Only the obvious: I do hope that everyone reading this will take a chance with THE MUD MAN and follow me as NEXT IN LINE and its sequels become available.

        Website: I don’t have a website, but I can be found on the Quebec Writers’ Federation Hire a Writer directory as well as Facebook (Donna Marie West – Author and Editor).

        Book Locations:



        “We discovered him yesterday morning,” the student said with a grin. “We’ve been working ever since to dig him out.”

        They hurried another ten minutes along a deep, narrow chasm between two jagged outcroppings of rock. Several squares typical of archaeological exploration had been cut into the soil beneath the carpet of moss, but they seemed for the moment to be of no interest. Two students knelt almost reverently around a two-metre-long trench dug out of the thawing permafrost soil. Professor Sutherland, standing behind them, was taking photos with a compact digital camera.

        A human body lay on its back in an almost metre-deep trench, its left leg bent beneath it, arms folded across its chest, head turned slightly to the right. Though it remained caked in mud, it appeared to be a man of average height with shoulder blade-length hair, wearing the tatters of a leather shirt and trousers, and what looked like a sealskin moccasin on the visible foot.

        “He’s amazing,” Veronica murmured, her heart racing and eyes glued to the emaciated body.

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          Author Interview: Alexis Anicque


          I am Alexis Ancique, an experienced author and avid adventurer, driven by my love for travel and exploration. As a mother of two grown children and Nana of four, my family is my pride and joy. In my free time, I enjoy writing and sailing, while my insatiable wanderlust often finds me jumping on planes, trains, or buses. Although I live in a charming cottage in the woods, I’m equally drawn to the energy and excitement of city life. Overall, I just love to adventure – I hope to share that with you!

          Tell us about your Famous Adventure Series.

          Famous follows her mother’s journal on a magical adventure to where her mother had found her. She ventures through many countries by trek, train, ship, and plane in this magical realism fantasy adventure.

          Is the series complete?

          The prequel will be coming out in the coming month.

          On your website you suggest reading your journal collection for an introduction to your writing. What can readers expect to experience by reading them?

          The journals each have 50 topics to journal about. Many times people want to start journaling, however, they get a pen and their mind goes blank. These journals get them started.

          How/why did you start writing?

          Years ago, I had written a steamy romance with a murder mystery twist. I sent out query letters and did not receive even one response. Fast forward twenty years, I read a book in this genre and it was awful. It reminded me of the one I had written. I found it in my old briefcase in my son’s shed, revamped it, and self-published. Then I just started telling stories.

          What is your current writing project(s)?

          I have two in progress and both will be out by October 2023: Before Finding Famous and       Dive Into the Deep; Our Life on the Hook

          What is your favorite aspect of writing? What is the hardest part of writing for you?

          Really, I just love telling stories. The hardest part is the marketing.

          What does your writing process look like? Do you have a routine? What is your strangest writing quirk?

          I am super random, I have to have noise in the background.

          How do you start your stories (character, plot, setting, etc.)?

          I have to talk it out. I usually use my husband or daughter as a guinea pig. I run my ideas and see what they think.

          What does success look like for you as an author?

          I was volunteering at a wilderness park recently and a girl there was talking about an upcoming book that she couldn’t wait to read. I would love it if there were people talking that way about my books.

          Also, I am a bit of a thrift store junky, and I always browse the books, it would be cool to see mine. I’d rather see it there, knowing someone had gotten and read it than sitting on a shelf at a new book store.



          First chapter on Youtube

          Amazon author link

          FB group

          Goodreads author link




          Book Locations: Amazon for the ebook boxset, but individually they are available everywhere books are sold.

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          July 2023 Storytime Blog Hop

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          Once again it’s time for a fun adventure. Enjoy my story below, then follow the links to other stories of participating authors in the blog hop.  Leave us comments.  We love hearing from you!

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          This is the 10th installment of GRIT’s adventure. To start at the beginning for context, start with Grim Failure.

          From Bad to Worse

          When my parents, school counselors, and then reaper training instructors warned me about the dangers and risks associated with being a reaper, I don’t think this is what they had in mind. Nothing was ever mentioned about pacing outside of Administration.

          For the third time in my young career, that’s exactly what I found myself doing—anxiously waiting outside of the Administrative offices worried about the conversations taking place within the walls about my future as a Reaper. I had no reason to believe I would learn anything today or that any decision would be made. Supposedly, the meeting was to discuss the earthquake and whether preparations and actions by all parties were appropriate for the natural disaster. My career wasn’t on trial, yet. I just didn’t know what else to do with myself and since I hadn’t been given another assignment (a fact I took as a very bad sign), I paced and waited in hopes that I would retain my job. At best my failure probably meant an extended probationary period.

          I heard her before I saw her, Samantha shuffling up behind me while I sat on the bench with my head resting on my arms on my lap.

          “Everything’s going to be fine,” she said kindly as she sat next to me and gently rubbed my back.

          I wanted to believe her, I really did.

          But I couldn’t so I ignored her, wallowing in self-pity.

          “What you did was brave and selfless,” Samantha scolded me. “I told my uncle the whole story and he was moved. Cried even.”

          “That’s nice, and I appreciate it, I really do. But your uncle’s a collector. He might be able to pull some high strings, but the trouble I’m in is well beyond his reach, I’m sure.”

          She sat up straight and stared at me until I looked her in the eye. She had very intense, serious eyes. “That might be true for most collectors, but you don’t know Stan, he has a way—”

          I jumped to me feet. “Wait! Stan? Your uncle is Stan? The Stan who helped us capture those evil souls?”

          “Yes, of course that Stan.” She puffed out her arms, slumped forward, and spoke in a gruff voice, trying to make herself look and sound like her uncle. “He said, ‘I’ll make sure GRIT gets what he deserves.”

          It was a decent impression and she sounded as ominous as he uncle.

          I slumped back onto the bench. “Oh, no…” My career was over.

          Maybe I should contact one of the counselors recommended by Administration.

          Check out the other stories in the blog hop and leave us comments.

          Timeless by T. R. Neff
          Desire by Katharina Gerlach
          Covenant by Chris Makowski
          Autonomous Militarized by Gina Fabio
          Pipes by Barbara Lund
          Under Surface Of The Stars: A Story Poem by Juneta Key
          Un-Nefer’s Triumph by Kate Flint
          Super Jill by Vanessa Wells

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          Author Interview: D.J. LeJeune


          DJ LeJeune sends his readers on near and far future Science Fiction adventures, blended with a dash of thriller and a lot of character. Grand Prize winner for the Summer 2020 Writing Contest at Short Fiction Break, he minored in Creative Writing in college, and is finally using that forgotten degree.

          Tell us about your book Path of Relics.

          Sure! Path of Relics is a near-future science fiction / LitRPG Lite novel about Terry, a down-on-his-luck guy in a job-starved future. Terry loves to play video games and is shocked when he gets the chance to place the game of his dreams and get paid for it.

          And this game is a real-as-life, virtual reality world, where he discovers lost civilizations, fights creatures, and solves mysteries. But as he’s playing, he realizes events in the game are causing malfunctions in real-world Manhattan, and it’s killing people.

            It’s like a mash-up of Ready Player One, Lord of the Rings, and Indiana Jones.

            Your website states that you’re at work on book two in the series. How far along is it? Do you have a target date for publication?

            I’ve finished the first draft of book two, and currently working on revision. My target date for publication is end of 2023.

            What drew to you write a LitRPG Lite / Gamelit adventure?

            Two things, mainly. My love of video games, and my love of technology. From an early age, I’ve enjoyed playing video games, including RPGs like old-school Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy (I mean like… FF 1 and 2!). So the chance to create a game world, one that was as real as our own, excited me.

            Also, I follow technology and science advancements daily. So things like virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and more intrigue me. Path of Relics was my opportunity to bring all of those elements together.

            Most importantly, I wanted to tell a story involving a game, but with clear life and death stakes in the real world. For me, if the stakes are just… well you lose the game and that’s the worse that can happen… that’s not engaging. In Path of Relics, losing the game at first means dire repercussions for the main character, and as the story progresses, those stakes become catastrophic for millions of lives.

            When you write a story, where do you start? Character, plot, setting, other?

            Plot, I suppose. The big idea of the story has to be interesting to me‌. I love stories because they let you experience the impossible. So once I feel I have a story that takes me to interesting places (and therefore my readers too), AND that it has some good conflict and reasoning, then I’m off. I come up with characters and settings to service that idea.

            How much time do you spend writing compared to marketing? Do you feel that is the right balance for you?

            So far, writing has taken up more time compared to marketing, but I see that shifting. Since I only have one novel out so far (and working on the sequel), I’m still learning a lot about marketing. So for the past few months, I’ve been heavily focused on getting the word out about Path of Relics.

            The thing is, marketing is an ongoing process. Even when I’m writing my third and fourth series of books, I’ll still be marketing Path of Relics and its sequels. So in that sense, I’ll always be marketing.

            But I imagine once I have a better handle on promotion, I’ll have shortcuts and processes to make things more efficient. So in the end, maybe writing will take up more time. Ask me again in a couple of years, haha.

            Do you have a specific place/time/routine to your writing? Do you have a strange writing quirk?

            I write in the morning before work, usually from about 7:30 am to about 10 am. My “office” is a desk in our guest room. Not really a quirk, but hot, black coffee is a necessity.

            What is the best advice you ever received as a writer?

            Give it the time it needs. For most authors, gaining traction and a readership will take time. It’ll take several novels, not just one. I heard that advice early on, even though I didn’t want to listen. I wanted my first novel to be the one that broke that mold and catapulted me to literary superstardom.

            Is that possible? Maybe, although even the stories you hear of that aren’t often what they seem. A “first-time” superstar is many times a seasoned author who started over under a pen name. Or the “natural” who knocked it out of the park first time has been writing for years on a blog or something, but never “officially” published.

            Understanding that for most authors, this process will take a while, is helpful. You just know going in that’s the process. Go through the process, and you’ll very likely see success like you’re dreaming about. Having unrealistic expectations can cause would-be authors to give up too soon.

            If money weren’t an issue, what would you do with the rest of your life?

            Yeah, totally I’d keep writing. I mean, I get to flesh out and explore the places and situations of my dreams. How many times have you wished someone would write a story that just doesn’t exist? As an author, I get to do that for myself, and any others who might also be interested. Even if I had all the money I needed, that would still be a blast!

            What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

            I hang out with family and friends, mostly. But also, I play video games. I’m a Nintendo fan-boy. Right now I’m deep into Tears of the Kingdom. Listening to live music is also fun hobby. My fiance and I try to make it out when we can.

            What does success look like for you as an author?

            For me, success used to be getting published. Before I finished novel one, even when I was getting close to the end, it was hard to visualize just “being a published author.” I’ve done that, so in a way, I’m already a success. I always remind myself of that.

            But the goalposts move and now success looks like fully supporting myself from my writing. That will probably be a while from now, but if others have done it, so can I.

              Is there anything additional you want to share with readers?

              Thanks for reading. If you like stories with a sense of mystery and awe, combined with action and thrills, give Path of Relics a try. It’s an interesting blend of science fiction and fantasy, and I hope you enjoy it.


              Book Locations: Amazon / Kindle Unlimited


              As Terry feared, their HP only whittled away. They must be high-level. Terry yelled as he neared the scuffle, drawing attention away from Chris.

              Two of the four men broke off, racing to meet him.

              He whirled his Kali sticks, deflecting each of their attacks in turn. Then Terry whipped around and caught the nearest man with solid strikes to hip and neck. He leapt back as the man’s companion thrust forward with his blade.

              Together, the two men pressed Terry, putting him on the defensive.

              He shuffled back through the obelisks, blocking and dodging. Still, he took a couple of hits, bringing his health down by a quarter.

              These NPCs were high-level. Unlike the goblins, they fought smart, pushing Terry between them. His heart thundered, straining at the collective effort of the fight and his earlier sprint up the stairs.

              The killing intent in the men’s eyes chilled him. Up to this point, he’d only fought creatures in PoR. Battling human NPCs was disturbing.

              He wondered briefly if they might be special, like Jade. In the heat of battle, it was impossible to tell, but it didn’t matter. He needed to turn that seal back on, no matter what. Lives in the real world were at stake—lives he knew weren’t faked by an algorithm.

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              Author Interview: Lindsey Kinsella


              Lindsey Kinsella is a Scottish fantasy and science fiction writer and author of “The Lazarus Taxa” and “The Heart of Pangaea.”

              While a qualified and experienced naval architect and an avid car enthusiast, he always reserved a space in his life for a deep fascination with paleontology. This drove his writing process as he strove to write tales of the rich and complex history of life on Earth.

              As of June 2, 2023 you have a new book out, The Heart of Pangea. Tell us about it.

              The Heart of Pangaea is quite the departure from what I had written before. My previous book, The Lazarus Taxa, was a fairly grounded, gritty, adult sci-fi thriller, but I found myself wishing my children could read something I’d written.

              So, a more family friendly concept was born. Using an imaginary fantasy setting allowed me to apply all the tension and drama that I enjoy, without the need for bloody violence. It also allowed me to take things a little less seriously and employ a lot more humour than before, which is something I had a lot of fun with.

              I hope the readers of all ages (within reason, I’d suggest 10+) enjoy the combination of high emotional stakes, whimsical comedy, and fast paced action.

              Both of your books to date deal with dinosaurs and paleontology. Will readers learn as be entertained as they read them?

              Absolutely! In fact, that was the original spark which motivated me to write in the first place. Paleontology is so endlessly fascinating and goes far deeper than most people know. I hope to bring those ancient worlds to the reader in a way that interests them as well as entertains.

              The Lazarus Taxa takes an in-depth look at a specific snap-shot in time, delving into the world of Late Cretaceous North America. I loved being able to recreate more than just dinosaurs, but an entire ecosystem.

              The Heart of Pangaea offers a more expansive viewport into natural history, with creatures from throughout time co-existing in a fantasy realm. It’s somewhat of a tribute to the history of the science, with many characters being based on real life paleontologists.

              In both books I tend to take short interlude chapters which divulge some of the scientific background behind the story. I wanted to avoid lengthy dialogue with clunky scientific jargon, so these short non-fiction chapters feel more fluid.

              Do you have a set writing schedule (time, place, method, etc.)?

              It’s far from a schedule, I really just write whenever I can find an hour or two of quiet time! That tends to be late at night with both books having been almost exclusively written after 11pm.

              What are you currently writing or what will be your next project?

              I have already started on a new project and I’m rediscovering my love of first drafts! There’s something refreshing about a blank page after a year of redrafts and edits.

              The current work in progress follows the crew of an illegal whaling ship who find themselves stranded in the Arctic. It’ll be my first divergence from paleo-inspired fiction and will instead focus on climate science.

              How much time do you spend writing compared to marketing? Do you feel that is the right balance for you?

              Realistically I spend far more time marketing than writing, at least if you include social media marketing. Of course, I would love the reverse to be true, but marketing is far more demanding. However, social media definitely makes it easier, and being able to market on the go in short bursts does mean such activities don’t tend to eat into actual writing time.

              What is your favorite part about writing? What is the hardest part for you?

              I think my favourite stage is probably around the third or fourth draft when everything starts to come together and make sense. It’s around that time I find myself really falling in love with the story and finding the motivation to write then is so easy.

              The hardest part actually comes before the first draft—what’s the next story? Like most writers, I’m sure, I have pages and pages of story ideas, concepts, worlds, characters; I’ll likely not live long enough to see them all in print! Choosing any one puts the rest on hold for at least a year, maybe more, so it’s a big decision!

              What is the best advice you ever received as a writer?

              Hire an editor. Without question. It seems like such an obvious thing to more seasoned authors, but back when I was completely new to it all I probably underestimated its importance. But I’m glad I didn’t skip that vital step—my editor made a world of difference to both novels in ways I would never have considered (shout out to Donna Marie West; she’s amazing!).

              When you start a story, do you begin with character, plot, setting, other?

              It seems to vary. The Lazarus Taxa certainly grew from the setting, my current WIP grew from the plot, and The Heart of Pangaea really grew from a single scene which I then built a story round.

              For anyone who has read it, I’d love to hear you guess which scene!

              What is your favorite time of day?

              It depends on the time of year, but now in the summer I love the afternoons. The sun is out (yes, even in Scotland) and even simple tasks become a joy.

              Does writing energize or exhaust you? Or both?

              Definitely the former. While watching TV or surfing the internet, I’ll be needing a sleep by about 11am. But when writing, I could go all night. Often, I have to force myself to shut it down for the night to avoid being rather exhausted in the morning… I guess in a way it does both then!


              Book Locations: The Heart of Pangaea can be found on most online book retailers. Amazon link


              I strode into the passageway. Robyn hesitated before following along the gloomy passage. The blue torchlight flickered and danced against the walls, but there were still no clues as to what lay at the end. It seemed to stretch into the depths of the mountain forever. The haunting voice of the Mausoleum echoed out once more.

              Before the Architect can be bestowed with the Heart, she must prove she is ready. You must pass the three trials of the Archean.”

              “Trials?” I asked with a gulp.

              These trials will test the traits the Architect must possess to fulfill her destiny.”

              “What destiny?” she replied.

              “The scripture…” I mused.

              For your first trial, you must prove your haste.”

              I looked at Robyn with a sly smile.

              “Hundred metre sprint champion four years in a row,” I reminded her with a wink. “I think you can prove you’re fast.”

              With the loud grinding of moving stone, a trapdoor opened before us. We walked toward this new hole in the floor and gazed into the abyss. As far as I could tell, this hole had no bottom. Who knew how far down it went or what lay below, but it was clear this was where we need to go.

              “Architects first,” I said while gesturing toward the hole.

              “I’m not going down there,” she replied, her eyes pinned wide with terror. “How deep is it? We could be jumping to our death.”

              “I don’t think the disembodied voice of the Mausoleum would have us leap to our demise. That seems a little convoluted.”

              “You don’t know that Ed. Oh god, or we could get stuck, or there could be spiders, or—”

              “Okay, I hear what you’re saying but…”

              Without finishing that sentence, I gave her gentle shove down the hole. She screamed for a couple of seconds before thumping at the bottom. I dived after her, landing right by her feet in another long passageway.

              “What was that, Ed?”

              “You needed a push,” I replied. “For your mum.”

              Robyn shook her head before sighing deeply.

              “What’s this trial of haste all about, then?”

              Up ahead, at a distance which I reckoned might well have been exactly a hundred metres, two bright orange torches illuminated a wooden door.

              “So, I guess you just run to the door as quickly as you can?” I suggested.

              “Seems simple enough.”

              “Maybe too simple.”

              It was. From behind us came a dry, laboured gasping. I spun around to see a hulking mass, covered in dark, patchy fur, creeping out from the shadows.

              The creature which emerged was hideous. Its jaws were vast and housed oversized teeth which dripped with saliva. Dark, soulless eyes penetrated through the torchlight. The beast’s front limbs were much taller than its hind legs, creating a muscular, front-heavy body plan with an immense hump of muscle above its shoulder blades. Its matted fur was interrupted by seemingly random bald patches, scars, and warts.

              “Is that…?”

              Daeodon,” Robyn confirmed with a tremble in her voice.

              I feared as much, though I knew it better by its unofficial and well-earned title—the Hell pig.

              It seemed that failing the “trial of haste” would have fatal consequences.

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              Author Interview: Christina Alongi


              C. M. Alongi graduated from Hamline University with a double bachelor’s in history and social justice. She lives in an apartment in the Twin Cities area where she protects her furniture from her roommates’ two evil cats. Her first full-length novel Citadel comes out June 2023, and she is currently writing an epic fantasy novella series called Blackwing.

              Tell us about your Blackwing series.

              Blackwing is an epic fantasy novella series, starting with To Kill a Necromancer, about a paladin and necromancer who are forced to work together to save the world. Think Diablo II meets Dungeons and Dragons, but the world is based on Ancient Greece and Rome rather than Medieval England.

                You are in the middle of publishing novellas related to the Blackwing series. How do these fit in with the series? Will the series be complete when the novellas are released or is there more to come?

                There will definitely be more to come. I’m publishing the first five this year, and then the next five next year. I honestly don’t know how long it will go on, but definitely 20+.

                Think of the series like a show. Each novella is a single episode with the same characters.

                You also have another novel set to publish in June. Tell us about that book. Series or stand alone?

                Citadel is a science fiction novel, hopefully the first of a series. In short, Olivia is a nonverbal autistic woman living in the city of Citadel, the only human city on an alien planet. It is a dogmatic, ableist, sexist society that’s been locked in a war of extermination against the “demons” of the surrounding Flooded Forest for the last four hundred years. (The “demons” are basically alien wolves with wings, telepathy, and telekinesis.) After losing her boyfriend to the conflict, Olivia goes on a solo mission into the Flooded Forest to start a dialogue and get to the bottom of why this war started.

                It looks like you’re heavily involved in social media, particularly on Tik Tok, Instagram, and You Tube. Are these writing-related projects or do they provide a separate creative outlet?

                These are usually separate creative outlets. I originally started social media as a way to grow an audience before getting publishing contracts; that way, when I did have something to release, I’d have an audience ready to read it. This took a lot of trial and error, and I’ll be the first to admit that I only partially know what I’m doing here. (Though that is, frankly, true of everyone on social media.)

                TikTok is home to my CaFae Latte series, a light-hearted video series about a café run by fairies. It’s a lot more fun and humorous than Blackwing or Citadel, which tend to be a lot darker and bloodier.

                How much time do you spend writing compared to marketing? Do you feel that is the right balance for you?

                I don’t like marketing, which is ironic given I’ve spent 5+ years in sales. I’d much rather be creating. So I’m probably not doing as much marketing as I should be.

                Do you have a specific place/time/routine to your writing? Do you have a strange writing quirk?

                I’ve got a desk shoved in the corner of my apartment, and that’s where I do 95% of my writing. (The other 5% is when I’m out and about, either visiting my parents or chilling at a café or even on an airplane.)

                I write whenever I can and for however long I can. Usually with music playing from YouTube. I try to match the music to the aesthetic of whatever it is I’m writing, which means for Blackwing, it’s Ancient Greek/Roman fantasy music.

                What is the best advice you ever received as a writer?

                It’s less of advice and more of a quick anecdote. My mother is also an author (has hit the New York Times Bestseller for paranormal romance several times, actually), and she told me that before she had a stable career in this field of work, she got so many rejection letters than she could’ve redone in wallpaper of her apartment with them.

                You’re going to get rejected. Keep writing and querying, anyway.

                When you start a story, do you begin with character, plot, setting, other?


                It honestly depends on where the idea is coming from. In Citadel’s case, I mostly started with the characters and a broad concept of two different peoples clashing. I created the setting from that, and once I had all of that figured out, then I outlined the plot.

                With Blackwing, I was inspired by the video game Diablo II, and I originally thought I’d anonymously write a fanfiction and then forget about it. But I found myself involved enough with the plot these characters were creating in my head that I essentially plucked them from the (copyrighted) Diablo universe and created a new one from scratch, calling upon ancient civilizations and Greek Mythology. So setting and world history came first, along with the broad concept of good vs evil. Then I re-did the characters based on this setting and how they would turn out, then outlined the plot.

                Honestly, plot is usually the last thing I focus on. I’m much more character-driven.

                What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

                Reading. I also crochet and knit, and I like taking long walks around my neighborhood.

                Very boring, I know.

                What does success look like for you as an author?

                Being able to fully support myself from my creative pursuits, as well as inspiring my audience. Whether that means inspiring them to write their own stories, or to be a better person, or helping them see themselves in fiction—most of my characters are queer, women, and/or disabled.

                  Right now I still have to work part time at a deli in order to pay my bills, although that is rapidly becoming less and less necessary.

                  Is there anything additional you want to share with readers?

                  Get me out of food service! Check out my books!


                  BookLocations: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo

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                  Author Interview: K. Rose


                  K. Rose has been a part of the Indie Author Community for years. Getting her start as a reader, her keen eye led to a wonderful career in Alpha/Beta and ARC (Advance Reader Copy) reading. As a joke to her fellow advanced reader colleagues, she created a spoofed blurb and cover for a story and the feedback was so positive that it sparked her to run with it.

                  That stoked a fire that has her racing down a multi-genre freeway with no off-ramp in sight. K. doesn’t write to “market” and she is fairly certain that her humor and use of puns may cause an eye roll or two. This still wouldn’t stop her from making sure there is humor in every one of her stories. As a Multi Genre Author, there is sure to be something for everyone to love.

                  She has traveled the USA extensively, including Alaska, and lived in thirty-eight of the fifty states. Home is now the beautiful state of Wisconsin, where she dreams up her stories in the company of her menagerie of furbabies, including five puppies, five rescue kitties, a flock of over forty chickens, ducks and turkeys. Ruled by a Rooster named Chicken Parm and two huge fifty pound turkeys named Tommy Boy and Tom Petty, and lastly a ninety-gallon tropical fish tank.

                  Life will always be interesting for K. Rose, which will fuel her works, and keep her muses singing, come join the chorus.

                  You are part of an anthology that has just been released. Tell us about Aliens on Earth.

                  This collection is chock-full of star-crossed lovers and fated mates. Meet these exiled alien warriors, princes and kings today!

                  All proceeds will be donated to the St. JUDES CHILDREN’S Research Fund.

                  In this limited edition collection of romances you’ll find heroes and heroines thrown into heart-pounding adventures as they help their alien mates escape condemnation to exile on Earth, while others settle into a comfortable almost-human existence.

                  Out of this world romance can be found here on Earth with this limited edition collection of alien romances brought to you by a diverse group of USA Today bestselling authors along side some new and notable voices in the genre. Explore a whole new world of intergalactic intrigue featuring stories from over 30 Best Selling Authors!

                  Tell us about your novel, The Prophecy of the Water Sprite.

                  The Prophecy of the Water Sprite is my Debut novel. I had the story bouncing around in my head for a little while, and at the urge of some of the wonderful members of the indie author community, I wrote it in 2021.

                  You write in multiple genres. Why do that instead of sticking to one genre? Do you use a pen name? Why or why not?

                  Technically I use a pen name, but it is really just the very short version of my own name. K. Rose is my first initial and my middle name. I write in more than one genre, because these are the stories that are in my head, and I feel like if I like to read more than one genre to keep things interesting, why not do the same with my writing?

                  What does your writing process look like? Do you have a specific place/time/routine to your writing? Do you have a strange writing quirk?

                  I am more of a planner plotter than a pantser, though I have written short stories in both ways I feel more comfortable with an outline to work off.

                  Your bio says you have lived in 38 of the 50 states. Do you have a favorite state? A least favorite? Has that vast experience helped in creating stories?

                  I would have to say that Wisconsin is probably the favorite only because I keep coming back to it, and am more used to it. Though, Montana was a close second. I don’t really have a least favorite. Each area of the country has it own follies and faults. I do tend to include a lot of nature in my stories, and having experience in a lot of different types has been quite beneficial.

                  When you write a story, where do you usually start? Character? Plot? Setting? Other?

                  When I write a story I usually start with a BLURB for the story, and work from there. I use a custom outline that I created using about 5 of the well known outline types and three act structure styles.

                  What is the best advice you ever received as a writer?

                  You can’t edit a blank page is a good bit. The best though is that you are good enough, your writing is good enough, and never let impostor syndrome get you down. Though I have the advice that doesn’t always stop it, but it really is great advice.

                  Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? Tell us about them.

                  I don’t like to pick favorites. It’s like saying you have a favorite kid. Is that a thing?

                  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

                  I have a plethora of hobbies, crafty things, pets to take care of, and outdoorsy activities I like.

                  What does success look like for you as an author?

                  Successful for me would be to earn a living from writing. Though I haven’t reached that just yet, I am still reaching for my goal with each new book I put out there.

                  Is there anything additional you want to share with readers?

                    I have an etsy shop with fun bookish merch and a 10% off coupon for anyone reading this BLOG post

                    Excerpt:  The Prophecy of the Water Sprite

                    “I am so terribly sorry, Skyy. I can feel now, more than ever, that we are meant to be together. That we are tied by the Gods. Bound by our souls. The pain I hold in my heart from the rejection of our bond is crushing in its intensity. Please forgive me. Please give me another chance. I need you like the trees need the sun. Like the fish need water. Like tides need the moon. Like the air I need to breathe. Please Skyy, Please… I am begging you.” 

                    The words are rushed as they explode from Elio’s perfectly plush lips. Rather than answering in words, I move in and press my lips to his. Feeling that final piece of my heart settle in place. 

                    I know he can feel it, too, as he deepens the kiss and tangles his fingers into the hair on the back of my head. Directing my mouth to where he wants it to be. 

                    I pull back until our lips are only a breadth apart. Staring directly into the violet eyes that still hold a bit of coldness behind them. 

                    I take in the subtle differences between his and his brother’s eyes. Perhaps only I can see them. 

                    “I never gave up on you, Elio. I knew you would find a place in your heart for me, eventually.” Pressing another light kiss to his lips. Just enough to seal the statement as fact. 

                    “I will work every day to prove to you that I do want this, that I do deserve you. I promise.” While he sets me gently back upon my feet, he places another gentle kiss to my forehead and exhales a sigh. 

                    “I… I think this,” Clearing his throat to get the words beyond the lump of feelings clogging it.“I think that I love you, Skyy. I have never allowed myself this emotion, and it is the greatest thing I have ever experienced in my life.” 

                    With a toothy and lopsided grin aimed at me, his eyes twinkle with the sparks of lightning across the sky above us. 

                    “I will never put another wall in between myself and my true feelings. I have accepted the fate of the Gods, and my true heritage. Thank you all, for not giving up on me, for believing that I would eventually see through the error of my ways.” 

                    I can see a solitary tear leave his lashes at those words. He truly has torn down those barriers, those walls placed in spite of himself. 

                    The true definition of nurture versus nature has shown itself. Though it has taken a long time to break through to the surface. Insisting that you are something you are not will always crumble under the weight of what you actually are. OF what you are meant to become, regardless of the time it takes to get there.

                    The Dragon roars out with such ferocity that the hairs on my arms all stand on end.


                    Flapping the enormous wings until enough push is created to rise from the ground below its body. Still pushing up further with the power of its strong tail, which hasn’t left the ground just yet. Rising further still into the air. 

                    Still wearing the cuff around one arm and dangling with a few links of chain, this has no effect on the take off though. The Dragon reaches the opening, made larger by Vale, and his Earth moving vines. 

                    Rising out of the opening like a phoenix would from the ashes left behind. 


                    Book Locations:

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                    Author Interview: Derek Power


                    I began writing in early 2001, mainly focusing on short stories. After winning the odd contest here and there I figured I would try and write something a little longer. A few false starts later I managed to complete my first novel, titled Filthy Henry: The Fairy Detective, in early 2013.

                    I currently live in Skerries, Dublin, Ireland.

                    Tell us about your Filthy Henry Series. Are there more books to come?

                    The Filthy Henry series is a fantasy-comedy series that follows the adventures of Filthy Henry, Ireland’s first and foremost fairy detective. He is a half-human, half-fairy who has to work magical cases in modern day Ireland that involve the mortal and magical worlds colliding. Each book is a self-contained story, based of one of the many myths and legends from Ireland’s Celtic roots. Such as in the first novel Filthy Henry has to find out who stole the King of the Leprechauns crock of gold.

                    At the minute the series is five books long, with some short stories appearing in various anthologies or on a podcast here and there (I think at last count there are seven short stories involving Filthy Henry or one of his supporting cast). There are more books to come as well, I have two novels planned out – usually I am two novels ahead in terms of books planned once I start doing the edits on the current book I am writing. Helps to keep me in a mode of constantly writing.

                    What project(s) are currently working on?

                    Currently I am working on something, as Monty Python would say, a little different. I have primarily written fantasy, comedy-fantasy and even dabbled in sci-fi recently with my novel Duplex Tempus. So to test my writing muscles I decided to work on a series novel. While all my other books could fall under the generic label of ‘crime’, they are crime plus something else. My current novel, Blood Knight – working title, is a crime novel that is firmly set in the real world without any of the ‘get out of jail free’ cards that fantasy or sci-fi give a writer.

                    When and why did you decide to publish?

                    Back in 2012 I had just finished my first Filthy Henry novel, Filthy Henry: The fairy detective, and I was shopping it around to agents and publishers alike. I had hired an editor to polish my final draft, which was draft number ten, and each weekend was spent seeing who was open for submissions and sending it off. I still find it surprising that in 2012 submissions had to be done via snail-mail and paper print outs mostly, very few were taking emails and pdfs.

                    Anyway long story short I got rejected every time with no feedback from anyone. Then a publisher with Penguin explained to me that the industry was going through a bit of a shock because the Kindle was doing to books what the iPod had done to the music industry. He suggested that I go down the indie publishing road, get a name for myself that way, then come back.

                    So that’s what I did.

                    It sounds like humor is a major part of your writing. Does that come natural for you or do you have to work at it?

                    Many moons ago, before kids and a mortgage and a job that worked me 80 hours a week, I would do standup comedy as a hobby. I think I did it for about four years, with regular gigs. In school I was a bit of a class clown. In life in general I am probably too sarcastic for my own good. So, the humour part of writing does come naturally for me. But I also constantly second guess if what I am writing is funny or not. After all who laughs at their own jokes. So, when I ask my wife to read a chapter I have just written, and she starts laughing I immediately ask what part she is laughing at. It annoys her so much that now she leaves the room to read in peace.

                    What is your favorite aspect of writing? What is the hardest part of writing for you?

                    I am a plotter over a pantser any day of the week, and I really enjoy plotting out a book. I usually have an outline of the plot, including the major points each chapter should cover, that runs into ten or fifteen pages. It can be fun doing that stuff as it is like starting a new drawing on a blank sheet of paper. I often tell people as well that my plots can change as I am writing. Maybe an idea appears mid draft that I like or something that I have in the plot notes just doesn’t work anymore so I drop it. I remember telling a writing buddy of mine that this happened and he was amazed, he never thought of doing the same himself.

                    Editing the drafts after draft 1 is what kills me. I know it has to be done. There will be typos and plotholes. Sections that need to be tweaked to read better. It is all work that has to be done, needs to be done, but when you get into draft seven or eight you eyes feel blurry. I heard a great phrase recently that sums up my feelings on it nicely. You never really finish writing a book, you just decide you can’t be bothered doing any more editing and settle on the current draft being the final one.

                    What writing advice has been the most beneficial for you?

                    Write every day, without fail, no matter what day it is. People often look at a book and think that something 100k words is a mountain that can never be climbed. But if you wrote 1000 words a day, or 500, or 100, that mountain gets smaller. So, write every day. As a much more famous author said – you don’t call yourself a write if you only do it every so often. You need to write and read every day.

                    What is your strangest writing quirk?

                    I’m not sure if I have a writing quirk, actually. I write daily, I do the editing, it’s all very ‘boring’ in terms of quirks. I suppose I do have one rule that I stick too – no fun if the daily wordcount hasn’t been hit first. As I do all of my writing in the evenings, once the kids are in bed, I will make sure to get words written in the morning if I am meeting friends at night. But no games are played or shows watched if the words have not been written. Otherwise that 100k mountain will be forever out of reach.

                    If money were no object, what would you do for the rest of your life?

                    I’d write Filthy Henry until my last day, passing from this world into the next with an unfinished book. When I was younger I always wanted to be a writer but I was talked into getting a ‘real’ job. But yes, if the millions magically appeared in my bank account tomorrow I’d be writing Filthy Henry, or whatever book I could think of, and never question my choice.

                    When not writing, what do you like to do for fun?

                    I have a collection of hobbies. When not writing I do play computer games, despite being in my 40s I find them a nice escape from the real world stress. Watching shows, in particular sci-fi, and then of course any good writer is an avid reader.

                    What does success look like for you as an author?

                    Reviews anywhere that say people enjoyed my writing. I am not in it for the money (although that would be nice) but I find myself checking daily for new reviews on any books to see if people enjoyed the story. While stars are good, reviews with a few lines are the best. If anyone reading this does go on to read one of the books, don’t forget to leave a review.

                    Is there anything additional you want to share with readers?

                    Some of the books and short stories in the Filthy Henry series are freely available as a podcast on any podcast platform. Simply search for Filthy Henry and you will find them.


                    Book Locations

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                    April 2023 Storytime Blog Hop

                    Once again it’s time for a fun adventure. Enjoy my story below, then follow the links to other stories of participating authors in the blog hop.  Leave us comments.  We love hearing from you!

                    This is the 10th installment of GRIT’s adventure. To start at the beginning for context, start with Grim Failure.

                    Earthquake Aftermath

                    Shortly after the collectors left with the captured souls (all 23 of them, yea us!), the aftermath committee arrived to investigate what had happened. We knew their primary job was to decide where to assign fault. We had been ordered to stay put until we could be debriefed.

                    While the aftermath committee examined the scene and asked the reapers general questions about the earthquake, timing, and overall setting prior to, during, and after the event, one by one we were taken away to debrief with committee members as they wrapped up their investigation or collectors who returned from their soul deliveries. It was a slow, boring process and since I was still in training, I was the last one chosen.

                    Once alone, I considered slinking away. I mean, could I possibly make my situation any worse? I had consistently failed in one way or another but my ineptness peaked. Maybe I would have been better off if we hadn’t been rescued. At lease in Hades I wouldn’t have to see the look of disappointment on my parents’ faces when they learned I had been kicked out of the reaper program. In Hades I wouldn’t have to face the embarrassment of my failures. I wish the collectors would have rescued Samantha but not me.

                    At least I could try and help Samantha. Administration needed to know that she was put in an impossible situation. One of the other reapers had failed and lost track of their souls who then joined Samantha’s collection and overwhelmed her. Without my testimony they might get away with it or worse, pass the blame to Samantha. She had tried to encourage me so I felt like I owed it to her to speak the truth. That is, if my testimony was worth anything at this point.

                    One of the committee members approached. It was time to face what I had done.

                    “I’ll take this one.”

                    My heart sank at Stan’s gruff voice

                    While I hadn’t expected to get a sympathetic ear, with Stan interviewing me I would be on the defensive the whole time. He knew more about my failures than anyone.

                    Neither of us spoke until we were comfortably sitting in one of the interview rooms. They used to be called interrogation rooms but administration thought the name carried strong negative connotations so they changed it a few years ago.

                    The name change wouldn’t affect what was about to happen to me. I could see disdain written all over Stan’s face.

                    “You left your assigned souls after securing them, ignored protocol in the midst of a dangerous situation, and got yourself captured…all while being on probation. Did I miss anything?”

                    Yeah, Stan wasn’t biased toward me at all. I didn’t stand a chance. Maybe at least I could keep Samantha out of trouble. “What happened—it wasn’t her fault. Samantha. Those souls were evil and she should never have been assigned three of them on her own. Plus someone failed and their souls ganged up on Samantha.”

                    “You’re saying that none of this is your fault?”

                    “Yes. No. I mean, all the things you said are true. It’s just that Samantha, she didn’t do anything wrong and I don’t want her to get in trouble for someone else’s mistake.”

                    Stan leaned forward and leered at me, his glare even more distrusting than before, if that were possible. “You want me to believe that you’re more concerned about her welfare than yours?”

                    “Oh, I’m concerned about my situation. Very much. It’s just, I realize I can’t do anything to help myself. Maybe I can help her by making sure you know the truth.”

                    I swear he hadn’t looked away nor blinked in two minutes. It was disconcerting and I felt my eyes starting to burn thinking about it.

                    “This next part doesn’t leave this room, okay?” He waited for me to agree before continuing. “Do you know that her family has a lot of influence?”

                    I nodded

                    “And do you know who that is?”

                    Was Stan testing me or fishing for information? Was I putting her at risk by acknowledging her family’s influence? “No, she didn’t say.”

                    “And you didn’t ask?” he said incredulously.

                    He blinked! Finally. I shifted nervously though because his gaze still bore into me.

                    “No. But I don’t think they can help her with this because she said her uncle is only a collector like you. No offense,” I added when he grunted. I didn’t bother to explain; I couldn’t do anything at this point to earn his favor.

                    Stan leaned back but didn’t relax. He watched me as if considering my statement.

                    Finally, he turned on the recorder, which I found odd since we hadn’t talked about anything particularly secretive to this point. Was he concerned about Samantha’s family or about the danger he could put them in?

                    “I want you to tell me everything that happened from the moment you arrived at the collection site. And give me a timeframe as best you can.”

                    The only time Stan interrupted my story was to ask clarifying questions. He drilled for every detail, especially those relating to my abandoning my couple and the proceeding activities. I was condemning myself with my testimony. I could only hope it would help Samantha. Stan didn’t give me any indication one way or the other.

                    When we finished, Stan stood. He didn’t thank me, he didn’t chastise me; he didn’t even look at me. His parting words deflated what little hope I had that my reaper career might survive. “I’ll make sure you get what you deserve.”

                    The only question running through my head as the administration building faded behind was How long until they take action against me?


                    My mind flashed back to the collapsed building and the evil souls clutching Samantha and I cringed the sound of her desperate voice.


                    The cry got louder, which made me stop. The third time I heard it I realized it wasn’t coming from my memory but from the present; behind in increasing volume.

                    I turned at the sound of rapid footsteps, quickly coming to a halt. As she gasped to catch her breath, Samantha stared, studying my face with a similar intensity and insight as Stan. Did she think I was a failure too?

                    “I’m glad I caught you. I couldn’t have lived with myself if I hadn’t thanked you for saving me.”

                    She gave me a hug, and not one of those polite, obligatory hugs. She squeezed me with a genuine appreciation. I felt her shake before I heard the sobs. At that point I felt obligated to hug her back, hold her while she let out the tension held since the traumatic experience of facing an eternity in Hades. We cried together. I felt her emotion; bonded by the same fear. We had faced the same horrifying fate and had somehow escaped.

                    When we finished, we both wiped snot on our sleeves. I looked into her puffy eyes, swollen and red like the rest of her face, flushed with anxiety and relief. I was sure I looked as much of a mess as she.

                    Her mouth turned into a smile. “Thank you GR. If you hadn’t intervened when you did I would be in Hades and no one would even know.”

                    I didn’t do anything, really. “We got lucky. Lucky the collectors and backup arrived when they did. Otherwise we might be…” I didn’t have the courage to say it out loud. The thought made me shudder.

                    “They wouldn’t have arrived in time to save me if you hadn’t helped.”

                    “I appreciate it, and I hope you have a successful career as a reaper. What happened today wasn’t your fault and I made sure the committee knew it in my debriefing.”

                    She kissed me on the cheek. “If there’s anything I can ever do for you…I owe you my life.”

                    It was an exaggeration. Instead of rescuing her I had gotten myself caught. Still, it was nice to hear, especially with what would soon happen to me.

                    “You can’t help me. All I ever wanted to do was be a reaper. At least I can say I gave it a shot.”

                    And with that, I walked slowly home.

                    Continue reading GRIT’s adventures:

                    GRIT – Part 1
                    GRIT – Part 2
                    GRIT – Part 3
                    GRIT – Part 4
                    GRIT – Part 5
                    GRIT – Part 6
                    GRIT – Part 7
                    GRIT – Part 8
                    GRIT – Part 9

                    Check out the other stories in the blog hop and leave us comments.

                    The Gynnos Seeker Project by Juneta Key

                    Cursed by Barbara Lund

                    A Different Kind of Raise by Amy Keeley

                    Night At The Museum by Vanessa Wells

                    Flowers For Angela by Curtis Phills

                    Ninea by Chris Makowski

                    Archive by Gina Fabio

                    Royal Assassin by Vanessa Finaughty

                    The Big Bad Wolf and the Easter Hare by Katharina Gerlach

                    Posted in Blog Hop, Grim Reaper in Training, Stories | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments