Author Interview: Huck Krueger

Today I have a special guest with us-author of several Science Fiction novels, Huck Krueger!

If you were to introduce yourself to a group of strangers, what would you say? 
I’ve told people that I’m a pilot and a writer. But since I put my plane away and don’t know if I’ll ever fly it again, I might say, “Hi. I’m Huck. I’m a writer and a former pilot.” Or I might leave out the word, ‘former,’ for now.

 

Tell us what first drew you to writing. 
Like most kids, I had fantasies, and I enacted them in my play. In my teen years, I still had those fantasies, though I didn’t play any of them out with toys or action figures. I started drawing cartoons and comics. But I knew I didn’t have any special skill at it and never assumed I’d sell any of my comic stories. Many of those comic stories and booklets are sitting in a box in my basement.From sixth grade through junior high, I was fortunate enough to have teachers who were enthusiastic about writing, and they had taught me the concepts of English grammar and writing basics. Then I ‘saw’ the ‘window’ to write my fantasies out in stead of trying to draw inept comics.I’ve thought that if I ever publish a big-time seller, I’ll dedicated it (my first book anyway) to my junior high English teachers.

 

What do you write?
I’m interested in science, especially astrophysics and aerospace.  So I write Science Fiction mostly, though I’ve dabbled in romance, contemporary and wartime settings. My science fiction is most often involving space travel or life on other planets. I don’t care for the pure fantasy involving the supernatural or spirits, or worlds and creatures that likely wouldn’t exist.

I read a lot of history too, but I shy away from writing stories in that genre because I worry about being historically inaccurate. With sci-fi there’s usually more suspension of belief. I can be ‘way out there,’ and feel comfortable that no one will definitively prove that what I write can’t happen.

 

You’ve just released a book (or two) this year, correct?  Can you tell us some about it (them)? Where can we find your books? 
My latest novels are a series about four crew-members who fly an Astral Research Vessel, or ARV, throughout the galaxy to study stars and nebulae. The crew consists of two men and two women. My main character, Miles Wendel, is the pilot of their ship. Tana Vargas is their engineer and bio scientist. Li Keung is their astrophysicist who mans their science equipment. And Cassie Nystrom is their captain.

Their ship is ‘sustained’ by force fields and is often invisible. Only the objects and equipment they access or touch become visible. If someone wants privacy, say in his or her quarters, then the walls will appear, usually throughout the living compartment of their ship.

Their ship is capable of ‘bypassing the speed of light’ by what I’ve termed, ‘Hyper Sub-dimensional Transition (HST),’ which means they enter alternate dimensions of space/time and fly a ‘shorter’ distance to their destinations.

Of course, at their destinations, they encounter adverse situations. In each of the four stories I’ve conceived so far, they’ve encountered extraterrestrials as well as ‘external conditions’ which complicate their struggles.

I’ve published the first two books in this series which I call, Voyages of the Altair. I named their ship Altair after the star in the Aquila constellation. Its name means ‘Flying Eagle.’ I thought it was appropriate.  Each book has a main title, and so far, I’ve titled them after the star or nebula where the plot takes place.

The first book is WR104, which I published in June, 2017. On their maiden voyage we find them near the unstable blue star, identified by astronomers as WR104. The second book is M42, which I published in November, 2017. The crew is assigned to fly through and study the famous Orion Nebula (M42). I’ve finished the first draft of the third story, Eta Carina, and I’m currently writing the fourth, with a working title of, M54.

Information about these books and links to purchase them, along with my other books, can be found at my website, huckkruegerauthor.com. One can also find them via Amazon. Nook and Kindle versions are available.

 

What seems to be the recurring theme(s) in your stories? 
Space travel and extraterrestrials are what I write about most, because they give me so much ‘room’ to create and work out ideas. I like to note that most of my aliens are not evil aliens out to destroy humanity or Earth. They have their faults, but I often have them interact and cooperate with my human characters.

 

How do you get into the minds of your characters? How do you come up with various settings? 
I usually use the ‘closely attached’ third-person point of view, and usually choose one main character to do it in each story. To clarify, the story is shown through the view of one person–only things he/she knows is told. Though, I try to imagine what each character thinks, sees and feels, so I can have them interact in a believable fashion. Sometimes while writing, as an excuse to get up and move around, I’ll physically act out a scene to get the concept and figure out how characters would respond.

Many of my story ideas have come from a topic in science I happen to be studying at the time. I try to construct a story with that aspect of science involved.  I came up with one story after I read about Jupiter and its moons and the forces at play between them. In the story I explain the basics of Jupiter’s ‘plasma torus’ and how it affects the electromagnetic fields around the four moons. Then I ‘stretched’ the science and went beyond to create a plot for the main two characters.

Another idea came from combining two news stories. Back when the influenza virus was ravishing through the world, I had that story rolling through the back of my mind when I read about UFO abductions.  I combined the two into a plot of aliens abducting someone and mistakenly allowing their victim to contract one of their diseases. After they set him/her free, the disease spread rapidly. The result was a pandemic that wiped out hundreds of millions. I created a story about an astronaut woman whose family had died from the disease.

In my new series, Voyages of the Altair, I’ve been reading about dark matter and dark energy, and worked the plots around the idea of living beings made of dark matter and energy.

 

How valuable is being in a writing group for you? 
It turns out that the writing groups have been very valuable. Since the late 1990s, I had let my story writing go dormant. I had only dabbled with poetry and some articles and essays from that time until the local retired fire chief invited me to check out the local writers’ group in November, 2006. That group identifies itself as the Lake Region Writers’ Group. There was another group that met in Willow City, called the Prairie Rose Writers.

They ‘prompted’ me to rekindle my story writing. While I worked on an old story and wrote new ones, the Prairie Rose group, who had collaborated with our group on an anthology, ‘recruited’ me to assemble and publish the work.  After learning the processes of self-publishing, I decided to ‘join the ranks’ of the other two in our group who had self-published their own works. After learning about what I did to publish the anthology, one of the Prairie Rose writers has now self-published one or two books.

 

When you’re not writing, where would we usually find you?
Outside of my job, which is custodial and maintenance at the local college, I’m often at my computer studying a science or history subject, or communicating with someone, or just entertaining myself. Otherwise I might be working in my shop in the garage or doing some chores or repairs around the house, and in the summer times I often worked on or flew my ultralight plane.

 

In your opinion, what are some of the biggest obstacles facing writers today? 
Writers today still face the usual problems any writer has such as writer’s block or deciding how to compose an article or story. In the business realm of literary jobs and publishing one’s work, I don’t know how much competition one faced in the past. But now-a-days writers will find a lot of competition.  The major traditional book publishers and major magazines receive tens of thousands of submissions in a year. Getting noticed will often be through luck.

An ‘outlet’ for many writers has been via the internet, which includes blogs and self-publishing. Writers of blogs, ezine articles/stories, self-published books, or other digital compositions can get their ‘foot in the door,’ if their piece catches the eye of a major publisher. Publishers sometime notice when a piece gets thousands or millions of views or sales. They might approach the author(s) and offer a proposal.

 

Any additional comments or advice you’d like to add for our readers?
Off hand I can’t think of any advice or tips that haven’t already been mentioned or posted somewhere.

 

 

 


 

About the author…

Huck lives in Devils Lake, N.D. with his wife, Linnea. He graduated Cando High in 1982, and in 1989 received a B.A. with a major in English, a minor in Computer Science, and a concentration in German from MSU-Minot.  You can find his science fiction titles atKindle and Nook.

 

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Rom-Com Genre: Is It Dead? (Poll)

The Last Child (Part Four)

 

As soon as the toboggan halted, the front door swung wide

and out bounded an elder woman, her hair as white as the snow;

but it was the smile that warmed her the most

for it reminded her of a mother she once had.

 

“Land sakes, Micah!  Get that child inside before she freezes!” The woman said.

“Yes, Ma’am” He replied with a grin.

 

In moments, she found herself in a plush sofa before the roaring fire

and a bowl of hot soup in hand.

 

“You must be exhausted, child.” Mrs. Claus said as she sat beside her.

 

Her mouth full of broth and vegetables, she only nodded.

“We’ll have you in a cozy bed in a jiffy.  It’s Christmas Eve you know.  All the children must be asleep before he can arrive!” Her grey eyes sparkled.

She swallowed before asking, “there are other kids here?”

The woman’s smile softened as she reached out to push a stray strand of hair from the girl’s cheek, “Oh, yes! And you will be meeting them all tomorrow.”

 

“Everything’s all set, ma’am.” Micah’s voice drifted from somewhere.

“Thank you, Micah. I’m sure Nick will be by tomorrow to see you.”

“I look forward to it.  Good night, and Merry Christmas ladies.”

She turned around in time to see the door to the outside closing.

He was gone, and suddenly she felt sad.

 

“Don’t you worry, child. You will see him again soon.”

 

As promised, the woman had her tucked in a large fluffy bed a short time later.

“Drink up this hot cocoa, dearie. It will help you sleep.” Mrs. Claus handed her a tea-cup sized mug which she downed in one gulp.

“I don’t like to sleep.” She said as she laid her head on the pillow.  “Bad dreams.”

The woman caressed her forehead.  “You will have no such dreams tonight.”

 

True to her words, the first thing she saw once her eyes closed were flying reindeer with Micah leading them.

 


 

Interested in seeing this story in a video format?  Click here!

#IWSG Best Ways To Start a First Draft?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

This month’s question: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

 

For the past few years I’ve managed to keep a schedule of some kind for blogging.  This year, since I desire to convert a screenplay into a novel, I feel I need to set up a schedule for that as well.  Just figuring out the how part.

I joined a Facebook group, Finish Your Novel, a project really that’s dedicated to doing just that-finishing a novel.  It’s my hope that this group will help keep me accountable and moving forward throughout the year with my book.   I’ve been a writer for a number of years with short works published;  I’m ready to take the next leap to being a published author.

I think about setting aside three days each week to devote solely to writing the first draft.  Will probably do it chapter by chapter.  The challenge will be how to best incorporate the flash-back scenes since they will take place throughout the novel.  Also to keep me going forward, I plan to set a daily (or maybe a weekly one instead) word count goal that I can track via Word as well as a spreadsheet.

Now, the next question is–should I start by planning out the book (character development, outlining the story line/subplots, etc.) or just jump right in and start rewriting the story from the screenplay?

Hmm…

 

 

Story Saturday: The Last Child (Part Three)

 

Thick fur blanket cradled her body

in the long wooden sled

as they silently sped along

in the deep snow.

 

Micah stood behind her on the edge of the runners

while he guided the half-dozen dogs in front

white flakes filled the air with the wind whistling in her ears

rugged mountains loomed on the sides

blocking her view of the sky.

 

“We’ll be in Nordpolen soon.” Micah said “Just keep looking ahead and you’ll see it.”

 

It felt like they were gliding through a dark tunnel

but as she peered ahead, speckles of light slowly appeared

and suddenly they broke out in to an expansive opening;

there lied a village nestled on the banks of the immense mountains

which ran along the shores of a mirrored lake,

the lights from the buildings shimmered on its surface;

the sight made her gasp out loud.

 

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Micah said.

“Oh, yes!” She replied.

“You’ll be staying at Saint Nick’s tonight.”

 

Instead of remaining on the main route, they veered off on a smaller trail

which took them through a dense forest;

for several moments, fear shook her body

as she watched moving shadows among the trees.

 

“You have nothing to fear.” He said.  “I won’t let anything harm you.”

She took deep breaths until her muscles relaxed, and heart slowed.

“Look, we’re here.” He said.

 

She glanced out and saw the wondrous sight;

stone walls cloaked by fresh snow, all lit up in white lights

revealed the way to a large rustic lodge

its front nothing but glass

in the center, an enormous decorated Christmas tree.

 

“Welcome to the Christmas Lodge.” Micah smiled.

 

 


 

Missed the previous two parts?  You can read them here!

Part One

Part Two

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Child (Part Two)

 

Nestled in the back of the sleigh, she heard

the jolly man called his reindeer by name

as they glided off the roof-top

and gave way to flight in the dark snowy sky.

 

Such a strange sensation

floating high in the air where peaceful quiet reign

leaving behind death and memories

of a life she once knew

now finished.

 

She sniffled but swore to not look back

in fear she’d break down in full-blown tears

and scare the good chap off

for sure.

 

“Look ahead, child.” The red cheeked man said. “A new life awaits you on the other side of the moon!”

 

Stare ahead she did at the bright orb with strange pot marks

’till its’ light completely immersed the sleigh

and in the next instance, she realized the moon

shifted from the forefront to their rear.

 

Once the sleigh touched ground

she saw a new landscape extend all about her

with snow-capped mountains and the glistening meadow

where a wooden toboggan waited.

 

“Micah will take you to my village, child.” The saintly fella said with a great smile.

 

With a wave, she watched as his sleigh flew away

feeling suddenly alone and naked

in a land strange and distant.

 

“Do not be afraid, child.”  a kind voice spoke.

 

She looked and saw a man with golden hair,

his gentle blue eyes met her brown ones

she gave a nod, and climbed in the sled

and off they started, on to her new life

what ever or wherever that may be.

 


 

 

To read Part One, click here.

Another Year Is Ending

 

In review…

Now that’s Christmas is over it’s time to focus on the New Year.   2017 was a fairly good year overall both personally and as a writer.

I saw a few of my writings published:

The Hungry Chimera Literary Journal (two poems)

Doll Hospital Journal  (essay)

Motionpoems, Inc (film credit/interviewed both poet & film-maker)

Piker Press (poem)

 

I took on a role as a moderator (in a team of four) for Tuesday Serial; as well as a moderator for the weekly THURSDAY TALK SHOP over at Facebook with We PAW Bloggers (of which I plan to step down to a lesser role for the coming year).  I’ve created and am trying to grow (hopefully to add a few volunteers to help) Serial Fiction Digest (Twitter, Facebook, blog).

Looking ahead…

2018 is looking to be a year of crossroads for me as a writer.  I plan to work on a romance (clean) novel as well as continue to plan out another.  In the past, I’ve focused mainly on flash fiction, poetry and serial fiction.  I will continue with these forms, but gradually shifting some of my attention/time to writing a book-length story.  My goal is to be not just a writer, but an author.

I will be taking on a role as a citizen journalist for The Crossover Alliance (a Christian publishing company) of which I am very excited about.

 

What about you?  How was 2017 for you as a writer?  Have any specific goals for the new year?

(for each comment, I will stop by and read your most recent blog post! 🙂 )

 

Story Saturday: Santa-Zombie Story

Nearly a year passed since the start of the undead plague

she’s been on her own since

in an empty house, in a not-so-empty neighborhood.

 

 

Christmas Eve

she decorated the dead tree with handmade ornaments

made from cereal boxes;

took the last can of Spam as her treat for the white bearded man

and placed the plate on a table beside the sofa.

 

 

With a bat in hand, and the sounds of death rattling at the front door,

she fell asleep on the dusty furniture

in front of the cold, stoned hearth.

 

 

Rustling sounds awoke her

with a great start,

as she swung the bat through air,

a voice sounded,

a voice so beautiful and warm

it caused her eyes to sprang open;

bewildered, stunned

she stared at the not-so-frightful sight.

 

 

A chubby man dressed in a red suit

stood before her;

she blinked and swinted

thinking she’d died already or just dreaming

but saw that this was no dream

Santa,

he was really real!

 

 

He held out his hand,

“Come, let me take you to a wonderful place.”

 

 

In a blink of an eye, she found herself

on the roof-top

where a sleigh and eight reindeer stood waiting.

 

 

Santa, beside her now, smiled;

a smile she’d thought never would form on her lips again,

she returned with glee.

 


 

Note: This story has been renamed to “The Last Child” and a video portion of this story can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the Apocalypse! Contest Winner

 

Over at the WritersCafe.org, I recently ran a contest called, It’s the Apocalypse!

First placed winner had the option to see their story turned in to a video which she opted for.   I’m sharing her winning story in video format below:

The Silence is Temporary by Lyssa

 

 

 


 

 

I’m running one other contest over at WritersCafe.org where the winning item will have the option to see their story turned in to a video like above.  If you’re interested, just click in the image below!

Winter Tales

Deadline: December 31st

Writing: Would You Do Things Differently If You Could Go Back In Time?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month IWSG question is: if you could backtrack and do things differently as a writer, would you? 

 

Wow, this is a loaded question.  One I have pondered on and wondered about from time to time.  Who hasn’t?  Especially now that I’m in my mid (ish) 40s, this question keeps popping up in my mind.

My first inclination is to say “Yes!”

I’d have attended SUNY Potsdam (only) majoring in Journalism instead of bouncing around at least six different colleges and ending up with a degree in Physical Education (which I barely used).

As a journalist, I would have traveled the world.  In this reality, I’ve only visited one other country…Canada.

Perhaps I’d even started my own magazine or newspaper company.  Or, maybe even branched off into the publishing industry and became an editor or something.

And just perhaps I’d ended up living in Boston (one of my fave cities) where I’d pen my first and break-through novel that landed me on the New York Times’ Bestselling List.

If I’d done all the above, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

As a writer.  As a poet.

A mother.

A wife.

Living on a small farmstead in eastern North Dakota of all places 🙂  Writing full-time at home.

I’m richly blessed.  I don’t think I would give this life up to relive it as a different person.  It’s nice to dream about it, but that’s it, just a dream.

I like this reality better.

What about you?  If you had the opportunity to go back and do anything differently as a writer, would you do it?

 

 

 

Writing: Short Story Writer = Better Novelist?

 

—————————————————————————————————————————-


The next chapter for the interactive story is coming soon!

 

I’m currently working on the next chapter, and hope to have it LIVE in the next few days!

 

A Catch-Up Affair (Interactive Story Continues)

 

Chapter Two

 

 

The four-some now seated in chairs around the large oval oak table as the waiter retrieves the menus.

“I will get your orders in.” And the short black man walks away.

Julie’s brown eyes carefully study the faces around the table as she slowly sips at her wine. “So, Brad,” and turns them solely to the man sitting to her right, “What on earth have you been up to since I last saw you?”

Brad grins as he leans back. “Nothing exciting.  Just work.”

“Doing what?”

“Integrated marketing.”

“Marketing, huh?” She purses her lips, “For whom?”

“Altvision Communications.” He replies as he bit into a breadstick.

“Wow, one of the four media giants.” Her smile widen as she fingers her glass.  “You must be one of the lowly assistants working his way up the career rung by now.”

He chuckles, “Hardly. Try the Director of the Marketing Department.”

“Di-rec-tor…my heavens, that’s a far cry from being a lab rat with Dalton Co-Op.”

“A lab rat?” Eddie’s hazel-green eyes sparkle as he stares at Brad across the table.

Brad lets out a laugh, “That’s Julie’s way of calling any desk clerk who worked for Dalton back in the day.”

“They were directly responsible for polluting all the lakes upstate which cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars.”

“And you don’t feel the least bit guilty for forcing them out of business and driving hundreds of people out of work?”  Brad asks, the smile now gone.

“What they were doing was criminal, and it was my job to expose them.” Julie’s eyes now slits.

“Yeah, well, the timing couldn’t have been worse.” Brad grabs another breadstick. “You could have at least waited until after Christmas to break the story.”

“Are you a reporter?” Eddie’s interest now piqued as he focuses on the curly red head between Brad and Laura.

Julie shrugs, “Yeah, a crime beat reporter,” and takes another sip of the red wine.

“You don’t sound very enthused.” He says.

“It’s a job.”

“Don’t let her fool you, Ed.” Brad points a half-eaten breadstick at his friend. “Journalism’s in her blood just like her father, and her grandfather.”

“I see.” Eddie drinks from a bottle of beer. “A generational legacy that you don’t seem to relish much of.”

“It comes natural, and it made sense at the time.” She says.

“Writing comes natural to Julie all right.  Did you know she’s also a published author?” Laura smiles at Julie who frowns back.

“Oh, really?” Brad says, “What do you write?”

“Guilty pleasure.  Let’s not make a big deal out of it.” Julie replies.

“She writes horror.” Laura answers for her friend.

“A crime beat reporter slash horror writer.  Wow, never saw that one coming.” Brad sneers.

“Whatever.” Julie flicks her long hair off her shoulders and turns to face Eddie. “What of you?  Let me guess, an international spy?” She asks in a leering tone.

“You’re not too far off the mark.” Eddie replies. “I’m a freelance Threat Analyst.”

“What the heck is that?” Julie’s nose crinkles at him.

“Mainly I hunt the web for any malicious activities, and put a stop to them.”

“That sounds–interesting I suppose.” Julie says.

It was Eddie’s turn to laugh as he drinks more of the beer. “Oh, it can get very interesting.”

“What about you, Laura?” Brad asks.

Laura leans forward as she studies the flickering candle at the table’s center which casts shadows across her fair face. “I’m currently doing my Forensic Pathology Residency at North Peak’s Regional Medical Center.”

“Fascinating.  We have a budding doctor with us.” Brad smiles at her.

“You did it.” Eddie says. “You’ve accomplished one of your dreams.” His warm smile causes Laura’s cheeks to color.

“It’s still a work in progress, but yeah, I’m getting there.” She returns his smile.

His expression then grows more somber. “I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch. I never meant to leave like that.”

Laura shrugs, “You had a family emergency that required you to leave the country.  Besides, it was for the best.  For us, anyway.”

Eddie nods. “You’ve always been so understanding, Laurie.  You deserve someone to be equally so.”  His accent now more pronounced.

“Oh my, here’s our dinner!” Julie blurts out as the waiter came to their table with a tray full of food.  “I’m starving!”

 

End of Chapter Two

 

Be sure to vote below!

 

 

*Note: You can also follow this story over at my other site — Story Interactive  🙂

Books and Reading and Reviews (Looking for Books to Read!)

 

I’m looking for one-three (clean) Romance books to read between now and January, and am open for suggestions!  I’d prefer it to be an ebook, but will take print versions as well.  If you’re an author of such book, please let me know a bit about your book’s premise to help me decide.   Whichever book(s) I decide to read, I plan to post a review on this blog by the end of January (if not, sooner).

You can let me know either via the comment section below, or through the Contact form.

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Writing: NaNoWriMo So Far

 

Today I’m sitting on 3,374 words which is quite poor IF I was shooting for 50,000.  I could be called (sort of) a NaNo Rebel in that I’m marching to my own tune this month.  I’m juggling three different writing projects:

  1. Serial fiction, The Hidden Realm: I haven’t started to work on this yet but the plan is to finish the second half of Part One.
  2. Novelette, Untitled: written 2,417 words so far.  Genre: suspense/thriller
  3. Interactive story, Untitled: wrote chapter one, A Snowy Reunion, which has posted on this blog earlier in the week.  Genre: TBD

Speaking of #3, be sure to read the chapter and vote in the poll included to determine future outcome of the overall story line.  The poll closes soon so I can start writing the next chapter so don’t wait any longer!  🙂

What about you?  How’s your writing going so far this month?

A Snowy Reunion (Interactive Story)

*Am starting a new story, an interactive kind, which means feedback from readers will determine the direction of the story.  Read the first chapter, and then answer the poll.  Your input will determine the story’s results! Enjoy 🙂

 

Chapter One

 

Fluffy white flakes drift from the sky on to the urban landscape below.  Mazes of paved and cemented pathways spread across the city like a grid, nearly all are inhabited by flickering white and red lights.  While the heavens fill with solemn hushes, the earth brims with noise and movements among the living and their worldly gadgets and possessions.

On a particular street level, two women walk briskly, huddled deep in their coats and scarves.  White mists emanating from their faces as they huffed.

“I can’t believe you talked me into going out tonight!” The shorter woman says.

“Nonsense, Laura.” replies the other. “You work too much.  Besides, I haven’t seen Brad in years.  I’m curious to see how rich and successful he became.”

“Really, Julie, you’re just too shallow.” Laura scoffs. “There are more to men than sex and money.”

“Don’t forget power.” Julie raises a hand covered in a black leather glove.

“See?”

“You’re one to talk, dearie.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Laura smirks.

“Okay, how about Scott Mendler?” Red ringlets flickering across her cheeks.

“Him? The Pharmacist? Oh, c’mon! He didn’t know right from left!”

“Oh? Let’s try this one…Frank Aleman.”

“Computer repairman.  Too boring.” Laura says.

“Todd Blankenship?”

“Too skinny.”

“Stanley Cougler?”

“Too weird.”

“Nicholas Stem?”

“Kissed like a girl.”

Julie stops suddenly. “And you know this how?”

“Kidding!” Laura grabs her friend’s arm to prod her along once more. “I still don’t see your point.”

“My point is that you’re just as shallow as I am when it comes to men.” Julie says.

“Are you saying we’re hopeless?”

“Nah, just haven’t found the right ones.”

Laura shakes her head. “I’m starting to believe there’s no right one out there.”

“Perhaps we’ve been looking at the wrong ones.”

“Or perhaps I need to shorten my ‘qualities desired in an ideal mate’ list.”  Laura frowns.

Julie suddenly stops.  Again.

“Now what?” Laura asks.

Julie glances behind them. “Been having this feeling that someone’s following me all day.”

“Halloween’s long over.” Laura says.

“Yeah.” The red-head turns back around. “Probably just my imagination.”

“Comes with the territory for being a horror writer.” Laura replies.

“Well, that’s not all I do, honey.” She sneers.

“That’s even creepier.”

“Yeah, whatever, speak for yourself.” Julie pulls at her friend’s arm. “There it is. Let’s run…I’m freezing!”

The two women carefully jog across the icy road hopping from one section of tire-tread pattern on the ground to the next to keep from slipping.   Once they reach the other side, they stood briefly at the wooden door with “Carroll’s Diner” etched in it.

And pushed it opened to enter inside.

************************************

 

Carroll’s Diner’s rustic interior immediately warmed up the women as they peer into the dining section for familiar faces.

“I think I see Brad at the bar.” Julie says as she immediately heads in that direction  with Laura following close behind.

She quietly approaches a dark blonde-haired man and taps him on the shoulder which causes him to stir instantly.

“My god!  Isn’t it jolly ol’ Julie!” His hazel eyes twinkling as he pulls her in to his arms for a bear hug.

“Easy there, Brad.  You might break some ribs.” She giggles into his musky-smelling neck.

“Sorry, my bad.” And moves her to a more steady position, standing in front of him. He then notices a woman besides her. He blinks a few times before speaking. “Laura Hines?”

Laura smiles sheepishly. “Yeah, that’s me.”

Brad cocks his head slightly as he takes turns studying both women. “Friends?”

“Hard to believe, Bubba boy, but yep, we’re good friends now.”  Julie smiles widely.

He shakes his head slowly and let out a low whistle. “I thought you two hated each other during college.”

“Old history.” Julie replies as she winks over at Laura.  “It’s a long story.”

“I’ll drink to that!” He turns and picks up a shot glass and downs it in one gulp.

“Hey! Not so fast!” Julie pouts as she makes herself comfortable on a high stool. “I’ll have what he’s drinking.” She tells the bartender.

“Make that two.” Laura says as she sits on the other side of Julie.

Julie glances around Brad. “I thought there were two of you.”

He nods. “There is.  He had a call but should be back any time.”

“Who’s back?” Comes a husky voice rich in accent.

The women both peer around Brad to see a gorgeous man taking his seat at the end of the counter.   Golden brown skin.  Dark black hair which even partially covers his face, but one could still spy the dimples in his cheeks when he smiles.

This time it would be Laura speaking first.

“Oh. My. God.  Eddie?” Her voice rises several decibel.

“Hello, Laura.” His smile held as his deep hazel eyes meet her blue ones.  “It’s been a long time.”

She shifts in her stool but never moving her gaze away from his face.  “Yes.”

“Hello? Pheromone city!” Julie butts in effectively slicing the momentary connection.  “You two know each other?”

Laura’s smile wavers as she fingers her glass that mysteriously appeared seconds earlier. “College.”

“History?”  Julie whispers close to her ear.

Laura nods once.

“Well, I’m Julie Yourdon.” In her next move she turns to the dark hair man, and gives him her most alluring smile.

“Eduardo Santa Perez.” He bows his head to her. “A pleasure to meet you.”

“Pleasure’s all mine.” Julie mutters under her breath as she sips her liqueur.

 

End of Chapter One

 

 

 

*Note: You can also follow this story over at my other site — Story Interactive  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading: What’s Your Favorite Genre?

Book Review: To Trick a Hacker by India Kells

 

 

To Trick a Hacker is a Romance Suspense book written by the gifted storyteller India Kells.   It follows heroine Dylan Harris a loner who’s hiding within the fringe of society working as a hacker for a secret organization called Purgatory.   With a tumultuous and traumatizing past she’s trying to hide from, she finds herself hunted by an unknown assailant who seemingly have ties to her painful past.

In comes Owen Sorenson, a gorgeous former Navy Seal, sent by Purgatory to protect her from further harm which she reluctantly accepts.   Each battling scars of various kinds, they at first formed an uneasy team as they set out in search of a killer that soon grows into a passionate and emotional relationship.   A relationship which gets tested time and time again threatening to send either one over the edge and into darkness.  It’s a romance forged in pain and loneliness as they each face their personal demons from the past which keep returning to haunt them.  Sprinkle in a killer bent on turning Dylan to the dark side by threatening all who she cares for and you have a riveting story that will keep you turning the pages till the very end.

To Trick a Hacker ultimately is a story about family, love, second chances, and sacrifices.

India Kells’ writing style can be liken to Sherrilyn Kenyon and Sara Mackenzie, and I definitely look forward to reading many more of her books!

 

You can find India Kells at the following places:

http://www.indiakells.com

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

 

Writing: Slow Starts

 

Snow came way early this year in my neck of the woods (as shown above).  In fact, here in North Dakota, we went directly from summer to winter.  There was NO fall.   According to the local weatherman, we’re to get an additional 3-6 inches of the white stuff between today and Sunday.

Ugh.

Originally, I’m a northern-climate gal having been born near the border of Quebec, and grew up in the Adirondacks so I’m no stranger to the cold and snow.  However…I spent nearly 15 years in North Carolina before moving up here so my body is still trying to get re-acclimated to the changes.

I’ll get there eventually.  🙂

Whether it’s the sudden changes or getting older (I’ll take the former thank you very much), I’ve been slow getting started with NaNoWriMo this year.

Sitting at 500 words on day 3 kind of slow.

But, at the very least, it’s a start.

I will be working on two writing projects.  One’s projected to be about 7,500 words while the other around 10,000 so most likely I won’t win this year.  That’s okay just as long as I get the drafts of these two completed by November 30.

The 7,500-word novelette is inspired by the TV show, Deadly Women, I binge watched the past several months.  It’ll be a slightly different genre than I’m used to writing, but so far, an enjoyable experience.  I plan to post the synopsis later this month.  My goal for this story is to hopefully either self-publish it, or place it on Channilo.  In the past, majority of the stories I wrote have been horror and/or young-adult with sprinklings of science fiction and fantasy.   This particular story is Suspense/Thriller with some Romance.

Stay tuned.

The second project is a serial fiction I started last year called, The Hidden Realm, which is a fantasy/horror story.

Click on image to start reading it

 

During this month, I plan to finish writing the second half of Part One.   Writing serial fiction is tricky for multiple reasons; one being that it requires long-term commitment to post a new installment in a timely manner until either the story’s completed, or you give up on it.   I’ve written several in the past, and gave up on them all mostly because I either got bored with it, or got stuck on the storyline.  I hope by writing large blocks of the story in a short time and then posting them in small increments will enable me to actually finish this one.

We’ll see.

 

I will post more on both stories throughout the month of November.

 

What about you?  What are you working on this month?

 

 

 

 

I Fear I’ll Never Publish a Book

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month’s question:  Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

 

 

I’ve participated in NaNo nearly every year since 2008, and I will do so again this year.   I won twice, first time in 2008, which was the most complete first (and only) draft I’ve written.   It’s an apocalypse-science fiction story I titled Hope Falls.  It’s to be the first book in a series.  I believe it has promise only that…

It’s still sitting on my hard drive (have a binder with printed pages as well–somewhere).

I love to see it published.

Why haven’t I done it yet?  I mean, it’s only been NINE years.

Honestly, the editing/revision part scares the crap out of me.

Shorter works I can handle.  Just not sure how I’d handle a book-length editing process.

I feel like a wuss.

A coward.

And I’m worried.  Really worried.  If I’m this frighten over one manuscript why would it be any different with another?

Am I a lost cause?  Can I break this rut I’m in?

I’m a published writer in that I have short fiction and poetry published in multiple zines (both online and print).  My next goal is to be a published author.

I fear that dream may never come true.

 

 

A Halloween Haunt Story

 

*Note:  This story’s inspired by the very first short story I ever wrote decades ago.

 

 

 

Penny, the new kid on the block, stood in front of an old, rickety house along with two new-found friends.

She swallowed hard as she stepped up to the front door.

“Don’t be a scaredy cat and go in!” Darla called out.

Inside the dank-smelling entryway, cobwebs littered every nook and cranny.  Dark and not a living soul present as the young girl walked down a hallway.

A movement on her right caused Penny to pause.

On the long, narrow table sat a huge glass platter with a steel cover.

The cover rattled ever so slightly.

She slowly reached for the metallic lid, and lifted it.

The first thing she saw was the wrinkled balding head, and in a great start, she released her grasp on the heavy top which landed on the hard floor with a thunderous clang that echoed throughout the building.

Her brown eyes widened as she stared at what sat on the glass dish.

A head of an elderly man who appeared to be asleep.  His skin pallor and sunken except for one eye where folds of flesh drooped.

The sight had her rooted to the spot as she held her breath fearing that any noise would awaken him.

Suddenly, his eyes sprung opened.  Black as coals they completely mesmerized Penny…

Until the mouth opened and an evil cackle bellowed from it.

She turned and ran screaming out of the house, and didn’t stop screaming until she reached her friends down on the curbs.

 

What dismayed her further was that they were laughing.

At her.

“It’s not funny!” She said.

Darla, the brunette, giggled through her hands but it was the blondie who spoke.

“If only you could have seen your face!” Roxie said as she wiped the tears from her eyes.

Penny glared at them.  “You knew about this?”

“Oh yeah.” Darla finally replied. “Old man Marco’s been doing this every year for years.”

The red-head folded her arms at her two so-called friends. “And where does he usually pull this prank?”

“In the kitchen. On the table with the red cloth.” Roxie answered.

“Well, his head was on a platter in the hallway between the kitchen and living room.” Penny stated. “And it did NOT have ANY table cloth.”

Roxie and Darla looked at her.

“Go on.” Penny pointed to the house. “Go check on the old man!”

Clasping each other’s hand, the two girls walked across the front yard, and through the door way disappearing into the murkiness.

Penny continued to stand with her arms folded, and waited.

 

Moments passed before screeching screams sounded through the house, and the pale-faced girls galloped outside, nearly colliding with Penny.

Unmoved, Penny asked, “Well?”

“Th-that wasn’t Marco!” Darla said. “And-and there was no body under the table!”

“But the head is real, right?” Penny asked.

Both girls nodded in earnest.

All pairs of eyes turned to the house just as the front door creaked shut.