May 22, 2012

Journey's End? - Flash Fiction Blogfest

It's the 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest (may21-23) hosted by Cherie Reich to celebrate her third year blogversary. It doubles up as a competition with three winners getting Amazon gift cards.  Open voting on may28.
Check out the linky list of other flash writers here.
A piece of flash 300 words or less beginning with the words Lightning Flashed.

Lightning flashed in the distance. They sans one huddled closer drawing comfort from each other. The swirling black clouds were visible indicating that their journey was at its end. Yet, darkness would arrive before them. The winding road seemingly friendly an hour ago was at its treacherous best. The trees lining both sides were gnarled in places, hideous stumps at others, the roots spreading out onto the pathway like greedy fingers. The leafless branches rustled and bent towards them. This is an illusion. The shaman’s dying warning echoed. Icy hands trailed through their limbs. Fear, the warriors accepted, welcomed, but this unseen entity chilled their hearts, dulled their instincts, made them cower like the villagers they were bound to protect.
Ashan, the self appointed leader, twirled his blood stained scimitar. Basher balked at the other’s impatience, then nudged the unsure group forward. He waited for the one tagging behind. She moved with firm, alert steps belying her tender age. She had impressed Bashir by offering to be the bait. The council had happily agreed.
 He had sworn then to protect her with his life.  
A flash of light revealed the looming grey castle. Thunder made its presence felt. Then. Utter silence. They stopped a few feet away from the gates. Ashan turned to Bashir. “Take the girl and walk ahead. We follow close behind.”
Why single me out? “Come. It’s time.” in the kindest tone he could manage.
One of the gates unbolted, wide enough for a person to pass through.
 He stopped her as she moved forward. “I go first.”
The iron door closed behind them. Bashir rushed back trying in vain to wrench it open.
His reward was bloodied fingers.
Yasmin watched him, the slow hunger now a raging need. The warrior’s blood smelled sweet. A feast tonight.

Wc 300 Exact.
*Love using Asian characters since they are few and far between beyond our shores.

Flash Fiction Blogfest

May 16, 2012

Light Hearted Magick?

She giggled...Neeta struggled to keep a straight face lest they draw attention to themselves.
Zack frowned, his irritation increasing with every passing minute. He could barely wait for the demo session to end.

Cathy, awaiting her turn, tried to catch their attention, her efforts only drawing puzzled looks from the twins seated behind them.
"Is something wrong with your eyes?" one asked 
When she didn’t respond “Trying to seduce my little brother, are we?"
'Little?' sizing up the boy who needed an entire bench to stretch his never ending limbs.
"That must be understatement of the century" with a quiet chuckle.
"Shut up jokers!" the other one hissed,
"I'll turn you both into bats if I get pulled up this time."
They glared at him, about to resort when she giggled again.

Zack got up in a huff only to freeze in place. Her warm hands pulling him back never failed to elicit the familiar response. Small, almost black eyes reprimanded him for breaking their contact abruptly.
Master, who had ignored them all this while was now forced to acknowledge the distraction from the eastern end of the chamber. He was aware of every thought, hushed whispers or otherwise. Faced with no other viable option, squelching the rumours that questioned his authority was a priority.  The first step towards the goal demanded that they be punished.
Pity, the girls were his best friend's nieces. Reluctantly, he called the three of them over.

Zack wasn't sure he could keep himself from casting the 'bent back' hex on the girls, seeing their calm, detached expressions. He didn't want to, not her anyway. He was pleasantly surprised when Master handed them the after session chores.
Planting seeds, magical ones at that was boring but not hard.

The sulking part of him did not share in his relief. This is not we had planned. The reminder was dampener on his spirits. He had volunteered to be the telepathic medium for the girls with an ulterior motive...a desperate need to find a clue, a confirmation of her interest in him. And here they were, digging up the soil with dancing hands, where he could have been plotting his next move with the guys. He didn't find his love for the 'flying ducks' night suit funny, she obviously did.


Today is  International Flash Fiction Day in the U.K...decided to post my fiction here and not on their site. You can check the other fantastic stories here.

* I got into Pottermore this week...a cute, interactive site. And while I received an Alder-Phoenix...they sorted me into bloody Gryffindor. I wanted to join Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff since we all know enough about the red house. Incidentally, I was put in a red house during my schooling years till 10th grade. I always envied my bro's blue badge.

* My nephews are turning up next week...surprise, as my bro is off to London for two weeks and the elder one has summer vacation till June 13. So June 4 is the only day I will be posting during the first week. I will be using my birthday to thank the bloggers/ettes whose awards I still have to acknowledge and pass on to the rest of you. Do visit the post, as I will be passing on certain awards.

* Any comments on the story welcome, but polite put downs please.
May 14, 2012

My First Loves - For The Blogfest

 First Loves Blogfest hosted by Alex Cavanaugh...

First loves blogfest by songsnwords on GoAnimate

Hi Alex...bloggers, blogettes...welcome to my version of the First Loves Blogfest. You can see and hear the one minute video if you are feeling lazy to read...more or less the same words.

 At 9 years, second year in the new school in first love, you could say, offered me chocolates for his birthday. All I remember is his being tall for our age, with a cute smile and beautiful light brown eyes.
The other real one was an unrequited one at 22 but that's "classified information".

First book I loved was a gift by my dad's cousin, 'Firebird And Other Russian Fairy Tales' printed in what was once U.S.S.R. It has beautiful illustrations and pages with border art, but now kind of brittle to touch.

Let's get this straight...I am saying, the first movie I loved was Jackie Chan's 1978 released Drunken Master with atrocious English dubbing.

First English song l loved was Boney M's Rasputin, and the first band I listened to and liked was Beatles, the song Kansas City.

Glad to have you here and hope everyone who visited enjoyed this rather one sided conversation, hee hee.

May 08, 2012

The Backworlds Book Launch Party

A vision of how humanity might colonize the galaxy some day in the distant future?

The Backworlds is here!

The first story in the Backworlds series by M. Pax. 

 The Backworlds
After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds.
Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to
hoard his fortune by destroying his son. Cut off from family and friends, with little money,
and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain
future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father regret this day.

Available from: Amazon / AmazonUK / Smashwords / Feedbooks
Other links to more outlets can be found at either Wistful Nebulae or MPax
The Backworlds is an ebook and a free read at Smashwords
and Feedbooks as of now.

It’ll take a few weeks to a free read status on Amazon Kindle. It will also be
available on B&N and iTunes. Sign up for M. Pax’s mailing list to be notified the day it
does go free on Amazon, and when the book becomes available at other outlets. You’ll
also receive coupons for discounts on future publications. 

M. Pax’s inspiration comes from the wilds of Oregon, especially the high desert where
she shares her home with two cats and a husband unit. Creative sparks also come from
Pine Mountain Observatory where she spend her summers working as a star guide. She
writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, but confesses to an obsession with Jane Austen.

She blogs at her website, and at Wistful Nebulae. You’ll find links
there to connect on Twitter, Goodread, FB and other sites.

The sequel, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, will be released in July 2012. It will be
available in all ebook formats and paperback.
May 06, 2012

Wrong Timing?

After two months, back with my entry for Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock's blog...any genre, P.G as far as possible, not to exceed 100 words plus the prompt in bold.. Check the other pleasure trips there.

The interview had held a lot of promise, one of the better ones she had given in recent times. Nevertheless, waiting for the elusive call was unnerving. She went about the everyday chores, no longer languorous. The meals were planned,  their calorie content checked, examined her closet, deeming most of the clothes as good enough for office wear. She checked her inbox a dozen times a day. The phone went everywhere she went. Today, at lunch, a beep was heard. She unlocked the screen in nervous excitement. The message read, “It is our pleasure to invite you to Exhale holiday homes, nature awaits.”

May 02, 2012

Amazon Reviews And Self/Indie Publishing - IWSG

 The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day for participating blog owners who may be professional or amateur writers. (All you need is the passion and output, published or not). Started by Alex Cavanaugh the author of the sci-fi space opera CassaStar and sequel CassaFire, it is a means for writers to talk about their fears big and small. It is also an opportunity to connect to other writers who may have conquered these or are sailing in the same insecure boat as you.

No cribbing about cranky muse (after all, she is a part of me), no tears and nose cleaning noises over rejections...because something else piqued my interest and well enough to grace this post :
The syndrome called Amazon Book Reviews.

The Three Musketeers
Every writer knows the value of reviews either in the form of critique or comments. And the indie press and self published authors especially first timers value its weight in platinum. 
From my observations over the last couple of months...there are three categories of people involved.
1. The real ones read book lovers who may be bloggers or otherwise whose 2/3/4 and occasional 1 and 5 stars are genuine as are their words.
2. The ones with no real names and a couple of reviews all of which are 1 stars with really nasty comments, blatantly calling indie/self published as crap and demolishing the story as a middle grader's attempt. Some subtly accuse the author of purchasing four and five know what, that's the trick used by many to get a top review rank as more buyers vote these comments as useful.
3. Unfortunately, the second group is not entirely wrong. A technique of paying people for glowing reviews polished into an art by a self publisher and many more like him...check out these links to know more. They viciously attack the first group when 1 or 2 stars are given by the latter.
Don’t Trust Amazon Reviews: They’re Fake and a downloadable report by Cornell University researchers on it.

So, where does it leave us as writers, readers and genuine reviewers?
Will the tirade against "not from Big 6 stable" and shoddy, typos ridden work uploaded hurt good indie authors in the long run?
Even the free samples quite often disguise an ebook not worth the money (Trust me, I have seen my screen seethe in agony, I wouldn't review them here since this isn't a book blog, and because of a self imposed rule of showcasing 3 stars and above books.)  Should a reader avoid Amazon reviews and rely on word of mouth or book bloggers to find new authors, try only bloggers' books or stick to reliable paperbacks?
Does a reviewer like me refrain from posting on Amazon since my 4 and 5 stars may be overlooked or considered fixed more so in case of free books received for review?

If the cartoon didn't make you laugh, these should:
1. Random Rejection Generator which has 7 rejections letters delivered to your email to develop thick skin.
I choose the nastiest option, here goes...
Dear Writer,

If we had the budget, we would hire one of the crews that cleans up toxic. Super fund sites to visit your office and expunge all evidence of your attempts at writing. Perhaps we will apply for a federal grant. We’ll let you know.

The Editors

2. A Tshirt for writers:

Book Releases
Today is the official release date of Fighting Gravity, book two of the Gravity series - science fiction romance by a blogger friend Cherie Reich (check sidebar).
To purchase: Amazon  Amazon UK  Amazon DE  Amazon FR Amazon IT  Amazon ES  Smashwords 

If you join her author newsletter, you can receive a coupon from Smashwords to download Fighting Gravity for free!
To celebrate Fighting Gravity's release date, Defying Gravity, book one of the Gravity trilogy, is now free through May 4th. So if you haven't snagged a copy, then please do.

I am reading Defying Gravity and enjoying it so far. 
While you are at it, don't forget M.Pax's book release party for the first book of her science fiction series The Backworlds from May
7-10 (check the sidebar once again).
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