Random Flash Fiction

Hiya. This is a flash fiction I wrote today, inspired from my flu and how I can’t stop describing its disgusting workings to people. But not you though. I would never do that to you 😉

 

I gingerly walked through the school to get to my home room. Still feeling out of it, I almost didn’t see Jake.

He smiled at me and kindly asked, “Hey, you’re feeling better then?”

I tried smiling back but it ended in a grimace. “A little. I think I swallowed too much mucus so I’m all queasy now.”

Jake’s smile froze into insincerity. “Okay…” He walked away.

Idiot.

Idiot!

The shout from behind almost threw my heart out of my chest. Reeling, I clutched my collar and turned around to meet Lana.

“What was that for?”

“I could ask you the same thing!”

“Lana-”

“What person in their right mind talks about mucus to someone they like?”

Keep your voice down.

“Seriously! What were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t. Okay?”

“Well, maybe you should start.” Lana approached me, but kept at least a meter’s distance for fear of germs. “How do you expect to ever get a date?”

“I dunno. Maybe I have a subconscious fear of commitment-”

“I think you gotta have some sort of relationship first. You enjoy sabotaging any chance of that.”

I just shrugged, already too exhausted to argue.

“C’mon. We better get moving.”

I follow her down the path.

“Hey,” Lana spoke up after about a minute. “I’m glad you’re back.”

I sneezed and rummaged my pockets for a tissue.

She burst out laughing.

I was glad to be back.

Book Review: Witches in Red, by Barb Hendee

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Mist-Torn Witches #2

Book Length: 325 pages

Time to Read: Approximately four days of moderate-intensity reading (more than two hours a day)

I’m gonna call this ‘Mystery Fantasy

Adult Fiction

According to the Blurb on the Back:

Celine and Amelie Fawe can see into anyone’s past and future simply by touching him. They have used their powers to secure sanctuary – and a fine apothecary’s shop – in the village around Castle Seone. But their continued safety has a price…

Far to the north, the men of an isolated silver mining community are turning into vicious “beasts” that slaughter anyone in sight. The mines belong to the noble family of Prince Anton – ruler of Castle Seone and Celine and Amelie’s patron – and Anton’s tyrannical father has ordered his son to solve the mystery as a test of his leadership. He has no choice but to send the witches into the perilous north to use their abilities to discover the cause of the transformations. Given how much they owe the prince, the sisters have no choice but to go.

Together with the overprotective Lieutenant Jaromir, Celine and Amelie enter the dark world of a far-off mining camp tainted by fear, mistrust, and enslavement – and haunted by men turning into massive mad wolves without warning. Now the two must draw upon strength and cunning they never thought they possessed not only to solve the mystery, but to survive…

Review:

Goodness, Barb Hendee can tell a good story. Straight up, I loved this book. I’m a sucker for that romanticised medieval period, like the Merlin television series, where it’s not at all obvious just how awful life had been even for the rich, let alone the poor. That was my trail of thought through the first couple of scenes, but it quickly became apparent that the beginning of the book was perhaps the one truly happy and safe moment in Celine’s and Amelie’s lives. These girls are tough, each in her own distinct way.

The book’s written in third person where the perspective switches largely between the two sisters and sometimes to the Lieutenant Jaromir, and all three of these characters are wonderfully fleshed out. No cardboard cut-outs here. The supporting cast is also wonderful and by the end of the book I really got a sense of the world around them being fuller and more interesting, with some very interesting characters expected to become main cast members for the sequels. Again, I read this book before the first one in the series (which was The Mist-Torn Witches) and I had no trouble engaging with the characters and the plot. I will be definitely going back to read the first book.

Upon looking up the author on the internet I found that the book is actually set in a fantasy world already established in The Noble Dead Saga, which Barb Hendee wrote with her husband, J. C. Hendee. The first book in that series is Dhampir, so I’ll definitely be giving that a look too.

In conclusion, I found a new author to love! I give this book my first heart rating ❤

I like stats

Because I’m pedantic, and perhaps a bit vain too (but I’m not too proud to admit it). One of my favourite things about word press is it’s statistics function. For about a week now I’ve been compulsively, indulgently and guiltily checking it every hour or so. I know, I know, a watched pot never boils, but I find it fun in a strange way (I wouldn’t be surprised if my ancestors were bean counters).

But yesterday something really annoying happened. I posted, and you kind people liked, but my hits didn’t go up. I had never noticed this happening before. I worried there was a glitch in this glorious statistics page, but no. When I searched for the problem, I found that posts read in wordpress’ reader don’t count as hits!

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Well, doesn’t that just make the whole compilation of data completely inaccurate! And there is no offense greater to scientist than inaccurate data!

Okay, I’m exaggerating. I was a bit miffed is all. And if you’ve gotten to this stage in the post, then you would know what I’ve done to rectify the situation.

I noticed some people had this setup where you had to navigate to their blog to read the whole post. So that was how you do it! By going through the forums I found how to emulate this wonderful function:

Go to dashboard. Click settings, then reading, and then where it says For each article in a feed, show select summary. Easy!

Well, actually I had trouble finding the dashboard, so I just copied and pasted this helpful directory:

whateveryourblogiscalled.wordpress.com/wp-admin/options-reading.php

That was easier.

 

I would like some feedback though. Do you find it annoying to have to click to my blog to read the whole post? I hope it isn’t inconvenient, but if you find it is, please tell me! But then, if you’ve gotten through this rant about statistics and you’re still here I’d expect I haven’t annoyed you too much 😉

Pages

I figured I’d stick this at the end here. I’ve got two new pages on my blog! If you hover over my About page you’ll find one labelled “Who I really am”. The other one is just a Contact Me page with the email I gave out a couple of days ago. I also wrote a sappy poem on the page. Because when I get tired I trip out on emotions.

I’m very tired now…

Good night everyone!

MdD

Reading & Writing Plans

This blog and everything that’s resulted from it (mostly, meeting all of you) has really motivated me to try new things. Before I was just reading whatever I found at the library and writing stories for my own enjoyment (and with the hope of getting published ‘one day’). But now, with all the encouragement (and examples set) from motivated bloggers, I have seen there’s another way to go about it all.

So here’s how my reading and writing plans have changed for the rest of the year.

Start Reading Indie Books

I had tried ebooks before, but never really got into them. I have to admit I am one of those people who love to hold a physical book in their hands – to flick through the pages and smell a new book, to feel the texture of the paper under my thumb, these are the small pleasures in life. I am very particular about font, the size of the text and the contrast between the black ink and the colour of paper used (white paper is too bright, and a book automatically gives off a sense of intrigue if its pages are browned, like it has its own history attached to it). There will always be the romanticism attached to borrowing a book from the library (who else has laughed and cried while holding this very book?), but of course my local library will never have the sheer variety that exists on the internet.

And the world of blogging has plenty to recommend! At the moment I’ve just started to read:

Arafura by Susan Lattwein (I’ve never read a book set in Darwin before, and Susan does a great job at illustrating the top end – the crazy hot and humid coast is making a wonderful respite from the cold, dry-as-a-bone days I’ve been experiencing at work lately)

Dirty Blood by Heather Hildebrand, which Leiah reviewed recently on So, I read this book today and it seemed to be right up my alley.

Six Hours to Sunrise by Melissa R Smith, who actually got me onto Smashwords when I read her (awesomely named) blog That’s great Mom… but I have pie

Next up I’ve got my eye on the Maggie Newberry Mysteries by Susan Kiernan-Lewis, because I love cozy mystery and France (and wine and vineyards and… yep, definitely going to try this series next).

And I’ll be reading Stephanie Hurt‘s next book. Because pirates.

Okay, I’m a little bit overwhelmed now by the fact that I’ve only just scratched the surface of the independent author-world. But I’m still up for recommendations! Plus I’ll keep casing through the blogs I follow for more possible reads.

Mini Story: Chase

WARNING! There is some very, very minor violence (well, minor in its description) in this fictional tale. Don’t keep reading if you don’t like death. No wait, no one likes death. I mean, if you don’t like reading about deadness. I haven’t cleared that up at all have I? Uh, look, it’s not gross. It’s just that someone gets dead, and not everyone’s into that. I understand. I like to think of myself as an open-minded person.

Enjoy!

Chase

The grit under my sneakers caused me to slip sideways. I cursed under my breath but counted my blessings as a bullet whizzed past my head. Tensing my calves I took two long strides before leaping again to the next rooftop, my palms landing snug against the lip of the building and my fingers seizing into claws to pull me up.

But they were faster. I could hear their polished soles smacking against the ground, the sound horrid and echoing in the dead of the dawn. Up, get up! Roll onto your stomach and pull yourself up and bolt!

Another shot fired into the rising sun. I don’t know how close it got to me and I wasn’t gonna turn to find out.

Keep your damn head down and keep moving!

I scrambled up and ran, my feet flying along so that I could no longer tell where they were, but that wasn’t important. The important thing was that I was moving forwards, and fast.  I got to the end of the roof and leapt, not even bothering to question if I could possibly make the distance. It felt like I was flying further than I ever had before. I landed neatly onto the next rooftop and propelled further along. I was gaining distance. I was moving so quickly that the air howled past my ears as if it were wind. I was going to make it!

Or so I thought until my eyes recognised what they were meant to be seeing – no more rooftop.

When I got to the edge I looked down. The next building was at least three stories below. I could survive that. Maybe. What other option did I have?

But it wasn’t my decision to make. As I was working out how to jump, looking down at my fate below, I got a good view of the bullets that ripped through my chest. One-two-three-four. Just like that, in quick succession. The impact staggered me, but I kept upright long enough to turn myself around and spy the bastards who got me. But they weren’t there.

Another second and I saw them clamber up over the building’s ledge just as I had done. Then one more bullet caught me in the chest, and this time I saw the red sniper’s sight.

I actually managed a laugh before I toppled backwards. Well, a gurgle. As I fell against the rising sun and the new dawn blinded me, I muttered one last curse.

“Cheats.”

I wasn’t dead until I hit the ground between the buildings, fourteen stories below.

Do you want to talk? Or maybe you’d prefer to sing?

With the passing of the wonderful Robin Williams, I’ve decided upon something. I’m a big believer in communication helping people. But for some it is very difficult to talk about the things they worry over to people they know, or even to a stranger face-to-face. 

So I wanted to propose something. I have a gmail email that I don’t really use for anything (save for requiring it to buy google play apps), so I wanted to use it for this: talk to me.

You might not think this is a good idea, but I honestly don’t care if this email account just gets spammed. I’d expect there would be other services like this on the internet, but I just wanted everyone to know that I’m willing to listen – to anything. I’m not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a therapist, but I promise to be non-judgmental and understanding. I also promise to never disclose anything you tell me. And I will respond. I will do my very best to help you. If I can’t, maybe I can help give you the confidence to find the help you need. Hopefully none of you need this, but I’m here if you need me.

You can reach me at nogaku89@gmail.com

Aaaand on that note, I’d like to suggest something that always helps me when I’m feeling anxious (which had been quite a lot when I was going through university).

There’s a great story about how the Welsh men became good singers. After working in the coal mines all day, the men would come up at the end of shift to view the last ray of sunshine before the day finally ended. They would all stand outside the entrance to the underground, and they would bellow out a ballad together. They believed that the actions of loud, powerful singing would clear their lungs of all that horrible black dust.

I believe that the power of singing can expel more than coal dust – I have sung out lingering anger, oppressive sadness and coiling fear. To be clear, I am a really, really bad singer. But when I’m alone in a room at the end of the day, I let it rip. I sing out my heart and my head (because it’s my head that gives me most of the trouble). I don’t just sing, I belt it – the aim for me is to push and shove that awful feeling inside me out.

I sing the classic Mien Herr from Cabaret (you’ll never turn the vinegar to jam, Mien Heeeerrrrrrr)

I sing the earthy beats of Lorde’s Glory and Gore (you can try and take us, OH!, but we’re the gladiators)

I sing old school Green Day (I am one of those melodramatic fools, neurotic to the bone no doubt about it!)

I sing Lily Allen (don’t try and test me ’cause you’ll get a reaction)

And lots of other good purging songs.

But hey, enough about me. Everyone has their go-to song, right? You might like singing Bruce Springsteen (You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much) or, for the Aussie purists, The Angels’ Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (I am not going to quote those lyrics because I try to avoid swearing in my posts, but it really is the best song I could sing to let the anger out).

Maybe you prefer softer songs. Maybe you like church choir (which were probably started to help people express their emotions along with their faith). Or maybe you like singing songs from a hundred years ago (pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile)? Actually I really like songs from the twenties too (most folks they keep complainin’ whether it’s shine or rainin’, never satisfied ’cause they never tried to be glad that they are livin’). Actually I don’t like the message in that last song. It’s got a good beat, but it encourages people to smile when they feel lonely. Don’t put on a fake face. It takes too much energy and it doesn’t ever reward anyone, especially you. But I digress…

Sometimes you need an anthem to empower you. Sometimes you just need it to get through the day. I find singing really therapeutic. Maybe because it’s the closet thing I can get to screaming without the neighbours calling the police on me.

So please – if you can’t talk, then sing. Even if there is no one to hear you, it helps. I promise ❤

Good luck everyone!

MdD

Ekka Show Day!

Cheese now comes on a stick, people!

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I had to crop this photo because I had inadvertently taken a picture of easily identifiable people. I have no idea who they are, but I’m sure they wouldn’t want their images published without their permission.

 

 

 

 

Cheese on a Stick

There it is! Cheese on a stick! Is this a new thing?

So last Saturday just gone I was at the Ekka. For those of you who don’t know, in Australia most country towns have show days (I guess they’re like county fairs in America?) and Brisbane, being the state capital (and basically a big sprawling country town that happens to have some skyscrapers), is host to the biggest show for all of Queensland. I have no idea how we got the word ‘Ekka’ as short-hand for ‘exhibition’. I’d expect it would have something to do with our historical boganism.

While the Ekka Show lasts for over a week, the show day is the day everyone has off. But seeing as the show day lands on Wednesday, the day I’m always at work and travelling (on my current roster), I couldn’t go today. Not that I usually would, it’s ridiculously expensive and somehow really cheap at the same time and… anyway. I went on Saturday.

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It was a horribly cloudy day and almost raining most of the time, but that’s also a good thing because the crowds would’ve been really hot if it were sunny.

Mum decided to volunteer at the strawberry stall so I decided to join her. It was good fun, and for five hours work (mostly chopping strawberries) we got free entry to the Ekka and got to reap a strawberry sundae out of it. The profits go to the Prince Charles Hospital, and they use it towards research into developing an artificial heart for transplants, finding a cure for osteoarthritis, treatments of cystic fibrosis and asthma, and lots of other things.

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How we made the Strawberry Sundae, and how every little bit was produced in Queensland. Except the cone. Goodness knows where that comes from.

After the shift from 7am to 12pm, we wandered about and saw the animals, ate some food (I actually didn’t get a cheese on a stick, since I wouldn’t have been able to eat it), and balked at the rides (I’m afraid of heights).

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Lambs!

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Llamas!

I bought a bubble gun for my little sister’s upcoming second birthday (she’s my Dad’s kid from his second marriage). All in all, it was a good, exhausting day. And it was nice to donate my time to something. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t done it before, and I do need to do it more. I’d like to help out at an animal shelter or something. I know the one my Auntie works at is looking for dog walkers, but it’s a forty minute drive away. I know it’s stupid to worry about something like petrol costs when I’m meant to be helping, but it’s still there. I’m going to start looking for animal shelters closer to home.

Have you done any volunteer work? Did you enjoy it? What did you do, or what do you want to do? Is anyone else looking forward to a local show/fair/fete/festival?

 

Babies And Their Pals!

Because dogs are babies’ best friend too 🙂

THE EDITOR'S JOURNAL

erin veyErin Vey

Cuteness overload in fur and nappies!
cute-big-dogs-and-babies-20Elena Shumilova

‘We can do this Brutus! If we start now, we should be in Maine by the morning!’blake gimmerBlake Gimmer

‘Hi ho silver!’brett manipoBrett Manipo

‘Hmmm, son, you’d make a very nice starter! But we cool. We cool.’cute-big-dogs-and-babies-2

‘Just me an’ my pal…shootin’ the breeze!’cute-big-dogs-and-babies-5cute-big-dogs-and-babies-6

‘I luh ya Papi!’cute-big-dogs-and-babies-12cute-big-dogs-and-babies-13

‘Whaddya see? Waddya see?’

‘I see cats.’cute-big-dogs-and-babies-17

‘I’m worried about you…you don’t look happy!’cute-big-dogs-and-babies-33

‘Me an’ ma pal gon’ ketch a wave dude…’erin vey 3Erin Vey

‘Git offa ma porch!’erin vey copyErin Veylindsey ockerLindsey Ockerlucu terbaru

‘Every got-damn time she gotta do this!’qGiHbU3

‘I luh ya Papi! 211

 Jen Hendricks

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