Nov 25, 2013

Feelings unmixed ...

So, let's give you an update on that incident that occurred last week.

My ex has released himself from the hospital, even though the doctors told him he really shouldn't be going anywhere OR staying on his own. But - butt-headed as he is - he decided otherwise and left anyhow (no booze to be had in hospital, ya kno).

My mom ran into our regular doctor today as she was going to the post office and they chatted a bit, so this is what my doctor (and his) told my mom.

He left hospital against all recommendations (but this isn't the first time) and he called her for an appointment. She told him he should've stayed in hospital because he had 2 small blood vessels that had been breached somewhere in his brain and he should be in medical care. He doesn't care. Neither do I!

After that, he sent a text message to my son, telling him he had just gotten back from the doctor's and he was very ill AND that he was "contagious", so it would be better if he didn't come at all over the weekend. At this point, you've got my kid cheering wholeheartedly and me fighting back a smile while wondering what the hell is contagious about being a drunken prick who hit the pavement headfirst.
Or maybe it's the stupidity that's contagious.
Or maybe the lies.
I'm not sure.

He either misunderstood what the doctors told him and thought he had meningitis, or he's just lying his ass off as usual, trying to come up with a reason for people to pity him. That's what he does best, after all, playing the poor little victim.

But anyhow, my son texted back something short and to the point "ok" and got another message back saying "aren't you going to wish me a speedy recovery?"
If you have to ask, you're not ready to hear it!
If I had given in to my first thoughts, I would've had the kid text back "oh, are you out of the hospital already?" or "What's contagious about being drunk?"

Either way, he's not "getting that weekend back" and in 2 weeks, the kid will be in the middle of his exams and he won't be going either. It'll be the end of the year before he has to go back (besides, if he's that contagious, the kid shouldn't be going anywhere near him, right????)

But yeah, there you have it.

Sick SOB ran away from medical care -AGAIN- and is -STILL- bugging the shit out of me.
Feelings have been very much unmixed and are back to what they were, even tipping deeper into the red with all of his crap!

My mom must be right: drunks DO have a special kind of god just for them!

Nov 20, 2013

Mixed feelings ....

Today, a phone call was made to my son's cell phone. Thankfully, it was charging and so I was the one to pick it up, and not my 13-year old. It was a call from the hospital. They were calling about my ex. He was found sometime last night, after he "fell" on the street and is in intensive care right now. They were trying to locate relatives and found my son's number (they could only know it's his son because of the text messages) after they got no response at his mother's number.
According to my son, he hasn't visited his mother in over a year because they are in dispute (which doesn't come as a surprise), so I'm betting they're not about to get anything positive from that angle. I gave them his brother's name, but it's not in the phone (doesn't surprise me either), but I couldn't remember his sister's name (not that I think her number will be in there any more than the brother's is).

They told me he had a brain hemorrhage and the lady asked me if I knew what it was due to (tiptoeing around the question a bit), so I told her I could easily imagine what had caused either the bleeding, or the fall, which resulted in the bleeding: Alcohol.
She didn't need to spell it out for me, since this isn't the first time he lands his ass in hospital that way.
I asked her if she had any idea how severe his condition was and if it was a potentially fatal incident. She said she didn't know. She could only tell me there's always a risk of it being fatal. She also told me visiting hours for the ICU and that he should (normally) be moved to a regular room as of tomorrow, if his condition remains stable. She said it would be nice to have someone visit, but given the fact I'd rather see him burn in hell, I didn't really feel like going. I said we'd have to see about it, because I'm sick for the time being and him being in ICU, I may not be the best of visitors with all my viruses and bacteria.

After the call, I told my son what had happened and what (little) I knew. I asked him if he wanted to visit and he glared at me, wondering if I had lost my mind without saying the words. I told him his father probably wouldn't be going home anytime soon, so he wouldn't have to visit him this weekend and his fist went up, coming down a moment later along with a heartfelt "YES". I guess he's not really worried about skipping a weekend. Already he wasn't planning on going both days, because he has several tests next week and he wanted to have time to study for them. Now, he'll have all weekend to study.

At one point he asked me what I had asked the lady (nurse?), "can it be fatal". When I told him there was always a chance it could be, his reply made things very clear to me.
He said "On one side, it would be better if it was fatal."

I don't think I have to question his feelings about his father any longer, if he thinks we'd all be better off if he died. I agree. On one side.
On the other side, I'm still a human being and I have feelings (I even had feelings for him at one point), but I can't feel bad or sorry for him. I can't even imagine him in hospital with drains and stuff 'sprouting' from him, which is something I usually have no problem with.

Has my heart turned to stone?
No, it hasn't. Just a while ago, I was watching this video on Facebook and I cried my butt off, so I know my heart hasn't turned to stone.
I guess it just does when he's concerned.

Do I want him to die?
Maybe I do.
Maybe I don't.
I think I do, because of all the shit he put me through in the 7 years during and the 7 years after our relationship.

Does that make me a bad person?
No, it doesn't. It's a result of what he did and didn't do, of what he said and didn't say.

I started this post with the words "mixed feelings", but I guess they're not really mixed.
I think what it all comes down to, is this:

I don't give a damn either way.

And neither does his son, apparently.
I think that says enough about him.

Nov 19, 2013

Feeling like crap

It doesn't happen to me often, but when it hits, it hits hard.
You all know the feeling, right?
It starts with an irritating itch in the throat, which you think nothing of, but as the day progresses - and you're talking on the phone or to your colleagues all the time, not really giving your throat much of a rest - the itch grows into a scratchy feeling that gets more and more painful by the hour. Then, the sneezing starts. Once, twice, three times in a row, practically forcing your lungs out of your chest. Your nose starts to play along after a while, either clogging up or leaking inexplicably and unexpectedly. The worst is when it does that alternately because you don't even know what to do about it. And when the headache starts, you know you're in for a rough ride.

Now, 24 hours into it, my head is pounding, my nose is leaking while being clogged up, my ears are 'plugged' (hate that feeling of not being able to hear correctly) and I barely made it out of bed. The white on this screen is actually making my headache worse now, so I'll be cutting this short I think, but you all know what I'm talking about. Right?

Well, let me tell you one more thing about it: it sucks and I hate it!!!

Now, off to take some pain meds and drag myself all the way across town for my 2.30 appointment at my doctor's.

On the bright side: maybe I'll have some time to finish copying my notes to my computer (I'll be sure to change the background color before my skull splits in half) and finally get that book out to my beta readers.

Catch y'all on the other side.

Stay healthy (lol)

Nov 2, 2013

Flash It! Anthology - Released!!!

Heya folkies.
The second anthology I have contributed to, has been released today, November 1st.

Get your copy now!!!

This Flash It! anthology contains flash fiction (1.000 words or less) of any genre. It's a great collection of very short stories that will carry you away when you don't really have time to get into a long read. Each of the contributors has done his/her very best to offer a wide variety of high quality, inviting and thrilling stories.

You can find the hardcopy here and your Kindle version here.

I will be looking forward to reading your comments!!!

Happy reading!

PS. Edited to add: You can now also get your copy as a PDF downloadable file. Get it at Lulu

Oct 16, 2013

First published work!!!

It's here!!
It finally has arrived!!!

Come and get your copy while it's hot!!

Available on for Kindle here

Paperback here
It's also available for Kindle on for my Canadian friends: here

Or if you prefer, you can get your copy at Createspace

It will also be available on in the near future, but no dates have been given yet.

I hope you'll enjoy your read!!

Oct 5, 2013

Two down, many more to come .....

Okay, so I have sent in my second "release form" today.
This one will cover my short stories featured in the "Flash It!" anthology, which will have about 60 stories, coming from 30 or so different writers. No theme, anything goes. All stories are under 1.000 words, that is the only limitation or guideline for this one.

I haven't read any of these stories, so I have no idea what to expect, which makes it even more exciting.
As of now, I don't have a release date yet, but I will be sure to keep y'all posted about the developments on that side.

For now, October 15th is still a go for the WAII project, The End of the World as we wrote it, and I'm super duper excited about that.

I'm also in the final paragraphs of my first novel, so I'm hoping to get that finished within the next few days, copy it all to my computer and get it out to my beta (may have found my second one today, but that's not confirmed yet).
For the time being, I've got mixed feelings about the blurb that will go on the back flap of the book, so I'll share both with you. Feel free to comment with which one you prefer.

1) Head of the Federal Anti-Terrorism Agency and former Special Forces weapons specialist, Brian Tucker is sought out by an alien race in their attempt to find an ally. Tucker, a recent widower, answers the aliens' plea and –with his twin sons safely away at boarding school- embarks on an adventure far beyond his wildest imagination. But can experience alone suffice when the creatures' motives become more shady by the minute?
Tucker will have to fall back on his many years of training and find a way to put a lock on his excitement, in order to see this mission through and make it back home to his boys.

I've had some feedback on this and took some of the suggestions, thus making a completely different version, from a different point of view.

2) Driven to despair/desperation by a conflict they can no longer control, an alien race roams/crosses the stars in hope of finding an ally. Brian Tucker, head of FATA (will be spelled out in full) and former Special Forces weapons specialist, fits their profile.
Tucker, a firm believer, is easily convinced his combat/military experience can help these aliens restore order/peace on their planet. A recent widower with teenage twins in (military) boarding school, nothing holds him back and he embarks on a journey beyond his wildest imagination.
But will experience alone suffice when the aliens' motives become shadier by the minute?
Tucker will have to rely on his training and improvisation skills in order to survive and make it back home (to his family).

On this version, I haven't had as much feedback yet, because it's still pretty "new". The words separated by a / is when I'm unsure which one will fit best and the bits between brackets is extra info I'm not sure I'll add in.

I'd love to read what you think about these blurbs.
Would they convince you to pick up my book and give it a read?
What can I do to convince you if it doesn't?
Where can I improve?
What can I improve?
Is it too long, too short, too much info, not enough info?

Thank you!!

Oct 3, 2013

Published Author - Blogging - all audiences

Okay, this is it!!!
Less than 2 weeks from now, I will be a published author!!!

Yes, that's right! Less than 2 weeks!!!

On October 15th, 2013, the "Writers' Anarchy II: The End of the World as we Wrote it" will become available. This anthology features my story "Weapon of Mass Destruction", along with 20 or so other stories, all touching the theme, one way or another.
More information can be found at this super cool website

It will be available on Amazon and for download or in printed version. This means everyone can get it just the way they like it. Come get it while it's hot and enjoy the read.

What can you expect?
A wide array of approaches to the common theme, some sci-fi, some adventure, some romance, a lot of surprises and a damn good read. I know, I helped with the editing process, so I've read at least half of the stories in it and I can assure you: you won't be disappointed. And don't let the theme discourage you, the world will not be blown to pieces in every story .... it's just the end of the world "as we know it".

Press Restart, Sniff, Operation Adam and Eve, The Human Garden; these are just a few stories that will take you on a journey with a surprising end. So, do yourself (and all of us) a favor, mark the date on your calendar and get your copy!!!

Thanks and ..... Enjoy!!!!!

Oct 1, 2013

Excited - Blogging - Life - all audiences

The last two days have been really good to me. Despite a (very) short night Sunday (slept about 2 hours), I had a productive day at writing as I hit "a roll". Apparently, I'm still on it and I am drawing really, really close to those two magical words I have been dying to write again for some time.

Indeed, the project I started during this summer's NaNoWriMo Camp, is coming to conclusion. I decided not to wait for another NaNo-moment and continued writing it, bringing it from 16.500 words approximately at the end of July, to a full size novel. I am not 'up to date' when it comes to copying it from my notebook to my computer, but so far I've got about 32.000 words on my computer already, with another 20.000 or so waiting patiently to be transfered from print to digital form. I will have to find the time to get to that, especially since I will have to send it to my elected beta-reader.

Right now, I have a few more steps to take before I get to that point.
First, I have to finish the story. I'm in the final stretch and I can practically *feel* the magic happening, but I'm not there yet. My commute should be a little (lot) longer and my hands should move faster (and stop scrapping stuff).
Second, I have to copy the whole thing to my computer. This is going to take some time, but if I can really sit myself down and forget about Facebook and my son's war game, it shouldn't take me more than a weekend. Now, to convince my mom to stay away .... (fingers crossed!!!)
Third, I have to reread it. All of it. It was written in many different states of mind, under many different impulses and I have to make sure those don't reflect in the writing. I also have to make sure I don't repeat myself too often. And possibly filter out some typo's and other flaws.

After these three steps, I can move on to the next big stage in this process: get it out to my beta-reader(s). It is a sci-fi, action novel, so if you're interested in helping me out, feel free to comment and I'll get back to you.
I will also have to contact a former colleague of mine, who makes the most awesome drawings (and who will hopefully accept to make my cover image).
I will also have to get cracking on that blurb I want to put on the back flap. I've started on it, but I knew it wouldn't be easy, so I'm struggling (and asking for feedback on a few different levels, including my beta-reader who already said he's really interested in reading the story now that he's read the first draft of the blurb (yayyyyyy!!!!!))
Finally, I will have to get my butt in gear and gather all the information I need in order to self-publish this little piece of me.

And the very last step, is pray it gets picked up by some folks. At least a few. That would be nice ... ;o)

And for now, I'm gonna go and get busy on it.

Bye for now.
Will keep you updated when I have more to say.

Aug 30, 2013

The Chosen - WW 24-hour contest - Summer 2013 - all audiences

Heya folks,

We've heard back from Writer's Weekly as the results are in: I didn't win a damn thing!


But hey, that means I can ask you guys to give my story a read and tell me if you think I should've won something, even if it's just a door prize (which is an e-book of your choice). So, here it comes, I've left the prompt in, so you can see what the starting point was on this one.

Enjoy the read and make sure to let me know what you think ;o)

Thank you!!!


Holding the sleeping infant on her shoulder, she gazed peacefully at her surroundings. Tourists wandered in and out of stores, an old man was setting up his easel by the lakeshore, and a
child's balloon escaped into the breeze. A moment later, she looked up as shouts startled her and the baby. Everybody was running in her direction...


The chosen.

Holding the sleeping infant in a loving embrace, she let her eyes drift. Feeling peaceful and emotionally fulfilled, she took in her surroundings. The sun warmed her face and she instinctively adjusted the hat to better protect the small head and face, keeping her baby safe from the sun. Tourists wandered in and out of stores down by the lake, eager to find the perfect souvenir to take home with them and thankful for the momentary escape from the heat. Others strolled along the lakeshore, happy to be near the water as it brought some relief. On the far side of the lake, an old man was setting up his easel, his slender limbs moving in slow motion but with experience. He had probably performed these actions a thousand times before.
Her eyes continued to float as she took in the scenery; a group of children playing near a fountain, their cheerful voices carried on the warm winds blowing across the land; the seemingly endless line of people at the ice cream cart enjoying a clown’s entertainment while they shuffled forward a few inches at a time, their minds on the ice cold treat that awaited them. A young family walked by, the children running ahead, dragging colorful balloons in their wake. She smiled and watched as one of the balloons came detached, causing an immediate reaction in the entire family. The younger boy, his balloon now drifting up lazily, cried out in anguish at the loss of his toy; his brother, a few years older, stopped and turned, his face turning to sadness in a blink; the mother moved forward to comfort her child while the father attempted to recover the balloon. He only missed it by an inch, but the wind lifted it beyond his reach and he turned to his child, an apology ready on his lips.

The baby in her arms stirred and she looked away from the family, giving all of her attention to the child. A moment later, she looked up as shouts startled her and the baby. Everybody was running in her direction. She tightened her arms instinctively, comforting and protecting as her baby cried in alarm, but she could not tend to it now. First, she needed to understand why everyone was running and why they were all running in her direction. She saw nothing that might have caused a panic in all those people, yet they ran as if their lives depended on it. Her eyes found the young family as they joined the others in their inexplicable race; the youngest boy -still sad about the loss of his balloon- now cradled in his father’s arms for safety; his brother pacing their mother with some difficulty, holding on to her hand for dear life. She could not see fear or anguish on their faces. What she saw puzzled her and she turned away from the advancing crowd, looking behind her for answers she did not have.

The mountain slope behind her house was empty, as it had been when she stepped out a few moments earlier. She saw nothing that might explain the sudden rush of the villagers and tourists alike. Even the old man had abandoned his easel and was making his way to the mountain, an eagerness in his halting steps she could not clarify. She could hear their voices, excited and vibrant, rolling up along the path ahead of them. The mountain trembled softly beneath her bare feet as dozens more began the gentle climb some 200 feet away. They would be upon her in moments and still she knew not what had caused the stampede in the quiet and peaceful lakeshore village. She whirled around, still trying to hush the child in her arms, as the fastest men reached the edge of her property. They slowed but did not stop and quickly pushed the ornate gate out of the way, continuing their rush forward as others followed in their wake.

Her fear gripped her tightly as they approached gingerly, arms outstretched, an expression of amazement and happiness on their faces. She took a step back, turning sideways to protect the child, but they were all around her now, filling the garden with their excitement. Their voices blended together, making it impossible for her to understand what they were saying; their hands touched her, gently, reverently. The murmur overwhelmed her with its rhythm and the words became clear.
‘The one.
You are the one.’

She turned slowly, feeling their hands on her body, realizing with a sudden shock her child was no longer in her arms. Her breath stalled in her throat and her eyes scanned the crowd, urgently and desperately. She did not see her baby boy. She did not hear his cries. A tug on her arm made her look down and she saw the young boy who had lost his balloon moments before their irrational rush. He was no longer sad, instead his little face beamed with expectation.

“Can you bring back my balloon?” he asked, hopeful.

“I don’t know.” she answered, her mind racing.

Suddenly, the world went dark and the murmurs ceased, causing her ears to ring with the memory of them. The hands fell away from her and everyone stood in silent shock.

“Cut!” a voice rang out from the darkness, “Who turned off the lights in here?”
“Goddamn it!”

 The end.

Aug 5, 2013

Leap into the unknown ....

As far as "leaping off into the unknown" goes, I've had my share this year already. Not only did I start this blog in January, I have also chopped the head off a good number of other things.

First of all, I joined the group of Fiction Friday writers, discovering a new prompt every week and daring to write non-fiction for the first time in my life. It was quite the experience and I like what I did with those non-fiction prompts. In a way, it's enabled me to shed some light on certain things and to shake some stuff off. It's therapeutic to some extent and I know there will be more.

Next, I joined a number of communities, both on Blogger and on Facebook, expecting nothing but hoping for the best. Not all have proven to be interesting or useful or even helpful. Others have given me so much more than I could ever have expected. One of these Facebook groups (yeah, I can hear your comments all the way across, Facebook of all things!) has turned out to be the best thing I could possibly have gotten involved in. Not only did I find an incredible vibe there, and a bunch of awesome people, but they are also giving me the push I need to do what I want most: get my work published.
That's right, you read that correctly. I am going to get some of my work published because of/thanks to a Facebook group. These folks are fabulous and they are intense. They want to make it work and they will drag you along if you let them. I let them. In November of this year, the group will publish it's second anthology. I will be part of that. One of the short stories featured, will be mine. And there you go, Facebook isn't all bad, mom. It's getting me published!

This group has other plans on the table aside from this second book. There will also be a "Flash It!" anthology before the end of the year, which will feature 2 of my flash fics. A flash fic, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is a short stand alone story, written in 1.000 words or less. If you've been reading my blog, you might recognize the stories, I have edited 2 I had already posted here. Let me know if you find which ones they are. I'll be sure to keep you updated on a release date for this anthology as well.

Aside from these project, I have also participated for the second time in the Writer's Weekly 24-hour Flash Fic Contest. I think this story is much better than the one I wrote for the Spring Edition and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a positive outcome. Maybe I'll win something this time. The votes should be in by the end of this month at what time I'll post the story along with its prompt.

Next to all of those projects, I also enlisted in the summer edition of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This usually takes place in November and you have one month to write a 50.000 word novel. Being a single mom with a full time job and a horribly long commute, I didn't think I would manage 50k in just one month, but the Camp version allowed you to set your own word count. I set my goal to 15k, hoping I would be able to juggle everything I had committed to.
I have no idea how I did it, but I did it and I got to a total word count of 16.451. That makes me a very happy camper. In more than one way. Not only did I reach my goal, the cabin I was part of, reached it's total word count, despite the fact one of the cabin mates balked out. One other mate didn't reach her goal, but the rest of us made up for that.

Now, I'm on vacation and I'm looking forward to a relaxing time with my son, possibly a few days at the beach, but not sure if and when and I'm hoping I can continue working on that novel I started. It's well on its way, that's for sure. And I am pretty confident this will be my first ever (self) published book. I will be sure to keep you updated about that, but now that I've found the drive to do this and the support I need to pull me through the hard times, I am definitely going to make that childhood dream come true. Finally!

And for those of you who are interested in that anthology I was talking about: here's a link

Jun 30, 2013

Mission X - Fan Fiction

Hi folks.

Yes, I'm back. Well, actually, I was never away, I just wasn't posting anything, because I lacked the time (poor excuse, I know!). I recently joined a Facebook group of/for writers and have been sucked up in that, working on several projects all at once (writing my own and beta-reading other people's work), so I have been very busy, but it really isn't an excuse for not posting anything here.

So, today I make amends.

This here story, is one I just cooked up and it's kind of a request. I say 'kind of', because it's not really a request per say. We were discussing this in the Fiction Writer's Group (that's the one on FB) and I mentioned some of my readers (at Kieferland forum a few years ago) had told me I should be writing 'on' 24. One of the other members commented that he would want to write an episode for 24 as well, act in it and be killed by Jack. So, I offered to write a story for him to which he replied with "Kill me, Moody, kill me good."

And so it shall be.

Enjoy your demise, my friend!

Mission X.

It was a simple task. Find the person of interest and bring him in for questioning. If that could not be achieved, terminate the subject.
He wasn’t happy about the assignment at first, because he didn’t like the idea of censorship, but after reading some of the man’s works, he agreed it was the only course of action. This man had to be stopped. By any means necessary.

The first part of the job was the boring one: determining the man’s location. It meant countless hours of going over all the available information, checking video material, pulling up surveillance footage and running face recognition on all of it. It took hours, thankfully it didn’t take him hours, he had people to do the boring work for him. He kicked into action once their work was done. Once they had a possible location, he would strap on his flak, get behind the wheel and get out there to apprehend the subject. That was his job.
For now, he waited, impatiently so. He hated sitting around doing nothing. Twice, he picked up the phone to get an update. Twice, he was told they had nothing new and couldn’t work any faster than they already were. He paced his office, eyeing the phone on his desk, but he refrained from using it again. It took a lot of energy to keep from yelling at his people to get a move on. Data simply didn’t work as fast as he would’ve wanted it to.
When his phone rang, his eyes went down into the bullpen, trying to determine who was calling him even before he saw the caller’s name on the display.

“Yes, Chloe?”

“I have a possible location.”

“Talk to me.”
She gave him an address.
“Send it to my PDA.”

“Already did.”
The device bleeped in his pocket.

“Good. Send an assault team to that location but tell them to wait for my orders. I don’t want them barging in and spooking the guy.”

“Got it.”

“Thank you, Chloe.”

She blushed but didn’t respond and hung up without another word, only to pick up the receiver and dial another number.
He hung up, turned to his locker and slipped his flak on, checked the weapon on his hip and secured it and turned back to get his jacket.
“What do you want, Chase?” he asked, as the young man was standing in the doorway.
He hadn’t bothered knocking, which was a habit he wouldn’t mind knocking right out of him.

“Chloe said you had a location.”

“Possible location.” he corrected.

“Can I come?”

“Why would you want to come, Chase?”

“I’m a field agent, no?”

“Yes. So?”

“Shouldn’t I be coming?”

“Do you think you should?”


“Then why aren’t you geared up?”
Three weeks on the job, but the kid was giddy as hell and he knew it would take a strong hand to guide him.
“Flak, weapon and spare ammo.” he stated, “Cell phone, PDA and handcuffs. I’m not waiting for you.”
He slipped his jacket on and walked out of his office, down the stairs and across the bullpen to the security desk. A swipe of his badge logged him out and he greeted the men on the way out of the building. He was halfway to his car when Chase caught up.
“Did you log out?”


“Did you?”

“They called me back.” Chase admitted sheepishly.

“You’ll learn.” he commented with a grin he couldn’t hide.

“Can I drive?”

“No, I’m not suicidal.”
He got in behind the wheel and drove off seconds later. There was no way in hell he would let the rookie drive the powerful –and fully loaded- SUV through downtown LA in rush hour traffic. It was bad enough negotiating it when you were accustomed to both the vehicle and the traffic, he wasn’t willing to die just yet.

Thanks to the siren and flashing lights, they made good time, arriving on the scene mere moments after the assault team. He issued his orders, having the team stand by until further notice, and took Chase into the building. He checked in with a reception clerk and was quickly directed to the conference room, hosting the critique event. Armed only with a pixilated photo of their subject, they entered the room and started scanning faces. He sent Chase off to one side, while circling around the other side himself. Their subject was nowhere to be seen, or at least no subject resembling the grainy photo on his PDA was to be seen. He approached the host of the event, quietly separating him from the main group of attendees.

“My name is Jack Bauer, I’m with CTU.” he said, discreetly showing his badge, “Do you know a writer by the name of Dave Perry?”

“Well, not personally.” the host replied, “I think his name is on the list, though. Would you like me to check?”

“We’ll check it with you.”

“Of course.”

The man’s sudden agitation put Jack’s senses on alert and he followed closely behind him, trying to locate Chase in the crowd. When they passed by a service door, the man turned, shoved him hard enough to throw him off balance and blasted through the door.

“Dammit!” he cursed, struggling to find his footing.
The helpful hands weren’t helpful at all and he shrugged them off as they held him back.
“Chase!” he bellowed, dashing forward now that he was free of the crowd’s assistance.

He shot through the door, banging his shoulder harder than he would’ve expected and went down the stairs, taking them three at a time. He turned the first landing before Chase even made it to the door.

“I don’t know where he went,” he called, “check upstairs, I’m going down.”

“Got it, Jack.”

Taking the stairs faster than he knew was healthy, but determined not to let the man get away from him, he tried to focus on footsteps other than his own. A door banged and he used the railing to slow himself down. Judging from the sound, it had come from below, but he wasn’t ready to put all his eggs in one basket, so he continued alone instead of calling Chase to join him. He did call the assault team, informing them someone might try to break out, probably from the underground parking lot. They moved into position to intercept and he acknowledged that as he pushed through the door and into the parking area. Being on the radio and assuming his quarry was on the run, he didn’t see the threat until it was too late. A bright red flash, then a skull-splitting impact and he went down hard, darkness enveloping him.
The fire extinguisher clanged to the ground and his assailant ran off now that his first pursuer was out for the count. The blood on the agent’s face didn’t stop him, even though he felt more like throwing up right now. Instead, he turned and ran, trying to locate his car. He found it just as booted feet ran down the ramp and into the parking lot, guns at the ready. He slipped inside and locked up, staying low and out of sight. Hopefully. Through his rearview mirror, he kept an eye on the men at the ramp and cursed softly when the group broke up, leaving two men with automatic weapons to guard the ramp, while the rest of them started searching the area. He would never get away from them. They would gun him down before he got anywhere near the ramp.

“Agent Bauer, come in.”
“Agent Bauer, do you copy?”
They got no reply.
“Agent Edmunds, do you copy?”

“Edmunds here.”

“Do you know where agent Bauer is, sir?”

“He went downstairs.”

“We’re in the parking lot, but he’s not responding to our calls.”

“Find him. I’m coming down.”

“Copy that.”
“You two, stay here and don’t let anyone out. You, with me. You two, take that side.”

Minutes went by, but when Chase came through the door, he found Jack’s body, unconscious and bleeding from a gaping wound across the forehead. The fire extinguisher lying nearby told the rest of the tale. He summoned the assault team and together, they managed to rouse Jack.

“What the hell happened?”

“I don’t know.” Jack grumbled, “The sonofabitch was waiting for me.”

“You took a bad hit, Jack. Stay down.” Chase suggested when Jack started struggling.

“I’ve taken worse.” Jack growled, shoving Chase’s hand away from him, “Did you find him?”

“We found you.”

“There’s no APB out on me.” Jack replied grumpily, “Find him.”

“The exit is covered, sir.” the team leader said, “We didn’t see anyone leave, so he’s still here. Somewhere.”

“Get a few more teams in here and find him.” Jack ordered, raising a hand to his face.
It came back sticky with blood.

“You need an ambulance.” Chase said matter-of-factly.

“No kidding, Sherlock.” Jack huffed, once more shoving Chase’s hand away, “Go find the bastard.”
Shaking his head in disbelief, he moved to a nearby car and sat on its bumper.
“I can’t believe I asked him.”
He pulled out his PDA and checked the picture on the device again. It didn’t look anything like the man he had spoken to. What a fuck-up.

It only took the extra teams –and the ambulance- a few minutes to get there and –despite two paramedics hovering around him- Jack orchestrated the search of the underground parking lot, setting the teams in motion before allowing anyone a medical time-out, especially himself. One of the medics dabbed at the blood on his face while the other checked his vitals.

“This will need to get stitched up.”

“Patch it up for now, I’ve got a job to do.” Jack grumbled angrily.
Those two weren’t going to stop him from getting the job done.
Not today.

“You may have a concussion, you need to go to hospital and get checked out.”

“I’ll go to the clinic when we get back. Just stop the blood from running in my eye.”

“That’s easy for you to say. Did you see that gash?”

“No.” Jack admitted.
It had felt pretty nasty when he touched it.

“What did they hit you with anyway?”
Jack nodded his head toward the fire extinguisher on the floor.
“Then I’ll make the call myself. You have a concussion, you need to go to hospital.”

“I’ll go when we’re done in here. Now stop the bleeding or I’ll do it for you.”

“Have it your way.” the medic huffed, pressing down on the wound and making Jack hiss in pain.
It took a long moment, but then the bleeding finally went down to a minimum and they quickly applied some surgical tape to keep the wound closed and put a bandage over it.
“That won’t last long. You need to go to hospital.”

“I heard you the first time.” Jack grumbled, pushing up and past the medics, “Chase, give me a sit rap.” he snapped into the microphone.

“I think we found his car.” Chase’s voice came back.


“Lot C 154. Straight ahead and to your right.”

“Copy that.”

He left the paramedics behind and went off to find lot C, the congregation of agents telling him where to go.

“Dave Perry, show us your hands.” he called, approaching the vehicle from the side.
There was no response, but he could see the figure huddling inside.
“I’m not going to ask again,” he warned, “show us your hands and exit the vehicle. Slowly.”

Instead, the engine turned over and the car shot away from its parking space, going backward with the intent of plowing through the group of agents. These men were well trained though and opened fire even before stepping out of the way. The bullets bit into the metal frame and punctured the tires, causing the car to come to a screeching stop mere feet from where it had been parked.

“Show me your hands!” Jack bellowed, moving in on the vehicle with his weapon drawn, “Last warning!” he added menacingly.

His eyes met his quarry’s and in that instant, he knew this was one subject he couldn’t apprehend.
His finger curled around the trigger, tightening in a slow but controlled way, squeezing off a first shot as the man in the car threw it into drive. If he gunned the engine, Jack would end up on the bonnet. Or worse. His bullet bit into the windshield and smashed through, changing its angle only slightly, ending its course in the backseat cushion, blood and brain matter spraying in its wake. A second bullet followed a slightly altered path, adding another hole to the windshield as well as to the man’s head and the front and back seats. The lifeless body slumped in the seat and the assault team moved in, killing the engine for everyone’s safety first.

“Chase, you wrap this one up.”

“Sure thing, Jack. Where are you going?”

“To hospital.”
He needed to get that wound stitched up and he needed to lie down.

He still couldn’t believe how messed up this ‘simple’ mission had been.
And all of that because of some damned anarchist writer.

Jun 1, 2013

This is not the OK coral - Writer's Weekly spring 2013 submission - all audiences

Hey guys and gals.

This was the first time I participated in this writing contest and I had loads of fun doing it. The wait for the results is now over and I promised myself I would post the story on my blog as soon as the 'votes' were in. I didn't win anything, but hey, I had fun and that's what's most important about these things. Having fun doing them. I've already registered for the summer edition, so you'll be seeing more of these coming up as time goes by.
Contest date for summer is July 13th, I'll have to keep that weekend 'free' and to myself. Good thing is that I'm in a different time zone, so I get the email with the topic at 7 pm. That means I have all evening to focus on the topic and I don't have to worry about getting the shopping done, cooking dinner and whatever else needs to be done during the day, that could keep me from getting started on the contest.

Anyways, enough of my rambling already.
Here's the topic:

She sat in her favorite spot on the porch of the weathered beach house, the salty air sticking to her skin, the oncoming storm blowing sand across her bare feet. The crisp envelope bent beneath her fingers as she laid it on her lap, and reached for the pen in her dress pocket...

Enjoy the read!!

This is not the O.K. Corral.

There he was, sitting at the edge of the field, looking out at the wasteland beyond the barrier. It still amazed him to see how abruptly nature could change. How suddenly fertile lands turned to barren, dry and useless stretches of dirt. To him, it didn’t look like dirt, even though he knew it was. It looked much more like sand and he knew it would feel the same should he take off his boots and test it. He didn’t take off his boots though, and he didn’t set a foot beyond the barrier.
They knew he came out here at times. He didn’t mind, he had other places to go if he wanted to be alone. Now, he just needed a moment to himself. A moment to prepare.
One last time, he checked the envelope in his pocket. One last time, he pulled it out and checked the contents. One last time, he double-checked himself. There was no room for error today, failure was not an option. He had worked too hard, too long to fail. If he failed now, he would be letting himself down in the first place.

Six months today.
It was almost like a birthday, but he didn’t feel like celebrating.
Not yet.
The cake would come later. It wouldn’t be a tasty one though. It would taste of tension, stress and fear. It would taste of blood, or bile, or both. It would taste of sweat, the salty taste of sweat, almost as salty as tears. Or the ocean. He missed the ocean. Hadn’t seen it in … How long had it been? He couldn’t even remember. It had probably been several years since he had last seen the ocean.
He made a promise to himself then and there. Once he was done here, he would get in his car and drive until he reached the ocean. He didn’t care which way he went and he didn’t care which ocean he reached, all he cared about was getting there, hearing it, feeling it, tasting it. If he closed his eyes, he could easily picture it, picture him, her. He shook his head. No time for that now. He lowered his eyes to the papers in his hands, reading the words he had written on them.
Everything was there.
Everything he needed.
Everything they needed.

With a satisfied grunt, he returned them to the envelope, closed it and reached for the pen in his pocket, scribbling his signature across the seal. A smile played on his face when he thought of hot wax and a ring, but then his mind came back to his own century and he slipped the envelope into the small backpack, dropping the pen in with it. He slung it onto his back and turned away from the wannabe beach.

The horse waited where he had left it and he whistled softly. It raised its head, ears pricked, but continued to grind down the bite of grass it had taken, before setting in motion.

“Good boy.”
He heaved himself into the saddle and pulled gently on the reins.
“Are you ready?”
The horse’s ears went straight forward.
“Let’s go home.”

The big horse leapt forward, almost throwing him off, but he leaned closer and tightened his legs, holding on with more conviction.
It only took minutes to reach the house and he sat up, digging his heels down before they reached the gate.

“Easy now.”

He guided the horse to the stable and jumped down, leaving it to the youngsters to take care of it.
He went to the house, entering through the kitchen door.

“Hey, Luis,” he greeted, “where’s your brother?”

“What’s it to you? You’re dealing with me, hombre.”

“Not today, Luis.” he replied, “Where is he?”

Luis glared at him, but his icy blue gaze remained unyielding.

Without wasting another word on Luis, he crossed the kitchen and took the stairs, hearing them whine in complaint at his swift ascension.
“Jorge.” he called at the top.

“What do you want?”

“I need to talk to you.” he said, entering the large study.

“No, you don’t. Unless you’re ready to kill for me, you’re dealing with my brother, little man.”

“I have my reasons.”

“But you won’t tell me what they are.”

“I’ll tell you now if you want.”

“Sure, little man,” Jorge replied sarcastically, “tell me why you come to me asking for work, but then refuse to do the work I give you.”

“It’s really simple.” he said, nonchalantly reaching into his pocket.

Suddenly, the quiet day exploded into chaos when dozens of men in combat gear poured into the house, smashing through doors and windows to gain quick and easy access. Jorge’s eyes went wide in shock at the violent intrusion into his home, but when he looked back at his ‘little man’, they went wider still. The shiny, silver badge clasped in his left hand stalled his breath; the small, powerful gun aimed at his head, nearly stalled his heart.

“I’m a Federal Agent, that’s why.”


“You’re under arrest. Put your hands on your head and turn around.”
Men in combat gear approached and he shrugged the backpack off.
“Everything you need is in here, six months worth of it.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“If anyone asks, you don’t know where I went.”

“Where are you going?”

“To the beach. I need a vacation.”

He walked away, his job finally done.
Now, the beach awaited.
Everything else could go to hell for a while.

Did you enjoy that?
Please let me know in the comments.
Thank you!

Party poopers - poppers - peppers - ... errrr. Friday Fiction Challenge - all audiences

Hello again, my lovely readers.

This week's challenge is a Non-Fiction story around the topic "Party Personality".
I hope you'll enjoy the read, but if you don't ... no sweat.

Have a great weekend!!

Party poopers, poppers, peppers, … errrr.

Party personality.
That’s an easy one to write about.
I don’t have one.
Or two.
Or three.
I know some people do, depending on the kind of party they’re attending, they will dress and act differently. I don’t.
That’s simple: I don’t play games. I don’t pretend. What you see, is what you get. I don’t have multiple personalities … well, maybe I do, but not for partying purposes. Besides, I don’t like to party. There’s too much noise, too many people - most of whom you don’t know or don’t want to know – and too much alcohol. There always is, no matter where you go or who you’re with, there is always, always, too much alcohol. Sometimes only 1 person will have too much of that, but it’s enough to ruin the whole evening/party.

I’ve never liked to party. I’ve never been interested in going to these kinds of events. I like a good concert every once in a while, but not parties. Not even birthday parties when a lot of people are invited, or wedding parties, or graduation parties (which we don’t really have here).
So, I don’t really have the problem of having (or not) a party personality. I don’t need one since I don’t attend parties.
Even at work, all those ‘social gatherings’, they just give me the creeps. Half the people there, are people you don’t even know because they work in different departments, or on different floors, different buildings, whatever, but you’re all slapped together in one big room and ‘have fun’. It’s not my idea of fun, that’s for sure. I prefer to be at home, in my lazy chair, reading a good book while listening to music I actually like, or watching a movie for the gazillionth time, or – which happens more often – sitting at my computer, writing or playing games.

And even if I did attend parties, I still wouldn’t need an alternate personality for it.
Why should I?
Why should I pretend to be different at a party?
Why couldn’t I just be me at a party?
Why would I have to play it sexy, or tough, or hard to get, or easy to get, or whatever?
Why do people even feel the need to be different at a social gathering?
Why do people feel the need to play games?
Is it because they think they’ll find mister right (or mrs right) by playing a game of make-belief? How could you? How could you possible find the right partner, if you’re not being true to yourself? How does that make any sense at all?
If people don’t like me for who I am, why should I pretend to be different to make them like me?

I know I tried that, way back when I was still young and innocent (blah). I wanted to be part of the popular group of girls in school, like everyone else. So I tried to act like them, talk like them, walk like them, dress like them. Who was I trying to fool? They could see right through the charade and – honestly – I know none of them really liked me, they tolerated me in the area. And you want to know why? I’ll tell you why. Because I was the pitbull, the guard dog. The one they turned to whenever a boy/guy was bugging them. The one who took action and didn’t think twice about going up against a guy twice her size. That was why they tolerated me around. Because I would defend them against attack or bullying.
They never liked me, I know that now. I didn’t know it then, until one beautiful Friday evening in May 1990 when I found out … the hard way.

It was my 18th birthday and my mom and stepdad allowed me to throw a party.
I invited everyone. All of my ‘friends’ from school, and everyone on my volleyball team. I was excited and looking forward to having a great time. The night of the party, our doorbell rang once. Just once! When I got the door, my entire volleyball team was there. They had rendezvoused at the training complex and a couple of the parents had driven the whole group over to my place from there.
I had an awesome, fabulous time with real friends. People whom I didn’t have to pretend with. People who knew me and who appreciated me for who I was. We all had a common goal: be better than the opposing team. Because of that common goal, there was no need to pretend, no need to fake. With them, I was me. No need for an alternate personality.
When I got back to school on Monday, I started telling my ‘friends’ how awesome my party had been and how much fun I’d had and I could see them, looking at each other, trying to figure out who broke the ‘oath’, who had betrayed the others by coming to my party.
I knew then and there, that they didn’t give a damn about me. Either because they knew I was faking it, or simply because they didn’t care either way.
It was a lesson learned and I remember it to date.

And I really like to quote Kiefer Sutherland when asked ‘What is the best advice your father ever gave you?’. His answer: “Don’t get caught with your pants down.”

There is absolutely no reason WHAT SO EVER to fake your way through life.

Be true to yourself because people will either see through the charade, in which case they won’t like you because you’re lying, or they will find out, sooner or later, and they won’t like you either, because you lied to them. It’s a lose/lose situation, every which way you want to look at it.

With me, it’s very simple: You like me? Great! You don’t? Fine by me.
What you see is what you get, I don’t do special treatment and I don’t care what people think.
I am free to be me.
We all are.

Live and let live.

So, seriously, my party personality is the same you’ll see at work, at home or when I’m grocery shopping.
Party on!

More entries can be found over here

May 25, 2013

Room ... with a view - Friday Flash Fiction - all audiences

Hello folks!
It's time for another Friday Flash Fiction.
This week's prompt "write a short story from the starting point 'A room with a view'." had the creative juices flowing pretty quickly, but I was on a roll on a story I'm currently writing, so I didn't get around to letting these juices out until now.

I had fun writing it, letting it build up as I went.
I hope you'll enjoy reading it!

Room … with a view.

What a night it had been.
What a party it had been.
So much fun, so much booze.
So many men who had flirted with her.
Oh, yeah, she’d had fun.

Without a doubt, she’d had too much to drink, she wouldn’t argue that, but boy, she had partied hard.
The amount of alcohol she had consumed wasn’t helping her right now, but then again, she had never figured she wouldn’t be given the best room in the house and now found herself in a heated argument with a grumpy night watch who wouldn’t be budged, no matter how much she tried to coo him. When she lost her patience – which, thanks to the booze, happened fairly quickly – the man lost his as well and the argument turned ugly, with threats on both sides. Hers were in vain and she knew it. None of her lawyers could make anything happen at this time of night and in this dump. Yes, that was how quickly her opinion changed when she didn’t get things to go the way she wanted them to.
She wasn’t entirely sure she actually wanted to stay here anymore.
Maybe she should just call her agent and get him to pick her up.
Even at this time of night, she didn’t care.
She was a diva and diva’s got to do that.
But then something happened and the night watch made way for a manager.

“So, what seems to be the problem, missy?” he asked her with an undeniable sarcasm … which she hardly noticed.

“I want a room with a view,” she stated, “and he won’t give me the best room in the house. That’s what’s the problem!”

“I see. Well, we do have one room with an amazing view at sunrise.”

“I want it.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem, it’s free for the time being.”
She made an ugly face at the night watch.
“Can you escort the little lady to her room?”
Now, she stuck out her tongue at him.
Thirty seconds of talking to his boss and she got what she wanted.
Who did he think he was to deny her what was rightfully hers?
Didn’t he know who she was?

“Yes, sir.” the night watch replied submissively, “Right this way, milady.”

Oh, he was going to start charming her now, huh?
That wasn’t going to make things any better between them.
“I want your name and employee number.” she hissed angrily as she took a first – wobbly – step towards him.

“That won’t be necessary.” his boss said meaningfully.

“Oh, thank you. You are such a doll.” she purred, leaning towards him.
He kept her from stroking his cheek, but she thought nothing of it and wobbled on, hoping the room wasn’t too far away.
She wouldn’t make it if it was.

Having now gotten his ass chewed out properly, the night watch even held her door and she pranced by him with a smug smile, wishing him a good night.

“Yeah, sleep tight, princess.” he replied through gritted teeth.
Oh, how she loved to get them all worked up like that.
But he’d had it coming to himself. If he hadn’t been such a pain, nothing would’ve happened.

She crashed onto the bed fully dressed, feeling the mattress sag a little and smelling the faint odor of bleach on the sheets.
She was asleep seconds after her head hit the pillow.

Wake-up was rough and came way too early.
The banging and clanging tore her from her beauty sleep and the alarms wailed incessantly.

‘Fire!’ her tired brain screamed and she jumped up, only to stumble and fall to the cold hard floor.
She didn’t remember the floor being so hard, but then again, she hadn’t been awake much to take in the scenery. She struggled back to her feet, taking support on the edge of the bed, feeling the room spin out of control instantly. Thankfully, the sink wasn’t very far and she didn’t get sick all over the floor like she had at times. When the nausea passed, she splashed her face with water and stood up slowly. She should’ve known better than to get up so fast, but the alarms … She didn’t hear it anymore.
Had it been called off?
Maybe it had been a false alert.
She shrugged and went over to the window, making sure to take support along the way to keep from breaking her face again.

At least the manager hadn’t lied about the view.
It was absolutely amazing.
Breathtaking even.
It almost made her forget the pounding headache and foul taste in her mouth.

The bars on the window spoiled it somewhat, but she would have to do with that for the next 90 days.

More entries can be found here

May 18, 2013

Mary Poppins and I - Weekly Writing Challenge - all audiences

Hello everyone!
It's Friday (even though it's already Saturday in my time zone by the time I got around to posting this), so here's this week's entry for the Friday Fiction Challenge. This week is non fiction and the prompt was quite simple: Write a short essay from the starting point, "If I had a Mary Poppins Bag."

Simple as in 'not many words' and 'not a complex/complicated subject'.
It gets less simple to work with, when you realize you have absolutely no bloody clue as to what a Mary Poppins bag does or doesn't do.

I hope you'll enjoy the read.

Mary Poppins and I.

That’s a long story.
Well … actually, it’s not.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the movie and if I did … that was decades ago. When I saw the prompt for this week’s writing challenge, I was like “umm …… what???”. I had absolutely no idea what to make of it. What the heck is so special about Mary Poppins’ bag that someone might want to write a story about it? So, I did the only thing I could do (no, I didn’t go out to find the movie, or download it) I Googled it. Seriously. I had to!
I said before I wouldn’t bail out on a challenge simply because I have no idea where to start, so I had to get busy and figure out what the heck this week’s ‘essay’ might be about. You know, the word ‘essay’ to me, always brings out a certain fear … no, anguish is a better word for it. To me, an essay is something you do for school, like some big project that you spend months on, sometimes even all year. I don’t know why, but that’s the connection I make. An essay to me is a huge piece of very serious work.
Now, how to write a short essay – or huge piece of very serious work – about something I wouldn’t know the first thing about?

Where do I start?
What do I have to say about it?
What could I possibly have to say about a bag, belonging to a movie character that was a big thing when I was just a kid and I have no memory of ever seeing?
Good thing is, the bag is probably something every one of us would like to have at one point or another. Even though, I think I’d rather have a Jack-sack, but that’s not the topic of this ‘essay’ (lol-ing here). But maybe the writers of 24 figured Jack needed a Mary Poppins bag of his own … maybe they did see the movie and thought “Hey, that’s exactly what we need to give this guy, a bag that holds everything he could possibly need ... except ammo at the worst possible time of course, because that wouldn’t be fun!”
I can actually imagine these people sitting around a table discussing it, grins galore.

No, back to Mary Poppins whom I should know from that impossible-to-pronounce sing-along song. I remember the tune, but do not (and I’m serious here) ask me or expect me to go anywhere near singing any of it. So, this bag of hers, this old, raggedy bag of hers. It supposedly holds everything you need, when you need it.
How and when would I use it?
When would I reach into it?
What would I reach into it for?
At work, I might feel inclined to reach in and pull out an office wall, or a divider of some kind, so I could just lock myself (or someone else) up and away to keep all the noise or idiocy out (or locked in). Or I would pull an extra computer out, complete with stand-in who could do all the work I’m doing, so I can do twice as much (days like today, I would just let the stand-in do it all and go back to sleep myself). On the way to or from work, I might be tempted to pull out a police officer … at each intersection. You know, one who would stop all crossing traffic and make sure I can just cruise on home without delay. There are times I would pull out a nice fluffy pillow to get a more comfortable rest (bumping your head against the window coz the damn bus hit another pothole is all but funny when that pothole gets too big!). I could also pull out my trusted stand-in to sit on the seat next to me so no one else could take it. On the very rare occasions I didn’t come prepared, I would be able to pull out an extra notebook (for my on-the-road writing), or a spare pen when I run out of ink (that’s happened to me a few times … *hateful moments*!), but I’m usually prepared for situations like that.

If I really gave it a lot of thought, I’m sure I could come up with dozens of situations that might justify or require reaching into the bag, but I’ve been totally, utterly, unable to wake up today, so I’m going to call it and head for the hay.

Goodnight all and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (yes, I just Googled that)

As usual, more entries can be found at Now Hark This!