Friday, April 18, 2014

"Clay, Book 1.5 of the Punk Series" by P.J. Post (Novella)



Genre:  New Adult Romance

Type of Short Story:  Novella

Summary:  Clay is the second book of a New Adult Romance Series - Punk, and is a Novella running approximately 50 print pages long.
 
Why did she get in that truck?

Bethany Warner is graduating from high school and is looking forward to college and the gymnastics team with few regrets, except for maybe Tommy - her possessive ex-boyfriend.

And as the last party of high school is turning into a dangerous and unforgettable nightmare, she meets Connor Clay, a punk and musician with a reputation for violence.

Clay retells the opening chapter of Ache from Bethany’s point of view, showing us not only her perceptions of the events of that fateful evening, but also much more about who she is and most importantly – why.

Note: This Book is intended for 18+ audiences due to pervasive language and adult themes and situations.

Excerpt:

I’m sick to death of all of it.

But now I’m finally getting some independence and no one is going to know me at State. Appearances can go fly a kite. They won’t know who my Mom is or who Daddy is: they won’t constantly remind me about those embarrassing stories from freshman and sophomore year: they won’t care who I was seen with last weekend or even if I wear my pajamas to class — none of it will matter.

I can totally start over, maybe even find a bad boy to date for a change, someone exciting, someone that’s unpredictable and not so preoccupied with what everyone else thinks or especially with what everyone else is doing.

Maybe an art major.

Some dark guy with mysterious eyes who caresses his beatnik beard with experienced fingers while he smokes clove cigarettes and quotes Dostoyevsky and Shelley, alluding to the greater beauty and purity of our impending transgressions. And all the while, he’ll be mesmerized, unable to avoid staring at me, beguiled by my enchanting full, inviting and impatient lips, and I shall offer him up nothing but the most modest hint of interest — but he’ll see the longing and passion in my eyes, emotions that I can’t hide from him and he’ll know we were meant to be together.

Wishful thinking, perhaps.

Hell, I’d take a guitarist from some local cover band as long as he can string two sentences together; just please, God, no more jocks or mindless morons.

I mean, I’ll miss it here, but college is going to be so cool, with or without my fantasy bad boy.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

"Fire Escape Melodies" by Caroline Kellogg (Flash Fiction)

Genre:  Narrative Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Flash Fiction

Complete Story:

I forget what that woman looked like--

Blonde
Brunette?
Brown eyes
Blue?

but I have not forgotten the look she gave me -- a look like magic.

A cigarette dangled precariously from the corner of your mouth -- I snatched it away to smoke it myself as I watched the city turn around trying to find from where your voice wafted. No one thought to look up . . . Except for her.

As she pulled her bike onto the sidewalk beneath us, her gaze met mine through the bars of the fire escape -- and like she was fully aware of all the love we were in, she smiled at me, as you, unaware, strummed your guitar furiously.
Read more by this author here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

"Exchange: The Uxel Herum Saga" by Alain Gomez (Novelette)



Genre:  Young Adult Science Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  Book 3 of the Uxel Herum Saga 

After training on Kortholt for more than two years, Uxel Herum is turning into a powerful tuner. The leader of her adopted clan has a mission for her that, strangely enough, will not only test her skills as a tuner but a merchant as well.

Unsure of how she feels being thrown back into her old life, Uxel finds herself in the thick of black market trading on the planet Zink. While trying to gather information about Imperium invasion plans she is thrown into a rather interesting situation. One that could make her money than she ever dreamed... 

Excerpt:

The wind and rain howled outside. Despite the tempest's attempts to make its presence known, the occupants of the training facility ignored its rage. The real storm was on the inside.

Uxel Herum circled her opponent with easy confidence. She had grown to her full height since crashing to Kortholt’s surface two years ago but she was still nowhere near her opponent’s size. Even the smallest strozzi sitting around the perimeter of the fighting ring towered above her by several feet when standing. It didn’t matter. She knew how to compensate. Uxel had faced this female before many times. Her name was Gudrun. Uxel was considerably faster than her opponent but Gudrun was no fool. By this point both had learned how to adapt to each other’s fighting style. If Uxel was going to win the match she must be subtle and clever.

And she would win.

Today was no ordinary match. She and Gudrun were the final contestants in the tournament to determine the next Vindex or “champion.” It was an honorary title. Each year those that were undergoing tuning training competed for the title. The tournament lasted for three days and those that had not been eliminated stopped only to eat. It was a test of strength, endurance and intelligence. By the final day all the contestants had had an opportunity to watch each other fight. The victor could not win from brute strength alone, she also had to be cunning.     

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Friday, March 28, 2014

"Fuel to the Man: Drain to the Existence" by Jude Capachietti (Flash Fiction)

Genre:  Literary Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Flash Fiction

Compete Story:

By this time in the evening, his painted obsequiousness had begun to crack, peel, uncover. Shown beneath, however imperceptible to his present hazy, giddy clientele, were the well guarded hints of disdain, complemented by a battered fear. The last rounds were always most arduous, always the time when some drunken middle aged bag slipped a string of words-- no, more an old, coarse rope spun of poor euphemism-- slowly round his painted head, caressing his painted ears, placing it upon his painted shoulders. Its coarse fibers itching, as if with fire, every little scattered chasm, crack, opening of the happy gentle coating of obsequiousness.

“Guillaume,” the middle aged hag always rounded up her witticism, at the end of a breath and slightly laconic, of course. “My daughter-in-law-- My niece-- My daughter would kill for a man like you-- so charming-- so intelligent.” As it were, there was a set formula favored by this type of woman, consisting of an impertinent young, if at all existent, female relative who would fancy of every bit of Guillaume's grandeur-- almost over their own lives. The hollowness behind these words was almost as irreverently vexing to Guillaume as their mere utterance. Yet, he must accept these complements, claims, as if they brought him great joy! as if their talking were the most ornately crafted grouping of tones ever to strike his ear! What causes these boozed up women to bespatter their clever garlic salts of words is the direct defilement of Guillaume’s dignity.

The men know not to talk to Guillaume-- they seem to sense his disinterest in superfluity, and out of pity, it may be, leave the conversation to its simple minimum: “Yes, I’ll have the filet mignon,” and, “We’d like another bottle of Chardonnay, the ‘96.” They keep conversation to something which permits Guillaume’s perfunctory subserviency to guide him through the interaction, nothing more-- there is no need for more.

There is no need for more as Guillaume is not the type who takes it as his malady to suit everyone’s desire for his own comfort-- No, Guillaume is quite the opposite. The day that he leaves La Buvette in a spirit above glum pity for his own existence should be closer to the far end of human civilisation than its beginning. But he has no choice-- it is not pleasure he is after, after all; but what the most of the world tugs for day and night-- what has cost as many people their lives as have existed since its inception-- cold, lifeless-- meaningless, necessary: money.

Guillaume has lived in a two room apartment for the last three years. The cleanliness has never returned to its state at the time of his purchasing the apartment, and it is not without his normality to live for many months having his shower or his toilet hardly in working order.

Tonight however, there is something which Guillaume's cracking obsequiousness would not detriment. A newly seated table with a suave faced blond; features that were mysterious in their slight variance from perfect simplicity give to her face a tender balance. Moreover, she has been seated alone.

"Good evening, miss: I am Guillaume. Tonight I will be delivering you your meal to the satisfaction of your desires," smirking with the word ‘desire’ and raising his brow, he hooked her attention. Her eyes caught his eyes, taking his oblique intimation, wringing from it laughter, and relieving his contortion. However sophisticated Guillaume's message was, it was certainly, internally at least, a vulgar play on his loathed but nevertheless enlisted subservience. He continued out of the laughter, "And a woman like yourse-"

"-Jenny" she helped.

"Jenny," he picked up. "you are alone?"

"Well, that is certainly not my intention of coming here, but, as yet, I am. Aren't I?"

“I wish to tell you that life is full of unexpected circumstance, and it is but the mystery of life to manage it all,” played he the obsequiousness. “And I do love apophthegm.”

“Ah, as do I; I would love for you to stay and explain me more; however, I am certain you must have other tables to attend.” she said without equivocation, but not without sincere interest in his seemingly capricious aphorism.

“Indeed. Yet, as it seems your ears have an uncommon kindness,” Guillaume said, keeping his words excessively oleaginous, seeking laughter, and with avail. “Wouldn’t it bother you less to let me upon you some wisdom than I attend these affectatious, secret misanthropes?” His playfully sarcastic tone again wrought laughter into the air.

“Please do.”

“I have, saved, a great-- or that is for you to decide-- metaphoric epigram for perception and human interaction,” released Guillaume; it has, indeed, been saved for many months now. “A human is no more than a gun; the mind, the sights: we may shoot all we want, wherever we please, whenever we please; all that is needed is ammunition. However, if the sights are not properly aligned, who knows what on earth our bullets are to hit; what problems exacerbated; what cataclysms kicked into existence.”

“You are certainly too clever to be working here,” admired Jenny.

“Why not. Life has borne many fruits to he who found the tree,” said Guillaume solemnly, with a mockingly grim countenance. “And that came straight off the top of my tongue,” his breaking from a repressed smirk to laughter, this time did not prompt Jenny to follow.

It was not that his charm, be it what it may, did not suffice; it was that a man taller and of a more striking complexion had entered the dining room, snatched her attention, and was headed at this table.

Guillaume walked away, to, indeed, attend the ostentatious. Jenny, or rather his position which brought him effectively subsistence, snatched another lick of dignity. He worked his dejecting job for money, however much it may weigh down his own dignity. He had just a taste. A taste of what was not his, and, accordingly, could not be his, for he had not the willpower to land himself higher; but it is his inhibitions that keep him so: simply the sad leveling out of dignity for one’s existence in this O, brave new world that hath such new people in’t.

“Guillaume: a bottle of your finest burgundy for this finest woman!”


Check out this author's website.

Friday, March 21, 2014

"All the Other Boys" by Laura Rae Amos (Short Story)



Genre:  Chick Lit, New Adult, Literary Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  A kooky and hopeless young woman recounts the spectacularly awful rise and fall of her first real relationship. Spanning five years of earnest loyalty to this young man, she discovers the truth about sex, religion, life, and herself, interspersed with memories of all the other boys who stole her heart for a short time. For fans of contemporary stories of first love, first disappointment, and growing up, “All the Other Boys” is darkly comical and ultimately triumphant.

Excerpt:

When I was seventeen, I met a guy named Cody at marching band camp. Cody was a senior, I was a junior. Cody played the quad toms, I played clarinet. My boyfriend wasn’t in the band—band was gay, he’d said. But Cody was definitely not gay, and when our band formed the letter M on the field, the clarinets—who almost never got to stand next to the drums—stood face-to-face with him. Cody wore his hair long over his eyes, silkier and smoother than my boyfriend’s hair, probably silkier and smoother than mine. He was quiet, but he smiled a lot, always laughing, something uncontrollably funny hidden behind that long, silky hair. He was a tall clown with a beautiful hidden face. Sometimes I'd be watching him across the football field, and when he erupted in laughter, even though I had no idea what he'd said, I would laugh too, like catching hiccups. The other clarinet players would turn to look at me, alarmed and curious. “What's so funny?”

“Oh nothing,” I would say. “It's nothing.”

I thought it was sweet that he kissed his girlfriend on the forehead, and that he was so tall he had to bend over to do it. I liked the way he bopped the tip of her tiny nose with his finger.

I'm sure she was a very nice girl, but I didn’t like her. Or the fact that he had a girlfriend at all, which didn’t even make sense since I had a boyfriend of my own.

As we stood in formation, I could pretend to read the sheet music clipped to my clarinet, but instead look over the top of it and watch Cody, the way he swiped his hair. One swipe and for a second, there was that beautiful hidden face, stormy gray eyes, the color of rain clouds. I think he caught me staring a few times, which might have been okay, because it meant he actually looked at me and knew I was alive.

I wasn't sure why it mattered that he knew I was alive, but it did.

Once we got back to school that fall, he broke up with the girl he’d been dating since forever. They would not be getting married after all, like everyone had prophesied. And even though I had a boyfriend, one I had finally decided to have real, actual sex with, which filled my head with curiosity and excitement and adventure, a small part of me said, “Damn the timing!”

My sister told me, “Fuck the timing! You’ve only been with this guy three months! It’s not like you’ve got a ring on your finger!”

But my boyfriend was a nice guy, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. My boyfriend was my first, and sex was fun, and if having premarital sex was bad enough, then having it with two different guys must have been worse! I pictured myself in front of the pearly gates with my name etched in the Book of Death, a tally of my indiscretions next to it, boy after boy after boy, their names written in red ink.

I don’t think Cody and I ever spoke one actual word to each other, but once, after our last away game, we were standing in a circle on the damp dewy football field, with our instruments put away, waiting for a bus to come take us home. My friends had made nice with his friends, and there we were, standing across from each other while everyone else made jokes and conversation, while everyone else flirted with each other, winks and touches, promises of more to come later, and for once Cody wasn't making jokes. He reached across the circle to pick a piece of popcorn off my uniform jacket, and I tried to say ‘thank you,’ but my mouth couldn’t move as he retreated, a swipe of his hair, and those hidden stormy eyes twinkling in the football flood lights.

Timing. Rules. Indiscretions. I sighed a little, and I put my hands in my pockets and turned back to laugh with the rest of them, pretending not to notice that Cody laughed too, or that I had memorized the sound of it.

Buy this story on Amazon.  Check out other work by this author here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

"LOVE" by Rachel Love (Short Story)

Genre:  Romance

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Excerpt:

Love is love. Love is how you feel for that person . Love is around you, inside your heart and inside your mind. Love is all about caring for others, making them happy and feeling their happiness and
sorrow . Love is about cherishing the memories rather than crying on missing the person. Love is trying to live the dream of the other one. Love is not just about the physical attraction but the beauty that dwells in that person's heart . Love is not about saying 'I love You' 24 times a day but to feel the love when it is not expressed. Love is just love
.
Read more by this author on her site.

Friday, March 7, 2014

"Fade To Grey" by (Novelette)


Genre:  Science Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  How do you repair a dead planet?

Maintenance Bot M-3 was always proud of the smooth and reliable operation of the starships it maintained, as they travelled the galaxy searching for life on unexplored worlds. It lived for the desperate struggle against the forces of chaos and decay, fighting against time to complete repairs before disaster struck.

But this job may be beyond even its capabilities.

Excerpt:

“Make me some food,” the girl said. She sat, hunched, on a rock by the lifeboat’s nose, with her metal box on the ground beside her.

After scouring the area around the lifeboat, M-3 had found a crate of survival supplies that had fallen from the cargo hold. It pulled out a ration pack and tossed it to the girl.

She opened the pack and extracted the contents. She held up a wrapped bar in her gloved paws.

“I can’t eat this in a suit.”

M-3 had built a simple cart that it could pull along the ground, then loaded the survival supplies on the bottom, and the remains of the lifeboat’s computer and reactor on top. The wheels seemed solid enough, though the cart and its cargo weighed more than it had expected. But it would run for a while, and M-3 would repair anything that broke.

“Take off suit.”

The girl slammed the ration pack down on her lap. “I can’t take off the suit if the air is contaminated.”

Organics were so illogical. If you can’t eat in a suit, you take off the suit. Logic any synthetic could understand.

She turned the food bar over in her paws. “I've got enough food for twenty people, and I’m going to starve.”

M-3 pulled the newly built power and data adaptor from its assembler, then connected the reactor to the computer. It turned on the power.

Where am I? the Tumbleweed’s SI said a few minutes later, over the wireless Net from the lifeboat's computer.

It had made a regular personality backup in the lifeboats for safety, and M-3 had transferred the backup into the computer. It was small and low powered, and the SI would run much slower than it was used to, but it could still tell M-3 what to do. The first priority action was complete.

“Ship broke,” M-3 said. “Need orders.”

What do you mean? I remember being on the verge of disproving the Perlman Conjecture, and now everything is black.

“What’s Perlman Conjecture?”

That life is impossible in more than twelve dimensions. For two hundred years, I have been simulating fourteen dimensional universes, and I was certain I had found the combination of physical constants to create self-replicating life. It paused for a few seconds. But it seems to have gone.

“Ship broke,” M-3 said again. The SI just couldn’t seem to understand the situation they were in.

Where are we?

“On planet Grey.”

Show me.

M-3 connected the SI to its sensors. It turned around, so the SI could see the lifeboat and the area around them.

How did you get here?

“Fell. Repairing hull panels when hit planet.”

It looked at the cat-girl.

And who do we have here?

“I'm Niko,” the cat-girl said. “I was only on the Tumbleweed because my boyfriend wanted to see a planet no-one had ever seen before.”

Where is he? For that matter, where are the rest of the organics?

“The lifeboat left without him. Last I saw, most of the others were floating in space without suits. I think the observation deck depressurized, and they got sucked out.”

Ah. That would be bad. Organics are fragile.

“What the hell happened? What did you do to break the ship?”

I don't know. I was dead at the time. Ask the bot.

M-3 wasn’t sure how to explain. A few hours earlier, its brain would have known exactly what to say, but now it was having difficulty assembling even the simplest of sentences when trying to communicate.

“Memory broken.”

Fix it.

“Can’t fix.”

Why not?

“Memory schematics in broken memory.”

That’s great. So you’re a repair bot that can’t even remember how to repair itself. What could be more useless than that?

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