June 5, 2014
One of the better creative blogs that I follow is by sethsnap. Yesterday, he posted the following…
“I took the following photo on a country road near my house. It was late at night. I’m not sure how I feel about the photo. Tell me what I should feel.”
“Your Story is a SethSnap series in which you get to decide the story behind the photos. You can write a story, a poem or even just one word. You decide.” – sethsnap
Here then, is my response to his photograph.
Deserted – A Travelers Respite
I don’t know why my car stopped.
The gas gauge showed more than half. There were no ominous sounds or smoke. The engine died and I coasted to a stop.
This was all I needed after another hellacious day at the office. With a quarter of the staff out sick with the flu, one manager on vacation, and the owner’s semi-literate son throwing temper tantrums, I was at wit’s end.
After more than thirteen hours of playing referee during the office politics games, OwnersSon decided I was the perfect choice to go out of my way to deliver a package.
This left me on a deserted blacktop in the middle of nowhere when I should have been in bed.
I sat and waited a few seconds, then tried to start the car again. The lights dimmed and I became worried about the battery. I pulled my phone to call a wrecker. No bars!
The flashlight was where it belonged, so I took it, popped the hood latch, and stepped out.
I pressed the button and nothing happened. The flashlight batteries were dead.
Fatigue had me shaking, despite the warm summer evening, and I leaned against the fender, eyes closed, head bowed, arms folded.
My eyes opened and my head snapped up. “Hello? Who’s there?”
The half-grown field whispered at me as a ghost of a breeze slid by. Cautiously, I turned, looked around, and saw no one. I raised my voice a little. “This isn’t funny. Show yourself.”
“Oh my! Aren’t we nervous tonight.”
I spun back and standing next to my car, was a young woman. She wore a simple sun dress with a floral pattern, was barefoot, and smiled softly.
“Sorry. I didn’t see you come up. My car died and I need a lift.”
“What you need is to stop and look around. It’s a beautiful night and you are way too tired to be racing down this stretch of road without taking a moment to enjoy the gifts you’ve been given.”
“What gifts? For Pete’s sake, woman. My car is dead, no flashlight, I just finished a double-shift…”
“Shssss!” A slender finger to her lips. “Just stop and look around.” She gestured at the field beside us and leaned against the fender.
I shook my head, folded my arms, and followed suit.
“This road has been here for ages. It started as a trail between giant trees, worn down by generations of hunters. Later on, great beasts hauling wagons, widened it. Now, it has been hardened to smooth the way for machines as well as the children of men.” She paused and looked wistful. “One thing has held true over the ages. When someone is troubled, here, they are granted peace, if only for a little while.”
As she spoke, my gaze followed the distant tree line. First, I noticed the faint glow of city lights, then a sparkling of farm yard lights as branches moved with the wind. I closed my eyes for just a moment, then opened them to enjoy the way the breeze flowed like waves over the field. As my eyes grew accustomed to the moonlight, what I first perceived as stark and foreboding was revealed as warm, golden tones, accented by shadows. Without thinking, my arms dropped and I placed my hands on the warm fender. I leaned farther back and took a deep breath. Then another. And slowly, I felt the tension drain from me. A single tree, standing proudly in the middle of the field, became a focus. The dark form became clear and distinct, with shades of green and brown, fading to black shadows. It was welcoming.
“Yes. You’ll do.” She interrupted the whispering night sounds.
I nodded and smiled, then stopped and shook myself. “Do for what?”
She was gone.
I shook myself again, blinking rapidly, and realized it was much lighter. The first glimmer of false-dawn lightened the eastern sky. How could I have been here all night?
I sat back down in the car to collect my thoughts. Mostly on reflex, I turned the key and the motor started. I let it idle for a second and checked my phone. It showed four bars. That was plenty of signal. It didn’t really matter.
There were no other cars around as I put the car in gear, I realized I felt better than I had in ages. Somehow, a bit of fresh air and an unplanned nap, had refreshed me more than I had thought possible.
A Challenge of My Own
I’m not sure how I feel about the following photo that I shot awhile back. Tell me what I should feel.
Let your creative side tell the tale behind the photo. You can write a story, a poem or even just one word. You decide.
October 13, 2012
This is a short, Paranormal Romance in celebration of Halloween.
She was cold and hurt. Again.
He had been drunk. Again.
This had been the worst one yet. As soon as he went to sleep, Kelly was going to leave and call the woman’s shelter. Perhaps he already was asleep. She didn’t hear him and now that her headache was easing a little, she realized it was way too cold. Had he set the AC to freeze in his drunken stupor?
She slowly opened her eyes, expecting the headache to worsen in the morning light. But there wasn’t any light.
Cold. It was so damn cold. And she realized she was still nude and laying on the floor. Wait a minute! Their bedroom had hardwood floors as did most of their home. She felt bare concrete under her. No wonder she was cold!
Tentatively, she reached out and her fingers brushed a concrete block. “Honey?” Her soft voice was totally lost in the darkness. Quickly rolling over, she felt her knuckles tear against another concrete surface, above her. “Honey! Where am I?” This tumbled out of her almost as a shout.
It only took a few seconds of scrambling about on her back to realize she was in a concrete box. Smooth on all sides except the one where she felt the rough edges of the blocks. The smell of curing cement finally woke her completely.
Kelly tore at the walls until her fingernails were gone and screamed until the air ran out.
October 6, 2012
Awhile back, I had this horrible nightmare that turned into a lucid dream. When I woke, I started writing. This tale is the result of that dream.
Written by Anthony Stevens
Edited by Stephanie Q. McGrath (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It was with some trepidation that I accepted the key to the family mausoleum from my father. His usually cheerful expression was quite serious as he explained that upon the passing of my sixteenth year on this Earth, I was to learn more of our family history and responsibilities. All of my many questions were turned aside as I was dutifully informed I was to unlock the crypt, enter and read the inscriptions therin.
June 18, 2012
While at lunch in a busy buffet, I was people-watching. There was a lady at an adjacent table with two kids. One was a little boy, I’m guessing six or seven years old. His sister was a bit older, probably ten or so.
The boy got up and started marching towards the food with an exaggerated goose-step and swinging of arms. His mom caught him as he passed and quickly whispered some probably sage advice. He nodded and kept on his way, rolling his eyes as soon as she turned away.
He cruised between the food bars and his sister got up and followed him. She caught him, bent over and obviously gave him a sisterly tongue-lashing. He frowned and jerked his head in a quick nod, turned away and got his plate.
His sis watched him start to get some food, then spun on her heel, shrugged her shoulders and gave an exasperated roll of the eyes while on her way back to her meal.
I had to smile at this. There will come a time when I will write that scene into a novel.
What about you? Do you like to people watch and then assign your own stories to the visual cues that are so common around us?
October 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 27th is the Grand Opening of Captiva Press!
The whole gang is going to be celebrating with an all-day party at The Haunt at PNR. The following is from their homepage:
“Pull up a chair and enjoy a chat with your favorite authors and publishers of the hot and scary variety. If you love the Paranormal then this is the place to be.”
We will be having a series of contests and there will be a lot of fantastic prizes. I’ll be giving away a free copy of my steampunk/dieselpunk romantic adventure novel, Crazy Taylor!
It should be a blast! I’ll be looking forward to questions from readers, editors and other authors.
See ya there!
November 23, 2009
October 27, 2009
A trio of tail tales, my new shifter stories will be released soon, from Red Rose Publishing. And since I’m going to be really busy this coming month with NaNoWriMo, I thought I would share an excerpt.
[Excerpt Rated PG]
The movie was just okay, pizza with the other couple was fun and finally, they ended up alone in his car. They made out for a few minutes and then, he pulled back. His face, in the moonlight, was troubled.
“What’s the matter, Roger?”
“You know, I really like you and I’m really happy you’re with me. Right?”
“Yeah… and what are you getting at?”
“Saph, I get the feeling you’re not really here. That you’re really tense and worried and… I dunno… Maybe I’m doing something wrong.”
She sat back in her seat and looked away for a moment. “I’m sorry. I know I should relax and try to be sexier, but I just don’t feel it.”
“Is it me? My looks… Or am I doing something you don’t like?”
“I don’t know. I enjoy your company but I just don’t feel comfortable for some reason. I’m sorry. Maybe you should find another date for the prom.” As soon as she said it, she knew he was both hurt and pissed.
“Yeah. You’re right. Maybe I should.” He started the engine and drove to a nearby convenience store.
“Why are we stopping here? You want a drink?”
“No. I’m fine. Just fucking fine. My girlfriend just dumped me two weeks before the prom and I’m just fucking fine. Get out.” He hadn’t raised his voice, but the tone scared her.
“Hey! We’re five miles from my place. Just take me home and we can talk about it tomorrow.”
“No need for any more talking. You’ve been teasing me for the last month and I’ve had enough. Just get the fuck out of the car. You got a phone. Call your mom. I’m heading back to town.”
She was close to tears. “Come on, Roger. I know you’re mad, but this is the middle of nowhere. It’s not the best place for a girl to be alone at eleven at night.”
He got out, came around to her side, and opened the door. “Get the fuck out, now!”
She stood up beside the door and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Please don’t do this.”
He grabbed her hand and yanked her out of the way, and slammed the door.
“Ouch! What the hell was that for?” Suddenly, she wasn’t as hurt as she was angry.
He swung around and slapped her face, his arm returning for a backhand when she stepped aside, grabbed his wrist and yanked. Roger stumbled forward, banged his chin on the roof of the car and her elbow caught him hard in the rib cage. With a yelp, he stumbled away from her.
“You fucking bitch!”
Stepping away from the car, she balanced herself just as he reached out again. She slapped his hand aside and his face took on a mask of pure fury. He rushed in, punching at her face and she spun his attack aside, snapping a kick to the side of his knee as he passed. He yelled and tumbled over the rough gravel. When he got back up, his face was bloody, the shoulder of his shirt was torn and he was limping. Muttering obscenities, and without waiting for another round, he stumbled around the car, got in, hit the door locks and almost ran over her toes backing away.
She watched him peel out, scattering gravel. Then she heard someone clapping softly behind her.
October 17, 2009
The spirits of this spooky season overtook me this past weekend and I wrote a short story. My good friend and favorite editor, Stephanie McGrath was kind enough to give it a once-over and it is now ready. Since there’s really no time to submit it for formal publication before the eve of the feast of all hallows, we thought we would share a simple story of Statuary for free.
To save the PDF file to your local drive, Right-Click and Save-As this link.
Natually, we would love to hear what you think of this little tale.
email: MasterAnthonyStevens [at] gmail [dot] com
September 22, 2009
It is getting close to that time of the year again, my friends. I’m referring of course to the month of November and the annual Write a Novel in a Month Challenge! The premise is simple. Write 50 thousand words in 30 days. This leaves no time for fancy editing. Just get your story told and then spend December in edits. It’s a hectic run of at least 1700 words a day, but thousands of people do it each year.
Detailed information is available at the NaNoWriMo website and I encourage any writers in the audience to give it a go.
The first year I attempted it, I was successful with 51 thousand words written in 30 days. Last year, I got a late start due to a family emergency and only managed 31 thousand words by the end of the month.
This year, my theme is going to be steampunk. The tale of creativity, eroticism and bravery under fire is going to take place in the first half of the 20th Century. That is late period, I realize, but the characters, technology and situations will be straight from the golden age.
I’ve started collecting my research notes and have already generated a list of potential character profiles.
Oh! And I believe the title of this post mentions a challenge. Very well, here’s my challenge to anyone who reads this:
Join NaNoWriMo and hookup with the rest of us lunatics. You can ‘friend’ me there and we’ll track each other’s progress. If you succeed in completing 50 thousand words or more in the month of November, I will send you a copy of whatever one of my eBook publications you wish. Or, if you prefer, you may wait until my steampunk novel is published and recieve a free copy.
Please NOTE: You must ‘friend’ me on the NaNo site AND send me an email prior to November 1st so that I know who is accepting the challenge.
email: masteranthonystevens [at] gmail [dot] com
NOTE: The Challenge is now closed!
Good luck to those who have joined me on NaNo.