Category Archives: Steam Punk

From the case files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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walkinginthedark

Darkness suited ex-Inspector Khazarian Rovas. He liked the quiet it normally brought, a certain breeze that drifted through most nights except for the height of the summer months. Then he was usually drenched, having trouble breathing during the ofttimes stiffing still air. Early spring, now, and the insufferable weather was still to come. Tonight, he could enjoy sitting by his open window, lights off, breathing the coolness in, and allowing his out breath fog up the lowest corner of the window pane. Waiting.

But for the wishes of his wife, Berrak, Rovas would still be on the job. He never thought he would retire, that one way or the other the job would be where he would part this life. Berrak thought differently, and although she never demanded, he saw the clarity of her spoken thoughts. He loved her, she him, and it was that love that carried him to hand in his resignation. Forty-four years, the ups and downs of any job, acknowledgments and failures, all reduced to farewell handshakes, some drinks, rehashing of spectacular cases-solved or unsolved-and the drive home, with the few personal items from his desk in the boot.

It was the rehashing of cases that brought Rovas to his study, to his window, at 4:10 in the morning. Eight days had passed, but those memories of cases that were not, to him, satisfactorily closed, haunted his waking hours. He thought of the cases, twenty six in all, that still niggled at the back of his mind. He owed Berrak time that she was excluded from during his career, and he vowed to himself he would do his best to give her what she needed from him.

But those cases…those cases…

Outside his window Khazarian Rovas noticed a silhouette of a man briskly walking, back to Rovas, down the street, hands in his pockets, head cast down, fading down the street horizon. Ruminating, Rovas had not noticed the man until now. He had no idea where he came from, just observing this figure in darkness fading smaller and further away, until only a haze of an outline was visible. In a blink, the walking man was gone.

Rovas got up from his chair, turning it around to face his desk. Turning on the table lamb, he stared down at the pile of folders on the right side of his desk. Twenty six folders.

Sitting, he took the top file, placed it in front of him, opened it, and began to review this troublesome case file.

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Hi everyone. I’m sure you’ve noticed I have been away for quite awhile on any regular basis. Things happened in my life that took me out of the mood. I’m trying to see what I can do to mend that break within me.

I just rejoined the Blogging from A to Z challenge. Lots of positive things changed for me with the first one I was part of in 2011. Sadly, that did not last the lifetime I had hoped it would be. In either case, I am back.

“The case files of Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Twenty six case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve from this list of cold cases. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

 So, join me (and the over 1600 other blogs involved) starting on April 1, 2016. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy what I’ve got planned.

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The Complete Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show (#REN3)

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The Complete Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show

Renaissance was smack in the middle of nowhere, as far as Lil felt. She was tired of being run out-of-town after town, them taking unkindly to Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine show rolling in and fleecing the rubes out of their money.  Renaissance looked like more of the same. They had passed through a sparse forest (Doc called it The Culdees), but she just wanted to keep on passing through. Home was north, past the mountain range, and for the first time in years all she wanted to do was go home.

“…and now, the paragon of deliciousness, the temptress of all men’s dreams-ladies, watch your husbands!-the cream of feminine beauty, our very own…MISSISSIPPI LIL!” Doc waved his trademark stovepipe hat with a flourish and Lil came out from behind the draped sheet to a cacophony of applause and whistles (the men) and gasps of outrage (the women). She couldn’t blame the women: she wasn’t comfortable, really, with what little she wore. Calf high laced boots, stockings, a too short flounce black skirt and a red trimmed bustier that had seen better days. Her shawl of a feathered boa protected her chest only so much. Tall feathers also adorned her hat. They gave her some shade and a prop to use, especially if there was a problem with her costume during the dance. There always was one.

Lil danced to the percussive tapping of Doc’s feet and his banjo picking fingers. He was gifted, the bastard, she’d give him that. It had just been a long time since she had loved him enough to run away with him. Lil sang, she acted in his little skits, she was flirty. All things  “good” Medicine Show acts needed to be.  She looked for diversion while she forced the smile that would help sell his piss water elixir. She had to if they wanted to eat tonight. Lil had other plans besides eating dinner as well.

Not that one. Nope. OK…kinda cute… nope…she’s clinging too tight and oh, the language. Nope. Nope. Hummm...” Lil thought all along, as she scanned the men. One stood out. “Not too tall, not short at all, a worker, by the looks of him. Not one to be in a store. Good.”

While hawking, Lil sidled up to the young man-younger than she was by a good ten years, she figured-and found out his name was Gid. Gid Jacobs, farmer’s son, farmer’s hands and back and arms. But clean, no dirt under his nails, and fairly well-groomed. His mama did a good job with him. Lil approved. She felt the strength of his arm, grasping it when she “accidentally” stumbled into him. “Meet me behind the wagon after the show,” she whispered to Gid. He nodded, transfixed, as she had brushed her breast against him before passing the hat around the crowd.

Doc’s routine to seek out a saloon after a show served her well. Lil seduced the farm boy, letting him take her against the buckboard. She promised him more of the same, much more, if Gid would just do one little thing for her. Gid said he would, that he had never in his life seen anyone as pretty or as wonderful as she was. He told her he loved her.

Mississippi Lil smiled as she folded her arms around Gid, pulling him against her as he shuddered. His head drooped onto her shoulder and both of them closed their eyes, panting.

Doc saw the whole thing, out of plain sight, hiding  behind a shed.  The magics sparked off of his clenched  fist.

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Doc watched Lil and the farm boy go at it. The magics sparked off of Doc Stovepipe’s clenched fists. “Damn her!” he scowled deep inside. “Damn this Renaissance!” he said out loud, but, not too loud. He fought the urge to lash out. Now was not the time. “Soon. Very soon.

Life on the road was getting harder. Breathable air was getting worse; domes were going up; the major roadways were closing down. Traveling in a steam powered Medicine Show was not going to last much longer. There was a chance for him to retire well off. He had a plan, but Lil was supposed to “entice” the patsy, not screw him. “Did she know? She aint stupid. Hell, I should have killed her already.”

Doc made his way into Renaissance proper. He passed by The Barking Cat and Heriot’s Pass saloons. They were both too busy, too noisy. His show drew a large crown, and he had bilked enough suckers out of the entertainment and “Magical Elixir”, and now most of that crowd was in the bars, trying out his wares.

He closed his eyes and concentrated. “HERE!” came that soft tickling throughout his head. “Here.” Doc followed the mental invite and wound up at of The Last Stinkin’ Battalion. A rat hole of rat holes. A quiet hole, and just what the doctor ordered.

He laughed at his own stupid joke as he entered, drawing the attention of the bartender. She drew Doc’s attention, and took away his breath at the same time. Long, curly red hair, green eyes, and pale smooth skin.

“You going to gawk or you going to order?” she said, folding her arms across her chest.

“Beer, whatever you have that you’ll drink yourself.”

She poured him a dark brew with a heavy head. “Renascence Brown,” she answered to his raised eyebrow question.

Stop drooling and turn around; I’m sitting by the staircase,” came the mental tickling, much clearer this time. Doc did as told, grabbed his beer, turned, walked over, and sat down. He locked eyes with another redhead, but this one was not jaw dropping sexy. A scraggy bearded, scared and craggy mien faced him. “Doc,” Digger said out loud, tipping his head.

Doc asked, “How did you contact me ‘that’ way? The magics were forbidden out here. I thought ‘long sending’ was a lost practice.”

“Obviously, it’s not lost. Just few can hear it now. You can. That’s why I called out.”

Doc was meeting fewer and fewer of those with the knacks. “You sent me the info. We set up camp near the Gauche. I dowsed the deposits the idiots here missed in the mines.  Lil is getting the male sacrifice right now.”

Digger just stared at Doc. “As one of those idiots, I might take exception to that remark. I’ll let it pass, as I know reaching out to you was the right thing to do.” Digger closed his eyes, then opened them abruptly. “Drink up. They’re almost here.”

They weren’t  long in waiting. The door opened. Mississippi Lil held onto Gid, arms entwined. Gid was stealing glances at her, smiling. Lil saw Doc and dragged Gid over.

“Here’s the love of my life,” Doc said out loud, leaning over to kiss Lil on the cheek.

Liar,” thought back Digger, smiling.

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Gid looked at both men, and did not like the way they felt.  Something was very wrong here. Lil held onto his arm in a bear hug way. He liked the way her body pressed into his, bringing back instant tactile memory of their recent coupling, but he did not like that she brought him to Doc Stovepipe. He especially did not like Digger, who all in Renaissance knew as trouble, and Gid had stayed out of his way.

Gid invoked a silent protection chant. He saw Lil look at him just then. “Huh?,” he thought. “She felt that. Lil’s more than she lets on.” Gid tried to put some space between him and Mississippi Lil, but she was not letting him. Physically she held onto his arm. Magically, she had bound him. Gid felt it, deep.

She whispered in his ear: “When you came, you came to me completely. Don’t doubt that for a second.” Out loud, she said to Doc and Digger: “He’s mine, so let’s get this over with.”

Digger laughed a dry dirty guffaw and got up. Doc glared at Gid, then rose and put on his Stovepipe hat. He picked up his mug of Renaissance Brown Ale and downed it in one swig, wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his coat. Gid noticed this, disgusted, hating the man even more, which  he thought would have been impossible.

Lil had told him of the sexual degradations Doc had imposed on her. Gid took great affront to all she told him. He knew she wasn’t chaste, and Gid wasn’t a choir boy himself, but he never once forced himself on anyone, never beat a woman, never treated one like a slave.

When he looked at her, first on that stage, and then later, he thought he felt what love at first sight must be like. Lil was nothing like the girls he knew in Renaissance. There weren’t that many his age, and he hadn’t felt much of anything about any one of them. Lil was different, and he had hoped…

Gid was compelled to follow along, side by side with Lil, behind Digger and Doc. He tried to yell out to Amy, the bartender, or any of the other few patrons he knew in The Last Stinkin’ Battalion, but his mouth would not work. “Shhh, lover…don’t get all worked up. Remember, Lil has a plan all of her own,” she said into his ear, as the group made their way through the darkened town streets.

The foursome make their way out of the town limits and wound up at the base of the Main Gauche mining hills. The opening to Heriot’s Pass had been boarded up; Doc and Digger were undoing that now, removing a few planks. Enough for all of them to squeeze into. Gid noticed Digger had a lantern which he had not noticed before; they must have had this here already, and planned out, he thought alongside the inner chants he hoped would give him some chance of escape. Gid was kicking himself for skipping out on too much of his trainings.

They came to an opening, where four tunnels branched off, and Gid noticed the chalk markings on the rocky ground. “Damnation, Doc’s a Schiavonaist,” he wailed inside, finally finding a fear he held off. Digger came and extracted Gid from Lil’s deathlike embrace, putting him dead center of the markings…but not before she had passed him something cold and hard into his hand.

Lil caught Gid’s eye and nodded, mouthing to him “Use it well!”

***************

Heriot’s Pass smelled like rotten eggs, and Gid was nauseous. Fear roiled in his guts. “Schiavonaist bastards” he thought, trying to move, to no avail. Whatever was magicked was done well. Gid saw that Doc had taken off his hat and coat and handed them to Digger (who tossed them on the ground). He was advancing on Gid, rolling up his shirt sleeves.  Doc was mumbling, and it was hurting Gid. For salvation sake, he looked at his hand, which was clutching whatever Lil had given him. “A compass?

Doc smiled; a very disturbing one. His intelligible  murmuring became a series of yelps, yowls and ancient foul sounding language. The air started to whip around the cavern, all feeling the growing thrusts, but none more so than Gid. Doc closed his eyes, feeling the pleasure of letting himself go, his magics free. He was forcing the farm boy to his knees, and Doc was taking extra pleasure after what he saw…”Now, Digger!” he thought-sent. “NOW!”

Lil had her eyes glued on Gid and did not see Digger come upon her. He hosted her off the ground, picked her up over his head, and was getting ready to toss Lil. She had no time to compensate and free herself, but she had something already in her hand: an open Capsule of Dragon Scale Dust. She flung it in Digger’s face just as he hurled her towards Gid. She landed hard, and the magics swirling hurt more, but she got satisfaction in hearing Digger scream a death wail.

An awful humming filled the cave crossroad. Lil was sprawled at Gid’s feet, both unable to move. Both beginning to feel their insides churning.

Lil croaked: “Open the damned compass, Gid. Open the back cover.”

A small glass dagger was lodged in the back. “Talisman of the Triad! Huh! ..what do I…”

“Palm it,” Lil said, tears startng to stream. She felt herself being crushed, a hot liquid running down her legs, and she saw blood on her legs. “Palm it, damn you! How did you know?”

“Later,” Gid had trouble saying. He palmed the 2″ blade into his open hand. It started to grow as it landed. Growing to its full length, it began to glow and emit a sound that was the counterpoint to the noise growing from beneath them. The sword levitated and circled the pair three times, twirling its tip into the ground, breaking up the chalk outlines.

“GO!” whispered Lil, forcing her focus onto the compass and its once hidden weapon. The blade shot forward and found its sheath in Doc Stovepipe’s chest. Surprised, he clutched the handle and screamed.

“Close your eyes, Gid.”

They both did, and the glass dagger lit up like twelve years of fireworks. Gid felt heat, and he ducked down, covering Lil with his body.  It died down as quick as it started, and with the pressure off, they were able to stand. Gid was amazed they were whole. Doc Stovepipe was gone, Digger’s body was a charred husk, and all the chalk markings…like nothing was ever there.

“What did they want?” Gid asked, once they were free from The Pass.

Lil looked up at the sky. “The Moondust Stone is way down below. Powerful magic, worth a lot in money and for power. He betrayed me, just as I was gonna do the same to him. You stood up well, farm boy,” the last said, with a smile.

“Huh! Thought it was just folklore, nothing more. You betrayed me,” he said with some menace.

“I gave you the compass. I knew you’d do well. Knew it,” and she flung herself, this time, to Gid, kissing him hard and with real meaning. Down they went, in a fumble and tearing of clothes, and they yelped and yowled accordingly, together, and sometimes in harmony.

Gid woke alone that morning; Mississippi Lil gone and Doc Stovepipe’s steam driven Medicine Show Wagon with her. He tended to his studies after that, learning what he needed to protect the Moondust Stone. His father was surprised he knew where it was hidden, as only the Waykeeper (his dad) was supposed to know. Gid trained hard, ready to take on the mantle, when the time came.

A bit more than nine months after “the incident”, Gid’s mother found a baby girl outside their door. There was a note: “Gid, meet your daughter, Chrystal. Lil (no longer Mississippi)”.

Gid loved his girl to pieces, and as she grew she returned it. She met her mother one time…but that’s a tale for another day.

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Postscript

Cough. “Daddy, I’m not tired. I want a story. PLeeeeeaaazzzeeeee,” George wheezed, looking up at his father.

“Shhh little one. You know they are lowering the air volume for the night. It’s late, Georgie, it’s late. Can I tell you one tomorrow?”

Looking as miserable as he felt, George signed “No.”

Pauldyne shook his head and sighed at the insistence of his only son. He looked over at the sleeping/living area where Bethel was already asleep, cradling Sara. Why did we have another child in this horrible world, he thought. Because we love her, as we love George, he answered his own question. As hard as it was to live in Renaissance Dome 7, it was made better by his family. Tolerable.

I’m tired. We’re all so tired, he wanted to say out loud, but, Georgie wouldn’t understand it, and Bethel understood it all too well.

He nodded OK to his son, and using DSL  he signed a tale of the past…

Before the domes, before The Great Devastation, there was the town of Renaissance, and it lived in the open air. Yes,little one, open, clean fresh and, most importantly, free air. There were real trees, grass, fresh flowing water, things that FLEW in the skies…yes, no domes! Sky. My great great grandfather told me about this just before he passed on. He told me he had had a great adventure-well, one among many-shhh..I’m getting to it. Shtill, remain shtill.

There used to be three main roads leading into Renaissance; now we only have the balloon drops from dome to dome. Gid…his name was Gid.  One day, along the Kris trade route, came an entertainment drawn by an engine of steam. It was led by a Doctor and, from what Gid said, the most beautiful, but wicked, woman in the whole world.

Soon after meeting her, this woman (no, I don’t know her name; he would not tell me her name. He said it was like a curse, now) brought Gid to the top of Minor Gauche, which is Dome 3 area now. She taught him some little magics there, and through that night and a day Gid learned, and learned well. Then, she told him why she taught him this. Gid said he was angry, to be used in such a way, but this woman, this beautiful horrible woman…he loved her.

Gid said there was a great fight soon after, with magic sparking off this way and that, causing not a small amount of damage…

“Georgie?” he said, even though he knew his son was  asleep. He had been drifting to begin with, and with the air pressure lowered, it had only been a matter of time.

Pauldyne lay down, between his son, wife and daughter, and closed his eyes. The evening dome lights flickered over his skin like a caressing dance of light. The warmth they gave off felt good, and he slowed his breathing rate for maximum rest, as he had practiced for too long a time.

He sighed, coughed twice, and knew Georgie would want the whole story when he woke in the morning. In the morning, he thought, as he shut down for sleep.

The End

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Author’s Note

For those of you tuning in for the first time, or who don’t follow me religiously (why not? I’m a nice guy and I won’t bite…unless you want me to 😉  ): This posting puts all of my The Rule of Three Blogfest (#REN3) stories together. Well, the Doc Stovepipe tales. There are a few more, and I need to finish that thread. Soon. Real soon. You might also notice that in the postscript, Pauldyne tells his son a story that is not wholly reflected in the main part of the DSMS tale. Shhhh…spoilers. 😉

As a co-host of the writers challenge, I just had a blast not only playing in my own world (see Amlokiblog: Writing n A Shared World)  but reading over 60 others playing alongside of me. So many different takes, and it was good.

This was such a success. We (Damyanti Biswas,  Lisa Vooght and JC Martin) have decided to run the next phase of this blogfest again in May 21012. There is now a brand spanking new dedicated blogpage, Welcome To Renaissance, for all things #REN3 (and yes, we are on Twitter AND have a #REN3 paper.li published daily).

AND….we will be working on at least one volume of a Renaissance eBook. All proceeds will go to charity. News on that will be coming, soon.

Speaking of eBooks…have you purchased my very first eStory (short story category) from Trestle Press? Flash Over, only          $ .99!!   The story is available on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.. You can read Flash Over on your PC, MAC or other device. They have plenty of options beyond owning a Kindle or Nook. If you go, rate it, tag it, read it (first, natch).

Thanks all!!!

Video Trailer 2: The Rule of Three Blogfest

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Join Us In The Rule of Three Writers Challenge BlogFest!

Final Day to Sign Up: Monday October 3, 2011

I am co-hosting an exciting creative writing blog challenge, and I hope you will join the over 40 writers participating!

During October 2011, venture into the shared world of Renaissance (information below). You will create three characters set in that world: any genre, any time period. During the course of four weekly postings you will craft your tale where your three characters interact, or not, winding up in one great cumulative story. Each Friday, you will be given a set of prompts to move you along until you reach your climax. There is the chance to discover new writers, see a different side of ones you already admire, and hopefully have tons of fun doing this: you might also win some prizes (listed below as well). Read on!!
REN3<a href=”http://wp.me/P1mecg-bV”><img src=”http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z451/Jc_Martin/RuleofThreeshield.jpg&#8221; alt=”REN3″ width=”242″ height=”242″ /></a>

Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

The Shared World: Renaissance

An outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes (the TARGE, KRIS, and VILLEIN are the largest of routes, but not the only ones) pass through or by the town. The SCHIAVONA  Desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once lush forest (the CULDEES) lies to the East and South. A large river, the ESPADON,  runs through the forest of ASSART (to the north) but it is not close by. The ROUNDELI Mountains are also to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or not. Closer by are the smaller hill chain, the MAIN GAUCHE and the MINOR GAUCHE, that fed the mining, creating caverns (the KASTANES)  and passages (one particular passage is known as  HERIOT’S PASS) lie underground.

The town has had a number of identities throughout it’s history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to it’s Ghost Town standing); a  town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.

At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.

EVERYONE has a secret!

Welcome to Renaissance.

Enjoy your stay.

For Full Guidelines & List of Prizes: Click Here

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…and:

Announcement: The Doll is a horror novelette by J.C. Martin that has only been read by a limited audience so far. It will be FREE for anyone who signs up on the Rule of Three linky list. We will email participants on the linky list with the direct link.

My Teaser Stories Set in Renaissance:

Renaissance: Prissy’s Story

Renaissance: Jewel’s Story


Rule of Three Writing Blog Challenge: First Prompts & Amendment

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REN3<a href=”http://wp.me/P1mecg-bV”><img src=”http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z451/Jc_Martin/RuleofThreeshield.jpg&#8221; alt=”REN3″ width=”200″ height=”200″ /></a>

Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

Amendment to the Posting Guidelines

Due to popular demand, we have opened the posting window to a 48 hour slot:

Wednesday to Thursday. Please  post on those days only. Thank you.

The Prompts:

You have 34 days from now (9/1/2011)  to dream up the first part of the story which should be based on one or more of the following prompts:

  • There is an argument
  • There is fear of an impending misfortune
  • There is a humorous circumstance
  • Someone might fall in love

The Challenge

Each week’s installment would be based on a prompt we give the week before.

Each week you will post a story focusing on one of your three main characters through: their Point of View; their story as seen by another or told by another;  however you see fit. How they interact is up to you, the writer.

The fourth week will be the culminating story.  What will be the outcome of their actions…or inaction?

Word count 500600. Please do not exceed the limit.

The Storyline: The Town of Renaissance

Renaissance is an outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes pass through or beside it. The desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once-lush forest lies to the East and South. A large river runs through the forest, but it is not close to the town. Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or real. Closer by are the smaller hill chains that fed the mining, creating caverns and passages underground.
The town has had a number of identities throughout its history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to its Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.
At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power-players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.
Everyone has a secret.
Welcome to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay.

For the full rules, click here

Help spread the word by tweeting this blogfest at #REN3 on twitter, or share on Facebook or Google + with your writer friends.

Your Co-Hosts for the Rule of Three Writing Challenge:

Three absolutely wonderful writers. Please check out their blogs by clicking on their names:

Damyanti Biswas

Lisa Vooght

JC Martin

The Interview Series

JC Martin,      Lisa Vooght,      Damyanti Biswas
Interview with our illustrator, Portia Burton

In Case You Missed It-Our Teaser Trailer:

Announcing: The Rule of Three Blog Challenge!!! (*Amended Posting Days)

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REN3<a href=”http://wp.me/P1mecg-bV”><img src=”http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z451/Jc_Martin/RuleofThreeshield.jpg&#8221; alt=”REN3″ width=”200″ height=”200″ /></a>

Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

The Rule of Three Fiction Writing Blog Challenge

Once upon a time, four  Writers Who Blog (WWB) got together to create a shared world, the Town of Renaissance, where they invite writers to come and take up residence and explore it’s environ and citizens. During the month of October 2011, one a week, a story will emerge, linking three characters into one final cumulative story.  It’s up to you, the writer, to choose the way they interact, or not, and how the final story in the fourth week ends is the journey’s end.  Damyanti Biswas, Lisa Vooght, and JC Martin and I are the WWB, and we welcome you to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay. Oh…one last thing…

Everyone Has A Secret!!

All The Guidelines You Could Want, Prizes (yes, PRIZES) and Linky List Below

(There is a lot to take in but, trust me, it will be worth it)


A. What is the Rule of Three?

The “rule of three” is a principle in writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader/audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. A series of three is often used to create a progression in which the tension is created, then built up, built up even more, and finally released. –Wikipedia

B. How does the Rule of Three work in this blogfest?

The Rule of Three is a month-long fiction blogfest, where we’ve created a ‘world’, the town of Renaissance, and challenged you to create a story within it. The story will feature 3 characters of your creation, who will be showcased on your blog on 3 different Wednesdays, following the Rule of Three. The 4th Wednesday, we’ll have the culminating scene.

C. What is the Shared World of Rule of Three? Welcome to Renaissance

Renaissance is an outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes pass through or beside it. The desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once-lush forest lies to the East and South. A large river runs through the forest, but it is not close to the town. Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or real. Closer by are the smaller hill chains that fed the mining, creating caverns and passages underground.
The town has had a number of identities throughout its history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to its Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.
At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power-players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.
Everyone has a secret. Welcome to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay.

D. Writing Guidelines for the Rule of Three Blogfest:

  1. Your overall story can be in any genre, time period, or style you choose.
  1. You must have three characters (Rule of Three), but the relation between them is up to you.
  1. Every Wednesday or Thursday (48 Hour Window), post a narrative fiction: story, poem, song lyric, play, monologue, soliloquy– any style you choose to work in.
  1. Each Friday you will be given a broad writing prompt that will escalate the inner happenings of your story.
  1. Choose one of your characters to showcase that given week as the main protagonist for that posting. Of course, you can weave in your other characters as you see fit, but the main action/conflict or point of view should be the showcased character of the week.
  1. In the fourth week, give us your tour de force, a culmination of the story that will make us weep, weak at the knees, jump for joy, whatever…and know a writer’s job was done well.
  1. Each post should be between 500-600 words. Please try to keep to the limit. Thank you.
    1. Narrative Poetry should be at least 20 lines.

E. We have Prizes!!!!!!

We as hosts would read all the posts and put up a shortlist of possible winners, and then hold a poll for votes on the shortlist to decide the winners and honorable mentions.

The prizes are:

1st prize: $ 50USD Amazon voucher

2nd prize: $ 10 USD and Guest posts or Interviews on the host blogs:
3rd prize: A bundle of the following e-books:
1.Michael Hicks,     “In Her Name: Empire”    http://tinyurl.com/3kqocew
2. Marcus Clearspring, “Walkabout Gnomes”  http://tinyurl.com/3wkgxry
3. Alex J Cavanaugh, “Cassa Star”   http://tinyurl.com/3t358vk
4. S.L. Pierce, “The Hate”, “The Devil’s Game”, “Secrets”  http://tinyurl.com/42ef9l2
5. Faith Mortimer, “Echoes Of Life and Love”     http://tinyurl.com/3aptnva
6. Talli Roland, “Watching Willow Watts”   http://tinyurl.com/3ru9bb8
Honorable mentions will receive 1 e-book from among these 3
1. Damyanti Biswas, “A To Z Stories Of Life and Death”  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/81146
2. J.C. Martin and Michelle Davidson Argyle, “Stories For Sendai”,       http://tinyurl.com/3asdnrr
3. Stuart Nager, “Dawn Of Indie Romance”,      http://tinyurl.com/3pkeexn

(For full information on all authors and books, click on the Featured Authors tab at top of blog.)

F. How to Sign up:
  1. Sign up at the Linky list below by the 3rd of October. Please do so only if you intend to write a story, and participate in the writers’ community, not because you want to promote a soap, a website, or a random electronic gadget. We promise to remove all spam and advertisements.
  1. Leave us a comment after you sign in. For instance, talk about which genre you want to write in, whether your Rule of Three story would feature characters from your current WIP or you would introduce us to new ones…anything at all about your plans for the blogfest
  1. Visit this blog or those of the other hosts tomorrow, or any time during the next week to find the first Rule of Three prompt.
  1. Please let us know if you’ve signed up but find yourself unable to write for the blogfest for some reason, so we can remove your link as a courtesy to everyone using the Linky list to visit the participants. Most visitors find it annoying to reach an irrelevant post by clicking a name on the Linky list.
  1. Schedule for prompts and posting: save these dates on your calendar!
  • Rule of Three 1st prompt 1st September
  • Rule of Three Part 1 (post) 5th/6th October
  • Rule of Three 2nd prompt 7th October
  • Rule of Three Part 2 (post) 12th/13th October
  • Rule of Three 3rd prompt 14th October
  • Rule of Three Part 3 (post) 19th.  /20th October
  • Rule of Three 4th prompt 21st October
  • Rule of Three Part 4 (final post) 26th/27th October
  1. Poll for shortlists will be up on 2nd November, and winners will be declared on the 11th of November.
  2. All the hosts would take part, but they will not win any prizes.
F. How to become part of The Rule of Three Blogfest Success:
    1. Place the Rule of Three badge on your sidebar.
  1. Post and/or tweet about the challenge in the weeks leading up to the Rule of Three. Spread the word on twitter with the Hashtag #REN3 .
  2. Throughout the blogfest, visit as many other entries as you can and give the entrants some comment love and suggestions.
We now declare the Rule of Three Blogfest open! Please visit us tomorrow for the first prompt, so you can plot the beginning of your Renaissance story following the Rule of Three!

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Renaissance: Prissy’s Story

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Day broke over the town of Renaissance, but it wasn’t the only thing that was broken that day. Not by a long shot. Three hearts were broken, one heirloom dish shattered into 789 pieces, a few legs, arms and toes, some more things…and one life. Not a life that was soon forgotten. Broken way too early.

Josh Dunning was only 24 years old when Prissy Sykes killed him. People in Renaissance who came across young Josh liked him, admired him, lusted after him (a good many), trusted him, looked up to him, wanted to be like him, and just plain out loved him. Some, more than others. Prissy Sykes loved him so much, it hurt her. It eventually hurt him, too.

How people thought about Prissy was just about the opposite. Josh was good people, did for others before he thought of himself and had been like that since he was young. He was always there to help and be a friend. Not so Prissy. She was tied up in her own little Prissy world, thinking Prissy this and Prissy that, and thinking “Why aren’t you paying attention to ME?” thoughts. Except…except… the one thing outside of PrissyWorld that she thought about most of all, when at all, was Josh Dunning.

It started out as a young girls like, then a crush, then a need, then grew into a burning want as she went into puberty overdrive. Her want became her. “How dare he love Cara! How. Dare. He!” she wailed to herself, at night, under her covers, as her hands were Josh’s hands in the dark of night, the hands she wished were there. It was on August 3oth, her twenty-second birthday, alone in bed for her 8030 days of life, and Prissy determined it was going to be her last night alone.

Day 8031, and Prissy had invited Cara out for a picnic. Cara Fleming was surprised by the invitation and was reluctant to go (she  knew Prissy was jealous of her over Josh), but it was Josh who insisted she accept. Reluctantly, she went. Josh said he’d be along later to meet up with her and then go to the End of Summer party Renaissance threw every year since the reformation of the town after The Crisis so many generations ago.

Prissy was kind, for Prissy, in the walking to the picnic grounds with Cara. By the end of the next hour, Prissy had unloaded unto Cara all of her bile, her loathing, her desire to have Josh for herself. To hell with her parents, she said. To hell with everyone in Renaissance. Josh should be hers and hers alone. The only reason Cara stayed through all of this was simple: Prissy had brought out a gun and leveled it at Cara’s heart for over a half hour.

Prissy enjoyed the power she had in her hands. This was real life power, and she relished it.

She turned her head when she heard Josh call out to them, being true to his word to come for Cara. He yelled at her when he saw the gun. “Yelling at me?”, thought Prissy. “NO!”

She turned back to Cara, gritting her teeth, and began to lift the gun as Cara had gotten up to run to Josh. Taking aim, or so she thought, she fired.

Josh dropped to the ground, blood pouring out of the bullet hole in his neck.

Cara screamed and dropped to the ground by Josh, trying to staunch the wound. She babbled and cried and yelled for help. None came. Josh died in her arms.

Prissy, watching all this unfold, lifted the gun one more time, squeezed the trigger, and the noise turned Cara around.

Prissy was true to her thoughts. Last night had been her last night in bed alone.

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Welcome to the first story in the Shared World/Town of Renaissance and the Rule of Three Writers Blog Fest.  Created with fiction writers in mind, October 2011 will see a month long blog fest/hop. The rules are being finalized now and Damyanti Biswas at  Amloki and Lisa Vooght of Flash Fiction and I (with hopefully the addition of one or two more administrators) will be posting the rules soon. Right now, click on the link above for the Rule of Three  and you will get the shared world info for the town of Renaissance.

Where the writers who join us go with the stories is their own thing. They have to have THREE main characters; we have supplied the world and will supply some prompts. Once a week the writers who sign up will add their tale-ONE main character at a time-for three weeks. On the Fourth Week: the story culminates: the three characters  lives intersect, or not, into one last tale.

If this interests you, let me know. We’ll be posting more rule info soon. Real soon. This was a tease. Hope you were, and are, intrigued.

ANY genre style. ANY time period.

FridayFaves: Flash Fiction

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One of the major benefits of joining the two blog challenges in April (A to Z Challenge and the Ultimate Blog Challenge) was in finding some amazing people along the way. Through the summer of 2011, at least, I plan to honor writers and bloggers that I have come to admire and respect for (1) their abilities and (2) their being really nice human beings.

My first is Lisa V. who writes the blog Flash Fiction. Her fiction writing is impeccable, in my book, and it is always a pleasure to read her daily (or, just about daily).  She tries her hand at all styles of writing, takes on my blog challenges (and is, IMHO, one of the best at meeting the various demands), and is a presence on Twitter (follow her @ficflash).

What amazes me about Li’s writing is how in such scarcity of words she can convey so much, so eloquently. Check out her 100 word and 30 word challenges, and see if you don’t agree.

Li has been a constant thorn in my…um, lovely presence in commenting on my stories here on Tale Spinning, as well as truly giving me what I want as a writer: honest critiques. We have corresponded here, on Twit, and through emails, and I am proud to call her a new friend.

Please give her a read, and a follow. I highly recommend her.

BTW: if you are a writer of fiction, please leave your blog/twitter information on the comments. I am really trying to find those with the passion for writing that Lisa, I and others have. You can follow me on Twit @StuStoryteller. Thanks.

A Tale of Two Awards

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It was the best of awards…A few days ago, I got TWO blog awards from two very nice bloggers.

First I got the Straight from the Heart Award from Anna Sides. Her blog can be found here: The Other Side of Anna

Anna says about herself: I am a quiet woman that every once in awhile would just like to ‘cut loose’ and be ME!

The other one was the Kreative Blogger Award from Mary Hudak-Collins on her blog: Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease.

Mary states: I am married to a wonderful man with two lovely children. In Nov. 2009, our daughter was diagnosed with food allergies and Celiac Disease. Since that week, our life has changed drastically for the better. Having a great attitude towards diet changes has made us successful with our change.

So, a huge honking THANK YOU to both ladies for these awards. Tale Spinning shall wear them with pride.

Now, From Mary, I’m supposed to reveal ten things about myself  in accepting the Kreativ Blogger one. Here we go:

I am ridding myself of toxic people in my life (just too draining); I have more CD’s, Cassettes & Albums then Ill ever listen to (again), and I still want more ’cause I love music; I am both an extrovert and an introvert; I’m amazed that people like it when I do any poetry; I really like Redheads, Then Brunettes (is that two? Yes, I’m making it two, so there!); I feel in a past life I was Scottish (no reason why); I have really ugly toes (I mean scaring children ugly); I use “OY” a lot; I like ellipses!  There…10!!
 

As to passing this on, I’m taking a cue from another blogger friend (who politely asked for no more awards, as they do take time away from what we normally post, which is fiction). She is posting, once a week, a blogger that means a lot to her, and one she wants others to get to know better. I want to put a lot of thought into this, so for now…

Thanks for all the fish!

42

and

Don’t Panic

Poll: Vote For Fave Stories *Updated

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Hello and Welcome:

I have been writing almost daily (well, I have been, but not always posting on Tale Spinning) and the responses to continue certain story lines was intense. If you have not visited here before, I created a poll to see which stories have resonated most with my readers. The links to the stories are below the poll, so if you are just discovering my work, you have a one stop page to check them out. Please take a look and post if you have any favorites you’d like to see me continue. You also can vote for up to THREE of the tales.

Yes, I have been writing since, and those will be on another poll, at a later time.

THANK YOU ONE AND ALL!!

Work In Progress (No Title),               Look at…/Epigamic,                  Thou Premonished…,

The Spenetic Tango                             Bushwhacked

Little Animal,                                        Night Abduction                       Beware of Falling Cows

Redhead Story                                       Birdsong: The Walkabout Man

Night Abduction: Jade Ruby Steampunk Adventures

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Night Abduction ©2011 `girltripped

Jade Ruby’s lips were turning blue. She had been flying high, staying out of the sensors reaches. Too much longer at this altitude and she’d freeze all over. Jade dipped her Acacia wood wings and dropped hundreds of feet. Too fast. Her breath caught in her throat where her heart was also trying to escape from. She leveled out, still above the sensors (she prayed), and hit the SteamBird 4.0 L V7 8 stroke control, sending her spiraling forward. Soon, Jade was over the rebel camp base.

Her NiteGoggles 10X fit tightly and worked better than expected. The heat signatures of Kad’s captors came into view as Jade cut the engine, and power-glided down to the copse of  trees behind their base. The wings folded up and around her back, a thick wooden armor to protect her from rear attacks. It was heavy, and not the easiest  thing to move in, but that and her Brighid leather jacket and britches, had saved her life a few times. Jade would rather live with the struggle then not live.

Jade drew her Cogswell Pepperbox 12 shot percussion revolvers out from under her jacket. Checking once again that they were fully loaded, Jade made sure  that each foot she placed did not break a twig, kick a stone, or get caught in an upraised root, sending her sprawling. Her advance was slow but sure. It took her close to three quarters of an hour to make it to the tent that had only glowing aura.  Kad’s. Jade was sure of it, checking the responsor meter that it matched.

Her best friend since childhood, Kad always got herself in trouble by doing what she always wanted to do.  Kad wanted to be friends with Jade, the Captain’s daughter, and she made it happen. Kad led Jade into more scrapes, more scoldings and more fun then Jade felt she would ever had experienced, if Kad had not come into her life. There was no way she was going to let Kad get hurt if she could help it.

Jade thumped out, on the base of the taut tent fabric, the pattern that was a secret message between the two of them: two hard beats, followed by three staccato beats. “It’s me…I am here.” Jade waited for the answer back, but instead her Kad laugh.

“Took ya long enough. Get me outta here!” Loud enough for Jade to hear. She hoped she was the only one who heard it.

Putting away one Pepperbox, Jade drew out her Bowie Outrider and sawed through the thick material. She caught a glimpse of Kad looking at her.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

The slit in the tent wall opened enough for Jade to slide through. Using the knife, she cut away at the rope bonds holding Kad prisoner against the inner tent pole. Kad stood up and stretched, stifling a “oh God it’s good to stand!” groan, and smiled. She was half a head taller then Jade. Looking slightly down, she bent over and gave her a long hard hug, and an equally long hard kiss.

Jade pushed her away, just slightly. “I missed that, but we have to get the hell out of here before the Rebs stumble in here.” She looked Kad over, mussed up and black and blue over her left eye, her lip swollen, and parts of her attire torn. “You  OK?”

A slight nod, never taking her eyes off of Jade’s, and then Kad went over to the trunk that was to the right side of the tent. “Give me your Outrider, Jade.” Jade did, and Kad had the knife point into the trunk lock and picked it open in no time flat. Handing the knife to Jade, over her shoulder with the hilt towards her, Kad opened the trunk lid.

Inside was her equipment. Her Steambird, her pistols, her Acadia wood wings, her leather jacket. Putting them on, Kad turned just as the Reb Captain, whose tent they were in, walked through the front flap.

Before he could draw a weapon or call out more then a “Wh..” Jade hit him twice with the butt of her gun, surrounded by the leather glove on her hand. The Captain went down. Jade asked “Did this bastard do anything more to you then the  eye and lip?”

Kad walked over and kicked the Reb in the face. She just looked at Jade. Finishing putting on her gear, Kad told Jade to take some of the rope that held her and to bind “that bastard” on the ground.

“We’re taking him with us, Jade. He’s one of their Caps, knows more than he should. That’s good for our side, bad for him. You ready?”

Jade starred at the heap on the ground and sorely wanted to blast a hole through his head. Without looking at Kad, she asked “You think he’ll be that much use?” Kad walked over, put her  hand over Jade’s hand that was holding the pistol, and with the other she lifted Jade’s chin. She nodded.

Putting away her Cogswell, Jade helped Kad get the Rebel out of the back slit, along the way she came, and through the copse. Springing forth their wings, locking them in place, Jade and Kad held onto the Cap between then, using harness rigging they normally use to carry parcels. It would be uncomfortable for him, and neither of them could care less.

Hoping they were far enough away from the camp, they powered up. Just as they were ready to go, they heard a commotion behind them.

“Guess we better get outta her now,” Kad said, syncing up with Jade for their launch.

Jade looked over. “Love you!”

“Same here!”

They hit the control at the same time, and soared into the sky with their “prize.”

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Author’s Note: I came across the photo that graces the top of this story at deviantART.com.  It is by a duo named girltripped, and I want to thank them for allowing me to use it. I was inspired to write SOMETHING when I first saw it. I love Steampunk, and the books of Cherie Priest. This visual just felt like something she might write about, so…it’s my “fan fiction” homage to her writing and to the picture. Hope you like it. It’s my first foray into the world of Steampunk.