Scars of Lost Innocence

– By Adam Wilby * This is an excerpt from a short story I’m sort of working on, the ultimate object being it’ll be one of several to make it’s way into a book. Ashley ran excitedly down the stairs and down the hallway. As she rounded a corner she nearly collided with her Aunt Jane who was coming the other way, her arms laden with a basket of laundry. “Slow down Ashley, anyone would think the devil was chasing you,” said Jane with a smile. Ashley ignored her, instead waving a photo she had found up in the attic in her aunt’s face. “Is this you auntie?” Jane looked at the photo and her smile faded, dog-eared and partially faded yellow with age it portrayed two girls stood side-by-side on the edge of a cornfield. “I assume you have been up in the attic again?” said Jane rhetorically, her voice almost toneless now. “Did I do something wrong?” asked Ashley. “Not at all, it’s just that I haven’t seen that photo in such a long time”. Ashley pointed at the girl on the left, “That’s me right there”. “Who is the other girl?” Jane paused and looked away for a moment before returning her attention to the photo. “Well once upon a time she was the Princess...

Book Review – Under the Dome by Stephen King

. . How I can finish this book, Under the Dome (1074 pages), before I can finish The Stand (1141 pages), when I started the Stand one year ago, and Under the Dome three weeks ago is beyond me, but it’s true. Under the Dome reads like a season of 24. The book opens with a series of tragedies that initially befall the residents of the small Maine town of Chester’s Mill, and lopes along, downing one domino of tragedy after the other, until… Whammo! What happens? Well, you’ll have to read the book for that. King populates this novel with many characters. So many, in fact, as a budding writer, I find it intimidating. I think the more I study writing, the more intimidated I get when I look at the minefield of cliche I must traverse in order to get to the inside of ONE character, much less twenty of them. King may not flush all the cliche from his population, but does he have to? In a town like Chester’s Mill? It’s believable that people would live by them. I wasn’t distracted by Big Jim’s H3, nor by Barbie’s military kick-ass a la Reese from the Terminator. The characters are fun. They fit the bill. They are reachable and understandable to everyone, and no one has to tread through a mound of rich metaphor to get the point. Sometimes that’s just what I need to read, and I am so happy King is there to provide. The Plot involves a fun thought experiment. (I personally LOVE thought experiments like this) What would happen if … a large indestructible dome suddenly enclosed an entire town, completely separating it from the rest of the world in every way (except, for some odd reason, sound and radio-waves pass through it with no problem, and air and water can trickle...

Latest Challenge Winner – Tantra Bensko

Tantra Bensko wins! . Write about the Witching Hour -by Tantra Bensko . . Midnight came and went many times today. I have never experienced this before. I knew no one was looking when I started turning my head around like an owl to see all the midnights lining up around me. One started speaking to me. Come. Come this way. Another started speaking. Come this way! It was like when my husband and I would spin our son around on a swivel chair and then both call him to run to us in different directions, and watch him fall over. Midnight was playing. And so it was time. Time for something. A little test of what different possibilities could be like in different repeating times. I gave myself a kiss. On the arm. I petted my ankle. I caressed my face. All in different midnights. I was trying to learn to remember what it was like to feel adored, touched because of being beautiful. My only option was myself. If I did something nice for my skin in many midnights at once, would there come a point at which all of them would hit me simultaneously? I liked the linearity of the repetition, but am a big fan of the non linear. And being touched sweetly all at once in many places by myself was sounding really fun. I ran my hand through my hair. I pulled my toes. I felt along the line of my hip, with my hand cupped, feeling the tautness of the shape. I traced the edges of my lips. I felt so loved, and had been so lonely for long, longing for touch, I was ecstatic when suddenly, all the midnights I had just participated in collapsed in on themselves from the weight, and I became like a Picasso painting. All directions at...

The Mentor

The Mentor -By Adam Wilby Below us the group of people left the building right on time and began to walk up the street, their usual route would eventually bring them directly past us. From beside me I heard the voice of my mentor, “Do as I do, act when I act”. Always the same words for as long as I could remember. On the day we had first met he’d introduced himself as Patroclus, addressing me only as Diomedes from that point on. Of all the kills I’d made with Patroclus at my side I remembered one the most vividly, the first of which had been my initiation. I had been sixteen at the time, in a crowded pub on a Saturday night nobody have given me a second glance when I cleared the empty glasses from the table, a simple sleight of hand trick being sufficient to poison one of the pints of beer on the table moments before it was seized and gulped back. He had brown shoulder length hair and a broad northern accent as I recalled, ironically the conversation topic had been something along the lines of future plans. I found out later that he’d been the boyfriend of some rich heiress and didn’t have the intelligence to keep his trousers zipped up without bragging about it. Naturally enough word had quickly got back to her. He’d probably heard the phrase “beware a woman scorned” a dozen times before without thinking it would be instrumental in his death. Even before the poison had started to take effect we were long gone like shadows in the night. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the trigger finger of Patroclus tighten as made the first shot as he done many times before, a half-second later I copied the action and seemingly as one the...

The Queen of Cups

Hey guys! This is MY very first showcase on my VERY own website! I hope you like it: The Queen of Cups – by Lori Moritz First Session – I see what I know. What do you see? The pretty voice wants to soothe me. Make me like her. I don’t like her. I don’t like anything. The pretty voice is supposed to help me. I forget what the owner of the voice looks like. A generic woman. Immemorial. Isn’t that amazing? I can give her one thing, though… she has a pretty voice. All you need in this field, I suppose. When my daughter begged me to come, I resisted. I can’t be hypnotized. I don’t trust anyone. I don’t even like my daughter, how could I like this girl – this hypno-therapist. I came because my daughter thinks something on the inside is plugging up the ducts of my love flow. The offensive plug is lodged so far down the pipe, I need guidance to get it unstuck. I spat into the sink. To hear of it! There never was a love duct. Love is missing in me. It always was. So no therapy could magically bring it back. I came here to prove that to her. I thought – so wound up in a mental vice grip of negativity – that I would see only blackness. But wouldn’t you know it. Something comes to mind. Look around and tell me what you see… Fine! “A kitchen.” It isn’t my kitchen, though. Instead of walnut, “The cabinets are white. The counter-tops are tiled in indigo blues.” It’s much bigger than mine. “With an island.” I always wanted an island. “And everything is clean. Pristine.” My kitchen has old wine stains on the counter. Sticky goo on the stove. No island, and absolutely no blue. But something is...

Using Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration – A writing exercise that’s worth it!

Alright. Sure. Maybe it sounds strange… of course it does. But Tarot DOES have its uses outside of predicting the future and personal insight. If you find yourself stuck, with no inspiration, in the dreaded state of Writer’s Block, get yourself a tarot deck. Here’s the exercise: If you want, you can light some candles and dim the lights. (LOL) No really. You can. Then… Shuffle the deck. Pick a card. If you are a tarot expert already you can skip the next step. Read the tarot book or look up the meaning of the card on the internet. (You can find the meaning of the cards for free on many websites, but most decks come with explanations.) Apply the aspect of this card to any aspect of your writing you are having troubles with… Character… plot… story idea… you name it… This is rich. Let me illustrate the process with my own experience: I did this tonight (YES TONIGHT!). No candles, but the light was dim. I shuffled my perfectly ordered deck (which my friend Jennifer informed me was a no-no in regards to Tarot. I was embarrassed about it and blamed it on my German blood. No really. I ordered my cards because I was worried I was missing a few. And because I am a little obsessive compulsive, but I digress…) I pulled the Queen of Cups. It turns out that the Queen of Cups is a mother figure. A nurturer. A great wife, a great mother, someone in balance with feminine home structure…. it goes on, and gets deeper, but this is not a Tarot lesson. I sat back and thought about it. An idea formed. What if there was a mother who loved so much, and was so nurturing and full of love, that she smothered all those she cared for. I mean literally...

Online Writing Courses (that are worth it!)

Hey folks! I’m a home school teacher and after school tutor by profession… so good courses mean a lot to me. I’ve been scrounging around the internet for three years trying to find good online courses and forums. So far, I would say only two programs were worth it. Here’s my 2¢: UCLA Extension Writers’ Program There’s not enough good I can say about these courses. UCLA offers live courses on their campus that generally meet once a week. I’ve never been to one of these. But what I love most about UCLA is their extensive online catalog of courses. They cover all genres of writing, including TV and movie scripts. They have accomplished authors on their team of instructors. The online format consists of Blackboard, a user friendly course and bulletin board system. They also have a very friendly team of counselors that will promptly reply to any questions or concerns you may have. Trust me, I’ve emailed them… A LOT. They offer a Certificate Program in Writing, which I have signed up for, and have almost completed. It will help me in my application for a Masters degree in Fine Arts when I apply in 2011. Sign up early! Enrollment is limited to about 14 or 15 students. I will leave it up to you to check out the catalog for a list of courses they offer (not only in writing, BTW!). For now, I’ll give a little summary of the courses I’m currently taking and have taken in the past. Past Courses Creative Writing: Short Story (Online) (Fall 2007) This course can be taken for UCLA college credit (a nice plus!). This class introduced me to one of my favorite books on writing fiction: Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Each week, we read a chapter of the book, a story that illustrated...

Blood Rain

Blood Rain – by Adam Wilby I hated the rain. I hadn’t always felt this way. I vividly remember the day that I did. It was August 23rd 2008 when everything changed. I looked into the face of the man I had just punched. Blood was dripping from his nose, for his own part he was staring with an expression of disbelief at the claret puddle in the palm of his hand. The people stood closest to us had fallen silent, out of the corner of my eye I could see most of them were biting their lips; the odd few of course were clearly amused at what they saw at some impromptu entertainment. “Do I look like some cheap tart to you?” I asked the man rhetorically. If I hadn’t been so angry I might have been incredulous that he appeared so surprised. I had been sat at a table near the bar with one eye on the door while I waited for Stella to arrive. That evening the two of us had planned to meet here for a couple of drinks before moving on to a nightclub just down the road. Consequently I had gone out that morning and bought myself the red dress I had seen earlier that week when using the shopping centre as a shortcut to work. He’d walked over and asked if I wanted to dance. If Stella hadn’t once again kept me waiting I would probably have declined his offer with a smile and the false promise to catch him later. As it was I had grown bored of sitting by myself. In any case I didn’t see the harm, as the pub was less than a mile from my flat, while I wasn’t exactly one of the regulars, I was confident that if anything untoward happened someone who knew me would...

Tell me what to read!

There are sooooo many wonderful books to read. In fact, I have at least fifty novels on my list of books to read. Not that I really need it, but PLEASE, tell me what more I should read. If you add a reason why I should read it, that’s a plus… 😉

The Punch and Judy Show

THE PUNCH AND JUDY SHOW – by Adam Wilby Judy heard the keys rattle in the lock as Punch let himself into the flat they had shared together for the past two and a half years. She had never liked the flat much, situated as it was directly above the record shop where Punch worked during the day, it was also located near the two main nightclubs in the town centre. Judy had lost count of the number of times she had been woken up during the night by people who apparently couldn’t handle their drink as they staggered, shouted and swore loudly on the way home. It was small wonder that when Judy climbed out of bed at eight every morning she had bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. Even so she was never so tired as not to know that Punch would return to the flat almost precisely at noon every day for his hour long lunch break, in keeping with their established routine Judy always made sure there was a salad on the dining table waiting for him. Punch had made his feelings clear on this as he took his diet and fitness very seriously, just one of the examples being the five mile run he took every day after work meant he didn’t have an inch of fat on him. This being, if Judy was to be honest with herself, one of the reasons why she had felt an attraction to him so soon after a mutual friend had introduced them. As the shop closed at 6pm it meant that Punch would, almost as regular as clockwork, return home perhaps an hour afterward. While he was out Judy generally kept herself busy as there was usually something to occupy her attention. Indeed over the course of just over two years of living in...

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