More Rough Work


More Rough Work

by Adam Huddleston

Here is the next scene from last week’s submission.

Several rats scampered in front of Jack’s cart as he wheeled it behind the tiny shack.  Before he had even rounded the corner, a rough voice growled at him from inside.

“You better have had a good day, Boy, or this whip is gonna drink tonight!”

The hairs on the back of the young man’s neck stood out and he flinched.  He had suffered Carson’s beatings for several years, and unless he was blessed with a miracle from the royal court, he would continue to; possibly until his miserable life ended and a new slave took his place.

“The day was profitable, sir.  I nearly sold out of the jelly-fruits.  The middle of the day was too hot to-”

“Shut your mouth, whelp! I took a trip into town today to witness your fine vending skills.  All I saw you doing was eyeing the little tart across from you!”

Jack’s face reddened and he took a half-step towards his master.

“Oh?  So the little spit wants to fight me?  You forget your place, but that’ll soon be remedied.”

Carson grabbed a thick, leather whip from a hook on the wall and a fireplace poker that had been resting in the hut’s modest hearth.  He took a threating step toward his slave and held the weapons up.  Jack could see the poker’s red-hot tip reflected in Carson’s eyes.

“Which shall it be?  Leather or fire?”

Jack lowered his head and backed up until he bumped up against the door.

“My…apologies, sir.  I meant no offense.  I know my place, I do.”

Carson lowered the items for a brief moment, then rushed forward with them raised.  Jack spun and ducked, at the same moment grasping the doorknob and twisting it fervently.  Carson slammed into him and the pair went sprawling out onto the front yard.

The poker landed in a dry patch of grass and in an instant, the lawn was ablaze.  Carson jumped on top of his slave and began choking him with hands that were seemingly too large.  Jack’s eyes bulged from their sockets.  A loud crack came from behind the struggling pair.

“The hut,” Jack gurgled through his ever-tightening throat.

Carson turned his head to see his home going up in flames. He jumped off of his victim and stood, looking in amazement as the shack and all of his belongings were destroyed.

Jack slowly rose to a pair of feet that were beyond wobbly. With his master’s attention turned elsewhere, he took his once chance to escape.  Stumbling off into the darkness, Jack headed for the woods on the other side of the dirt road.  With any luck, he might make it to Mary’s house before collapsing.

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A Good Saturday


Outtakes 344

 

A Good Saturday

By Cait Collins

 

Last Saturday a new coffee company opened across from my office.  They had a special going—any medium coffee was $1.00. I decided to support the new business in the neighborhood. So I left home early to get in line for a white chocolate mocha.  When I got to the window the barrister handed me my coffee and said that another company had paid for the first 100 cups of coffee. My coffee was paid for.  Now a dollar cup of coffee doesn’t seem like much, but just the idea of someone doing something nice for a bunch of people really made my day.

It made me think that we all should find ways to make someone’s day.  Writers have opportunities to give back to the next generation of authors.  Schools have mentoring opportunities, kids after school programs might need story readers, judge a youth writing contest, or sit with a young person and teach him to read.  Kids need adults to help them grow and blossom.  They could use a high five when they write their first poem or story.  And we need them to remind us of all the people who helped us develop our talents.

Just an hour, a Big Chief tablet, a pen could mean more that we imagine. So pay it forward and mentor a kid.

Beatrix Potter – self-published author


Beatrix Potter funded the first print run of 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Now 45 million copies have been sold around the world.

She also created and patented a Peter Rabbit doll which led to stationary, tea sets, wallpaper, blankets, art books, and figurines. This self-published author is considered the first to make use of the commercialization of her characters.

Excerpt from “The Love Affair”


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Excerpt from “The Love Affair”

By Nandy Ekle

Jose was really her perfect match. His cream-colored skin never changed and his dark eyes always showed her reflection back to her. The reflection of herself she saw in those deep gorgeous mirrors was beautiful. She giggled as she thought about his weight. Sometimes he was pretty hefty, and sometimes he was slim. But he was always the most wonderful sight for her eyes, especially on Super Bowl Sunday each year.

She straightened the front of her floral print chiffon dress and adjusted the sleeves around the upper part of her arms. Dabbing on a spray of cologne, she checked to make sure her teeth weren’t wearing her lipstick. Yes, the age showed in her face, but she could live with a little maturity. Bryan never seemed to notice; Jose would love it.

She flounced down the stairs and saw her beefy husband looking over the nest she had built for him.

“What kinda’ sammiches?”

“Bologna. I know what you like.”

“Sure do. Thanks, babe.” He grabbed one bread triangle and bit half of it, chewing with a glop of mustard on his chin. Snagging a bottle from the cooler next to him, he plopped down and wielded the remote like a scepter.

“’at’s a good sammich,” he said around his chewing. A soggy piece of bread flew out of his mouth and hit her shoulder.

“Thanks,” she answered through gritted teeth while brushing the goop away.

He swallowed. “Sorry,” he said without looking at her. He pointed the remote control at the television like a king commanding his loyal subjects.

Another Rough Bit of Work


Another Rough Bit of Work

by Adam Huddleston

 

I didn’t have anything prepared to submit this week, so I went with a few paragraphs of a rough draft I’m working on.

Jack sold assorted fruits and vegetables from a little stand on the village square.  Mary sold bread from her own stand across from him.  Although the two had never met (such interactions were strictly forbidden without permission from their parents) he just knew that she was going to be his wife someday.

“We got sweet jelly-fruits here! Crispy, juicy water peas,” he barked to the small, early-morning crowd meandering about the town center.  One older fellow looked his direction, seemed to consider for a moment, and turned away.

“Hot, fresh rolls!  Honey-baked loafs,” Mary suggested to the same group.  Two ladies in the crowd made a bee-line for her stand, reaching into their leather satchels as they walked.

Jack propped his elbows on the hard, splintery wood and watched through half-closed eyes as the love of his life sold her wares and the customers walked away happily munching a couple of glazed pastries.

A little boy, no older than five, tottered up to Jack’s stand and stood there silently.  His eyes widened as he looked over the selection of garden foods.  A grimy little hand slowly reached out for a melon but stopped short when he saw Jack’s eyes watching him.  Jack frowned melodramatically, then tossed the child the piece of fruit he’d been drooling over.  The tot took a large bite of it and ran off at a gallop.

“I saw that,” a voice came to him from across the square.

Jack’s head popped up and he saw Mary grinning at him.  His face turned the shade of the melon he had just donated to the little boy.

“Oh!  Yeah, well, I have plenty of them in stock, so…” he trailed off.

“Those melons are worth five durons a piece.  I can’t imagine your master would be too happy knowing you’re giving away his produce.”

Jack looked at her closely, trying to gauge if she was pulling his leg. Her smile broke into a large guffaw of laughter and he relaxed, laughing back in return.  He reached into his front pocket, pulled out a handful of durons, and dropped them into the clay pot resting on the back corner of his stand.  Then he pressed his index finger to his lips in a hushing gesture.

“Mums the word,” Mary said.

Hours passed.  The sun, which had shown directly into Jack’s eyes that morning, made its slow circuit across the sky and now faced Mary.  Just like their king, even the heavens seemed impartial in their cruelty.

Mary pulled a large umbrella from the darkness under her cart.  Straining under the weight, she gave an awkward attempt at attaching it to the front of the stand.

 

Self-Publishing facts


7 of the top 100 bestselling eBook authors were self-published titles.

50 of the top 250 bestselling eBook authors were self-published indies.

121 of the top 500 bestselling eBook authors were self-published indies.

Source: 4Q/2017 Data Guy http://authorearnings.com

Excerpt from “The Love Affair”


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Excerpt from “The Love Affair”

By Nandy Ekle

Jose was really her perfect match. His cream-colored skin never changed and his dark eyes always showed her reflection back to her. The reflection of herself she saw in those deep gorgeous mirrors was beautiful. She giggled as she thought about his weight. Sometimes he was pretty hefty, and sometimes he was slim. But he was always the most wonderful sight for her eyes, especially on Super Bowl Sunday each year.

She straightened the front of her floral print chiffon dress and adjusted the sleeves around the upper part of her arms. Dabbing on a spray of cologne, she checked to make sure her teeth weren’t wearing her lipstick. Yes, the age showed in her face, but she could live with a little maturity. Bryan never seemed to notice; Jose would love it.

She flounced down the stairs and saw her beefy husband looking over the nest she had built for him.

“What kinda’ sammiches?”

“Bologna. I know what you like.”

“Sure do. Thanks, babe.” He grabbed one bread triangle and bit half of it, chewing with a glop of mustard on his chin. Snagging a bottle from the cooler next to him, he plopped down and wielded the remote like a scepter.

“’at’s a good sammich,” he said around his chewing. A soggy piece of bread flew out of his mouth and hit her shoulder.

“Thanks,” she answered through gritted teeth while brushing the goop away.

He swallowed. “Sorry,” he said without looking at her. He pointed the remote control at the television like a king commanding his loyal subjects.

Spring Cleaning


Outtakes 339

Spring Cleaning

By Cait Collins

 

I always hated to see my mom bring out the buckets, mops, brooms, and garbage bags. I knew it must be spring and mom was going to do the spring cleaning. My sisters and I had a part in the ritual. It was a time when we were supposed to dump the trash and really clean our rooms. When mom deemed the house clean, we could step back; inhale the scents of cleaners, furniture polish and sun-dried linens. (We didn’t have a dryer, so all the laundry was hung on the clothes line in the backyard.)

Writers need to do some spring cleaning. W need to take time to assess our accomplishments and our failures, toss out expired ideas and rejected pages, and clear the clutter from our minds. Here’s where I plan to start.

Go through the boxes of old manuscripts and unfinished projects. Keep the pieces that have potential and toss the dead-weight.

Clean out the office supplies. Yes, there’s a lot of junk there. Donate or trash electronics that I no longer use.

Clean up my attitude. If I’m not writing, it’s my fault. I can’t blame it on others or on circumstances.

Make time to write. No more “I work long hours at the office and just can’t look at the computer one more minute.” This is an excuse not a reason.

Understand that others are having difficult times and be encouraging instead of dismissing their importance in the grand scheme of things.

Remember this is a business and not a hobby. Reject my “It’s okay if I never publish. Just finishing a project is an accomplishment.” Really?

Dump negative thoughts. I can do this.

Once the trash is tossed out, commit to keeping my writer’s life clutter-free. Junk and trash are not conducive to success. Besides, I hate spring cleaning.

“The front door to your business is never closed. It’s open 24/7, 365.”


“The front door to your business is never closed. It’s open 24/7, 365.”

Natalie Bright

 

Book Review: RISE OF THE YOUPRENEUR by Chris Ducker (4C Press, 2018) “The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Future-Proof Business.”

The above quote from Ducker’s book really caused me to pause and think about my Indie Author business. Our books are always for sell. Every social media outlet should act as a funnel directing people to your store–your website. It’s open all the time and is available to people all over the world. Loaded with tons of insight into today’s world of business, this is just one of many jewels you’ll find in the powerful guide for entrepreneurs.

Social Media has changed the way we do business, how we market ourselves and our products, how we relate to our readers, and this book provides you with timely help for rethinking your personal business. It’s not just for Indie Authors. Any business owner in any industry or career path would benefit from this information and examples for plans for action. There are solid tasks that you can put into practice now. I have marked-up this book with sticky notes, highlighted “to-dos”, and reprinted sections for quotes to hang on my bulletin board.

Add this one to your writing reference library.