Happy Sunday Publisher’s Edition

Here it is! It was a long journey and a tough one. I am a published author !

It is amazing how many people want their book in print and in their hands!

This is why self publishers need to consider publishing both:  print and eBook versions.

The Demon Chronicles

The Print Book is right here.

The Kindle Book is right here.

I have written the second volume and it is now in editing mode. The series will carry on through seven volumes. In the process of doing this, I learned some things that can help other writers who plan to self publish.

The first tip:  Go ahead and Self Publish.

Not self publishing is the biggest roadblock to self publishing. This sounds stupid, but is  actually very wise.

When a person publishes even a small book of short stories, poems, inspirations or photographs, a huge and exaggerated emotional barrier comes down for good.

The lessons are learned, the self defeat evaporates and the road to more self publishing is wide open!

 

Now I have to work on summarizing my series. This has not been easy!

It begins with three fractured, damaged and reluctant heroes who are dragged deeper and deeper into a world of love, more love, demons, stealth and crimes.

The demons are people who started role playing as demons and then forgot that they were once human. They have gone around the bend and are starting to cause a lot of havoc.

The series begins with the most shocking  murder scene in fiction, makes the reader fall in love with the great characters and hooks the reader on the twisting plots.

What is the scary part? We can’t rationalize this  grown up horror tale away.

While the people in this story are not real demons, the fake demons in this story are  real people.

Those people may live and walk amongst us, and that is enough to keep us awake at night!

Doing a series of novellas is different than putting it all into one book!

The second volume was harder because I had to refresh the reader about Volume I while carrying on with the story and adding in new characters.

Why did my characters come to love each other so much and to love with such a twist? Who are all these new people and why are they together? Did I just read that this one loves that one…and that one too?

I had to keep up with the main themes of love, more love, stealth demons and crimes that started in the first book  and will carry all the way through to the seventh book.

It is important to wrap up or continue all events, developments and characters. It is very easy to start a side story or a new character, then forget all about them! Seven Basque imps? Fallen angels? Yep. If there are demons, then those creatures are likely to be part of the mix too.

It gets important to remember every number, quantity, relationship and action, because the writer can forget exactly how much money, how many crates, why, who did what to whom,  and when who did it!

The FBI agent illegally looted an extra 24 boxes or so of evidence? Another FBI agent runs errand for the mob? Of course it can happen. The delicious task is for the writer to create a good reason why or how it happens.

Readers will not forget those details and they will not miss the mistakes, so neither should the author!

How to build a very  easy website:  This was part of my amateur book marketing and writer’s benefit project, so Here is my example.

I did not want my site to be just for hawking my book, so visitors  will find a couple of great articles on how to do a book cover and how to find a web building site!

I needed a website and kept balking at getting bogged down in such a tough project.

I found out that websites are now  as easy as setting up this blog.  Amazing.

My website is built with jimdo, which is the highest rated, but there are many other website builders. Do shop around and find the best website builder for your needs.

As always, make sure that you are dealing with a reputable site and that you actually need a set of features before you pay for anything!

Happy Sunday! I hope I have inspired at least one person to go ahead, realize that dream and get something copyrighted and published.

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A Spooky Tale: The Dead Ringers

She danced to the music of off-the-wall songs, such as “Express Yourself” and “Another One Bites The Dust”. She was a dancing star who had developed a loyal following that included mayors, A-list celebrities and godfathers. There was no personal or physical contact with the followers. There was no buying and selling of any more of her time or services. There was nothing but the dance and there was no one who could perform the dance but her.

But on one fateful, dark and stormy night, her heart was ransacked and the contents stolen by a man who was so smooth, so worldly, and so urbane that she would dance her last dance (in public, anyway).

He was not a handsome man, but he radiated heat like an acute back injury. It was obvious that he came from a good background. because his top and bottom teeth lined up perfectly with each other when he smiled. His smile was actually a frightening smile, since very few people knew the details of what he did for a living. Whenever a person became too persistent in their inquiries, he simply would flash that smile and his eyes would go very still. No one would persist after receiving such a disturbing, yet genial signal that no more information would be provided.

She danced deep into the night and studied Law during the day. Not one person who knew her could ever have put the two parts of her life together. She had been that discreet and effective in hiding one disgraceful world from the other, respectable world.  Even law enforcement could not have put her in both places on the same day. That is, no one would be able to piece it all together unless she died under suspicious circumstances and the contents of her safe deposit boxes were released.

She did not die under suspicious circumstances, though. She was just a dancer who retired early and who had a splashing success in marriage, in her law career and as a mother. Over the years, she came to be regarded as a perfect example of a woman who could balance marriage, child rearing, and a career with no failure in any part of her overall life program. She worked for a law firm that handled legal matters so esoteric and ethereal that no one could understand it all if they studied for a thousand years.

He came and went.  (It was the nature of his work, you know). He was a doting husband who never complained about the kids, the cost of this, or the interest on that. He just came and went for about a week at a time. One day, he would be gone. A few days later, he would return, behaving as if nothing special or momentous had happened while he was away.

Their lives went swimmingly and without turmoil until that dark and stormy night when a low level mob wannabe decided to track down his favorite dancer who, back in the day, would never so much as waste any spit on him. The woman danced, then she was always hustled back stage, protected by the club owner’s goons. No one got close to her if she did not want them to. The mob low life never explained how he came to believe that America was ancient Rome, where women of low standing could just be snatched and forced into a life of servitude to men.

The low life was never allowed to explain much, having died after hours of torture and in a horrible way.

After breaking into the couple’s home and attempting to have his way with the helpless woman and her children, the mob wannabe discovered his mistake. He had figured that the husband would not be part of the equation, since all of the neighbors and other locals had volunteered the information that the man wasn’t expected to be home for another three days. After suffering the consequences of such a mistake, the low life’s body was tossed into a raging wash of flood water and was not whole when it was found.

The problem with the low life’s plan was that the husband had canceled his trip. He was a contract worker who was employed by a shadowy organization. He carried out missions and worked for higher powers than anyone could comprehend or know of.  Raging storms had caused all flights to everywhere to be canceled and there was no rescheduling going on. As a result, the husband decided not to rearrange the weather, but rearranged his travel projects instead.

Thus, he happened to be at home, rewiring a new home theater system by flashlight on that night.

The mob wannabe’s subsequent “disappearance” did not bring the expected response of “who cares?”  Instead, the disappearance became the ignition source for a mob war that was destined to happen if anything happened to him. As low as he was, he was the son of a major player. The battles spread to15 cities and then infected the gangs. The battles went on for weeks, with neither side ever gaining a clear understanding of what could have possibly triggered such a war.

With the mob wars, no one was as concerned that it stayed dark or that it stayed stormy for two whole weeks.

Amazing. It was the most catastrophic weather event in a hundred and thirty five years, yet  there were so many murders and gun battles going on all over the nation that the weather was the least of the nation’s problems.

What happened to the man and the woman? They lived together for another fifty years then “moved on”.  Both of them treated the catastrophic storm as if it never happened. Both of them remembered the previous storm of its type, 135 years earlier. Those two had either experienced or created all forms of natural disasters, including the separation of the continents. They “reproduced” by stealing and rearing other people’s children.

When one body wears out, they carefully choose new bodies. They thrive in countries where people go missing by the thousands every year. Whenever they grow too old to live convincingly in one community, they move on and start new lives. In such form, they have developed the patience of the centuries, the wisdom of the very old, and the gifts of being able to “do it all over again”.

Some times, they grow tired of starting over and spend some time in the form of pure energy for a while. We call them ghosts when they are on vacation.

Once every ten years, they attend a vast reunion and meet with the millions of others like them who live among us and who have always lived among us. We know when we have encountered one of them and we never realize it. We call such encounters “mistaken identity” and move on.

The Dead Ringers are the reason behind our lingering doubt and unsettling thoughts when we think that we have seen someone who we know.

Apocalypto Posse: Part III, The End?

© Elizabeth M. Young 2010

Part One

Part Two

Apocalypto Posse: Part III, The End?

For the maximum read, play this music in another tab: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoZ4V4Ffrdc&feature=related

The next few days were like a working vacation. We reorganized our booty and used up some of our looty, clearing out empty houses, disposing of the dead and sanitizing the heck out of everything. We didn’t know what it was that we were sanitizing yet, so we went after the microbes just to be safe. It was a stupid ploy that the medicos were playing because of the dead bodies. We knew that they had seen what was trying to kill and eat us. They just would not talk about it, as if they weren’t quite sure about their suppositions yet.

It being Midsummer, we learned to take the hottest parts of the day to get some rest so we could work in the cooler evenings. We had some spectacular thunderstorms, there being a daily and constant buildup of cloud towers every day over the Sierras. One day it was so fierce that we thought the wrath of God had finally come down on us.

On the fifth day, we got notice that some jokers from the former states of Southern California and Texas were trying to take over the power grid and water systems.  They wanted everyone to pay for the privilege of letting them screw us as they had always screwed us. A hundred of us took some trips to take out the ones who were stupid enough to wind up in our area. There weren’t many of them and their greed overcame their power and their sense of reality. They got the point very quickly as they winded up dead, never to reach home again.

On the 8th day, the medicos tried to take blood from the 20 or so individuals who were now showing definite signs of change. They had grouped up and were running Tio Pepe’s restaurant. They spent their days and nights cooking some of the most fabulous food that we had ever eaten. We did not even sweat over the idea of getting infected. Perhaps it was the silly hope and stubborn resolve that they were going to be alright. There was Guatamelan, Brazilian, Bütterschnitzel, French, BBQ, Chinese, Creole and even some Morrocan food. Day after day, The Huddler’s personalities remained even and intact. Other than a rapid decline in their reeking and smelling, they were no different than the rest of us.

We made progress through the heavy list of tasks that led to setting up in our new and wonderful home. We had to keep a close eye on the children, who thought the place a wonderland of hills and creeks and hidden places. Halloween was going to be a nightmare for us and a joy for the children. We decided to corral them in an area that was boundaried by the freeway, the little schoolhouse and the monument. We were home. We were alive. We had survived.

But then the following sequence of events changed our lives into something that made us wonder why we had ever even bothered.

At 7:05 am on the 19th day, the medicos had just gotten blood from three of the Huddlers when the first one just collapsed and died. Then the second one died, and the third one went. The remaining 17 of them firmly decided that they weren’t giving up any blood and none of the shocked medicos messed with them.

Oddly, the three dead ones didn’t pop and start to ooze like the previous Huddler phases. They stayed fresh like normal dead humans.

Just as that hot mess broke out, a handful of the communications nerds freaked out, running around and yelling. They had heard or read something from the WWW that had  scared the hell out of them. It took more than a few doses of sedatives to get them to even calm down, but then they calmed down a little too much. Whatever the drama was all about, it would have to wait a couple of hours until they woke up.

We looked at their computers and listened to the HAM radios, but we heard nothing that was any more alarming than it all had ever been. We should have been more observent, but we didn’t pay enough attention. The thing that had freaked out the nerds was sitting right before us, as obvious as our eyes could see…and we didn’t even notice it.

The medicos rushed the Huddler-Lite and Communications Nerd blood over to their temporary labs so they could take a look at it all under the stereozoom scopes. They wanted to test it for all sorts of things and to figure out what the heck was going on. An hour passed and the medicos didn’t show up to tell us anything, so we took a hike up there to see what was taking so long. If this was another deadly phase of whatever was trying to kill and eat us all, we needed to start on some protocols. It was a stomach dropping time. We dreaded getting any answers. After so much hope and so much success…

We approached their labs with extreme caution. It was way too quiet in there. After securing our entry, we got to the lab and…everyone was sitting around, looking as if their grandmother had grabbed them, tried to stuff apples in their mouths and to put them into the oven.

They told us in dead and dry voices that the latest phase of Huddlers, the ones who had been cooking up a storm at Tio Pepe’s, were a new phase allright. Their blood was packed with nanobots. Nanobots! The most killing event since the dinosaur extinction was because of nanobots!

So that meant that the earlier phases of the Huddlers were not bacterium or viruses, but were rudimentary nanobots that were designed to be breathed in, then to enter the bloodstream through the lungs. From the lungs, they were programmed to get to the brain and to kill the host by taking the brain apart at the molecular level. The twist was that something or someone decided to enhance the nanobots, making them capable of evolving as they replicated and spread from human to human.

We all knew this of course, but the medicos had just discovered something new: the nanobots were now able to communicate with each other inside the host and to have the hosts communicate with other hosts. The human host was the computer screen, the earphones, the microphones, the antenna…all in their own minds. The result was that our twenty Huddlers had been communicating silently not only with each other but with other Huddlers for an indeterminate distance. It all might have been a worldwide network or it all might have been confined to just those few.

We just didn’t know. So we studied the possibility of just killing them all. That was when the medicos just threw up their hands and said “Don’t worry about it.” We instantly wanted to know what the hell that meant, but were interrupted by the crew down at the Communications Nerds headquarters. They were waking up and talking crazy. So we ran down there, hoping to not find out what the disturbing news was.

No luck, it was disturbing. It was so simple. So simple. And we all had been missing it for weeks. One computer geek figured it out by accident. He had noticed that the “on” light on his $20,000 laptop was off, meaning that either the light had burned out or that the equipment was broken. He took his laptop apart and found it full of gray dust. He cleaned it all up and put the the laptop back together. It worked fine.

Except for one problem. The “dust” was the former innards of the laptop. Something had eaten the innards and turned them all to dust. But the operator had, for weeks,  still been working the web like it was 1999! There was Google, NASA, all of it. He was getting e-mail and twitter messages…from equipment that had dust for innards! Actually, it had all been going on for real, but the computer had nothing to do with it. The equipment was all just props to make us all feel comfortable.

When the rest of the group checked the situation out, they realized that they had been communicating, but in a whole new way that was not anything that they comprehended.  Their equipment appeared to work as it always had, but had been doing so long after the innards had been eaten and replaced with black dust. Examination of one sample of the dust indicated that it was not dust. It was all nanobots. A whole world of nanobots of all types, shapes, sizes and colors. There were tool bots, battery bots, construction bots, memory bots….all within a dash of dust the size of a pinhead.

We backed out of there and went back to the labs to tell the medicos that the computer nerds had not been really contacting the web for who knows how long. We told them that they must have been hallucinating for weeks. The medicos were aware of the problem, having finished their testing. They’d known about it for a while. Finally, over the next hour or so they told us what had been happening for quite some time…

After we heard it all was when we decided to just get on with our lives, because there was nothing else and nothing better to do.

You see, the nano bots were the disease that was supposed to kill humanity, not bacterium or viruses. The first phase, the phase that the Shit Eaters set off involved nanobots that could eat brain, chop up red blood cells or dissolve organs. They were supposed to kill  most of the human population, then self destruct. Only the nanobots somehow managed to work with, not against the humans, adapting and reconfiguring themselves in order to keep the host viable, healthy, thinking and alive, rather than dying and deteriorating.

Their first attempts at human/machine reconciliation resulted in people who went crazy and violent, dying before they could go too far. But the ‘bots figured that all out and integrated with the brain to heighten intelligence, eventually even fixing pre-existing problems and improving people’s thinking.

At first, the nanobots didn’t know how to keep the flesh and body functioning, and this is why Huddlers stank. They were actually well decomposed by the time that they actually died. The next phases involved keeping the body and flesh viable for longer and longer periods while improving communications between humans. Thus, the Huddlers became less smelly, got along better and had less and less change of mood, personality and affect. All of humanity, by that time, was an integrated, thinking and unified entity.

And this latest phase knocked us over. The latest phase made the Huddlers practically normal and undetectable, able to seamlessly interface with machine and human alike because they were both.

They were both human and machine.

Both human and machine.

THEY WERE US.

WE WERE THE LATEST PHASE OF HUDDLER. ALL OF US. NO ONE HAD ESCAPED OR WAS LEFT UNCHANGED.

AND WE SMELLED GREAT.

And now, 3,000 years after the Great Nanobot Transition, we are making great progress in our space travels. We have a regular schedule of ships going back and forth to Mars, where the major cities are now well populated and are producing incredible new products for trade with our new customers in the alternate universes. The Earth is well protected and restored to its natural wildness and beauty.

And the Apocalypto Posse will always ride, because life in the alternate universes is not as friendly as people believe it to be.

Fini, for now

Xenonlit’s Novel: The first three chapters

THE ONE THING

 
 
 
PROLOGUE

 
 
Chapter 1 is HERE
Chapter 2 is HERE

It is an early summer evening. The light and heat will linger in the tiny cul-de-sac neighborhood. Bright figures are skating, thrashing, sprinting, hiding and squealing. They are children who are plotting to make this perfect time of day last forever.

The cul-de-sac is a lively remnant of finer times. The curved street is lined with restored Victorian houses. They are lined up like grand old matrons who have dressed themselves in their finest foliage and who wait for the appreciation of those who adore them.

The carefully restored homes and ancient landscaping provide a mystical world where no one questions the sudden appearance and dissolution of wildernesses, palaces, spaceships and ancient forests. A child can be a princess or an alien, an African Queen or a ninja warrior.

A handful of older children are trying to be cool and sophisticated. They are too young to be allowed to wander out of earshot of their aggressive guardians, but they are too old to play stupid children’s games. They discuss tweets and texts and clothes and enemies. They pretend to know what sex is all about. They have no clue, even in this age of prime time virtual pornography.

In Oakland, California, where it is assumed that they are nothing more than racial statistics, the little ones belie those assumptions during this slice of perfect time. They only have their imaginations, instead of television or the computer, to work with.

The teenagers who do know some things about sex are sequestered in bedrooms, struggling with quadratic equations, listening to forbidden music, talking on their cell phones and practicing for the band. A few pioneers are making out, getting very close to the real thing.

There are watchful women and men, who wash cars, sip coffee and beer, clip overgrown bushes and gossip. A few relax on the front porches that are attached to some of the homes. They play with infants and toddlers, discussing whatever are in the news and whoever is in the playoffs.

Gradually, the air cools. The street empties. Families sit down to dinner tables that are laden with rice and beans, roasted chicken and artisan bread, green salad and cold drinks. Dinner is a never ending battle between small, crazy dinner guest and large, tired host. The topic of S-J-C (Summer School, Jobs or Chores) prompts surly teenagers to provide such enlightening responses as “nothing” and “Yeah, I did it already”.

Mischievous and competitive younger siblings pipe up, loudly providing increasingly surrealistic details about their day. They use the resulting distraction to remove offending food items from their plates without actually ingesting them.

In some houses, there is tension. Money problems. Difficult teenagers. In some houses, there is laughter. Drooling babies put on the floor shows. Dad’s lousy sense of humor gets a workout. In most cases the humor gets the tension under control.

After the sounds of clanking dishes, of beeping computers and televisions, of ringing phones, of yelling parents, of howling babies, of splashy baths, of the thumping of feet and the squeaking of bedsprings, there is relative calm. The house lights gradually go out. The sweet neighborhood settles in for another night.

A van rolls into the cul-de-sac and stops. There is no sound. The engine is not running. Inky wraiths emerge and spread like a disease through the neighborhood. There are eight of them, each one making his way to a darkened home with impossible silence.

A second van arrives and several more dark entities emerge. Several more come in by foot, rapidly making their way to the rear of the houses. All are dressed in black clothing, baseball caps, athletic shoes and anoraks. The letters “F.B.I” are stenciled on the backs of the anoraks.

There is information about this neighborhood that can be obtained from patient observation, official files and computer databases. The wraiths know every fact of life in the cul-de-sac. They know where every person is sleeping. They know incomes, ages and vehicle serial numbers. They know purchasing habits. They know how well (or poorly) the kids are doing in school. They know who owns weapons and they know where it is that those weapons are located.

When all of the intruders are in place, someone blows a piercing whistle. Each and every doorway easily gives way to carefully planted mini-charges. Men pour into the homes, through rooms, up stairways.

Angry shouts, pitiful pleas for help, and sharp orders are the only sounds as the unprepared occupants are shocked out of their sleep. There are no shrieking alarms. No one is worried about the silent alarms. These are all serviced by one company. That company made a special offer to the entire neighborhood a few months ago…

Because these are uniformed men who are apparently from the FBI, no occupant, not even the men who work in law enforcement, tries to reach for a weapon or to put up resistance. Within seconds, it is quite obvious that something is horribly wrong. There is no gunfire, only slight spitting sounds. The few occupants who are not killed instantly are horrendously wounded, yet still unable to accept what is going on. The screams and cries decrease until there is only the hiss and spit of the silenced weapons.

The dreadful spitting sounds go on for a wile as the men comb every room, locating and killing every occupant. When their task in complete and every resident of the cul-de-sac is dead or mortally wounded, the men begin to search for flammable items. Paint thinner, lawn mower gasoline and rubbing alcohol is all put in the center of the first floor of every house, along with the bodies of the murdered occupants.

Again, sound pierces the ragged night. It is the whistle. Simultaneously, one horrible, volatile mound in each house is ignited. The men flood out of the houses and into the waiting vans. Within three minutes, forty men and four vans are on the I-80 freeway, heading toward the Sacramento Valley.

It takes thirty minutes for fire engines to arrive at the blazing cul-de-sac due to the strange coincidence of several abandoned cars that were blocking the street that leads to the neighborhood.

© Edith Rene Allen 1998