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Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Burning Emblem- Flash Fiction

lanterns
photo credit: lanterns via photopin (license)
Angela’s hands slapped against the cold steel wall as she ran headlong into cobblestone alleyway. Shoving away from the wall, she barely managed to evade the light from her pursuers lanterns.

Just a little farther!

She turned down another alleyway to her right just to be met with total darkness.

Wait, what?

Angela’s breath froze in her throat as she peered into the inky blackness in front of her.

A dead end!

She whirled around. Two men illuminated by a single lantern now blocked her only means of escape.

“This’ll teach you to run!” A voice behind her jeered.

Angela heard the swish of the rope seconds before it coiled itself around her legs and pulled taunt sending her sprawling to the ground. Rough hands surrounded and restrained her despite her best efforts to yank herself free.

“Check her ankle for the mark!” A venomous voice commanded from the darkness.

The lantern bobbed closer, allowing Angela to recognize the rough twisted faces of the very men who had burned her parents’ estate to the ground just weeks ago. A bearded man snatched back the cuff of her stocking revealing the royal shield and burning arrow emblem branded into the side of her ankle. Angela tried to twist her foot free from his grasp only to be met with pain in her arms as the men at her sides tightened their grip further.

“Don’t let the criminal escape!” The venomous voice spat.

“It’s her, Argyle.” The bearded man announced.

“Congratulations men! This flailing cur has a price on her head that outweighs any of the traitors we have caught this month! Bag her up, we’ll deliver this one back to Urshelon tonight!”

Urshelon? The platforms must be active again if they’re taking me off planet! Angela’s mind wheeled in alarm.

“I’m no traitor! I’ve lived on Erasted all my life!” Angela shouted.

One of the brute’s slapped a film across her mouth sealing in her protests while they pulled a scratchy burlap bag over her entire body. A hiss and sting in her arm told her that she wouldn’t be conscious for the trip.


Angela woke on the floor of a dimly lit room. The man with the beard shredding the last of the ropes around her legs with a sharp dagger. Angela eyed the dagger warily.

“Good, you’re awake!” The man whispered.

His trembling hands hurried to cut through the ropes binding her ankles and wrists.

“You don’t have long. The clothes on the chair may not be in fashion for a lady of your station, but they will help hide your identity well enough. Leave through the window, hurry and you won’t be noticed!”


The bearded man yanked Angela to her feet and pushed her in the direction of a chair on which a mans tunic and pants lay. The man left quickly and a key clicked in the lock. Angela looked back at the pants and beyond those, the cracked open window beyond which lay her freedom.

500 word Flash Fiction
In the world of Sword Of The White Knight

Friday, March 27, 2015

Do Aliens Exist?- Flash Fiction

PhoTones Works #2996
photo credit: PhoTones Works #2996 via photopin (license)
“How can you be a Christian and not believe that aliens could exist!”

Crystal remembered rolling her eyes at her brother’s sermon. He was a man of great faith, the leader of the Jupiter station congregation. She, well she just knew that she believed that God existed and didn’t really want to think very much further about it all.

She stepped closer to the inhuman drawings carved into, and covering the entire length of the cave wall, every step sending tiny billows of lunar dust rippling away from her.

How come?” She remembered demanding in defiance. “The bible doesn’t say anything about aliens!”

The bible doesn’t say anything about airplanes either, or space ships, now does it!” Jacob had argued back.

He knew she would just see that as him deflecting from her comment.

You know what I mean Jacob! Be serious. If God created aliens why have we not seen them?”

Crystal, we aren’t supposed to know why God does what he does. Perhaps the aliens are so far out there that they can’t reach us. Perhaps God wants them to develop without us influencing them. Perhaps he doesn’t think we are ready yet.”

Huh! That’s a lot of perhaps’ Jacob! More fact and less speculation! Our scientists have been hunting for signs of intelligent life out here for eons and still nothing!”

Her triumphant yet combative tone from that comment rung in her memory and left a bitter taste in her mouth now. Crystal reached out and touched a portion of the cave image that seemed to be carved in a much harsher method than the rest.

Suddenly the walls lit up around her, and the dust blew away to reveal a perfectly smooth glassy black floor. The hair on her arms tingled as though she was covered by static electricity. Terror coursed through her as she realized that she couldn’t move.

The last words from her brother’s sermon echoed in her mind, “If God created us, who are we to say that he didn’t create other beings on some other far away planet?”

Footsteps echoing from somewhere deeper in the cave sent Crystal’s mind whirling and her heart pounding.

What do I say?
What could I say!
There’s no possible way they could know earth standard! You just HAD to go exploring on your own didn't you Crystal!

Crystal gasped for air.

Come on Crystal! Get a grip! You know your space suit still has oxygen. Breathe! 

The approaching footsteps suddenly sounded so close and they changed from dull thuds to clinks from the newcomer’s feet touching the now smooth floor. Crystal’s lungs finally gave up when the newcomer placed a blue four fingered hand on the shoulder of her suit. She static field released her before she was ready. She crumpled to the ground...

Perhaps Jacob was right, we aren’t ready yet. Was Crystal’s last thought before she fell unconscious.




This post is part of the 52 week flash fiction challenge on facebook
Week 2 word prompt: Sermon
Word Limit: 20- 500
This one tops out right at 487 words.

Readers: How do you think you would react if you were suddenly faced with real life aliens? Would you be shocked? Scared? Would you panic? How would you communicate with them?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Trying out Disqus

Hey guys, I WAS trying out Disqus comments on my blog (which is what this test post was for). Long story short... I've taken it down. I much prefer to allow bloggers that don't want to sign in a way to comment using their name/e-mail ALONG WITH their url.


  • This helps because I like to go check out and follow their blogs too!
  • That added url ability is also a way for google to see that you, the commentor, are trusted because I am allowing you to post your link to your site on my blog. Just another way I like to share the love!

 Disqus, so far, only lets guest commentors (those who don't want to sign in) comment with just their name and e-mail. (Buzz kill)


On an added note: I also just realized that if you are viewing this post on the main blog thread it isn't very clear how you can add your own comments to the post.  You will need to click on the blog title to bring up the stand alone blog post page in order to find the comments.

For those that visit my main blog thread instead of getting here through a direct post link, perhaps it would be better for me to go ahead and drop the direct post link at the end of the post:

  Click to comment.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Conventions In The Carolinas

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Annual Wine And Sign Arts and Literary Festival Set up
I am putting together a list of conventions that I would love to travel to. As I live in the Carolina Area, many of these will be from GA up to NC. Because I am looking at places to attend as an author I will be listing the table fees beside it for my own future reference (and for that of my fellow author friends). We'd love to see you there though! Write down these dates in your calender, pull up the websites and pre-order your tickets! I have visited many of these as 'just a civilian' (not promoting my books) and have found them to be great fun with something for even the youngest of family members!



Convention List:



Other Events:





If you know of  an event that you would like me to consider adding to my list please drop it in the comments section! I am always looking for new places to check out!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

V.L. Jennings at Wizard World Raleigh NC 2015

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Wizard World in Raleigh NC this past weekend was my second Comic Con I had ever been to. I actually got to meet John Schneider (Pa Kent from Smallville) and William Shatner this past weekend. Both guys were really down to earth and pretty cool. We didn't have time to meet her but the actress that plays Laurie on The Walking Dead was also there. David Tennant was too- but my husband and I only saw him in passing.  
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Laurie From Walking Dead
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John Schneider
We also sat through William Shatner, and John Schneider's panels. Both men were really funny and entertaining.  The Panel for David Tennant was for VIP ticket holders only but they did live stream the panel out in the registration hall for everyone else to go watch. It was sorta hard to hear him though. They kept the overhead music running, add everyone talking in the main con room behind us, as well as David's British accent- it just made understanding and hearing him a bit hard.

I'm totally not bashing his accent here. Just, because we aren't used to it, trying to understand him in a crowded noisy room was really rather difficult. We only made it half way through his panel before we gave up.
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David Tennant's Panel
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John Schneider at Panel
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William Shatner's Panel
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Shatner's panel was standing room only by the way!
Right after Shatner's panel there was a band of bag pipe players that came out to do a tribute to Spock in the hall. I'll admit, I got a bit misty eyed at this surprise.

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Cosplayers at the comic con!



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These last two men earn bonus cosplay points in my book! 


This guy built his own ghostbusters gear from scratch! He even enabled the ghost catcher box to emit vapor smoke! That was the coolest thing I had seen at a con... until the last guy!


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K-9!!!!
Introducing... K-9! He rolled right up to me and had a zero turn radius and flashing lights just like the original K-9! And who was the man behind the controls?


The Fourth Doctor of course!!!


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Comic Con's are great places to meet celebrities, authors, and artists... but they are also a great place to buy stuff too. I bought a few Superman comics for my collection, and I also bought a pair of Doctor Who Tardis earrings!  Made by www.facebook.com/kitschandcrossbones

Looking for her etsy store? Check out kitschandcrossbones.etsy.com


This Comic Con was a little impromptu for us. But it did give me the opportunity to check out a few panels and get a feel for how they work.

In May, if you are in the Charlotte NC area, you will also find me at Con Carolinas where I will be a guest artist and panelist. If I'm brave enough... I may even show up in Rivi's costume a

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cleaning Silver Collectors Spoons- The Final Reveal

I know I speculate through fiction here on most days... "What would happen if I stuck my characters on a planet with sentient wind?" Most of the time speculation is done in the real world though. For example... "What would these look like if I could remove this tarnish?" Questions like these can lead you on a quest, not only to find answers, but to discover some new things along the way as well!

Tuesday of this past week I told you that I was busy cleaning a set of collectible spoons that had been passed down to me from my mom. Here are some of the before and after pictures:

Tarnished spoon
Spoon before cleaning

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Kinda hard to see all that detail under the tarnish huh.

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 AND... Now For The Clean Reveal!

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Its kinda hard to see on this rack- but I assure you they are all just as clean, even though the picture makes some of them still look tarnished. Here's the last rack:

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The top row is clean in this picture.
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All completely clean and tarnish free!

There were many of these spoons that I had never seen clean before, being that they were my mothers they have been there for most of my life. Many of them had details hidden under the tarnish that I never even knew existed! It was really cool seeing them come to sparkling life again!

I found some spoons in this collection that I even remember giving to mom years ago.

For those of you who have silver- or silver plated items you are wanting to clean, here is some advice:


  • First, yes you can polish them with toothpaste but it takes twice as long and doesn't come out half as shinny. (this was one of my first discoveries... it took me a whole day to do the tallest rack with toothpaste. It was hard work and then I still ended going back over them with the silver polish)
  • Second, some silver polish is ABSOLUTELY your best friend here.
  • A washcloth for rubbing the polish on, a bucket of water to rinse, and a towel for drying and you are good to go.
  • You will also want to wear rubber gloves. The first reason is that the polish can irritate your skin. The second reason is that the oils from your skin will cause future tarnish. Clean and handle your silver with gloves at all times if possible.
  • Another helpful tip. An old toothbrush for those high detailed areas comes in very handy. I keep one stored under my sink just for this purpose!

Do you have any things you collect? I'd love to hear about them! How do you display them and keep them clean?



More Money For Better Quality- Flash Fiction

photo credit: Bounty Basic Paper Towels via photopin (license)
The Nightingale sat powered down in the bay of one of the richest trading hubs in the galaxy. All the top quality murch came through here. The loading bay area was filled with a dozen or so ships with their crews all rushing around to get their purchases loaded and ready for transport. Fine clothing, colorful packages, and glittering jeweled trunks added a kaleidoscope of color to the otherwise metallic gray of the loading bay. Fragrant spices, scintillating perfumes, and fresh flowers all filled the bay with their amazing aromas. At the bottom of the Nightingale’s ramp, however, sat an entire pallet of paper towels.

Craig, the Nightingale’s captain, carried each large package of paper towels up the ramp into his ship and set them down gently in the farthest corner of the cargo bay. His copilot stood at the bottom of the ramp shaking his head incredulously.

“Craig, man, just toss em in! We can organize them once we are in route to Jupiter station.”

“I paid half this week's credits for these! There’s no way I’m just tossing them in!”

“Why don’t you just let the forklift bring the whole pallet onboard instead of taking them one at a friggin time?”

“The wood from the pallet would just add to our weight!” Craig answered on his way back from bringing the last package onboard.

The two men stood beside the cargo door and simultaneously turned the wheels to raise the ramp.

The door hissed and sealed shut.

“But why paper towels? I just don’t get it! What’s so special about these paper towels? Paper towels come standard in the ration packs.” Craig’s copilot said.

“Jimmy, they’re for my old lady. Every month, before I head out, I ask her what she wants me to bring back. She could ask for anything, a necklace, a special perfume... but no- she asks for Bounty Basic paper towels.”

The two men headed back up the cargo bay, through a set of double doors and into the cockpit.

“Why these ones though?” Jimmy asked.

Craig took his seat and began flicking on the various switches on the dashboard.

“Engine’s reading fine, fuel’s at 480,” Jimmy read off the instrument panel dials while waiting for a response to his question.

“I leave her for a whole month at a time every other month. The least I can do is try to bring her what she wants when I come home. Apparently these paper towels work much better than the standard ration ones.” Craig answered with a sideways glance at Jimmy.

“What, do they, like, have cleaner embedded in them or something?” Jimmy asked while flicking some switches on his own side of the dash.

Craig chuckled. “All engines go. Signaling loading bay doors.”

“Nope, dude all they do is soak up more liquid. They are a bit more sturdy if you have to scrub something. That’s it.” Craig answered.

“Well, if it makes the wife happy.” Jimmy shrugged, “Who am I to disagree!”

This post is part of the 52 week flash fiction challenge on facebook
Week 2 word prompt: Basic
Word Limit: 20- 500
This one tops out right at 500 words.

Readers: What would YOU bring home, after being gone for a month, that would make your wife or husband happy?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Don't Bite Heads Off

Ask Nicely

I'm just gonna leave this here. Something that I have been seeing examples of a lot lately, in real life and in the series my family is re-watching (Smallville). Someone wants something and they jump to conclusions and get all nasty about things before even stopping to consider what the outcome might have been if they had asked politely and nicely.

Not everyone is like Lex Luther from Smallville, deviously planning things behind the scenes and leaving Clark to always blame him first. Well, because lets face it, it normally IS Lex's fault.

Would their relationship have been any different had Clark tried to connect and hang out more with Lex in the beginning? Eh, maybe not- because it is Superman's story after all and somethings just can't change without messing up the whole series.

And then we have major disasters like what happened to our neighbor last year. Something broke her waterline right at the shut off in front of her house. No one was home and we didn't notice it till the middle of the night when I ran outside to scare away some dogs that were ganging up on another dog.

I ended up ankle deep in water in the middle of this lady's yard, waving and yelling like a lunatic. Yeah, I'm nuts... I know. Anyhow, the dogs ran off and I realized that gallons upon gallons of water were gushing out all over the place.

Now, I don't know how this lady reacted but I do know how some might have. Calling up and fussing out your water company because the water bill is high and it wasn't your fault may not be the right thing to do. Fast forward to this recent cold snap and I found out something really nice about the water company!

Our pipes were run in our attic, during the last cold snap they froze and created an epic gargantuan disastrous mess. Water damage company and insurance company was called, yeah... after we panicked a tiny bit first of course. THEN we received the water bill. Oh my gosh was it high (hundreds of dollars).

So I called the water company up and explained to them what happened and that we just don't have the funds to pay all this up front and was there perhaps a way to set up a payment plan. The lady told me not to worry about it, just send them an invoice of what repairs were done and what the damage cost and they would deduct the water overage off of our bill.

Color me shocked and relieved!

But lets rewind to the very angry water patron from earlier (imaginary of course). Had our irate customer simply explained to the water company that there was damage done (and it wasn't that they were filling up swimming pools) then the water company would have been able to answer politely in return. Everything would have been fine, and our irate customer needn't have embarrassed themselves.

So- lesson from all this? Be calm, ask nicely, and try to put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Memories in the Wind- Flash Fiction

dream catcher
Photo credit: old story | via photopin (license)
Dreea swiped at a tickle on her chin only to find it wet with her own tears. She sniffed back further tears in shock as she considered her surroundings carefully. She remembered the crash, remembered him dying in her arms. She remembered the explosion that consumed the ship along with the body of the man she loved before sending her sprawling onto the rocky ground.

 She slowly sat up in the bed, wiping the tears from her eyes before tentatively feeling the bandage across her forehead. She didn’t remember coming here, she didn’t remember this place at all.

 “Hello?” Dreea called out with a dry voice.

 No one answered. Dreea decided that she’d better figure out if she was a guest or prisoner. She slowly made her way across the room, noting that almost every muscle in her body ached along with the emptiness she felt deep in her chest.

 Trying the handle on the metal door she found that it swung easily on its hinges and allowed the sun to pour into the small room. Dreea peered through the sunlight and stepped out into the gray dusty road in front of her. A tinkling sound drew her attention across the street to a pole hanging above the door across from her.

 A few moments passed before someone approached Dreea. She paid just enough attention to tell that the alien wasn’t armed before turning again to the object twisting in the wind.

 “What is that?” Dreea asked the scaly creature waiting patiently by her side.

 The alien reached into a pocket into its apron and pulled out a box that translated its answer.

 “The family lost an elderly one, the mobile tells their loved one’s story.” The computerized voice responded. “Her favorite place was among the trees in the growing place. She loved to sing and to feel the wind. Her son and daughter decorated this to hang in memory of her.”

Dreea’s eyes swam with tears and the ache in her chest swelled as she considered the imagery that could tell her dearest’s story. A constellation of stars, his mission patch, and the image of the sailboat from his favorite book. Maybe some blue and silver ribbons, and the buttons from his favorite shirt.

The alien touched her injured arm gently.

 “I saw your burning ship. Would you like to make one?” The translated voice said.

 No longer able to hold them back, her tears poured from her eyes and dripped to the rocky ground beneath her feet.

 “Yes please,” Dreea mumbled.


This post is part of the 52 week flash fiction challenge on facebook
Week 52 word prompt: Story
Word Limit: 20- 500
Word Count: 423