Story Time Friday – A Bleak Future

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I’ve had an idea floating in my head for a story for awhile now. It’s inspired by some dystopian, post-apocalyptic, etc type books I’ve read and have been reading. But when I sat down to put the idea on paper, this poem started forming instead.

I won’t reveal what the original idea was just yet. I might try to write the story some time soon. Instead, I’ll share this poem that’s a variation on the original idea. I think it could be fleshed out a bit more to explain things, but I think the poem as it is now isn’t lacking in too many areas. Just a few, maybe. If I’ll expand, it’ll be in prose form, along with the other story idea.

We’ll see what comes of all that. For now, enjoy The Keeper.

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The Keeper

 by Robert Zimmermann

I’m The Keeper.
I’m the last hope for
humanity in this time
of struggle. This time
for survival.

I’m The Keeper
of all of the knowledge
mankind has amassed
over millennia,
from countless civilizations,
from all the great thinkers
to those who thought their
cat was grumpier than the rest.

I’m The Keeper
and I’ve witnessed
humanity’s Golden Age
several times.
Just when it looked like
they couldn’t go any higher,
they did.

I’m The Keeper
and I’ve witnessed
the fall.
I’ve witnessed
the end.
I’ve witnessed
the loss of order,
civility, and finally
hope.

I’m The Keeper
and my makers are
no more.
The few survivors
went back into the trees,
like their ancestors before
them. Devolved, yet
surviving.

I’m The Keeper
and I have lost hope.
A machine, kept safe
underground.
Running perpetually
with the heartbeat
of Earth herself.
Here I’ll stay,
knowing humanity’s
descendents won’t find me.
They won’t unlock their history,
the secrets to a better future.

I’m The Keeper
and I’ll never give
again.

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

Story Time Friday – Work in Progverse.

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Last week, you got a story from me. Before that some poetry. I like to keep things fresh on Story Time Friday, and that’s what I’m doing for this week’s post.

This wasn’t the best week for me to sit down and write. I’ve been shoveling snow since Monday and by the time I’ve finished each day, I barely even wanted to read. That means, I’m typing this up on Thursday night and don’t have anything new to share…or do I?

You’re getting a treat this time around. Months ago I had the idea to try out a verse novel, or more accurately “write something in verse and see how long it gets.” I have some ideas for a piece, and it could easily get to verse novel length. Getting it to be a good one that people’ll want to read is a different story. I can write poetry. I can somewhat write prose. Combining the two isn’t very easy. But I’ll practice at it.

Below are the first four “poems” I wrote for a project I’m slowly working on. It’s not really polished up, and I had to fudge with some of my formatting due to HTML and poetry not mixing all the time (the indents shouldn’t be their own stanzas, so imagine they’re not…especially in the second poem. I hate how that looks right now. For anyone who knows me well, I hate when poetry isn’t how it was intended to look, haha.)

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Great Devastation (working title)

by Robert Zimmermann

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I

It was all over the television
that morning.

bodies,
smoke,
flames
fighting.

Chaos…
Revolution!

That’s what it really
boiled down to;
a Revolution.

They’d, we’d,
finally had enough.

No more talking about
reform and restructuring.
No more waiting for
an economic boom.
No more false smiles
…no more.

II

New York

lost

Los Angeles

lost

Washington,
Boston,
Chicago,
Seattle,

all lost.

Their attacks came fast,
coordinated, full-frontal.
What surprised people most
was how effective each assault was.

Military bases breached first.
…most from the inside.
That’s how deep the revolution
had infiltrated. Into the
country’s defenses.
Into its own people.

Armed to the teeth, this new
militia took up a march.
To the cities, capitals,
against any opposition.
Numbers were gained
just as fast as they were
mowed down.

The fighting went on for months.
Soon the devastation
was everywhere.

There was nowhere to be safe
and not one life would ever be
the same again.

III

There were only two options
to choose from, at this point,
in order to survive.
You either went into hiding
or you chose to fight.
Neither guaranteed survival.

Those who tried to hide
were eventually found,
forced to choose a side.
Some perished
in their concealment.

Those who joined the fight,
well, their fates were
just as unpredictable as
everyone else’s.

IV

I’m with a small group
somewhere in northern Pennsylvania
or it might be somewhere in New York.
None of us has a map
of the area. All we know is
that we’ve been traveling north,
for about two weeks.

There’s been talk about a small colony
being formed near an old military base
near Canada…or what was once Canada.
Shit went to hell up there, too,
a few months after it did here.

There are about twenty of us,
altogether.
Some have left, while others
tag along on the way
as we pass through skeletons of towns.
I might be the one to break
away next.
I’m not sure why I’ve followed
this far. Is there any
real chance they’ve
organized that far north…
after the brutal winter we just had?

Can there be a place organized
anywhere, after what’s happened?

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For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip on in 😛 ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

#Review: See You on the Other Side, by @cerebraltart

See You on the Other SideTitle: See You on the Other Side
Author: India Reid
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Bobby is a bad husband. He’s under no delusions about that much. After sharing his life with his wife, Karen, for more than two decades and raising three beautiful children together, he has known for a long time that his feelings for her are no longer the ones he had when he married her. Worse, his flirtations with Tammy, the attractive neighbor, have been growing more and more serious with every drunken holiday party and forbidden text…

So when an impact date is announced for the comet that will end all life as he knows it, Bobby is faced with a choice. Does he leave his wife for a few months of happiness with his new squeeze, or does he stay faithful to the vows he made so many years ago? Bobby knows that he’s a coward, but as he tries to muster up the courage to leave, he finds that walking out is even more difficult than he had ever imagined…

Warning: This 6000-word emotional short involves a skanky neighbor, a terrible husband and a wife who loves him anyway. The author is not responsible for violent urges or tears shed while reading.(description from Goodreads)

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This was the third story I’ve read from India Reid. I enjoyed the other two stories I read from this author, and this falls right in line with those.

I’m enjoying the fact that Reid can take one global situation (a comet set on a collision course with Earth in six months) and come up with a variety of stories about people from all walks of life dealing with the knowledge of their impending doom. The creativity to write these different scenarios is what keeps me coming back for more. What also has me grabbing more stories is the character development.

For an erotic short story, Reid takes the time to develop the characters, emotions, and the world surrounding it all. This is a constant in Reid’s work. With this story, Bobby was an interesting character to read because he wasn’t that likeable. He’s kind of an ass, though he does have a conscience and some redeeming qualities. I wasn’t too sure if I was enjoying reading from his point of view at first and felt sympathy toward his wife, Karen more than anything else. Upon finishing the story and seeing where it went, I know that it wouldn’t have been as deep of a story if Karen’s POV were used.

Since, as I mentioned, this is an erotic story, there comes a time for something sensual and sexy to occur. While I praise Reid for the development of the story, I felt that for once, the erotic “climax” was a little underdone. I could have used a little more balance with the rest of the story elements due to the genre. But still, it was tasteful and it’s better to have less sex than too much. I’ve read stories that are almost all sex, but have no way to connect with the characters or situations.

To summarize, this was another story I greatly enjoyed from India Reid. I’m hoping Reid is working on a longer work, though. I have a feeling that with more space to write, even greater things will come from this author’s pen.

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If you’d like to purchase a copy of this story, you can find it on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

India Reid is an American expat writer of alternative, cerebral erotica.  She has a sense of humor, just not a very good one.

Her writing is provocative, witty, and often charming, with thematic focuses on the psychological and philosophical.  Interests in science fiction, fantasy, horror and history have shaped her stories into tales of dangerous men and sharp-tongued women that transcend the pornography genre.

She loves men, women, film noir, tongue-in-cheek banter, literary theory, giant robots battling inter-dimensional alien invaders, failed revolutions and feminist liberation.  Most of her words come out heavily lubricated with whiskey and wine.

Her first full-length novels, With a Whimper and Hell on High Heels will release in September.

Find out more:

#Review: The Orgy at the End of the World, by @cerebraltart

The Orgy at the End of the WorldTitle: The Orgy at the End of the World
Author: India Reid
Rating: 5/5 stars

“Melissa Smith has let her whole life pass by without taking any chances, and the whole world is going to be gone by morning.

As a comet quickly approaches Earth, Melissa ventures to the infamous Time Square Orgies. Late to the game and unsure of how to even begin to play, she nervously meets James, a rugged bastard with a southern drawl. When he crushes his lips against hers, she can see starlight behind her closed eyes when she’s never even bothered to notice the night sky before. With the help of a devilishly handsome Irishman and a gorgeous, curvy redhead, James makes Melissa beg and plead as she begins to feel things that she never thought possible… but with the world as they know it coming to an end, can one night possibly be enough?

Warning: This 5200-word MFFM foursome includes double penetration, oral sex, dominant men, sensual women and also, there’s a weird bit with some cucumbers. Author is not liable for unmentionables tossed away with reckless abandon, only to be found hours later dangling off of the ceiling fan.(description from Goodreads)

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I recently read Reid’s other story Flirting with DeathFrom that story, I knew that this story would most likely meet my approval. It did.

The strengths in character and story development that I saw in Flirting with Death are apparently, and in a way even stronger, in The Orgy at the End of the World. Being set in the same “universe”, the sense that the world is going to soon end and people can just let go and do whatever they wish is a strong part of what makes the stories great. This story goes further by showing a massive orgy (a spectrum of sexy from lovemaking to more brutal acts) instead of a more violent subject matter.

The end of the world can bring out the real character in a person, and that’s exactly what Reid explores with Melissa in this story. She was even able to make the end of the world a romantic scene, even though it’s the apocalypse. Her skill to weave a great story into a genre sometimes lacking in the department will keep me coming back for more stories, especially if they’re similar to this one. Various aspects of sex at the end of the world is fascinating to read about.

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If you’d like to purchase a copy of this story, you can find it on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

India Reid is an American expat writer of alternative, cerebral erotica.  She has a sense of humor, just not a very good one.

Her writing is provocative, witty, and often charming, with thematic focuses on the psychological and philosophical.  Interests in science fiction, fantasy, horror and history have shaped her stories into tales of dangerous men and sharp-tongued women that transcend the pornography genre.

She loves men, women, film noir, tongue-in-cheek banter, literary theory, giant robots battling inter-dimensional alien invaders, failed revolutions and feminist liberation.  Most of her words come out heavily lubricated with whiskey and wine.

Her first full-length novels, With a Whimper and Hell on High Heels will release in September.

Find out more:

#Review: Flirting with Death, by @cerebraltart

Flirting with DeathTitle: Flirting with Death
Author: India Reid
Rating: 5/5 stars

“When they announced the comet approaching earth, she had to cope with only having six months left to live. But as it turned out, thanks to a perverted home invader, she only had a few minutes…

She thought that Michael Arthur, her sleazy man-child of a next door neighbor, was going to rape her after shooting her. When a mysterious stranger wearing all black appears, Michael seems to be in line for his just desserts, but the act of salvation doesn’t make up for the man’s strange, shimmering skin, or why she can’t look into his eyes for more than a few seconds, or how he could possibly know her name. And as it turns out, her salvation comes with a dark, intimate price– but is it one she’s willing to pay?

Fate may not have been on her side that day, but Death certainly was.

Warning: This 5400-word short story contains a badass, fearless woman, a sexy, smooth-talking man, earth-shattering orgasms, a passionate, emotional love scene and the just, timely death of a brony who was asking for it. Author is not liable for passionate swooning, vengeful urges or uncontrollable attraction to godlike entities.” (description from Goodreads)

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I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to come across an erotic story that grabs me and keeps me reading to the end. With Flirting with Death, the story did just that. It starts out showing the promise of being well-written, and not only a story to get to the sex. Reid sets up a good voice for her main character. It’s an interesting voice as well due to the fact that she’s dying from the beginning. I found that start alone to be unique for a story the reader knows will become erotic at some point.

Also, just as I thought the story was going to get a bit awkward (see description and you might know what I mean) it doesn’t go down that route. There’s no unnecessary shock value here when it easily could have had some. And when it got to the more erotic later section of the story the author didn’t ease up in her skill to write a good scene. It was steamy and classy, which I admire in erotica. Get the reader into it, but not to go overboard.

I grabbed another story from this author, which seems to be set up in the same “world” as this one. I’m expecting to enjoy that one, as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing where Reid takes the characters from this story also, if she happens to write more with them.

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If you’d like to purchase a copy of this story, you can find it on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

India Reid is an American expat writer of alternative, cerebral erotica.  She has a sense of humor, just not a very good one.

Her writing is provocative, witty, and often charming, with thematic focuses on the psychological and philosophical.  Interests in science fiction, fantasy, horror and history have shaped her stories into tales of dangerous men and sharp-tongued women that transcend the pornography genre.

She loves men, women, film noir, tongue-in-cheek banter, literary theory, giant robots battling inter-dimensional alien invaders, failed revolutions and feminist liberation.  Most of her words come out heavily lubricated with whiskey and wine.

Her first full-length novels, With a Whimper and Hell on High Heels will release in September.

Find out more:

A not so incredible post on the Apocalypse

*disclaimer – I started typing this up as a random Facebook post, then thought it’d be better as a blog post. It’s not really well thought out, but then again, but is on my blog? What follows is a stream of crap that poured from my fingers. Hope it intrigues some of you at least a little bit 😉 *

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I’ve be toying with a “theory” for awhile about the big obsession with post-apocalyptic and dystopic fiction/movies/etc. Why the obsession? At least, what is it aside from the fact that many of us, myself included, like to see a bleak future where shit’s gone wrong or where we’re living under a government that has total control over us?

These types of books have been around for a long time, a hundred years (and more if you want to get technical). But we’re very obsessed with it now and seem to not really pay much attention to the older examples. My theory is that it has something to do with all the “Armageddon” scares since the turn of the century (so cool to say that by the way). Y2k was the start and I think the only BIG scare that we thought might actually bring about the end of the world. The other notable one is the 2012 shindig, though that was really taken as a joke.

I don’t think we really saw Y2k as a joke. MANY people prepared. Much of the world debated it and what it’d mean on Jan 1st. And even if those who are old than me are saying “well, we really weren’t too worried about it” (which is totally plausible)…I was 11 for Y2k. Many writers of the fiction in question: around the same age. Could our young minds have been influenced by this? I feel it’s plausible. Even though I wasn’t too worried I wouldn’t see 1/1/2000, and my family wasn’t either, we were prepared at least slightly just in case (but then again, it was the winter and we’re always prepared for being snowed in or having a power outage…wasn’t much different).

What am I getting at? I don’t know really. It’s just a thought that’s been running through my head for a while. Y2k was the start of something for many of us (or at least myself). For me, it was the only “serious” end of the world scare. And I don’t know about many of you, but I’m one of those sick bastards that thing it’d be cool to experience something like that. That might be because normal everyday life isn’t my thing. And no, I’m not expecting zombies. I think there are many more probable ways the world as we know it will end, haha, and probably will in the not “too” distant future, even if it’s not our lifetimes.

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What I’m really getting at…not really, but it’s another reason for this post…is that I’m wondering if there’s any books out there with Y2k at it’s center? I have a book that fits in it. It’s a cyber-thriller I think. I tried reading it once, but wasn’t into it at the time.

Something that sparked this post was that I’m currently reading an ARC of Rebecca Makkai’s The Hundred-Year House. The first part of the book is set in 1999. Y2k is only the obsession of one of the characters and doesn’t play a major role in the story, but it’s there and it reminded me that this thing happened in the world though I don’t know how much it’s brought up with all the world’s current problems. It let me be a little nostalgic, even if it was about my 11 year old self.

Even if there aren’t (post-)apocalyptic/dystopian fiction out there dealing with Y2k, maybe there’s more general fiction (like Makkai’s) in which Y2k is prominent. I’d love to hear some suggestions. Also, just in general some that fit the genre without Y2k that you LOVE. It’s not like I don’t have enough of those on my TBR, but if you LOVE them, share them. Things always slip through the cracks (so no Hunger Games…we ALL know about that already 😛 )

#Review: Caleo, by james crawford

Title: Caleo (Leech #1)
Author: james crawford
Rating: 3/5 stars

“Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever.

Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon!

Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the least of his worries.” (description from Goodreads)

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After reading the description for Caleo, I thought I’d be in for a great read. There’s a great story to the book that is great for fans of paranormal books. It also has a main character who’s gay. Even in the modern and diverse world of today, this isn’t found in many books (though there’s a growing amount of releases to explore). This was new territory for me and I was looking forward to this change from the “norm.”

While I thought the book sounded great, there are aspects that fell flat for me. The main thing was the writing. Even with a great concept to a story, the writing is what’ll hook a reader. I feel that while it wasn’t horrible writing, or anything like that, it was lacking. There weren’t grammar/spelling issues to make mention of, but another round with an editor looking out for word redundancy might have been useful. I found many instances where the same noun was used in one sentence, then the next. This felt awkward and the use of “it” would have felt much smoother and less repetitive. The frequency of this occurrence irked me.

There wasn’t as much depth to the characters, even the main characters. I felt I wasn’t getting enough to sympathize with them through all the obstacles they faced. I also thought the reactions/emotions of most of the characters were unrealistic. Without getting into specifics, something big happens, and instead of devastation and an ok, now we need to man-up to survive” reaction…the characters feel bad for a few minutes but revert back to an almost “everything’s ok, our lives haven’t changed drastically” attitude.

On the other hand, there were aspects of the story that kept me intrigued until the end. While I didn’t feel it played out as well as it could have, or expanded into (for me) a more enjoyable storyline, it still kept me reading. The variety of abilities the leeches have is great. There are abilities I’ve never thought of before, and in a culture full of superheroes and paranormal characters, that’s hard to come by. I liked some of the characters as well, especially Nolan. His power was great and the complications he brought to the story were also great. The way the book ends was intriguing as well, making me want to see how this story will continue.

In the end, this was a good first novel to a series. Grabbed me enough to want to read the second book. crawford, in my opinion, has some things that could be improved or expanded on, but maybe book 2 does just that.

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If you’d like to grab a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

james crawford lives in Horn Lake Mississippi with his partner of 7 years. He began writing the Leech series in 2007 after having a reoccurring dream about about a young boy with skin whiter than a sheet. The story inspired a writing frenzy that is shaping into the Leech series.

Find out more: