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Friday, December 19, 2014

Tales from Darker Places FREE on Smashwords!

Oh yes, if you haven't got yourself a copy, go and get one now!
I have 2 little stories right at the end...
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/493452


And here's a little chart showing which of my books (including anthologies) are 'out there' so far in what percentage (%)...the TIW anthology isn't there...mmm...must ask about that...


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tasteless Post...Germans and "Tampon Printing"

I was proofreading a USB stick website the other day and came across "tampon printing". I thought it strange. Of course, that would be "tampo printing" or "pad printing" a 2D to 3D printing. I informed the website owner and they said the Germans call it "tampon printing"...mmm...
I found a tampon USB stick on the net...can you believe that?



I wrote to a few German companies but they ignored me...so...they are still "tampon printing"...sigh...

DISCLAIMER: I'm a writer. Creativity comes from...who the hell knows!

Now, tasteless though it is, I made a list of just what exactly Germans would print on tampons, as if you would, who the hell in their right mind would, but that's Germans for ya...the translator I was working with became quite ill after a few of these...here's a picture and my list! :-) (if you are easily disturbed, please look away...now...ooops, too late...)


Tasteless list


"Dive, dive, dive!"
"Ooo, it's dark in here..."
"Geronimo!"
"Oooo, this one's deep..."
"Sucking it up!"
"Can you smell fish?"
"First one in?"
"Today this bucket, tomorrow the world!"
"Dis iz my hole!"
"I'm scared of the dark."
"Be gentle."
"Push!"
"Insert this way"
"Run this through me one more time. I go in there?"
"Turn a light on!"
"Do not reuse."
"This is gonna hurt you more than it'll hurt me."
"No! Not again!"
"Way-hey!"
"And here we go a-wandering, a-wandering we go..."
"Tell me you love me"
"I'm gonna fill ya!"
"How was it for you?"
"Wheeeeee!"
"Do not put in mouth"
"Hair surrounds the hole this is intended for...unless you have a job for "Shaven Monthly" or you are a Bavarian housewife."
"This way in"
"Do I go in here often?"
"Well, hello there..."
"It's always the same, you only put me in when you need me!"
"Is it just me or can anyone else smell blood?"
"Ooooo, I feel a bit queezy..."
"Sorry, what was your name?"
"What? Not even dinner first?"













My take on TIW C94 plus NEW trailer

I put my take of TIW C94 up on Figment, to see if that brought any interest. It's Star Wars based, go have a look :-)
http://figment.com/books/880492-Fett-Nord

I'm also in C95 as a writer, already written it up. You'll love it!

PLUS I have a trailer for 'Bethlehem Fiasco'! It's a scream! my pal DL Zwissler made it for me :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsT1bSg_Ycs&list=UUkSo7ekt9xTbE0EP_OTpjAw

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bethlehem Fiasco - NEW COVER!

Oh yes, I'm getting serious now :-)
The ebook version of 'The Bethlehem Fiasco' has a NEW COVER!
Hopefully that'll bring a few more hits, plus a slight change in the tags...
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007UJHQ42


The NEW cover was created by DL Zwissler, a friend and succuessful writer who wants me to be just as successful as she. If I was only 1% as successful I'd be happy, she sells 1000s...(jealous)...her Amazon page...
http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Lee-Zwissler/e/B005HI56MW

And what's happening? Well, I won 2nd place in a raffle, got a few dollars, and I'm keeping up with the TIW 12 Days of Christmas...here is my Day 9, a serious piece based on the Bataan Death march...
see it on the website, too...
http://theironwriter.com/the-twelve-days-of-christmas-day-9/
or here...

Bataan

“For a drop of water…” They held him up between them but he knew they were suffering too. The Phillipine jungle wasn’t anything like the Bronx and this march was no parade.
“Come on, Davis, we’ve gotta make it, all of us.” His buddies Steve and Hess from the boot camp settled him on their shoulders again as they watched a group of Japanese soldiers bashing in the brains of some Filipino soldiers, finishing them off with the cold steel of their bayonets.
“Oh guys, remember the Christmas do? So much drink, so little time to drink it.”
“Hell, stop thinking about drink. Think about…about girls, Davis. Girls. How many danced with you that night?” Hess was always going on about girls.
“Oh yeah, that was good night. They put on ’White Christmas’ and everyone danced. How many? Nine, nine ladies dancing with me, little ol’ me.”
“Ladies, that’s kinda stretching it, eh, Davis? Eh?”
They laughed but Steve slipped in the mud made by a hundred thousand footprints. Davis fell to the ground and was covered from head to foot. A Japanese soldier ran over and poked him with his rifle.
“立ち上がって、あなた怠惰なアメリカの犬!”
“You can say that again,” coughed Davis.
“起きる!”
Steve and Hess picked him up again and they both received the butt of the soldier’s gun.
“彼.一人で!”
“I guess he wants you to get up by yourself, Davis,” sighed Hess.
“Well, tell him it ain’t happening! This mud is so cool.” He squirmed around like a happy little pig. “Oink, oink!”






Saturday, December 6, 2014

Another Dr. Suess

Yes! I got into another compilation "Baby Shoes"....here is the kickstarter if you ever wished to have a look at one...
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1727584460/baby-shoes-a-flash-fiction-anthology

I'm doing the TIW Christmas Special Quickies this year, and on Day 5 the theme is "How the Grinch stole Christmas", with a few elements (Brian Rogers as The Grinch, a 10 and a half foot pole, 5 gold rings, the roast beast)

So, here is mine :-)
On the site (http://theironwriter.com/the-twelve-days-of-christmas-day-5/)
But also here...



Every Iron
In Iron Writer Land
Loved procrastinating a lot.
But Brian Rogers
Who dressed as the Grinch
Did NOT!

Brian hated procrastinating! That whole waste of time!
He'd sit there and watch and say "That's a crime!"
"Who cares about who did who and why and when,
If all you ever get to know is the size of their pen!
One with a twinkie, another a 10 and a half foot pole,
It's kinda sad if that is your goal..."

But
With Christmas ahead,
All the presents, the feast,
He ignored his revulsion and sliced up the roast beast,
Procrastinating with the best of the worst,
He laughed, he joked, he quenched their thirst,
By commenting on all photos and quotes and desires,
He kept everyone happy, no anger, no fires.

"Though I'll tell ya one thing," he mumbled with grins,
"I'll stop when anyone mentions those damn 5 gold rings!
'Cause one thing I hate more than all,
Is those 12 bloody days and those birds that call!"


(Of course, totally UNTRUE! Brian likes to procrastinate with the worst...sorry, the best of us :-))



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Blog it, blog it now...

Won TIW Grudge 13...Yes! Thanks for the support (if any)...:-)
http://theironwriter.com/grudge-match-13/
So, what's new?
Waiting for new on the 'Alice' story, waiting for news on another 4/5 anthologies.
And doing the TIW Thanksgiving Continuation Story (7 days)...
For example...part 5...http://theironwriter.com/the-thanksgiving-continuation-part-5/
Still selling a few books here, there...anywhere?

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Reasby Fen" ...TIW Thanksgiving Challenge

Yes, there's a week long challenge on TIW...and I'm gonna have a go...
In all, the story will be 2,100 words, the first part is 900. I rather like it so far, there are so many possibilities where it might go...I have no idea which I will chose...it depends on the next bunch of elements.
My first part of "Reasby Fen" is up on the TIW site, here...
http://theironwriter.com/thanksgiving-the-all-week-story-part-1/#comment-98872

There will also be a Grudge Match up soon...just myself versus a Steven L Bergeron...watch this space.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hidden messages...Q71

In my writing I've used references, teachings, sayings to get across a message.
Now I've found another way, a way which somehow 'strengthens' not only the stories but also 'the message'.
However, they're hidden. I doubt if anyone will ever find them or bother...

   In fact, this paragraph in itself is a simple yet essential clue as to how to break my easy, ingenious code. I don't think you will need to be a person with twenty seven degrees to get it right, though. Whatever. All you have to do is try. But do you really care?

On a tangent..what about other writers? Do they do this? Or did they? Without telling?
Anyway, he's a go...on the TIW website...Weekend Quickie 71...
It's here...http://theironwriter.com/weekend-quickie-71/
But also here...:-)


 
Weekend Quickie 71 - Hidden Within

(The feeling of being tired, winter thaw, hamburger patties , armed and dangerous little red riding hood - 250 words)

The winter thaw had begun, with snow melting from trees and small streams of cold, clear water flowing through the waking forest. His stomach growled and clenched.
"Oh, what I'd do for a morsel of meat," he muttered. "I'd even go for a couple of rare, tender hamburger patties." But the hard winter had left him feeling tired.
"Hey!"
Through the naked trees he saw a figure of ruby red.
"What are you doing here?" He saw the flash of red cross his vision and made the decision to run, run as fast as he could.
"You aren't wanted here anymore!"
He knew that voice. A bullet whizzed past his ear.
"The next one'll be your head!"
No place to run…
"You were warned before and now you're back to feel the wrath of my Colt M1911?"
The undergrowth wasn't an option, he had to find help.
"Owooooo!" He listened for a reply to the call as his attacker closed in.
"Owooooo!" A distant, weak answer came forth.
Now the real hunt was on, him on all fours, his assailant two. There was a chance that he might survive this torment, but his hunger grew with every step.
"Don't think you can outrun me, you foul-stinking, flea-ridden old beast!"
Bullets ricocheted off a tree. Without another thought, he dived into the wet, thawing undergrowth, falling through broken branches, spouting plants and rotten leaves.
"Owooooo!" The call was close, strong and clear.
"What the…!" His pursuer screamed. The forest turned red.



..so...did you like the story? 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grudge 13 and Experimental TIW 88...

I'd had enough...so I challenged a fellow TIW writer to a grudge...Grudge 13...The Duel...when it's up I'll call for votes :-) Grrrr!
I also decided to put up my 'experimental' take on TIW Challenge 88...can ya see what I did? It's just an exercise on how far you can go if you really try...hehehehe


TIW C88 - (Richard Russell Challenge) - Experimental Anality

(A bouquet of flowers in a trash can, Draw inspiration from “The Pretender” by Jackson Browne, A critically important secret military message, Encroaching storm clouds)

I did it.
I left that place.
But you never ever do.
It has you in its grip.
From the first moment to the last.
A bouquet of flowers in a trash can.
That was the end of the line.
In the shade of the freeway.
I rented myself a house.
And got a job.
Watching the moon.
Sometimes it’s too much.
But mostly it’s too little.
It will not leave my soul.
It crushes me to think this way.
Though I get up and do it again.
Until the church bells ring and howl.
In the wink of an eye.
And lay my body down.
To the dark night.
Encroaching storm clouds.
They crush my mood.
Make me remember those times.
Destroy my waking hours, my days.
When the morning light comes streaming in.
I want to know what became of her.
I want to know where she is.
Whether she is happy or sad.
Where I can find her.
But am I right?
Do I care?
Do I really hurt?
They were only fitful dreams.
I am aware of all this.
But my heart does not comprehend well.
It struggles in the laughter of lovers new.
Waiting for others to bring a chance.
And take my hopes and dreams.
I wish for a halt.
I am a pretender.
Just a pretender.
With my dark glasses.
Smiling through a deep melancholy.
Sitting, watching those of lesser worries.
Crying through masks that are my face.
Tearing at the world with all my might.
Striking foes of which I couldn’t see.
Contending with what could have been.
I died too many times.
All for one mistake.
A secret message.
An important secret note.
She would be here today.
I would see her smile shine.
Watch her dance the way she did.
Believing in what may lie before it comes.
But optimism falls in the great awakening.
Caught between the longing for love.
Gripped in the last fight.
Dying in my arms.
Out of sight.
And out of mind.
I have become a ghost.
There is little left to say.
Perhaps it will all end too quick.
Or perhaps they will stretch time over time.
Increasing the suffering, the pain and hurt.
Ripping my soul from drying bones.
Cutting my chest open, bleeding.
My heart torn out.
Beating no more.
Waiting for a reason.
In an unreasonable uncaring world.
A world full of selfish images.
Will it end, will it finally stop?
And then all this breathing is too much.
From all this impoverishment comes nothing.
Then there was a knock.
And a silence ensued.
So it begins.
I wait for them.
Those temptations of happy idiotism.
They may come at any time.
I keep a warm drink beside me.
A welcome relief for the lonely broken hearted.
And I say let them come all.
They may take what is left.
And I say let them.
There is no more.
Nothing is left.
I cannot go on.
Though this is a beginning.







Monday, November 17, 2014

My Take on TIW C89 DL Mackenzie Challenge :-)

I haven't written a 'battle' scene for a while...so, here goes :-)
My take on this week's TIW challenge :-)


89 - (DL Mackenzie Challenge) - Vengeance

(4 elements - A Montblanc Fountain Pen, Vengeance, Telekinesis, The Tigris River)

Davis took out the little black box and opened it, revealing the pen. It wasn’t any old pen, it was a Montblanc fountain pen, with its hand-engraved gold nib and iridium tip. But it was still a cheap trinket in comparison to the time and blood lost. Here, on this day, thousands of miles from home and burning in the hot desert temperatures, he saw it for what it was. Nothing. Retirement was sweet but vengeance was sweeter. He dropped the pen in the dust as a few shots zinged by his helmet.
"Alpha Niner, Alpha Niner. Some heat on the top. Heat on the top. Send a present from Santa."
"A-Okay, Roger that, Two-six."
Another ring of shots came dangerously close. The Mosul Dam on the Tigris river, apparantly the third of four rivers which ran from the Garden of Eden, if that could be believed,  was not what Davis had envisioned as his last resting place. He knew that history would call this a Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army operation to retake control of the dam from ISIL militants, but those coalition fighters weren’t worth shit. It was up to himself and a few buddies conscripted for the job. Plus the Flyboys, who flew over and hit the ISIL positions once again with two missiles.
"Alpha Niner, Alpha Niner, thanks for the help."
"Roger that, Two-six. Have a good one."
And they were off, leaving Davis alone on this side of the dam to his thoughts while the place settled from the attack. It was here, in Iraq where he’d lost his foot. Only after 6 months of rehabilitation and 3 months with a prosthetic while sharing a room with a crazy guy who believed he had the power of telekinesis did they finally retire him out. Then the picture came. He’d asked a favour for copies of any satellite surveillance photos showing members of the ISIL, hoping to spot the men who’d held him captive, and he found ’him’. He made a few calls and now, sitting behind a concrete wall on a shitty dam deep in Iraq, he was about to reap his revenge. Those weeks of captivity had all but broken him. They questioned and tortured him, spat and pissed on him, and finally this man, the man whose face he would never forget, cut his foot off. But he told them nothing, absolutely nothing. They would have killed him but for the bombing. One moment a gun was held at his head, the next he was alone with the crumbling room. The ceiling fell in on him and broke his chair, loosening his restraints and he was able to crawl and find a way out. The next thing he remembered was the helicopter, taking him away, back to base.
He heard some shouts and watched six armed men climb out of a doorway. One of them was him, the man, more haggard looking than before but still recognisable. The time for vengeance was now.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My take on TIW Challenge 88 :-)

Finished 'Alice on the Outside-In' and sent it in. I'll know whether it was accepted into the Alice anthology by mid-December.
Another anthology is coming up, the "Desert Bus"...I have a nice little story in there...if it's accepted...
Here's my take on TIW Challenge 88 (the normal take...I also did an 'experimental'...in DS4)


(A bouquet of flowers in a trash can, Draw inspiration from “The Pretender” by Jackson Browne, A critically important secret military message, Encroaching storm clouds)


88 - (Richard Russell Challenge) – The Mission



Years of careful planning, manipulating my contacts, creating double agents, spending well over the budget, living on handouts and favours, and getting my arse kicked from here to Timbuctoo, all for nothing. I had set up the last piece of the puzzle, the last part of a long, suffering mission, to send a message of utmost importance and find out once and for all who was in charge of the Stargate Project. Although publicly thought to have been terminated back in ’95, it had been kept alive by a few fanatics and Head Office wanted answers fast. Though it hadn’t been that fast, heads would roll, namely mine. And what did I have to show for it all? Nothing, absolutely nothing. A critically important military secret message destroyed by some dork who, after breaking up with a girl in the park, threw his soggy wet bouquet of flowers in a trash can! Go figure! I had placed the newspaper around the message in the trash can in the stipulated area of the park as instructed and knew that it would be safe even with the encroaching storm clouds threatening to pour down. But that guy with the flowers! Soaked, completely socked, his bunch of chrysanthemums saturating everything. Ruined. If anyone did pick it up, they wouldn’t be able to read it and send the message on! I watched for hours but no one came. Not even a sighting of some menial player. One broken relationship and my career was down the tubes.
So now what? I couldn’t go back to Head Office empty-handed after all this time. They would deny all knowledge of myself and the mission. They might even try to get rid of me. Best to creep away, go rent myself a house in the shade of the freeway, like the old Jackson Browne song, and go and lay in the sun ’til my days are done, find myself a girl…

"Don’t turn around."
There was a gun in my back. An old trick, observe the observers.
"Tell me the message."
"I don’t know what you’re going on about. Please, take my money and let me go." Never break your cover. I slowly took out my wallet, containing not only my money and cards but also a smoke bomb.
"No, don’t tell me…I…I already know. And don’t open your wallet."
What was this? Was this guy psychic or something?
"Yes. Now. Put your wallet back into your pocket and walk away. Slowly. Don’t turn around."
  "Okay, okay." I did as he asked and started to walk away. Hearing rushed footsteps move away, I turned to catch a glimpse of my assailant. It was the man with the flowers! I ran after him but without looking back he seemed to know I was chasing. I saw him turn a familiar corner and I took a shortcut to cut him off, but he was gone. Disappeared into thin air. My only hope was that my message would get through…but how?



Monday, November 10, 2014

New Interview from Line By Lion Publishing :-)

Well, that's the end of my 'Featured Week' on Line by Lion Publications facebook page...
https://www.facebook.com/LinebyLion
Thank you to them for putting up my stuff (Manna-X, Dani's Shorts 3)
...and here's the interview, if you missed it :-)

And finally, and Question and Answer session with our featured Author, Dani J Caile - Warning, Silliness ahead!

How did you get started writing?
- Someone dropped me on my head when I was a baby and I haven't been the same since.

What drew you to writing in the first place?
- The promise of fame and fortune...see, dropped on my head...

What do you enjoy about writing?
- The endless, excruciating hours alone in front of a computer monitor searching for that one perfect sentence.

What do you do other than writing?
- Sleep.

Favorite Color?
- Mancini.

Favorite Food?
- Trains.

Favorite type of book, or genre of literature?
- Good ones, rare though they may be.

What is your favorite word?
- Remnant.

What is your least favorite word?
- He/She.

What things do you enjoy most?
- Breathing.

What do you enjoy least?
- Not breathing.

What sound or noise do you love?
- The sound of my heart beating.

What sound or noise do you hate?
- The deep resonating vibration of nearby communal heating systems which fry my brain.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
- Politician...no, wait, I'm a teacher, that means I'm a Politician's puppet. Okay, then policeman...no, wait, that means I'm a Politician's puppet...etc

What profession would you not like to do?
- Teacher.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Trouble in Hungary...Capitalism?

Thought there was a better way to say this....but this is good, too....

This link is a joke about Capitalism...go and look...and then come back and read this version of 'Hungarian Capitalism' below...just a few things which have happened recently...remember to come back and read :-)

http://www.tickld.com/x/capitalism-explained-this-is-so-accurate-it-hurts


Hungarian Capitalism: You have two cows. You say the Socialists killed the other four and the people believe you. You create a Special Task Force who will do anything you say and 'take out' anyone you feel is not working 'for the greater good of the country'. You take control of the Media, replace all positions of power with your own people and increase taxes on anything from text messages to internet, take people's private pensions to pay for state pensions, close schools for 'special needs' children and integrate them into mainstream education, cut the Education budget by 25%, increase money to Sports by 25%, build a huge very expensive and fancy useless football stadium in the tiny village you were born in and piss off the EU with your taunts and policies. When there are shouts from the USA of corruption within the Hungarian Tax Office, you send your Special Task Force to 'clean up' the place, leaving no trace of evidence. When hundreds of thousands of demonstrators against the new Internet Tax force you to cancel that idea, one of the successful demonstration organisers with a history of suicide mysteriously dies under a speeding train. You finally sell your two cows to the Russians, asking for a massive loan to buy ten more from them, and tell the people that due to pressure from the USA and the EU, you have asked the Russians to come back into Hungary, after 25 years of 'freedom', to protect your cows (which you no longer have).

Oh yeah, and monitor Facebook for any posts like this one!!!! 
They'll be knocking on my door soon...



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Won Challenge 86! :-) "Motion in the Potion"

Oh my, that Scallywag really has a go when they want to...check out their latest post on the TIW blog...http://writingstylesandtips.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/newsflash-attack-of-the-chinese-chickens/

And...I won! Yes, Challenge 86! I won with my Batman story! Strange how it all happened, I was put 2nd and I asked for some feedback from the judges as to what the problem was with one of my best stories in the last 6 months...and 2 of them came back saying they'd put me in 1st place...contrary to what the Judges Excel spreadsheet said...so I sent a message...and the mistake was corrected :-)
One more wonderful DJC story in the TIW2 anthology :-)

"Tales from Darker Places", the 'Halloween' anthology is going strong on Amazon :-)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ODS3HQY
Although I think it's still free on Lulu.com....gotta check that...here it is :-)
http://www.lulu.com/shop/the-indie-collaboration/the-indie-collaboration-presents-tales-from-darker-places-a-chilling-horror-anthology/ebook/product-21850137.html

My freebies are moving along on Smashwords.com, Dani's Shorts 3 is almost at 200 downloads, whereas 1+2 are almost at 500 :-)

The Steampunk anthology "Circuits & Steam" is selling well, just got a nice royalty cheque from that one :-)

And sold a few ebooks in the last 30 days :-)
For example, 'Bethlehem Fiasco' on Amazon.com Australia is now #26,765 Paid in Kindle Store


There's an 'Alice in Wonderland' anthology thing going on, I have 2 weeks to hand in something, gthen wait 1 month to see if my story is chosen...written only 150 words so far, though (of 4000)...!!!

All going well...kinda...:-)

When I'm gonna write another novel, I have no idea...one is brewing...
('How to build a castle' is still waiting for a cover...)

Featured Author over at LineByLion :-)

Wow! It's so great to be connected to a publisher :-)
Yes, this week I'm the 'featured author'!!!
So far they've shown my Bio, 'Manna-X'....maybe later they'll show my interview :-)
Here it is...https://www.facebook.com/LinebyLion

Working on that Alice thing, called it 'Alice on the Outside-In'...I'm at 2500 of the 4000 words, but it also needs editing, etc...only 10 days left to hand it in!! Will I make it??

Monday, October 27, 2014

TIW Autumn Final + other things...

Well, I lost the TIW Autumn Final...:-( Yes, it's true, even with all that support...127 votes to 144...Mathew had a friend...
Anyway, the judges didn't like my story. Again. They just don't. Let's break it down...
I scraped through to the Final without receiving a 1st from any of the 4 judges. So I thought I'd change my tactic. When I saw the 4 elements for the Final, I went 'dark, creepy, black humour' and not the usual sarcastic/funny angle. I also used the styles of Roald Dahl and Alan Bennett PLUS added the basic 'Oppression of women in humanity' card. It was filled with depth. Which the judges didn't see, not even the biased Police force...it was like a test for them, and they FAILED. Well, so did I...
....but...
Come and read "Motion in the Potion", I need some votes, too:-) (see picture below)
http://theironwriter.com/challenge-86/



What's this?
Scallywag is at it again? (Yes, this is the latest in a few) Come and read this, it's about members of TIW but it's funny...hehehehehe....
http://writingstylesandtips.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/fancy-a-quickie/

Ironology (TIW Anthology 1) + Grudge 12 - updated

Yes, the official anthology of TIW challenges is out!

Here is the Kindle version on Amazon...
http://www.amazon.com/Ironology-2014-Challenge-Championship-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00OIEY9SS
..and on Smashwords for a dollar cheaper...
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/484861

Hey! I have a new interview here! Come and read :-)
 http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/darker-places-horror-and-dark-fantasy-anthology-author-interview-dani-j-caile/

Plus just got trounced in Grudge 12 with my 'tribute' to Huxley's Brave New World, co-written by Mathew W Weaver. My part of the story examines my state at this time, in a box, waiting in the dark...unfortunately, not many of the judges could relate to that. Here it is...

UPDATE: a piece of feedback..spot on, I think...
"I must add that "As Stated" was a very well stated position on meaninglessness, and the futility of existence within mans ineffectiveness to find meaning through "the law"; his own attempt to establish a utopia .... as stated. It reminded me of Plato's, "The Cave.""

“As stated under Regulation 16″ (Grudge 12)

“As stated under Regulation 16 By-law 22 Section 2 Point 4.1 Appendix 3 Paragraph 42 of the Manifesto Issued by Those Within The Box, as of now, it is my turn with the red Lionel toy train.”

Watson grabbed the treasured object and tugged. John held it closer to his chest. The damp, mouldy cardboard box shook with their wrestling and wrangling, straining the rips in the corners.

“It’s mine!” John snarled.

“Guys, please, mind The Box!” warned Bernard, fed up with their confined, disease-ridden dystopian world.

“Quack,” Howard agreed.

“Oh, shut up.” John let go, and Watson retreated in triumph to his corner.

“Quaaack.”

“Why bother learning, Howard? When was the last time we had a duck in here?” John sighed.

“You never know…QUACK.”

The misery, the oppression, the overcrowding…Bernard couldn’t take it anymore, the insanity was torturing.

“Don’t you wish you were free?” he asked, struggling to his feet, his head jammed against the top of The Box.

“No,” a voice from another corner muttered.

“Squalor is next to ugliness,” Watson commented, train in hand. He giggled, “My precioussssssssssssss……”

“Oh, miserable old box…I so love having rags for clothes,” grumbled John.

“Is it just me, then?” Bernard demanded as ants nested under his moist patch of fear. “The dirt, the smell, the insecurity of it all? Doesn’t it bother you?”

“Go if you want. We can do without you,” Watson snapped, annoyed at the interruption to his play. John tried to swipe the toy train back and missed.

“Quack.”

“Look at you! You don’t even know what’s out there!” Bernard jabbed a finger in the air. “Don’t you care? We’re Schrodinger’s cats as far as anyone or anything out there is concerned!”

“I hate cats,” murmered John.

“I like quacks,” Howard interjected, “How about we all be Schrodinger’s ducks instead?”

“My preciousssssss,” Watson hissed.

“Are we…are we alive or dead?” whined Bernard.

“Dunno. If we’re Schrodinger’s ducks, then we’ll only know if someone opens The Box.”

“Quack.”

Bernard looked around at his companions and saw the miserable, pathetic life they had, never once wondering what it was like outside. Surely there was more than this…

“I’m leaving,” he said.

“Good riddance, you and your ‘oppression’,” mumbled Watson.

Bernard shook his head, and looked up at the sagging roof inches from his nose. He sucked in, and punched upwards into the unknown. Whether or not the others were watching he did not know or care; his fist sank through the rotting cardboard like a clenched hand through thick, wet paper. Light shined through, and madness seized him. He reached, grabbed, and pulled himself out.

A flap closed on the hole in the top of The Box, and the light dimmed once more.

Watson sniffed.

“Finally.”

John leaped forward, “My turn! MY TURN WITH THE TRAIN!”

“Quack,” Howard said, shifting aside as they rolled past him.

Soft tapping on the side of The Box cut through their yells and made them pause.

“Can I come back in, please? It’s cold out here.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Funny C86!! Really...

Unfortunately I lost the TIW Autumn Final :-(

BUT....this story is very funny, especially if you remember the Batman TV series from 1966-69...
Please read, enjoy and vote :-)
"Motion in the Potion"
 http://theironwriter.com/challenge-86/ 

Quick one, I know....later...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Big Publishers DON'T CARE about YOU

I read 'The Fault in our Stars' by John Green last week (I made the joke 'fault in our stairs'? I have one of them...then I was shown a picture from the internet :-)). It took a few days to read. An entertaining book. I thought I'd finally found a new writer who could write. I was wrong. I had found a 'writer's support group' who could make a good book. What, I hear you say? How dare you! Read the acknowledgements at the back of the book, the list is endless...a 6 year old could have written that book with that team behind them. Really...maybe even a monkey. There's a picture of him at the back...reminded me of a student running through the streets like a king, molesting the girls, laughing at the locals, pissing up his parents support and drifting through college. Don't get me wrong, I love his books!!...ya don't need to tell me he's doing a good job.
Then I spotted a John Green quote about 'Public Education' on fb...at first funny but then superficial. If you're listening, John Green, Public Education is good in theory but is unfortunately a political tool. When a headmaster retires in this country, they are replaced by a supporter of this leading power, and the administrative infrastructure and school subjects and all the teachers use have been changed to match the views of said power. That's Public Education. Educate yourself...(but keep away from religion)... Plus John Green used the 'Cancer Perk', as do many writers. Many writers follow a trend (vampires, werewolves, etc) and some even grab a transparent issue of the day and write, knowing that people will buy the book just to say 'I have that'...the book "Vernon God Little" by DBC Pierre, Booker Prize for Literature and catching on the theme of American school shootings...20% of people who bought that book, finished it. The rest put it on their shelf...'I have that'...
So what do we?
...Publishers want to make money.
They don't care about you.
They know you'll buy a book if...
1. someone says it's good (marketing);
2. it's easily available to buy (distribution).
That's it. They don't care if the book is 'art', if it's a 'classic', if it 'educates you', if it 'entertains' you, if it attacks your views (that one's for 'Salmon' Rushie...see how I spelt that? See?). They want money.
I'd like some money, too. But I'd write to spiral us 'up' and not keep us in the shit we call a 'civilisation'...
...rant over...breath...and continue :-)

Friday, October 17, 2014

A FINAL! Need your vote...!

Yes, thanks to you I got into the TIW Autumn Open Final! :-)
It's a semi-serious piece, seeing as I was reading 'The Fault in Our Stars' when I wrote it.
Please come and read and vote for it here!
http://theironwriter.com/challenge-85-autumn-equinox-final-round/

AND, as a SPECIAL BONUS, my collaboration (the FIRST EVER on TIW) with Jordan Bell, Grudge 11, is up on the site! Come and read it and applaud!
http://theironwriter.com/grudge-match-11-monday-september-22-2014

Next week is TIW Challenge 86..I'm in that, with a FANTASTICALLY FUNNY story...wait and see :-)

Had 10 free downloads of DS3 in one day...something is happening...maybe...:-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

'Circuits & Steam' available for 1 week!

Yes, finally, but for only 1 week, 'Circuits & Steam' is available to buy....(so, Mom, quick! Get the card out!)
This anthology has a super cool Steampunk short story of mine. If you really really wanna have a read of mine and the other cool stories, it's here...
http://www.amazon.com/Circuits-Steam-3-Fates-Press/dp/1940938333


FREE ebook 'Tales from Darker Places'

'Tales from Darker Places' is now FREE on Lulu.com.
http://www.lulu.com/shop/the-indie-collaboration/the-indie-collaboration-presents-tales-from-darker-places-a-chilling-horror-anthology/ebook/product-21850137.html



Let's see if that helps with the 'exposure'. Read a few of the other stories now...my 2 stories are at the back, go read them :-)
Yes, voting time is coming...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pitman and the 'Books by the Banks' workshop

 Busy week. 'Tales from Darker Places' came out, and I have 2 short stories in the back :-)
On Thursday starts the TIW Autumn Open Final and I'll need some votes.
Next week both TIW Challenge 86 and Grudge 12 start and I'm in both of them. Challenge 86 needs votes, so I guess it's 2 weeks of toting for votes :-)
To pass the time 'til Thursday, here's a little 200 word 'Quickie'...
A wonderful TIW member, Michael D. Pitman, did a TIW workshop at 'Books By The Banks'...please, don't ask me where it was...in the USA, somewhere. He organised and ran 2 'Quickies' for the writers there, and this is my take for the first one.

Elements: jealousy, a chair and baseball game.

Obscenities, fruit and even a foldaway chair were thrown onto the playing field from the grandstand. This was not Dooger’s greatest performance.
"Come on, man! Wake up! That’s three in a row ya let walk, not to mention the other eight in the last innings!” shouted Wade, the catcher. The Rascals were 10 down with only 2 more innings to play.
"Sorry, Wade, but it’s Cheryl!”
"Oh Christ, man! Forget her! Move on! We’ve got a game to play here!”
The umpire beckoned them both over.
"You tell this guy to start playing better or I’ll eject him from the field! It’s getting dangerous out here!”
The crowd continued to whistle and shout.
"What? You can’t do that!”
"Watch me!”
"But ump, it’s his girl!”
"Oh hell, girl trouble? Get over it!” The umpire shook his head. „What happened?”
"She caught me with Flossy.”
"She caught you with another girl? Then what do you expect? Play the game!”
"No, no, Flossy is a goat from next door.”
"A goat!? What? Beastiality ain’t popular in these parts!”
"What? Who’s talking about beastiality? I was painting her hooves! Cheryl got jealous, said I never did anything like that for her!”
"You’re gone!”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tales from Darker Places

I finally got a few short stories in another anthology, this time with The Indie Collaboration :-)
This group of writers get together and create stories every 3 months to show the world that there is some great writing outside the main publishing houses! Well, yes, of course! :-)
My two stories, seated at the end of the book, are...
A Day in the life of a Zombie...rather like Walking Dead but told from the zombie's point of view.
Payback...an 'almost' true story
Find it here on Amazon...
http://www.amazon.com/Indie-Collaboration-Presents-Chilling-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ODS3HQY
or here on Amazon.co.uk
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00ODS3HQY
or here as a Paperback :-)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/150272913X

Nice to see my name there on the cover...I'll be doing more of these, hopefully :-)




Monday, October 6, 2014

When TIWs get together...revisited

Yep. I won Grudge #11 by default and decided to take it out on Mathew W Weaver, seeing as he was the one who challenged me.
Here is a little 'one guy' relay I wrote on one of his Facebook posts. Hope you like it.

The Duel of Procrastination

Mathew shuffled to the sound of leaves falling from the resting trees as he hid behind a particularly thorny bramble bush, away from the searching eyes of those present. His seemingly constant flow of procrastination had finally placed him in a particularly prickly situation and his suit of slightly rusting armour was no match for the persistant spikey bush which had the ability to seek out the joining hinges.
"Where is that Weaver?!" shouted an irate Dani. "He was meant to be here three days ago! We're running out of peanut butter and jello sandwiches!"
Jordan stood firm, clenching the case which held the two dueling pistols.
"He's not coming, can't you see that?" Jordan dropped the pistols' case and opened one of the six pack he'd brought along. "Fancy a beer?"
"Nah, you never know, he might appear. I've gotta keep my wits about me," said Dani, waving off the can once, twice, three times. Jordan swung it his way once more and he took it and had a swig.
Mathew spotted his chance and ran out of the hedge, away from the two drinking their beers. For armour, it was surprisingly light and flexible and he sprinted across to the playground, towards safety and a chance for a chip butty.
"Look! There he goes!" screamed Jordan, losing half his beer as he pointed. Dani dropped his and grabbed the pistols' case.
"Give me that! Ahh!" The harder he tried to open the case, the less chance it would.
"You've bent the hinges now! It'll never open!" Jordan caught the case as Dani threw it away in disgust.
"No matter. I have one of these!" Dani took out a large can opener and chased after Mathew. "I'll get that bugger if it's the last thing...!" He tripped over a mole hill.
THE END.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Need your vote! (Plus a Grudge win! Yeah!)

Hey! Manna-X Kindle reached #239,210 Paid in Kindle Store...then dropped like a stone! OK, not so good but better than usual...a few have left for devices across the USA...somewhere...someone is reading it!

This week 2 wonderful things areup.
The first is TIW Grudge 11, a collaboration work between myself and Jordan Bell against Mathew W Weaver and Mamie Pound. The other team was late, 2 days were added to the deadline and the story didn't appear, so Brian announced that WE WON! Yeah! Still not up on the site, though

BUT...more importantly, the TIW Autumn Open Prelims are on! I'll need your vote here! And anyone else who has an IP address!
"Inside the Womb"...
The biggest of the 4 elements for myself was the last, the interview, and so my story is a futuristic TV programme which goes into a famous person's mother's womb and interviews them just before birth...it's the mother of...can ya guess?....Agatha Christie!!! :-)
http://theironwriter.com/2014-autumn-equinox-open-agatha-christie-bracket/

Monday, September 29, 2014

'New' review on Amazon.ca!

I completely missed this review on Canada's Amazon site!
Thanks, Sebastian, for this! If I remember right, you've got the 2nd book somewhere, maybe even the 3rd and 4th too!
The Canadian site...


Man by a tree

5.0 out of 5 stars A hilarious twist on religion! Feb. 26 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
A book that makes you think and laugh at the same time. With a story that had me absorbed by the end, it was difficult to put it down! A good combination of intellectualism and entertainment makes for a fun read. Definitely recommended
I am already waiting on the next book in the series to arrive in the mail!

Friday, September 26, 2014

New interview on Laura Robert's Blog!

I've got a new interview over on Laura Robert's blog!
It's a woozey! :-) Thanks, Laura!
http://blackheartmagazine.com/2014/09/22/manna-x-an-interview-with-dani-j-caile/

I've also just sent in 2 fantastic stories to the Iron Writer, one for the Grudge Match 11, a collaboration with Jordan Bell, 250ish words each, and my entry for the Autumn 2014 Prelims. More on those later!
But hey! Get over to the interview!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

News...news..news...:-)

Long time no posts again!
Been busy writing...at the moment I'm in a completely new format TIW Grudge match, trying to wrestle with another author's ego (Jordan Bell) as well as my own. We're on our 2nd (3rd?) attempt at creating a collaboration 500 word story with some insane elements. We might get lucky.
I'm also now waiting on 3...yes, 3 anthologies, two from Three Fate Press and 1 from the Indie Collaboration. I have no idea whether any piece will be published yet.
Still waiting on the cover artist of "How to build a castle in seven easy steps"...no reply...apparently I am 'impatient'...if I'd self-published the book would've been out now...but I'd be in the wilderness. Better to wait. It's an 'epic'. If anyone catches on to that fact, "Hello fame, hello fortune"..yeah, right...the action of writing something which might make a change is the reason I'm doing this...
There should also be a fantastic new little interview somewhere...though I can't find it ATM...perhaps the person forgot to post it.

Later...:-)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

When TIWs get together...The Mirror

Yeah, I won TIW Challenge 81! The popular vote got it for me, as it was evens-Stevens after the judge vote...I know who hates me now...won't be saying 'hello' to that one for a while...so I'm in the Autumn Open :-)


C81 J1 J2 J3 J4 PV Total
A Bear in the Woods - Dani J Caile 2 1 3 1 1 1 9
House of the Golden Slayer - Laura Roberts 1 3 1 2 3 3 13
Mamma and Papa's House - M. D. Pitman 3 2 2 3 2 2 14
Little Schiz-pot - Neal Sayatovich 4 4 4 4 4 4 24

And today, a TIW impromtu relay 'just happened' :-) Both myself, Mathew W Weaver and Christopher A Liccardi (Mathew started this one) had a go at another of Jordan Bell's facebook profile pictures, a particularly 'scary' one in a steamed up mirror...that guy has more profile pictures than...than...anyone I know :-) Here's the result (well, it went on a little further, but here's my punchline :-))

The Mirror 
(Impromtu relay 18 Sept 2014)
 
Mathew W. Weaver
The muzzle was still warm when he laid it down on the sink. The metal hit the ceramic with a clang loud enough to make a normal man jump, any man with the nerves of jelly after what he had just done. But this was no normal man.
Dani J Caile
No normal man at all. His reflection in the mirror seemed foggy and...distant. Who was that person staring back at him? Those eyes, that nose, the lack of hair on the top of his head were all so familiar and yet...
Jordan Bell 
Uh oh. Here we go again!
Christopher A Liccardi
Strangely different. He had been wearing another face the last time he looked at his reflection. It was a woman this time. She was pretty, or had been, blonde and naive. Her first mistake was to open the door when the bell rang at...
Dani J Caile
...two minutes til the witches' hour. How was she to know that keeping awake at that hour procrastinating with her buddies on facebook would lead her to such a violent and lethal fate? The hynoptising trancelike backbeat of a Justin Bieber song still rang deep in his mind.
Mathew W. Weaver
It was all so confusing. He leaned over and gripped the edges of the sink tightly, his knuckles whitening. He breathed out, glanced at the mirror, and looked away. His gaze fell on his hands. In the dim light and the steam off the shower, he could barely make them out. Were they thick, burly red sausages or slim, dainty white feminine digits?
Dani J Caile
Shaking his head, his vision cleared and he breathed a sigh of relief. His manly hand , strained and tense, grasped the thin long ungrilled vienna virsli he'd taken in those last stressful moments of the struggle. But that face...?
Christopher A Liccardi
 and those memories; flashes another persons life. He was an intruder in those things he saw. Each familiar, but each one glaringly not his own. He wasn't going to have them long. He needed to feed again... and soon. This time he was thinking about that writer who had run into him in the Stop and Save parking lot. What an...
Dani J Caile
...absolute waste of pen and paper, those King clone scribbles he'd noticed over his shoulder. It would be a blessing to the world if that writer was his next victim.
Mathew W. Weaver
 And then, with that thought, everything became so much more clearer. The throbbing headache faded and his vision, inexplicably clouded again, spontaneously cleared. He saw the blood on his hands. He saw the pistol within grasp. He knew what he needed to do....
Dani J Caile
Go and grill those vienna virsli!










Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dani's Shorts 3 hits 100+ free downloads!

Finally! DS3 goes over 3 figures...even for free it's difficult for an unknown writer to get their books downloaded...read is another matter...reviewed is even harder.
DS3 on Smashwords...
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/470944
DS3 on Amazon...
http://www.amazon.com/Danis-Shorts-3-Dani-Caile-ebook/dp/B00N7YGLBS
The highest ranking was No. 9626 in the Free Kindle Store...small steps...

A few TIW things going on...
Challenge 81 is still on, and I'll  be in Grudge 11, a special one, later...later...oh, soon...:-)




Monday, September 15, 2014

Dani's Shorts 3 FREE on Amazon!

Yes, I made 'Dani's Shorts 3' available for FREE on Amazon for the next 4 days. If you prefer to download it from there, here's the link...
http://www.amazon.com/Danis-Shorts-3-Dani-Caile-ebook/dp/B00N7YGLBS
A review would be nice, too :-)
Of course, it's always FREE on Smashwords, but it's not so Kindle-friendly I guess...
Trying to get to 100 downloads...yes, I know it's not much, but it's another small step.

Challenge 81 is still on until THursday, so if you really think you know which story is mine...the funny one...then please vote :-)
http://theironwriter.com/challenge-81/


Sunday, September 14, 2014

My take on TIW 82 :-)

Someone had the idea of changing their 'tagwords' on KDP Amazon to match the famous writer their work is close to...so I added Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett...they didn't allow me to put Dan Brown...too many misleading hits, apparently...I think the Brown Mafia have something to do with it. Let's see what that does....

And yes, here's my version of TIW Challenge 82, another 'marital strife' type dialogue
...if you haven't voted for my story in Challenge 81, please do so...it's the solemn funny one....
http://theironwriter.com/challenge-81/

The Brother

TIW Challenge 82

(4 elements - A Arnold Schwarzenegger Commando Action Figure, A New (10th) Circle of Hell (meaning you have to make it up and give it a title), The Dunning Kruger Effect, Perfume Atomizer)

She came in, spraying her perfume atomizer around the room. Someone was coming round. Who was it?
"I've told you a thousand times, my work doesn't smell." I sealed the box up and put my collection of Amblytelus ground beetles away into their particular drawer.
"I don't care. I hate those things. Smell or no smell, I think they're disgusting."
"It's my work, dear, my field of expertise." To make her feel more at ease, I opened the window to let some fresh air in.
"My brother will be here soon, so take those joggy bottoms of yours off and put on something more…respectable."
"Your brother? But that's the second time this month? What does he want now? More money?" I checked my wallet, making sure there was enough to cover such a visit.
"Brian! How dare you! He's my brother. If he needs money, then we can help him out."
"Why doesn't he get a job?"
"Brian!" She rushed across the room, spraying her perfume atomizer along the furniture and the sofa, only to find her supply running out.
"Well, he thinks he knows everything!"
"You know he's unskilled…"
"Yes, but he's always ready to tell me what's right and what's wrong, isn't he? It's those muscles of his, it makes him think he's some kind of superhero who can do anything. I'm sure he suffers from the Dunning Kruger Effect…"
"He's my brother, you can't talk about him like that! And anyway, there's nothing wrong with a little muscle…"
I watched as she left the room and emerged with a plate load of sandwiches from the kitchen.
"A little muscle? He's got more muscles than a caterpillar!" That last remark caused her to stop in her tracks and tutt.
"Ah, I knew you'd have to bring your Entomology into this at some point. You just can't stop thinking about it, can you? My brother takes care of his body and as I said, there's nothing wrong with his muscles."
"Absolutely. Every day, 8 to 4, in that gym. My old Arnold Schwarzenegger Commando action figure had less muscles than him. Except for one, of course." I tapped the side of my head and she shook hers.
"Well please don't go into some intellectual tirade like you did the last time. You know how upset he gets when he doesn't understand something. He broke grandma's China vase, remember? We're running out of the old inheritance."
"Yes, I remember. He's rather like a gorilla, don't you think? His dire apathy towards knowledge is killing. They should invent a whole new Circle of Hell just for him, 'Apathy of Knowledge and Understanding', perhaps. A little different to ignorance, wouldn't you say? Ignorance isn't really a choice for him, it would be a step up…that place would be good for a few other people I don't care to mention..."
She clenched her fists, pushing them down to her sides and her face went a deep purple.
"Don't bring my parents into this!"






Saturday, September 13, 2014

TIW Weekend Quickie 53...different

It's the first of many different Weekend Quickies to come at TIW from DL Zwissler :-)
The rules have been changed, but I still have power to do it!
And it's...well, go and see it for yourself!
http://theironwriter.com/weekend-quickie-53/

Got 'How to' back from the editor this week, and I immediately read through it and sent it back. The quicker I am, the quicker it'll come out :-) Oh, it's 'an entertaining read' ...they keep telling me.

Still waiting for the 100th copy of 'Dani's Shorts 3' to go out...almost there after a few weeks out. OK, not so great but hey! Get your copy now...
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/470944


I'm also in Grudge 10 on TIW....Challenge 81...sorry, no names and I can't tell you which story is mine but I do humour as you know...
http://theironwriter.com/challenge-81/

Yes, there's a lot of links on the post :-)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

1 year of TIW Quickies + Celebration Story!

 Thank you, Mamie Pound, for giving us at TIW the Weekend Quickie, 52 weeks of 200 word 3 element stories :-) I'll miss you at the helm :-)
Here's my 52nd Weekend Quickie on the TIW website, a melancholy 200 words...
http://theironwriter.com/weekend-quickie-52/

BUT...
to celebrate a whole year, I wrote a story using 1 element from each week (the element and not the picture or feeling), 52 (I chose 2 elements from the 12 available at Christmas). Find them if you can :-)This piece is a little melancholy, too...is this a phase I'm going through? Anyway, hope you like it.

Surprise!
 
If I recall, it was a Saturday afternoon at a local Iron Writers Convention. Five Iron Writers were present when I got there but like some forgotten rule of thumb, I couldn't remember their names, though I knew their faces. They held the convention in the Flora Bama bar, right next to a strange cyclorama of a burning wicker man set in the Scottish Highlands and a live element of eight ladies dancing a jig in the foreground, all organised and produced by some local artist. While melodical musical notes wafted over the sound system, I began to daydream and think back to yesterday morning at Mamie's…
With the smell of fried bacon and just brewed coffee, I made my way into the kitchen. She was nowhere to be seen. Lavender wafted through the open French doors, mixing with the breakfast smells and turning my already weak stomach. I opened the food cupboard to be greeted by a can of alphabet soup and a can of pumpkin, with a rotting coconut cake Mamie had made for Easter...at Christmas. A pack of lifesavers sat on the counter and I took a tangerine one. Far away in the garden I heard the sound of singing. Was it her? A message in a bottle on the top of the fridge said it all.
'Dear Dani, Your mother gave you a little errand. Make two coffees and bring them out with you, following a trail of Mardi Gras beads. At the end of the trail is an arrowhead bordered by a dandelion bracelet. It will show you the way. Yours sincerely, Mamie.'
I did as the message asked and found her in a little summerhouse by a large rockery. We greeted each other and I placed the coffees on the table. She passed over a coin.
"What's this?"
"A present for a handsome newspaperman's birthday, a 1909 penny covered in Mars dust. Happy birthday!"
"Err, thanks, Mamie. Where did you get it?"
"From your sister. Ha, kind of a tip from a waitress, so to speak. Go on, your mother said you had to make a birthday wish now."
The annual birthday ritual with Mother. It was easy to choose, 50-50, but it was never a pleasant experience, and now that she was gone, it was Mamie who was left to do her last dying wish. Mother had hired a room at her place for the past few years and they had spent so many evenings together they'd become inseparable.
"Truth or dare?"
"OK, let's do it."
She took out Mother's old coke bottle and spun it around. This bottle was like a portent that provoked fear in me every year, but this time, for perhaps the first time ever, it stopped on 'truth'.
"Oh. Wish upon a star?"
"A star? It's eight o'clock in the morning."
 Mamie looked glum but then gave a smile and settled herself into her chair."Your Mother said that if it landed on 'truth' then I'd have to tell. You're 40 this year, so maybe it's better if...err...you know about some things. She'd been prepared to tell you for years but..." She pointed to the bottle. "She said it always came up 'dare'."
"What things, Mamie?"
"Your early years...your 'real' early years..."
She took out an old photo from her pocket and handed it over.
"This is me as a newborn baby. I haven't seen this before…err, what's that on my face?"
"Err…" Mamie had a look. "It's cumerindine. My grandmother swore by it."
"Great...and what's that in the background? What! I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus, rolling down Highway 41? Are you kidding me? What about that old photo of me in the hospital?"
"I don't know about that, but your Mother said that she had to hitchhike from the bus to the hospital."
"Really?"
"Yes, the bus didn't go that way."
I sighed, relieved that this truth wasn't so bad.
"Phew, I thought it was going to be really bad, like I was adopted or something."
Mamie flinched.
"What?"
"Err, well, not adopted as such…" She passed me another photo.
"Who's that?"
"It's your father."
"My...but my father is..."
"No, this is your real father. Who you thought was your father was actually your step father. Your mother said that this man is your father." As the shock hit me, Mamie continued. "She said that he had such a feeling of strength and independence about him. She first met him in the summer of her Junior Year at High school..."
I quickly calculated it in my head. Surely that was wrong. How could this be my father?
"That would make me 44, Mamie."
"Yes, it was 5 years later. She met him again, a chance encounter during a cake walk at a fete. He'd lost his shoes. Apparently, he was really something. She said 'some people can look at a mud puddle and see an ocean of ships'. He gave her one of these."
Mamie showed me Mother's five gold rings. It had always been a mystery as to who that fifth ring had came from.
"Why...where...when can I meet him?"
"Oh, he's gone now, a freak accident when a Halcyon flew into his helmet while he was riding his motorbike."
"Oh. So no father-son reunion, then."
"No. Sorry, Dani."
"That's okay…but…but she said I got my nose from my father. His nose is nothing like mine."
"Your nose…well…do you really want to know?"
I nodded.
"Okay. When you were old enough to walk, you were obsessed with moving lights and things, you know, snowglobes, lava lamps and the like. She couldn't drag you past a shop window without a fight. You squashed your nose up against the glass so many times, you got a permanent pugnose."
"What? Next you'll be telling me that this wolf bite I got on my arm 'cause I thought the thing was a lost dog with no collar, isn't!"
"It isn't."
"What?"
"It's a birthmark. Same as that one she said was a rattlesnake bite when you tried to save a yellow scorpion."
"What?"
First my birth, then my father, and now my infamous bites…
"Uh-huh." I examined both 'birthmarks'. "I see it now. How stupid of me to believe they were bites."
I looked straight at Mamie. A thousand emotions ran through me, a million images, and the world started to spin…