#Flashfiction – Beggars can’t be choosers

From the diary of Jennifer Saunders

“I’m not eating it,” he said. I could have cried. My entire day had been spend foraging for fruit and now he was rejecting it. “Why won’t you eat it?” I asked. He pointed towards a large, brownish bump on the skin of the apple, “It’s damaged and it might make me sick.”

All the fruit looks like this. Since the war, nothing is perfect. Thomas may be right about the dangers of eating the food but there is nothing else and beggars can’t be choosers. Next time, I’m going to peel the apple before offering it to him.

Written for Charli Mills’ 99-word flash fiction challenge. You can join in here: https://carrotranch.com/2019/04/11/april-11-flash-fiction-challenge/https://carrotranch.com/2019/04/11/april-11-flash-fiction-challenge/

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#Writephoto – Decisions: From a memorandum left by Dr Thompson

Memorandum left by Dr Thompson

I write this and leave it where it can be eventually found so that future generations may understand my part in the undoing of the world as we knew it.

I know that I am dying. The symptoms of my radiation poisoning have become more acute despite the fact that I was not close to the centre of the nuclear explosion. My nausea and vomiting have weakened me so I barely have the strength to write. I must write though, even if I die by doing so. The future generations who manage to survive this disaster have a right to know what happened.

I knew when the integrated World Government decided to implement my fully fledged world-wide cyber-physical system known as Gemma, ten years ago, it would cause an increase in economic inequality in the world. Gemma had been carefully designed with intelligent mechanisms to improve the interaction between its computation and physical elements, thereby, increasing its adaptability, autonomy, efficiency, functionality, reliability, safety and usability.

The biggest potential issue we identified was that of increased unemployment in the world due to Gemma’s ability to automate tasks in service industries.

“People will no longer be required in call centres or retail and administrative roles,” I told them. “Goods and services will be sourced and supplied by globally connected digital platforms. Many other physical and routine task based jobs will also be destroyed by the introduction of the many robots and robotic systems that will link to Gemma. Fewer jobs will be created in a world controlled by Gemma, and those that are created will require higher levels of education and specialised study than the millions of jobs that will disappear.”

The World Government had to make a decision about whether to implement Gemma, and risk the potential increase in social unrest due to high levels of unemployment, or not. I provided the decision makers with all of my team’s data and the results of our analysis of the potential impact of the system on jobs throughout the world, developed and undeveloped. My team was made up of engineers and scientists; we did not have a single psychologist on our payroll.

The majority of the members of parliament believed that the resultant social unrest could be controlled. “We’ll introduce a world-wide system of unemployment benefits for unemployed people. We can also provide them with public or social housing. The benefits and social houses can be funded by an additional government tariff levied on the digital platforms.”

Most of the participants in the meeting had a vested interest in the digital platforms. They stood to gain substantial wealth from the implementation of Gemma. As a group, they decided to go ahead with the introduction of the system.

“The majority of people will be happy to live on benefits and have a free house,” one MP argued. “We can also introduce free entertainment in the form of television and repetitive computer games that do not involve strategy or encourage the development of complex problem solving skills and lateral thinking skills. We’ll keep them dumbed down and they won’t even realise it.”

World Government could not have been more wrong. This proved to be the worst decision ever made in the history of mankind.

This post was written for Sue Vincent’s weekly photo challenge Decisions. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2019/04/11/thursday-photo-prompt-decisions-writephoto/

#DeathAmongUs – I have three short stories in this murder mystery anthology

I am very excited to have three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery short stories, which is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Death among us

About my three short stories

My short stories all include a historical setting and a murder combined with a supernatural element. The three stories all depict the tale of an unnatural death due to the circumstances in which the main protagonist finds him/herself. The theme of the stories is to illustrate that how we view ourselves and our role in life impacts heavily on how we shape our futures. They also demonstrate the fact that our choices in life, good or bad, remain with us into perpetuity. Evil and goodness do not die, they merely change form.

Justice is not served;

An eye for an eye; and

The murder of the monk

Death Among Us - promotion 3

The Blurb

Who knew death could be so eclectic? Relish this mesmerizing murder mystery mash-up of short stories.

The stories include the 2019 SIA Award-Winning Murder Mystery Short Story ‘The Rose Slayer.’

Murder and mystery have been the staple of literature and films for years. This anthology of short stories will thrill and entertain you. Some will also make you laugh out loud. Others will stop and make you think.

Think of this murder mystery short story anthology as a book version of appetizers or starters, hors d’oeuvre, meze, or antipasti. It can be read as fillers between books or, as is the case in some countries, as a bookish meze – in its own right.

These stories come from an international cast of authors; some with bestselling books, others are emerging or new talents. Their roots, cultures, and life experiences are as diverse as their writing styles.

But one thing binds them together: they know how to tell a story.

There’s murder mystery styles and locations to suit all tastes: detective fiction, serial killers, scifi, histfic, Paris, LA, England, the Caribbean, The Great Lakes, and more in an exquisite exposition of the art of short story telling.

The eleven authors who have contributed to the anthology are:

  • Stephen Bentley
  • Greg Alldredge
  • Kelly Artieri
  • Brenda Mohammed
  • L. Lee Kane
  • Michael Spinelli
  • Sansriti Johri
  • Robbie Cheadle
  • Kay Castaneda
  • Justin Bauer
  • Aly Locatelli

Each author introduces his or her stories and the theme that lies behind them.By the time you finish the book, you will agree the result is a mesmerizing murder mystery mash-up.

Pre-order Death Among Us

#Coverreveal – The Weaver by Heather Kindt

Heather Kindt

Author, Heather, Kindt is revealing the cover of her forthcoming novel, The Weaver, today. I must admit that I think it is absolutely gorgeous, full of mystery and intrigue.

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The blurb

Most writers choose the endings to their stories . . . most writers are not Weavers.
Laney Holden is a freshman at Madison College whose life goes from normal to paranormal in a matter of seconds. When the antagonist in the book she’s writing shoves her down the stairs at the subway station, she learns she is a Weaver. Weavers bridge the narrow gap between fantasy and reality, bringing their words to life.

Laney soon meets William whom she also suspects is a character from her book—one she’s had a mad crush on since her pen hit the paper. But he’s in danger as her antagonist reveals a whole different ending planned for Laney’s book that involves killing William. Laney must use her writing to save the people closest to her by weaving the most difficult words she will ever write.

THE WEAVER is the first installment of The Weaver trilogy. It is a YA paranormal romance set in a small town on the north shore of Boston. It will leave you wanting more.

Here is the Goodreads link to The Weaver: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41109363-the-weaver?from_search=true

Heather Kindt also has short stories in Number 1 Amazon best selling horror anthology, Dark Visions, compiled and edited by Dan Alatorre. You can purchase Dark Visions here:

You can find Heather Kindt’s other books on Amazon here: Heather Kindt Amazon US

#Bookreview – Bram Stoker’s Dracula

book reviews

What Amazon says

“There was one great tomb more lordly than all the rest; huge it was, and nobly proportioned. On it was but one word, DRACULA.”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula

The greatest and most famous vampire novel of all time DRACULA has inspired countless adaptations —none with the same power to quicken the pulse as the original. Bram Stoker’s novel is both a Gothic reflection of the Victorian era and a timeless tale of sinister lust. First published in 1897, Dracula established the ground rules for virtually all vampire fiction written in its wake.

Acting on behalf of his firm of solicitors, Jonathan Harker travels to the Carpathian Mountains to finalize the sale of England’s Carfax Abbey to Transylvanian noble Count Dracula. Little does he realize that, in doing so, he endangers all that he loves. For Dracula is one of the Un-Dead–a centuries-old vampire who sleeps by day and stalks by night, feasting on the blood of his helpless victims. Once on English soil, the count sets his sights on Jonathan’s circle of associates, among them his beloved wife Mina. To thwart Dracula’s evil designs, Jonathan and his friends will have to accept as truth the most preposterous superstitions concerning vampires, and in the company of legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, embark on an unholy adventure for which even their worst nightmares have not prepared them.

My review

I listened to the audio book of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I don’t know how I missed this one during my book filled youth but I am glad I discovered it now.

The story is told through a collection of diary, journal and other written entries by the main characters to the story and follows the path of the five men and two women who encounter one of the most evil creatures ever known to mankind.

Jonathan Harker is a young and ambitions lawyer with a good and kind heart. The story starts with him arriving in Transylvania to travel to the castle of a Count Dracula who is doing business with Mr Harker’s firm in England. The Count has requested that a legal representative travel to his home and stay with him for a period to bed down certain business transactions, including the purchase of property in England, he wishes to undertake. It is decided by the owner of the firm that Jonathan should undertake the journey as he is dedicated and thorough in his work and his health is far better than that of his older associate.

Following Jonathan’s arrival in Transylvania, it soon becomes apparent that the local people are terrified of Count Dracula and fear for Jonathan’s life and soul. Although perplexed by the bizarre behaviour of the local people, Jonathan travels on to his arranged drop off point where he is collected by a huge and unusual man in a horse drawn coach. The journey to the castle is harrowing and Jonathan is relieved to arrive at this temporary home. Before many days have passed, however, he becomes aware that everything is not as it seems at the castle. The Count does not eat and does not sleep at night. As Jonathan becomes more suspicious of the Count, and wishes to return home he discovers that he is a prisoner in the castle. The Count does not have his best interests at heart and he is just a ploy to help Dracula get to England to carry out his ghastly plan.

Meanwhile back in England, Mina, Jonathan’s devoted fiancee, is greatly concerned that she has not heard from him. She is also worried about her beautiful friend, Lucy, who is sleep walking at night and whose health seems to start deteriorating. Lucy is a delightful and loving woman and the object of three men’s desire. When Mina eventually receives a letter from a nun at the hospital where Jonathan is recovering after a lengthily illness, she leaves immediately to assist him and Lucy is left in the care of her ailing mother.

Lucy’s health takes a turn for the worse and all three of the men who love her as well as Doctor von Helsing, an elderly and famous physician, must battle to save her life and her soul. This is just the beginning of their fight as Lucy’s life is merely one of many that is at stake in this terrifying novel.

The story is told in the most beautiful and descriptive language and I did enjoy the old fashioned manners displayed by the five male heroes. The female characters also display the best of female characteristics and are true, loving and kind.

This great dramatical story is well worth reading and I can understand how it has come to be a one of the great classic stories.

Purchase Dracula by Bram Stoker

 

#Writephoto – Threshold

From the diary of Dr Thompson

Mankind is standing on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. It is being driven by the technologies that surround us and it scares the hell out of me. I am one of the people who is instrumental in the building and expanding of digitization and yet I do not know how it will effect society, the people around me or even me, as an individual.

As with the three industrial revolutions that proceeded it, the fourth industrial revolution is a reflection of the choices and desires of people but, more than ever before, people are entering this era with a total lack of understanding of what they really want technology to deliver for them and what kind of a world they want to live in.

Jeff and I were discussing this at the lab today and reflecting on the wise words of Schwab: “There has never been a time of greater promise, or one of greater potential peril.” People are being blinded to the threats posed by digitization because they do not want to see them.  They embrace the benefits offered by technology which appear to increase the efficiency, ease and capacity for enjoyment of our lives while simultaneously reducing the costs, and they fail to think further than that.

They do not know that half of the world’s household wealth now belongs to the richest one percent of the population and they do not see the rise in greed and corruption as everyone tries to grab their piece of the economic pie with no thought to the consequences.

They are living through the bizarre weather conditions that are occurring world-wide, they read the stories of the fish and other ocean life dying due to consumption of plastic and they suffer the consequences of cancers caused by water and air pollution, holes in the ozone layer and animal and vegetable food products tainted by hormones, artificial sweeteners, colourants and fertilizers and yet, they do not really see.

Jeff and I agree that we are on the brink of a revolution, whether it will go the way the general populace expects, or whether it will degenerate into a fight for the survival of our race, we have yet to see.

Written for Sue Vincent’s weekly photo challenge “Threshold”. You can join in the challenge here: https://scvincent.com/2019/04/04/thursday-photo-prompt-threshold-writephoto/

#Stockphotochallenge – The Busker

The young man came over, opened his wallet, and dropped a few coins into the open guitar case lying on the ground.

“Thank you,” John smiled, continuing to play a lively tune. He caught the eye of his mate standing nearby and gave a brief nod. The wad of notes in the man’s wallet made him the perfect victim for their mugging gig. Busking is a great way to identify victims. Why didn’t we think of it before? John thought. Sam and Mike sauntered after the man.

John grinned and lifted his voice in exuberant song. The money was theirs.

This 100-word flash fiction was written for Don Massenzio’s stock photo challenge here: https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/stock-photo-challenge-6/

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