Friday, October 28, 2016

The First Horror Bites

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Horror Bites is now at a new location, so it's time for a fresh start. Not quite horror—unless you're one of the characters in my little tale...

From the new Horror Bites #1 website:
Welcome to the first Horror Bites Challenge for October. The challenge is for you to write a short horror story inspired by the image I’ve posted below. Feel free to use the wolf image to the left for your site if you wish, my son drew it so no worries about copy-write infringement.

This picture was taken at the airport in Gran Canaria as we were waiting for our flight home this summer. The image can be used in anyway, referencing time, a clock what ever takes your fancy – let the horror muse take control.

Unfashionably Late

From the Horror Bite website: ©2016 Laura Jamez
Horror Bite #1 Prompt Picture
©2016 Laura Jamez

    "If I'm not there by 10:00, it's too late. You know what you have to do."
    The envelope had contained only that note and a single, tiny pill. The clock in the station read a quarter past.
    His fingers trembled as he held the pill. Closing his eyes, he placed it in his mouth and bit down hard. His only hope was the pill would be less brutal than what the enemy had in mind.


    There was confusion all around. A man had collapsed and died in the middle of the station. Police and paramedics huddled over him. No one noticed when a woman picked up a slip of paper from the floor.
    "This is my note." She showed it to her companion. His shoulders sagged. "Why did he do it? We were here in plenty of time."
    "It doesn't say AM or PM. He must have thought you meant morning."
    "Morning! I thought he understood! What do we do now?"
    "What do we do? Without him, it's over. It's too late for us, too."
    The man pulled a small bottle from his pocket. He emptied the contents into his hand. He held up two small pills.
    "Ladies first."

 199 words without the title... 

© 2016 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Last Horror Bites

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From the Office Mango website:
So you may have noticed that I’ve been absent for a while, if you’re counting its been about a year since the last Horror Bites post. Not going to go into details about the why or wherefores at this time but this will be the last Horror Bites from

I will let those of you who have stuck by me (assuming I have any left lol) I will be starting a new sight and will fill you in on all the madness that has been going on in my mind.

Anyway I didn’t want to simply kill this site without a last final fling and with the lovely Leslie providing a great picture I thought why the hell not. No word limit this time, just make it scary and try not to go for the obvious slash and hack. Post your tale in the comments and have fun

Can’t wait to read them.

Note: I will post this story here and on the Office Mango site.

The Best Policy

    "Ah, Miss Fischer. Please come in."
    "Thank you, Mr. Nethergate. And thank you for allowing me this interview. Until recently I had no idea your institute, or the museum, existed. A chance to write an exclusive story on this contribution to our city's history is certainly welcome."
    "Our small organization, more like a social club to be honest, has existed for centuries," Mr. Nethergate said while offering a seat to his guest, "but the museum is new. We're hoping to use it as both an educational tool and to assist in raising funds. We were surprised anyone in the media had heard of it, which is one reason we extended an invitation to you. Would you like some tea?" Mr. Nethergate gestured towards a small ceramic pot on a tray.
    "Oh. No, thank you. I'm fine. I could tell you weren't expecting my call. It was only through a conversation overheard by chance that I knew how to contact you."
    "I see. Where did that take place, may I ask?"
    "It was at a meeting of the city's historical society. A few of people were discussing the fate of some of the older buildings in this area.  I happened to be near enough to catch your name and a location. They stopped talking when they saw me. As a reporter, I was intrigued."
    "I understand."
    "And I'm the only reporter you've granted an interview? I must say I'm flattered. Why only me?"
    Mr. Nethergate sat down behind his desk. "We are a rather reclusive group, Miss Fischer. We don't interact with the outside world a great deal. Our associates and staff are generally referred to our group by—well, let's say, from those who support our teachings."
    "That would explain why I hadn't heard of your group before, though not why I was invited."
    "On occasion, I do read the local papers. I remembered a few of your stories. I believe you make the effort to portray events truthfully. That is not always the case with newspaper reporters."
    "I try. When I do have to provide an opinion, it's important that it be an honest and unbiased evaluation of events. I think the readers deserve that."
    "Yes! Exactly!" Mr. Nethergate stood up, smiling. "An honest opinion. That is what we are hoping you'll provide, Miss Fischer. An honest opinion."
    Miss Fischer smiled. "I'll certainly try."
    "Would you like to see our facilities now?"
    "Of course."
    Mr. Nethergate opened the door to the office and indicated they should go to the left. A long hall stretched before them, with arched supports disappearing into a dimly lighted ceiling.
    "As you can see, our building is quite old, but it does set a wonderful mood for our museum."
    "Yes, the museum. You never stated its purpose. What sort of items do you display?"
    "If you are familiar with the local history, you know this city has a rather dark past."
    "I do have some knowledge of it, though that was centuries ago. Does it cover that period?"
    "Indeed it does," Mr. Nethergate said as they walked deeper into the maze of corridors. "It is a collection of implements used for torture during that period."
    "Torture? Isn't that a bit gruesome?"
    "Perhaps to some. But we feel it is important to document those times."
    "I suppose I can understand that. Something like the displays in the Tower of London?"
    Mr. Nethergate nodded. "Yes, I believe that would be a suitable analogy. But our museum is more than glass cases full of old things." He stopped in front of a heavy wooden door with a small window at eye level. There were no signs indicating what was inside. "Here we are."
    "So you're adding your own twist to the idea?"
    Mr. Nethergate smiled. "An interesting choice of words, Miss Fischer. We want our museum to be more than a pretty store room. We prefer a more hands-on approach for our exhibits."
    "Yes. As you can imagine, many of these devices were designed to crush bones, tear the skin, or rip the flesh. But we have encountered a great many whose purpose has been lost to time. We are attempting to rediscover how they were employed. Please," he added, opening the door.
    As she stepped in, her entry was encouraged by an indelicate shove. He pulled the door closed before she could regain her balance.
    "What are you doing? Let me out of here!"
    Hands reached out from darkness, grabbing her arms and shoulders. Her unblinking eyes remained fixed on Mr. Nethergate's face peering through a small opening in the door.
    "I'm afraid I can't do that, Miss Fischer. As I've stated, we are a reclusive organization. We wish to remain that way. Still, we would appreciate your opinion on the use of these devices. I'm sure you understand our curiosity about their effectiveness."
    As the hands pulled her backwards, Mr. Nethergate continued to smile.
    "An honest opinion, Miss Fischer. That's all we ask. Just an honest opinion!"

 833 words without the title... 

Previous Horror Bites challenges in which I've participated: 

The Good Neighbor (#18)
Bad Hair Day Part II (#13) *
Lemonade (#12)
Bad Hair Day (#11) *
Cross Words (#10)
The Door (#9)
Wrapped in a Mystery (#8)
If The Shoe Fits (#7)
You Won't Feel A Thing (#6)
The Wings of Death (#5)
* These were the first two parts of Bad Hair Day

© 2016 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Witaj Polsko!

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Blogging can be a strange pastime. You never know who might be reading your posts—or why. And every now and then I get a big number of hits from someplace I don't expect.

Yesterday, it was Poland.

Google graph showing hits on my blog - all from Poland
All Poland, all the time!

Every hit Google tracked was from Poland. I don't know anyone living in Poland, so it's not a friend. I don't have any relatives there, either. Well, none I know of. I guess it's someone who found my words of wit and wisdom irresistible.

There had to be at least one on the planet.

I wonder if they translated my posts. Come to think of it, they might make more sense if they didn't.

To that I say, "Witaj Polsko! Cieszę się, że nowy czytnik! Dzięki!"

Disclaimer: If the above is actually something offensive, blame Google Translate, not me.

© 2016 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Shore Leave 38 - Sunday

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Sunday July 17, 2016

Finally. The last blog post about Shore Leave 38. And it's a good thing, too, because we're only days away from the start of reservations for Shore Leave 39!

Sunday always feels like a let-down. Vendors are starting to pack up, the art show is over, and the guests are hauling luggage out of their rooms to load their cars and check out. Still, there are a number of activities in progress.

Many of the actors and actresses were still around signing autographs...

John Noble signing autographs at Shore Leave 38 - Sunday, July 17, 2016
John Noble signs a picture for a fan

Michael Trucco signing autographs at Shore Leave 38 - Sunday, July 17, 2016
Michael Trucco doing the same

There were interviews being done.

Star Trek actor Anthony Montgomery being interviewed at Shore Leave 38
Star Trek actor Anthony Montgomery
being interviewed at Shore Leave 38 

Starting at 1:00 PM, I attended three writing workgroups: Building an Anthology, Wrapping Up a Series, and Connecting with Readers in the Modern World.

Building an Anthology

  Panel members:
A lot of the discussing in this workgroup concerned the flow of the editing. They also talked about what they look for when accepting work from authors for an anthology. The major points given were to:
  1. Read and follow the guidelines
  2. Make sure your take on the theme is unique
The unique part may be what will get you in. If two (or more) authors submit a story following the same idea, the editor will most likely take the story from the writer they know they can work with or has the biggest name draw—even if there story is not as good.

One bright note for beginning writers is that often the best stories come from unknown writers and not the big names. It's good to hear they are at least reading our work!

Wrapping Up a Series

  Panel members:
I've never written a series, but they are very popular among readers. The authors emphasized that the writer should know what they want to accomplish with a series and makes sure they resolve the primary story line at the end. When they do, the series is complete no matter how many parts/books it requires. You want to take the reader on a journey, but make sure each book resolves itself for that installment or it will leave the reader dissatisfied. Don't try to hold the reader hostage to the story requiring them to get the next one to resolve the issues of the current story.

Connecting with Readers in the Modern World

This was without a doubt the most boring and worthless panel I attended. Yes, social media can come back to bite you. We know that. There was little else of value. I'll make a note to avoid this group should it be offered in the future.

After the workgroups finished, I caught up with my cohorts and went down to listen to Michael Trucco. He has a lot of stories and a great voice with which to tell them. He mentioned that he likes (or would like) doing period pieces where he gets to dress up in costume. Getting dressed for a part—even if it's just a business suit—is part of the process he goes through to prepare for a role. I can certainly see him as a pirate. Yes, he would make a good one...

Michael Trucco answering questions at Shore Leave 38
Michael Trucco answering questions
at Shore Leave 38

Michael Trucco receives his Shore Leave "bunny" at the end of his talk
Michael Trucco receives his Shore Leave "bunny"

That's all for Shore Leave 38! Thanks for reading!

It'll be a while before I start writing about Shore Leave 39. In the meantime, you can read my story, The Song of Aiden, in Human 76 - a post-apocalyptic, shared-world anthology! Note: The proceeds for this book go to the charity Water is Life.

Cover image of Human 76
Check #Human76 on Twitter for news!

© 2016 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Terri Deno's New Book: Haunting Melody

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Terri Deno has a new book out titled Haunting Melody. It's not a lengthy story, but it should be good for quick read! It's a mix of romance. mystery, and suspense that's built on the Kindle Worlds  "The Callaways" platform.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:
Pop star Melody is getting ready to work on her next album with the help of musician Sean Callaway at Ashbury Studios. She feels like she has it all: a great career, a fabulous love life with dancer Austin Eckhart and friends she can rely on. But strange things are happening at the studio—equipment failures, accidents and strange voices. Rumors start spreading that Ashbury Studios could be haunted. Will Mel be able to help her friends figure out what's going on before something bad happens?

Cover of Haunting Melody by Terri Deno

It's available on Amazon (US) for only $1.99.

© 2016 K. R. Smith All rights reserved