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Monday, July 29, 2019

Homecoming

I'm finally back to this story, or rather series of episodes, now that we have finished moving. (Yay!)

This is the fourth episode in this book. A bit different change of pace, along with introducing some dragon lore of this world. So enjoy this free story that will eventually be an episode in a new book, title yet to be decided upon.

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As the white light died off, a familiar site came into view. Holly blinked a couple of times to focus. “Joel, this is your home again.”

He nodded. “I know. I had hoped we’d arrive here. I want to grab Kaylee and we’ll go somewhere on Camellia for dinner.”

“You mean, you eat food, like we do?”

“Not really. It is more of a social thing. At any rate, we can’t merely work all the time. You know what they say!”

Holly scrunched up her forehead. “No, I don’t know what they say.”

Joel facepalmed himself. “Of course! That is a saying in an alternate world. It goes, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’”

She wrinkled her nose. “But I’m a girl.”

Joel sighed. “I know that! It’s the underlying point of the saying. But have it your way. All work and no play makes Jill a very dull girl. There. Satisfied?” He crossed his arms.

She gazed into his eyes for a couple of seconds. “Are all you angels this touchy?”

Joel simply stared at her, as if he was dumbfounded.

“After all, I know what you were driving at the first time you said it. I only questioned some of the wording.” She tried to read him, but for some reason she couldn’t read an angel’s mood or disposition. Though it was apparent enough without her ability. He was so transparent.

“And what, pray tell, was the point I was driving at?”

“If you don’t know, why should I tell you?”

“Humor me.” He stared at her as she stared back.

She shrugged her shoulders after a few seconds had passed. “You think we need a break.”

Joel threw his hands up. “Well, duh!”

She scrunched her nose again. “What does that mean?”

He shook his head, muttering something. Then he said, “I’m not going down that road again. Look, I’m going to get Kaylee. You stay put. I’ll only be gone for a minute or two, I hope.”

She nodded.

He gave her one nod back, and then marched toward his house. He let the door slam shut behind him.

Holly sat on a nearby rock. The feeling of being totally happy while in the midst of having an argument with an angel was very . . . different. Sort of like mixing oil and water and having it blend into one liquid. Just that strange.

“But it was very good of him to want to help you relax,” a voice behind her said.

She twirled around. It sounded like a man’s voice, but instead, she saw nothing. No one. She said, “Who’s there?”

“Just me.”

“Who is me?”

“Doodle.” He became visible.

Holly almost lost her balance when she backed up suddenly upon his appearance. “Who is Doodle?”

“What? You know who Kaylee is, but not me?”

Holly shook her head. “No idea.”

“Well, as they tell us in orientation, it’s best not to focus on who I am anyway. That’s not what you need to know. Even though it appears nearly everyone asks.” He paused as if for no apparent reason. Then he said, “You really have no clue do you?”

“Nope.”

“Well, that’s alright. As long as you don’t know who George is as well.”

Her eyes grew wide. “You mean George of Reol?”

He stared at the ground and shook his head. “You know George, but have never heard of me?” He threw his hands into the air. “Incredible.”

“I don’t know anyone named Doodle from Reol.”

“What? You think only people from Reol are important?”

“No.” She shrugged. “Only that I know the people of Reol. Not too many outside of that area.”

For the first time, Doodle smiled. “So it’s pretty much true what they say about the people of Reol.”

“What do they say?”

“Boy, you’re full of questions. Well, that you are all a secluded bunch, rarely getting out of town save for traders and certain exceptions, like Sisko and his relatives, and Josh.”

Well, it is in a forest, and a mountain range cuts it off from the rest of Camellia.”

Now it was Doodle’s turn to wrinkle his nose. “Camellia? What’s that. Is that Joel’s garden over there?” He pointed at the tea leaves.”

She giggled. “No silly. It is the name of your and my whole world. Camellia. Got it?”

He put fingers to his beard and brushed it with them. “You know, it would be helpful to have a name, now that we have other worlds to differentiate it from.”

Holly smiled. “Exactly what I told Joel.”

Doodle started heading back toward the woods. “Follow me if you’d like to hear more. I’ve got to get back to my house.”

She started to move her feet, but then hesitated. Joel had told her to stay put. But then there was more than one way to interpret what he’d said. Because they were in Paradise, after all. What harm could happen to her in Paradise? So he couldn’t have meant to stay put, as in, not going anywhere else. Rather, he had asked her to stay the hand of anyone who wanted to put something there. That had to be it. So she nodded and followed.

They talked as they walked. Finally, Doodle asked Holly, “I sense that you have already been tested.”

“Tested. For what?”

“What you are here for.”

“Here for? To my knowledge, we came for Kaylee.”

“Kaylee?” He stared hard at Holly. “She wouldn’t qualify.”

“Qualify? I think she’d be very interesting to talk with.”

“Sure, but there’s much more she would need to do, like fly, to qualify.”

Holly thought for a second. “Qualify? Qualify for what? All we’re going to do is go out to supper with her.”

Doodle looked up into the sky. “When, O Lord, did you change the way a person gets a dragon to bond with?”

Doodle’s use of the word dragon sparked a memory the last time she was here with Joel. He appeared a little worried about her presence being here, that it could lead to a bonding to a dragon.

Holly let her jaw drop. “You think I’m here to get a dragon?”

Doodle laughed. “It is either that or you’re dead. Did you die to get here?”

She shook her head.

“Then you are here to get a dragon. I think if you go to the lake over there, you’ll find yours.”

“But, I—”

Then he vanished, leaving Holly in the middle of the forest.

She looked around. “I don’t belong here, I’m only with Joel.” A fear grew in her, as much as it possibly could in this place, that she was lost. She couldn’t remember how they got here. She felt alone, but not alone. As if some unseen force was watching her. She shrugged and headed the direction that Doodle had pointed.

Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling that someone or something was watching her. She decided to use her emotion ability, and willed it to turn on. A sense of curiosity came to her. About her!

She spun around. “Okay, whoever is following and watching me, show yourself!”

After a moment, a rather large and tall dragon, sort of fat, appeared before her. She stepped back a few steps, then tripped over a log on the ground and fell on her back.

The dragon laughed. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to eat you. Especially here in Paradise.”

Holly just lay on the ground, staring at the beast.

“And by the way, I’m not fat. Just bulky is all.”

Holly sat up. “You read my mind?”

“Of course. Dragons are able to do that. We communicate mentally with our bondlings.”

She rose to her feet, dusting leaves and dirt from her skirt and blouse. “Sorry. I just didn’t know what to expect, having never seen a dragon before.”

The dragon frowned, as much as a dragon was able. “You’ve never seen a dragon before? That’s not quite right. You should have seen several at least before putting on the gloves.”

Holly wrinkled her nose. “Gloves? I have no idea what you are talking about.”

The dragon roared for a moment, causing Holly to hold her ears. Then he, or she, Holly wasn’t really sure—said, “I’ve checked you memories, and I see Joel’s been a bit irresponsible where it concerns you.”

“What do you mean?” Holly asked.

“He left you alone in Paradise when you aren’t supposed to be here.”

“He just went into his house to get Kaylee.”

“Yeah!”

Holly turned. Joel stood before her. “Joel!”

He pointed a finger at her. “Didn’t I tell you to stay put?”

She nodded. “The meaning was ambiguous.”

Joel pointed both of his arms toward Holly and talked to the dragon. “See what I have to deal with?”

Then, yet another angelic being popped into the conversation. “Joel.”

Joel gulped. “Yes, sir?”

“Why did you bring a living human into Paradise?”

The dragon sat on his haunches. “This should be good.”

Joel smiled his normal goofy grin. “Well, sir, Michael, sir, it’s like this.” He stared at the sky a moment before pointing his index finger on his right hand up. “The big man upstairs—”

Micheal smiled. “You mean, God.”

“Of course, who else?” When Micheal said nothing further, Joel said, “ He brought me and Holly here together, in order that I might help her deal with her problem, I felt that God wanted us to form a team. Well, a team means I need to take her to my house from time to time. This particular—”

“That’s not what I wanted to know,” Michael said.

Joel said softly, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t be so . . . “ He glanced at Holly. “So ambiguous. What do you want to know?”

Micheal murmured under his breath. “I don’t care that you were on a mission of mercy. That should be a given in our case. What I want to know, is upon whose authority did you bring a living human to Paradise. You know the rules. People only come here when they die and are made righteous by Christ’s blood. That, or they come temporarily to seek which dragon they are to bond with. Which of these is she here for?”

Joel shrugged. “Neither. That’s what I was trying to tell you, sir. I brought her here so that I could get Kaylee to go for a nice dinner in Holly’s world.” Joel turned to face Holly. “It was suppose to be an in and out thing. Instead, it turned into more. A lot more.”

Michael snapped his fingers, and a little bell appeared in them. He rang it. Joel cringed. Micheal said, “Do I need to remind you of the consequences of breaking the rules?”

Joel covered his ears. “Please, Michael. Not that!”

Michael snapped and the bell disappeared. “Just a reminder.”

“Look, Micheal. I know I’ve bent the rules a little. But we are doing some good work lately. Check in with the Big Man on that. Don’t you think you could all make an exception in this case? I mean, she knows that I am an angel.”

Holly almost giggled when Micheal said, “Well, duh!” She figured it must be an angel thing.

“And she’s been to Paradise. So, she knows all about it. The only living human to know.”

Micheal sighed. “I’ll bring it up at our next meeting. Until I contact you to tell you the results, keep her out of Paradise. Okay?”

Joel smiled. “Okay.”

Micheal and the Dragon vanished, leaving Holly and Joel alone.

Joel shook his head and started walking back toward his house.

Holly followed. “Did I goof up?”

“Sort of. I mean, I brought you into Paradise under the radar, so to speak. Now, you’re one big blip on Michael’s radar.”

“I’m sorry. Maybe you could have been clearer why you didn’t want me to wander off. I had no idea exactly what might happen.”

Joel opened his mouth to say something, but then shook his head. “What’s done is done. All I can hope is that an exception will be made. Otherwise, I won’t so easily be able to go home.”

“Why?”

Joel turned to face Holly. “Because, I have to keep an eye on you. You’re a slippery one, you are.”

What did he mean by that? She disappeared in a blinding flash of light along with Joel.


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Holly sat at a table in an inn’s pub, chowing down on a good meal with Joel and Kaylee. Though they only picked at their meal. They appeared more interested in the social aspect. They chatted about several things, one of which was the bell that Joel feared so much. Though he had briefly discussed it before, this talk was much more detailed. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time the angel had “goofed up.” Many long years ago, he was put into the humble submission to anyone who possessed the bell. Like a genie, he was bound to grant whoever rang the bell some wishes. He described how he could be doing anything, like taking a bath, and suddenly be yanked away to appear before someone to do their bidding.

Then, in a brilliant move, he had arranged for the bell to be hidden, which gave him a long stretch of free time. That is, until Sisko found it. However, he ended up freeing the angel from his curse. And a much more humble angel resulted. At least to hear Joel tell it.

Holly swallowed the last of her meal and downed it with some water. “So, Joel. What is it with wearing gloves? Something the dragon said when he was trying to figure out why I was there.”

Joel sat back in his chair. “Ah yes. That, my dear Holly, is dragon lore. Are you aware of Cole, Kaylee’s brother?”

“I know of him, that he rode a dragon. Never heard how he came to be bound to one.”

“Well,” Joel started, “I won’t go into all the details here, but one of the steps to be bound to a dragon is to go to Paradise, go through a test of sorts. The way one goes from here to Paradise, aside from dying, is to put on those special gloves. Once they pass the test, their dragon is revealed to them. Then they return to this world and go through the bonding ceremony.”

Holly giggled.

Kaylee said, “What’s so funny?”

Holly wore a big grin. “A bonding ceremony sounds like a marriage.”

Joel nodded. “It pretty much is like marriage. Different, but bonds the two together for a lifetime.” Joel smiled. “One big difference is there is no divorce. Not from a dragon.”

Kaylee and Joel laughed.

Holly grinned. “That’s interesting. However, there is one thing I’ve always wanted to know.”

Joel said, “Shoot.” He swallowed. “Not literally, of course.”

Holly briefly wondered whether an angel could die from a bullet. “Kaylee, how did you end up being a mother to Cole, when you are his sister?”

She pointed a finger at Holly. “Now, that would take at least three books to tell the whole story.”

Joel nodded with his goofy smile, “Yeah. At least three books. Maybe more.”

Kaylee sat back in her chair. “I’ll try to cut to the core of the story, as unlikely as some things will sound by doing so.”

Holly spread her arms toward Joel. “You do know who I travel with.”

Kaylee chuckled. “Of course. Well, it started out right after Sisko, our father died . . .”


Author’s Note: Kaylee above is referring to the story told in Reality’s Fire, the third and final book in my Reality Chronicles series. The first two being Reality’s Dawn and Reality’s Ascent.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

It's a Jungle Out There


Bob jumped when the door slammed behind him. “Who’s there?”

He turned to see his brother standing in the doorway of his living room. “Oh. It’s you.”

“Who were you expecting? An angel perhaps?” His brother, Jack, laughed as he sat on the brown couch.

Bob returned to washing the dishes. “I thought you would be at work by now.”

“I would be, if it were not—”

“You didn’t get fired again, did you?”

“I wouldn’t call it ‘fired’ exactly.”

“What would you call it, then?”

“More like, violently thrown out.”

Bob shook his head. “So you were fired.”

“That’s one way to look at it.”

Bob wiped his hands on a towel before turning to face his brother. “So, what happened this time?”

Jack smiled. “They wanted me to clean the toilets! Can you imagine that? I was hired to cook, not clean dirty toilets!” He held up this hands. “I can’t soil my gifted cooking hands with such dirty tasks.”

“Jack, that’s part of the job. You were suppose to work you way up to being a cook.”

A knock sounded from their front door. Bob sighed, then went to open the door. Before him stood a man with a goofy looking grin on his face and a younger girl. “I don’t want any. Thanks.” He began to shut the door.

The older man said, “What? You don’t want help with job-placement assistance?”

Bob froze. “Did you say, ‘job-placement assistance’?”

“Yes, I most certainly did.” The man held out a hand. “My name’s Joel, and this here is Holly.”

Bob shook each of their hands and welcomed him in. “If you don’t mind me saying, strange but cute costumes. Going to a Renaissance festival after this?”

Joel laughed. “No, more like we just came from one and forgot to change.”

Holly started to say something but Joel waved her off. It struck Bob how an unlikely that a pair like them would be from a job placement agency. But, whatever. “They sure are working people young these days.”

“Oh, she’s just my, ah, daughter is all. Sort of, anyway.” Joel looked up to the ceiling before facing Bob again. “Well, it’s complicated.”

Bob nodded. “It will all be good if you can get my brother, Jack, a job . . . that he will keep!”

Jack waved at them in as they entered the room. A grin creased his face. “I don’t suppose you’re gonna place me as a squire or something?”

Josh and Holly both smiled. Joel said, “Only if you want to go back to a time when those jobs were plentiful.”

Jack laughed, but it quickly died off when Joel didn’t join him in his merriment. “Are you serious?”

Joel pointed a finger at Jack. “The question isn’t whether I’m serious or not, but whether you are serious?” Joel turned to Holly. “Is he serious?”

Jack’s eyes lit up. “How would she know?”

Holly gazed into Jack’s eyes. “Yep, he’s serious. Serious about not doing anything with his life.”

Jack rose from the couch. “Hey, I resent that remark.”

Holly continued to stare into his eyes. “Because it’s true.”

Jack turned to Bob, who had remained silent. “Aren’t you going to defend me?” He turned back to see Holly still staring at him. He stuttered a bit, “I . . . you.” He pointed at Joel while looking at Bob.

Bob asked, “Jack, is it true that you have purposefully sabotaged every job you’ve received?”

“No, no. Don’t be fooled by these charlatans. Anyone can see they aren’t from a job placement agency.” Jack faced Joel and Holly. “I bet they don’t have any credentials either.”

Holly smiled. “You want credentials? Boy, do we have credentials. Show them, Joel.”

Joel wrinkled his forehead. “Credentials?”

Holly winked at him. “Yeah, you know,” she waved her arms. “Our credentials.”

“Oh, those credentials. One moment, let me think of something good.”

Jack laughed. “See, I told you they aren’t from an employment agency. You either have credentials on you to show or you don’t. You don’t need to think of something.”

Joel snapped his fingers. “I’ve got it!” They all disappeared in a blinding flash of light.

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As Jack’s eyes recovered, a breeze blew against his skin. A jungle came into view, complete with thick underbrush and tall trees towering above them. Jack’s mouth hung open as he took in the scenery. “How did I get here?”

Bob, also displaying a shocked expression, said, “You guys aren’t from a job placement agency, are you?”

Joel grinned. “Let’s just say, not from any agency you are familiar with.”

Jack, still with his mouth hanging open, stared intently at Joel. “Not only how did we get here, but where is ‘here’?”

Bob added, “And I most certainly hope you can get us back to where we belong.”

Joel held up a hand. “All in good time. Your second question is the important one, Jack.” Joel spread his arms wide. “We’re in the jungle!”

Bob threw up his hands. “Duh! I would have never guessed.”

Joel laughed. “Of course you wouldn’t have. Like, it’s a jungle out there. Ever heard that phrase?”

Bob nodded. “So, aside from the word jungle, what are you getting at?”

Jack put his hands on his hips. “Yeah, what is this about? Out with it man. I demand to be returned to our house, now!”

Joel shook his head. “You don’t see the point, do you? Okay, I’ll spell it out. The reason they call the job world a jungle is because to survive, you have to struggle each day to work. You have to do things you don’t like. Like the real jungle, where people spent all their time hunting for food just to live each day. There was little time for other activities.”

Jack shrugged. “I fail to see what this has to do with me. I don’t live in a jungle.”

Joel smiled. “You do now.”

“You can’t be serious.” Jack peered into Joel’s eyes. As far as he could tell, he appeared serious.”

Ben cleared his throat. “I don’t like this idea. I demand you take us both back.”

Joel shook his head. “You have prevented Jack here from experiencing the consequences of his actions. Or inaction as the case may be.”

Ben’s face became red. “Look here. You may think you’re God or something—”

Joel laughed. “No, not God, but sent by him to you.”

“—but this isn’t funny. He could die out here. He knows nothing about survival in the wild.”

“And why is that, Bob?”

“Because . . . because . . .” Ben hung his head. “Because his parents and I, none of us have taught him.”

“Exactly. Bye, Jack. I’ll come back to check on you soon.” Joel snapped his fingers and they all left in a flash of light, leaving Jack alone. For the first time in his life, he feared for his life.”

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Jack cringed as the beast was about to strike. This was the end. After the strange man didn’t return as he had promised, Hunger pains had driven Jack to search for food. Had this Joel guy forgotten all about him? So he worked to survive. And much to his surprise, he did survive.

In the six months he’d been here, though time tended to blur so he wasn’t exactly sure just how long it had been, he had grown proud of himself. He had built himself a makeshift house to shelter himself from the elements and wild animals while he slept. Yes, he had done quiet well. He would show that Joel guy that he could survive.

But now, that it appeared his doom was sure, that Ben’s prediction would come true, that he would die here, he closed his eyes and waited for the beast to strike.

“Jack! Are you going to stay cringing like that on the floor for long, because I’d like us to fix something for dinner.”

Jack opened his eyes. He stood in their old apartment! “What happened? How much did I miss?”

Joel turned to Holly. “Well, how is he now?”

She gazed at Jack, standing as a smile filled his face. “I think he’s fixed.”

Ben scrunched his face. “Fixed?”

Holly cleared her throat. “A poor choice of words. I meant he is ready to work.”

Ben laughed. “How? We just got back ourselves. He couldn’t have experienced anything much.”

Jack glanced at the clock on the wall. “What day is it?”

Ben pointed at a calendar. “May 15th, 2019. Wednesday.”

Jack shook his head. “But this is the same day and time we originally left. How can that be? I just experienced months alone in that jungle!”

“Well, Holly, looks like our job here is done.”

“I agree,” she said,

Joel snapped his fingers and they both vanished.

Ben shook his head to clear out the cobwebs. “Like I was saying, you were supposed to be working you way up to being a cook.”

Jack dropped his head. “I know. I blew it. I sabotaged that job.”

Ben said, “You’ve got to be . . . what did you say?”

Jack rose from his seat on the couch. “I said, I blew it. But I know a place where I can apply and they are desperate enough for help that I can probably get the same deal there. I’ll go apply right now.” He stepped toward the door and reached his hand out to grab the door knob. Before he did, he turned to Ben. “By the way, what just happened? Why do I feel so different now?”

Ben shrugged. “I have no earthly or heavenly idea.”

Jack thought for a moment. “Oh well, time to go earn a living.” He stepped out the door and shut it behind him.

Ben returned to washing dishes and shook his head. How long would this last? He had no idea. But he hoped it would be more permanent.

And so it was.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Tea Time

This is one of my planned new series I'm working on. I'll post the episodes here for everyone's input, both positive and negative.

This story is linked with the previous story about Joel and Holly. You can keep track of all these stories by this link, which can also be found at the Series links to the right, listed as "Joel's Journeys." You can read the first story there, "They Walk Among Us."

I'm not sure how long it will take for me to finish this series. But you are welcome to subscribe to follow this blog using links at the bottom of this post to keep informed when they do appear.

If this sort of feels like something familiar, that is intentional. It is loosely based upon Dr. Who, with an eccentric angel along with his companion Holly. The first story mentioned above tells how they meet and what Holly is capable of. But, if you're diving into this story without having read the first one, the reason she starts out thinking she was going home was because that was what Joel had led her believe as they disappeared from the place they were at.

So, without further adieu, I present the second installment in this series, "Tea Time."

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Holly blinked. “This isn’t my home!”

“No, it is not.” Joel put his hand out. “It is my home.”

A Change on How to Make an Ebook

I've written several blog posts on How to Make an Ebook using free software, as well as an ebook by that name (cover to the right, just in case you can't see it). After my last experience with a different and much easier method, I feel the information in this book is so out of date that I should take it off sale, as there isn't any more reason to have it up. Not with how easy, and for free, you can create an very professional ebook. Complete with drop caps, graphics that will highlight your chapter headings, as well as section differences. And all you have to do is submit a Word file to them.

What is this method that has caused me to revise my method and take down my book? (Aside from the fact it no longer sells but about a couple copies a year.)

New Standalone Book Available!

I apologize for not posting this earlier, as this is usually one of the first places I post stuff of this nature.

However, I have a new book available! The title, Rebellion. Simple, huh? You can check out and buy the book at your favorite online bookstore. There is also a paperback on Amazon if you prefer that format.

This one I've been working off and on for several years. The first story or Episode in this one is a short story I wrote back in 2009 or so. So officially, it has been in the works for around 10 years. I ended up making a book out of it, because the magazine I submitted it to didn't take it, the main reason? It sounded to them like the beginning of a novel instead of a short story. That got my wheels to thinking and so I wrote more episodes to it. At first, I wrote around five episodes, then it stalled for many reasons. Last year, I picked it back up again and completed it. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What You Mean to Me

On this, my 37th marital anniversary, I sat down in the early morning hours to put down upon "paper" this poem to my wife. I think it came out pretty good! Brought a tear to my eyes, but then, I have a vested interest in this matter. <g>

At any rate, here is my poem for my wife on our 37th anniversary.

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Monday, December 31, 2018

The Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey New Year's Day Thoughts.

And no, I'm not talking about the Doctor Who's New Year's Day special. Which to me just seems to avoid dealing with Christmas. At any rate, that's not what this blog post is about. More about the strange time warp I've experienced this past year, wondering how long it will last.

Yes, my last "productive" year was in 2013, five years ago. And most of that was editing a couple of books and publishing them, that I'd had in the works for some time. I did write some short stories, which can be found in book two of my Ethereal Worlds anthology in 2013, but not much else, that I recall, at least. It was the last year I did NaNo before 2018, but like this past November, I didn't finish then either. The last year I finished NaNo was 2010.