It Lives!

D: Picture it, if you will – a bent figure emerges from a nest of blankets and coffee cups. It stumbles. Its legs are weak and it is nearly overcome by the debris that surrounds it.

It is A.

She went into the weekend an uncertain warrior, and has emerged. . .


5 signs you’ve taken writerly hibernation too far:

Exhibit A: Coffee Cups and Cat Toys

Exhibit A: Coffee Cups and Cat Toys

1. You’ve been sitting at your desk so long, the cats start to think of it as sacred space, and start sacrificing their mouse-toys to your benevolence.

2. The furnace dies, lights start winking out throughout the house and you’re pretty sure it may be the end of days in glacier form outside your door, but damn, this is a good bit and you just can’t stop now.

3. You shun email and any other form of communication for so long that you’re thinking a ‘scorched earth’ policy might not be so bad – that can work in cyberspace, right? Right?!

4. You realize it’s a good thing you made a casserole or two before you closed the door on human interaction, otherwise your child might have been SOL when it came to dinner.

D: True story. TC came wandering by at some hour past dark declaring himself hungry. His mother’s reaction (which, remarkably was not to tell him to invade turkey)? Mumbling something resembling: Yeah, food. Just a sec. Five hours later he’s had dinner, desert and whatever else he could rustle up in the fridge, and A is still buried beneath her blankets clacking away at the laptop.

A: I was at a good part.

D: The beauty of this list is that the entire weekend was a ‘good part.’

A: I know. I’m excited.

D: Aside from the fact that I think you killed me –

A: Oi! Spoilers, Druid. And I did not. I’m still editing that bit.

5. A song that is not harmonious with the predominantly soundtrack-like playlist you’ve developed for your writing somehow pops up. Under normal circumstances, you love this song. However, during witerly hibernation, your reaction is to break into tears because you were so close, and jab at the iPod until something far more pleasing appears.

D:This may be accompanied by muttering and swearing, and it may cause your child to raise his eyebrows and back slowly out of the room.

A: He did not – only when he started singing along with one of the songs, which may or may not have induced me to snarl at him, was there any attempt to tiptoe around the writer.

D: And then someone accused you of listening to a dirge.

A: Well, it was a bit intense.

D: A bit?

A: Okay, so OD-ing on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug soundtrack, and Florence + The Machines for three days straight may have been overkill (if you aren’t me and you don’t have a penchant for dirge-like music to begin with).

D: And then you went and added the Henry V soundtrack to the mix.

A: At least I left Braveheart out.

D: Thank the gods for small mercies – I’m not sure smearing yourself with woad and shouting “Freedom” would be all that conducive to your efforts.

A: Actually…

D: That’s an experiment for a different list, A.

A: Killjoy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to Thorin wax deeply lyrical about misty mountains cold and figure out just which Irish ‘otherworld’ D has managed to lose himself in! Good night, folks and thank you so much for reading!

On Tour: My GRL by John W. Howell

Big Launch in 2014 My GRL Fiction Thriller

By John W. Howell

Now available on Amazon a new Fiction Thriller published by Martin Sisters Publishing

my grl


My GRL by John W. Howell is fast-paced thriller that shows how your life can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. . . It is a well-written story that kept me glued, page after page.” Readers’ Favorite Five Stars – Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi. See the entire review HERE

Visit Amazon


John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

Author Bio:

Photo by Tim Burdick

Photo by Tim Burdick

John W. Howell’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes thriller fiction novels and short stories. He also has a three times weekly blog at Fiction Favorites .

John lives on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Author Contact:


Twitter: @HowellWave


Amazon Author Page:

Working for the weekend

My favorite of the Polar Vortex memes.

My favorite of the Polar Vortex memes.

A: I’m singing in the rain, I’m singing in the rain!

D: Either you’re delusional or you are mocking the weather.  It rains in Scotland. It rains in England. It rains in Ireland. This. This is not rain.

A: Sorry, wishful thinking. One day my spring will come…

D: My irrational hatred for your weather allows me to overlook your off-key singing. How do you live like this? It’s not a fit night out for man or beast.

A: . . . You really liked that Rudolph movie, didn’t you?

D: I’d take that fog as thick as pea soup—

A: More like peanut butter—

D: Over this thing you call ‘wind chill.’

A: I agree. On the plus side, however, I have a few days off and thus will not have to brave our second bout with the Polar Vortex.

D: And what will you be doing with those few days off?

A: Well, there’s TC’s first forensics meet. He will be regaling us with “To Be or Not To Be.” And then there’s the viewing party for the play – I’ll finally get to see it from the front this time. And then there’s our second viewing of the Hobb

D: I did not mean ply us with your actual plans for the weekend, A. I was hoping more to lead you to acknowledge that you’ll be, you know, working.

A: (Sigh). Yes. That’s right. I lead such an exciting, glamorous life that I take time off work, to work. I will be writing for the majority of the next five days. I’ll be putting the final polish – and by that I mean changing the ending – of Into the Mist and hopefully (hopefully!) writing your half of The Coming Storm. And as much as I would, at this point, rather experience the UK’s somewhat dreary version of winter over ours, the Polar Vortex is enabling my intended hibernation.

D: You hear that sound, A?

A: Um, unless it’s your self-satisfied sighing, no.

D: That sigh is the sound of contentment, A. It is the sound of a happy—

A: Aggravating–

D: Character with purpose.

A: Well, I’m so glad. Just do me a favor.

D: Depends—

A: Let me sleep til 8. Can you do that for me, D? Please.

D: . . . .

A: For the love of the heavens, please?

D: For you, and for my book? Of course I’ll let you sleep.

A: Thank—

D: Of course, whether or not you allow yourself—

A: Don’t even say it, Druid. Don’t even say it.

D: Okay, A. May the gods give speed to your pen… or your typing.

A: So long as they give substance to my wit, I’ll be happy!


D: Tonight’s blog post has been postponed due to . . . traffic.

You see, our regularly scheduled performance was hindered by A’s inability to find a yellow apartment block. On Grayden. Numbers, unknown.

Because TC is a boy. And boys give funny directions.

A is a girl. Girls also give funny directions.

A also gets lost crossing the street.

TC therefore, rests his case.

I, Dubh an Súile mac Alasdair, the not-so-impartial judge, think we should adjourn and begin a Wednesday tradition: Story Time. Before you is exhibit A:


P.A.N.D.A.S. Jason Bruges Panda Army Courtesy Google Images

Jason Bruges Panda Army
Courtesy Google Images








“Pandas are known for their ruthlessness, Luke.”

“Heddy, you know that’s not what this was.”

Dr. Heddy Lamar’s aversion to the PANDAS unit was well known in Z Group. I hated to contradict her – she’s a brilliant investigative scientist – but the slaughter before us just did not carry the hallmarks of the famous man-made assassin.

“Oh? I do? How do I know that, Doctor?”

Oh boy. Doctor. She was mad. I had heard that tone before.

Of course, before it just meant I wasn’t getting laid. Now, it meant that a man’s murder might go unsolved.

“Look at his hands, Heddy—I mean Dr. Lamar.” Damn, that glare had not gotten any less vicious. But, she did look good.

“That’s blood under his nails. Unless Lepetomane Corp has developed PANDAS that bleed, we’re looking for a human.”

“That could be Newman’s blood, Luke.”

“It could, but I’m willing to bet a million space bucks that it’s not.”

Heddy just rolled her eyes at me. “Frank—“

“That’s Fraunk, Dr. Lamar. It’s an old family name,” Heddy’s young assistant managed to squeak, despite the furious stare she turned on him.

Good for him.

“Fraunk. Take charge of the clean up, and make sure that Mr. Bialystock is on ice before noon. He’s starting to stink.”

Starting? I’m pretty sure Bialystock had stunk well before someone had taken the broken chair leg to his skull. The final insult had been the blue blanket tied around what was left of his neck.


“Dr. Lamar, look at this!”


“Fraunk, Ma’am. It’s the news. They’re saying a homicidal panda from Lepetomane Corp got loose.”

“See, I told you.

“No, Ma’am. A real panda.”

“But those – those haven’t been seen for nearly one hundred years.”

“I guess they had one in bowels of the research division. It got loose – went on a killing spree, they say.”

I looked again at the mangled body of the famous producer. “But . . . but this is rather, I don’t know, specific, Fraunk.”

“Just listen, Dr. Lonester.”

Perhaps for the first time in the bespeckled boy’s life, the entire room obeyed his command.

“Representatives from Lepetomane Corp say that the panda had been forced to watch movie after movie – comedy after comedy.”

The announcer looked up at her cameraman. “Really?” she muttered. “Genome sequencing? With Comedy? Fine, I’ll read it, but they have got to up my pay-grade for this.”

I turned back to Heddy. Her face was crimson.

“Well, sweet-cheeks, you were right.”

“Sweet cheeks! Why you—“

“What? It was a panda, darlin.’ Now, what do you say, we head over to the End of the Universe and grab ourselves the Special?”

There was the edge of a smile at her lips.

“Go on, Dr. Lamar. I’ve got it here.”

I silently blessed young Dr. Fraunk. Heddy’s smile still made my insides weak. Who cared if the Special was guaranteed heartburn – sometimes, it was more than worth it.


At 500 words exactly, D and I present our response to Papi Z’s Prompt: “Pandas are known for their ruthlessness.”

Trivia Time:

How many Mel Brooks films has Dom De Louise had a credited roll in?

Bloody Bard Bares . . .

cowboy-hatA: He rode a blazing saddle…!

D: . . .

A: Come on, D. Aren’t you going to fill in the next line? Hint: He wore a shining–

D: I would think wearing a blazing saddle would be enough mental imagery for the folks reading. As you’ve been reminding me all day, it is a Monday, after all.

A: That’s not the point. The point is that TC has been going over our Mel Brooks catalogue of films (for which I have World War Z to thank . . . because the book it is oh-so-incredibly-loosely-are-you-sure-you-can-call-it-“based”-I-think-they-may-have-used-the-word-“inspired”-and-that-is-pushing-it was written by his son, Max).

D: . . . I just don’t know where to begin.

A: You know, I’m almost with you on that one. Shh. Don’t tell.

D: Don’t tell. . . who, A?

A: And, it’s gone. Anyhoodles, not a bad movie – the Israeli soldier is my new hero. She was incredible. Plus: the new Who.

D: And yet . . .

A: And yet, I’m pretty sure one of the vignettes in the book was referencing Brad Pitt, in which case, the movie is more than a little self-referential. I could be wrong, but that is neither here, nor there.

D: But is it everywhere?

A: . . . Oh, you have spent way too much time in my head. I think I may need to put out a call for a character-awareness meeting, or a play date, or something. Yikes.

D: (Sob) I know!

A: (Eye-roll) We love Mel Brooks – TC was brought up on his movies because he didn’t know how to tell a joke when he was nine, and I’m a horrible mother.

D: There is so much right with that sentence—

A: Oi, Druid. Moving on… I need to make this snappy. Blazing Saddles is tonight’s feature presentation. I cannot be late.

D: What’s he going to do? Send you to bed without supper?

A: The Kid is taller than me, D. Taller, smarter and thanks to Mr. Brooks, funnier. I miss the curtain at my own risk. Besides, my creative torrents need refilling.

D: Well, then – let us hit it!

A: Okay, Mongo.

D: . . . I’ll get you for this, my pretty.

A: Wrong movie, D.

D: There are times when I dearly wish . . .  A would focus on other things – other stories, perhaps. If there’s a short story, or a piece of fiction you’ve been wanting to find a home for, pop on over to The Literary Syndicate – Papi Z has put out a call for submissions.

A: Papi is also featuring a weekly prompt. Last week was awesome (Papi did one, and so did we) and this week looks to be even better: A 500-word bit of flash fiction, in which the following phrase is used: “Pandas are known for their ruthlessness.”

D: Well. Moving on. The witty-but-assuredly mad Chuck Wendig, at Terrible Minds, does a prompted feature as well. Check out the one that went live last Friday – A may or may not participate, provided she can find something in that overheated brain of hers to go along with a ‘psychic android,’ a ‘mad botanist greenhouse’ and ‘left for dead, out for revenge.’

A: I can and I will.

D: Gods help us.

A:Muahahahha! Writers Untie! I mean unite. . . wait, no untying may be more fun . . .

D: A. Focus.

A: Another prompted feature, in which we don’t partake – because reading Helena’s contribution is just that much more entertaining – is the Friday Fictioneers.

D: We also really liked reading Wanderer’s contribution – especially as it was such a contrast to Helena’s – two wonderful writers, two entirely different ideas, from one picture.

A: Which is, of course, the point. Check them, and everyone they link to, out. You won’t regret it.

D: Congratulations are in order, A.

A: I know. John W. Howell’s book, My GRL, is out.

D: I can no longer mistake him for that other fellow.

A: That other fellow?

D: See, John is so much more important, he’s eclipsed ideas of that other John-bloke from my head.

A: Nice save.

D: 1300 years are not to trifled with, A.

A: Indeed. So are you going to Congratulate Mr. John W. Howell?

D: I am – Congratulations, John, on your accomplishment, and many—

A: Many—

D: Great wishes for its success. It looks spectacular!

A: Helena – she of the Dilettante fame – has also been published! Her latest venture, in Dagda Publishing’s anthology “All Hail the New Flesh,” features the mistress of the creepy, Jessica B. Bell. Congratulations, Helena!

D: Don’t forget: if you are – as A likes to say – blog hopping, check out GE Recommends. Green has been putting in a lot of midnight hours with that mystical language HTML and CSS to make it look fantastic.

A: And Green – as well as the regular reviewing editors – have been doing a wonderful job keeping up with all the great entertainment out there to tell us what is good, and that which has been found wanting. Green has compiled a great list of last week’s offerings, here.

D: And the lovely Marie Ann Bailey – she who brought the lovely Mary into my life – has pledged to be a part of the Rebel Writers Creed for 2014. Why don’t you ever sign up for a creed or a resolution, A?

A: I solemnly swore that I would not feed you to the beasts of hell when you inspire my ire. Would you prefer I distract myself from that?

D: Nope. That’s just fine, A.

A: Thought so.

D: So, have you been taking notes, A? Sarah M. Cradit’s author website is now live, and it is chock-full of  all sorts of goodies for fans of her House of Crimson and Clover series.

A: I love genealogies.

D: Yes, yes, I know you do.

A: Don’t roll your eyes at me, Druid. The fact that your family has such a twisty one is one of the reasons I keep to my resolution.

D: And on that testy note, I think we are going to end this with a “New to Us–”

A: But probably not new to you–

D: Featurette.

A: This week, the creators of this blog are not new to us—

D: Indeed, they are dear to us, but this concept is beyond brilliant.

A: It is a story, written one line at a time, by you, the audience. Check it out. Please.

D: And the other is a gentlemen that A just started to follow.

A: And one of his latest poems simply caught my fancy.

D: She is fickle that way.

A: And on that note,

D: We shall adieu.

A: Or otherwise, say good night.

D&A: Thanks for reading!