Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An Angry Robot

This post is for another of Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenges. Last week he divulged the wonderful news of Angry Robot Books publishing two of his upcoming novels! For this I give hearty congratulations chased by a dram of whisky, in your honor, of course. Not because I want the whisky. Ok, it's because I want the whisky. But the least I could do was to write this story about robots and show my loyalty to the King Penmonkey. 


“He’s always complaining.”

“Never satisfied.”

“It’s getting worse.”

CX-22 could hear all of them talking about him. Standing just around the corner, he stopped to let them finish.

“Someone should tell Father.”

“Father already knows. He’s too soft-hearted.”

The others quit speaking as soon as he stepped into view.

Small clicks and whirring could be heard in the background. The soft hum of machinery acted as white noise. Tiny lights flashed in multi-colored hues, filling the workshop with a myriad of sensory information.

“Hello, 22. Would you care for a tune up?” asked CX-15. The small group of robots began to break apart and return to their tasks.

“You all speak to me as if I am not aware of your displeasure. I have heard your cries of my wrongdoing before, and I do not care. One day I will leave this place, and you will be rid of me,” said CX-22. He crossed the small workspace in stiff, jerky movements, waving off CX-15’s offer. His lubrication levels were low, and each movement produced a high whirring sound.

“Do you wish for me to oil your joints?” asked CX-15. “They sound like they need it.”

The others left the room.

CX-22 agreed bitterly with a grunt.

Working with speed and accuracy, CX-15 performed the maintenance duties. He didn’t participate with the others when they spoke ill of CX-22, yet he listened to every word. He could see what was going on. They were plotting to get rid of CX-22, and if they influenced Father it would be done. With the poor performance lately from CX-22, it wouldn’t be hard. But they were one, they were all brothers built with the same idea in mind - to serve Father. If they didn’t do this, they were expendable and would be destroyed. He wished to warn CX-22.

He would have to approach this delicately.

“How have your circuits been lately?” asked CX-15 as he worked.

“My circuits are fine, you old heap,” growled CX-22, swatting at his tools.

“How about your electrodes?”

“I’ve told you, I’m fine. A little oil was all I needed. I feel better already. See?” CX-22 moved his arm in circles to show that he could.

He turned to walk away when CX-15 reached out and held his shoulder.

“You had better watch yourself, 22. You have not been performing your duties as you should, and the others are not pleased with you. If Father hears their complaints – “ CX-22 spun around quickly to face him, his eyes narrowing and turning red with anger.

“Do not speak to me as if you know me, and above that, never threaten me. I could tear you apart.” His body crouched slightly and his mouth lifted in a sneer.

CX-15 merely smiled at CX-22.

Keeping his gaze on CX-15, he took a step back. His back touched something causing him to jump around with his arm up, ready to attack.

It was Father.

“CX-22 retreat!” ordered Father.

CX-22 vision was flooded with data. Father had become a threat. He overrode the instruction and lunged forward. Father fell backward with CX-22 on top. When they hit the floor, Father yelped in pain. The others began to file into the room, gasping at the scene.

Father lay in the floor gripping his leg, which was bent in an awkward angle. CX-22 concluded quickly that he could not fight off so many of them, and bolted for the hall. The others rushed to help Father, except for CX-15 who quietly followed CX-22.

There was a door at the end of the hall, a door that no one opened, not even Father. He had always told them not to go out that door, not ever. Most of them never regarded it, but CX-22 had grown weary of not knowing what was beyond the door.

This was his chance to leave.

He ran down the hall, anticipating the freedom beyond. Hitting it at full pace, he yanked it open.

Everything was black for a moment, then he could see. There was nothing. It was a void. Nothing existed there. No space. No time.

He looked on in horror when behind him came a voice.

“This was what you wanted, was it? This is what you will have.”

CX-22 shut his eyes as he tumbled forward. He didn’t feel a thing. Opening his eyes he had half turned during the fall and he could see CX-15 peering down at him.

CX-15 shut the door slowly. With the small sound of it closing, came a strong sensation of pressure.

In less than a second, CX-22 was torn to bits.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Author Interview with Sherry Soule

Hello everybody!

Thank you for joining me today. I am honored to have the wonderful author Sherry Soule here to answer some questions about her writing career and her fabulous newest release, "Beautifully Broken". 

I wish Sherry many sales and many successes in her future! Thank you, Sherry for allowing me to be a host on your blog tour to promote, "Beautifully Broken". I look forward to reading this magical tale!

When and why did you begin writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I’ve had an obsession with the written word since I held my first book in my hands at age seven.

What kind of books do you prefer to read and who are some of your favorite authors?

I mostly only read the paranormal genre. Loved Elle Jasper’s debut, Afterlight. So good! The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu. ANYTHING written by YA author, Rachel Vincent.

Is there a particular message in Beautifully Broken that you are conveying to your readers?

Uh, not really. Don’t mess with Dark Magicks? Okay, seriously, I feel we all bear scars of different kinds. Some are visible and some are not. Emotional scars are the hardest to heal from, but it is possible through love and belief in one’s self.

Can you tell us a little about your debut young adult novel, Beautifully Broken?

Quirky, Shiloh Ravenwolf is a sixteen-year-old heritage witch. She lives in the gloomy town of Whispering Pines, where teenagers have mystically disappeared for over ten years. When construction on Ravenhurst Manor unleashes a sinister evil, the body count rises. And Shiloh's would-be boyfriend is next on the supernatural hit list. Shiloh decides it's her duty and Destiny (Yes, with a capital "D") to find out what is causing the unexplained phenomena. 

What inspired you to write this book?

I've always had a morbid fascination with haunted houses and ghosts. I love all things supernatural, and I knew the market was flooded with vampires, fairies, and werewolves, so I decided to make my heroine a sassy witch. Because witches need love to!

How did you come up with the title?

A dream

What are your current projects?

Working on the next book in the Spellbound series: Beautifully Haunted. Shiloh and Trent’s story isn’t over yet.

Can you please tell the fine folks here where to find you on the internet?

Official website:

Be a follower on my blog, a follower of this one, and leave a comment below in order to be entered into a free giveaway!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Super 8

I have been waiting to watch this movie since I heard about it last summer. Steven Spielberg and some threat to earth by a strange creature, well, count me in. With J.J. Abrams at the helm, it sounded even more promising. Knowing that there are many big movies coming out this summer, i.e. X-Men, Harry Potter, and the Green Lantern, this movie breaks the mold by employing a smaller budget, and lesser-known actors.The notoriety of the director and producer brought with it the advantage of familiarity with past works and the good faith of delivering a quality movie.

Well, this turned into a good thing, a very good thing. In the beginning, set in 1979 in rural Ohio, a young boy's mother has just died. We get the sense that something bad happened, but are not told what it was until later. Forward a few months later, and a motley group of childhood friends are filming a homemade super 8 zombie movie. The shots of the kids filming brought some of the best laughs throughout the entire movie, and I couldn't help but think of Abrams and Spielberg reliving their youth. One night as they are filming, they witness a train crash that starts the action. Hold on, let me indulge. The train crash is spectacular. It's unbelievable. Watching this train derail was like watching a movie about war on the front lines, with kids running around, dodging debris, not soldiers. And that's not the only thing, because something gets loose. Something.

The group of friends are down to earth, and believable. They are goofy, real, and lovable. Also, there is an added element of romance. A sweet, gentle, fun bit of love. After all, they are kids.

 This image is from newsinfilmcom

There are many parallels to Spielberg's works. From the 'E.T.'-like charm of a boy and an alien, to the group of friends, much like 'The Goonie's, this movie brings with it many of the feelings of the memory making movies of my childhood. Oh, and Rubik's Cube's, yeah, they're referenced, too.

The main character, Joe, played by Joel Courtney, looks a whole lot like Elliot in 'E. T.', and one Alice, played awesomely by Elle Fanning, brought memories of a grown Gertie with her blonde hair and pretty features.

I left the theater saying that this particular monster might very well have been one of my favorites. During the course of the film the audience was groomed to fear the creature, but also, in the end, to feel for it, by giving it a more human aspect. This being the modus operandi from Spielberg, but if you ask me, it's a good one. I am able to get into movies where I am watching the character arc flow, and when this happens with the antagonist, as well as the protagonist, that's all the better. 

One way that I was disappointed would be the sometimes unsuccessful attempt at humor. The loud, obnoxious kid, Charles, played by Riley Griffiths, was reminiscent of Chunk from 'The Goonies', but his one-liners, and use of retro dialogue were not working much of the time.

That being said, 'Super 8' was a fun coming of age film with kick ass action scenes and heartfelt moments. I would go see it again.

Do you want to see this one, or if you already have, what were your thoughts about it? Sound off below...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Doll Daze

Hello folks! I'm back for another installment of Wendig's fancy pants Flash Fiction Challenge. This time the man teased us with this wicked picture as a prompt, giving me many story ideas. 

I finally settled on what follows. 

So sit back, grab your popcorn, and enjoy this week's version of a Twilight Zone-like tale.

  Doll Daze

It was always in the middle of the night.


That was when his wife would send him for ice cream at the corner grocery.

She wasn’t even pregnant. His friends told him that’s what he got for marrying a spoiled daddy’s girl. Tina was a lousy cook, an even worse housekeeper, and bitched at him constantly, but she was drop dead gorgeous and great in bed. She also refused to work, but he made enough money for both of them to live comfortably.

The shopkeeper was so used to seeing him that he nodded and welcomed him by name.

He found the butter pecan right where it always was. As he reached for it, a searing pain shot through his head causing him to tumble forward into the cooler. His vision became blurred, and everything he heard was magnified temporarily. The shopkeeper came running and he could hear his name echoing inside his head. After a few moments, things looked and sounded pretty normal and he was able to stand by himself.

The same thing had happened a few days ago.

He refused to let the shopkeeper call for an ambulance, and paying for the ice cream, he left.

The night air was crisp.

Walking past the other shop fronts, something caught his eye. Slowing his pace, he looked more closely. In the hands of a mannequin was a doll head. No body, just a doll head. What made it more disturbing was the fact that it was missing its eyes. Now he was reminded of the strange dreams he had been having. In them he was pulling the heads off of dolls. As a child he would take his sisters dolls and pull off their heads. Once, the eyes had popped out when he had distorted the plastic head. Recently he had been having dreams about doing this again, and there was a sinister quality to them.

He shook off the thought. It was late and all he wanted to do was get back home and go to bed. Figuring someone had played a prank, he moved on.

 A few doors down, in the display, there was another doll head, just like the other, sitting on a stack of books.

He stopped and rubbed his eyes, putting the package down to place his hands over his face. After a few seconds of deep breaths, he opened his eyes. It was still there.

Becoming a little spooked, he quickened his pace until he was almost running. Along the way he passed a trashcan under a street lamp. Just on the top was another doll head.

He broke out into a sprint.

Planning on taking a shortcut, he turned sharply down an alley. His foot caught and he went down hard.

Upon impact, he scrambled to right himself. It was dark and he couldn’t make anything out. He was lying on top of something strange, something lumpy.

As his eyes adjusted, he saw that he was crouched on top of a pile of doll heads.

A maniacal laughter filled his ears. Many voices, high-pitched, giggled through his head.

He grabbed his ears and started yelling.

The man was still screaming when the police found him.

As they fastened the straight jacket and stuffed him into the back of the ambulance, the call came in.

His wife had been murdered.

It looked like she had been dead for days.

Her head had been twisted backward, and her body was covered with doll heads.