Saturday, April 30, 2011

Knight Post - Book Review: The Soulkeepers

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
No #FridayFlash this week. Instead, I present another knight-post! 

Please welcome G.P. Ching, who has published her first novel, The Soulkeepers, which you can buy on Amazon, Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and on paperback.

Now, please note that it's not because I'm grateful to Genevieve for her help that I'm not observing my review policy to the letter. Just saying. 


Jacob Lau is a fifteen year old boy who died; after which he woke up in the hospital with a broken body and a confused mind. His mother was missing, possibly dead, and he had no one else. Well, not until the uncle he never knew showed up to take him home, to the enormous city of Paris, Illinois. This is how Jacob gets to know his family and their viewpoints, and more importantly, he's forced to see himself. When a strange and exceedingly attractive woman enters his life, he comes to learn about the Soulkeepers and their opponents, the Watchers. 

This story shows an interesting and unprejudiced view of the battle between good and evil as portrayed in the bible. If you look behind the magic, the fighting and the mysterious characters, you'll see a teenager growing into a man, learning to accept himself as a fallible human being, as a good person, and more. You'll also see a critic of the small minds of small town's folks, the extremes people can go to because of their need of acceptance, and of course, love. 

The book moves a bit slowly until the story is unfold, but once it does it's worth the reading. No character remains static through the story, the issues they have to deal with do not fall from the sky, or climb up from below, they're also created by the characters themselves. No mystery remains unsolved and the ending is quite nice, allowing space for a sequel if the author wishes to do so.

That's a recommend.


G.P. Ching is a short fiction writer whose work has appeared in various print and electronic publications. She is a partner at DarkSide Publishing, and member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Illinois with her husband, two children and a very demanding guinea pig. Learn more about G.P. at her blog So, Write.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day -- #FridayFlash

This is a very short flash in honor to Earth Day. I hope you'll enjoy it.

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It tickles. What is it? 

I shrug and tiny things fall apart. The itching stops in some parts, but it continues and increases in others. I wish I had fingers like some of my diminutive companions. 

Ow, that hurts! Wait just there, you're going too deep. I can't breathe with all that smoke, and I feel queasy with what you gave me to drink. 

My oceans react, parts of me clean out as new things crumble down. I still don't feel too good though. 

I take a closer look at what is causing all that disturbance and I'm surprised to see how much of my surface they have covered with their new, strange looking, smelly homes. I'm concerned at how unaware of me they are. I checked them out just over a minute ago and  they not only knew about me but also they seemed to like me. What's happened?

Hmm, good. Some of them are waking up to my presence. I hope these are the ones who will survive my next change. 


Monday, April 18, 2011

Earth B-Day

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This Friday, April 22, is going to be Earth Day. Earth is around 4 billion 600 million years old. We know it's not going to be actually Earth's birthday, but let's pretend it is? Let's also pretend Earth is a bit younger, say, 46 years old. 

'Til she was a 7-year-old kid, she was a mystery. We know almost nothing about her at that tim. They say these first years are the most important to the formation of the personality, so it's a bit scary knowing nothing about such a close friend, eh?

Earth grew into an adolescent and a young gorgeous woman without we knowing much about her either. Our knowledge about her starts when she was already a delicate and mature 42-years-old. 

Dinosaurs came over when she was already 45, and mammals arrived only eight months ago. Half a week ago some monkeys that looked more or less like a man evolved into men that looked like monkeys. 

Three days ago, she had her last glacial era (that encompassed the whole planet), and the modern man as we know came over in the last four hours. Just an hour ago man discovered agriculture and established himself in fixed locations.

Industrial Revolution happened a minute ago, and in the last sixty seconds man managed to transform the paradise that Earth is in a dumpster. Man has multiplied and spread out like a plague, causing the extinction of more than 500 species, and has devastated our kind lady in search for fossil fuel and minerals. 

Like a child that sees only himself and is unable of measuring the consequences of his actions, man has made inviable many other life forms and is now affecting the whole environment, causing problems to his own survival. 

Only a few seconds ago, part of mankind has become aware that the most serious problem man has to solve is to reestablish harmony with nature.(*)

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Whew, thank god we're not too late! 

So, what do we do? 

Nah, I'm not lecturing about all the green actions you can take to move towards that goal. It would be nice, though, if you gave it a thought.

In the mean time, check out a few websites that talk about the issue:

  • Green, where you'll find all kinds of news in Italian, and Earth Days events in Italy.
  • Cesar's Way, where you'll find what you can do with your dog for Earth Day. Being a huge dog lover, I should tell you that you'll find loads of useful information on this website. It's definitely worth a closer look. 

Happy Earth Day!

(*) This analogy is not mine. I took it and free-translated from an official paper on safe driving and citizen awareness raising. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Laura Eno's Week - Book Review: Don't Fall Asleep, A Dream Assassin Novel

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
To close up Laura Eno's Week, read a review of Laura's book, Don't Fall Asleep, A Dream Assassin Novel

Please note that it's not because I'm grateful to Laura for her help that I'm not observing my review policy to the letter. Just saying. 

Finally, Laura Eno's Week also features an interview and a story with her. (written in it, yes ;)


Cassandra Dade is a Dream Merchant who has been trained as a Dream Assassin, a skill so rare that it had become almost mythical. She is a highly skilled but tormented woman, who leaves Earth to start a new life on planet Altair IV, where she'll find a partner and friend, and also a part of her past she'd rather have left behind. 

Don't Fall Asleep is an action-packed book in which Cassandra is a hunter who soon finds that she is being hunted as well. While her relationship with Nathan -- her newly found partner -- develops into a warm friendship, the author introduces us to a world where the deepest and dirtiest wholes are far more interesting than the high domes where the ruler class live a sheltered and dull life. 

The dream waving concept, as well as the description of the dreams the characters enter, are the highlights of this book. I have always been curious to learn how is the working of other people's minds, and dreams seem to be a good window to understand it. Laura portrays  the characters' personality very well through their unconscious minds. 

The action in the book is slowed down by the frequent strolls Cassandra and Nathan make together. While they are entertaining, the get a bit exasperating as the book reaches to its climax. To the contrary, the traumatized Cassandra seems rather quick in inviting her future partner to her highly secured (and amazing) house. 

All in all, Don't Fall Asleep is a pleasant reading that ends tipping up what's coming up in the next book. I sure want to know how Cassandra and Nathan will defeat the hidden villain, but I confess I'm even more curious to learn more about Artie. 

That's a recommend


Laura Eno lives in Florida with a very tolerant husband, three skulking cats and two absurdly happy dogs. She has a pet from the Underworld named Jezebel and a skull called Mr. Fluffy who help her write novels late at night. Please visit her strange imagination at

Friday, April 8, 2011

Laura Eno's Week - Possible Origins for Mr. Fluffy. 1. - #FridayFlash

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
In continuation to Laura Eno's Week, I present you a story featuring no one less than Laura Eno herself!

For a better enjoyment, I suggest you also read her interview here at Randomities, and her answers to the Bernard Pivot Blogfest.  

Laura's week will close up with a review of one of her books. Stay tunned! 

The title of this story was inspired by John Wiswell's series of flash fiction on Batman's Joker, called "Possible Origins for Him." They're a literary treat, so go check them out afterwards! Thanks for allowing me to use your concept, John!

Finally, there's some good old cursing in this story. Purists, be warned.


Possible Origins for Mr. Fluffy. 1.

There she was. I could see her dream from above, the only solace this restless woman had in this uncertain period of her life.

In her dream, she was twenty years younger, her hair was long to the waist, bundled up to prevent distraction when shooting with the laser gun tied to her thigh. She was beautiful, confident, and tough as nails. The ship shook by an explosion. She slid easily to the side, used to change fighting stances on heels, her dress gliding against her skin as she pressed her back to the corridor’s wall. A shadow approached from where she had come. She shifted weight and unbuckled her gun. It was a human, that she could tell, but it was impossible to know if it was friend or foe. Another explosion. The man took advantage and showed himself, pointing a gun at her. “You idiot!” she shouted, and jogged toward him. “You almost got both of us killed!”

Almost there.

He grabbed her arm and dragged her in before she could react. She met his chest with a huff and they locked eyes. His sardonic smile gradually approached her mouth.

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There. I made my presence noticeable and she woke up, heart pounding.  I wasn’t surprised at the creativity of her cursing in response to my timing. I had prevented her from kissing Han Solo, after all.

She made a conscious effort to calm down in the semi-wake state she couldn’t shake herself off. The chill I left in the air made her uneasy. I could see her mouthing soundlessly “What the fuck?” in the darkness. I chuckled at that but she didn’t hear me. It was yet too soon.

As she lied in bed unable to move, I made myself visible. What form would I take? I wondered. How amusing! I took the form of a translucid head, floating above her. As I passed over her, turning like a football, my inexistent skin decomposed until there was nothing but a skull left. She watched in dismay as I crossed the wall behind her bed like a classic Ghostbusters’ specter and left to the other side. I grinned a satisfied lip-less grin. This was going to be fun.

The first contact was made, so I kept observing her in search of an opening. I saw her dragging herself out of bed, feeling cold from the inside out. As she brushed her teeth the memory of her dream slipped away into her unconscious mind. She tried to hold onto it, knowing it was something she’d dearly want to remember, but the impact of the first contact was too powerful and she could only replay my decaying in her head.

Coffee made everything go away. The day was sunny and she had a bright future ahead of her. I sighed as her shoulders slumped at the doubts and fears gurgling in her mind. She had no idea of what to do with all that brightness, or how to find a new way of quieting the voices in her head. She wondered if her neighbors were right and she was indeed crazy. I snorted at that thought of hers and poked her. She shifted in the seat, staring at the kitchen’s white wall. She blinked, deciding to do something about all that white in her house, losing the idea that was forming in the back of her mind in the process. I shook my head. She mirrored my reaction and set to make lunch to put her frustration aside. Her spirits lifted somehow then her husband arrived. I sought an opening but her guilt for his doubled effort in coming from and to the office for lunch blocked me out.

Her waking was the only opportunity I had to strengthen the connection, so every day for the next two weeks I’d make my presence undeniable. I’d hedgehop toward her head, take the appearance of her cat, maddened and reaching as if to attack her, or I would simply float above her. She’d wake up sweating, her chest tight and cold.

One day, she woke up with a jolt, hitting her head on the night table and missing her left eye by sheer luck. 

“Shit! I’m sick of it you, you son of a bitch! Go haunt your fucking own mother!” 

So, her wake-self had bones as well, eh? I chortled merrily for this new knowledge of her. She froze in place and frowned. 

“Okay you fucking moron,” she shouted to the walls. “I’m through with you. If you think you can scary me, you’re downright wrong! From now one you’ll be Mr. Fluffy. How’s that for a pitiful ghost, eh?” 

I was astounded. So she thought I was a mere ghost? As I left to consider my options, she added half-heartedly, knowing I was gone, “I’m bringing a fucking priest if I have to, you hear me?”

I decided that despite her misunderstanding of my nature and purpose she was worthy of some persistence, so I intensified my efforts showing up every day and taking all opportunity I had to make my presence felt. She’d then wake up in the middle of the night and curse me under her breath, drawing a smile out of me, or a chuckle. But this was getting tiresome for both of us, so I gave ourselves a night of rest and prepared myself for a dramatic last try.

Instead of the skull she had envisioned for me, I forced my visual manifestation to look similar to an upper body. I dove in with stretched arms, ready to physically shake her off her lethargy. But she woke up, jumped out of bed screaming, stepped in her cat’s tale and ran over her daughter who had come for a visit, worried about her haunting tales.

I was hovering over in the kitchen, resisting giving up although I knew I wasn't able to conceive another solution at that point. She explained what had just happened while preparing coffee with trembling hands. Her daughter asked about her eye, which was healing quite well, and they fell into silence. A sigh was the sign for her daughter to suggest a walk. It was a gorgeous day outside. After a quick shower they left by foot and I followed suit, hopeful for the new openings a different and relaxed environment would create.

Letting themselves bathe in the warmth of the spring sun, they talked, laughed and on their way back home she felt renovated. There, I had full contact now!

After her daughter left, she frowned at the living room wall. Later that day, Laura wrote her first story. After she finished it, she gazed at her garden through the window and smiled at the sound of my laughter. “Fuck you, Mr. Fluffy.”

As she pronounced these words, I noticed pink tentacles sliming themselves out of under the bed.


Cue: No one knows how Laura and Mr. Fluffy came to know each other -- and I suspect neither does she -- so I thought I'd be fun seeing other people giving continuity to this speculation, hence the "1" indication. I'm sure Laura would like it too. ;) 

John only asks us to keep the title's concept and punctuation, as well as the stories in first person. Otherwise, have fun! 

p.s.: I forgot to say, if you ever decide to follow the lead, please let me know that I'll link you up here and on the "Stories" perm page.  :) 


Laura Eno lives in Florida with a very tolerant husband, three skulking cats and two absurdly happy dogs. She has a pet from the Underworld named Jezebel and a skull called Mr. Fluffy who help her write novels late at night. Please visit her strange imagination at

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Laura Eno's Week - Interview

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
It's time for another knight to shine! This week, I proudly present you Laura Eno! Laura shares her funny, scary and fantastic(al) stories at her blog A Shift in Dimensions. She's also a multi-published author whose books you can easily find at her author profile on Smashwords or Amazon

Today Randomities will be featuring the interview that gave birth to her story. Later this week you'll be able to read said story and also a review of one of her books



Silly questions:

1. What's your favorite color?

Rainbow…and I hate white walls. I have a stack of paint cans in the garage to prove it.

2. What's your worst fear?

Not being able to write anymore. Seriously. That, and not being able to travel, which my fibromyalgia prevents me from doing right now.

3. How would you define yourself as a person? (grumpy, dedicated, lazy etc) Please feel free to explain as you wish, instead of using one or more isolated words.

Driven. When I'm focused on something, like writing or some other project, I don't stop to rest, eat…uh, shower.

The writer:

4. When did you start to write?

I started writing in Jan, 2009, on my 54th birthday. Before that, I was a silversmith, but the economy folded and I couldn't afford to keep it as a hobby.

5. Why did you start to write?

I needed a creative outlet and a story popped into my head, so I sat down and started writing. I still don't know why, but I feel like I've come home. Writing is where I belong.

6. How did writing influence your life?

Writing has exposed me to like-minded people for the first time in my life. I've always felt like an outcast around other people, but the online community of writers feels like family. The people I've met share my same quirks, such as listening to voices in my head or staring off into space while thinking of a new plot.

7. When/where do you write the best?

I write best outside on my patio, listening to a waterfall. My first draft is done with a pencil and paper, giving me the chance to listen to the cadence as I type it on the computer later. The best times for writing are early morning and at night. The afternoon is for that other stuff—like falling into a sugar coma from eating cookies for breakfast.

8. Which part of writing do you like the most? 

My favorite part is that spark of creativity that comes with a new story. It's so fresh and full of possibilities.

9. Which is the favorite character you've ever wrote? Why?

Hands down, my favorite is the entire cast of Realms of the Red Rabbit and Realms of the Red Rabbit-Jake. I love those characters.

The story:

10. If you were to be written as a character, in a story, would you like to have any special trait, ability?

Of course! I'd be tough as nails, beautiful, wearing a slinky dress with high heels I could run in, and wearing a blaster on my thigh. Think Princess Leia without the hair buns. Have I mentioned I'm in love with Han Solo?


Laura Eno lives in Florida with a very tolerant husband, three skulking cats and two absurdly happy dogs. She has a pet from the Underworld named Jezebel and a skull called Mr. Fluffy who help her write novels late at night. Please visit her strange imagination at

Friday, April 1, 2011

Put That Down! - #FridayFlash

Dorothy Lathrop
1891 ~ 1980
HITTY by Rachel Field
Published by Macmillan Co ~ 1929

I woke in pitch darkness. I sat up and looked around, trying to see. Nothing. Am I blind? I touched my eyelids, felt my eyeballs flick this way and that. I still had eyes in my head, but had no idea whether they still worked.

Feeling around, I found I’d been sleeping on a cot, and I was naked. The latter didn’t concern me: the warm darkness made clothes unnecessary for either body temperature or modesty. The cot was bolted to the floor, one more oddity in a very odd situation. I clicked my tongue and listened for echoes; I’d heard of some blind people doing this. I didn’t know how to interpret the echoes, but there was a noticeable delay. A big room, then.

A new sound interrupted my experiment — it sounded like a baby’s squawk. This was getting stranger all the time. I shuffled in the direction that I thought the noise came from. The next sound was the “a-kat a-kat a-kat a-kat” of a baby demanding attention. My groping hands found the crib, knocking something to the floor. I wondered where the diapers might be — he probably needed one — but when I found him, I quickly found he was a she, and naked as well.

“Com’ere,” I said, picking her up. She wrapped her hands around my neck and slobbered on my shoulder. Being a man, I had no sustenance to give her, only comfort — but for now, that seemed to be enough. Judging from her weight, she was about a year old, maybe a little older. I reached down and found what I’d knocked over: a broom. Now I had a way to probe the darkness ahead of me. I turned a slow circle, clicking my tongue. A door required a wall, after all.

I finally settled on a direction, let go the crib, began walking. The broom handle tap-tapped against the floor, left and right, the echoes coming quicker —

A light. Off to my left. I blinked, rubbed my eyes, looked around. It was there, so faint it only illuminated itself, but it was there. I turned toward it.

The baby squirmed around my side. “Nononono. Bad.” Closer to two years than one, then.

“The light?” I whispered.

“Bad. Bad.” She tried to twist my body around to the direction we’d been going, and I let her.

To my left, the light began to bob up and down, as if it were trying to get my attention. I began to turn toward it again, just as the broom found the wall. I stopped to think for a moment.

Angler fish. In the deepest oceans, where no sunlight penetrates, light becomes bait for mating and feeding. Perhaps the little girl sensed what I couldn’t about the nature of that light. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. The more it made sense, the angrier I grew. It was one thing to throw a man to a — whatever it was, but a baby? I sat down, still holding her, and wrestled my rage under control. Whatever was dangling a light at us could sense us somehow — perhaps by body heat? If I could start a fire, I might be able to blind it while gaining my own sight, but what did I have to start a fire with?

A crib. And a mattress. If I could find them again. I stood and put that bobbing light to my right. Taking wide swings with the broom, I tried to remember how many steps I’d taken. On my hundredth step, the broom caught the crib just to my right.

I pulled the mattress out and leaned it against the crib, putting the girl against it with a prayer she wouldn’t wander off, before attacking the frame and woodwork. I used the broom to break some of the bars out of the crib, and pried wires loose from the frame. I used the wire to tear a strip of tough nylon from the mattress, twisting it into a cord before tying the ends to a piece of wire, making a crude bow. Broom straws and splinters from the crib bars made kindling.

With the mattress shielding us from the angler, I twisted a crib bar into the bowstring and started working the bow back and forth, keeping a loose grip on the wooden bar. After some timeless time, a faint red glow appeared and grew brighter. I stopped long enough to push my kindling into that glow and blew gently —

A tongue of flame! I fed it kindling, enough to get the mattress burning. I took up the girl in my left arm, the broom in my right, and held the broom over the flames to make a torch.

We both cringed at the shriek of the angler. I took a few running steps away from the mattress, and wished I still couldn’t see it — we aren’t made to see things like that. It was a gigantic slug with a great toothy mouth, its bait-lamp on its upper lip, and two red patches I assumed were its eyes. Behind it… a door.

I didn’t want to, but I put the girl down and charged, shoving the burning broom into that shrieking maw. It jerked, snapping the handle, rearing up. I thrust the jagged end of the handle into its underbelly and jumped back just before it slammed itself back down, impaling itself. It twisted onto its side, but too late — it thrashed then grew still.

There was just enough handle sticking out to grab and pull. I collected the girl, reached the door in the dying firelight —

From above me, a voice boomed: “Put that down!

I leaned the gory broom handle next to the door.

Not that.

I shook my head and took up the broom handle. There were other monsters here — the ones who put us in this room and demanded I leave a baby behind — and I meant to find them.


April Fools! The story you just read appears here on my blog as a part of the Great April Fool's Day FridayFlash Blog Swap, organized by Tony Noland

You can find my story for today at Tales from FAR Manor. To read all the dozens of stories swapping around as a part of the GAFDFFBS, check out the GAFDFFBS index over at Tony's blog Landless. For hundreds of thousands of words of fantastic flash fiction stories, check out the FridayFlash hashtag on Twitter. It happens every Friday!

More details on the swap: Tony also assigned each pair a writing prompt. Mine is Put That Down!

I was lucky to be paired up with FARfetched, a great writer of slice of life and amazing fantasy. (read his Accidental Sorcerers series, excellent!) FAR came up with an idea for a story and was gracious enough to share it with me before he finished it. We agreed that it'd be cool to have common elements to our stories, so you shouldn't find strange to find those similarities. ;) I  hope you liked what we came up with! 

FARfetched lives in the cultural wasteland known as north Georgia. If you think his fiction is strange, you ought to see his reality! He spends much of his time wrangling an unruly herd of in-laws, two grown kids, the World's Cutest Grandkid, and an assortment of boarders.

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