Friday, March 2, 2012

The Unanswerable Question

Don't forget to check out my giveaway!
Here's some Friday Flash Fiction:

“If you could go back, and do it all over again – would you?” Mist overshadowed the blues in her eyes. We both already knew the answer to that question. She knew, but she still wanted me to hear it. She wanted me to break her heart.

“I would,” I whispered softly into her hair. Her body shivered as she sobbed into my shirt. My arms weren’t strong enough to hold her, not after that. The world had already shattered around us, but we couldn’t change what happened. She loved me with all her heart, and that wasn’t enough. I would keep her safe, but I couldn't promise love.

“Why me?” She asked. As I watched the smoke rise up from the campfire, I wondered the same thing.

We had been together for what seemed like years, but it was only a month. We wandered from place to place after the government ordered destruction of major cities. Why her? Why not the ones we left behind?

My wife had been cleaning the dishes. Soap bubbles filled the air in our third story apartment building. Our son moved his train off the tracks and rammed it into furniture. I had just come home from work. I flicked on the news as I loosened my tie and heard it.

Emergency broadcast. Bombs dropping in an hour.

The city was in panic. A virus had broken out, there was no other way to stop it. The city was flattened, everyone was dead. But not us, not her, not me.

But the moment where my wife gave up, where her green eyes faded into lifelessness, I held onto this girl. A seventeen year old had managed to climb out of the shelter by grabbing my arm. I was reaching for the woman with green eyes, but she clung onto our son’s lifeless body. She wouldn’t let him go. The rubble collapsed on top of her leaving me and the girl alive.  We managed to escape the city before the second wave of bombs dropped. She stood clinging to me as we watched the rising smoke from the smoldering ashes.

We were alive. One month was long enough for her to fall in love with me. One month was long enough for me to break her heart. One month was enough for us to forget what laws used to be and make love in the field. One month was enough for me to cry while she slept soundlessly next to me.

Society was broken in pieces. People lived in rural towns, the virus was contained they said. We hadn’t heard any official radio broadcasts since. We presumed Washington was gone. With ham radios, city survivors found each other and set up a colony. We started rebuilding in a the first rural town that would let us in.

No one knew the woman with green eyes. No one knew the miniature train conductor. Everyone knew that it was us. That this girl and I had escaped New York, which was bombed below sea level. As far as we knew, we were the only ones that survived the biggest city collapse in all of history. There were others from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, even a couple from Los Angeles. But no one heard of anyone else from New York.

Why us?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March Giveaway!

It's my birthday month - hooray!

As such, I'm celebrating by doing a massive giveaway.  All month long, you can sign up and be one of two winners.  If I manage on getting 200 followers by the end of this giveaway, I'll choose three winners!

I have a ton of books available for this giveaway (YA, Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, etc!).

Winner #1:  Gets first pick - choose one of any of the following books.
Winner #2:  Gets second pick, after Winner #1 chooses.
Winner #3:  If I reach 200 followers by the end of March, #3 will have the final pick.

Additionally, I'm going to be self-publishing some short stories in the next month.  So I may choose a few additional winners to receive e-copies of those short stories (when they get published). 

So here they all are (clicking the cover will take you to the goodreads page):

YA Book Choices:

Adult Book Choices:

See?!  Tons of choices!  Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I want to take the time to mention why I'm having a donate option for this giveaway.  I am not trying to profit (clearly $1 won't do that for me), but I am trying to make enough cash so I can keep doing giveaways for absolutely free in the future :)  I'm gearing up for a year of giveaways.  That's right - the giveaways won't stop until 2012 is over!  Shipping books is no easy cost, so I figured since this giveaway is a big one, I would give people the option of doubling their entries for $1 via paypal ^_^  Thanks for all your continued support - and good luck!

Monthly Recommendations

Prized by Caragh O’Brien
YA Dystopian

The second installment of the Birthmarked Trilogy does not disappoint.  It picks up with Gaia trying to figure out her new place of residence.  Not only is it completely backwards from the Enclave, but it is just as bad in some respects.  Gaia has new elements to deal with, especially a huge sense of confusion.  But her desire for justice is stronger than ever.  I am waiting anxiously for the next in the series to come out, as Caragh O’Brien’s writing has turned into one of my favorites.
My full review can be found on

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
YA Paranormal Romance

Reading the dust jacket, I thought this was a novel that I had seen before.  And okay, it does have all the typical YA elements of romance in it, but I really liked this one.  Mary Lindsey creates an amazing background for all her characters, and the plot got so enticing towards the end that I couldn’t stop reading to sleep (consequently, I paid for this the next day at work).  Definitely recommended for anyone that likes paranormal.  It’s not horror, but there are some suspenseful moments.
My full review can be found on 

The Clockwork Giant by Brooke Johnson
YA Steampunk

Brooke Johnson went the self-publishing route, but she does her debut novel justice.  The Clockwork Giant focuses on Petra Wade's attempt to make herself known, not just as a woman - in a society where women have no standing - but as an engineer.  The descriptions of the clockwork, the intricacies that Brooke includes in her writing make it a fantastic read.  If you are interested in reading a self-published author, this is where you should start.  Oh, and there was a good amount of editing that went into the piece, so you don't have to cringe through the "Your so nice." <--- I hate those.  You can also read my full examiner review.

All of these books were part of my To Be Read Pile Challenge.  To learn more about the TBR Challenge, click on the button in my sidebar!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Books that Made Me....
love reading Challenge.

And it continues - I still somehow find the time to make this work, even though I'm on tighter and tighter deadlines with reading, writing, and everything.

When I was younger, The Very Hungry Caterpillar was a cute tale with the beautifully crafted pages by Eric Carle.  I still love the artwork, but essentially the book tells me "eat a whole bunch, get fat, hibernate, and then you'll be beautiful." 

It really is strange to go back to these books - and I will be taking a giant leap forward from the infantile level into chapter books for the next post (either Bunnicula or All the Money in the World).  Eric Carle definitely made me think that everything could be beautiful and that everything would turn out okay.  His artwork was like a baby blanket, and I suppose in a way it still is.  I love the simplicity of it, but the gloriousness of his textures.  (Yes, I said "gloriousness").

Regardless, I'm not as cynical about this piece as I was The Runaway Bunny.  It's so short of a book that I almost don't really know what to say about it.  This post is already longer than the words themselves.  But yes, grow up, be fat and happy, eat too much sometimes, and fly away.  Ah, to be young again and be able to eat piles of cheeseballs without consequence!

Anyway, I look forward to moving up to chapter books because those really shaped me as a reader and a writer.  Be on the lookout for more "Books that made me" posts in the future!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shifting Sands

Melting into swirls
The hot sun pressed us
Into the sand, drifting,
Nothing ever shifts
More than the footprints

Buried, neck deep
Swallowing salty air
Lungs dried and settled
Rusty, lengthy gasps
Ruined memories of dust

Nothing ever shifts
More than the light
Day to night, we end
Fighting to pretend
That footprints never change

Turn away and walk
Down the alleys of dark
Hide in the shadows
Drown on the sorrows
Kneel before what used to be

Ruined memories of dust
Nothing ever shifts
More than the footprints
Left in the old sand
That no longer reaches my heart 


There was once a time in my life where I would do anything for anyone.  I would stand up and fight for them even if they stabbed me in the back.  For me, it usually takes three backstabs and then I drop you (unless, of course, we are playing TF2, in which case, if you backstab me, I will hunt you down and kill you just the same - but that's a video game, not real life).

My friendship is like some horrible baseball game.  Strike one, okay, forgiven, just get it right the next time.  Strike two, okay - maybe I shouldn't have taken you back so easily, maybe I should have given us more time to reflect, but I still love you just the same.  Strike three - out.  Out of my life, out of my heart, forever.  I'll take the memories and crumple them up and burn them in the next bonfire I attend.  Little pieces of paper that hold all the thoughts of you and me together tossed away in an instant. 

Recently, I felt something shift in me.  It's no longer three strikes.  It's not even two.  It's one.

I'm still processing how I feel about this shift.  Maybe someday I can talk about the situation more candidly.  While I have been "mourning" what used to be and how that will never be the same again, a part of me feels free somehow.  My whole life, I allowed people to stab me three times before showing them the door.  And now, I have the strength, the disconnect, whatever you want to call it, to let go. 

People change.  The way you feel about them changes too.  And sometimes I hate it, that the impressions someone makes on your heart can never be the same again.  Someone once said to me, "You can never go back."  Tears threatened my eyes and I refused to believe it was true.  No, I told myself, my friends that I had just left behind in Boston would never change.  We would always be friends.

This is the first instance where I realized how true that statement is.  While I still have good memories, I can never live in those memories again.  I cannot curl up in the comfort of a sing-a-long by the bonfire because those memories are false.  They are real, as real as ever, but they will never happen again.  You can never go back, but that's why here and now is so important.  You need to continue forward, head up high, knowing that people changed you and that you changed them.  Maybe you can never go back to the night that you spent staring at the stars, but you can get the stars today.  You know you were happy then, and you know you are happy now, and you can wish them the same.

But you can never go back.  And now that I think about it - I've changed too much to want to go back.

I still love my memories.  I still love the people in them.  But that's all they are - precious memories.