A Halloween Treat

So, I’m still fillling in temporarily over on Serial Central, but I decided to offer a little Halloween Treat… What I’ve posted there today isn’t a reprint of a story I’ve already posted here, but a brand-new tale set in the same world as one of the earlier stories posted there.

The story is themed for Halloween, so it should be fun!

But, I’ll be honest… I didn’t have a lot of time to write this story.  Other things are still, unfortunately, much higher on my priority list right now (and will remain so for the foreseeable future), so those things come first.  Consequently… this story is not quite up to the quality standards I usually set for what I write.  In the nomenclature I use on my Stories & Scribblings page, this one is a “C-“.

At this point in my blogging career – I’d rather not even post a story that hit’s a “C” grade on my own quality standards… but at the same time, right now, that means I’d not be posting stories at all, because I don’t quite have the time to scrub my ideas and my prose to get it up to quality level.  Still, I hope you’ll check it out, and that you’ll enjoy it.  It’s the first of three relatively short pieces under the title:

“On the Night When the Spirits of the Dead are Unsettled in their Graves”

Maybe that got your attention.  And maybe this as well: my prose may not have been up to spec… but I  had some great little ideas peppered about in this piece that riff off some very Halloween-like concepts.  Enjoy…

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An Ongoing Non-Serial

Until the Fine Folks behind Serial Central find a new author to fill in with a new Serial Story on Mondays, I’ll be filling in with some non-serial stories.  This week marks the third time a story that you may have first seen here has popped up on Serial Central, but maybe you should head over there to take a look anyway!

One may suppose that I’ll have something popping up on Serial Central next week as well… when that happens, I’ll post about it here, too.  And while so far I’ve been reposting stories that were posted here first… I’d keep my eyes open for an impending Halloween Surprise as well.  News forthcoming.

Another Monday Substitution

I’m filling in, again, over on Serial Central with another “reprint” .

Check it out.  You know, if reading things is something you do.  Especially if reading awesome things is something you do.

A Temporary Appointment

I’ve been asked to fill in over on Serial Central on a temporary basis, which I’ve obliged, since I try to be an obliging bloke when possible.  I honestly don’t know if this will be a multi-week gig or a one-time-only deal.

For now, suffice to say I’ve got a story up – but if you’ve followed my blog regularly you may be in for a dose of deja-vu.  The story there is one I’ve posted here in the past.  That said, it’s not a serial story, but a stand-alone, which is what’s called for until the folks behind the curtain can arrange for a more permanent solution.

So, check me out on Serial Central.  Possibly today-only!

Friday Flash: Shadow Pilgrim

So, I’m doing something a little different, this week, for T.S. Bazelli’s Author Aerobics: I’m telling a story set in the same world as the story I wrote last week.  It’s not a direct continuation, but the two tales are related.  Here was this week’s challenge:

Write a story (1000 words or less) that involves multiple layers of conflict. This week’s theme: “shadows”.

At 1,262 words, this one is longer than the first story set in this world.  And as with last week, this week I still feel like I’m touching on something that could be good, but I didn’t quite grasp it.  Anyway, I’ll let you all be the judge of:

Shadow Pilgrim

By: Stephen A. Watkins, Jr.

Marobi descended the dimly lit stairs into the heart of the Kaimbodi Shadow Shrine.  His bare feet flapped against the damp paving stones set loosely in the wet soil.  He reached out his hands to steady himself, brushing the earthen walls formed by the deep roots of Kaimbodi, the brightwood tree that sheltered the shadow shrine.  At irregular intervals the roots glowed faintly with a warm, yellow light that threw strange shadows down the long, narrow stairs.  Continue reading

Friday Flash: Where It All Began

Someday I’ll write a sci-fi or something else like that in response to T.S. Bazelli’s weekly writing prompt.  I thought it would be this week, if I wrote anything, but that’s not what happened.  Instead, as is often the case, fantasy happened.  The challenge this week was to focus on setting:

The Challenge: Write a story (1000 words or less) that is set in a place you have never been. This place can be real or imagined. The theme: “home”

I sort of cheated, though.  I used a place I really had been to (the Dun Beag fort outside Dingle, Ireland) as the source of inspiration for the setting of this tale, even if the place itself is “imagined”.  (Also, of course, it’s just over 1,000 words, but I do that almost every time, so that’s not new.  This one’s 1,306 words long.)  And so, let’s take it back to:

Where It All Began

By: Stephen A. Watkins, Jr.

Sea foam sprayed up as waves crashed against the cliffs of Dun Chuain, where Aran was born.  At the very edge of the cliff, as though a stray wind might rip it from the cliffside and send it plunging into the churning waters a hundred feet below, rose the House of Dun Chuain.  It was a small wooden manse – long oak planks, steeply-pitched roof, and a watchtower – growing out of a mortared stone foundation some seven feet in height.  The current House was built seventy-five years ago, and the gray wood showed its age, but the House of Dun Chuain had been inhabited for several centuries.  Around the cliffside manor were the remains of the old village – stone huts and walls built without mortar, stacked with exacting care, by Aran’s ancestors. Continue reading

Flash Fantasy: From That Eternal Summer Isle

Okay, the theme of Bazelli’s “Author Aerobics” this week was a tad too irresistable.  As soon as I read her post, I had an opening line in mind.  Shortly thereafter followed the main character.  It took only a little longer to come up with the situation.  I’m still really busy with school and related challenges, so this is kind of cheating.   But the idea stuck, so here we are.

The challenge was thus:

“Show, don’t tell.” You hear it over and over again. It’s one of the most often quoted ‘rules of writing’, but pick any novel off your shelf, and you’ll find that the authors do not just show, they also tell. Perhaps the reason that we’re encouraged to “show” is because, in unskilled hands, telling can be badly done.

This week’s challenge: Write a piece of short fiction (1000 words or less) that involves ‘good’ telling. The theme for this week: “afterlife.”

That being the case, I present to you another little fantasy flash piece, clocking in at 1,076 words, entitled:

From That Eternal Summer Isle

By: Stephen Watkins

The sky was blue on the day I died.  That came as some surprise.  Not so much that the sky was blue, but that I died.  Or that I was able to remark on the color of the sky at all.

I’ve never  been one to believe in the afterlife.  Nor in the gods, or any of that other claptrap.  Maybe I’ve spent too much time with the humans. Continue reading