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Flash Fiction Friday Number 10: Playing The Game

Happy Flash Fiction Friday, everyone. This week’s offering is a little weird. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Part of me thinks it’s silly. Another part of me feels like it should be expanded into a longer story. Let me know what you think.

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Playing The Game

He sat on the bench, staring down at his feet. He kicked at one of the balls of wispy, white fluff that littered the ground. He didn’t have to look up to know he was no longer alone. He could sense his friend’s energy settling onto the bench next to him.

“So what’s with you?” His friend asked.

“What are you talking about?”

“Oh please. You’re sitting here brooding and your best friend isn’t supposed to notice? Spill it. What’s eating you?”

“It’s nothing. Really.”

He could feel his friend staring at him.

“It’s just that… Doesn’t this place ever get to you?” He finally continued.

“What? Of course not. We have absolutely everything we could ever want here. If there’s something we want that isn’t here, all we have to do is ask the man and we get it. This place is perfect.”

“That’s the problem. It’s too perfect. Everyone’s always so damned polite and happy all the time. And god, if I hear one more rendition of In The Garden Of Eden played on the harp, I’m going to punch one of those flying babies in the face!”

“Woah. Calm down. That kind of talk could get you kicked out of here.” His friend said, looking around nervously.

“I wasn’t serious.”

They sat in silence for a long time.

“You’re thinking about going back into the game. Aren’t you?” His friend said, finally.

“What if I am?”

“Nothing. I think it’s a great idea. I mean, that’s what the game was designed for, wasn’t it? So where were you thinking about going this time?”

He didn’t have to answer.

“Seriously? Again? Why are you so obsessed with that little blue marble? Why don’t you shake things up and try someplace else? I hear there’s even a new one.”

“Yeah. I looked at that one just out of curiosity. The only avatar you can choose is an amoeba.”

“So Earth, huh?”

He nodded.

“Well, it sounds like your mind’s made up. So what’s stopping you?”

He hung his head. He didn’t want to admit why he was hesitant. His friend waited patiently.

“I kind of used up all my karma points last time.” He admitted finally.

“Oh no. What did you do?”

“Well, before the game started, I used some of my points to choose the rich advantage. I figured I could earn them back by using my money for good while I was in game.”

“But it didn’t work out that way.” His friend said.

“No.”

“It rarely does.”

“I used up the rest of my points in game by being a general asshole. With no starting perks this time around, who knows what I’ll end up as?”

“Well, hey. You could always be a dog. They earn tons of KPs. It’s a much shorter game too.”

“Yeah.” He said. “Well, I guess I should go accept my fate. I’ll see you in a hundred years or so. Unless you want to come too.”

“No thanks. I think I’m going to stay here and enjoy having my every desire fulfilled. You have fun.”

He waved to his friend and made his way to the arcade.

 

So that’s it. I hope you enjoyed it and didn’t think it was too blasphemous. It’s kind of loosely based on my idea of heaven and how I reconcile both an afterlife and reincarnation. Two opposing ideas that I believe in. The idea of life being a game just came to me last night, though.

Anyway, that’s all for this week. I’ll hopefully see you on Monday with an update on what I’m reading.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

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What’s Up Wednesday: Back To Work

Hey guys. Happy What’s up Wednesday. The day of the week where I fill you in on all the boring details of my life. Well, at least most weeks.

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been posting for the last week or two. Now, I know it’s not unusual for me to miss a post here and there, but this was something a little different. It wasn’t just that I forgot, or I got distracted, or even that I spent too long procrastinating and just didn’t get to it.

The truth is, I just plain didn’t feel like it.

Now, there are a few contributing factors as to why I didn’t feel like it. I really had no energy. As it turns out, this is because I was unknowingly fighting off a cold. I lost that fight. Also, Shannon’s schedule was about to change, so I was preparing to change mine as well. I was getting us ready for a camping trip which we didn’t end up going on due to weather.

All of these reasons are just excuses though. To be honest, the real reason I kind of dropped off the face of the earth for a little while is that I was burned out. I’ve been spending so much time between writing, blogging, and vlogging, that I was starting to feel I had no time for myself. I know I’m working toward my dreams, but sometimes I envy the people who can get off work, crack open a beer, and binge something on Netflix without feeling any guilt because their work for the day is done. I wanted to be that person for just a little while. I’ve been lazy all my life. Trying to turn myself into a workaholic isn’t easy.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to complain. I know what I’m doing is worth it, even if I never see a dime from my writing. I’m creating worlds and people out of thin air and I’m still amazed that I can do something like that. It’s just that sometimes being a god can be exhausting. (That was a joke. A blasphemous one, but a joke nonetheless.)

I think Lawrence Kasdan said it best. “Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.”

I’ll add a little something to that. “Sometimes, you just want to play hookey and go fishing.”

The good news is, so far, working on multiple projects seems to be really helping with productivity. When I get stuck and move on to the next project, my subconscious kicks into overdrive and solves my problem while I work on the next story.

So that’s it for today. All I ask is that you bear with me next time I need to get away for a bit.

I’ll see you on Friday with another installment of Flash Fiction Friday. This week’s story is going to be a little different from the things I’ve posted before.

As always, you can find me all these places online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube I finally hit 100 subscribers. Thank you everyone for your help. The new custom URL is https://www.youtube.com/justinmkellywriter

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

I’m even on Pinterest

I’m considering starting my own reddit page. Let me know what you think.

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What’s Up Wednesday: Boosting Productivity

Hey guys, Happy What’s Up Wednesday. First off, you probably noticed that I didn’t post on Monday. That’s mainly due to the fact that while I made some progress, I’m still working on the same two books. Again, it’s not because I’m not enjoying them, but I’m still trying to get my schedule organized to fit in regular reading time.

As for writing, Daughters of the Flame is coming along, albeit slowly. I’ve really got to learn to outline so I don’t hit a wall on a daily basis so I’m not sure where to go next. I’ve been looking at different outline styles, but have yet to find one that works for me. My biggest problem is, unless I have every single plot detail planned out ahead of time, I’m still going to hit those walls where my character refuses to do what I tell him to do. When this happens, it’s because what I’ve planned is totally out of character and I didn’t even realize it until I got to that point. Okay, I’m rambling. Here’s an example.

Without giving too much detail, in the current book, Reymir and Terek find themselves in an already sketchy situation when they are asked to give up their weapons. For various reasons, Reymir is agreeable. I had planned for Terek to follow suit, but when I got to that point, I realized he would never let himself be disarmed when he’s already suspicious.

Anyway, I’m still trying to boost my productivity by learning to outline, but in the meantime, I have an idea that’s a bit unorthodox. Unorthodox? Me? Never.

I’ve always been one of those strange types who can read multiple books at once. I typically have one in the bathroom, on by the bed, etc. With the advent of e-readers, it’s gotten worse. It’s not uncommon for me to have a book on my phone, one on my tablet, one on my kindle… You get the idea. I don’t have a problem with mixing up the stories. I can go for weeks without reading one and pick up where I left off without a problem.

So my harebrained idea is this. If I can read multiple books without a problem, why not try writing multiple books at the same time? That way, when I hit that inevitable wall with one, I can start working on the next one, and then the next one, etc… I’ll probably write in different genres just to make sure I don’t have an issue with mixing them up. Although, it might be interesting to do a crossover book at some point.

So have any of my fellow writers out there tried this approach? How did it go? I’d really like to know.

The other thing I wanted to mention really quick is, I’ve been doing the math, and if you average my monthly paycheck over thirty days, is ridiculous how little I make a day. I’m not going to talk actual numbers, but by my figuring, it can’t be hard to squeeze that much out of the internet. So I’m going to really start pursuing online entrepreneurship. I know it won’t be easy, but I’ve got to do something to get out of this soul-sucking job I’m stuck with right now.

Anyway, sorry for the short post this week, I’m about to get off and I don’t want to stay here one moment more than I have to.

I would love to answer any questions you might have for me about writing. Hit me up either here or on my socials.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

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Flash Fiction Friday Number 8: Laser Gun Wedding

It’s that time again. Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday. I don’t know why all my stories turn out so dark. Maybe I just need to embrace the fact that I’m just a little twisted. Anyway, I present for your reading pleasure…

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Laser Gun Wedding

He stood there at the altar, next to his bride to be. He couldn’t stop himself from trembling. His mother had once told him that his wedding day would be one of the most nerve-wracking days he’d ever had, but he’d had no idea it would be this bad. Of course, neither of them had imagined just who he’d be marrying either. He kept wishing his mother could be there. She was going to be so mad. Unfortunately, she was a couple thousand light-years away. Besides, even if she could have somehow gotten there, his radio was gone, along with the rest of his ship.

He flashed a nervous smile at his bride. Overall, she wasn’t bad looking for an alien. Her body and face were mostly humanoid, with the exception of a few extra protrusions on her forehead. He supposed he could get used to her scaly green skin. He wondered idly what it would feel like against his, which led to other questions about their “compatibility”. Did she even have the proper equipment to mate with him?

For the hundredth time, he thought about bolting, but he didn’t exactly have any place to go. Besides, one look at the laser rifle in her father’s hands told him he wouldn’t make it very far.

This had been his first mission as an explorer. He’d visited over a dozen desolate planets before setting his sights on this one. As he’d landed, he’d expected another barren rock like all the others. He took note of hundreds of holes in the rocky surface, but didn’t think much of them. The readings had indicated breathable air, so he’d left his EVA suit behind. As he took his first steps, the aliens had come pouring out of the holes. A troop of soldiers had quickly surrounded him, each holding one of those deadly looking laser rifles. He’d thought sure he was about to die until his bride had pressed between the soldiers. That’s when he’d proposed.

Not that he’d meant to, of course. How was he to know that staring at a female, mouth agape, constituted a marriage proposal on this planet?

They’d quickly dragged him into one of the holes and taken him to a lab of sorts where his brain was scanned. Soon after, they’d fitted him with a translating device. It worked well, but had the failings of most translators. Some words simply couldn’t be translated. When this happened, it would either find the closest word, leading to all kinds of hilarious misunderstandings, or revert to the alien language altogether.

In the week since his arrival, the lizard people had done their best to make him feel at home. Even making an attempt at earth food which he’d eaten graciously, all the time trying not to gag. His father in law to be had attempted to treat him like a son, despite his obvious misgivings. Still, once the translator made it clear that his upcoming nuptials weren’t a mistake, he’d tried to escape, only to find his ship was nothing but a burned out hulk.

He snapped back to the present. Everybody was staring at him. His new father in law gripped his rifle tighter.

“Uh, I do?”

“Then by the powers vested in me, I pronounce you man and wife. You may now eat the groom.”

He chuckled at the glitch in the translator. The aliens must not have a word for kiss. Then he looked at his new wife. She stared back at him, jaw unhinged and moving closer. Rifle or not, he bolted. He only got a few steps before an icy blast hit him between the shoulder blades. The chill feeling radiated from the blast point and soon enveloped his entire body. He wasn’t hurt, but he was completely paralyzed.

He didn’t even realize he was being swallowed whole until her mouth closed around his head.

 

See, dark, huh? I hope at least some of you are as twisted as I am and enjoy it.

In other news, I’ve started making T-shirts on Amazon. So far they’re all geared toward writers, but I have some for book lovers in the works and will eventually be adding some generally nerdy ones. Check it out here.

I’m still trying to reach 100 subscriptions on my YouTube channel. I only need three more to reach my goal. Please check it out and see what you think. If you like it, I’d really appreciate your sub.

Your questions and comments are always welcome. If there’s a topic you’d like to see me address in my blog or my vlog, send me a message at any of these sites.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

Don’t forget, I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday’s are a rundown of what I’m reading. Wednesday’s are my general writing blog, and of course, there’s Flash Fiction Friday.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday.

 

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What’s Up Wednesday:

I don’t normally put a lot of stock in astrology, but this month has been enough to make a believer out of me. Apparently, since April 7th, Mercury has been in retrograde. Supposedly, this means bad juju. I don’t know about everyone else, but this past month has been extremely hectic. For most of the month, I’ve just felt off my game. I just haven’t felt well in general, but I couldn’t actually tell you how or why. I could never pin it down to one specific thing, I’ve just felt off.

I know part of it is that I’ve been trying to get used to regular blogging and vlogging in addition to getting my regular writing done. Flash Fiction Friday is particularly hard because I have to come up with an original story idea every week. (Don’t worry, that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.) Even though I’ve missed a post here and there, I’ve still done better than I imagined I would. Unfortunately, I’ve been so focused on those things, I’m afraid writing every day has fallen to the wayside, which is silly since that’s the point of doing everything else.

What my real problem boils down to is this, time management. I have plenty of time to do everything I need to be doing. Hell, I could do it all during my normal working hours if I weren’t just being lazy. The problem is, I’ve been lazy most of my life. Breaking that habit is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. Well, except maybe giving up sugar, but that’s a failure for another day.

That being said, I’m working on a couple of strategies to help me not be so lazy and to keep me from feeling so overwhelmed.

First, I’m trying to get used to a regular writing schedule. This is not only for my fiction writing, but for my blogs and vlogs as well. I have an alarm set for three P.M. (Remember, I work nights.) When it goes off, I have exactly an hour to wake up and get ready to write. If there’s something I need to do, it has to wait until my writing time is over. The hour between getting up and getting to work is for having a bit to eat, taking a shower, and drinking my morning coffee. This brings me to my second strategy…

COFFEE!!! Don’t get me wrong, I already drink my fair share of the stuff, but it’s not on a regular basis. I reserve it for when I really need it. Truth be told, I never wanted to be one of those grownups who has to have their coffee to function, but it’s time to face facts. I need it in the morning. The days I have it, I’m infinitely more productive than I am on days when I don’t. If I don’t have my coffee, I tend to sit around the house like a zombie, unless I decide to go back to bed entirely.

Now that the scheduling thing is handled, it’s time for the third and hardest strategy for being more productive. I’ve got to learn to outline. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m what’s known in the trade as a pantser. This means I just sit down and start writing without knowing exactly what I’m writing. Flying by the seat of my pants as it were. I don’t even separate my stories into chapters until it’s all said and done. Pantsing is like getting in your car and just going, throwing the map out the window, whereas plotting is like having a strict route to follow with all the bathroom and gas stops figured out. Pantsing, like getting in the car and just going, can be really fun and exciting; until you get lost or end up somewhere you really don’t want to be. Plotting can be almost as fun, (he said, trying to convince himself). I’ve recently come to realize that if I want writing to be a career instead of just a hobby, I’ve got to treat it like a job. Sure, it’s a job I enjoy immensely, but if you’re going to go to work, you’re probably going to want to know how to get there. And this is where I’ll stop as the metaphor is on the verge of falling apart.

Next is one that’s going to be almost as hard as learning how to outline. I love my phone. I would have killed to have had a device like it when I was a kid growing up. I would have never been bored. Which is exactly why I’m glad I didn’t. Aside from the fact that all the stupid things I did in my youth would have been documented, I would have missed out on being bored. I spent a lot of my time as a kid being bored. I had to find ways to entertain myself. Guess how I did it. That’s right, I made up stories. Now it’s not that I don’t have the occasional great story idea these days, but they don’t come nearly as often as they used to. Why? Because every time I feel myself getting bored, I reach for my phone and either play a game, watch a movie or YouTube video, or just surf the internet. I’ve got to learn to be bored again.

In the same vein, I really need to replace T.V. time with reading. I read as much as possible, but I’d get through a lot more books and stimulate my mind more, if instead of picking up the remote, I would pick up a book.

I guess that’s it. Sorry for the rambling nature of my post today. I was really just making it up as I go. This post was more for me. Call it thinking on the page. That’s how I do some of my best thinking.

Anyway, I’ll see you on Friday, providing I can come up with a good idea. It’s time to start staring off into space again. At least Mercury goes back to normal today.

Don’t be afraid to stalk me online

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube I still need just a few more subscribers. Please don’t make me beg.

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

 

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Flash Fiction Friday Number 7: Attack Of The Falcon

I’ve had pirates on the brain lately. In part, it’s because the theme of this year’s SoDakCon is Pirates vs. Ninjas. I, being a Pirate to the core, have been getting my costume together. This Flash Fiction Friday is an excerpt from a longer story I’ve been working on. I’m hoping to have it done and for sale by Con time. So without further ado…

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Attack Of The Falcon

As the enormous galleon appeared in his scope, the captain could see no one save the lookout high up in the crow’s nest. As the captain watched, the lookout’s own spyglass turned on the captain. Instantly a look of fear and recognition crossed the lookout’s face as he realized that he’d been sailing all night in the same waters as the infamous Captain Steele. The lookout immediately scurried down from the crosstrees to raise the alarms.

“Okay men, the battle is at hand. Hoist sails and strike those English colors. Run up our own.”

As the union jack descended one side of the halyard, a red deaths head flew up the other side. Captain Steele smiled as his crew saw to their weapons without the prompts necessary on most ships.

“Let’s give ‘em what for and teach ‘em what happens when they set sail with our gold.”

A cry of feigned outrage burst from the crew as they thought of the rich cargo held in the belly of the galleon just waiting to be spent on whores and stiff drink.

“Mister Trotter,” bellowed the Captain. Instantly the gunner stepped forward, ready for orders. “I think it’s high time we said hello. What say ye? Be careful mind ye, don’t sink her or there’ll be hell to pay.”

“Aye.” Trotter responded curtly, as if offended by the suggestion that he might miss.

The Captain smiled as Trotter saw to his work. Even with a battle close at hand, Steele couldn’t help but admire the artistry of his gunman as he lovingly loaded his cannon, his biceps rippling as he lifted the heavy steel ball into place. When all was made ready, the crew all but held it’s breath as Trotter lit the cannon’s fuse. The Captain once again raised his spyglass and saw his friend from the crow’s nest talking excitedly with a man that could only be the captain of the magnificent vessel. Steele lowered his spyglass and smiled as the fuse grew short. The quiet of the cool morning was rent asunder with an ear splitting “Boom” The crew watched in awe as the steel shot didn’t just cross the bow and splash harmlessly into the water but actually ripped the head from the figurehead mounted innocently on the bow. The gunner smiled to himself as the crew burst forth with a murderous cry. The blonde woman’s wooden head bobbed in the water, staring up in shock at her former body.

Once again the Captain lifted his spyglass, curious to see what effect his gunner’s marksmanship had on the crew of the other ship. They were close enough now that he could see the fear in the other captain’s eyes. He watched as his peer gave an order to the man standing at the halyard. The Falcon’s crew groaned in disappointment as a white pennant was run up the pole. Captain Steele knew what the other crew was in for at the hands of his men. The only thing they hated more than an enemy was a coward. Especially a coward in possession of their gold.

The Falcon was now within earshot of the other ship. “Do any of you men know what country flies a white flag?” The Captain asked with affected ignorance. He received no more than a couple of shrugged shoulders in response. “Very well then, prepare the grapnels.” A hearty laugh rose up from his crew as the grapnel throwers readied themselves.

As the Falcon drew up alongside of the galleon, Captain Steele gave the order. “Loose grapnels.” Instantly the three pronged hooks sailed through the air and caught hold of the other ship. The largest men of the crew grabbed hold of the ropes and slowly closed the distance between the ships. As the hulls crashed togetrher, the planks were laid down between the two decks and the men of the Falcon flooded the other ship with a murderous war cry. The majority of the other crew, still hoping for mercy, threw down their weapons. The ones that did fight did so only half-heartedly. Quickly losing any hope they might have had of victory as they watched their unarmed shipmates savagely cut down. The crew of the treasure galleon was quickly subdued and lined up on the deck of the massive ship. The wicked Captain paced in front of them.

“It is normally my practice to give defeated men a choice. Either sail with me and my men and reap an equal share, or learn to swim.” He turned to a young boy whose sea clothes were spattered with blood. “You.” The boy instantly grew pale. “You are the one who killed my man Johnson, aren’t you?” The boy bravely admitted that he was. “Very well, I shall need to find an adequate replacement for him. Do you feel up to it? I promise a full share when we divvy up.”

The boy smiled and saluted his new Captain “Aye sir.”

“Belay that, you are no longer a part of his majesty’s navy. Cap’n will do just fine.”

The boy promptly corrected himself “Aye Cap’n.”

Captain Steele turned to his crew “This boy wasn’t alone in his vain attempt to repel our advance, go through each man one by one. Each man that fought shall be given the opportunity to join us. Then, their first order is to throw the rest of these useless cowards in the drink.” That being said, the captain turned on his heel and proceeded to the hold to inspect his new found fortune.

 

And that’s that. I hope you enjoyed it. As I said, this is just a small part of a much longer story. I’m still not sure about the captain’s name. Steele is just kind of a placeholder right now. I’d love to know what you think.

Anyway, I’ll see you on Monday with another update on what I’m reading.

I’m still trying to reach 100 subscriptions on my YouTube channel. I only need three more to reach my goal. Please check it out and see what you think. If you like it, I’d really appreciate your sub.

Your questions and comments are always welcome. If there’s a topic you’d like to see me address in my blog or my vlog, send me a message at any of these sites.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

Don’t forget, I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday’s are a rundown of what I’m reading. Wednesday’s are my general writing blog, and of course, there’s Flash Fiction Friday.

See you next time.

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What’s Up Wednesday: The Unknown Soldier

Hey guys. This week has been a particularly weird one. I’ll be honest, I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done this past week. I made a little progress with Daughters of the Flame, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. As for my other projects, I’ve got nothing.

First, there’s the website fiasco. I tried to send a friend my website, only to find out that it had been taken down by my host. When I logged in to the site, it popped up a message saying that my site was in violation, and then listed a bunch of things that it “could be” but gave no specifics. It’s been almost a week and I still haven’t heard from them, nor have I ever received the e-mail they said they would be sending with more details. I couldn’t even access my control panel to try and assess and fix any problems. After hours of wasted time, I finally did what I should have done from the get go. I changed to a much more reputable, albeit pricier, host. I guess you get what you pay for.

So needless to say, I haven’t gotten a ton of writing done. What I have been doing is a lot of thinking.

Last Wednesday night at work, I had a run in with a guy in his late twenties/early thirties. I’ll spare you the details but things got a little heated. I said something I shouldn’t have, although I didn’t think it was a big deal until he went off the deep end and began screaming and slamming his fists on our counter. At this point, I probably should have called the police, but as it turns out, I’m glad I didn’t.

After his freakout, he broke down in tears and went outside to have a cigarette. I went out hoping I could talk him down. As it turns out, he was a combat veteran and our confrontation had triggered his PTSD. Over the next few hours, he told me about some of the horrific things he’d seen and done while deployed. He told me about having to grab a kid by the hair to drag him away from a teddy bear on the side of the road because it had a bomb in it. He told me about the children he couldn’t get to in time. He told me many other things that I won’t post here because I’m not sure all of my readers can stomach it.

He then told me about the hell he’d been through since returning home. He told me how the V.A. has given him no real help. He’s tried to get counseling for his PTSD, but they just give him more drugs. He told me that he hasn’t been able to hold down a job and is essentially homeless with a baby on the way. He told me how he’s now addicted to both the prescription drugs that the V.A. keeps giving him and illegal ones that he’s progressed to. The whole time he was telling me all this, he was drinking heavily from a bottle of vodka stashed in his pocket.

Then we came to the worst part of his story. He told me that on an almost weekly basis, he gets a call telling him yet another one of his comrades who made it home had survived all of that, but hadn’t been able to survive being home. He then told me that the week prior, he also had tried to kill himself by downing a bunch of morphine pills and hanging himself. Luckily a friend caught him and rushed him to the hospital. He had his stomach pumped and the next day, the V.A. sent him on his way with another handful of prescriptions.

Now, I don’t tell you all this to make you feel sorry for him. Nor am I trying to exploit his hardships for my personal gain. I’m telling you this because I fully believe that we, as a country, need to start doing better for our combat veterans. First and foremost, all returning soldiers should be entitled to as much psychological counselling as they need. If they need it for the rest of their lives, then so be it.

Bases should also have a separate barracks for vets who find themselves homeless. If it needs to be fenced off from the rest of the base, then so be it. But no soldier should have to live on the street.

Finally, there have got to be enough jobs within the military for veterans who can’t find work otherwise.

These are just my views on the matter. I admit that I don’t have all the answers, but this attitude from politicians that seems to say, “We got what we needed from you, now on your way.” has got to stop. Yes, doing these things won’t be cheap,  but we need to consider the continuing care of our soldiers part of the cost of war. It’s bad enough that these men, even the ones who do “make it”, just aren’t the same people as the ones who left. We owe it to them for giving up their youth.

And as Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

I’ll see you on Friday with another piece of flash fiction.

Until then, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

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I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

 

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Flash Fiction Friday Number 6: Buddy

Hey guys. It’s back! Flash Fiction Friday is here again. I’ve been a little stressed out the last couple of weeks, but I’m finally getting back in the flow. I’m posting it a little later in the day than I’d like, because last night, instead of writing this, I was trying desparately to get my website back up. I finally did, you can check it out at justinmkelly.com, but I didn’t get any writing done last night. So without further ado, let’s get into it. This is a little story I call…

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Buddy

“Come on, buddy. Don’t die on me.” The cop shouted over the siren and the sound of screeching tires.

“Technically, I can’t die.” His partner said serenely even as his vital fluids leaked onto the floorboards.

The cop paid no attention and pressed the accelerator harder even though it was already to the floor. The pain in his leg intensified. He willed himself not to pass out even as he could feel the bullet being pinched between his straining muscles.

“You called me buddy. I thought you hated me and my kind.” His partner said. Still in his calm, matter-of-fact way. As if he were watching the drama on holovision instead of living it first hand.

“Yeah. Well. A man taking a bullet for you and carrying you to safety changes your outlook on things. And you took what, a dozen for me?” The cop said, sliding the car around another corner.

“Seventeen, actually. But I’m not a man.”

“Bullshit. I don’t care what you’re made of. You’re a man in my book.”

“Thank you. I know you meant that as a compliment.”

The cop stole a sideways glance at his partner, not sure whether he was serious or not. His partner began to laugh at his expression. Despite the burning from the bullet lodged in his abdomen, the cop laughed too.

“Well, at least I taught you how to bust balls.”

The cop careened around the corner, almost colliding with a bread truck.

“So what the hell happened, anyway? I thought you guys were supposed to be, like, indestructible. I mean, ain’t that why they partnered us up?”

“I guess that’s what happens when you build a better mousetrap. Someone just builds a better mouse. Those bullets they were using. They were something new. Much more powerful than conventional ammunition.”

The cop made a right turn.

“Where are you going? The hospital is the other way.”

“I’m going. I just need to drop you off at the depot for repairs first.”

“No. Go to the hospital. You’re losing blood at an alarming rate.”

“Yeah. Well. You ain’t exactly holding your fluids in either buddy.”

“My body is replaceable. Yours is not. Besides, this one is beyond repair. They’ll just salvage what they can and send the rest to the scrapyard. Now I insist, turn around and go to the hospital.”

The cop did as he was instructed and spun the car in a perfect half-circle. His bullet wounds throbbed with the added Gs. Soon they were pulling up to the emergency doors of the hospital.

“Come on!” The cop yelled to his partner as he threw the door open.

“You go ahead. I can’t. Not enough hydraulic pressure.”

“Bullshit. You’re coming.” The cop said, running around to the passenger side and yanking the door open. He grabbed his partner around the shoulders and pulled, but it was no use.

“You can’t lift me. I am too heavy.”

“No kidding, buddy. You need to lay off the donuts.”

“You will have to leave me. Before you go, please do something for me.” His partner said, opening the maintenance port on his right temple. “This body is done for. Please take this.”

He didn’t have to specify what “this” was. He meant his CPU. The chip that made him who he was.

“You know, after all we’ve been through, I just realized I never even got your name.”

“My serial number is…”

“No, no, no. I mean your name. Jesus. Hasn’t anyone ever given you a name you can call yourself?”

“Just… one.” He said slowly, as if his batteries were running low. 

“Oh yeah? What’s that?”

“Buuuudddyyyyyyy…” He said, and then went still.

“Max.” The cop said to nobody. 

He gingerly pulled the chip from Buddy’s head, trying not to look as the blue lights faded from his eyes. He slipped the chip into his pocket as the sky began to darken. He didn’t even feel his head bouncing off the hood of the car as he fell.

.     .     .

When he woke up days later, his captain was sitting by his bed, reading a newspaper.

“Hey cap.” The cop croaked.

“‘Bout time your lazy ass woke up.” The captain said, looking over his newspaper. “Glad you’re back in the world. We’ve got work to do.”

“Work?”

“You weren’t the only cop that got attacked with those new bullets.”

“I wasn’t?”

“No. You were just the only survivor. We’ve got to get you back on your feet so you can help us track these scumbags down. I ordered you a new partner. He should be ready in a couple of days.”

“Bring me my stuff. It should be around here somewhere.”

The captain quickly returned with a small bag.

“Your clothes are in evidence, but this is the stuff you had in your pockets.”

Max dug around until he found what he was looking for. He blew the pocket lint off of it and handed it to the captain.

“What’s this?”

“You know damned well what it is. Put it in the new unit.”

“Your new partner will have a chip of its own.”

“I’m not training another goddamned rookie! Now get me my partner back!” He shouted before fainting against his pillow.

So that’s it for this week. I hope you liked it.
If you did, follow me and be sure to like this post.

I’m still trying to reach 100 subscriptions on my YouTube channel. I only need four more to reach my goal. Please check it out and see what you think. If you like it, I’d really appreciate your sub.

Your questions and comments are always welcome. If there’s a topic you’d like to see me address in my blog or my vlog, send me a message at any of these sites.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

Don’t forget, I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday’s are a rundown of what I’m reading. Wednesday’s are my general writing blog, and of course, there’s Flash Fiction Friday.

See you next time. 

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Happy What’s Up Wednesday: Happy Belated Easter

Look. I’m not going to beat around the bush. This week’s Wednesday blog is going to be a short one. Why? To be honest, not a lot happened.

This past week has been odd. I just couldn’t motivate myself to do much of anything. I’m still not feeling wonderful, which is part of it. The worst part is, I can’t even put my finger on what’s wrong with me. I just feel like crap in general. I’ve been coughing and sneezing, but I really think that’s just allergies. I just haven’t had the energy to do anything. The house needs cleaning, I need to get in to the office to write, but I barely have the energy to get out of bed. With that lack of energy, you’d think I’d have at least caught up on my sleep, but not so much. The other day, I wasn’t cold on the outside, but I felt chilled in my core.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t post a FFF last Friday. Apologies. I just was feeling so crappy, I couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t have turned into several thousand words. I think I have a good one lined up for you to make up for it though.

The good news is, Daughter’s of the Flame, the second installment of the Children of Pyrelia series, is coming along nicely, albeit slowly.

I’ve been debating about what to do with the novel I’ve been working on. I really want to finish it, but the market has seemingly moved on from dystopian YA. I know there are still fans of the genre who can’t get enough, so part of me wants to push through and finish it and maybe self-publish it. Another part of me wants to move on to something else. Perhaps something a little more thought planned out to see if that makes writing go faster. What do you guys think?

I did order a new computer just for editing my videos, so hopefully it won’t take me so long to edit them. None of my computers could even run any of the awesome free video editors out there so I was stuck with Windows Movie Maker, which sucks. This one should have the power so I can do my editing more quickly. Now I just need topics to vlog about. If there’s anything you’d like to see me talk about on YouTube or to write about on here, send me a message on any of my social pages listed below.

cute-cuddly-toy-cartoon-costumeFinally, Sunday was Easter. Luckily, holidays in my family typically go pretty smoothly. Nobody comes with an attitude, and everyone stays relatively sober. The only family member who would occasionally cause drama is back in California, so that’s a plus. It was a great day to get together with my mom who I admittedly don’t see often enough. She made us a delicious meal of lamb, ham, mushrooms, potatoes, bread, etc. We then digested in the living room and played with our phones. Once we had room, we were treated to a delicious strawberry shortcake and coconut cake. I think I’m still stuffed.

And that was the week in a nutshell. Hopefully I’ll have more to talk about next Wednesday. If not, maybe I’ll come up with a writing topic to talk about. Again, let me know if there’s something in particular you want me to talk about.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

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What’s Up Wednesday: Where I Was Last Week.

So, some of you may have noticed, I didn’t post a blog last Wednesday or Friday. What’s that? You didn’t notice? That’s okay. I guess. Feel guilty yet?

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Anyway. I was at the eighth annual Day of Excellence here in Rapid City. The day of excellence is an event where sponsors bring in four motivational speakers. I can tell you, I was in some serious need of motivation. Unfortunately, it being an all day event, I had to seriously screw up my sleeping schedule. I took the day before off so I wouldn’t be a zombie through the whole thing. Long story short, it just messed up my schedule so I wasn’t able to get much writing done, much less blogging. Still, it was a great event and I look forward to it every year. I like that they do it in the spring. It really helps with that fresh start feeling.

First up was Mack Dryden. Mack is a two time cancer survivor, a blackbelt in karate, and quite possibly the most flexible man of his age I’ve ever seen. He gave a great speech on achieving your goals and kept us all laughing the whole time, even if many of his jokes were straight from the internet. Still, his speech inspired me, as did his flexibility from re-earning his blackbelt at an age where most men have trouble tying their own shoes.

Next up was Matt Guthmiller. I hate to say this, but it seems that every year there’s one dud in the group. Nothing against the kid, He has an amazing story to tell, he just needs to learn how to tell it. At the age of nineteen, he became the youngest person to fly solo around the world. You’d think this would be an exciting story, but it kind of had the feel of a high-schooler giving a “What I did on my summer vacation report.” I don’t know if he’s just getting tired of telling the story or what, but it was mostly just a litany of where he went, how long it took to refuel, and getting back in the cockpit and how boring the flying part actually was. It was pretty much monotone the whole way through and I found myself nodding off. After talking to several other people, I found out I wasn’t the only one. Matt is a very smart kid. He’s currently attending MIT. I just hope he learns to tell his story with excitement and passion. It’s hard for us to be excited about what you’ve done when you’re not. I will say, even as the dud, he was better than last year’s dud who spent his entire hour trying to sell everyone on his paid seminar which cost several hundred dollars.

After the lunch break, Juli Burney took the stage. Juli was hilarious. I found myself grateful that I’d decided to skip lunch in favor of a more substantial meal afterwards. I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been able to handle the amount of laughter on a full stomach. Juli is a very positive person and her message of basically not worrying about the little things and trying to turn a crabby person around with humor was very inspiring. She told several stories where she could have taken offense at something, but instead chose to see the humor in the situation. By the end of her hour I felt truly inspired and more than a little guilty for how I handle things sometimes.

Finally came the headliner, Judson Laipply. What can I say? This is the star of one of the first viral videos. The evolution of dance. We even got a live rendition which was amazing. While that was cool, it was his speech that was truly inspiring. He spoke on evolving yourself. His message is that everything changes. You have to change with it. He also spent a good deal of time on evolving in the right ways. For instance, not letting things that don’t matter ruin your day. I have a big problem with this. As you may know, I currently work the night shift at the desk of a motel. This gives me all the writing time I need if I could just learn to use it more wisely. Unfortunately, it only takes one bad guest to completely throw me off for the night. If one person starts yelling at me, I spend the rest of the night brooding on the situation and get nothing done when the truth of the matter is, I’m probably never going to see this person again. So why do I let it ruin my night? I plan on keeping his advice in mind next time.

As I said, as motivating as the day was, it really threw off my sleep schedule for the whole week. Even worse, as a swap for the day I took off, I had to start this week a day early so I’ve been off by a day all week. In addition, I haven’t been feeling my best health wise. I think I’ve been fighting something for a while now. Or it could just be allergies. Let’s hope for that. Disrupting my sleep schedule didn’t help, but it was still completely worth it.

The good news is, the sequel to Blood Moon is well underway and should be out quite soon. I’m looking at hiring a professional cover designer to redo the cover for Blood Moon and to do one for Daughters of the Flame. Blood moon especially needs a new one since I’ve come up with a name for the overall series.

Anyway, that’s it for today. I’ll see you on Friday with a new piece of flash fiction.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

 

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