Picture Prompts

Picture Prompt 01/09/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(8)

I wasn’t foolish enough to expect Titan Mount to be deserted. The Hivers are scared of water. Something in their web of minds registers fear of the wet stuff. If the survivors were to stand any chance, it was to hole up on islands. That’s exactly why the mount was heavily populated by the time I arrived.

The problem I didn’t foresee was low tide. The sea recedes, leaving the mount exposed for hours a day. The security procedures are long and extensive. For six hours, twice a day, we have to defend and protect our little, safe slice of the world from the creatures hellbent on eating us. The bodies litter the wet sand, and then the sea returns and washes them away. We sleep, eat, and repeat.

Twelve hours a day – every day – for the rest of my life. No thanks. I’ve been gathering a group of us to head further out to sea. There is an island – Seafarer’s Bay –  about one hundred miles southwest of here. The last anyone heard, they were over-run when the last aid plane landed. If we can keep hundreds of the creatures at bay day in, day out, we can exterminate an island of seven hundred people… Hivers.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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Book Reviews

2nd Half of the Year Reads & Reviews

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Can you believe it is the end of 2016? Best not to dwell on how quickly time seems to be flying, and just offer everyone my best wishes for a healthy and productive 2017.

Back on July 1st, I did a 1/2 year post of my reads and added links to my reviews of each. I plan to do exactly the same for the 2nd half of the year too. You can check out my 1/2 year post: here.

Well, I smashed the target that I set myself for the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2016. I read 82 in total this year! Yep, I think I might do a little bookaholic, happy jig about now.

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Anyway, on to the good stuff- the reviews from July-December.

    1. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine 5/5: Review.
    2. 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough 4/5: Review.
    3. The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon 4/5: Review.
    4. Demon Seed by Dean Koontz 3.5/5: Review.
    5. A Strange Little Place by Brennan 3/5: Review.
    6. Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph 4/5: Review.
    7. Looking for Alaska by John Green 3.5/5: Review.
    8. Pavel by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
    9. Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac 4.5/5: Review.
    10. Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz 3.5/5: Review.
    11. Parallel by Shana Chartier 2.5/5: Review.
    12. The Aurora Stone by G.S.Tucker 3.5/5: Review.
    13. The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverley Lee 5/5: Review.
    14. Dark Secrets by Leah Taylor 3.5/5: Review.
    15. A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart 3.5/5: Review.
    16. Collective Ramblings by Various Authors 3/5: Review.
    17. When Time Comes (Novella) by Cat Nicolaou 3/5: Review.
    18. Mirror Mirror (Novella) by Anthony .M. 4/5: Review.
    19. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab 4/5: Review.
    20. Mad Woman by Kat Savage 4/5: Review.
    21. Germination by Jamie Thornton 5/5: Review.
    22. The Last Orphans by N.W.Harris 5/5: Review.
    23. Feyland by Anthea Sharp 2.5/5: Review.
    24. Grey by Kade Cook 3/5: Review.
    25. Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins 4/5: Review.
    26. Thirst for the Hunt by A.C. Wentwood 2/5: Review.
    27. Nano Contestant by Leif Sterling 4/5: Review.
    28. Hollowland by Amanda Hocking 3.5/5: Review.
    29. Train to the Edge of the Moon by Asper Blurry 4/5: Review.
    30. Book of Birds by L.M.Bryski 4/5: Review.
    31. Untamed by PC.Cast & Kristin Cast 3/5: Review.
    32. Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige 3/5: Review.
    33. When Darkness Breaks by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
    34. Earth’s Knot by Katie Deann 2.5/5: Review.
    35. A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson 4.5/5: Review.
    36. The Christmas Bake Off by Abby Clements 3.5/5: Review.
    37. Naughty or Nice Anthology by Various Authors 3/5: Review.
    38. Eleonore by Faith Rivens 5/5: Review.
    39. Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman 3/5: Review.
    40. Make My Wish Come True by Jade Cooper 3/5: Review.
    41. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne 4/5: Review.
    42. Pastels and Jingle Bells by Christina. S. Feldman 5/5: Review.
    43. Stained by Kayla Krantz 3/5: (not reviewed on blog)
    44. Tough Love by Skye Warren 4/5: Review.
    45. Daughter of Llathe: A Tale of the Two Rings by Ben Cassidy 3.5/5: Review.
    46. Project Dodge by J.Lynne 3/5: Review.

Join me tomorrow to find out my top reads of 2016!!


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Writing Exercises

Another One!

After I finished my ‘What’s Your Name?’ posts, I felt a little stuck for writing exercise inspiration. I am still doing my ’10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes’ posts, but as the title says, it only lasts for 10 weeks and I am coming to the end of these posts. So, there was only one option, right? To buy another naming book and start another writing exercise using new names.

My new name book has such a different variety of names to my old book, so it was definitely worth the buy. The layout of this book is a little different to the old one too. There are separate girl and boy name sections and this gave me an idea for a unique spin to these writing exercises. Rather than pick the one name each week, I shall pick two (one from each section) and have to use them both in the one exercise. It’ll be fun to have the characters interact with each other.

The first exercise will be posted in two weeks, when my current writing exercise posts are finished. So, keep your eyes peeled for my ‘It Takes Two’ posts.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

GIF sourced from Giphy.com

Thrown to The Blue

2nd Redraft Complete

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The second and final redraft is now complete. It has taken a little over two weeks to work my way through the necessary changes. Of course, this was much easier than the first redraft and should have been completed within a week, but September has seen both myself and my hubby turn 30, so I havent been able to slog away and get it done. No matter-it is done now.

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What’s Next?

It has been over a month of redrafts, so now it’s fine tooth comb time. The plan is to get a week’s worth of editing done before I send the first half of the book for proof reading. It’ll be a game of cat and mouse; I shall try to finish editing the second half of the book before the proof-reader gets back to me with the first half changes. Yeah, because plans like that always work out for me- HA! I have to try and stick to the plan that has been arranged, but there is a little wiggle room. I need it, considering I have been having one of these weeks:

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I shall not be adding any more excerpts from here on in. I think I have been pretty generous thus far. As soon as my betas have their copies, I will have more of an idea of a release date, so I will update when I know more.

Can those who have mentioned being an ARC reader leave a comment, and I’ll add you to the list and get back to you- thank you.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

GIFs sourced from giphy.com

Prompt Me: Writing Prompts eBook, Writing Exercises

10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes #6 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you. Link back to me, so I can have a read of your creations.

The Prompt:

“There are a number of things to remember: don’t make eye contact, do not accept any food or liquid, and if she scratches her ear she is planning to kill you.”

“Scratching ear- dead. Got it,” I reply, pacing from the length of the room. “I don’t see why I can’t take my gun? If she is going to be loaded up and surrounded by her men, then surely it makes sense that I’d have something… anything?”

“You cannot be seen as a threat,” Jackson says, injecting the tracker into my scalp. “Naivety may just keep you alive long enough to say what needs to be said. Your best bet is to act ignorant, okay? As far as she is concerned, you’re just some guy we’ve found to be our messenger. If Vicka knows you’re Frankie’s son, then she won’t give you time to kiss your ass goodbye.”

The confidence I once felt at having been chosen to face Vicka is quickly replaced by doubt. I wasn’t chosen because I was up for the job, a good fighter, a decent negotiator. I was chosen because I looked innocent enough to encourage Vicka to at least hear what I have to say before she guts me. That’s all The Sphere needs- Vicka to listen. After that, I’m expendable, legendary father or no.

“Have you rehearsed the script?” Jackson asks, hands firm on my shoulders, so I can’t look anywhere save his face. I nod, although, I think the script is awful; penned like a begging child rather than a request for help. Vicka won’t take to our begging. She may be many things, but from what I know of her, she doesn’t give out mercy or charity. It’s weird to think that we’re on the same side… kind of.

“If I recite that script, then I’m dead and The Sphere would have lost any potential help from Vicka. Have you read it? It sucks ass.” Jackson eyes me sternly. “Don’t look at me like that. You know it as well as I do, but you’re just too chicken shit to say anything to the Boss Man.”

Jackson looks taken aback. “The script is short and too the point. It gives you chance to say what needs to be said.”

“Before she kills me.”

“If you do this right, then you’ll be fine.”

I laugh in his face. “She will kill me if I’m begging on his behalf, Jackson. You don’t have to worry. Run and tell the Boss Man that I’ll deliver his little speech for the good of The Sphere, but you can also tell him that I HAVE NOT died for him. I have died for the innocent back home. I have died for my Dad.”

“You won’t die, Dex.”

“Like you care.”

 


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Prompt Me: Writing Prompts eBook, Writing Exercises

10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes #5 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you. Link back to me, so I can have a read of your creations.

The Prompt:

In total, sixteen ships came to rescue us. That meant that only sixteen thousand humans had survived the death of earth.

They call themselves Control Officers, the ones who have been assigned to watch over the humans. Most of us are subdued; happy to be safely off of Earth, but a few are already experiencing some kind of cabin fever. A Control Officer beat a man to a bloody pulp after he got hold of a gun from somewhere and shot at a window. The bullet ricocheted back into the room, imbedding into an old woman’s thigh. The woman would have bled out there and then if not for my mother’s surgical knowledge.

Mum and I barely converse with anyone in our dorm. After we boarded, we were separated into groups of two hundred and forced to live with strangers. There are five groups, so I’m guessing there are five areas of this massive ship that are occupied just like ours. There were sixteen ships in total, so that’s sixteen thousand people who have escaped the death of Earth.

Mum and I have to share a bunk no bigger than a camp bed, and the sweaty, musky smell from too many bodies in a small space is becoming intolerable. I try not to sleep- it sounds silly, I know, but its easier to doze for an hour or so in the rec rooms.

Our rec rooms are fairly spacious. There are arcade games, exercise equipment, and lots of tables and chairs. We do everything in this room, including eat. Vac pac food is wheeled in on trolleys three times a day; you miss it, you don’t eat. The Control Officers say that it will take three months to get back to their planet. I have a little piece of paper in my pocket, and I tally off the days just for something to keep me sane.

I’m alone in the rec room, so I drag some of the tables and chairs aside to make a clear space. I’ll put them back when I’m done. Then, pressing the button on the control panel for some music, a tune I have not heard before plays softly over the speakers. It is a pretty song- pretty but sad. My chest aches for home, and those who did not make it upon the ships. Removing my shoes, I stretch a little and let my body feel the music. Dancing reminds me of my Gran. She was my number one fan, and was so excited when I got into the dance academy, but then the solar flares started and life as we knew it fell to pot.

Dancing helps me rid myself of claustrophobia. We’re not supposed to be in the rec rooms after lights out, but its the only time I can breathe. It’s not like I’m being a nuisance. I always leave it how I found it, and have the music on its lowest setting. I’m dancing, for god’s sake, not shooting at windows.

I slump to the floor, out of breath and sweating.

“Your body moves like liquid,” says a voice from the door way. I jump to my feet at the sight of a Control Officer. “I have never seen that dance before.” His accent is strong. The Control Officers speak amongst themselves in their own language, but have learnt how to speak many Earth languages.

“I’m sorry. I know I’m not supposed to be in here–”

He raises his hand to silence me. “I know you come up here. I like to watch you. What is that dance called?”

I blush crimson. “Well, it doesn’t really have a name. I supposed we call it improvisation. I just do what feels right.”

“So, that is not a dance with steps?” he asks. I shake my head and set to moving the table back into place. “Interesting. You looked sad when you were dancing. Dancing is supposed to be joyous, yes?”

“Dance is whatever you want it to be. I was thinking about home and my late Grandmother. I was… expressing my feelings through my dancing.”

“Your home is a dead planet.” His brow is furrowed, and he tilts is head in curiosity. “Earth is a shell. There is nothing to miss.” He has the same black and white attitude that is apparent in all the Control Officers. They have no time for sentiment it seems.

“Yes, but it is still my home. All my memories are there. I had friends and family there. I’m grateful to be here, but I miss Earth- I always will.”

His lips turn down for a moment. “You will like my home, Zan. It is much like your Earth, but our main stars are different, ours is bigger and red. Yes, you will like it, and you will make new memories.”

I smile. He’s trying to make me feel better. None of the Control Officers act like they have any personality, and it’s reassuring to know that they are similar to humans in some ways. “A red sun. Wow, that I have to see. Why did you rescue us?”

“Because you were in trouble. That is a strange question.” His face is an open book. They really did rescue us because it was the right thing to do.

“Usually, people have motives for doing something that does not benefit themselves, or at least, human people do.”

“That is… er, what is that word?…selfish. What is your name?” he asks.

“Lily, like a flower we had on Earth.”

“I am happy to meet you, Lily Flower, my name is Lowen.” He holds out his hand to me and shakes mine awkwardly. I giggle at the sudden formality, and the way he said my name. “Did I do it wrong?” he says, looking at his hand as if it is something foreign.

“No. It was fine,” I say, still giggling at him.

He lunges toward me, wrapping me in a stiff embrace. “I’ve seen other humans greet each other like this,” he says into my hair. “Is this correct?”

I burst into full blown laughter. “Something like that. We can work on it.”

 


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

 

 

Writing Exercises

10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes #4 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you.

The Prompt:

What would you do if you were woken by a ringing phone in your coffin?

I wake from a deep, dream-filled sleep, the type of sleep you only have when your on the brink of exhaustion or really really drunk. I know I wasn’t drunk, so I must have been shattered. Working sixty-five hours in a week at both the tea rooms and cleaning the school is dragging me down.

It is the shrill tone from my phone that has punctured my slumber. I can feel the weight of it in my hand, and my hand has cramped up into a claw from gripping it. I attempt to lift the phone to my ear, but my hand hits something hard directly above me. Panic grips at my stomach. I thought I was at home in bed- I lift my free hand and that, too, hits the solid mass. Wiggling my head, turns into thrashing as I realise I’m in a tight, confined space. I can’t raise my knees or lift my arms. Where the hell am I?

The phone rings on. Turning it in my palm, so the light from the screen illuminates the space around me, I realise I’m inside a box… a coffin. Bile rises into my throat, and all of a sudden my lungs feel deprived of air. Do not panic, Jules, panicking uses up air. I don’t know where I learnt that, but I’m glad I did. Why am I in a coffin? Am I dead?

Still the phone rings on. Using my thumb to slide the icon button, I pray I can hit speaker phone without looking. The ringing stops, and a male voice I don’t recognise speaks.

“Jules…Jules, answer me.”

“Help me,” I choke.

The voice sighs loudly as if he has been holding his breath to hear my voice. “You’re okay, Sweetheart. Just hang on for a little longer.”

“I’m trapped,” I sob, although it comes out more like a squeak.

“It’ll be over soon, Jules.”

The voice is soothing, and something stirs in the back of mind. The way he said sweetheart felt familiar. Do I know him? My mind is a hazey mess.

“Jules, you still there?” says the voice again.

“Yes,” I sob.

“Good girl. How is your head feeling?”

I hadn’t thought about it until now, but my head is pounding. “Sore,” I tell the voice.

“It’ll pass, Sweetheart. We’re nearly there now.”

Nearly there, that rings a bell. Someone has said that to me before… he has said that to me before. “Do I know you,” I say, struggling against my dry throat.

There is silence. “Do you not remember the last sixteen weeks?”

Why does he sound so sad? Sixteen weeks? The past three weeks I have been working, eating, and sleeping. That is the sum of it. “Work,” I croak. “I was at work last night.”

Silence again. “That’s okay, Jules. Sometimes they don’t remember… it’s okay.”

He sounds so sad, the sadness in his voice almost seeps through the phone and into my bones. “You’re upset. I’m sorry,” I say. It is instinctual to me. I apologise all the time- even if I’m not in the wrong, but I know I have hurt this man.

“It’s not your fault, Sweetheart. We’re nearly there, okay? Not long now.”

Everytime he speaks it’s like icicles slicing my heart. I can’t clear the blur of my thoughts. If I try to think of anything other than my memories of work, a grey cloud mists over my mind. God, my head hurts.

Focussing on my breathing and my surroundings, I notice a dull rumbling sound. Slight vibrations shake the coffin, and I know I’m in the back of a freight lorry. How do I know that? Where did the memory of that come from? This is what is supposed to happen, I know it, but I do not know why I know it.

There is a hiss of air brakes, and the rumbling and vibrations start to slow and fade. A loud noise of metal on metal fills the space outside of the coffin, and daylight seeps through tiny holes at the head of the box. I never thought I’d be so happy to see daylight, even though the light is agony for my eyes.

There is banging and movement, and the sound of talking, although, I can’t make out the words. Wails and crying cause me to scrunch my eyes. What is happening out there? My coffin jolts violently, and I bite my lip to stop from screaming out. The taste of blood on my tongue sparks something in the grey mind mist; it starts to clear as if the memory of the metallic taste is diluting whatever it is that is blocking my memories. The last sixteen weeks flash through my mind in a heartbeat. His face… his face fills my minds eye, and a sob of relief catches in my throat.

The coffin lid is ripped open, accompanied by the sound of splintering wood, and blinding light dazzles me. I sit bolt upright, desperate to escape the feeling of claustrophobia, and shield my eyes with my forearm.

“Jules?” asks a shaky voice. I remove my arms and see his beautiful, worried, hurting face. “Hey, Jules, my name is-“

“Robbie,” I cry, throwing myself at him.

He drags me from the coffin, squeezing the air out of my lungs with his embrace. His breath on my neck as he snuggles into me is warm and welcome. “Thank Christ,” he says quietly.

I pull back slightly to examine his grey eyes and shaggy black hair. I run my hand over my own head, feeling the prickle of stubble, and the number branded into my scalp

“You’re one of us, now,” Robbie says, tapping at his own scalp.

Looking around the lorry, I see the other members of Robbie’s team opening coffins and helping women and men from their confinement. All of us look the same- white scrubs, bald heads, and a hazey glint in our eyes.

“You’re okay, everyone,” Robbie says, addressing the mass of people. “In fact, you are technically better than okay… you’re immortal.”

There is a whoop from the team members, and Sal slaps me on the back. “Good to see you, Jules. I can’t believe you pulled this off. This is the biggest break out to date. The coffins were ingenius.”

As I watch the men and women being helped from the lorry, a sense of pride swells in my chest. These people have been imprisoned for at least a year as a result of government clinical trials into immortality. Every innocent person was scheduled to suffer a terrible fate. The only way to kill an immortal is to remove all the organs and burn them before they can regenerate.

“You were so brave,” Robbie says, brushing his lips against mine.

“Well, I couldn’t be the only mortal on the team, could I? Now, you’re stuck with me for ever.”


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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