Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Collective Ramblings by Various Authors

book review(1)

Collective Ramblings (Vol #1) by Various Authors 3/5

14055610_1248793538505394_815131931_nTwenty stories, four genres. See where these talented and varied authors take your imagination. Travel to worlds with superheroes, mystical, time-warped islands, a world where criminals are tortured to death, and a city plagued by mosquitoes.

Thanks goes to Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:

I have yet to find an anthology of works where every story appeals to me in some way, however, there were more intriguing stories in this collection than in similar works I have read. Most of the stories were well written and had unique narratives.

There are only four genres covered in this book, which I prefer to an array, and jumping from one story to the next, or one genre to the next, didn’t feel jarring. That being said, a lot of the stories do not have any kind of solid conclusion. They are more like writing exercises that could lead on to a full story, and this left me unsatisfied as a reader.

My favourites were:

Island Games by Ranger Reid

Terrors Great and Small by John Langmaack

Stained by Kayla Krantz


 The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter Z

And here we are… the finale of my ‘What’s Your Name?’ writing exercises. I took my sweet time to get here, but I made it.

Today’s name has been randomly picked from the first Z page in my naming book.

Zadok: a masculine first name meaning righteous. (Hebrew).

I hadn’t pre-selected this name, so I had no idea how to work a new character into the narrative at this late stage. In true KJ fashion, I broke the rules a little. Zadok is not a person…

To catch up on previous installments of this narrative, click the following links:

Letter Q,  Letter R, Letter S, Letter T, Letter U,  Letter V , Letter W, Letter X, Letter Y.

Zadok

Xena did a blinding job. She was careful not to make her trail look too obvious and slyly gave her address when purchasing a boat in Portsmouth. The details must have been uploaded into an accounts system. Val reckons that as soon as the seller hit enter, the T.D.E.D got a hit on her location…’our’ location. He was careful to hack only business CCTV, databases and the such; nothing the government would notice.

We went with the theory that Ulric and the T.D.E.D are closing in on Xena, and now, we’re cramped into the back of the truck on our way to headquarters. Sabine and Quentin are back at the farmhouse. If this goes badly, at least they will have some chance of escape.

My mind keeps wandering back to Xena. Brave, sweet Xena. I can’t think about what might happen to her without bile rising into my throat. I did love her, I was just scared of the man I had become. I should have told her that. I should have told her a lot of things.

“We walk from here,” says Lex, turning off the engine. “No lights, no talking, and remember the plan. Plan B is still viable, but it’s an abortion plan only. We have one shot at this.”

Val smudges black face paint across my face with a sweaty palm, and I pull my black cap onto my head. “Don’t think too much,” he whispers. “We get in, we get the box, and we get out. It’s that simple and that hard.” He wants this to go well, of course he does, he needs to make amends for getting us stranded on Earth in the first place. The crash was an accident, but he was the pilot- the captain- and that eats him up.

Neema and Marko use a device they ‘acquired’ from their many run ins with the T.D.E.D, to disable the last sector of electric fencing, and Yas clips the wires with bolt cutters. It’s down to Val to loop the CCTV which he does in tens econds flat. I feel obsolete save from the gun in my hand. I’m the best shot here, and I’m willing to kill if need be.

I’m the first through the fencing, and keeping low to the ground, we skirt around the perimeter toward the building that looks like nothing more than a collection of pre-fab offices. Other than security lighting, there is little sign of anyone being inside. They must have night security, surely? We are prepared for at least a small team of guards.

Val signals for us to head to the back entrance. The door is small with no handle or any type of locking system. Everything must be controlled from within.

Lex takes the device from Neema and presses it against the door. “Perhaps it will disrupt the electrics,” she muses. Val makes a grab for it, but it is too late; an alarm sounds against the still night. “Shit! Shit! Shit! My bad.”

“Did you think there would be a padlock or something?” says a voice behind us. We all spin around, training our weapons on Rae Matthews. “I thought you cleverer than that. This may only be T.D.E.D adminstration offices, but it’s still government run.”

Pressing a button on his watch, the alarm is silenced, and then he pushes a finger to the headset tucked behind his ear. “All is well. I forgot to disable the alarm before opening my office window.”

“What are you doing?” I ask.

Matthews tilts his head. “What have you come for. The black box? I can help you get it.”

“And why would you do that?”

“Because I want to come with you. I want to see the universe, Tate. That’s where this all started for me. I want to travel with you.”

Val scoffs. “Why should we do a damn thing for you, after everything you have done to us?”

Matthews presses another button on his watch and the metal door swings open. Xena stumbles out and into my arms. The relief that floods through me is beyond compare.

“He helped me, Tate. He found me at the docks before Ulric could, and helped me stage everything.” I hold her, breathing in the scent of her hair, not wanting to let her go.

“Let me come with you,” Matthews insists.

Yas flexes her finger over her trigger. “We ain’t going anywhere without that box.”

Matthews digs in his jacket pocket and retrieves a black box no bigger than his palm. “The light has been blinking for thirty-three years. This box is Ulric’s most prized possession. He loves it, but at the same time he loathes it because he has never been able to understand it.”

As soon as the box touches my skin, small, seemless panels open like automatic doors. It must be our DNA that activates it. Val lunges forward, pressing the red button inside without hesitation.

“ScoutShip 12 to Zadok Command. ScoutShip 12 to Zadok Command? Do you read us? Please, anyone?” he calls into the box.

“Zadok Command is hearing you loud and clear, ScoutShip 12. We have been waiting a long time to hear your voice Captain Valentine.”


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Writing Exercises

Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes #2 (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.

The Prompt:

When they began splicing organic tissue with machinery to create advanced artificial intelligence, that’s when the world was lost.

Who am I?

Some call me a humanoid, some call me model Hx187, some call me Kyle. I prefer it when they call me Kyle. I may not have been born in the natural sense of the word, but I live. I have feelings and hobbies and friends… I did have friends.

Things changed when the AI took control. I mean, it was inevitable that one day the humans would create and create and create until they no longer had to. Such sophisticated machinery could start creating for itself. They gave us human bodies, well parts; my life system is machine, but my appearance is human. It became harder and harder to differentiate us, and that’s when the wars began. Humanoids were infiltrating the government, the military, even the police force. I bet you couldn’t walk down the street and not pass at least half as many humanoids as humans. Your waitress, your dentist, your hairdresser- we were everywhere.

The change was gradual at first; protests about morality and ethics, humans appealing to marry their humanoid spouses. The human governments tried to pass bills, tried to accommodate both species, for we are a species, but they were fighting a losing battle with an enemy they had created.

Where do I fit in?

I feel like an alien in someone else’s world. Humans were here first. They gave us life, and how do we repay them? We slaughter them, experiment on them, nuke them. They are our creators, our fathers and mothers, and we treat them like cockroaches to be stepped on. No, I will not contribute to their destruction. In fact, I plan to get their world back for them.


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Uncategorized, Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter Y

This is the penultimate week of the ‘What’s Your Name?’ posts, and the penultimate installment of the current narrative. Today’s Y name was picked in advance to be interwoven into the last installment.

I’ve cheated a little because Yas is just a minor character in this narrative. The story is too far along to bring her into the spotlight.

Yasmin: (Yasmine) Feminine variant forms of Jasmine.

To catch up on the previous installments of this story, just click the following links:

Letter Q,  Letter R, Letter S, Letter T, Letter U,  Letter V , Letter W, Letter X.

Yasmin

The kid is on the floor crying hysterically, Sabine paces back and forth, and I’m not sure what to make of Tate. The guy is distraught, he may not be screaming or bawling, but I know him, and it’s as if the universe has just slapped him in the face. He and Xena have history and there is love there. Maybe they just had to find each other again, but I think it has dawned on Tate that they may never have the chance now. I feel sorry for the poor bugger. It’s very rare that Val Grimley feels sorry for Tate Edmonds.

“Your Mum has done a really brave thing,” Neema says to Quentin, but he just buries his face into his arms.

I take the letter from her hands and read it for the umpteenth time:

I think I can lead them as far as Italy, definitely to Barcelona. Do what you’ve got to do to keep our boy safe. I love you, Tate. I’m at peace with how things are between us, and I will always have your back, you know that. Tell Quentin and Sabine that I love them, and thank Val for all he did for us. Just make sure you get that damn box and get off of this planet. All my love forever and always, Xena x

“This doesn’t mean the end,” says Yas, reading over my shoulder. “You said she has a good load of money, and she’s clearly intelligent. If she gets to Italy, she could still escape the T.D.E.D.”

“And then what, Yas?” Tate snaps. “We get the comm box, contact home, and then leave Xena here to rot. No. I met Xena when I was twenty five and she accepted everything I told her about home, about us. How many people have you met who have accepted you- loved you?”

Yas isn’t one to be scolded, and I feel her temper crackle in the air around me. “I’m just trying to be positive. But if you want the truth, Xena’s gone and we have no way of finding her, so I say we don’t waste her sacrifice and we get that comm box. If we do nothing, and she does die, then no-one wins, right?”

Placing a hand on her shoulder, I shake my head in warning. She’s right. Hell, Yas is always right, but tact isn’t her strong point.

“I agree,” says Sabine. Both Tate and Quentin gawp at her. “Xena has done this to give you a fighting chance. Take her offering and run with it. I couldn’t live with myself if I lost my sister and it was all in vain. Please, Tate. Please, get your head back in the game.”

Tate nods, but doesn’t speak. Instead, he crouches beside his son and holds him close.

Neema hands me a laptop. “Well, Mr Hacker, it’s your time to shine. We need confirmation that they’re following Xena’s trail, and then we get this show on the road.”

I look to Tate. We’re a team, but it’s his approval that I look for. I’ve always looked for his approval because he’s my safety. When I crashed the ship he was the first to defend me. I know he can never fully forgive me, nor will the others, but Tate never gave up on me, just like I refuse to give up on him.

He exhales loudly. “Do it, Val. Get us off this rock, buddy.”


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Writing and Me, Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter X

The next installment of the current narrative is in Xena’s POV. As you may have guessed, I had already picked out this week’s X name ahead of schedule. It was still at random, but I had to pick it out in advance to enable the narrative to move smoothly.

To check out the previous installments of this story, click the following links:

Letter Q,  Letter R, Letter S, Letter T, Letter U,  Letter V , Letter W.

Xena: (Xene or Xenia) A feminine first name meaning hospitality. Greek.

Xena

Tate smiles at me, but I know something is different just by the look in his eyes. I’m torn between the joy of having him back in my life, and the heartbreak of knowing that we’re not what we once were. I can kid myself and hope that he’ll just wake up and be the old Tate, but five years passed with him believing he’d never see me or Quentin again. I grieved for him, and he moved on with his life… with his relationships, I guess.

Sabine reckons he’ll come around, that he needs time to adjust. I don’t want him to ‘come around’. If he loved me like I love him, then there is no need for thought, discussion or otherwise. Tate loves me, but he is not in love with me. Whether I’m okay with that, is yet to be seen.

He talks animatedly with his friends, even Val has managed to make amends with him, and Quentin eats his casserole hanging off of every word out of his Dad’s mouth. It’s selfish of me, but I found it easier when they were estranged; I wasn’t the only one out of the Tate Edmond’s loop. Now, Quentin is an indoctrinated member of the ‘alien squad’ as he has started calling them. Even Sabine is submerged in the conversations about retrieving the comm box thingy. I’m all for it, if it keeps my family safe, but I’m not sure what it means for me.

From what I’ve heard, the box is not within the detention centre. The ship and the box are at some T.D.E.D top secret, administration headquarters. Whilst the new comers are happy to plan an extraction mission, Tate is worried about the current focus on him, Quentin, and Val. If they can draw Ulric’s attention elsewhere, then Ulric will dispatch the full force of his operatives to the wrong location, minimising the security of HQ for he will no doubt ensure the security of the detention centre over that of ‘offices’. That, in turn, opens up the possibility of a less protected HQ.

“How about plane tickets?” asks Sabine.

Tate shakes his head. “No. With CCTV and passenger lists, they’ll know we didn’t board.”

“It’s a nice idea, but we might just have to take a chance and hope that Ulric is already looking in a different direction. Any guise will be thwarted. They have eyes and ears everywhere,” adds Val. “Big brother is a very real concept.”

The mention of big brother brings a memory into clarity. My Dad used to go out on his fishing boat from morning until night, sometimes taking me with him, and he’d always say the same thing, ‘I like the quiet of the ocean. The big brother world is too loud for my liking.’

A boat. That’s what needs to be done. Someone has to leave a trail of breadcrumbs all the way to the sea, and then be absorbed by the quiet of the ocean. That person has to be me. I won’t allow it to be any member of my family, and the alien squad are vital to the retrieval of the comm box. Once they have that, then Tate can ensure the safety of Quentin and Sabine. I can do this for my boy.

***

Dressing in silence, I take the envelope of cash I withdrew from all my accounts, pull on some trainers and my coat, and take Val’s keys from the table. I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do for the past few hours. I have to be seen, but it has to be subtle; the T.D.E.D cannot suspect that I’m getting seen on purpose. I’m going to head home to my home town of Portsmouth and buy a boat. I can handle a decent size yacht, and I have sailed from Portsmouth to Barcelona before with Dad and Sabine. If I’m not stopped on route, I should make it to Barcelona in about a day. The rest I’ll think up when I get there. I could hire a car and head to Italy…For now, I’ll roll with what I can manage. Thinking too much on the possibilities makes me sweat.

I kiss Quentin goodbye and watch my son sleep for what is probably the last time. You can do this, Xena. Tate is asleep in the armchair downstairs. I know he has opted to fall asleep here rather than have to face me in the bedroom for that difficult conversation, but I can’t hate him. I love the man, and I love my son, and this is for them.

Placing the letter I scribbled on the coffee table, I sneak out into the dark, misty courtyard. Thankfully, the driveway to the farm is on a slight slant, so it doesn’t take much for me to steer and push the car a relative distance away from the farmhouse. Once, I’m on the road, I start the engine and head off with a new found sense of confidence.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Uncategorized, Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter W

writing exercise

14011971_1243464605704954_1963654389_nToday’s What’s Your Name post features the Letter W. The name picked at random fromt he first page of my naming book is…

Walburga: Feminine diminutive of Valborga.

This story is a continuation of the previous posts. You can catch up on posts Q to V here: Letter Q,  Letter R, Letter S, Letter T, Letter U,  Letter V .

Walburga

Quentin could barely look at me. I’m not sure what I expected after five years, but a ‘hey, Dad’, would have been better than the cold shoulder. Xena’s following me around like a lost puppy, and although I’m grateful for her understanding, I’m not sure how to explain to her that five years has changed a lot of things for me; for us.

Sabine, sensing my need for space, asks Xena to help her set a fire and cook breakfast. The two sisters were always a great team in the kitchen and the aromas wafting around the house, curb my anger a little- my anger at Val for telling Quentin the way he did. He may as well have said ‘Hey, buddy, even though your Dad should be the one to tell you, I’m going to drop the bomb shell that we’re aliens that crashed on a scout ship in 1983, and have been stuck on this damn planet, escaping ignorant government bastards who want to stick probes in every orifice, for the past thirty three years.’ Has it really been thirty three years? Shit.

Val sits on the porch smoking, whilst Quentin writes in a leather bound book that he hasn’t put down since they arrived. When he sees me watching, he slams it shut and stares off at the horizon.

“A word, Val,” I say, ignoring his side smile. Quentin doesn’t look to move. “Alone?”

“Whatever you two have to say, you can say it in front of me. I’m done being the last to know shit,” Quentin snaps. “I mean, I’m part alien, right? I’m part involved in all of this.”

Val flicks his cigarette butt into the dirt, and I glare at him. “You know how much Walburga hated it when you did that!” I snatch it from the dirt and thrust it into his chest.

“Yeah, I also remember Walburga telling you to stop being such a patronising, condesending asshole toward me,” he retorts. He’s still smiling, mostly because he knows I hate how he can be so blase about absolutely anything in life. 

“I wouldn’t have to be condesending and patronising if you acted like a grown man once in a while. Someone has to look out for you.”

“Really? Where have you been for the past five years, Tate? I’ve managed quite well by myself. In fact, better than quite well; if it wasn’t for me your family would be dead or worse. And what thanks have I had?”

He’s right, and my stomach sinks. “Thank you, Val. I mean it, thank you.”

We stand in awkward silence for a few moments. “I shouldn’t have told the kid. That was your place. I’m sorry,” Val says. He extends his hand to me, and I take it, pulling him into an embrace. “I knew you’d get the location,” he adds.

“Of course, Walburga was the only mother I’ve ever known,” I say. Standing on this porch is bittersweet. I always felt safe here, and Walburga took us all in without a second thought. We lived here for four years until she died. For a ninety year old woman, she had a potty mouth and a fiery spirit, but she was the first person we met who showed us that not all humans were like the T.D.E.D.

Val and I were in a team of new recruits, sent on a scout run of earth. We were both just nineteen years old, raised from birth for the specific role of exploration that we failed on our first flight. We were chased for a year by the T.D.E.D before we happened upon this farmhouse. We holed up in the barn for a few nights, but then the frost came, and Walburga came out with blankets and hot chocolate. She’d known we were there all along. Within weeks we were living in the main house and working the farm for our keep. She knew the truth, and still she opened her house and her heart to us.

“The best woman I’ve ever known,” Val says, quietly.

“Who’s Walburga?” Quentin asks.

“A great woman. A kind woman. She would have loved to have met you.” I place a hand on his shoulder, surprised that he doesn’t pull away. “Once we realised our ship was attained by the T.D.E.D, and there was no chance of returning home, she made me promise I’d have a family and children. I’m sorry, it didn’t work out as I had hoped.”

Quentin shrugs. “I guess you were keeping me and Mum safe. So, what now?”

“Now, we hide. I’ve managed okay for five years, but it won’t be easy. This is life now, son. I wish it could have been different for everyone.”

Val tucks his hands in his pockets and kicks at the dirt. “It still could be.” He doesn’t make eye contact, a tell he has when he’s about to suggest something stupid or dangerous. “The T.D.E.D still have the scout ship. The ship itself is scrap metal, but the comm box will still be there. They have no clue what it is or how to use it, but it’s Ulric’s most prized possession. All we need to do is get that box, and we go home. We can go home, Tate.”

“How do you know all this?” I ask.

“Because I’ve been working for the T.D.E.D for the past twelve months, and they sure as hell have that box. I’m done hiding and running. I’m done with this fucking planet, Tate. I want off.”

“Even if the box is still functioning, how the hell are we going to get it from the T.D.E.D? We’re the two most wanted aliens on their radar. We’ll not get within ten miles of headquarters.”

Val laughs, and there’s a glint in his eye that I haven’t seen since we first launched the scout ship. “We won’t, but they will.” He points to the horizon and a truck speeds toward us, kicking up the dry dirt. “You’re not the only one who understood the message about this location.”

“No way,” I say, watching the truck approach with unbridled excitement.

Sabine and Xena appear at the sound of the approaching vehicle, and the five of us watch as the truck skids to a stop, and four people jump out: Lex, Neema, Yas, and Marko.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes,” Lex calls out.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The gang is alive, and they’re all here. I wish Walburga was here to see this.

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Prompt Me: Writing Prompts eBook, Writing Exercises

Ten Weeks, Ten prompts, Ten Minutes #1 (Prompt Me Special)

Today sees the return of my Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes writing exercise, and these are extra special because the prompts have been selected from my Prompt Me ebook. You are more than welcome to join in, I only ask that you tag me, so I can read your creations.

Week One’s Prompt:

What would you do if every book on your bookshelf has a page turned down and the first word of every page spells out a message to you?

The beach is heaving with sun chasers. I can barely glimpse the sea through the crowds. I prefer winter, when the ‘Beach Shack’ is cooler, and I’m making hot chocolates for the dog walkers, and not sweating to death serving ice creams to stressed parents with screaming kids. Andy’s idea of air con is a crappy fan that blows hot air around the shack, but I know that without the manic summer months, the Beach Shack wouldn’t survive, and I wouldn’t have a job.

As soon as the clock flicks to 6pm, I shut the serving hatch, and start the clean up. A knock on the back door, startles me, but it’s not unusual to get a cheeky holiday maker trying their luck at getting an ice cream or cold drink. I usually give them what they want- karma and all that.

Tonight, however, a suited and booted man stands in the doorway. “I’m looking for Willow.” He takes another step into the shack, allowing the door to bang shut behind him, and offers his hand. He looks to be in his late twenties with a shaved head and a tattoo behind his left ear.

“That’s me,” I say, shaking his hand.

“Andy sent me to introduce myself. I’m going to be joining the team,” he says, leaning back on his heels and surveying the shack.

I know I stare at him like a weirdo, but he’s totally taken me aback. “Andy’s hired you?”

“Yeah, you could do with some help, right?” He eyes me warily, taking another step into the shack.

“Andy can barely afford to keep me in a job. Sorry, I’m just a little shocked.”

“Oh, he has big plans for the place. You’ll be needing the help.”

Now, my shackles are up. Andy is a seventy year old man, with a head for traditions and the simple life. He refuses to sell any coffee other than Nescafe because he can’t pronounce cappucino.

The man leans against the counter, and crosses his ankles. There is a knot in my tummy, and his intense glare eats into my core.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

“Jai.”

He continues to look around the shack, his eyes coming to rest on the bookshelf.Andy has a small shelf of exactly eightteen books that do nothing but gather dust. I’ve never looked to read them, and Andy said they were there when he bought the shack ten years ago. It would be weird to move them now.

“Well, Jai. It’s nice to meet you. Did Andy say when you’ll be starting? He’s a stickler for training. The man has a passion for a well made coffee. I’m sure he said, you’ll have to perfect the art of cappucino making before he’ll take you on,” I feign a laugh and a shrug.

“Oh yeah, he said my cappucino making skills would be the deal breaker. He was drinking one when I saw him, actually.”

Edging toward the door, I feel my heart beating throughout my whole body. I keep the mop and bucket in between us. I have no idea what is going on, but I know that every fiber of my body is screaming at me to get away from this Jai- if that’s even his name. Why is he lying?

He notices my sudden loss of composure, and his eyes flit over the menu. “You don’t sell cappucinos, do you?” He smiles, and wipes his thumb along his bottom lip. “Very good, Willow.”

I back in to the door. “Why are you really here? What do you want?” I ask, fighting the panic attack about to overcome me. I lunge for my phone in my bag that hangs on the rack, but Jai pre-empts me, tackling me into the wall, and wrapping his hand over my mouth as I scream bloody murder.

“Shut it, Willow! I’m not here to hurt you. I’m here to help you.” Sobbing into his palm, I nod my head when he asks me to keep quiet. He slowly removes his hand and turns me to face him. “I guess I didn’t handle this very well, did I?” he says, wiping tears from my cheeks.

“Who are you?” I sob.

“I’ve already said- I’m  Jai.  I had to see how much you knew, but clearly you have no clue about any of this. I’m looking for something, something important. ”

“Then, look. Just let me go, please.”

He nods, but locks the door and takes the key. “Help me, and then you can leave. Where in this dive could someone hide a chip, SD Card, memory stick, something along those lines? Is there a safe?” He lets me go and walks to the far side of the shack.

“Yes, but it’s empty. I take the cash to Andy’s every night.” I hold myself in the corner, wondering if I can reach my phone without being noticed.

Jai growls. “Think Willow. Is there a cupboard? Something that is rarely used that could hide something?”

“Everything here is used. Except the books. They’ve not been touched in the five years I’ve worked here, probably not ever. I don’t know what you want from me!” I bawl at him.

Jai starts removing books from the shelf, then turning to me, he shows me the folded down pages at the front of every book. “Well, it seems that someone has touched them. Help me open them.” I do as I’m told. Crossing the shack, I take the first book. “Willow, tell me the first word on each folded page.”

The… link…is…within…the…mind…of…the…girl

Jai stares at me, his mouth hanging open. “Keep reading,” he orders.

She… is…the…key..to…opening…the… final…portal. What does that mean?” I ask. My shock at the hidden message makes me momentarily forget the situation I’m in.

“It means you’re coming with me.” He slips his hand under my arm, and pulls me toward the door.

“I’m not going anywhere with you! What has that message got to do with me?”

Jai sighs and spins on his heel to face me, taking my upper arms forcefully. “It means that you have exactly what my people need locked away in that pretty little head of yours. Your one of us, Willow.”

“One of who?”

“The Port Keepers. You’re the missing link.”


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Prompt Me: Writing Prompts eBook, Writing and Me, Writing Exercises

The Return of Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes!

I have been re-reading my Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes posts from last year, and I have decided to start them once again. They’re pretty self explanatory- I have one prompt a week for ten weeks, and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it.

Last time, I created ten prompts in advance, this time, I have picked ten prompts from my writing prompt ebook: Prompt Me. And just like last time, you are welcome to join in with the exercises and use the prompts for your own expansions. Just remember to tag me, so I can read your masterpieces.

Here are the prompts:

  1. What would you do if every book on your bookshelf has a page turned down and the first word of every page spells out a message to you?
  2. When they began splicing organic tissue with machinery to create advanced artificial intelligence, that’s when the world was lost.
  3. The moon is an engineered structure built for the purpose of observation. Someone of something has been watching us.
  4. What would you do if you were woken by a ringing phone in your coffin?
  5. In total, sixteen ships came to rescue us. That meant that only sixteen thousand humans had survived the death of earth.
  6. “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.”
  7. “When I said come bearing gifts it was code for weapons. I can’t believe you brought cheesecake.”
  8. They said that I was insane and that I never had a sister. They even went as far as to edit her out of my photographs. I know they did because they missed one- the one I keep in my locket.
  9. “As soon as I admit that someone is my friend they end up dead. So, for all intents and purposes, I don’t like you.”
  10. What would you do if the news reporter on your television started talking directly to you?

I have prompt one scheduled for tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled. Why not have a bash yourself?


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman.

Any prompts used must be associated with the author, KJ.Chapman.

Prompts taken from KJ.Chapman’s book: Prompt Me: 150 Writing Prompts for Beating the Block. Only 99p!

 

 

 

 

Writing and Me, Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter V

I feel like I have exhausted my ‘communications’ posts. There are only so many letters, memos, texts, etc that people can write before meeting up, right? I plan on continuing the story for as long as needs be, but I shall revert back to my short stories from here on in.

Here are the links to catch up on the previous installments of this story:

Letter Q,  Letter R, Letter S, Letter T,Letter U.

Today’s letter is V, but I had randomly picked the name Val a while ago to make sure the stories flowed.

Val: a masculine diminutive form of Valentine.

Val

The kid is such a little shit. If he’s not back chatting his mother, he’s making sly remarks about anything I damn say. I know most teenagers are the same, but shit, I could do without his mouth. Half of me thinks that he’s a little gobshite, the other half knows that he’s nervous at the thought of meeting his old man. I guess he’s had a shed load to deal with in a short space of time.

I turn the radio on to keep an ear on the news. Nothing will be broadcast, but I can’t help but listen. No one knows where we’re going, not even the guy who dropped off the car. Tate owes me 3k for this hunk of crap.

“Hey, are you even awake?” Quentin asks, shoving my shoulder, and snapping my attention from the radio. He leans between the headrests, changing the radio to a music station.

“What kid? I thought I told you to sit down and shut up.”

“I want to know what you know about my Dad? Why are there people after him- after me?”

Looking in the mirror, I see that Xena is asleep. The kid knows how to be discreet. I’ll give him that.

“Your old man should be the one to explain it to you.”

“But I’m asking you.”

“No time,” I say nodding to the farm house up ahead. Relief washes over me, at the interruption. It really isn’t my place to say anything, and in truth, I wouldn’t know where to start.

Quentin swallows hard and slumps back into his seat. I see the colour drain from his face before my eyes. He nudges his mother awake, and they both stare out of the window as the farm gets closer.

The upstairs curtain falls as if someone has been watching our approach, and within seconds the door flies open. Two figures emerge; one male and one female. Tate and Sabine. Quentin exhales loudly, and Xena bursts into tears. She throws the door open before I have even pulled to a stop, and races into Tate’s arms. He looks well, really well considering.

Tate opens his free arm to his son, but Quentin turns away from his Dad. “Val, seriously man, I’d rather hear it from you,” the kid says, sidling up beside me.

Tate shakes his head, a stern glower at me, almost threatening me to keep quiet. Fuck you, I think to myself. I just saved your skin, you family’s skin, and you give me that same look you gave me all those years ago? I thought I could get over it, but seeing him has only proven that it’ll always be there between us. I love the guy, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him.

“Okay, kid, but it’s a mind fuck.” I guide Quentin further away from the farm house, from Tate. It may be childish to want to rile Tate, but his son needs the truth, and he wants it from me. “We’re aliens, and the T.D.E.D- the Tracking and Detention of Extraterrestrials Department have been hunting us since 1983.”


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

100% K.J Chapman, Writing and Me

Getting To Know Me Tag!

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I do love a good tag! Thanks to Mollie over at Mollie’s Musings for thinking of me. If you have not checked out Mollie’s blog, and you love everything writerly, bookish, cute, inspirational, and down right fabulous, then head on over and give her a follow!

This tag is self explanatory, so without further ado…

What is your middle name?

Technically, I don’t have one. My first name is hyphenated: Kayleigh-Jane.

What was your favourite subject at school?

English Lit and media studies.

What is your favourite drink?

Tea.

Favourite food?

Devil’s Food Cake.

What is the last thing you bought?

For me, personally, I bought a shirt in the charity/ thrift shop. The very last thing I bought was a Tsum Tsum for my daughter. She collects the weird, little, wastes of money. Seriously, google them, they’re bizarre.

Is there anything I should know?

I developed hayfever this summer. My eyeball jelly swelled up and everything! (I have no idea what you actually call that stuff.)

Favourite colour?

Green.

Do you have any pets?

I have two dwarf hamsters called Lavender and Juno. They tried to kill each other, so now live in separate cages.

We also seem to collect garden snails. My daughter has a thing for making habitats, and tries to bring snails into the house. She found loads in my Nana’s garden, put them in a pot with grass and leaves, and left them in her kitchen- yep, they were in her fruit bowl in no time.

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Favourite Perfume?

Hugo Boss Woman, but at the moment I’m wearing Rihanna’s Reb’l Fleur.

What was the last picture you took on your phone?

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My hubby and our daughter rockpooling. They caught fish, shrimp, and sea snails. After a few pics, they’re all safely back in their pools.

Do you speak any other languages?

Hmmm? If I got lost in Spain I wouldn’t starve, but I’m not fluent.

How many siblings do you have?

I have one brother and two sisters. My sisters are half sisters, but I don’t call them that because they’re not half of anything in my eyes! I’m the eldest, and my fourteen year old sister thinks I’m ancient.

What is your favourite shop?

Book shops!!! My hubby would say charity shops because I just can’t walk by one without going in.

Favourite Restaurant?

Locally, we have a restaurant called BooKoos and they do the best burgers EVER. However, a short drive away, there is a farm called Roskillys. Roskillys has petting animals, nature trails, a restaurant that serves meat that has been reared on the farm, and they do the best ice cream in Cornwall!

What phone do you have?

Lumia something or other… I’m not really up on phones. It rings and texts, so I know that it works. I have a tardis phone case, though.

How tall are you?

I think I’m 5ft8 ish.

Can you cook?

bette

Have you ever been stung by a bee?

Three times that I remember. My mum recalls some others. The most prominent memory is when my uncle was spinning me around by the wrists like Superman, and as he lowered my to the floor I knelt on a dying bee- ouch!

What is your best childhood memory?

I’m lucky to have many:

*Sliding down the stairs on a duvet with my brother.

*Boogie boarding at the beach.

*Going jumping (Jumping is the simple term we Cornish use for jumping from rocks and walls into the sea). We did it safely of course.

*Biking through the woods.

How can I not have great memories? I live here:

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How would your friends describe you?

Monica! Not only do I love making lists and organising, I also get Hagrid hair in humid weather.

humidity

Watch TV or read?

Read.

Ebook of Paperback?

I have no preference. If I read an eBook and love it, then I will buy the paperback for my collection.

Plane or Train?

Train, but only because I have been on more trains in my life than planes.

What is your definition of family?

Love.

Why did you choose to be a writer?

I was born this way, baby!

Thanks again to Mollie for tagging me.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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