Excerpt from Author Douglas Owen’s Collection – Inside My Mind

Life, Levity, and the Search for Latitude

An Excerpt from YA, Fantasy, & Short Story writer Douglas Owen’s collection:

Inside My Mind – Vol. 1

x-defaultExcerpt from “End of the World”

I can’t believe how easily Julie transitioned from our small office to the big one in this new facility. The lack of windows unnerves me, personally. How people could work with the walls looming over them baffles my understanding.

Several other astrophysicists help me deal with all the details concerning the plan. This is beyond me. How did they think I could handle all the details involved? So much to do and so little time to do it in. Why couldn’t we have found the 42 sooner? It really wouldn’t have made any difference. We would have just pushed with less ferocity than we are now.

The piles of requisitions scream at me for attention. One finds its way in to my hands, and I read it with disinterest. Toilet paper, really? There has to be something else to ask for. Three tons, that’s how much they’re asking for. They must be elephants or something. What the hell would they be using that much for?

“Julie,” I call out, hoping to pass on the need to investigate.

“Yes, doc?” she says when her face pokes into the room.

“Here.” I hold out the requisition form to her. “Find out how many times section seven flushes the toilet and see if they really need so much ass-wipe.”

She grabs the paper from me and chuckles. “I’ll look in on it.” I can see the question in her eyes.

“What?”

“Are you okay?”

“We’ve worked together for about twelve years now, right?” My fingers run thought my hair, scratching at an imaginary itch at the back of my
skull.

“A little over, I’d say.” Her eyes are full of concern.

“Have you even known me to be an administrator?” She starts to giggle.

“Sorry, doc. It’s just that for the last few days you’ve shuffled more paper and administrated this facility better than anyone. There’s no one
I could point to who would have done a better job.” She flourishes the requisition form in front of her. “Most would have just signed off on
this without even thinking.”

My mind pictures Carl behind the desk with crates of toilet paper stacked behind him and I start to laugh.

“Carl, right?” Julie says.

“Yes. It’s stacked—”

“—Behind him.”

The headache starts to disappear. The levity is enough to break the ice. Standing, I make my way around the desk and take the requisition from
her. “I’ll take care of this.”

She giggles her way back to her desk.

*    *    *
Be sure to join Douglas at the JUZDIZRTS Author Event where he will read from his short story anthology at Archtop Cafe in Bolton this Saturday November 8th. The event begins at 2pm.

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Excerpt from Author D.L. Narrol’s Steam Punk Book – Age of Chivalry

Daring, Danger, Drink and Disaster…

An Excerpt from Steam Punk writer D.L. Narrol’s book:

Age of ChivalryAge of Chivalry

Chapter One

Late September 1910 Captain Colin Limmerick stood by the gunnel of his vessel. The ship’s two steam pipes blew off excess as the one sail caught the chilled wind off the Irish Sea. He cranked away at the reel to bring in the latest catch. He put his bulging biceps to work as he pumped away at drawing the catch into the hold of the ship. The captain’s first mate, Eddy, stood behind him as he watched the tall, robust captain put his muscles to work. The fish made it into the hold, while the captain stared at the sea.

“Captain?” Eddy asked.

The captain gazed at the sea, as if he were in a trance. He winced with panic when he saw several people splashing about in the water. He reached for his bottle of whiskey, which sat on the planked floor of the deck. He took a few swigs and continued to stare. People squirmed and gasped for air as they slowly sank below the captivating waves. Their screams became less and less until only a few remained afloat.

“Captain? Are yaz feelin’ alright?” Eddy asked.

The last of the victims kept repeating the same phrase in Gaelic.

“Long live our Lord! And, long live Ireland.”

The captain bit his lip with horror as he watched each one of them sink into the frigid sea.

“Captain! Captain Colin! Are yaz feelin’ ill, or what?”

Colin turned to his first mate. “Oh, God!”
Eddy stepped closer to him. “What is it that ya see out there?”

Colin appeared horrified. “Oh, God! Sweet Christ!” He took the whiskey bottle and placed it against his lips. He started to drink profusely, while he focused on Eddy. He gazed at his first mate with penetrating eyes. Eddy noticed a tear run down his captain’s cheek.

“Oh, sakes, captain, yar cryin’? What’s wrong?” Eddy pulled the whiskey bottle from his captain’s hands. “Imagine a big strong man like yarself is cryin’. Ya got every wench chasin’ after yaz. The crew goes on about how much they wished they had yar good looks and brains. Can’t believe a man with so much to offer is cryin’.”

Colin looked at Eddy with his lips parted. He unbuttoned his jacket. He pulled his tartan scarf from his broad neck and unbuttoned his shirt. Eddy could see his bare chest and stomach.

“Look at me.”

Eddy noticed a deep scar on Colin’s belly. “Oh, God! Captain, what happened?”

Colin examined his wound for the umpteenth time. He ran his large hands over bumpy aftermath of skin.

“What happened, ye ask, Ed? A sword did this to me.”

“Oh, good Lord. What kinda mess did yaz get yarself into? Since when ya play with swords?”

“Since lately, I suppose.”

“Are ya cryin’ ’bout the wound, or are yaz in pain from it?”

“It does still cause me pain, so it does. Rosa stitched it up.”

“Rosa? She’s no medical doctor. Isn’t she an archeologist?”

“That she is, but there wasn’t a physician around. I’m not cryin’ ’bout me wound, but tell me somethin’, Ed? Are there people drowin’ in the sea just now?”

Eddy slowly turned his head. He squinted his eyes as he scanned the water.

“I’m not seein’ them, captain.”

Colin turned to his first mate. “What ye mean?”

Eddy sighed with frustration. “I’m confiscatin’ yar whiskey. Ya really gotta cut down, don’t ya think?”

Colin buttoned his shirt. “Cut down? So, ye think I’m a lush, do ye?”

“Think? I know. We’s all gotta cut down, don’t ya think?”

Timmy in the wheelhouse climbed down to the deck to where his captain was talking to the first mate.

“Howye, captain?”

Colin tipped his tweed cap at his crewmember. “Timmy.”

“Gotta message from me wench for ya, captain.”

“How is Deidre these days?” Colin asked.

“She says she’s dyin’ to see yaz again, captain. I think she’s in love with yaz.”

Eddy placed his hand on Timmy’s shoulder. “Be a good lad ‘n leave us be for now. Yar captain has run into a problem, eh?”

Timmy sprinted to the galley. Eddy chuckled.

“Kids today.”

Colin sat on the ledge of the deck. “I know ye don’t know what me work is like at the university, but… ”

“Ya never tell me anythin’ ’bout yar research. Yaz always been very secretive ’bout it.”

“I’m a fishin’ captain and PhD candidate at the London University; strange combination, isn’t it? But ye know, Ed, I was the one with the high grades in school. Here I am a simple man, a fisherman at that. Yet I always had that crave for research and higher education. But I’ve noticed the other PhD candidates like Rosa came from wealth. Did ye know her father was a professor? Same with Amoli’s father.”

“Of course, captain, those that go to university don’t come from workin’ class people like us, eh?” Eddy nudged Colin’s arm.

“So, why would I bore the first mate of me ship with me university bunk?”

“I’ve known yaz since ya was a wee lad on yar uncle’s ship. Nothin’ ya have ever said to me was ever borin’.”

“Yer too kind, Ed. Can ye give me back me whiskey bottle now?”

Eddy handed it back to his captain.

Colin took a few swigs. “Don’t want ye to repeat any of this.”

“Captain, ya know ya have me word.”

“I’ve been travelin’ to past times in history, so I have.”

Eddy grabbed Colin’s whiskey bottle and took a large gulp. “Time travel?”

*    *    *
Be sure to join D.L. at the JUZDIZRTS Author Event where she will read from her steam punk novel at Archtop Cafe in Bolton this Saturday November 8th. The event begins at 2pm.

Excerpt from Author Diane Bator’s Mystery – The Bookstore Lady

Manipulating Murder Most Menacingly

An Excerpt from Mystery writer Diane Bator’s book:

Bator-The Bookstore LadyThe Bookstore Lady

“It’s time.” Maddox’s smile faded.

It was official. Paulina Chourney went from executive secretary to loose end in less than an hour. Her boss was supposed to kill her to appease Maddox. Her lover. She knew too much.

For the past five years, she was trusted to keep Dunnsforth’s secrets. Danny had pictures of her photocopying contracts and memos Dunnsforth hid in a safe in his house. Paulina shopped for gifts for his wife and kids and arranged dates with his string of mistresses. Dunnsforth introduced her to Maddox, who made her his mistress who lived the life.

Was any of it worth Maddox’s scorn? From the way she covered her face with her hands, he was sure even drinking herself to death sounded preferable to taking a bullet.

Danny had a gun beneath his black leather jacket, but he doubted it would do much good when everyone else had similar weapons. “What do you want me to do?”

“Nothing.” Maddox shrugged. “Enjoy the show. This is Dunnsforth’s problem to take care of. If not, we’ll have to take care of him.”

Dunnsforth sat and poured two glasses of champagne. His hands shook and he spilled on Paulina’s blue dress. The wet blotch turned purple. “Drink up.”

“Yes, dear, drink up.” Maddox interlaced his fingers. “Enjoy your last taste of champagne.”

“I don’t want it.”

Chevy forced the glass to her lips.

The white French office doors flew open and Margaret Maddox, a tall, lean woman in a slinky red gown slit to her upper thigh, scowled.

“Honestly, Gerard. You invite all these people over then disappear into your office with your cronies. Give them the night off from your petty demands to celebrate. It’s not every day your company completes a hostile takeover.”

*    *    *
Be sure to join Diane at the JUZDIZRTS Author Event where she will read from her mystery at Archtop Cafe in Bolton this Saturday November 8th. The event begins at 2pm.