spotlight on Analise Paone

Instead of having you read the interview on my site, i’d like you to click on the link and read it on the author’s father’s website, because, well, how awesome is this whole thing?! Father and daughter published in the same book…oh, did I mention the author is just 9 years old?!

http://www.brianpaone.com/news/10/31/author-interview-analise-paone-and-her-a-journey-of-words-story

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interview translation for FAITHNOMORE4EVER

 

Recently I was interviewed about my role in Chuck Mosley’s acoustic Reintroduce Yourself tour by Faithnomoreforever.com. Here is the original link to the interview

And here is an english translation of that talk:

  1. For the last several years the world of music has greatly changed, to promote, make shows, distribution of music, etc… I’m pretty sure you are working very hard in this new process (in the past too). Since you are working with Chuck, what aspects would you emphasize of him as artist and person?

 

Chuck and I come from two totally different backgrounds in music, so we often discuss/disagree on things to focus on in his career and how to handle promotions and marketing with zero budget. The knowledge that there is no one straight path also comes with a realization that neither of us is 100% correct. Typically any success he has follows an idea that merges both of our viewpoints into one cohesive strategy.

As an artist Chuck is a free-thinker who is constantly in a state of juggling multiple ideas…the problem becomes focusing enough on one idea to see it come to fruition. When we had out first practice for the acoustic tour, Chuck was noodling around with a riff and a few lines of lyrics and I asked him what it was. He told me it was a little ditty he had had brewing for years and he had even played a snippet of it at a coffee shop in our area called, Bella Dubby’s. I asked him to repeat the riff a few times and I started hitting my conga. We launched into the song and it has remained mostly unchanged since then…the one change I can think of is that it’s now titled, Bella Donna. We have played it at every single acoustic show thus far and judging the feedback it’s had one of the best responses live out of all the songs we play.

So, Chuck has had that song for years, but until an outside force applied a little pressure/offered encouragement to continue it, he never pursued it further. I have recordings of four-five other snippets Chuck has played in soundcheck or at practice and my goal is to find the right balance of encouragement and pressure to get these turned into his next release. Look for them to start appearing in our sets soon and evolve as they get played more.

As a person, Chuck is endlessly curious and infinitely frustrating. He is a unique character on both sides of the coin. If Chuck was a billionaire he would spend his days just walking around talking to random people and absorbing their stories/experience/aura. Every city we go to he meets people and connects on a level deep enough that most people take years to reach. And he remembers everyone’s story. For example, in July we stayed at my buddy Terry’s house in Philadelphia and one day Chuck starts talking about someone that I don’t know. I asked him who he meant and he mentions it was a guy he met that lived down the street from Terry. Chuck knew the guy’s whole life story, his extended family, his dreams, his pains…and as the tour went along Chuck would see a billboard and remark, “Oh, so-and-so would love to tour that museum, or so-and-so saw that Broadway play when he was in junior high…had his first kiss that day.” It is incredible the amount of info he stores about people he meets. He has a genuine passion and cares about everyone. The frustrating part is I have to repeat myself forty times before he retains any info I tell him, ha!

  1. Chuck joined Indoria for the new record “You’ll Never Make The Six”. What do you think has been him greatest contribution for the record and can you tell us more about Indoria?

 

So, Indoria is a project that I started with my buddy, Adam Probert back in the late 90’s. We managed to record some demo’s and add various pieces to the band over several years, playing with some great bands like Dog Fashion Disco, Unified Culture, Finless Brown, The Alter Boys, and Infinite Number of Sounds in the process all while holding it together with duct tape and a torn shoestring. In late 2002, we split to pursue other projects and then Adam moved out of state.

Years later, I think 2008, Adam sent me two snippets of ideas he had. They got stuck in my head and even though I was now married and working a semi-real job and he was a world-traveling underwater welder, we decided to see these songs along. A year or so later we found ourselves recording a full length in Adam’s portable studio during an elongated visit to Cleveland, Ohio. We wrote a lot of the album as we recorded, which was fun and frustrating to see what we did flying by the seat of our pants. Adam handled almost all of the music, but we enlisted Tim Svitak, one of my favorite area guitar players to add some crunch and we twisted my wife, Michele Esper’s, arm until she agreed to also lend her powerful, beautiful voice to several songs.

Since then, we have released three additional EP’s each boasting different guest musicians and Michele has (thankfully) taken over most of my vocal parts.

When we recorded our last EP, There’s A Gleam, Chuck was using Adam’s studio to record some vocals for a one-off release and we played him a song, What I Feel, to get his feedback. He told me the next week the song was stuck in his head. He agreed to provide some backing vocals. During the vocal session I asked him to take over my small part, which was during the song’s breakdown. The pattern, lyrics, and Chuck’s performance combined, though brief, are one of my happiest musical moments I’ve helped create.

Shortly after that album came out, and we realized just how good Michele and Chuck sounded together, we had a desire to do more. Adam suggested we create a batch of songs, outside of Indoria, geared specifically as a striped down, acoustic-driven release for Chuck and Michele to stretch their voices.

Simultaneously, Adam, myself, and guitarist Donald Spak began work on the next Indoria. After a while all the songs ended up mixed together as Chuck sang on a song of mine, I sang on one with him and Michele, so we took six songs and decided to just release it as Indoria to keep it simple. We added a remix of, What I Feel, so people could hear the previous song we did with Chuck. The first song on the disc, Only In My Head, was very different when it was going to be recorded as a straight Indoria song. It had a different lead guitar riff and key part with a thick, New Order vibe. The chorus part with Chuck saying, “I’m not hearing my voice…” was sampled by Adam during an off the cuff remark Chuck made while recording something totally different, a year or two earlier. I loved the sample so we cut my chorus and plopped that in.

The result of, You’ll Never Make The Six, is, I hope, an interesting collection that holds true to our original intent. Chuck has some shining moments in this collection unlike any of his previous work. He really got to showcase another side of him, and of that, I’m super proud and happy. My hope is as the positive feedback roles in, it will build his confidence and give him a push to work on his own acoustic collection. (And then have Indoria open up for him, heh.) Feedback welcomed after you listen to our songs for free: www.indoria.bandcamp.com if you like us, please tell your friends. If you don’t like us tell your enemies.

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  1. Reintroduce Yourself shows have a little touch of humor of you part. For you as artist and in your everyday life, how important is the humor?

 

Chuck doesn’t get enough credit for how funny he is, as usually his humor comes offstage and away from the spotlight. In everyday life, Chuck enjoys being a smartass and he finds messing with me at the worst times super funny. Sometimes onstage, however, he clams up a bit. Usually if I sense he is in one of those moods, I try to take the lead on between song banter. It wasn’t anything we planned, hell, we don’t really have a plan for anything, but thus far it has worked to various degrees.

As far as how important it is, I don’t have a choice. My dad is the king of dad jokes and I inherited his style. I am cursed to blurt out whatever comes to mind and it’s usually a mix of corny, goofy, and wacky, so that often dictates the vibe of the show.

I also spend a lot of time watching Chuck just waiting to see what he will do next as he is unpredictable every single night. For example: I create the setlist, which thus far has really stayed similar concert to concert as we’ve only had time to learn so many songs and adapt them to our two person line-up, and then Chuck proceeds to ignore the setlist and go wherever the night takes him. This keeps things fresh for him, I suppose, but it causes me endless stress as I am a man of routine. Not to mention I trigger Chuck’s vocal effects so I need to have the right ones cued up and I sorta need to know what drum pattern to play. Almost every night Chuck realizes he skipped a song he really wanted to play and gets frustrated. Of course I remind him that all he needs to do is read the list that I put RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM.

Humor will always be a part of Chuck’s shows whether I’m involved or not. In VUA he, Tim Parnin, and Steve Rauckhorst are all funny guys. 

  1. Roddy Bottum was playng a couple acoustic shows with you on this tour, how did your experience playing in the same stage with Chuck, Roddy. Also with FNM for the GAMH and Troubadour shows?

 

You mean besides freaking out like a thirteen year old girl at a Beatles concert?

 

Listen, some people have dreams and the smart ones follow those dreams and make the world a better place. I, on the other hand, had a dream situation fall into my lap and I still wasn’t sure if I should follow it. When Chuck started talking about the tour my goal was to get him paired up with someone else, but for various reasons people couldn’t do it until we started running out of time and he asked me. I said no.

I’m a husband and father and home-owner with yardwork and a dog. A normal, well-adjusted man doesn’t just abandon all that to hit the road. Also, I feel the need to mention, I’m neither a drummer nor a tour manager.

He asked again. I said maybe.

Then my wife and my buddy TJ said I’d regret not going the rest of my life.

Knowing the tour may only go a couple weeks, and that the budget was zero and that there were fifty different ways the tour could end badly (not to mention that Chuck and I could really get sick of each other and ruin our 19 year friendship along the way) I jumped onboard and have been white-knuckling ever since.

 

So, to get to the meat of your question: Roddy and FNM.

 

Chuck mentioned at some point that Roddy lived in the NYC area and he might come to a show and maybe jump onstage for a song. I thought, that would be super cool. Chuck and I discussed a few cover songs, Portishead and New Order are the two I remember. We also play a few FNM songs in our set and I knew that would please the crowd, but Roddy didn’t have his keyboard available, so that was scrapped. I suggested, The Beginning, by Imperial Teen as it’s Roddy singing and playing guitar, the beat is straight forward, the backing vocals would be fun, and IT’S A GREAT TUNE.

As we parked at the venue a decision still hadn’t been made, though a few other songs had been suggested. I asked what the plan was and Roddy, said he felt like playing, Butch, by Imperial Teen. Another great song…but one I hadn’t practiced. I had only ever spoken to Roddy via email after I donated money for his San Fran to LA AIDS Awareness bike ride, so for all I knew he didn’t even want me to play on it.

We didn’t get a sound check.

Chuck called Roddy up midset and he started conversing with the crowd (eerily similar in how Chuck banters onstage) and then we launched into the song. I was so nervous, in fact, I would’ve been less nervous getting naked onstage than I was to play the song. Imperial teen as a band are so strong when it comes to group vocals and several harmony parts, so I felt the song might sound too minimalized without backing vocals…what’s a guy to do? I certainly don’t want to step on Roddy’s toes as our guest onstage and it’s not like I’m the world’s best vocalist…what if I throw him off or annoy the audience?

In the end it didn’t matter, that song is far too catchy to be standing in front of a microphone NOT singing along. I kept as quiet as I could until Chuck came up during certain parts, which emboldened me to get a little louder. As the song ended, and I hadn’t done anything to screw it up massively (though my drums could’ve been more dynamic at parts) I felt an overwhelming rush of disbelief and relief, similar to watching my kids being born, but with less grunting (on my part, my wife was a rock of strength. Baby could’ve come out sideways and she wouldn’t scream.). I raised my fist in the air, and I think I yelled, “Roddy!” really loud. (Though it might have just been in my head?)

In San Fran, Chuck brought Roddy up and fulfilled Chuck’s vision of covering, Bizarre Love Triangle, by New Order, but I’d love another, better rehearsed version, as that night was chaotic and such a huge deal for Chuck that it got a little sloppy.

The next night, in LA, Chuck and I did an impromptu gig at the LA listening party for the WCAL reissue. Roddy was in attendance so I thought I was going to get a more relaxed chance at the song. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to set up his keyboard. Graciously, Roddy agreed to take another stab at Butch.

The downside was though I now knew I could make it through the tune, there was no microphone for the conga or for any backing vocals, so my contribution (for good or ill) was left mostly unheard. I can cross off playing with two members of my favorite band in front of a large screen showing the movie, “The Warriors” off my oddly specific bucketlist.

I will be retelling these stories to my grandchildren (from the grave if I have to).

As far as the reunion shows, I could write a novel…in fact, I’m pretty sure I’m going to. I will say that standing alone in The Great American Music Hall watching FNM reunite with Chuck and soundchecking, Crab Song, felt like an out of body experience. There is no way anyone in the universe could ever be lucky enough to witness that. I mean, there’s no way ever that Chuck would do a full on concert with FNM ever, right? And yet, I was that person. I saw/heard/experienced it and I just can’t calculate or process how so many different things had to happen to make that possible. I only wish every single FNM fan could’ve been there with me, as me, to feel that same buzz.

I certainly realize I’d be greedy to ever ask the cosmos for any further FNM experiences or interactions, but they haven’t played my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio since 1997…

Do you have any plans for the short-term future?

Everything with Chuck is short term. He gets excited and bored with things quickly, so i knew going in that the acoustic tour had a limited shelf life. It certainly wasn’t a career decision. It was a cool opportunity to help Chuck build momentum toward whatever he decides is next. I suggest for those who want to see it, get out to a show if the opportunity arises. That might be the only chance you’ll get. That being said, i hear Chuck at soundcheck trying out new riffs and vocal patterns and i really think he should consider recording an acoustic disc of new originals to mix in with our set. I think his voice sounds strong and i appreciate it more now having heard it without the loud rock music around it. Chuck has this deep, mellow tone that sounds like Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen that is mesmerizing and relaxing. I think people would really enjoy hearing that side of him, especially with how personal he gets with his lyrics.
Other than the tour, I’m promoting the new Indoria cd and i’ve spoken with William Weaver, the guitarist from an old band I sang for called, The Firmary. We discussed putting out a disc, which would make me very happy. I loved that band. Unfortunately at the time, we could never find a stable drummer, and we were all hitting the stage of life when weddings and babies and houses take over. You can hear some of our old demos for free at douglasesper.com just go to the SONGS section. Kind of a Social Distortion meets The Cure with Chuck Mosley singing type vibe, ha.
I am an author as well as a “world class” conga player. I write novels and short stories. If you have a chance, check out my releases on, Amazon.com or my blog, douglasesper.com. I have new adult, sports fiction, horror, suspense, and even a western or two published thus far.

FREE QUESTION: if you want to add something else, please do it (with a sense of humor, emotive, what you want)

Chuck knows how strong and passionate his fans are down in Chile and we hope to bring this tour to South America. We are searching for the right opportunity to make it happen. The best thing to do if you want Chuck there is to spread the word on what he’s doing, and let the club owners and promoters know you demand to see him live in your city.

Finally, I would be remiss if i didn’t mention my wife, Michele Esper, who has encouraged me every step of the way and made all of this possible. Without her, there probably isn’t a Chuck Mosley acoustic tour. if you like Chuck, you should find her on Facebook and tell her thanks 🙂

Hope to see you in Chile & South America ASAP.

Douglas Esper

 

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Spotlight on William Thatch

 

For all you dog and pet lovers out there, William has come up with a story for you.

Author: William Thatch

Synopsis: An abused dog gets free from her owner and goes on an adventure to see and smell things she hasn’t seen and smelled before.

What inspired you to write this story? A couple of things. First and foremost would be my own dogs. They’re full of personality, and the family often does voices for them for our own amusement which has led to a unique vocabulary for the dogs. For example, in the story the dog refers to cars as “Big Metal Beasts” and doesn’t understand that it isn’t an animal, similar to the voices / characters that our dogs have grown to be. Secondly, a character in the story called ‘The Good Man’ is the protagonist of a novel I’m working on titled The Wayward Son. The novel begins with his having walked from Las Vegas, Nevada to Riverton, Wyoming. I’d been daydreaming about what all happened on his way there, but didn’t feel there was a story from his perspective about the walk. But, there was plenty of story in the dog going for a walk and happening to meet him.

How long have you been writing? Twenty-two years, give or take. I wrote my first story when I was five or six.

What genre do you usually write in and why? Science fiction. Everything I’m writing is set in the same world somehow. Sometimes the science fiction would be obvious, like characters having some sort of supernatural powers. Other times it’s background details, like more advanced robotics than what we have, but it isn’t the focus of the story. I usually pair the sci-fi with something else, like noir or westerns.

What else are you working on writing at the moment? As mentioned above I’m working on the Wayward Son, a novel about a man whose life has fallen to pieces and is returning to his childhood home to put it all back together. I have the first draft of a short story written for Scout Media’s next anthology (A Haunting of Words), titled Hollywoodland, Baby. I’m also in the process of preparing two television pitches—the Extinction Event and the Caper Chronicles. The Extinction Event has also been written as a series of short stories, but how and when that would be released is a unknown.

What advice do you have to give to new writers? Write. You’ll suck at first, but we all did. It takes time to learn how to do this properly. Just write, make mistakes, and learn from them. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll spot when you did something wrong and figure out how to not make that mistake the next time.

How can people discover more about you and your work?
Website: http://williamthatch.wix.com/author
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The0s1s/
Twitter: @The_0s1s

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spotlight on D.T. Sako

Author Name: D.T. Sako
Title of your AJOW story: Baby-Blue Bug
Post a brief synopsis of your AJOW story: A guy who is down on his luck buys a VW Beetle at a price he couldn’t refuse. Of course, there’s more than meets the eye… 🙂
What inspired you to write this story? It started as the challenge of writing a “journey” story for AJOW. I brought in my own experiences with a baby-blue Bug (my first car), and the story sort of told itself from that point on.
How long have you been writing? I know exactly! 🙂 When I was nine years old, I decided I wanted to write a boy-detective story. I pulled my dad’s Underwood typewriter out of the closet (weighed more than me – LOL), and typed out what I recall was a 2 1/2 page story.
What genre do you usually write in and why? I love horror, so I’ve gravitated to that genre. From roller coasters to Jack the Ripper films, I’ve always relished the cold tendrils of fear wending up my spine, and wanted to subject others to the same. 🙂 But as the answer to the next question shows, my interests stray…
What else are you working on writing at the moment? I have four novels in various stages of completion. A completed draft of one I call “supernatural noir” because I’m not sure how well it dovetails into any particular genre. A second WIP is definitely “classic” horror. A third WIP is historical fiction (I absolutely LOVE history). And the fourth is fantasy (doesn’t a bit of Tolkien flow through all of us?).
What advice do you have to give to new writers? Write. Read. Write. Read.
How can people discover more about you and your work? (Link to your blog/facebook/etc)
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDTSako/

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Writing is EASY

Writing A Story Is Easy.

 

 

I compare starting the narrative with taking the first step on a newly paved path through the woods in a park near your home. It’s comfortable, familiar. Planning ahead, you have covered yourself in bug spray, charged your phone, and even packed a few snacks and a compass in your backpack.

 

Rumor has it this robust, clearly marked path, leads directly to another park where writers gather to pat themselves on the back.

 

The sun is halfway to noon, shinning down through a cloudless sky illuminating the well-groomed foliage. Birds are chirping, a brook is babbling just out of sight, and one deep inhale reveals a fresh, pine scent upon the gentle breeze. You walk with gusto, arms pumping, and a bounce in your step.

 

Was it really just yesterday that you had dreaded getting started?

 

And then you come across a narrower path curving off to the right that you never noticed before.

 

Well, you did say you wanted mystery and adventure. You turn down the path.

 

The trees stand taller, the underbrush grows thicker, and instead of pavement, the path is a combination of dirt and pebbles. Gold, green, and faded brown leaves and twigs cover chunks of the path. The ground rises and falls, twists and turns, but you know you can follow the path backward if this one leads to nowhere.

 

As you go deeper in, a chilling wind picks up. At first the breeze brings relief from the bright sun, but when the first batch of light grey clouds float overhead, you wish you had brought something heavier to wear. You shiver, but press on with reckless abandon. Something about exploring the unknown has given you a boost. Your mind races and you attack the next hill.

 

And then you notice, down to your left, a narrower, steeper path. You figure, what the hell, right? If the going gets tough, I can find my way home no problem.

 

And boy does the going get tough.

 

The once smooth ground has a decidedly jagged feel. Your ankles twinge with each step as the path becomes littered with rocks and branches from the massive growth around you. Ever a person of caution, you tilt your body back to prevent falling forward, as the ground declines and wind smacks at you.

 

The rumbling of thunder, at first distant, now quakes the forest, sending pine needles and branches falling like a blizzard of green. You hear the rain falling up ahead. The droplets are big, lumbering, perfect size to cause the most chaos when they crash into whatever unlucky object has the gall the stand in their way. You turn, sizing up the darkening, hilly path.

 

You flex your calf. Yeah, it’s sore, but otherwise you feel great. Got a good sweat going.

 

‘Do I turn back?’

 

No, you’ve come this far, and…and well, the other side has to be close, right?

Straight into the storm you charge. A renewed vigor and more confidence than you had when you started the walk. Before long, the raindrops smash all around you. Upon first glance, your arms are dry and you wonder what magic is keeping the rain at bay.

 

Peering up overwhelms you. The tree cover grows so thick here the sky appears to be made of branches. Well, that explains why it got so dark. No biggie.

 

A nervous twitch, you grab for a snack. You try opening the package but just then, a raindrop hits the pack and your fingers making it too slippery. Well, the magic bubble is burst. Apparently you are beholden to the laws of nature.

 

You bite down on the package and rip it open, harder and faster than intended. The trail mix (how ironic) spills out onto the ground. You manage to catch a raisin and an m & m, both smushed in the process. Maybe it’s for the best, it was a generic m & m anyway.

 

A few more raindrops hit and your survival instinct kicks in. Crunching peanuts and freeze-dried banana underfoot you go forward.

 

Lighting slices down, hitting the ground a dozen or so feet away. Your entire body buzzes, the hair on your arms and (damn, I have that much hair on) your back stand up taller than the goosebumps pock-marking your body. You shiver out the tension just as thunder booms around you louder than the time you saw AC-DC back in their prime.

 

Ugh, okay, you think about your friend Damian and you just know he would argue he witnessed them in their prime, you just got a decent show from a band on the decline. As you roll your eyes at the memory you miss a path. Well, you almost miss it. You saw something out of the corner of your eye that looked different than the rest of the terrain.

 

You glance back. Yeah, that’s a path. Still dirt, but someone must’ve done some trimming recently as the bushes are held bay.

 

Now, do you go back or press on?

 

‘I took a left, then a right, then a left. I still must be fairly close to the original trail and soon I’ll meet back up with it, or better yet I’ll exit onto the street at the far end. Hell, maybe I’ll be close to that ice cream place I deserve a treat after putting myself out there like this, right?’ You think confidently.

 

You puff out your chest, emboldened by the mint chocolate chip you can now taste on your tongue, and make your way toward destiny. You still have a bounce in your step as you gallop in a half-walk half jog. The storm is fierce sure, but you’re brave and the forest itself, while menacing and foreign provides decent cover.

You curve left, and left, and left. You dip down, down, down.

 

Something bugs you about your original assessment to stay on the path. Did you go left first or right? And even if you had gone left, the second turn took so far around that maybe the partially groomed way might’ve taken you on a more direct path.

 

You stop, breath heavy. You turn just as a shadow races across the path, low to the ground. You’re heart skips a beat.

 

‘Squirrel, I bet.’

 

You search for more shadows.

 

‘Or a fox?’

 

You feel a breath across the back of your neck. You duck and rotate, but nothing’s there.

 

‘Probably just the wind, Spazz.’

 

So, going backward is out. You turn and start jogging full on now.

 

The sides of path close in until your pumping arms are brushing the low hanging branches, or the tall rising bushes…or poison ivy growing wild, unchecked, choking all other growth until it submits. Who can tell, it’s so freaking dark now. For all you know the rain is dripping poison oak powder on top of you…and bugs, too. Yeah, what are those tiny bugs that live on leaves and burrows into your ear because it senses the warmth?

 

The name escapes you, but you certainly recall how they leave their baby eggs in patches of earwax to insulate them from the elements.

 

‘When was the last time I cleaned my ears?’ You don’t know 100%, but it was either during Clinton’s run or the first Bush’s lone term.

 

You kick a rock, toes screaming out in acute pain, but there’s no time to stop now. Each step hurts more than the last. And now you feel an itch or a tickle in your ear. Damn it. Come on.

 

You stick your pointer finger in the left one, but quickly realize it’s time to bring in the big guns…err, the littlest gun. Pinky to the rescue. You dig around. Yeah, there’s enough wax in here to give your mother a candle for mother’s day…if you hadn’t missed it already.

 

‘When is her birthday?’

 

The path opens up and you make your way into the center of a multi—path intersection. Doing a 360, you count seven ways to move forward. Wait, maybe eight, but damn if that tiny path walled in by pricker bushes and thorny trees doesn’t look like the most menacing place you’ve seen since the boiler room from Nightmare On Elm Street.

Just as you attempt to take a relaxing breath, a greasy giggle sounds from the bushes. You jerk your head toward the noise just as shaking branches sound to your right and a twig snaps behind you.

 

RUN.

 

Trusting your instincts you dart forward, down the eight path. Thorns slash at your arms, prickers stick to your legs.

 

RUN.

 

No looking back or to the side. Cramps ache in your legs as a stitch forms in your rib cage. And the unforgiving path quickly slants up, up, up. You find yourself bent over, using your hands to help you forward. Clawing at roots and rocks for purchase to keep your momentum going forward.

 

The ground dissolves from damp to muddy in a matter of moments. Behind you the forest is a commotion of rustling and doom.

 

You slip, falling face first into the steep hill. A rock slices your chin. Any fanciful thoughts of how a scar might give you a distinguished, Harrison Ford look, are pushed away the as you feel something slither onto your lower leg.

 

If that wasn’t enough to get you going, the whispering tongue tickling the back of your kneecap is.

 

You jolt up, pumping your legs forward. You crest the hill.

 

Ahead, you see a rat-sized point of bright light. You scream, in panic, in relief, in the slightest admission of hope.

 

Run.

 

You head toward the light not hearing anything behind you. Not because it’s not there, but because won’t allow anything to stop you now. Rain pelts your face. The trees are thinning. The path is level and smooth. The air, just a few moments ago had been stuffy, stagnant, old moldy decay, but now fresh and clear enough to aid your lungs as they heave full then empty, full then empty.

 

You burst out of the forest and into another well-lit park. It’s a clearing with a swing set, a few benches, and more importantly the only adverse thing you notice is a mist hanging just over the wet grass. The storm is over.

 

You type: THE END.

 

Laughter erupts, adrenaline, which you thought had been spent, rushes through your body. Your mind buzzes with happiness and pride.

 

From the opposite side of the park, three men and two women approach wearing green park employee shirts.

 

The first one, an imposing, athletically built man with a crew cut and a military-aire, asks, “You all right?”

 

You nod, still shaking.

 

The group pauses close to you, seemingly not believing your self-assessment. They remove their backpacks, and you decide when they offer a water or dry towel, you’ll accept with thanks.

 

‘Maybe they have coffee?’

 

The first guy, now on his knee unzipping his pack, asks, “What are you doing all the way out here?”

 

You hold up your tablet. “Just finished a story I’ve had jumbling around in my head for months now.”

 

“Congrats.” One of the females says.

 

Damn her teeth are white. Her curly dirty brown hair reminds you of that cute gal in your high school German class.

 

‘Whatever happened to her?’

 

Twenty-year reunion is coming up. Maybe she’ll show.

 

You steady your breathing and wipe the cooling sweat from your brow. “Thanks. It feels great to be finished. Writing a story is easy.”

 

They ALL burst out laughing.

 

You peer at the tablet as doubt and panic and embarrassment return. Right there, written in all caps, THE END. You exhale relief, grinning while you stare at those mesmerizing words.

 

“Well, hotshot,” The female says. “Now you’ve got to edit it.”

 

Your chest tightens. “And how do I do that?”

 

The first guy speaks again, his voice a booming bass. “Go back into the forest until you find where you started.”

 

Surprisingly, this doesn’t give you any anxiety at all. You stand, and find yourself ready. “I’ve already conquered this once, the second time should be even easier. Plus it stopped raining.”

 

“True,” the man says. “But this time we’re coming with you.”

 

Turning you notice the park employees are each wearing masks depicting the skulls of various predators and each of them is brandishing a machete.

 

You step back, fear returning. “Who are you guys?”

 

“Editors,” the man with the booming bass voice says, as he slices the air with his weapon. “We’ll give you a three second head start.”

 

strawberrydaiquiri!

and yes, i know this post needs to be edited. I ran out of time before hopping a plane (they gave me an hour head start this time 🙂 By the time i’m back from the UK i hope to have the rough draft and first edit done on a novella i’m writing. Please, wish me luck and i promise to send you good writing vibes as well.

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