Interview With Science Fiction Author, Joe Prosit.

I had the wonderful opportunity this month to interview Author Joe Prosit about his new book “Machines Monsters and Maniacs.” Joe is an independent author living in Brainerd, Minnesota with his wife and family. Well known for his writing of short stories, he has won many awards for his writing. Science Fiction, Horror, and Psycho Fiction are not usually in my wheel house of readings. However, I enjoyed every short story in this book. Though it is important to note, I read them in the afternoons and not at night.

What inspired you to start writing?

I don’t know if there was a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. Playing with Star Wars and GIJoe toys turned into drawing comics which turned into writing books and I never really stopped. When I was a kid, writing was a way to funnel my hyperactivity into something cool and exciting during the long boring hours of school. Now that I’m a little more grown up, I still channel my angst and emotion into fiction. But instead of just superheroes, monsters, and laser beams, now it’s fear, grief, remorse, existential dread… and heroes, monsters, and lasers. 

What comes first plot or character?

Long before I get to work on the plot or character specifics, I come up with a general setting and vibe of a story. Right now there’s a proto-story swimming around in my head about this land full of meandering silent giants and two governments who are vying for the population’s faith and loyalty. There’s this girl who drives a fast car and smuggles magic drained from the giants across the borders, but I don’t know what she’s like yet other than she’s a nihilist. Do I have a character yet? Not really. Do I have a plot yet? Not at all. But soon, they’ll blend together into something that complements each other. It’s always a dance between character and plot. Without one, the other is nothing. 

Tell us about your new book, “Machines Monsters and Maniacs.”

Machines Monsters and Maniacs is a collection of sixteen short stories that have been published in various websites, anthologies, podcasts, and magazines over the past five years. Equal parts science fiction, horror, and what I call “psycho fiction,” if you enjoy the strange, the scary, the odd, the sinful or the mind-bending, there’s something in this collection for you.

Physical, digital, and audio copies are available at my website www.JoeProsit.com. If you already have a copy, let others know you enjoyed it by leaving a review on Amazon.

What advice would you give a new writer starting out?

The devil says the worst vice is advice, but I’ll try to come up with something.

First, have fun. Write what you want to write. Keep yourself excited about your characters, your plot, your setting, and your style. After you’ve had some practice, don’t be afraid to get your work out into the world where you can get some honest feedback from other writers, editors, agents, and the like. Don’t expect immediate success. Always work on your craft. Always try to get better. Keep writing. Put your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard and write. 

Tell us what you are working on now and when we can expect to see it.

My current work in progress is titled, “The Shadows Between the Trees.” Right now it’s in its second draft and needs plenty of polishing. A long way to go before it’s ready to be published, but here’s goes my first draft of the elevator pitch:

The Shadows Between the Trees is an adult cosmic horror novel set in small-town Northern Minnesota. When Conrad, an out-of-work businessman, hears his abusive father died, he returns home after twenty-seven years for the funeral only to find he’s inherited his dad’s dilapidated barbeque joint and a half a million dollar debt. But his problems really only begin when he’s stalked by towering sentinel monsters who inject false memories into his mind to lure him away from reality and into the void so they can take humanity’s place on Earth. In order to stop them, Conrad must discern friend from foe, reality from lies, and come to terms with his own past.

Hopefully that’s enough to excite your curiosity while I finish it, edit it, and get it in print. As always, watch for updates on my website, or follow me on Twitter @JoeProsit. Thanks!

Kacie Clement’s New Release: Mississippi Moonshine: A Kamira Jackson Mystery.

I am proud to announce the first book in The Cold Case Chronicles: A Kamira Jackson Mystery is now available for pre-sale.

It was a fun book to write. The characters a joy to build. I especially like Willie Mae Gordon, Kamira Jacksons aunt. Willie Mae at eighty-eight years old is a Traiteur. A healer. She has her own specialized herb healing garden out back of her kitchen, and many people come to Willie Mae to be healed. Willie Mae does not take money for payment, as you will see when she answers the door to greet Kamira, holding a live chicken.

Read more for the description of Mississippi Moonshine.

Forty-six years ago, two brothers were killed and thrown in the Wolf River. Can a troubled detective surface the truth before her own life is at risk?

Atlanta cop Kamira Jackson can’t forgive herself for getting caught and held captive for ninety days. Feeling unworthy of her job, she flees to Mississippi only to be confronted by a police chief who isn’t happy with his jurisdiction employing a Black policewoman. And she fears she’s being set up to fail when she’s given a decades-old murder assignment, and only six months to crack the case.

Vowing to beat the challenge and with the help of a retired veteran, Jackson retreads the slaying of two men shot point-blank and found floating in the isolated swamplands. But exposing an almost half-century conspiracy implicating too many powerful suspects might be fatally hazardous to her health.

Can the traumatized investigator overcome her nightmares and solve the cold case?

Mississippi Moonshine is the gripping first book in The Cold Case Chronicles crime thriller series. If you like fast-paced action, determined heroines, and unexpected twists and turns, then you’ll love Kacie Clement’s thrilling mystery.

Buy Mississippi Moonshine to open a can of dark truths today!

Pre Order your copy today! Release date: November 1, 2020

Well, I must get back to writing Book Two, A Shooting, A Drug Deal and a Trail of Ants.

Interview With Author T. J. Jones

I had the privilege to sit down with Minnesota Author, T. J. Jones, to talk with him about his journey as a writer, and his wonderful Slater Mystery Series. I have read T. J.’s entire mystery series, and recommend this series as a must read, if you enjoy intriguing mysteries.

What inspired you to write?

I learned to read at an early age. Our family lived on a farm several miles from town and we had one channel on the television. Books became my obsession, and naturally I wanted to emulate the people who wrote them. The stories of far-off lands, gunslingers, and a man raised in the jungle by apes fascinated me. I was surprised to learn that people managed to make a living just by putting words to page, and decided early on that it was something I wanted to do. Would do. It’s taken a long time, but I’m finally giving it a shot.

What comes first plot or characters?

I’m not sure why, but all my fiction starts with characters. I do my best to be sure that the people in my books always react consistently and stay in character. Not to say that they can’t evolve, but there needs to be a reason for it. After I know who my character is, I start throwing them into situations that will challenge them, or change them somehow, hopefully for the better. I think the basis for all fiction, written or otherwise, is conflict and resolution. Sometimes the conflict takes place in the world around the character, and sometimes it comes from within. I never outline, but I sometimes jump several chapters ahead and write a scene, then work toward that point. I rewrite a lot, which is fine. Sometimes I find things, whole chapters, even whole new people that I hadn’t considered the first time around.

How much fun was it to develop Slater’s character, and how many books are now published in the series?

I wanted Eric Slater to be extraordinary, but not too much so. He’ll never take on a room full of bikers or hang from the side of a 747; but he does have certain talents, a good sense of humor, and an honest affection for the people around him. His relationship with Maggie wrote itself, and their bond will continue to grow throughout the series. In each of the books he learns something about himself, and the reader learns something about his strengths and his faults.

There are currently four Slater Mysteries, with one more in the works. Depending upon inspiration, the Corona virus, and the vagaries of fate, there may be many more. We’ll see.

What advice would you give a new writer before starting out?

Since you asked, Kacie, I will volunteer what I have learned not to do as a new writer. When I started my first book, Callie’s Secret, a second cousin who is in the publishing business gave me some advice. She told me to do my best work, rewrite until I was happy, then put it away for three months. Then, if I wasn’t happy, rewrite it again until I was satisfied.

Did I listen? No. Do I wish I would have? I’m really not sure. Getting that first book out as fast as I could was incredibly satisfying, and thanks to the wonders of self-publishing, I was able to do my rewriting after the fact. But my advice to others? Listen to my second cousin and take your time.

Tell us about your new release coming out.

The next Slater Mystery will be titled “Slater’s Game” and will probably drop around Thanksgiving. Happy reading everyone.  T.J. Jones

You can find T. J. Jones amazing Slater Mystery Series on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Sisters-Detective-Slater-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07KVQS669/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=tj+jones&qid=1598611368&sr=8-3

Interview With Best Selling Author Carissa Andrews.

This week I interviewed Best-Selling Author Carissa Andrews. Not only does she tell us about her up-coming new book series, “The Windhaven Witch” series, but she shares advice for new and upcoming writers and authors as well.

What inspired you to start writing?

Originally, it was simply the love of reading. I would dabble with short stories and poetry when I was a kid. But when I was 14, I had a really vivid dream that felt more like a past life memory. For whatever reason, I had to write about. At the time, I was really into Fear Street novels by R.L. Stine, so I decided to write a story similar to that. It was the first time I wrote a novel. While that version will never see the light of day, the idea behind it was resurrected just this year.

But more recently, I began writing again in 2010, thanks to the nudging of my long-time best friend, Sherry. I had been struggling with trying to compete in the graphic design market space in our small town. She encouraged me to start writing again. At first, it started with a blog. Then, she gave me a story idea she always wanted to read. This was back in the day of Twilight, so having a strange romance was on her mind. She wanted a ghost story where the woman fell in love with a ghost. What ended up happening instead, was an entire new world downloaded into my brain and the Pendomus Chronicles was born. And no, there’s not a single ghost in that one. HA!

What comes first plot or characters?

For me, it’s a combo. I have some books that were solely developed based on the characters first. The Pendomus Chronicles and Oracle, namely. Their stories developed because I loved the characters and then I gave them a story to go with them. But others, like Awakening, Love is a Merciless God, and even my Windhaven Witches series were more plot driven. I knew what I wanted to share and cover and then I fit those characters around it.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

Some of them come to me on their own. I knew the first book in the Pendomus Chronicles would be Pendomus because it was an introduction to the world, and since Pendomus is the planet’s name, it just made sense. Polarities came about because my main characters were split up on the planet. And Revolutions has a few meanings. Oracle is pretty self-evident if you read the book. Diana Hawthorne is the world’s most powerful psychic, but there’s more to it than that. Other titles, like Love is a Merciless God came about by searching for quotes on the internet. For that one, I searched forbidden love sayings. The title was a bit long for my taste, but it worked. Then, later I realized the acronym for it is LIAMG – and Liam is one of the main characters. So, it totally worked. And the G even does, too… if you think about it. With the Windhaven Witches, I was working with NYT Bestselling Author Rebecca Hamilton and we knew we wanted to develop a series of books that went together and were easily distinguishable. So, we bounced ideas off each other to create a pattern – Secret Legacy, Soul Legacy, Haunted Legacy, and Cursed Legacy.

What advice would you give a new writer starting out?

Learn to love outlines. We all start out with the love of a story, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But outlines will keep you from getting stuck. Especially if you plan on doing this as a career. I started out as a pantser, but ultimately transformed into a hybrid plotter. I’ll develop my storyline, my overall arc, and get as much detail as I can, then I start writing and let the story dictate whether or not I was on the right track. Typically, big elements will stay in place, but it’s the smaller things – how a scene is laid out, who’s in it, etc. that might change.

Tell us about your new release coming out?

My newest release is Secret Legacy, Book 1 of the Windhaven Witches. It comes out on September 15th, 2020. But the remaining 3 books rapid release through the remainder of the year – each a month apart.

Remember when I said I wrote that book when I was 14? Well, Secret Legacy is the resurrection of it. I took the dream and the original concept for the story and mapped out four books to tell the whole tale. Even now, I can still remember the dream like it happened yesterday.

The series itself revolves around a supernatural academy, various supernatural witches and beings, and delves into the darker realms of death, rebirth, and resurrection. Go figure, right?

Book Blurb:

☆☆~~ 50% of Royalties Donated to the American Cancer Society! ~~☆☆


Nestled in the woods of Windhaven, Blackwood Manor waits to unleash a dark and deadly legacy…

When Autumn Blackwood shows up at Windhaven Academy for the Witching Stick Orientation, she hopes to find out what dormant powers she could possibly possess to have been accepted to the elite supernatural school. Instead, the academy is in chaos as everyone frantically hunts for two missing girls.

But as school begins with Autumn no closer to figuring out her powers, strange occurrences start to follow her everywhere. Even at home, Blackwood Manor keeps many secrets, and Autumn can’t escape its haunting past.

New friends urge her to learn more about her family’s history in order to unlock her powers and make sense of what’s happening at Blackwood Manor, but Autumn’s not so sure. Once an accident brings Autumn face-to-face with death, however, she realizes her gifts are tied to a legacy that can either save or doom them all…

Fans of Kelley Armstrong, Joe Hill, and Jennifer Armentrout will love The Windhaven Witches!

Link: https://www.carissaandrews.com/secretlegacy-amc/

You have taken your writing experience to a new level, can you tell us a little about Author Revolution?

Absolutely! Through my company, Author Revolution, I teach budding authorpreneurs how to craft stories that resonate and how to get them out in the world with a rapid release indie publishing model. Author Revolution started officially in 2019, but I’ve been teaching indie authors how to write and publish their books since 2015 or so. My background in publishing is pretty extensive. I’ve worked in the front-end at multiple bookstores, I’ve worked for publishers, printers, marketing firms, and I have a degree in graphic design. There isn’t much I haven’t learned about the world of indie publishing at this point and I love taking that knowledge and sharing it with others. I have taught both online and in-person courses.

Author Revolution has a weekly podcast, 3 online courses currently available, and my flagship course, Rapid Release Roadmap is in the process of being built now.

You can learn more about Author Revolution by going over to: www.authorrevolution.org

What Are You Researching?

Who has spent entirely too many hours researching their newest novel? I know I have. Sometimes to the point I can spend an entire day watching how to build a pipe bomb video. Yes, I do believe one day the FBI will show up at my front door at which time I will award them with free books of my mystery and thriller crime novels. Note to self: keep fresh cookies and coffee on standby.

I have found self-discipline seems to be the key. I often found I was getting sidetracked by minor research as I was writing. Which ended up in my loss of consistency in writing. My advice to new writers is, keep your inner perfectionist under control, be practical in your research. I am a Virgo. Therefore, I am a perfectionist.

I have finally developed a plan for researching each new book I write. I break my research down into two categories. The first category being, before writing research and the second category, after the first draft research. I keep my research organized, using Evernote. It is a magnificent tool for research.

My before writing research consists of researching the locations I am using as a reference. Right down to location, culture, history, plant life, etc. I try to visit that location if my checkbook allows. If not, the internet allows you to travel to that destination and research key points.

From that point, I am developing my major character arcs. For example, one of my characters in my new upcoming series, The Cold Case Chronicles, is a Traiteur. A healer. I researched everything I could find on Traiteur’s, building it in to her character arc.

Once I finished my character development, my story outline, and scene progression. I then start to write my current book. Which brings me to step two in my research development. Researching after the first draft. This is the simple part. When writing, when I come to a part in which I need more research to make my story more interesting, I insert (Research) and highlight it in yellow. It is as easy as that.

After the first draft, I go back and make notes on what added research needs completion, and why. I then conduct my next step research and start my second draft.

Remember, always put your story first. Often authors feel a lack of research and feel they need more and more research. That can often be nothing other than a lack of confidence. Be Bold! Self-discipline is the key. Many hours of research can cause authors to become sidetracked by minor research while writing. Some writers spend so much time researching, they never quite get around to writing that next best seller. So go forth, be bold and write your next best seller!

What are your tips for researching? Leave a comment below.

Writer Fashion: What’s Your Writer Style?

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In my vast research I have found that writers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Which brought me to the thought process of what do you wear when writing that first novel?

When I worked in the professional world, I was someone who dressed every day in business attire. Then came retirement and my fresh adventure of being a novelist. The first month, I dressed as I would go to work. Writing a novel is work, right?

Then my family started asking me where I was going? Even though the sign on my home office door said, ‘Halt, writer at work. Enter at your own risk.’ It seemed they were expecting me to leave at any moment.

Then I joined a writer’s club and seen what they were wearing. That is where my confusion began. Some wore casual office attire, some wore jeans and t-shirts, some were lucky to be wearing any clothes at all. They all looked different. I had dressed professionally for the occasion of my first meeting.

It was then I started my research of how writers dressed. This the result from my massive research:

The Artsy Writer: included scarves, flowing tunics, bright and earth colored, were confident and bold.

The Eclectic Writer: leaned more toward vintage clothing, with cowboy boots paired with lace.

The Sexy Writer: leaned towards short-short skirts and plunging necklines.

The Business Writer: included, skirts, hose, heels, and button-down shirts.

The Casual Writer:  leaned towards clean and comfortable. Making the statement, I need not impress anyone vibe.

The Funky Writer: dresses in ripped jeans, a Queen t-shirt, rainbow colored hair, kind of rock-band vibe.

After all that research time, I threw the research conducted away. I have now published five books and have concluded that it did not matter how I dressed. I realized my writing attire at all times is to wear pajamas. It is inspirational and comfortable. When I leave the house, well, it is whatever is available in the closet. Dress for success is no longer in my vocabulary. I look at going to the store, post office, or whatever errand I am on, as going incognito. You never know what you may hear while waiting in line that generates your next big story.

So if you’re a writer, wear what makes you most comfortable, even if the UPS guy reminds you it is three in the afternoon, as he takes in your pajamas when you answer the door.

For further research, let me know what your writing style is in the comment section below.

Kacie’s Review of The Corps Justice Series by C. G. Cooper.

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I love adventure, crime, and political fiction books. C.G. Cooper’s brilliance shines in new and unexpected ways in the Corp’s Justice series. I have just finished the sixteenth book in the series, and every one of those books has an unexpected twist. It is a journey through the lives of an elite team of former soldiers.

The principal character is Cal Stokes, who is extremely brave, loyal, yet has many vulnerabilities. Watching him grow, fall, and get back up is not only a joy, but inspiring. His friendships are amazing, funny, and when one-character dies, you grieve right alongside Cal Stokes. Every book in the series grabs your interest in the first few pages, holds you close, and takes you on the adventure with them as they fight for this country’s freedom.

Amazingly enough, as an avid reader I wonder how I did not find C.G. Cooper’s books earlier. How I came to find this brilliant author was, I had just finished another crime series, and was searching my Kindle for a different read. I came across the Daniel Briggs series and thought it might be an interesting read. I can honestly tell you it took me exactly four days to finish that series.

The Hubby was wondering if I would ever cook again and asked me if he should be concerned with whom this Daniel Briggs was. He has since reminded me that while I was reading the Daniel Briggs series; I was telling him each day what Daniel had done that day. He did not realize I was talking about a book. He was wondering where I met this guy.

After finishing that series, I took a few days off, fixed the Hubby some food, but could not get my mind off on how great these books were. Daniel Briggs dragged you right there beside him through the entire series. So, I pulled out my Kindle, and I was off on a search for another series by C. G. Cooper. I came across and read the Corp’s Justice 1-3 box set, not yet realizing there were an overall of 16 books in the series.

The most striking thing about the Corp’s Justice series is the brilliance of C. G. Cooper’s ability to build characters. Throughout the series, new characters come in, and a few lost. It shows how their team builds their friendships and have fun arguing at the same time. The challenges the team face, the foes, or enemies they face in each book are nothing short of riveting.

I cannot name a single aspect I did not like about this series. The result, sixteen books composed professionally, fully researched, and filled with diverse personalities. I give this series five stars and highly recommend you take the time to read this series. It will take you on a course filled with action, adventure, crime, and romance.

I am also now impatiently waiting for October to come, when book seventeen, “Matters of State” is due for publication on Amazon. Now that I have finished all sixteen books over the last few months, I am sad to say the Hubby has lost ten pounds, but he now knows how to order take out delivery.

Giant By Nature: A Short Story. Part Three.

The final part of Giant by Nature. I hope you have enjoyed the story.

I pulled my head into my shell just as the truck came to an abrupt stop, pushing me hard enough into the box surrounding to break the front of the box apart. Tommy’s father opened the back of the truck and putting a ramp against the back of the truck for me to walk down. I heard Tommy say, ‘Come on Fernando, we need to hurry.’ Then I heard Tommy’s father yell, ‘Julie, get Tommy on the boat.’ I didn’t know who Julie was, but I watched as a woman grabbed Tommy and ran. I moved as fast as I could down that ramp. That woman had Tommy. I had to save him. I followed the woman as fast as I could, hearing Tommy’s dad saying, ‘Hurry Fernando!’

When I got to the boat, I could barely breathe. I may swim at twenty miles an hour in an ocean; on land is another story. My stubby legs and arthritis only let me go so fast, but I made it. As the boat was pulling away into the ocean, everyone on the boat including me, I saw and heard a lot of noise and saw many lights. I figured unless they were going to swim, they were not going to catch me.

I looked around, and the woman was holding Tommy. She was holding him, rocking him back and forth. I walked over to Tommy and stretched my neck for a scratch hearing him say, ‘Mom this is my friend Fernando.’ I was relieved, I didn’t have to worry, that woman was Tommy’s mother.

It was a long trip. I was glad I had the time to spend those days with Tommy. We sat in the sun, and I gave Tommy rides around the boat. That woman, his mother, she fed me watermelon every day. I thought earthworms were good. I could spend all day eating watermelon. I don’t think they realized I could go a year with without eating or drinking anything, but I wasn’t going to turn down the snacks they were giving me.

One morning I was sitting in the sun napping, Tommy was lying on my back and I heard Tommy’s father say, ‘There is the Island!” I looked out the back of the boat and indeed I was home. I was excited and sad at the same time. Tommy climbed down from my back, and said, ‘Fernando, you are home!’ I honked in response to him.

I watched Tommy begin to cry, and I rubbed my head on his red shirt. I knew it was time to say goodbye. I listened as Tommy’s father and the Captain talked about how they could push me off the boat so I could swim to shore. I think they were wondering if I would know what to do.

Tommy’s father said, ‘It is time Tommy Fernando is home and we need to let him go now.’ I rubbed my head on Tommy’s leg and stretched my neck one last time for a scratch. Tommy scratched my neck. He wrapped his arms around my neck and said, ‘I love you, Fernando. Don’t ever forget me. I don’t want you to worry, I will be okay now that I know you will be safe.’

Tommy’s father and the captain opened the door on the back of the boat. I looked at Tommy one last time and dove into the water and swam to shore. I walked to join the others sunning on the rocks and raised my flipper to wave goodbye to Tommy as I watched the boat begin to sail back to San Diego.

I looked at Mateo, and he was smiling. ‘Great story Dad, I am glad you came back home.” “I am too son, now go on back up the hill to the women, I bet they have a treat ready for you. I am proud of you Mateo. Remember this story and tell the others.’ ‘I will dad!’ I watched Mateo move back up the hill. As I looked out across the calm deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, I wondered if Tommy was at peace. It was time to find out. Time to look for that next neck scratch from Tommy. I am one hundred and fifty-one years old. I looked at the Island one last time knowing that Mateo and the other sixteen hundred offspring I have produced would carry on my legacy. All I must do is jump in the ocean one last time, and Tommy and I will be together again. Raising my arthritic body, I jumped into the ocean. Hitting the cool water, I am at peace.

Giant By Nature: A Short Story – Part Two

Welcome to part two of my Giant By Nature Short Story. Enjoy! Watch for the last part of the Story next Saturday.

The next Saturday morning, I was at the fence waiting for Tommy to arrive. I saw his father waiting in line with his friend, one of the zookeepers. I didn’t see Tommy. I was worried. Why would Tommy’s father be there without Tommy? I waited for their turn to come. Tommy’s father said, ‘Hello Fernando, I have your carrots.’ I stretched my neck, looking around him, trying to find Tommy. I reluctantly took the piece of carrot; Tommy’s father gave me.

I heard Tommy’s father say to his zookeeper friend, ‘He is looking for Tommy. I was at the hospital this morning, and the doctors told us that Tommy only has a few months left, that the seizures in his brain are getting worse. I don’t know what to do. Tommy’s only wish in life is for Fernando to be safe once he is gone.’ I watched Tommy’s father’s eyes fill with tears. I honked, trying to let him know I understood. I listened closely as his friend said, ‘Then that is what we will do. Tomorrow night we will take Fernando. I have a friend who owns a boat. Fernando originally came here from the Galapagos Islands to bring his species back from extinction. He has done his job. What do you say we take him back home?’

I got excited. These two men wanted to take me home. I started honking loudly, shaking my head back and forth. I needed them to realize that I understood them. Tommy’s father said, ‘I think he can understand us.’ Then he gave me a fat earthworm and said, ‘I will be back tomorrow night with Tommy, Fernando. We are taking you home.’

I ambled up to my favorite rock wondering how to say goodbye to the girls. The next morning, the girls and I went for a swim and sunned ourselves on the rocks. It was time to say goodbye. I said to the girls, ‘Della, Corrine and Fancy, I have news. I am leaving tonight. Tommy’s dad and that zookeeper, Bert, are coming to get me tonight to take me home to the Island. I want you to know I will miss all of you. It is time to say goodbye. Soon another turtle will come to take my place.’

Poor Della, she couldn’t breathe. She said, ‘I don’t care who they bring, I will have no part of him. None of us will, right, girls? There will no longer be any eggs laid at this zoo. I will miss you Fernando, but I am glad you are going home to live out the rest of your life in peace. If a distraction is needed when they come for you tonight, we have that covered.’

Never have I felt such love. I spent the rest of the day sunning and wondering what life would be like on the Island. Darkness fell, and I heard a truck and I knew Tommy’s father had come. They had a gigantic box and had laid carrots out. I believe they thought they needed to entice me into the box. I was ready. I was going home. I went willingly into the box, picking up a few carrots on the way.

We were off! I could hear Tommy in the front of the truck say, ‘Thank you Dad. Fernando will be happy on his Island.’ I was happy to hear Tommy was with us and not in the hospital. I didn’t mind the bumpy ride at all.

Suddenly, I heard loud noises. I had heard them before, coming from the road in front of the zoo. My box filled up with blue and red lights. The truck started to slow. I could hear Tommy’s father say, ‘It’s okay Tommy, we will get Fernando to his Island.’ I shuddered. I knew something was wrong. I listened carefully to the men talk outside saying, ‘Bert, what do you have in the box?’  Bert laughed, and said, ‘It’s Fernando, the missing sea turtle. Looks like the old guy went for a walk. Found him five miles from the zoo, just strolling down the boulevard.’ I saw a face looking through the slats in the box. I smiled at him and started to sing, letting him know I was fine.

I heard the man say, ‘You are not headed back to the zoo, Bert. Where are you going?’ Bert laughed and said, ‘I was having dinner and thought Tommy here would like to go help search for Fernando, I am just dropping them off at home and heading back to the zoo.’ Listening, I heard the other man say, ‘Sounds good. I will let the zoo know you found Fernando and are on your way back.’

The lights moved away, and I heard Bert say to Tommy and his father, ‘We have to move fast. The boat is waiting.’ It felt like the truck I was in was moving fast. I was having a hard time keeping my balance and for a seven-hundred-pound turtle that is not easy.

It wasn’t long after that I could smell the saltwater. Wouldn’t you know it? I could hear those noises and see the blue and red lights again. It seemed like the truck was going even faster. Then the truck turned to the left, and I almost tipped over. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I didn’t know what Tommy would do if I had to go back to the zoo.

Giant By Nature: A Short Story

Excited to share a new short-story I wrote recently. I will share the story in three parts over the next three weeks. I hope you enjoy it! Please leave a comment, telling me what you think of the story.

Part One

I am a Giant of Nature. When you are a sea turtle as old as I am, one hundred and fifty years old. All you want to do is lie on a rock and take in the sun. My son, Mateo, five years old, seemed determined not to let me spend my afternoon napping. “Dad, how did you come to be on our Island?” He asked. I stretched my long leathery neck to look back up the hill to see what the others were doing. They were all resting. Stretching my arthritic body, I smiled at Mateo. He was always interested in everything. Mateo always had a story to tell.

I smiled at Mateo, looked out at the calm sea off the Galapagos Islands and began my story, knowing that Mateo would tell the story again and again.

I was one hundred years old and living at the San Diego Zoo. One Saturday morning, I slept in late, and went out to the yard that overlooked the pool where I often swam. I found the girls, Della, Corrine, and Fancy already enjoying the sun of the day.  Della said to me, ‘Good Morning Fernando, it is Saturday and your sleeping in. Won’t be long and the children will arrive for their visit.’ Then Corrine said, ‘I hope they bring good snacks this week.’ Fancy laughed as she said, ‘Corrine, is that all you think about is the snacks?’

Moving towards the pool for a dip in the cool water, Della said to me, ‘I am worried about your little boy, Tommy. I think he is getting sicker, Fernando. He is now in that chair that rolls around. His dad pushes him everywhere.’  I nodded my head in agreement, thinking Della was right. It had only been the last few months that Tommy would not or could not walk anymore, but I didn’t know what was wrong with him.

Glancing in the pool, I saw my reflection. My face was an old yellow color. After four decades in this breeding pen, I should have expected it. My shell was looking like a house that could use a fresh coat of paint. My excitement in life was my Saturday visits with Tommy. He always brought the best carrots and that red shirt he wore every week was for me. As I jumped in the pool, I thought of the nice neck scratches Tommy gave.

A short time later, seeing the children arriving, I lunged off the rock in the middle of the pool and swam to the bank. Tommy should come soon. I watched as the girls moved to the opening in the pen, letting the other children pet them and feed them snacks. Looking around, I saw Tommy sitting in that chair, alone while he waited in line. Where is his dad? The two zookeepers were standing with him. Tommy looked upset as I ambled towards the fence where Tommy was sitting.

As I got there, Tommy was crying, and his dad was trying to console him. I may not have ears, like Tommy had, but I could hear him speak. Tommy said, ‘But Dad they said Fernando is too old now. They will take him away and bring another boy turtle in to replace him.’ Shocked, my beady eyes widened. The Zoo planned on taking me somewhere? I watched Tommy wipe his nose on his shirt, and heard him say, ‘Where is this place, euthanized Dad? Can we go there?’ ‘Where did you hear that word Tommy?’ Tommy’s father asked. ‘The zookeepers said that he is too old and needs to go to euthanized. Where is that dad?’

I couldn’t move, Euthanized? I knew what that meant. They were planning on killing me. I heard Tommy choke, not being able to catch his breath. It scared me. I moved closer to the fence and stretched my long neck so Tommy would see me. As his father was giving Tommy a drink from that bottle, I pulled my body onto the rock next to him and started singing. Tommy saw me, and I watched as he laughed.

‘Fernando, you are here! I promise I won’t let them take you away to euthanized, I will save you. I love you.’  I sang higher, and as Tommy moved up in the line, I followed him, staying close to the fence. ‘My dad and I cut your carrots last night Fernando, and I even brought some earthworms I had dad dig up last night for me.’

I smiled at Tommy, honking even louder in response. Earthworms, my favorite! When Tommy got to the opening, the girls moved aside. They could see Tommy had been crying and needed to spend time with me. Tommy scratched my neck lovingly, giving me first a piece of carrot and then an earth worm. Though I enjoyed the snacks, I could tell Tommy’s head hurt, and it worried his father. I looked at his father, while I stretched my neck further for Tommy. I saw the tears in Tommy’s father’s eyes and my heart broke. There was something wrong with Tommy. As he stroked my neck, he seemed weaker.

I heard the bell ring; it was time for the next group of children to have their turn. I looked at Tommy as he whispered, ‘I will save you Fernando, I can’t die knowing they will send you away.

Die? Tommy would die. He’s just a kid. I was 100 years old. Why was he going to die? I watched as his father patted Tommy’s shoulder and started moving him away, back to their car. I felt sick. I ambled back to the rock I sat on most of the day, not interested in the other children.

As I climbed up on the rock, I heard Fancy say, ‘Something is wrong with Fernando girls, let’s go.’ The girls moved away from the waiting children, to sit with me in the sun. I watched the disappointed children that had been patiently waiting their turn, as the girls came toward me, taking their places in the sun. Della asked, ‘What’s wrong, Fernando?’

I lovingly looked at the girls, who had been part of my life the last seventy years at the Zoo and said, ‘I have outlived my purpose. They are planning to kill me and bring in a younger male.  Worse, my friend Tommy is dying. I am not sure why, but there is nothing I can do.’ It had been a long morning. I pulled my head into my shell to reflect on my life and what was to come. Unless a miracle happened, my life was soon ending. If my life ended, what would become of Tommy?

Watch for Part Two, Next Saturday!