sabato 17 novembre 2018

Il Mio Demone, Sara Marino

IL MIO DEMONE di Sara Marino
Derek è un demone a cui piace passare le vacanze sulla terra in compagnia dell'immancabile amico Arthur, che ama la moda e i fiori. Gli umani sono creature curiose e divertenti, ma nulla più: questo è ciò di cui Derek è convinto, prima di incontrare Elena, bionda studentessa alle prese con una ricerca sugli abitanti degli inferi. L'interesse di Derek nella giovane umana supera quanto consentito dalle rigide leggi e tradizioni dei demoni, che impongono indicibili supplizi a chi non le rispetta alla lettera. Elena dovrà scegliere se abbandonare Derek al suo destino, o legarsi a lui in un patto dalle condizioni oscure. Cosa significa che una parte del suo essere ora appartiene al demone? E cosa comporterà portare dentro di sé un frammento dell'essenza di Derek? 
Per proteggere Elena dalle trame tessute dalle famiglie più potenti dell'Inferno, Derek si esporrà alle insidie dei suoi simili, e Sara a sua volta lo soccorrerà, rendendosi conto che il demone dagli occhi verdi le scalda il cuore più di tanti umani. 

In questo viaggio tra le caverne e le lande desolate dell'Inferno, i simpaticissimi personaggi che popolano il libro ci tengono attaccati alle pagine. Riuscirà Derek ad avere la meglio sul suo nemico giurato, che vuole divorare Elena per ottenerne il misterioso potere? E cosa accadrà, una volta che i protagonisti avranno accettato il sentimento che, contro ogni logica, è nato tra loro? La storia di Derek ed Elena ci mostra che gli abitanti dell'Inferno non sono poi così diversi dagli esseri umani, e che l'amore e la fedeltà sono sentimenti che possono nascere e sopravvivere anche nelle condizioni più avverse.
Compra l' e-book o la versione cartacea sul negozio online de Le Mezzelane Casa Editrice.  

venerdì 16 novembre 2018

Rogue Copies

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt: a book keeps appearing out of the blue in the most unexpected and unusual places.

This week’s story comes from Phil Yeats. Phil (using his Alan Kemister pen name) recently published his first novel. A Body in the Sacristy, the first in the Barrettsport Mysteries series of soft-boiled police detective stories set in an imaginary Nova Scotia coastal community is available on Amazon.

Rogue Copies
 Phil Yeats

Yesterday, I saw a copy of Tilting at Windmills sitting abandoned on a park bench. I sauntered by perusing the cover. It was definitely my cover, my title and my pen name.
I’d recently distributed electronic copies of the manuscript, including jpegs of my proposed covers, to eight writing colleagues for final comments before I formatted it for self-publication. I’d also sent the first fifty pages, no covers, to several publishers. But I hadn’t published it.
After sneaking down another path, I approached the bench from a different direction. I stood behind one of the Public Garden’s giant rhododendrons and noted everyone within sight as I tried to understand this strange event.
Had someone stolen my manuscript, printed copies of the book, and placed them for sale in local bookstores? Or had someone left a mock-up of the covers with blank pages where I’d find it? A none too gentle reminder from a colleague telling me I’d taken too long getting this manuscript finished.
I watched for half an hour, but no one approached the book, and no one I recognized loitered nearby. I picked the damn thing up and leafed through it.
Two things were obvious. First, it wasn’t laser printed covers around blank pages. It was a properly formatted and printed versions of my book, one I’d have proudly displayed if I’d produced it myself. Second, someone had sliced out the page that identified the printer.

This morning, I looked for a listing on Amazonnothing. I stopped by two bookstores to see if copies were on their shelvesagain, nothing. Finally, I visited the library to search for it in their catalogue.
I saw the second copy on a display table of books by local authors. I picked it up and rushed to the information desk.
The librarian on duty shook his head. “Not ours. Someone must have slipped it into our display.”
I now had two copies of my unpublished book and no idea where they came from. I wandered into the library’s busy café, ordered a coffee, and tried to unravel my little mystery.
A woman appeared, plunked a third copy of Tilting at Windmills on my table and disappeared into the crowd near the café entrance. I grabbed my backpack and chased after her, but realized the futility as I pushed through the crowd inside the café into a larger one outside. I’d only managed a brief glance at the woman, enough to conclude she wasn’t anyone I knew, but little else. She’d been wearing a colourful cape, but she could easily have slipped it off and blended into the crowd.
I returned to my half-drunk coffee slightly wiser. I was now certain someone targeted me with these copies of my book, but I didn’t know why or what to do about it.
An idea popped into my head. I could format the authentic version of Tilting at Windmills and rush it into print. In the meantime, I could write blog posts describing the strange occurrences of rogue copies of my as yet unpublished book. If they caught on, they could form the basis of an interesting publicity campaign.

A week later, I passed George Foster, one of my eight beta readers, on Spring Garden Road. “I see your manuscript is finally published,” he said without stopping.
I stared at his retreating back. Was he referring to the e-book version I’d posted on Amazon three days earlier, or more rogue copies floating around Halifax?


The Spot Writers—Our Members:

giovedì 8 novembre 2018

Back to Work

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt: a book keeps appearing out of the blue in the most unexpected and unusual places. Today’s tale comes to you from Val Muller, author of the spooky novel The Man with the Crystal Ankh.

Back to Work 

by Val Muller

From the moment her daughter just “had to have it” at the checkout line, Harrison Habbinger the Squirrel drove Marie crazy. It should be illegal for stores to have children’s items in the checkout section. Or any items, for that matter. The check-out line was always the worst part of grocery shopping with a toddler and a newborn.

But what is a mother to do? When there’s a fussy toddler and a cart full of items to be placed on the conveyor belt, the easiest thing is just to give in. And the toddler always knew just how to time things just right—messing with the cart items just to the point of causing an actual mess. It was like she knew her mommy would be frazzled enough to buy the small book. In the game of chicken, the toddler always won.

And it was what, $3.95? But it was a four-dollar mistake. Since its purchase, Harrison Habbinger the Squirrel kept popping up everywhere, even when Marie tried to hide it.

It wasn’t even a great story. It made its point with alliteration. Each page played with a letter. “Harrison Habbinger loved lemons, licking his lips for lavender lemonade…” The author had labored so much on making the alliteration happen that there was nothing interesting about the story. The toddler didn’t learn any new facts about squirrels, there were no insights, no characterization, no funny jokes put in there for parents. Some children’s books did all these things. They were—well, maybe not quite enjoyable to read, but at least they made an effort at it, eliciting a chuckle at some idiosyncrasy of the grown-up world.

But not Harrison Habbinger the Squirrel. Yet for some reason the toddler was obsessed with it. The book followed them everywhere. Even when she thought she put it back on the bookshelf, it would materialize in the pantry, under the TV next to the DVD player, in the passenger seat of the car…

One day, Marie received an email from her husband at work. He’d discovered the book stashed in his briefcase. He’d showed it to his co-workers, and the office had a good laugh at the stupidity of the book.

Every night, the toddler asked for it to be read once, twice, sometimes more. It was excruciating, and the worst part was that the alliteration made it impossible to tune out. It was laborious for a tired mom to read at the end of the day. As the newborn grew, his love of the language patterns only helped encourage the toddler’s obsession.

And it didn’t just stop at the book. The obsession with the squirrel transcended the pages.

The toddler often asked for stories in the car, always about the squirrel. Waiting in line. In the bathtub. At bedtime. Eating lunch. In the car. Everywhere, the toddler demanded a story about Habbinger.

It was getting harder to make up original stories about the squirrel that had very little personality. When trying to put the baby to bed, Marie cringed at the excited cheers downstairs shouting the fact that as soon as the baby fell asleep, Mommy would be free to read Harrison again.

And again.

And again.

When Mommy was stuck for hours at a time and a chair feeding the baby, she was held captive by a toddler and her book.

Marie tried to remind herself that she was only away from work for 12 weeks. The time would fly by quickly, the baby would get bigger, and the toddler would return to daycare as well. The time would fly by fast, even if the hours might seem long. But still: every time she saw that book, she shuttered.

Her seven-hundredth attempt to hide the book failed on the cusp of her return to work. She spent her last waking moments of maternity leave reading the squirrel book several times to the squealing delight of her daughter who seemed nowhere near ready to fall asleep for the night.

The first two days back to work were a sort of reorientation into the work world, with coworkers taking her out to lunch and her regaling people with stories of the birth and the first few weeks and the toddler’s reactions and all the cute baby pictures that leave out the less desirable moments of parenthood—the diaper blowouts and temper tantrums and the obsession with badly-written kids’ books.

But after those first two days of work, things got back into routine. Everyone focused back on their jobs, and Marie realized she had a lot of catching up to do. It was on that Dreadful Wednesday, hump day, dreary rainy blurry Wednesday, when she actually felt a bit tearful dropping the kids off at their daycare. She stared at her desk. Had she done it? Has she been one of those moms to squander her time off? Everyone told her to appreciate every little smile, every little diaper accident, every little change of clothes, every all-nighter, every annoying story, because those hands wouldn’t be little for much longer. They said it was way too easy to squander if you weren’t careful.

Had she squandered all that time?

She dug into her bag to try to find her lunch. She’d packed some Halloween candy, and chocolate always cheered her up. As she dug through her bag, something tattered and worn and colorful peeked out at her.

It was Harrison Habbinger the Squirrel. In all its glory. There in her work bag.

How had it got in there? She smiled and knew the answer. That little toddler of hers, as mischievous as she always seemed, always knew how to time things just right.


The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller:

Catherine A. MacKenzie:

Phil Yeats:

Chiara De Giorgi:

giovedì 1 novembre 2018

The Notepad

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt: a book keeps appearing out of the blue in the most unexpected and unusual places.

This week’s story comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Cathy’s novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, is available from her locally or on Amazon, to great reviews.


The Notepad 
by Cathy MacKenzie

“Bob, did you see my book?”
“What book?”
“The one I was reading. I had it a few minutes ago.”
“Which one was that?”
Candace and Bernie,” I shouted back, exasperated. “Did you see my book or didn’t you?”
“I had it a few minutes ago.”
“Don’t know. Haven’t seen it.”
Was I losing it? Books I had been reading had mysteriously disappeared over the last little while. Is this what the Golden Years bring us seniors? Sure, I was forgetful but no more than the average person; at least, I didn’t think so.
I’ve lost other things in the past, like my reading glasses, only to find them perched on top of my head or dangling from the beaded chain around my neck. One time I found them on the bathroom counter, where I’d forgotten them after plucking that unsightly and hard-to-grasp silvery, spidery hair from my chin.
And then there were the car keys. Easy to misplace those. Voila, they turned up on the foyer table even though that wasn’t a place I’d ever leave them. I’m always extra careful to put my keys back into my purse because I’ve returned into the house too many times after forgetting them on the kitchen counter. Once, after looking for hours, I found them in my coat pocket.
But this missing book was another matter, one far removed from the usual, everyday age-forgetfulness. Math has never been my strong point, but this particular book has been lost at least six times—all during the past week. Was dementia setting in faster than expected? And was it dementia—or something worse?
I was into the third chapter earlier in the week when it first went missing, but I later found it in the guest bedroom. The next time, I discovered it in the closet in the side porch. I'd never leave a book in those places, let alone read there, so I was mystified. The third time, it turned up in the refrigerator. I wasn't aware the book was missing then and had breathed a silent prayer that Bob hadn’t found it first. What would he have thought?
The other places were just as silly. Stupid, silly places.
And now, missing again, and I was positive, as I'd always been, that I had left it by my chaise lounger in the living room.
I sauntered to the bedroom and plopped to the bed. Tears cascaded down my face. Too many instances of misplaced objects lately, and I was sick of Bob nattering at me about being so forgetful. He had put his mother in a home when she developed Alzheimer's. “I can't handle her anymore,” he had said. He was an only child; there was no one else. I offered to take care of her since I was home all day, but Bob wouldn’t hear of it. “She has plenty of money. She can afford to go to a home.”
Stashing a human away, never again to see the light of day, was cruel. And everyone's heard horror stories about those places. Bob’s promised daily visits turned into weekly visits that soon morphed into monthly. The month before she passed on, visits had become almost non-existent. Bob seemed grateful at the end as if he'd been absolved of guilt. And duty.
Would Bob do that to me? I’ve always dreaded going into a senior’s home. We’d made a pact when we married thirty years ago that we’d never do that to the other. Instead, we’d care for each other in sickness and in health—‘til death do us part.
But if I were losing my mind? What then? I’d eventually be unaware of my surroundings, and Bob could easily deposit me in one of those institutions. Without a functioning mind, how would I know?
I dried my tears and picked up the phone. I must see my doctor. Luck was on my side. She had an opening on Monday. I didn’t tell Bob. No sense worrying him. He wouldn’t know anyhow; he’d be at work.
Four months until he retired. We’d enjoy the good life then, travelling, dining out, enjoying each other’s company. Bob was excited and eager for that day.
“Did you find your book?” he asked when I returned to the kitchen.
“Yes.” For the first time in my marriage, I lied to my husband.
Minutes later, I found it in the laundry room on top of the dryer.
Hours later, while trying to concentrate on Candace and Bernie—a not-so-happy life for either of those fictional characters—I devised a plan. I’d keep a small notebook in my pocket and when I finished reading, I’d jot down where I left my book. That way, I’d easily find it. Bob would be none the wiser.
The plan seemed ideal to me (as long as I remembered I had a notepad!), yet I shivered despite the hot summer day. Is this what my life had reverted to? Losing one’s mind wasn’t pleasant.
Bob seemed distant in bed that night. When I questioned him, he claimed work issues. I returned to my side of the king-sized bed.
On Monday, my doctor assured me I was fine. “Advancing years,” she said. “I’ve experienced the same issues.” She was ready for retirement, too, but I bet she hadn't experienced missing books that turned up in odd places.
When I returned home, I decided to start the week fresh. A new week. A new notepad.
The notepad didn't help. Most of my days were wasted while I continually searched for my book. I felt like a child hunting for Easter eggs. I didn’t get much reading done. But I knew one thing for certain: I wasn't going crazy; I hadn't lost my mind. But what was going on?
And then, mid-week at noon (Bob always came home for lunch), I caught him scurrying off with my book. 
Aha! The mystery was solved. But why?
The next evening, I followed Bob when he was purportedly going to the Silver Seniors' Centre down the road. Supposedly, guys played crib there once a week. 
But he didn't go to the Seniors' Centre. 
And then it all made sense. He wanted to get rid of me, probably wanted to commit me to an insane asylum (did such institutions still exist?) or, at the very least, toss me into a home as he had his mother. If it weren’t for my trusty notepad, I’m positive I would have turned into a crazy.
Yep, you guessed it! (Didn’t you?) Bob, my dear sweet (ahem!) husband, was experiencing itchiness.
Bob had found a young thing to cavort with. 
I immediately transferred half of our investments into my name, cleaned out our joint bank account, and left him to his sweet honey. He never contacted me. He knew I had the goods on him, so to speak.
I don’t know what he’s doing now, but I’m enjoying my books in my solitude. And they don’t go missing any longer!


The Spot Writers—Our Members:

giovedì 25 ottobre 2018

If you can't kill it, make it your friend

The current prompt: News these days contain a plethora of depressing stuff from floods and wildfires and other environmental problems, to mass shootings, to refuge problems and other political and social crises, to whatever you like as your favourite example. Write a story focused on one or more of these depressing occurrences and give it a happy ending.
This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.

If you can’t kill it, make it your friend.
by Chiara De Giorgi

Up to 60% of the human body is water. If left without water, a human being dies in three or four days. That’s seventy-two to ninety-six hours. Plants die: a desert is what you have when there’s no water. No water means nothing alive. Water is life.
But water is death, too.
Have you ever noticed how many times water is involved in a natural disaster? Floods, heavy rains, hurricanes, tsunamis… Water can save you from burning in a fire, but then water can freeze and kill you with hypothermia.
After losing friends, family, and belongings to water, in one form or another, more than enough times, I realized I hated it. And yet, the supremely annoying fact was, I couldn’t live without it. I felt helpless when, during a torrid summer, all I could dream of was a lake of crystal clear water to dive into; a frothing waterfall; an iced glass of pure water.
Water had become an obsession. I feared it, I craved it.
I spent years researching ways to survive without this hateful dependency on water, trying to figure out a way to substitute it with something, anything else. I even went so far as designing living beings that were not carbon-based, thinking that maybe it would be possible to operate just a small genetic modification on humans, to make them not water-dependant.
It didn’t work, nothing worked. I was left sad, frustrated, empty-handed, and alone.
Then one day I woke up with a totally different strategy on my mind: if you can’t kill it, make it your friend.
If I could not come up with a way to survive with no water, I’d come up with a way to survive too much water.
My studies changed direction: no more chemistry, biology, and genetics. I turned to myths and folklore.
When I felt ready, I moved to Maldives. There are often hurricanes and tsunamis there, lots of unexpected water, and it’s a lovely place when the weather’s good.
When the rain started falling, and the wind started blowing, and the earth started shaking, and the waves started climbing towards the sky, I was there. While everybody was fleeing to the backland, I ran to the beach. While everybody was wearing a raincoat, I stripped down to my bikini. While everybody screamed for help, I let out a triumphant cry and dove.
See, I am a mermaid, now. Too much water will never kill me, and I’ll never suffer from the lack of it, as oceans are limitless and everlasting. I won’t ever lose my friends and family to water, and it will never steal my belongings again. I won. If you can’t kill it, make it your friend.
The Spot Writers - Our Members:

Val Muller:
Catherine A. MacKenzie:
Phil Yeats:
Chiara De Giorgi: