Please Read the Letter #WEPChallenge

 


Note:
This story is the first chapter of a WIP. I whipped it together over the past couple of days as I almost forgot about this month's challenge. I think I'd call it a third draft. I welcome suggestions for improvement as it is part of a piece that is still in the works, but ask you to please BE COURTEOUS when critiquing.

I know this piece is missing the background lore of Seacliffe Island and the Oceanview School. Since I intend to include this lore at a later point in the story, I didn't worry about incorporating it into this piece. I realize that this is a faux pas for a complete, 1000-word story, but I do not believe that it is a faux pas for an introductory chapter. 

I also realize that I need to do more to reveal how the father concluded his daughter was a vampire. Not delving deeper into this lore is a choice made due to time constraints. I will endeavor to develop this plot point further before submitting the final piece to Dragon Soul Press for their Beautiful Darkness anthology or publishing the story myself.


A content warning in triplicate for those who hate vampire stories:
This is a vampire story. It is a vampire story. Don't forget, it is a vampire story. If you don't want to read vampire stories, don't read this story. I'd rather receive no comment than a "I usually don't read vampire stories, here's why your vampire story sucks" comment. Such comments are unhelpful and irritating. 

Spoiler: The vampires in this story don't sparkle.

Now that the introductory fol-de-rol is out of the way, let's get on with it.

Tagline:
A father realizes his daughter is not only dangerously troubled, she is no longer even human.

To Whoever Finds this Ledger

Please Read the Letter

30 October 1938

I suspect that my daughter Harriet murdered her friend Charity Dye on Halloween night, 1930. She and Charity were both fond of their international studies instructor, Miss Khaing Krauss. Miss Krauss was the daughter of the Prussian rail baron Shemuel Krauss and his Viennese/Chinese wife, Zhen. She was well-traveled and enjoyed sharing her adventures with her pupils.

Harriet began imagining wrongdoing where there was none. She convinced herself that Charity, wishing to be the favorite pupil, told Miss Krauss lies about her.

I spoke to Miss Krauss before she left the Oceanside School. With my promise that I would take no action against her, she admitted she thinks Harriet may be involved in poor Charity’s disappearance.

“Please, Mr. Meadows, I beg you not to repeat my words to your daughter or your wife,” Miss Krauss insisted. “If you do, I am doomed. I fear for the safety of any girl who crosses your daughter. As for your wife, surely you know she would do anything to protect Harriet.”

Six months later, I learned from Miss Krauss’ father that she died from a ruptured appendix shortly after her return home. I found an effigy of Miss Krauss in a miniature coffin on my wife’s vanity table. The effigy had a hatpin stuck in its abdomen.

When Harriet went off to Hunter College in New York, I hoped that pursuing a higher education alongside other intelligent young women would calm her fiery disposition. I put the disappearance of Charity Dye out of my mind and chalked up Miss Krauss’ untimely death to coincidence.

The frequency of Harriet’s letters dwindled in the autumn of 1932. It displeased me to learn that the reason for her distraction was a young man with whom she had become acquainted.

Harriet wrote to me, disclosing that she had moved off campus to assist the growing homeless population of New York alongside the object of her affections. While her aim appeared laudable, I was concerned that she might fall pregnant only to be abandoned by her paramour.

As if to reassure me that she was in competent hands, Harriet sent me a photograph of the enigmatic Saroj Tremblay. He was the embodiment of the tall, dark, and handsome stranger prognosticated by fortune tellers to romantic-minded young women. Possessing a visual representation of the swarthy swain did nothing to assuage my anxiety.

Harriet returned to Oceanview alone at the beginning of the fall semester this year. She remains sequestered in her room during the day and spirits herself away when night falls. I suppose she might take the ferry to Virginia Beach, although Seacliffe Island has its own nightlife.

Following a series of disappearances, I admonished Harriet not to leave the house alone. I sat in the hallway outside her door, reading. Each time she opened the door, there I was. Harriet seemed more amused than angry. She looked into my eyes, and I became paralyzed.

“I could leave if I wanted to, Father, but I think you need to be taught a lesson,” she said. “What happens next is on your hands.”

I woke in my study shortly before dawn, curled up on the oversized ottoman like a cat. Fortunately, none of the students were stirring yet. I went to my private toilet and pulled myself together, then proceeded to the kitchen.

I thanked God, if God there is, for my electric coffee percolator and pop-up toaster. I made a mental note to tell Handy Hans Longstaff to thank his wife for the delightful quince jam. Feeling bolstered, I began my morning walkthrough of the property.

I found the body of Oceanview’s literature instructor, Miss Alannis Breiner, beside the boiler in the basement. Blood stained the collar of her violet night dress. Her long golden-brown hair was fanned out around her horrified face. Her regal blue eyes stared at nothing. Her blanched skin felt like cold marble. It was then that I noticed the bite mark on her neck.

Police Chief Plato Gordana confirmed that a human assailant made the bite, noting that the attacker must have been wearing prosthetic fangs.

“Poor girl musta thought she was letting Rudolph Valentino in, but it was actually Count Dracula,” he mused as he examined the injury. “Huh. Curiouser and curiouser.”

“How so?”

“Well, either our Count was a good deal smaller than that tall Hungarian fella who played him in the movie, or our Count is a Countess. A man’s mouth is larger than a woman’s mouth on average, and a man exerts more force when he bites.”

Gordana reassured me he didn’t believe we were dealing with a real vampire, only a maniac pretending to be one. He had no explanation for where the exsanguinated Miss Breiner’s blood had gone, as only a scant amount was spilled.

“I suppose the sicko might have drunk it or maybe bottled it up,” he said. “A few bodies turned up drained of blood while I was still in New York back in ’32. I’ll get in touch with the NYPD. It don’t look like anyone broke in, so I’m guessing the lady opened the door for ‘em.”

“Do you think it was someone she knew?”

“Could have been, although folks will generally let a woman in, ‘specially if she appears to be in distress.”

I appreciated Chief Gordana’s attempt to comfort me, but I knew who the assailant was. May God, if God there is, forgive me for what I must do.

If you have found this letter, it means I have failed in my objective. I beg of you to heed my warning. Oceanview School must never be reopened. What lies within her foundations is something worse than death.

950 Words

C.L. Hart calling card made by me using design software from pixlr.com


The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese If You Please (Or Don't Please)


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is the intellectual property of Naughty Netherworld Press/Poetry of the Netherworld.

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it. Odysee’s reblog function is called repost, which makes things confusing since reposting is considered a no-no on most platforms. It’s fine to share the post using the repost function on Odysee. It is not okay to copy-paste the material into a new post.

Sharing a link to the post is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drag Anthology Submission #8Sunday #MFRWAuthor #MFRWHooks #MFRWSteam #RainbowSnippets #SnipSun

 

The following is a snippet from The Downfall of Narcissus, a Lil DeVille story that I'm working on for submission to the forthcoming fabulous drag anthology from the House of Lobsters. First, I'll share the snippet, then I'll give the deets on the anthology and how you can enter your work for potential inclusion if that sort of thing really is your bag, Baby.

I could not help noticing the tension in Hermes’ back and shoulders. I reached for the scented oil on the nearby table, and Hermes relaxed at my touch as I massaged the oil into his skin. I passed the oil to Heracles and suggested that he work on Hermes’ feet and legs while I continued my therapies on his chest and arms.

“Perhaps it should be you who tends to his feet,” Heracles countered. “He always says that I am too rough. It isn’t my fault that he’s a tenderfoot.”

Just a little tease here. I'm always nervous about sharing what I'm working on for publications other than Naughty Netherworld Press. Plus, the Rainbow Snippets hop prefers six-line snippets, so there's that!

Now, here's what you need to know about the House of Lobsters, so you can submit your own work to them if you're interested! I am not affiliated with the House of Lobsters, so if you have questions about their submission guidelines, you'll have to contact them.

https://houseoflobstersliterary.wordpress.com/submissions/

The anthology is seeking drag-related art, fiction, and poetry. They say that submissions can be any genre or style. They accept reprints and simultaneous submissions. The deadline for submissions is June 30.

I haven't been going to the hops very much this year because I've been concentrating on submitting my writing to venues outside of Naughty Netherworld Press. While I prefer self-publishing, I also enjoy submitting my work to anthologies and periodicals. In the event that said work is rejected, I will eventually publish it myself. So, win-win.

Now it's time for the hops. Let me explain a little bit about what I'm doing here because what's clear to my screwy spiderweb (the spider has been doing LSD and refuses to take Ritalin) of a brain may not be clear to those whose brains work in a conventional way. I'm sharing this post with all the hops below because I believe the authors who take part in these hops might benefit from knowing about this anthology. 

I know I don't necessarily do blog hops well because I tend to take on too much and then get mired in anxiety. I hope you can forgive me for not being the best blog hopper and please understand that I really do want to help my fellow authors, which is why I'm sharing this opportunity with all of you rather than hoarding it for myself. 

Here is a handy image to help you understand the wacky workings of my brain.


Note that at first glance, the LSD spiderweb (upper right) looks normal, but when you look again, it really isn't. I like this one as a metaphor for the way my brain works. I can "pass for normal" until people start to know me a little. Then the truth comes out pretty quickly. Even though I am mostly harmless, I am definitely not normal and neither is my brain. 

This is your brain on ADHD and anxiety. So much fun, just like the horrible roller coaster at the Hell's Pass Abusement Park. Oh, look, a squirrel!

By the way, I don't like the drugs for these conditions. I have paradoxical reactions to psych meds. For me, the cure is worse than the problem.

Not that ADHD is a psych condition, it's a neurological deviation. Not that people with ADHD are deviants, although I have been accused of such. I'm actually Very Vanilla in real life. I just have a vivid imagination and a filthy sense of humor. I blame Monty Python. Plus, I found my father's collection of underground comics at an early age and I enjoy old sci-fi exploitation films like Barbarella and Flesh Gordon. 

I've also been accused of being a devil worshiper, but that's a story for another time. 

I'd probably better put the shovel away now before I dig myself in any deeper.

Anyway, without further adoo-doo, it's time for...

All the Hops

https://mfrw.blogspot.com

http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

https://www.facebook.com/groups/401643826588474












The Friday 56: A Snippet from Ketil & Yitzy's Adventure

 


Hi, Naughties! I found a new blog hop called The Friday 56. You just turn to page 56 in any book or go to 56% on your e-reader if you're reading a short story or novelette. I'm featuring a few sentences from Page 56 (according to the Kindle Cloud Reader) in my own book, Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House.

"Robin, John, I shall inform you when the candle and incense are to be lit, and I will speak the words of the spell. Now, allow me to fetch the dagger, and we shall hopefully commence discovery of what we must do in order to open the final lock."

Ketil placed a box of matches between Robin and Little John and the Arabian dagger with its wavy blade before Yitzy. He stood before the group and began to intone the words of the spell.

Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House is a quirky Lovecraftian fantasy novella featuring a team of four unlikely heroes: a human ghost, two ghouls, and an exiled member of the Great Race of Yith. If you think that sort of thing really might be your bag, Baby, you can grab your copy free with Kindle Unlimited or purchase the book. I just lowered the price, so if it's still $3.99, wait until it drops to $2.99.






It's kind of dismal that I haven't posted here in three months, but I've been really busy creating work for submission. Unfortunately, this means having to back-burner my self-publishing projects. I just submitted a poetry chapbook manuscript to Two Sylvias Press and am working on a story for submission to Dragon Soul Press. Follow the link below if you'd like to learn more and maybe put the pedal to the metal and submit your own work.


~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~


Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors



Charity Sunday: International Committee of the Red Cross #CharitySunday #SnipSun #8Sunday

 


With the current unsettling and unsettled political situation in Ukraine, many citizens have been displaced. The International Committee of the Red Cross is a trustworthy organization giving aid to communities in need. I will donate a dollar for every comment received on this post to the ICRC.


My snippet is from Lil DeVille's newest WIP, Coming Together, the first book in The Awesome Adventures of A.S.S.S. series. A.S.S.S. stands for Alien and Supernatural Search Squadron. I don't have a blurb for the book yet, but I'll provide a little background for the inspiration behind its creation following the snippet.

“You wanted to see me, Lieutenant General Espinoza?”

“Yes, Captain Botterill. Please come in and close the door.”

Captain Abigail Botterill entered General Espinoza’s office. She was a slender, willowy, red-haired woman of medium height appearing to be in her late twenties. She had a flawless alabaster complexion and exquisite violet eyes. Despite her delicate appearance, Captain Botterill commanded respect. She exuded a definite “fuck around and find out” energy.

Lieutenant General Beowulf Espinoza locked the door behind Captain Botterill. Looking like a leading man from a 1940s action movie, he ran his hand over his wavy, dark-brown hair, his black coffee eyes twinkling merrily.

Despite the genre and the somewhat suggestive tone in this out-of-context snippet, the relationship between these characters is 100% platonic. I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up. No worries for those of you looking for the "good parts," there will be plenty of hot stuff later.

And now, as promised, a bit of backstory.

My first foray into the steamy and sassy world of sci-fi erotica was the Carnal Invasion series of short stories, which I have since pulled out of publication because I want to rework them, giving some detail to the connection between humans and the lusty Gamma Iridians. 

I would like this reworking to be more than the Schtoink of the Month, which, admissibly, is what the first iteration of the series was. I don't think I'm going to write a monthly serial again. Apparently, some people are very successful with such a format, but both of my attempts were dismal failures.

That's about all for this time. I look forward to reading and commenting on the other Charity Sunday posts.




The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese If You Please (Or Don't Please)



Creative Commons License


This work is the intellectual property of  Naughty Netherworld Press.

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it. Odysee’s reblog function is called repost, which makes things confusing since reposting is considered a no-no on most platforms. It’s fine to share the post using the repost function on Odysee. It is not okay to copy-paste the material into a new post.

Sharing a link to the post is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

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About Me Monday: Open Book Blog Hop

 

Image by Jess Bailey from Pixabay

My work area is nowhere this neat and organized and I'd probably manage to hurt myself with the thumbtacks. Hurting myself is a given. I just hurt myself on the lap desk that I use to hold my keyboard while engaging in epic literary exploits that lesser writers are jealous of.

By lesser writers, I mean my cat. Who isn't actually jealous, but she can't write. She lays down on the keyboard sometimes. 

Anyway, today's question is, what tools do you use when writing?

I have the Grammarly and ProWritingAid extensions for Brave. They are mostly useful but I cuss at them a lot. Like now. Shut up, ProWritingAid! I am engaging in an epic stream of consciousness! A tool like you wouldn't understand!

I use Twitter. I tend to call it Twatter. To me, Twitter is a tool. I occasionally engage in minor banter. Rarely, I rip someone a new one. I generally ignore stupidity because it isn't worth my time to bother with it, but every now and then some flabbergastingly moronic buttface says something so despicable that I can't stop myself from tearing into them. Ageism is alive and well, a lot of people have never left junior high and think that ad hominem attacks are high art, and if you think sexism and racism are dead, you have obviously never forayed into Twatter territory. But I digress. 

You can follow me on Twitter. I have a fair number of followers and I follow back. I'm usually friendly unless you commit one of the above infractions.

I use Twitter primarily to share links, both mine and other people's. Facebook is practically useless these days, although I still engage with the Snippet Sunday group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/401643826588474

I use blog hops to spread the word about my work. The big three that I engage with are MFRW Book Hooks, Weekend Writing Warriors, and Rainbow Snippets.


I am a member of the MFRW IO group. You don't need to be a romance writer to join although most of the group members write romance in some capacity.


Recently I started using Triberr. Many members of MFRW swear by Triberr for getting more sales and engagement. I created a Triberr membership last year and was completely overwhelmed. The key to making Triberr work for you is to follow tribes related to your interests. When you share other people's posts, they will in turn share yours. Here is my Triberr link so you can engage with true awesomeness.


All kidding aside, you can learn much more about Triberr from Kayelle Allen than you can from me. 


I also use my blogs as a promotion tool, although in my experience when people get to know a little about me, that kind of backfires. I'm such a scathing little ray of black hole sunshine and my resting bitch face never rests. It kind of scares people.

Ornery Owl wishes you a Happy Eat Chocolate day today and a happy Ornery's Birthday tomorrow. Ornery's birthday is a worldwide holiday where people cower in terror in the back of their houses pretending that they aren't at home in case the knock on the door happens to be me. They don't need to be afraid, though, as long as they have chocolate, cookies, cheese, or crunchy snacks. I can be appeased with those.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~



Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors




Come as You Are Party: The Publishing Dilemmas of a Stormy Mind

 

Image by Peter Fischer from Pixabay

I have trouble following rules.

Not the rules that make immediate sense, like don't kill people. I mean the rules that appear in terms of use contracts because these quickly start looking like "blah blah blah," so I skim them and don't retain the information. Then I find out that an author--you know, an acquaintance, not me or anything, is breaking the rules by having their book available on Kindle Unlimited and other platforms as well.

My acquaintance (who totally isn't me) erroneously believed that it's okay to have books available on multiple platforms and on Kindle Unlimited as long as the book isn't free anywhere except for Kindle Unlimited. A nice fellow author named Kris Bock informed my acquaintance (again, totally not me) that Amazon frowns on doing this except in the cases of big-name authors (like me, but not my acquaintance) who can do whatever they want because they have significant clout.

You can buy Kris' books (or read them free from Kindle Unlimited) through the following link. I wanted to give Kris a shout-out because she could have ridiculed my acquaintance, but instead she gave said acquaintance (who is in no way me) helpful information so they can correct the error of their mistake.

Now my acquaintance wonders if they should pull their books from Kindle Unlimited or if they should instead pull them from Draft 2 Digital and make them available only on Amazon. Kris said that since most of her sales come from Amazon, she publishes only on Amazon so readers have the option to borrow her books through Kindle Unlimited.

That made a lot of sense to my acquaintance, and it certainly would make things easier. However, unlike me, whose mind is as solid and unjumbled as a perfectly maintained brick wall, my acquaintance totally loves the idea of publishing their book on multiple platforms because it's so exciting to have all those links. Also, my acquaintance thinks that Amazon is pretty much Satan, but these days a lesser-known author has to sell their soul a little to build an audience so they make deals with the devil, otherwise known as billionaire Jeff Bezos.

The nice thing about Kindle Unlimited is it allows readers to borrow a book and try before they buy. This is a great feature for broke folk who want something new to read but may not have the money to purchase it. As a reader, I've certainly taken advantage of my Kindle Unlimited subscription.  As a reviewer, it drives me crackers when writers don't provide the option of either getting the book through Kindle Unlimited or providing a free copy, either as a Kindle gift or a PDF. It isn't like I'm getting rich reviewing books.

My acquaintance keeps the cost of their books low, so perhaps the Kindle Unlimited option really doesn't make that much difference. 

Dear Naughties, what would you do? Have you noticed a significant portion of your own sales coming from a particular channel? I can't answer this question because I'm way too important and popular. My books are available exclusively to ancient deities who pay a premium for them.

Ornery Owl is Totally Not Telling Tall Tales




Onyx and Opal Sweet Romance for Valentine's Day #8Sunday #MFRWHooks #SnipSun

 


Genre: Sweet Romance, Historical Romance, Interracial Romance

Heat Level: 🔥

Word Count: Approximately 5900 words

Blurb

When Elias Król competed in the El Paso Decathlon on an August day in 1978, he was proud to take first place. Little did he know the best prize wasn't his hard-won trophy; it was the bond he would form with the sweet young woman taking his order at the fried chicken booth.

Madison Sanders wasn't looking for love while working at her family's concession stand, but love was about to find her in the form of a lanky red-haired athlete.

This short and sweet interracial romance with a guaranteed Happy Ever After is part of a developing series but it can also stand on its own. With a very low heat rating and no profanity, it is appropriate for both teen and adult readers.

Snippet

I'm sharing from the second chapter. The entire first chapter is available at the following link.

https://ornerybookemporium.blogspot.com/2022/02/onyx-and-opal-always-and-forever-book.html

“Hey, Darlin’, what can I do you for?”

The power of speech temporarily evaded Elias. He hemmed and hawed and cleared his throat. The big-hearted angel came to his rescue with a cool cup of iced tea.

“Don’t go chug-a-luggin’ it now, y’all don’t wanna give yourself a bellyache,” she warned.

Elias sipped the tea and blamed his flushed face on the heat.

“Thanks,” he said. “Sure is hot out today, ain’t it?”

“Sure is, and yet here us crazy fools are. Y’all are runnin’ in the heat, and I’m standin’ back here with sizzlin’ fry baskets and a grill. Y’all want somethin’ to eat, or do ya have another race to run?”

(Plus just a morsel more...)

“Nah, I’m done for the day. I’m ready to chow down,” Elias replied, glancing at his rescuer’s name tag. “Is there anything special that y’all recommend—um—Maddy?”

Buy Links

Price: $1.99 or free from Kindle Unlimited

Free to own between February 13 and February 17.

Amazon

https://amzn.to/33cnVHf

Books 2 Read

Price $1.99 from all sellers.

https://bit.ly/OnOpAFB2R

Odysee

Price 33 LBC (approximately 99 cents) for PDF

https://bit.ly/OnOpAFOdysee

Payhip

PDF for 99 cents plus any tip you care to leave to offset Payhip and Paypal fees.

https://bit.ly/OnOpAFPayhip

Help me promote!

I'm happy to do a post for a post or a tweet for a tweet. Your books will be promoted on Readers Roost. I just need a media kit. Comment with your email so I can get back to you or email me at chartley65@gmail.com. It helps if you write your subject line in all caps so I'm less likely to miss it.

Don't DM me on Twitter. I never check my DMs. 

https://bit.ly/ReadersRoost

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Blog Hops





Please Read the Letter #WEPChallenge

  Image by Camila Denleschi from Pixabay Note: This story is the first chapter of a WIP. I whipped it together over the past couple of days...