Edward’s University on his way to a Statics exam? Why his three
roommates lie outright claiming he was kidnapped by a Satanic cult,
all to get money and score with chicks. Don, however, has been
mysteriously transported into outer space where he becomes a pawn of
one Nellie Watt against the Time Lords in a cosmic game being run by
God. Unfortunately for Myron, Slick and Psycho, (Don’s three former
roommates) they have dived into a realm where fools tread. Hilda
Thethia, a practicing Satanist, learns of the ruse and quickly begins
to blackmail the trio. Sadly Myron, Slick and Psycho realize that the
followers of Satan are more wide spread than they could have ever
imagined and none are too happy at having the name of their Dark Lord
besmirched. Meanwhile poor Don is learning the ropes of outer space
in a very hard way. Every mystery he solves only brings more
questions. Will Nellie Watt succeed in her contest against the Time
Lords and go to the Twinkling of Twilights to press the Reset Button?
Will Myron, Slick and Psycho manage to escape from the miserable maze
they created? And most important of all, Why didn’t YOU become a
life there, John is proud to be called a Native New Yorker. John was
raised in Pequanock Township, New Jersey. At age twenty John was
baptized and became a member of the Church of Christ. Presently John
resides in Montclair, NJ and lives with his wife of over twelve years
Sylvia. The happy couple attend the Church of Christ at Chancellor
Avenue in Newark, NJ. John is very active in outreach and teaching as
part of the leadership of the congregation.
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Meet Don Colandri
This is the story of Don Colandri: a fictional character in a fictional universe.
Everything else presented upon these sacred pages is potent gospel truth.
We now join our protagonist in the midst of one of his most distasteful pastimes.
He is not studying. Oh no, studying is far from the excruciating, intense ordeal
happening. Rather, the young college student is cramming. Observe the multiple
beads of sweat gathering on Don’s head, in particular on the glossy area of his
premature receding hairline, where the light shines and shimmers. It is a physical
feature that makes Don Colandri look older than he actually is, not old in a
positive sense, like he could enter into a liquor store and not be asked to present
an ID, but rather in a merciless pathetic way.
If Don Colandri could be mistaken for a tennis star, it would without a doubt
be John McEnroe. Of course, Don couldn’t play tennis like the aforementioned
world champion. But you wouldn’t know that if you sat and listened to Mr.
Colandri. In fact, with frantic persuasion Don would lay down pertinent
statements to make his case. As is his habit, his truths are laced with lies. “I can
serve the ball over one hundred miles an hour,” he says. “My two-hand
backhand is better than most people’s forehand,” he claims. “I would have
played in the Olympics, but I pulled a hamstring,” he laments. In fact, such
falsifications are canted with “hyper” enthusiasm. This leads directly to Don
Colandri’s nickname. He is known by friend and foe alike as Hypo. By the way,
his two-hand backhand is better than most people’s forehands, as everybody who
has never played tennis is part of that which constitutes “most people.”
Words fail me to describe Don Colandri with only one primary adjective.
Some men, for example, are known as handsome. They have perfectly straight
teeth, creating a glistening white smile, with luscious blue eyes that capture all
the wonders of creation and with hair in immaculate style as if painstakingly put
in order strand by strand, all summed up in one label as handsome.
Hypo, however, is not handsome. Rather, he is far from it. In perfect honesty,
and truthful I must be, the young man is quite repugnant. His mouth boasts
crooked teeth, stained yellow from smoking tobacco cigarettes. He has beady
eyes reminiscent of a rat, always shifting left and right as if navigating some
grand maze in an endless quest for a massive hunk of provolone cheese. The
character’s receding hair has been previously mentioned. In addition, these
disloyal tresses were curly and frequently greasy. Yet I am reluctant to simply
describe Don Colandri as repugnant. For it would miss inner values, some of
which contain virtue. It is not that Don Colandri is remotely righteous. Rather,
true to life, he is gray. Not ambiguous in that shade, for as the story proceeds,
specific personality traits shall clearly come forth. Don Colandri, simply put, is
Don Colandri. So let’s just call him Hypo, shall we?
Now, Don Colandri is a sophomore attending Edward’s University. As attested
by his statics book, Don is an engineering student. At this exact instant, he is
trying to deduce the effect of moments on cantilever beams. One day, Hypo
dreams of being a successful engineer. He has no pretense that he is working at
this for the betterment of mankind. Rather, his mind is focused on green. Not the
green of nature either, but rather the green of money. But before he can count his
riches, he must attain them. This means paying some dues and attaining his
college degree. So the pressing matter at hand is the complicated sketch of a
cantilever beam with an abundance of arrows and measurements. Why, if Don
didn’t know better, he might think the picture was some insidious drawing
designed just to cause havoc and confusion. Just for fun, Don turns his textbook
all different angles. He looks at the drawing sideways. He looks at the drawing
upside down. It could be that some lost pirate hid a treasure map inside the
textbook in the open disguise of a force diagram. But after a noble effort, Don
decides that this isn’t the case. He lets out a sigh of desperation similar to a
tremor before an earthquake.
Now, Don is not alone in his obscenely messy apartment room. Clothes of
every variety are tossed all about. So badly sloppy is the abode that if a thief
broke in and ransacked the room, nobody would notice. Sadly, I do not
exaggerate. From these clothes emits an awful stench. The dreaded stale smell of
sweat serves as the base odor. This is masked over by cigarette smoke and
marijuana smoke. Yes, Hypo and company do indulge from time to time in
smoking some weed. It is one of their favorite pastimes, in fact. But I want to
point out the most embarrassing aspect of the clothes strewn around the
apartment. This is, of course, the dirty underwear. Some of these white garments
are soiled both brown and yellow. Ah yes, dear reader, it is a tragedy of epidemic
proportions. But Don and his roommates don’t live like this perpetually. They
are only slobs by convenience. They are quick to tidy up if some festive event is
to occur, especially if there is any possibility of them getting laid.
Who are Don’s roommates, you ask, the other individuals who share the
domain known as room eight? Well come on down, Peter Bellos. You’re the first
contestant to be introduced to the fine reader. While not the hero of the story,
Peter Bellos does play a major part in this tale. In fact, whether Don Colandri is
a hero or not is up to conjecture. Truly he is a victim of circumstance. But not
Peter Bellos. No, he, along with Hypo’s two other friends, proves to be
opportunistic. Take a good look at Petie. His darker-colored skin must be noticed
first in light of this racist society in which we live. Observe his piercing brown
eyes, two wonders that Don Juan himself would envy accompanied by the plump
belly hanging over his belt that he laughs away as “love handles.” Most
prominent of all is his long black hair, hair that is greased back with globs of gel.
This style has earned Mister Peter Bellos his nickname: Slick. For you see, as
you may have noticed, every one of the occupants of room eight has a nickname.
At this present moment, Peter Bellos is lying down on the couch amongst the
dirty laundry, his head buried in a textbook of some sorts. Slick, too, desires to
be rich. It is a common malady of people in this story, always wanting something
that they don’t have. But that seems most logical, does it not, dear reader? Why
would you want what you already have? That would be redundant.
Unfortunately, the whole of mankind is swept away with coveting this
illusionary thing called money. After all, it is either green pieces of paper or
digits upon a computer. But there shall be time enough for me, the author, to
subtly introduce my subversive feelings. So I will lay off and say that Slick, too,
was a greedy bastard and, like Don Colandri, an engineering student.
Now, Myron Thompson, the next roommate of room eight, is a man of
contradictions. He has a deep-seated hatred of his parents for naming him
Myron. Any time that Myron hears his name called out, he cringes in
humiliation. Of course, his peers don’t say “Myron” in some normal fashion.
Rather it is more like “Myyyyyyyyyyyyyyron,” kind of in a singing way to
express a notion of mockery. Myron is a bit of an athlete. As he found out early,
he has to be tough to live up to the name he wears. Now, Myron Thompson
really isn’t motivated to become an engineer to get rich. Rather, his existence is
void of life and purpose. This is evidenced by the black celebrations of room
eight. A black celebration is an event during which the attendees get intoxicated
without any real reason to do so. It’s one thing to get plastered because it’s New
Year’s Eve. There is some formal reason or a semblance of an excuse. It’s
another thing to do so simply because it’s Thursday. Myron Thompson is a bit
taller than his roommates and had curly, sandy blond hair. His nickname is
“M.T.” Those are, indeed, the initials of his first and last name. However, “M.T.”
sounds very much like “empty.” So whenever Myron’s nickname is spoken,
people point to his skull where his brain should be if it wasn’t “empty.”
Occupants of room eight laugh at things that really aren’t that funny. It is just the
way that they are.
Now I must diverge and ask the philosophical question: Do we save the best
for last? Well, at rock and roll shows, you have opening acts and then out comes
the best act. They call these “headliners.” This brings me to the title of this story:
“I Should Have Been a Rock Star!” In American culture, or even British culture,
it is probably something that every intelligent human being has said at one time
or another, when you wake up from the drudgery of the job staring into the
dismal black abyss that is your reality, gasping for air as if you were submerged
in the sea of life being pushed down by some invisible hand directing your
worth. But there is a very crucial thing we shouldn’t overlook, and that is to
never lip-sync. It is an unforgivable sin, the blasphemy of the Rock and Roll
Spirit. Transgress just once, and the ghost of Elvis Presley will haunt you
forever, singing “Love Me Tender” day and night without repose.
Lastly, I have the great pleasure to introduce Saul Griffin, and yes, like Jesus
Christ, Saul Griffin is a Jew. What exactly a Jew is these days, I really can’t
define, so I’ll digress. I’ll save my preaching for Sunday morning at Chancellor
Avenue. Right now, I’m trying to tell a story. You could call it an allegory if you
like. But I’d rather look at it as a bunch of stuff that just happened to happen.
Just a whole lot of whoopla that excites you, and then before you know it, the
book is over, with your tongue hanging out panting for more, more, more. That
is Saul Griffin’s personality to the hilt. He is always looking for that bigger
score, trying to outdo not only everyone else but himself as well, and yes, Saul
Griffin has a nickname. They call him Psycho. As far as a physical description,
Saul Griffin would call himself tall, dark, and handsome. Unfortunately, reality
begs to differ with those adjectives. Psycho is short, pale, and ugly. He has
reddish hair with freckles out of control.
Well we had to mention Woody Guthrie somewhere, so we’ll just throw his
name in here at the end of the chapter. He is perhaps the one man in the music
business who is mightier than a rock star. We could have thrown Lead Belly’s
name in there too, but America in 2016 is still a systematically racist society,
from the Sunday morning cartoons, up to the man who pulls the strings of the
chief of the Federal Reserve. But Don Colandri doesn’t care to contemplate any
of these matters. In fact, he has blotted out even his three chums from his shortterm
memory. In turn, he can calculate the moment of a cantilever beam. The fly
on the wall observes Don Colandri’s forehead and sees one particular bead of
sweat. The light of the lamp has caught the drop of perspiration at just the right
angle, making it glisten as a diamond in the rough, and that is exactly what
Woody Guthrie is. How pretty, thinks the fly.
Tell us about yourself:
I look really boring from the outside: middle-aged married mother of two, works part-time as a church secretary, drives a 2006 PT Cruiser. Dig a little deeper and you discover that to make up for my quiet, orderly life, I’ve been writing fantasy and science fiction novels for the past 18 years. I also play drums and sing backup in a garage-rock duo (that PT Cruiser is a drum hauling machine!), and I’ve been blogging about band names since 2010.
Tell us about your book:
DAUGHTER OF MAGIC is a young adult fantasy novel about a girl whose family’s business is magic. Her parents are both powerful practitioners but at almost 15, she has given up on developing any power of her own. When her parents leave her for the summer with her grandmother in her father’s backwater hometown, she tries to help a friend learn a few spells and discovers an apparently bottomless well of power of her own. Meanwhile, the dead visit her dreams with disturbing warnings about imminent danger to the nation in general and to her parents in particular. No one else is getting the message so she enlists her friends to help mount a rescue. But will teamwork and untrained power be enough to save the day?
What influenced you to write your current genre?
I think I must have felt powerless as a child and teen, because I’ve always loved stories about nobodies from nowhere who turn out to have amazing abilities: magic, superpowers, whatever. I’ve also always been drawn to stories about resourceful children, especially girls.
Who are your favorite authors?
That everyone has heard of: Ursula K. LeGuin, Madeleine L’Engle, Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Michael Chabon, T. R. Pearson, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte
That most people haven’t heard of but should: Angelika Rust, Steve Scribner, Heather Ransom, Kurt Clopfen, Jason Brick, Mikko Azul, Kate Ristau, Sang Kromah, LeeAnn McLennan, and M. K. Martin
What are your favorite books?
In the resourceful-children category, The Pink Motel and Baby Island, by Carol Ryrie Brink. I read Baby Island repeatedly when I was in about 4th grade. I read The Pink Motel one time when I was 8 or 9 and never forgot it; finally lucked into a copy at a church rummage sale in 1993.
I completely fell in love with LeGuin’s Earthsea Trilogy when I was 12 and within a few years had devoured The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, and The Lathe of Heaven. I still love all those books. I’m a huge fan of Fforde’s Thursday Next series and Butcher’s Dresden Files.
Lately I’ve been consuming a lot of indie books. I’m particularly fond of the Tales of Istonnia and Resident Witch series by Angelika Rust. Steve Scribners Tond series has the most thorough and engaging world-building I’ve encountered in a long time, and the story is entertaining, too. It has been a great privilege to read and blurb the books of my fellow Not a Pipe authors: The Staff of Fire and Bone by Mikko Azul; Shadow Girl by Kate Ristau; The Supernormal Legacy by LeeAnn McLennan; Djinn by Sang Kromah; Survivors’ Club by M. K. Martin; Going Green by Heather Ransom; Superguy by Kurt Clopfen; and Wrestling Demons by Jason Brick. I would happily read sequels or other work by any of them.
Who are your favorite literary characters?
Sparrowhawk and Tenar, from the Earthsea books; that’s where I discovered how much I enjoy watching characters in relationship to other characters as much or more than I enjoy plot. Although I like Harry Potter, I love Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood, and I will always have a soft spot for Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. I’m always happy to hang out with competent yet flawed characters like Thursday Next and Harry Dresden.
Is there anything you want to share with potential readers?
It’s fine to set goals and pursue dreams, but always be ready for the unexpected opportunities than climb into your lap and start purring. At least for me, that’s how all the best things happen.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your literary works?
My granddaughter, Amy, was pregnant with her second child in 2011 when her doctor told her that the baby needed to be aborted because its heart didn’t develop properly and was only half a heart. Her own heart was broken but she was determined so she went to a specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital, a place where miracles are performed every day. It was a long hard pregnancy with less than one percent probability of survival, but Amy was determined. When the proper time arrived the surgeon took the baby by ceasarian section and within the first hour of its birth performed a life saving open heart surgery on the tiny heart, followed by two more open heart surgeries before little Sammy was two. He never ate solid food until he was three, but was fed through a plastic tube directly into his stomach. It’s a miracle beyond imagination, but little Sammy is a happy, healthy little guy with a smile for everybody he meets. To know him is to love him. I am donating all proceeds I receive for Cataclysm to “It’s My Heart, New England”, a charity to help the children and families of CHD in non medical ways. On June 24th of this year there will be a family walk and picnic at Endicott Park in Danvers Massachusetts. For details go to walk.itsmyheartnewengland.org. Sammy will be here and so will I. Here’s a picture of Sammy sitting amongst a former years picnic tshirt
themselves seemingly alone on a barren planet while an alien named
Pzx is in charge of the fleet looking for a home. She is under orders
but would prefer to communicate with other beings. This is a tale of
the struggles of both of them as they seek to survive in a barren world.
Materials at General Electric. A native of Massachusetts, he
graduated from Lowell Institute in Mechanical Engineering and later
attended technical and creative writing workshops at Harvard. He has
helped several companies as a consultant to improve profits by using
the theory of constraints, with great success. Bob has written
numerous articles for professional journals, this is his second novel.
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The end of the three hundred year journey is at hand and the flagship passes silently into the outer reaches of Earth’s solar system. As programmed, the artificial brain is automatically activated when the craft passes through Pluto’s magnetic influence, causing the temperature and atmosphere of the cryonic chamber to change. At the same instant, a signal is transmitted to the other space vessels and soon the entire armada slows to sub warp speed and deploys to establish a parking orbit around Mars, the planet nearest to its ultimate destination.
Slowly Pzx opens her eye and it takes her but a moment to realize what seemed like no more than a good night’s sleep has in fact, spanned three centuries. She stretches her stiff tentacles and breathes as deeply as she possibly can to clear her lungs of the stale air, while she looks carefully at the bank of instruments overhead to be certain that all is in working order. Satisfying herself that all is as it should be she projects the thought command that lifts the lid of the vacuum chamber that has been her world for three hundred years, and slithers to the deck where she anchors her base appendage to the foot-beam. She rubs her eye and seeing her reflection in the chamber lid, decides that she looks terrible – just as she does every morning until she’s had time to adjust her
plasma casing from rest to activity mode. It’s extremely cold in the cryonic chamber but the twisting and turning exercises she must go through to make her face cause her to forget the chill. When she’s satisfied that she looks presentable enough for what she needs to do, she slides slowly to the next capsule and extreme apprehension takes over as she peers through the transparent lid at the still form of Hrnk. She engages the activator switch and watches fondly, and the apprehension is replaced by something else as he goes through his waking process. He
opens his eye and when he recognizes Pzx his thought projections tell her that all is well with him. Pzx doesn’t open the cover until she is certain that all of Hrnk’s vital signs are normal. At the precise moment the cover is unlatched Hrnk’s reproductive organ begins glowing with that unmistakable signal that is characteristic of all male members of the Drmbkian race, a race dominated by females, a race where the male’s only functions are reproduction and companionship. Although there is an almost overwhelming desire within her to climb into the chamber with Hrnk, Pzx closes the lid reluctantly and tears herself away from her mate.
She has so much to do and so many duties to fulfill. Her first duty is that of activating the cryonic capsules of the ninety nine other ships in the fleet so that they can can get on with the business that has brought them to this new world, the world which they have chosen to be their home, New Drmbk.
Bill wakes at the crack of dawn and gets things ready for travel without waking the others. As he leaves the main gate he stops to look in on the ranger booth but no one is there. Somebody has left a uniform, complete with shoes right there in the middle of the floor of the small cubicle, and the cash box is open and filled with money. He shrugs his shoulders at the strange condition but leaves the price of a campsite rental for one night on the small counter and drives on. Soon he is out of the Mammoth Cave National Park land and on the entrance to the
highway that leads towards Nashville. There hasn’t been a single car or truck on the road so far but, now that he’s on the main drag, there’s bound to be traffic.
He looks both ways and there’s nothing coming in either direction. “I know that there’s light traffic in the south as compared to the north, but this is ridiculous,” he mutters to himself just before he sees the two cars overturned in the ditch beside the road. He stops and gets out to investigate. There’s nobody in the cars but there’s clothing
scattered about in both of them. He gets a terrible feeling in the pit of his stomach. The road is straight and flat affording good visibility. There’s no traffic in either direction. He waits for five minutes and nothing shows up. Something is wrong, terribly wrong.
He climbs back into the driver’s seat and proceeds slowly towards Nashville. He sees more and more overturned and smashed vehicles along the way but investigation always reveals the same thing – No people in evidence but there is always clothing scattered inside of each vehicle. There’s even watches and jewelry in some of them. His
head is beginning to pound. None of this makes any sense. He turns on the radio to get the news, to find out what in the hell is going on. All he gets is the shoosh of the open airways. He scans the band over and over but either his radio is broken or nothing is being broadcast. He turns on the CB and gets the same shooshing sound, nothing more. “Oh my God,” he shouts. “What is going on?”
His shout wakes up the rest of the crew and they find him sitting in the driver’s seat shaking like a leaf. “Dad, what’s the matter?” asks Marty. “Are you alright?”
“There’s nobody out there,” is all that he can say.
Diana is the first to notice the smashed vehicles alongside of the road. She shakes Bill and he snaps out of it. He tells them what he has found, or has not found. The details are enough to numb them all into a sort of semi-shock but Bill decides to press on towards Nashville until they at least come to a McDonald’s or someplace where he knows that there are always people.
For a while they stop at every empty vehicle to investigate but it’s always the same. They soon learn that it’s useless to stop, and keep going until they come upon a sign that tells them there’s a Burger King at the next exit. When they get to the exit ramp there are several smashed vehicles and an overturned eighteen wheeler blocking the way. The restaurant is nearby so they leave the motorhome and walk. There’s no sound except the sound of a soft breeze murmuring through the trees, and there’s no movement save for that moved by the same breeze, and when they start walking, the sound of their footsteps are like drum beats. The parking lot of the Burger King is nearly full of cars and the big yellow and red signs glow with the electricity that’s inside them.
“Looks like there’s somebody here. The place is open,” shouts Mike as he dashes on ahead followed by Marty and the girls .
When Diana and Bill get to the top of the ramp the children are on their way back, their faces as white as new fallen snow. There is shock in their eyes. “All there is inside are piles of clothes but no people. All the lights are on and there’s even Whoppers ready behind the counter, but there’s nobody anywhere,” says Debbie. “Oh, my God! What is happening, Daddy?”
“I don’t know, honey. I don’t know.” He takes a sobbing daughter into his arms, feeling helpless and confused.
They go into the restaurant where Bill notices on the small computer above the counter that the last order was taken at five-thirty-eight PM. “Whatever happened must have happened at about five-thirty-eight last evening,” he tells them, pointing to the screen.
girl who fell victim to the wolf and had to be saved by the Huntsman.
I’d like to set that story straight. It all began with a girl, a
curse, and wolf. We all have a hero inside. All it takes is to
believe. Cara knew the legends of her village but she never thought
she’d become one.
I live in a small town in Iowa right on the banks of The Mighty
Mississippi. I started writing when I was about 10 years old. Almost
every girl has a journal but I not only had fun stories of the day
but poems and short stories that popped in my head. I love fantasy
and romance novels and read almost daily. I like to find my
inspiration in everyday life. That’s one of my goals is to find one
thing every day that inspires me. I grew up an army brats so I have
traveled to a few places over the years. I have two amazing children
and a very amazing husband. They thankfully put up with crazy work
schedules because being a mom and a writer isn’t enough but I am also
the general manager of Sidelines Sports bar in my home town. No
matter how busy I find time for it all. I do hope you enjoy my books
and I look forward to writing more.
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