To all my friends in the States who observe Thanksgiving, have a lovely holiday. Any excuse to eat pumpkin pie is a good one, in my opinion. ~ S.G. Rogers
All posts in category Uncategorized
Posted by childofyden on November 28, 2013
Happy Halloween to one and all! I have a short work of flash fiction to share with you, which was originally published in an online magazine (now defunct) called Flashshot. Flash fiction is an art form in which the greatest possible impact is gleaned from the fewest possible words (generally 1,000 words or less). Flashshot specialized in stories of 100 words or less. Since it’s All Hallow’s Eve, I’m going to share my horror story, Black Holes (98 words). Enjoy!
~ S.G. Rogers
The competition at this year’s statewide science fair was fierce, but I was determined to win. My entry was an awesome model of an earthquake-proof building on rollers. It had won first place at my school. Ultimately, I got edged out at finals by a freak of nature who mounted a presentation about the role of wormhole physics in developing a quantum theory of gravity. About ten seconds after he received the blue ribbon, the kid literally imploded and shriveled up into a fist-sized geodesic ball. It was then that I realized some people just can’t handle success.
Posted by childofyden on October 31, 2013
Charles Dickens’ literary legacy cannot be overstated. As the author of such gems as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and many more, Dickens is generally conceded to be the greatest and most influential writer of the Victorian Age. But did you know he was also a hero?
The events unfolded on a summer afternoon, June 9, 1865. On his way back from Paris, Dickens was riding a train when it derailed in a horrific crash. A series of unfortunate events had resulted in the train’s engineer being unable to stop in time to avoid track repairs over a viaduct in Staplehurst, Kent. A portion of the train made it over the ten-foot high viaduct, the next seven carriages ended up in the muddy river, and the last two carriages remained on the eastern bank. Dickens’ carriage was one that remained on the track.
Dickens heroically sprang into action to help, but there was little that could be done. He managed to fill his top hat with water to quench the thirst of the dying or injured, and he administered brandy from his flask. He comforted people as best he could, but in the end ten people died and forty others were injured.
Although Dickens himself was uninjured in the crash, the impact on him emotionally was profound. Never again would he feel comfortable with train travel. He wrote a short story inspired by the event, The Signal Man, in which the main character has a premonition of his death. On the anniversary of the crash five years later, Dickens succumbed to the effects of a stroke and died.
Why did he not trumpet his heroic actions in the Staplehurst rail crash? Although Dickens was a good man in many ways, drawing attention to social ills and trumpeting the cause of the poor and downtrodden, he was not perfect. Had he shown up at the Staplehurst inquest, he might have had to disclose the scandalous fact he’d been traveling with his mistress, actress Ellen Ternan.
~ S.G. Rogers
Posted by childofyden on January 19, 2013
Posted by childofyden on December 24, 2012
Kitty Willamette’s knees buckled a little as the elevator zoomed upward. Her mother was hunched inside her jacket as if she were cold. Her father just stared straight ahead. The atmosphere was deadly quiet.
“Do you know why we’re here?” Kitty asked.
“No,” her mother replied, without meeting her gaze.
“Maybe Uncle Meriweather has a new television series for me?”
“Hush,” her father said. “He’s not your uncle.”
Kitty sighed. She let her head loll backward so she could look at the mirrored tiles on the ceiling. She wanted to see how the dreadful hat her mother had made her wear played up her eyes. At least that was what her mother had said; she suspected the hat had more to do with covering her roots. Since Kitty’s hair had begun to turn brown, her mother couldn’t hide her disappointment.
Everything had always been about the hair.
The elevator slowed as it neared its final destination. Kitty hoped Uncle Meriweather had good news. She knew the money was running out. The housekeeper had been let go first, and then the nanny. More recently, she’d noticed her father mowing the grass and cleaning the pool himself. Her mother was painting her own nails and clipping coupons. Kitty’s allowance had been eliminated entirely.
The arguments were the worst part. Her parents had been having shouting matches downstairs, when they thought she was asleep. Although it would mean leaving regular school and having tutors on the set, she would happily go back to work again if it meant her family life could return to normal.
Kitty and her parents emerged from the elevator into the waiting area of the talent agency. The receptionist directed Kitty down the hall to the Green Room while a secretary showed Ted and Lori Willamette into Uncle Meriweather’s office. The Green Room was a lounge decorated like the interior of a movie theater lobby. A popcorn machine was pushed against the wall, but it was always empty. There was a Pac-Man video game table that always froze up at level five and a flat-screen television that played kids’ movies, non-stop. Kitty had spent a lot of time in the Green Room over the years, while her parents met with Uncle Meriweather. She used to enjoy it, but now that she was twelve the place struck her as tired.
Kitty was not the only occupant of the Green Room. A trio of identical triplets sat on the couch, fixated on the television. She recognized the brothers from their national commercials for chewing gum, breakfast cereal, and lunchmeat. They were perhaps seven or eight years old, with freckles and shocks of violently red hair. Kitty found them ugly, not because of their looks but because of their sour and bored expressions. She supposed their parents were in a meeting with one of the other agents.
“Hello,” she said. Kitty always tried to be polite.
The triplets made no reply, but shifted their focus from the TV screen to her. Kitty was used to being stared at, but their three pairs of eyes were leveled on her with such intensity she could practically feel them lasering holes in her forehead. She sat as far away as possible.
The boy on the right finally spoke. “You’re Kitty Willamette.”
“Yes.” She smiled. “Nice to meet you.”
In the silence that followed, the triplets continued to stare. Her smile faded. She glanced at the magazines on the table next to her, but they were all geared toward younger children. Kitty wished she’d brought along her e-book reader, but she’d assumed the meeting was going to include her this time. She hadn’t seen Uncle Meriweather in a while. Apparently he hadn’t had a holiday party last season because instead of her usual invitation, Kitty had received only a small box of chocolates in the mail.
“Our mom says you’re washed up,” the middle triplet said.
“Yeah, you’re a has-been,” said the boy on the left. “That’s what Dad says.”
The triplets burst into laughter, their faces creased with mirth. Kitty’s mouth fell open. She’d overheard trash talk from show biz kids before, but it usually wasn’t directed at her. Her chin lifted.
“I couldn’t care less. I’ll be a forensic psychologist or a osteoarchaeologist when I grow up and you three will still be hawking wieners.”
Kitty didn’t completely understand what those professions were, but they sounded impressive. More importantly, the triplets wouldn’t know either and they’d never admit it. The boys exchanged bewildered glances with one another, and then went back to watching television. She tossed her flaxen-tipped braid over her shoulder, triumphant.
Her father beckoned to her just then, from the door of the Green Room. “Come on, Kitty. We’re going.”
Kitty followed him out of the Green Room without a backward glance at the triplets. On her way down the hall, she noticed the door to Uncle Meriweather’s office was shut.
“Can I say good-bye to Uncle Meriweather?”
“No, and for the last time, please stop calling him your uncle!”
Kitty’s mother stood by the elevator, with swollen eyes and smudged eyeliner. As they rode down the elevator, her father cleared his throat. “Fitzroy & Meriweather released you as a client today, Kitty. With no money coming in, we must sell the house.”
Kitty’s mother couldn’t suppress a sob.
“My sister invited us to move onto her property in Maggie Valley,” her father continued. “I can go back to carpentry and we’ll make a fresh start.”
Kitty was pleased. She’d visited Aunt Jennifer on her farm in Western North Carolina almost every summer and liked it a lot. She enjoyed the company of her cousins. One of the boys was her age. Even better, Aunt Jennifer had acres of apple orchards.
“I love apples,” Kitty said.
“I want to stay in L.A.,” her mother wailed. “Kitty can find another agent. We’ll get her hair done and have some new headshots made. We’ve just hit a dry spell.”
“I don’t want to act anymore,” Kitty said.
“See! The kid knows it’s over, Lori,” her father said. “Why don’t you?”
On the drive back to Bel Air, her parents began to yell at each other. Katie closed her eyes and tried to tune them out.
When they reached home, Kitty went to her room. She opened her closet and pulled out her Kitty doll, the special collector’s edition that had retailed for over three hundred dollars. Kitty had never thought it looked much like her, except for the hair. As she braided the artificial strands, she thought about what had just happened. Uncle Meriweather didn’t want to be her uncle anymore. That made her very sad, but she wasn’t especially bothered about the rest of it. If it hadn’t been for her hair, she never would have chosen an acting career.
Before she’d even graduated from pre-school, Kitty’s hair had made her famous. It wasn’t just the amazing thickness or length of it that was so remarkable; it was the magnificent color. The palest of blondes, her tresses had shone like a ripe field of wheat set dancing by a breeze. A casting director had spotted five-year-old Kitty in the cookie aisle as she begged her mother to buy chocolate-covered graham crackers. The chance encounter had led to her being cast in an ad campaign for facial tissue. She was shortly thereafter given her own television show, entitled Life with Kitty. The series became a phenomenon for several years. Unfortunately, it was canceled after she turned ten.
She knew there was so much more to life than being famous. If she lived with Aunt Jennifer, maybe she could have a horse. Her aunt could teach her to grow things. She could drop the stupid nickname and go by her real name. No one would know she was washed up or a has-been. She’d just be a normal teenager.
If only she could convince her mother.
Kitty tossed the idiotic hat aside and gazed in the mirror. Her braid was so long she could almost sit on it. The bottom half was a beautiful flaxen color, but the hair grew darker the closer it got to her scalp. Kitty examined her light brown roots. Her hair was turning the color of peanut butter cheesecake batter with melted milk chocolate thrown in. She thought it was a nice shade, quite yummy.
There was only one thing to do.
Kitty took a pair of scissors and hacked off her braid at the nape of her neck. She bound up the end with an elastic band so it wouldn’t unravel. That way she could donate the hair to an organization that made wigs for sick people. She left the braid in a neat coil on the floor.
Then Katherine walked downstairs to tell her parents what she’d decided.
Posted by childofyden on December 20, 2012
UPDATE: For the direct link, go HERE.
I’m guesting at Newbie Writers tonight (Nov. 30) at 5:30 PM (EST) if you’d like to listen in to the conversation! It’s Episode 61, and I’ll be chatting with Damien,who is very charming and has a lovely Australian accent, and Catharine, who is a writer herself. Newbie Writers is a great website with forums, a newsletter, how-to articles, weekly podcasts, and blog. We’ll discuss the writing process, the fantasy genre… and my strange and unusual Sphynx cats (Houdini and Nikita). Come on over!
~ S.G. Rogers
Posted by childofyden on November 30, 2012
They need good homes, folks. $0.99 apiece. Astraea Press is having a blow-out sale on Amazon. Go get ‘em. ~ S.G. Rogers
The Last Great Wizard of Yden
“Okay, buddy,” Jon said. He slipped the cuff onto his left wrist. “Show me your secrets.”
The cuff had felt warm and liquid the night before, but he hadn’t been wearing his ring then. Now, an unexpected tingling sensation emanated from the cuff. A vibration shot up his arm, across his chest, and down to Ophelia. Jon gasped and reached toward the cuff to remove it—too late. A flash of light dazzled his eyes and the sound of distant thunder echoed in his ears, and then he wasn’t in his room anymore.
Minna & The Valentine
“So you admit you’re magical. We’re making progress.”
Minna sputtered with outrage. “I…you…”
The wizard gave her a crooked smile as he reached up and pulled the pencil from the topknot on her head. Her chestnut hair tumbled down over her shoulders. Minna stood frozen in shock as Evan arranged her hair around her face with his fingers.
“I had to see what you look like with your hair down. I bet I’m not the only one who enjoys being stared at,” he said.
His lips were inches away from hers, and the electricity between them mimicked the lightning storm outside. Shaken, Minna took a step back.
“You’re one conceited wizard, Evan Valentine,” she said. “Don’t get struck by lightning on your way out.”
“Something tells me I already have.”
Posted by childofyden on July 20, 2012
Having grown up in Southern California, I’m very familiar with earthquakes. As a child, the largest one I experienced was the Sylmar quake. It struck at six o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, February 9, 1971, with a magnitude of 6.6. My family was living in Placentia at the time, which was about an hour’s drive from the epicenter. I was asleep when the shaking began, and I blamed it on my older sister at first. Then my mother came staggering into the room to get me to safety. Oddly enough, I thought the shaking was fun. I was just a kid, and I can’t recall that we had much damage.
There were many quakes in between the Sylmar quake and the BIG ONE on January 17, 1994. Dubbed the Northridge quake, it struck at 4:31 a.m. on a Monday. The quake had a magnitude of 6.7, and we were about fifteen miles from the epicenter. My husband and I were jolted from a sound sleep, and knew right away THIS quake was serious. We leaped out of bed and ran for the doorway, just in time to avoid being smashed when the two tall bookcases and adjoining lightbox that served as our headboard fell over.
The earthquake felt and sounded to me as if our condo had been tossed into a dark box and shaken by a huge giant while a freight train ran us over.
I learned a few things from that experience. Fear CAN make your mouth go dry. Fear CAN make you disoriented. Fear CAN make you burst into tears. Fear CAN cause your bladder to contract. Fear CAN make you tremble like a Chihuahua. You might, in fact, be so scared you don’t know your own name for a few minutes.
Afterward, I had to tell myself what to do, in short succinct sentences, like a mother instructs a two-year-old child:
“Okay, first, bathroom.” “Now pants.” “Cat. Find cat.” (The finding of the cat, perfectly safe, cost me the sanctity of my shins in the dark).
All normalcy in the San Fernando Valley stopped for days after the Northridge quake. We drove around to see for ourselves the buildings and bridges that had collapsed like soufflés. I realized then that the power of an earthquake is pitiless, merciless and inexorable.
The quake left a big impression on me, so much so that I wrote a fantasy novella about a child who experiences a horrific earthquake. The trauma is such that she loses her memory of her life up until then. In Cypher, this young girl, now grown, must regain those memories in order to restore her future.
If you’ve had a natural disaster reshape your point of view, I’d like to hear about it.
~ S. G. Rogers
By the way, today is the last day to enter my Thor’s hammer pendant giveaway! The winner will be announced on Thor’s Day, tomorrow. Go HERE to enter.
Posted by childofyden on June 20, 2012
In The Last Great Wizard of Yden, Jon Hansen meets two very different girls who become a part of his life. Brett and Kira could not be more different and yet both manage to capture Jon’s attention. Meet them for yourself and then you decide…are you on Team Brett or Team Kira?
Excerpt (‘Team Brett’):
Her name tag indicated her name was Brett, but Jon was more interested in her green eyes, pert nose, and deep dimples. She had shoulder-length wavy blonde hair with flirty bangs brushing the tips of her long, curly lashes. Usually girls like her wouldn’t bother to talk to him, but at the moment her glossy pink lips were curved in an inviting smile. Jon was amazed at his good fortune.
“Yes, I need help,” he said. “That would be great.”
Brett tossed her hair over one shoulder. “I’ll get Pete over here to give you a hand.”
Deflated, Jon watched her walk away. Just as well, he sighed, since he probably would have started to babble like a fool. He returned to scrutinizing the store shelves, wondering how to choose between straight-leg, relaxed, classic, or boot-cut pants. He hoped Pete had a tape measure, too, because Jon didn’t know his waist size or inseam either.
“Pete’s swamped right now so you’re stuck with me.”
Jon’s stomach lifted at the sound of Brett’s voice. “Good. I mean…these khakis look good, but I don’t know which one to pick.”
Brett scrutinized Jon’s frame for a moment before she pulled a few pairs of pants off the shelves. “Are you looking for shirts as well?”
“I guess so. I’m starting school next week at Pacific High. I need shirts with collars—”
“Oh, yes, I know their dress code. Let’s get you into a dressing room, and I’ll bring you a couple of things to try.”
Everything she brought him was nearly the perfect size, and it became difficult to narrow her selections down. Jon finally bought four pairs of khakis, two pairs of jeans, a couple of belts, and a raft of shirts.
“And a partridge in a pear tree,” he joked.
Brett handed him a receipt and his change. “I’m sorry, what was that?”
His face flushed. Stop babbling, he thought. “Oh, just…nothing. Thanks for your help, Brett. You’re a terrific salesperson.”
“Thanks. Maybe I’ll see you around. I go to Pacific High, too.”
The heavens opened up and the angels began to sing. Although Jon had blown two years worth of allowance, school had never seemed so inviting.
Mandral laughed in delight. He directed the hovering cygards to subdue the prisoner and tie his tether on the ring next to Jon’s. The dented cygard yanked off the prisoner’s cape and stepped back. The crowd murmured.
The newcomer was female, and a stunning one at that. Her full, waist-length hair was a wavy chestnut with red highlights. Her eyes were a violet color, and her skin was a golden tan. Despite his own predicament, Jon flushed. He couldn’t help but stare. From the expressions of the other men in the room, he knew he wasn’t the only one.
Mandral clapped his hands in a deliberate, slow, and obviously sarcastic manner. “What an entrance, Kira Szul. You’re looking savage, as usual,” he drawled.
Kira said nothing.
“Don’t be offended,” Mandral continued. “I like savagery in a woman.”
As the warlord seated himself, he nodded to Tyrg.
“Clear the hall,” Tyrg called out.
The ladies and gentlemen around the chamber shifted their weight, reluctant to leave when the entertainment had become lively.
“Immediately,” Tyrg barked. “Wait outside.”
The cygards made sure the chamber was emptied in short order. Meanwhile Mandral’s attention was riveted onto Kira. “As soon as you’ve changed into something more, well, matrimonial, the wedding ceremony can begin.”
“As soon as you change into someone, well, else, I’ll consider it,” Kira spat.
Mandral began to clean his nails with his dagger. “This is so tiresome,” he pouted. “Rampen Szul has agreed to the marriage. Tile has changed hands.”
“My father only agreed so you’d stop slaughtering the Nomads!”
“Slaughter can be so persuasive.”
“Give me that knife and I’ll persuade you to let me go,” Kira said.
Jon didn’t realize the throne room had such good acoustics. His snicker echoed throughout the chamber and attracted the warlord’s ire. The coldness of Mandral’s glare stood out in stark contrast to the color staining his cheeks. Unable to transport and tethered like a puleden, he braced himself for the sting of the warlord’s dagger. Instead, the back of Mandral’s hand whipped him full across the face. The impact drove him down to one knee.
So which girl do you think Jon should end up with?
Posted by childofyden on March 14, 2012
Excerpt from iBookBuzz nominated YA fantasy The Last Great Wizard of Yden…
When class began, the history teacher, Mr. Dace, droned on and on about the curriculum, policies, and procedures. After fifteen minutes, Jon started to tune out. He opened his binder and lost himself in a detailed drawing of a dragon.
“We’re going to end our semester with a field trip to the Tri-County Museum,” Mr. Dace said.
The classroom erupted with excited chatter.
“Many of you will see this as a chance to goof off,” Mr. Dace continued. “But you will be writing a term paper on one of the exhibits.”
Mr. Dace strolled up and down the aisles as he spoke. He paused at Jon’s shoulder just as he was drawing a beautiful plume of smoke rising from the nostril of a dragon. Unfortunately, Jon was oblivious to the teacher’s presence.
“Doodling dragons is no way to get through life, Mr. Hansen,” Mr. Dace said.
Jon’s head snapped up. The entire class was watching, including Brett and Fred. Brett’s expression was unreadable, but Fred was licking his chops as if he couldn’t wait to eat him for lunch. Jon hoped his face wouldn’t explode from the blood rushing to his cheeks.
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
His classmates snickered. Mr. Dace went on to pass out the syllabus and first assignment. After the lunch bell rang, Jon felt like slinking off somewhere and melting into a hole. His book bag was jammed under his desk, and he bent to retrieve it. When he straightened up, he was startled to see Brett waiting for him.
“Hi,” she said. “You probably don’t remember me, but we met at the mall.”
“Oh, yes, I do.” He attempted to sound casual. “Nice to see you.”
She examined his drawing. “That’s a great dragon. Maybe you could draw one for me sometime?”
“Anytime.” Anytime at all, he thought.
Artistic prodigy Jon Hansen yearns to fit in, but when he stumbles onto a supernatural kidnapping, his life changes forever. Unfortunately, his search for answers uncovers a magical secret—one that makes Jon a danger to everyone around him.
The Wolf Clan wizard Efysian has been draining the magic from Yden. On a quest for eternal power, he’s willing to kill to feed his addiction. To harness the ultimate source of energy, he travels to Earth. This time, however, he has a persistent witness to his crime.
Can Jon survive long enough to outwit the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known? Or will Efysian add the young wizard to his gruesome collection of trophies?
The Last Great Wizard of Yden, a full length fantasy novel. E-book available now through Astraea Press, Amazon, BN.com and other fine outlets ($2.99 MSRP). Now available as a trade paperback too! (HERE)
There is still time to vote for The Last Great Wizard of Yden in the iBookBuzz book of the month contest! Click HERE to vote!
To return to Sweet Saturday Samples, go HERE.
Posted by childofyden on March 10, 2012