1000 Word Challenge-“Mommies Do Too Lie” J. Conrad Guest

Another submission for the Thousand Word Challenge!

Mommies Do Too Lie

Tina was not yet quite five years old, but she knew Mr. Binkley was up to no good when she saw him in her backyard at three o’clock in the morning.

Tina was not what her mommy would call a light sleeper, but she awoke with a start when she thought she heard Mommy cry out. After a few moments, when she heard nothing more than the crickets outside her bedroom window, Tina convinced herself she’d been only dreaming and rolled over onto her other side, where she found Lucretia staring back at her with black button eyes.

“What should we name her?” Tina recalled asking Daddy the day he’d brought her home. “How about Lucretia?” he suggested. “That’s a good name for a teddy bear, don’t you think? We can call her ‘Lucy’ for short.”

“Lucretia,” Tina said. She liked the sound of the name, and enjoyed how it made her mouth feel when she said it, so she giggled and promptly affixed the name to her new best friend, and loved her daddy all the more—not only for bringing Lucretia home, but also for naming her.

Tina clutched Lucy and tried to fall back asleep; but the harder she tried, the more difficult it became.


Tina had just recently learned to tell time; the clock in her bedroom had no big and little hands, like the clock in her kindergarten classroom. The clock in her bedroom had numbers only—numbers that changed every minute. When she first awoke, the numbers showed 2:45. Now they showed 3:00. She knew that was fifteen minutes, but even though a minute can be only a minute—sixty seconds can no more take seventy seconds to elapse than it can take fifty seconds—from the perspective of a five-year-old (and insomniacs unable to sleep through their disorder), time passes much more slowly.

Eventually she heard Mommy’s voice whispering from down the hall, and then she heard footsteps followed by the creak of the third riser from the top of the stairs. She wondered why it creaked twice.

Tina set Lucy on her pillow and told her, “I’ll be right back.”

Then she hopped out of bed and pushed both her feet into her pink slippers and slipped on her just as pink robe. Was there truly a prettier color than pink?

It was then, as she passed her bedroom window, that she saw Mr. Binkley walking quickly past her swing set toward the fence at the back of the yard. It seemed he had come from the back of her house.

He must be up to no good, Tina thought, recalling that her daddy once told her that people out after midnight are likely up to no good.

Curious, Tina went to find her mommy.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” Mommy said, startled to see Tina standing at the top of the stairs, waiting for her. Tina yawned and rubbed her eye with a fist before sitting on the top step. A moment later her mommy sat down beside her.

“I woke up and heard you talking to someone,” Tina said.

“Me? Talking to someone? Are you sure you weren’t just dreaming?”


“Well,” Mommy said, “I couldn’t sleep either, so I went downstairs for a glass of milk. Come to think of it, I was talking to myself, trying to remind myself to add a couple things to the grocery list for when I go shopping later.”

“Oh.” And then, “What was Mr. Binkley doing in our yard?”

“You saw Mr. Binkley in our yard?”

“Uh-huh. And I wasn’t dreaming.”

“I … I don’t know, honey, what he was doing in our yard.”

“I think he was up to no good,” Tina said knowingly, not knowing how she knew, only that if her daddy said that people out after midnight were up to no good, then it must be so.

Tina was suddenly very tired again and so she rested her head in her mommy’s lap, the mystery of the third riser on the stair creaking twice a forgotten curiosity. Mommy said nothing, so Tina asked, “When’s Daddy coming home?”

“Honey, I told you. He’ll be home in time for Christmas.”

Tina sighed. It was early September. Christmas seemed a lifetime away.

“Why did he have to go away to A … Af—”

“Afghanistan. Daddy is a marine, honey. He had to go fight to protect the Afghans.”

Tina knew what an afghan was. Grandma had one that she covered her lap with when it got cold outside and she sat in her rocking chair rocking and reading her bible. So Tina surmised her grandma’s afghan had come from Afghanistan, a place she knew was very far away. What she couldn’t quite grasp was why they needed her daddy to fight for them.

“I miss Daddy,” Tina said, and yawned again.

“I know you do, sweetheart. So do I.”

And Tina believed her mommy, because her mommy had always been truthful with her. And because her mommy had always been truthful with her, Tina knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Mommy was truthful, too, to Daddy. If Mommy said she missed Daddy, it was true.

It would be a few years before Tina uncovered some of the untruths her mommy had told her. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy—those are untruths all parents tell their children. But there would be other untruths Tina would uncover that would rock her small world to the core—like how missing someone doesn’t necessarily equate to remaining true to them.

But on this night, Tina believed her mommy, because she was nearly five years old and a good girl, and that’s what good girls did—put their trust and belief in their mommy.

After all, why would her mommy lie to her?

In time, she would come to understand that, too.

woman guilt


1000 Word Challenge – SECURING THE RED BUTTON

Mike Elphick

In 2017, the US had a newly elected President— a Tea Party President. Rick Walker had been Governor of one of the Red states. To achieve smaller government (except for defense spending) he wanted to eliminate six segments of the Federal Government, including Environmental Protection. Most of the country set record temperature lows on Election Day 2016. In the minds of voters, that supported his argument that “Global warming is bullshit.”

Walker’s biggest problem was alcoholism. That had been rumored during the election campaign, but the GOP leadership had managed to keep it concealed until after the election. They then built a sober Cabinet to control Walker. They brought back Condoleezza Rice to head the State Department, and they gave Walker a short list of candidates from which to choose a Defense Secretary. Walker selected Henry Goddard–not a career politician, but a vice president of Boeing.


Though the US and Russia had sealed disarmament agreements, the POTUS still carried a black box with a red pushbutton that could authorize a missile launch. Because of Walker’s alcoholism, the Defense Department redesigned the black box so that it now included an alcohol detector. Henry Goddard and a couple of technicians brought the new box to the White House so that it could be installed and tested.

Walker didn’t like it.

“What’s that stuff on top?” he asked.

“That’s a set of new biometric sensors for improved security.”

“Why the mouthpiece?”

“You blow into it to be tested for alcohol—like a Breathalyzer test for an automobile driver.”

“I don’t want that. It will make people think I’m an alcoholic.”

“Nobody will know you’re taking the test unless you tell them. We’ll just send out a press release saying we’ve upgraded the security in several ways, but the details are classified”

A couple of months later, an international crisis erupted. Iran had developed an atomic weapon. Israel’s Netanyahu said if the US did not immediately destroy the Iranian weapons plant, Israel would go it alone. Russia’s Putin said that both Iran and Israel must leave the Middle East nuclear free. If Israel attacked Iran, then Russia might have to attack Israel.

Unexpected activity in Russia’s Siberian missile launch sites triggered a conference in the White House Situation Room. Attendees included Rice and Goddard, but not Walker. He was partying after a country music concert in the East Ballroom. The Siberian activity was puzzling. If the Russians were attacking Israel, they would use one of their Western missile sites. Rice called Vladimir Putin, and told the office manager to get Walker sobered up.


“Mr. Putin, this is Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State. We have reason to believe you may be readying a missile attack on the US. “

“Where’s Walker? I don’t negotiate with female functionaries.“

“Our President had earlier commitments but he will be here in a few minutes. Meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to discuss your military posture with our Defense Secretary, Henry Goddard.”

“We are not readying an attack against the US. Apparently, your military intelligence is just as pathetic as it was when I headed the KGB. “

Goddard quickly put Putin on hold. “The Russians just launched their missiles while the lying SOB was talking to us. The only puzzling part is that they’re headed South instead of East. Where is Walker? We urgently need to respond.”

“Sorry, they still haven’t been able to get him sobered up.”

“Cancel everything,” shouted Goddard. “We just got a clearer satellite picture. The activity we saw was the migration of a flock of large birds. The flashing lights were the Aurora Borealis.”


Goddard slumped forward with his head on the table. “Thank God for our drunk POTUS. We almost triggered World War III.”


A big thank you for sharing to:

Goodreads Giveaway Winners & Latest Review

View_From_the_Sixth__Cover_for_Kindle (1)Congratulations to the three winners of my Goodreads Giveaway! Each winner will receive a signed copy of “View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale.
Dee Entrekin, Laura Maclean, Shelby Freese.
For alternate history fans this book is an amazing passionate twist on Kenndy/Oswald saga.

View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald TaleView From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale by Elizabeth Horton-Newton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a fan of Alternate History literature I was in my element reading Elizabeth Newton’s imaginative and provocative tale of those tragic events–on that mind numbing day, November 22, 1963, But that’s merely the capstone on which this fine story is based; it is the aftermath rendered in richly human terms that makes this story so original and compelling. It’s a special writers’ gift to take a much vilified anti-hero and inexorably, page by page, rehabilitate him into a most sympathetic and admirable character. This, author Ms. Newton has accomplished with great success; so much so that I gladly suspended any traces of disbelief, and readily immersed myself in her Alternative Reality.
Incidentally this is not another typical “Kennedy Conspiracy” theory text, as the subtitle of “View From the Sixth Floor” clearly states that this is “An Oswald Tale” (with the emphasis on “Tale”). No, the author takes us on a different journey of romance, friendship and loyalty, family, loss and redemption, and the appropriate mistrust of those in power.

More significantly “Sixth Floor” touched my heart, surprisingly (considering it’s Oswald’s tale). I attribute this to a certain charm that exudes on every page. Possibly this is a result of the immensely likeable Olivia, the middle-aged widow at the heart of the story. Her personal growth as the narrative winds deeper and deeper is wonderful to behold; from tentative to passionate and plucky. In fact Olivia reminded me of the intriguing neighborly women that Agatha Christie so brilliantly brought to life in her legendary tales. I do hope we meet Olivia again in Elizabeth Newton’s future work.

Finally, I must applaud the writers’ imagination. The plotting of her story holds true despite the real world truths stacked against it. That is a complicated task to accomplish, but with a mixture of sophistication and charm I found myself enamored by this most satisfying read—and as such I am delighted to recommend it to others!

Review by Mark FineThe Zebra Affaire

For alternate history fans this book is an amazing passionate twist on Kenndy/Oswald saga.

Lizzi Newton:

This is an excellent review of my book “View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale”. Thanks to Mark Fine who is a great writer. It’s an honor to receive such high praise from him.

Originally posted on Mark Fine | Ruminations:

View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald TaleView From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale by Elizabeth Horton-Newton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a fan of Alternate History literature I was in my element reading Elizabeth Newton’s imaginative and provocative tale of those tragic events–on that mind numbing day, November 22, 1963, But that’s merely the capstone on which this fine story is based; it is the aftermath rendered in richly human terms that makes this story so original and compelling. It’s a special writers’ gift to take a much vilified anti-hero and inexorably, page by page, rehabilitate him into a most sympathetic and admirable character. This, author Ms. Newton has accomplished with great success; so much so that I gladly suspended any traces of disbelief, and readily immersed myself in her Alternative Reality.
Incidentally this is not another typical “Kennedy Conspiracy” theory text, as the subtitle of “View From the Sixth Floor” clearly states…

View original 201 more words

The Zebra Affaire by Mark Fine

The Zebra AffaireThe Zebra Affaire by Mark Fine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is not often a book as intensely dazzling as “The Zebra Affaire” by Mark Fine comes along. A forbidden love story takes place against the dramatic background of 1970’s South Africa and apartheid. Fine draws you into the story cautiously, laying the groundwork for the eventual affair between Elsa and Stanwell. By gently educating the reader with the background of the conflicts in South Africa, awareness of the difficulties faced by the star crossed lovers is enhanced. This is more than a racial segregation issue; there is a deeper issue brewing in South Africa. Tribal conflicts cause significant damage to a country beset by violence and political unrest.
As the love of Elsa and Stanwell grows deeper and more intense they are assisted by some to strengthen their bond. While segregation forbids open encouragement of their union, friends support them quietly. But the strict Afrikaner regime stands against them if not publicly at least in a behind closed doors attack on their union. While they flaunt their affair the government seems to stand in stunned silence as the world looks on. But the fanatics behind the scenes are both appalled and disgusted by their obvious sexual relationship and strive to expose and punish them for breaking hundreds years old laws.
With vibrant descriptions of both the beauty and ugliness of South Africa the story weaves its way to an intense climax. Waiting for the resolution of the love affair the reader will also wait for the resolution of apartheid. Knowing the eventual outcome of South African politics and the rise of Nelson Mandela it is easy to anticipate the same result for Stanwell and Elsa. In spite of some subtle foreshadowing of events to come the inevitable conclusion still comes as a shocking surprise.
I highly recommend this lush and beautifully written story. Fine’s use of words is akin to an artist’s use of the palette; this is not a black and white story, this is a rainbow story with the rich colors of lives in turmoil. In a word, it is brilliant.

View all my reviews

Horror at Pine Ridge by Craig McDonough

Horror at Pine RidgeHorror at Pine Ridge by Craig McDonough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These undead don’t sparkle! The horrors in Craig McDonough’s “Horror at Pine Ridge” are ruthless, bloody, and on a mission. From the first chapter it is obvious something very dark is going on in Pine Ridge Cemetery. Besnick and Bojan have come to bury their brother Vladimir and are appreciative of the care gravedigger Roy shows their dead relative. Sharing a beer with the gravedigger they proceed to ask him to assist them by placing a box on the casket before filling in the grave. Comfortably inebriated from the beer and grappa shared by the mysterious European brother’s, Roy is more than happy to comply. However Roy is a greedy man and as they say, karma is a killer. As the story progresses we learn more about Vlad and his extraordinary “brothers”. This is a bloody good tale with plenty of gore and special effects that jump off the page.A female detective and her force and a local crime family find themselves the targets of these hungry and vengeful characters. Besnick the Koschei may think he’s the star of the show but Vlad is the most memorable character in this vampire/zombie/revenant tale. Half the time you want to kill him, the other half you’re cheering him on. This is a unique tale of what happens when modern technology faces ancient horrors. A chilling thriller you won’t be able to put down until it’s finished.

View all my reviews

Goodreads Giveaway – Ends April 15th!

View_From_the_Sixth__Cover_for_Kindle (1)

Three SIGNED copies of this re-edited and re-formatted 4.6 star romantic thriller. A fictional tale that asks what if. Why are strangers suddenly appearing in a sleepy North Carolina town? What do they have to do with widow Olivia Roberts? Why is her neighbor and friend Bill Horton so dead set against her traveling to Dallas, Texas? When she journeys from her North Carolina home to Dallas in search of answers to questions from November 22, 1963 she learns more than she ever expected. “View from the Sixth Floor-an Oswald Tale” is a story of “what-ifs”? What if the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 was a conspiracy? What if accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was innocent? What if someone knew the truth and could prove it? What if someone you trusted turned out to be hiding a secret so big it could change history? This is a tale of friendship, love, political intrigue, and murder.

“An excellent read. Is it a love story wrapped around a conspiracy, or a conspiracy wrapped around a love story?”

“The trip is thrilling and suspenseful, as reported above—a masterpiece.”

“I think this book is a great read and would appeal to readers on many levels. Highly recommended”

“The fluid writing, the arresting images, the plot that gripped and held me, and the beautiful love story, made it a feel-good book all the way through to the surprising ending.”

“Stayed up most of the night reading this excellent conspiracy, mystery book that is a real page turner.”

“It gives us a what if scenario that hooked me and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the unusual turn it took in the events and allowed us to think a different, “what if?””

Ordinary people caught up in extraordinary situations.

“Sitting in his recliner with the TV chattering in the background I dreamed of George. He and Bill were out on the porch and I could both see and hear them. They were talking about fishing. George’s voice was gravelly, the way it was when he had downed a couple of cold ones. “Billy life isn’t like fishing. It isn’t about the sport; it isn’t about catch and release. When they catch one, especially a big one, they take a picture with it, then they cut it open and clean it out, then they eat it all up and bits and pieces go to all their big friends.” George bent down and picked up a big fish and began wrapping it in newspaper. I could see the headline and it said, “Oswald”; just the name, not another word. Then Billy stood up and he had a fish hook stuck in his shirt and blood was spreading across the front. “I’d better get going George,” he said. And then he was gone. George looked right at me and said, “Fishing can be dangerous Livvy. So don’t you go fishing alone. Take an experienced fisherman with you.”
I started awake. My heart was pounding and it took me a couple of seconds to focus my eyes. The sun had set and the darkness outside pressed against the window. The TV was reflected in the glass and for a moment I thought someone was looking in at me.”




“Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire” by Rachel Stapleton

Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire (Temple of Indra Book 2)Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire by Rachael Stapleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sophia Marcil has a secret and it’s a big one. In Rachel Stapleton’s “Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire” Sophia time travels, faces death, and finds love. That’s a lot for one book but it is excitingly handled by Stapleton. While this book is Part Two of a series the author wisely offers enough information and detail to bring readers up to speed so the book can stand alone. Besides time travel there is a great deal of international travel in this book as well and I sometimes had a little trouble keeping up with the where and why of the main characters location. Based primarily in Ireland where Sophia becomes engaged to Cullen O’Kelley the story begins with his proposal to the librarian. As he places a rare ring with the missing Purple Delhi Sapphire stone on her finger she is transported back in time. This is where things become really thrilling. Sophia is suddenly part of her ancestor’s lives becoming her great aunt Zafira, and begins the challenge of solving the mystery of a murder. As the adventure continues she eventually returns to her own time where greater mysteries await. It’s sometimes difficult to keep track of the various characters as a few seem to appear and leave quickly. However the primary characters are fascinating and compelling. As the mystery deepens Sophia, Cullen, and his priest brother Liam stand out against a backdrop of Irish family life. Stapleton uses Irish dialect making the characters even more realistic. This is an electrifying story and well worth the read. The surprising twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat and I stayed awake late into the night to find out what was going to happen next. I hope more adventures lie ahead for Sophia and the mysterious Purple Delhi Sapphire.

View all my reviews

The Thousand Word Challenge


I just threw together a short, short story for a 100-word challenge. That started me thinking about all the wonderful Indie-Writers I know. I’ve read books by many of them. Because I enjoy reading and writing short stories I thought it would be fun to challenge my creative buddies to put pen to paper (or more accurately fingers to keyboard) and spin out a yarn of one thousand words or less.
fingers on keyboard

Today is April 5, 2015 so I figured five days is plenty of time to come up with something. There are no rules other than the thousand word limit. Let your imagination run wild. Add the link to your story in the comments and I will set up a new post with the title of everyone’s story and a link by April 15th

12 Writing Tips from Ray Bradbury

Lizzi Newton:

This are some of the best writing tips from an established writer that I have read.

Originally posted on derekblass:

With all the marketing and promotion that can go into our books, sure seems like it’s easy to forget about our craft.  With that in mind, it makes sense to post a great video and article about a presentation that Ray Bradbury gave, in which he discusses the keys to being an excellent author.  I guess if you’re going to listen to someone, Bradbury isn’t the worst example you could have, huh? :)


View original