Category Archives: Features

Wednesday Briefs: September 23, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Ancalagon: Chapter Six by Cia Nordwell

My scans indicated there was a rocky outcropping nearby, and based on what I’d seen of the wildlife so far, I wanted nothing more than to put some solid stone at my back. Climbing would do me no good, and while the ground level was rarely safe either, I’d have to take my chances there. Setting up a shelter would take too much time, though I’d brought collapsible poles and and flex fabric.

I would fear what I couldn’t see. Being inside a shelter wouldn’t make the predators go away, and I’d rather see them coming. I’d make a fire;

Continue reading

Wednesday Briefs: September 16, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Ancalagon: Chapter Five by Cia Nordwell

It reached in again and scraped the log but pulled back an empty paw. Whining again, it jumped on top of the log, then reached again from the new angle, this time getting another small grub.

Sheer terror had me on the defensive, and I’d only thought I was observing the beast. I kept thinking I knew what it was, but no… I was wrong. This was not the same one I’d seen earlier. It wasn’t one of the young ones either.

It was between the two sizes. Not as a big, not as dark red. The stripes were just

Continue reading

Wednesday Briefs: September 9, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Phases of Moon: Part 30 by J. Alan Veerkamp

The county courthouse doors swung wide and Sawyer stepped down the short stairwell to the sidewalk, Jada by his side. Fall beginning to set it, the breeze held a slight chill as the season threatened to turn. Midday pedestrians passed each other without words on the sparsely populated street. Staring down at the pavement, Sawyer made an effort not to step on the sidewalk’s seams. No need to invite any bad luck today.

“That was easier than I expected.”

Jada’s somber exhale mimicked his mood. “A little anticlimactic.”

“Our marriage dissolved with a few signatures and a rubber stamp. I’m not sure how to feel.”

Click here to read the entire Brief:

Continue reading

Wednesday Briefs: September 2, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Phases of Moon: Part 28 by J. Alan Veerkamp

The wait was killing him, driving invisible arrows deep into his back and chest, leaving him an emotional pincushion. Jimmy had arrived at the restaurant early, having witnessed Sawyer’s penchant for schedules. If he wasn’t careful he was going to wear out the soles in his boots from pacing alone.

He kept checking the bus top on the corner in case Sawyer arrived from there, only to call himself stupid each time because her knew Sawyer had a car. An awful, little efficient sedan, but he could drive on his own. As long as he didn’t get himself into a fatal car crash.

Continue reading

Wednesday Briefs: August 26, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Phases of Moon: Part 26 by J. Alan Veerkamp

The full moon crept over the forest’s edge, gradually washing Fergus and his pack in its silvery glow through a cloudless sky. At least sixty men and women of various sizes and ages stared back at him. Most packs numbered below twenty, so commanding one of this size, no matter how ragtag, was an honor most alphas never knew.

Given their long lives, the moon limited their numbers, although this pack’s bloodlines were so weak a normal human lifespan was all they could count on. Except Fergus, of course, which is what made him the ideal choice to lead.

Continue reading

Wednesday Briefs: August 19, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Phases of Moon: Part 24 by J. Alan Veerkamp

Dirt spit out from under Jimmy’s tires as he came to a hard stop on the service road next to Fergus’s truck and police cruiser right where he said to meet. He didn’t want to offend his future alpha, but the interruption—and ruining his first real opportunity to court Sawyer had his hackles risen. He pressed his palm over the business card in his vest pocket, making sure it was still there, hoping to calm himself down. His wolf hadn’t stopped snarling and clawing at his spine since he’d walked away from his mate an hour ago.

Crap. He called Sawyer his mate again.

Click here to read the entire Brief:

Continue reading

Wednesday Briefs: August 12, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Unicorn Quests: Chapter Forty-one by Cia Nordwell

The smoke enveloped me. Gray lightened to white then faded to an opaque background. My breath caught in my chest.

“What is this?”

No one had said there would be magic during the release. My heart thundered in my chest and my breath sawed in and out. “No, no, no…”

I’d barely held it together when I changed form. It was only the need to keep the ceremony going, and knowing exactly what to do that kept me focused.

Not on me, but what I had to do for Wenn’s spirit.

“And I thank you for that.”

I spun and

Continue reading

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 2 by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 2: The Prophet     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 21, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As children, Kenji and his friends were terrorized by Yanbo and Manbo, the “evilest twins in history”.  There was only one person who could put them in their place, a scrawny looking girl who would knock the stuffing out of the two boys. And they’ve just run into her at the airport, none other than Yukiji!  Apparently she’s a customs officer who has a dog for a partner. The boys are thrilled to see her, although she seems less enthusiastic about the chance meeting.

Two attorneys approach a man named Manjome Inshu regarding complaints from parents about their children being involved in an organization this man is part of. They want their children back. However, he is very evasive, and won’t give the name of the organization or of its leader, known simply as friend. Strangely, after Manjome’s departure, the attorneys notice something odd—all the spoons on the table are bent!

Yukiji shows up unexpectedly at Kenji’s convenience mart, and tells him she remembers the symbol they were asking about, and also who came up with it—their friend Otcho. When Kenji tries to question her, the franchise district manager chooses that unfortunate time to come in and demands Kenji’s time. She invites Kenji to the victims’ meeting, and he says he’ll try to make it.

Cho is a long-time policeman whose dedication to his job has caused problems in his personal life, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. He buys his grandson a Pikachu for his birthday, because apparently that’s what he wants and it’s all the rage.  Cho is investigating the disappearance of the Shikishima family. He runs into his colleague, Yama, who is working on the death of the professor’s student, but learns that the case was taken out of police hands. Cho is concerned about being late to his grandson’s party. His daughter, who hasn’t spoken to him in years, has personally invited him, so he can’t mess this up. He shares the details of his investigation with Yama before leaving for the party.

Kamisama is a homeless man who sometimes has nightmares. But his dreams aren’t like that of other people—his are often prescient. He shows up at Kenji’s store to check the stock prices and tells him things are going to get hard for him, but doesn’t explain why. Sometimes he tells his friends about his dreams, but this last one, he’s keeping that to himself.

While rooting around in his absent sister’s desk, Kenji finds a hidden envelope containing a strange message… and the same mysterious symbol he’s been asking about! He asks his mother about the symbol and it’s then he learns why his sister has always taken such good care of him, even before he was born. Which is why he won’t give up on raising her only child for anything. He also learns about the rich man who once courted her and what became of him.

Kamisama and his friends find an injured man in their midst. He won’t leave, no matter what they say, and insists on seeing the Great Kenji. Kamisama devises a plan to get Kenji to come to them. Hopefully he’ll understand what the man wants and will be able to do something about it.

Things are certainly getting strange and mysterious in this second volume of Twentieth Century Boys. Unexplained deaths are occurring, and we are getting more of a glimpse into the organization led by Friend. Not so friendly, are they? Is their leader one of Kenji’s old group of friends, who came up with the symbol originally, and had a plan to save the world… if only they could remember what that was. How will Kenji’s band figure into this? Could Friend be the missing Otcho, or did he disappear for a more sinister reason?

Also, am I wrong in thinking there’s an attraction between Kenji and Yukiji? If so, will they ever act on it? And who the heck is Kanna’s father? So many questions, so few answers. All we know for sure is the fate of the entire world depends on the answers!

Looking forward to volume 3!

 

Wednesday Briefs: August 5, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Phases of Moon: Part 20 by J. Alan Veerkamp

Tonight would be the new moon and Jimmy should have been at his most calm, but the sight of the young banker perked up his wolf. He didn’t like the way the trees had been chopped out to make room for the house on this land. It had been stripped back far enough, he couldn’t sneak in close even with the lack of moonlight. A wolf his size needed more than darkness to hide. Instead, he had to settle for a distant view through the window, while the underbrush dug into his underbelly.

Shifting was risky territory these days after the last time his wolf almost didn’t give him back.

Click here to read the entire Brief:

Continue reading

Wednesday Briefs: July 29, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Unicorn Quests: Chapter Thirty-nine by Cia Nordwell

“You need sleep.” Londe had come before it was his turn. “You’ve been taking most of the night watches.”

It’d only been three nights since we’d finally defeated Balasamar, and since Wenn had given his life to save him. I still wrestled with the guilt, and it didn’t help that I refused to allow Londe to carry Wenn’s lifeless form.

The one we placed so carefully at the end of each trek so he could face the sky, his palms touching the earth of his birth. Tinn spoke words over him as we knelt. He’d been so brave, so willing

Click here to read the entire Brief:

Continue reading