Mini-Tale: Blueberries- The Most Deadly of all Berries

 Usual rules.  I gave myself the prompt (in red) and wrote for five straight minutes.  This is what I got.

She had grown tired of living cautiously.  Today Mary Beth was going to order a regular yogurt with BLUEBERRIES. 

Jeff went to the back of the yogurt shop to find fresh blueberries and accidentally spilled them all over Mary. 

Mary had to wash the blueberry juice out of her clothes and was late for her job interview.

Sam figured that Mary wasn’t going to show up for the interview so he left work and got rear-ended outside the parking garage.

Clark was so upset that he had run into Sam’s car that he called his wife, Liz, and exaggerated the accident.

Liz was so panicked she ran to the scene leaving her purse on the steps of the University’s archaeological building. 

Joe didn’t see the purse and tripped over it crashing down the steps, spraining his ankle.

Henry became frustrated that Joe wasn’t responding to his phone calls (because Joe was in the hospital) and told his archaeological team in Northern Africa to go ahead and open the tomb they had just discovered. 

The team opened the tomb and released ARGOG the 10,000 year-old plague demon who laid waste to the land with his armies of the five hundred pestilences. 

All because Mary Beth had to order yogurt with blueberries.  


Shotgun Reviews: Locke and Key

Locke and Key is written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez.       

When the Locke children move to their dead father’s estate, they discover that hidden among the creaky floorboards and dusty furniture are a collection of keys with magical and surreal powers.

  • If you haven’t read Locke and Key, go, right now, to either your local comic book store or library (whichever is closest) and find the first volume, Welcome to Lovecraft.  I cannot recommend this series enough.
  • On the surface it is just another dark fantasy comic book series.  However, Locke and Key contains a mythology and magical system that rivals most other fantasy book series I can think of. 
  • The story sometimes feel like YA fantasy.  Most of the main characters are kids or teenagers.  The illustrations even mimic “kid comics.”  However, this only makes the scenes of dark fantasy and drama even more startling and effective. 
  • The series possesses a wonderful balance of giddy fun and humor as well as dark fantasy, horror and family melodrama.
  • The charactes are complex and nuanced, each with their own deep relationships to all the others.
  • I will say that the family’s suffering (particularly the mother’s depression) almost becomes unbearably heavy in the most recent volume.  However, this is also a sign of how attached the reader becomes with the characters.
  • Even if you aren’t a comic book fan, or a dark fantasy fan, or a fan of books with families, creepy houses or magic keys, check this series out.  Trust me.

Mini-Tale: Sisters

 Usual rules.  I gave myself the prompt (in red) and wrote for five straight minutes.  This is what I got.

“Sorry, I'm late for the wedding. You wouldn't believe why.” I told my mom while changing into my maide of honor dress.


“Well you'd better have a good excuse,” My mom said zipping me up. “The ceremony starts in five minutes and your sister is furious.”


I smoothed out the dress. “Yeah, I'm sure she's mad, but I just couldn't leave out the finishing touches.”


“The finishing touches?” Mom asked checking herself in the mirror.


From behind the table I pulled out an enormous pink poster board . You could barely tell the color because almost every inch was covered in photographs of us growing up together. There were pictures of us playing in the pool when we were little, others of us camping out in the living room. The centerpiece was a photograph of us with our prom dates. At the very top written in silver glitter were the words, “SISTERS FOREVER!”


“Oh Stephanie!” Mom gasped. “I had no idea!”


“I also found this while I was rooting through the basement.” I pulled a tiny ragged teddy bear out of my purse.


“It's ralphie bear!” Mom cried. “Oh! I thought he was lost! Your sister used to carry him around everywhere!” She looked up with tears in her eyes. “You're going to have to show these to her at the reception.”


“Oh, I can't wait that long!” I smiled. “I'm going to show these to her in the ceremony.”


Mom's smile dropped. “Sweetie, I don't think there will be time....”


“No, they'll be time,” I grinned. “I'll bring them out while she's walking down the aisle. Then I'll douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. That's what the little bitch gets for stealing my high school boyfriend.”



Mini-Tale: Alternate Ending

 Usual rules.  I gave myself the prompt (in bold) and wrote for five straight minutes.  This is what I got.

Alright, this one is kind of silly even by my standards but I think you'll all enjoy it. 



After his brain surgery, Roger had a strange, new ability.


Nobody noticed it at first, it was the kind of thing he didn't want to share with anyone. In fact, he usually only used it when he was watching movies by himself. One Christmas Eve, though, he was over at his girlfriend's house when she made him sit down and watch Titanic.


Come on,” Mary said squeezing his arm. “I haven't seen it since high school and you're always making me watch those silly science-fiction movies.”


Roger sighed and sat back, resigned that there was nothing he could do about the situation.


Three hours later Mr. DiCapprio and Ms. Winslet were freezing to death in the icy Atlantic water when Mary sobbed, “Oh it's just so horrible! They were in love and....and I just wish they could have had a happier ending.”


Roger looked from her to the TV and shrugged, “Okay.” He pointed at the screen. There was a flash of white light. Mary jumped and was stammering, “What just happened?” when a flying Delorean soared in over the Titanic's debris. One of the doors popped open and Christopher Loyd stuck his head out shouting, “Jack! Rose! I need to take you two to 1955. You have to stop your kids from making a terrible mistake!” He pulled them up into the hovering time machine which then zoomed off into the future leaving behind a pair of flaming tire tracks that streaked across the sky.


“What just happened?” Mary shouted. “Did you just see that?”


“That was me.” Roger shrugged and blew on his fingers. “I figured it was a better ending.”


Shotgun Review: The Book of Joby

God and Lucifer once again enter into a bet in which the devil tries to sway a pure soul to join him.  Their “contender” is Joby Peterson, a boy who must grow up with all the forces of hell bent on corrupting him. 


  • The Book of Joby is a sweeping first novel, that covers everything from The Bible to Arthurian legends to flaws in the public school system.
  • The cast of characters includes demons, angels, wizards and school children.  While some of the protagonists can be a little too perfect, Mr. Ferrari does an impressive job of giving them all distinct personalities.
  • This book is one of the few examples where God is a complex character.  A being of perfect goodness is seldom interesting in fiction, but this is a version of the Great Creator readers will relate to.
  • On the other hand, the devil is something of a disappointment.  Lucifer can often be very intriguing in fiction (such as Paradise Lost and The Sandman).  However in the The Book of Joby he comes off as being a whiney supervillain.
  • This Leads me into my major qualm with the novel.  For a character who has all the legions of hell against him, Joby gets off pretty easy.  Sure, he has girl troubles and can’t keep a job, but the book never reaches the absolute level of rock bottom I was expecting, especially from an author with such an obviously vivid imagination. 
  • Despite some flaws, this is still an impressive and surprisingly addictive first novel.  And from what I have read on it has been enjoyed by both believers and nonbelievers alike.