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Archive for January, 2018

How We Write – Alphabet Murder: One Prompt, Two Results

The Alphabet Murder poem was a challenge to write a poem where each line begins with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet. That’s way harder than it sounds, especially, of course, for the letters Q, X, and Z! In Orion’s, the first stanza was the crime itself and was relatively easy, with multiple words per line. The second stanza, about the aftermath of the murder, trying to use shorter lines, was way more difficult!

When Orion asked Kyros to help edit the Alphabet Murder poems, he couldn’t resist trying his hand at the same challenge, so now there are two sets of poems instead of just the original one. He set his first poem where Orion did, a boathouse, but the second poems go in very different directions. Oddly enough, the poems turned out relatively the same length, too.

See what you think.



by Orion T. Hunter 


As everyone knows,

Benny was no good.

Come morning’s light

Down at the dock,


How We Write – Carta Mundi

Our prompt was: Here Be Dragons. To Orion, who loves maps, especially old ones and fantasy ones, the subject was obvious. She was also influenced by the poetry of Dave the Poet. A fellow member of the Kickstart Writers group, his poetry is often literate and humorous. Carta Mundi was the result.



When cartographers of old unfurled

Their atlases, charts, and maps

They had only parts of the world

Told them by sailors, and other chaps.


How We Write – Life Savings

Our prompts were: A new kind of murder, Wells Fargo, That’s it then.

No, don’t ask me where our collective writers’ minds go when making up these prompts! Sometimes, we just look around the food court where we meet for the Kickstart Writers bi-weekly meetups. Sometimes the prompts come from our own writing. I think that’s what happened here. Kyros connected the concept of a bank with a new kind of murder and immediately thought of a killer bank vault. The question was, how was it killing people? Rogue AI, of course. It’s always a rogue AI. Ever since the HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The rest of the story followed quickly from there. But, because of what happens in the story, we thought we’d best alter the name of the bank. Don’t want any lawyers to send us unhappy letters, after all.


The archeologist carefully brushed away the last of the dust and dirt covering the monolith. He sat back with a gasp.

“Look! That logo! I remember it from several other digs. It’s…uh,” The man pondered for a moment. “Bells Wargo, that was the name. It represented a…a currency place of some kind. They didn’t have universal credit implants like we do.”

His partner leaned closer, a frown of distaste on her face as she looked at the mummified body half in and half out of the closed door.

“Well, I think it’s my turn to ‘dig’ into this mystery.” She pulled off the heavy gloves she always wore and extended one bare finger to touch the huge square shape. “As the team psychometrist, it’s time I earned my pay.”

The world dissolved around her.


How We Write – Tea With Mary Jane

It’s said that you should never piss off a writer, or they will kill you off in their next book. But writing can be a good way to express other feelings too. In this story, I thinly disguise real people in my life and put them in a humorous situation.

The prompts we had to work with were: tea bag, blue moon, leap year, and pot. The connection between the tea bag and the pot was too obvious, so of course, Kyros had to put a spin on the word pot and interpret it as marijuana.

Orion based the characters, very thinly disguised, mind you, on her friends, who spend most afternoons huddled around the puzzle table. Without the pot, of course! After we had the characters and the marijuana, the story just fell into place. Let us know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!

Tea With Mary Jane

“You okay, June?” Karla asked as the white-haired woman came into the commons and approached their table. “You look a little green around the gills.”

Three sets of eyes swung up from the thousand piece puzzle in front of them. Even Karla’s cocker spaniel, Lady, raised her head, hoping no doubt for either food or a man’s attention. Food disappeared as if by magic, while any man would set her golden coat aquiver until she had been thoroughly petted.

June giggled. “Oh, yes. Perfectly fine.”

Olive gave her a concerned look before placing a seemingly random piece into the puzzle. Selma, sitting in a comfy chair observing the action, clapped her hands quietly, a smile on her face.


How We Write – Moving Down South

The prompts we had this time jogged one of Kyros’ memories, so that became the framework for this story. Our prompts were: The view out of my window, muddy shoes everywhere, and UPS truck (which we ended up interpreting as Universal Package Service because of the location). In another life, Kyros was the cable guy. One day he pulled up to a home in a new development area that had a sea of mud for a front yard because they hadn’t laid the sod yet. Shortly after he arrived, the homeowner’s kids barreled past him and into the house, leaving a trail of muddy footprints. The mother’s reaction was priceless and left an indelible mark in Kyros’ memory.

The decision to set the story on Mars came about because we had both recently seen the movie The Martian. So with Mars firmly in the forefront of our minds, figuring out what view was out the window was a snap. Olympus Mons is the largest mountain in the solar system. How tall? Would you believe that it is so broad and the slopes are so gradual that from the edge of the caldera, the base of the volcano would be beyond the horizon. It’s a volcano so big that it curves with the surface of the planet. Why wouldn’t you move someplace where that was your view?

Moving Down South

Half-buried amid towering stacks of boxes, Janet Parsons glanced up sharply as her kids thundered in the side door.

“Stop! Both of you!” she shrieked. “Look at your shoes!”

The two boys skidded to a halt and inspected their red-mud-covered sneakers. Ralph twisted around, his eyes following their crimson footprints back to the door.

His little brother, Cecil, gulped out, “We are sooo busted.”

“What did I say before you went outside?” she asked ominously.


How We Write – A Cold Winter’s Night

Our prompts here were: The red box, the blue-edged side of darkness, and the white moon of winter. To Orion, under the influence of reading Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series of fractured fairy tales, the prompts suggested a dark fairy tale. She started with the setting and let the character lead the way. This Little Red Riding Hood, though, doesn’t need a woodsman to save her.


The white moon of winter, its old man’s face sharply drawn, shone brightly on the dappled landscape. Sometimes it hid from the girl among the branches of the winter-bare trees. The snow underfoot squeaked with her every step. She longed for color, any color to prove she hadn’t fallen into a black-and-white illustration from one of her storybooks.

Stumbling over a tree root, she almost dropped the long narrow box she carried. Darkness painted it ebony, though she knew its stain was bright red, its carved lid inlaid with abalone shell that winked at her as she fumbled with it.