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Archive for May, 2018

How We Write – Some Time To Kill

The prompts were: some time to kill and languishing in a cheap motel. These suggested a bad, forties dime novel detective story to Orion. You know that type, where the sultry woman shows up to hire the hard-boiled detective to solve a mystery. She tried to write one evoking that era and style but simply had to put her own twist on it, as you’ll see.

Photo by Steven Lewis from Unsplash


I was languishing in a cheap motel on the disreputable fringe of the city, waiting for a contact to show up. It was the type of place you breezed past without noticing, on your way home from work. From its flickering neon sign to the debris-strewn parking lot where anonymous vehicles hunched against the wind, it was invisible.

A scratching sound interrupted my third perusal of the daily paper. Tossing it down on the faded, worn bedspread, I went to the door and applied my eyeball to the peephole.


That’s odd, I swear I heard something.

Cautiously, I turned the knob. (more…)

How We Write – Magical Rapscallions

Our prompts were: Fish Food, Orange Juice, Onions

Orion used to spend her weekends pretending to live in the Middle Ages. (One year, she spent 26 of 52 weekends under canvas!) So, it’s no surprise that every once in a while a story lands there too. Also, we really like telling stories of people hoisted on their own petard. Couldn’t you tell?




“I can’t believe how lucky you are, Leo. The king really gave you time off from your regular chores to study with Donatello?”

“Yes. I was stunned. But, I’ve always wanted to be a magician.” A grin split his youthful face. “Donatello says that I’m a natural. He’s never had a student progress so quickly.” He puffed out his chest.

Angelo, the head cook, and Leo’s best friend, raised an eyebrow and looked down his long nose. “Not everyone is so fortunate as to have a patron like you do.”

Leonardo made a face. “Maybe so, but it means I have twice the work I did before.” (more…)

How We Write – Flashes to Ashes

Our prompts were: probable homicide, not for publication, works for me and moving right along.

We had way too much fun with this set of prompts! When Orion and Kyros saw ‘probable homicide’ we both remembered the plethora of cop shows that were on TV in the late 70s and early 80s and decided to pull random characters from those old shows to populate this story. And since we both watched the 1990s DC Comics’ TV shows, we threw in a few comic book characters for good measure as well.

Lt. Kojak from Kojak

Sgt. Wojciehowicz from Barney Miller

Officer Poncherello from CHiPs

Barry Allen from The Flash

Clark Kent from Lois and Clark, The New Adventures of Superman

Lois Lane from Lois and Clark, The New Adventures of Superman

And as for our villain, we’ll leave it up to you as to who that is. Leave your guesses in the comments below.


The unmarked police car with a lone bubble light flashing on its roof careened into the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, screeching to a halt just shy of the yellow crime scene tape. A stocky bald man in a dark suit stepped out of the car, pausing just long enough to unwrap a bright red lollipop and stick it in his mouth.

“What’s going on here?” he demanded, addressing the detective holding the tape up for him.

“It’s really bizarre, Lt. Kojak,” Sgt. Wojciehowicz said, grimacing. “All that’s left of this Barry Allen character is a pile of ashes and one arm with the middle finger extended.” The big man chuckled. “It looks like he at least got in the last word.” (more…)

How We Write – Horsing Around

The prompts for this one were unusual. Instead of several words to work with, we only had the word Moonglow and a newspaper photo of trotters in a race similar to the one below.

We did a lot of research on this one. First, we tried to place the story at an actual racetrack, which led us to research the history of harness racing. Then when we considered using the mobile starting gate, we fell down another rabbit hole looking into when they came into use, to make sure that we weren’t creating an anachronism. Finally, we gave up and created our own racetrack and stakes race because we couldn’t find enough information to be 100% sure. But it was fun researching all those details to make the story come to life. That’s way research goes sometimes. You spend hours trying to get all the details just right…then use none of it in the actual story. But in doing the research, you get a feel for the material that shows up in little things (for example, Kyros didn’t know that the buggies behind the horses were called sulkies).

Watch out for some Easter eggs we hid in the story, too.

Photo by Martin Damboldt from Pexels


Horsing Around

“Hey, you’re Simpson, right?”

The young man in the stall turned from grooming his horse. “Yeah. What can I do for you?” he called over the half-open dutch door.

The other man reached out to stroke the chestnut mare’s muzzle.

“Careful,” Simpson warned, “she bites if she doesn’t know you.”

The stranger snatched his arm back just as the horse lunged in his direction. Clutching his hand to his chest, the man glanced down to verify he still had all his fingers. (more…)