Once again, time got the better of me. Well, OK, not time . . . stuff. Stuff is always coming up and robbing me of time and, by association, the chance to complete my plans.

You see, I wanted to write something for Halloween. I even started a story . . . a buddy story of two cops, one real, one a ghost, pulling Halloween duty . . . I had written this a few days ago and then . . . stuff.

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“I hate Halloween,” Jim said and sipped his pumpkin spice latte. Seeing as he was alone in his squad car, Jim wasn’t expecting an answer, hence why he spilled half his coffee as a voice right next to his ear disagreed with him.

“Oh, it’s not so bad,” the voice said.

“Aahhgh!” Jim exclaimed, half out of surprise and a half at the scalding coffee landing uncomfortably high up on his thigh.

Recovering, he turned around, thinking someone has snuck into the back seat of the squad car, but the back seat was empty. No . . . an area of slight luminescence was floating just behind the steel lattice separating the back seat from the front.

The luminescence brightened a bit and drifted through the barrier and settled on the front seat. It kept brightening until it took a vaguely humanoid form.

“I’d asked you not to do that!” Jim said as he grabbed some napkins and tried to absorb as much of the rapidly cooling coffee from his pants and the seat. “This is going to look like I peed on myself!”

I belong to an online writing community that I joined after attending Viable Paradise in 2015. The thing is, I had forgotten all about it until the other day when a fellow attendee mentioned he was participating in one of their challenges.

As it turned out, it was the last of five challenges and I’d missed the first four, and it won’t be repeated until next year. I’ll have to try and remember to check next December.

Anyway, I decided to participate in at least one, and this is the prompt I picked:

“Write a story set in the year 2120. Realistically, what do you think could be happening? (Obviously you can’t cover everything, so keep your focus tight.)”

This post covers the fiction I published on this blog from March 2015 through March 2016.

If you’ve not read the previous two posts about this blog and my fiction and you have a strong desire to read all the fiction I write, here’s a quick reminder. The first four years were covered in THIS post. The year five was covered in THIS post.

Following that progression, this post should cover year six of dispersering fiction. And so it does.

If you have no desire to read any of my fiction, stop right here and go on your way as nothing below will interest you. Vade con spaghetti monstrum volantes.

If you thought there was a lot of fiction during the first four years of this blog, you’ll think in the next year — March 2014 through March 2015 — I must have gone fiction nuts.

Maybe, but remember I also wrote opinions (future post to be) and did near-epic writing on many of the posts showcasing my photos.

Sometimes I wrote stuff most people (including regular readers) plain missed.

For instance, for a long while — October 2012 through December 2015 — I posted a printable monthly calendar. The first part of the post covered the process and background story of the photo I used, but usually, there was some writing aimed at being informative, humorous, or both. Most people, even them who read most of what I publish, missed most stuff. By the way, as far as printable photos go, I thought them pretty good.

Anyway, why did most people miss some of the writing?

Yes, he do.

Recently, I had the occasion to interact with relatives I’d not seen in a while. Part of the conversation rolled around to what I do for hobbies. I mentioned my blog, and I provided the information for the blog, for SmugMug, and gave them my email.

I don’t expect them to check things out (photos or writing) because those conversations are just stuff people say, like we’ll keep in touch and let’s do lunch sometimes and let’s meet up later; I’ll give you the best deep massage you ever had.

Disclosure: no one has ever said the last thing to me, and that’s good.

When I mention I dabble in writing, most people express an interest in what I write. Again, I’m near-certain it’s just polite social-convention that won’t lead to anything and be quickly forgotten once a bit of time and distance come into play.

Readers might be familiar with the recent writing challenges (The 1500 words challenge and Christmas Short Story Challenge). By the way, you can still (and should) vote on the Christmas Story Challenge if you’ve not yet done so.

One impetus for the challenges is — you guessed it — to write.  Writing is like any other activity; if you don’t practice it, not only won’t you improve, but you’ll degrade.

Warning: this is mostly about me, writing, and me and writing. If you are not interested in me, don’t feel bad; few are, so just move on. If you are interested in the writing craft or actual fiction, you’re not gonna get much of that here but there’s plenty of it elsewhere in the blog. Just search for Writing Stuff, or Writing, or Fiction, or Short Fiction. You get the picture.

It should be evident to anyone who follows this blog, and anyone who has a blog I follow, that I write a lot.  My comments are practically dissertations, and the same for my emails. Not all, but most.

I’ve been — on occasion and by people who know me in person — described as loquacious. Wait, that’s not writing. That’s just talking too much which, given I stutter, is both surprising and understandable.

It’s surprising because stuttering isn’t known to facilitate oral communication. I’m not kidding; it’s practically a pain to hear and it’s not much fun at my end, either. It’s understandable because — since I stutter — I’m way behind in stuff I want to say. Even more so because when I was younger the stuttering was much worse. In fact, I built up so large a reserve of unspoken words that I estimate I’ll probably be in my 90s — if I live that long — before I’ll go quiet as I rebuild said reserve.

What I meant to say was “verbose” which describes someone who uses lots of words (“wordy” also works but doesn’t sound as cool) and applies to both the written and spoken word

. . . but haven’t for a while now. Maybe I no longer have thoughts?

Could be; I’m getting on in years and at my advanced age the cognitive functions decline at a frightful pace. Not to brag (or complain) but I was saddened by a recent article saying research reports cognitive decline in old age occurs at a faster pace in people who are bright.

I know, I know . . . it sounds like I’m bragging. Nope! I’m hoping I’m a dunce and thus, my brain function will remain approximately constant as I age.

Yes, another reworked image. Get used to it; more are coming.

Anyway . . .

So, I got me another rejection . . . but, it felt pretty good. 

“Why?” 

Well, Bob, I’m glad you asked. I got me another somewhat personalized rejection. And, you know what; it even had a hint or two about the writing and the reason they didn’t pick it up. 

The story in question is Stopover. Note: that’s a protected post. The subscribers who read my fiction (all six of them) have already read it, but if anyone else wants to read it, just leave a comment below and I’ll email you the password.  

Anyway, here’s the feedback I received:

This post is about writing and stuff (2,100 words). I’ll throw in a photo . . .

. . . for them who wandered in here by mistake. The rest of the post consists of words and more words beside other words.

Also interesting (to me, not to the readers) is that just by writing this piece I’ll pick up at least three new followers and perhaps as many as six. They will all be writers or have something to do with the writing industry. They will not leave a comment; only a like and a follow, and I’ll never hear from them again because all they are doing is spreading their names and sites.

Twenty-one new followers in the last three weeks, right after my book reviews and my other piece on writing.

I don’t mind, really; it’s tough making it as a writer. The pay is bad, and anonymity is a feature of the profession. So, to any writer who reads this far, I understand; vade con spaghetti monstrum volantes.

To the other seven new followers in the last three weeks, I’m not interested in financial advice, women from Ukraine or Peru, supporting your travel blog, or hearing about how god shines on your life.

With that out of the way . . .

There’s a new way to write that I’m not familiar with yet. That’s right . . . I have a new keyboard. The new keyboard is slightly different from the older one, primarily in the fact that the keys are not backlit.

I should note that this post is one of them letting-the-mind-roam-free posts; basically, I have no purpose other than to get used to my new keyboard, and the best way to do that is to use it. Read this warning to mean “this could be boring” . . . I’ll throw in a few random photos to keep readers from nodding off, but really, unless you’re a fan of my rambling thoughts, you can stop reading right here. 

Anyway, I do like keyboard keys that are backlit because I’m not a touch typist and I look at the keyboard when I type and I do a fair amount of typing at night when the only illumination is from the desk lamp and my 30″ screen.

This is my third book review and it’s a murder mystery tale. Well, I don’t know what it is, exactly. Perhaps it’s mystery-suspense but it does have murders in it. The main hero is an FBI agent and the plot is pretty good as is the writing. 

I had previously said I would go in reverse order to my reading, but some of these books end up blending into each other and I don’t remember exactly the order that I read them. 

Also, I’ve had two not-so-flattering reviews and figured I should do a review of a book I liked and that kept me interested. 

This is my second book review and it’s a murder mystery tale. It’s set in a small town where the police department is understaffed, the mayor is a dick, and there’s corruption afoot likely fueled by drug money . . . so, pretty much like every town — big or small — in the world. 

This is the first of a three books series (soon to be four) by the author and they appear to be self-published. As I previously mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with self-publishing and it’s something I’m definitely interested in monitoring. 

As you can see from the above, this also has a high rating from 360 customer reviews. Additionally, the reviews appear legitimate: