Sorry. No Posts This Week

Hey guys. I’m really sorry about this, but I’ve already missed What’s Up Wednesday. There won’t be a Flash Fiction Friday either. I have a pinched nerve in my back and I’m having trouble concentrating on anything but the pain. Hopefully I’ll be back to work next week. Send your healing energy my way. I really need it.

Flash Fiction Friday Number 13: Lucky Day

Hey guys. Sorry for being a day late this week. This being the thirteenth installment of Flash Fitction Friday, I wanted to do something on the theme of luck. Of course the first thing I thought of when I thought of luck was gambling. Unfortunately, I haven’t spent much time in casinos, so this one took a little more research than usual. Anyway, I call this one…

Lucky Day

“Let it Ride!” He shouted once again, earning him cheers from the crowd gathered around to watch and an eye roll from the boxman.

Jake couldn’t believe his luck. Not that he didn’t believe in it. He’d had more than his fair share. It was just that in his case, it was usually bad.

Jake shook the dice and let them roll from his fingers. He didn’t even bother to look as they bounced along the green felt.

“Seven.” Called the stickman, almost sounding bored.

He hadn’t thought much of it when he’d put a dollar in the old lady’s cup that morning. Just trying to do what he could to help. He’d even tried to wave away the crumpled little card she’d handed him in return, but something in her eyes had made him take the well-used fortune card. ‘It’s your lucky day.’ The faded ink promised.

“Yeah, thanks.” He’d said hollowly. Jake hadn’t had a truly lucky day in his entire life.

Jake made no move to retrieve his growing pile of chips. The stickman sighed and pushed the dice back to him. He was just about to throw them when the pit boss grabbed his arm. Jake smiled as they weighed and measured the dice yet again. He laughed as one of the Casino goons patted him down looking for any sort of cheating device. Of course, he found none.

Even after verifying the dice were legit, the pit boss produced a fresh set and slapped them into Jake’s hand with a wicked smile as the crowd jeered. Jake returned it with his own heartfelt one as he turned his back to the table and tossed the fresh dice over his shoulder.

“Eleven.” The stickman yelled.

The pit boss turned visibly red. Jake knew he was pressing his luck. Not so much with the dice, he knew his luck was solid there. The casino’s patience, however, was probably running out. Looking at his towering stack of chips, Jake knew he must be close to breaking the bank.

“Come on, Jake. Don’t you think you’ve won enough?” His friend Eddie asked, looking nervously at the pit boss who was now accompanied by three goons.

“Just a couple more rolls, then I’ll stop. I promise. It’s just nice to know what it’s like to be lucky for once.”

“I really think…” Eddie started.

“Okay, fine. Just one more, then I’m done.” He raised his voice so the crowd could hear. “Okay folks, last roll. All or nothing.”

The crowd cheered. Jake did a final little dance with the dice, spun around and threw them. He smiled as they came to a rest, sure of his victory.

“Snakeeyes. Craps!” Shouted the stickman.

Jake stood in stunned silence, trying to process what was happening as the stickman began raking in Jake’s towering pile of chips and the crowd melted away, including the gorgeous blonde who had been at his shoulder all night. He took the card out of his pocket and looked at it. ‘Not all that glitters is gold.’ It now read. He grabbed Eddie by the shoulder.

“What time is it?” Jake demanded.

Eddie fumbled with his phone for a moment.

“Just past midnight.”

Jake couldn’t help but laugh. Lady luck was sure as hell punctual.

“I guess that’s why they don’t have clocks in casinos.” Jake chuckled.

“Man Jake. All that money, just gone like that. You could have been rich. I mean, I guess technically you were rich for a little while. Now it’s all gone.”

“Eddie, I’m unlucky, not an idiot.” Jake said, reaching into his pocket and producing a handful of orange chips, each worth a thousand dollars. He flipped one to Eddie. “Come on. Let’s go cash out.”

.     .     .

So that’s it for this week. I wish it weren’t the case, but I can definitely relate to our protagonist.

I’ll see you again next Wednesday with another edition of What’s Up Wednesday. I still want to start answering your questions, so please send them to me at any of these places.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon .

What’s Up Wednesday: Gremlin Attack!!!

Hey guys.

You might have noticed that I didn’t post anything last week. That’s because, to be perfectly honest, it’s been one hell of  a week.

Like most of the country, we’ve been suffering from a killer heat wave. I think today was the first day below ninety in weeks and we’ve had several hundred plus days.

This is where the gremlins come in.

I thought my whiskey decanter was getting a little low.

So far this summer, I’ve already had to fix my refrigerator. Then my water heater broke. I called a plumber to fix it, but I just didn’t have the money to have him fix it properly, so he did what he could to get it working again with the caveat that his fix might not last.

Then, on one of the hottest days of the summer, our beloved air conditioner broke. Technically, it still worked. It would just blow a breaker every time the compressor tried to come on. Now, to be fair, after a little research, I discovered that the unit was made in either ’83 or ’84. (About the time the Gremlins movie came out, actually. Coincidence?) Still, it came at the worst possible time. We were hoping it would last us through the summer so that we could install central air next spring.

Unfortunately, our dreams of sinful central air were dashed by the demise of our wall unit. We decided we couldn’t go the rest of the summer without air conditioning, so we scrambled to find a suitable replacement.

While we waited for the new air conditioner to arrive, guess what. That’s right, our water heater went out again. Luckily, I have the internet. With the help of Google and YouTube, I figured out how to install a new pilot light assembly and found one for thirty dollars as opposed the the hundred and fifty the plumber wanted to charge me just for the part.

Unfortunately, this too had to be ordered.

What with the house being a sweltering oven, and not being able to get properly clean, I just couldn’t keep my mind on creating stories. Not to mention, I was concentrating on researching home repairs. A wise man once said, if you’re going to own a home, either make enough money to hire a handyman or learn to be one yourself. (I’m not sure if that man was me or someone I heard it from.)

The new air conditioner arrived last Thursday and with the help of my younger, much stronger cousin, we got it in without too much trouble, so the weekend was nice and cool in our home.

Then on Saturday, I got to move two refrigerators. My father-in-law’s fridge has been broken for a while. We have been looking for a decent used one that we could afford and finally found one, but the clock was ticking to get it before someone else claimed it. We got the old one out of the house and put the new one in fairly easily. It was only when I was lifting the old one into the truck that I felt a twinge in my back.

The part for the water heater arrived on Monday, but I was too sore and broken to put it in until Tuesday. Luckily, once I finally got to it, it was a fairly easy install. Getting up off the floor when I was done was actually the hardest part. So now we have hot water again and my back is thanking my mom for installing a whirlpool bath when she owned the house.

So that’s been my week. We have cool air and hot water again and I’m praying the gremlins leave us alone for a while. I knew when we bought the house that things were going to break on occasion. I just didn’t expect everything to break at once. I wonder if you can get a house sized gremlin bell.

So that’s about it for this week. Provided nothing else breaks, I’ll post a new story on Friday.

As always, check me out online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon .

More is coming soon, as long as things quit breaking.

What’s Up Wednesday: Big Changes

Hey guys.

First off, welcome. What do you think of the new digs? I know it’s a little bland so far, but I’d love your input on how I should decorate the place. Let me know in the comments.

Migrating the blog to my own site isn’t the only change I’ve made in the last week.

I’ve finally overcome a major stumbling block I’ve had for years.

First, I have something to confess. Even though I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, I’ve only ever submitted one piece for publication. To my credit, I aimed big and sent it to the New Yorker. Unfortunately, at the time, my work was nowhere near up to their standards. To be honest, I’m not sure it is even now. Of course, my submission was rejected. That was almost twenty years ago and I haven’t submitted anything since. Why not?

In a word, fear. I think George McFly summed it up best.

Even though the New Yorker rejection didn’t hurt so bad because I knew I was reaching, (probably why I chose that market in the first place) I was still terrified I’d get rejected by even small markets.

All those years, there was something I was missing. When it comes right down to it, the worst thing that could have happened had I been submitting pieces all this time is for everything I submitted to have been rejected. While that’s an unlikely outcome, it’s effectively what happened from being too afraid to submit anything at all. I’m still, as yet, unpublished by a professional publication.

Having realized this, I’m proud to say that in the past week, I’ve submitted two stories to anthologies. I’m also much more confident in my work so I’m very hopeful that at least one of them gets selected. I’ve decided to only submit to professional paying markets, so the competition is fierce, but I feel like accepting anything less would be shortchanging myself, and I’ve done that long enough. At least all that time where I wasn’t submitting was spent working on my craft.

I’m also preparing other stories to send to magazines and other anthologies so hopefully I’ll have good news to report soon. If nothing else, eventually I’ll have enough stories to publish a collection on my own.

Also, by popular demand, I’m trying to figure out a way to sell autographed copies of my books from my site. Of course, all I have to offer at this point are these.

But hopefully I’ll have more to offer very very soon.

So, other than the fact that we’re roasting out here and praying the gods show us some mercy soon, that’s about all I have to tell you this week.

I’ll see you on Friday with another flash piece. Until then, try to keep cool and face your fears.

Please like this post and follow this blog. I’m not sure if the migration process brought over all my followers so you may have to re-follow.

Don’t forget to stalk me.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr