What’s Up Wednesday: A Breakdown, Home Free, & Bookapalooza

Hey guys. I guess it’s that time again where I tell you about my week.

To be honest, the few days between my last post and the weekend were relatively uneventful. I worked, I tried unsuccessfully to get the house clean, and I worked again.

Then on Saturday, we started the day by haunting our house for Halloween. Due to a death in the family a year ago, we didn’t do much to celebrate our favorite holiday, so I was determined to be prepared for it this year. We hung up all of our decorations, including several decals which were meant to stick to the wall, but are already peeling off. Still, we got the house relatively spooky.

After that, it being possibly one of the last truly gorgeous days of the year, I jumped on the new bike to take it for a good test ride. Since my old bike just wasn’t good at keeping up, I jumped on the freeway and really let her rip. Since Shannon and my mom read this blog, I won’t say how fast I got it up to, but I chickened out before coming anywhere near its top speed.

Once I got into Sturgis, I took it to the parts shop both to show it off and look at accessories. It’s nice having a bike made within the past twenty years. You can actually still get parts for it.

After spending time at the parts shop, I decided to take the long way home via Vanocker Canyon, a beautiful ride through the black hills.

As I was leaving Sturgis, my speedometer stopped working. Now if I had been smart, I would have taken it to a friend’s house and left it there until I could arrange a trailer to take it home, but I wasn’t about to let a little mechanical trouble ruin my day, so on up the canyon I went. (Yes, I’m stupid sometimes.) I was absolutely loving the way the new bike took the turns. I felt much braver on this one than on my old bike because it sits lower and has a heavier, more stable base.

Then, about ten miles in, the engine started to sputter. Again, I should have turned around and nursed it back to town, but I didn’t. I hoped it was just a hiccup that would even out, but it didn’t. After about another mile, it died completely. I coasted as far as I could and then sat there on the side of the road for a few minutes, begging it to start, but I was getting absolutely nothing at all from the starter switch. I called Shannon to ask her to get ahold of a friend of ours who could rescue me with his trailer. Luckily I had just enough signal to make the call. I was told it would be about forty-five minutes. Luckily he was available to come to the rescue at all.

As I waited, I got a brilliant idea. I would turn around and push it back up the hill I had just coasted down. Beyond that hill was a ten percent grade for a good couple of miles. I figured if I could get it rolling fast enough, I might just be able to pop-start it. It took me what seemed like forever, but I finally crested the hill pushing my beast and jumped on. After catching my breath, I let go of the brake and began to coast. I started going faster and faster. I still had no speedometer, but I felt like I must be going at least the posted speed. I popped it into gear and let go of the clutch. The engine felt like it revved to life. I squeezed the clutch lever back in, hoping to heat the engine running, but nothing. Again and again I tried, but no luck. My new baby was well and truly dead.

Finally, the ten-percent grade leveled out and once again I found myself on the side of the road. Unfortunately, while I was a little closer to town, I didn’t have any shade in my new location. I probably should have just stayed put. I did have several people stop and ask if I needed help, but I told them I was good. Sitting there waiting, I came to the conclusion that since I knew for a fact the battery had a full charge when I left the house, there must be something wrong with the charging system.

At least I got a little laugh while I waited when a big bad biker passed me on his Harley blasting the new T-Swift song.

Not too long after, the cavalry arrived. I still can’t thank him enough. I’m not sure what I would have done otherwise. We got the bike loaded up fairly quickly considering how heavy it is, and he drove me home.

With the bike stored safely in the garage for another day, I quickly bathed and dressed to go see Home Free.

They were absolutely amazing to watch, even if our typically choice seats were ruined due to the venue adding extra folding chairs right in front of us.

Still, it was an amazing show.

After the show, we went to the dinner we were forced to miss due to my mechanical mishap.

On Sunday, it was time for one of my favorite days of the year. The day which we’ve come to call bookapalooza. It’s the day that Shannon, my librarian girlfriend, has to spend her yearly budget. It’s so much fun to walk into a bookstore and buy several hundred dollars worth of books. I had meant to get a picture of them all, but I forgot. Unfortunately, my brilliant idea to push my bike the day before got my back hurting again. Luckily it’s not as bad as it was.

And really, that’s about been my week. I’m still trying to get into a regular writing schedule, but it seems there’s always something I need to do. Thankfully, the hotel is starting to calm down so I can start getting some writing done there at least. I’m almost looking forward to winter because then people won’t expect me to leave the house so much. I said ALMOST, nature. Don’t make with the snow just yet.

Oh yes, one more exciting thing. My brother has decided to take me to Ireland for my birthday in February, so I’m thrilled at the thought of seeing the motherland. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long for my passport renewal to go through.

Well, that’s about it. I’m still working on that Halloween story for you guys. It’s jut not coming out quite the way I want it so far. Hopefully it’ll be out before the 31st. But hey, if it’s not, I can just say I’m imitating the Simpsons.

I’ll see you guys soon.

Stalk me 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

 

 

Flash Fiction Friday Number 12: The Unwanted

Hey guys. Welcome to another edition of Flash Fiction Friday.

This week’s offering is something a little different. I’ve never written much in the way of westerns. With the exception of the Lonesome Dove series, I haven’t even read much. Still, I thought I’d challenge myself by writing a story in an unfamiliar genre. So, without further ado, I call this one…

pexels-photo-93858.jpeg

The Unwanted

The flaming twig briefly illuminated the bounty hunter’s craggy face as he used it to light his cigarette. Once again the bound figure sitting across the fire from him begged for his freedom.

“Please, you don’t have to do this. My family has money. I can pay you whatever you want.”

“You know what it says on your wanted poster?”

“How the hell should I know? I didn’t even know I was wanted ’til you showed up and arrested me. You could have at least waited and let me get my money’s worth from that girl.”

“It says dead or alive.” The bounty hunter said, ignoring his captive’s complaint.

“So?” The prisoner said, sulking.

“So if you don’t shut up, I may just decide to take the quieter option.”

The prisoner stayed quiet for about a minute before he resumed his begging.

“I ain’t even done nothin’ wrong.”

“Ain’t for me to decide. That’s the jury’s job.”

“I don’t stand no kind of chance with a jury. Soon as they find out I rode with them boys, even for a little bit, they’re gonna’ be callin’ for my head.”

“Then I reckon you made your bed when you started ridin’ with ’em.”

“Hell, I didn’t know who they was at the time. Once I figured it out, I got away soon as I could.”

“Well, maybe if you tell the jury that, they’ll let you go if you testify against ’em.”

“Ain’t no way I’m doin’ that. The jury might hang me, but that ain’t nothin’ compared to what they’ll do to me.”

The sound of approaching hoofbeats drifted across the prairie and the prisoner jumped up and tried to run. The bounty hunter yanked on the rope attached to his legs and he fell on his face in the dirt.

“Now where do you think you’re goin’?”

“Please. You gotta’ let me go. That’s them comin’ for me. I’d know the sound of that gimpy horse of Dave’s anywhere.”

“You sure about that kid?” The bounty hunter asked as he stood up and brushed the dust from his trousers. Without waiting for an answer, he checked the loads in his pistol.

“Yes! Let me go or they’ll kill me.”

“Just lay there in the dirt and let me take care of this.” The bounty hunter said, holstering his pistol.

As he did, three figures on horseback emerged from the darkness. Their faces half-covered with black handkerchiefs turned brown with dust..

“Evening boys.” The bounty hunter said. “Coffee’s fresh if you want a cup.”

“We ain’t here for coffee, Old Man.”

“Well then, I don’t know what else I might be able to help you with.”

“We’re here for him.” The leader said, pointing to the whimpering lump on the ground.”

“‘Fraid he ain’t for sale.”

“I didn’t say nothin’ about buying him. We’re just gonna take him.”

“Well, son. I got a bit of a problem with that.”

“I don’t give a da…” The outlaw started to yell before he was cut off by three loud gunshots followed by three thuds as the outlaws fell from thier mounts.

The prisoner slowly looked up from the dirt only to see the bounty hunter standing there with his pistol still smoking in his hand. As he watched, the old man, suddenly not looking so old any more, holstered his pistol and drew his huge Bowie knife. He turned toward his prisoner.

“Well, I guess I don’t need you anymore.” The bounty hunter said menacingly.

“No. Please. I promise I won’t talk no more. Take me in. I’ll go happily.”

The bounty hunter leaned in low with the knife. The prisoner tensed, waiting for the killing blow. Instead, he suddenly felt his hands and feet free. He lay there in the dirt, trying to process what had happened. By the time he realized he was being set free and had gotten to his feet, the bounty hunter had tied the dead outlaws to the backs of two of their mounts. He held the reins of the third, Dave’s gimpy nag, out to the prisoner. The prisoner gave him a questioning look.

“You’d best get on out of here.” The bounty hunter said.

“You mean you’re not gonna’ take me in?”

“For what? You never was wanted for anything but to give testimony on these three. I don’t guess they’ll need you for that no more.” The old man chuckled.

“But then why… You were using me for bait.”

“Sorry ’bout that.” The old man said, flipping him a silver dollar. “The next girl’s on me.”

“You son of a…”

“Don’t finish that sentence, boy. I could still bring you in and say I caught you ridin’ with ’em. Now git.”

The man gave the bounty hunter one last dirty look before mounting Dave’s old horse and riding for town.

So that’s it. Like I said, I’ve never done a western before. How did I do? Let me know in the comments, or hit me up on my social pages.

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

 

Loose In The Big Apple

Before we get into it today, I just wanted to give you an update on me. I’ve been getting much more serious about my career as a writer. As you probably know, I’ve been blogging regularly, so that’s a major hurdle I’ve been struggling with for years.

I also just relaunched my YouTube channel. I’m still trying to reach the century mark so I can claim my custom URL, but I’m still a bit shy of the hundred subscribers I need. I would greatly appreciate it if you would go and subscribe.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxzUrv09aOM6JrnsZy5EyAw

I have been writing more regularly, although I’m not to the point of doing it every day just yet. Still, words are flowing again and I hope to have more published very soon. I probably would have gotten much more writing done this weekend, but we had some great weather and I just couldn’t resist jumping on my motorcycle and feeling the wind in my beard.

Now then, back to our regularly scheduled story.

Well kiddies, we’ve come to the end. I had just finished Thrillerfest and Pitchfest. I had a few well-deserved drinks and got some much-needed rest.

The next day, I was up bright and early and ready to roam free in NYC. I started by going online and booking tickets for a matinee. I spent longer than I should have deciding what I wanted to see. Of course, Hamilton was right out. Still, there were many other shows I would have liked to have seen. I could probably spend a month there and still not see everything I wanted to see. Besides, considering Shannon was a theater major her first time through college, she would have killed me if I had gone to see certain shows without her.

I finally settled on one that I’d always wanted to see but never had the opportunity. Les Miserables. Yes, I’d seen the movie, but there’s nothing like seeing a show on the stage. That decided, I quickly showered and made my way to the heart of Manhattan. Of course, I found myself with a few hours to kill, so I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch.

On a friend’s advice, I wandered in to Carmine’s. Unfortunately, my friend didn’t mention that on some days, they only serve food family style. Still, I had been saving for this trip for quite a while and had plenty of money to spend. I had planned on eating well the entire trip, but it just hadn’t worked out that way. So I decided to splurge and go for it even though I was by myself. I was expecting a lot of food, but i wasn’t expecting this.

13615231_1310245159004010_6464945561226445853_n

So that was my meal for the day. It was absolutely delicious and I have no regrets. When I was done, I realized I had to get to the theater. I didn’t want to throw away such excellent food, so I ended up taking it into the theater. Nobody stopped me, so I went with it.

As I entered the theater, I was happy with my choice of plays since the doors proclaimed that Les Mis. was in its final days on Broadway.

My tickets weren’t the best. I was up in the balcony, at the very end of the row.

13600111_1310270149001511_9178093207142629155_n

Still, the theater was well designed and I could see well enough. On the plus side, I was seated next to a gaggle of Russian models, which was nice.

From the moment the curtain went up, I was on the edge of my seat. I’m not ashamed to say, I cried at all the appropriate times. By the end of the show, I was in complete awe.

Once the show was over, I spent some time wandering around the theater district. I had to make a stop by the Majestic where I had seen The Phantom of the Opera back in middle school.

13626627_1311002302261629_7714091071446602088_n

I made sure to buy Shannon some souvenirs. Unfortunately, I was traveling light so I couldn’t buy too much. I’ll make it up to her someday by taking her there on a theater trip.

Once I was tired of walking around and sightseeing, I made my way back to The Jane where I finally ate the leftovers I’d been carrying around all day. I then went up to the rooftop bar for a nightcap before turning in for the night.

The next day, I had no real agenda. I’d done everything I really wanted to do. Sure, I could have done the touristy things like the statue of liberty and such, but I just decided to wander.

I went into several gift shops, looking for a souvenir for myself, but it seemed every shop had exactly the same inventory.

Then I found it. The perfect reminder of my trip to NYC. Still, I talked myself out of it. I wandered off, but it kept eating at me until I decided I just had to have it. Of course by then, I had completely forgotten which store held my prize. After revisiting several shops, I finally found it and wasted no time buying it.

13614987_1311009272260932_1806520075931939697_n

Yes, it’s the ducky tie from How I Met Your Mother. Well, it’s a little different. I’m guessing because of licensing issues, but it’s close enough.

My prize stored safely in my backpack, I decided I had to have a drink at The Algonquin. The place where the legen-wait for it-dary Algonquin Round Table once met.

15drink-booming1-jumbo

I took a seat in The Blue Bar and ordered. It may be cliche, but I had to try their signature drink. A Manhattan of course. It was delicious. I only had the one. I didn’t relish the thought of wandering the streets of New York drunk with no idea where I was.

I then had to check out Rockefeller Plaza. of course, there was no ice rink, but I had to go there anyway. After that, I somehow found myself sitting at a table across from the Met Life building when all of a sudden, there are black cars and SUVs all over the place with flashing blue and red lights.

A door of one of the SUVs opens and who should get out? None other than Bill Clinton. I have to tell you, he didn’t look good. Now this was right in the middle of his wife’s presidential campaign, so maybe he was just tired, but he looked like hell. Still, it was my only non-literary celebrity encounter of the trip so it had to be mentioned.

By now it was getting late, so I made my way to Times Square. Big mistake. I enjoyed the approach. Particularly the street performers. Some of them were from a strip club and I was amazed they were allowed to walk around topless. I didn’t complain though.

Finally I made it to Times Square, and immediately noped out.

13606780_1310439212317938_1420217107965556449_n

The sheer press of people was way too much for someone who spends the bulk of his time sitting along in his home office. I felt my lungs constricting as my claustrophobia triggered a panic attack. I quickly turned on my heel and retreated to the safety of the strippers.

Once I got my breathing under control, I found a restaurant. I don’t even remember what it was or what I had. I just needed some food and a place to chill for a moment. At this point, the introvert had had enough human interaction and I went back to my room and watched the Disney channel. Hey, it was the only thing on.

The next day, I was scheduled to leave, but my flight wasn’t until later so I spent some time in The Jane’s other bar. I honestly wish I’d discovered it existed earlier. The rooftop bar was cool, but this place was more my style.

13567356_1309738799054646_478273612966082594_n

Finally, I decided that I should do something quick rather than stay in the hotel all day so I asked the front desk for advice. He recommended taking the subway all the way to the end of the line and going for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. I thought it was silly, but I was glad I did.

13654150_1311787112183148_5480075915883002064_n

And that brings my adventures in New York to a close. Next week, I’ll catch you guys up on everything that’s been going on in my life since then. It still feels like, starting with that trip in early July of last year, I’ve barely had time to breathe with everything going on. But that’s a story for next week.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

Finally On Two Wheels

Yes, I’ve been gone again. At this point we should probably just accept this as the norm and move on. But never fear. Just because I haven’t been posting regularly doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. As a matter of fact I have been reasonably productive as of late, particularly in the last month or so.

Last month I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. I bought a motorcycle. Call it a mid-life crisis if you must but it’s probaby the best purchase I’ve ever made; particularly where my writing is concerned. I was beginning to fear my writing was stagnating, mainly due to a lack of new experiences. Now that I’m up on two wheels, I’m free to explore and seek out adventure as I please.

More importantly, it helps me clear my head, something anyone who knows me will tell you I have a real problem with. On the bike, there is no time to worry about the petty problems of everyday life. You’re too busy watching the road and looking for possible hazards while at the same time enjoyng the ride. Meanwhile, the subconscious is given free reign. I didn’t even realize what was happening until after a ride I sat down at my desk and was flooded with fresh ideas. I actually had to make a file for all the ideas I didn’t want to lose yet don’t have the time to pursue just now.

I wish I had bought a bike years ago.

It’s also nice getting almost 50 mpg.

image

She may not be much, but she’s all mine.