Saturday, June 30, 2012

Coming In August...

Medieval Muse

By Karen Elizabeth Brown

What happens when Victoria Budroix receives a cameo that promises to give her the desires of her heart? Since she doesn’t even know what that would be, perhaps a trip to medieval times, intrigue, threat of war and an overbearing lord are on the list for some of her choices. Or could it be meeting her one true love?

Sir William of Conrad has escorted a stranger home to be under his protection. He discovers this woman speaks her own mind and melts his heart. He faces his father’s outrage and a broken alliance with the neighboring clan by falling in love. This could mean war.

Medieval Muse will be available starting August 1st as a free e-book from Smashwords. I will be having a launch party during August 1st - 6th.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Announcing: Creative Writing Workshop in Southern Oregon - Ashland, Oregon

There will be an on-going workshop through the summer, in July and August, if enough people are interested in signing up. Times will be Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:30-6:00pm.

Hosted by: Kitty Lion

Ms. Lion has been a creative writing instructor at the Rogue Community College - Riverside Campus for 12 years. She is a published author, endorsed by Tom Robbins and Alan Rinzler (co-founder of Rolling Stone Magazine).

The plan for this workshop will be sharing and critique of each individual's work on assigned days. Come prepared to read and critique other writer's work and offer your own work up for critique.

Cost: Price will vary depending on how many people sign up.

If you are interested in signing up:

Contact: Karen Elizabeth Brown
               (Leave me a message and I will contact you)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Excerpt from The Chameleon Effect #4

Chavez works for The Agency and has been assigned to rescue Kira Rostropovich and return her to Vega Minor, where she resides with her parents. After being in prison and being 'bought' by Chavez in an auction, Kira is not happy about being searched by Chavez. But he finds a tracking device on her right before a mercenary, Captain Maddeson, finds them and demands that Kira be turned over to him. Chavez immediately makes a sudden jump across the galaxy, much to Kira's surprise!

"I'm sorry I couldn't warn you, but if Captain Maddeson knew I was going to do a hyper-jump, then he might have tried to stop me with a tractor beam. That would have torn the ship apart and we would be dead right now."

"We aren't dead, so where are we?" Kira crossed her arms and scowled at Chavez.

"We're at the only place I could think of off the top of my head that would be almost deserted. I didn't want to land on top of, or inside someone else's ship. We're in the Lima sector."

Kira raised her eyebrows and stiffened her body. "Isn't that near slave trading planets?"

"Yes. And you are my slave, remember? At least until we get back to Vega Minor. That is, unless you want to find your own way home?" He raised his eyebrows and smirked at her.

"I don't have a home."

Chavez decided not to press the matter right now. Perhaps he should try to be nice. "Let me show you to your quarters. They aren't fancy, but they're clean." He led her off the bridge through a sliding door onto a main corridor. Pointing to a non-descript door with an entry scanner beside it, he said,

"This is the best I've got. You'll find everything you need already in the drawers along the walls. If you need anything else, let me know. I have to get back to the bridge right now."

Kira looked down the corridor and to the other door across the hall. "Is that yours?"

Chavez nodded. "Yes, but I usually sleep on the bridge when I'm in space. I need to be near the monitors."

"I can help you. I know how to fly a ship."

Chavez shrugged. According to her file she had no knowledge of how to fly a ship. Where did that ability come from? Something isn't right. What else did they program her with?

Kira watched Chavez saunter back down the corridor towards the bridge. He was tall and his strong shoulders were accentuated by his curly, black hair that hung in a ponytail to the middle of his shoulder blades. His waist was narrow and his jumpsuit was tight on his buttocks and muscular thighs. Kira gave a nod of approval at the pleasant view she was privy to. Chavez didn't look back as he approached the sliding doors that separated the sleeping rooms from the bridge, so he missed one of the few times that Kira allowed herself to smile.

Kira knew she was on a small, but powerful ship. She'd studied the monitors on the bridge while she was there and with the passwords Chavez had added to protect his ship from theft, it would be hard for her to override them. But she felt compelled to do so. But she let this go for now and turned away from her room and headed down the hall. While Chavez was on the bridge, Kira wanted to investigate the rest of the ship. She found the doors to the lift, stepped in and waited. The computer prompted her to state her destination.

"Lower deck, computer."

"Please specify which deck."

Since Kira didn't know the ship, she guessed. "Level one, computer."

The doors closed and she was whisked to the lower bowels of the ship. She was in a hallway that led to the engine room one way and the other way, there was an observation lounge containing plants and vines growing along the walls, with seats following a garden path. There were strange, rare colored flowers growing among the ferns, and in the middle, a fountain of bubbling water. Kira sat down on a bench and stared at the purple and pink flowers in wonder.

"This is amazing!"

"Thank you." Chavez appeared from one of the paths, startling Kira. She jumped up, glaring at him.

"What are you doing here?"

"This is my ship. The computer always warns me when someone is near the engine room. I wanted to make sure you weren't lost."

"Lost? On this little bucket? I doubt that." Kira stamped off and headed back to the lift. She wanted to get away from Chavez. She had unsettling feelings whenever he got close to her. She didn't understand why she got so angry, but whatever the reason, at least it kept him at arm's length.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Short Story For Father's Day

Father’s Day

It wasn’t easy being the only daughter of the most famous scientist on Earth. My Nobel Prize winning father didn’t seem to listen as clearly as the fathers I’d seen on my week long camping trip. My father didn’t come. He was too busy experimenting with his new cloning device. He was, however, all too willing to explain its entire workings to me the day I got back, disillusioned and dissatisfied.

“Kari, you should see how this works! It’s amazing! It will change the course of the study of cloning!”

“Dad, I need to talk to you.”

“Sure. Anytime. But right now, follow along. This is important so you’ll understand how the machine works.”

The machine was a closet sized apparatus that could contain any size organism and grow it to full size in a matter of days. My father, Anthony Gene Barrett, had cloned a human organism from the DNA of a dying child and was able to restore a new child to the grieving parents. The controversy that exploded after he announced it to the world still hadn’t died down. I couldn’t walk down the street without being accosted by reporters or angry human rights activists who would demand to know why my father would do such a thing. My answer was always the same,

“Why don’t you ask him that and leave me alone!”

But I did learn how the machine worked, inside and out. I had my reasons for learning. And when my father went on his two week vacation to Maui, I stayed home. I had my own work to do in the lab. If my father wouldn’t act like a real father, then I would clone him from his DNA and make one that would.

I only had two weeks, so I needed to get busy. I couldn’t hesitate in my resolve. There was a small apartment attached to the lab where my father would sometimes stay when he was working. So, I locked myself in the lab and would stay here until my “father” was finished growing. It wasn’t hard inserting the frozen DNA into an agar petrie dish and placing it in the machine. My father had stored DNA on all his relatives, including me. It was horrible having him punch my stomach with the needle and watching him draw out the tissue and blood. I decided to destroy my frozen sample so he wouldn’t be tempted to clone me. I didn’t want to be cloned. We’ll see how my father feels when he discovers he’s been cloned.

Anyway, I waited. After an agonizing week, I got ready to open the machine. But as I held my hand over the controls, the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number. It could have been my father, so I answered it.


“Kari? It’s your father. I’m calling to see if you need anything.”

“Hi. No, I’m fine.”

“What have you been doing all week?”

“Oh, just hanging out.”

“Okay, that sounds a little vague. Why don’t you read a book or study something?”

“I am. I’ve been reading about cloning.”

“Excellent. We’ll have to talk when I get back. Why don’t you try cloning something small? You have my permission to use the machine.”

“Okay. Goodbye.”

Click. I had his permission. That was too good to be true! Would he like my choice of subjects? It didn’t matter now because the machine was signaling that the clone was finished. I swallowed hard and punched the button to silence the alarm. Then I opened the door to the machine.

I hadn’t looked at the clone while it was forming, so when I saw the product of the DNA I was relieved. Before me stood a naked replica of my father. His baby pink skin glistened in the soft light of the machine. My cheeks reddened, having never seen him without clothes before. He looked back at me and smiled. I stepped back, trying to keep distance between us. Then his eyes narrowed and he balled his fists up, pulling against the straps holding him in the machine.

“Let me out!” His voice was a duplicate of my father’s only more demanding.

“Wait just a minute. We have to get a few things straight.”

“Like what?”

“I’m your daughter and I’ll be in charge here.”

“According to my understanding, a daughter is not in control.”

The computer had downloaded him with all the pertinent information except the fact that I was in control. “This one is. If you want out, you have to agree to that.”

“I agree.”

I carefully released his straps and the first thing he did was take ahold of my arm and pull me to him.

“Listen you, if I’m your father, then you’ll obey my every word. Feed me, now!” He pushed against my arm so hard I fell to the floor. He walked right past me without giving a second look to my plight. After sitting down in a chair, he waited for me to crawl onto my hands and knees before he said,

“Hurry up or I’ll have to punish you!”

My God! I’ve created a monster! I would wait until my real father came home and let him deal with this evil clone. He was everything my father wasn’t. Maybe my father didn’t pay me as much attention, but at least he was kind and caring.

I brought the clone food. In fact, that’s mostly all I did that week. He wanted food more than a normal human should. Was his system burning faster? Or would he weigh a thousand pounds next year?

My father didn’t show up the day he was expected. I got worried, plus I couldn’t deal with this monster I’d created. By now I had bruises from where he had pushed and hit me, and I knew I couldn’t take much more. I was on the edge of a breakdown. The doorbell rang. It was the police.

“Are you Kari Barrett?”


“I’m sorry to inform you that your father was in a plane crash over the Pacific Ocean. They couldn’t find any survivors.” The policeman stood there in impotent silence while I took in the news. This was more than I could take right now.

I slumped to the floor after the police left. What was I going to do? I heard footsteps behind me. It was the clone. In a daze, I stood up.

“Who was at the door?”

“It was a paperboy selling newspapers.”

“Did you send him packing?”


“Where’s my dinner?”

“In the kitchen.”

I led the clone into the kitchen and had him sit facing the window, his back to me. I picked up a large butcher knife and ran over to him, plunging it in his back with all the force I had. He lurched forward, cussing as he fell onto the table. I stabbed again, again, again.

He was dead.

I cried for my father then. He would leave an aching hole in my heart. Alone and angry, I knew I would not make another clone of my father. Probably not, anyway.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ode To The End of School

I've been rushing like a crazy man, trying to get my writing project ready for its final submission for my Imaginative Writing Class. That happens this Friday and then I will celebrate summer vacation!

I'd like to share these poems with you. They are the results of the poetry section of my class. I hope you enjoy them.


Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
At my home and happy like a young prince
I reigned alone shrouded by the canopy of my robe
And Excalibur allowed me great golden days
As I wore my regal crown
So the whole world would bow to me as I approached.

I strutted proud as a peacock wherever I went
And I opened my plumes to the ladies
But they mocked me with laughter like howling hyenas
My face burned in fury as I pretended not to notice my gnawing pain
All these creatures continued to make jests of me
Until the hurt weighed like an anchor of a thousand tons.

All day long I planned their demise
Those cackling hens with their shallow minds
I drew my sword and chose my target
From before me
All was colored in deep crimson
As I went to sleep my crown felt tainted with their blood.

When I awoke I breathed in the fresh breath of morning
That would obliterate the acts of yesterday's strife
I crossed myself and bowed my head but who would hear the prince
Except I myself - to which I knew I would never die.

The Shadows

Creeping slowly, never speaking
Moving closer bit by bit
Stealing daylight, fingers forming
Nightly pictures of fairies swarming
Telling secrets, ghostly patterns
Casting shadows on the wall
Dreamscapes gloomy blackness falling
Stop. My urgent pleading calls, but
Violent streams of moonlight teeming
Veiled with darkness the shadows come.

The Old Man

Shuffling slowly, steps unsure
Hands gripped tight in fear
Graying head, fading eyes, his
Voice cracked with time
Another day in foggy mindset
Memory dry as kindling
Reaching back into his thoughts
Of days, of weeks, of years...
A smile breaks forth to
No one else. He remembers.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Write Like A Pro

I recently had a conversation with an extremely imaginative young man, who had his series of four books outlined and sub-outlined, with character assessments on his protagonist and antagonist. His descriptions of the plot and the sub-plots were fascinating and he read the first two chapters to me. It was engrossing. And then I asked him:

"Do you write every day?"

"No, if I did, I'd probably have at least the first book finished!"

His answer saddened me. Because his dream of finishing this series of books was waiting on the right mood, inspiration, or whatever else it takes to get a few pages beat out at the computer. It was the sign of an amateur. Not that we should all quit our day jobs and spend the day before the keyboard, but by creating that time to hone our craft, things start to happen. Stories get finished, where before they would sit and gather cyberdust.

If you want to write like a professional, you will tackle that manuscript head on every day (except for designated days off) and stick to that schedule no matter what. Personally, my goal is to write 1000 words a day. That doesn't mean you write schlock when you are stuck, it means that you can do the research writing, or write in your journal until you are unblocked. But whatever you do, make sure that it's writing.

There's something about writing that ensures you that you'll be able to write more. The creative process needs that consistent flow of words, or if you're an artist, the continual drawing. And, you'll discover as you write more and more, your craft becomes better and better. You develop your own style and are more sure of yourself. Your attitude towards your craft changes. All these things add up to professionalism.

Acting like a professional by sticking to a schedule is the first step to writing like a pro. I'll talk about other things you can do later. It's good to work on one task at a time. If you are already writing everyday, give yourself a pat on the back and then ask yourself: What else am I doing to write like a pro? And then share it with us so we can all learn for your experiences, okay?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme Award

I want to thank L.G. Keltner at Writing Off The Edge for including me as one of her recipients of the Lucky 7 Meme. It was such a surprise and at first I didn't know what the Lucky 7 was for. Well, now I do! According to the list of rules, I'm supposed to:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines as written.
4. Tag 7 other writers.
5. Let them know.

This is an intimidating exercise because it gives specific requirements. According to the rules, I can't pick my favorite MS and my favorite 7 lines, but no matter what shape those 7 lines are in, without editing, that's what I put. So, without further adieu, here's my 7 lines of "The MacKenzie Chronicles: Part 1 - Supernova."

As he reached for his belongings, a wave of dizziness overcame him and he passed out.

He woke again in sick bay. This time, there were bandages on his face and the monitors at the head of the bed chirped in a steady rate along with his heartbeat. He looked down to find a tall, black man dressed in a white uniform standing at the foot of the bed.

"I see you're awake again. Can you tell me your name?"

"No... I can't remember," he croaked. "Can I get some water?"

So there it is. And now it's my turn to bestow this award on some of my favorite writers.

1. M. Pax - Wistful Nebulae
2. Shallee McArthur - Life, the Universe and Writing
3. Susanne Drazic - Putting Words Down On Paper
4. Alex J. Cavanaugh
5. Catherine Ensley - Words, World and Wings
6. Margo Kelly
7. Talli Roland

Congratulations to all you talented writers. I hope you all enjoy this fun award!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Excerpt from: The Chameleon Effect #3

Part 3

Chavez and Kira are getting to know one another while on Chavez's space ship. So far it's been a rocky introduction and Kira can only glare at Chavez in distrust. Her memory is gone and she doesn't even remember her own name. She was told by the slaver that Chavez would give her a name. This unsettles Chavez and he calls The Agency (which he works for) and he is instructed to tell her what she needs to know and 'fix it' so she can go home!

Chavez was about to start questioning Kira about where she'd been held when the alarm went off on his display. There was a ship approaching. Who would be out here and why? He raised the shields and armed his weapons, getting ready for the encounter.

"What's happening?" Kira stood beside him looking at the monitors. "Are we being attacked?"

"It's possible, they're jamming my signal. You need to go strap yourself in that chair over there." Chavez pointed to a high back chair that was away from the monitors, but near the escape pods. The bridge was arranged conveniently around the main display in a semi-circle. This afforded Chavez a compact space, while the auxiliary units were off to the sides.

Kira glanced at the escape pod sign. "I'm not going anywhere without you."

Chavez nodded absently, but was too busy watching the screen to pay attention to her statement. The incoming ship was continuing on an intercept course. If it didn't adjust its trajectory, they would collide within a few minutes. Then, a swarthy looking half-man, half-reptile came onscreen. He spoke in a guttural language. Chavez switched on the universal translator and allowed his transmission.

"This is Captain Luthius Maddeson." His words slurred together. "Lower your shields and prepare to be boarded. You are carrying a known criminal who has escaped from Prison Planet 452. If you refuse, you will be fired upon!" Captain Maddeson had a reptilian face with dark brown skin and black eyes. He blinked and a second lid closed over his eyes. He was an Orgarian from the planet Nochturius. Very few humans had gone there, and had ever come back.

Chavez snorted. "What gives you the right to make demands on me? And whose authority gives you permission to fire on me?"

There was a slight pause before Captain Maddeson growled, "I don't need anybodys permission. This is intergalactic free space and I'm in charge here. You have five of your Terran minutes to comply."

Chavez had dealt with the Orgarians before and knew how lethal they were. He began sending an encoded message to The Agency designating his last known position ans then stalled for time. "What makes you think I have a criminal on board?"

Captain Maddeson took the bait. "My sensors show that you have two Terrans on board, one male, one female. The female is our criminal and we want her."

While Captain Maddeson was talking, Chavez was preparing jump coordinates that would take the ship across the galaxy. He looked over at Kira and shook his head when she started to speak. She closed her mouth without making a sound, but when he passed his hand over the sensor to engage the jump, he could vaguely hear her sudden yelp of surprise. The ship lurched and faded into nothing as Kira's shout caught up with the stretching of the space time continuum.