Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/iamjoeyc
Review Requests: OFF
276 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I do not use templates, I prefer to send my thoughts in letter form. But be forewarned most of my reviews are over 5000 characters in length. More especially the first. Seconds and third reviews tend to be more concise as I learn what you would have me comment on.
I'm good at...
Being,(or at least trying to be) objective, never forgetting why we are all looking for reviews.
Favorite Genres
Epic Fantasy, Historic, Action, Crime Drama, Techno-thrillers, and many of the classics. I like some erotica when tastefully presented with a plot that could be plausible. I think snippets of porn lack talent and are just graphic self-indulgence.
Least Favorite Genres
Poetry: but only because I am not very good at it. That is not to say I am unwilling to share the emotion your poem may invoke, you must understand you will get what I feel, with little help on any technical aspects.
Favorite Item Types
I am eclectic! I truly like everything, my favorite is whatever the book is in my hand at the time you ask the question.
Least Favorite Item Types
I'm not a big fan of Gay (male homosexual erotica)But to exclude any genre based on perceived phobias is to lessen my understanding of our art. How can I succeed with a closed mind, when the opposite is what creative writing is all about?
I will not review...
Nothing is off limits I believe as writers we must be willing to understand the entire spectrum of our art, even if a particular area is disturbing to us. Testing our limits is what makes us better at what we do. It does not make us into what we may read or comment on. To have an opinion one must first experience the subject even if it is only in the peripheral. If you are never exposed to a germ, that germ can become paralyzingly dangerous. Minor exposure can sometimes give immunity.
Public Reviews
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Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (2.5)
Hi Rachelle,

I always like to return the favor of a review, with a review. Since you are a new member to WdC (What we lovingly call a "Newbie"), you don't have a lot in your portfolio that fits in my bailiwick. But then I came across this posting, what appears to be an example of a letter one might wish to write to someone special.

First, I will share that I am no expert on writing, (there are none!) But it has been my experience that large blocks of text will stop a reader in their tracks. If our goal is to write and share ideas, feelings, dreams, encounters, and other wild meanderings that our muses may paint on the canvas of our minds. Then, we must present those expressions in a manner that encourages a reader to enter our worlds.

You seem to have taken a lot of shortcuts in your writing, using “text-speak” or acronyms like ‘ur’ for ‘you are,’ or ‘you’re,’ this may work on your phone, in friendly emails, and sometimes as a dialect in a character’s dialog. But in a piece like this, it tends to put the readers, on this, and most other forums, off. Thus, reducing your readership.

SPAG issues (a publishing acronym for Spelling, Punctuation, And Grammar) run ramped and amock within your text. In fact, there are too many errors to list or point out individually.

We as writers are a dying breed. Each year, though our number may grow, as a percentage of the population we dwindle. One day there may be less than one percent left to color the world’s pages with words of romance, mystery, suspense, thrills, spills, fantasy, and other wild imaginings. Hell’s Bells they have even quit teaching handwriting in our schools. So, it falls on us… those few remaining to try and save our craft. Make no mistake, creative writing is art no different than drawing, painting, sculpting, singing or playing music.

There are as many types, styles, and nuances to writing as there are in any other art form. You as a budding wordsmith will need to find your own voice. But no matter the type, style or genre, you will need to be cognizant of today’s standards for our art. There are no rules for writing, but there are guides for publishing! Whether you are posting a page here, on a BLOG, or a laundry room wall for it to be noticed and reviewed it needs to be its best.

With all the love, understanding and encouragement I can muster I tell you that this posting doesn’t example your best. I read some of your poetry, and it shows the depth of your soul, but your wishful letter is a departure from the care and craftsmanship I saw in those efforts.

Before I add my exampled suggestions for your letter, I will state that my unsolicited revisions of someone else’s work are not considered a noble feat and not all that difficult to do. The only one I know who makes a living from it is James Patterson, who it seems is quite unashamed at polishing other peoples stories and putting his name on them.

I am not going that far. But I did show my presumption by revising your posting to show you a difference between your first draft. Mind you this is a quick twist, and there are a hundred different ways to express the ideas and feelings you used. I tried to use as many of your original phrases as possible, in hopes of providing a useful example to compare to your posting.

There comes a time in our lives, when we meet a person, whether man or woman, and we get all crazy inside. Whether its love or just plain lust. We all want that person to like us too. But sometimes it doesn't work that way.

We all want to be loved, cared for, and have that special someone to be there when we return home from work. Isn’t it natural to want someone to be there, to hold you, hug you, and tell you everything is going to be ok?

So, when you meet that someone, why can't we tell them everything we feel? Why is saying the simple things in life, never as simple as they should be? Like, “I want to be with you.” Or “I love you.” or “I’d like to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Regardless of how different our lives seem. Is it wrong to think maybe, for once I can be happy, and have a real family with you?” But for many reasons, those things go unsaid.

Is it wrong to love someone even when you are not sure whether they love you back? You say, “I love you, not sure if its the right reason.” What does that mean exactly? Do you really need a reason to love someone? I thought it was just something that happened, something unexplained. So what's the big mystery? If you love someone, how can you not want them and be with them? How can you love someone and not tell them every day, or as often as you can?

Some profess the words lose their value if said too much. But is once a day too much, I think it lets the person know that you really care. How can we know, if you think its dumb or the idea loses value if you say it too much? Is there even a thing as too much?

I don't understand a lot in my life lately, and it's somewhat confusing. I don't know whether to protect my heart and get used to the possibility I won't have you, or whether to keep this illusion going and risk wrecking my soul.

When asked, I can't seem to get the answer, in return I get… or “I love you but not sure what to do about it?”

Is there really no hope for us? Are we so different that love cannot overcome and allow us to be entirely together? It seems like everything is falling apart, and quickly too. I'm not sure why you say, I am pushing you away? Saying I can't talk to you and won’t completely open up.

Maybe that’s true. But how can I open up to someone I’m not sure I am going to end up with? If it doesn’t work, that person knows everything about me, all my secrets, things one wouldn't want out. And for what? Nothing really… it's like being second best to the world. Just waiting for that next hot number that takes you away from me. Then, what? I get nothing, I spend the best days of my life to find out that the man I’m in love with seems to not belong to me.

In fact, shouldn’t it be a warning when every day you manage to put your EX’s name in at least one sentence? Doesn't that tell you she’s still somewhere in your mind?

So, indeed, it’s scary to open up… to not want to talk about things. Does it really matter? Hiding my thoughts save my feelings, and from looking like a complete tard, for imagining I’d actually land a decent guy.

Truth is, I guess us tomboys never do land a decent guy. But we can sure tell someone where to find the perfect asshole. The one that will hurt you in every way possible.

The more I don’t tell you, because I can’t find the courage… the more I bottle shit up. The more I want to be the one and only. But how frustrating, it's not something I can see happening.

I fucked up before, big time. I told an old boyfriend in an email that I loved him. He wanted me to say it, hoping, maybe I’d believe it, that it would change the fact I left him. But it was appeasement, not a reconciliation on my part, the feeling wasn't there.

But you saw and read the email I had sent to him. You got mad, even though, at the time, you were not my official boyfriend. You were willing to walk out of my life and almost did.

The point is, I think I read my feelings wrong and don't know if I am ever going to be yours. I keep messing up. You told me if you hadn’t seen the email, you were going to ask me to be your girlfriend. I believed it, and it tears me apart thinking I was wrong.

But now, the more I think about what you said, I don't believe you meant it. How can you want to make me your girlfriend then, when you barely knew me.

So, I don't get it. These days there seem to be more reasons not to be my boyfriend than anything else. So I'm confused and not sure whether to let you go or to try and make you see I have fallen in love with you… and want to be with you for real. But what's the point if you don't feel the same way.

There are so many things I can't tell you, and the confusion makes me miserable. It's not that I don't want to say to you what I think is the truth. I’m just afraid of your reaction and or what you might say in return. I want to say, “I want to be yours, to be there for you, and only you. I want to be the best you've ever had.”

But you are always busy, noticing my faults. You say you want to be with me, but it doesn't seem real. How does one cope with loving someone, that says, he loves you. But can barely show it? Or constantly points out every fault and detail of why we don't belong together?

Just another insight into my life, and a reason to wonder and write.

Rachelle Jessup

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
An interesting poll,

Great job, Sy,

It is easy to see you put some thought into your choices for the different options. My interaction with the internet and PCs has always been at a desk since their inception. My first computer was an IBM-X1 back in 1981. Before that, I wrote with pad and pen, then was off to the desk where my typewriter sat.

You showed us how to put a bit of research into a creative form. Well done sir. I give this a five-star rating for its creativity. And am adding a few GPS for the quick chuckle from those who pretend to be writers on their phones.
Review of Horse Racing  
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Shaara,

I found your short story on the “Read and Review” link from our main page. And how pleased I was with one of my favorite writers with a piece in the current rotation. You know I’m a fan— so I won’t waste time with the usual disclaimers about candor and opinion, you already know I love your work, and this is just to let you know what I saw that might provide you a bit of insight into a reader’s view of this one piece.

First, I saw that it was a contest entry from a good number of years back (2004) so it’s obvious you are not grooming the tale for a current race. But since it is still in your portfolio and you have updated it in 2016, it is still an essential piece to you. And rightly so, it is an excellent entry. I don’t know if the contest required you to write it from any particular point of view. But I loved the filly as the protagonist. Seeing the track from her POV was a refreshing opportunity and entirely unexpected. Bravo for the idea.

Again knowing it is a contest entry long past, I am not sure SPAG notes are all that important. But I did see a few. As well as a few style issues that looking at might add value to the story’s place in your portfolio.

They took me away from Mother when I was only (a) one-year-old.

I’d been bought by Calumet Farm(s), and that was far away… There is only one Calumet Farm! It's singular

I vowed I would someday beat him(,)if (only) I had that chance. No comma needed… and “only” is vague and redundant, I suggest deleting it. Maybe the sentence could work something like: “One day, given a chance... I will beat him.” The reader then knows the filly’s desires without it being passive or a direct tell it becomes almost internal exposition.

I am, in fact(,) doesn’t reach full growth until the age of seven. In fact is an interrupter needs a comma.
In between

I trained and trained and trained. The different jockeys in their (satins) of red and blue were as common as…. In modern times, the uniforms are primarily made of nylon taffeta, satin, and lycra. But within the racing community, their racing wear are referred to as “A jockey's silks” not satins, in either case, the word is being used in a proper form, a name, and should be capitalized.

You used eight passive verbs in this one-page story: was bought- were corraled - was perched - was often used - was fired - was put - been trained - be raced… you could improve readability and punch up the intensity of her story by being more direct and active verbs phrasing.

You used "Kentucky Derby" twice, in the first sentence, of following paragraphs. This is one of the redundancy flaws today's publishing interns are told to use as a manuscript disqualifier. Perhaps you might consider changing one reference to another name for the race, like; “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate duration, and it is also called "The Run for the Roses." after the blanket of roses bestowed upon the winner.

“Then the jockey took me out. He pressed me to run faster and faster. My bones, soft from youth, often hurt long into the night, but I followed my mother’s counsel. I put my heart into everything they asked….” I think the whole secret to getting the tale to work depends upon the reader’s ability to anthropomorphize the horse. To be able to attach human traits and emotions. To that end, how does a youngster, human or not, know that intense exercise is detrimental to their bones? I think there are some places where you can make the conversation more natural… less telling. What if the above sentence read like this; “On the packed clay again, his heels dug into my ribs. He wanted more but why, can’t he feel the pain in my legs? But through it, my mother’s voice echoed and from somewhere inside a deeper breath and extra heartbeats pounded.”

Oh yeah, I know you by now, you are saying, even if it's sweetly… “Be still Joey", or is it, "Shut the F... deleted expletive... up! Why doesn't your own portfolio reflect such insight and characterization?” Well, the secret is, I suffer from the “James Patterson Syndrome” you know where it is easy to take someone else’s work and tweak and twist it until the reversion seems like the editor is learned beyond the usual grace of existence. I know it's an illusion on my part. So don’t set store in my offerings. Yours is a great story already... with or without any comments and offerings from me. But I wouldn't mind permission to play with your story sometime in the future, to see if I could somehow get the images that popped into my crazy brain down on paper.

Here's to hoping any of my ramblings made sense, and even more astonishing that they might be helpful.

Always your fan and Pal,

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)

This is a great item and I have had fun playing here before, and will as promised, (boasted in the newsfeed a few weeks ago,) will add my .02¢ worth later. I think your item is great and I only have one comment to offer as a possible addition.

Maybe at the bottom of the page, you could add a link to a condensed list of past entries and winners, (by round number,) so those interested don't have to scroll through all the forum postings and comments to find them. It's not difficult now, but over time the number of posted items is going to grow.

I hope that my coming entry will dazzle you with its brilliance, though often my efforts come off as baffling bullshyte. Still, they are always from the heart.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Outstanding job with this one Jeff,

I might have included that these examples were intended for presentations on the WdC forum and the formatting is different for sending in a manuscript to an agent or publisher.

For those, the prevailing standard is double-spaced with 1/2 inch indents on the first line and no empty line between paragraphs. I have also found that having a sentence longer than 30 words or more than seven sentences in a paragraph will get you rejected by their intern screeners.

But then, a manuscript presentation is not what your posting was about, was it? I would say this was an exceptional item for our newbies, but then it is surprising how many old hands still post black walls of imposing text.

Though, I find those big block postings less aggravating than the Circus parades of a thousand colorful animals and rainbows that clutter the screens from folks trying desperately to draw attention to their writing. Funny how if they spent as much time writing something worth reading as they did hanging bells and whistles on the page they would garner far larger readership.

I have spoken to SM before about adding some features like (columns) for blogs and articles which might make us more competitive with other sites like Word Press. But he currently sees no need, in fact, as I recall, he said, he didn't want to be like any other site. But there I go deviating from the script a second time.

I give item Five Stars because it is a great job, and I will add Kudos to Ms. Adrie Whata 4Cs Now Open for including a link to your item on her contest page.

Even though this item is eight-years-old it is still pertinent. Well done Sir... you prove my tenancy to limit my reading of WdC items to the most current as flawed. But then, I always have learned more from my mistakes than successes. Sadly, after all these years, I am still learning so much!
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Greetings my fellow, WdC member, I came upon through a review challenge. As part of 2017 "Game of Thrones We are asked to belay our usual disclaimers to abbreviate the extra content, So hopefully as a seasoned member, you know the drills. I am also using a template for GoT reviews, I pray you will forgive its lack of personality. With this said because the content of your posting is about your religious beliefs I feel compelled to include that my comments are only offered about your writing and are not meant to question or make suggestions on or about the strength of your faith.

Overall Impression:
After reading your posting, several times I was confused as to what your message is. You seem to have simply cobbled together a number of random biblical quotes from a King James version of the modern day book know as the Bible. That somehow is to stand as testimony about Jesus as the Christian Truid or Son of God.

Your title: Knowing Jesus and Knowing of Jesus seemed redundant at first because as readers of English our brains learn not to see the preposition “OF.” without additional content, it 's hard to understand your intent without stopping to read the title several times. Perhaps if you had used “The difference between Knowing Jesus and Knowing of Jesus” the purpose of your dissertation may show more apparent.

I also got the impression that you are promoting Jesus as God when he is not named anywhere in any version of the hundreds of differing books called the bible. The study and debate of divinity are possibly the oldest questions of Man. It is conceivable that from our first reaching the ability to posse self-awareness that our next question would be where did I come from, is this all that I am, or will be. Add to that the concept that within the physical world we are mortal. It is seeking answers to these question that theology is born.

Mind you I am an engineer and have been taught to trust what can be tested and verified. So to have faith-based on a few unsupported words of often mistranslated and misinterpreted origins goes against everything I know and understand of the world. I am not offering to start a debate on the subject. That discussion has been going on since 397 AD when at the Council of Carthage, Jerome's Latin Vulgate, was assembled (the origin for the books later called the bible) Scholars and historians continue the debates of what is genuine and other within the stories of the modern bible. That is why if I were to share why I believed God is real, and that there is only one. I would choose a different vehicle. I would have leaned more on the use of personal experience.

That is not to say one should or could not use passages from the bible to set a point. But to hope to have a reader accept the passage as indisputable, simply because we have had 550 years of indoctrination is not reasonable. (The first hand written book as a Bible didn't appear before 1443 AD and the first printed not until 1455 "The Gutenburg")

I believe that it would be far more convincing to illustrate the existence of God and that he/she is merciful through anecdotal testimony. If I may give but one example.

In the spring of 2014 I was in Mali, Africa working for the USAID. While there I could not stand by and watch innocent children left to die of starvation and their remains eaten by wildlife. In my attempts to do something about it, I ran a bit afoul of the local government and my bosses. It is a rather long story, too long for this venue. But within those misadventures One night, I found myself laying in the dark, under a bit of sparse underbrush with seven Orphans and two women who went with me to try and save the children. As we laid there hiding from members of the al-Mulathameen Brigade, an al Qaeda sub-group who were searching for us and in a gully only a few feet away from our hiding place. We / I could do nothing but pray to God for help, Then without explanation, without logic, the terrorist turned and went in the other direction. There was no reason for them to miss us, they were close enough to have seen us, even in the dark. That night there was only one possible explanation for our salvation, the grace of God.

I have other examples, and over the years I have met many other people who have experience events that defy reason but for the intervention of a divine hand. I am sure that you may even have the similar testimony of your own. I think that if you shared those, whether your own or those of friends or family. It would go further to promote you believe that there is a God.

I also believe that your posting would read much easier if you used the {quote} function to insert the bible quotes I think that would help identify or let your narrative become more personable.

Thanks for sharing your ideas and beliefs it is a brave person who lays their faith out in the open for other to see. Please continue to Write On!

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Good Girl
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Oh, T, this is awesome dark, black even. I don't know whether to send you a cheer, beer, a jug of hooch, a hug, or a bounty of flowers. for fear that any part of this might ring true, if only in a troubled mind. Really you made it feel so very real, I wanted to cry, hoping you'd find a stick and stab him in the eye.

Well done girl, this was a great post. it sent a chill through me, and that's not all that easy to do. (I've seen a lot in my 61 summers)

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

I included the banner, might as well get a few points, even though this review was a spur of the moment inspired by a great story post
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Kairi,

Well, this is certainly a very poignant beginning. Make no mistake, I think it is a provocative subject implied and I think it brave for you to choose it as your first posting.

Again, let me offer a hearty “Welcome to WdC” We are for the most part an excellent resource for feedback. Though it takes a while to build up a group of friends and followers to expose your works too. And even then, most of us (just like you) have active lifestyles, filled with daily work and family duties. Once you make more friends, and I am more than willing to introduce you to some here, I’ll even tag a few at the end of this review to get your WdC family growing.

(These are just a few folks, who I think you will find very friendly and empathic to your writing. I am tagging them so they see this review, and know that I am putting them on the spot. Hopefully, they will stop by too and welcome you to WdC. There are over two hundred in my friends and fan files, these are just a few that I am sure you will find crazy fun. Lord knows I do! )

Purple Princess
Charlie... 🌈
Mare ~ extended hiatus
Elycia Lee ☮

Now, I will offer our customary disclaimer, in that, you must always remember that there are no experts in the art of creative writing. There are some experienced folks, but no experts, and I recommend you stay clear of any who might imply they are. As for the rest us, we all struggle to find our place on the page. I, like many others, am still developing my voice and style, and unless you are sandbagging us, I assume you to be doing the same.

The best way to get feedback is to give feedback! By that, I mean real productive reviews. That does not mean fluff if you like something it’s okay to say, “Wow, I like that!” but be a good reviewer and let the author know why you liked it, explain any emotions it stirred, tell them about the images that popped into your head. (For me this is very important as I want to know if the reader is seeing a scene I am painting the same way I have it in my warped brain.) And you need not be afraid to say you don't like something either, just explain what rubs your feathers the wrong way and it's great. For me, I learn more from my detractors than from a hundred sweet praisings, (they just make my head swell). There is a role in the world for the fluffer, but it's not in this art form

I believe every word written has value, there is no such thing as bad writing, however, there is a distinction between everyday soul cleansing and what one can get published in the conventional marketplaces. But today, getting published and finding one’s novel on the best sellers shelve at the corner market is an extremely challenging task. But make no mistake, that dream is attainable!

Okay, my next review will not start with as much verbosity, though I will offer that I am long winded, and I frequently get distracted and off topic. I have more than once been accused of being “Stilted,” But then, I do not despair I love trying to write with some Vim and Vigor. (Although, not much in my port reflects that talent.)

Okay, on to your posting, 203 words to start this story. As I said at the beginning very intriguing, you spin a good hook, Which I have learned is a must for getting readership. It is plain to see that you are willing to, as I sometimes metaphorically say, "Stand naked before the throne." What I mean, I think writing is about dragging your reader into your skin, and they are not going to do that until you convince them you are real, You have been there, that you understand why they are reading your story instead of dancing at the Casbah.

I will comment that many reviewers will make notes, about SPAG issues. (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar) however, back in my school days, they scheduled my English class and my nap time for the same period and I was not as good at multitasking back then. But luckily, I didn’t see anything noteworthy. So, you are already a mile beyond me. Though, if It's something obvious I will note it for an author, in this posting I saw nothing wrong

Contextually, your story provided intrigue and I had no problem seeing the target you were aiming for. It is quite powerful. Though, I wonder if you worked on adding more Show vs Tell, could you pack a bit more emotion into this opening? Mind you, remember what I said to start, about other people’s suggestions for your writing. In the meantime, I'll say that I hate going here, as the mantra of "Show" vs "Tell" is used so often by folks who can't think of anything else to comment on. But in this case, I think adding a bit of show is all you could do to crank up the juices in this one.

Please, forgive me if, for a second, I pretend to be James Patterson, (you know that famous best-selling guy who buys other people’s stories, edits them, and then claims them as his.)

This is important! I am not suggesting that you change a single word in your post. No, the rendition below is just a vision that I saw in my head after reading your short. I only offer my adaptations as something to spark a bit of imagination and hopefully, I can manage to fit a small bit of “Show” over “Tell”

That is not to say that the “Tell” is bad, but today’s readers need action, emotion, and the rawer it is, the better they seem to like it. You cannot write everything as all “Show” or your story becomes “real time” and takes thousands of pages to share. No, we need the “Tell” it is our time machine, our magic transporter. It is how we convey the parts that are needed but contain little or no emotion.

The trick is to know when to Show and when to Tell. My best mentors explain to me that if a story element is important then we must try to reveal it with Show, and the other stuff, like your character getting from point A to point B we use the “Tell”

I am told that we should never tell our readers what a character is thinking, as our readers can read minds, and facial expressions. That is if we let them see the twisted brows, wrinkled noses, and thin twisted lips.

We are admonished never to “tell” the reader what the character is feeling, instead let the reader figure that out from the character’s reaction to the events happening to them. No need to tell anyone the character is sad if she has a river of tears dripping from her chin to stain her blouse.

Which is a more vivid scene, saying she was scared, or relaying that the character sat trembling, crunching her knees together, fighting against the crushing pressure pushing on her bladder?

We are always supposed to put an action in their acts. That means, we find a way to let the reader see her face, feel the tears running down her cheeks, we need to punch the reader in the gut so they can empathize with our protagonist. To do this, we plant images in the reader's mind. Things they might have experienced for themselves. the most skilled of us learn how to do that over several sentences even a page if they most.

Stop for a second and think of yourself standing on a rooftop, the wind is gently blowing, the sun warm on your skin until, out of nowhere a gust blasts you. Pretty exciting image, yes?

But imagine the difference if instead of telling you “a gust of wind blasted you,” a giant’s hand reached out and grabbed you by the hair, and yanked you back so hard your scalp felt as if a torch fired poker combed through.

Anyway, here is a little different twist to your story. I hope somehow it gives you an idea of what I am trying to share:

I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The gnawing in my gut churned and twisted my bowels into a knot. It was like I was standing in the middle of the street knowing a huge bus was coming, I could hear it in the background, but no matter how hard I stared, it somehow stayed invisible.

I pushed the bed back in place and tucked the rest of the lamp cord behind one of the table’s back legs.

“Aunt Jonnie, why is this thing so damned nagging, it’s Déjà vu like. Where did it come from? Was it Mom’s?”

“No, dear, it was Uncle Luke’s. I thought it's simple lines would match the rest of your bedroom. Anyway, we need to empty out his storage locker, and Lord knows, your new apartment could use a little more filling.”

“Well Thanks, I do need…ha-ha, just about everything. But there is something about this thing that seems…I don’t know…foreboding.”

“Ha, the nightstand was about the only thing left fit to use. Men are such pigs, and your uncle was one of the worst. I am sending that bed of his to the dump.”

After some tea, and a long hug goodbye, Aunt Jonnie went home and I returned to my unpacking. But try as I might, every time I stopped, the image of the little table popped back into my mind.

It was a horrific dread, the unnerving anticipation like when you go to the Doctor and are told you needed a shot in the bum. You stand there bent awkwardly over the end of a padded bench, waiting with your pants at half-mast. Every muscle in your legs screaming in stress, your back aching as your vertebrate fuse together to hold you steady. Waiting, and waiting, afraid to look back, and thus admit you are about to piss your pants if the nurse doesn’t poke you soon, it seems like an hour even though it’s only 20 seconds.

I tried to block it out, even more so, when I realized I was crossing my legs at my desk, dreading, resisting the trip to the bathroom. “Oh, for shyte sake, it's ridiculed,” I said to the empty apartment as I ran past the end of the bed, I didn’t notice that I closed and locked the bathroom door behind me.

When I came out, I stood and stared from the foot of the bed, but there was no answer. My glance turned to the reflection in the mirror, “You are either really tired or going crazy” I said aloud to break the stillness that seemed so suffocating. No, the sense was more like that urgency you have just before you come up for air after diving off a three-meter platform.

I went into the other room and spent the rest of the night at my keyboard. Awhile later, I looked at the clock on the microwave and it read 1:30 AM. Damn, I got to get up in five and a half hours.

I changed, pulled back the covers and slid into bed. But sleep would not come, I tossed and turned flipping over a dozen times, until, I gave in, opened my eyes, and let out a mournful sigh. The beam from the streetlamp outside shone through the window like a spotlight onto the bedside table.

I just lay there staring at it. Then its smoky brown finish came to life, crawling like a snarl of serpents that pulsed with my every breath. Then, it happened, in the nook, that space between the upper tier with the lamp and the bottom table base. I could see it; a large crystal ashtray, it filled to overflowing with a thousand silver coins.

A bulky darkness settled in, pinning my arms and legs as a building paralysis crushed the air from my lungs. The scent of Old Spice and beer washed over me, so pungent, it burned my eyes. My tears, now a steady rivulet, streamed over my cheeks collecting in my ears.

I laid there, unable to move, my eyes bound to the coins, I was counting them to determine how much money there was. I was going to take it all. Yes, run, run away as far as it will take me.

The room rocked with the intensity of a California quake until the mass on top of me rose up like a whale breaching the ocean surface. A Roman candle shot off and the fireballs chewed at my lower stomach like a rabid Pitbull. I screamed and sat up.

Looking around the room there was nothing, it was empty, nobody there. My nightshirt was drenched, my sweaty hair matted to my face covering my right eye like a leather pirate’s patch.

A chill rushed over me from the wake of the squeaking ceiling fan. I turned and looked at the nightstand, gone was the ashtray, there were no coins, nothing there, but the lamp and my alarm clock, which read 4:30 AM. But it didn’t matter I knew now why it haunted was me.

I kicked the covers off my legs it fell onto the floor. When I rolled out of bed onto the floor, it was like hammers had smashed my knees when they hit, but I gave the pain no mind. Standing, I snatched up the table letting the lamp and clock crash to the floor, their cords still plugged into the wall.

I ran for the apartment front door, I didn’t stop running until I was beside the complex’s trash dumpster and I tossed the table in as my other hand pressed the button to start the compactor motor. I watched as the huge ram slowly crushed the table, smashing it into splinters.

And for the first time since my Aunt Jonnie had come over, I drew in a breath that didn’t taste of seaweed and salt. I collapsed on the curb as the tears started again, only this time, I remembered where they came from.

“For Christ sake, how could I not remember and damn you all, how could you have let it happen. I was just a little girl.”

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Air of freedom  
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Oh my,Krystal,

A few years back I had the privilege of knowing the late Governor Ann Richards and believe it of not, one day back in 1991, over lunch, She described to me her excitement for riding her Harley almost exactly as you just put onto paper. well done.

I am very pleased that Geoff has taken the time to introduce you to us! Welcome to WdC you will find this place a grand refuge from the rest of the world. And if this tidbit is any indication of your imaginings you will do well here.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Greetings Cheri Annemos }

I am Joey C, and I am here in your port as part of our teams Review/Birthday-bash for "Game of Thrones" I am pressed into to service for the House of GREYJOY, and this is my task today,

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

I have dispatched this raven to provide the review and reply to your recent posting of "Never Underestimate Two Women.

Why I picked this entry to review -

I almost always prefer reading and reviewing a WdC author's newest or most recent works, as it reflects their current skill levels. This item was the most current static item posted that I saw.

What I read -

Okay, a contest entry of romance betrayed. I am in the service for the house GreyJoy and the Game Of Thrones, and the battles are furious we have little time to court our bannermen. So, I hope you will understand the need for brevity and tight word counts as we must swing our broadswords with gusto and move on to the next target before we find our livers skewered, impaled even, on pikes of many words.

This short of yours is like that, quicker than Buggs stealing a smooch from Elmore. (How cool it is that you share a birthday with Buggs Bunny? he was born today back in 1940.) Sorry, I digress, back to the story as I saw it, Two otherwise well-to-do, educated women (Amanda and Emily) meet soon after the turn of the 20th century. They find themselves sharing a leisurely bath in a local hotel (guessing that, as the room on a second floor) bathroom. During their soaking, they discover that they are both seeing the same man. But instead of engaging in a naked catfight in the middle of the room, they turn their ire's focus to the common denominator, namely their beau Mr. James Buchanan. They devise a plan of revenge, and soon after James is sitting in the snow, with a belly full of knockout drugs and liquor. The two women later return to the bath to acknowledge their deed before parting ways.

A few notes on SPAG and Style -

I did see opportunities where you could have used more active verbs and could have opted for better words selections in place of overused words. Now, I am the worst with SPAG; I have to use copy-editors on my finished stuff, or it is unreadable. So please, do not think I am complaining, No, I only point out that the SPAG police are probably going to cite you, right after, they send me my summons for this hastily written review.

I saw three contextual spelling issues, "full length" should be hyphenated, "play toys" should be two words, and there is no "s" needed at the end of the word "upward".

There is two grammar issue:
Item 1) "...could afford the finer things of life on their own terms." It appears that "of" is not the right preposition to use in this context. Try "...in life..."

Item 2) "...upwards and caught the Emily’s blue eyes in the room ..." It is unlikely that your sentence needs both the article "the" and the determiner "Emily's" you should remove the "the".

I also counted one punctuation issues, "... respective tubs, and dressed ..." It appears that you have an unnecessary comma in a compound predicate. You should remove the comma after "tubs."

But other than those few very minor items your command over SPAG puts me to hang-dog shame,

A few thoughts on the story -

This storyline was a fun idea, and screams for expansion there are some great opportunities to paint a vivid story of revenge and retribution, but I think you need to provide more reason to do James in. Killing him just for dating two different women at the same time is not really cause. You gave no indication as to their marital status. Perhaps, if they found that he had married them both, and was abusive toward them, then maybe, yes. But barring some deeper despicable act on his part, killing him seems a bit drastic.

What if, you had the women be more creative, maybe drug him and have him wake up naked in a pigpen next to a big sleepy sow. And later, when he opens his afternoon paper, he finds a picture on the front page of him all snuggled up with his four-legged mistress.

I think you could have a lot of fun letting the women debate different plans for their revenge. Let them delight the readers with various pictures of the humiliation of James.

I hope you continue this story, Perhaps a few review/raids from GOT teams will spark your muse into a fevered frenzy of ideas. I hope so. We need the WdC pool of writers to be active and growing, else we stagnate and die. It is evident that you have all the imagination necessary to put together an entertaining tale. So continue to join the fray with us, as we all look for our voices, the one, that will be one day, cut through the din and garner the attention of the world.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hey there Gaby,

How good it is to find you here alone on the parapets. It affords me the opportunity to share this Ravens note from the House of GreyJoy. It's not a summons, no heaven forbid, it is my review of this Monolog "Do you say Thank you? as part of the "Game of Thrones

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

This is a great tribute to your parents, one that touches a nerve for me as mine are now gone. But that's not said to invoke sad tidings, No, it is part of life and one day, not too long from now Ole Joey's going to check out to that vast library in---well not sure where they keep the dang thing.

But as I get older, I find it amusing to hear others make declarations like yours. Isn't it fun to realize just how foolish we are in our youth? So, full of "Vim and Vigor", (there are different descriptors that I typically use, but Vinegar can be so sour this time of day.) We Knowing all the answers in life, even though our parents usually had underwear older than us in their dressers. I didn't get to say all the things I had wanted to my dad before he passed, but Fate allowed me to share my mother's last two years as her caregiver.

I have a question, Have you printed this and left it out for your parents to see? Oh, my dear, I swear, as a father of four. I promise this monolog is worth two dozen Christmas presents, even without any bows they will beat a white box. It is heartfelt, warm, honest, and an excellent tribute to how they raised you. That's what this post shows me, not how or what you are, but rather what great parents they are. Well done to both of them.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Chapter 1
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Greetings very thankful } }

I am Joey C, and I am here in your port as part of our teams Review/challenge for "Game of Thrones" I am pressed into to service for the House of GREYJOY

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

{c:.navy}I have dispatched this raven to provide the review to your recent posting of "Bloodshed on the Blue Moon.

Why I picked this entry to review -

I almost always prefer reading and reviewing a WdC author's newest or most recent works, as it reflects their current skill levels. This item was the most current static item posted that I saw.

What I read -

Okay, the first chapter of a new sequel to your first book. A fantasy/Sci-Fi Western. How cool is that? I am not sure how marketable a novel of this genre would be; the few most recent books and movie efforts of this type received mild success. But then, one never knows what the taste of the public will be at any given moment. And then, if it is perceived as well written readers will overlook the genre to connect with a favorite author's style. There are dozens of examples of orphan genres having succeeded with the right moniker on the cover. (Look at "Zoo" Patterson didn't write a single word inside its covers and its made nearly a 100 million in sales.)

A few notes on SPAG and Style -

I didn't see a lot of SPAG, a couple of missed commas, and a missing "l" in "elderly," a "threw" that should have been "through" but overall few errors.

I did see one, or two, opportunities where you could have used more active verbs and could have opted for better words selections in place of extremely overused words. Like "good" is often overused. Consider using a more precise synonym or phasing to improve the sharpness of your writing. You could make the same statement of "Ya no good bitch!" with Ya, rotten bitch!" which might paint a clearer, if not a faster sentiment to the reader of Dylan's anger.

A few thoughts on the story -

I liked that you open the story with action, a gunfight from jump street makes a reasonable hook. But it seems a bit forced without knowing who is who. Perhaps, had I read the first book, I would know the characters, and it would have given me a better connection to the intensity of the moment.

It's hard to comment on a story with just this small start (there are only 550 words in the chapter), So it would be premature to offer comment on plot, or other story elements at this point. However, I was overwhelmed by the number of characters 11 of which ten are named. Wow, that's a lot to try and sort out. Perhaps you might look at reducing the number of players in this opening scene.

In Closing -

I hope you continue this story and other efforts; it's been more than a year since you have posted anything new. Perhaps a few review/raids from GOT teams will spark your muse again. I hope so; we need the WdC pool of writers to be active and growing, else we stagnate and die. It is evident that you have all the imagination necessary to put together an entertaining tale. So come out and join the fray with us, as we all look for our voice, that one, which one day, cuts through the din and garners the attention of the world.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of All About Women  
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Greetings Charlie... 🌈 }

I am Joey C and I am here in your port as part of our teams Review/challenge for "Game of Thrones" I am pressed into to service for the House of GREYJOY

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

I have dispatched this raven to provide the review and reply to your recent posting of "All About Women.

Why I picked this entry to review -

First, I am more interested in stories over poetry mostly because I suck at the latter. So providing comment on this gentle art seems less worthwhile, even a waste of an author's time to impose upon them my views of rhythm and rhyme.

So, through your portfolio, I rambled, looking for tales of love, hate, adventure, mystery, crime, the sublime or even the horror of drama. And yes the were folders with more than a few, but they were all dusty with limp covers from their waiting on the shelves, a year or even longer. I wanted fresh, something new, a reflection of the current you.

This was an entry for Wodehouse Challenges: you were to List five female artists (music or the arts) - who were pioneers in their field. Give brief summaries of their accomplishments. List five women who have broken the 'glass ceiling' by becoming pioneers in the business/entrepreneurial world. Give a brief summary of their accomplishments. Give five reviews of women writers, and lastly, write a brief essay on the woman that has most impacted your life.

I found your picks for your lists astounding, there was not one I would have disagreed with as worthy. You chose women of distinction and that fit the categories very well. It seemed that you were quite attuned to the important contributions of women to the arts and business.

I also found your choice the women who most influenced you to be special as I to set great store in the lessons imparted to me by my grandmother, but I too would choose the inspiration of my mother as the most influential in my life. (but then in fairness, wouldn't most men?)
Had it not been for my mother, I would have most likely followed a career in the military, law enforcement, or politics as did my father. But thanks to my mother, one of America's pioneer female engineers I followed the path of creation over destruction.

I found your writing easy to read, insightful and entertaining. I would, however, encourage you to think about writing a few stories now and then, poems are sweet but more often just tweets. Give us some meat, a leg with a bone to chew on, even if it's only once in a while.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Presley

I am Joey C and I am here in your port as part of our teams Review/challenge for "Game of Thrones I am pressed into to service for the House of GREYJOY

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

And I pray you will give this raven’s note the attention it deserves. For, though, you are not a bannerman of GREYJOY, you are still part of the North. (I read your profile page and NYC is part of the North!) Know that, we make no demands. No, this raven brings news of sullied eyes that come from those dastardly southern houses that would flay you for no more cause than a misplaced puppy paw (also known as commas.)

I have in passing, inspected the battlements of your poignant pose the "The Promontory - Chapter 7 I before I should speak to it drafting. I should offer a comment on SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar.) While remembering that the story’s content is of the most importance. We as writers should always try and control Our SPAG issues, if for no other reason than to lessen reader distraction or misunderstanding. If we would further wish to avoid the grammar police then we must be vigilant, as they are everywhere. (it seems, I can’t put three words together without citation.) But an accomplished writer as yourself would no doubt be interested that I found a goodly number of issues.

I think it is worthwhile to note in passing. I found both critical and stylistic errors just in this one chapter. (21,) contextual spelling, (excluding the obvious proper noun Names) (12,) Grammar, (29,) Punctuation, (3,) Sentence structure, and (10,) issues with style. MS Word spell check sucks and its designers should be beheaded, (if only I were king)


Now, we come to the language, not as in dialect, but in word choices. I had no trouble understanding your story the language seem to match the common everyday voices we tend to hear around us. And if one checks the scoring of Flesch reading ease you score an impressive 81.5 and for grade level, it logged out as 4.7 the latter might even be a bit on the weak side. Most of the so-called experts suggest that adult reading is best found at the 6.5 to 8.5 levels, of course, your overall scores are most likely lower due to some short dialogue statements used.

Okay, now for the fun stuff,

The opinions of a maturing, been a bit of everything, Jack of many trades, master of none, engineer. I better qualify that. I‘m enjoying the warmth and humidity of my 61st summer, so that puts me closer to the end than the beginning, hence maturing. As to the other, I have worked for corporate America (3 different fortune 200 companies.)

I have owned and sold a successful family business. I am published, (but it's just some old boring engineering textbooks and a few articles in trade magazines.) Though, very recently, I have been luckily enough to trick ESPN.com into sending me a few dollars as did Lightspeed Magazine. But none of the four novels I have written are yet on my local store’s shelves.

Okay, what about your efforts, I think this is a splendid start, the plot seems new (to me anyway.) it flows well, fast without too many bumps. I really liked the multiple wives in the end. That was a great twist to have the haunts clone Julie. Hells-bells, I thought chapter seven the best of the lot. You did very well with describing the interactions as they attacked Peter and his reactions seemed to fit the occasion quite well.

Your characters were okay, I didn’t hate anyone, (at least not in a right way, it could have been more fun if you made the mother-in-law more dislikeable. That would have helped me feel better about her parting-scenes in the story. I mean who doesn’t like the old drop a house on the mother-in-law trick. More especially if she is a first class witch.)

I realize that it is just a short story so one never has a chance to really flesh out the characters to their fullest. But I didn’t fall in love with either Julie or Peter they seemed a bit flat.

I think, (you know those two words are a very dangerous thing to hear from an engineer,) that the empathy issue could be fixed with more “Show.” (OGM. Did I just say that to you, I am sorry? I swear I am note saying it because I can't see other stuff to talk about.) No, it just that I think that many of the other issues that the editors/interns would gig you about could be overlooked if you could manage to make Peter or Julie more endearing.

Now, I did read all seven chapters, I am just sending the review in this one. Here’s an example, Julie loses the baby (Oh, and the wife who is a Nurse says a fetal concussion is not possible, a miscarriage for other issues like a ruptured or detached placenta. Or another severe trauma is not uncommon in a fall. But she says the mother would not survive a fall high enough to give the fetus a fatal brain injury. Note; that I am just repeating what she told me.) Anyway, you tell us how Julie is reacting, you tell us how Peter feels about it. But Peter is to calm when he is talking about it to Ramie. I think you could show us more rage, more results of his anger, or his confusion over Julie's reactions. How in the hell, can he accept Ramie’s nonchalant comments without throwing stuff across the room?

I never found a connection to the level of anger that would allow me to follow her back into the Premonitory. Where are the raw nerves playing on their senses? Let them see more colors or lack there of. Where are the smells of decay in the house now that it no longer is in pristine condition? Where is the nerve biting shivers from the cold entering with the spirits of the dead? Julie is barefoot was there no consequence for that. Feeling it with her might let me be more connected to her. Where was the ear piercing cries of metal scraping floor as they pushed open the secret doors?

I think if you could manage to describe the event by showing us how they affect Julie and Peter, let us see the reaction that their senses cause. Not only would we get better pictures of the underground hallway, but we would connect with the fear in Peter better.
I am not always good at providing examples, but I am going to try to show the direction I am desperately trying to explain. Here is the first paragraph of Chapter seven and I follow it with an example that might help.

I didn't have the strength to argue. I dumbly followed her out the door and across the street. It was cold and gray, but this didn't seem to bother her. She led us right to the high-walled perimeter and the rusting, wrought iron gates. A wind had picked up. It was strange, undulating in gusts and streams, and sounding like an ocean surf; waxing and waning in loud exhalations that crashed against the trees. The leaves hissed their silvery response at us. I shivered from the chill of it.

Here’s what I am trying to get at:
“Haaaaa” my breath escaped in an uncontrollable cloud of mist, my legs ached, and my stomach was turning as if I had just stepped off a Six-Flags coaster. “Blaam-pow” the door slapped against the porch wall and my eyes cut to the sound of pattering feet on the pavement.

“Julie wait---we can’t.” But her head never turned, the stones flew from the bottoms of her feet with no end until her face pressed between the gates iron rails, her hands rose to grasp the rusty metal as if the clenching with her now brown stained palms braced her against the undulating gusts of foul wind raging over us. Its waxing and waning crashing onto the forest’s edge. The ravaging rustle of bending branches and silvery leaves echoed in a swirling cloud of gray sand like the froth of storm fed surf. I pulled up my collar, but it did little to stem the angst crawling up my spine.

There are other things that screamed for more; the ending was a bit limp after a great chase scene. But then, I have almost used more words in this review than you did in the chapter. So I will cut it short for now.

In closing
Okay, does anything written here mean anything, most likely not? Nothing I offered, changes the value of a single word in your post. Nor do I think it will provide you a single step to the next level of greatness you may espouse to. If I wasn’t clear I did like your story it is good, But I think it could be exceptional with just a bit of work. I think it could work as well as O’Connell’s “Its Hard to Find a Good Man.” I am always interested in sharing what I see/read in serious writers like you, folks who it is easy to see enjoys working on our craft. I will revisit this to see how your revisions might work. (should you decide to make any.)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The 4 Controversies Contest GR...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi QueenOwl ~ A New Day Dawns

I am helping Whata 4Cs Now Open read, review, and add a few cents to the mix, in hopes that I can make it a bit easier for "Whata" to pick a winner for this round of "The 4 Controversies Contest.

Judging doesn’t start until the 15th, but because we have so many entries we need to start reading and becoming familiar with the items entered, or we will never finish by the 29th. This review is just a note from me, a group member, so please, do not freak if you can’t find a sentence that says you won or lost because the winners are announced on the 30th.

So before we get to the entrée, let’s dispose of the small stuff. Ah, what is that you ask?
Qualifying points

• Subject is non-fiction
• Word count is 1000 words or more
• Entry written between contest dates for this round
• Doesn’t exceed rating level
• It’s a static item

Yeah, all answered as Yes! So now a few other little things I looked at:

SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar), while remembering that the entry content is of the most importance. We as writers should always try and control Our SPAG issues, if for no other reason than to lessen reader distraction or misunderstanding.

I would not discount the value of any commentary on this forum for a few commas or stylistic indifference. But I think it is worthwhile to note in passing. I did notice six critical errors (misspelling, missing or incorrect punctuation,) and 28 non- critical issues (wordiness—sentence over 30 words, redundancy, unnecessary ellipse—instead of an em-dash, and Passive voice opportunities) just to name a few. As I said, in this forum it doesn’t count against you, I’m just offering what I saw.

First, again a small thing, but you do have a few large blocks of text. Thanks to the powers that be, that there are no set rules to the length of a word, sentence, paragraph, chapter, or book. Or some of our best works would be in trouble.

That said there is a prevailing consensus among today’s editors. They insist that sentences over 30 words and paragraphs over six sentences tend to fatigue readers and promote the losing of one’s place while reading. These so-called experts recommend that we condense and break up large blocks of text into smaller units.

I usually don’t set a lot of store in the experts, but in this case; I find their advice prudent. More especially, when we are mixing text and numbers together as you did (by necessity) with the Bible quotes. Adding extra spaces or breaks, in this case, might ease or lower the readability level. (It’s funny how readability is like the game of Golf; the lower the score, the better.)

Now, we come to the language, not as in dialect, but in word choices. Well, this is a mix, as there are your narratives and the quotes. The quotes are from the Bible and as such archaic language. (You didn’t use one of the new rewritten Bible revisions, which is a plus for me because I’m 60 and grew up with King James.) I thought your narratives reflected current modern English and seemed to express your thoughts very well. Though again, I think sticking in more clear breaks between the quotes and your commentary would have significantly increased focus on the many points of your essay.

Okay, now for the fun stuff,

The opinions of a maturing, been everything, including Southern Baptism Deacon, Oh that’s former, at least for this month. I know---I better qualify that. I‘m enjoying the warmth and humidity of my 61st summer, so that puts me closer to the end that the beginning, hence maturing.

As a baby, I was christened a Lutheran;(also know as Catholic light,) my maternal family was German. But in my twenties, when I was in the Navy, I went looking for spiritual answers to all the usual questions.

I have attended and participated in services, in Churches, Cathedrals, Synagogues, Mosques, Temples and even a few surrounded by circles of stacked stones with the sun and breeze slipping through the trees around us.

Then, I met my wife, the Methodist turned Baptist, and being a good husband; I followed her on Sundays.

I enjoyed most of the folks in our church community and count several as very close friends. We became very active, and for a time, I even serviced as one of our church’s deacons. But over the years, God has chosen to test me, and I have failed to keep the faith. Well, that may not be entirely accurate. It is more a matter of my disappointment in organized religion.

Which makes your commentary on Baptismal poignant for me; I think it is crazy to require people to submit to the organization’s custom and ceremony to belong to their church. Why should the fact that my profession or circumstance required me to move to a new city or town, nullify my previous baptism (or any other declaration of faith?) I will not be baptized again, thrice is enough for my God and me.

Too often the supposed faithful forget that the church is the people as a whole, not the building, not the preacher, not the deacons, or the executive committee alone. And it exists for one, and only one reason, to serve the sinners not the saved. We do not need to gather to give praise. It says the same thing in every religion that exists. One’s faith is a solitary trust in God. (No matter by what name you call him.) I have reached the conclusion that those who require me to amend my faith to match theirs are not worthy of my company. So, I do what the Bible tells me, and I worship in private where God alone judges the worth my prayers.

The closing
Okay, does anything written here mean anything, most likely not? Other than, to observe that you have indeed provided a worthy subject to stir the pot of controversy which is what the contest is about? Nothing I offered, changes the value of a single word in your post. Nor do I think it will provide you a single step to the next level of greatness you may espouse to.

However, for the sake of good will, I say profoundly “Well done” and I give you my accolades, even an “Amen” if you please. To those who would disagree, then I say, “So Mote It Be!”

Thanks for your participation I am sending a few GPs for that as well.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of A Second Chance  
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.0)
My Dear Lisa,

I awoke this morning and found your post on the newsfeed asking for a review of a new story. Since you have been so very kind in the past and provided more reviews of my portfolio than I have yours. I thought it time I tried to return your kindness.

I will not share the usual disclaimers about opinions; you asked for ours, so one can assume that you are aware of all the possible outcomes. I will, however, impart some of the rules for writing that I have adopted. I share them in hopes that you may find something meaningful for your writing.

Rule #1.) There are no rules for writing; only rules for publishing.

Rule #2.) There are no experts on writing; only people with some experience and those who claim to be an expert are best ignored.

Rule #3.) People who write and follow the rules seldom have any adventures worth writing about.

Rule #4.) I can never write for myself as well as I can suggest to others. Most likely because I see what is supposed to be on the page, while everyone else sees the reality.

Now, with the rules out of the way, let me start ripping your heart out. Oh, wait, that’s not right, I mean start offering my lame but heartfelt ideas.

First, the plotline. As a whole, it is not original, (not that any are) but there are at least ten stories that I can think of off the top of my head that uses the premise of someone dying prematurely and getting a second chance at life.

However, you do have one twist that seems new,(or at least not overtly exploited) in that, I don’t recall any stories about the person’s time in that place between heaven and earth, some call, Limbo. I believe that to explore that place and circumstance could be interesting. I would encourage more emphasis on what happens to Kristen during this trial of sorts. After all, that is what it is, the weighing of and decision as to whether she is to go back to the living on earth, or move on to heaven or elsewhere. (This last must always be a possibility, or it voids the concept of Heavenly reward.)

Next, we come to the crux of any good story, the thing that every reader needs to feel empathy for the story's characters. How the characters react to, and deal with the conflict before them. I believe your story is in serious need conflict. Currently, everything is too beautiful, too sweet, and too easy! I didn’t see any conflict anywhere. Why would anyone want to return to a life on earth with all its pain and suffering?

Without ordeal,test, and trial, we can’t see Kristen grow; we never understand her values, her dreams, desires, aspirations, or any causes of desperation, depression, and despair.

If you would agree that what makes your story different is its leaning toward the idea of a trial to decide Kristen’s fate. Why not run with that premise? In your rewrites, add elements where she, or someone representing her, must defend her life, (as in her time on earth.) I can see some great opportunities that you might find very fun to explore.

I will speak next to the story delivery; it is very telling. Now, I know almost every reviewer says this anytime they can’t figure out anything else to offer. But let's just take your beginning, that all-important first look, our first taste we have all learned to call the hook.

Kristen Yoman woke up after having been in a car accident. Things seemed different some how; the world looked and felt different, her pain was gone and she was energized. She felt as if a veil had been lifted from her eyes, and she was seeing clearer. The sky seemed bluer with a trace of pink in the big white fluffy clouds. All around her things were brighter, more colorful. She looked down to herself, checking to see if she was hurt in any way, as she recalled the accident. There was no sign of any injury, and she felt so strong.

Let’s examine your paragraph:

1, Kristen wakes up.
2, She was in a car accident.
3, Her environment had changed
4, She felt good.
5, Her vision improved.
6, She took notice of the color of the sky and clouds.
7, She stopped and took account of her body and found no injury.
8, She remembered being in an accident.
9, She was invigorated.

Please, look at my list, did I miss anything? The reader receives nine pieces of information about Kristen. But which of them gives us any connection to her? what statement provides any tie to her senses?

Everything is revealed by narrator’s voice. What makes us want to run and help her? What is there that makes us wish we were she, or glad that we are not. I found nothing. To me, the opening was as dull as my simple list of facts. I say that with love, I understand you were setting a scene.

What if you went with something more visceral, a little over the top? But spread the information out more, maybe something like this:

“Screech---koooooblaaam!” A woman on the street corner screamed and began frantically poking at her phone. Two young men ran to the smoldering heap wrapped around the light pole. One climbed atop the hood and peered in the smashed, blood covered windshield. He turned to the other fellow who was trying to copy down the tag of the car speeding off in the distance. The man on the car, his face twisted, his eyes squinted and he shook his head at the other man before he returned to the ground.

“Oh, crap what was that? Something’s burning, it tastes like acid in my mouth. Get out, yes; I need to get out of here. Aaah---what’s wrong with my legs? Auuugh! God my side hurts.” Her hands strained to push, then they pounded on the cracked window and bent metal that surrounded her. “It won’t budge, help! Someone, please help. Why are they just standing there? Can’t they hear me?”

Warmth cascaded through her shivering body as a hand slid in under her arm. The pain grew with its pull on her broken frame. But the drooping, twist in her face eased, as the stabbing bite at her side slipped away. The agony peeled off her legs like a pair of her tight jeans. She let out a deep exhale when the second arm moved around her from behind. Its embrace almost crushing, as it lifted her up and held her until her legs once more supported her weight. She stood motionless for two seconds before opening her eyes. She inhaled the cool air, and on it, the scent of honeysuckle replaced the smell of burnt oil and grease. The furrows in her brow relaxed as a sense of control returned to her body.

“Wow, I don’t think I have ever seen the sky that blue, and I have never seen pink clouds.”

“It’s because you have never been dead before, Kristen.” Said the soft male voice beside her

Okay, I understand that my version took a lot more time, and more than twice as many words (232 vs. 102). And I didn’t include her last name, (but what difference does her sir name make?)

The question is which version do you think would draw you deeper into Kristen’s plight? Which version asks as many questions as it provides answers? Which showed any conflict? I am not saying that my version is better; as my version could be heading in a totaling different direct from your idea for the story. I am just trying to spark imagination or a different perspective that might add some excitement and flair to your hook.

Yes, every story needs the “Tell” It is a tool of particular importance when writing a short story; it serves as our time-machine, to convey quickly, necessary information. But I think we must learn to restrict its use to only the most vital facts.

To provide a deeper insight into our characters, we must “Show” their senses, lay bare their bodies and souls upon the altar of conflict that confronts them. If we do less, our characters are no more exciting than any other unknown person we might pass on the sidewalk.

Well now, there was a mouthful of review, the question is; “Did it spark any emotion in you? Other than rage at me?” If you feel like cursing, or have any doubts about what I have offered, please review the rules at the beginning. They will explain a lot.

You may also have noticed that I have not offered comment about SPAG until now, (that’s because I am the worst at controlling it.) However, I did see at least 35 errors that the Chicago Manual of Style, and Shrunk, and White’s Elements of Style, would cite as critical issues. But fear not, WdC has some great Spelling and Grammar Police. So, I didn’t add to the length of this posting by listing them. I will if you like, send a list in private, of the things I believe need attention.

I think a quick check will reveal no smoke blown up your skirt, only a loving whisper to your ear from someone who cares. I think you can make this into something much more exciting. and look forward to reading any revisions.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Life's a Be...
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
Hey Cinn,

This looks like an interesting idea.

Not sure how else to send you funds, But I am good for helping however you might need me.

Here is a donation to get things started.

Oh, hot diggity, I only had 175 characters, and I hate to give up of Story Master's free GPs. So a few more words to push the count over the minimum. that's 125 Gps more I can send later.

Review of BANG!  
Review by Life's a Be...
Rated: 13+ | (1.0)
Yes, this is bad---Badass! I hope you win this a great bad story!
for entry "Over the Edge
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)

My, Dear Darleen,

Here is a thought from a fellow, who grew up thinking poetry was the stuff written on restroom walls, (just saying that one must always consider the source of a critics expertises.)

Not being one of those great poetry guys, I am not sure if my point will come through, but if the strength of your love is to be symbolized by the massive show of power and majesty of a waterfall. Is it not natural to think that all the other parts of a river's watershed could also be metaphoric.

Over the edge a good start, but where is the rest of it? Where is the eroding riverbed over which the water flows, (most of the world great waterfall are receding at a rate of a meter a year.) Is there no pain when the energy of the love (water) smashes into the "bottomless reservoir of bubbling emotion." What about all the rocks in the river, the rapids, are they, could they, represent the impediments in life, do they not shape the course of love's flow? Isn't the river's differing stages, and sections, symbolize all parts of loves cycle? Are not the slow and steady sections of the river as important as the turmoil? Isn't that what makes the love so exciting? Is the crazy, plunge over the edge meant to be that great leap of faith? Is the ocean a metaphor for heaven? How long did it take for the rain drops way up river to come together to form this river? Did this mighty flow,(river of love,)which is now capable of surviving the Fall, did they start out as small streams, and creeks, fed from ponds and lakes. Were the ponds and lakes the love from our families formed from many different sources to now from the river with one single focus

For this outhouse poet, it is the unanswered questions that beg the need for redress. Not to imply that your poem is unworthy of praise, NO, NO, NO, this I would never say, But I wonder what could it be if you let go of the branch to which you cling, and traveled the whole river of love?

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Roses Are Red  
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Dear Elle,

I will first offer my most sincere wish that you are having a wonderful birthday. Which is what has brought me to this piece, I opened my notices and found you there holding a balloon and dressed in a shiny silver party hat. I thought, oh joy, lets partttty!

And for a writer, what says that better than a few dozen words about something we wrote. (Even if they only come from a fat old bloke who pretends to know something about anything.) I selected this story as the newest, non-poem, posting I saw.

I said, wow, I haven't picked on Elle for a good while. And the last time I was signing her praises to the world. Maybe, I can throw a little therapeutic mud, this time, (just to show my concern for your complexion, I heard you gals talking about your worries over wrinkles the other day.)

I liked the story, as an interesting experiment into a once taboo subject. I am finding that taking these little jaunts into the realms that we often fail to speak of in polite society can broaden the range and depth of our other writings. It can't hurt for us to try and understand relationships between others who might have different emotional needs than ourselves. To think and feel has others do, isn't that how we get in touch with our own emotions. (Oh wait, I know my mother said we are not supposed to go around touching ourselves. surely this isn't the same thing, is it?)

Taking into account that this was a very short work, I thought your primus sound. I liked your hook; it was very good. I figure it is because it appeals to that little gossip whore in all of us. There was a plot, but no turning point and I didn't see much in the way of conflict, and what was there seemed weak. As I understand it, conflict is the driving force in all fiction, but even more especially in the romance genre. So where are the heads up, will you look at that confrontations.

I think you could achieve more conflict with an encounter between James and another ball attendee and still maintain the all is well in the social, peer to peer atmosphere. Perhaps keeping the confrontation quiet and not overheard by the others could be one of the sharp points? I think you touch on that briefly, but I think you could use it more.

By example, I think the success of the BBC's Downton Abbey, is that it is one big conflict, made up of a hundred smaller conflicts in which the storytellers sneak us into the abbey, room by room, to peak at everyone's warts and dirty knickers.

Oh my, now, I must do the unforgivable and speak to the Telling nature of this piece. I understand that you may have been controlling word counts (if this was for a contest) But, I think there are more than a dozen places that you could have let the emotion rip through the page, and allowed the tension to rise to the occasion. (is that a 'Double entendre?") However, instead, no penetrating wit, I saw nothing firm on which to hang a hat. The story seemed to lay there all limp and quite flat. (Oh, this last, was differently a DE)

Don't get me wrong; I am not throwing stones; I live in a glass hut. (Okay, it's actually not glass, but a shabby lean-to, of used plastic wrap.) And, I am not suggesting that your story needs to flirt at the boundary of its 18+ rating. Oh, heavens no. But I do think there are opportunities to inject more feelings of humor, maybe embarrassment, and then at the end your emphasis on the morrow's lust. I believe this is a good draft, and if you are of a mind to do more with it, I think you could make it pop like a Gandalf firework. (Who I understand was a closeted wizard but enjoyed showing off his passion for rainbow bright colors.)

I have a real birthday present to send you, but it will come in a separate email I wouldn't want it to get all smudged up from others people picking it up and admiring it before you even get to try it out.

Happy Birthday, girl, I hope my pointed review didn't prick any of your balloons.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hey Greg,

I thought the hook a good start though I think that if you trimmed the obvious, working a bit on being more concise, that you would have room to punch up the drama with more sensory stimuli.

I know its way early in the draft to worry much about Show Vs Tell, or other style consideration, one must get the story down first. I liked the primus a wizard in the old west, why not? The era even allows for a bit of Steam-Punk which if you are able to complete the story could provide enough genre crossover to give you a nice market segment.

Have to you already figured out your plot points, I think since this story will depend a lot on the action that you would want the first point to be very early in the story. that leaves a good size middle for the confrontation before the revelation/realization at the 3/4 mark. Do you have your ending concept planned yet? Many of us find it easier to do the middle if we already know the ending? (Even, if it is yet to be written.)

I always try and remember the questions that pop into my head when I am reading. So I can relate them to the author. In hopes that my dumb queries, can confirm the direction he/she was heading with their story or help spot an oversight. (I am often amazed at the things my readers find in one of my stories that I didn't know I had put in.) I didn't have much that jumped out at me, (although, this is a very short chapter.) Save for one question at the end. If your gambler/cowboy/gunslinger has done this before, and he knows that silver works on these undead. Then why doesn't he have some silver bullets in his gun, or at least on his belt? Or, maybe in a special gun like hidden derringer. Oh, that might work, Derringers suck for aiming, he could miss with it.

I also liked the interaction with the kitchen staff, it provided a bit of insight into the protagonist's personality, he is going to be a bit of a smartass, having a sense of humor never hurts when killing zombies.

Overall, I think this is a very good first draft. I would be very interested to see it after you get your rewrites and edits done.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of The Soup  
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)

Hoot, hoot, yes, what a howl this is. I did not see this one coming, it sort of limped in on me!

Well done, I say first, rate. Though, I could spot a place or two that could have lent themselves to a bit more fun. I mean it was a quite telling not that it's bad when you are trying to stay in a tiny word count. (I have trouble coming up with titles in under 500 words)

But Will, old boy, Stanley is eating soup. Where else is there a better time to use the word "slurp" put some quotation marks around a quick pair with an EM-dash in between, and you have a great showy you know "Slurp---slurp" I know it's much more than "sucked" but think of the sound effect you plant in the reader's head. you could make it a second time later as a single "slurp" as the waitress limps by to add even more drama and suspense.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of The Newsletter  
for entry "March 2016
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Great newsletter to my eye an excellent example for others here on WDC. All the sections were relevant to the forum and interesting to read.

A E Willcox: 10 years on WdC logo redo is awe-inspiring and the launch video quite remarkable! Well done.

I only had one small issue in; "So You Wrote a Novel! Now What? by Katzendragonz there were images that didn't work on my screen. All the others showed up just fine. but with the following I got sharing restricted messages:

~~Image #1804508 Sharing Restricted~~
~~Image #1997591 Sharing Restricted~~
~~Image #1889674 Sharing Restricted~~
~~Image #1889519 Sharing Restricted~~
~~Image #1889523 Sharing Restricted~~
~~Image #1889525 Sharing Restricted~~
~~Image #1889527 Sharing Restricted~~
~~Image #1883399 Sharing Restricted~~

Kudos Matt, to you and your team. I hope that I can have more time this year to join in the fun.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Ah, VOX, this is a very sweet little piece of work. I found it as a highlighted item in Dawn Embers 's Newsletter "When to Edit that Fantasy Story"

I found your story item quite inspired. You show a good bit of talent, and I think one day, that if you should choose to do so, you could become well known. If not to the world at large. Then, at the least beloved here in WDC.

As a young man, I never found much delight in flights of fantasy. It was not until ten years ago, at age 50, that my writing instructor assigned our class a writing project prompt, "How to Kill a Dragon." From that project my adventure began. Since that time, I have written three novels and hundreds of shorts in the genre. I have spent countless hours on research and trying to learn the keys to writing a good story.

Now, why do I tell you this? The answer is quite simple. Had I started writing when I was as young as the photo I see in your portfolio, with the talent shown in this short tale. Oh, there would be no accounting for my fame and wealth i might hold today. This is a wonderful little story and as you profess in your intro-Bio, very much out of the Box.

Of course, in spite of your desire to be unconventional, there are a few issues that you might want to consider. Like the direction, your writing will pursue; whether your writing is to appeal to the literary fan, or the commercial fan. (Of course, you can ignore both and simply write for your own entertainment.)

However if you think you might want to be, one day, acclaimed as a renown author. (Something I believe entirely possible.) Then, I submit for your consideration that there are conventions that must be observed.

As you noted in your bio, the world is a series of boxes. If you do not allow the folks that control the order of things some handle, some shape, to place and order you writing. Then they will do as they have always done and ignore you.

Publishing editors of today, Are looking very hard for people who write with fresh ideas, they are fine if you refuse to be confined in a square box, they are okay if the dimensions of your writing form a round or oval, it can even be heptagon, star or heart shaped. But there must be a form none-they-less.

This story has much in the way of rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration. Yet it is not a poem, which in today's market severely limits its market segments. (If that matters) I think if you choose to retain that trait, then your story might benefit from a reduction in redundancy and perhaps you might look for more out of the box descriptors. Although I would advise caution not to let this piece become purple pose.

I could make you a five-page list of things I would change, but then it would be my story and not yours and that would suck! No, if there is to be anything altered it must come from the flight of your fingers across the keyboard keys.

So, you may say, "Joey WTF are you blabbering about?" Well If it were my story and I was of a mind to make changes. I would go back through the story, scene by scene. However, I would try very hard to put myself inside the tiny little fairy. I would look for a place I might one night lay on my back and see the sky through her eyes. I would spend time finding ways that I could experience her world.

I would ask myself as that fairy, "Where is this tree that I live in? If it is in a tiny land, a tiny forest, is that in a back yard, or perhaps beside a stream in a busy city park. I might ask myself if all is tiny how can the tree be so grand, is this not a contradiction in descriptions.

What am I seeing, hearing, what is that I feel against my skin." I might think about the flavor of the tears on my cheeks. What about the scent of the blossoms in the tree, or I might wonder does walnut oil smell.

Then, I would look to see if my story had any place that my new perspective; that new person I was; after breathing with her lungs, listening to her heart beat inside my chest. If after touching her soul and letting it lay intertwined beside my own. I would ask myself what is different this time, what did I miss showing to my readers?

Or you can say, "Joey--you old baboon, what do you know of anything, please sit down and be quiet," or perhaps "Go away, eat worms and die." I swear dear miss, you would not be the first, nor do I suspect that last. So often, this has happened, that my skin is like that of the Rhino. But lucky for me I do not grow a magic horn above my nose, So the poachers they do not hunt me.
Review of Little Green Men  
Review by Life's a Be...
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Very Rich, full of vivid imagination---it was so easy to see the fun you were having as you wrote this.

When LightSpeed Magazine opens their spring submissions you should send this in. It is just the right kind of silly to cross over any genre.

I saw not a single word that gave me pause to think of changing anything.

Well done, my friend, well done indeed! (I am told that redundancy is permissible for dramatic effect.) So, I say again, WEll DONE!
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