In this draft we’re introducing the reader to the bad girl. What do you think? Did we do it?

“NPT Newsz.Now.” Ursula spat the command at the device on her wrist. The microbial virologist stood behind the upper most tier of seats in the empty lecture hall impatient for National Public Telepathy’s live broadcast of world news to appear on the observation wall. She stood, gripping the back of a seat with long fingernails sinking into its plush fibers. Her lips curved a smile they seldom exercised anticipating the news of her prowess, news that would prove her genius in genetic manipulation.
A running ticker came into view. Breaking news. Olympyons faced with deadly out-break of an unknown origin.’ An impassioned announcer tallied victims. “Five hundred people have succumbed within the last six hours. Emergency…..
“Vhat eez zhat? Five hundred, only five hundred?” Ursula doubted the accuracy of that report. After a lifetime of work to create the annihilator of millions she’d only succeeded in killing five hundred? She snapped her head from left to right making sure she was still alone, then cut her eyes to the DB framed in rubies embedded in her bony wrist. There’d soon be a class filling the hall and she knew enough to pretend abhorrence to this developing news. Her nails dug further into the upholstery and she glared at the announcer as if it was his fault more innocent victims weren’t dying.
She listened. “The victims display no sign of early trauma or disease. It appears they suddenly lose consciousness, their lungs collapse and hearts stop. All attempts at saving their lives have failed. Geneticists at the Ponce Heidon Institute have isolated an unknown virus from the victims’ blood. I repeat, no source has been established for this deadly strain. The Olympyon Center for Disease has issued a public notice, when at all possible, place all activities on remote operation, activate Level 5 sanitization procedures and stay tuned to NPT for updates. It is speculated the …..”
Vel, zhat’s not going to help von leetle bit. Ursula quietly scoffed at the OCD’s attempts to prevent contagion and swiveled a stilettoed heel toward the doorway. The news announcer’s somber report continued streaming, his voice fading as she marched out of the lecture hall, purposely allowing the live broadcast to greet the students as they arrived.

Continue reading


Most of us agree, the best writers are avid readers.  It’s tough to read, write and survive humanity. So, let that road trip supply a unique form of creative writing time.

All you need is a car, two drivers, an audio book (a really good audio book which means you enjoy the author’s work and accept the narrator as OK – A lousy narrator can damage a good story.) a pen, mini sticky notes and of course a destination. The best destination is two or more days away and a place you’re eager to explore once you arrive. Your minds will be open to a flood of ideas creating new ways to express what you want to write as you listen to a good story.

It’s also helpful if you and your driving partner agree on the choice of audio book. We take the max our local library will allow and if either one of us doesn’t like the beginning we shuck it for the next one until we’ve got a unanimous decision. Our latest audio books were picked up at Cracker Barrel Restaurant for $4.50 a week each since we’d have to mail back the ones we would have taken from New Jersey’s libraries once we arrived in Florida. (Beware, you leave a hefty deposit with Cracker Barrel to insure you will return their audio books on time and their choice is limited compared to libraries.)

It’s good to have a story brewing in your head, but not necessary.

Get seated, buckle up, and  slip that disc into its reader or activate your handheld device that’s synced to the radio of your car. Since you’re the passenger you get to take  notes on those mini stickies. Only one idea per sticky. (I prepared a file folder by placing empty sticky notes on the folder’s inside front and inside back). It gave us 12 notes per side and made it easy to jot a thought and move to the next note without losing the enjoyment of the story.

We chose, Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg’s THE HEIST narrated by Scott Brick, and subsequently listened to THE CHASE book 2 in the series FOX AND O’HARE (each about 9 hrs of listening). We both preferred THE CHASE. Loved the characterizations.

When it came to driver changing, Duayne was ready with his part in the notation and we filled the good part of both sides with notes about action or character comments that evoked laughter, disgust or some other emotion.

Perhaps the cleverest ideas reaped in this manner come from comments you share with the other listener or listeners. Duayne and I came away with a technique to use for identifying characters who are gossiping about Ursula von Menglebort in Book 2 CREATION.

Give it a try and let us know if you found this idea helpful.

Better yet, let us know how you’ve turned a road trip into creative writing.

Happy reading/listening,

Sandy and Duayne

Note: Our favorite narrators are Roy Kelly & Patricia True of IZ~ and George Guidall of many books.

Have you ever used the word swiggle?

Have you ever made up a word because it works better than any other? We have. It’s fun. Of course when you’re writing a fictional story about aliens and Earthlings it’s easy to get away with dyzzleberry communicator, gnarlythorn and ralkids so what’s so special about swiggle, the word we added to our Dyzzleberry Dictionary today?

That word didn’t come from our imagination. You may already know the Urban Dictionary recognizes it as a word. To them it’s considered ‘A step up from swag.’ and their example, ‘Chris has got swiggle.’

Well, I met a young man who didn’t have enough swiggle, but not the step-up kind.

Couple weeks ago, when iced coffee was a relief from the heat, I was the next customer to be helped at a coffee shop counter when a hefty young man, towering over me, reached his arm out and thrust a cup at the unsuspecting clerk. He complained, “You gave me two swiggles, just two swiggles,” then shook the cup to emphasize there was nothing in it but ice cubes. Never having heard the word swiggles before, I was amused at its use so much so I ignored the rude behavior and couldn’t wait to look up swiggle when I’d had my turn ordering. Oh, and by the way the clerk wasted no time filling up the young man’s cup.

Duayne and I enjoy telling the Swiggle story. Of course it’s now an Authairian term with specific weight in cubic centimeters and one of Mumba’s favorite expressions. It’s made it into our family’s lexicon and if it’s just a swiggle you want, that’s what you’ll get.

What’s your word story? Come on now, I know you’ve got one even better than swiggle. We’d love to read it.

Sandy (The lem of Ddwlem)

Retched or Wretched

Writers never rest.

Don’t think it’s all correct and you can move on.

I knew it should have been written w r e t c h e d, not retched. How many people read that line and assumed it had been spelled correctly? The context gave retched the intended meaning in the lab accident story, so it was passed over as written correctly many times.

Thanks to a reader it was caught; but even so I could’ve retched over that mistake. We’re editing that section and won’t be using the word now, but it’s a good lesson.



Having had only two days from our request to completion, Chalice Mitchell came through for us and drew the color page to go with this excerpt from BK 2. It made a fun handout at the FAPA Conference in Orlando on Saturday, August 8, 2015. DORF TZEUS IS HAVING A BAD DAY

Below is a re-edit of the draft shared at the FAPA conference.  Re-edit date 8/16/15

Dorf Tzeus, Chief Administrator of Genetics at the Ponce Heidon Institute of Genetics, is entering the lab. 

Such wonders of technology, Dorf mused. He flexed his shoulders to loosen the newly sprayed cocoon of yellow fibers that created his laboratory uniform, and stepped out of the wraptrap. Thankful for the few moments of peace the spraying afforded and now properly sanitized, he’d complete his… “YEEOWHISS.”  Something pierced his leg. He kicked hard to free himself from the attacker and lost his balance falling shoulder-first against a shelf that held carefully placed vials of cultures and containers waiting for their samples.  He grabbed the shelf to keep from falling but his heavy thrust dislodged it. Cultures, shelves of beakers, crucibles, and spot plates tumbled out hitting Dorf and crashing on the floor. His feet slid out from under him and he landed hard sliding over liquid, blood, glass shards and feces. “Feces?” he blurted as he saw it amidst the mix of liquids.

Sprawled on the floor, Dorf lifted up on one elbow avoiding as much of the glass and unknown substances as he could.

Through the yellow fibrous wrap protecting his calf was a double puncture wound oozing blood and forming an egg-white-like mucous. Ignoring his wound, he watched the mucous absorb his blood while turning a bright orange. The viscous substance, thick enough to maintain its oval shape, slid to the floor and began pulsating. Creepy, Dorf thought. He turned his head in every direction scanning the scene. How would he analyze it? Thousands of cells, bacterial and viral cultures mixed randomly and free of their identification were splattered everywhere. Finding which ones contributed to the pulsating orange mass would be a mind boggling project. He eased himself from the slimy soup, avoiding any contact with the glob that seemed to have a life of its own, and stood upright.

The accident had set off the security alarm. Its deafening sound pounded in Dorf’s head.  How’d an animal ever manage to get in here? Dorf worried as he tapped his DB to deactivate the alarm and send a message to all employees, BIOLOGICAL HAZARD, LAB 11 CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Chatter Brings Forth Vizzigram

Chatter, today meaning talk over coffee and sticky-buns, well hubby and I did have one egg, V8, and vitamins – don’t ask about our vitamins – before we got rained off the porch. We didn’t sit down to breakfast planning to create Vizzigram. It happened through all the munchingly energized chatter. The germ of the idea came from, you guessed it, Adult Coloring Books. If you’re curious about Vizzigram, thanks to Lamar Brantley – our web tech fixed a glitch so it would post – check the definition in our Dyzzleberry Dictionary. We don’t have a visual of it for you to see. It will happen. Stay tuned.

Now what chatter has inspired your writing?

Sandy and Duayne

Why Adult Coloring Books Are All The Rage

I’m not kidding and I’m not posting this because someone gave me a free copy. It was one of those, waiting room moments when I was browsing The Really Busy Woman’s Guide to Relaxing in the July 2015 edition of O The Oprah Magazine. I said, “What? Why?” when I read, on page 99 that adult coloring books have skyrocketed to the top of Amazon’s Best Seller List. Well, I found out that day, not only do the over 50s sit around and color, but so do the ‘up and coming in the fast lane’ over 30’s grab those coloring books and squeeze them into moments of wait. Yowee. Where have I been? Hubby and I headed over to our nearest book store, and the manager told us he sells at least 5 a day. Hubby couldn’t believe it either. Here we are having written the most wonderful sci-fi adventure story in the world (well Book 1 is out) and adult coloring books are outselling IZ~ by well, millions, billions? There were over 100 choices at his store of adult coloring books. We bought Secret Paris Color Your Way to Calm. Duayne shakes his head and I color. It’s replaced my GREAT AMERICAN BATHROOM BOOK II. Go figure, I mean go color.


As S. Voss says on Dab Of Darkness, Don’t be bashful. Let us know what you are thinking about, it could be your writing, our writing, or another author’s writing or maybe even what you’re thinking about writing.

After all, we all have a story to tell. Just like Illiachus in Chapter 5 of ENCOUNTERS, Book 1 of IZ~. Maybe yours may seem not so profound to you, but give it a try. You won’t know unless you share.

Oh, and do check out I’ve found some interesting new books to read from S’s blog.