Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing Prompt #133

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm labeling it as horror this week, but, as always, take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

Everytime you enter your house, you hear the faint sound of children laughing. You have no children, and none live on your street.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

#FridayFlash - Millennium Ship

Millennium Ship
by Eric J. Krause 

Matt's eyes flickered open as the seal of his hibernation pod cracked. He wiped the sleep crust out of his eyes and stretched. Damn. His turn for upkeep. Why they couldn't trust the computer to run the ship the entire way was beyond him.

He pushed the pod open and stepped out. It was amazing how limber he felt after 300 years of sleep. He yawned. Even though it did a perfect job of stimulating his muscles, it did little to get his mind ready for the awakening. Ah well. The faster he ran all of the diagnostics and made any necessary repairs and maintenance, the sooner he could return to another 300 year nap.

As he walked out, he didn't spare a glance to Amanda or Carlos. He stumbled out of the hibernation center and headed for the galley. A stim-drink would get him to full power quick enough.

Halfway down the curved hallway, a shadow danced in front of him. He blinked hard, but saw nothing to have caused it. Footsteps sounded from the other end of the hall, near the galley.

"Hello? Carlos? Amanda? Why are you awake?" Maybe he should have checked their pods. Maybe the computer had some problems and it needed all of them to fix it. The scientists said it was an unlikely situation, but certainly possible.

No one answered. He shook his head and continued on. If he was imagining things, he needed that stim-drink more than he thought.

Taps and bangs sounded throughout the ship, but he couldn't pinpoint them. The lights died in the galley, and the emergency lights flashed on. He slugged down the rest of his drink and rushed to check the main computer. As he ran, footsteps followed him. He turned his head, but saw no one.

The problem was easy enough to catch from the main terminal. Somehow the reset button had been pushed. The lights would be on again in less than an hour. But how had it happened? The system needed the safety key to be turned at the exact moment the button was pressed. It couldn't be done by accident. If Carlos and Amanda were both asleep, that was impossible. Unless there was an intruder or a stowaway.

The footfalls again sounded behind him, and a shadow passed the doorway when he turned. He leaped up and pursued whoever was there. He found no one, but a lingering scent of Amanda's perfume filled the hall. It was unmistakable; he'd smelled it enough that first year before hibernations. They'd slept together almost every night.

Matt sprinted down the hall to see if she was still asleep. He peered through the tiny porthole in her pod and saw her face. Something was wrong. It looked as if she'd been jammed in there. He cracked the seal, and she tumbled out. He caught her before she smacked into the ground, and checked her pulse. It should be slow but strong, but he felt nothing. He hugged her before laying her corpse on the ground.

He stood, looked in Carlos's pod, and found him in a similar state. Before he could open it up to examine his body, a presence filled the doorway. He turned and found Amanda standing there. He let out a yelp when he realized he could see right through her.

Matt's blood ran cold. A horrified look was etched on her face. She mouthed something, and it took a few seconds for him to catch on. Over and over she said a single word: "Run."

A burst of energy behind her dulled her ghost. He should take her advice, but couldn't. He had to see what this was.

"Carlos!" Matt yelled. It wasn't him, not exactly. His crewmate and good friend was now an energized alien being. His body was nothing but a blob of unformed mass, though his head remained. He stumbled into the room with no grace until he spotted Matt. Then he moved smoother than lightning.

Matt screamed as this Carlos-monster gripped him with its oversized hands. The energy bled off and encircled his chest. Precious oxygen seeped from his lungs, and he realized he wouldn't survive this. Before he drifted off to death, visions of what happened permeated his mind.

Wires worked loose under the ship's main terminal. As Carlos welded them together, the ship glided through an unknown energy deposit. Some sort of being launched itself through the wires and snuffed Carlos out before he knew what was going on. It took his essence and jammed his physical body back into the hibernation pod. Then it waited. 100 years later, Amanda emerged. It killed her and did the same with her body. 100 more years passed, and Matt woke. Now it had eradicated the entire crew and had the ship to itself.

He had no clue what it planned. As soon as his soul released from his dead body, Amanda grabbed him and they fled. Interestingly enough, one does not need to be on Earth to travel into that bright light that leads to the afterlife.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Free, free, free!

As you can tell from the title of this post, the topic today is free books. Two things have triggered this. First, I gave away two .pdf copies of my newest book, Dragon Guard, away on Twitter this week. I'll talk more about that in a minute. Second, I'm giving away my self-published novel, Ghost Betweens, for free on Amazon for the Kindle for the next five days. My reasons for doing this are more than simply I have five promotional days left for this selling period. I'll get to that after I talk about Dragon Guard.

As I said, I ran a contest to give away two free .pdf copies of my newest novel, Dragon Guard, which is a Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy story. I did this spur of the moment, so I didn't know what sort of response I would get. Turns out, not much but more than I expected. Let me explain. I received my .pdf file of the novel from my publisher, Hunt Press, late last week. I decided to give away two copies of it to anyone who retweeted a post I made. I didn't make a blog post or anything else; I simply did this on Twitter. Plus I only ran the contest over the weekend. Turns out, this didn't work out so well for my normal followers. I believe I had three people retweet it, and I gave plenty of chances for people to do so. That was a bit disheartening. But, as I said, I also got a much bigger response than I'd hoped. One of my tweets ended with two simple words: Free Book! I didn't hashtag it (for those of you on Twitter, you know this is how you get non-followers to see your posts), but I still got the post picked up by a number (about 30) of people who were, judging from their Twitter descriptions, big compers - people who love to enter contests for free stuff. I don't know if one picked up on this and it spread through their ranks or if it was on a contest list somewhere, but I had a bunch of people retweet to enter the contest that way. That was awesome for me! After all, they're potential new fans if they enjoy the story, right?

Anyway, I'm happy with how it turned out. Two people got a .pdf copy of my book, and I'm hoping they'll really enjoy it. If I hadn't put those two magical words ("Free Book!") in one of my tweets, I would have had a lousy turnout for my contest. But that is mostly my fault. I did simply run it as a spur-of-the-moment thing, and I didn't publicize it very well. In the future, I'm sure I'll have another such contest, but this time I'll give some heads-up to create some buzz for it. I'll post it on my blog and other sites. I'll keep it going for a full week so I get both weekend and weekday tweeters. This knowledge is probably the best thing that came out of this experience for me. (Though I hope the book is read, possibly reviewed on Amazon or anywhere else, and talked about by those who won. That would be an even bigger win for me!)

My second point in this post is my releasing of my self-published book, Ghost Betweens, a Young Adult Paranormal Adventure, free for then next five days (starting Thursday and running through Monday). The reason I'm doing this is because of Dragon Guard. I'm hoping people will download Ghost Betweens, enjoy it, and decide they'd like to give Dragon Guard a read. I'm confident readers just need a reason to pick up Dragon Guard, and when they do, they'll enjoy the heck out of it. I'm also hoping people will review Ghost Betweens on Amazon. I have 6 reviews right now (3 5-stars and 3 4-stars), and I'd love more. More reviews not only mean future sales for Ghost Betweens, but I'm hoping it rubs off on Dragon Guard, too.

So, if you have a Kindle, please download Ghost Betweens these next five days. Read it, review it, and pass the word on. If you don't have a Kindle, get yourself a Kindle App. It's free, and you won't miss out on great free promotions like this one. I hope you enjoy Ghost Betweens, and I hope it's a gateway drug to Dragon Guard!

Kindle Link to Ghost Betweens (Free Thursday April 11 - Monday April 15)
Kindle Link to Dragon Guard (Not free, but about the same price as a large value meal at a fast food joint, and much healthier for you!)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Writing Prompt #132

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm not labeling it this week, so take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

Your rich uncle give you the supernatural secret to his fortune.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Writing Prompt #131

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm labeling it as horror this week, but, as always, take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

You interact with a ghost that doesn't know it's dead.