Book Review: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Girl in Pieces, by Kathleen Glasgow, starts out with a nameless, silent girl in a mental hospital sharing her mental observations. Silent Sue, one of the other patients calls her. All the women on this floor are the self-harmers, the NSSI--Non Suicidal Self Injury, the cutters and burners.
We learn her story is small slices--the chapters are short, some a single paragraph. But the author's ability to pack so much information, characterization and emotion into the each sentence is one of the things that makes this novel so great.
Left on the lawn of a hospital, freezing and bleeding to death, her own story comes back to her in pieces. Charlie begins to open to her doctors and fellow patients as she begins to remember who she is and what happened.
I felt her anxiety as she has to leave the safety of the hospital and enter the public world in the care of her mother whom she fears.
That's all the plot I will share, because the discovery of herself and of her capacities, scraping away the surface and finding the abuses and fears below is what kept me reading, (or listening in my  case).
I have written a novel where my main character is a teenage girl who cuts. It's science fiction, set 800 years in the future and I've shared some of the chapters on my blog. I've written it as "the other", as it is called in literature--writing from another's point of view, position of experience, not having lived it myself. I hurt for these girls, and the growing number of boys, who have  suffered so much at their own hands, whose only break from depression and anxiety is to create their own physical pain. I wanted to say something that would bring their plight more awareness.
Kathleen Glasgow comes at this novel, not as the other, but as the person who has experienced this life first hand and hearing her own words at the end of the audio version brought the impact of the novel to an even deeper level to me.
I loved this story for the author's beautiful, some call it poetic, writing. For Charlie's ceaseless striving for acceptance and love, and her eternal struggle to overcome her weaknesses and doubts.
Note: This novel contains strong language, violence, and sexual situations.


YA Books Podcast

I know. I've tried podcasting before, and believe me, I intend to finish the Pariah Podcast. I'm recording episode 11 right now, with 12 ready to record right afterward. I'm editing episode 13 and am writing 16 which will fold Nit into the story completely.

This new podcast is supposed to be my effort at doing something for the community. Whether you are readers of YA fiction or writers of the same, my hope is that you will find interesting interviews with author you read or want to emulate.

I want to interview authors of all types of YA Fiction: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Mystery, even Literary.

I've done about ten interviews so far and have launched the podcast with the first four episodes.

It's available on iTunes at and on However, if you go to Libsyn, download the episodes. If you try to stream them they...well, they don't after 28 seconds.

I'm meeting lots of great authors and am having a blast talking with them about their lives, their books, inspiration and their writing methods.

Come by, check it out, and, by all means, subscribe and leave me a review. I don't care if the review is bad...that's what I need to get in front of more listeners: subscriptions and reviews.



Beat - How To Suspend Disbelief

I recently read the book, "Beat" by Jared Garrett. I was really looking forward to it because I've been impressed with what Adam Sidwell and Future House Publishing have put out. Adam even says that if you liked Hunger Games, you'll like this one.

While it was a good story, with driving action and suspense, at times, I didn't find a comparison to Hunger Games nearly accurate.

This is a great book for a teenager who wants an exciting book with action and tension. For a teenager who is analytical or an adult who is marginally familiar with statistics it could only be considered an average read--too many plot holes and far too many bullets for a fifteen-year-old boy to survive.

I'll try to avoid spoilers...

The premise is fun but a little too simple to work. Ninety percent of humanity is wiped out by a bug that kills when a victim's heart rate exceeds 140 to 150 beats per minute. This happened about 100 years before Nik Granjer rides his bike through New Frisko, a calm and controlled reproduction of the former, but now dead, city. I got the impression that the infection came during out current era. By my calculation there should have been over 700 million people left on earth; many more than seem to be left in this society.

This was the first thing that challenged my ability to suspend disbelief. With only ten percent of humanity left there would not be enough infrastructure left to not only continue the existing level of technology, but actually advance way beyond that.

Some simple things threw me off as well. Like the redwood trees and seeing snow on the mountains. I got the impression that the New Frisko was near the old one. You can't see any mountains with snow on them from anywhere near San Francisco and the redwood forests he describes would have to have grown up since the Infektion, about 100 years before. For trees to grow the size he describes, they would need closer to 1000 years.

The story is told in the first person point of view. I'm not a big fan. As a result, the middle twenty percent of the story drags as Nik "notices" and "realizes" things, and processes his thoughts over and over, and develops his theories.

Finally hooking up with a friend, the story picks up its pace again and becomes more interesting.

The author alters some spelling conventions under the pretense that these letters have been outlawed to simplify communication. I found these misspellings distracting and inconsistent.
Overall, the pace is fast with interesting--though not always believable--details. As I said at the beginning, a great read for a teenage boy.

Bio-rhythms, Editors, and Metaphors

I don't know what's wrong with me, recently. I've been short tempered, grumpy, and negative. I have some ideas, but they're kind of personal, and you don't really want to know that kind of stuff. Probably something to do with my Bio-rhythm and internal chemistry. (I don't really believe in Bio-rhythms. They were a thing in the 1980's.)

I got my manuscript of The Galactic Battle Base: Trigger Warnings back from the editor I sent it to. He obviously didn't get my vision and chopped it into pieces, deleting much of what I thought was the focus of the story.

Either, I didn't explain my story clearly enough--through dialog, description, and character conflict-- or he went into it expecting to get one thing and was confused by finding another. I imagine it is a combination of the two.

So, with my current state of mind, I was pretty much torqued. With each correction and deletion I found myself becoming angrier and angrier. I had set myself a pretty demanding goal of getting this book published by mid May, to take it with me to the LDStorymakers conference. I could see, from the amount of work he was suggesting I do and with all the other things I have going, this was either an unrealistic goal, or it was going to require a whole lot of effort.

Instead, I shifted gears. (That's a metaphor. Some say you shouldn't use them when writing science fiction because the readers will take them literally. I would have to say, "Come on. You read science fiction. You're supposed to be more intelligent than the average reader. Don't be stupid." While I have a car with a manual transmission, this doesn't mean that I actually went out and changed from fourth speed down to third. Maybe this is a worn out metaphor, which is a danger when using them, but I think it's pretty apt.)

My biggest projects at the moment are The Pariah podcast and gearing up for

With the podcast I have to get another episode recorded and in the can this month. That shouldn't be too hard, I have the next episode edited and ready to record. But I also need to edit the first five episodes and publish them as a chapter book for Kindle and Print on Demand, as I've promised my supporters. With Channillo I had said I would do chapters from the Galactic Battle Base story, "Family Ties" and publish an episode every two weeks. I've decided, instead, I will also use chapters from "Trigger Warnings" as well and change the output to ever week instead of biweekly. This will allow me to focus on that story, develop each chapter with its own story arch, and hopefully make it clearer to the reader. Once I've gone completely through the novel in this manner, I can resubmit it to an editor and see if I'm closer to publication as a separate novel.

Okay. I've gotten that off my chest. My self-doubts have been aired.  Now, if I can adjust my bio-rhythm or my internal chemistry I'll feel much more like the author I thought I was two weeks ago and get back to getting things done.

Facebook Advertising: It Didn't Work for Me.

Here are my results.

I started a Facebook ad campaign to get "Page Likes" for my author page. I planned to pay up to $2.50 per day for ads to bring people to my page and get a "Like". I ran the ad for four weeks, and this is what I got.

I muddied the purity of my study by a getting a 'wild hare' and boosted a post, right in the middle of this campaign and paid an additional $60.

I started the campaign with 22 page likes, which had remained unchanged since I first started my author page and sent out "like requests" to all my friends on my regular facebook page. I tried to add a comment to my author page everyday, but probably ended up posting once every two to three days.

After 28 days, here's what I got:

Paying up to $2.50 per day, I spent $68.27 on this specific campaign and they say I got 84 page likes from it, costing me $0.81 each.
From the 'wild hare page boost' I got 123 page likes for that specific page.
I now have 136 page likes for my author page.
During this time period I had 2 organic page likes from people I met on twitter, so there were 15 pages likes from other sources--possibly secondary to the 'wild hare boost' or from posts on twitter.
During this time period I had one (1) conversation with a person on Facebook from these new page likes. I cannot say that I have sold any more books as a result of either of the advertisements. I have had a hand full of Kindle Unlimited downloads and cash sales. If all of these were from the facebook ads, they would have a value of about $5.

So, I got one conversation and (maybe) $5 in sales from an investment of $128.27. Was that worth it? It depends on whether those page likes will read further posts, repost them, and/or buy my books.

Going forward. I will be interested to see if I continue to get any Author Page likes. My hope, all along was that this would build a momentum that would carry on a consistent page like increase. We'll see.


Flypaper Boy is launching

Here's the invitation I posted on Facebook. Everyone is welcome. Please come by and like my author page. It is:

Facebook Friend:

Please forgive this spam. It's the only time I will ever spam my personal friend list on Facebook. But, right now, you're the only friends I have and I really need your help.
You may have seen that I've been working on publishing my first novel for about the last year. Well, "Flypaper Boy: Coming of Age" is finally happening on September 29th on Amazon as an eBook for Kindle and as a publish-on-demand paperback through (An Amazon company).
If I can get enough sales on September 29th it will push my book onto other lists which will make it more visible to people I don't know.
The eBook for Kindle will be just $2.99. If you don't have a kindle there are free Kindle apps for every kind of phone and tablet in existence (probably. . .the big names for sure.) The POD paperback will be $12.99 and if you purchase it, you can get the eBook for free for the next thirty days.
What I need you to do:
1) Like and follow my author page. (This way I can spam you when my next book comes out.) That's
2) Share this with your followers, your friends, enemies, family members, anyone with a pulse and an internet connection.
3) Stop by Amazon on Monday, September 29th and purchase a book. I should have the link up on my author site no later than Sunday the 28th. (You could just search for Flypaper Boy. I searched it on Google and didn't get any hits with those two words together. . .Big surprise?)
And that's it! Simple, huh?
The story is about a sixteen year old boy with a lame superpower. . .he sticks to things. He gets manipulated into believing he's actually a supervillain and agrees to help kidnap the teenage daughter of the President of an Eastern European nation called Burgerslovegia.
If you've read this far, thank you. I hope you'll join me on the 29th. If you have any questions or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.


Whenever I have started one of these blogs I have done so to update all my unknown and non-existent fans about what I am currently working on and where I am on the various projects.

So, here's how it stands.

1) Fly Paper Boy: Coming of Age. I just completed my third full edit. It now stands at over 99.5K words and I believe it is complete. I have a ten minute pitch session with an agent at the LDStory Maker's conference later this month. But, unless he actually begs me for it, my plan is to self publish it as an ebook and audiobook concurrently at They have a new approach to selling and pricing self published books. I figure if I can get a few YA books on the site before anyone else does, I will have a toe hold in their market that would be advantaous.

2) Shooting Stars: A Magical Teenage Love Story from a Boy's Perspective. I just got rejected by Tor YA. I had decided a week after I sent of this submission that I wanted to switch my attention to self publishing. So I started recording this one last week, figuring I would be getting my rejection soon. I've noticed is my 100 Word Weekly Challenge stories that I had an echo going on. So, I set up my recording booth  and I've recorded the first two chapters three times now. I think I've finally got the feel I want the narration to have. Now I just need to keep charging through the remaining 300 pages. This will be my first submission to the system. As I am recording this story, which I thought was complete, I'm finding a number of things I need to edit. Therefore, I'm making this my fourth and final edit. I'm marking down the corrections I make while recording and will go through the ebook manuscript again before formatting it for download.

3) What I'm working on next. I'm aiming to release Shooting Stars by June 1 and Fly Paper Boy by Aug 30. I'd like to have one more released by Dec 31. The three I have in the background are Galactic Battle Base: Knife Cuts, Galactic Battle Base: Family Ties and this last years Nanowrimo, The Pariah. I think the story most ready to fine tune is Pariah, but last month I got a wild hare and started re-writing Knife Cuts. I think it is the one which is the most emotionally charged, and the most meaningful to me.

Can you spot the Dystopia?

I recently listened to a new podcast call "Cast of Wonders". The describe themselves as a "Young Adult Fiction Audio Magazine" and you can find them at

I listened to an episode yesterday, Ep. 113. They're up to 115 now. This one was called "The Malthus Alternative" by Jamie Mason. The premise of the story is, well, to boil it down to a single phase, "America Sucks".

That's unfair. I don't want to put those words into Jamie's mouth. Perhaps the author sees things he or she feels are not right about America, and feels the Young Adults of the audience are too dense to appreciate subtlety.

I'm not saying the issues are false. I do not believe the country has the right to "legislate a woman's uterus". I don't believe having "For Profit Prisons" is good. I think our presence I any Middle East nation is counter productive to our domestic liberty and is not flattering to our International Image. Finally, something is wrong when one percent of the population own forty percent of the wealth.

I wrote a short story last summer shortly after the NSA thing blew up. I had felt for some time that the fourth amendment to the constitution had become increasingly weak, and the NSA's blatant abuse of our privacy was beyond excuse. The story I wrote, which follows this blog post, called "No Child Left Alone" presented our nation after an extreme attempt to protect our children had overboard.

I got criticism from the online reading group that my story was "Heavy Handed". Maybe I was. I've read "1984", "A Brave New World", "We" and "Farenheit 451", and I think any one of those would be described as "Heavy Handed". It's a dystopian environment. Have you seen "Catching Fire"? What part of the movie leading up to the actual arena would not be considered stereo typical of a bad political situation?

If a dystopian story needs to be heavy handed for the reader to grasp the enormity of a wrong, as perceived by the author, then, "The Malthus Alternative" is "Double Fisted, Heavy Handed". The author presents one awful aspect of the American Political climate after another.

I will cite only two aspects of the story, in case you want to listen to it yourself. First; Naming our involvement in war on a global level as "The War on Birth Control" never took the logical step to explain how the two were equal. Sure, they were sending their young people to the middle east to fight, and sure, the politicians saw birth control as a bad thing, but never brought the two together in a sensible way. Secondly; the inequality between the author's one percent, having it all, and the 99 percent having nothing, is unsupportable in the author's dystopia. With this large of an impoverished population the government couldn't generate enough in taxes to pay the rich. Our government cannot pay absurd amounts to military contractors or "For Profit Prison" owners, unless they tax a substantial working class to get the cash. The population has to want and pay for all the crap they get from China that makes the Vice Presients and CEO's all that cash from outsourcing American jobs to foreigners who can be told what to do, when to do it, and how much they are going to get paid for it.

What concerns me most is that this is Graeme Dunlop's Editor's choice story. He describes this as the best story from the preceding 112 stories. I'll give the podcast a few more tries, but if this story is the acme of Young Adult short fiction, it will only be a few more tries, after which I will have to redefine what it is I think I'm doing with my own writing.

Here is the story I wrote last summer:
"No Child Left Alone"
Approx 2800 words.
Writer's journey prompt for June 4, 2013
GPS injected into children’s spinal column to track tardiness and truancy.


A buzzer rang down the upper floor of Central High's liberal arts wing. Students filled the halls and hurried to their next class. 
Cody stepped into the hallway and watched the students, their faces set and determined as his would be, if his next class wasn't right across the way. No one wanted to be late, to be out of their seats when the tardy bell rang.

“Cody. Check this out,” Demmar whispered to him and tipping his head to the side of the hallway where they would be out of the main traffic and away from eyes and ears.

“What’s so secret?” Cody asked, only half interested, but stepping to where his friend stood next to a bank of lockers.

“I just finished this, this morning in electronics.”

He held a mat-black, cube which sat easily in the palm of his hand.

“Does it play the high school fight song, or just make farting sounds when everyone is quiet?”

"Ha, ha," Demmar laughed laying on sarcasm. “Nothing so trivial and I’m pretty sure it works. It’s a GPS decoy. You lock a GPS location on it and put it somewhere. Then, wherever the identified system goes it gives off the reading of where you’ve hidden the box.”

“Hold on,” Cody looked up and down the hallway. Few students were in sight.
A video camera on the hallway ceiling swung slowly side to side.

“Come over here,” Cody said indicating a spot just past where the row of lockers ended. He pulled out his Kindle to act like they were talking about a school assignment and he turned his back to the camera, blocking any possible view of the decoy.

“Do you realize what you’ve done?” Cody asked.

“Yeah,” he said, a grin spreading across his face like a kid who’d just gotten caught steeling candy from a baby. “They won’t be able to monitor where we are. If we leave one of these for each of us in the classroom where we’re supposed to be, we can walk into any room in the high school and the GPS tracker will think we’re sitting in class. We can walk right into the girl’s locker room and the alarms won’t even sound.”

“Don’t tell me that’s why you made this thing, to get into the girl’s locker room.”

“Why not. I thought it was a good idea.”

“Sure you would,” Cody rolled his eyes. “Don’t you think any one of the girls in the room, not to mention the female coaches, would notice that you were a boy, and not a girl?”

Demaar’s smile faded. “I wasn’t planning on going in when anybody was watching.”

“Right,” Cody said. “Anyway, we’re probably beginning to look suspicious. Meet me after school. We need to talk. I’ll walk to your house with you. That should look fairly normal.”

Two hours later they had passed through the high school exit scanner and were walking to Demaar’s house.

“You said you were pretty sure the decoy worked. Why aren’t you sure?” Cody asked.

“I could only test it in the electronics lab. So I know it works for a short distance and with a local GPS Scanner. Wherever I put the decoy in the room, the scanner showed me there. I’m not sure what the actual range is, though it should have enough power to reach anywhere on campus.”

“It doesn’t need to reach far; especially if we use them during language arts. We would have two whole hours to test it out.” 

“Where are you planning on going?” Demaar asked.

“The one spot where we could see if it was working and answer a few questions I have about these GPS strings in our spines,” Cody said.

“You’re right. The data lab is directly below our language arts class. We could run some routines from the school’s system to imitate a GPS tracker and see if the decoy really works.”

“You’re close, Demaar, but not on the nose. What room can we access from the student’s data center?”

“You’re not talking about the GPS control room for the entire school are you?”

Demaar was incredulous. Cody only nodded his head.

They sat on Demaar’s front porch.

“You were quick to jump on this idea, today. The whole time I worked on the decoy I was thinking of all the ways I could use it, to, um, get into the locker room.”

"For a guy, smart enough to make this thing, you sure have some moronic reasons for developing it," Cody said and shook his head.

"I'm not cool like you are. You never see girls following me around, do you?" Demaar said and looked down the street.

Cody followed his friend's gaze. Two houses away, halfway up a light pole, a video camera slowly panned up and down the street. Cody didn’t think they, whoever they were behind the camera, could tell what the two talked about. Still, he waited until the camera’s lens had passed them before he spoke.

“These GPS strings they put into our spines, they say their biological, designed to deteriorate and be absorbed into the body between age eighteen and twenty.”

“Yeah. So?”

“I had to do a report for my Civics class about the Courts System and I found out some interesting facts. Did you know that the crime rate is one-fourth of what it was twenty years ago? That over the last twenty years there has been a steady and consistent decline in crime and the rate for people aged 20 to 30 is almost zero?”

“Those sound like good things to me.”

“Yeah, but at what cost? We’re Americans. And that’s something else I learned from Senior Civics; we’re supposed to be free and protected from unwarranted search and seizure.”

“You lost me, Cody. I can do magic with electronics, but politics, that’s your game.”

“Think about it, Demaar. They put these “No Child Left Alone” GPS strings into our spine so that all children, age five to eighteen, can be tracked and found at any moment. Sure, protecting children from abductors and abusers is great. Even keeping an eye on us in school is okay, for attendance reasons. But, what if they keep watching you after you leave the school’s campus, or the strings don’t degrade and their spying on us as adults? Is that okay as well?”

“No. I guess not.”

“You remember Sean, don’t you?”

“Yeah. He graduated last year. What about him.”

“That’s my question. Whenever we asked him what he was going to do after graduation, he said, ‘Nothing. Not a damn thing. And that’s what he did through the summer. Do you know where he is now?”

“Yeah. He joined the Army. That’s what his little brother said.”

“Think. Would a guy whose goal in life was to do nothing join the Army? No. But if someone was watching what everyone was doing and saw that he was doing nothing, he could be pegged as a potential criminal or drain on the state. Kill two potential birds with one stone; put him in the army.”

“You’re sounding paranoid, Cody.”

“Maybe I am. But getting into the GPS control room will be proof enough. I think we will see if this is all in my head.”

A week later, Cody waited in the hall next to their language arts class for Demaar to arrive with a second GPS decoy.

The two walked into the classroom a few minutes before the bell. Demaar passed Cody the decoy as they took their normal desks, side by side.

Cody thumbed the buttons in the order Demaar had told him and pressed the decoy to the underside of the desk, holding it in place with two pieces of self adhesive Velcro. 
First Cody, then his friend left the class and descended the stairs to the first floor. No one would assume they were anywhere other than where they should be. The attendance office showed them sitting in their seats and any teachers who passed them in the halls would figure they were on an approved and recognized task.

Rows of computer terminals and keyboards on tables were packed into the long narrow room. They took seats near an unidentified door at the far end of the room. Each boy opened a routine appropriate to their studies and appeared to work. They listened for sounds of people from beyond the door. 

A vidicam slowly panned the room and students.

“Okay?” Demaar asked.

Cody waited for the camera to angle past and counted, “One, two, three. Okay, let’s go.”

They stood, opened the door and stepped through into the dark room. As the door closed the overhead lights came on. Fans set high up on the walls whispered, keeping the small room cool as the numerous computers pumped out heat from their active processing.

They agreed before hand they wouldn’t speak, only move directly to their tasks.

Cody wandered between several computers set up at individual work stations. Demaar dashed from station to station until he found the one he was apparently looking for. He sat and powered on the screen. Cody settled into a station with a broad flat-screen monitor and flipped it on.

A floor plan of the school opened up before him. Most classrooms were filled with neat rows of tiny blue dots, each one indicating a student. Few moved through the hallways. Cody found the Data Center and rolled his cursor over the ‘dots’ in the room. With each dot the cursor passed over a number appeared above it on the screen. All the numbers he found were similar to his own, in the 46,320,000’s, but not his own. 

The room where he and Demaar worked wasn’t even on the schematic. He centered the screen back on his classroom, brought the view in close and cursored over the seats where he and Demaar sat.

Feeling satisfied and considerably more secure, he smiled and leaned back in his seat. Among the blue dots of students in his classroom were four yellow dots; one at the head of the class where the teacher usually sat. He tried to picture where the other yellows were positioned in the classroom and was sure of only one, Esteban Martinez. He had come from El Salvador at six years old and had difficulty with English. Because he was held back a year he was already eighteen, past the age when the GPS string should have degraded. 

And the teacher, he moved the cursor over her yellow dot. Though it didn’t show her name, her number was obviously not one of the students; 15,665,719; much older than the students.

Intending to go back to the original screen he expanded the view wider. However, the controls were more sensitive than he thought and the school dropped away from view and a map of the whole neighborhood appeared before him.

“I’m right,” Cody declared.

“Shhhh,” Demaar said, then in a whisper asked, “What are you right about?”

“There are dots everywhere.”

Demaar came over to Cody’s screen. It was true. Throughout the neighborhood tiny yellow dots moved around houses and floated along streets. Green, blue, turquoise and red dots were also present, but very few.

“I think the yellow dots are anyone over eighteen. Look at our classroom.”

Cody zoomed in on the classroom again. “Look. Here’s Ms. Alexander. Her number is pretty low, but here’s Esteban. He’s eighteen and his number is closer to ours.

“What do you think the red dots are for?” Demaar asked.

“I don’t know,” Cody began but realized what caused Demaar to ask. In their classroom two red dots sat side-by-side and Cody didn’t need to pass the cursor over to know who they were.

“Let’s get out of here,” Cody said, jumping from the chair and running for the door. Bolting through into the Data Center the two boys ran into the principal and two of his assistants.

“Bring the boys to my office,” the man said. 

The assistants grabbed the boys by their upper arms and marched them behind the principal to the administration building.

“How did you find my decoys?” Demaar asked.

Cody shushed him. They had the right to remain silent, didn’t they?

“Come on, Cody. We’re caught, and I want to know. Did they give off a conflicting signature to the GPS signal?”

“Decoys. I like that name.” The principal sounded smug. “Actually, yes. They did give off a signature, but it was incredibly hard to locate. We scanned the building several times before locating them. What gave you away was motion sensors in the control room. An alarm goes off in the attendance office and in my office as well. We found you two cloaked in there; that was when we searched for a cloned signal.”

The principal spoke matter-of-factly, as if discussing the weather with a next door neighbor. "Now that we have your devices, we will be able to protect against them. The whole GPS system is about protection, to protect you young people.”

“If that’s so, why don’t the strings degrade as they’re supposed to when we turn eighteen? Ms. Alexander’s string is still going and there are yellow dots moving all over the neighborhood.”

“You’re a perceptive young man, Cody. You have to remember, it’s for everyone’s safety, and you, being you, don't know the dangers you face. The original plan was to allow the GPS string to degrade at eighteen, but some of us saw a bigger picture where we could all be safe, regardless of age, just like the children.”

“You’re awfully free and open, all of a sudden,” Cody said at the same moment Demaar asked, “Are you going to kick us out of high school?”

“Both good questions; spoken, or implied,” the principal said.

They passed the attendance desk. 

The assistant, still holding the boys by their arms, ushered them directly into the principal’s office. Cody and Demaar were released and told to sit in chairs to the left side of the principal’s desk.

Principal Stevens sat at his desk and turned his attention to the computer terminal in front of him. He appeared to enter data on a form. The screen sat perpendicular to the boys and they were unable to see the form or the data entered. 

What Cody could see was across the principal’s desk; a bank of video screens mounted on the wall to the principal’s right, and directly in front of the two boys. He jabbed his elbow into Demaar and tipped his head toward the monitors.

Both boys were on five of the screens, shown repeating loops of video feed; the two standing by the lockers in the hallway; them entering the computer lab; passing the GPS decoys in the classroom; standing outside the school yesterday and sitting on Demaar’s front porch. Video feed of the two boys off the school grounds was disconcerting enough, but what really bothered Cody was that it was not from the angle of the vidicam he knew of. The view was from directly across the street; perhaps from under the eaves of the Zwickie’s home.

Did they have cameras everywhere? Cody wondered. Where else could they be watching?

“There. All done,” Stevens said. He looked up from the screen to the two boys with a wide grin. “Congratulations are in order. You’ve both just graduated from high school. Your diplomas will be mailed to your parent’s homes within the week.”

“What?” Demaar asked. 

Cody shook his head and said, “Okay?”

“You’re not the first students to figure out how the “No Child Left Alone” Technology is being used, both in school and out; not the first by a long shot. But over the twenty years of the program, how to deal with clever children like you has been, reformed.”

Demaar’s face went gray.

“Don’t worry Mr. Wilkins. You’re not going to jail. Quite the opposite. It would be a terrible waste to incarcerate and punish intelligent minds; they should be rewarded, and...” He paused a moment, looking thoughtful. He finally sighed, and said,“ Exploited sounds like such a harsh word. But, your “Decoy” is very impressive. The school will receive a large bonus for its development.”

He turned to Cody.

“And your lateral thinking, Mr. Ashkour, was very perceptive and shows an insight not common in a boy your age. Your parents will be pleased to learn you have been transferred to a prestigious university and will be pursuing an advanced degree in Political Ethics.”

He turned back to Demaar, “And you a degree in Electronic Engineering, Mr. Wilkins.”

Principal Stevens stood and said, “Transportation is here, boys. Enjoy the next six years of higher education. I’m sure by the time you graduate you will both have the appropriate perspective to help us carry out our important work.”

The End

Author's note: This is not a completed short story. I wrote it through and revised it once before submitting it to the Online Writing Workshop. I did a short rewrite after that. Since that time I have also decided it's not done. Demaar has a back up plan with another set of decoys which which deflects their GPS chips location randomly traveling in different directions. They break away from the guards and escape into the neighborhood.


I'm a novelist.

I crossed another milestone today. I'd submitted my YA urban fantasy to my first choice of a publisher, and apparently they didn't think it was as good as I did. Actually, I thought they would reject it, but I wanted the LDS fiction market to get the first choice.

I got my first "Rejection Form Letter" today. I believe authors used to paper their walls with these. To do that now, I would have to print it out. Instead, I think I'll just copy it into a Word Doc and start a file for them.

Onward and upward. I've already sent it off to another publisher. There was a third publisher I found who I think is my best bet for getting published. They are using the newer method of, No Advancement, but 50% of the sales. They also accept simultaneous submissions, so if it comes to that, in another 90 days, I can shotgun it out to a few of these new wave publishers.

Other projects right now are a short story for an anthology, my 2011 Nano is still out to Beta Readers and I'm getting some good feedback. My original plan was to do my first edit on my 2013 Nano rough draft, but I've had some experiences recently that pointed me to 2010 Nano and I've started to read/edit that one.

We'll just have to see what actually ends up as my next novel.

Am I a copy cat?I

I realize that writing a blog should be more of my writing and not just posting what other people have written, but why should I try writing something that someone else has already said, when I can just point you to it?

I just found this on Google+ and thought it makes a lot of sense. You can read it and see what you think. It mainly says that not liking something is not saying it's bad and when it comes to writing a review we should make sure that's clear in our discussion of the book. I think this goes well with the "Open Letter...." I linked to yesterday.

More Red Ink Blog

I haven't been to too many Cons. But being in Central California I have been to Baycon twice and when Worldcon was in Reno, NV it was close enough for me to drive to.

One speaker I have heard at each of these Cons was Marty Halpern. He's an editor with a ton of Science Fiction and Fantasy editorial experience. His blog site is at:

I was just there  to copy the link address and he had posted an open letter to Idie Author's by J. M. Gregoire. I just began to read it and as usual, the stuff on Mr. Halpern's site is worth our time to read; whether you're a writer, reader or editor.

I've found his presentations at the cons as some of the most interesting, informative and authoritative lectures I've come across since trying to join this community of writers. I'm going back to his blog to pick up the link to the rest of that open letter. You should too.

I got a compliment

I expanded my beta reader pool by putting an invitation for beta readers on my Facebook page. Mary, on the Writing Excuses Podcast, said she has fans do her beta reads. Since the only fans I have so far are already readers, (that's like, four people) and mostly family members, I felt like I needed some new blood if I'm going to take my writing to a new level. I'll be over the moon if someday I have enough of a fan base that people I don't know, other than from getting feedback on books of mine they've read, are asking to do beta reads for me.

I got some feedback on my current project in beta from one of these new readers that really made my day. He said that he'd love to see this book as a movie because of one of the scenes he had just read would be classic. I don't want to tell you the scene, because you'd lose the full effect of it if you ever read the book.

Why I took this a such a compliment was that I had created a scene original enough and delivered it clearly enough that the reader was able to picture what I had imagined in my own mind and attempted to present with words.

Let me take a moment to pat myself on the back. (I'm fairly insecure about most things I do, so I need to boost my self confidence whenever I get the chance.)

A magic portal under my sink?

My wife and I watched the first Narnia movie the other night. I've thought for years how cool it would be to have a portal take you somewhere fascinating. I remember as a teenager annoying girl friends talking about such things; like walking through the woods and finding yourself in a prehistoric world. But it was always fascinating or interesting places I would go. Well, here's an alternative.

From the editors that brought you, A Method To The Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil, comes the official book of stories for all those magic portals to places you might not really want to visit.

So this project looks to be right up my alley.

Brandon Sanderson said that anyone wanting to be a published writer should put out two novels and two short stories per year. This will be my first short story for this year.

Here's the link if you're interested in submitting to it as well:

Nanowrimo 2013

I just signed up for 2013. 

This is my fifth Nano in a row. I had only just begun to write when I started my first on in 2008. When I finished that one, I had 51,000 words of garbage. I tried to rewrite it a year ago and got bogged down trying to stay in-sync with what I had written before, but that was way too hard. I just completely started over. 60K words later I got bogged down again. I'll probably start that one over again, someday....

This year I'm basing the novel on a short story I wrote during the summer about the Pig-Frog, or Pariah. I've been world building the heck out of it, (A lot different than my first Nano, when I essentially had an idea of how I wanted to start it and ran with it.) 

I have a good idea of how the story will go through the first half and most of the events toward the end, but I need to work out a little more conflict and a twist or two. There is a blerb and a piece of the short story on my Nanowrimo site.

If you do Nanowrimo, too. Let me know so we can be writing buddies.  

My site is: 

I've started my own website.

Any surprise I named my website, ""? 

I started writing five years ago with my first entry to the 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge, which is now at It seemed that most people who participated used some kind of pseudonym.  I didn't know, at the time, that a lot of the people participating were from Second Life, and those were their character's names. But I went ahead and used my alter ego of many years and submitted my story under the name of Norvaljoe.

Two weeks later, I tried to change to my real name, but Lawrence Simon, who ran the weekly challenge, just wouldn't let it die. Since that time I have usually referred to myself as Philip 'Norvaljoe' Carroll when writing, allowing readers, or listeners, both old and new to recognize me.

Please bear with me as I learn to make this website more beautiful. It's taken me three weeks to get this far. So, it may be a while before it looks truly refined.