Change Up in Web Sites

Wm Dragon 9Major Web Site Construction Completed! No More Link Changes! I Hope I Did Not Lose You in the Last Juggle!

When I originally started my web site journey, I had one web site for all my writing and writing research.

However, I decided that I should diversify my web site so that those who are interested in what great writing knowledge can be gained from various authors of books on writing can go to a web site that is specifically built for that function. Likewise, a person interested in reading, writing, and sharing poetry could follow my poetry site and those interested in writing novels and short stories to go to my novel writing site.

So, I divided my original web site into three.

The original is now “William’s Journal of Writing” https://williampadgett.wordpress.com/

The new ones are “New Poetic Horizons” https://williampadgettblog.wordpress.com/

and “Novels and Lesser Tales” https://williampadgettsite.wordpress.com/

I am sorry for the bit of confusion this juggling has caused. Particularly, the last change in which I swapped the links for “William’s Journal of Writing” and “Novels and Lesser Tales”. I had to do that because if a new reader is steered to my web site by my profile, I wanted the visitor to arrive at “William’s Journal of Writing” rather than “Novels and Lesser Tales”.

Also, when I press my computer desktop WordPress icon, I want to go to the Journal of Writing and then, if desired, go to my other web sites from there.

All my major changes are completed; so, if you want to follow one or more of my web sites, you can click the “follow” button for the one you desire and I promise (fingers ever so slightly crossed) you will not be juggled around in the future.

Thank you for following and sharing. I have been and will continue to visit your work and will share as you wish.

Yours,

-William

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Saving the Republic: The Battle of the Twin Planets

Alpha Sector

Novel: Saving the Republic

The RR Antares’ new captain, John Carter, takes on the pirates of the Twin Planets.

Join Captain John Carter as he leads his crew against the Pirates of the Twin Planets. The war is only the tip of the iceberg.

This is the story of the Republic’s Battle Destroyer, the RR Antares and its new commanding officer, Captain John Carter. As he leads his crew into battle against the Pirates of the Twin Planets, he finds a much bigger threat to the Republic than this band of bloodthirsty and ruthless marauders.

Saving the Republic:
The Battle of the Twin Planets

Chapter One
I am sitting at my desk in my stateroom at 7:30 in the evening. Another day of patrolling our area of the sector has passed and my command, the Battle Destroyer RR Antares is on ready alert.
I savor the smell the aroma of the hot Churian coffee as I raise my cup to my lips.
“Captain Carter, your presence is needed on the Bridge!” I hear a voice calling from the intercom system.
I shove my coffee back on my desk and, as I respond with “On my way”, I hear knocking at the door to my Stateroom.
Grabbing my hat, I run my fingers through my hair and then securely mount it in place.

Right outside the door to my stateroom, I see Lieutenant Commander Olsen, my Supply Officer; Lieutenant Commander Russell, my Weapon’s Officer; Lieutenant Commander Murray, my Chief Engineer; and Master Chief Garman, the leading supervisor of the Sensor Department. And they all start talking at the same time. Olsen is telling me that we’ve got a problem on the Mess Decks. Russell is shouting about a mutiny in the gunnery stations. Murray is yelling that we can’t make Mach speed because we are in the middle of engine calibrations. The Master Chief is saying something about a breech in the Chain of Command. And here I am in the middle of all this. I am looking at them; they’re looking at me. And I didn’t even get a chance to taste my morning coffee.
“Look”, I bark. “I have an emergency on the Bridge. Stay with me. We’ll sort this out when the BattleDestroyer is secure.”
I hurry to the elevator capsule with the group of dissidents right on my heels. I push the buttons and whoosh! We are on our way to the Bridge. The capsule opens and I step into the Bridge foyer.
“Attention on deck!” Yells the Boats’un of the watch.
I step past the Quarterdeck and enter the Bridge. “At ease”, I say and then move my eyes over the situation. Everything seems in place and all stations are manned, but Lieutenant Johnson, the Officer of the Deck; Commander Willis, my Executive Officer; and Commodore William S. Gannon, Commander of Battle Group Cruiser Division Eleven Five; are standing in a triangle. Gannon is wagging his index finger at the Executive Officer while apparently dressing him down over procedures.
I turn to the crew members who followed me up. Quietly and calmly I speak. “Murray, Russell, Olsen. Take care of your departmental problems the best you can. Master Chief, I am aware of your concerns and will discuss them with you as soon as I am able. I am counting on each of you to deal with your situations and calm your men. I may be tied up here for a bit”.
In almost unison, they echo an almost inaudible “Aye, aye, sir”, salute and turn towards the tasks before them.
I return the salutes and turn towards the fracas before me.

I stride over to the big figure who has cornered my Officer of the Deck and Executive Officer. William Gannon has the body of an Olympic wrestler. His wide shoulders look like a huge sail over an almost too small boat. He is in great shape for a man that must be in his early fifties. The part of his white salted red hair that is not covered by his hat bristles like the fur of a dog as it growls at a trespasser. His burnished brown eyes turn hazel when he is excited as he is now.
Catching his attention, I salute him and say, “Good morning, Bill. What’s going on?”
The Commodore’s eyes fall on me as a lion pouncing on its prey.
He says, “We’ve got things to talk about. Let’s go to your stateroom.”
“On my way, Bill”. I say.

I turn my head back to my Executive Officer and voice a silent “Carry on” and give him a reassuring smile. Commander Reed Willis is an excellent second in command and I know he will get the Bridge personnel focused on their duties and get the Battle Destroyer back on track.
I turned my head and attention to the business at hand.
We took the elevator capsule back down to my stateroom. When we entered, the Commodore tossed his hat on the conference table and sat down. I tossed my hat on the table next to his and sat as well.
“Do you know why I am aboard your ship, Mister?” He spat the words forcefully. “Let me tell you Admiral Turner wants your hide nailed to his wall”. He pauses, and then goes on. “I am here to save your sorry butt.”
“Save me? Look at the ruckus you’ve created. You’ve got my crew at the point of mutiny.”
He turns his smoldering eyes to mine. “If you don’t turn this ship around, you are not going to have a crew to worry about. You won’t have this Battle Destroyer to worry about either. I will see to it that you ride a desk in the Thirteenth Sector, John, and then you won’t have anything important enough to worry about until you are forced into retirement.”
“Wait a minute, Bill,” I say. “You say you are here to save my hide. Talk to me about it. What’s the problem?”
Bill pauses. I can tell that he is shifting gears and yet he doesn’t want to lose the bite of his visit.
“Last night the Gamelion Pirates struck, attacking the merchant vessel, Vladmir, in your assigned sector”, Gannon retorts.
I was deeply aware of this news. We had heard the SOS on the Merchant Radio Channel and were directed by the Battlecruiser Commander to intercept the enemy. However, at the time, we were in the process of calibrating the Main Propulsion System. We had radioed back our demise and requested assistance from the other units in the Battlecruiser Group. The requested backup could not respond in enough time to prevent the enemy attack.
Most of the merchant vessel’s crew members were either killed in the attack or murdered afterwards. The pirates released enough personnel to man a small space craft so that Gamelion defiance could be broadcasted throughout the Rideon Republic. The Parliament and the Prime Minister will face a judgmental press and a not very confident, angry citizenship.
Admiral Turner had been raked over the coals by the Rideon Republic Fleet Admiral and he, in turn, exploded on Big Bill Gannon.
Commodore Bill Gannon was the most decorated field officer in the Fleet and was slated for advancement to Rear Admiral. But Admiral Turner was livid over the failure of his Battlecruiser Group to protect the merchant ships in the Phi sector. Bill had managed to calm Turner by promising to take care of the situation personally; to guarantee that the pirates would be tended to immediately; and all stolen goods that could be salvaged would be returned to the violated merchants.
I try to tell Gannon that I was clearly at fault for not keeping my area safe and I will personally lead my Battle Destroyer against the Gamelion Pirates and produce the results the Republic wanted, but did he have to come aboard and disrupt my whole command?
“So where were you when the Pirates attacked last night? Why are you not in hot pursuit at this present time?”
Under the circumstances, I can’t tell him that the Propulsion System is somehow flawed and keeps losing power.
I decide to tell Gannon that we are having some problems with the main propulsion system at this present time, without going into the fact that our Propulsion System is seemingly shot. While not a lie, it’s not the entire truth. The Chief Engineer’s crew was busy trying to get the system fully operational when the Commodore had arrived on board. I told him the truth when I said that I had an estimated repair time of 0800, which was about an hour from the present time.
Gannon doesn’t press the issue. Instead, he asks how come I don’t know what’s going on inside my own Battle Destroyer. He’s sick and tired of hearing complaints about being in the wrong part of the sector when the enemies of the Republic strike. Why can’t I stay on top of things on my ship and in my sector?
“One thing I do know” I tell him, “is that after you moved the Battle Destroyer Pyxis from our sector to the newly formed Chi Quadrant three months ago and expanded our area in the Phi Sector to cover three extra solar systems, we are lucky to keep up with any pirate activity”.
“John”, he says quietly, “Just patrol your area. You hear me?”
“Then give me the support I need!” I tell him.
“You’ve got enough support and materials! Look at what you have, for Heaven’s sake! You’ve got room for improvement, John,” he says. “Don’t come crying to me about not having enough resources until you show me you can effectively use what you’ve got.”
I’m about to say something when Gannon holds up his hand for me to shut my mouth.

He stands and walks towards my desk.
I stand and walk towards him.
He turns and tells me, “Sit down.”
I return to my seat and he returns to his.
“Look, John, it’s a waste of time to argue about this. Your Captain’s Log and your Operations Reports tell the story,” says Gannon.
I say, “Okay, you’re right. The issue is catching these Gamelion Pirates…”
Gannon explodes, “Blast it, the issue is not the Gamelion Pirates! These pirates are just a symptom of the problem around here. Do you think I’d come down here just to push you to capture these pirates? Do you think I don’t have enough to do? I came down here to light a fire under you and everybody else on this Battle Destroyer. This isn’t just a matter of failing our Republic’s merchants in the Phi Sector. Your Battle Destroyer is all but nonexistent to the enemy forces.”
He pauses for a moment, as if to let that sink in. Then –bam– he pounds his fist on the table top and points his finger at me. “And if you can’t protect this sector,” he continues, “then I’ll show you how to do it. And if you still can’t do it, then I’ve got no use for you or your senior officers.”
“Now, wait a minute, Bill…”
“Blast it, I don’t have a minute!” he roars. I don’t have time for excuses anymore. And I don’t need explanations. I need performance. I need this sector secured!”
“Yes, I know that, Bill.”
“What you may not know is that this Battle Destroyer is facing the worst performance in its history. We’re falling in a hole so deep we may never get out, and your ship is the anchor pulling us in.”
I feel exhausted already. Tiredly I ask him, “Okay, what do want from me? I’ve been here six months. I admit that it’s gotten worse instead of better since I’ve been here. But I’m doing the best I can.”
“If you want the bottom line, John, this is it: You’ve got four months to turn this Battle Destroyer around,” Gannon says.
“And suppose it can’t be done in that time?” I ask.
“Then I’m going to the Fleet Admiral with a recommendation to have the RR Antares sent to the Norma et Regula Space Docks for retrofit and recommissioning with an entirely new crew and to reassign the Battle Destroyer RR Scutum to patrol this sector,” he says.
I sit there speechless. This is definitely worse than anything I expected to hear this morning. And, yet, it’s not really that surprising. I glance up to the Chronometer. The crew is just now getting ready for Morning Quarters, Muster, Instruction, and Inspection.
When I look back, Gannon has stood up and is coming around the desk. He sits down in the chair next to me and leans forward. Now comes the reassurance, the pep talk.
“John, I know that the situation you inherited here wasn’t the best. I gave you this Battle Destroyer because I thought you were the one who could change the RR Antares from a loser to…well, a small winner at least. And I still think that. But if you want to go places in the Fleet, you’ve got to deliver results.”
“But I need time, Bill.” I protest.
“Sorry, you’ve got four months. And if things get much worse, I may not even be able to give you that.”
I sit there as Gannon glances at his watch and stands up, discussion ended.
He says, “If I leave now, I’ll only miss my first meeting.”
I stand up. He walks to the door.
Hand touching the open control, he turns and says with a grin, “Now that I’ve helped you kick some butt around here, you won’t have any trouble taking care of those pirates today, will you?”
“We’ll take them, Bill,” I say.
“Good,” he says with a wink as he opens the door.
I follow him to the launch bay and salute him as he enters his private Commodore Transport Craft.
As Big Bill’s Transport speeds out of sight, I feel the weight of my responsibilities fall as a heavy lead ball on my mind.
Four months“, I think. “First in my class at the Space Academy, one of the youngest officers to be promoted to a Weapon’s Officer, and then an early promotion to Chief Engineer. Handpicked to serve as Executive Officer aboard the Battlecruiser Tertremaine, I had played a part in putting down the Eaclactot Rebellion under Captain Oliver Bowles. With his recommendation, I had been tapped to early promotion to Captain and given my own command. Now my career would be over in the next four months and I could not see a way through this maze.
I go back to my stateroom and call the Bridge watch.
“Boats’un, this is the Captain. Who am I speaking to?”
“Boats’un Mate Flannery, Captain.” Flannery responds.
“Boats’un Mate Flannery, is Commander Willis still on the Bridge?”
“Yes, Captain.”
“Please have him see me in my stateroom at his earliest convenience.” I order.
“Aye, Aye, Sir!”
I lose my awareness of time as I think over all that has occurred. I have no idea where to begin or even if I can begin to do all that needs to be done. As I am staring up at the ceiling of my stateroom, I hear a knock on my door.
“Enter”, I speak. I hope my voice tone is loud and sharp.
Commander Willis enters.
“Commander…Reed, have a seat.”
“Yes, Captain.”
“Reed. That was quite a show we had this morning.”
Reed doesn’t know whether to smile or to be neutral as he tries to catch my mood.

“Yeah, a real zoo!”
I smile. My world may fall apart, but I wanted to give strength and confidence to my men. It is an honor to have loyal men to follow me and I know that each person has worth and ability. If I do nothing else in life, I want to develop my men so that they can live up to their best potential. Though my world is twirling before me, I put Reed at ease.
“Reed, I need a bit of time to mentally work some things out. I need you to take the lead this morning.
“I know some of the crew may have missed breakfast this morning due to the confusion. It won’t be the first time some of them will miss a meal, so we’ll let that pass. Speak to Jim Olsen and give him my apology. See that he gets the Galley back to the normal daily routine.
“I don’t know what is presently going on in the Weapon’s Gunnery Stations, but the Commodore has probably got them at Battle Ready Condition One. Anyway, have Phillip Russell stand them down, but tell him that we will be engaging the Gamelion Pirates either tonight or in the morning. He needs to prepare them for the probability of going back to Battle Ready Condition One perhaps as early as this evening.
“Check on the Propulsion System with Paul Murray, and tell Paul that we need the Propulsion System back on line as soon as possible. Tell him that we need a good calibration, so don’t give up quality for speed. As soon as he gets the system going good, we need to be able to make Mach speed to get to our assignment…Well, you know what we need to do, so work with Paul to make it so.
“If you run into Master Chief Garman, tell him that I will get together with him when the dust settles a bit.”
I pause, look Reed directly in his eyes and say, “Reed, you have the con. I know you will do fine. I will catch up with you later.”
Reed looks at me with concern. “You going to be alright, John?”
I smile. “Yes, I think so.” I hear myself saying. “I am going to take a tour of the ship. So, carry on.”
We both stand and Reed salutes. I return the salute smartly and concisely. He turns and departs, leaving me to my world of thoughts.
Reed is a very capable officer. A business graduate from the prestigious Doertchester University, he has a special touch for handling details and leading others to accomplish tasks. I know the ship is in good hands as I set about to assess my situation.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Chapter Two is scheduled to appear here on November 8. I aim to complete 2 chapters a month. I will either leave the past chapters in a “page” titled “Saving the Republic” or will leave them in my blog posts right here.

I will watch to see which is easiest for you, the reader, to keep track of.

Enjoy!

It’s your own free book. Why? Because I love to entertain. I will be writing for publication, but this one will be a freebee.

Yours,

-William

Please let me know what you think as you read!

Sea Story

USS Royal 3

Forging the Steel Within You

Operation Sea Dragon

Fighting for your country on a ship is much different than hand to hand combat. You never really saw the enemy but the threat and the incoming shells were invisible demons that could snatch away your life at any moment!

This is not about the politics of war or police action, whichever people want to call it. I was never really at the Bird’s Eye view of the war. Many of the offensives had a name, but often we weren’t told because our higher ups didn’t feel we had a need to know. We only knew that we faced the enemy in different spots on different days. Our view of the war was event by event as we found ourselves in them. Later, we would become aware of the names of battles from literature or from the medals we earned.

This is not about those who opposed the war or those who supported the war. It is about men, mostly young men, who went where they were ordered and did what they were told. Women fought in the war, but none were assigned to the ships I served on, so I cannot tell women war stories first hand.

I stood on the Bridge of a Destroyer, excited with body thrust forward, as we charged the land. Our large cannons (5″50 twin barrel gun mounts) bellowed fire, smoke, and Willie Peter (White Phosphorus) shells. I kept my whirring super 8 mm movie camera to my eye as much as possible, as the enemy shells splashed the waters about us.

I was a lad just turning 21 years old on this, my first Viet Nam tour of duty. I was a skinny, short sailor dressed in the relaxed garb of khaki shorts and a tee shirt. The East Indies were hot and humid this time of the year. I was a complex person. I had a deep, serious, emotional side, and yet, a smile came easily to my face as I greeted each person and each new day. My Scottish wit danced with my Irish temperament causing me to say things that even bewildered myself in events where humor was not necessarily the best response.

But, there I was, on the bridge maintaining sound powered phone contact with Sonar Control. The Sonar crew was watching for possible underwater obstacles as we stormed the beach. I would have to break from taking my movie as new reports would come which I would have to relay to the Officer of the Deck.

I can still hear the roaring boom of the guns and feel the shudder of the ship as each shot blasted from the two barrels of the forward gun mount.

The shells left the gun barrels in this manner. First a giant tongue of fire flashed from the long, narrow, tapered, steel tube. An ear splitting blast, much more intense than the rumble of explosions you experience in the movies, assailed your ears. Then a huge smoke ring circled from the barrel as if some giant was playing while smoking a cigarette. Before you recover from the first shot, the next was on its way.

We were a part of the Sea Dragon Offensive, I would find out later. Our duty? Run full speed towards the beach, thundering away at the enemy. Then, using the fathometer, sonar, and the charts, we were to turn in sufficient time at the last possible moment to keep from running aground. As we turned broadside to the enemy, all our guns, one mount fore and one mount aft, would let loose. The ship shook and jerked. It seemed to moan because of the tremendous stress on its body as it shouldered the guns that blasted away.

Broadside.

Big target.

The enemy would cut loose with everything they had because of their chance of bringing down an American war vessel. I can still hear the shot whizzing in the air above us sounding like angry bees. The water would splash upwards in fountains poked into the sea all around us as the enemy shells struck the water.

Then, we would turn and head back to safer waters, our after guns blazing at the enemy.

But, with all the noise and thunder, our guns were just a diversionary gambit. We were the pawns being moved forward on the board, setting up action with the bishops, rooks, and queens.

As we did our sacrificial duty, the Aircraft Carrier would send its jets to rain devastation over the playing field. Other times, the Cruisers with their powerful 8″ guns or the Battleship with its terrible 16″ guns would hurl their shells at the enemy as they spotted the flashes of the shore guns that fired on us. The shells from the battleship screamed and rumbled like runaway freight trains passing over our heads and on to their targets on the land beyond us.

We were in the midst of a man made hail storm complete with flashing lightning, roaring thunder, and gloomy smoking clouds as the anger of war marched all around us. Death strode alongside us, a giant twice as tall as our ship, his vaporous black tunic flowing in the breeze. See now, his hungry, sharp, and bloody sickle, ever ready to harvest our ripe young bodies.

We stood. We trembled with fear and pride as we looked death in the face with silent resolve. It is not ours to reason why, it is ours to do or die! And since we did not die, we continued to do, not thinking about the one shell from the enemy, or the beaching of the ship, or the short shot from the battleship, or an explosion in our gun mount magazine, which could whisk us from this world to eternity in the fraction of a second.

We followed our Captain, Old Yellow hair William Chattleton, Custer and Patton resurrected, a Commander and the Captain of our courageous crew. This swaggering leader was a glory hunter looking for a promotion to Four Striper. He took his duties and assignments to the extreme, always volunteering for the most dangerous assignments. We knew we served the most ambitious man we would likely meet in our lifetime. Those, like me, who loved his steel nerves and guts would follow him to the grave if he commanded it. We were that loyal. Those who chaffed under his command hated him as much as we loved him. They would curse him blatantly behind his back. The tension between the faithful and the disillusioned was always high.

He charged that beach so breathlessly that one of the officers on the bridge hid under the plotting table in fear, yelling, “We’re going too far! Turn about now or we’ll crash aground!”

But on we went, “Steady…Steady…Now!”

Over the ship’s announcing system, the words sang out, “Stand by for heavy rolls!”

Then, the Captain’s voice rang out, “Helmsman! Right full rudder! Keep coming about!”

The Helmsman responded with a hearty, “Aye, aye, Sir! My rudder is full right! Waiting for a course order, sir.”

“After guns, fire as soon as you clear the superstructure.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.” Called the Weapon’s Officer, a tall, wide shouldered man busy focusing his binoculars on the forest just beyond the beach, looking for hints that the shells were hitting in the target area.

The ship shook violently as if it would break in half as the rudder went full right at the high speed we were traveling. It rolled hard and, as I held onto a nearby bridge stanchion for support, I knew that anything not tied down was scooting across a deck in the bowels of the ship. The clang and rattle of stuff sailing about assaulted our ears as the whole ship pivoted past forty five degrees on its port side.

“Rudder amidships!”

Just when I thought the ship would never right itself, it began slowly at first, and then more rapidly moved to its upright position, our United States flag whipping on the after yard arm.

After running parallel to the beach for a short, but seemingly eternal, time; the Captain barked the orders, “Right full rudder! Come to course Zero Niner Zero!”

The Helmsman yelled back. “Aye, Aye Sir! My Rudder is right full, coming to a course of Zero Niner Zero, Sir!”

The Captain’s voice, confident and firm, would respond, “Very Well, Helmsman.”
“Forward Battery, cease fire as soon as the superstructure masks the shore! After Battery, continue firing until ordered to cease!”

The Weapons Officer responded, “Aye, aye, Captain!” And then he relayed the message to the gun captains of each gun mount.

Once again the ship was turning, this time to retreat from the beach battle and set up for another run.

As we headed back to sea, the after guns blazed the beach behind us, thundering their power in a victorious trumpet, until the shell bursts no longer touched the shore.

I’ve read in a book that your mind makes a tape of events. When you go through certain new times, it will play back the emotions of that past event. This is true, for in later times, I would be placed in a crisis and I would relive the thrill of these glorious days at sea and know that nothing I have faced in life since can match that which I was a part of so long ago! God forged steel within me that withstands the strongest gales of life. I think part of that steel is from the hull of the ship I rode in those days off the coast of Viet Nam. The USS Forrest B Royal DD872 has been tattooed on my heart and mind forever.

I think of a song that goes, “I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of rest. I will sail the wild seas no more…” and my heart saddens for there is within me a love for the sea and the feel of courage as we stood our posts on a vessel of metal that went in harm’s way.

“Glory days”.

I ache to ride the wild seas just one more time!

But, maybe a boon for you, I will let you ride the wild seas with me as I bind them in a book. The cover may not be leather, but I will sign the book with my tears as I think of those days and pass them on to you.

May you, as you face a tough decision or a new job, be able to face the uncertainties with boldness knowing that courage and toughness is not just something you earn when facing death in a war. No, it is something that we can each embrace as we face our own battles in life!

-William

Halloween Eclipsed by a Blood Red Moon

moon blood red

Okay, October friends. Gather ‘round the fire for a little story I prepared just for you.

Be careful for you may be next. :-0 And grab your shovel for you may need it.

Jimmy pulled back the sliding glass door and stepped out on the back deck to observe the rising of the huge, blood red moon. Anyone looking would have noticed that this young man was shivering while puffs of white vapor came from his mouth.

“Where’s your jacket?” Someone would have asked.

That someone would have noticed that the pale blue polo shirt was too flimsy for Halloween. While the jeans were warm enough, the bed slippers without socks were scanty protection.

Jimmy ran his right hand through his thick, coal black hair and cast his bright blue eyes towards the glowing apparition which was beginning to show its full self.

Off to the left, Jimmy heard a moan.

“Must be the wind”, he said under his breath. However, the sound didn’t quite click. The wind would have a higher pitch. And it would abate with the on and off again breeze.

Curious, Jimmy walked down the steps of the deck and onto the grass which crinkled under his slippers. No frost had appeared yet as tomorrow was the first of November, but it was dry and crisp under the ice cold sky.

Approaching his tall, dull red privacy fence, he noticed that the moans were coming from the vacant lot to the left of his home. Peering through the fence, he felt his heart leap in his chest as he caught the sight of an old man with long, gleaming white hair digging a hole in the badly kept lawn of the vacant lot. The old spirit’s moan would change to a wail from time to time as if his best friend or close companion had passed away. His cold, icy blue eyes stared at the hole he was busy digging.

“Hole? It looks more like a short trench”, Murmured Jimmy, saying the words barely aloud just to hear a voice.

The man turned his gaze on him and though Jimmy knew the old man shouldn’t be able to see him through the thin gape between the boards of the fence, Jimmy felt the presence of those haunted eyes staring right through him!

“Whew”, he said catching his breath.

The eyes seemed to cry out… No, screech out as if in pain and tears slid down the man’s chiseled cheeks. His long, thin nose pointed directly at Jimmy pulling the anguished age worn face with it. The weathered mouth opened to emit another long moan, showing gleaming pale green fang like teeth. The eerie old man was now completely silhouetted by the bloody moon which was beaming in its full glory.

The digging started again, with a loud scrape, scrape, scrape. Jimmy noticed that the trench was much deeper now and about the size of a grave. In the reddish shadows, he spied what looked like a body wrapped in a blanket lying on the ground.

The fence disappeared before his eyes and Jimmy found that he could not move! He instantly felt cold inside and a scream froze in his throat.

“Help me! Help me!” The sobbing plea that he could not utter was trapped inside and could not escape. He knew that he was trapped in the eerie world of spirits.

As he stood there unable to move, he noticed that his hands began to wrinkle and his skin grew old. Now, his back felt as if it would not support his weight. He began to slouch forward. He reached up and felt his hair. It was long and stringy. He pulled a strand of it forward while looking up and felt an electric bolt shoot through him for it was snow white.

Then, his mouth opened in a wail as he remembered… He sobbed as he remembered. The horrible fight… His hand stung as he remembered hitting her lovely creamy white face with the back of his hand. Her long, red hair swung about and he heard a loud snap! She sighed and went limp, while her lips went from warm pink to pale blue.

“Gloria, I didn’t mean it! I’m sorry, so sorry” he wailed as she adorned the floor, her dark brown eyes stared lifelessly at him.

And now, he was burying her again in the vacant lot next door to their once warm, but now vacant home as he had done every Halloween which was always under that blood red moon…

The ceaseless “Scrape!” “Scrape!” “Scrape!” punctuated by moans were the only sounds in the night!

Hi, I am William

A bit about me.  I grew up in the low land swampy woods of North Central Florida, near the town of Cross Creek, Florida, to be more exact.  My Dad was sort of a tenant farmer who worked one of my Uncle Harry’s farms.  On the 240 acres carved out of the swampy woods, we enjoyed about 8 fields (one of which our house sat in the middle of), in which we usually had a herd of about 100 or so cattle, raised for beef, three to four horses which we rode, and one to three milk cows.  As animals rotated from “our” farm to Uncle Harry’s farm, the numbers changed, the numbers shown being a range or maximum number.  In the field that our house sat in, we also had around five thousand laying hens and ran a full commercial egg selling business.

When I completed my tenth grade of school, Uncle Harry had to sell the farm and we moved into a Jim Walter built home in Fort McCoy, Florida.  I planned to be a pastor upon completion of High School, but the Viet Nam “war” was raging and I joined the military to do my fair share at age 17.  I was going to try to get into the Marines, but a fellow high school graduate convinced me to join the Navy.  Nearly 24 years later, I retired as a Navy Master Chief Sonar Technician.

When I was in college earning my BA degree, I learned to keep a journal.  I found this a marvelous way to put down ideas and important events, at that time about my growth in the disciplines I studied, and later, about my goals in life.

One of my main goals at this time is to write my novel. I am writing a novel about a knight, a warrior maiden, and a mind reading, fire breathing, flying, graceful dragon.  It is set in the South Western toe of England, just below Wales, and at the time right after the last Roman legion left and after King Arthur reined.

For nearly ten years, I have kept a writing blog/journal at a writing site I just left.  This is my new blog/journal site.

Some of the main things that I wrote in my blog were:  My daily writing events, breakthroughs or things which kept me from writing at the time; the results of my studies on writing, which often was a sort of critique or what I had learned from various writing books; and some of my writing as my mind developed new poetry or prose.  Well, I also digressed at times and spoke on events in life which could lead to story ideas or emotions and such which are feelings that writing can spring from.

In this blog, I intend to bring over some of my past blog entries as well as post new and fresh material.  Old entries are still platforms to build new entries from.  I have learned a lot and I want to put that knowledge here rather than in a storage space to waste away.  I have plenty of time to juggle and work on that.  I do not want to hoard old data and I never want the old to get in the way of my forward progress.

I really don’t know what I have gotten into yet and I know this is all experimental.  Still, I am hoping that this is it, my final blogging ground.  Will I be read or will I be just writing to myself?  I don’t know yet, but I shall continue my blog.  Worse case scenario is that this doesn’t work as planned and that I have to move on.

But, I will not borrow trouble from tomorrow that may not materialize.  So, I boldly go forth and write where I have never written before!