Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time Stamp

written by Suzanne Driggs

December 2012

Never a quiet place, the cell block echoed with the sound of the iron doors clanging shut, the low rumble of conversation and harsh snatch of arguments. Still, Drew recognized the limp-shuffle as his cell mate came down the corridor. Dave was a long-timer. He’d already done fifteen years of three life sentences when Drew moved in twenty years before.

He entered, old and bent, heading straight for his bunk. The trip to the medical wing wore him out these days.

“You remember the things we talked about?” Dave’s voice rasped and whispered at the same time.

“What’d the doc say?”

“Not much longer. They might keep my over there next time. That’s why you gotta tell me your…” Dave convulsed with his hacking cough.


September 1963

He’d taken off the suit jacket as he left the office. Just the short walk from the corner bus stop soaked his shirt through. The mail box at the gate held a couple bills and an envelope with a typed address.

Mr. Andrew Dwyer

Looked official, though the return address wasn’t a printed logo. He frowned reading it.

Drew Dwyer, 84682-075

PO Box 462

Represa, CA 95671

He’d reached the step to the porch. Glancing up, he noticed the door was closed. As he climbed the steps, he thought, “Lulu must have taken the baby on one of their walks. ‘I have to move’ she says; too hot to move today.” He sighed, and muttered, “Wish she’d at least left the windows open.” His hands left wet marks on the envelopes as he switched so he could fish the house keys out of his pocket. His foot bumped the door and it swung in.


The furniture was there. It came with the house. The baby clothes and toys that covered every flat surface were gone.

Leaving the door open, he stepped in further.

“Lulu?” Her name sounded loud without the baby shrieks and TV in the background.

His writing corner remained untouched. The stack of neatly typed manuscript still nestled in the paper box where he’d left it the night before.

Last night’s and this morning’s dishes filled the sink. He dropped the mail on the little kitchen table and turned to go down the hall; might as well put his jacket away. When he reached the closet, it stood open; only his clothes still inside.

Lulu hated it here, told him every day, at least twice, in the morning when he left for work and again at dinner.

He stripped off his shirt and slacks. Standing in his “wifebeater” undershirt and skivvies felt cooler. He looked around for his shorts and the vision of the bottle of Jack Daniel’s popped to mind.

She’d threatened to leave pretty much every day. It didn’t matter that he had a bank job with a “future” and his novel. Though with all the rejections, Lulu’s claim that he’d have more success robbing the bank than getting published hit closer to the truth than he liked. She was trapped and hated him, wouldn’t even be there if it weren’t for the baby.

He found the bottle, still half full and set it on the table.

“Baby girl,” he whispered and nodded to himself. He had to keep Lulu happy to have his baby girl.

One Flintstone jelly glass remained in the cupboard. Glass in hand; he caught a glimpse of the .45 on the top shelf. Stretching up to reach it, he pulled it down and set the glass and revolver by the whiskey, then flicked the small oscillating fan to life and slumped down in the wooden chair. He filled the glass as the fan’s breeze passed back and forth from across the table. The mail fluttered.

He took a swallow that drained half the first pour. It burned that sweet kind of burn, a little up his nose, then warmed his tonsils and made its way past the lump in his throat. The effort brought tears to his eyes… at least that’s how he wanted to think of it. He felt his brain contract and along with it, his vision narrowed so he looked down a dark sided tunnel.

Lulu had gotten the idea about robbing the bank. She started out suggesting it as a story idea. Maybe the hot days got to her, but she kept building on it and building on it till he thought she really believed he would rob his own bank. She said it proved he didn’t love her cause he wouldn’t listen. He sighed with the memory of her tear streaked face, eyes blazing.

“Not your own bank, idiot!” she’d screamed. They could buy their own house. No one would suspect him.

He’d have to remember where he put the bullets. He’d put them somewhere safe. There’d been a couple of times after getting a rejection and Lu screaming at him, he thought about being dead. But dead was forever and he’d never see Baby Girl grow up. No, he weighed the gun in his hand, maybe Lulu’s scheme would work; have their own place.

The fan turned his way again and the envelope with the typed address flipped toward him. He took another big swallow and then picked it up. Not legal size, and not that thick. It wasn’t one of his queries come back, rejected.

Why did they put his name on it? The only thing in Represa was the prison. Maybe some joke or a scam. Could it make his day worse? He was afraid of the answer. Huh? The post mark wasn’t Represa…Hanalei… Hanalei HI? He tore it open and unfolded the plain white paper.

Dear Drew,

You asked me to send this to you by Sept. 26, 1963. You were still at the penitentiary when we talked and made this plan.

He turned the envelope over and looked at the return address again. Did that look like a prisoner ID number? He went back to the letter.

I had told you that I’d figured out that I could choose what to do after I die. I decided to come back to my same life at a certain time with all my memories so I can change how I did things before.

That you’re getting this means I was right.

So you would know this is real, you told me three things that only you would know.

1. You were eight when your cat, Muffin, had six kittens. When you came home from school, your mother told you Muffin had gone to live in the wild with the kitten’s father.

2. When your grandmother came to visit, she always brought those little chocolate bars. One time you checked the dresser drawer right after she left and found a full bag and ate them all yourself.

3. The only thing that made you happy in your life was when your daughter came to see you.

The first two seem kind of bland, but you picked them.

So here’s the deal. Keep writing, keep submitting. When you feel sad, write about it.

Don’t worry about Lulu, robbing a bank won’t make her any happier.

Meet me at the Soup Plantation in Point Loma, Sept. 26, 2010 to celebrate. I’ll be the old guy with the big grin.

P.S. get rid of the gun.

Muffin. He combed his fingers through his hair. His thoughts drifted on the alcohol current… no… floated. Scanning the letter again the word “penitentiary” jumped out. He leaned back considering and noticed his writing corner through the doorway to the living room. The late sun coming through the window blinds cast shadow bars across the typing table.

“No, robbing a bank won’t make any of us happy,” he said softly. His brain relaxed and the light expanded in his vision. The same hot, dream-lost kitchen surrounded him but it wasn’t an ending here. He was just passing through.

Copyright © Suzanne Driggs 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dragon's Play

written by Michelle Nielsen

The letter came from a respectable location, a magic citadel floating above the highest mountain range in the land. It surprised Elbert Jean-Jacob Englehiemer Wordsmith that the letter came with a most unusual contraption, a flying carpet. However, after a frightful, near vertical climb to reach said citadel, he reflected the physical effort of such a climb would be unthinkable for a scholar of his experience.

Stepping off the carpet and onto the threshold of the citadel's front gate, Elbert dusted off his finest doublet and boldly knocked on the gate. He frowned as he waited, wondering where the staff were to tend this massive place. It looked as if a family of giants had resided there at one time.  Before long, the gate opened, but not by a towering giant. He gained another surprise as he looked upon a lovely elf-woman with crystalline blue eyes and dark brown hair. She gave a pleasant smile as she addressed him.

"Elbert Jean-Jacob Englehiemer Wordsmith Esquire the Third, I presume?" She asked, her voice sweet and soft. Elbert bowed courteously to her.

"Indeed, madam...would I be addressing Miss Drucilla?"

"You are," she said. He amused her it seemed, her eyes smiling. 'Please, come in. You're eagerly awaited." Elbert stepped into a massive hallway that seemed to go on forever. Looking around he was alarmed to find he and Drucilla were the only living souls there.

"Might I inquire where the subjects to be tutored are located?" Elbert asked boldly, wanting to establish his authority as soon as possible.

"They're at play right now," Drucilla said with a constant smile, as if in relief. "I should discuss the children with you first. My Lady's instructions were clear to me when she left. Her offspring require special...handling."

Drucilla led him to a small alcove, built for people of smaller size. The alcove hid a door into which she led him. The room was comfortably attired, with a bay window overlooking a spacious courtyard of immense proportions.

"So what instructions does your Lady have? Anything of great importance I am to teach them? I'm skilled with history, mathematics, physics, literature..." There was something odd in Drucilla's blue eyes as she regarded him with a long suffered expression.

"Manners and etiquette, mostly," Drucilla said with a sigh, "They're a rather rambunctious lot, given to fits of humor unsuitable for..."

"DRUCILLIE!!" A plaintive childlike cry came from outside the window. Drucilla sighed, her eyes rolled with resignation.

"I can't take my eyes off them for a second..." she muttered softly. She rose, went to the window and poked her head out. "Whymsper, what is it now, love?"

"Brieghton smacked me again! With his TAIL!!" the voice responded to Drucilla.

"DID NOT!" shouted another voice, male by the gruff sound. Alarmed, Elbert tried to look out the window to the children below who were carrying on so. He caught a glimpse of a large ball, and four or five large forms. Large, brightly colored, scaled forms.

"Dragons?! These children are dragons?!?" Elbert responded with alarm as the children came into his view. He had a keen fear of anything scaly, whether it was a humble garter snake no longer than a dagger or something as large as... He shuddered.

"Perhaps you'd feel better about it if you met them. They can be charming when they aren't..."

Something hard struck stone in the courtyard.  Again came the plaintive wail of Whymsper being subjected once more to Brieghton's abuse. Drucilla poked her head out the window and firmly ordered the two apart. She turned back to Elbert and motioned to the door.

"Shall we?"

His apprehension grew the whole way to the courtyard, despite Drucilla's attempts to soothe his nerves. The children, he discovered were five young dragonlings, and ranged from the largest, Brieghton, to the smallest, Whymsper, who immediately approached Drucilla for comforting, great tears running down her long muzzle.

"He hit me again!" she quailed, as Drucilla gently embraced her around the massive neck. Elbert swore Whymsper was the size of the largest draft horse he'd ever laid eyes on. Brieghton loomed behind her, much bigger and bolder both in color and attitude.

"I did not, you little..."

"Brieghton!" Drucilla's sharp voice brought the biggest dragonling up short. Instantly, Brieghton looked contrite for his actions. "What have I told you about your younger and smaller siblings?"

"To treat them as I would want to be treated..." he recited miserably. Elbert could tell from Brieghton's reaction he learned from experience some form of discipline would soon be meted out.

"Precisely, that goes the same as you three," Drucilla added, as she cast a speculative eye over the remaining three dragonlings who tried for some semblance of innocence.

"We were just playing ball, that's all!" Brieghton said in his defense. "It’s not my fault Whyms got in the way..." His protest stopped abruptly when Drucilla gave him an unimpressed expression.

After much fuss, Elbert was finally introduced to the dragonlings, although he tried to keep the initial meeting as brief as possible. Whymsper took to Elbert immediately, much to his discomfort. When they left the dragonlings to their play, he spoke briefly with Drucilla about the location of the wine-cellar. Flustered by what he could call a narrow escape, Elbert felt the need for a drink.


By the following afternoon, Elbert arranged for the dragonlings’ school-room to be in the great dining hall, the only place that could fit five young dragons and a fearful schoolmaster comfortably. They sat on the floor, watching him in expectation as Elbert made every pretense of hiding his very real fear.

“…in which case,” Elbert stated in mid-lesson, his knees locked to keep them from trembling, “No one may start to eat until the King, Lord or residing Master sits and begins the feast himself.”

Brieghton snorted with contempt. “It never matters to us when or where we eat. Not to mention who.” The oldest dragonling gave Elbert a sidelong glance. Alarm crept into Elbert’s face as he realized how close he stood to the large dragonling. The effort he took to ease away from Brieghton could not have been greater.

“Brieghton!” Drucilla spoke up from the little chair tucked into the corner of the room, her brow furrowed.  Brieghton settled down, grumbling to himself about having to respect adults.

“Hmph,” Elbert attempted to cover his fear with his own disdain. “Well, courtesy is a key factor in relations. Deny a king respect and you may well find yourself hunted, young Brieghton.”

Brieghton snorted again and rose to his feet. Elbert shuddered when he tried to stare down Brieghton and nearly failed in the most epic of proportions when an unlikely hero came to his rescue.

“Brieght,” Whymsper said, for once bearing a stern gaze at her larger and older brother. “Don’t.  I like him.” The little dragon shifted to face her brother, clearly in Elbert’s defense.

Elbert sighed with relief as Brieghton backed down, much to everyone’s surprise.

“Class dismissed,” Elbert stated, unable to hear over the heartbeat which pounded in his ears. He barely heard Drucilla approach him over the thundering in his head and the chaos of the dragonlings as they ran off to play. Her hand on his shoulder startled him.

“I’m surprised Whyms got attached to you so quickly,” she told him with amusement. “She’s a good girl, unlike that scamp of a brother. Besides, she’s her mother’s favorite.”

“Ah, I’ve been meaning to ask,” Elbert said with trepidation, “but when is their mother going to return?”

“Oh, she comes and goes as she pleases,” Drucilla said smiling. “You know how dragons can be. Not to worry though, you’ll have an easier time with her around to keep them in line.”

The next morning, Elbert decided a lecture on proper forms of addressing people of both higher and lower ranks would be appropriate. Just when he began to speak the entire citadel shook violently. Elbert fell flat on his face, and covered his head with his hands.

The dragonlings looked between themselves with delight.

“MAMMA!” they shouted together and charged from the Great Hall, lesson and tutor forgotten. Drucilla entered the hall hurriedly and helped Elbert to his feet.

“My Lady is back,” she said once Elbert saw the citadel wasn’t falling down around him. “It’s time to meet the children’s mother.”

Elbert began shaking well before they entered the courtyard. He’d half hoped that the dragon mother would only be a little larger than her offspring. Once he laid eyes upon her, he saw she filled the entire courtyard. She looked down at him with curiosity, her imposingly long neck craning around. Elbert guessed her teeth were all taller than his person.

“My Lady,” Drucilla began to introduce him. “This is Elbert Jean-Jacob Englehiemer Wordsmith Esquire the Third, the children’s tutor.” The dragon mother looked duly impressed at the dwarf.

In response, Elbert fainted.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting this act together

Well, it seems the people have spoken.  I'll keep doing what I've been doing, entertaining by the seat of my pants with intermittent stories, poetry and art scattered throughout.  I will be posting another poll next month and let it run for two weeks.  A Favorite Posts  poll to allow readers to pick which of the more anecdotal posts get to stick around...the rest...well....

Anyway, I've had my eyes opened and hopefully I'll continue to improve on this blog.

Things to note;
I should give myself a regular updating schedule, like most blogs do rather than just dumping whenever I feel like it.  So here it is; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting in January.

Submissions are still open and while we are a non-paying market, the most we can offer is exposure and a positive experience.  Please see the Submissions page for details.

If you'd like to become a regular contributor, please send me an e-mail at

Going to start giving each month a "theme"...for example October will be the time for "Scary Tales" or have something special for Christmas during the month of December. 

I'm going to keep my options open for a while, but you never know what will happen here!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Feast

written by Michelle Nielsen

“...and that is why we have them for dinner every Thanksgiving.” Mother concluded her annual speech to the gathered children. Across the table, Father nodded his approval.

The family stood around the table where three plump carcasses lay, roasted to golden brown perfection, the fragrance from them tantalized the senses. Mother gave Father an irritated glance when she noticed his fixed gaze upon the largest of the entrees. She couldn’t condemn him though. The meal came out perfect.

“Dad got the biggest one, didn’t he?” the youngest son asked. Mother nodded.

“I sure did,” Father said, pride oozed from every word. “Someday I’ll teach you to hunt like that too...” Mother brought him up short with a snort of laughter.

“Dig in everyone,” Mother said with a gesture to the waiting meal, the meat so tender it fell from the bones.

“I heard that the wild ones taste different,” one hesitant child said, looking at the offerings with trepidation.

“It’s true,” said Father, “Because their diet varies...”

“That’s enough,” said Mother as she patted his downy head with her three-fingered hand, “Hush and eat your human.”

In relative peace and harmony, the Velociraptor family descended and fed with gusto.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Something Special to share...

I'm far too pleased with this to not share it!

I must admit, I'm very happy with my avatar from Dot2uk.  So much so, I actually commissioned another one.  This time for my wonderful husband of fifteen years to celebrate anniversary of his twentieth birthday...yeah...that works...

I can only say Tris did a phenomenal job once again, even so far as to customise it with Bob's long-time love (other than me, of course).

Bob, above all things, is an adamant Trekkie.  All the movies...A Star Trek:The Next Generation Command uniform with Captain rank pips (nothing else would suffice).  All the man needs is a bat'leth, a phaser and maybe a few tribbles and I think he'll be happy.  Today, he can be happy with his new avatar from Dot2uk

So  Quchjaj qoSlIj  Robert!

And thank you so much, Tris...I can only imagine how many geek fantasies have been unleashed with this one!

Only one thing bothers me though...Bob lives by the rule of turn-around being fair

uh oh...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Indian Summer

Delicate casting
Of copper and gold dancing
Last warming breeze

written by Michelle Nielsen

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Inspriation in all its forms

I will admit one thing about Spellbound and Senseless, my comic strip.  It started off as a fluke after watching my own furry companions, Bow and Stitch, interact with one another on a daily basis.  Anyone who owns two or more cats at a time could tell you how funny they can be; it moves from an agreeable relationship to wrestling and chasing and back again.  Unfortunately, a lot of their behaviour is "wash and repeat"...heavy on the "repeat", which forced me to take another look at the potential with the strip.  It will resume a weekly release schedule in January after the holidays.

I gain inspriation from other sources as well.  Being a former Theater major in college, I do have an appreciation for Shakespeare's work, bringing me into an interesting piece I'm working on,  A horror version of Romeo and Juliet.  Keeping it fresh means that I'm switching things up a bit, yet I'm attempting to keep much of  the dialog intact or at least keeping the spirit of the meaning.  I've got some great things in mind for this one.  The only thing I can do is go over the top

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Now You See It


by Nyki Blatchley

"And how exactly," asked Ms Carver with a tone of ominous calm, "does one lose a planet?"

The two scientists facing her were not immune to the menace in her voice, but they had no choice but to tell the truth. She'd find out anyway.

"Well," began Dr Trumble, adjusting the glasses on the end of his nose, then immediately putting them back the way they'd been, "it's been happening rather a lot lately. The reports..."

"I've read the reports," snapped Ms Carver. "Ravings of madmen, if you ask me. Can you explain to me what precisely this "gremloid energy" is?"

Trumble glanced at his colleague, willing him to contribute, and Professor Dodgson obliged.

"Well, no-one's managed to solve the equations yet," he explained slowly, "but it's in essence a previously undetected form of energy that... er, hides things."

"Hides things." Ms Carver's voice would have cut solid steel, and probably made a fair job on diamond, but Dodgson seemed not to have noticed.

"Yes. Always unexpectedly, and always things that we really, really need..."

"Like a planet with resources that can't be found anywhere else in the galaxy?" suggested Ms Carver, eyes fixed behind fashionable square glasses.

"Precisely like that," Dodgson agreed. Trumble wondered whether he was very stupid or very nervous. "It... hides them behind a fold of space, and we have to work out exactly where."

"And then? Once we know, how do we get these things back?"

"We don't have to," explained Trumble, feeling that he should support his colleague. "As soon as we've worked out their location, they... just reappear. We're still working on the theory, but it seems that gremloid energy is symbiotic with the human mind. Once the problem's been solved, it releases what it's taken."

There was a very, very long silence, during which Trumble and Dodgson exchanged glances. There were stories about Ms Carver's rages and which mental hospitals their targets had ended up in. Trumble had always believed them mere urban legends. Looking at her now, he was less sure.

"So," she said very quietly at last, "how do you normally solve these... games?"

"We use the GAVA computer," said Dodgson. "It's the only one on earth powerful enough to solve the complex calculations."

Ms Carver nodded. "That's why it's called the Great And Very Awesome computer," she said. "So why aren't you using it now?"

They exchanged glances again. "It's broken," said Trumble at last. "The central processor is..."

Thirty seconds later, Trumble was fleeing for his life from a murderous Ms Carver, while Dodgson huddled whimpering in a corner, eyes glazed. In retrospect, Trumble realised, he should have made something up: any excuse would have done.

Anything but telling her that the central processor had been hidden by gremloid energy.

Copyright © 2010 Nyki Blatchley

Nyki Blatchley is a British author and poet who graduated from Keele University in English and Greek and now lives just outside London. He has had about two dozen stories published, mostly fantasy or horror. His novel At An Uncertain Hour was published by StoneGarden in April 2009.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Open for Submissions!!!

Inmate Run Asylum is now open for submissions for all! 

Don't believe me?  Check out our Submissions page for information!

Are you run by your ideas?  Do those stray thoughts drive you to distraction?  Have a story that came out of nowhere?  A poem that inspires?  Art with a sense of whimsy?  We may have a home for it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

had to share this...

I'm not generally a self-centered sort, and if I think someone is gifted beyond giving in the area of talent, skill and creativity, I'll be pleased to share this blog with them, whether it's story, poetry, or art.

Among my friends I can count an amazing graphic-designer/ illustrator/artist by the name of Tris Rossin. 

Recently he started designing avatars on Twitter and holds a contest on Tuesdays and Fridays for a free avatar.  I can't help but think I'm lucky enough to be one of the first to acquire one (See below).  His ultimate goal is 3000 avatars for his Hall of Fame, which could either be won in the contest or purchased.  At the rate he's going, he may get there sooner than he thinks!

With a Twitter name like @bwitchdkitty I can only imagine he had a little fun with the photo I sent him.

You can find a link to his business dot2uk in my Links section or you can click here to find out more about his Avatar Giveaway contest

Harvest Game

Empress Sabine glanced past the supplicant when she heard the game warden step through the far door. Once her gold-flecked gaze targeted him, the warden nodded and slipped out of the audience chamber.

Her attention returned to the bundle of rich fabric, precious gems and metals quivering before the dais. “Your concerns are noted, Lord Enlad. Unfortunately, your plea, coming after game selection and training, does not sway our sympathy.”

Raising his face to the Empress, a death sentence in itself, the noble cried, “Take me! Take me! Spare my son!”

The imperial eyes narrowed and darkened to smoky amber. Her lips parted exposing deadly canines. “If he survives, your son will be returned to your family.” A nod signaled the Imperial guard to half drag, half carry Lord Enlad from the Presence.

Sabine lived for Harvest Game Day ever since the former Emperor, in his misguided love for her, commanded an enchantment that condemned her to immortality in this dreadful human body. This one day they bathed her in non-perfumed emollients and combed out her black of blackest hair to fall free, unadorned.

At the appointed time, the human attendants left her standing naked at the rim. In the arena below, the game waited, chosen for their strength and trained in physical combat. It amused her to see their expressions, not sure of the meaning of this naked woman, and then her transformation to panther.

Gold lit her eyes. The growl came from joy.

Who is the strongest, hummmm?

Written by Suzanne Driggs
Copyright © 2010 Suzanne Driggs

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A victim of my ideas

I can be doing anything, anywhere at any time and I can be blindsided.  It can be fierce, painful and exhillerating all at once.  I'm speaking of being struck by inspiration, I hope you know what I speak of.  That utterly helpless feeling of having a random thought stroll through your mind and warp, loose or destroy any previous thoughts you've been having. 

It's bad when I'm at work; especially within sight range of my employer.  It gets worse though when they gang up on me.  They range from stories and poems to art, comics and graphic novels.  Looks a bit like this;

Plot twist for the Mousepaw Chronicles....that will definately put a damper on her relationship with her love interest, but that's ok, that's what the story is about, not the dancing copper dragon with an iPod...where did that come from?  Oh right, listening to music, U2's Vertigo...hey...that'd be a good .gif animation sequence...hmmm....another thing to well as getting used to Magna Studio Debut 4....gotta work on that dragon graphic't see that plot twist coming!  heehehe now that's a monster of an idea....uhoh...those three again!  Go away!  uhm....ok...that's did that steampunk element get in there?  Ooooh...that's me....whoops.  And a novel to go with it too?  Hooboy...but what a challenge!  And that battle with vampires and werewolves...that is soooo Shakespeareian...ow...ok, that was good...that was really good....I might want a pro on that one...gotta look through my online contacts to see if anyone would be idea....ohhhhh it for's a good one, a modern romance go with that mythological romance...uh...right...
now where's my time going?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Still have ideas...

yet I find myself with both a lack of time and energy to work on them.  Saddly, a lot of projects suffer because of it.  This is the last week before Halloween, crunch time, and I've already pulled a twelve hour shift and I don't know if I'll get a day off at all this week. 

Spellbound and Senseless I'm going to be putting on hiatus until I can get my priorities straight with it.  I've pulled a decent amount off, I'm proud of it, but I'm also starting to realise how much work it really is and how much you have to love the idea to make it work and not loose readers.  I'll finish up the run I've got started when the moment allows, but things I think will be changing.  New setting, new characters, even a whole plotline to keep things fresh and interesting.  I won't be giving things away though ;)

The holidays are also encroaching upon us and I tend to have a rather magnanamous personality (I'll give my last dollar to the Salvation Army, I'll donate toys for the local toy drive...)  I'm just addicted to that feeling that I did well by my fellow man...or get the idea.   So I'm making it a goal this year to make crafty little items for friends who need help for the holidays.  I'm sorry, but it's my personal opinion that everyone should get something for the holidays.  If I can make somebody's day brighter, then it's a real pleasure for me to do so.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Untitled poem

Wrote this little poem while having a rather high-flying day. 

I've lived in the moment,
I've soaked up the sun
I won't regret
what I haven't done
That is the riddle
which time is about;
no should haves,
no could haves,
no would haves,
no doubt.
I'll dare to dream
and I'll dream to dare,
and I won't bemoan
how Life isn't fair.
For Life's what you make of it
it's never owed;
You've never bought it
and it wasn't sold.

written by Michelle Nielsen

Friday, October 22, 2010

paper or plastic?

We've all seen the apps, the sites, the Kindles and what-have-yous that all purport the continuing accessibility of e-literature.  Or more to the point, e-books.  Publishing is becoming easier and easier for all levels of writers because of  this.  Should I be  thankful?  Of course, it means that there's a better chance for Mousepaw Chronicles and all my works to be published.  But there's also that  little part of me that longs for the competition, the thrill of successfully winning the attention of  the editors of a prestigious publishing house.  Actually holding my book in my hands in it's final form. 

There is no doubt in my mind that e-books are the here and now.  They won't go away anytime soon, nor would I want them too.  Yet my past speaks of long nights in bed curled up with a good book.  My husband could tell you the number of times he's found me sound asleep with a favorite volume beside me, my thumb still marking the page where I'd dropped off.  Now I enjoy reading online all types of literature, whether it's kids stories or flash, poetry or even participating in a critique on a lengthy novel, but there are some things that you just can't take an electronic device, like say...oh... a bathtub?  That would be a re-volt-ing experience methinks.  So the future?  Who's to say.  I think there is still room for the dead-tree version as well as electronic.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the argument inside my head

I think I mentioned this a few months ago; that I'd been brought onto another person's project as a comic strip writer.  I'm just praying for the day I can pay him back for the favor, for his characters managed to camp inside my head like a trio of rambunctous squatters for the past year in spite of the fact that he's not currently on the project.  And usually they show up unannounced and uninvited.

Usually it goes something like this;

ME; (typing, working on novel)clackity clackity clackity

D; Hey...

ME; What?  YOU?!?  Not now!  I'm busy!

D; Gotta idea for us...

ME; You've got to be kidding..

D; No!  It'll be great!  Trust me!

ME; Get off my back you little hunchbacked monkey!  Besides, he's busy too...and I won't burden him with more scripts! (goes back to typing) clackity clackity clackity...

C; Hey babe...

ME; There's only one man alive allowed to call me that and I'm married to him...  Oh.  No.  What do you want?

C; Just got this crazy idea..

ME; First off, not writing any more scripts until further notice.  Second, quit shedding on the furniture. And don't even think about chasing my cats!

C; Aww, man...

ME; (back to typing) clackity clackity clackity

V; Good evening, my dear..

ME; *sigh*...Why did I know you were going to show up?

V: I merely wished to profer a most intriguing prospect...

ME; I've got thirty ideas I'm working on now of my own!  And I'm trying to eat dinner!

V; Is that what I smell?  What is it?

ME; Italian.  Heavy on the garlic.

V; *EEP!* Perhaps another time!

ME: Finally! (back to typing) clackity clackity clackity {thirty minutes pass} clackity clackity clackity

D, C, V; We're back!

ME; *groan*  If I do what you want, will you leave me alone?

D; Sure!
C; No prob, toots!
V; Certainly!

{another thirty minutes later}

ME; well?

D; It's great!
C; I'm cool with it!
V; I'd like to just change one little...

ME: *SNARL!!!*

V; It's fine! Perfect!! Knew you'd do a supurb job!

ME; Now go away.

{Two days later}

C; Hey baby...

ME; Not again...

As you can tell, it gets interesting in my head with not only my own projects, but with other people's as well!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Legend in the Making

Another of my cohorts, he joined shortly after I did and like most simultaneous newcomers, we bonded a bit.  I found his work enthralling, dark and mysterious and the way he worked, through the countless variations of the same story to be familiar.  Like Suzanne he helped me as well with Mousepaw Chronicles, and I helped to show him how to pare a 1k flash story down to half that.

I find he's full of surprises and hope he can share his experiences, thoughts and experiments here on in the Asylum

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This was published on Flashshot some time ago, I feel this is one of my personal best.

By Michelle Nielsen

He looked long at the cipher before him in the gloom, struggling to keep his frustration at bay.  Tormented by confusion, he grimaced.  Too late!  He remembered just as his razor sharp teeth sliced into the scarred sides of his cheeks and nearly severed his tongue.

Enraged, he looked at the cipher's author.

Dracula cast the paper aside in disgust.
Damn Van Helsing!
Damn Sudoku!

Where Wolf?

Actually wrote this while drinking...can't believe it came out comprehensible. 

Where Wolf?
By Michelle Nielsen

Beth heard Harold in the bathroom, the sound unmistakable.  She sighed, resolute now.

So much they had gone through to rid him of that horrible curse.  Finally hunting down and killing the thing that caused it was a small mercy.  Yet those few things remained unchanged.

They had to get rid of the family dog for its own sake, Harold's presence drove it mad.  He still shed like fifty longhaired dachshunds, but she could live with that.  It was the damned drinking from the toilet that would drive her to divorce.


This time of year is always a challenge.  I've worked in this costume shop for nearly fourteen years and never have I ever experienced a dull moment. 

Mostly my job consists of pricing, but usually I'm doing what the boss requires of me, including inventories, filing, some light office work, marking down merchandice, stocking and in some cases espionage.  I think that would be the best part about it..although I don't utilize any disguises to do so.  I probably should, considering where I work.

I'm discovering the hardest part about it, especially when I've got projects that I'm working on like my strip, is I have no time or energy to do what I want to do when I get home.  I'm working six days a week now and I may have to go in on my day off if another worker doesn't come in.  It's happened before.  I can't even have a Halloween party because of work.  Fortunately it sounds like I will be getting the actual day of Halloween off. 

You know you're running low on time for yourself when you think you're lucky just to get a load of laundry done.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Battling Doubt

Came up with this poem today while in a rather dark place emotionally speaking.

Battlilng Doubt

Wake to a grey sky,
Stuck in a rut in my life,
The Devil’s got his claws in me.
Where did I go wrong?
Can’t find where I belong,
Why won’t these fears let me be?

Someone said something,
I know what it’s about.
Yet there seems to be no stopping these doubts.

Trying to find my friends,
Or is it all just pretend?
There’s no knight in bright armor for me.
Do I matter at all?
Should I embrace the fall?
That’s the only place I seem to be free.

Did I say something?
Was I completely wrong?
Around me, doubts come to throng.

I’m the only one to fight,
To try and make things right,
There’s more to life as there is to me.
I’ll hold my head high,
I’ll double dare doubt to try,
Cause I will be what I’ve got to be.

written by Michelle Nielsen

Friday, October 15, 2010

How weird is this?

Just noticed something weird.  I know every artist has his/her particular style, but this bugs me just a bit.  I shouid be able to draw people as well as I draw animals.  I don't...which is truly bizarre in my opinion.  My horses can be as anatomically perfect as I could hope.  I  can caputure feline body language with a minimum of effort...and I've been drawing dragons so long, each one can be different and live on the page. 

But when I get to the human form, I stumble.  It becomes some bizarre mix of realistic/cartoony that begs for something.  Sorry, but it's just weird if the horse winds up looking better than the rider.

Suzanne Driggs

I'm thinking to bring some of my friends on don't be surprised to hear a new voice or two...or ten.

Suzanne is one of them.  I met her at, a great little writing website where written words could be read and critiqued.  She was probably among the first to get into The Mousepaw Chronicles and I've considered her advice and critique on it to be nothing short than eye-opening.  Her own books I found entertaining and gave me an emotional high I've yet to find elsewhere and she's also opened my eyes to certain solar events that influence human creativity.  Apparently I'm now her solar barometer!

you can check out her own blog Sun Visions and her writing can be found at Topperboards

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Season of Change

At least, the start of change...things will be changing with Inmate Run Asylum.  Gets a little lonely blogging on my own, so I'm inviting some of my more creative, inspirational and sometimes off-the-wall friends to join I'll be making announcements about them in the coming days if they (hopefully) accept.

Other changes will be including customized backdrops that I've decided I can't live without...comics, themed ideas, reject movie posters, you name it.  I'll just make sure not to make it too distracting! ;)

it may take a bit of work, but I think things could start to get interesting here!

Recent news

Things have been interesting as of late.  First off, it's October, I work in a costume shop and I'm trying to publish a weekly web comic.  That alone should be enough to drive a "normal" person mad.  Keep in mind I've got all those other little tidbits and projects that I'm also trying to work on. 

Throw on top of that a twisted C6 vertebra and then you're talking really interesting.  As in "hurts to even live" interesting.  So came my first introduction to Chiropractic health care.  The whole experience probably looked scarier than it actually was, my chiropractor is that nice.  So that's going to be a monthly thing for me now.

Then there's my own brief brush with insanity-as-genius.  Somehow, I've managed to land a role in game design!  Can't really discuss details, but once the project hits the market, I'll be promoting it like crazy!

I'm honestly surprised I get anything done!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How far is too far?

I deal with a good amount of self doubt, especially if there's a fuzzy area I'm uncertain of.  Times like those, I really need the opinions and advice of others. 

Among my recent ideas, an old one remerged and demanded some attenion.  The first time it wasn't so successful.  This time, there may be a limited amount of success depending on how "fuzzy" I can make those edges.

I designed some drawsting handbags a few years ago.  They had four points that would droop over the body of the bag which allowed for a few options in the overall appearance, usually involving fabric colors.  At the time I called them  Blossom Bags for their flower-like appearance.  Changing that.   Lately, I've updated those ideas.  I've discovered Steampunk, all brass and hardware which would offer a different look.  I've also come up with a Gothic look with dramatic colors and lots of black.  Then I've gained some inspiration from a long time love of my life.  And I'm not talking about my husband.

This is where the fuzzy area comes in to play.  I've got a number of ideas in mind inspired by a rather highly franchised and trademarked film series.  Most of it is with fabric color and texture only and I'm sure I can steer well away from incriminating names or symbols that would be a dead giveaway...but would that be enough?  Especially since I'm leaning towards selling these bags online, I'd like to avoid any nasty legal entanglements.


I hate it when this happens.  Some people would say that it's a blessing, but how can it be a blessing when you've got a multitude of irons in the fire?

For example;  I've made a commitment to my strip Spellbound and Senseless which means I need to have a number of strips done each month for my readers.  This takes time (usually when I have none), and I wind up working on them whenever I have a chance.  Fortunately, with practice and continuing to make the strips, it gets easier, but no less time consuming.

I also have a multitude of comic book and graphic novel ideas that I'd like to get down in writing and start roughing them in....again, this is a time consuming thing because I'm a freaking perfectionist with this sort of thing.  And yeah...there's roughly about six or*sigh* ok, the things breed like rats in my head.

My novel, The Mousepaw Chronicles is still in editing process...someday I'm going to get the darned thing done...but when I get a review that's forty pages long!!!.... the book needs some work.  That's all I can say.

Alrighty that little reminder of what I've got going on out of  the way, I'm also subject for rather senseless, yet endlessly amusing ideas that completely blindside me.  By senseless, I mean, I have no real use for it, yet I can't help but see if I can "push" myself over that limit and get the image out of my head that I'm seeing...or that story that's begging to be written.  Or a item for a costume..

Then there's the latest thing...Die bags.  The well accessoriesed RPGer is never without one, especially for the tabletop games.  I've been there myself.  But I'm also noticing a latest trend; Geek Girls. Nerdy name it.   Some years ago, I designed a little drawstring pouch ideal for a variety of purposes...I had two markets to sell them at, but neither of them went over really well.  Also made them for two weddings (where they went over like prime rib at a buffet).  Now I have the ultimate market at my disposal.  There's a growing trend I know I can take this to.  I'm actually thinking of selling these online to generate some much needed income.  I've got to be out of my mind.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Well, I've done it...

I have started a webcomic called Spellbound and Senseless. So far the experience has been altogether a nerve wracking learning experience and amazingly satisfying to see my name on something I created. Not only that, but people enjoy it, which is truly gratifying.

The comic itself is about two cats who are a forgetful witch's familiars. The witch, Wanda, has forgotten she is a witch and quite often mistakes magical items for mundane which leads to all sorts of hijinks with the cats, Sabine and Sparkles. Sabine is the older and wiser "straight cat" while the more amusing things happen with more frequency to Sparkles, the kitten.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Recent news

I still can't believe it...

I'm getting better and better with the comics thing....and I learned you don't need an expensive program in order to color digitally. I'm in the process of mastering Gimp and it's really interesting. Think of it as the poor man's version of Photoshop, useful little tricks and techniques all throughout to let me digitally ink color and letter any and all of my comics whether they're strips, books or graphic novels. The tablet just makes it all that much easier to do it, which is a relief.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Recent news

I've been tinkering with this lovely little contraption for a while now and it feels fairly why am I bothering with doing the traditional pencil-pen and ink bit? It's harder than you'd think to work out the proper formatting of sequential art...

I'm getting further and further into the comics making biz, finding it to be a real treat to see something in my head play out before me, either on the board in front of me or digitally. I'm even getting together my site, which I hope to have content for within the near future....

So here's to progress!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recent news

Things have gotten more interesting around here lately as I've had the luck to acquire a Wacom Bamboo tablet. Interesting little device, lots of pros use it, I'm sure. It's definitely easier to color with than a mouse as I've been trying it out with different character sketches like Angel Cake. I'm also learning how to use software programs that can be used with it, so hopefully I'll be able to get my comics to look really cool!!

Now if I can only get the hang of this thing...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Recent news

It seems I've struck upon the perfect way to get through a large quantity of work in a short amount of time in the literary sense. Alternating the days of what I work on appears to be working as I just finished the first chapter of the first book of the Whisper in the Gears novella series. Which means, providing all goes well tonight, I may be finished with the revision of chapter two of Mousepaw Chronicles. That prospect is quite exciting actually...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Recent news

Things are at a standstill currently with some of the lesser projects for the moment as I shift major amounts of attention to the two projects that have the most and strongest ideas; my novel The Mousepaw Chronicles which is currently in the editing process and Whisper in the Gears, a novella/graphic novel series geared towards steampunk. It's going to be interesting to see how far I can take each of these.

The Mousepaw Chronicles is big, at least it's promising to be big, I have no idea how the plot will break down, but the first book alone is standing at just under 69k words...and I'm not even finished with the first chapter yet! But the pressure is on, I may be getting my summer vacation in a few weeks, I'm leaving it at my boss' disposal to decide when since last winter turned into quite the debacle. Since I rarely plan anything for vacations anyway, I'm not entirely worried. The only plans I've made thus far is to get my rear in the market for an agent willing to take this particular book on.

Whisper in the Gears also promises to be big, multiple books at roughly 20k apiece, the graphic version should follow in example, I would love to see this one go to print! As it is, I already have a lot of friends who say that my art may be good enough, but that remains to be seen. I might be tempted to even go so far as to ink, but I deal with so much uncertainty in my own skills, I may wait and see how my pencils turn out. I may have to wait to finish the pencils for the graphic novel and see if I can get the novellas published first to earn the money to pay for a pro to finish it. It may also turn out that my inking wouldn't be that bad, but I'm not at all skilled with digital coloring, which is the big thing these days.

With previous endevours I've learned a few things about digital coloring. Namely I'm about as slow as a tortoise, I'm far to picky as to what looks good and me and deadlines do not get along. At all. On the bright side, I'm learning the ins and outs of technology, so hopefully someday I'm going to get all of my comics ideas finished, polished and on the internet for the world to enjoy.

Now if I can get this dumb sense of procrastination out of my life, I'll be fine...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recent news

Today was surprisingly productive in a direction I haven't gone in some time. About a year ago, I was brought onto another artist's project as a writer. His plans to put his strip into syndication have slipped to the wayside due to numerous personal issues which I do not begrudge him, but that doesn't mean the ideas don't stop happening for me. So I found myself writing more strips for his cause in spite of trying not to.

I also had the benefit of visiting cousins from Arizona today, one whom I've always seen as a "big sister" even though she's old enough to be my mother. It was good to see them and have a nice visit with the family.

So as you can tell, productivity slipped a bit today. Tomorrow, I clobber my novel with a morning star! Grr!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Recent news

Still working on the editing process for my novel. I'm finding much of it has already changed, but fortunately the story remains the same at it's heart. It's just a small matter of making sure it flows in the manner I want it to.

Also making lists of agencies to start shopping my novel around. In that process I've found a few agencies that would actually handle comics! Woot! So there is a potential place to take certain graphic novels/novellas to!

Crumbshoe Detective feels as if it's slowed to a crawl. Not good. Need to look at that particular page again and see what I can do to improve on it. If there's anything I've learned about storytelling it's slow spots and stumbling blocks that turn off the readers.

While digging through yards of fabric, I managed to find some navy blue panne velvet. Now I have an appropriate pattern in mind for it. It's just a small matter of making it work. I only hope I have the right colors of ric rac...

With summer vacation coming up I've got a lot to keep me busy...

Friday, May 21, 2010


This gown was made some time ago and has been retired for two years now from use. I still have it, it still fits and it's still in (relatively) good shape for being roughly ten years old. It was new in the picture.

Bodice, upper sleeves and overskirt in black satin, the underskirt and lower sleeves in purple Silkessence, the underskirt forepart in glitter bat mesh and lower sleeve overlay in black chiffon. Trimmed in gold, black and purple trim and amethyst rhinestones. Back has spiral laced closure.
You might recognise this as an Elizabethan style pattern, it's just the fabric choices that make it perfect for Halloween.

Pardon Me

Another of my Flashshot publications. Was posted March 5 and I think it's one of my personal favorites...there is too much potential with this one...question is, should I go with full length horror, or tone it down for a kid's story?

Pardon Me
by Michelle Nielsen

"Mama?" Her young son stood by her bed in footed pajamas, his teddy bear in hand.

"Yeah, baby?" she muttered in her sleep.

"The boogieman's under my bed again..."

"Tell Mr. Bear to eat him up..." she mumbled, not wanting to be disturbed.

The next morning she was startled to find bones under her son's bed. She swept the mess out and looked around trying to figure out what else was amiss. She noticed odd stains on the teddy bear's gold-furred belly and speculated that her son had tried to feed it ketchup again.

The teddy bear burped.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Recent news

It's been a productive Thursday so far, the book is getting edited, I'm getting more art worked on.

Recently had a fourth flash story accepted at Hazard Cat by the title of Mighty Huntress. Will keep all informed as to when the publication will be made.

Its otherwise raining much for blue skies and beautiful weather. Oh well, just means more that I can do inside.


What would Batman be without that crazed sociopathic arch-criminal? One of the first that I completed in my personal challenge.

My husband swears that it's a self portrait gone horribly wrong, but it isn't...may share a vague resemblance, but it was never meant to be that. Although I'm sorely tempted to make the outfit...


Kyp Chipowski is another character out of Crumbshoe detective. Although he's supposed to be a sullen and resentful young man in the comic book, he seems to be having a "Jimmy Olsen" moment here...

"Gee Louie, are we gonna get the bad guys?"

Stitch in Time

A micro story I had published in February on a literature e-zine called Flashshot. I've been told it bears resemblance to a certain Mel Brooks comedy.

Stitch in Time
Only one task out of four thousand completed!
Where is that wretch Igor? My creation is well-meaning but much too slow.
On top of everything else, there's that incessant banging on door...
I can't stop now! There's still so much to do!
No steps may be skipped or all will be ruined, including my reputation.
What now? Villagers are in the castle?
Tell them I've left! Tell them I'm sick, tell them the TRUTH! I've too much at stake!
Couldn't they possibly riot at my door some other time?
Like next Tuesday?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recent news

Had another long day at the costume shop, at least I got to enjoy the absolutely gorgeous weather while doing so.

Had some intriguing images flashing through my head involving jackalopes of all things. This promises to be interesting, cause these weren't your typical cute and cuddly jackrabbit- pronghorn mutants...

Editing has hit me strong as far as my novel is concerned. I'm determined now to get this thing to market ASAP! No more slacking for me! Unless some unforseen roadblock suddenly comes out of nowhere and takes the wind out of my sails.

Angel Cake

This is a character from my comic book Crumbshoe Detective. Most of those characters are going to be based off of sweets, pastries and cookies. Literally I was just trying to get an idea as to what she'd look like when the expression just happened. I think its nice to have a character with such a sweet name and yet such a surly disposition.