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This week’s challenge from Chuck gave us ten randomly chosen words (library, ethereal, storm, dolphin, replay, undertaker, envelope, satellite, chisel, and cube). We were asked to pick five of them to include as elements within the story for a thousand word piece. Here’s “Grave,” featuring library, storm, envelope, undertaker, and satellite, albeit a couple of hours late.


Lightning crackled across the sky, chasing itself from cloud to cloud as Devlin slung his spade over his shoulder. The storm had been building on the horizon for hours, and the apprentice undertaker had plenty of time to finish his last task, but he’d spent much of his afternoon hiding from his master, Thom. So it was that he found himself crawling out of a newly-dug grave as the first drops of rain began to fall.

Sure, Thom was kind enough on the surface. He’d taken Devlin in several years before, allowing his parents to care for his younger brother and pursue their own careers in archaeology. The old man knew he wasn’t going to be able to carry on his job for more than another year or so, but still, he didn’t have to beat Devlin every time he found him reading. His ears still ached from the boxing they’d been given that afternoon. At least his book hadn’t been thrown away this time.

Digging graves was a bore, always the same dimensions, always the same shovel. The only thing that changed was where in the yard he would be digging. At least the people in the books he read got to escape from their dull lives, off on some adventure. Dev sighed and made his way back to Thom’s cabin at the northern edge of the graveyard. At least the day’s work was done. He called out as he entered the door, the first raindrops hitting the ground as he propped his shovel against the door frame. “Thom? I’m done.”

“Ah, good. I see you managed to beat the storm. Dinner’s nearly ready, if you’ve completed your work.” The senior undertaker stood from a chair near the stove. A fire blazed in the fireplace, lending warmth to the cabin as the temperature dropped outside.

“I did. Mission accomplished, boss.”

“You know it would take you a hell of a lot less time if you didn’t read when you were supposed to be digging.”

“I know.”

“I’m not training you to read all day.”

“I know.”

“Is it going to happen again?” Thom raised his fist.

Devlin sighed. “No, Thom.”

“Good. Glad we talked. Sausage and cabbage soup for dinner. Enjoy. I’m going to bed before the weather gets any worse. Goodnight, Dev.”

“Night, Thom.”

Once the old man had gone to bed, Devlin sat at the table and sipped at a bowl of soup. The week’s mail had come in while he’d been at work and was sitting on the chair beside him, so he picked it up and idly thumbed through the various letters, magazines from coffin makers, and postcards from customers until he spotted a small yellowed envelope with his name on it.

Inside the envelope was a matching piece of paper, a letter in neat handwriting, green ink shining in the firelight.

“Dear Devlin,” it read, “Your father and I are very proud of you. We know that your apprenticeship hasn’t been easy. It’s never easy to have to spend your life doing something you don’t want to do. Still, it’s very important for you to have this opportunity. With the work you’re doing now, you’ll be able to earn a stable living. Who knows? In ten or fifteen years, you might be able to pursue more of your passions.

“You’re very lucky you know. Your brother has to travel to the satellite villages to find work anymore, and no one is about to offer him an apprenticeship. Still, I suppose things could be a lot worse for us right now. Your father and I are busy with our own work, naturally. The excavation of the library is going far better than we’d expected and the scrolls and tomes that we’re finding are in remarkable condition. It amazes me how well the desert manages to preserve artifacts for us.

“We continue to search for the heart of the library. We’ve found a clue that is pointing us even deeper underground. Oh, to have lived at the peak of this civilization! The level of skill it must have taken to be able to create something so massive, a facility of this size, beneath a mountain! Devlin, the words cannot possibly describe the way I feel right now. We’re sorry that you can’t join us. You’d love it here. It’s warm and beautiful, and the chances we have to find something big are growing better by the day. We love you, Dev, and can’t wait to see you. Love, Mum and Dad.

“P.S. Your father is working on some sketches to send when the post goes out again. I hope you like them.”

Devlin set the letter aside. His soup had gone cold, so he poured the remnants out and paced around the dining room. The library. His parents had talked about it for years before leaving for the excavation, and in his childhood he had considered it the stuff of legend. Now here he was, hundreds of miles away, the great desert separating him from them, bound by the terms of his apprenticeship. He longed to join them. There was a sense of finality about the work he did for Thom, with each grave he dug serving as someone’s end. The library was history in the making, each day bringing new discoveries for his parents. Even his brother was finding new things in the satellite villages that surrounded his home.

Dev sighed and sat back down. The terms of his apprenticeship bound him, and Thom was too clever to allow him to sneak off any time soon. As he stretched in the chair, a flash of lightning outside the window illuminated the whole room, throwing his spade into sharp relief. “There is a fresh grave outside,” he glanced at the envelope. “And Thom’s got no family to speak of…” The thunder boomed, rattling the cabin. Devlin sat in thought as the storm raged on and the rain continued to fall. “It is an option…”

This week, I decided to compete in a Trifecta writing challenge for the first time. As usual, it’s V’s fault. For the challenge this week, we were given three words. They could be used in any order, but we were only allowed to add 33 words for a total of 36. Our words were rain, rebellion, and remember. Here’s my entry.


*       *       *

It’s been thirty years this week. Thirty long years since the day that the blood fell like rain. The city in the clouds above us had erupted in war, a full fledged rebellion.

I still remember.



This is my entry for Chuck Wendig’s latest weekly flash fiction challenge, which asked us to write what we know, but with a fictional twist. Here’s “Before the Dawn” for your enjoyment.

My father wakens me before the dawn. I dress myself in the dark, preparing to go to work with skill born of endless days of practice. Within minutes I am ready, and I leave my bedroom to find my father seated at the kitchen table, a cup of coffee before him, a glass of orange juice at the seat next to his. I sit beside him, questioning him about the day ahead of us and what it might bring. He is tired, though he tries not to show it. Work has been hard on him for the past few weeks, more so than normal. It’s harvest season, and it’s nearly over.

I glance out the window and I can see the last traces of the second moon fading as the sun peers across the distant horizon. The red tinge of our world is barely noticeable in the larger cities like Valentine, but out here, Mars is still Mars,  and it still feels like home. My family and I have lived here my whole life, and soon I will come of age, but not yet. I find myself dreaming of Earth sometimes, but I am grateful for the opportunity to be where I am. My mind drifts to what a boy my age on Earth would be thinking as my father tells me that it’s time to go.

We climb into the truck and head north, toward the field that we finished cutting last night. Since the terraforming, wheat has grown better on Mars than it did in the last hundred years or so on Earth. We’ve got almost a thousand acres left to harvest, but our crew is great this year. Two of my uncles, my grandfather, and a small army of cousins will be reaching the field soon, but since it’s one that’s close to our house, Dad and I are the first ones there.

I stretch as I climb out of the truck. A cool breeze is blowing across the stubble, and I think about how wise it was to bring a thermal sweatshirt this morning. Dad is already starting his half of the pre-harvest tasks, preparing the combine for operation. The equipment that we use was manufactured here on Mars, assembled by my grandfather and his brother from pieces that were printed upon their arrival on the planet. It was the only practical way to get the necessary machinery to another world, and it was achieved using Martian minerals. The technique had proven itself on Luna, and had only seen improvement by the time the terraforming process was complete on Mars.

My side of things is relatively simple. As has been my job since I was thirteen, I prepare the grain cart and the tractor that pulls it. I pull our truck alongside the tractor, lining up the fuel tank in the truck’s bed with the  tank on the side of the tractor. Once the fueling is in progress, I grab a grease gun and a rag from one of the tool boxes and begin the hunt for the the various zerks that are found on bearings around the tractor and the auger on the grain cart. Dad likes to tell me that farming has changed very little since he was my age. The only real difference is in location. And a little bit of gravity.  Okay, quite a bit of gravity.

I jump up to the top of the auger, greasing the bearing there before dropping back to the ground. Greasing the grain cart takes about ten more minutes, and the fuel pump clicks off just as I’m finishing up. As I’m wrapping the fuel hose back around the pump, the rest of the harvest crew arrives to service their machines. A swarm of family members pours out of a handful of other pickups, quickly preparing the other four combines, the tractors and grain carts, and the semi trucks that will haul the wheat away.

As the sun rises higher, the crew piles back into their various vehicles to make the move to the next field. We’ve got a fifteen kilometer trip there, so we form up into a convoy with the combines at the front and the pickups at the rear. At the max speed for the combines, it takes us about forty-five minutes. Upon our arrival at the new field, my grandfather takes the lead with his combine, cutting a small swath in the corner of the field where the rest of the vehicles will initially park. Once he’s done, he begins to cut a path through the wheat at the field’s perimeter. My father and uncles and one of my cousins follow suit, taking the next header width in. As my grandfather finishes his first round, the hopper on top of his combine is nearly full. It’s a good sign of the quality of the wheat, a sign of a good yield on a field this size.

Seeing this, I slip my tractor into gear, driving across the stubble to line up with the now-extended auger on the combine, matching my speed to his as the auger begins to feed wheat from the combine into my grain cart. My cousins fall in alongside the other combines, and as each grain cart is slowly filled we peel away to transfer our loads to the semis.  When the semis are in turn filled, other members of the crew will drive them to a storage facility on the outskirts of Valentine, about twenty-five kilometers away. It’s a familiar operation, one we’ve carried out every summer for as long as any of us can remember. We stop in shifts to eat packed lunches in our tractors and combines, and the day goes smoothly. Soon we will have provided a good portion of the wheat necessary for the growing colonies.

Dad calls me over to his combine as the sun begins to set and Phobos and Deimos appear in the sky.

“Good work today, sonny boy,” he says.

“I loved him, and I love him still. I can say those words without regret now. Losing Liam somehow gave me the confidence I needed to say what I should have said three years ago.

“I still remember the day we met. He was radiant, ostensibly searching for a text on medieval literature. I was living a terrible cliché, an aspiring writer working in a small, out-of-the-way bookstore. I knew the book he wanted immediately, and found it for him with minimal effort. He smiled and called me his hero (he told me that he’d checked two other stores first and, like most of our clientele, preferred to give his business to a local store rather than some website) and paid for his book.

“I felt a brief twinge of guilt as I asked him for his ID to run his credit card at checkout. It wasn’t our policy to do so at the time, but I wanted to learn as much about him as I could before he left, possibly never to be seen again. I told myself at that moment that I’d hit the jackpot. Liam Reynolds was six months older than me, and he lived close enough to my store that I could expect to see him come in again. Subtle stalking complete, I handed his license, credit card, and book to him, and wished him a great afternoon. In the wake of his ‘See you soon!’ I was struck giddy by the thought of how green his eyes had been.

“Fast forward a year and Liam and I had gone on three ‘official’ dates. He’d come back to the store once a week to talk with me, planning his visits around my lunch breaks so that we could have more time. He was going to grad school for a master’s degree in literature, something I’d never had the courage to consider since my BA had cost so much and done so little for me. I told him that I’d been interested in him since that first  meeting, and that his stopping by to share a cup of coffee helped me to get through each week. He told me that he’d heard about an unbelievable clerk at my store from a friend who was always looking out for him. He’d come in that first day just to see me…

“I’m sorry… I shouldn’t be crying right now. We were so happy back then. Liam was a hopeless romantic, having spent most of his life at that point looking for but never finding love. When I agreed to go out with him, I was showered with more attention than I knew how to handle. Love notes written in a messy scrawl inside the cover of books he bought for me, flowers, home cooked dinners (always a nice change from my ramen and sandwiches and frozen pizzas). Then we celebrated our first anniversary, and he said he wanted me to meet his parents.

“I panicked. I’d never met a boy willing to take me anywhere near his family, but Liam wrapped his arms around me, kissed me, told me how much he loved me, and made me feel like all was right with the world for the first time since middle school. I was scared because I knew that my parents would never accept Liam the way his welcomed me, and not just because he wasn’t Christian and he had tattoos and a lattice of pale pink scars on the inside of each thigh that no one else had ever seen.

“But I went with him. He gave me courage then, just as he does now. We spent a full week with his parents that summer. I met most of you that week, and I couldn’t believe how willing you were to welcome a complete stranger into your lives, and I can never thank you enough for being for me after…after… No, I’m fine. I’m almost done.

“Liam would have loved to see you all here, celebrating his life. He told me that he wanted this when he died, that he wanted a wake. He said that the idea of a funeral was too depressing, and that he wanted his family and friends to remember the good times. Now I think he’d hoped we’d have been a little older before that happened, but life is like that. You never know what you’ll find around the next corner.

“The last time I saw him, I told him I loved him, and he gave me that Han Solo half smile he would always do, and said ‘I know.’ I think he knew we all loved him, no matter what he’d been through, no matter what we’d managed to say to anyone else. He wasn’t always strong, but he was always strong for me, and now we have to do the same for him. That’s all I have to say, other than this. I loved him, and I love him still.”

The door was locked. It had been for as long as I could remember, and it would probably remain so until the day that I died. Maybe even longer than that. It wasn’t that I couldn’t unlock the door to find out what she had hidden away so carefully. It was that I made a promise.

The door stood at the far end of the hallway from the room where I slept. I didn’t sleep in my bedroom anymore at that point. It seemed futile to try to fall asleep in that bed after she was gone. No, the room where I now slept, where I had been sleeping for nearly ten years now, was my study. The overstuffed recliner next to the fireplace served as a better bed for me, and I had lost count of how many times I had nodded off while a fire roared to counter the howling wind and snow outside of my windows.

The door led to a room that had been intended as a nursery, but the children had never come. One day she had gone into the room, and stayed there for several hours. When she came out, her face was pale, but filled with grim accomplishment. She locked the door then, and made me swear to never open it again. She threw the key into the fire that night, and we sat together in the recliner and watched as it melted away.

For a time, we were happy again, and we ignored the door at the far end of the hallway next to the bedroom, when the bed was still shared and we didn’t need the fire to stay warm. The door stayed locked, and I never asked her the reason. We trusted each other with every secret but this one, and it eventually drove us apart.

I don’t remember exactly what happened on the day (or night, I can’t seem to recall the hour) when she left. I don’t know where she went, but I know why. The locked door seemed to torment her more than me, a reminder of the life that she couldn’t carry. I want to say that I plead with her that night, got down on my knees and begged her to tell me what was eating away at her, what this secret was, but I don’t know. I may have, instead, filled my heart with courage from an increasingly empty bottle and told her that if she couldn’t live with herself then she couldn’t live with me, and that she needed to get out.

I don’t remember when it was that I took every one of my books and my lamps and my blankets and my pillows from the room that had been ours and left every one of hers behind. I haven’t been back in that bedroom for years, but I’ve left it unlocked. I can’t risk doing what she did. I can’t leave the house, either. That’s not to say that I can’t go out my door to buy groceries or to find a new book, but I can’t move. I can’t pack up and find somewhere new to live. I’m held here by my promise to her. If someone else were to buy the house, they might open the locked door, and I cannot bear the thought of some stranger learning the secret that tore her away from me.

The door sits at the end of the hallway, on the second floor of my home. My kitchen is directly beneath the room, and some days I find myself staring at the ceiling in wonder. What-if’s fill my head, and I find that I lose my appetite until the next day, when another empty bottle of whiskey or rum or vodka has turned up next to my recliner and I have no memory of coming back upstairs. One morning, I woke up on the floor of the hallway next to the locked door, a screwdriver and a hammer beside me. I must have decided that I had to open the door, but I had passed out before I could put my plan into action.

It’s better that way, really. I don’t want to know what’s behind that door, or at least that’s what I tell myself. Instead I sit next to the fire, or at my desk, and I read, or I write, or I try to do one or the other and fail miserably at both because I remember how much she used to inspire me and remember that she’s gone and she’s not coming back. Occasionally a magazine calls and asks me if I can finish another story for them this month, and I tell them yes, because I still need to eat.

Once in a while, I thought about having a new key made, or having a locksmith come in and open the door, but I realized that would still be breaking my promise, and even now I am still a man of my word. I know what I’m going to do now, though. I’m not going to break my promise to her. I’m not going to unlock the door. I’m going to stoke the fire high tonight, and I’m going to leave my chair closer to it than usual. I’m going to have a drink, and I’m going to fall asleep, surrounded by my books and covered in an afghan that she made for me the winter after I proposed, one of the blankets that I took from our old bedroom after she left. I’m not going to leave a note. It wouldn’t survive anyway. I suppose that the fire will start slowly, kissing the pages of the books, blackening them and turning them to ash. It will start in the study, and make its way down the hall.

It will consume everything in its path. It’s fire, after all, and it will devour the house that was once ours and is now mine and mine alone. The hallway will offer little resistance. Likewise the bedroom we once shared and I now shun. It will burn, and the smoke alarms will attempt to wake me to save me from myself, but it will be in vain. The locked door will stand at the end of the hall, but it too will burn, and her secret will die with me.

I have at least four short stories that I’ve gotten good starts to. These stories are currently sitting in a Moleskine, eagerly awaiting digitization. Most of these will not be published on here, not yet, anyway. These are the big ones, the stories that I’m going to be submitting to various publications in the hopes of getting noticed. Don’t worry, dear readers. I’m still writing some stuff that will be just for you. “Gateway Shuffle” will be coming soon, continuing my Cowboy Bebop-inspired sci-fi series. Additionally, I’m working on an update on what’s going on with Arsus and Rime as their journey across the Sand Sea continues in “The Swords of the Ancients.”

And here’s number 3 in my latest series, pieces inspired by Cowboy Bebop episode titles. This one’s called “Honky Tonk Women.”



“Do you really think that life will be that different out there? I mean, we’ve got it pretty good here, all things considered. The bar is even starting to turn a profit.”

“I don’t know. I want it to be better, but I don’t know. All I know is that they’ve offered me the job in Valentine.”

“Abby, you know we can’t afford to go to Mars!”

“They’ve offered to pay my way. Full coverage of relocation. Not just me, actually. Both of us.”


“You know I can’t imagine going anywhere without you. How long have we been together now?”

“Two years, next Thursday.”

“Exactly. What better way to celebrate our anniversary? We can even go out for a fancy dinner, steak, or sushi, or something, maybe go see a show. When was the last time we went out? It’ll be my treat, Emily.”

“But you always pay for dinner…”

“No buts, missy.”

“Fine. But on one condition.”

“To dinner, or to my taking the job in Valentine?”

“To your taking the job, I guess.”


“Well…are you going to tell them about me? About us?”

“They already know, Em. I had to put someone down as my beneficiary if something happens to me. I sure as hell wasn’t going to leave anything to my parents after what they said to you.”


“Because I love you, you big dork.”

“I love you too, Abby.”

“So, they’ve offered us relocation expenses, including a ride on the TPE next week. Our stuff will be sent along as freight, so we don’t have to worry about having some jackass movers meet us there. We’ve already got a lease ready to sign for an apartment in central Valentine, just down the street from the library. They want me to start as soon as we can get there.”

“Oh my God…”

“I know. We’re going to be set, hun.”

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

“They just got back to me yesterday. I wanted to surprise you with the news, but you were at work, and I didn’t want to tell the whole bar. It’s not like you could’ve heard me over that godawful country crap they play in there.”

“What are we going to do about it?”

“The bar? Sell it! Hasn’t James been talking to you about converting part of it into a hookah place anyway? Let him have the whole building. Start a new one on Mars! You can call it ‘The Mars Bar’ or some other lame pun like you love so much.”

“You know me way too well…”

“I thought that was the idea.”

“So, you’ve got a new job that’s going to take care of both of us.”


“It sounds like they thought of everything.”

“There’s no other library like it in the solar system. They said they wanted the best people to work for them, and they picked me, so here we are.”

“So, when do we leave?”

“How quickly can you pack?”

“I don’t even know what to say.”

“Say you’ll come with me to Mars, and we’ll be able to live our dreams together.”

“I’ll go.”

Each month, the wonderful Sonia M. over at doingthewritething presents her fellow bloggers with a writing challenge, usually to create a piece of microfiction that fits within a particular word limit and based on a simple prompt. It’s a great way to connect with other writers, and it can only help to boost your creativity. Isaac Asimov even wrote under similar limits, once crafting a short piece of fiction designed to fit on the back of a postcard. The man was a genius, but I digress.

This month, Sonia’s challenge for us was “First Impressions and Famous Last Words.” We were allowed to write any genre, but we were limited to one hundred words and told to create either the opening or closing lines to a story. Here’s my contribution.

*     *     *     *     *     *

The explosion shook me off my feet, hurling me into the bulkhead. The airtight doors around me began to seal, red hazard lights flashing as artificial atmosphere vented. I scrambled for my emergency oxygen mask, knowing that precious seconds would make the difference between living and dying. As soon as I was breathing normally, I looked around again, pleased that my training had saved me but terrified of what could’ve caused such a catastrophic failure in the compartment. My communicator was still attached to my belt, but it had been damaged in my fall. No signal. I was truly alone.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Was it the first or last hundred words of a story? I don’t know. I like that it could be either one.

One of my fellow wordpress bloggers recently “liked” one of my posts on here, and so I decided to look at her blog to see what she had to say. I was fascinated when her blog contained this. You see, Joanna is a fan of my favorite anime series of all time, Cowboy Bebop. She also happens to be a writing blogger, and she has given me great inspiration. She’s working on a series of short fiction pieces based on the titles of the episodes that make up the series. Please note that this series will not attempt to directly reference Bebop or its universe in anything other than the titles. This isn’t supposed to turn into fan-fic. This is #1 in what will hopefully be a 25-26 piece series of original microfiction. Here I present “Asteroid Blues” for your reading pleasure.

Asteroid Blues:

You don’t expect the depression. It sneaks up on you in a place like this. You can do whatever you want to try to find a way around it, or a way to fight it. Doesn’t do you a damn bit of good. I’ve seen it a lot, so much so, in fact, that I didn’t recognize the symptoms in myself until after I’d seen to half of the crew being sent off. I just dismissed the signs, telling myself that it couldn’t happen to me. I was the strong one. I was in denial.

The Kuiper Belt is no place to make a living. The corporations set up the mining facilities and a few of the basic necessities, then they left. Now we’re here, sucking out ice to transport back to Earth. I’m sick of it. I’m tired of having nothing better to do when I’m done with work than going out and drinking. I’m tired of being so far away from my wife.

I know that I can get better. I just can’t shake the feeling that something big is about to go down. Something. My last memory of Earth was walking to my car, getting ready to leave for this job. It was the first real week of spring, and she was standing on the porch in a cotton dress, waving goodbye to me and whispering “I love you” in the breeze.

Why does that sit in the front of my mind, six months later? Because she’s gone…I got word today. The accident took her. Now there’s no reason to go back. Her funeral was a week ago, and I just found out. Guess I should leave the damn bar and go home, but I don’t really know what I’d be going back to. Maybe just one more beer…

This just in, folks. My NaNoWriMo word count is up over 5,000.  This means that I’m on track with the goal for the first three days of November, and one tenth of the way through my requisite length. Wow. I just realized that means I only have to write nine more full chapters at this rate. I need to introduce some other characters, or make this book a lot longer than the NaNoWriMo goal… Hmmm…

Oh well. Either way, I’m making good progress, and I’ve already developed a bonus character! I’m actually quite pleased with the way things are going. I’ll keep you all up to date, fear not. In the meantime, work and the job hunt are keeping me just as busy as ever. I’m really looking forward to my next few days off. I’d like to be able to get a little ahead of the word count thing, so that I can slow down on a couple of days, if necessary. Like, you know, that holiday that’s coming up, what’s it called? Thanksgiving! Right, that’s the one.

I’ve got a decent strategy going right now. I’m carrying one of my little Moleskine notebooks, like I’ve been doing for the last year or so, and I’m doing my writing in that during the day. It’s a really convenient way to take notes and build on some things that I’ve had running around in my head since I first came up with the idea for the book back in January. I get stuff on paper, and if I feel pretty good about it, at the end of the day I type it up. I’ve still been using Word for this, despite getting in on the Scrivener beta. I think I’ll probably stick to Word for now, at least until I can get a full version of Scrivener, with a few less bugs. It’s a great program, and I’ll most likely actually even buy the software when it comes out. If you haven’t played around with it yet, I highly recommend it. The built-in tutorial is great. It’s thorough and includes as much dry humor as you’d expect from a British development team.

I’m still cranking my way through A Storm of Swords. Martin’s world maintains its grasp on me, and for good reason. Each chapter, for those of you who haven’t read any of A Song of Ice and Fire, is told from the perspective of a single character. This means that you only see little pieces of the overall action at any given time, but it compels you to keep reading so that you can get to that character’s next part. Of course, in between you have five or six other characters, all of whom are just as powerfully written. It’s genius, and I can’t wait to finish this book so that I can dive into A Feast for Crows.

Anyway, it’s early, but I’ve got an eight hour shift at work that starts in 45 minutes, and roughly 30 of that time is commute. Work work work, right? Well, I’ll be playing D&D for a few hours after that, and I have Saturday off. Best of luck to all you fellow NaNoWriMo participants out there. As the great Canadian sage, Red Green, always says, “Remember, I’m pulling for ya.”