The Making of a Short Sci-Fi Story. “Sporelings” – Part II – 1st draft

I am currently taking a short story fundamentals class online. I decided to write about this experience in a series of blog entries that will document my journey as I develop a short science fiction story as part of my class experience.

Hello, everyone! Happy New Year! Whew! The Holidays sure blew by very fast! But I, like most people, got caught up in all the things we get caught up in over the holiday time and am a bit late on this second installment of “Sporelings.”

As I mentioned in my last post, I am taking an online class about writing short stories and am developing one as part of the class assignments. I plan to post this short story as it develops and also the revisions based on the feedback to show how piece changes based on input from editing, critique utilized, etc.

If you missed this first post in this series, Part I – 1st draft of the story is located here: Sporelings – Part 1 of 3 – First Draft.

I decided to post Part II as written- in other words before edits or revisions to Part I took place because at this stage potential revisions to Part I don’t affect Part II. I’ll continue this idea with Part III, then we’ll go back to Part I with the revisions stage. This should give us a clear understanding of how the piece develops through the revision, critique, and editing process. The last post in this series will be the final draft.

Just to recant a bit from the last post, this short story is a work of science fiction. It will be written in three parts. Part I will introduce a grim future. where some cataclysmic event will change the world. This will be a world-building setup and quick character introduction. Part II will cover the last few minutes of. In other words, what happens as a result of this drastic change. Part III is what comes next. How does this world continue after a cataclysmic event? What does the future now have in store?

The working title is “Sporelings” and the first draft of Part II is presented below.

Image result for underground government bunker

“Sporelings” – Part II – 1st draft

Three months later.

Nathan pressed his cheek against the car window and strained to look up at the sky as high as possible with the windows rolled up. He saw nothing unusual, just blue sky. Something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. All the color drained from Nathan’s face when he saw the side of a large mountain fast approaching in the middle of the road. The car was racing straight into what he could only describe as a huge mountain of rock where the road suddenly turned into a dead end.

Nathan’s mouth gaped open in an almost scream and just before panic set in, the car deaccelerated for a few brief moments as a twelve-foot area of concrete began to separate. Instead of dead-ending into the large mountain, Nathan realized the road they were driving down led to an underground government facility.  As the car moved closer to the mountain it passed through an automatic chain-link gate speeding between the opening as thick concrete doors slowly parted and with just barely enough room, the car flew through. Nathan looked back and saw the caravan follow them.

After Nathan inadvertently released the sporelings several months ago, the first thing he did was contact the British Ministry of Defense. Minister Kettle did not know what to do so he immediately called the U.S. Department of Defense at the Pentagon in Washington DC. As the world started to crumble and cities started to fall the US government was still able to secure passage for Nathan and his crew, the British leadership as well as leaders from a few other European countries to come to the Pentagon.  Nathan’s face twitched, and his eyes became unfocused at the memory of the debriefing, no the god damned interrogation by the US officials.


“Tell me again, Mr. Gray. What happened when you touched the golden scarab?” Agent Wilson asked.

“I told you, Agent Wilson. Hundreds of little black things came out of it. They started swarming around my head,” said Nathan in a monotone voice. This had been going on for hours now.

“Hundreds?” questioned Agent Wilson. “How is it possible that hundreds of those things came from that tiny scarab? It seems impossible to me,” said Agent Wilson, flatly.

“I told you. I don’t know how it happened. But it did.” Nathan was at his wit’s end, answering the same questions repeatedly.

Agent Wilson shook his head. “All right, Mr. Gray. We’re done for now,” he said.

Nathan watched Agent Wilson as he turned and left the room. Sweat was pouring from Nathan’s face.

“What have I done?” he asked nobody, his voice cracking. “If only…. If only I didn’t investigate that damn pyramid, none of this would be happening. Good god, what have I done? How could I be responsible for all of this devastation?” He began to weep.

The door opened, and Alec entered the room. The agent that escorted him pulled the door closed and it shut with a loud thud. Alec spotted Nathan weeping and ran over to him.

“Nathan. Are you ok?” he asked.

“Alec. Oh, Alec. This is all my fault,” cried Nathan.

“What? What’s your fault? I don’t understand?” said Alec.

“This. All this. The spores. The destruction. The trouble we’re in. It’s all my fault,” Nathan said, despair in his voice.

“Nonsense, mate. You couldn’t have known there were those… those things in the queen’s chamber. There’s no way, any of us would have even dreamed that,” said Alec.

“But it was me. I was the one who…” Alec cut Nathan off, sharply.

“I said nonsense! There was no way any of us would have known. Stop this. Pull yourself together, man. We’ve got more immediate things we need to worry about!” said Alec.
Just then the door opened again, and Agent Wilson walked through the door.

“Mr. Gray. I need you and your team to immediately pack your things and get ready to leave,” said Agent Wilson.

“Leave? What do you mean leave? Where are we going?” Nathan asked

“Just pack your things and get ready,” commanded Agent Wilson. After a short pause, he added, “The President would like to speak with you.”

Nathan and Alec just looked at each other. Neither one of them said anything.


Alec shook Nathan’s shoulder and said, “Snap out of it, mate. We need to pay attention here.”

Nathan shook his head slightly and noticed everything become dark as the car continued down into the core of the mountain facility.

“It’s a bloody underground bunker,” said Alec.

“I’m surprised it still standing,” said Nathan. “Everything the American’s build is rubbish.”

“Well, Nathan, you’d better hope this place was built by foreigners. This whole damn planet is going to shit,” said Alec.

The car finally came to a stop in front of another set of doors. These were not made of concrete but metal, presumably steel perhaps even titanium. The huge metal door looked something like a bank vault door with a big wheel attached to the front of it, but also with a pair of electronic keypads, one on each door. The door was obviously unlocked as it was open wide enough for at least two men to pass through, shoulder to shoulder.

Agent Wilson was the first to get out of the car and walk back to the rear car door to let Nathan and Alec out. He opened the door. “Gentlemen, please follow me,” he said.

Nathan and Alec got out of the car and followed Agent Wilson. Others from the cars in the caravan that followed them also got out of their cars and began to follow too. They walked past the vault-like door and entered a long hallway. About a hundred paces there was another set of doors which resembled the entrance to an elevator, but there wasn’t any call button, just a black panel with a circular lens in the middle and a keypad at the bottom, about head height on the right-hand side of the wall.

Alec looked at Nathan and then at Agent Wilson, then back at Nathan. Nathan shrugged his shoulders. Agent Wilson stepped up to the panel on the wall. Nathan and Alec watched as he placed his face closer to the panel. It lit up with a bright, thin beam of red light and scanned Agent Wilson’s eye. A computer voice spoke from a speaker on the wall panel in response to Agent Wilson’s actions and said, “Identification scan. Special Agent, Harold Wilson, Secret Service.” After a short pause, the computer said, “ Identity Confirmed. Entry is permitted.” The elevator doors slid open.

Agent Wilson stepped back from the wall panel and motioned for everyone to enter the elevator. Nathan took a deep breath and followed Alec into the elevator, which was larger than he expected. Agent Wilson stepped into the elevator and looked at the floor selector. There were only two buttons. He pressed the bottom button, the elevator doors closed and they began to descend.

Nathan felt his stomach rise toward his chest as the elevator moved rapidly downward, faster than any elevator he’d ever been in before. Everyone was quiet for the ride down, so much so that he could hear himself breathing rapidly and realized he was nervous. On the way down from Washington, Agent Wilson told Nathan that not only did the President of the United States want to speak with him, but also the British Prime Minister, the German Chancellor, the French President and the Australian Prime Minister. No wonder I’m sweating he thought.

The elevator came to a halt and after a few seconds, the doors opened into a large control room. Nathan scanned the room with his eyes and noticed there were huge TV screens at the far end of the room all showing some horrific scene from different parts of the world. About two-thirds of the way in he saw a large oval conference table with finely dressed men and women sitting around the table. There were also heavily armed soldiers between where they stood now and the people at the table.

As Nathan and the rest of the party started to walk out of the elevator, Agent Wilson held his hand up indicating they should halt. The soldiers didn’t move, but it wasn’t because they were ignoring the group coming out of the elevator, it was more like they were coiled up and ready to strike at will. Agent Wilson cleared his throat. “Excuse me, Mr. President,” he said.

A man in a dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie stood up. All the people sitting at the oval table turned their heads and all eyes seem to be glaring right at Nathan. The room fell silent for only a moment, but it seemed like an eternity to Nathan.

“Agent Wilson. Is that him?” asked the President.

“Yes, Mr. President. I have brought Mr. Nathan Gray and his team, just as you requested,” said Agent Wilson.

“Good. And just in time too. We had a new development in just the past few minutes,” said the President, gravely.

Nathan’s nose crinkled in confusion. “a new development, Mr. President? What… what new development?” he asked.

“Yes, a new development, Mr. Gray. Just look behind me at the screens,” said the President. He motioned to the large monitors in the back of the room.

Nathan’s eyes widened, and his mouth fell open, speechless. On all the monitors, he saw the same thing. Reporters of every nationality all pointed their camera’s up toward the sky. On every screen in every location across the globe, the scene was the same. Massive large, black sleek alien ships hovered over Earth’s remaining major cities.

“It appears, Mr. Gray, that we have made first contact,” the President said.


End of Part II

That’s all for now folks. Please feel free to like, comment or share our journey! Let’s see how this story develops in our next installment, Part III which I will post next week!

Happy New Year!

The Making of a Short Sci-Fi Story. “Sporelings” – Part I – 1st draft

I am currently taking a short story fundamentals class online. I decided to write about this experience in a series of blog entries that will document my journey as I develop a short science fiction story as part of my class experience.

I am currently taking a short story fundamentals class online. I decided to write about this experience in a series of blog entries that will document my journey as I develop a short science fiction story as part of my class experience.

I plan to the blog everything from the first drafts, to the revisions, and edits to the eventual final draft as I work through the process and learn the art of writing short stories. This particular short story will be approximately 5000 words.

This story itself will be written and revised over the course of the next few weeks! I decided to tackle this story in three parts and model it off of an anthology idea that I was once a part of but never got to finish because the anthology group fell apart and everyone went their separate ways.

This short story is a work of science fiction. It will be written in three parts. Part I will introduce a grim Future. Some cataclysmic event will change the world. This will be a world-building setup and quick character introduction. Part II will cover what happens in the last 5 minutes in this word that has a grim future. In other words, what happens as a result of this drastic change. Part III is what comes next. How does this world continue after a cataclysmic event? What does the future now have in store?

I haven’t decided on a title yet. The working title is “Sporelings.” As the story develops and as I go through short story fundamentals class, we’ll see if there is a need pick a more descriptive and appropriate title.

All right then, let’s get right into it!


“Sporelings” – Part I – 1st draft

For thousands of years, mankind has been driven by insatiable curiosity to study the great pyramids of Egypt. What secrets hide inside these ancient wonders? Could they hold the key to mankind’s future, or perhaps missing links to the past? The quest continues…


 Present day—El Giza, Egypt— The Great Pyramid

After eleven previous investigations over the past decade, Archaeologist Nathan Gray and his team once again entered the queen’s chamber of the Great Pyramid. This time they were equipped with the excavation robot, SARTI (Standard Archaeological Robotic Technology Inc.). A small remote-controlled robot, SARTI was able to scale narrow shafts and scan targets with infrared and ultrasonic waves.

“Alec,” Nathan said. “The target is above the queen’s chamber. That two-meter slab is where I need the bloody robot.”

Alec Cooper, the team’s chief engineer, tapped on the computer interface. “We’re ready, Nathan.”

SARTI began the ascent.

As the monitors came to life, the team eagerly watched the robot climb to the top of the shaft. A few minutes later, SARTI rotated and began a heat scan.

Twenty minutes passed, and a frustrated Nathan glared at Alec. “Oh, for crying out loud, that godforsaken thing is bloody useless. There’s nothing but rock.”

“Hold on,” Alec said. “Give it another few minutes. Let SARTI run the full program.”

The screen went dark. A scan using low-frequency waves began, followed by one with ultrasonic waves.

Nathan watched the screen for a few minutes more, then scowled, impatient with the lack of progress. “Still nothing? How much did the bag of bolts cost us anyway?”

“Bloody hell, Nathan, give it a few minutes, man!”

The computer signaled a target, displaying the ultrasonic image of a dark oblong shape in the center. Alec pointed to the monitor. “Look, there, SARTI found something.”

“Brilliant!” Nathan couldn’t turn away from the screen. “Well, get a move on,” he said. “Go! Go! Tell that idiotic robot to bring it here!”


Several hours later

Once SARTI had brought the artifact from the queen’s chamber, Alec put on protective gloves and reached inside the specimen tray. Carefully, he picked up the object. “Outstanding,” he said. “It’s a golden scarab. You suppose it’s some type of jewelry?”

Rubbing his chin with his fingers, Nathan stared at the scarab in Alec’s hand for a few moments. Puzzled, he reached for the shiny golden bug. “Jewelry?” he repeated Alec’s question, pausing for a moment, contemplating on an answer. “Hidden between the queen and king’s chamber. I wouldn’t think so.” He gently picked up the scarab and rolled it over in his hand. Look here, there’s something more!” He pressed his finger down lightly on the scarab’s head.

It snapped open.

Nathan’s eyes widened with awe. Darkness rested in his palm, an empty void, as though he peered straight into a black hole from the deepest space.

“What is it?” Alec asked. “What do make of that?”

Nathan didn’t answer. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the darkness inside the scarab. What have we found? he thought, full of wonder. A dark, bottomless, pit … inside a golden scarab? “It can’t be,” he whispered.

The scarab began to grow hot in his hand. “Damn!” He dropped it, the palm of his hand blistered.

“What the hell?” Alec said, slowly backing away. His gaze remained locked on the dusting of dark, odorless material rising from the scarab. “You think it could be a type of fungus maybe, or spores?”

“Yes,” Nathan whispered. “They… they look like tiny… sporeling” The name just came to mind. As he watched, the dark mass pulled into a tight circle, then pulsed. Nathan jumped when the circle loosened and doubled in size above his head. Seconds later it repeated the process. It’s breathing, he thought. But getting bigger on every exhale. The first twinges of unease tickled at his mind.

The sporeling were multiplying at an alarming rate!

“Let’s get out of here!” Alec yelled. “Nathan, we don’t know what it is!” He turned to run from the room, not waiting to see if Nathan followed.

But Nathan hadn’t heard him, too mesmerized by the growing void of darkness above him … so much like the one he’d viewed inside the scarab. A black hole being birthed into a gateway in the ceiling.

Terror struck Nathan at the thought; it tore through his guts, a cramping, almost crippling pain. What if the black swirl above him pulsed again and sucked him in?

He didn’t wait around to find out.

Nathan ran.


In less than a week, the sporelings Nathan accidentally released from the scarab had spread across the planet. It didn’t take long because every time they pulsed, the dark cloud doubled in size, releasing more of their progeny into the air. At the end of the tenth day, the swirling mass floated down and settled into the soil. It attached to all plant life and began to manipulate their basic structure on a cellular level. Fragile flora, green stems, leaves, and flowers were transformed, turned black and indestructible. Botanists learned the shiny obsidian material affected every variety: cacti in the hottest desert, worldwide forests and jungles, and algae and seaweed in the deepest oceans.

Nothing was spared.


It took only ten days to send the world into chaos. As the plants continued their metamorphosis, they began to pulse, releasing more toxins into the environment. Desperate scientists searched for ways to combat them but were defeated at every turn. Volcanoes erupted, earthquakes rumbled, tornados and hurricanes wreaked havoc. The land waged war against man, destroying everything in its path.

Cities crumbled.

People died.

Then Botanist learned the new species of obsidian plants absorbed the sun’s energy at fifty times the level of their native species. The added warmth quickly raised surface temperatures. Polar caps melted, but the newly released water evaporated almost immediately—along with the water in every river, lake, and ocean. It soon created a canopy of water in the stratosphere causing a greenhouse effect below. The increased atmospheric pressure made the oxygen and carbon dioxide richer.

But would anyone be left to reap the potential rewards?


On the twelfth hour of the twelfth day after Nathan released the sporeling, the alien plants reached maturity. Almost as one, the shiny obsidian leaves turned upward toward the heavens and began a rhythmic pulse. The few people still left watched, worried it might be a signal of some kind, a beacon.

But a signal to whom?

Or what? 

End of Part I

Ok! Now, as I submit my work in the class and as I get feedback, I’ll post revision, edits and of course when it’s time, Part II or what happens int he last 5 minutes in this grim future!

Dreydak – A World of Warcraft Fan Fiction Story (Revised Edition)



Journey to Grom Gol

Dreydak smashed his fist down hard on the dark wooden guardrail as the dock master unhooked the last metal chain link mooring from the Zeppelin. “Grom Gol Base Camp” he muttered through gritted teeth. Peering down at his fist, he slowly uncurled his thick fingers, flexing them a few times. He clenched the guardrail and looked out toward setting crimson sun and scanned the horizon as the Zeppelin slowly drifted forward and up into the reddish purple sky departing from Orgrimar. Thoughts raced through his mind. Why did it have to be Grom Gol? Hasn’t’ he suffered enough? Born a Frostwolf Orc. Taken from his home as a child. Raised from a young age to know nothing but how to be a warrior. Fighting and war. And demons. Those horrific, foul smelling abominations who invaded his home world. That is what he knew and nothing more. Dreydak never even had the chance to bond a wolf as his clan elders had when they were in the prime of their youth.

Dreydak’s face tightened and he looked down at the deck floor. He realized his prime had long since passed and felt robbed of the chance to grow up the way Orcs traditionally did.
Dreydak’s thoughts wandered to the past, to memories of Dreanor, his home world and to the Demon armies who conquered it. The Demons decimated and corrupted the Orcs with their tainted green blood potions turning the majority of the race into pawns to do their bidding. Some of the Orc clans lusted for power and were tricked by the Demons, leading them into a life of submission and subservience. That’s when his race’s fight for survival began. The war with the Demons lasted many years, ending with most clans fleeing the Orc home world. Dreydak lifted his hands, palms up staring at his wrinkled skin. Once Orc skin was light brown or tan. The Demon corruption had turned their skin green. Dreydak used to have green skin. Not now though. His hands looked like the color of charred blackened meat. Dreydak lifted his head, chip up and held his hands behind his back. The zeppelin soared high above the clouds now, the sun almost set. He felt the cool breeze of the dawn air whisk through his long gray hair. His thoughts drifted again.

Dreydak thought of how the Orcs first invaded Azeroth. Immediately upon arrival to this new world, long war between the Alliance and Horde began. Dreydak was seriously injured and almost died. It was a horrible time filled with more betrayal, lost hope and vengeance. Many Orcs including friends and comrades were lost forever in what ended up being a flight from their homeland rather than an invasion. Only the resurgence of the shamanistic ways of the Orcs, the reconnection to the elements was what enabled the rise of the Horde. This sparked a change in tide for his race and is what lead Dreydak to almost fully recover from from his injuries. He was never quite right since his near death experience.

The war with the Alliance had taken its toll on both sides. Too much blood had been shed and many lost everything that meant something to them. The effects of the demon corruption were not completely gone and it drove some Orcs to madness. Madness led to an unrelenting need for blood lust. Ogrim Doomhammer, the Orc Warchief at that time, was obsessed with only one thing. Conquer this new world. Azeroth would be for the Horde. This was what led to his race’s second downfall and ultimately the fall of the Horde. The aftermath of this defeat sent Dreydak’s entire race scrambling to hide from Alliance forces or else be captured or killed. Those that were captured were herded like animals and sentenced to confinement for life in the internment camps. Some fled and went into hiding. Many others were just simply slaughtered. Dreydak grunted. It was a miracle that they all survived through to this day. “Ha!” he barked. “Survived!” he spat the words out to no one in particular.

The Orc race was headed toward certain doom until the sudden rise of their current Warchief, Thrall. This very intelligent, green skinned Orc had completely turned the tide for the Orcs. Thrall escaped from a life of slavery, abuse and being raised as a thing. Thrall refused to be a puppet at the hands of human Alliance scum. He traveled the land, rescued and subsequently recruited all Orcs he could find, freeing the beaten down and docile race and rallied them together to reform the great Horde that they once were. Dreydak’s face relaxed and a grin began to split his face. The Orc warriors followed Thrall and raised him to Warchief! Dreydak eyes became watery as he remembered what it felt like to finally feel free of corruption from the demonic taint that ran through the blood of the original Horde. Thrall lead the Horde, but not into a new war. Instead he forged a tentative peace treaty with the Alliance. Dreydak was once again a warrior of the Horde. As fate would have it, peace did not last long.

It wasn’t the Alliance who broke the peace. It was the Scourge, the undead mindless ones, driven by the will of Arthas, the Lich King. Dreydak’s jaw tightened and his eyes narrowed. These thoughts greatly pained him. His life was one tragic event leading to another. And worse still, his death and subsequent undeath was the pinnacle of his grievous existence. His soul was stolen by the hands of the Lich King. He was slain and subsequently risen as a Death Knight to serve Arthas, and become a pawn in the undead Scourge army. Dreydak, the Orc Warrior was transformed into Dreydak, the Death Knight. Granted dark powers by Arthas and stripped of his own will, Dreydak was forced to spread death and disease across all of Azeroth. His actions, his life, his very essence was controlled by pure evil. He had no sense of self control or free will nor was he able to determine right from wrong. How honorable was that for an Orc? It was the largest insult and desecration of the honor code that an Orc could endure. Over time, the Horde and Allince were able to defeat Arthus and all evil ties to the Lich King were broken. Death Knights gained their own free will back but their mortality, or immortality that was unknown. Dreydak was already dead. How could the dead walk? How could the dead die? This was something he had yet to resolve. At least the Warchief gave his kind a second chance, much to the behest of the majority of the Horde. Thrall accepted the Death Knights back into horde and in fact granted them boon. He named them to positions of honor for the sacrifices they endured at the hands of Arthas.

The zeppelin jerked, bringing Dreydak back to the present as he stumbled for purchase on the wooden deck. He closed his eyes for a moment and cleared his mind. Dreydak forced his thoughts to current mission. Grom Gol base Camp. A small base in the middle of Stranglethorn Vale. A hot sultry climate with lots of wildlife, vegetation and many stench ridden goblins. Also home to some of the meanest trolls on Azeroth. Not that goblins or trolls really bothered Dreydak all that much though, it was mainly the sultry climate. He was a Frostwolf Orc. His blood preferred the colder environments over the hotter ones. He grimaced. Couldn’t his commander have dispatched him to Winterspring! Or maybe given him another tour in Northrend! But Stranglethorn? Even the harsh blizzards of Northrend were more appealing right now. He felt more at one with the elements in Northrend. Perhaps, just maybe, he could even find a frostwolf and try to bond with it. Something he never got to do, something he longed to do before his death. His brow furrowed. Is its possible to die again? I’m undead already. His eyes darted from side to side. Could an undead Orc even bond a wolf? It was still confusing for him. He shook his head and tried to clear his mind again.

Grom Gol Base Camp. Not Northrend, not Wintergrasp, just the sizzling hot Jungle. He had to accept the fact he was on his way to Stranglethorn. He decided to go below deck and found place to review his mission details. He removed the scroll from his leather script. He unrolled the and read the orders his commander sent with him. It seemed standard enough. Investigate the shortage of supplies flowing into the Horde camps in Southern parts of the Eastern Kingdoms, starting at Grom Gol Base Camp in Stranglethorn Vale. He read through the rest of his orders, but that was it. It seemed almost too trivial of an assignment for him to waste time with. Shouldn’t he have been dispatched with the force that went to investigate the sightings of that blasted dragon? Surely Thrall couldn’t be ignoring the numerous reports of Deathwing, the Aspect of Death appearing in the skies all over Kalimdor. This assignment was much to simplistic for a veteran of Northrend to be bothered with. Dreydak wondered why he was chosen for this. What was the significance? Was the acceptance back to the Horde a farce? Do the commanders believe him not trustworthy for a vital mission? Or was there some ulterior motive behind it? Dreydak lowered his head and ran his fingers through his hair. He finally decided he was thinking way too much about about everything. He stuffed the orders back in leather script and returned topside to try to relax and enjoy the rest of the ride over the Great Sea. He found an empty spot on a wooden bench covered with a comfortable feather sack. He sat down on th bench, leaned his head back and felt the cool wind on his face. In no time at all, his eyelids grew heavy.

Dreydak didn’t realize he dozed off until he was free falling over the middle of the ocean. He looked up and saw the remains of the Zeppelin engulfed in a ball of flame. He thought he saw birds. But they looked to big to be birds. And that flames! No, not flames. Was it…Yes! It was lava. Molten lava. This wasn’t some goblin fuel experiment gone wrong. The Zeppelin was attacked by dragons. And not just any dragons, but black dragons. Only black dragon innards burned hot enought to spew forth molten lava. Like the molten lava which was melting the Zeppelin above! As he fell, and tried to remain calm and not lose his senses. His mind raced. Was it Deathwing? Was it the black dragon flight? Why did they attack the Zeppelin? Panic started to set in. All he could think about was if the fall was going to somehow permanently kill him, if he was going to break apart when he slammed into the ocean below or…or what?  He had difficulty focusing his eyes and became so disoriented he no longer was sure which way was up. His thoughts, now cloudy, his head light as air, he knew he was about to black out. His instinct told him to take a breath…but that made no sense. He didn’t breathe any longer. His eyelids flickered open and he spotted the swirling ocean below which somehow turned from blue to the deepest black he’d ever seen. He was now barely conscious. Was this the end? Could it be the end? He began to recite the names of his elders, so sure he was about to die for good this time. It would be any second now, he would hit whatever that black swirling surface was and would die instantly from the impact. Just seconds before he hit, all went black.

….to be continued.


World of Warcraft and all references to people, places and things in the World of Warcraft universe are all owned by Blizzard/Activision. The story presented here is the fantasy life of one of my digital characters in Blizzard/Activision’s Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game world. I am not affiliated in any way with Blizzard/Activision nor claim any ownership to any of their intellectual property, all of their rights are reserved. This storyline is presented for the fun an enjoyment of World of Warcraft fans and is not in any way intended for profit or is it for sale. This work is intended simply for the public domain and is fan inspired enjoyment.

Links to Blizzard/Activision’s World of Warcraft website is here.

My personal take on critiquing!

Wow– I wrote an opening comment today to two different people about critiquing and after reading it back I decided it would be appropriate to share. This is my opinion on reading/sharing/critiquing with other folks…

It’s nothing official, just how I approach the subject. Hopefully, this approach might be useful or helpful to others..and if not..oh well 🙂 I tried!

I love reading work from other writers as much as I love writing and having people read my work!

As for my review/edits/critique– If I found anything which in my own humble opinion (which by the way is not necessarily “right” but rather just what I am thinking) was grammatically incorrect, perhaps has a missing word or is a bit confusing, I denote this with a comment (in Microsoft Word, using the comment feature, or in a text document I use square brackets to enclose a comment.)

I am by no means a professional writer(at least not yet), editor, or critic, but I have had a lot of experience in the amateur space. I’ve been a member of a site called for several years where I have given and received tons of critiques on all sorts of work.

I’ve self-published a short story and have experienced the joy of someone loving my work and someone hating my work and someone who is just not sure what to make of my work! All of these experiences have moved me in a common way– in the direction to become a better writer!

One thing I have learned over the years is to be upfront about a review of someone else’s work and to explain what my perspective is when reviewing it. Anything I write about your work should just be taken as a suggestion and everything I write is meant to be in the spirit of being helpful, courteous and in the air of the greater good for all writers I make acquaintance with.

You do not have to take my suggestions of course, but overall I hope whatever I share with you is helpful and received positively!

If for any reason any of my comments or suggestions make you uncomfortable, please do let me know and if you rather I do not continue on, please let me know that as well.

Again my aim is to be received positively and be helpful, but we are all humans and critique is not always well received.

So there you have it folks…my personal take on critiquing! 🙂

Keep writing!


Excerpt from Silver Icon – Drama in Corporate America!

Silver Icon is a short story about a day in the life of a typical American worker at a typical American corporation during a reduction in workforce action. Job elimination, off-shoring, and systemic layoffs to reduce costs are commonplace in today’s workforce. This is the story of Rick, an information technology worker, who experiences this ever repeating story in America.

Excerpt from Silver Icon

The walk back up is horrific. So many people with boxes piled in their arms are being led out the door. I recognize most of the faces. In fact, it’s easier to count the one or two I don’t recognize or haven’t worked with in the past fifteen years. The place looks like the Day of the Dead. The shock and awe on their faces will be burned in my memory forever. And not just the ones leaving—it’s also on the ones who are staying. It’s how I’m sure I look right now.

We press on and when we get to the security door to our department, Sally lifts her badge. I shove mine forward. She understands and lowers her arm. Click. The door unlocks. Good, I’m still employed.

We walk through the door and hurry back to our seats without saying a word to each other. Just as I’m about to sit down, Sudhir, our department’s VP, walks over to George’s office. Maybe it’s the “all clear.” A few seconds later, they are both walking down the hall toward the elevators. Sudhir has a white eight-and-a-half-by-eleven envelope in his hands. Holy fucking shit! George is about to get his walking papers.

I sit down and unlock my virtual terminal and log back in. I call up the instant messenger app and see a silver icon by George’s name. Dave’s on-line presence is unknown and has the same silver icon. This is fucked up! There’s a loud buzzing in my brain. So far that’s three names on Henry’s list, and three silver icons. This is really bad. My stomach churns and I can’t decide if it’s hunger or if I’m gonna hurl my breakfast across the desk. My chest feels heavy. Breathe, breathe…

eBook Available at Amazon and Smashwords

Trade paperback available at


A shout out to Critique Circle – Writers this is a must see!

Greetings! I hope you are having a lovely Sunday morning! Here in Long Island, NY the sun is shining, I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee and it looks like it’s going to be a great day! My first book, Silver Icon has been on sale for about a week now at both Amazon and Smashwords and I am so excited! I want to share some information to fellow writers about an awesome tool and web site that can help you with your goals to publish your own work. No, it’s not a publishing company, or any gimmick or trick. Also it’s not a magic wand!  What it is, however is a great place on the web to meet fellow authors and writers, both published and unpublished, and exchange critiques on each other’s work. I am talking about!

While I believe there is no substitution for professional editing, Critique Circle will come pretty damn close. And for the indie author on a tight budget, the price is right! Critique Circle’s membership is free! The site is a place where writers can post their work and other writers will critique your submissions. You can write critiques for other authors and form crit buddy relationships with many talented people. There is a “donation” method to become a premium member, but all of the main features of submitting and critiquing are available to all members. The premium membership, which is really a donation to keep the site running, gives you a few extra added perks, but is not required to get extreme value out of the site in regard to your work.

Critique Circle

The basic functions of the site include the ability to submit your chapters into one of the various Queues, classified by type of work or genre. The site works on a credit system. When you submit your work, it costs a minimum of three credits. When you write critiques on the work of others, you earn credits, anywhere from half a credit and up depending on the length of your critique. As other writers begin to critique your work, and as you critique other writer’s work, you’ll find buddies that can become regular crit partners! I’ve made several friends in the past two months and regularly write and receive critiques — almost daily. I’m a bit addicted to the site! 🙂

Critique Circle Submit Story

Many other useful features are available on Critique Circle. The site has a novel system, so you can chain your submissions together and crit buddies can follow your novel from start to finish. Authors can add a synopsis for their novel and for each chapter, content advisories for adult or mature stories, outlines for settings, plot and character sketches. The site also has a forum and message system so you can socialize with your fellow writers and crit partners.

Critique Circle Novel System

The credit system is nothing to worry about. I quickly became immersed in several of other author’s works, and in just reading, writing critiques and offering grammar or spelling suggestions, I very quickly grew a nice credit balance, enough to submit many chapters and stories. Since I started using the site, I’ve not ever run out of credits for submissions. I think I am actually critiquing more than I am submitting. I believe the main reason for this is because I am learning so much about writing, prose and style from the stories I read and the critique’s I have given other authors. This exchange from author to author is sharpening my writing skills as well as those of my crit buddies. The forums provide a lot of value too. For example, you can tie your story submissions to a personal forum thread–focused on that story so all your crit partners can collaborate with you and each other.

Critique Circle Forums

In summary; if you are an author on a budget, don’t have access to an editor, or just want to bounce your chapters, stories or other writing pieces off on other people to receive feedback and edit suggestions, Critique Circle’s an awesome web site to do all that! I highly recommend the site to indie authors and would absolutely welcome new critique partners!

For the official “What is Critique Circle About Page,” click here.

Happy Writing!


Silver Icon – (A Short Story) – Available now on and Smashwords!

Available now, Silver Icon. Get it at and Smashwords.

Silver Icon - (A Short Story)
Silver Icon – (A Short Story)

Silver Icon By Nick Nicholas Published:

May 27, 2012 Words: 4108 (approximate)
Language: English

Silver Icon is a short story about a day in the life of a typical American worker at a typical American corporation during a reduction in workforce action. Job elimination, off-shoring, and systemic layoffs to reduce costs is common place in today’s workforce. This is the story of Rick, an information technology worker, who experiences this ever repeating story in America. Live through his eyes as he experiences the sights, sounds and emotions of a job elimination action by his company.

Available now at Amazon and Smashwords for $1.99

Silver Icon – (A Short Story)

Silver Icon

Silver Icon

by Nick S. Nicholas

Release date:  June 2012!

I am proud to announce my first published eBook! Silver Icon is a short story about a day in the life of a typical American worker at a typical American corporation during a reduction in workforce action. Job elimination, off-shoring, and systemic lay-offs to reduce costs is common place in today’s workforce. This is the story of Rick, an information technology worker, who experiences this ever repeating story in America.

© Copyright 2012 Nick S. Nicholas, and Silver Icon Press.
All rights reserved.

An update about your’s truly….

I’ve been ultra busy the past month and a half blogging, reading, writing, moderating forums and most recently, being a critique! I have also been under a lot of stress and pressure at the day job working on a high-profile project for the past 6 weeks, so I am not exactly sure how I fit everything it!

I’ve been spending a lot of time on goodreads lately and joined a few of the groups there. Something special has happened to me as a result of participating in two different groups.

The first thing that happened was I received an invitation from Christy Wilhelm to become a forums moderator on the BTS Book Club on goodreads! I was more than happy to accept and now I am helping to moderate the forums there as well as leading monthly book discussions. And I get to choose the books to discuss! It takes up a bit of time, but it is a lot of fun too! So if you’d like to participate, join the BTS Book Club on goodreads! BTS stands for Book and Trailer Showcase a  website dedicated to showcasing book and book trailers.

The second thing that happened was in the Writers Worth group on goodreads. Lyn Midnight started a collaborative anthology project, which has grown to a big multi-media project. Lyn calls it grim5next. The written anthology will be a book of short stories. Each short story will have three parts to it. Grim Future, The Last 5 Minutes and What happens next? Hence, grim5next. There will be 12 short stories and a different author will be responsible for one section in one of the stories. That means 12 stories, 3 sections and 36 different authors to complete the anthology! I submitted a breakdown of a possible “Grim Future” and guess what? Your truly was selected to be one of the Grim Future writers! Woot! Woot! I am very excited to be working on this project! Which brings me to the next effort…

I started critiquing other writer’s stories too! During my networking at the grim5next anthology, I met an J. Whitworth Hazzard, author of the zombiemechanics blog  who turned me on to  Critique Circle. It’s a forum (with a free and a premium level of service) where writers can post stories and other writers can critique them. Not only are other writers  critiquing my stories, I am also doing the same for them–what a learning process this has been! It is certainly helps improve my writing and reading skills.

In addition to all of this, I am writing small reviews for the books I have been reading.  I’ve published some of them on this blog, but then decided to create a new blog dedicated to just my review work. I will be migrating all of the book reviews from this blog to the N.S. Nicholas Book Review Blog: Candles, Wine and  a Book site. Most of the reviews are short and sweet, but I have been influenced by a lot of my online friends lately and plan to pick up the word count in future reviews! I just need to balance my time right! The latest review I am working on is for Bone Dressing, by Michelle I Brooks.

Lastly, while keeping up with all of the above  I am still plugging away at my own work and inching closer and closer to completing my first self-published project!  I’ve updated the Works in Progress link at the top of the and split the page between Series in progress and Stand-alone works in progress, so check them out for more updates!

I would like to thank everyone who’s visited by blogs, visited me on goodreads or twitter. This whole experience is such a blast!

Yours truly,