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Rollin' the Bones #18

Well, well, what a nice surprise. I sure do love how the muse mixes it up for us. This one reminded me of a Dr. Who episode. Makes me wonder how some of the genre mash-ups come about, and whether those big shot writers have a secret stash of bones they cast to help guide their scripts. Ah well. Enjoy.

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Rollin' the Bones #17

Winter snow to spring warmth, the weather here in SLC has been pretty crazy since last post, though maybe not as crazy as this week's roll o' the bones. I suspect the muse o' the bones is laughing at us. It could also be that the muse is perfectly sane and last week's fire-clown roll was a good starting point for many of you. I hope it was, and I hope this week's roll gets your creativity going. Best of luck.

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Rollin' the Bones #14

It was beginning to look a lot like April here in SLC. It appears the Gods of Winter are not through with us yet. What better to do than sit at home in pajamas with a mug of some warm beverage at the ready and work through a new story prompt? I can think of little better.

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Rollin' the Bones #13

I feel like this one is a bit of a softball . . . as if my muse is trying to tell me something. Or maybe she's offering a simple setup and demanding extraordinary results. Perhaps she's reminding me that the mundane can be fantastic if viewed through the right lens. Point taken.

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Rollin' the Bones #11

Why, hello. Fancy meeting you here. Hmm? Yes, I'm with the dark haired muse over at the wine bar. Oh, absolutely, we've had several successes come from the Bones. We're looking forward to this week's post. You, too? That's good to hear. I was beginning to think I was going mad, and that the bones were only speaking to me. Oh, excuse me, I've gotta run. My muse is back. She brought a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and a spark. Best of luck to you.

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Rollin' the Bones #9

I hope everyone enjoyed MLK Day 2018. Mine went well. I'm not sure what happened to winter, but it was a gorgeous 45 degrees outside here . . . the perfect temperature to allow story ideas to ferment in the mind. Maybe today's Bones will help the process. Best of luck.

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Rollin' the Bones #7

Happy New Year! 2017 was a pretty momentous year for me as a writer. I hope it was good for you, too. Now that the big bad holiday season is over, let's get back on track. With enough hard work, we can each make this next year better than the last. Good luck!


Rollin' the Bones #5

Wow. I honestly didn't think I was going to get much out of last week's Bones, but boy was I wrong. On the third or fourth day of brainstorming, something really good came flowing out of my fingers, into the keyboard, and onto my screen. I can't explain the moment my muse strikes as anything but magical. Now I've got a pretty rad seed for a YA fantasy story. These Bones know what they're doing, whether or not I believe 'em upon first glance. I hope ya'll have had the same sort of experience with the Bones. If not, be patient and she, he, or it will come to you with something amazing that only you were meant to write. Best of luck.

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Rollin' the Bones #4

Hello, there. Welcome to this week's casting of the bones. Trolls came to mind upon first glance, but I think that may be too easy. There's got to be something new in this casting. Something that's been waiting deep beneath the surface. Maybe it's broken free and is rising, rising through our creative subconscious. Can you feel it? That tickle in your mind, like a childhood memory knocked loose by a random scent. It'll be here soon. Best of luck.

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Rollin' the Bones #2


I hope last week's Bones #1 brought you a new story, or at least something fun to work with. For whatever reason, the bones swept me into a desert wasteland where two Bedouin travelers faced a specific type of evil. Fun times.

Best of luck with this week's bones . . . 


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Rollin' the Bones #1

Heya folks,

Like many writers, my toolkit is chock-full of books and baubles, powders and polishes to help me up my writing game. A few things I've used only sporadically are the three sets of idea generating dice I picked up over the years. I figure now is as good a time as ever to employ them, and why not share their wisdom with the interwebs and whichever creative souls may be reading this blog.

So, here's what the bones have to say.

Feel free to leave your elevator pitch or story idea in the comments -- the first thing that comes to mind. Then go write your story, scene, etc.

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Watch The Expanse. Watch it now.

The Expanse TV show is frickin’ awesome. In case you were wondering.

I’m on season two, episode eight, and things are moving along well. I’m still loving the plot and the characters. Lots of good twists. I think my favorite part of the show is the world-building. It’s awesome. The environment is rich, immersive, and exactly what an SF geek like me needs. I want to be thinking about the world long after I’ve pushed pause or finished an episode. The Expanse does this for me. It’s good stuff. Lots of detail. I must be a sucker for world-building, because I got the same thing from Valerian (as mentioned in a previous post). The dialogue and story didn’t bother me because I could do without them. Just leave me in the environment, the badass immersive world, and I’ll be fine. I can imagine my own stories, create my own adventures, thank you very much.

So there you go. If you want to snare me as a reader or watcher, then you’d better have an immersive world.

Nick out ###

Travel Oddities

          For me, one of the best parts of air travel is the people watching. The regional variations in dress, speech patterns, and mannerisms are fascinating. I could sit in an airport all day long and not get bored.
          I took a trip this past week. Overall, it was a good time, but we had a bit of a scare before departing the gate in SLC . . .

          I’m minding my own business, strapped into my seat, nose deep in my cellphone screen, trying to piece together the right words for a tweet about a mind-blowing Jocko Podcast I’d just finished, when I hear a male voice.
          “Ma’am, ma’am, are you okay?”
          I’m in a window seat, so I look toward the aisle.
          The woman at the end of my row is slumped over, completely unresponsive.
          “Ma’am,” the flight attendant pokes the woman’s shoulder, “ma’ma, are you okay?” Poke, poke, shake. He walks away.
          She’s still slumped over, in her mid-fifties, toothpick-thin. Her glossy white Samsung has slipped from her grip and is inching its way down her thigh, toward the floor.
          The guy in the middle seat next to me nudges her. “Hey, you okay?” Nothing. He shakes her. No response.
          My heart is racing.
           Is she dead?
          Two minutes ago, she’d been talking up a storm with someone a few rows down. She’d mentioned getting a Bloody Mary after take-off.
          Now I’m staring at her for signs of life. I can’t tell if her chest is moving. Her head is rag-dolled to the side, mouth slightly open.
          Her finger twitches, but that doesn’t mean anything. It could be a death rattle sort of thing.
          Two flight attendants come back. It’s the same man and the cute Latina from the entrance. They loom on either side of the woman’s seat.
          The man’s robotic calm is impressive. He pokes the woman and asks, “ma’am, are you okay?”
          A passenger, another mid-fifties woman, comes forward from several rows back. She pushes past the male flight attendant and really shakes the woman. “Betsy, hey, wake up.”
          The woman, Betsy, stirs. “Huh?”
          “Ma’am.” It’s the male flight attendant again. “Are you okay, are you taking any medication?”
          Betsy’s groggy as a bear in mid-winter. “I took a Valium.”
          The male flight attendant’s voice is the same smooth tone. “Are you okay to travel? Will you be okay for a three-hour flight?”
          Betsy’s barely with us. “Yeah, I’m good.”
          The flight attendants stare at her for a moment, look at each other, then leave in opposite directions.
          And just like that she’s out again. She slumps forward, folded in half at the waist. Her seat belt’s the only thing between her and the carpet.
          She does this all flight long, coming-to every so often, then blacking out again. Maybe she’s some techie’s glitchy cyborg. Might be a simple wiring problem or a faulty battery pack; hopefully it wasn’t sourced from Samsung Galaxy Note 7s…
          For half the flight, she’s leaned so far into the aisle that bathroom goers have to push her head out of the way to get by.
          She wakes up and puts her tray down when the flight attendant is about to serve us our first round of drinks, then she’s out. She may have been conscious for eight seconds. Something isn’t right. I don’t know what it is, but it’s there.
          At some point, she manages to order a drink.
          The flight attendant pushes his cart away and the woman’s head lolls toward her tray table. Her forehead is half an inch from her plastic cup of diet coke.
          “Hey,” I say to the guy next to me and point to the woman. “She’s going to hit her drink.”
          He wakes her up and she sits back. It’s twelve seconds before she’s inches from her cup again.
          Part of me is pissed. It secretly tells her she’s being an inconsiderate asshole. Why the hell should I waste my time worrying about her nosediving into her beverage?
          A bigger part of me wonders why she’s in this state. What is her affliction, and how did she come to this point? Is she sick in the traditional sense of the word, or is she a junkie who’s so far gone she’s lost all self-respect and doesn’t give a shit about what she looks like or does in public?
          It’s too easy to believe the latter. To call her an asshole in my head. It’s the weak way out, the path of least resistance.
          So I go the other route and ratchet up the compassion. I hope she gets better. I don’t think anyone would choose to act the way she is in public.
          We land.
          Her steps are unsteady. She toddles up the aisle, pulling and pushing on the seats as she goes.
          I silently wish her well and wonder if I, or anyone I love, has ever been where she is.

Background image by the ridiculously talented Elisha Frey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This means I get a small cut of what makes if you use an above link to go shop there. Good stuff. I get coffee money, you get stories.