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  • .The whole crowd cheered and jeered as the two hulking figures in black leather masks manhandled a woman towards the centre of the town square.“Hag!”“Witch!”“Burn her!”She didn’t struggle, head high, elegant despi […]

    • Hi Michael,
      I’ve only one word for this – Brilliant!! It held me throughout the story. My only moan is that I kinda knew that the Mayor would get his comeuppance, but it was great to see how. Thank you for a most entertaining read.

    • I liked the parodoxical comparison of the seemingly good and seemingly evil. Yet all is not as it seems. One thing that I could not quite figure out is the era more or less that it is set in. Some of the language and politicking by the mayor seemed modern day whereas the whitch trials make me think of a mediaeval setting.

      • I was thinking that it could be any time, even into the future if things don’t go so well.

        Thanks for reading and for your comments.

    • This was great, this mayor is such a conniving arse that I was rooting for the witch the whole time. No matter her evil ways. Her ‘last words’ were perfectly delivered. Especially about helping more towns folks than he ever would/could. Nice bit of justice at the end and I have to say, excellent use of the prompt. 🙂

    • This must go down as the most disastrous re-election campaign ever! I like the way we were following the mayor’s thoughts as he judged the crowd’s reaction. It was, as others have said, quite predictable that the Mayor would get his comeuppance but I guess that was intentional. If you’d wanted to you could have sown seeds of doubt (e.g. describing the fire starting to take hold). But there was a certain appeal for me in the anticipation and inevitability of the downfall. The only thing that didn’t ring true for me was the use of the word “glee” to describe the reaction at the prospect of the burning. For me it didn’t quite describe the bloodlust. Otherwise a very enjoyable read, many thanks.

    • Hi Michael, I also enjoyed this story. At first I was a little disappointed that it was more about the mayor, but I was happy when you later got into the head of Mistress Gowering (great name!). I only have one teeny tiny quibble: this sentence “The executioners each picked up a torch and lit it and held them against the kindling at the witch’s feet.” You can fix the it/them inconsistency with something like: “Each executioner picked up a torch, lit it and held it against …”
      Jennifer

  • Michael vK and Profile picture of NancyNancy are now friends 6 months, 3 weeks ago

  • .Cowering in a corner, huddled against the concrete wall, he looked miserable, as if the very essence of life was draining out of him and he no longer had the willpower to fight the slow decline.The guards […]

    • Hi Michael,
      I loved this. It was very descriptive. The twist, that it was an animal of so kind was unexpected, but all the signs were there when I read it through again. Thank you for a interesting and entertaining read.

    • What a sweet story. I love the way you sprinkled clues leading us to the revelation but I didn’t see it until the end. Well done.

      • Cheers Nancy,

        It’s one of the things I am practicing, the twist reveal with unnoticed clues all the way up to it.

        Thanks for reading.

    • Oh fun! I liked this a lot. Love twists that I don’t expect. That, on second reading, seem obvious. Good stuff.
      A few thoughts: I felt like you can help ground the reader, tantalize them a bit more, with a few more physical/visceral descriptions.
      Like achy bones, dry throat. What did his body feel like? What did the meat taste like? Would love to know specifics.
      Also, I think when you mention the grass, you can do it with a very light touch, brief and fleeting. Let the sentence structure mirror what the memory is doing.
      Just a few suggestions, thanks for the read!

      • Hi Wailana,

        I’ll take the suggestions on board and, next time I have a bigger word count, I will play with those ideas. Thanks for reading, I appreciate the feedback.

    • Oh lovely. I guessed he was a dog. I love how you humanized his point of view as if he were a prisoner. And of course the highest form of human would be canine.

      • Ah, but is it a dog?

        Actually, thinking about it, if I had made the protagonist female, this might have been even more powerful and confusing.

        Thanks for reading.

    • Really enjoyed reading this. Realized only close to the end that it was a dog. Although, “Rufus” should have been a good hint.

      • There were a few hints, but I tried to think of a name that wouldn’t give it away too easily, like Fido or something.

        Thanks for reading.

    • Happy for Rufus. A very heartwarming story!

    • Hi Michael. A great story. At first, I was thinking of a man on death row, or something similar. Only towards the end did I get that it was a dog. Probably in the Pound, waiting for ages for someone to want him. So long that he gave up. Until this kind lady came along. Well written and touching in the end. A great tribute for John:)

    • Hi Michael. I loved this story. I guessed it was a dog quite early on. I agree with Wailana’s helpful comments, and I definitely think this is a story worth fleshing out and working on. This seems awkward: ‘Sat outside his cell was a woman of middle years, greying hair tied up, sat cross-legged on the floor’. I think it would sound better if you said: ‘Outside his cell a woman of middle years with greying tied up hair sat cross-legged’ or something like that. I hope you keep going with this one.

      • Hi Jane,

        I’m not sure that I will be progressing this one at the moment as I am still working on my novel.

        However, I appreciate that you read it and your feedback has been noted.

    • I really enjoyed the way you drew us in, put us in the cell beside poor Rufus. I could feel the hopelessness and sadness – but I didn’t get it was a dog until the end. I had thought our protagonist was human. You did a very good job of twisting it at the end. I enjoyed reading this story and am happy that it seems things are going to turn out well for our Rufus. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Yes you did this well and I was fooled until the meat was offered. In my cynical way I worried that the meat was poisoned but that was me and it is clear that
      everyone else knew she was a kind lady coming to the dog’s rescue. I think you took me so well into the dog’s despair and resignation even I could hardly believe there was a possible good ending. Great and enjoyable read.

    • I made the daft mistake of glancing at a comment before I started reading… and found out the MC was a dog. Still, your revelation was craftily done, only confirming the ruse when you mentioned “paw” in the third line from last. You had great imagery throughout. Solid work, even if I did spoil it for myself. Take care.

      • Ah, the dreaded SPOILER COMMENT!

        I think that perhaps we should put a warning at the start of any stories that have a twist not to read the comments first.

        I appreciate your feedback.

        Thanks for reading.

  • Michael vK and Profile picture of Taryn UhlmannTaryn Uhlmann are now friends 7 months ago

  • .James crept through the forest, completely camouflaged.His years of practicing with his dad, hunting deer in all weathers, now stood him in good stead when his very life depended on his prey not seeing him […]

    • Well done Michael, quite captivating and certainly room to expand in both prequel and sequel. For some reason the use of the work “hut” kept catching me up. Could be cultural (I’d think of cabin, or some such, hut seems so temporary). The bit about the meteor at first seemed a bit clinical “he and his father were stood” and the feeling doesn’t come for a bit, and how did they come to be out to witness it, what were they doing when it caught their attention and changed/ended lives forever? Other than that bit it circled around and built nicely. You could see James becoming a haunted avenger as time goes on.

    • This read like the opening scenes of a doomsday movie. Which it was. The description is so precise, playing over all the senses, yet never ever overdone. My husband hunted with a compound bow, and your description of his weapon also did a lot to draw me in. The blood and guts were not gratuitous but all part of the chaotic aftermath, necessary and moving the story forward. Then when James missed his shot. Wow.

      I thoroughly enjoyed the read, even though it isn’t the type of story I typically gravitate toward. You have encouraged me broaden my horizons!

      • Perfect!

        Thank you for your feedback and I’m glad it rang true.

        I personally use a traditional longbow and in the UK bow-hunting is illegal, so the description is just from my research and knowledge picked up over many years.

    • Hi,
      I like the way the story unfolded, starting in a structured society and then moving from that into chaos. I enjoyed the MC you created for the story, the descriptions were very clear and the story was captivating and had a good pace. Thank you for sharing!

    • this was a cracker of a read – a great apocalyptic story
      I like the premise of the boy becoming a sort of avenger on lowlifes that prey on helpless people .
      I think your prediction of the thin veneer of civilization being discarded as all authority loses its hold on its populace is very true to life. Just look at Haiti as a case in point. Any authority, even a corrupt one, is better than nothing at all.

      A nice, satisfying read. now where to from here?? – this could easily become another series Michael!

    • Pacy and tense writing, Michael. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The risk would be that the needed exposition of the meteor strike would bring the story to a standstill, but you struck a good balance and only provided what we needed to keep up. I wondered about this line: “James waited for fifteen minutes before he saw the barrel swing away.” Fifteen minutes seem like a very long stretch of time to sit still and watch your six. Maybe the villain is much more patient than I am. The second thing to nitpick on, is the spurt of blood coming from the clipped ear, which also seems like too much. These are minute details though, and the story overall is vividly told and a great read.
      Take care.

      • Hi Cobus,

        I think you’re right, 15 minutes is a very long time. I wanted it to illustrate James’ patience, but perhaps I could do that with three minutes instead, or even just a couple.

        As for the spurt of blood… ears do bleed profusely and I was struggling to think of an alternative word for spurt within my word count. Perhaps I will revisit this.

        Thanks for reading, and your comments.

  • .NOTE: The text in brackets is spoken between minds. This is a continuation of Jenvik the Nature Mage’s story but it stands alone too.The humble exterior of Rostick’s abode belied the luxurious interior that J […]

    • I like the idea of ropes and pulleys to get to items out of reach, adds nicely to the setting. This was a great scene / snippet from your series. Also perfect as a standalone. Nice job, it’s always hard to make parts of a whole stand by themselves.
      The magical bits of the story also feel natural, like everyday occurrences and things in this world of yours.
      I spotted a spelling error, dyed is the right word for the rugs. 😉

    • Thank you, will fix that. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Hi Michael,
      I enjoyed this. I especially liked the description of Rostick’s home. I could see it in my mind’s eye. Jenvik is also a fascinating character. Thanks for such an absorbing read.

    • This story stands alone nicely! I especially like the way you describe Jenvik’s desire and yet emptiness for wanting quiet and silence. It’s a human feeling! Thank you for sharing this story.

      • Thank you for reading it. I really appreciate specific comments like this which highlight a particular passage, either good or bad, as it helps me improve my writing.

    • Now I’m interested in Jenvik’s tale. It seems like she is a different type of creature than Rostick. And he is a gnome, correct? I enjoyed your story, just one suggestion about the dialogue at the beginning. I suggest you wait for her to answer about the Tea? before having Rostick continue talking. Thanks for sharing your story! What is the significance of 285? Have you written that many scenes related to this larger stor?

      • Hi Becky,

        Good call on the dialogue, I’ll fix that.

        Jenvik is a human girl, 15 years old, who is on a mission to stop magic from being lost in the world. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s the only one who can because her genetic makeup gives her stronger powers and a speciific affinity to the required skills to get it done.

        I started this story during the first lockdown and yes, that is the chapter number. You can find about 70 of the early chapters on here.

        Enjoy!

        Thanks for reading.

    • Hi Michael. This is my first read of Jenvik’s journeys and I am thoroughly enjoying being transported into this world of magic and little people and little homes and an MC who is young and fearless as she embarks alone to fantastical places and meets gnomes and other interesting characters. Thank you for letting me into your world. On a lighter note, I would like to place an order for a noise cancellation invention that is portable and does not involve me having to put on headphones.

      • I think we could make a fortune if we could invent one!

        Thanks for reading this episode; you can find others by searching “Nature Mage” on this site.

    • I always enjoy reading your Jenvik tales! This works well as a stand-alone and the personalities of your characters are distinct and well drawn even though it is part of a larger piece. I loved the interaction between the badger and poppet. I was curious why their thoughts penetrated the silence spell. I’m sure you have a reason and I’d love to know it as a reader.

      • I will clarify that in the next installment but, basically, because they are right outside and are attuned to Jenvik they are louder than the general background hubbub that she has to focus on more carefully to make sense of (I think).

        Thanks for your continued interest and your comments.

    • Hello Michael, Nice to see the saga continue. The evolution of Jenvik’s relationship with Rostick still includes a sense of wonder (will they help each other improve their craft, become fast friends, fade apart, be at cross purposes?) It keeps this reader engaged and interested.

      • Thanks Teresa.

        I had envisaged Rostick as a mentor figure initially, but, although he has some knowledge that will help Jenvik, I think she’s already outgrowing him in other ways. We will have to see where it leads…

        Thanks for reading.

    • The opening is so warm and inviting, and the remainder of the story did not disappoint. It worked well on its own, but I am glad there is more to this story.
      I loved the dialog and the precise description that reveals character.
      I think I will go make some tea because at 12:25 AM it is finally quiet in my house. LOL!

      • Thanks for reading and for your continued interest in my writing.

        I am at over 115000 words on this story now and still going on my first draft.

        More world-building to do and trying to get Jenvik to a sensible conclusion for this first story.

  • Michael vK and Profile picture of CobusCobus are now friends 9 months, 1 week ago

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