My Constant Companions – Patience & Hard Work

@lkkelley1
LK Kelley – Author of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy. #lkkelley #whitewolfprophecy @lkkelley1 on Twitter

“Patience is its own reward,” and “Work hard, and you will realize your dreams”.  These are two quotes that we hear over and over throughout our lives. This leads me to say that patience and hard work are my constant companions.

And, it’s true.  However, if you’re going to be an author, you’d better be totally prepared to be realistic, patient, and work hard without pause.  Why?  Because you are competing with hundreds of thousands of authors all over the world.  That’s even double, triple, or even quadruple the authors, because many have far more than one book out there.

Working hard is just a first step, and it does not guarantee a darned thing.  If you’ll notice, most books and authors that are recognized are on the “Best Seller Lists” – and they stay there.  It’s not often a new author is on it.  A handful of new authors make it big, but the majority don’t.

Is it a mistake for those who make Best Seller Lists to ignore new authors?  Absolutely. So many of my followers are authors – all, like me, trying to just get their work out to the public.  And, they are really great writers, too!

Before I ever began to write, I was (and still am) an avid reader for years.  Books were my getaway from reality.  Going to a bookstore was so overwhelming, because I like so many genres, just trying to choose was a headache!  But, today?  Well, it’s e-books.  Just go to one of the big book sellers online, and see how many books there are for you to choose.  It’s almost impossible to choose!  My problem was, and still is, how to choose a book in the first place!

Well, since I became an author, there are so many amazing authors that are following me on Twitter, that helped narrow choices down for the moment.  So, I have opted to choose my followers’ books.  I just hope I can live long enough to read them!  ROFL!  I am wholly impressed by these authors.

Of course, I think the difference between a good book and a great one is editing.  Now, I’m not talking about editing  to the point that the book bares no resemblance whatsoever to the book that the author wrote, but one that has had collaboration between both editor and author to keep the author’s vision of their book intact while making it read better with the correct grammar, punctuation, and other things.  That is not to say that rules cannot be broken.  They can. After all, it’s imagination that drives all of us as authors.  But, in general, grammar, spelling, and punctuation are the most common complaints among reviewers and readers.  Unfortunately, most authors do not have the money to buy an editor.  I think this is a sad thing.  Being not only an author, but an editor, I can attest to this.

But, back to the main point of my blog.  Patience.  If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll be picked up by a large publishing house whether or not you are self-publishing or with a small, independent publishing house such as the one I chose.  But, let’s face it. Most of us will never be picked up, but some of us may make it enough to make a decent living, or even as a supplemental living.

I honestly don’t know if all the work, and PR in the world will accomplish this for any of us, but if any of us quits?  Well, that’s where failure starts.

I am going to admit something to everyone.  I have failed at so many things in my life.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the 5 star reviews, which my books have been receiving – and they are REAL book reviews, I never buy them – I have decided, for the very first time in my entire life, that I won’t quit.  Not this time.  I believe in my story trilogy.  It was fun to write them for the adult women who dreamed of the same things to read that I did. And, even those who know me who have read them, never had a clue that I could write!

I kept my books a complete secret from everyone until I had the entire trilogy finished.  Once I did, an old friend of mine I’ve known since Junior High School, and is an educator, flat out told me that I had missed my calling. She could not  believe that I could write like this!  In fact, it stunned her so much, she told me she couldn’t wait for the rest of them, and I’d better not disappoint!  Well, that put me on the hook. I had a couple of others read the first book before I ever published them, and they were so thrilled, they, too, said the same thing.

Now, for me? That was the most flattering thing ANYONE has ever said to me!  With these, along with the reviews that are being posted on Amazon, I realized that I would fail THEM if I quit – especially, when so many people I knew, and did not know, believe in my ability to write?

So.  I won’t quit.  I have made so many friends on Twitter, and other social networks, that if I decided to stop, I would not only fail them, but I would fail myself.

I will not stop, because of all these wonderful people who have so much faith in me.  So much so, that I have begun my second series, and am almost finished with my first book in this new series.  Once it is edited, I’ll have it ready for you.

And, still, I have learned a great deal of patience over the past year and a half.  I have built my Twitter followers from only  18 followers to almost 10K – every single one of them real, and I never bought any!  I won’t buy them simply because I believe in my own books.  I also love tweeting about others books, because I think it’s fun!  I expect to reach the 10K mark within then next month.  Watch for the 1 follower, 3 books coming up!

The Official Photo of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy
The Official Photo of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy

My Book Interview on Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics

It is fitting that my first #book #interview call-in should be a great TV show like Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics with hosts Deadgar Winter, Victoria Bathory, and Celeste.

I had never done anything like this before. Oh, I’ve been on TV, but not like this. Not for anything personal. I had the best time ever with these group of people! It was fun, and they had me laughing at every turn from the moment of the “mic” check to the call after the show. They cracked me up during that as well, and yet were so professional, I was amazed!

The show is hilarious, and they host old television horror flicks – something I absolutely love! Deadgar asked me a while back what my favorite horror movie was. I couldn’t believe that the very first thing out of my mouth was “The Raven” in 1963 with none other than horror greats Vincent Price, Boris Karlov, Peter Lorre, and our own, contemporary Jack Nicholson.

When you have that many greats, you know there’s bound to be some hilarious exploits, and the movie delivered! So, he put “The Raven” on for me a few months ago. He had already invited me to come on the show, but my work schedule was the pits, and I had to find a time when I’d be off so I could devote my time without rush. I mean, I didn’t want to embarrass him, or myself. I do so much better with the written word!

But, Thursday, March 12, 2015 was the perfect day! I sort of knew how things worked due to my own daughter who had been in TV for several years as a producer, but the statistics eluded me. After the mic test, I waited for about 20 minutes until I was on the show.

It was so strange for me to talk to them knowing someone was taping it! But, they put me at ease, and had me laughing. I had to think on my feet. I was prepared for the questions about my book, but not for the off-the-cuff things. However, it was hard not to be able to work with them on the spur of the moment answers.

I highly recommend this show! Wisconsin is so darned lucky to have these amazing vampire characters who have all kinds of comical friends join them on occasion. Quite frankly, I wish I could have been on the set, because they are so much fun! He has been on Channel 14 for the last 2 years, and the show has received numerous rewards. In addition, these wonderful people are extremely active within their community, and have all kinds of fun with their fans!

So, I had the best time, and it went so fast, it was over before I knew it! It was awesome, and I loved every second of it! Thank you, guys, for having me on your show. I can’t thank you all enough!

A Sidenote:  I don’t wear garlic around my neck, because this Werewolf LOVES Vampires!

~~~ LK Kelley, author of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy ~~~

From Deadar Winter’s #Website:

http://deadgarwinter65.wix.com/deadgar-winter#!

You can see our TV show in the Kenosha area on Ch. 14 Thursday nights at 9:30pm and Sunday nights at Midnight.

 In the Milwaukee are we on Ch 14 on Friday nights at Midnight, Saturday nights at 10:30pm and Sunday nights at midnight. 

You can also see the show on AT&T U verse ch 99. go to your local links.

You can also see the show out in Jefferson county on ch. 987  check your listings.

If you don’t get those channels you can go on the internet and watch us on  Milwaukeecommunitymedia.com 

We are also on YouTube and the Livestream/Vortex… 

 For our favorite clips you can now watch them on Youtube.com  Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics.

The link will be up in about 2 weeks so you can hear it!  I can’t wait!

http://firebird4554.wix.com/white-wolf-prophecy

http://whitewolfprophecymating.blogspot.com/2015/03/my-book-interview-on-deadgars-dark.html

How I Write a Novel: The Anaerris Code by guest author L.K.Kelley

My amazing friend, Valerie, ALWAYS has been he best blog interviews! I’m honored to be a part of them! Thanks, Val!

Valerie Penny's Book Reviews

My friend, L.K.Kelley, has a new book, The Anaerris Code coming out soon. I can’t wait to read it. This is how she went about writing it.

The Anaerris Code – Release Date: February 14, 2017

As has kind of become a tradition with my Publisher, DragonEye Publisher, my initial book will always be released on February 14! What better day to release a Romantic novel?

wolf 3Many people already know my personal and writing background, so I’m going to give an overall into how I write. But, since my first book series, I want you to know that the first book in my White Wolf Prophecy series has won an award for best ebook sales, and the series, itself, is 5stars!

I have been asked where the heck I came up with the name, Anaerris. Well, here’s how! I just bandied some words around, until I ended at Anaerris. Truth…

View original post 1,001 more words

Why? Why?

The last couple of weeks has been hard for Americans.  Shootings and killings abound, yet we still always seem to ask the one question we all have…

“Why?”

We are a nation of diverse people. It’s what makes us strong.  It’s what makes us come together when evil strikes.  There are always a few who try to incite hatred when some criminal does something that harms or kills another.  And it is even easier when they blame color, race, creed, or religion. But, it’s not about color, race, creed, or even religious reasons.   It is about a criminal.  And, we lose sight of this.  When these things happen, invariably, man seems that he has to try to find an answer as to why this happened; why did the perpetrator do this; what could have we done differently;  were there signs pointing to the act?

Mankind has to have an answer – even if there is none.  Sometimes, a person is just bad.  Sometimes, there is a misunderstanding.  Sometimes, there just is nothing that could have been done. And, frankly…sometimes there isn’t an answer at all other than the person is just bad!   

We suffer from an unerring condition that has to find an answer no matter what.  Sometimes, the answer is in the perpetrator who leaves a message whether on a social media, note, or tells someone else.  So, why do we not believe the criminal when these appear?  It’s because we have an inherited believe that no one is bad.  And, even worse? Today, there has to be a reason for a criminal act, and sometimes? There just isn’t one!

The answer is?  There may not be an answer.  We go looking for an excuse to exonerate a criminal in order to make explain it.  Then, we ask…what we could have done to stop it it?  Again, the answer is “we don’t know”.  It is NOT in the real of  an average person to notice something is wrong in another person’s behavior. The belief that a loved one, or friend, or Co-worker saw the signs and said nothing is idiotic.  We don’t see the “signs”, because we are too close to the subject, or no one actually does notice any change.  So, the fact is that blaming someone for not noticing anything is superfluous. And wastes time.  The signs might be there.  But, perhaps they weren’t.  By blaming others for not noticing something was wrong ahead of an act of violence, causes guilt.  This is wrong.

Weapons can be obtainediillegally.  But, think about this.  Did the weapon kill, or wound?  Someone could just pick up anything around them, and use it as a weapon. No.  It did not.  Weapons are everywhere.  But, removing them from everyone is also not the answer, because most who own them are not evil.  They are simply people exercising their rights as Americans.  

Our right to bear arms (regardless of what kind), was put into place for one specific reason – The Conquering of the United States of America by a specific group(s).   The arms afforded to American citizens were done so that they could form a militia just in case we were ever attacked by either an external or internal force.  As long as the people can arm themselves, no one group or country can take us by force easily.   It was to defend property and life whether one’s own, or this country.  

It matters not if a criminal obtains weapons.  What matters is HOW they obtain them.  A criminal will NEVER obtain a weapon legally.  While that may not always be the case, it is in the majority.   And, that is what is TRUE.  There are plenty of other criminals willing to sell illegal weapons to illegal criminals! They need nothing else!  Taking away weapons from law-abiding citizens is not the answer, because the criminals will STILL get the weapons!  

It is important that we all remain vigilant. That’s what Abraham Lincoln warned us about in the first place!  He told us that we should always remain vigilant, but no one said we would catch every single bad guy before, or even after, the fact!  The pain we have all seen recently is truly sad.  It’s not what we want to see.  If there was some magical way of telling the criminal before they  ever commit a crime, don’t you think we would have found it by now?  There is not key to this.  

But, we continue to try to make reason from the unreasonable, and it just cannot be done!  Bad things do happen. That’s something that we can never get away from no matter how much we want it.  It’s been that way since the beginning of time, and it isn’t going to   change.  All we can do is handle it from the aftermath. We can’t turn the clock back, and this will continue throughout the time of man.  Should we curl up and hide?   Of course not.  If we we did, the criminals win..  No. We go on.  There is no other choice.

Editing: Mediocre Book vs Best Seller

IMG_2309
5* Author LK Kelley

Reading has always been my very favorite thing to do all my life.  But, since e-books have appeared, the book world of books has exploded, and competition is everywhere! Everyone writes today. That’s easy to see based on the thousands upon thousands of books published every day.  

When I was first asked to edit a book for another author (before I ever began writing books), I had no idea what went into it.  Once I started, I had to make up my own rules.  I did a bit of research on editors, and discovered that everyone of them had their own way of doing editing.  Well, that left me to come up with my own method. I have always been a stickler for the way I read, and it seemed that editing a book was no different. I worked with the author directly.  After all, the book is the author’s idea and story. I was just there to make it read better, and correct errors.  As I learned, along with the author, the best way to do it, my rules actually came very easy to me. Thus, I began to edit books as a Freelance editor.  I, now, not only am an author, but I also edit books for other authors, and am still a Freelancer.

After quite a while editing, I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the difference between a mediocre book and a best seller comes right down to editing. The former has little to no editing, while the latter has been edited.  Now, I know that some authors just don’t have the money, but if you are going to be serious about writing books, blogs, articles, and even websites, you need to have an editor. 

Now, the reason for needing an editor is very apparent. The biggest thing other readers and I noticed while reading, is that the number of books with little editing, if any at all.  I even have read some excellent stories, but make not mistake…readers are VERY sophisticated, and while they enjoy reading books, the grammatical errors, bad spelling, duplications, and especially the wide use of the improper use of “I and me”,  can turn them off of the book.  

Let me use the analogy of TV and Movies, because the concept is the same.  Everyone has heard  editing in these. You have even heard of leaving “clippings on the editing floor”.  Every movie or TV series has multiple editors.  Without them, no movie or series would be worth watching, because there would be too many errors in them alon. And, while a scene may be really great, it adds nothing to the progress of the story, so they delete it out in favor of a more important scene.  

Well, this is the way it is with books.  Books were the forerunner of TV and Movies.  They have always been edited. However, in this case, the editing is within the written word instead of on a screen.  It uses the “mind screen” within your head as a reader and most especially, a writer.  When we write, it is our responsibility to draw a picture within another’s mind.  But, if the words are spelled wrong, or used incorrectly, then that picture will be hard to form, and therefore, the book isn’t really very good even though the idea is pretty good. Oh, it might have a good concept, but it will lack grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.  I know all of you have had this happen.  You begin a book, and keep trying to read it, but for some reason, you just “can’t get into it”.  So, what’s wrong? It’s a great idea, but something is missing.  As you read you consciously, or subconsciously, read misspelled words, or incorrect grammar. Perhaps you read the same paragraph twice, only to discover it really is in the book twice!  Or, the characters are almost, but not quite easy to picture.  That is just poor grammar.  When a book is full of these, and believe me, I read them all the time, and most especially in e-books, the reader just shuts the book, or exits out of it on a digital reader, and won’t try reading it again.  The reader feels a bit cheated, because he/she has bought a “dud”.  

A publication – of any kind – must have correct grammar and spelling first.  This makes or breaks a book.  It is extremely possible for a writer to have a great story.  Unfortunately, if the person does not know grammar or has poor spelling, it’s harder to sell a book. The next thing is duplication.  Duplication shows up in many e-books these days.  An author does not want this, because it is very clear that the person did not even read their own book. And, in many cases, they are in such a hurry to get their book(s) published, they just let them go the way they are. It tells the reader that you are not really serious about writing, so they question why should they waste their time reading a book that not even the author cared enough to write it correctly.  

Two of the biggest no-nos in writing are:

  • Ending a sentence in a preposition
  • The huge and improper use of “I and me”

The second one is the biggest and improper use of these. It will truly ruin a book for readers.  No matter what, these two things must be used correctly! The biggest surprise for me is how it has grown exponentially – especially since e-books have exploded on the scene.  I have addressed these in another blog.

Remember…the difference between a mediocre book and a best seller is not the idea,  or a great story.  It is simply a matter of editing. So, why don’t more people use them?  It comes down to money.  Many have friends who want to help them, but they are not editors, and while some may be very good with words, they are still not editors. It’s a very nice thing, but it’s never a good idea unless the person has time and knows their grammatical skills. Every editor has his/her own prices, and not all of them are totally out of reach.  Some are reasonable. Others are higher.  For instance, one may charge by the word, while another, in my case, charge by the page.  How to find one?  Ask for references. Just like anything else you do in life, this is no different.   You would never build a house, remodel, or even replace flooring without at least 3 references. This is exactly the same thing, only you are choosing a service. But, you must do your research.  If you know of a local writer who uses one, ask them. Most writers support each other.

If writing is something you like to do on the side, and it’s really not a priority for you, then that is one thing.  However, if you are a serious writer, you NEED to use an editor.  Many large Publishing Houses have their own in house editors.  That’s something that Independent authors and some publishers just do not have.  While some do have access to an editor, most do not keep them “on staff”.

So, it all boils down to one question you must ask yourself as an author:

How serious are you about becoming an author?  

If you are truly serious, you need an editor to make your book read the very best. Why do you think books are turned into movies?  Because they had an editor! Turn your mediocre book into a best seller, and use an editor!  You will truly be glad that you did! 

 

Prologue from the Anaerris Code by LK Kelley

LK Kelly Anaerris Code Cover   

PROLOGUE

Above me, two, ancient moons shine – one of brilliant pink and white, and one of blood red and black. Both obscure one-fourth of the night sky giving an eerie light over the charred, black world below of my birth. I stand upon an enormous bluff, and stare down into the great blackened, valley while the final war rages. A massive river of red races toward the brilliant white moon – the blood of my people and his. Tears of blood stain my cheeks and clothing while I watch the end of two races of beings. My race will be gone – including me. A sound behind me. I know it is he. I can feel him as I have always done since we met. Our kind should never be together, but it is as inevitable as time itself. I turn to see my attacker’s body which no longer has his head attached. Blood gushes forth from it. I meet meet his frightened eyes, and follow his down to the fatal wound in my chest where blood runs freely. I will bleed out in seconds.
“NO!” he yells as I begin to collapse.

He catches me long before I hit the blackened earth below me. I stare at the man I love, knowing I should not love him. We are enemies. He has no tears, but he gently cradles me in his arms, his tortured red eyes begging me with the same question he has asked many times. I can barely move my head, but I nod once knowing the precious cargo I carry for my race. I want to be with him forever. And, if I’m still alive, my own race will also continue. I must live in whatever form to save us all. His mouth lowers to my neck kissing the pulse that is rapidly quieting as my heart silences. I feel a momentary sting as his fangs bite into my neck. To be with him forever is all I ever want, and I must complete the task that I was given by the ancients. Warmth trickles down the back of my neck as I feel the liquid of life slipping from me echoing the death of my planet. I hope we have not waited too long. He lifts his head, his mouth dripping with my blood. I see in his tortured eyes that he is hoping the same. I slide gratefully into the unknowing.

Time and space stand still. For how long, I know not. I awake, naked, on a soft bed covered in crimson silk. He sits with his back to the headboard, still cradling my lifeless body in his arms – where I will always be. I lift my eyes to stare at the man I will be with forever. I am ready as his lips lower to mine while my new, strong arms pull his nude body over mine. He is not gentle with his kiss, and I would never want him to be. I kiss him back frantically feeling wetness between my legs as he spreads mine with his. He plunges into my heat sheathing himself as deep as possible, and thrusts hard and fast into my body. My hips meet him with the same desperation and desire. I need him like I do not need air to breathe. As our orgasms reach their climax, I feel his hot seed jet into me. I can feel it enter my womb! He has so much! He stills, and I open my eyes that I know are still ripe with inhuman desire. I stare at the couple that is reflected in mirror above our bed. My bright red eyes look back at me. I am whole again, and in the arms of my great lover for all time to come.

It is time. He shows me the crystal that I had entrusted to him, and I breathe a sigh of relief. I must make sure that the Codex is written, and both it and the crystal must be kept apart. Both are dangerous alone, but together would cause unimaginable chaos. Our race has always been banned from writing about our history. I have been charged with the written word in an indestructible methd. But, I will use not only my own powers, but those given to me by my mate. I will make sure that we do not lose our heritage. If we must sacrifice our own lives, then so be it. At all costs, the one safeguard I carry must be kept safe until a time when the “gem” is needed.

Time ceases to exist in the realm we chose for its magic, where an ancient friend of mine offered to help. An ally who believes, as do we, that nothing can be left to chance. It is time to travel to one place the Council would never expect us to hide the book. As for the crystal? My love has given it to one we know we can trust to protect it, sending him to a primitive planet known as Earth. And, we will hide the flesh-blackened codex – sealed with the most terrifying of magic that cannot be opened by any living soul, or they will die. My magical friend sees the future, and tells us that a time will come when both crystal and book will join together. Because of this, she sends an envoy with the “gem”. And, now, we are leaving behind the only the only one who has the power to open and to read… the codex. It passes into legend and myth.

Exerpt from the Anaerris Code, by LK Kelley

Coming in 2016

 Time became superfluous as Gem tossed and turned. Her dream was miserable! Around her was volcanic ash, lava, and eruptions! It made the planet red, but part of it was black and gold as well. It was too fucking hot! She was almost sweltering in the heat. Gem’s eyes barely opened, then closed again, because they seemed to burn. But, she was still hot, and sweating so hard, she was completely drenched. Her hair was so wet, it was like she’d stepped out of a shower, but it was plastered to her head and neck. She might as well have just been dumped by salt water! Hot salt water! Her body was stiff as if she had been laying in the same position for hours if not days.

This is just not right!” she said to herself. “This dream is not real, so wake the hell up, Gem!”

Forcing her eyes to open, they were matted with a lot of gunk. It’s the only description of it at the moment. She rubbed her eyes trying to remove it, before looking around her. Well, for one thing, she hadn’t dreamed about the heat. Wherever she was, it was horribly hot! Squinting, she realized that her focus was off due to the heat, but she managed to catch large features. Overhead was rock. She tilted her head to the right to see – rock. Then, she tilted it to her left knowing, but hoping, it wouldn’t be what she thought.

Nope, that’s rock, too,” she muttered. She remembered being kidnapped by a gigantic bird, and it took her into the air!

Rubbing her head, again, she asked the rocks, “Exactly, where is it written that the captive has to be put in a jail of rock? Oh, right. The villain would find the best place where she could not be tracked. Well, this qualifies!”

In all the books she had ever read, this was the norm. The heroine was kidnapped, and put somewhere that would ultimately lead her to her doom.

And, beneath her? Rock, what else? Confused, Gem knew it was far too hot, and any physical exertion just made her sweat even more. What she wouldn’t give for a cold shower and a monster bottle of water right now! She licked her dried, cracked lips, remembering the giant bird that had swooped down out of nowhere! The wings had knocked out Jaxx as if he were a puff of wind, and then, grabbed her neck by its talons. That reminded her. The back of her neck was hurting, and she reached up behind her only to draw her hands away covered with sticky, drying blood. Her blood.

Well, there’s a ‘not’ surprise!” she muttered, again.

OK…no matter what, she had to at least force herself to sit, and take her bearings. Try to figure out where she was. Slowly, she maneuvered her sore body into an upright position. Wincing with each move, Gem glanced around, while frequently wiping off the salty sweat that was burning her eyes, so she could at least see. The room couldn’t have been bigger than a small bathroom, and it hurt like hell to turn around. But, she managed, and to her surprise, there were iron bars that “barred” her exit. She broke into loud gulps of scared laughter at her pun. Oh, hell! She was becoming hysterical as if she needed that in addition to everything else at the moment!

Fucking get a hold of yourself, Gem!” she ordered.

After her laughter died down, she was surprised at other senses. She smelled…sniffed a couple of times…smoke? Smoke? No. Not exactly smoke. More like steam with a horrible stench. It reminded her of chemistry class in school, because it was so nauseous. She tried to remember why, but her mind wasn’t working well, yet. But of one thing she was certain. She was in a cave. She looked closer at the rocks, and noticed it was catacombed with jagged holes, and in the dim light, the color looked dark rust except for the floor, which looked as if had been polished smooth. And, there was light! But, where was the light coming fromat the moment? As she looked around, Gem noticed that the reason she could see the rust color was that there seemed to be something behind the rocks that was making the glow! That made no sense whatsoever! Whatever that big bird was, how did it drop her into this God-forsaken place? She rubbed her back as she tried to slowly stand, failing miserably as her feet slipped out from behind her, falling to the rock floor.

Ouch! Well, that’s just great! The rock is slippery!” she whined, feeling more blood on her back. She turned, and looked at that stone floor. A small pool of her blood was laying underneath where her head and back had been, and it was bubbling as if it were beginning to boil! That was enough for her to jump up quickly – a bit too quickly, which caused her head to whirl.

Slowly, trying not to keep her head from falling off of her neck, she grabbed the wall to keep from falling down. Her hand drew back at the intense heat that met her palm. She held it out in front of her seeing the seared red palm, and fear gripped her. Feeling like an inchworm who could only move a quarter of an inch, Gem reached out to touch the rock wall, again, drawing her hand back fast for a second time as she felt the heat coming from it.

Bloody hell!” she yelled hoarsely, shaking her reddened and burned hand. “Where the fuck am I? It can’t possibly get any worse than this!”

And, as always, the very minute you ask that question…well, we all know that is exactly when the shit hits the proverbial fan!

Of course, I shouldn’t have said those fucking cursed words!”

She looked around, again, this time without touching the walls. She noticed a tiny hole in the wall at floor level was glowing a brighter orange. In seconds, she saw something that made her scream, but with no sound. The terror and shock that consumed her was so strong, she backed up against the nearest wall regardless of the heat! Was this the way her life was going to end? If so, just the thought of how she was going to die made her gag, and she begin to throw up.

Dry heaving after emptying her stomach’s contents, she wiped her mouth, then her eyes fixed on the tiny, thickened, orange rivulet that was flowing toward her. It was just a thin ribbon at the moment, but it was just a matter of time that the slow moving stream of orange would grow as it melted the rock around the tiny hole.

Why?” Gem breathed softly the one word you should never ask, because you usually never received an answer. Or, if you did, it was never what you thought it would be.

The rivulet of brilliant, glowing orange with tiny flames erupting now and then had Gem’s eyes growing larger by the moment, especially when she realized what was lighting up the cave around her.

Lava?” she whispered in shock. Louder, “I’m inside a volcano? I’m in a volcanic cave with iron bars? In a cave of lava? I’m in a volcanic prison? Ah! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”

The cave reminded her of a dead, Jabba the Hut hollowed out fossil! It certainly looked wrinkled enough. Why the hell was she even imagining that right now? Really, Gem? That’s all you have?

Reality grabbed hold of her as she continued to stare at the rivulet of orange. OK. So, she couldn’t ignore it any longer! Terror gripped her as she saw the tiny rivulet growing as it melted the rocks around her! It had already doubled in size, and was slowly headed for the iron bars! At the moment, she could keep out of its way, but she was certain that it wouldn’t stay this way for long! Her life had just been cut short by lava! In minutes, she knew that the entire back side of the cave would be eaten through by the monstrously hot lava, and fill the cave! Looking beyond the bars, she realized that the cave that she was in wasn’t actually a cave, but it must be part of even more tubes that had been carved by lava as it flowed through it in the past! Lava tubes were what they were! For the Creator’s sake! Gem’s heart pounded hard within her chest, and not only the roar of the lava behind her met her ears, but the roar of her blood vibrated within her body as well! Terrified of what would happen to her, she felt her “fight or flight” instinct arrive – only it would be flight! She sure couldn’t fight lava! What should she do? Only one answer.

Oh, God! I have to get out of here!”