On the Floor: Reprise and Challenge

Frank’s fabulous challenge. Read the original, read all the alternative endings, comment or write your own. Such fun.

A Frank Angle

The story below is the revised version of my first attempt at fiction. I issued a challenge to develop a new ending: a) after “The music ends” and b) in 75 words or less.

New endings will either be posted as comments on this post or as the whole story with the new ending the reader’s blog with links to this post. See the Challenge page for more information as long as it remains published.

I  encourage others to read all the endings. Do you have a favorite ending? Thanks for participating.

aFaShortStoryChallengeThe music starts – its tempo and rhythms define the dance. He approaches her table, and extends an inviting hand. She accepts. They take to the floor. He offers a hand and a frame. Again, she accepts, but looks away while in hold as if to say, “I’ll dance – but I’m not interested.”

They move to…

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Comparing Punishments for Fraud: Atlanta Teachers vs. 2008 Banksters

Perfect example of what we value, not saying what the teachers did wasn’t wrong it was. However, it did not deserve this outcome.

The Progressive Cynic

© Josh Sager – April 2015

Last week, eight Atlanta teachers and school administrators who were involved in test-fixing scandal were sentenced to significant prison time. This conclusion to the Atlanta test-fixing scandal is an unfortunate illustration of the inequities that have characterized our modern criminal justice system.

The state argued that these educators constituted an organized criminal organization that sought to artificially increase student test scores in order to gain personal bonuses. Put simply, teachers and administrators looked over high-stakes standardized testing sheets submitted by their students, erased some incorrect answers, and re-submitted them to be graded. These erasures boosted the average test score dramatically in some schools, creating the false perception that students were improving. As student scores were tied to incentive pay for educators, this resulted in thousands of dollars in bonuses for teachers.


Georgia prosecutors invoked the RICO anti-racketeering law—which is usually reserved for organized crime…

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By The Numbers: What Does Gun Violence Really Cost?

Just to add to our ‘proud’ heritage of guns, violence and turning a blind eye to both.

The Supreme Court Decision On AHCA Is One Of Life And Death For Many Americans*

This is what we are facing…consider the recently released budget by the GOP which guts ACA and takes us back to every man and woman for themselves. Most of us will be without, scrambling on a hope and a prayer.

Pain Connects Us ALL. Whether YOU Realize That Or Not.

It is important, it is vital even.

Education is Under Attack in the USA

America is being dumbed down at an alarming rate. Is this really the America we want? Apparently so since so many failed to vote.

The Progressive Cynic

© Josh Sager – February 2015

An educated population is a vital resource to any developed nation (if not a requirement for a nation to become developed).

public-education-540px (1)

On the individual level, there are numerous benefits that come from educational achievement. More educated individuals tend to make more money, live longer, and have greater career achievements than those who have less education. These individual benefits translate to societal benefits, as more educated societies tend to be healthier, more productive, less violent, and more likely to produce technological progress.

Unfortunately, the modern American right wing has become stuck in a mindset where education is derided and, where possible, defunded or privatized. The meme of the “ivory tower liberal elite” competing with the “common sense conservative” has created a justification for large portions of our nation to see education as something that is not only unnecessary, but a threat to their established ways…

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An Open Letter To WordPress

Many others have already reblogged this, I am simply sharing the genius. Goldfish has said better than I what is frustrating so many about the changes being randomly applied to WordPress, these days without forewarning and certainly without our agreement. I don’t know about you, but I am in full agreement with everything here. If like me you are annoyed you can’t see notifications on a single page, they are still there just bookmark from your site: https://wordpress.com/notifications

Fish Of Gold

Dear WordPress,

I am loath to write yet another letter to you, since I typically prefer to spend my time writing actual blog posts, but I’ve been bitching on Twitter and in your forums to no avail, so maybe you’ll pay attention to a blog post. It’s not likely, but hey, you never know.

Please, stop. Just put down whatever you’re working on and stop with the futzing. You have been tinkering under my hood long enough and you know what? None of the “improvements” you’ve made are actually improvements.

Below, you will find explanations as to why your improvements aren’t improvements sorted conveniently by feature.

Post Editor

Let’s talk about this “Beep beep boop” post editor nightmare with less than half the functionality of the old editor. Thankfully, you haven’t taken away the old editor yet. However, I fully expect that one day, I will go to write a…

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South Carolina Legislature Floats Bill To Require All Public School Students To Take NRA-Approved Gun Rights Course.

I had something else I was going to write today, this though it took the wind from my sails. I wobble between heartbreak and fury. There is a piece of me that simply shakes my head, wondering how these idiots ever got elected, then I realize apathy and ignorance sent them to their state house to wreak havoc on the next generation.

Guest Post: The Machine

tom1One of my bud’s Tom Nardone of I Am Tom Nardone sent me something he wrote and said he thought of me when he was writing it. I read it a couple of times; I understand why he thought of me so asked if he would like me to publish on my site.

Tom is a funny guy with ambitions to be Awesome, I think he already is. He writes mostly very funny stuff. He also writes about growing up with undiagnosed ADD and how this affected him and his family. He is a great advocate for the ADD community, thought I think he hides his light all too often.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to Tom Nardone and his thoughts on society, crime and punishment.


Welcome to the Machine

Some people think it is our value of Human life that defines us as a nation. I don’t hear about the Capital punishment debate so much anymore because I do not watch the news, or discuss the issues with those that do. What if we took some lessons from the American manufacturing community concerning the merits of this issue? What would that be like?

A part is born. It is a wonderful day. It makes its first trip down the assembly line. It is treated with care, just the same as all the other parts, of its kind. It goes through the various cycles, processes, and changes, and then onto the next phase in its development. This part will find other parts on its journey that are different than it is. Shortly after this union, they will now head down the assembly line being cared for again at yet another stage of their growth. All of these parts will make up the end product. All of these parts will have a function. It is this end product that the part was built for. This end product is the purpose for which all the parts exist.

Now! The end product is here. It has been a long journey for them all, they have changed so much, and been exposed to different parts and on this glorious day, they are sent out into the world to do what they were born to do.

But now there is an end product, there are expectations. All of the parts will have to work together and get along. There is no room for a part that doesn’t work. They are all expected to function, and while there is some degree of tolerance for errors, in the end it is about the whole machine. This is something that every part knows.

I suspect some of you made the comparison to a child growing up and entering the world as I told this story of parts. While I am pleased with myself for having written this beautiful analogy, I won’t say it is perfect, but for our purposes, it will do.

So this machine (earth) is going along fine and then one of its parts (you) decide to rob a liquor store. Well that is certainly not the function of that part. This cannot be tolerated by the machine because it effects too many other parts and hurts the machines ability to function.

Earth has been having a short period of error free operation, and then one of its parts decide to damage or rob the resources of another random part so that its job will be less strenuous. This is also not within the tolerance level of the machine. The machine needs all its parts to function properly.

Earth is rotating as usual without incident for a few days and then one of its parts decide to sabotage itself while still in the process of doing its job, and endangers the performance of any or all of the parts in the whole machine. This is not within the machines operating tolerance either. This is unacceptable behavior from a working part.

Let’s explore what the American manufacturing community does with the defective parts in their machine

Well there is really no need to explore this. It’s simple. All of their defective units get “SHIT-CANNED!” Let me tell you what they don’t do with their defective units. They do not put them back in the system to rework them for admittance to the assembly line where they can try again. They don’t lock them in a warehouse for a specific period of time with other bad parts. They “SHITCAN” them. They disregard their presence and never consider them again.

Is that what we should do?

In my examples we had represented by “The Machine”, three people who committed three separate crimes; armed robbery, breaking and entering and a DUI were introduced. In this country, we currently do not execute people for these crimes, but we are only aware of what they did from our narrow point of view.

If we look at the armed robbery guy, that person caused a man to be afraid for the rest of his life. Nightmares could possibly render him unable to sleep for who knows how long.

If we look at the people who had their home broken into, they have lost the comfort of peace of mind. They will worry for the rest of their life if someone is in their home while they are away.
In these two examples something was taken that can never be restored not ever.

The worst of the bunch, the DUI guy; Drinking and driving. Well what form of justice would you give to man who took a revolver and put four bullets into it, and then spun the wheel and fired into a daycare center where children were playing? Are their crimes not the same?

I hold human life as dear and as precious as the next guy. It is truly a tragedy when people die at a young age, or when people have to have a life of fear placed upon them. It is hard on the families, and friends.

In our current system, the good guys have more to fear than the bad guys.

Writers Corner – Red Dwyer

UntitledAs I awaited the arrival of the feisty and energetic Madam Red, I thought back to our first encounters with a smile and a shake of my head. Never would I have guessed, not in a million years our friendship would have blossomed to what it is today, that I would be sitting here in this fortunate position, gently tapping my foot watching the greening of the Fairy waiting for my friends arrival.

Good hostess that I am though, I want to be certain my victim quarry today is well lubricated and comfortable in her surroundings. My offering of Green Fairy’s and Chocolate Truffles are in line with Madam Red’s native roots and the Green Fairy recipe is at the end of the interview.


1. Tell us, what is your secret for keep it straight with more than one book in the works at a time how do you focus?

Think about the people you know. Each one of them is different, but most of them require many of the same things: listening, understanding, tolerance, water, crust of bread. Books are the same way: editing, beta, editing, layout, proofing, more editing.

2. Writing across genres what is your inspiration for your fiction, especially for your characters.

I have met my characters. Each one is a blend of at least three people, which helps with the “coincidental resemblance to any person”. They are complex and, in many instances, case studies in incongruent interaction, much like the interaction of FAB people.

3. You have published two books in the past year on human behavior and emotional health, one on child rearing and the other on letting go nearly the two ends of the human experience. How did the experience of writing and publishing these differ?

A comparison of good and evil. (wry smile) Life often deals us joy and pain in unequal proportion. Ironically, the disproportion is in all situations.

From a reader’s standpoint the books are oceans apart (subject). As a publisher, the books are strikingly similar (treatment). Both seek to ease discomfort in a life event which is likely, provide both technical and experiential knowledge and comfort the reader with the concept hardship is not singular, ergo survivable.

4. Let’s talk for a minute about your poetry, which I am a huge fan of by the way; you have talked about Mantra often, how did you pick what would go into the book?

Thank you. Poetry is eclectic for me. Like my fiction and non-fiction, it spans the gamut of subject, form and emotion. Unlike every other thing I write, I begin with a title or in the least a title concept. Once I can name the chapters, the poems line up. It is a creative concept; otherwise, I would not have a chapter named Words You Cannot Take Back.

5. I suspect everyone wants to know more about your processes, where do you start with a new storyline, do you jot down ideas or is there a real step-by-step process for you?

Yes. (grin) I have notepads (physical and digital) with jotting. Those concepts wait until I either have a fleshing session or move them into a workspace. I also have a template, which occasionally takes a script from the initial concept draft to final proof. Both ways include a step-by-step for getting out of the WIP folder.

Break time, I am sure our Fairy’s are fluttering their wings and I can hear those truffles calling to me, can’t you? Let me refill your glass. Red, is such a lady, she takes tiny sips and bites before we continue.
Absinthe sip

6. Now, with the start of Redmund Productions, how is it going? Is your writing being influenced?

Redmund Productions is a phenomenal achievement. While the initial books are hitting their stride in terms of sales and reach, the new productions are lining up. We have a set of trailers out over the next two weeks, two books we have going live 01MAR plus a Café Comics  edition, two out on 01APR and new authors signing each week.

My writing is definitely being influenced. The constraints of time are not forgiving. When I am too tired, I am physically unable to write. I have additional audio notes which are beginning to replace some of my notepads for concepts. I am expecting to take a hiatus from blogging soon to concentrate on a new novel and a sequel.

7. Okay, spill pet peeves in the process of publishing or writing?

How about a list?

  • The Oxford comma
  • Passive voice
  • Tense shift
  • Capitalization of random words in sentences
  • Plot stuffing which is better served by writing another book

The last one is both authors and characters. Occasionally my characters get into situations which necessarily need to be edited out for one story yet serve as a core or base conflict for another book.

For the sake of brevity, my writing pet peeves list is topped with my lack of a transcriptionist.

  • 8.  Break it down for us, would you please. You have 15 seconds (maybe a little more) tell me about each of your most recent brilliant books (Oprah is calling).

 1. Darkness Introduced

  • DIsCover

An explicitly intimate look into the erotic world of BDSM which does not substitute sex for plot-line, but does not forego it.

2. Killing Us SoftlyKUSsCover

An enlightening education on the emotional and physical state of caregivers to terminally ill partners, served with impartial, practical, pragmatic advice and comfort.

  • 9.  You know I just have to ask, what spurs you on? What gives you the energy to keep writing, mentoring and not only pushing yourself but others?

We all gripe about not having enough time. After burying a child and husbands, I am aware how short life really is. More people regret the things they have not done far more than a few hours of sleep they miss here or there. Dreams do not have to stay in the REM world. They come true every single day, especially for those willing to chase them.

The excitement of a new book in the hands of an author ignites a terrific feeling of congratulatory joy, satisfaction and camaraderie. I would not trade it for the world on a string.

10.   What should writers know when preparing a manuscript for submission; you have done this more than once now. What one piece of best advice can you give?

Follow the directions. As non-creative as that is, the submission guidelines are in place to make you work less. Begin your pieces with submission guidelines in sight. The days of double-spaced, 1.5 inch-margined, printed manuscripts is a thing of the past. Submission editors do not read unedited manuscripts. If you do not meet guidelines, it may as well be unedited.

11.  Do you self-edit?

Yes and yes. I am a Grammar Nazi. I edit my own work …and wonder who typed it. I also let stories age. When I come back to them, I will often cut scenes and chapters because they are superfluous to the story. I also find the biggest of the story holes in this way. Then, I send it for editing.

12.   Anything you want us to know about you? Spill, come on we are all friends here.

If left to my own devices, my bathroom would be the largest room in the house. It would have a chaise, wifi, Blu-Ray, surround sound speaker telephone, quad-sized jet shower, Jacuzzi, a dumb waiter from the kitchen and towel warmers. I would spend all day there.

Madam Red you are the bomb! Those who have had the joy of your company and support know whereof I speak. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me! Red’s books are available through Redmud Productions, easily found here:



Green Fairy

Over Ice in Strainer, gently pour 2 oz Absinthe over sugar cube in slotted spoon until melted completed.

Shake and pour back into Absinthe glass.


This is the first of what I hope will be many interviews of the Redmund Pro authors. Madam Red is trying to school me on the use of hash tags, if you are inclined to share this post please use the the hash tags #authors, #books, #amwriting

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