Oh, Dobbin.

A short story by Paul White.

A short while ago I began reading some of my old journals. I have kept a diary since, well, I suppose from the day I learnt to string two sentences together.

Much of the content of my diaries are pretty mundane. For instance, I could tell you what the weather was like on a Sunday six years ago, or which bar I went into to celebrate passing my driving examination.

Yeah, boring!

Yet, now and again I recorded an event which, on reading them back, makes me laugh, cry, or as in the tale I am about to reveal to you, blush with embarrassment.

To place this story in context I need to tell you a little about myself. My name is Heather. I am 32 years old and single, not having found the right Mr. Right… yet.

I consider myself a modern woman, one with a balanced outlook on life. I guess you could say I am Miss average. The only thing that is not average is my sex drive. I enjoy sex immensely. However, this is not really a story about sex per se.

Now, when I say sex, I do not mean to infer I am a loose woman or one who indulges in strings of one-night stands. I am not a nymphomaniac. On the relationship front, my record is back to being a Miss average and no, I do not sleep with anyone on a first date.

As Miss average, regarding relationships, I spend most nights alone. This is where my craving for sex, and not having a partner to satisfy my needs are in discord. To help balance this fact I have a few toys because, as you know, passion comes in many forms, and one night’s want often differs from another, so the toys I own have been selected with care to satisfy my needs according to my moods, wants, and desires at any given time.

This brings me to my journal entry of two years ago. It is from the day I was moving home.

The last few pieces of furniture, a comfy reading chair, a computer desk, and my bed were the last items I needed to move to my new house. My nephew John, my sister’s eldest boy, was kindly helping me to move these as he owned a transit van, which would save me paying for a removals company.

The last item to be shifted was my bed. This was a divan. A solid base, which is luckily divided into two, making moving it easy, topped with a pocket sprung mattress. The mattress was quite heavy and cumbersome. Something I knew from changing the fitted sheets and pushing the bed aside to vacuum underneath. John and I decided we would lift the mattress, push it off the far side of the bed and onto its side, and then slide it through the bedroom doorway.

We lifted the mattress in unison, revealing what I stored between the mattress and the bed base. It was ‘Dobbin’. The largest of all my sex toys, and named as such because of its equine proportions.

I uncontrollably gasped out, “Oh, Dobbin.”

To give John his due, he simply let the mattress fall back and said, “I think we need a break from all this lifting. How about you make a cuppa? I’ll just nip out for a smoke.” And with that, he exited the room swiftly.

Just to make it clear, Dobbin is long and black, with a proportionate girth. He has moulded veins and glans, and is described as ‘Realistic, firm, yet comfortably cushioned’. The company that produces him say, Dobbin is the closest vibrator to the real thing a woman can own. As yet, I cannot confirm this, as I have not found any ‘real thing’ that measures up to him.

I was left standing, biting my bottom lip and cursing myself for not remembering to pack Dobbin into a box. The thing was, Dobbin is far too large to store in the bedside drawers, so I keep him under the mattress where he is, normally, out of sight.

I removed Dobbin, popping him into a carrier bag and, as discreetly as I could, took him into the kitchen, where I made us each a mug of tea.

The drive to my new home and the unloading were carried out with very little conversation. Neither of us knew what to say and, clearly, did not want to refer to this embarrassing incident.

However, this is not the end of the tale.

Several weeks later I was at a family christening, when John came over to me, asking if I had settled into my new home.

He then continued by saying, “Aunt Heather, have you ever considered the reason you are still single is that you have never found a man who… um… measures up to Dobbin?”

My mouth fell open.

“Don’t worry,” John said, “I haven’t told anyone, not even Chrissy.” Chrissy is John’s fiancée. With those words left hanging in the air, he was off, circulating the room and chatting with the other guests.

John’s words got me thinking. Maybe he was right. So, next week I am appearing on a TV show. You may have watched it. It’s called Naked Attraction.’

The benefit is, that I get to go on a date with one of six men I select based on their physical attributes. Top of my list was that all the contestants must be ‘Hung like a Horse.’

Wish me luck.


A Touch of Venom by Rick Stepp-Bolling

I first met Gandolf just outside Beggars Crossing, Arizona, where he saved my life . . . twice. I say Gandolf only because I never knew what else to call him since he never introduced himself and he’s exactly what I imagined Gandolf–the White, not the Grey–would look like, if in fact, Gandolf had actually existed and spent his time wandering the Sonora desert some fifty miles east of Tucson instead of roaming the mountains of New Zealand. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain.

​Beggars Crossing had the distinction of being the final destination of one Samuel Beggar in the late 1860s. Samuel had set out for California gold from West Virginia after the war. He made it as far as the Arizona Territory before he ran out of provisions, money, and desire. The vision he saw to the Westwas daunting—high red cliffs and a hurt load of white sand between him and the Catalinas. He made it as far as Rattlesnake Gorge at the base of the cliffs when the spirits spoke to him in a dialect only one from West Virginia could understand, telling him he would forever more be the inspiration for those seeking redemption. Samuel agreed to set up shop right then and there if the spirits would be so kind as to keep him alive a few more years. Apparently, it was a mutual agreement, for Samuel founded the town after his own ordeal and made his fortune selling water and whiskey to travelers heading west.

​Beggars Crossing has since become a pilgrimage for those seeking salvation from the wear and tear of modern civilization and all its supposed evils. Travelers from around the world come here during the monsoon season just to make the same trek Samuel did, hoping to be equally inspired by the spirits of the desert or those in Rattlesnake Whiskey, distilled to this day in Beggars Crossing.

​As an apprentice reporter for the Los Angeles Press, it was my job to follow up on the offbeatangles that no one else on the paper wanted—UFO, Elvis, or Miley Cyrus sightings. That’s how I wound up in Beggars Crossing, notebook in hand and without a need for redemption or sobriety. 

​“You say the town used to be over that rise?” I said to the man with the white beard and eyes of doom.

​“Used to be,” he said without an accent but withthe distinct odor of Virginia whiskey on his breath. “Used to be, but I can’t attest to that any more.”

​He held up his cane with the handle shaped like some wild bird as though he were about to lecture me. For a moment, I saw the same bird reflected in his eyes, but it was only a moment, and the weather being what it was, the image could well have been a thundercloud or glaucoma. “Where do the pilgrims go when they cross that expanse?” I asked pointing to the desert that shimmered like a watery grave.” There must be some kind of housing arrangement?”

​“Can’t say,” he said too quickly. “Maybe they carry their own houses with them?”

​He fixed his glare upon my notebook. “You mean tents,” I said trying not to stare at the folds of skin between his eyes. “They carried tents with them . . . not houses.”

​He shrugged his shoulders and a small dust storm arose from his shirt. “They carried troubles with them. Maybe tents, but mostly troubles.” Then he showed me his yellow teeth, sharpened like tiny knives, in a kind of grin that sent ice into my veins.

​I scribbled something unintelligible in my notebook until the feeling passed. The reporter in me gnawed, begged to be released, forcing another question I didn’t want to ask. “Troubles? What kind of troubles?”

This time he smiled. It was a toothless smile where the edges of the mouth rise like cracks in summer mud flats. “The kind you don’t want,” he said. The kind that haunt you every minute, every day of your life until the burden to keep carrying them bends your back and bows your shoulders, and the agony of that burden decays your whole being from the inside out until one day it explodes and evil erupts into this world.” Then he nudged me with the end of his cane so that I lost my balance and stepped backwards. “You got any of those troubles?” he hissed.

​“I . . . I’m just here to get a story.” Maybe I sounded too defensive for when he paused, his cane inches away from my chest, something like surprise filled his eyes.

​His hands trembled as he planted his cane into the white sand beneath him, his body sagging under the weight of time, and for the briefest of moments he appeared fragile, hollowed by the ravages of years and ready to blow away with the first strong wind. Then his lungs filled with the heated air and he straightened his shoulders and raised his head. “A story? There are a thousand stories to be told here. Just listen to voices carried by the winds. They’ll tellyou stories that’ll make the flesh fall off your bones.”

​I didn’t know how to respond to that. His use of hyperbole and concrete images elicited my demons of college literature, professors frothing up Coleridge or Milton, speaking in poetic tongues I didn’t understand. “I’m writing a story about the pilgrimages made at Beggars Crossing. It’s my editor’s idea. I just do the story or get fired,” I said.

​“The story you write will get you fired,” he returned.

​That made sense in a Machiavellian kind of way, because I was sure if I wrote the story about this funny man and his apocryphal end of the world, my boss would fire me or put me in drug rehab. The idea that sanity had not visited Gandolf for many a moon crossed my mind. “Well, I think I’ll get some quotes from the pilgrims themselves,” I said edging toward my VW Jetta. “Know anywhere around here that sells diesel?”

It was then that fate took a hand in the game. Rattlesnake Gorge was not a name chosen at random. The heat of the afternoon drove critters to find shelter in shady spots, usually underground or under large boulders. Apparently in the eyes of some snakes, my VW resembled the closest thing there was to a large boulder in the middle of this sea of white sand. When I opened the car door, my foot slipped beneath the car and woke a particularly nasty red diamond back. Evidently upset at having his sleep disturbed by a Converse tennie, he lashed out at the nearest warm-blooded appendage and sank his venom fangs into my leg. Neither one of us was too happy at what ensued. I stepped back and did my best one-legged hopscotch imitation, the rattler still attached to my leg and whirling around like a mad lariat. Gandolf, for his part, leaned upon his staff watching my death dance with bemusement. It wasn’t until the pain increased that my hopping decreased. Now this next part gets a little crazy and I’m not sure if rattlesnake venom had a part in my delusion or Beggars Crossing’s sun did. The old man slowly raised his cane and pointed it in my direction. A raptor, the size of an ancient roc appeared out of nowhere. The bird seized the rattler in his steely talons and ripped him from my leg. The last thing I remember was the bird and the rattler flying due west. Then I passed out.

When I awoke again, I was staring into blue eyes. Nothing else made much sense at the time, but blue eyes certainly helped put a proper perspective to the moment. “Can you hear me?” came the voice of the blue eyes.

​I was hesitant, groggy, hopeful. I was hoping that Gandolf didn’t have blue eyes or blue contacts. In addition, I wasn’t altogether sure that relatives greeting me in heaven weren’t blue-eyed. 

​“Can you sit up?”

​Well, that answered one question. If I were at the Pearly Gates, sitting up would not be something someone wanted to know. Wings, harp or halo, yes. Abs, no. I struggled to a sitting position.

​“Take a sip of this,” and a bottle of something much stronger than water passed my lips.

​I coughed, but let the liquid warm my throat until it sunk into my stomach and a rosy feeling like Christmas Eve made its way through my body. My mouth searched for more of the liquid, but there was none to be had.

​“I think he’ll live,” came the response from blue-eyes.

​Then the haze disappeared and I found myself looking into the face of an angel. Okay, a man, but angel is the closest description I can use without having to go into extended passages about the firm jaw with a set of white teeth that made Kilimanjaro blush with envy, or the nose that may well have led Augusta’s army into battle against the Egyptians, or the perfect ears that framed . . . well, you get the idea. “I . . . I . . .” I stammered.

​“It’s okay. We found you in the desert. Some of the pilgrims heard you moaning and called 911. Heat exposure.”

​I grabbed my leg, but all I felt was the thin hair that covered my skin. No bite marks, no oozing, no blackening of decayed skin. Then I remembered the wild bird with the angry snake in his mouth, the old man with the cane, and my Jetta.

​I looked around me. An ambulance with its lights flashing was the only vehicle. My Jetta, the bird and Gandolf had disappeared.

​“We usually get one or two calls every year,” the angel said. “People don’t hydrate properly, but by the looks of it, you were only here a couple of hours.” Blue eyes flashed my notebook in front of me. Every entry had a date and time. I was very methodical about that sort of thing.

​I tried my voice. It sounded like aluminum foil being crushed, but at least I could speak. “The old man,” I said, “there was an old man.”

Blue Eyes turned around hoping to find the individual I was referring to. Finding no one, he spoke to the other EMTs. “Anyone see an older man?”

A young woman in hiking boots with canteens attached to her at every conceivable spot spoke up. “He was alone when we found him. Alone and unconscious.”

Angel nodded his thanks. “Keep an eye out for anyone else around here,” he told his staff.” Then he turned to me and said, “What were you doing out here? Were you on the pilgrimage?” He was staring at my converse shoes, my khaki pants, and my very pale skin.

“I’m a reporter,” I said lamely. “I was doing a story on the pilgrims at Beggars Crossing.”

“The redemption thing?” he asked.

I nodded.

Then he leaned over and whispered into my ear, “Did you leave a trouble?”

It was so unexpected that I just sat there with my mouth open.
Then he broke into a perfect smile with his perfect teeth and said, “It doesn’t matter. I’m just glad you’re safe. Did you get enough material for your story?”

It all came back to me in a rush—Beggars Crossing, the raptor, the old man and our conversation. It was more than enough for a story, but it would be a story no one believed, especially my editor.

So this is the story of Beggars Crossing. Now that you’ve read it, you’ll need to decide for yourself what was real, what was imagined, what was sun or venom induced. My editor liked it, but fired me anyway. Said there was a very strict drug abuse clause in my contract with the paper. My Jetta? It never returned and so I bequeathed it to the old man. I hope he has more luck finding diesel in Arizona than I did. That just about sums it up. Wait. If you’re wondering why I said he saved me twice, well, you already know about the snake, and now you know about the angel who saved me—Sam

Insatiable by Audrina Lane

He had to leave as we shuffled about in the kitchen together. Hours earlier we had been entangled in bedcovers, a jumble of limbs and lips in all sorts of places. I had my dressing gown on, he was dressed. We stared at each other, drinking in all the fine points that we needed to remember.

The pale dawn light was just seeping through the cracks in the blinds, casting dapples on the cold tiles. He reached for me and easily picked me up, our eyes locked together then as his lips touched mine. I wrapped my legs around his waist.

He walked a few paces so that my back was against the wall and then his mouth opened. Our tongues touched tips and then slid against each other, searching and igniting all the desire we thought had been spent upstairs.

We were insatiable, unable to stop as his fingers looped into my hair, keeping me in place so that I thought I would never breath again. In this pure moment that seemed the least of my worries. I wanted to be with him again, never leave him again, never let him leave me again. We were one!

His tongue travelled down my neck and I don’t know how, but his hand followed and crept into the wide cowel neck of my dressing gown. His fingertips searching and finding the sensitive nub of my nipple. I sighed so loudly and closed my eyes.

I felt him stagger with me across to the oak table that dominated the corner of the room. My hands helped to free him from his jeans and I could feel his solid girth.

This was going to be fast and frantic as I knew we were running out of time. My husband would be home soon and we faced discovery.

Our bodies just couldn’t stop and he plunged into me as I clawed at his back. My hands on the skin that I had earlier licked and caressed. I’d traced all his muscles and sinews like a blind person reading braille. The scars backed up the harrowing story he had told me about his marriage.

In a mere few thrusts, I was on the brink, and as he groaned, I let go of my most intense orgasm yet. I milked his cock until the searing heat of him filled me once again. We lay joined on the table until he receded from me and left an ache that filled my whole body. Empty!

But then I stiffened, the sound of an engine and tyres on the driveway. He heard them too, and quickly pulled up his jeans.

“Quick, you’ll have to leave through the front door, as he will come in at the back.” I whispered urgently. I pulled my dressing gown back around me as his semen trickled slowly down my inner thigh.
“When will I see you again?”

“I don’t know, we shouldn’t.” I shook my head, not wanting to commit to something that might never happen again.

The engine died and I quickly unlocked the front door. My mind suddenly raced to upstairs. Had I shut the spare room door? Had I thrown the extra towel from the shower we’d shared, into the washing basket? Would my husband smell the scent of another man on me? That memory nearly stalled me as I let the cold air rush in from outside.

“Quick go, follow the path round the side and slip through the hedge into our neighbour’s garden. Go along the hedge and you’ll be on the road in seconds.”

He paused and pulled me close once more, unable to let me go without another taste of my lips.

“I’ll be in touch,” he whispered and then he was gone. Shutting the door

I turned the key just as I heard the other lock click. I hurried through to the kitchen and turned on the lights.

I flicked on the kettle like I’d just woken up. It was normal for my husband to discover me making tea at the end of his night shift.
The door shut and I listened to his footsteps, it didn’t matter that my hair was a mess. What mattered was the tingling sensation I still felt on my scalp where my lover pulled my hair tight to stop me moving.

Luckily, my husband would be tired and not that observant. My lips were bruised and battered, my skin prickled from stubble rash, my cheeks blotchy and wet from the single tear that had fallen unbidden. My nipples remained rock hard and throbbed and rubbed beneath my fleecy dressing gown material.

“Hey love, couldn’t sleep again?” he asked, as he dropped his bag and shed his coat onto the nearest chair.

“Yes, I thought I’d have a cuppa and then go back upstairs. Do you want one?” I hoped I sounded my usual self.
“Please. I’m just going to unwind in the den.” He barely looked at me as he replied.

I watched him pass by the spot where I had so recently been fucked. I made the tea and took his in with a couple of biscuits before I returned upstairs.

Lying in bed, the covers cold, just like my marriage, but what could I do?

I was trapped and so was my Jase. We had been young back then, 35 years ago, young and foolish, not knowing that this was the real thing. It only became real when it was gone.

We’d both made mistakes and our lives had moved on in different directions until now. Talking in the after- glow of love making that night, neither of us could see the path ahead. It remained hidden by briars and brambles of lies, deceit and broken promises.

I finished my tea, my head pounding, my heart still thumped from how close we had come to discovery. I turned off the light and wrapped the duvet close, I had an hour to drift off before my husband would join me.

In my dreams I was with him once more, flicking back through my memories of the past and then to the night we had spent together.

Our bodies knew each other well. Our lips old friends, and longed for a reunion. We had been insatiable, but now I wanted more. But could I live with what I had done? Only time would tell.

Read more from Audrina by visiting her website.

Hug Me, a short story by Karina Kantas

Venice just got home after finishing a double shift at the café. Christmas time was always busy. It wasn’t a job she enjoyed or was proud of but it was means to an end.

Tired and ready for sleep, Venice turned on her laptop to check her socials before turning in.
A message popped up immediately.

TeddyBear: hi
Smiling she typed back –
LonelyGirl: hi, how r u?
For the next two hours, the strangers became friends. Venice’s couldn’t keep her eyes open, so she typed her goodbye promising to chat the next day.
The next morning after she’d turned on her laptop, she jumped back when her wallpaper appeared. It had been changed to a large orange coloured teddy bear. He was smiling and had bright blue eyes. He’s certainly cute.
Venice assumed the guy had hacked into her computer and after all his username was Teddy Bear. Too much of a coincidence.
She asked him about it and he immediately replied as though he was waiting for her message.
TeddyBear: Nope, it wasn’t me. If I knew ur addy I’d send u a real teddy so u could cuddle onto at night.

Venice went to work and tried not to think about the image of the bear. She was excited to continue the flirting banter she had going with her online teddy bear.
A week went by and their online friendship continued. It was a Saturday before Christmas when Venice decided it was time to take their friendship to the next level.
As though he heard her thoughts he messaged her.
TeddyBear: I think it’s time we met up. What do u think?
LonelyGirl: Yes, I’d luv 2
She quickly replied.
Wouldn’t it be romantic to meet up on New Year’s Eve? She imagined how handsome Teddy Bear was and what a romantic time they would have, walking around looking at the Christmas lights, and maybe they could skate on the ice.
TeddyBear: Say the words “I want u 2 hug me.”
Venice paused before he started typing again.
TeddyBear: Humour me. Say the words “I want u 2 hug me.” then I’ll no ur serious about us meeting.
Venice typed.
LonelyGirl: I want u 2 hug me.
TeddyBear NO! DON’T TYPE THEM say them out LOUD.
Venice laughed.
LonelyGirl: but how will u hear me?
TeddyBear didn’t reply.
She shrugged and said to the empty room “I want you to hug me.”

The screen goes black before a growling is heard, then her wallpaper appears. The head of the teddy bear turns as its arms stretch out towards her. Venice screams but before she can run, the bear’s claws come out of the screen and dig into her shoulders, grabbing her with such force her head and then her chest are pulled in. Her legs are the last part of her body that disappear.
The screen goes black and the laptop switches off.

Hug Me was written as a 500 word story challenge.

Karina is a prolific author of 14 fiction novels. She’s also a podcaster, radio host, BookTuber and a multi-award-winning filmmaker.
You can find all her links and online presence on LinkTree.

Doublemint Gumshoe. New Release

This is the Award Winning novella from Phillip T Stephens.

The first novel, written for Twitter, is finally available in print (expanded and revised).

When a galactically inept inspector tackles the world’s most elusive AI, prepare for apocalypse. Determined to find missing programmer Alyson Sweetcheeks, Detective Bob unleashes a war between a tech conglomerate, a covert cyber gang, the mob, and a malevolent time-travelling intelligence bent on world domination. Will Bob beat astronomical odds to save the girl, the world, and his chances for promotion?

What inspired Doublemint Gumshoe?

When I published my book Raising Hell, author Rayne Hall advised me to tweet regularly with original tweets. So I started tweeting 140 character original stories, four to five daily, which I did for a couple of years. I kept returning to one character, Detective Bob, who had never solved a case. For instance, he would investigate a body with twelve bullet holes in its back, and conclude it was suicide.

I wondered if I could create a Twitter novel from the character, and after researching to find any examples of other Twitter novels, I realized this would be the first attempt. So, I wrote 12-20 episodes a week for six months. The plot evolved over time, as I threw in more and more wrinkles—cyber crips, aliens, Roku’s Basilisk, grey goo, not to mention send-ups of The Crying of Lot 49 and the movie Chinatown. Being a fan of Hong Kong and Hollywood movies, I took a kitchen sink approach, and to my surprise, it came together.

All that remained in Alyson Sweetcheek’s hotel suite:

  • One cornflower dress,
  • one navy dress suit with skirt,
  • one flash drive, and
  • six Doublemint gum wrappers.

Six wrappers. Crumpled on the bedspread next to her suit. Silver foil twisting in and out of the iconic paper strip: green arrows over mint green mint leaves on a whirlpool printed in green. 

Sunlight drifted past the jacket which was draped over the desk chair—its shoulders straightened and lapels flat. Dust motes danced in the sunlight path like fairies in a daydream. 

The hotel notified Alyson’s sister Sally. Sally called Alyson’s boss William Zuckerchange. Zuckerchange called the cops. Any sense of urgency collided with the writing on the police department wall: “We see this shit a dozen times a day.”

Another blonde missing from her room? Low on the list of police priorities. In San Noema a missing blonde was as common as a day without rain, as common as open convertibles on Interstate 5 with occupants risking the sulfur-oxide ambiance to tone their rock star tans, as common as a baby in bluebonnet photos in Texas and even though San Noema is a California city, in Texas missing blondes would be just as common.

Alyson isn’t blonde. Nor dumb, as Bob would discover, but that fact mattered little. As far as the cops were concerned, if a girl wasn’t attached to the wallets of prominent men willing to write five-figure checks to city council campaigns (or the daughters of those prominent men) she couldn’t shake a cop from the schedule.

Instead, they sent Detective Bob.  

He skittered across her room. A six-three praying mantis with matchstick limbs and bony fingers probing for clues. He paraded his sleuthing skills in vain. Sally and the hotel manager ignored him to argue over Alyson’s outstanding bill. 

Bob’s partner Duffy leaned against the door frame, ankles crossed, an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. Wrinkles rode his polyester suit, a suit he bought from the clearance rack of the factory-seconds section at Walmart. He struggled to keep his lids open after a night closing down three different cop bars, which might be why his suit looked slept in. Slept in every night since 1966. 

Duffy was destined to make captain. The guy who disappeared when the first bullet flew and reappeared in time to claim the credit. And the commendation. Veins crept from his eyes and down his nose. Five o’clock shadow from the Sunday before last. His hands? Not a tremble or shimmer, petrified by the cheapest booze on the shelf. 

Bob probed every inch and surface, flipping the pillows, pulling out drawers. He crawled under the bed, hooked the knee of his powder-blue polyester suit on a nail. Tore a hole. 

He swore under his breath. “Oh, feathers.” 

Nothing there.

He stood, brushed the bunny dust and dandruff from his shoulder and continued to probe with his best BIC Pen. He poked through the events guide on the desk, pulled a cloth from his side pocket, wiped the dust from his piano wire glasses, and poked through once more. 

Sun from the window glanced off the oily spot at the center of his bald pate, fractured like light hitting a disco ball, and blinded everyone in the room. He swore to solve this case. His first solve (far from his first case). A glance at the cornflower dress and the opened curtains revealed the solution like a prize display. “Alien abduction.” 

Sally stepped with the precision of a model, legs firm, bronze, a chain tattoo on her ankle. She alliterated perky and petite, from her five-one frame to the gentle slope under her pink crepe blouse to her trim tempting hips. 

“Aliens?” She turned to his partner. “Tell me he’s joking.” She smelled of cinnamon and sugar. Bob wanted to sprinkle her on toast. 

Officer Duffy pursed his lips tighter than a nip/tuck with Botox. He pulled his iPhone from his jacket and ran his fingers across the screen. “No alien activity reported.”  He pleaded in silence, “Don’t say murder. Please don’t say murder.” 

Bob ran his hands through the few strands of hair left to comb. “Murder then. It must be murder.”

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Phillip T. Stephens attended the Michigan State writers’ workshop. He taught writing and design at Austin Community College for 20 years. His writing and art appear in anthologies, literary and peer-reviewed academic journals. His novella Doublemint Gumshoe won silver in the 2021 Electric Eclectic fiction awards, and his novel Seeing Jesus (soon to be re-released) won three indie publishing awards. He writes five days a week at Wind Eggs.

He and Carol live in Oak Hill, Texas where they built a habitat in the shade of their oaks to house foster cats for austinsiameserescue.org. They found new homes for more than three hundred abandoned pets.

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OMG… Have you read Mechanical Mike, yet?

Paul says,

“Way back in 2015, I was commissioned to write a story for a forthcoming comic book format sci-fi website. Alas, the website never came to fruition, and I was left with an orphaned story, a story with no home, a story no one would get to read.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating Mechanical Mike and could not allow it to languish, unloved and unread, in the dusty archives of my computer. So, I took Mechanical Mike from the files, dusted him down, and carefully re-wrote the story.

The result is this Novelette, available as an eBook, or a Paperback Pocketbook.

This is a fun story, a modern pulp fictional tale of a ‘gum-shoe’ style detective, a beautiful blond ‘bombshell’ of a girl, a mad scientist, robots, and evil Nazis, all in occupied France during WW2.

What some readers say…

I can imagine Paul White had a load of fun writing Mechanical Mike. It’s a bit like sci-fi in drag… well a mix between that and a thriller.

Add in loads of World War 2 action, the Nazis with a devious plan to win the war – that’s enough from me – you need to read it.

I loved it.


Author Paul White has blended the history of war films, Nazis, World War 2, and Pulp fiction. It is an extremely fast-paced story that skillfully mixes a wide range of genres, including Romance, War, and Thrillers.

The title, the book cover, the colours and design, along with the language used, is very well balanced, making it a great all-rounder.

Pardon me for not sharing the story here, I believe it would diminish the effort of the writer to entertainingly mesmerize his audience… that’s gotta be you too.

I would love to see this book made into a movie.


What a great fun read. It is exactly what you glean from the cover… and more.

Pure pulp-fiction/comic book meets sci-fi adventure, war-time romance.

I mean, what other read has robots, a mad scientist, Nazi soldiers, a beautiful girl, and lots of action in Paris, France, during WWII?

This is a true must-read for those who want to be excitedly entertained.


UK links

Kindle/eBook, https://amzn.to/3s5N4Ny

Paperback Pocketbook, https://amzn.to/33Dt3Ew

Universal link, http://mybook.to/MMPocketbook

Karina Kantas’s Stone Cold

We recently featured this book as a new release. Since then we have found out a little more about the writing of the story.

The main character is called Billy and she suffers from bullying during her school life. When she leaves education, a counsellor recommends she go on an archaeological dig, and this is when the story really beginnings. Billy digs up more than she bargained for and the bodies begin to pile up. Stone Cold is such riveting read, as the reader (and Billy) tries to work out what is going on.

Bullying is a very emotive subject, and the author used her own experience, to start off the story and it is something that has haunted her since she was young. So, in a way, the book is cathartic, and highlights the issue to show people they are not alone and it can happen to anyone.

Although Stone Cold in a YA book (Young Adult), this refers to the main character’s age, and can be enjoyed by anyone older. It also recently had a new cover, which we think is very striking. You can see it at the bottom, and it was designed by the author herself.

The book is 66 pages long, so ideal to read over a weekend. If you have Prime, the paperback comes free delivery.

“A suspenseful short supernatural story that kept me hooked right up to the last page – I loved the twist at the end,” says one Amazon reviewer.

Reading of Stone Cold

The Book Video

The Reveal

It is always exciting opening a parcel, but to get a copy of your book is extra special. But even more than that, Karina is based in Grease and Amazon won’t ship her copies of her book to check out before it goes on sale. However, recently she has found that Amazon Germany, will. So, when it arrived it was something to celebrate, and here you can see the opening of it on Facebook.


‘Karina draws a thin line between FACT & FICTION.’

If being bullied through every school Billy went to wasn’t enough, being attacked in her own home just pushed her over the edge.

Now severely depressed and suicidal, Billy takes matters into her own hands and sees a counsellor. After just one session, she’s now on her way to Scotland as a volunteer to help the Professor of Edinburgh university, dig and clean up an archaeological site that has just been discovered.

Although she tries to shy away from the others, not wanting them to find a reason to dislike her, she’s soon accepted as one of them. Without realising it’s happening, she becomes closer to Shane, a motocross enthusiast who has taken her under his wing.

However, whilst working at the site, Billy comes across an unusual stone. She takes it to the Professor to be looked at, but he dismisses it as a pendant probably dropped by a hiker and so threads the stone with a black leather cord and gives it back to Billy.

Only the peace they once had, the friendships they had all formed, gets tested as bodies start to pile up.

Other Electric Eclectic Books by Karina Kantas


The Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize -Shortlist

The Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize opened for submissions back in February 2020, just before Covid interrupted our lives.

The pandemic delayed the judging by a few weeks but now can now reveal the titles and authors who have made the shortlist.

The following manuscripts are now with Crimson Cloak Publishing of Missouri, USA who will be selecting the winning entry, while Electric Eclectic are choosing the two runners up.

The shortlist is as follows, (in no particular order)

Jenifer Dunkle with ‘Aunt June’

Jonathan Koven with ‘Below Torrential Hill’

Kaare  Troelsen with ‘Equilibrium’

Philip T Stephens with ‘Doublemint Gumshoe’

Stevie Turner with ‘Scam!’

Wesley Britton with ‘The Wayward Missiles – A Beta-Earth Chronicles story’

Wilma Hayes with ‘Power of Women’

Providing we have no further setbacks, lockdowns, etc. Electric Eclectic plans to announce the winners late May 2021.

While you are awaiting the final results, why not grab yourself a copy of an Electric Eclectic book and enjoy the read; you can find Electric Eclectic books by simply entering ‘Electric Eclectic books‘ into your Amazon search bar.

Alternatively go to @Open24, the Amazon store for readers and writers, follow this link, http://bit.ly/EEbooksonOPEN24

Something Special at Christmas

There are lots of books for sale on eBay, so what makes this a little different? They are mainly all pocketbook novellas that come with a personal letter from the author as well as a free bookmark.

Prices are low and most of them, if not all, come with free post and packing as well.

As book lovers, getting a paperback book at Christmas is wonderful, so please come over and take a look.

The Magic of Stories supports Indie authors and small publishers.

This means you will find Electric Eclectic books and Crimson Cloak Books.

You can support them too. Give a book this Christmas!

It’s Our Birthday on the 11th November.

by Karen J. Mossman

Three years ago Paul White approached me with an idea. Why not turn our short stories into novellas and publish them as a brand?

My first love was short stories and over the years I had collected hundreds. I was never sure exactly what to do them and it never occurred to me to make ebooks. When Paul explained the concept, I jumped in with both feet, and have never looked back since.

Little by little I am expanding my shorts into a reasonable length, which generally works out at about between 7 and 10K words. Since then, I have published four novels too, and being an Indie author is sometimes lonely as you work on your own trying to sell your books in saturated market.

Now I am not alone, I am part of something; something I have grown passionate about. We are seventeen authors who all published under the Electric Eclectic brand. We work together and enjoy being part of something special.

I’m proud of my books, and proud to belong somewhere. I still have many short stories to publish. In the mean time these are my stories: