It was time for a transformation.
Along with our general sprucing up around the ole’ Packed House Publications corner, we’ve decided to update one of our most special books with a spanking-new book cover.
Dusty Remains is an awesome collection of 300 words or less stories, but unfortunately, a year ago, with the innocence of new kids on the block, we unintentionally gave Dusty Remains a textbook-looking book cover.
And, we came up with this.
Yeah, this is a little embarrassing. We eventually figured out a crazy skull head being pierced to death with a screw bit from the heavens doesn’t exactly convey heartfelt stories like Dusty Remains has. It just looks…gothic, and pretty weird.
So, we contacted another artist, Anil Saxena, (thanks Anil!), and made this:
Looks pretty great, doesn’t it? It actually represents the whole “fragile as dust” theme in the book, and has a more eye-grabbing effect than the last tries.
So, how did we do? Leave a comment below on what you think of the new cover!
And, as a complimentary gift for our guests, here is the first story from “Dusty Remains.”
She stands there alone, by the gate, with her usual big smile. She smiles even more when he approaches. There by the gate they talk. She shyly tilts her head downward. He knows she’s reluctant, but even so he holds out his hand.
She steps around him, he cuts off her exit. Like a game she’s played so many times, she tries to dart around him; unable to do so, she shrugs her shoulders in defeat.
Once again he holds out his hand. She lets her soft hand fall into the cradle of his majestic one.
They walk away, the sun on their backs, the gate disappearing with each step.
She pauses, so does he. He looks at her, then nods his head. “It’s okay.” His gentle tone, so reassuring.
A few steps from the corner, she pauses once more. Now he wipes the tears from her eyes.
“How did you know my birthday was today?” Her faint voice is strained under the weight of her tears.
“I know everything about you, Sara. I’m a magician.” His eyes lock on hers.
“Is that how you found out I like ponies?”
“And you will keep your promise to let me ride my pony every day?”
“And my mom won’t stop you?”
“Your mom won’t stop me. I promise.”
“What’s my pony’s name?”
“Whatever you want it to be.”
“Is my pony a boy or a girl?”
“Why, it’s a girl, just like I promised you yesterday.”
“Where is she?”
“Right around this corner.”
Sara’s face lights up. She skips with delight and anticipation.
SARA! SARA! WHERE ARE YOU! SARA, SARA!
“Ma’am, we’ll find her, trust me.” Nancy’s eyes drown in tears.
A stiff wind blew through the window. Whoooooo! Out went the five candles.
There is a need for stories with strong morals; morality has been on life support for years.
Our goal is to give the reading public a fresh dose of stories devoid of the normal fare of drugs, sex, and violence. There are other ways to tell stories. And we know there are those who share our sentiments. Storytellers come forward – write a story that will sweep the world.
1st place winner: $100.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd place winner: $50.00 Amazon Gift Card
3rd place winner $25.00 Amazon Gift Card
Contest: Begins February 4, 2013. Ends: February 22, 2013.
Winners will be announced on February 25, 2013, by posting their stories and a link to their website.
First Writing Contest!
1. We encourage you to copyright your story. It only takes about an hour and costs $35.00 to copyright several stories.
2. Your story must be 300 words or less, minus the title of course. Anything more will be disqualified and deleted.
3. Feel free to comment on others’ stories. Give constructive criticism. We are here to encourage each other.
4. No sex scenes, nor rude, crude sexual jokes.
5. Keep cursing to a minimum. Make it as PG-13 as you can.
6. And of course…
Have fun and DO YOUR BEST!
By the way, this post is 234 words!
(Photo Credit- Kitone)
My father held the firm belief that kids should be seen and heard.
It was that conviction that afforded me the opportunities to sit in the company of him and his friends as they spewed both truths and lies.
Those storytellers made my young life fun. I’ll never forget them or their teachable moments.
And I’ll never forget the greatest storyteller of them all, my dad, or the last time I saw him.
On the last day I would ever see my dad alive, he wanted to walk with me to school. “What about work?” I asked. He said, “No work today, thought I’ll tag along on the way, catch up on old times, what do you think?”
At thirteen, I didn’t want to appear like some baby who needed his dad to escort him safely to class, but I didn’t want to disappoint him either, so I said, “Sure.”
It was an overcast day and as we walked my father told me tales both old and new. He had my full attention, until we came to the crosswalk at the somewhat busy intersection of Main and Central, one block from my school.
I hate that corner to this day.
“Okay, Dad. I’ll see you later,” I said as the light changed green, hoping he would take the hint to go back home. I didn’t want any of my friends to see him; man, I would have never heard the end of their big baby jokes.
I crossed, dad stayed put. No sooner than my foot hit the other side of the street, my dad called out, “Hey Paul, look!” There he was, doing his best impression of Charlie Chaplin. No doubt he had crossed in that fashion behind me and was now crossing back, doing his Chaplin bit.
“Good one Dad. See you later,” I waved and from the middle of the intersection he waved back. I continued on.
I felt it. That eerie feeling that something’s wrong, that feeling that you can never really explain later. But when I heard the screeching tires and the loud thud, I knew it was my dad.
I was right. He lay on the curb from where we both crossed. I ran and knelt next to him. Blood spilled from his mouth, his legs all twisted underneath him; he tried to pull himself up with his busted arms. I screamed for help. That’s when the driver, who hit my dad, got out his car and ran over to where we were.
With wide blood shot eyes the driver said, “I…I’m sorry kid.” He jumped back into his old green, beat up, rusted car and sped off.
Not sure if I should run back home for my mother, or stay with my dad, I just kept on screaming for help.
“Paul,” my dad said in his usual calm voice. His eyes looked so sleepy. “Now it’s you who have to tell the stories.” He closed his eyes and died right then and there.
The days that followed were tortuous. I didn’t want to go to school ever again, or any place for that matter. I just wanted my dad.
But I couldn’t miss school forever.
So I had to go back.
It was the longest, loneliest walk I ever made, except when we carried my dad’s casket to the grave.
Our dog Lincoln wanted to walk to school with me that morning, but I shooed him back home. That dog never listened to me and that cool morning he didn’t break protocol.
I wish he had.
Central and Main not only served as markers on my route to school, they were now a horrible memory. Needless to say, I crossed with extreme caution. Lincoln, who I had pelted with small stones and shouted “GO HOME!,” appeared in the middle of the intersection just as soon as I reached the other side.
One car came real close to hitting him, another stopped, cursed, then sped around him. When there were no other oncoming cars I stomped my foot and shouted, “LINCOLN, GO HOME!” He bobbed his head up and down and finally started to retreat. That’s when I heard the sound of screeching tires. I stepped off the curb shouting, “LINCOLN, GET OUT OF THE STREET!”
I was too late. The car hit him dead on, killing him on impact. I raced into the intersection. Lincoln was stretched out with his pink tongue hanging out of his mouth.
The driver, the SAME one in the old, rusty green car jumped out and ran over to us. He rubbed his grey beard and with those wide blood shot eyes said, “Oh, boy, sorry kid,” and jumped back in his car and sped off.
I was never going back to school again.
All I had left of Lincoln was the medium size mound in our backyard.
A week later my mother was called to duty on NASA’S Apollo 17. The flight was to be piloted by my mom. She took me aboard; NASA understood.
I never saw more beautiful stars like the ones I saw in space. Mom looked over at me and smiled, happy that after so much pain we now had something to smile about.
That’s when I heard a screeching sound. I remember thinking, “No way!,” as I looked to our left that same crappy green, busted up, rusty car T-boned us on the driver side. The impact tore my mom from her seat belt and threw her through the windshield. She landed on the tip of a nearby star. I made my way over to her. She was lifeless and now, so was I.
The driver leaped from his car and drifted over to where we were. He ran his hand over the top of his space helmet. “Kid,” he shook a disciplining finger at me, “We got to stop meeting like this, it ain’t healthy.” He floated back to his car and sped off.
If you like this tale, please click on the link for more. Thank you.
(Picture Source Unknown)
Imagine you’re a watching the grand finale at a fireworks show. Your face is aglow with excitement, you know you’re about to be thrilled. The wick is lit, you hold your breath…and – and –and – nothing happens. It’s a dud. You slump away in disappointment.
That’s exactly how I felt after reading Dean Koontz’s book, The Husband. The cover caught my attention. The excerpt on the back jacket floored me. However, despite its gripping beginning, it quickly fell apart with an unbelievable plot twist. In other words, it turned out to be just another dud.
So I tried another one, thinking, ‘you can’t judge an author by just one book.’ Sadly, after trying to read Odd Thomas, which is really a rip-off of the movie The Sixth Sense, I just gave up. And I’m not the only one – more and more readers are beginning to see that Dean Koontz is just another hack writer.
What is amazing, and odd, is that Mr. Koontz is famous. I suppose he feels many will buy his books, simply because he wrote them. And many do.
Mr. Koontz’s books are flat and dull, and are always the same monotony, just under a different title.
Our books, Life: As Fragile As Dust, Swan Song, and the Poies Series are full of stories that are of the true human experience. We don’t try to write books as a means of escape, but books that will inspire you to take a new look at yourself and others. It is our hope to start a spark that will grow into a flame, a flame that will become a roaring fire, a fire that will restore the moral fiber to a world that has fallen victim to the debased dribble of many books today.
Thankfully, we are not alone. Many authors are writing novels full of moral fiber; we are just trying to do our part to better society, one book at a time. We invite you to take a look.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor: read healthy.