Check below for information about my podiobook, "The Price of Friendship"

Creative Commons License
The Price of Friendship by Philip 'Norvaljoe' Carroll is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Price of Friendship, A Novel

Almost two years ago the weekly prompt at Great Hites Podcast was "A pound of flesh." I wrote a quick 1500 word story about an eighth grade boy who has an 'onerous debt' to repay. I thought it would run it's course and I would finish the story off in four or five more short episodes. Today I hit 50,034 words, thus making it an official novel. I'm winding it up and should be able to put a lid on the first draft in about 5000 more words.

I had previously record eighteen ten minute episodes and released them either on Great Hites, which has since discontinued podcasting, or on Compassion 365 which ran during 2010.

I have edited those first 18 episodes again, and will record them over again as well, but combine them into 9 twenty minute episodes. The balance of the book, which has not been recorded before, will likely fall into 6 to 8 more episodes. Since time to focus on projects has become extremely limited, rather than creating a new blog, or dedicated website, I will use this blog site to talk about "The Price of Friendship"

The audio episodes will be released through www.podiobooks.com

So keep an eye on this site, and in the next two to three weeks, you might start seeing updated information about my podcast novel.

In other news. our forth issue of The Flagship of Flying Island Press is coming out, if not already, in the next day or so. I get to work with a group of talented people as we put together the bi-montly issue of science fiction and fantasy short stories, available in audio, and most electronic formats, such as; Kindle, Nook, and ePub.

Check out the website at http://flyingislandpress.com

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Journey through Space

I finished the last book of Nathan Lowell's Trader's Tale series. It's available through www.podiobooks.com. I've listened to all of them downloaded from that site through iTunes. The stories are Quarter Share, Half Share, Full Share, Double Share, Captain's Share and Owner's Share. They take place in a era call the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper.

Nathan created a plausible world of worm holes, jump drives and solar sails where the brave, or desperate, travel through space to move cargo from one system to another. The story is not really about science or space travel, it is really about Ishmael Whong, his grown and experiences.

Did I mention it's free? All books through podiobooks.com are free to download. The recommended donation of $9.99 is just that, a recommendation, you don't have to pay it. As a side note, for books I have started and lost interest in, I have skipped the donation. But for Nathan's books, I felt it was well worth the ten bucks. He gets $7.50 of that and in comparison to the royalties from the sale of a single print book, that's pretty good.

I'm still working on my own book that I will submit through podiobooks.com, The Price of Friendship. I am on my 23rd episode and at about 43,000 words. I have recorded the 1st 18 episodes before and released them on various podcasts, but have re edited them and will record them new after I have completed the 1st draft of the complete novel. (10,000 words to go.)

Otherwise, check out what were doing at http://flyingislandpress.com and see what we have for you to put into your Kindle, Nook, or other eReader.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tide at Midnight

I wrote this story for a contest at www.rawdogscreamingpress.com I didn't win, but had a fun time writing. The prompt was based on the book Sheep and Wolves which takes a sympathetic look at zombies. The idea was to write a story that makes the reader sympathize with another type of classic monster. I chose goblins.

Tide at Midnight

A midnight wave of glistening ebony bodies burst onto the field and flowed unimpeded across the broad, barren plain. Their crooked bodies, naked except for long, filthy loin clothes, were hunched. Their hairless heads gleamed in the pale light of the waning, bloated moon. They screamed their hatred through yellowed razor-sharp teeth as they lurched across the expanse to confront their enemy.
Red and shining like fresh blood, a crimson wall rose up from the very ground to meet the wave. They hissed and pawed at their fellows in line, raising long, parallel stripes of blood with their jagged claws; yet they impatiently held their position.
Black met red with the roar of a hurricane as goblins from both sides howled in pain and fury. They tore at each other’s throats and raked festering talons across emaciated bodies. Red and black fell together to be trampled beneath the gnarled feet of opponents and companions alike.
The moans of the dying and ululations of the victors were drowned out by the maniacal chanting of the crowds in the stands.
Each side of the stadium rallied to outdo their opponents across the playing field. “Midnight, Midnight, Midnight,” the home team fans howled and waved black silk banners that whistled and snapped from the ends of tall wooden pikes. The visiting team responded with “Crimson, Crimson, Crimson,” and created an eerie atmosphere as they spun glowing red hoops above their heads that whirred and rattled with each revolution.
On the field the Midnight Wave formed a wedge and put pressure on a weak point in the Crimson line. High above in the stands, the fans roared their enthusiasm and anticipation of a victory.
“We’re going to win.” Shreeda stood on the wooden bleacher and shouted down to her date, where he sat, leaning his knobby elbows on equally knobby knees. He retracted the claw he had been using to work a piece of raw meat from between his front teeth. He glanced toward the playing field but only saw the boney bare backs of his fellow high school students.
The Midnight High students jumped and hooted their enthusiasm as the wedge offensive found an opening in the weakening Crimson High lines. The gleaming black demons successfully pushed through and raced toward the visitor’s goal set atop a stone pyramid. A crimson pennant hung limp in the windless air, barely visible in the dim light of the setting moon.
Amid the roars of the hopeful teenagers, Shreeda sat and raked her extended talons, painted midnight purple, lightly across his back between bare shoulder. He felt goose bumps climb his back and arms. He glanced up and gave her a weak smile.
“Creege,” she said close to his ear; her hot, fetid breath on his cheek was alluring. “What’s the matter? We’re winning. You should be happy.”
“We’re winning, this time, sure,” he said. “But it’s all so pointless and clich√©.”
Creege sat up and looked his date in the eyes.
“What are we,” he asked Shreeda, and answered the question himself, “goblins. What do we do? We scream and hiss. We claw and bite. We fight and we die. And for what? Nothing. We never win, I mean, when was the last time you read a book where we came out on top? It’s never us. Sometimes it’s the orcs, but it’s usually the humans. Why do you think that is?”
“Um,” Shreeda stammered and asked, “because we don’t write the books?”
Creege rolled his eyes and opened his mouth to speak. As one, the crowd gasped and then roared in dismay. Shreeda jumped to her feet, straightened her loin cloth and clambered onto the bench to get a better view of the playing field.
She screamed down to him, “the Crimson have a squad that broke through and are racing toward our goal. They had hidden reinforcements that are defending their goal. If we don’t get through them to their goal quick, they’re going to get to ours and we’ll lose.”
“Midnight, Midnight, Midnight,” the crowd chanted then broke into shrieks and screams as the home team pushed through the defenders to capture the visitor’s pennant.
Creege stood up among the screaming, jumping, euphoria in the bleachers. Teenagers laughed, hugged, bit and clawed each other in congratulations of the hard earned victory.
Below, a thousand black and red goblins were indecipherable shapes heaped in piles and scattered randomly about the starlit field.
Creege took his giggling, bouncing date by the shoulders and turned her toward him.
“Look at them,” he shouted over the bedlam and pointed at the field. “They’re dead. They’re all dead. And for what? To show which high school is best?
He scrubbed his hand across the top of his pointed, hairless head and squeezed his knuckles against his protruding brow. Shreeda smiled from ear to pointed ear as she surveyed the same field that caused Creege such distress and confusion.
He dropped his head forward and asked, “and what about those that lived? Will they go on to die in the next competition? Or will they just be sent to the human plain to die in battle against dwarves and humans? It all seems so futile.”
“Really, Creege,” Shreeda said and rolled her eyes. “It’s not like they have souls or anything.”
Two other females bounced up and fluttered around Shreeda. They prattled mindlessly. “Wasn’t that just the most thrilling match? It was way better than last week. That one went way to fast. We’re going to get a pizza. Do you want to come? You can bring your friend.”
The taller of the two leered at Creege. She licked her top lip with a glistening, pointed, red tongue and winked a jaundiced eye at him.
Before she could ask him, Creege said, “No, thanks, Shreeda, you go. I think I’ll just sit here a while.”
“Ok, whatever,” she said and hurried away down the bleachers, chattering with her friends.

The End

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The New Job

As of tomorrow morning, I'm starting a new part time job.

It's only two hours per day, and I can do it right from home. But to do it, I need to make some changes in my lifestyle.

The job is to become a writer.

I've fiddle around with it for some time. I've written a few stories, taken an online writing course, and improved my skills.
Yet, I waste a lot of time on unproductive activities. Namely, MMORPG's. I love them, and have played them for six or seven years now. I've been successful in my game play and have amassed fortunes in the various monetary systems of the game.

But when I stop paying the monthly fee, all that goes away and I am left with nothing.

The new plan is to eliminate the hours spent playing online games, go to bed by nine o'clock, get up at 4:00 am and get my writing done. My daily writing time will increase from 0 to 50 minutes per day to 45 to 120 minutes per day. (Mainly in the morning, as that is when my best thoughts and description comes.)

It is already past 9 pm, so I'm going to stop writing and get to bed.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday update

I have considered for some time that I should have a weekly update of what I am doing. I was going to do it on Saturdays and call it my "Saturday Evening Post". I found that Saturdays are bad for doing something regular like that.

Maybe Mondays will work. I'll try.

What I am doing...

I had fun last night when Mick Bordet of the "Some Other Scotland" podcast sent me a script with some lines for me to record. This is my first attempt at adding my voice to a podcast drama, and since SOS is one of my favorite podcasts, I feel honored. It is in episode 14. We'll see how I sound.

I listened to all the episodes of "Give Blood and Thanks" (Warning: Explicit for language and violence, so far.) Danny Machal does a such a great job with his recording and story telling, it motivates me to improve my recording and delivery and get my podcast story started.

My story, currently being seriealized and presented on the Great Hites weekly podcast, 'The Price of Friendship' is on its sixth episode. I have written enough, about 5000 more words, to make another 4 episodes. I still have a lot of story in my head. I have mentioned to some that I intend to do 30 to 40 10 minute episodes.

In a month or so I will have a room in my house that I can dedicate to family hobbies and will make a corner for my recording. Right now I record in my bedroom. The computer is right next ot the mic and the air conditioner is outide the window, so I get a lot of sound. When I can get a better quality sound, I will start re-recording the episodes.

I continue to write new short fiction, every week, for the 100 Word Story, Weekly Challenge, at www.podcasting.isfullofcrap.com and The Great Hites podcast at www.greathites.blogspot.com .

I have another story that I am writing for an editors world. I thought I had a pretty good story, but...Well, he really tore it apart. He told me not to be discouraged, but it was pretty staggering to my fragile ego. I'll get after it tonight, and see if I can redeam myself, at least in my own eyes.

Finally, I have my local writers meetup group tomorrow night. I am a bit discouraged about it as well, in that the writing presented is so outside my taste. I know that I should be open minded and read others work to broaden my understanding and improve my skills. However, this month, one of the stories centers around the life and life style of a gay man, and another is how a woman is selling her "spirituallity coach" business through writing about herself. Both of which are unappealing and almost distasteful.

I am considering finding a writers group on line, that might be more in alignment with my beliefs and/or standards.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Heroes

I have gotten some good feed back about a story that I wrote for The Great Hites podcast, called Heroes.

The prompt was arriving at the airport.

My original thought was to have several snippets of conversation from a number of different groups, all about who their heroes are. My first intent was to slam some of the people that are looked up to as heroes.

I think that Brittany Spears is the epitome a poor role model, and has claimed that she is not. However, our youth idolize these pop stars and try to emulate them. Add to her crowd, the sports starts that use steroids or take part in other illegal activites, and we don't have much for our youth to look up to.

The ideal is someone who is famous, but doesn't work hard to get where they are. That is my perception.

The honest hard working hero of my fathers youth is nowhere to be found.

Back to the story.

It all changed as I was writing. When the Sargeant Major showed up, and started talking, I ended up listening to his story and felt like it was him and the young soldier that I needed to write about. Some things that I wanted to bring out, but didn't do a good job at, or didn't have time to develop were that the Sergeant Major recieved a battle field commission, and was actually retired as a major. But, more importantly, he had been an important man with a lot of responsability. He probably had 200 to 300 people working below him. But now, at age 65, he was also adrift, still relatively young and wanting to be active but not knowing exactly where he needed to be or what to do. His conversation with Parker helped him define what he would do for the rest of his life.

Well, here is the story, if you haven't read or heard it yet: (Thanks for listening, we'll see you next week...)

‘Heroes’

A young man, dressed in blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, slumped down in his seat at the airport terminal waiting area. The summer vacation season was in full swing, but he wasn’t on his way to some exotic and exciting destination. He’d had more than his share of exotic and exciting in the last year.
He watched the ebb and flow of humanity as it passed through the airport and felt uncomfortable and edgy in the crowd. All the seats in the waiting are were taken. Families with excited children grouped together in seats or on the floor leaning against the wall. Business people paced around or spoke on cell phones while other seasoned commuters dozed or read magazines.
An automated message played over the speaker system, “All military personnel and their families are invited to relax between flights in the USO, located on the second floor of terminal C”
A girls voice rang out in a clear soprano above persistent murmur, “Look, Mom, there’s Whitney Steers. I wanna be just like her.” She jumped to her feet and pointed at a tall slender woman who was flanked by two large men in dark suits.
“Don’t be stupid, Julie.” A boy, who by his looks and attitude, could only be the girls older brother. “That’s not Whitney Steers. She probably has a private jet. Besides, who would want to be like her, she’s such a loser.”
“Jeremy, don’t be mean.” Julies mother told the older boy.”And don’t call your sister stupid.”
Julie watched the woman disappear into the crowd and started to sing one of the pop stars hits. Dressed in white shorts and pink tank top, she shifted her hips seductively and sang the suggestive lyrics with an accuracy and inflection that could come only through the obsessive familiarity of a true devotee.
Her mother seemed uncomfortable with the amount of attention her daughter was getting, and tried to hush the girl. “Julie, sit down, you’re making too much noise. You’re bothering people. This isn’t the place for that.”
“Yeah, you’re embarrassing me.” Jeremy said and hid his face for emphasis. “Besides, you look more like Rhoda Dakota.”
Julie sat, stuck her tongue at her brother and got out her hand held game.
A large group of men in military uniform ambled past the solemn young man. He noticed that their uniforms lacked decorations other than their names and rifle marksmanship badges. A few had the rank of private. The rest showed no rank at all. He recognized them as recent graduate from basic training. No doubt on they were on their way to their advanced training. He slouched further down into his chair, covered his eyes with his hand and feigned sleep. He was careful to cross his right leg behind his left.
The voice of one of the men in the group broke above the general chatter of the crowd, “It’s an hour before our flight. Lets go get a drink.”
“Chill Wittacker,” another said. “When we get to Fort Sam we can hit the “O” club every night, and the drinks cheaper on post, than you’ll pay in an airport.”
“Chill? You chill, Banks. I can show you chill.” Wittacker was getting agitated and leaned his chest into Banks who only came up to the first mans chin. “You wanna make me chill?”
“Come on,” A third man said, “let’s go wait at our gate. Maybe there will be a bar on the way, and Witt can blow his spending money, if he wants.”
There were murmurs of agreement from within the group and they moved off.
The man in the chair lowered his hand and watched the cluster of servicemen migrate through the airport. His hair was trimmed short at the ears and back of the neck, and tapered to the short cropped hair at the top of his head. If he had fallen in with the crowd that had just left, he could easily have appeared to be one of them.
"What's the problem soldier?’ A deep, gruff, voice said from the seat next to him. The young man looked to see who addressed him. He was a large man, not fat, but he had obviously been very muscular in his earlier life. He was African American and old enough that the white stubble of what was left of his hair was a sharp contrast to his dark skin.
The highest, or top, ranking non commissioned officer in an army unit, usually a first sergeant or sergeant major was often referred to as Top. The appellation conveys a familiarity, yet the deepest respect. The young man sized the older up, and replied, "I don't know, Top. I'm retired. It's not what I expected."
The older man nodded, and spoke to air in front of himself. "You're right, there. I spent my last ten years as Sergeant Major in a training battalion. I've seen thousands of young men come and go. I can recognize a soldier, and I can also tell when something is getting him down." He paused and looked at the younger man.
"I'm retired now, too, so I know what you mean," he said, leaning on his knees. "What's you name, son?"
"Parker. Matthew Parker. My friends just called me Doc." He sat up straighter, but kept his knees crossed.
"Medic? Hmmm." He glanced at Parker. "You said they called you Doc. Your friends don't call you that anymore?"
"I don't have that many friends anymore," Parker said looking away. He coughed and took a deep breath to cover the sudden flare of emotion that threatened to close off his throat. He composed himself and looked back to the Sargent Major. "Did you plan to stay in for so long, you know, and retire, when you first joined?"
"I didn't join, Parker, I was drafted. Straight from the back woods of Alabama. Eighteen years old, and had never been more than 50 miles from home. I was ready to spend my entire life on that little farm where I was raised. I didn't know anything else.
"You could imagine how I felt, six months later, finding myself on patrol in the back woods of Viet Nam. Fighting for my life. I had my share of friends that I called Doc, too. I wouldn't be here right now if it wasn't for one of them."
Parkers felt his face go hot, and his chest tight, "Well, it sounds like he did his job like he was supposed to." He felt sudden guilt at the vehemence he heard in his own words. "I mean, with all due respect, Top, he must have had to keep a cool head to help someone while under fire."
The older man laughed a rueful laugh and shook his head, "We walked into a booby trap rigged up with Claymore mines, probably stolen from our own supply bunker. There were no cool heads then. We were all scrambling, and screaming and crying like a bunch of school girls. Everyone, but me, that was. I was in a daze, my head ringing from the blast. I didn't have any idea that shrapnel had torn through my arm. I was bleeding to death and didn't know it. Doc held me down and kept pressure over the wound until we could get evacuated.
"I was back in action in just a few weeks, and not a month later, I was holding Doc in my arms, as his life bled away. That first unit showed me what it meant to be a soldier. Those men were my brothers. I would have gladly given my life to save any one of them. I was one of the few, from that group, that actually came home." He looked at Parker, until he returned the Sargent Major’s gaze. "I guess that's why I stayed in. To help train other young men, so that they would be prepared for what they would find over there, and be able to come back home, too."
Though Parker stared blankly at the old man, he did not see him. He saw himself, back in Iraq, riding in a Humvee, joking with the members of his patrol.
"Nice and boring," Cooper said, "Just the way I like a patrol."
"Yeah," Watson said, "but right now I would like to be patrolling the mess hall. What's the hold up out there?"
"It's a check point." Levine snapped. "You know, those places where we stand and hold up other vehicles, and make them wait, when they’re in a hurry? It's karma. It's just our turn to wait."
Our turn, Parker thought.
There was a flash of light and Parker was laying on the dirt road. Everything was silent and his right leg was numb. It wasn't silent, he realized, his ears were ringing. He began to feel pain in his leg that increased as he thrashed around. As his hearing slowly returned, he began to hear the moans and cries of people thrown down in the blast. He rolled onto his side to find the Humvee. He could only see pieces of twisted metal, scattered bodies and fire. Among the wails and screams of the locals he could hear the members of his patrol, his friends. They were calling for him. "Doc, help me." "Doc, I can't see." "Doc, I don't wanna die."
He tried to get up but the nerve endings where his right leg was torn away erupted into new levels of agony. He tried to crawl in the direction of the burning Humvee. "I'm coming," he shouted, "Hold on, I'm coming." The overwhelming pain and the loss of blood conspired against him and he passed out.

"I lost them all. Every one of them." Tears were streaming down Parkers face. "They called me Doc, and I let them down. I let them all die."
"All I ever wanted to do was serve my country. And when I got to train as a field medic, I thought, shoot, here's my chance. I could help my buddies at the same time. Top, I failed. I failed my country and my friends." He wiped his face with his sleeve.
The Sergeant Major looked at the young man for a few minutes, pondering something. Then he said, "Parker, I know it won't help much right now. But down the road, in a few months, or maybe a few years, remember what this old soldier said. You're a hero. You were there to do your job, and you wanted to do it. I saw plenty of men in my days, just turn tail and run when their buddies were on the ground crying for help. Just left them there to die. You would have helped them, if you could have. We don't always get our chance when and how we expect to. You'll get your chance to help, someday, if you keep looking for it."
"Final call for boarding of flight 1442 to Birmingham at gate 19. Please have your boarding pass ready and board at this time." A pleasant voice said over the speaker system.
“That’s me. I’ve got to go.” The Sergeant Major said and stood. Parker got to his feet as well, the right leg of his pants camouflaging the prosthetic leg completely. The older man handed Parker a business card that read, 'Wilson Garfield, SGM (Ret)'. "If you ever need to talk to someone, give me a call. And I mean anytime. If your ever near Tuscaloosa, look me up. My wife makes veal parmesan, just like they do in the mess hall." He started to turn, but stopped and looked Parker in the eyes. "You're a hero son. A hero. Never forget that."
He watched the Sergeant Major leave through the gate, and said as the door closed behind him, "Thanks Top. If anyone would know a hero, I think you would.”
Standing taller than he had in months, Parker walked to his own gate, with a limp, perceptible only to himself.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This Week

Im going to Arizona this week to attend a conference of The Association of Childrens Prosthetic and Orthotic Clinics. (ACPOC) It has been years since I last attended a conference, and I am really looking forward to renewing my focus by hearing what others are doing, and what my be new and innovative in my field.

I figure that I will have ample opportunities to write; downtime between presentaions and in the evenings. (I'm not a partyer or really very social.)

Guy David's podcast 'Night Guy' #100 came out this week and he gave me a chance to share my oppinions about what the future holds. There were quit a few contributers, so it is a very diverse and interesting podcast.

I just caught up with all the episodes of the "Some other Scotland" podcast which is an interesting and unique approach to sharing an altenate history story in a podcast. I am loving it, and reccomend it to anyone. So far it is very family safe. It is by Mick Bordet who has a wonderful Scotish accent; he is easy to listen to and draws you into his beautifully discribed world. He has also started contributing on 'Great Hites' short story podcast and has shown what an extenive talent he has.

I have a number of stories that I need to post, but am a bit lazy, and busy with preparing for the trip to Arizona. Besides, you can find them on all the other sites where they are posted. (See my blog list.)