Writer Chick Predicts 2017

2017-predictions

Every year, I take a shot at predicting what the new year will bring. I’m usually wrong, though that doesn’t stop me. Here are my best guesses of what will happen in the coming year.

1. Amazon will fold CreateSpace and Audible into its KDP platform by the end of the year. Since they own both outlets it makes sense for them and will probably make it easier for authors to track sales of various publishing platforms. However, I fear the scammers that tend to descend on Amazon will cook up some new scam to hurt indie authors if this comes to pass. Look for something weird on this front.

2. Democrats will make impeaching Trump a priority with the new incoming Congress and possibly make it their first order of business. They may even try to overturn the results from the electoral college. I predict they will be unsuccessful if they try this and will probably make things worse.

3. Serious steps will be taken to distance the U.S. from the UN. Perhaps we will cut ties altogether. But whatever happens, count on protest both for and against on the city streets, with some kind of bizarre tragedy that results.

4. Anti-Trump protests will continue and major colleges will officially create Trump-free zones. These zones will come with their own specified rules of behavior, safe words, calming sports drinks and new age therapy.

5. Mickey Dees will be the first major retailer to employ robots to man their order windows. Once their first cost effective report hits the news other fast food establishments will follow suit. Think it can’t happen, read this.

6. Fox News will change its name to Faux News (Fake News)

7. Hillary Clinton will become the major spokesperson for a new email security software retailer.

8. With its recent success of rebooting old series, Netflix will pull out all the stops and do reboots of: The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, All in the Family, Maude, My Favorite Martian, Starsky & Hutch, and the Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

9. The new iPhone8 will be unveiled in early spring and be the size of a 4-slice toaster but not to worry, it will come with a complimentary backpack to carry it in.

10. Amazon will launch a new beta program for indie authors to make movies of their books.

11. A new haircut called “The Trump” will become popular with middle aged, hair challenged men and women.

12. California will distinguish itself as the first state to drive smokers into total apathy and become a ‘smoke free’ state. Authorities will be very proud of themselves until they realize they have billions of dollars in lost tax revenue to make up. Look to the dubie tax to come next.

13. In a weird pop culture salute to Trump’s election, red ball caps will dominate the fashion world and be seen in all the spring collections on the runways in 2017.

Not a pretty list, I’ll admit, but there you have it. What about you? What do you think will happen in the coming year? Will it be good or bad? Fun or a disaster? Could it possibly be worse than 2016? Feel free to let loose with your own predictions in the comments.

Happy New Year. 😀

Fall Finale Cliffhangers – Are we shocked?

mid-season-cliffhangers

Well, the holiday season is officially upon as signaled by the slew of mid-season finales we’ve had in the last few days.

The Blacklist. Yikes, Red is Elizabeth Keen’s father. My shocked face. Not really. I’ve thought so all along. But I was wondering…if Lizzie was smart enough to do a DNA test on the Russian dude to verify paternity, why has it not occurred to her to do the same to Red? She could easily get his DNA. For a woman so smart, I wonder why she hasn’t thought of doing that. The finale also opened a few questions for me:

  1. Red told Lizzie that she shot her father when she was a child – so did she actually shoot Red, or what that just a load of horse puckey?
  2. What is to become of Mr. Kaplan? Will she confront Red or assume a new identity, while staying secret touch with Lizzie?
  3. Will Aram and Samar get together?
  4. Will a new love interest surface for Restin?
  5. Once Lizzie knows Red is her dad will she switch sides and start working the wrong side of the law and help run his illegal empire?

Blindspot. This was not as much of a cliffhanger as the Blacklist IMHO but it was pretty good. Speaking for myself, I always thought there was something hinky about the in-house psychologist. Poor Patterson, so unlucky in love, I kind of hope she shot him. Though something tells me he’s not as much of a bad guy as we may think. Roman shot Shepard but only winged her, so we know she’ll be back to raise havoc. And I liked how Jane decided to give Roman a ‘new life.’ That was very clever and unexpected. Questions I hope will be answered when the series returns:

  1. Is Nas the shape-shifter I believe her to be? I truly believe she will surface as a mastermind behind Orion who’s real mission is to wipe out anyone who could expose her.
  2. Will Tasha and Reed get together?
  3. Will Allie really have Weller’s baby or will she lose it – they seem to keep teasing that scenario
  4. Will Weller and Jane finally acknowledge their feelings for each other?
  5. Will Jane keep the name Jane Doe or adopt a new identity?

Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t know about you but I screamed, “Well, it’s about time!” When Jo finally told Alex the truth. I’m hoping that somehow that translates into Alex not being sent to jail. Amelia leaving Owen was predictable, unfortunately, and I hope she grows up some. For the most part not too much of a cliffhanger, except as to what Alex will decide to do. Questions:

  1. Will Meredith get over herself and just tell Maggie that she likes gorgeous Aussie doctor?
  2. Will Webber keep his job and get that arrogant new doctor off his back?
  3. Is Callie coming back?
  4. Will April and Jackson realize they should get back together?
  5. Will Bailey quit the job as Chief and go back to the operating room?
  6. Will Jackson’s mother ever stay out of everybody’s business?
  7. Will Edwards just stop being so know besty and chill out a little?

How to get away with murder. I sometimes wonder why I watch this show, since most of the characters are so hard to like. Yet still, I’m addicted to it. Okay, did anybody see Wes as the dead victim, coming? I didn’t. I was sure it was Nate. My theory is that Frank the big bag of rocks that he is, wired the house with the bomb, in order to hide evidence, but of course ended up killing people. Not sure if he killed Wes though – but it could be over jealousy of Laurel. My assumption is that Annalise being on trial will take up the remainder of the season with the verdict about to be announced as the cliffhanger. Questions:

  1. Will Annalise get over her alcohol addiction while in prison?
  2. Will Annalise grow a heart while in prison?
  3. Is Laurel’s baby Wes’s or Frank’s?
  4. Will we ever find out what is really going on with Bonnie?
  5. What secrets does Michaela’s mother know that she will blackmail her with?
  6. And for that matter, is Wes really dead? I know they showed the dead and burned body but in TV land amazing resuscitations can happen.

So, that’s my roundup on the mid-season finales. What’s your take? What do you think will happen? What favorite shows are you watching and wondering about? Feel free to tell me in the comments.

Ten things the 2016 election cycle has ruined for me

election-2016

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a political junkie but I try to keep my inner junkie inside most of the time. However, come election time she scratches her way out to join in all the fun. This year was especially something to look forward to because well, it wasn’t going to be the same old same old. Right? And just when I thought I might really enjoy this election cycle, not only did things go off the rails, there are no freaking rails.

And instead of all the fun I looked forward to, the cycle has simply ruined things for me. Following is my list:

The color orange. It’s not that orange was my favorite color but now I can’t look at it without seeing Trump’s orangey pink skin. You’d think that “one of the richest men in the world” could afford a better tanning bed, spray tan and make up artist. He probably should stop purchasing his products in CHYNAH.

Cheetos. And other favorite orange food—dreamsicles, tangerines, papaya, mangoes, orange lifesavers, orange Jell-O – and I can’t even look at raw chicken.

cheetos-crunchy-cheese

The word great. Likewise the words: terrific, fantastic, really, winning, best, hell even the word, word has lost all charm and appeal. And liar, loser and lying have virtually no meaning anymore either.

Election years. I have always enjoyed presidential election years because of the drama, surprises and unpredictable situations you never see coming. This year however, it is nothing but a flat out slug fest between candidates, supporters and media outlets. It’s ugly and keeps getting uglier. Even when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, somebody unearths a new bottom. And it’s about as much fun as root canal without anesthesia.  Although we got a little comic relief when the Libertarians added live stripping to their convention. What’s next? Lap dances by candidates?

The myth that most people have common sense. Seriously, can anybody believe that common sense is a live and well in America when the presumptive candidates are the two most reviled people in the country?

 

Taco salads. This picture: taco salad
Is he going to eat that thing or molest it? Either way, feeling pretty sorry for the salad, no matter its fate.

Hair. Whether it’s the old man comb-over, the grandma shellacked bullet head, or the Muppet style shag, all hairstyles are dead to me now.

candidate hair

Facebook. Social media always has political stuff but generally is easy to scroll right past. And I’ll get in there sometimes and bat things around myself. But this year it is wall to wall and there’s no scrolling past it. That’s all that is in my feed. From erroneous, crazy, gross, vile memes, to trolls swarming, name calling, to non-stop propaganda on every topic under the sun – it’s a jungle out there.

The Internet. I used to love the Internet. Each day when you logged on you never knew what you were gonna get. These days though you can’t swing a dead politician without hitting a story or meme on trump, trumpers, trumperism, trump tweets, trump train, anti-trump, nevertrump, alwaystrump, “what’s trump done this time?,” neverhillary, onlyhillary, who’s hillary?, indict hillary, feeling berns…. Where are those cute cat videos that used to be so popular?

Reality TV. It’s not that I’m a big fan of reality TV but I once found it somewhat amusing. But since reality TV is running for president, the spoofy goofy nature of the medium isn’t quite as funny. And definitely amusing. And I find myself constantly muttering, “Is this a joke?”

What about you? Are you sick of this already? Has this election business ruined stuff for you? Are you looking for good cat videos? Feel free to add to the list or voice your gripes in the comments. The election cycle isn’t even close to over yet folks, and we’ve got a long five months ahead of us – give us strength.

Elizabeth Keen is Alive – For Now

giphy liz keen

Well it appears that my question from my previous post, was answered.

Indeed, Lizzie Keen is alive. Her death was faked with the help of Mr. Kaplan and once again with reiteration of the theme of this show of ‘keeping Lizzie safe.’ I have to say I feel vindicated, at least a little. I just knew Liz wasn’t gone for good. Although, like many of you, I expected her to show up in the Fall season opener, rather than in the finale of this season.

A question of paternity

And naturally, as soon as they answered the ‘Is she really dead?’ question they laid another on us – ‘Is Alexander Kirk really Liz’s father? I, like many Blacklist fans, harbor the belief that Red is Lizzie’s real dad and will probably cling to that belief until the show’s writers prove otherwise. I don’t believe that Kirk is anything other than a red herring brought in to confuse us and Liz. What do you think?

Other cliffhanging questions

Also the show left us hanging as to the fate of Tom Keen and Mr. Kaplan, who was last scene with her face in a not too happy Red’s hands. Would he really dispose of his loyal and reliable cleaner? And what of Tom? Has he finally used up his last of nine lives? I think we’ll be seeing him again. Perhaps Mr. Kaplan will have to fake his death too.

In the meantime, I’ll have to comfort myself with reruns from this season, hunting for hidden clues that eluded me in the first viewing.

What about you? Do you think Mr. Kaplan is toast? What about Tom? Did they kill him or is he just stashed in a Russian prison, catching mice and cockroaches for dinner? Is Alexander Kirk Liz’s father, or is this another head fake from the writers? And will the rescue for Liz occur in the new season opener or are they going to make us work for it?  Feel free to share your opinions and theories in the comments.

Is Elizabeth Keen Really Dead?

lizzie keen

I don’t know about you, but I am addicted (there I said it!) to the NBC show, The Blacklist. For four seasons I have watched while the ever story telling Red Reddington has dazzled and dazed me, causing me to ask countless questions, like:

  • Are you Lizzie’s father?
  • Who is Lizzie’s mother and was she really a Russian spy?
  • Can you answer a question without telling a story to illustrate your point?
  • Why do so many women find you irresistible?

Is this another fake out?

Over the four seasons of the show we have been faked out. We originally thought that Tom, Lizzie’s husband was just a cute, somewhat nerdy elementary school teacher. Only to discover he was a Russian spy or is that agent, then to find out that Red hired him, to now discovering he is Liz’s true soulmate. A once heartless killing machine who has found his soul thanks to true love. And then sadly to lose the love of his life and the reason for his salvation on the day their daughter is born.

But has he? Is Lizzie Keen really dead? I have my doubts. Just like I did when she was a blonde for a whole season. Or when all clues pointed to her becoming a sort of surrogate daughter in crime with Red.

Her funeral is in the next episode, how might they bring her back after that?

The next episode is to center around Liz’s funeral and then the requisite pursuit of her killer. Which personally I found a little confusing because I thought she died because of complications from the car accident and delivery. But you know, it’s episodic television, so okay.

Anyway, here is my theory:

Liz isn’t really dead but in order to protect her from the shadow agents/group pursuing her presumably because of her Russian spy mother’s sins, the whole world must believe she is dead for the time being.

Once Red and the whole special FBI task force has located the real threat to her, it will be revealed that she has been living in a FBI safe house in Oklahoma, donning a red wig and Birkenstoks.

She only seemed dead and looked dead because the doctor, who we already know was friends with Liz injected some super magical drug that made her look that way. The body used in the funeral will turn out to be a double or even made of wax. I mean who’s going to check to be sure?

Naturally, Tom will feel a bit miffed for having had to raise Agnes on  his own for a year or so, but he’ll be so happy that he doesn’t have to be a single dad, that he’ll soon forgive her.

Though of course they won’t be able to jump into Tom’s boat and set sail for the happily ever after. Somehow Agnes will become the center of some plan or Tom will be tempted to return to his own life. Or Liz will mount her own investigation into who her mother and father really is.  Heck, maybe that’s what she’s doing now, while everybody, including Red thinks she’s dead.

What are your theories?

So there you have it, my theory. Do you have one? Do you like me, think that Lizzie is still alive only to reappear at some later date, or is the Blacklist just becoming its own spinoff and morphing into a whole new show? Feel free to float any theories you like in the comments.

I do it because I can – flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig

Ah, the first flash fiction challenge for the new year from Chuck. Our assignment: to pick a random pic from Flicker and use it as inspiration for a short story of 1,000 words. I have to admit I went slightly over the 1,000 but just a smidge:

Untitled by Greg Pths https://www.flickr.com/photos/greg-pths/24075149811
Untitled by Greg Pths https://www.flickr.com/photos/greg-pths/24075149811

 

I do it because I can

She looked almost alive, swathed in veils and satin in her simple coffin. Like a princess. Ironic, since her killer left her on the side of the road, naked, bruised and obscenely posed for all to see. With a note clutched in her hand that read; “I do it because I can.”

Her grandmother told me in broken English that it was a custom from her home country – to send the loved one dressed in their best, to Heaven. After what had happened, I wondered how the woman still believed in Heaven. Eyes closed, prayer beads rattling between nervous fingers, her lips moved in silent prayer. Her silver hair glistened in the flickering candlight making her as much of a spectre as her dead granddaughter.

I sat in the back row and watched as mourners came and went. Some cried at the coffin, others crossed themselves defensively, lest the same thing happen to their child. Still others sat in the chairs and stared straight ahead. I waited for the killer to arrive. I knew that he would. That he would want to see his handiwork and the devastating effect it had on the world.

My partner sat in our unmarked, just outside the church – smoking and watching. We exchanged texts throughout the afternoon. Mostly to amuse ourselves and in the end for nothing at all because the killer never came to pay his respects.

As the last vestige of sunlight refracted through the stain glassed windows I rose. Tomorrow was another day for catching killers. Awkwardly, I knelt in the aisle, crossed myself and went outside.

After pushing through the ancient door of the church, I stood on the stoop and looked around, trying to adjust to the gray light that shrouded my world. The engine on the unmarked turned over and I squinted at my partner, who cranked a hand to get me moving.

I plunked into the passenger seat and closed the door against the cold. “So?”
My partner, Joan waved a gloved hand. “So nothing.”
I sighed at the tired little church as we pulled away from the curb. Joan smacked my arm with the back of her hand. “Cheer up, it’s beer o’clock.”

I nodded and stared straight ahead, wondering what made the human race so cold and uncaring. But soon, I was perched comfortably on a bar stool and doing shots and beers with Joan and the hard edges of life were softened.

Joan nibbled on a pretzel thoughtfully. “He’ll probably show at the funeral.” She turned bright green eyes on me. “Where he can watch from a distance.”

I nodded, then drained the rest of my beer. “Probably.” I tossed a few bills on the bar and stood. “Let’s go.”

She dropped me at my house, where lights in the window told me Cassie was home. “You want me to come in?”

I frowned at her. “For what?”

“I could make dinner. You two could stand to eat something besides pizza.”

I smiled at her. She was a good woman, a good person. She cared. We both cared. But I had to pretend I didn’t see that extra caring in her eyes – since my wife left last year that look in Joan’s eyes was too much of an invitation. I couldn’t take advantage and I didn’t want to.

“Maybe another time.”

I stood on the sidewalk and watched as her brake lights disappeared into the fog, then turned slowly toward the house. It was probably the fog or the street light reflected in the wet pavement but I saw a flash. When I turned toward it, it disappeared. Could’ve been the beer and whiskey too.

Cassie opened the door and frowned at me – her golden curls backlit and crowned her head like a halo. I smiled – she was my angel. “You gonna stand in the rain all night?”

I hurried up the walk then gave her shoulders a squeeze before going inside. “Daddy’s home.”

The house smelled like coffee and spaghetti. And the table was set and waiting for me. Cassie pulled off my coat and nudged me into a chair. I sipped my coffee and the warmth spread through my body, taking the chill out of my tired bones. “Looks good.”

Cassie smiled proudly. “Made it myself.”

I stared at the plate of spaghetti and meatballs. “Oh-oh.”

She smacked me with a napkin and said, “Eat, you old bear.”

Afterwards, I helped her with the clean up and dishes. “How was your day?”

She told me about school and a boy she liked and wondered out loud if I’d pop for a pretty dress she wanted for an upcoming dance at school. “You think it’ll make him love you?”

She blushed. “Oh Dad, you’re such doof.” She frowned. “How was your day?”

I told her about my unsuccessful stake out and she nodded in sympathy. My daughter was an old soul who understood my need to seek justice in the world and sympathized. She snapped her fingers. “Oh, I almost forgot.” She pulled an envelope out of her pocket and handed it to me. “This came for you.”

I frowned at the unaddressed envelope then tore it open. Inside was a note: “I do it because I can.”

My heart dropped to my toes. “How did you get this?”

Cassie recoiled at my reaction. “It was taped to the door when I came home.”

I went to the window and looked out, then I went to the front door and threw it open. And I felt him out there in the fog, watching and waiting. I withdrew my gun, then said to her, “Lock the door behind me and call Joan. Tell her to get over her now!”

Then, I stepped into the fog, gun raised, flashlight poised. I stepped off the porch, scanning the yard, the bushes, then went around back. The gate was open and my breath caught in my throat.

I burst into the yard but it was empty. Hands trembling, I ran the flashlight beam across the yard and along the house. Then I saw them – footprints in the sodden grass, leading to the back of the house. Panting, I followed them to my patio door which was locked. I pounded on the door. “Cassie! Cassie!”

Then she screamed. “Daddy!”

Writer Chick Predicts 2016

tarot-991041_640

Yup, it’s New Year’s Day and time to make a few predictions (about which I will no doubt, be wrong). Because, well because it’s fun to predict the future and considering all the drinks we had last night, a few laughs might be in order. Am I right? Okay, so Writer Chick predicts…

  1. After an unsuccessful Kick-starter campaign, Barnes and Noble will go belly up – blaming Amazon for their failure.
  2. The Author’s Guild will start selling ‘information products’ for writers that promise secrets methods to beat Amazon’s algorithms. Of course it won’t work, but Amazon will be (very) publicly blamed for their author members’ low royalties.
  3. Amazon will be voted the “Person of the Year” by Time magazine – this will drive NY Times  writers into a frenzy.
  4. Apple will release the long awaited iAlarm. The innovative gadget will wake you in in ten different time zones, provide unreliable weather forecasts, and give you ten affirmations to utter before rising.
  5. ABC, NBC and CBS will engage in a bidding war for the new TV pilot based on the Star Wars movies.  However, while the major broadcast stations are mired in entertainment warfare, Fox will create a kick ass show based on Hugh Howie’s Silo Series.
  6. Amid the Star Wars mania that Disney is spending millions to generate, Ford Motor Company will come out with the limited edition Darth Vader – an SUV hybrid that comes only in black and has a hissy sound system.
  7. The Big5 publishers will team up with Walmart to create a book co-op in hopes of driving Amazon under – instead, they will drive Walmart under.
  8. In a last ditch effort to gain votes, Donald Trump will auction off his hair in a Vegas style, online event.
  9. Apple will also come out with the iPhone Jumbo which users will wear like a backpack. Some will complain about the inconvenient size, however, all will agree that the awesome clarity on streaming videos cannot be beat.
  10. PETA no longer satisfied to just fight for animal rights, will kick off a campaign for animal marriage. Next up – inter-species marriage.
  11. In a stunning revelation on the end of the year, Barbara Walters special, Michael Moore will reveal that he is a genetically modified life form created by Monsanto.
  12. The cost of oil will topple to an amazing $19 a barrel. However, California drivers will still be paying upwards of $3 a gallon, for reasons only Gerry Brown knows.
  13. Apple will also develop a new product- the iHologram – an eReader accessed by a computer chip, placed in your brain. Google will file an intellectual property lawsuit, claiming the brain chip was to be their next succession in the Google Glasses evolution.
  14. An anonymous whistle blower will reveal that Google has been an arm of the NSA since its inception. Finally, somebody will use Yahoo to search on the Internet.

How about you? What are you predictions for 2016? Tell em like you see em in the comments. Happy New Year.

Annie