Thursday, January 27, 2005

Can't See, No Glasses

No joke. Everything is very blury. No reading. No writing. No typing. Thank God for all of the typing classes way back when and all of my current practice. THE WITCH WOOD DEMON is indeed on its way, but I must be able to SEE in order to actually accomplish something. This must be a pretty good story or start with all of the problems I've been having getting the third part out to you all!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Haikus by Michael Lohr

Copyright (c) 2005 by Michael Lohr

movements of the soul
spiritual revolution
common threads of truth

Author's Note: Regardless of one's spiritual bent, we are all made of stardust. We are all brothers and sisters, woven together with the same common threads of truth.


Unfinished Portrait
Copyright (c) 2005 by Michael Lohr

a steaming hot cup
milky way swirls in my tea
subtle day dreaming


Pavlov's Itch
Copyright (c) 2005 by Michael Lohr

we placate our id
as we watch the gods make love
and volley the stars


Copyright (c) 2005 by Michael Lohr

Walk the wilderness
Godspark, the echo within
Touching the soul tree


Michael Lohr is a professional journalist. His work has appeared in such diverse magazines as Rolling Stone, The Economist, Southern Living, Men's Journal, ESPN Magazine, Outside Magazine, Caribbean Travel & Life, Canoe Journal, Canoe & Kayaking, Outdoor Life, and Blue Ridge Country to namea few. Genre-wise, he has been published in Brutarian Quaterly, Cemetary Dance, Marsdust, Albedo One, Interzone, The Third Alternative, Midnight Street et al. His webpage can be found at

Note: If you click on the title it will take you straight to his webpage.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Present and Upcoming

On the 21st I felt sort of draggy and then THE FLU hit hard . . . again. Now I am over it and things are rolling ahead, albeit just a little more jerkily than I personally would prefer.

In UPCOMING episodes of The News we could have some poetry and fiction publications from another talented writer on Wednesdays. (We'll know for certain once I receive the writer's answering email.) And THE WITCH WOOD DEMON is coming your way on Thursdays and possibly a Friday to get it nice and wrapped up. Once "the demon" has been secured, there is another piece coming at you on Thursdays from yours truly. It too will be serialized.

Also, there will be a face lift for The News since I no longer feel "black" and depressed any longer. What will it be? That is a question you and I will find out together Dear Readers!

Friday, January 21, 2005

A Bit Annoyed and Science News

Typed in the 3rd installment of The Witch Wood Demon and it looked OK. When I check everything to there is nothing there and the code is all gobldee-gook so will re-type everything in as soon as possible, but must admit have a ton of other writing and typing to do today so the 3rd installment may be late tonight.

A Bit of Science News

This was really sort of strange and really science fiction-esque, but REAL!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Official Rescheduling Notice

There are a couple of changes going to be heading out in the next few days and weeks here at The News. It isn't anything major, but wanted everyone to know what is going to be happening.

The News is still open for submissions of poetry, fiction, and articles anyone would like to submit. PLEASE make sure the submissions are in the body of an email and not an attachment.

Wednesdays are for posting of fiction from out there of someone other than myself.

Thursdays are for serialized stories or my own fiction and poetry. If nothing fiction or poetic is occurring, then it will just be a normal post.

See, nothing earth-shattering is happening, just an official determination.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Something of Note

I have been reading a sight called Strange Horizons for some time now but have failed to mention it here in The News. It is a place of fiction, poetry, and articles for the fan of fiction in the genres of nearly everything really.

If you haven't read it, I strong urge you to check it out. If you have read it, please, let me know what you think about it.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Martin Luther King, Jr Day

It is much too important to miss the acknowledgement of this day, especially at the price it cost this man. By his actions many people in the United States have freedoms and opportunities they would not normally have gotten, including the handicapped, not just the black community.

To find out more, go to

Friday, January 14, 2005

House Blessing

Every year in the Orthodox faith, the priest comes to bless the house. It is a time of renewal and hope for the family and for the house itself because the house is what becomes a home. This year the house blessing was something I was really looking forward to. It was an event which marked, to me, a change in my outlook on this and helped shed a more positive light on the unfolding new year.

For the first time ever I served the priest coffee and cookies after he had finished blessing the house. Usually Hubby has had to do it for some reason or other, but this time, today, it was if I had stepped into an ages old role and it was a place of honor and respect. It was there in Hubby's eyes, and there was love and happiness in Father's as he accepted the coffee and talked with us a little before heading out to bless another parish member's house. (During the month of January Father travels a great deal to do house blessings, resting only on Sundays after service, and sometimes he doesn't get to rest even then.)

It was odd sitting in my chair and serving coffee to Father and Hubby, as well as cookies. I was experiencing everything and observing it as well. Usually when this dual perception has occurred it has been something bad. Not this time.

I feel as if some new mantle has settled about my shoulders. It is something of great beauty, sometimes weighty, and not always soft, yet it is a fabric of great strength. My one hope about it is that I wear it well in the coming hours, days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

House 3

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 2 (reprise)

The road ahead looked straight without any curves to worry about, but there was a nice big drop off to the right that would send the car hooded man straight into John's Creek. It wasn't very deep this time of year, of course, but the water would be cold and Angelica wasn't certain he, or she, could take a ride down the cliff and be able to survive it. If she tried to keep the make-shift sled from sliding too fast down the little hill Angelica was certain she would get run over, which would, again, do neither of them any good.

Snow began to drift down lazily again from the gray-white overcast sky. It was quiet in the midst of the snow. Not a single sound of human occupation could be heard. Birds sang and chortled merrily high in the trees. It was beautiful, yet dangerous. Angelica had never thought of her childhood home as ever being dangerous before. Would it have been better to leave the man behind and trek out to get help? Had it been a mistake to try and bring him along with her? Was she going to inadvertently going to end up killing him while trying to save his life? The doubts began to bombard her from every side, every angle. Angelica had always considered herself a confident person, but now she wasn't. She was the least confident she had ever been in her entire life.

"It's quite heavy to have the burden of another life weighing on you isn't it." Angelica jumped and let out a small squeal at the sound of the voice. A man was standing to her left, leaning lazily against a tree. His voice was deep, sexy, almost gravely with desire and glee. He had on a thick fur coat and he was wearing dark sunglasses. Angelica didn't say anything. She couldn't run and leave the man on the hood behind. I need to give him a name, Angelica thought suddenly. Focus! she told herself. This could be bad.

"Why don't you call him Bob?" the stranger said, ambling over to her smoothly. The absence of the sound of snow crunching under his feet as he walked toward her was frighteningly acute. "Bob is always a good non-descript name to call someone you don't know." Had she spoken out loud?

"No, the man answered. You didn't speak out loud." Angelica closed her eyes and counted to twenty. She was a lot more tired than what she had thought she was. When she opened her eyes, though, he was standing directly in front of her. He should have been level with her eyes considering the slope, but he wasn't. In fact, his feet weren't touching the snow covered pavement of the road at all. He smiled a strikingly handsome smile. "Isn't it beautiful here?" he said, looking around with the smile still on his face. Angelica nodded automatically.

"OK, you're a figment of my imagination because I'm so tired," she said suddenly.

"Why don't you just ask me?" he whispered, leaning forward slightly. Angelica could smell the clean smell of a male body before her, lightly scented with a perfume she had never smelled before. It was almost intoxicating.

"Ask you what?"

"Am I real or not." He was still leaning close, just above her. His chest and shoulders were broad and, Angelica imagined, rippled with muscles.

"Are you?"

"Am I what?" The man flashed a flirtatious smile down upon her, and Angelica couldn't help but blush at the intensity in his eyes.

"Are you real or my imagination?"


"Yes, what?"

"You decide," he said with a charming smile. The man reached out and stroked her cheek. His hand was warm, so very warm. Angelica realized, almost with a start, just how cold she really was. Then his fingers found her earlobe and pinched it hard so that she cried out in pain and struck his hand away. The hood that had been holding in all of her dark brown hair slid back, letting her hair escape.

"You're beautiful!" he said. He looked almost shocked.

"And you are a very dangerous part of my imagination. I'm sorry, but I can't talk now. I have to keep moving."

"So, you don't believe your senses?" A small laugh rumbled out from the center of his chest. Angelica watched the man walk on air to the side of the road which was packed with snow, and back again. There were no footprints in the snow. Once more in front of her he touched her cheek again, softly, delicately, and again there was warmth. When he withdrew his hand from her face, she regretted losing the warmth of his touch. "Can a figment make you warm?"

"I have a very good imagination," Angelica said and moved to the rear of the car hood and, like with a tobagan, gave it a shove and jumped onto the part of it where the man . . . Bob's legs were. Bob moaned softly. Angelica balanced herself off of his injured legs as best she could, but she was certain it hurt.

"I'm sorry," she told him as the car hood sled went zooming down the hill. Angelica didn't look back. She didn't want to see what was there, or who was there, or if no one was there.

The ride down the hill was swift. Once the sled came precariously close to the edge and then changed direction quickly back onto the road, doing a slow, graceful circle, straightening out a little, then doing another slow circle. It bounced against the side of the mountain once, which made the man cry out, but his eyes never opened. As another circle made itself, Angelica hazarded a look back at the summit of the hill which was a good distance away now, but she could still make out the image of the man in his fur coat.

The sled came to a jolting halt. The trip had caused the car hood to stop facing the hill, and not away from it. Angelica turned to see what had stopped their progress and was startled to see the man standing there, one foot on the car hood as if he had stopped it. Angelica glanced back at the hill. No one was there.

Slowly, Angelica moved from the car hood.

"Haven't you heard the stories about me?" the man asked.


"I'm the Witch Wood Demon," he said softly, lowering his voice as if to keep others from hearing his confession. "I lie in wait for travelers and lead them to their doom. I drive them insane with their own fears. Or I just kill them." Angelica had never heard a voice turn so deadly cold before.

"OK," Angelica said with a slow nod. "I'll go with that for the time being." A look of surprise flitted over the handsome face of the man before her. "I don't want to call you Mr. Witch-Wood-Demon all the way to town, so what should I call you? Bob after all, is taken." A booming laughed escaped him and he eyed her with something of amusement and almost-respect.

"Call me what you like," he said finally. "I'm open to any name you wish to call me. Except something religious, of course, that causes me a bit of a . . . rash." Again he smiled, this time at something that was almost a joke, or so it seemed to Angelica.

Angelica retrieved the battery cables and began tugging the "sled" around in the right direction. Her shoulders and back ached. She was surely going over the edge with exhaustion, but at least this distraction would help keep her mind off of how tired she was, and how cold. Angelica carefully tucked her hair back inside the hood of her coat and pulled it up over her head. She should have brought a tobagon with her, but she hadn't. She also hadn't figured on having to trek into Wilmington on foot either. Once she was headed back in the right direction, Angelica dropped to her knees beside at Bob's head. He was breathing shallowly. As long as he was breathing there was a chance for him.

"Don't worry. It isn't far now," she said. Surprisingly, the words came out in a hopeful tone. Angelica's spirits lifted slightly.

"How do you know?" asked the man now standing beside her.

"Know what?"

"That it isn't far." Angelica leaned into the road and felt the cables become taught. It took several rocking starts before the car-hood sled began moving again.

"I don't suppose you can help?" Angelica began concentrating on walking, one foot in front of the other.

"You mean help you try and save this man's pitiful life? Do you know what he does? He gets his wife's welfare check and spends it on drugs and booze and beats her and his children just for the hell of it. Does it really sound like he needs to live? I'm sure his family wouldn't mind seeing him bite the bullet. It might just be a relief to them."

"I don't know anything about this man. This could be a second chance for him."

"Your optimism is almost refreshing."


"It has been a long time since I've come across someone like you."

"Are you going to help me or not. If you're a figment of my imagination you can't, but if you're real you can." He looked at her, obviously amused. One large hand cupped her's and slid the cable from it. Angelica moved aside as he took the other one. He pulled the car hood and man easily, as easily as if he were pulling an empty child's sled in fact.

"I'm not going to help you for long, but, you amuse me, and I would like to carry on our conversation. It has been a while since I have been amused. Most people run from me in terror, before smacking a tree or going into the creek. I've a nice total of one hundred and fifty-four so far in car wrecks and twenty-seven suicides."

"And the insanities?"

"Too numerous to count!" Angelica took some careful steps just to make sure the sled was really moving. What if she had fallen asleep and this was a dream? What if she were lying in the snow somewhere dying of hypothermia? Why would her imagination have her talking to a demon and not an angel?

"So, have you come up with a name for me yet?" Angelica smiled. After a few seconds of quiet contemplation she nodded.

"I think I will call you Tom."

"Tom? That's very generic isn't it! How often do you talk to demons?" This time Angelica chuckled. She was so very tired the entire situation was becoming funny.

"You have a beautiful smile," Tom said softly.

"Thank you."

"And may I have the pleasure of knowing your name?"

Something began to stir in the back of her mind like rusty cogs that hadn't been used in a very long time. She was sure telling a demon your name was a bad thing. Uncle Greg had told her all of the old legends and stories and each time there had been a lesson of some sort. He had been a very superstitious man and tried to share his knowledge with her. But what if you lied to the demon and gave him a false name? Could he do anything to you if he called you by some other name?

This Just In . . .

Jefferson Airplane drummer dead of cancer, he was 66.

It is really sad to see some of the people who made my growing up years so much fun and spoke to me through their music.

Bon Voyage

Part 2

The second part of the story will be up in just a few minutes. This came in over the wire just now and wanted to share it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Life got in the way of writing today. Will up-date the second part of The Witch Wood Demon on Thursday. It's worth the wait, I promise!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Howard Stern Can't Say "Satellite Radio"

"If a Stern talks on a satellite and only paid subscribers hear the noise, does anyone else care? "

Check out the rest of the article. It's quite humorous. I also think it just may be very correct.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Mmmmmm Journalszzzzzz........

I believe I am becoming addicted to journals. I have only one major journal on-line, and, although I don't really consider The News a journal (at least not a personal journal) I suppose it is . . . of sorts. But, the hard-backed kind . . . well, yeah, I'm addicted to them and writing in them.

See, I would call it a "collection" but the problem there is I use them. I have a journal for the current book I'm working on, a like-themed journal for when it is filled in order to continue the story; two black re-fillable journals (with refills) for stories and articles and little snippets of things I have ideas for, and my very private paper journal. Oh, and those two black journals? Well, see, one is for fiction and one is just for snippets, notes, etc.. Make sense? It does to me at least.

I was really beginning to worry about myself and all of these journals I lug around with me everywhere until I actually sat down, through all of this horrid sickness, sore throat, etc., and decided, actually decided I'm a writer, and I write more and better in journals than I do on the computer. And, Neil Gaiman is right: You can take a pad and a pen with you no matter where you go. So, I am addicted to journals and, well, I like it. Luckily every journal purchased has a purpose, and I'm fulfilling their use by actually doing what I had planned on with them.

The computer is no way out of the picture, of course. I use it for research and note-keeping, and I simply have to have some place to put everything I write in all of those journals. Life is good with paper, pen, and computer, isn't it?

*happy smile*

*cough, cough, cough*

Question . . . .

Does anyone have any good Blogs they would like a nice little review of? I thought it would be nice to mention a few Blogs along the way throughout the week and pass along good reading to others out there in the world who may not have run across your, or your friend's, or your mom's, or even just someone's Blog you read. Yes, I know there are sites for this, but some people simply don't go to those sights and it would be nice to share. Wouldn't it?

Just comment with a link and we'll all go and visit.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Let's All Sing Along

Music seems to always be going at this house, especially when I am feeling good and the words are flowing exceptionally well. I have to admit, I have likewise purchased much more music through Napster than going to the mall or some place else to purchase CDs and such. It is just easier, plus I can arrange the songs as I like. I'm glad to have helped the industry as much as I have.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Code Books

One of the bestest presents I received this year for Christmas was web page design books and HTML/CSS guides. It appears as if I have turned into a geek. Strangely, this form of geekdom does not make me feel uneasy or unsettled. I feel actually quite proud and as if I have accomplished something. Now that yours truly is feeling better, I may actually turn my attention to the code books and see what all I can do!

*insert cackle of computer geekdom HERE*

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Witch Wood Demon, by H.A. Handy

The Witch Wood Demon
By H.A. Handy

Copyrighted material. Do not reprint without express permission from the author.

A strand of dark brown hair flew out from inside Angelica's coat hood and taunted her around her eyes. She couldn't put it back because there was a small rise in the road and it was taking all her strength to pull the card hood, and the man on it, over it.

Everything around them was quiet, blanketed by the snow and cold. The man hadn't made any sounds for the past several minutes. Just as soon as they were over the rise, Angelica promised herself, she would check on him and make sure he was still alive.

She didn't look up, she didn't keep her eyes from the snow ahead of her. One foot plowing into the snow on the road after the other was all she could concentrate on. That and not letting go of the jumper cables she was currently using as ropes to pull the car hood with it's heavy load. When they reached slick spots where there was more ice than snow it was far easier to pull, but up the rise with all of the snow and occasional icy patches, it felt as if she had been straining and trudging for centuries.

At the top of the rise, Angelica stopped. The car hood was pulling back on her hard, so she went on a couple more feet before her legs collapsed and she ended up face first in the snow just starting over the little rise. The car hood was perched precariously on the very top. If she remembered correctly, there weren't any more little hills between here and Wilmington's outskirts.

On hands and knees, Angelica crawled around to the hood and uncovered the man's face. The huge gash on his forehead had stopped bleeding. Actually it had frozen. He was breathing in shallow fits, but still breathing. That was good. The stench of alcohol came off him in waves, making her empty stomach want to empty itself even further, if that was possible. "Not here, not yet," she told herself. "Not much farther though." That was true wasn't it? It really wasn't that much farther to town?

Angelica had traveled these roads pretty much all her teenage years and every summer when she was in college. She knew them like the back of her hand. Since Uncle Greg had died she hadn't really been back to Wilmington, Virginia that much. There were always some excuse to keep her away. It was surprising to realize it had actually been three years since she had returned. Still, as she turned off the highway and on to the back spur, everything looked as if it hadn't changed at all since she was in high school.

The mountain roads had been just as curvy, and there was snow everywhere, since it was December. Wilmington always seemed to have snow. No matter if the rest of the world was ninety degrees Fahrenheit, Wilmington would always have snow, and a lot of it, for Christmas and New Year's, right up until February. It was just something everyone had come to accept, and expect.

Angelica had been driving carefully, her truck loaded with all it's necessities for winter driving when the car came around a curve on her side, lost control and crashed into her. He was drunk as a skunk and yelling he was dead. Both legs were broken so there was no walking for him, and he also seemed to have a couple of broken ribs. Hopefully he wouldn't have a collapsed lung by the time she got him to Wilmington.

The hood of his car had flown off, it looked to have been tied down with a bungie. She got him onto that and started trudging. She couldn't leave him there. He would have been frozen stiff by the time someone had been able to get back to him. Besides, you didn't leave a neighbor in trouble. Isn't that what Uncle Greg had always said?

Something moved in the trees up on the hill to Angelica's right. Sitting still, Angelica slowed her breath. Her eyes and ears alert. Nothing moved again.

"Rest period is now over class," Angelica said to the man, who was unconscious and uncaring. "We will continue now." Angelica went around to the double set of jumper calbes and picked them up again. The grade on this side of the rise was just a little steeper than she expected it to be. Nervously she glanced back at her passenger. Exactly how was this portion of their trek going to play out?

To be continued....

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


A bit behind due to a nasty, nasty bug. Feel like death warmed over. Hubby has it now, too. Before the end of the week you will have the first part of the story. Am quite excited about it. Back to bed now.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A New Poem

By Shane Stewart
copyright(c) 2005 Shane Stewart

If you are the shelter, then I am the storm.
Neither of us of great importance
Without the other.
I am what you sheild against,
While you are what I buffet.
Yet never have you pushed me back,
And gentle do my rains fall.

We are not of much use apart, are we?
You without I lack somehting,
While I without you is simply sad.
This is how we have always been,
Good alone, for certain,
But never quite as good
As we are together.

Will I ever be the shelter, and you the storm?
I dare not say. I dare not know.
It would be less fun that way,
Less important.
Like reading the last page of a book,
Or watching the end of a movie
Before you see how it all begins.

Odd how one so needs the other. Storm and shelter.
Shelter and storm. Storm keeps the shelter
Strong and ready, clean and quick.
Shelter keeps the storm going,
Keeps the wind blowing,
Rain falling, sky crashing,
Keeps the storm from consuming itself.

Always found together they are. Always will be.
Always should be.
One without and one within.
One the storm and one the shelter.
One needs the other and the other needs one.
Storm for Shelter to be strong for,
Shelter for Storm to feel safe with.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year! May all of your dreams come true (the good ones only) this year!